Clinic lead in pediatrics at the St. Luke’s Idaho Elks Hearing and Balance Center in Boise, Idaho.
“College is a stepping stone. The real world looks different, and has more responsibility. Being on your own in college will teach you a great deal about yourself. Learn the lessons."
Debbie Baerlocher ’96, helps newborn babies hear for the first time. Debbie has always had a passion for helping people. During her years at Elmira College, she discovered audiology and her passion met her life’s work.
In choosing her major in speech and hearing, Debbie inherently knew she wanted to make a difference and help people, especially children. In exploring possible career paths while at EC, she first considered work in education, but decided a classroom full of students was a bit overwhelming. Then, she considered speech language pathology, which she enjoyed but was discouraged about the length of time patients needed to show even a little progress.
Finally, with the guidance of Pat Scanlon, Associate Professor of Audiology and Director of the Speech & Hearing Clinic, Debbie discovered audiology. Her foundational speech and language education helped her transition to audiology. She continues to use and reference that resource in her current position as the clinic lead in pediatrics at the St. Luke’s Idaho Elks Hearing and Balance Center in Boise, Idaho.
At the Hearing and Balance Center, Debbie combines her passion for helping others with audiology through her work with newborns in the hearing screening program and through training she provides to hospitals and physicians about newborn hearing screening and hearing loss.
Before calling Boise home, Debbie earned the doctorate degree in audiology at Central Michigan University, coupled with internships in San Francisco, The Bronx, and Washington, D.C. From the Capital District, Debbie fondly remembers taking a class on Ernest Hemingway from the Smithsonian Institute and enjoying concerts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Today, Debbie considers herself a passionate student, a professional, a wife, and a mother of four who does everything with gusto. Four years at Elmira College gave Debbie opportunities to find her niche through a major that fit her personality and passion along with a variety of extracurricular activities, including: Student Activity Board, Student Council, WECW Radio, and the Department of Theatre.
Being silly, spontaneous, and performing under pressure developed her self-confidence and poise. Debbie took lessons learned from performing in Gibson Theatre to the professional world through her work with children, and professional presentations at local and regional hospitals. She found her way back to the performance stage as a singer in Opera Idaho’s Resident Company.
Reflecting back on her time at Elmira College, Debbie encourages current students to take advantage of all the lessons and opportunities around them.
“College is a stepping stone. The real world looks different, and has more responsibility. Being on your own in college will teach you a great deal about yourself. Learn the lessons,” she concluded.