“My own experience is really what inspires me to pursue a career in speech therapy.”
— Erin Ortiz, recipient of a 2011 Corvallis Clinic Foundation Health Occupations Scholarship
Each year, The Corvallis Clinic Foundation funds scholarships for five area high school students who have decided to pursue a career in a health-related field. Erin Ortiz, a 2011 Crescent Valley High School graduate, was awarded a $250 Health Occupations Scholarship.
“ I am interested in becoming a Speech Therapist because I greatly benefitted from speech therapy myself when I was a child,” Ortiz said. “For two years during preschool and kindergarten, I met with a speech therapist on a regular basis. Improving my speech really helped my confidence. I was naturally shy and not having people understand me made me even more reluctant to talk and interact.”
Those childhood insights into the good a speech therapist can do were recently reinforced for Ortiz. “This past summer, I had major surgery on my upper and lower jaw and I again experienced the frustration of talking and not being understood,” she said. “It took me over a month to talk and be understood. My own experience is really what inspires me to pursue a career in speech therapy.”
Ortiz excelled at Crescent Valley, both in class and in extracurricular activities. She was an AP scholar, and a member of the National Honor Society. She was the 2010 MVP on the girls’ varsity track team, a member of the cross-country ski team, and the girls’ varsity soccer team. Ortiz was Principal Double Bass in the Camerata orchestra, 2010 District champion for solo Double Bass, and won fourth place in the State individual Bass competition. She was also president of the Students for Environmental Awareness Club, and a Link Crew leader for orienting incoming freshmen students.
Ortiz was actively engaged in service to the community, too. She was a Corvallis Safety Town Volunteer Teen Leader, Assistant Coach for the Girls on Track program, served in the Youth Volunteer Corps, was a member of the “Operation Smile” Club, and participated in student fundraisers for Children’s Miracle Network, the Jackson Street Youth Shelter, and Old Mill Center.
“I have taken challenging courses in high school, which have prepared me to successfully apply to colleges that will help me to achieve my goal of becoming a speech therapist,” Ortiz said. “I have been accepted into the Communication Science and Disorder major at both the University of Vermont and Western Washington University. I have also spoken with many speech therapists about their profession. At this point, I am interested in working in a hospital setting with stroke victims and others who have lost their speech abilities.”