Faculty and Alumni Spotlights

Past Faculty Spotlights

Amy Hammond has worked as an adjunct clinical supervisor in the COSD program for 7 years. She attended the University of Tennessee for her undergraduate career and graduated with her M.S. in 2002 from Western Kentucky University. She first worked with children and adults at a private practice that had contracts with hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies. She later worked with children in an outpatient setting and eventually found herself working for Pulaski County Schools. Working in the school system was one of the best decisions she ever made where she had the opportunity to treat and diagnose children of all ages. She enjoys seeing the “lightbulb” moment that kids have when they get something right for the first time and finds it rewarding when kids are having fun in speech therapy without realizing that they’re working towards a goal. In our clinic, Amy knows how nervous grad students can be when working with patients and strives to help them feel comfortable and confident in their learning process. During her free time, Amy loves reading, traveling, painting, and being with family and friends.

Current 2nd year Sara Bobbitt is currently working with Ms. Hammond in the field and she had this to say: “Ms. Hammond has been an amazing clinical supervisor. I have learned so much from her! She is always available to answer questions and has a super go with the flow attitude. She has worked so hard through this COVID craziness to help me feel competent and get my clock hours.”

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Amy Hammond

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Dr. Abdelaziz went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. She worked as a bilingual, school-based SLP for 6 years with students from pre-K to 8th grade. Middle school is her favorite age-range to treat. She also worked in early intervention for a few summers after completing her clinical fellowship.

She is a new faculty member in COSD and said she was “excited about coming to Radford for a few reasons. The biggest reason (and why I would recommend our COSD program to anyone) is because of the sense of community within the department, especially between the faculty and students!” When asked what she enjoys the most about being a SLP, she said: “The relationships I make with my clients and their families is so meaningful to me. I still keep up with some of my old clients and their families in North Carolina!”

In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family watching movies, playing board games, and trying out new gluten-free recipes!

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Dr. Mariam Abdelaziz

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Rebecca Epperly is the current clinical director for the COSD program. She graduated from Radford with a degree in recreational therapy in 1995. She worked in rehab for a few years and received her master’s in COSD from East Tennessee State University in 2000. Rebecca has extensive experience working with traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She additionally gained experience working in early intervention and in schools. Before coming to Radford, Rebecca previously worked at UVA children’s hospital treating children with TBIs. When asked with she enjoys the most about being a speech-language pathologist, Rebecca stated that the most fulfilling part is being able to improve someone’s quality of life through communication, swallowing, and cognition. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys backpacking, hiking, gardening, knitting and sewing. However, her favorite time is spent with her family and two children. She enjoys supporting her children at their school-sponsored events. 

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Rebecca Epperly

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Dr. Lenhart is an instructor in the COSD department. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from UVA in 2012 and received her master’s degree from JMU in 2015. She will receive her PhD from JMU in May 2021. She has experience in many settings and populations such as: skilled nursing, preschool, school-age, and young adults. She has worked with patients who have had multiple disabilities, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, speech sound disorders, emotional behavioral disorders, and developmental language disorders. When asked about the thing that she finds the most fulfilling about being an SLP, Dr. Lenhart stated that she enjoys being in a helping profession where she feels like she makes a positive impact on someone at the end of the day. She also finds the variety of potential settings and medical conditions to work with as a major plus. She enjoys watching sports, spending time with her son, and watching tv shows such as Survivor. She additionally plays fantasy sports and enjoyed attending sporting events before COVID-19. 

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Dr. Michelle Lenhart

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Amy Kageals received her associate’s degree from Virginia Western Community College. She studied communication sciences and disorders at James Madison University (bachelor’s degree) and earned her master’s degree from Radford University in 2000. She recently earned a Doctorate of Health Sciences with a concentration in healthcare leadership through Radford University Carilion (2020).  She has worked as an SLP in many settings including the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), pediatric floor, early intervention, outpatient, radiology, craniofacial clinic, feeding clinic, and well born nursery. She has a specialty in pediatric dysphagia and was asked to co-teach the graduate dysphagia course with Terri Shelor in the Spring 2021 semester. Amy said she loved working one on one with the students during their final oral exam and looks forward to engaging with students more in-person in the future. She is currently a director at Carilion Children’s supporting the pediatric primary care sites, the child development clinic, the pediatric behavioral health department, ambulatory social workers, and the pediatric inpatient and outpatient therapy teams. She is an advocate for student learning. She has had many students shadow her in the NICU and has supported student externships within her leadership role at Carilion Children’s. She also is an instructor at Virginia Tech Carilion and supports medical students/residents and provides lectures.  She has a fabulous husband, 2 kids (14-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son) and 3 dogs. In her free time, she loves Zumba and outdoor activities.

