Jacqueline Ballantine headshotAfter almost 40 years of experience working as a speech-language clinician in Africa and Canada, during which I also  spent 10 years of lecturing here in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies (SLALS), I decided to enroll in a graduate degree in applied linguistics. I had already qualified as a TESL instructor and taught at several universities and colleges overseas and so after my first year in the MA (ALDS) program I concentrated my research interests at the intersection of my former and present lives. I did this by incorporating my first academic passions, neurolinguistics and communication disabilities and differences, and now my second passions, rhetoric and genre studies. After receiving the MA (ALDS) in 2017, I continued in the department, and I am now a PhD Candidate using participatory research to explore the reported experiences of autistic university students regarding socializing, learning and academic writing on university campuses. The amazing professors and excellent programs in SLALS have led to many interesting opportunities including collaboration with other participatory researchers in Australia. After a full and deeply gratifying career as a clinician, I look forward each day to bringing together my clinical experiences and my newfound academic and research interests.