Monique Napier to serve as CLA graduation marshal for August, 2019
Monique Napier, pictured above, will represent the College of Liberal Arts as graduation marshal for the August 3, 2019 graduation ceremony. Napier is a communication disorders major who is passionate about helping people overcome speech impairments. She saw the difference a speech-language pathologist made in her niece's life, and aspires to have that same impact on someone else's life. Read more about her decision to attend Auburn, how she chose her major, and what places she recommends students try before they leave the Plains.
Would you please tell us about yourself?
I’m from the small town of Silas, Alabama. It’s very close to the Alabama-Mississippi State Line. I decided to attend Auburn University because it was the only college campus that truly felt like home to me. Of course, I caught a lot of flak from my family members who wanted me to attend the University of Alabama. But, Auburn had my heart from the beginning.
How did you choose your major?
My major is Communication Disorders and I chose it for two very big reasons. The first being my niece, Kimora, who has autism. Her speech-language pathologist has been a life changer and I aspire to make the same impact in someone else’s life. My second reason is credited to my father. In 2014, he had a minor stroke, which did not leave him with any language impairments. However, I realized that he was one of the lucky ones and it could have been much worse. As a result of that, I thought about pursuing a career in medical speech pathology and working with adults who have had strokes and traumatic brain injuries.
What has your Auburn experience been like?
My Auburn experience has been extraordinary. I have truly felt at home here. Coming from a small high school, I was terrified to start classes my freshman year. But once I got here, I was able to make some great friends and get involved in a variety of amazing clubs and organizations, such as the College of Liberal Arts Student Council, which really shrunk the campus down and allowed me to network with different people. In Fall 2018, I accomplished a lifelong goal of mine, which was joining my illustrious sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, which has given me a phenomenal sisterhood, as well as some amazing opportunities. I’m truly shocked that my undergraduate journey is coming to an end so quickly, but I have enjoyed every minute of it and the memories I have made.
Do you have a favorite memory you can share with us? (or a favorite class/professor?)
One of my favorite memories comes from an experience I got through an off-campus organization called Lee County Autism Resource and Advocacy (LCARA). Each year, LCARA held a respite camp for families who have autistic loved ones. In 2018, I was able to attend the camp and serve as a camp counselor. It was a fantastic experience. It was my first time visiting Lake Martin and it could not have been more perfect. I had a ton of fun participating in activities such as s’more-making and stargazing. However, knowing that I was able to provide relaxation to the families who attended the camp, as well as provide them with the opportunity to attend seminars given by specialists, was truly the highlight of the experience.
What are your plans after graduation? And do you think your CLA education has prepared you?
I will be pursuing a Master of Communication Disorders degree in the Fall here at Auburn. Beyond that, I am still trying to decide if I want to be a speech-language pathologist who works children with autism, or to work with adults who have had strokes. I know that my CLA education has prepared me to be successful in graduate school. The classes I have taken to fulfill my core college requirements have taught me how to think critically, as well as how to interact with people from different backgrounds, both of which are important skills for speech-language pathologists. Besides my core classes, the Department of Communication Disorders has done an amazing job constructing their undergraduate curriculum. My classes, as well as the practical experience I have gained through the program, have definitely given me a strong background that I could have taken to any university and been successful.
You're staying here to earn a master’s degree, but what is something you recommend other students do before leaving Auburn?
Since I’m not leaving yet, I still have two more years to enjoy the sites that Auburn has to offer, but I recommend everyone go to Taco Mama before they graduate. It is truly one of my favorite places to go eat. I treat it like a reward after a hard test or just a long day. Another place I would recommend is the Asian Supermarket. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, but it’s definitely worth trying out if you’re in the mood for something different.
Interview by Vicky Santos | Director, News & Media Services | College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University
Last Updated: August 21, 2019