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Alumna and Adjunct Instructor Amy Kageals '00

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Dr. Chia-Ming (Abel) Lei received his bachelor's degree in Foreign Languages and Literature from the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan. From there he moved to the United States and received his master’s degree at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. He lived in Boston for 7 years and worked as an SLP in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) with an additional transit care unit for sub-acute rehabilitation. Later, while pursuing his doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh for (another) 7 years, he worked as a per diem SLP in a SNF, equipped with a memory care unit. Most recently, Dr. Lei worked as a research coordinator at Baylor College of Medicine on projects investigating patients’ language during the acute onset of strokes. Dr. Lei has been accumulating experience and knowledge clinically in the area of acquired neurogenic communication disorders, and research wise in the field of hemispheric specialties in language processing. When asked what he enjoys most about being an SLP, he said he values seeing his clients and building connections. He also values being able to support clients through difficult and frustrating times in their lives. He is proud of this career which applies science to bridge communication gaps.

Dr. Lei is new to COSD faculty and to education. However, he has always been planning to become an educator which was the main push for him to pursue his Ph.D. He appreciates that Radford is giving him the opportunity to fulfill this goal.  Dr. Lei said he chose Radford because in addition to the beautiful scenery, our program is complete and comprehensive with the undergraduate, graduate (including routes for either master of arts or science), and leveling programs for those without an undergraduate SLP background. On top of that, Radford has an on-campus clinic providing SLP services to the community and learning environment for the students.

In his free time, he enjoys running, yoga, growing orchids, and is picking up meditation. He is also excited to experience more of the outdoor activities the NRV has to offer. 

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Dr. Chia-Ming (Abel) Lei

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Dr. Lauren Flora is the Graduate Program Coordinator for the COSD department, is in her 14th year of teaching at RU and is a self-identified “ear nerd.” She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Mary Washington in English and Linguistics, then went on to get her Ph.D. and Au.D. at East Carolina University. Dr. Flora recently received the 2022 Award for Faculty Excellence in Honors for outstanding work as a teacher and mentor to students in the Honors College. As a professor, she enjoys “converting students to audiology” because it means she was able to open them up to a new field and help them find a love for audiology. Even if she can’t recruit more “ear nerds,” she loves connecting with students and seeing them continually succeed long after leaving the COSD program. As an audiologist, she loves problem-solving with clients to modify their communication habits, reduce stress, and adjust to their diagnosis of hearing loss.

In her free time, Dr. Flora enjoys working out and being outside with her kids, whether they’re camping or just taking a walk around the neighborhood. She also loves to read cheesy books as a quick break from reality. 

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Dr. Lauren Flora

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Dr. Keith Gentry is a professor in Radford University's Masters in Occupational Therapy (MOT) program. He has worked in the OT program for 10 years and has been an OT for 24 years. He also works as needed for Lewis Gale Medical Center, providing evaluations of functional visual skills for clients post-stroke. As a professor, Dr. Gentry teaches a series of courses on research and neuroanatomy, which led him to his invaluable collaboration with the COSD department. He provides OT services to clients receiving speech and language services with Radford University’s Brain Injury (RUBI) Program.

When asked about his collaboration with the COSD department, Dr. Gentry said, ”take every opportunity to collaborate! Every discipline and individual provider has something unique to offer. That is a beautiful thing! They say that ‘no man is an island, and that is true! When we collaborate, we grow (personally and professionally) and develop a new appreciation of others. But, beyond the benefits to our own growth, ultimately (and this is the real reason for everything that we do), our patients receive the benefit of care team collaboration by having the best of all disciplines working together with a common goal of supporting them on their rehabilitation journey!”

