Internship gives SLP major an inviting look into audiology



Meghan Okken’s career plan was simple. Become a speech therapist.

It’s why she chose Bloomsburg University. It’s why she chose to major in audiology and speech-language pathology. Next in her plan — an internship, which led her into an another, yet related, direction.

“I honestly never considered going into audiology prior to this internship,” says Okken, who interned with Audiology Services in Nazareth this summer. “It was a great opportunity I felt I couldn’t turn down. I had little knowledge about audiology, and of course, was eager to learn more about it. I had always done my observations with a speech pathologist, so I thought it would be really cool and interesting to experience the audiology side.”

The plan worked out perfectly, she says.

“I wanted to figure out a way in which I was able to do both speech and audio,” says Okken, who has decided to pursue a hearing aid dispensary license. “When I told their team this, they were so excited for me. They then offered to help and guide me through this journey, as well as give me all the resources I may need. I’m so happy I did this internship, because I would’ve never discovered my passion for audiology without it!”

That passion was sparked early on with an intriguing project from the onset. One of which she continues to work on to this day.

“What I’m most proud of is how much I learned about the field of audiology in such a short amount of time,” Okken says. “I was given a project in the beginning to kind of run with and see where it went. This was building the social media platforms for Audiology Services, but specifically the Hearing Matters Podcast’s Instagram (profile).”

Audiology Services does a monthly podcast to spread awareness for hearing healthcare and educate listeners on hearing healthcare, according to Okken, who herself was a guest this past summer.

“We were able to grow our audience from 204 followers on Instagram to almost 1,000 in just five months,” Okken says. “This was by far my favorite and most fun project that I’m still working on as the social media coordinator for Audiology Services.”

In addition, Okken says she worked closely with Blaise Delfino’s startup business Fader Plugs, a type of mechanically adjustable hearing protection that recently received a patent.

Even the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t dampen Okken’s enthusiasm, though an early threat to the internship almost shut the door of opportunity.

“I was offered this internship position before COVID-19 hit, and was so upset because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it anymore,” Okken said. “However, the team at Audiology Services was really great at keeping in contact with me so we could work something out. My internship was shortened, because the office was closed for quite some time.”

Okken says she still came away with a breadth of invaluable experience, adding to the solid foundation of speech-language pathology and audiology knowledge she’s received at Bloomsburg. The internship itself evolved from her regular education plan.

“It was definitely helpful having somewhat of a background in this field already, in regards to both the internship and education,” Okken says. “I would’ve never had this opportunity if it wasn’t for Bloomsburg. I was required to get five hours of audiology observations, which I completed with Blaise and Dr. Gregory Delfino. Then a few months later Blaise reached out to me and had asked if I would be interested in an internship!”