Teacher Ashley Guttenberger helps children communicate


Name: Ashley Guttenberger

College: College of Allied Health Sciences

Major: Master of Science in communication sciences and disorders

Age: 32

Classification/Year: Graduate student

Hometown: Allentown, Pennsylvania

Hobbies/interests: Hiking, traveling and baking

Clubs and Organizations: National Student Speech Language Hearing Association


Favorite hangout: At home with my family

Favorite place on campus: Health Sciences Campus Student Center — outdoor eating for lunch between classes

Favorite place to eat: La Rancherita

Favorite class: Brain, Language and Aphasia

Professor who influenced you the most: My clinical supervisor, Emily Brewer

Favorite TV show: “Game of Thrones”   

Favorite band/musician: Chris Young

Favorite movie: The Harry Potter movie series

Favorite superhero: Wonder Woman


Dream job: Speech-language pathologist

Role model: My husband — he has been my biggest support system and has always encouraged me to follow my dreams.

What advice do you have for other students? Don’t ever give up on your dreams and continue to work for what you want. Let the mistakes you make define who you become and allow any setbacks that occur guide your path.

Ashley Guttenberger, mother of two, has earned her master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders and landed a job as a speech pathologist.

After spending eight years with Pitt County Schools as a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing, Guttenberger was inspired by speech pathologists she worked with to pursue a career in the field.

“I really liked the aspect of giving kids communication opportunities and giving them a voice — just making that impact in their life,” she said.

For Guttenberger, who earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education and deaf education from Barton College, there was never a question about where to apply for graduate school.

“That’s just really where I wanted to go and where I wanted to proceed,” she said. “Both of the SLPs (speech-language pathologists) who encouraged me came from ECU, so I knew that the program was outstanding.”

Ashley Guttenberger serves as an inspiration for her two children, as she and her oldest daughter do school work together in Guttenberger’s home office.

She took prerequisites for a year and a half, then enrolled in the College of Allied Health Sciences’ program in 2019.

Earning her master’s degree with a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old was a challenge, but also rewarding, she said. She had to work around their schedules, taking classes during the day and doing her schoolwork after they were in bed at night. She learned to take advantage of reserved study rooms in the library for a quiet place to study between classes and to collaborate with other students for group projects.

She was worried that school would take away from her time with the kids, but quickly found that it inspired them.

“My oldest is a girl, and she’ll grab her schoolwork and her notebooks, and when I’m working, she’ll come in my office and say, ‘Mommy, I’m going to do schoolwork like you do,’” Guttenberger said. “It’s important for me as a mom to let her see that and let her know that you can work for what you want, no matter what happens, no matter what struggles, no matter what setbacks come your way. So it’s been really rewarding to see her be motivated for her schoolwork through my efforts to continue my dream.”

For their part, the kids helped by serving as practice subjects for Guttenberger’s evaluations.

Emily Brewer, program director for the Master of Science in communication sciences and disorders, said, “I could not be more proud of her and her pursuit to make the world more accessible and open opportunities for everyone to have a chance to communicate.”

From teaching in the county school system to working as a speech pathologist, Guttenberger is working to “make the world more accessible and open opportunities for everyone to have a chance to communicate,” Brewer said.

ECU grad profile Ashley Guttenberger holds a Pirate foam finger with her fellow grad profile nominees.

Guttenberger, far right, celebrates the upcoming spring commencement with her fellow graduate profile nominees.