After being selected by the search committee in March of this year, M. Adelaida (Laida) Restrepo, PhD, CCC-SLP has officially joined her colleagues in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD) as chair and professor. But who is Restrepo, and what vision does she have for the future of CSD? Get to know the new CSD chair in our interview with her below.
What are you most looking forward to about joining the faculty in the College of Behavioral
& Community Sciences and at USF?
There is a strong commitment to diversity at USF and the college and that was one of the primary reasons I came. The college is very committed to expand the diversity of the faculty and student body and I would like to be part of the process. I am excited to share my experience in leadership and as a professor with the faculty and staff in college.
What impact do you hope to make as chair of the Department of Communication Sciences &
I hope to have strong clinical, interpreting, and research programs. I hope to facilitate an increase in research funding in our faculty so they can do the work they are passionate about. I am very excited to work with our faculty and support them in providing the best training in our programs and conducting translational research that will change practice and provide the best outcomes to the families we serve. So, I hope that we attract excellent students to our clinical and research training programs. Personally, I hope we have a strong multilingual focus in the programs that will change practice through translational and implementation science research.
What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
The strong combination of science background while helping people. I loved all the neuro, speech, and hearing science courses, and learning about the different languages and cultures. Later I discovered my passion for research to develop the best clinical practices for bilingual families and advocate for their communication rights. So that led me to purse a research career and that passion keeps me going every day.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
There are a few, but primarily my Fulbright Scholar Award. I traveled to Israel and developed some collaborations there. I learned so much and continue to work with them. Currently, I am an editor for our premier journal, and I am proud that we have bilingualism as a focus now in the journal. Lastly, as faculty at Arizona State University, I built a strong bilingual clinical training program and, to this day, the alumni of those programs are models and leaders in the bilingual services they provide.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love triathlons, although I have not competed in five years. My last competition was a half Ironman in Canada. But I love to swim and bike, especially long rides on the weekends. The run is my default when I can't do the other two sports. It is a personal activity that I do for myself and not for competition. I love to hike as well, especially when I travel. I love live theater; since Covid that has been down in my list, but I hope to find good theater in the area. As I am new in town, I will be looking for a community to do those things. When not exercising, I also love audiobooks and podcasts. When I have longer free time, I love to travel.