Major: Speech-Language Pathology Assistant
As a child, Judy Jarka had a speech-language pathologist in preschool, which sparked a desire that led to her future career.
“Polish was my first language, and there were several consonants I was unable to produce,” she said. “Growing up, I always wanted to pursue a career in which I could help others, particularly the pediatric population. I am very passionate about helping them grow their confidence in themselves and doing whatever it takes to make them feel successful in anything they do.”
Jarka attended Saint Xavier University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Unfortunately, she applied to graduate programs for two years and was waitlisted each time.
As a result, she began looking for another option to complement her degree and discovered the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant program at College of DuPage.
“I decided to apply and take it day by day, and it was the best decision I made,” Jarka said. “I believe that I not only grew as a future clinician but also gained more confidence in myself, my knowledge and my skills in this field. I also created wonderful working relationships with my professors, instructors and fellow peers in the SLPA program. I am truly honored to have worked with the staff in this discipline; they genuinely care about their students and their students’ success.”
While at COD, she was recognized for academic excellence by discipline during the College’s annual Celebration of Academic Excellence. Jarka was nominated by the SLPA faculty.
“It was truly such an honor receiving this award. I worked extremely hard in my two years at COD and I know it showed through my grades and the 4.0 GPA I maintained throughout my program. I believe receiving the Academic Excellence Award emphasizes to any future employer that I am a passionate, dedicate and hard-working individual who is motivated by her goals.”
The faculty members are extremely resourceful, well-educated and experienced, and they always encourage their students to do their best and to better themselves.
Jarka is completing an online master’s program at New York University to become a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist. She also plans to earn her “triple-C’s” – the Certificate of Clinical Competence.
Jarka’s career goal has shifted due to her own experience of giving birth to identical twin girls at just over 26 weeks.
“Our extended NICU stay led me to an interest in working as an SLP in a NICU unit with the babies and connecting with parents on a personal level, due to my own firsthand experience,” she said.
Jarka advises anyone considering COD to give it a chance.
“The faculty members are extremely resourceful, well-educated and experienced, and they always encourage their students to do their best and to better themselves,” she said. “COD will truly open doors for you and make you feel successful.”