Project EPICS Update: Approaching The Last Lap

Community Services: Technical Assistance Continuing Education Developmental Disabilities Disability Studies EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation

After fully engaging in an “epic marathon,” Project EPICS scholars are “quickly approaching the finish line!” Currently midway into the planned final year of a five-year project, the “Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology” project, also known as “Project EPICS,” is in “the last lap” of this amazing endurance event. Eighteen student “scholars” are entering their last few months of the project whose mission is to produce graduate level speech language pathologists to serve and provide much-needed speech services to the children of Guam and the Pacific region. This project is funded through a U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs personnel preparation awarded to San José State University (SJSU), in partnership with Guam CEDDERS. The Spring 2020 semester is packed with activities including completing two online courses and finishing up the required number of practicum hours in school and hospital settings. In April, the scholars can opt to participate in an online “Praxis Preparation Workshop” with Dr. Kay Payne, CCC-SLP, a nationally recognized expert on Praxis prep and the author of numerous Praxis Preparation resources. Similar to the national Praxis examination for teacher certification, the Praxis test for Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) is a requirement for national certification for SLPs. Scholars have the option as to when to sit for this examination. The last SJSU program requirement for all the EPICS scholars is the Comprehensive Examination, fondly referred to as “Comps.” This is scheduled for May 2, 2020. If you may recall, the group of 18 scholars were divided into two cohorts for the purpose of completing an externship in the San José, California area at various sites in collaboration with SJSU. Nine scholars in Cohort 1 completed this externship in August 2019. The remaining nine who comprise Cohort 2 are scheduled to complete their externship this summer, ending in early August 2020. Upon this group’s return, the Project will hold a much-anticipated graduation ceremony to celebrate the incredible effort of these scholars in completing this “marathon” program. As of this writing, however, things are looking like Cohort 2’s externship plans will need to change, given the situation with the COVID 19 pandemic. And sadly, graduation may have to be postponed as well. Stay tuned for the next issue of I Tellai for the update.

(Front Row left-right) Guam CEDDERS consultant, Terrie Fejarang, Dr. Carol Zepecki, CCC-SLP, San Jose State University faculty, and Keokia Mendiola, CCC-SLP, EPICS
Clinical Practicum Supervisor, pose with the EPICS scholars during the end of the classes celebration on August 3. (Second Row left-right) Camille Onglao, Bobbie Obillo,
Dianne Sapida, Tricia Taitano, Liahlanni Cruz, Megan Merfalen, Lisa Eclavea, and Jasmin Advani. (Back Row left-right) Aileen Serrano, Catherine Ruszala, Lillian Reyes,
Cassandra Dimla, Christina Cole, Gabriella Duenas, Ignacio Dela Cruz, Tatiana Perez, Meagan Terlaje, John Payne, and JJ Mendiola.

Program Completion Quickly Approaching for EPICS Scholars

Continuing Education EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation

The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly for 18 scholars in the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Project as they get closer to earning their graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from San José State University (SJSU).

Now in the fifth and last year of the project, scholars have a very challenging workload that will only intensify as the final semester approaches. Scholars continue to take online classes and complete their practicum hours to meet course requirements for a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. In addition, scholars will be preparing and taking their program’s comprehensive examination May 2, 2020.  They will also be preparing and taking the PRAXIS for Speech-Language Pathologists shortly after.

In June 2020, the second cohort of scholars will be spending about eight weeks in an externship in San José, California. Graduation will take place on Guam in August.

The EPICS Project is supported by a personnel preparation grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, awarded to SJSU, in partnership with Guam CEDDERS.

Nicole Duenas, CCC-SLP, (Center) supervises EPICS Scholars Megan Merfalen (Left) at Wettengel Elementary and Joseph Mendiola (R) at J. M. Guerrero Elementary School.
Meagan Terlaje, EPICS Scholar (Left), has her Practicum Placement at C.L. Taitano Elementary School, under the supervision of Terry Lujan, CCC-SLP (Right).
Liahlanni Cruz, EPICS Scholar (Left), works with Michelle Camacho, CCC-SLP (Right), at P.C. Lujan Elementary School.
Rowena Dimla, CCC-SLP (Left), provides supervision for Aileen Serrano, EPICS scholar (Right), at Upi Elementary School.
Camille Onglao Gonzales, EPICS Scholar (Left), works with Elizabeth Blas, CCC-SLP (Right), in her Practicum site at the Guam Early Intervention System (GEIS).
Cassandra Dimla, EPICS Scholar (L), earns her practicum hours under the supervision of Erica Sgro, CCC-SLP (R), at Maria Ulloa and Finegayan Elementary Schools.
Bobbie Obillo, EPICS Scholar (Left), is supervised by Melanie Torre, CCC-SLP (Right), at D.L. Perez Elementary School.
Erica Sgro, SLP-CCC (L), supervises Lisa Eclavea, EPICS Scholar (R), at Machananao Elementary School.
Lillian Reyes, EPICS Scholar (Right), is supervised by Bernice Cepeda, CCC-SLP (Left), at Agueda Johnston Middle School.
Melanie Torres, CCC-SLP (Left), supervises Dianne Sapido, EPICS Scholar (Right), at D.L. Perez Elementary and Adacao Elementary School.

