CEC Orange County Chapter Scholarship Recipients

Alexis Perez

Picture of Alexis E Perez


 How I Decided to Become a Speech-Language Pathologist

From a young age, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to helping others. As a child, I didn’t know how I could achieve this other than possibly being a nurse, doctor, or lawyer who specialized in immigration law. It was not until my cousin came along that I was introduced to the thing that would ultimately change my life: speech-language pathology.

My cousin was unable to speak when he was younger due to his circumstance of being born with autism into an abusive home environment where his well-being was neglected. After sole custody was obtained, he was enrolled in school, where he was afforded a multidisciplinary team, including a speech-language pathologist. After months of work with this speech-language pathologist, my cousin began to speak for the first time.

It was upon hearing my cousin speak words and inevitably sentences for the first time that sparked my interest in the field of speech-language pathology. As time passed, my interest in the field did not waver. On the contrary, in fact; it grew stronger and stronger until it was time to begin planning for my future in higher education. I was told to begin asking myself “Why” I would want to go into any one particular field over another, however when it came to speech-language pathology, the question I naturally formed was always “Why not?”

From the personal experiences I witnessed through my family, I realized that through the field of speech-language pathology, life-changing services are provided.

Combined with being raised in low-socioeconomic areas where I witnessed the profound and overwhelming need for diverse speech-language pathologists in public school districts, this realization remained, forever inspiring this calling I have felt within me ever since.

Not only do I want to provide transformative services to change the lives of many students, but with this career, I can give back to my community; a community that has given so much to my cousin and our family.

In this capacity, I will be a part of uplifting my community by serving not only as a speech-language pathologist but as a role model for all students, especially those who may not have one in their lives. In this way, I can help build a future full of opportunities for these children.

Becoming a speech-language pathologist is also a way for me to honor my culture and my parents, both of whom have instilled in me the power and grace of serving my community.

As a bilingual speech-language pathologist, my life’s mission will be to provide life-changing services in public school districts of low socioeconomic stature, as it is this population that needs our services most.


Victoria Elias

Victoria Elias

I am inspired by the mission of the CEC and its dedication to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities. This mission resonates deeply with me, as it is the driving force behind my decision to pursue a career as a Speech and Language Pathologist.

From my earliest days in elementary school, I felt a calling to advocate for individuals with exceptionalities. This passion grew as I witnessed firsthand the importance of inclusion and support for these individuals. I attended a public school that served a diverse spectrum of children with unique needs. Despite not sharing a classroom with them, I never shied away from opportunities to interact and befriend these students on the playground. It felt uneasy to witness my peers not always being kind or inclusive, so I made it my mission to just be that… kind and inclusive. SPED educators commended my dedication to advocating on behalf of their students during recess, further igniting my passion for engaging with this demographic. This experience empowered me to serve as an advocate for these individuals whose voices frequently go unheard and overlooked.

Throughout my elementary school experience, SPED educators would invite me into their classrooms where I had the privilege to serve as a student aide. This truly had a lasting impact on me as I later went on to pursue a job after high school as an SDC paraprofessional. These pivotal experiences solidified my aspiration to pursue a career dedicated to positively influencing the lives of individuals with exceptional needs. The field of Speech and Language Pathology stood out to me because it offers just that, the chance to collaborate with like-minded professionals who share my longstanding mission: to advocate for the visibility and recognition of individuals with exceptionalities.

With this goal in mind, I aspire to secure a position as a Speech and Language Pathologist within a school district, focusing on an area where my bilingual proficiency and experience in SPED classroom environments can be most effectively utilized to serve the needs of the community.

In closing, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity you have provided me. I am eager to continue my journey, guided by the mission we share to ensure that every individual, regardless of their abilities, feels seen, heard, and valued.

Thank you