Alumni Spotlight – Lindsey Cusumano

Lindsey Cusumano –         MS Class of 2017



Hello all,

My name is Lindsey and I graduated from Harding University’s CSD program in May of 2017, almost two years after my journey there began. In November of 2014 I was an undergrad speech therapy major at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville entering the daunting task of applying to graduate school. I began my search on the American Speech Language and Hearing Association’s website (ASHA) where I searched numerous universities that I could potentially see myself attending graduate school within a relatively close distance to my home in St. Louis, MO (a five hour drive from Searcy). I searched several states when I decided to see what the natural state of Arkansas had to offer. Looking at a bullet point list of the universities offering a masters in speech pathology, I stumbled upon a school named Harding University. None of the other schools stood out to me because Harding was the only one that had my beloved grandfather’s last name. The reason I decided to get into speech therapy was because of my grandpa Leland Harding. He and I were so close and when he had a stroke in the summer of 2009, I saw my passion for helping others emerge. His speech therapist inspired me with the way she would work with him day after day until he was able to identify me as his granddaughter again. So as you can imagine seeing there was a school with his name I had to look into it. I researched on the school’s website and decided to email someone in the department. A very sweet and kind woman (Martha Vendetti) responded to my email, which I still have to this day. It was a simple email asking about the process of applying to the program. The way she detailed the process and invited me to not hesitate to ask any further questions really made me feel special. It was after that I knew for sure I wanted to go to Harding. With God’s good grace I received my first graduate acceptance letter from Harding in February of 2015. I of course accepted the offer and began my masters education there in August of 2015. I was nervous as I had never been away from life in St. Louis and of course had never been in graduate school. Despite a rocky start to grad school life I quickly found my footing thanks to the outstanding CSD faculty. Not only were they educators but they were mentors as well. They went above and beyond what is required of them by providing lots of hands on experiences with the likes of lab simulations and collaborations with other disciplines. Each professor had a doors open policy that allowed us to get the most out of our education. To them I was not a number they could add to their list of graduates, I was a student who they mentored into a processional. They truly cared how well I did because they wanted me to succeed in my chosen field. I can’t possibly express my true gratitude to all of the CSD faculty. Without them I wouldn’t be a great speech-language pathologist today. Every professor made my grad school experience an extraordinary one.  If given the chance to attend Harding University’s CSD program please do so and don’t ever look back. I promise it will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. So blessed and thankful that I did!

-Lindsey Cusumano, M.S., CCC-SLP

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