FM Sertoma and MSUM Speech Language Hearing Sciences, The Ideal Partnership

Speech Language Hearing Sciences staff and students, alumni and friends recently celebrated the naming of the Fargo-Moorhead Sertoma Club Audio Suite in MSUM’s Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences (SLHS) Department.

FM Sertoma has generously supported the SLHS Department and the student group National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (Collegiate Sertoma) since 1995.

Each year, FM Sertoma donates a significant portion of the funds from the Holiday Lights in Lindenwood Park to MSUM’s Speech Language Hearing Sciences programs.

According to Dr. Elaine Pyle, chair of the department, FM Sertoma gifts total well over $100,000 in the last 10 years, both in monetary donations and sponsorship of community events. These funds provide equipment for the audiology suite, where students have clinical experiences. They pay for voice recorders and instrumentation, portable audiometers for hearing screening, assessment materials and teletherapy technology and services in and through the SLHS clinic.

In the university’s Regional Assistive Technology Center, FM Sertoma provided funding for augmentative and alternative communication for those who don’t have a voice or need voice assistance tools. Many individuals in the community benefit from the RATC, including children and adults with severe communication and/or physical impairments.

What’s more, FM Sertoma helps get preventative tools into the community, including distributing earplugs at events and supplying materials for hearing screenings.

On a bigger scale, MSUM’s connection to the national Sertoma organization helps secure grants to fund screenings, and the FM Sertoma offers scholarships to SLHS students.

Cassidy Schaefer, a first-year Speech Language Pathology graduate student and Sertoma scholarship recipient, says graduate students are not typically offered many scholarships, so the support is unique. She sees the tangible impact of FM Sertoma as she interacts daily with her clients:

“Just yesterday, I looked back on a session with a client, using a program called Vault which Sertoma purchased. And two weeks ago, I performed hearing screenings for preschoolers with the audiometers they also purchased.”

Rose Brakke, an MSUM alumna, audiologist and representative of FM Sertoma, reminded participants that “Sertoma stands for Service to Mankind”:

“We try to think thoughtfully through fund requests to help as many people as we can. We hope that, by doing so, we influence students to do the same as they move into the real world.”

Community was a theme of the naming event and President Anne Blackhurst says MSUM strives to serve its community just as much as its students.

“One of our strategic anchors at MSUM is to be indispensable to the communities we serve and I know we’re achieving that goal when these communities value the work we do so highly that they invest in that work and become partners with us. I can’t think of a better example of that than the partnership between Sertoma and MSUM.”

The scholarships and equipment FM Sertoma contributes to the MSUM Speech Language Hearing Sciences department not only benefits the students who provide clinical services but directly serves the clients they interact with during their time at MSUM and the ones they’ll serve throughout their careers.


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