American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 234,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology assistants; and students.
Health Care

Student to Empowered Professional (S.T.E.P.) Mentoring Program

Initiative Category


Focus Area



Inspired by the Minority Student Leadership Program (MSLP), the Student to Empowered Professional (S.T.E.P.) Mentoring Program launched in 2004 to match students who are underrepresented in the communication sciences and disorders (CSD) discipline to seasoned professionals in the discipline. With a large number of volunteer mentors, S.T.E.P. was able to expand capacity to accept all interested students enrolled in CSD programs. This virtual program provides students with 1:1 matches based on a variety of variables, such as area(s) of interest and subject matter expertise, workplace settings, clinical populations and language(s) used. Mentor/mentee pairs are encouraged to establish and set goals for the program that help the student succeed. The program launched in 2004 with 69 participants, mentors and mentees. In 2024, there are 285 mentoring pairs with nearly 600 participants. On average, S.T.E.P. supports approximately 300 mentoring pairs each year. With sponsorship from AMN, S.T.E.P. has expanded its offerings to include a Connect! Learn! Empower! speaker series featuring former S.T.E.P. and MSLP participants discussing both clinical and professional topics. In addition, all participants were invited to join the S.T.E.P. community discussion thread in ASHA’s Online Community. The program piloted an ASHA S.T.E.P. Circles program in 2022 and 2023. This Circles program provided opportunities for participants to engage in mentoring pertaining to topics such as establishing successful mentoring relationships, multlingualism and neuro-affirming care. The S.T.E.P. mentoring program has served as a catalyst for the development of additional mentoring programs at ASHA.

For More Information

See the S.T.E.P. website or contact Melanie Johnson at

This initiative was submitted on May 8, 2024.

See Other Initiatives From American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

Share Your Initiative