Honors College junior Elise Rickert reflects on experience as pediatric research scholar
Elise Rickert, an Honors College junior graduating in December 2020 from Greenville, PA,
interned at Akron Children’s Hospital during the summer of 2019 as a pediatric research
Elise Rickert, Honors College junior majoring in speech pathology and audiology
scholar. Elise, who is majoring in speech pathology and audiology, initially learned about this opportunity from Dr. Huyck, a professor of speech pathology and audiology at Kent State who operates a listserv for the undergraduate program that informs students of opportunities, including this one. Elise knows that she that she wants research to be a part of her career, and she says it can be hard to find research opportunities outside of the university (she is already involved in research at Kent State). She also knows she wants to work in a hospital, so this internship was “kind of a perfect mix of the two.” Elise spent ten weeks at the hospital conducting research about pediatric epilepsy and depression rates. She also shadowed and went on rounds with professionals in the hospital who specialize in speech pathology, audiology, and neuroscience.

Elise says that the Honors College assisted her in her internship search by allowing her to count her internship for honors credit and substitute it for a regular course. The university also has money allotted to assist students such as Elise who plan to travel to present their research, so they do not have to worry about the cost of doing so, which Elise says “is a really big help.” She submitted an abstract to the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at Kent State, and she also recently submitted an abstract to be considered for the American Epilepsy Society conference next year.

For Elise, one of the benefits of her internship was that it helped clarify her career path. She began her internship thinking that she wanted to be a speech pathologist working in some area of the medical field. Through her internship, she was able to shadow multiple different specializations, and that helped her realize that she did not want to pursue a career in speech pathology after all. Her current plan is now to attend graduate school to study audiology. Elise says that her internship helped her discover her passion for audiology, and it solidified that she definitely wants to continue doing research. Her internship also helped her prepare for the level of research she will need to conduct to complete her senior honors thesis.

When asked if she has any suggestions for students who might be considering an internship, Elise says not to be intimated by how many people the program accepts. There were more than a hundred applicants for nine internships available through Akron Children’s Hospital, but Elise is glad she applied despite those odds because it was a worthwhile experience. “If you’re passionate about something, it’s worth it,” she says.



Photo of Elise Rickert, Honors College junior, who interned with Akron Children's Hospital during summer 2019.

Media Contact:
Stephanie Moskal,, (330) 672-2312

POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2020 - 8:26am
UPDATED: Friday, April 10, 2020 - 11:42am
Nina Palattella, Honors College writing intern