Faces of U of T Medicine: Teenu Sanjeevan
Teenu Sanjeevan is a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the Faculty of Medicine and will be convocating on November 9, 2016. Her research explores the parallels between language and motor development and specifically, motor deficits in children with language impairment.
Teenu is one of the many U of T students who will cross the stage at Convocation Hall to receive their degrees during ceremonies this November. Share your convocation memories with us using the hashtag #UofTGrad16.
What got you interested in researching language and motor development and how did you get inspired to become a clinical scientist in speech-language pathology?
In high school, I volunteered at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. During my time there, I was inspired to pursue a career that would help children with special needs, but I wasn't sure in what capacity. It was in the third year of my undergraduate program when I had the opportunity to work in a neurolinguistics research lab, that I realized that I had a real passion for research in language development. These interests have naturally led me to a career as a clinical scientist pursuing research in language and developmental disabilities.
In the first few months of my PhD, I was introduced to a fundamental question in language acquisition — whether language learning is supported by neurocognitive mechanisms that are exclusive to language development or by more general mechanisms involved in multiple areas of development. With developmental disorders such as specific language impairment and autism spectrum disorder exhibiting both language and motor difficulties, I became interested in exploring the parallels between language and motor development, both to inform theories of language and cognitive development and also to bring us closer to identifying the underlying causes of these disorders.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I enjoy teaching just as much as I enjoy clinical research and so I most definitely see myself in an academic position in the next five years.
What advice do you have for new and incoming students?
Do what interests you. The doctoral journey is a tough one, psychologically. What gets you through it is the interest and curiosity you have for your line of work. Without it, your PhD experience can be disappointing.
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