Professor Profile: Dr. Hinton

I recently had the joy of sitting down with Dr. Virginia Hinton, an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders to learn more about the major and I learned so much more than I expected!

Dr. Hinton has a Ph.D. in Speech-Language Pathology, but I was curious as to how she became interested in this subject. She actually started out as an engineering major but knew it wasn't for her “because there wasn't any interaction with other people." Dr. Hinton then decided to get a fresh start at a new school with an undeclared major but in a twist of fate, a computer error logged Dr. Hinton’s major as Speech Pathology. She remembers thinking, “I don’t know what I am doing but let me at least give it a try."

With that attitude and three degrees later she still loves what she does. I asked her what she likes most about teaching and she said without hesitation, that she loves working with students and their varying perspectives. She also enjoys teaching the anatomy and physiology of speech production and working with patients with cleft palate or other craniofacial anomalies.  

Dr. Hinton earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, her Master’s degree from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. With all of her achievements, I wanted to know what strategies she took to be successful in college. She responded by stating, "I took responsibility for my own actions. If I didn't do well on something, 99% of the time it was my fault. I either put the time in or wasn't serious enough about it.” This is advice that can be used for academics and in life.

Like many other students, I also wanted to know how to improve my graduate school application, and Dr. Hinton had some great advice! She said that obviously grades are important, and to study before you take the GRE. She also notes considering adding a minor, volunteer work or observation relevant to your major. When writing your personal statement think of it more like a job application rather than a writing assignment. Also, be sure to take it to Career Services and Writing Center on campus. Dr. Hinton also recommends that you show that you are interested by visiting the school to which you are applying. “Being responsible for graduate admissions, I know exactly who had shown up for information sessions because it's that important.” If the school is extremely far away and you can’t make a visit, see if you can set up a Skype interview.

It was a pleasure getting to know Dr. Hinton and I suggest getting to know her and all of your professors alike.