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I Chose ISU: Jake Oakland, speech-language pathology at ISU-Meridian

August 3, 2015
ISU Marketing and Communications

Jake Oakland planned on flying helicopters for a living, but grounded the idea three days shy of receiving his pilot’s license.

“I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” said Oakland, who was studying aviation at Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

So he packed his bags and returned to Boise where he’d lived before joining the military years earlier. It was now time to explore new career options.

“Speech therapy looked interesting,” said Oakland, who decided to enroll in Idaho State University-Meridian’s communication sciences program.

Idaho State University student Jake Oakland
Idaho State University student Jake Oakland
But from chopper pilot to speech therapist? Kind of a stretch?

Not really, says Oakland, whose mother, a nurse, had always encouraged him to consider a health care career. He’d also enjoyed working as a certified nursing assistant the year after he graduated from high school—cherishing the opportunity to care for World War II veterans who shared their life stories with him.

Oakland earned a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from ISU-Meridian in 2014. He’s scheduled to complete a master’s degree in speech-language pathology in spring 2016.
Oakland says he chose ISU because of the reputation of the speech-language pathology program, affordable tuition and the intimate setting of the Meridian campus with just under 800 students.

“I like the smaller campus and its accessibility. Everything is under one roof. The faculty is incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and supportive,” he said.

Oakland’s goal is to work in geriatric care—where he can experience the challenges and rewards of caring for an older population.

“You can live for 80 years, have a stroke and lose your ability to communicate. Helping people get that back would be very fulfilling to me,” said Oakland.

Oakland was born in Hamilton, Montana. He moved to Kamiah, Idaho and graduated from Kamiah High School in 2004. He served four years in the U.S. Air Force and worked as an electronic warfare technician at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana.


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