The value of an internship

Oct 31, 2022

A smooth transition from UMD student to speech therapist.

Early on, Annika Juenemann knew she wanted to work in a helping profession. “I always really enjoyed working with people. I enjoy having that interpersonal dynamic,” the UMD alumna says. 

Initially, she was considering working as a counselor or in special education. After shadowing an elementary school speech therapist, she knew she had found the right path. “It’s the perfect balance of having those interpersonal connections as well as helping people work on goals and progress,” says Juenemann.

Once she set her mind on that goal, she enrolled in a Communication Sciences and Disorders program at St. Cloud State University. “I started taking classes and just never turned back,” she says. 

For her master’s degree, Juenemann came to the University of Minnesota Duluth. She appreciated the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty and the foundation of knowledge she gained in classes. “The setup is excellent. We spent a good amount of time learning in the classroom and then the clinical instruction helps you transition into practice,” she says.

A key piece of Juenemann’s journey was her internship. The opportunity for hands-on learning at St. Luke’s Hospital brought her education to the next level. Juenemann says she gained experience with the evaluation and treatment of patients with communication disorders of mild to profound severity from pediatric to geriatric ages. She also had the chance to engage in interdisciplinary collaborations with other speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists, supporting patients in both outpatient and acute care settings. 

“Through all of my internship experiences as a student at UMD, I felt supported by university faculty and sensed true appreciation from staff on site for the UMD internship programs,” Juenemann adds. 

The internship ultimately led to a job. Juenemann was hired as a speech therapist at St. Luke’s last summer. Having the internship experience was “excellent in preparing me for the position I’m at now,” she says.

Juenemann credits her internship experience with helping her to transition smoothly from being a student at UMD to becoming a member of the St. Luke’s team. “I have enjoyed meeting new patients and their loved ones in my new role, and yet it has been such a joy to be able to continue working with patients I saw during my time as a student,” she says

About the UMD Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders