Department News, Fall 2019

Message From the Chair



Department Chair Shelley Brundage


Hello dear alumni and friends! 

Welcome to our department newsletter where you can find all sorts of interesting information. Here are some highlights.

First, the department has a new name. We are now officially the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS). We are busy educating everyone on campus about this change, so make sure you tell your friends, neighbors and everyone else. Help us get the word out!

Our faculty continue to publish (38 publications this year) and get federal funding for their research. Highlights in this area include Dr. Malathi Thothathiri’s “Cognitive Control and Sentence Processing in Aphasia” grant, which was funded by the NIH R01 mechanism, and Dr. Lynne Bernstein’s “Visual Speech Perception Training to Ameliorate Hearing Difficulties in Older Adults” grant, which was funded by the NIH Small Business grant mechanism.

On the MA program front, we graduated our first large cohort of 62 students in 2019 with a 100 percent completion rate. These students had many successful interactions with our alumni during their time with us. Please join us in welcoming them into the profession.

Our undergraduate major also continues to grow. A new undergraduate neuroscience major began at GW this year and our department is an integral part of this interdisciplinary major.

Our departmental outreach and study abroad programs also were active this year. We have many off-campus clinical learning opportunities for students (and are always looking for more—please let us know if you have ideas). 

For the more adventuresome, the department was able to offer two trips abroad. In March, Dr. Cynthia Core and Professor Kari Comer took a group of students to Querétaro, Mexico. In May, Dr. James Mahshie and Professors Michael Bamdad and Laura Barrett took a group of students to China and visited Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing. During both trips, the students participated in clinical information-sharing, were immersed in cultures different from their own, and took Chinese language and Spanish language classes that focused on using the language for professional use. They even worked in a bit of sightseeing!

Finally, there was one other change in the department. Dr. James Mahshie stepped down after nine years as department chair and I assumed the role as of July 1. Please join me in thanking Dr. Mahshie for his stewardship of the department and also congratulate him on surviving nine years in administration!

Shelley Brundage

Department Chair

Department Headlines

GW Speech-Language Pathology Abroad



GW students visit the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at The Affiliated Sir Run Run Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.

GW students visit the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at The Affiliated Sir Run Run Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China

We had two opportunities for students to study abroad this year, learning about speech-language pathology around the world and providing services for clients.

In March, Dr. Cynthia Core and Professor Kari Comer took students to Querétaro, Mexico. The group toured facilities, met with faculty and practitioners at universities and even took a few Spanish lessons. 

The students wrote: “In our spare moments, we have taken the time to dissect our experiences in terms of what we can bring back to practice as speech-language pathologists. During our site visits, we have been impressed by the flexibility and compassion demonstrated by the individuals who provide speech and language services. While the field of speech-language pathology is not well-known in Mexico, all the providers with whom we’ve interacted have been passionate in their efforts to provide the best services possible. Many parents travel long distances to access services and are not able to come to clinics frequently or regularly. Because of this, therapists have to be extremely flexible in how they administer treatment. Some therapists film therapeutic exercises, provide parent training, create manuals and otherwise arrive at creative solutions to accommodate a variety of family situations. This flexibility is something that we hope to bring back and apply in our practice as clinicians.”

In May, Dr. James Mahshie and Professors Michael Bamdad and Laura Barrett took students to three cities in China. They visited cultural sites, as well as hospitals and facilities to provide training and learn about speech therapy in China. They also visited the joint lab with GW at Nanjing Normal University. At the end of their trip, the students wrote: “In reality, language is a universal human phenomenon, and it is important as speech language pathologists that we are willing to go beyond the borders to help bring about positive change. This change can be a simple exchange of ideas, or it can be collaboration to develop assessments and interventions that are culture-specific. Whatever it may be, speech-language pathologists are needed all around the world and often play important roles in multidisciplinary teams.”

Finding Answers to Aphasia



Malathi Thothathiri (center) with student researchers Maria Braiuca (left) and Kasey Lerner (right)

Malathi Thothathiri (center) with student researchers Maria Braiuca (left) and Kasey Lerner (right)

People with aphasia can feel like they are prisoners within their own brains, unable to communicate with the rest of the world. Malathi Thothathiri and her students are working toward a better understanding of the neurological disorder. Their work was profiled in the CCAS Spotlight newsmagazine.


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Department Kudos

Drs. Francys Subiaul, Greg Wallace and Cynthia Core received a funded translation grant from Children’s National Medical Center to develop an automated social cognitive imitation screener for Infants with Autism.

Dr. Adrienne Hancock & Professor Linda Siegfriedt published a book titled Transforming Voice and Communication With Transgender and Gender-diverse People: An Evidence-based Process.

Sylvia Campbell and three of our second-year students—Jenna Wiederhold, Clare Weingarz and Kimberly Wood—participated in a mission over spring break with the Guatemalan Cleft Palate Team for Hearts in Motion.

Professors Kari Comer and Andy Clare made a presentation at the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics in Taipei, Taiwan, titled "It Takes a Village: Three key strategies for successfully managing community-based externship experiences."

Graduate student Sarah Hine participated in a webinar panel on trauma-informed health care. She writes: “Before attending graduate school I worked with an organization in India whose mission was to rehabilitate survivors of sex trafficking through holistic care. These young women came to our after-care homes having endured countless days of prolonged abuse at the hands of their oppressors. I observed how impacted their communication was by their trauma and conversely, how transformed they were by re-learning how to communicate in their native language and in English. This re-ignited my love for communication and pushed me to apply for admission into GW's Speech-Language Pathology Program. I'm not sure what the future holds but I'm hoping to continue empowering survivors of trauma so that they can find and use their voice.”

Two of our students successfully defend master’s theses. Kelly Sharer defended her thesis titled, “Syntactic adaptation following short-term experience: Neural Correlates and Relationship to Cognitive Control” under the direction of Dr. Thothathiri. And Julie Goldberg defended her thesis titled, "Lie to me: Does training improve social deception detection abilities in neurotypical adults?" under the direction of Dr. Brundage and Professor Bamdad.

Genesis Felizola presented her poster “The Experiences of Hispanic Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Regarding Physical Activity and Communication” at the New York State Speech-Language Hearing Association Convention.

Graduate students Kiley Nolan and Izzi Nejedlik presented their poster “Creatively Addressing Individual Goals with Multiple Modalities in Aphasia Group” at the Speech and Hearing Association of Virginia in Richmond, Va.

Class Notes

Karen Blomberg, MA ’81, is a clinical speech language pathologist, working with adult onset neurological disorders at a skilled nursing facility in Rockville, Md.

Gloria Burney, BA ’51, was a speech & language therapist in the Simi Valley Unified School District in California and retired in 1958. She now volunteers for her local public library’s literacy program working with adult immigrants.

Linda Carpenter, BA ’69, retired in 2009 as a full professor from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire. 

Alison Dundore, BA ’17, MA ’19, moved to Bakersfield, Calif., to start her Clinical Fellowship in Speech Language Pathology in private practice.

Maria Josefina Fernandez, MA ’13 is a pediatric speech-language pathologist at the Kennedy Krieger School's Fairmount campus in Baltimore, Md. She works primarily with early communicators with autism spectrum disorder.

Melanie Hudson, MA ’78, was appointed to the University of St. Augustine Advisory Council for MS-SLP program. She was also awarded the Distinguished Fellow of National Academies of Practice, class of 2019.

Linda Lee, MA ’85, recently retired after working as a speech pathologist for Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia, for 32 years. She is enjoying her mountain home with her husband in the Shenandoah Valley, traveling and visiting her sons in college.

Nicole Meaglia, MA ’18, completed her CFY in Winchester, Va. She is now a SLP in private practice in Monterey, Calif.

Terry Perl, BA ‘67, MA ’72, spent more than 40 years as the CEO of an international nonprofit organization supporting tens of thousands of people with disabilities. He retired in 2011 and now volunteers in Tucson, Ariz., where he lives with his wife, Martha, and three large poodles.

Margaret Puryear, MA ’87, has worked at Brookside Elementary School in Oak Park, Calif, for 15 years.

Chiara Scarpelli, BA ’14, recently relocated to San Francisco, Calif., where she is a speech-language pathologist at UCSF Children's Hospital. She specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children who are deaf/hard of hearing and is a member of the cochlear implant team.

Jaryl Sciarappa, BA ‘83, MA ‘85, is a speech language pathologist currently joining her colleagues at Fox Rehabilitation in the fight against ageism, helping reducing catastrophic events and hospitalizations among the elderly.

Rene Utianski, BA ’08, is an assistant professor of neurology and speech pathology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She recently edited a book with Plural Publishers, titled Primary Progressive Aphasia and Other Frontotemporal Dementias.

Melissa Wexler, BA ’91, is a speech-language pathologist in private practice in New York City, specializing in child speech, language and communication disorders.

Donor Recognition

The Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Department would like to gratefully acknowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the department from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019.

+ Faculty/Staff | # Parent | ~ Student | * Friend

Erica Altman, BA ’12

Melissa Bloomer, MA ’05

William Blumberg, BBA ’71, MBA ’75

Virginia Bridges, BA ’63

Shelley Brundage +

Dennis Ciemniecki #

Ida Ciemniecki #

Johnetta Davis, MA ’69

Francisco Dela Cruz #

Jeanifer Dela Cruz #

Annette Duffy +

Debra Gagliano, BA ’02

Valeria Gary, MA ’90

Janet Gritz, BA ’65, MA ’66

Melanie Wood Hudson, MA ’78

Lauren Anne Johnson, MA ’90

Rebecca Katz, BA ’15

Sarah Kugelman, MA ’03

Annette Lint, MA ’89

Monica Nadeau, BA ’19

Bethany Perez, BA  ’18

Joan Roddy Regnell, BA ’54, MA ’60

Kristen Remers *

William Rosenthal, MA ’66

Maria Roumel, BA ’68, MA ’70

Adrienne Schlossberg, BA ’65

Michele Shields, MA ’76

Cynthia Weitz, MA ’73