Nicole (Dobranski) Oppenheimer ’06 is a speech language pathologist who founded her own private practice, SpeechRise Inc., in 2017. SpeechRise provides home-based speech, language, and feeding evaluation and therapy services in NYC, Long Island, The Hamptons, and the North Fork of Long Island. Her team provides skilled therapy in early intervention, expressive and receptive language therapy, motor speech therapy, oral myofunctional therapy, and more. SpeechRise is committed to offering personalized and innovative one on one therapeutic services to help each client reach their speech and language goals. Nicole is licensed and registered with the state of New York in speech-language pathology and is an active member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). She holds a master’s degree in speech pathology from Molloy College and a bachelor’s degree in health sciences from Gettysburg College.
What inspired you to pursue a career in speech pathology?
When I was first doing research about different careers, I was drawn to rehabilitative therapy – physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. I attended Gettysburg College, where I completed a capstone project shadowing a speech language pathologist in a pediatric clinic for the summer between my junior and senior years. After only one week of shadowing, I knew speech therapy was for me. I watched how motivated these children were to meet their goals, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that positive change. I quickly learned that communication is the basis of how we connect with others and sharing in those moments with those kids helped shape my future as a speech pathologist.
How do you think your time at Kellenberg Memorial helped to prepare you for your success in your academic and professional pursuits?
Kellenberg instilled in me a dedication to help and serve others. This foundation absolutely helped prepare me for my role as a pediatric speech language pathologist. While at Kellenberg, I was a member of the big brother/big sister program and retreat staff. I found it incredibly rewarding to support the younger students and act as a mentor to them.
Do you have any advice for current students or young alumni who are interested in pursuing a career in speech pathology?
Go for it! This field is truly so fulfilling. You can work with individuals across the lifespan and focus your expertise in many different areas. Speech pathologists work in a variety of settings: schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, private practice, home health agencies, and more. It is also a profession that can move with you wherever you go, allowing for future flexibility in life.
Over the course of my career, I have worked in private schools, and hospitals, and I now own a private practice called SpeechRise. At SpeechRise, we provide home-based speech, language, and feeding services to children in need across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau County, the Hamptons, and the North Fork. I now have a team of speech language pathologists that work under the SpeechRise umbrella, and we continue to grow each year! One of our clinicians, Maura Collins, is a fellow Kellenberg alum, class of 2014!
Do you have any favorite teachers, coaches, or club moderators from your time at Kellenberg Memorial?
Mrs. Jenn (Marr) Mulligan ’96 was one of my favorite teachers and coaches while at Kellenberg. She was always there to talk, helped me with my college search, and was both my soccer and basketball coach. Thanks to social media, we are able to stay in touch 15 years later!