When William Kristofer Buxton was in middle school, vocal nodules left him with "essentially no voice." Instead of surgery, Buxton did two years of speech therapy, and gradually his voice returned.
"Once it came back, I realized I couldn’t keep taking it for granted," he said. So he tried out for the school musical.
An Arvada resident and fourth-generation University of Colorado Boulder student, Buxton graduates next week summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre performance and a Bachelor of Arts in speech, language and hearing sciences.
In Buxton’s view, the disciplines of theatre and speech-pathology approach the same issue from different vantage points. "Theatre is applying the concept of voice and actually having the experience of having voice, whereas speech pathology is taking a scientific approach to that idea of having voice."
The College of Arts and Sciences spring 2017 outstanding graduate has clearly found his voice.
After enrolling at CU Boulder, Buxton pursued his degree in theatre and dance. To fulfill a core-curriculum requirement, he took a course in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Taking that course convinced him to pursue speech pathology as a second major, partly because the discipline helped him when he was in middle school.
"That was such a crucial time for me. For me to discover my voice again and start performing was huge, and so I wanted to share that with other people," Buxton said. "I decided I wanted to start pursuing a speech-pathology path. It was sort of the process of me discovering my voice and wanting to help others discover theirs."
After graduation and a summer of Shakespeare, Buxton plans to spend the next year doing auditions and applying to graduate school. His plan is to earn an advanced degree in speech pathology and continue working on the stage.
"I feel torn between the two worlds," he said of theatre and speech pathology. "For me, it’s going to be about finding how to combine them."