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What is Health and Human Development?

Diverse fields of study that share one
common goal: enriching the lives of others.

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August 2015

When Kelsey Takemori was in elementary school she attended speech class where she learned how to correctly pronounce the letter “R” by repeating phrases such as, “the rabbit ran around the rink.”

“It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized all of those times I would leave class to go to ‘speech’ I was receiving what I now know to be speech therapy from a speech-language pathologist,” Takemori said.

Takemori made the connection when her cousin was born prematurely with ankyloglossia, or what is commonly known as a “tongue-tie.” Her cousin underwent surgery and later attended speech therapy.

“For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to work with kids,” Takemori said. “Growing up, I was either playing with baby dolls or pretending to play school. I often thought of becoming a teacher. As it came time to apply for college, I realized that a speech-language pathologist is in fact a teacher. Given my personal experience and my desire to teach, it was in that moment I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

More than 4,500 Penn State students are enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD) studying a wide array of fields, each committed to the concept of improving the quality of life for others. Takemori, who found a home in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), is one of those HHD students, and this is her story.

As a graduate student, Takemori recently participated in an externship at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.



The goal of the off-campus externship for CSD graduate students is to immerse students in daily routines that allow them the opportunity to work with highly skilled professionals in the field. Externship sites are screened carefully to allow students the optimal clinical experience in a non-university setting.

Takemori’s experience included planning and executing therapy sessions for patients under the guidance of her supervisor.

“My supervisor has played and will continue to play a large role in my learning experience,” Takemori said. “With her supervision, this externship has provided and will continue to provide me with the knowledge and experience I need to use as a stepping stone to my future ahead. The experience I gain at MRH will guide me in my clinical judgment and practice for years to come as I continue to learn and grow as a clinician.”

In addition to CSD, there are a variety of areas for students to study within HHD through the Departments of Biobehavioral Health, Health Policy and Administration, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Nutritional Sciences, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, and the School of Hospitality Management. Learn more about HHD.