First Group of Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech (EPICS) Scholars Complete Externship in San José, CA

EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation

August 3, 2019: As part of the requirements in their graduate program in speech language pathology at San José State University, nine Guam-based EPICS scholars completed their externship at various sites in the San José, California area. The second cohort of 10 scholars will be placed in an externship in the same area next summer.

EPICS Scholars John Payne, Lilly Reyes, and Lisa Eclavea were placed at the Learn Speech Therapy Clinic in Gilroy, California. Shown with their Externship Supervisors are (L-R): John Payne; Lily Reyes; Dawn Hansen, CCC-SLP; Lisa Eclavea; and Lynzy Melzer, CCC-SLP.
Asha Advani, EPICS Scholars recently completed her externship at the Rite Care Childhood Language Center in San José, California as part of the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech (EPICS) Project requirements. Shown in this photo are (L-R): Rachel Sense, CCC-SLP and Karen Wong, CCC-SLP, Externship Practicum Supervisors, and Asha Advani.
Cassandra Dimla, EPICS Scholar, (right) completed her externship at the Integrated Intervention for Children with Autism Clinic in San José, CA. At right is Tayler Kina, CCC-SLP, her Externship Supervisor.
Aileen Serrano, EPICS Scholars, (Left) is shown here with
Uduak Osom, CCC-SLP, her Externship Supervisor at the Innovative Therapy Services Clinic in Santa Clara, CA.

Not shown:  Christina Coles, EPICS Scholar and Externship Supervisor Nadia Naval, CCC-SLP at the Innovative Therapy Services Clinic and Dianne Supida, EPCIS Scholar and Nikki Sedaghat, CCC-SLP, her Externship Supervisor at Integrated Intervention for Children with Autism Clinic.

Farewell Luncheon Held for EPICS Scholars Completing Externship

EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation
July 21, 2019:  Guam EPICS Scholars currently completing their externships in San José, California were treated to a farewell luncheon by their San José State University professors. The externships began on June 10 and will end on August 2.Attending the event were (Seated L-R):  Dr. Carol Zepecki, Scholars Aileen Serrano, Bobbie Obillo, John Payne, Lisa Eclavea, Jasmin Advani, and Lilly Reyes.
Standing (L-R):  Dr. Jean Jackson, Dr. Donald Weddington, Gary Cramptoni, and Dr. Gloria Weddington. Scholars not shown:  Dianne Sapido, Cassandra Dimla, and Christina Coles.

EPICS Scholars Earn Practicum Hours

EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation
The EPICS Project is a personnel preparation project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and awarded to San José State University (SJSU) in collaboration with Guam CEDDERS. EPICS Scholars are currently focusing on earning practicum hours at various placement sites including the Guam Department of Education’s Extended School Year Program, Guam Regional Medical City, and Guam Memorial Hospital.  A group of nine scholars from Guam are currently completing an externship at various placement sites in the San José State University (SJSU) area.  The seven remaining scholars from Guam are also working on earning hours while on island this summer. 
July 8, 2019: (L-R) Kathy Ruszala, a scholar from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) who is in the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Project and Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS EPICS Consultant, met to discuss Kathy’s progress in her practicum experience.
July 8, 2019: (L-R): Ignacio dela Cruz, Tricia Taitano, and Kathy Ruszala, CNMI Scholars are currently in Guam in practicum placements at in the Summer Extended School Year Program at Guam Department of Education. They are also earning practicum hours at Guam Regional Medical Center and Guam Memorial Hospital.

