Burbank, Calif. resident Audrey Manalang always dreamed of living in New York City. An Internet search for speech pathology programs led her to the Macaulay Honors College at Lehman.
About to graduate with a 2012 bachelor's degree in that field, Manalang plans to make New York City her home a little longer. This fall, she begins studying for a master's in speech pathology at Columbia University with the help of a scholarship from that university.
Born in Batangas City, the Philippines, Manalang moved to the United States with her parents when she was 15. Her parents, physicians in their home country, supported her decision to travel across the country for college. "My parents would travel to communities that didn't have access to hospitals," she says. "I would like to go back home and do some volunteer work when I finish."
Manalang applied to 10 colleges and was accepted to all but one. Lehman, however, was the obvious choice for her. "The campus was really beautiful," she says, "and I didn't have to pay out-of-state tuition. The Macaulay Honors College was just a great opportunity. It was going to help me really learn and expose me to a lot of new things because I would be interacting with other CUNY students."
As coordinator of the college's Wellness Education and Promotion Program, as well as the secretary and webmaster for the Golden Key Honor Society, Manalang has taken full advantage of campus life. She also recently joined Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, and is a member of the Tobacco-Free Implementation Committee on campus. Living in the nearby brownstone Lehman leases to provide student housing made the college feel less like a commuter campus. Now she lives near campus in an apartment she shares with two other Macaulay students.
Manalang will receive about $7,000 in scholarship money, plus $6,000 in work-study funds from Columbia for her graduate degree. She hopes to work with children and is interested in the study of Specific Language Impairment, a condition that delays children's mastery of language skills although they exhibit no hearing loss or other developmental delays.
Lehman's clinic provided a great opportunity to see first-hand how speech pathologists work with clients, she says. She also appreciated the accessibility of faculty, staff and administrators.
What Manalang loves most about her field is the ability to help others. "It's amazing to watch their progress and know that you're making a difference and helping people to express themselves," she says.