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Caitlin Cain was an undergraduate research assistant at Purdue University for the Motor Speech Lab with Dr. Jessica Huber. While Caitlin was there, she assisted with Dr. Huber’s research studies surrounding her invention, a small wearable device, called the SpeechVive. Dr. Huber’s research is so clinically applicable/accessible and is something Caitlin is drawn to in the research world. 

Caitlin’s passion lies in the pediatric population and Dr. Hilger’s openness allowed her to jump right into Dr. Hilger's project on acquired dysarthria in the pediatric population. As previously mentioned, Caitlin values research that is easily accessible to clinicians, and this research project is just that. We have a great team that includes a practicing pediatric SLP and we are collecting data from his caseload. She loves being a part of this research project and being able to explore it through her own lens as well. She is excited to see how this project continues to grow. 

Caitlin believes that working with Dr. Hilger has been incredibly rewarding, saying, “She does a wonderful job gauging where you are and how you want to get there. She shares her research projects openly and allows each of her students to explore their interests. I have learned a lot from her on how to be a mentor and what it means to always be open to learning.”

Caitlin's biggest piece of advice for undergraduate students is to not overdo it. As undergrads, you hear you need to pack your resume and be a part of every club. Your CV and personal statements are really there to show your interests and a glimpse into how you might be as a clinician. It might change as you move through your academic career, but it means so much more when you dive into a population or subject of interest rather than being involved in 15 things. When you submit those personal statements, it means more to show how you grew and learned from experiences and see a path in the field rather than being all over the place. She also recommends not applying to graduate schools you don’t actually want to go to. You need to be happy with living in the city you are going to school in. Two years is fast but graduate school is a lot, your non-school life is just as important during this time.