If fame hasn’t changed Cassie Randolph’s career plans, it won’t be long before she’ll be armed with a degree from UW-Eau Claire.
The 23-year-old Huntington Beach, Calif., resident is enrolled in UW-Eau Claire’s online Communication Sciences and Disorders program and is on track to be awarded her master’s degree in speech pathology in 2020.
Randolph also starred in the 23rd season of “The Bachelor,” the recent finale of which drew an audience of more than eight million viewers. The minutiae of the reality television show escapes us, but apparently Randolph survived a field of 30 women and is now dating the bachelor, former NFL player Colton Underwood.
UW-Eau Claire chimed in on the conclusion of the show on its Facebook page: “Did you all watch The Bachelor last night?! We’ve been fans of Cassie Randolph, a current #uwec grad student, since day one. It’s no surprise she found love, because, after all, who wouldn’t love a Blugold. (Insert heart emojis here).”
The post generated comments from Blugold Nation that included:
• “Cool! I didn’t know she was a Blugold. I like her more now.”
• “Just another reason to support her ... Blugold be golden!”
• “I knew I liked Cassie! UWEC!”
• “Blugolds for life.”
• • •
Randolph is one of 70 students currently enrolled in the three-year online program at UW-Eau Claire.
“They will be moving into careers as speech-language pathologists in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, schools and early intervention sites,” said Abby Hemmerich, an associate professor and online graduate program coordinator for Communication Sciences & Disorders at UW-Eau Claire.
The program draws students from across the United States. Advantages of the format for instructors, Hemmerich said, include a diverse body of students and a chance to learn from different practice settings. Timing and accessibility are challenges, but technological advances have helped in those areas.
“Many imagine an online course to include reading a text then taking a quiz,” Hemmerich said. “However, to meet the needs of today’s students, and meet the standards of a graduate program in speech-language pathology, our online courses are much more than that.”
The program involves video- and text-based content, interactions among students and with instructors, and opportunities to practice the skills required of the profession, she said.
“Although they complete their work online, the students are still very connected as a cohort and support each other throughout the program,” Hemmerich said. “They are also very connected to the faculty.”
Benefits for students include access to a graduate program without having to move and the flexibility to accommodate work or other responsibilities.
“They complete clinical work in their communities,” Hemmerich said, “which facilitates networking and job placement after graduation.”
According to “The Bachelor” website, Randolph hopes to someday use her speech pathology skills to open a private practice and work with kids.
We wish her the best of luck. Go Blugolds!
— Liam Marlaire, assistant editor