Laney Smith, a first-year graduate student in Mississippi University for Women’s speech-language pathology department, was named as one of the recipients of a $500 scholarship through Sidekick Therapy Partners, a Tennessee-based speech therapy and related resource provider.


“It is such an honor to receive this scholarship. Speech-language pathology is such an amazing profession that is continuously growing, and I am so honored to be a part of the program here at The W as well as representing Sidekick Therapy Partners and the great work they do,” Smith said.

The scholarship is presented to graduate students in SLP and is awarded based on academic performance, community involvement and a personal statement. Smith was one of 10 recipients of the award out of a pool of more than 65 applicants. Other recipients included students from large institutions such as University of Georgia, Vanderbilt and University of Tennessee.

“I think the most powerful thing about Laney winning this scholarship is that it shows that our speech-language pathology students here at The W are operating at the same level and able to compete and win against students from the largest, most well-funded, historically significant programs in our field. Laney winning this scholarship shows that she is an extremely capable student and future professional but also shows that our program and faculty here at The W is churning out the strongest and most capable clinicians,” said Dr. M. Hunter Manasco, professor and graduate program director for The W’s SLP department.

Smith echoed Manasco’s thoughts on the SLP department at the university.

“The faculty at the W are top notch. They are like family and are always willing to give a helping hand when you’re in need. They have made my love for this field grow dramatically. I could not recommend this program enough,” she said.

Smith transferred to The W two years ago, and she has never looked back. The small, homely atmosphere paired with the faculty involvement helped cement her choice as the right one.

“Being a transfer student from a small community college, I was looking for a small, yet involved community to be a part of, and The W is just that. The faculty and community here at The W are like family to me. I have enjoyed the past two years being a student here, and I’m proud to be an owl,” Smith said.

She said being awarded the scholarship will help her relax a bit and focus on her studies even more.

“This scholarship will help take some of the stress off of my back and allow me to continue working hard and growing my knowledge as a graduate student in the speech and language program,” she said.


Sidekick Therapy Partners offers speech therapy services to more than 20 school districts in middle and east Tennessee as well as connecting professionals with job opportunities in the speech-language pathology field.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.