Unexpected turn leads Patrick Washington ’10 to dream career

Patrick Washington
Patrick Washington, a current graduate student at Wichita State University, chose to pursue his audiology doctorate after experiencing his own hearing loss as a child.

Patrick Washington ’10 is a firm believer in the saying, “everything happens for a reason.”

After dreaming of becoming a nurse for much of his college career, his plans were diverted when he wasn’t accepted in the Wichita State University School of Nursing program.

“If I had gotten into nursing school, I never would’ve gotten where I am today,” Washington said.

A current doctor of audiology student at WSU and recent Bachelor of General Studies graduate, Washington’s goal has always been to help others, which is his reason for initially pursuing a nursing degree, he said.

“When I was a kid, the babysitter slapped me and I lost my hearing in my right ear. My passion came from that, but when I didn’t get into the nursing program, I was told about the audiology program here at WSU. It amazed me and I felt like that was what I wanted to go into, so I just moved forward and was accepted into the program.”

The four-year audiology program will hopefully lead to a job at a school or school district, said Washington.

“I want to do a lot of awareness and prevention in noise exposure, especially for young teenagers and kids. They don’t understand that a lot of today’s technology is going to affect their hearing.”

With hope of making others aware of the precautions to take to avoid hearing loss, Washington said that his own experience has given him a special advantage to working with future patients.

“Because of my hearing loss, I feel like I have a better connection. I understand what people are going through and I can take their hand and lead them into the ways to protect their hearing.”

Washington said he has had plenty of support along the way when it comes to getting his education and following his dreams.

“My mom always told us that we could do anything we wanted to. One of the main things that she said to help us along the way was to get scholarships.”

Washington followed this suggestion and received several scholarships to support both his undergraduate and graduate education. This past spring, Washington was the student speaker at the WSU Foundation’s College of Health Professions scholarship reception.

“One thing that I pointed out in my speech, that I don’t think many people had thought of before, is that I consider us to be the prodigies of these donors. As students, we need to realize that we are representing these donors not only when we go to school, but at all times. These people see potential in us as we go to school and they’re helping us to succeed.”

Washington speaks highly of the donors who have provided these gifts for him.

“I’m going to represent Mrs. Geney Reed and the late Dr. Cramer Reed and all others who have helped me, when I become an audiologist. Without their support, I wouldn’t get the education I need.”

Washington said that through receiving these scholarships, he has discovered the importance of giving back to the university. 

“I want to help other people get the education that I have gotten. It is an honor for donors to give back to Wichita State and give the students an opportunity to earn their ownership of a scholarship.”

Although his life plans may not have turned out the way he had originally planned, Washington said he is happy to be where he is today.

“I think the choice I made was the best. Not making it into the nursing program led me into the audiology program. I’m glad that I’m able to be in a program that I have a passion for and that will allow me to help others.”

For information about how to create a scholarship or fellowship at WSU, contact the WSU Foundation at (316) 978-3040.

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