Tell us about where you work: 

I work at the Cleveland Clinic, a large, multisite academic medical center near downtown Cleveland, Ohio. My primary responsibility is managing the Hearing Implant Program, which includes our cochlear, bone-anchored, and auditory brainstem implant services, as well as our single-sided deafness clinic. I am also involved in some clinical research and teach the Implantable Technologies course for the Northeast Ohio AuD Consortium. 

Sarah Sydlowski, AuD, PhD photograph
Sarah Sydlowski, AuD, PhD
Audiology Director, Hearing Implant Program, Cleveland Clinic Board Certified with Specialty Certification in Cochlear Implants

We have a large clinical training program, usually accepting 10 to 12 fourth-year externs a year. Volunteering for the profession is also a key part of how I spend my time. I recently rotated off the Academy Board and just finished my term as president of the Ohio Academy of Audiology. I'm also very excited to be part of the Program Committee for AAA 2019. 

What's your favorite part of being an audiologist? 

What I enjoy most about what I do is the diversity of involvement I'm able to have. One day I'm activating a cochlear implant, another day I'm teaching a graduate course, another I'm working with supply chain on our device contracts or writing an article for a journal. I enjoy the challenge of thinking adaptively, creatively, and innovatively and the aspects of my job that keep me thinking and pushing myself are the most rewarding. 

Do you have fundraising experience? 

I have volunteered for various organizations over the years where we have done fundraising on a smaller scale, but nothing like the Foundation. I'm looking forward to learning about a new aspect of the Academy Enterprise!

What things do you do for fun outside of the profession? 

In the summer you'll find me on the Cuyahoga River where I have rowed crew for the past six years. Rowing is a sport that appeals to my detail-oriented nature. You're only as good as the weakest rower in the shell; everyone has to be completely in sync. It's more about timing, coordination, and the mechanics of the stroke than brute strength. But when you manage to find that perfect combination, flying across the water is magical. As an added bonus, it's 90 minutes a week where you can't have a cell phone, you get to be outdoors enjoying the city from a vantage point most others never see, and you can't cancel, no matter how busy you get, because the rest of the team is depending on you!

Were there any Foundation projects that you were surprised about when you joined the Board? 

Honestly, my biggest surprise was to learn how few of our members support the initiatives developed by the board to promote education, research, and public awareness. Members may not realize that even small gifts of only a few dollars add up when we all chip in to have an amazing impact! What I'm most looking forward to this year is the purse auction at the AAAF Happy Hour at AAA 2019. The inaugural event last year was so much fun. And this year, I'm driving to Columbus so I have even more room for my great finds…no worry about if a purse will fit in my carry-on this year! 

What are you most excited to see in Columbus? 

I'm most excited for the newest offering at AAA 2019, the Audiology Career Enhancement (ACE) Symposium, generously sponsored by Audigy and Phonak. ACE is an all-day, interactive event that is 100 percent focused on helping you enhance your career experience. It's an opportunity to broaden your perspective by hearing from nonaudiologists about how to communicate, influence, and collaborate your way to your best career. I think this unique program will be a valuable step in the process of diversifying our perspectives and enhancing our capabilities beyond the clinic. 

What was the last text you sent? 

My last text was with the other members of my Executive MBA study team at Case Western Reserve University, congratulating ourselves on making it through the first semester of the program. It's been a long time since I've had to study for a final! 

Where is the most interesting place you've been? 

When I was in college, I spent a Semester at Sea, traveling to 11 countries while taking classes on a ship. Each destination was amazing for different reasons, and experiencing so many varied cultures and environments in such a short timeframe was a study in contrasts that further enhanced the experience. Probably the place I never imagined I would go to is Egypt, so it was amazing to walk inside the Great Pyramids. I haven't lost the love of travel. This summer, I'll be traveling with my EMBA program to Eastern Europe to study emerging and diverse business practices so I'm sure that will quickly make the list of most interesting! 

If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be? 

I would love to be multilingual and have no boundaries because of language or ability to communicate.

Ryan Bollock, AuD photograph
Ryan Bullock, AuD
Board Certified in Audiology
San Pedro, California

Tell us about where you work: 

I work in private practice in San Pedro, California.

What's your favorite part of being and audiologist? 

The corny audiology jokes that seem to never end—and pretending like I never hear them.

Do you have fundraising experience? 

I grew up swimming in my hometown in Fort Smith, Arkansas. We used to do swim-a-thons as fundraisers for the swim team. Later on, when I came onto the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) Board, I was fortunate enough to be the student liaison for the Foundation. Around that time, I established my own nonprofit called Swim to Hear to raise funds and awareness of hearing loss and to highlight the profession of audiology.

What things do you do for fun outside of the profession? Pretty much anything related to the water. I particularly enjoy open water swim competitions and surf racing. Once I swam over an 8-foot great white shark during a race in Southern California. I work as a part-time ocean lifeguard for the Los Angeles County.

Tell us about your family: 

My dad is a New Zealand native who narrowly missed the Olympics in swimming. He came to the States and swam at the University of Iowa where he met my mother, who was studying communication sciences and disorders at the time. My dad was my swim coach growing up and also worked as a school teacher, and my mother served as my inspiration to dive into the profession of audiology. My sister and brother are both teachers back in Arkansas and are busy raising their kids. I love my family and miss them since they are so far away.

Were there any Foundation projects that you were surprised about when you joined the Board? 

Not really. I knew the Foundation was involved with a lot of great initiatives supporting our profession. I am just excited to be part of it!

What are you most excited to see in Columbus? 

I overheard that Columbus ranks in the top-five U.S. cities for craft beer production. We love our profession, and what goes better with ears than a craft-brewed beer?

What was the first career you dreamed of having as a kid? 

Doctor—I had a doctor kit and a license plate for my bike that said "Dr. Ryan."

What was the last text you sent? 

"Still hurts to walk on," referring to my recent stingray wound on the bottom of my left foot.

Where is the most interesting place you've been? 

Skiing Mt. Ruapehu, an active volcano on the North Island of New Zealand. 

If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be? 

Investing.