A Passion to Serve

During her first two years at Pacific University, Alex (Bing) Marchbanks ’14, SLP ’18 had only a vague sense of what she hoped to do after graduation.

It wasn’t until her junior year — when she added a minor in communication sciences and disorders — that she discovered her passion for speech-language pathology, a field she’d hardly known existed.

“The minor, for me, really ignited this passion of wanting to work with people with speech and language impairments,” said Marchbanks, now a second-year student in Pacific’s master of science in speech-language pathology program.

“The professors in the CSD program are extremely passionate. They made me feel as if I could really make a difference in the field.” — Alex Marchbanks ’14, SLP ’18

Marchbanks is a recipient of the Aurora “Rae” Peters ’65 Endowed Scholarship for undergraduate students who complete the CSD minor and are admitted to the SLP program. Peters, a speech therapist, and her husband, Clark ’65, MSEd ’70, met as students at Pacific. In 2011, they established an endowed scholarship to honor her support of the SLP program.

Like Rae Peters, Marchbanks was inspired by her professors at Pacific to pursue a career in the field.

“The professors in the CSD program are extremely passionate,” Marchbanks said. “They made me feel as if I could really make a difference in the field.”

Marchbanks has taken full advantage of the community-based clinical experiences available to students in the SLP program.

In 2017, she was among a group of graduate students from Pacific who partnered with the Aphasia Network to offer a weekend camp at the Oregon Coast for couples affected by aphasia, a common disruption to the language center of the brain, often caused by a stroke.

She’s also worked with older adults in an assisted-living facility, residents of a memory-care community, and children with brain injury in her full-time externship at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland.

Of all her clinical experiences, Marchbanks has found it especially rewarding to work with individuals with memory loss related to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“We’re not there to restore their lost memories,” she explained. “We are there to maintain the function that they do have and increase their quality of life so their days can be more enjoyable.”

Scholarships are a critical tool in helping students attain and expand their educations. Supported by donor gifts, scholarships not only help incoming undergraduates start their college years — they also are especially important in allowing students to stay at Pacific in order to complete their degrees or go on to graduate programs, where financial aid may be harder to access. Learn how you can support our students’ futures. pacificu.edu/LeadOn

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