WEB EXCLUSIVE: Cotati's Baldry to graduate with high honor from SFSU
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By Natalie Gray  May 24, 2013 11:17 am

According to soon-to-be San Francisco State University graduate and Cotati resident Taylor Baldry, receiving the symbolic hood to wear for the Saturday commencement ceremony was, "the craziest surprise ever." 

Baldry even admitted that when she first received the email congratulating her on the honor, she wasn't sure what it was or why she had it and almost called a friend to see if they had received the same strange email.

"I was extremely surprised and very honored and humbled," Baldry said in a phone interview. "After I read some of the other bios of the other hood recipients, I was just floored that I was in the same category as them."

It would seem Baldry's work for and dedication to her work and school, however, very much deserve the symbolic hood, and that it should come as no surprise that she was one of only seven students of SFSU's 8,000 graduation class to receive the symbolic hood.

Baldry is to receive a bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders this weekend, which she plans to use to help achieve her long-time goal of becoming a speech-language pathologist. While taking rigorous classes as an undergrad, such as a variety of anatomy and neurolinguistics classes, Baldry also managed to find time to volunteer at campus clinics and work as a tutor for fellow students.

If you had told her in high school she was to receive this honor for being such a dignified student, Baldry said she probably would not have believed you. According to Baldry, she was always a "good" student, with a B average, but she was by no means a dignified or even dedicated student. It was in high school, though, where she found inspiration to pursue her now life's passion of speech-language therapy.

All throughout high school, as well as her college career, Baldry worked as a nanny. Before this, in junior high, she also would work as a volunteer at a local camp. She always enjoyed working with children, said Baldry, and saw herself making a living out of this love. After she graduated high school, Baldry attended Santa Barbara City College, where she studied early childhood development.

Her next steps towards SFSU came with inspiration in part from her high school career and a talk with her aunt. While in high school, Baldry sang in the school choir and developed a keen fascination with voice and speech. Her aunt, who had suffered a stroke and worked with a speech therapist, suggested Baldry pursue a career in Speech-Language Pathology.

"I learned more about how to help people and I knew that this was what I was supposed to do," said Baldry.

The subject matter was not exactly what Baldry was expecting when she arrived at SFSU, commuting every day from her home in Cotati. Her first class saw her learning anatomy and physiology, looking at elements such as the tongue and diaphragm, how they function and how they work into speech patterns. 

Baldry dove into her studies and fell instantly in love with her major. She dedicated most of her time to the subject, taking grueling classes, volunteering as a tutor to help fellow students in the major and working at the school clinic. At the clinic, she worked with patients, young and old; she worked with adults who had suffered strokes and brain injuries and with children with autism. Though working with children is still her desired goal, Baldry said she also thoroughly enjoyed helping adults and admitted she could see herself working with them just as easily. 

After Baldry graduates wearing her symbolic hood, she will be returning in the fall to begin a master's degree in communicative disorders. She said she would be delighted to one day open her own private practice dedicated to helping children. 


 

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