Throughout the academic year, we will feature our professional mentors through a series of #MentorMonday blog posts. Stay tuned to learn more about these alumni and friends of Kansas State University and the College of Human Ecology!
This week’s featured mentor is Jeanne Copeland, Regional Clinical Director and Speech Language Pathologist at Genesis Rehabilitation Services.
Jeanne Copeland – M.S., CCC-SLP
Degree/Year/College or University:
B.S. in Communication Sciences & Disorders / 1998 / Kansas State University
M.S. in Speech Language Pathology / 2000 / Kansas State University
Current Job Title and Location:
Regional Clinical Director and Speech Language Pathologist at Genesis Rehabilitation Services
Talk briefly about your experiences in the College of Human Ecology at K-State. Specific major, any clubs you were involved in, memories that stick out to you and how your degree prepared you for your career:
I loved my time as both an undergraduate and a graduate student in the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University. As an undergraduate, I became involved in the Kansas State Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (KSSSLHA) and volunteered to help with K-State Open House, which was always such a fun experience. As a graduate student, I worked closely with all of my professors as they provided mentorship and guidance when working with a variety of clients in the Speech and Hearing Clinic. Prior to graduation, speech-language pathology graduate students complete two, twelve-week practicums in the school and medical settings with clinical instructors in the field. Thanks to my learning experiences at K-State, I was well-prepared to accept the challenges I encountered during my practicum placements. Since my graduation, I have served as a clinical instructor for more than ten graduate students from KSU, and have found them to be exceptional students and clinicians.
Please explain your current job position and how long you have been in that role/with the company?
After 15 years of being a staff speech-language pathologist and Assistant Director of Rehab in various settings, I transitioned into my current role as a Regional Clinical Director for Genesis Rehabilitation Services. I am one of four SLPs with this title in Genesis’ West Territory, which spans from Ohio and Michigan west through Hawaii. Together with a team of ten other Physical and Occupational Therapists who are also Regional Clinical Directors, we provide leadership and guidance for clinicians throughout the geography to deliver high-quality and compassionate therapy services. My areas of clinical expertise include cognitive-communication disorders and dementia, as well as interprofessional collaboration for the treatment of individuals with medical complexities.
Touch on the benefits of a mentor/mentee relationship and the big takeaway(s) you’ve had through the program.
This relationship is very valuable to me as a mentor because it helps me understand and remember what young professionals just getting ready to enter the field are concerned about and need to know prior to their transition into their first job as a speech-language pathologist. As a mentor, I am striving to develop the student’s understanding of the importance of advocacy for our patients and our professions very early on in their career path. I consider this part of our job to be priority #1 as we move forward in the current health care environment.
If you could give college students once piece of professional advice, what would it be?
As you move forward in your career, continue to seek out opportunities for professional growth similar to the K-State Professional Mentoring program. During job interviews, ask what opportunities are available through that company and use the information to help you make decisions about where you choose to work. As the opportunities evolve, say “yes” more than “no” and you’ll be surprised at where life will take you!