Thank you cards cover a bulletin board in Dr. Gilson Capilouto's office. The handwritten notes are filled with words like “mentor,” “challenging,” and “life-changing.” And although each of the notes comes from a different hand, each reflects her dedication to her students and profession.
Early this year, Dr. Capilouto made a planned gift to the UK College of Health Sciences to create a scholarship for undergraduate students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program. Generations of students will continue to benefit from her support and generations of students will continue to appreciate her.
Dr. Capilouto is a faculty member in the UK College of Health Sciences Communication Sciences and Disorders program, a researcher, and a practicing clinician. "I have been so fortunate in having selected a profession that I love and that has been so rewarding," she says. She started college as a music major but ironically changed course because she thought teaching might be her only option with that degree. She decided to become a speech-language pathologist instead and never looked back. After working for 20 years as a clinician, she was recruited by a University to teach. During that time, she decided to pursue a Ph.D., commuting to the University of South Carolina while continuing to work full time. Her faculty mentor recognized the value of her research work and urged her to consider accepting a position at a Research I university. She agreed and joined the University of Kentucky.
Dr. Capilouto has spent much of her career working with people who struggle with communication disorders. Her first position as a speech-language pathologist was with a community speech and hearing center that provided speech pathology services to Head Start Centers in South Carolina's Barrier Islands. There she worked with students with significant speech and language disabilities. As a clinician, she also worked with children with significant developmental delays. Since arriving at CHS, she has continued to work with children with speech and language delays and has also expanded her skills to help patients primarily in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
As a faculty member, she often sees her own students in need. She has provided much-needed support to full-time graduate students through funded grants and more recently worked with a student who was trying to balance his meager budget to accommodate books and groceries. The scholarship she created will one day help students in positions like these.
The creation of the scholarship comes from her heart much in the same way as her clinical work. "I want to help those who have gifts that would go unnoticed because of their disadvantages,” Capilouto said. “I want this scholarship to help those students who might go unnoticed because they were not in a position to shine. Maybe they had to work through high school and so weren’t able to be as competitive for college but they have so much to give. I hope the students I help will have the chance to be counted among the best and brightest."