Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Teaching and Learning

Department or School/College

Phyllis J. Washington College of Education

Committee Chair

Morgen Alwell

Commitee Members

Trent Atkins, Martin Blair, Anisa Goforth, Andrea Vernon


autism, career, peer mentor, service-learning


University of Montana


Service-learning is often infused into undergraduate courses with the goal of connecting what is learned in the classroom to what is executed in the field. CSD 396 - Autism on Campus/SvcLrn (CSD 396) is a University of Montana (UM) Speech, Language, Hearing, and Occupational Sciences service-learning course linked to the Mentoring, Organization, and Social Support for Autism/All Inclusion on Campus (MOSSAIC) Program. The service-learning component of CSD 396 provides peer mentorship to university students with autism in the MOSSAIC program. In this qualitative study, I have examined the service-learning experience of past and current student mentors, the impact on their knowledge and inclusion practices with relation to autism, and whether the experience influenced their decision to pursue graduate study in speech-language pathology. Results were consistent with other service-learning reports in the literature, peer mentoring in this case led to personal and professional growth, and along with course content specifically about autism, seemed to reinforce or validate the choice to pursue speech-language pathology or a related profession. Results also showed that participants found the teaching and learning aspects of this service-learning opportunity favorably, they developed relationships with peers with ASD that in turn fostered inclusion and developed a mindset for advocacy influencing access for people with autism in our community.



© Copyright 2022 Jennifer Katherine Schoffer Closson