Future pediatric audiologist Brandon Alpers keeps the Hawkeye Marching Band and his knack for leadership in precise formation

Story & photo: Julie Ostrem

There is a whole lot of leadership packed into this slight and energetic young Speech and Hearing Science undergrad, Brandon Alpers.

First, the most recent news: after a rigorous try-out with six finalists, he was named the new drum major for Iowa’s much-beloved marching band. We – along with thousands of fellow Hawkeye fans – can’t wait to see him in Kinnick Stadium, keeping the marching musicians and tempo in beautiful synchrony.

His leadership doesn’t stop there. He’s also the Hospital Liaison Director for Dance Marathon 31. He and his committee bridge students in the UIowa Dance Marathon with families whose loved one is receiving care at the Stead Family Children's Hospital.

In that role, he gets to enjoy weekly play- and story-time with the children on Level 11 of the Stead Family Pavilion. 

“The kids that I get to play and connect with really put things into perspective,” he said. “It confirms the fact that I want to be a pediatric audiologist to be a friendly face for families to turn to when they have questions or need counseling.”

This Cottage Grove, MN, native grew to love the Hawkeye Nation as a pre-teen, when his own audiologist recommended he satisfy his curiosity with hearing science at the University of Iowa. 

“I only applied to Iowa because I've always known that I wanted to be a Hawkeye,” he recalls.  “Throughout high school, I visited campus numerous times and felt at home in Iowa City. After attending many Hawkeye football games, I fell in love with the Hawkeye Marching Band, and my decision to come to Iowa became very easy.”

Following successful completion of his undergraduate degree, he’ll apply to a graduate program to fulfill the necessary educational requirement to become a Doctor of Audiology (AuD).

“My dream job is to be a pediatric audiologist in a children's hospital. I want to be involved in the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) process, counseling parents of infants who are born with hearing loss and empower those families by building lasting connections,” he said.

Oh, did we mention he’s also an honors student with frequent appearances on UIowa's Dean’s and President’s Academic Lists? 

Currently, he’s piloting a new program for fellow undergraduates to add clinical experiences – in addition to observations only -- for the in-house Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing training clinic. He’s tackling that project with Clinical Assistant Professor Kellsie Busho.  

“This semester, Brandon took an independent study to gain hands-on experience working with patients in our clinic, and he’s rocking it!” Busho says.

Keep in mind he’s juggling these many responsibilities in addition to writing his honors thesis about unilateral hearing loss and pediatric hearing aid users with Busho and Associate Professor Elizabeth Walker, Director of the Pediatric Audiology Lab.

With UIowa’s educational preparation under his belt, and the leadership know-how he’s gaining, is there any doubt this young man will not only accomplish his career goals, but lead the profession of Audiology?

We're happy you've chosen to be a Hawkeye, Brandon Alpers!

“I only applied to Iowa because 
I've always known that I wanted to be a Hawkeye.

After attending many Hawkeye football games, I fell in love with the Hawkeye Marching Band, and my decision to come to Iowa became very easy.”