EPICS Scholars Discuss End of Year 4 Activities

EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation
May 8, 2019: The Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Project, which allows Guam and CNMI Scholars to be enrolled in San José State University’s (SJSU) graduate program in Speech Language Pathology through online and on-site classes, is ending the fourth year of the project. Gloria Weddington, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, SJSU Professor Emerita and EPICS Project Coordinator, was on Guam from May 7-13 to meet with various stakeholders regarding program and student status in addition to Year 5 plans and activities. Dr. Weddington also met with 15 of the Guam Scholars, nine of which are scheduled to complete an eight-week externship in San José, California starting on June 10. Also attending the meeting were Keokia Mendiola, MA, CCC-SLP, and SJSU Clinical Supervisor and Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS EPICS Consultant/Guam on-site Liaison.
May 9, 2019: EPCIS representatives met with officials from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island (CNMI) Public School System (PSS) Special Education Program to discuss program and scholar status along with events and activities being planned for Year 5 of the project. Attending the meeting were Front Row (L-R): Keokia Mendiola, MA, CCC-SLP, SJSU Clinical Supervisor. Back Row (L-R): Donna Flores, CNMI PSS Special Education Program Personnel and Compliance Monitor Program Manager; Gloria Weddington, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Professor Emerita and EPICS Project Coordinator; Nora Pangelinan, CNMI PSS Special Education Data Management & Compliance Program Manager; Suzanne Lizama, CNMI PSS Special Education Program Director; and Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS EPICS Consultant/On-Site Liaison.
May 9, 2019: The Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Project, which allows Guam and CNMI Scholars to be enrolled in San José State University’s (SJSU) graduate program in Speech Language Pathology through online and on-site classes, is ending the fourth year of the project. Gloria Weddington, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, SJSU Professor Emerita and EPICS Project Coordinator, met with CNMI scholars on Saipan to discuss current project status, upcoming summer practicum placement, and courses for the final year of the program. Joining Dr. Weddington in the meeting were Keokia Mendiola, MA, CCC-SLP, SJSU Clinical Supervisor and Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS EPICS Consultant/On-site Liaison. Shown in the photo are: (L-R): Keokia Mendiola, Tricia Taitano, Ignacio Dela Cruz, Dr. Weddington, and Cathy Ruszala. Not shown: Terrie Fejarang.
May 10, 2019: (L-R): Sybil Crisostomo, CCC-SLP, Speech Pathologist at Guam Regional Medical City and Dr. Weddington, also met to discuss EPICS Project activities and upcoming events. Not Shown: Terrie Fejarang.
May 12, 2019: Dr. Weddington, Keokia Mendiola, and Terrie Fejarang met with Jon Fernandez, Superintendent of the Guam Department of Education. The timeline for the final year of the EPICS Project was discussed, along with some of the challenges encountered by the scholars with regard to earning practicum hours. Superintendent Fernandez expressed his support in exploring possible solutions and is looking forward to graduation and the day the scholars would be available to put their skills directly to work to meet the needs of the children of the school district.
May 8, 2019: (L-R) Robin Malicsi, Guam Department of Education Speech Clinician, met with Dr. Gloria Weddington to discuss her next steps for completing SJSU’s Master’s Degree program requirements.

Meeting with EPICS Scholars Focuses on Practicum Preparation

CEDDERS CORE EPICS
February 20, 2019: Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS Associate Director and EPICS Liaison met with Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Public School System Special Education staff to discuss upcoming practicum options for the Saipan-based scholars. Front Row (L-R): Terrie Fejarang; Suzanne Lizama, CNMI PSS Special Education Director. Back Row (L-R): Nora Pangelinan, Data Management and Compliance Program Manager and Donna Flores, Data Management and Compliance Program Manager.
February 20, 2019: Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS Associate Director and Guam Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (Guam EHDI) Project Fitme Project Director, met with Angie Mister, CCC-AuD, CNMI EHDI Coordinator at the CNMI Public Health Center, Saipan, to discuss upcoming events within the EHDI Projects.
February 20, 2019: Saipan-based EPICS scholars met with EPICS staff to discuss upcoming practicum activities. EPICS stands for “Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology” a personnel preparation project funded through a U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Program (OSEP) grant. The grant supports the delivery of SJSU’s graduate program in Speech Language Pathology to Pacific scholars. (L-R): Catherine Roszala, EPICS Scholar; Ignacio Dela Cruz, EPICS Scholar; Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS Associate Director and EPICS On-site Liaison; and Keokia Mendiola, CCC-SLP, EPICS/San Jose State University Clinical Practicum Supervisor. Not shown: Tricia Taitano, EPICS Scholar.

EPICS Clinical Practicum in Guam DOE Schools to Start Soon

EPICS Guam Department of Education
February 6, 2019: The Guam-based scholars in the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) San Jose State University graduate program in Speech Language Pathology will be starting their practicum in Guam Department of Education Schools by the third week of February. Natasha Dela Cruz, Principal at MU Lujan Elementary School in Yona, met with Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS Associate Director and EPICS on site Liaison, to discuss the latest project updates in preparation for the start of practicum. Ms. Dela Cruz is shown here signing consent forms to be sent to and signed by parents to give permission to the scholars to work with their child under the supervision of the licensed speech pathologist assigned to the school.
February 6, 2019: (L-R): Amalia Badua, Guam DOE Speech Therapist assigned to Agana Heights Elementary School (AHES); Hannah Gutierrez, Principal, AHES; and Meagan Terlaje, AHES Teacher and EPICS Scholar are excited about the anticipated start of student practicum by the end of the month.
February 7, 2019: (L-R): Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS Associate Director and EPICS Project On-Site Liaison, met with Nancy Diaz, Principal, P.C. Lujan Elementary School, to facilitate the beginning of student practicum for the EPICS scholars.
February 7, 2019: Evangeline Iglesias, Principal, Wettengel Elementary School, signs off on documents to facilitate the student practicum process for EPICS scholars.

EPICS Scholar Picks Up Text for Next Course

EPICS

December 19, 2018: Camille Onglao Gonzales, EPICS Scholar, picked up a hard copy of “Cognitive Communication Disorders,” by Michael L. Kimbarow in preparation for the EDSP 265: “Cognitive Disorders” class which starts on January 7, 2019. Camille is accompanied by Mavi, her two-month old daughter. Both mother and child are clearly excited about the start of the new class. Happy New Year!!!