Dr. Gentry loves being an OT and partnering with clients to help them return to things that are most meaningful to them. This dedication has led him to researching during his free time (a self-proclaimed “nerdy” hobby) to answer some of the unanswered questions in his field. He also enjoys binging shows with his wife, daughters, and their “chorkie,” Bailey. 

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Dr. Keith Gentry

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Holly Neal Whorley is the Senior Fiscal Tech and Office Manager for the Radford University Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic in the COSD Department. She graduated from New River Community College in 2017 with a degree in Business Management. After graduation, Holly began working at Radford University part-time in Account Services as an Admin and Office Specialist. She became full-time in 2019 working as an Administrative Assistant for the department of Health and Human Performance. In March 2022, Holly began working in her current position in the COSD department. As the Senior Fiscal Tech and Office Manager, Holly’s responsibilities include a number of things, including managing the department and clinic budget accounts, and supervising the front desk student staff members. Holly’s roles also include scheduling clinic, helping with faculty travel plans, and tracking student clock hours in CALIPSO. She states, “The one major thing that stands out to me about the department of COSD is that you get the great feeling of helping the community overcome the different disorders they are being seen for. It is rewarding to get to know and see how clients improve every semester.” In her free time, she loves spending time with her husband, family, and fur babies. Holly is also expecting a little one that is due in April! 

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Holly Neal Whorley

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Dr. Corey Cassidy received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University and Appalachian State University. She earned her PhD in Health Sciences and Healthcare Administration from Touro University.

As an SLP with more than 26 years of experience, Dr. Cassidy has always worked in pediatrics. She first served in public-school systems across multiple states, including North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. Over the past 20+ years, Dr. Cassidy has worked as an SLP in early intervention (EI) and early childhood arenas with infants, toddlers, and families in Idaho, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Virginia, where she joined the Radford University faculty in 2007. As a professor in the COSD Department, her clinical focus continues to be in EI and early childhood.

Dr. Cassidy has also served in several leadership positions over the past decade at Radford University, including Associate Dean of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services, Founding Director of the Center for Interprofessional Education and Practice, and Executive Director of the Academic Success Center, although she is really excited to be back in the Department of COSD this fall, doing what she loves most with faculty, staff, and students!

Dr. Cassidy says what makes Radford so special is that the faculty are encouraged to teach in both the classroom and clinical setting. She states, “We preach what we practice; by doing so, we continue to learn with and from our clients and our students, often as much as they learn from us.” She also appreciates the opportunities to engage in interprofessional practice with colleagues and community members across the disciplines through her clinical work. She loves being able to share the knowledge she has gained through her education and experiences. “Teaching in higher education provides me with the opportunity to do this every day with our students. I love watching students light up when they learn something new!”

When asked what she enjoys the most about being an SLP, Dr. Cassidy says that she loves being able to use her experiences, knowledge, and skills to teach, coach, and empower infants and toddlers to get their needs and wants met, while sharing the strategies she has learned with families to support their children’s development. She enjoys connecting and collaborating with early childhood educators and childcare providers to ensure best practices in natural settings and communicating with colleagues to serve on interprofessional teams to best support the whole child and every child.

In her free time, she loves reading, walking, and spending time with her husband and two school-aged children Auggie and Olive…all of whom get funnier every day!

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Dr. Corey Cassidy

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Dr. Muelenbroek received his bachelor’s at Emerson College, in Boston, Massachusetts, which is only about an hour and a half from where he grew up in New Hampshire. He completed his master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University, and then completed his CCCs at a skilled nursing facility in the Chicago area. He then moved back to Boston to work for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital where he worked for about 5 years full time. His mornings started at the brain injury unit, and his afternoons were spent in the outpatient program where he started an aphasia group and completed outpatient videofluorographic studies.

Dr. Muelenbroek completed his Ph.D. at The University of Wisconsin – Madison where he also worked per diem at University of Wisconsin’s Hospital in Madison. His dissertation work focused on communication in the workplace and the intersection of social communication disorders after brain injury. He completed his postdoc and received a second master’s degree at Northwestern University Medical School. During this time, he created an intervention and an assessment for workplace communication skills.

