Celebrating the Arizona Global Graduating Student Workers

May 5, 2022

Meet Alejandra Castillo, a student worker with the International Admissions team.



This May, Arizona Global celebrates and recognizes the contributions of our many graduating student workers. We’re introducing them here over the next few weeks. We appreciate the level of professionalism and Wildcat work ethic these students bring to their respective roles in the business unit. We are proud to call them coworkers and teammates, and we wish them all the greatest success as they take their knowledge and skills out into the world.

Meet Alejandra Castillo, Class of '22 and a student worker with the International Admissions team.

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Degrees: B.S. Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, College of Science. Minors in: Psychology, Spanish, Theatre

Alejandra is graduating this month with a degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. A Tucson native, she plans to use her degree to work with young children in the community who have language and developmental delays. 

We spoke with Alejandra to learn about her experience as a student at the University of Arizona.

UA: What is a Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences major?
A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) can work in an educational or medical setting, with different populations that may be based on age or a specific diagnosis. We learn about the anatomy of the mouth and we learn how to apply the different tools that SLPs and audiologists use to support language development.

UA: What do you love about your major?
As an SLP, you can work in many different settings in a community. You might be in a school, in a hospital, or start your own practice. And you have the possibility to work with many different age groups, in different environments. There are many options. I am interested in early childhood education, and I specifically want to work with bilingual children with developmental delays, cleft palate, and language delays.

My three minors are also very important in my skillset and enhance the way I approach my field. I started out as a theatre major, and I feel very strongly that theatre arts help kids learn to use language to convey what they are thinking. The arts encourage communications and build confidence. Being in Tucson, my minor in Spanish will certainly play a role when working with bilingual children. And a minor in psychology gives me tools and a framework to understand a student in a more holistic way.

UA: Why did you choose to come to the University of Arizona?
I started as a theatre major at NAU and then at PCC. When I moved back to Tucson, I wanted to move into the Speech Language Pathology field and UA has a very strong program. I love my major and what I am learning here, and I have three minors that give me a lot of flexibility in my career path.

UA: How has the University of Arizona helped you prepare for your career in this field?
In this major, we have many opportunities to be involved in real life learning experiences. It’s one of the things I love about it. I’ve had opportunities to work while getting my degree. I’ve had lab and research experiences, and independent study opportunities. My favorite was an independent study opportunity to go into a classroom for a semester. I was able to work alongside the teacher and shadow the SLP. I was working with my favorite age group, 2–3-year-olds. There is so much happening developmentally at that age.

I’ve also had the opportunity to work in a campus lab, to experience the research side of this profession. I’m on Dr. Mary Alt’s L4 Lab team right now. “L4” stands for Language, Learning, Literacy, Lexicon Lab. The L4 Lab’s research is centered on answering this question: How do people learn words and the concepts associated with those words? The answers to this question are fundamental to our understanding of language development and disorders of language and learning. We are currently doing research with second and fourth grade students, and I am helping with the post-scoring.

UA: What are your plans after graduating?
I plan to work as a Speech Language Pathologist Assistant – I will get certified through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) – and I already have a job offer at a local preschool, Wings on Words.

UA: What has been your experience as a student worker on the International Admission team?
I love working for International Admissions. I communicate with students from around the world, answering their questions and helping them understand the admissions process. I have loved working with the International Admissions team. They are all very supportive.

UA: Have you been involved in any groups or clubs on campus?
I’m in the UA chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). We organize activities to connect with or academic peers, and we have opportunities to get to know the profession and do outreach in the community.

UA: What is your favorite place to eat on or near campus?
I highly recommend Einstein Bagel. I also love Guillermo's Mexican food on 4th Avenue.

UA: Do you have a favorite place to study on campus?
I usually study – and work remotely for International Admissions – in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences building, in the SLHS Hub.

UA: What do you say to a student who is considering applying to your major at the University of Arizona?
Alejandra: I recommend UA because there are so many opportunities to get involved in this major and get hands-on and meaningful experience. The coursework we are learning is not just helpful to your career, these are important skills for communicating in life, especially if you have children. I also like the diversity in the major.

UA: What moments of your student experience do you think you will always remember?
Alejandra: My professors. They have been so encouraging of me as a student, knowing that it’s important for me to be there and allowing me to have my daughter on my lap sometimes during an online class. My professors have been supportive the whole way.

UA: What advice do you have for incoming freshman to succeed?
Alejandra: I think a key thing is to put yourself out there. Don’t be shy! Get involved in your major and make connections with your faculty and your peers.