Dees, a New Hope High School graduate and Columbus native, came from a family of military and law enforcement service. With a sense of patriotism and loyalty to his family, he joined the United States Marine Corps soon after his high school graduation.
“My older sister, both grandfathers and my cousin were all in the Army. My sister was the one that really inspired me to seek out that path. I looked up to her a lot while I was growing up. Ultimately, I chose the Marine Corps over the Army because it's regarded as the most difficult branch, and I wanted to challenge myself,” said Dees.
After a time as Dees described as “traveling the world and meeting great people,” he decided to enroll in college. He said he did not want ever wonder “what if.” He began his journey with community college and after two years enrolled at Mississippi University for Women.
“The VA representative for The W was great. Jody, she's awesome. She always made sure I had everything needed and I was taken care of,” said Dees.
Dees has officially graduated with his undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and will begin The W’s graduate program this fall. He credits his military experience with teaching him to be diligent and disciplined with his academic pursuits. Between military benefits and other finical aid, Dees has been relieved of the financial burden of student loans.
He has always wanted to help people both mentally and physically preferably in a hospital setting.
Dees explained, “I had my heart set on psychology at first, but I decided to do a little more research before ruling anything else out. I found that speech-language pathology practices have many correlates to psychology practices. I watched therapy videos for just about every disorder or difficulty within our scope of practice and discovered how incredibly diverse a SLP's skill set is.”
“I also chose this field because of the multitude of settings SLPs are able to work in (schools, hospitals, clinics, retirement homes). The knowledge that professionals in this field are always in high demand.”
According to the American Speech-Language –Hearing Association, the field in 2016 was comprised of less than 5% males. Dees said he does not mind being one of the few males in his class. He noted what he enjoyed most was Turner Hall, a newly renovated building on campus specifically for the Department of Speech-Language Pathology.
Dees looks forward to returning to campus to begin his graduate studies especially with new audio and visual equipment being add Turner Hall classrooms. He will celebrate graduation in August when The W is scheduled to have a commence ceremony to honor May 2020 graduates.