Archived News | Return to News Center

June 7, 2013

Former student Ann Tompkins treats communicative disorders in children

Ann Clark Tompkins graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders, now Speech-Language Pathology.

Since graduating, she has returned to her hometown of Sacramento, Calif. and works at the UC Davis Medical Center as the Acting Section Chief in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

"Having been from California, I applied to ULM sight unseen," said Tompkins. "But three women from my wedding were friends I made at ULM, and I still speak with them today. I have great memories from my time there."

On a typical day of work, Tompkins takes on leadership and administrative roles as well as that of a pediatric specialist.

She gives assessments in the neonatal intensive care unit and in the pediatric intensive care unit while also operating a speech-language pathology clinic treating both outpatients and inpatients.

When asked to describe her favorite professional moment, Tompkins said, "It's not just one moment, but a collaboration of moments over time. It's getting through the hurdles and overcoming all the challenges I faced. It's being able to say I faced all the competition and obtained a spot in a graduate program."

Tompkins obtained her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from California State University, Sacramento in 2002.

During her time as an undergraduate, Tompkins also played softball for ULM, and she considers her role as a student athlete to have been a defining experience.

The Grove beside Malone Stadium where she would meet with other athletes and classmates to watch ULM sporting events remains her favorite place on campus.

"I was the first graduating student athlete in the communicative disorders program," she said. "Though I was put on academic probation once, the experience taught me a lot about finding that balance between athletics and academics. It helped me to appreciate academics and learn to prioritize."

She credits her professors with helping her to learn that art of balancing, particularly Dr. Judy Fellows, Associate Dean of the College of Health Sciences.

"Dr. Fellows has had a profound role in influencing where I am today as a professional," said Tompkins.

"I chose an intensive, highly demanding degree program. Dr. Fellows really helped me to be a well-rounded professional and to have that balance even outside of my profession… I still remember her lectures in class."

Dr. Fellows said of Tompkins, "Ann was a student who was a joy and privilege to teach. I especially remember one spring semester during softball season, when she was enrolled in three classes that I taught. Despite having both academic and athletic demands on her time, she never complained or requested special privileges. She just took responsibility for what she needed to do and she did it."

As a result of her hard work, Tompkins still remembers graduating as her favorite moment of her undergraduate career.

She said, "It was a pretty special time. My best friend, my boyfriend – who's now my husband – my mom and stepdad, my father, and all the rest of my family flew out from California to see me graduate. It was probably one of the most memorable times of my life."

Students of speech-language pathology at ULM gain clinical experience by working in the Kitty DeGree Speech and Hearing Center.

Funded by a victim of hearing loss, the center offers one-on-one treatment to those in the local community who suffer from speech and hearing disorders.

Under the supervision of faculty and staff, students treat disorders, teach vocal hygiene, conduct screenings, and educate patients who – regardless of their age or financial situation – never pay more than $10 an hour for these services.

To these current and future students, Tompkins insists, "Do not give up. It's very competitive, but even when you feel like you can't do it, even when you think it's taking longer than you expected, even when you think it's harder than you can manage, if it's truly something you have a passion for, then don't give up. You will eventually get there."

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.