Department News, Fall 2020

Message From the Chair


Shelley Brundage



Greetings and welcome to our fall 2020 newsletter! I hope this email finds you and those you care about safe and healthy. It has been a challenging year, full of loss and resilience. We are living through two epidemics in our country: systemic racism and COVID-19. We have begun the process of addressing systemic racism by developing a statement on anti-racism and I look forward to continuing departmental conversations this fall about anti-racism and what actions we can take to reduce racism in our community.

The department and GW adopted a remote learning model for fall semester in response to COVID-19. Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences (SLHS)  faculty and clinical educators have been busy this summer applying best practices for remote teaching and learning to their classes and clinical tracks. I think students and faculty alike miss the personal engagement that we had in the department, clinic and classes, but I’ve been extremely impressed with everyone’s willingness to forge ahead and try new methods for research, teaching, clinical work and social engagement.

I will miss seeing all of you at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention! Remember that the department is always interested in securing new externship sites, so if you are wondering about being an externship mentor, please let us know! Until we see each other again, please remain safe and well!

Dr. Shelley Brundage

Department Chair

Department Headlines

Department Anti-Racism Statement



Be the change poster with hands protruding from the bottom

Our department is committed to ‘Be the Change.’

The Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences is in solidarity with all Black people, Indigenous people and other People of Color, as well as others who have been marginalized for far too long. We recognize our position of privilege and affirm our commitment to combat systemic racism, discrimination and injustice within the academy and the communication disorders professions. 

We commit to doing the work to dismantle and eradicate racism, bigotry and hatred of all kinds through research, education and engagement with our broader community. We continue to value linguistic diversity and strive to empower all people to develop their communication to the fullest potential.

We strive to find new ways to establish equity, challenge systemic oppression and continually educate ourselves to produce an anti-racist community. It is by our actions that we ultimately affect the world. As activist Angela Davis once said, “In a racist society, it’s not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

Welcome New Faculty Member, Dr. Mackenzie Fama



McKenzie Fama

Dr. Mackenzie Fama

Mackenzie Fama is a new faculty member in the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences. She holds a PhD in neuroscience from Georgetown University. She comes to GW from Towson University, where she was an assistant professor of speech-language pathology. As a licensed speech-language pathologist, she has worked in Washington, D.C., area clinical settings including the Stroke Comeback Center and the MedStar National Rehabilitation Network. Her work has been published in, among other journals, the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Cerebral Cortex and Consciousness and Cognition. She serves as a mentor for the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s “Student to Empowered Professional” (STEP) Program.

Research Spotlight: Dr. Lynne E. Bernstein



Dr. Lynne E. Bernstein conducts speech recognition training for adults with hearing loss

Dr. Lynne E. Bernstein conducts speech recognition training for adults with hearing loss

Professor of Speech and Hearing Science Lynne E. Bernstein is the principal investigator on two NIH-funded projects that are focused on speech recognition training for adults with hearing loss. Both projects are designed for to participants can carry out training at home via their computer. Both are also based on years of research on visual (lipreading) and audiovisual spoken language processing by Bernstein and her colleagues Edward T. Auer and Silvio P. Eberhardt.

Their work shows that the combination of seeing and hearing someone talking powerfully improves speech recognition in noise. However, the advantage of combining modalities is highly dependent on lipreading ability, and adults who have experienced normal hearing during most of their lives are typically poor lip readers. So in the current phase of their research, they are developing effective paradigms for lipreading and audiovisual speech recognition training. They welcome inquiries about enrolling in their studies or using their online materials for teaching.

Dr. Bernstein and her colleagues have recently developed a proposal to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to realize bilingual speech recognition materials targeted for the large population of Hispanic adults in the United States. This group experiences significant hearing health care disparities. She and her colleagues have developed a wide network of partners and collaborators for this project and hope that it can be launched in 2021. They also welcome inquiries about this project.

Department Kudos

Sarah Hine and a team of graduate researchers are using their own experiences with vulnerable populations to guide speech pathology protocols. Her research was featured in CCAS Spotlight

Our MA-SLP program ranked 32nd out of 261 SLP programs by US News and World Report. We moved up from 39th last year!

The GW National Student Speech Language Hearing Association earned Bronze Chapter Honors and helped to increase awareness of communication sciences and disorders (CSD) on more than 110 local college campuses and communities across the country, increase advocacy efforts by sending more than 15,500 letters to state and federal legislators and provide scholarships to students in CSD programs by contributing more than $15,000 to the ASH Foundation’s NSSLHA Scholarship.

The department awarded 2019-2020 undergraduate and graduate students who excelled in speech-language pathology with the following honors:

  • The James W. Hillis Undergraduate Student Leadership Award: Jeanne Franchesca Dela Cruz, Briana Pinto and Mikaela Stine
  • The Diane Brewer Leadership Award: Sara Kalyan and Sarah Hine
  • The Craig Linebaugh Award for Service: Riley Ritchie and Imani Clemons

Professor Michael J. Bamdad was elected president of the Council on Academic Programs in Communication Science Disorders.

 Last fall, Adrienne Hancock and Linda Siegfriedt published Transforming Voice and Communication with Transgender and Gender-Diverse People: An Evidence-Based Process (Plural Pub Inc.)

Graduate student Karla Armendáriz is the first recipient of the District of Columbia Speech-Language-Hearing Association (DCSHA) Scholarship. She will act as liaison between GW and DCSHA.

Clinical Supervisor Kari Lim hosted a successful social media effort, “Community COVID Conversations,” which interviewed multiple SLPs and SLP students from the globe asking how COVID-19 has impacted speech-language pathology.

Class Notes

Judy Cicale, MA ’77, retired in January 2020, after working as a field training audiologist for ReSound for 14 years.

Carly Donnelly, BA ’09, is currently working for a private clinic, focusing on play therapy with complicated cases and a behavior in home organization working with children on the spectrum. She is testing to become a BCBA.

Alison Dundore, BA ’17, MA ’19, is practicing teletherapy during distance learning for an elementary school in Bakersfield, Calif.

Victoria Gasiorowski, MA ’20, is a speech-language pathologist at Cherrydale Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Suzanne Noonan, MA ’94, has owned a private audiology practice in Wheaton and Rockville, Md., since 1996. 

Mara Steinberg Lowe, BA, BS ’07, began an assistant professorship at CUNY Queens College this fall. She received her PhD in communicative sciences and disorders from New York University in 2020. 

Melissa Wexler Gurfein, BA ’91, is a practicing pediatric speech-language pathologist in private practice in New York City.  She conducts evaluations and treats children with a variety of communication disorders.

Kara Zorkers, MA ’14, is approaching her fifth year as an SLP in a subacute rehab facility south of Boston. 

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, 2019 – June 30, 2020.

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

Melissa Bloomer, MA ’05

William Blumberg, BBA ’71, MBA ’75

Virginia Bridges, BA ’63

Alicia Dillingham, MA ’05

Debra Gagliano, BA ’02

Melanie Hudson, MA ’78

Rebecca Katz, BA ’15

Nancy Lucas, MA ’77

Fabiola Peredo, BA ’07

Bethany Perez, BA ’18

Kristen Remers, MS ’86

Kathryn Roessler, MA ’07

William Rosenthal, MA ’66

Adrienne Schlossberg, BA ’65

Michele Shields, MA ’76

Kristen Stricks, MA ’08

Cynthia Weitz, MA ’73