Class of 2019: Communication Disorders Grad Finds Right Balance at UTD

Editor’s Note: Every Comet follows a distinct path to UT Dallas, and members of the Class of 2019 are no exception. A few soon-to-be fall graduates shared their thoughts about their journeys as they get ready to tackle new challenges after commencement.

Kiah Thorn

Kiah Thorn, a 28-year-old native of Fort Worth, said UT Dallas was her top choice for a communication disorders graduate degree because of the strong clinical program, wide variety of course offerings and North Texas location.

Thorn said she has long been fascinated by the nexus of language, education and culture. Before joining the UT Dallas family in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University, completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program in Spain, and, most recently, served in the Peace Corps on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

Thorn plans to use her specialist certification as a speech-language pathologist to continue working with children and families to strengthen communicative bonds, improve quality of life and foster a genuine love of learning in her clients. After graduation, she will be completing a full-time bilingual clinical fellowship in pediatrics with Cook Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth.

What will you miss most about UTD?

I will miss the camaraderie of my classmates. I know that I will continue to run into many of them out in the workforce, as the world of speech-language pathology in North Texas is rather close-knit. Yet, graduate school — with all of its challenges and triumphs — represents a special time and space that most of us won’t return to.

Would you rather have to retake a final exam or be Temoc for a day?

Definitely Temoc. It’s a question of joy … and avoiding hand cramps.

What is a fun fact about you?

I’m a foreign language and culture connoisseur who cannot whistle to save my life.

What are the best ways to survive a Monday?

  1. Take it easy. Ease into your week by avoiding big Monday deadlines/commitments.
  2. Plan something small and fun at the end of the day to congratulate yourself for doing Monday.
  3. Friends and food. No better way to bring a smile to your face in the midst of the drag.

What’s the most Instagrammable spot on campus?

I would say the Callier gyms or playgrounds. So many beautiful social connections were made between little people (and big people) on those hallowed grounds. Some of my favorite memories occurred there. Although, obviously these are also some of the least Instagrammable spots, due to HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act], so…

What’s the first thing you’ll do to celebrate your graduation?

Thank God, my family, and other supporters. There is zero way I would have been able to complete this degree without their sacrifice and support.

What accomplishment/project are you most proud of from your time at UTD?

Making every patient and caregiver I encountered feel seen, heard, respected and encouraged. If I did nothing else, that was always my goal.

UT Dallas alumni make their mark wherever they go. How will you make yours?

I intend to dedicate my professional and personal life to promoting open access to health care, education and other social goods for all, irrespective of background and current circumstances. I expect to have a diverse career trajectory that allows me to draw upon my personal passion for uplifting underserved communities in both the United States and abroad. I’ve already started, and I can’t wait to continue this fabulous, winding journey.


Class of 2019

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PhD Lights Way for Women To Pursue Computer Science

ATEC Graduate Relishes Quest in Video Game Design

Healthcare Management Program Combines Grad’s 2 Loves

From Military to Medicine, Grad Discovers His Life’s Duty

Biology Graduate Builds Career Path in Public Health

Economics Grad Demonstrates High Degree of Diligence

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155,