Graduate Student in Communication Disorders Receives Lever Fellowship
Elizabeth Ocampo is starting her first semester of the communication disorders master’s program at the University of Arkansas with a Benjamin Franklin Lever Tuition Fellowship.
The U of A offers the fellowship to academically gifted graduate students whose enrollment enhances both the diversity of the degree program and the diversity of the campus.
Ocampo, who is from Springdale, completed a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from the College of Education and Health Professions and a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Spanish from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Scienceslast fall.
“I’m very proud to be a daughter of first-generation Latino immigrants and the first in my family to go to college and get accepted into a master’s program,” Ocampo said.
She became interested in communication disorders when seeing how a speech language pathologist worked with her young nephew, who was born blind and also had a condition called echolalia, which is characterized by repeating words or sounds. She also worked for four years as an office assistant at a local pediatric therapy clinic in Fayetteville.
“I saw my nephew grow so much and be able to communicate with his family,” Ocampo said. “Something about it told me this is what I’m interested in. Then, working with Children’s Therapy TEAM further increased my interest and passion in this field. I would love to work in pediatrics and with the bilingual community of Northwest Arkansas.”
Benjamin Franklin Lever, a native of Pine Bluff, was the first African American to receive a graduate degree from the U of A. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the Tuskegee Institute in 1938, he earned a Master of Science in agronomy in 1951, a Master of Education in educational administration in 1955 and a Diploma of Advanced Studies in 1964, all from the U of A.
Lever taught at Arkansas A.M. & N. (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), was principal at several Arkansas public schools, and was a dean at Shorter College. He died in 1980.