Rebekah Highfill wasn’t expecting to be recognized so early in her career.
So when she was nominated for an Outstanding Audiologist Mentor Award from the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Wichita State University, she was surprised and delighted.
The secret to her success?
“I try my best to find how each student learns best and teach them according to their learning style,” says Highfill, who earned her Bachelor in Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Wichita State University in 2015 and Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2019.
“I model and talk through what I’m doing before asking students to come up with their own answers and solutions to a problem,” says Highfill. “I believe encouraging students to ask questions and to be curious is one of the most important qualities as a preceptor.”
Highfill was nominated by three students currently enrolled in WSU’s Communication and Sciences Disorders program.
Says Isbella Catron, a current WSU student who plans to work as a pediatric audiologist: “Rebekah is such an amazing, passionate teacher and the bond she creates with her patients and their families is what makes all the difference. I would not become the audiologist I plan to be in the future without Bekah.”
Highfill has been a part of Ascension Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital’s Audiology program for nearly two years.
“I stayed with Ascension Via Christi because of the organization’s focus and mission to serve the underserved,” says Highfill. “That is the type of organization I wanted to be part of.”
She credits her success as a teacher and mentor to those who served as hers including her current colleagues Susie Ternes, Dena Hall and Mary Horsch.
“Rebekah is relatable and students just embrace her and what she’s trying to teach,” says Mary Horsch, who is pleased to have Highfill as part of her team. “I’ve learned from her and used what she’s taught me as we continue learning from each other.”