Local speech pathologist receives first Featured Alumni recognition
Valerie Venezia Singley has been named as the recipient of Penn State Lehigh Valley's first Featured Alumni recognition. This recently established recognition honors outstanding Penn State alumni who have shown exceptional presence in the Lehigh Valley. Nominations are accepted each semester and the recipient is chosen by a committee of Penn State Lehigh Valley Advisory Board Members.
For Kathie Leslie, campus advisory board member and chair of the selection committee, Singley stood out from the nomination pool for a number of reasons.
"Valerie exemplifies Penn State spirit. She has used her Penn State degree and experience to benefit others and make life better through her work," says Leslie, who also serves as director of sales development at Lutron Electronics. "Not only did her Penn State roots give her a great foundation for her career, but they extend to her personal life as well through the alumni and community service activities that she shares with her friends and family."
Singley attended the Lehigh Valley campus before transferring to University Park to complete her degree in speech pathology in 1994. After obtaining her master's degree from East Stroudsburg University, she began working as a licensed speech pathologist at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital and then for East Penn School District. But as she and her husband, Ryan, began to build a family of their own, Singley began craving more flexibility than a traditional nine-to-five job could offer. She made the decision to start her own business, work part time, and in turn spend more time with her growing family.
"When I first started my company, I was working for myself, by myself, and really had no intentions of expanding at the time," says Singley. "However, within six months my business was growing by word of mouth and I had hired my first employee."
Today, Singley's company employs twenty-five professionals with specializations not just in speech language pathology, but also in teaching, physical therapy, occupational therapy, bilingual therapy, and teaching for the deaf and hearing impaired. The company has contracts with two local counties and a charter school, as well as cases that are referred by other parents and pediatricians.
In January 2011, Singley added a new dimension to her agency by hiring a professional with expertise in rehabilitating the adult population. The growth and change has prompted Singley to rename her company REACH Therapy Services, LLC: Recognizing Excellence in Adults and Children.
Community service is also a key component of Singley's life, and was even as a college student dancing for THON. As a company, REACH supports the local Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism, with Singley serving on the planning committee. In addition, Singley, her family, and her close group of college friends are actively involved in the Relay for Life benefitting cancer research. She is also active in her church and her children's PTO.
Singley credits the Lehigh Valley campus with providing a solid educational foundation on which to continue her college career at University Park. As an alumna, she has taken steps to return the favor to current students by serving as mentor to an undergraduate in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department and assisting with alumni in classroom activities and social functions. She and her husband have also made it a point to involve her three children (Johnny, 8, and 3-year-old twins Michael and Rosie) in the traditions, new and old, that they have come to love, including many offered by the Penn State Lehigh Valley Alumni Society.
"The Nittany Lion is as much a part of my children's lives as Sponge Bob is for most children," says Singley. "I am extremely honored and proud to be the first recipient of the Featured Alumni recognition, a new Penn State Lehigh Valley tradition."
For more information, please contact University Relations at 610-285-5067 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.