Student Profile: Lilly Williams
For Lilly Williams (Class of 2022), double majoring in Spanish and communication sciences and disorders at Saint Louis University is paving the way to a career as a bilingual speech-language pathologist.Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Majors: Spanish and Communication Sciences and Disorders
Favorite Spanish class: Methods and Teaching Spanish with Sheri Anderson, Ph.D.
Career interests: Bilingual speech-language pathology, working with immigrant
Favorite part of the Spanish program at SLU: Along with the many opportunities to get involved in community service, I’ve loved getting to know other students who have Spanish majors and minors! I learn so much from my peers, and it’s always fun to see familiar faces in class.
Lilly's Story¡Hola! The time I’ve spent at SLU has allowed me to nurture my love of languages, linguistics, culture, and biology. I plan to continue exploring these interests by pursuing a career in bilingual speech-language pathology.
Unsurprisingly, this career goal wasn’t always on my radar. In fact, when I first started at SLU, all I knew was that I wanted to grow in my Spanish-speaking skills and use these skills to connect with others. My first experience of this Spanish-mediated connection came in high school when I traveled to Costa Rica for 10 days of linguistic and cultural immersion with other students from my class. I returned from the trip feeling emboldened to seek experiences that would provide similar language practice and personal interaction. Soon after, I began volunteering at a Louisville non-profit called the Backside Learning Center (BLC), an organization that serves the equine workers of Churchill Downs and their families, many of whom are Spanish-speaking immigrants. My experiences as a student tutor at the BLC affirmed my desire to study Spanish and Hispanic culture and deepened my love for community service and social justice. Ultimately, these passions led me to SLU. Thanks to the support of the Spanish program, I’ve been introduced to a number of service opportunities in St. Louis that have allowed me to apply and practice what I learn in my Spanish classes. Then, this past summer, I was able to build upon that classroom knowledge in my hometown of Louisville while working as an AmeriCorps Summer Associate at the BLC. I worked with the BLC team to provide educational, financial, and social support to clients and their families. Although we couldn’t host in-person English classes, youth summer camps, or community events due to the pandemic, we provided support through weekly food distribution, mask and sanitizer donations, an outdoor summer reading program, and educational activity kits for students, to name a few projects.
My BLC summer taught me to trust my Spanish-speaking abilities, to take initiative, and to lean into growing from my mistakes. I was also challenged to confront and unpack the social injustices that have exacerbated the devastation of the pandemic for the most vulnerable groups among us. It was an incredible experience, to say the least, and I know it will continue to form my perspectives and goals going forward. I plan to continue my involvement in the St. Louis community and the BLC in the coming years. After I graduate from SLU, I hope to complete a year of service in a Spanish-speaking country before starting graduate school.