BS ’96, MS ’98
While completing her basic college requisites at Rogers State University in Claremore, Lori Adams (BS ’96, MS ’98) contemplated her next move. She considered going into nursing or even becoming a police officer until one of her RSU professors suggested TU’s speech pathology program.
“I remember babysitting when I was younger and correcting how kids would say their words,” Adams said. “My dad attended TU, and I knew I wanted to work in the community.”
She spent the next four years earning her undergrad and graduate degrees as well as a minor in deaf education. Adams devoted hundreds of hours to the Mary K. Chapman Center for Communicative Disorders, observing clients and conducting therapy sessions. She regularly visited neighboring Kendall-Whittier Elementary School with peers and faculty to host free hearing and speech screenings. “We saw a lot of those children in our clinic. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was great experience that other universities don’t offer,” Adams said.
She completed her clinical fellowship at Jenks Public Schools under the supervision of TU alumna Karen Hampton (MS ’89). Adams had considered eventually using her degrees to work in a hospital, but her time at Jenks laid the groundwork for a career in the public school system. In 2005, she transferred to Bixby Public Schools to serve as a speech-language pathologist and has since been named the district’s speech and related services compliance coordinator. Adams regularly visits the district’s sites, overseeing Bixby’s other 12 speech pathologists and consulting with parents and teachers to provide the appropriate resources for language and hearing impaired students. She said Bixby Public Schools is a growing district, and the demand for speech, language and hearing specialists continues to grow.
“We hired two new TU graduates this fall, and it’s a great feeling knowing we can depend on them to be proficient and know what to do.”
Outside of Bixby’s classrooms, Adams enjoys taking on contract work at pediatric clinics, but it was important to her that she keep her own case load at Bixby Public Schools. “I wanted to continue working with kids. They have a totally fresh viewpoint on life,” Adams said. “There’s nothing like the feeling of watching a child you’ve been working with succeed, no matter how small or how large the success. I feel like this was truly my life’s purpose, and I’m very lucky to have found it.”
The niece of TU law alumnus Gary Brasel (BS ’56, JD ’65), Adams has three children and is thrilled to reconnect with her alma mater this fall. She has returned to the Department of Communication Disorders as an adjunct faculty member to teach Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing.
“So much has changed around campus, but the whole department is still producing top professionals and providing speech and language services for the community.”