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Kyle Shepard

BA, Speech and Hearing Science; Psychology

Why did you pursue degrees in speech and hearing science and psychology at Ohio State?

When I first applied to Ohio State I wanted to go into finance because I thought I wanted to be a sports agent. I changed my mind after I worked at the James Cancer Hospital with terminally ill patients and then, over the summer, with young children with hearing loss and delayed learning issues. I loved both of those jobs and they sparked something in me – that I wanted my career to be about helping others and especially, helping others communicate.

Audiology is all about helping others. Hearing is something that we take for granted, until it doesn’t work and then it’s isolating. I wanted to be a part of a field where I could really make a difference.

When I decided to go the audiology route, I started taking classes in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science. Marie Vetter, a PhD student at the time, taught one of my classes and she was amazing!  I stay in touch with her even now.  

What do you do as a Naval Audiologist and what do you most enjoy about your job?

Most people are not aware, but noise induced hearing loss is the number one injury in the military. Every Marine is a rifleman – so they shoot weapons and operate weapons systems – they are most at risk for this injury. In operational or military training environments, good hearing and effective communication are critical.

Hearing loss prevention education is crucial and my job is to educate all of the Marines and their families on preventive measures and ongoing care. My biggest challenge is to get the right kind of protection to the people who need it.

Along with two others, I oversee 55,000 Marines and I make sure that they are enrolled in and taking advantage of the hearing conservation program -- which means they must be screened and tested every year.

I love the educational aspect of my job - the realization that every day I can make a positive impact on someone's life.

How did your studies and experiences at Ohio State prepare you for your career?

My most amazing mentors were at Ohio State. It’s where I learned to set goals and to pursue opportunities and try different things. Ohio State and Columbus will always be my home. I see myself coming back one day.

What tips can you share to students thinking about coming to Ohio State?

Get involved! There is so much out there – get involved in something. Ohio State does a great job of taking a large campus and breaking it down into a series of small paths for students. If you have any interests whatsoever, you can find a group to join.

Ask questions. Observe. Keep an open mind. I thought I was going one route and yet, after I tried out some new and different classes and volunteer experiences, I went a completely different one. Leave your options open.