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Diverse fields of study that share one
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January 2015

Maggie Lamb



Maggie Lamb was a junior in high school when her cousin Aidan was born. Soon after, the family learned he was deaf. Maggie looked on as Aidan began wearing hearing aids, worked with speech therapists, and the family adjusted to a new reality.

“Seeing both the diagnostic side and the family devastation with the diagnosis really led me to be compassionate toward such circumstances,” Lamb said.

There were times Lamb would watch Aidan and his speech therapist work together. Once, Lamb had an epiphany and a career path became clear.

“It was that ‘ah-ha’ moment, this is what I want to do. I was in the process of choosing a college major, debating between education and nursing, and I found a nice combination of the two with speech therapy,” Lamb said. “Plus, I have those personal experiences to drive me drive to do this.”

More than 4,500 Penn State students are enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD) studying a wide array of fields, each committed to the concept of improving the quality of life for others. Lamb, who found a home in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), is one of those HHD students, and this is her story.

Lamb selected Penn State’s CSD program after seeing the diverse offerings, such as the rare undergraduate courses Augmentative and Alternative Communication, where students use and create communication technology systems for people with communication disabilities, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Autism.



Lamb also selected CSD due to the plethora of research opportunities available, opportunities that led her to the University of Hong Kong in the summer of 2013 for 10 weeks where she studied bilingual children. Through a Partnership for International Research and Education grant, Lamb was able to immerse herself in an Asian culture and conduct research regarding language development comparing bilingual students in Hong Kong to American students who only speak English.

“I think it’s really unique that as an undergraduate student I’ve been able to have the research experience that I’ve had and the number of opportunities I’ve had,” Lamb said.

Outside the classroom, Lamb has served as a committee member and captain for Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, a massive fundraising effort organized by Penn State students for childhood cancer treatment and research. Lamb is also president of Mission Mexico, a student club that serves at a Mexican orphanage over spring break.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Lamb hopes to attend graduate school and determine at that point whether to pursue a career where she works with either children or adults.

“I just want to help people and feel fulfilled by my job. I know no matter what I choose I’ll get that feeling,” Lamb said.

In addition to CSD, there are a variety of areas for students to study within HHD through the Departments of Biobehavioral Health, Health Policy and Administration, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Nutritional Sciences, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, and the School of Hospitality Management. Learn more about HHD.