Dr. Muelenbroek has primarily worked with traumatic brain injuries in the hospital settings but has also worked with all populations in the acute, subacute, outpatient, and skilled nursing settings. He currently runs a lab which continues his work applying sociolinguistics to the assessment and treatment of social communication disorders after brain injury. Additionally, he runs an online brain injury group that meets twice a month. Dr. Muelenbroek encourages that if anyone is interested in any of this work, to reach out to him, as he would love to have students involved with research.

Dr. Muelenbroek says he chose to join Radford University because it was the perfect fit for him and his wife when they were looking for a new place to work. When asked what he likes about the Radford community, Dr. Muelenbroek states that he loves the seriousness of the students. “I also love that they are not shy! They ask questions and that keeps me motivated as an instructor here. Radford’s Brain Injury center, RUBI, is a huge plus for me, as it works with the population I am most passionate about!” he says.

 Dr. Muelenbroek states that what he loves most about being an SLP is the challenges he encounters every day. “There is always something new to learn and no two people are the same even if they have the same disorder. I love that SLPs work closely with their clients and really get to know them well. I love the opportunities to create communities and new relationships” he states.

In his free time, Dr. Muelenbroek enjoys reading books and binge-watching shows. He states that he and his wife are currently enjoying the series “Fargo” on Hulu. He is looking forward to getting back into astronomy while he is here, as the mountains are a great place to go and do some sky watching!

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Dr. Peter Meulenbroek

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Dr. Vrushali Angadi has been a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) since 2004, following the completion of her bachelor's and master's degrees in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology from the National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities in Mumbai, India. Subsequently, she undertook a research fellowship at Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai while concurrently practicing privately. After six years of professional practice in India, she pursued doctoral studies under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Stemple in the United States, earning her PhD in 2016 from the University of Kentucky (UK). Her primary focus at UK when at the UK Voice and Swallow Clinic, was in clinical practice, research and education. Additionally, she served as the clinical education coordinator at UK, contributing to the supervision and development of clinical education programs within the clinic.

Throughout her clinical practice, Dr. Angadi has specialized in assessing and treating patients with a diverse range of disorders affecting voice, resonance, upper airway, and swallowing. She has experience in addressing general voice concerns, professional voice issues, neurogenic voice disorders, as well as those arising following treatment for head and neck cancers, including alaryngeal communication rehabilitation. She has also managed aging voice, pediatric voice, and resonance disorders resulting from craniofacial anomalies. Dr. Angadi has worked extensively with patients with upper airway disorders including but not limited to, Induced Laryngeal Obstruction/Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion and chronic cough.

Dr. Angadi’s research has predominantly centered around patients with head and neck cancers (HNC), with a particular interest in voice rehabilitation post-radiation therapy. Throughout her investigations, particularly within the Appalachian Kentucky population, the challenge of accessibility to essential services such as voice therapy has emerged as a significant barrier. Consequently, she has developed a keen interest in leveraging technology to overcome these obstacles and enhance patient outcomes.  

Having exclusively worked in tertiary care centers, Dr. Angadi has keenly observed the pressing need for specialized services in rural areas. She says that joining RU offers her the opportunity to delve into addressing this need while actively participating in the training of the next generation of SLPs. Dr. Angadi states that during her and her husband’s interview, it was evident that RU was the right place for them. “Now, having been here for over a month, I can confidently say that we are very happy. Our colleagues in the department have been incredibly kind, generous, and knowledgeable. Teaching and getting to know the students has been delightful; I am certain we made the right choice” Dr. Angadi says.

Dr. Angadi says she firmly believes that being an SLP is the best job in the world, which you will often hear her express to her students. “In essence, being in this profession is a privilege—a daily opportunity to care for others during their most challenging moments, celebrate their triumphs, and continuously learn from their experiences” she says.

Before joining RU, Dr. Angadi says that she found great enjoyment in playing badminton at her university club at UK. Beyond badminton, Dr. Angadi finds joy in cooking and entertaining friends and family. Her and her husband Peter also love discovering new restaurants and cuisines, adding to their list of culinary adventures.

