Kabao Lor grew up in a busy household with high expectations for academics. Five of her six siblings attended UNO, and she spent time on campus as a youth, so coming to UNO was a natural fit. A passion for language drew her to the field of speech-language pathology, as did the influence of one of Kabao's biggest cheerleaders—her sister, a nurse who has worked closely with many therapists and clinicians.
In 2019, Kabao was honored with one of UNO's most prestigious student awards: an Outstanding Service Award. Over the last five years, Kabao has participated in six projects with the UNO Service Learning Academy. She is a member of the UNO chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (UNO NSSLHA), and has volunteered with the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) Transition Program, helping high school graduates with disabilities practice their life skills.
"Service learning was an awesome way to get into the community to employ the skills we were taught in class. We had the opportunity to practice in real-life situations. Going to these places and having to think on your feet and move as fast as the environment around you moves, it's really good for sharpening your critical thinking skills and how fast you can problem solve," explained Kabao. "It was a great way to become a better student, and overall a better clinician."
Service learning was an awesome way to get into the community to employ the skills we were taught in class. We had the opportunity to practice in real-life situations.
- Kabao Lor
Her most memorable service learning experience was at Blackburn Alternative High School, an OPS alternative education site serving 9-12 graders. Kabao was part of the Rad Women of Omaha project, which involved Blackburn students and resident artist Kim Darling, the UNO Writing Center, and UNO speech-language pathology students. Kabao and her fellow speech-language pathology students helped the Blackburn teens write and edit the narratives for the language-focused portion of the project through Dr. Mitzi Ritzman's Childhood Language Disorders course.
According to Dr. Ritzman, "Service learning projects require integration and application of course content, flexibility of thought, and the ability to generalize knowledge to new contexts. Kabao's commitment to excellence throughout these experiences speaks to her genuine commitment to serving individuals with communication disorders."
Kabao will graduate with her master's degree in May 2020 and is beginning the externship portion of her program. She is working alongside a certified speech-language pathologist to learn about scheduling, managing caseloads, and serving clients in an education and a medical setting.
Kabao is grateful for the support she's received from faculty and the staff of the UNO Speech-Language Clinic, where students work toward clinical hours. "My clinical educator/supervisor, Lynn (Grubb), was amazing. She is so knowledgeable on the clinical side and has been a huge inspiration. Being in clinic with Lynn has prepared me to manage behaviors in kids which is important in research to keep things consistent."
Kabao continued, "It was also important to make social connections and make friends. I met my best friend in the program, and she's been one of my biggest motivators. We both came for undergraduate and stayed for the grad program. She keeps me going, and I keep her going, and we always joke that we probably wouldn't have made it far if we hadn't met because it was really tough. I can't imagine doing it without that social support group."
Rad Women of Omaha
Thirty-six notable women from Omaha's past and present were the focus of the recent Rad Women of Omaha project at Blackburn Alternative High School. Students spent a semester researching, writing narratives, and creating paintings and sculptures about the women with support from Resident Artist and UNO alumna Kim Darling, the UNO Writing Center, and UNO speech-language pathology students. Rad Women culminated in an exhibition at the Omaha Design Center and was later displayed at UNO's Community Engagement Center.
This story appeared in the most recent issue of the College of Education's 18-19 Annual Report. Photos are courtesy of UNO's Service Learning Academy.