2021 Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Newsletter


Message from the Chair

Department Chair Shelley Brundage

Hello everyone!

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long strange year it’s been. Last year as I wrote this column, we were tucking into what would become a full academic year of successful remote learning. We all learned new skills as we worked to engage students online. In the clinic, our students and clinical educators provided successful and effective treatment via telepractice.

In addition to providing outstanding online mentorship, our faculty continued to be busy with their collaborative and interdisciplinary research. Their work was published in prestigious journals, which you can read more about in the Faculty Kudos section of our newsletter.

As we begin the fall semester back in-person, we are looking forward to getting our research back up and running on campus and in the local community.

Be well, and keep in touch! We’d love to hear from you.

Shelley B. Brundage, PhD, CCC, BCS-F, Fellow-ASHA 
Department Chair 


Department Spotlights 

New Bachelor of Science Degree in the Cognitive Science of Language

Francys Subiaul
Francys Subiaul

The Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science of Language, CogSci-Language, is the newest degree program offered by the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Dr. Francys Subiaul organized and led the creation of this new program. CogSci-Language, also known as psycholinguistics, is the study of the interplay between language and the psychological/brain processes supporting it. 

Majors will learn to use scientific thinking and research skills to generate hypotheses and test predictions about communication and language use, ranging from social (media) habits to individual differences in communication and language impairments. This curriculum combines well with GW’s minor in Data Science and/or certificate in Digital Technology. Graduates will have a desirable set of highly marketable scientific and research skills including: research methods, data analysis and processing, science communication, as well as focal knowledge in linguistics, neurosciences, psycholinguistics and communication disorders. 

NSSLHA Gold Award for Undergraduate Programs

The 2020-21 NSSLHA officers
Senior officers of the 2020-21 NSSLHA

Our GW National Student Speech, Language, Hearing Association (NSSLHA) group was awarded the NSSLHA Gold Award this past year. NSSLHA is the only national student organization for pre-professionals studying communication sciences and disorders recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. National NSSLHA Chapter Honors are awarded to affiliated NSSLHA chapters that demonstrate an outstanding effort to support National NSSLHA's mission to inspire, empower and support students in communication sciences and disorders programs.

Established in 1972, National NSSLHA is headquartered in Rockville, Md., and supports 11,700+ members and 340+ chapters at colleges and universities nationwide. Professor Melanie-Joy Dorn is the faculty advisor for this group. Undergraduate and graduate students worked together during the remote learning period to maintain a community of support for all students. Check out more information and follow them on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Alumni Class Notes


  • Emily Corbett, BA ’15, MA ’18, runs her own therapy agency, Empower Therapy Group. Her practice provides speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, developmental specialty services and vision services to children in the Northern Virginia area.
  • Kate Curcio, BA ’05, is working on her clinical doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology from Northwestern University. She is practicing SLP in a public high school in Connecticut, while also leading as the vice president of her local teachers' union.
  • Melanie-Joy Dorn, MA ’91, is back at GW teaching undergraduate and graduate students in the Speech Language and Hearing Sciences Department. Prior, she was in hospital settings in Maryland and Virginia.
  • Genesis Felizola, MA ’20, is an independent contractor, SLP, for the pediatric population. She also has set up her own LLC, Happy Wave Therapy, and hopes to build it up so she can have her own clinic.
  • Sabra Gelfond, MA ’85, MA ’88, is the executive director of National Therapy Center (NTC), a pediatric practice that offers speech, OT, PT and autism services, specifically applied behavior analysis. NTC has multiple locations throughout the DMV area and loves GW interns!
  • Beth Murgitroyd, MA ’00, lives in Raleigh, N.C., and works in the mental health field as an outreach specialist for HopeWay in Charlotte, N.C. She enjoys connecting with SLP colleagues, particularly through philanthropic support of the NC Triangle Aphasia Project.
  • Jenna Neckritz, MA ’17, has recently returned to the D.C. area and is excited to be working in both the Johns Hopkins and Inova hospital networks. 
  • Cory Whelan, BA ’08, MA ’10, is the executive director at TACT, an agency in Massachusetts that provides ABA services to children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. He lives outside of Boston with his wife, Lauren, BA '09 and their son, Leo.
  • Jenna Wiederhold, MA ’19, works for KIPP DC for grades 1-8.


Faculty Kudos

  • Many faculty members have been published in prestigious journals since our last newsletter, including: Lynne Bernstein in Ear and Hearing, Cynthia Core in Child Development, Mackenzie Fama and Malathi Thothathiri in Neurobiology of Language, James Mahshie in the Oxford Handbook of Language, Francys Subiaul in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Geralyn Schulz in Brain Science, Greg Wallace in Autism and Shelley Brundage in the most recent edition of the Handbook on Stuttering.
  • Michael Bamdad has been elected as president of the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
  • Clinical supervisor Laura Barrett organized a clinical partnership with Therapy Abroad to provide teletherapy to children with special needs in Belize.
  • New faculty member Mackenzie Fama published two peer-reviewed journal articles: Fama, M. E., Levinson, G., and Lemonds, E. (2021). “The subjective experience of word-finding difficulties in people with aphasia: A thematic analysis of interview data.” American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology: Selected papers from the 50th annual Clinical Aphasiology Conference. Advance online publication. Fama, M. E., Hatfield, B., Coyle, S., Richman, M. S., and Georgeadis, A. C. (2021). “The Impact of the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis on Communication and Quality of Life: Insights from a community of stroke and brain trauma survivors.” American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication.
  • Clinical supervisor Kari Lim was asked to record a presentation for the CE platform SpeechTherapyPD.Com. The presentation is titled “The Role of SLPs in Accent Modification.”
  • Adrienne Hancock and clinical supervisor Linda Siegfriedt are chairing a discussion on the "Voice and Upper Airway Issues Programming Committee." The discussion will feature Siegfriedt alongside Assistant Professor Melanie Dorn and recent graduate Zoe Weinstein, MA ’21.
  • The Bernstein Lab is carrying out NIH/NIDCD-supported research on lipreading training for older adults with hearing loss. The goal of the training is not only to improve silent lipreading, but perhaps more importantly to improve audiovisual speech recognition in noisy social settings. Noise is a serious problem for older adults and one that often limits their social activities. Please contact Edward T. Auer ([email protected]) if you or someone you know is interested in participating.
  • Geralyn Schulz co-authored the publication “Single Word Intelligibility of Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease in Noise: Pre-Specified Secondary Outcome Variables from a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) Comparing Two Intensive Speech Treatments (LSVT LOUD vs. LSVT ARTIC).” Schulz, G., Halpern, A., Spielman, J., Ramig, L., Panzer, I., Sharpley, A., & Freeman, K. (2021). Brain Sciences, 11(7), 857. MDPI AG.
  • Francys Subiaul received a grant from CCAS to gather online pilot data on an automated assessment of social and executive learning.
  • Malathi Thothathiri gave a virtual talk on sentence production at the 11th International Conference on Construction Grammar in Antwerp, Belgium, in August 2021. She also gave a virtual colloquium talk on sentence comprehension in people with aphasia at New York University.
  • Clinical supervisor Linda Siegdfiedt and Sylvia Campbell retired this year. The department wishes them the best on their next endeavors!
  • Laura Barrett and Kari Lim will be presenting a webinar on Supervision for SpeechPathologyPD in December 2021.

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