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Dr. Angadi

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Past Alumni Spotlights

Shannon is a Radford University alum who graduated with her Master's, in COSD, in 2014. Before coming to Radford, she completed her undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been an SLP for 6 years and is the owner of Speechy Musings. Speechy Musings is a blog and store tailored to helping SLPs be effective clinicians and provides insight for growth in their career. Shannon has had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings throughout her career and she loves the variety. She first worked in a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic and then transitioned into a school setting. She worked with elementary and preschoolers and eventually saw herself working with middle school students. She currently works per diem at a variety of pediatric settings. She enjoys being an SLP because she loves the children she’s been able to work with and enjoys the fast-paced nature of the job. She never finds herself bored and feels like there is always more to learn to continue growing as a professional. In her free time Shannon enjoys being outside and traveling. She hikes several times a week and uses every opportunity she can to travel somewhere new. 

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Shannon Werbeckes '14

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Kelsey Campbell is a Radford University graduate who will be returning to the COSD department this summer as an adjunct clinical educator. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Longwood University and her master’s degree from Radford in 2017. Kelsey has gained experience working in various settings such as schools and outpatient clinics. Although Kelsey has experience treating adults and children, the bulk of her treatment has focused on pediatrics. AAC has become one of her favorite areas to work on as many of her clients use or are being evaluated as AAC candidates. When asked about what she enjoys the most about being an SLP, Kelsey stated that she enjoys seeing the impact that therapy has on clients. Kelsey believes that communication holds great power and that every person deserves the gift of being able to communicate. During her free time Kelsey enjoys spending time with her husband and traveling on weekend and week-long getaways. One of her favorite places to visit has been Jamaica. She describes herself and her husband as “beach people” and they look forward to the summertime and spending time at the beach. 

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Kelsey Campbell '17

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Ashley is a Radford University alum having graduated from James Madison University as an undergrad in 2008 and RU as a graduate student in 2010. She has worked as an SLP for the previous 10 years in a variety of settings such as: schools, acute care, outpatient rehab, home health care, assisted living, and skilled nursing. Despite having experience in working with children, Ashley exclusively works with adults currently. Earlier in her career, she worked as a traveling SLP throughout Virginia and North Carolina and has worked as a PRN SLP for the last 6 years. The experience of working PRN in various SNFs and rehab companies allowed her to grow her clinical skills and career. She loves working PRN because it not only allows her to work with various patients in many settings but because it also allows her to provide work relief to her coworkers and help mitigate SLP burnout. It also helps that it gives her the flexibility of creating her own schedule. She enjoys being able to explain to her patients that she works as a “substitute” SLP when her co-workers require time off. When Ashley isn’t traveling for her job she enjoys relaxing at home, listening to audiobooks, painting, and playing with her dog. She loves traveling to new places and enjoying new experiences with her husband which she hopes to resume after COVID. 

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Ashley Felts '10

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Teresa Brookman attended RU for both undergrad (Class of ‘87) and graduate school (Class of ‘88). Teresa began her time at RU as a nursing major and considered teaching but decided to switch majors after learning about COSD and the variety of work settings within the field. Teresa recently received the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award for Pulaski County schools where she was an SLP for 33 years. For 32 of those 33 years, Teresa was an externship supervisor for the RU COSD program. She began supervising immediately after her clinical fellowship year and enjoyed learning alongside current COSD students, while also persuading them to become SLPs in the public-school system. During this time, she worked with elementary through high school students and as needed with children at an outpatient clinic during school breaks. Teresa recently retired from the school setting to pursue a job as an SLP with an allied health agency. She is currently navigating telehealth with children and looking forward to traveling while continuing remote work.

As an SLP, Teresa has loved helping children communicate. She emphasized how SLPs are a gateway to opening communication between children and their families. Teresa also said that it almost brings tears to her eyes to think about how thankful parents are to hear their children say “mama” for the first time. She loves seeing kids make progress and being a part of that process. She is appreciative of Radford and the COSD program for preparing her for her career and wants graduate students to stick with it and remember that they have the opportunity to touch a lot of lives through this profession.

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Teresa Brookman '88

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Jessica (Jessie) Pogue received her master’s degree in COSD from RU in 2009 and has worked as an SLP for 12 years. She received her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education at Berry College in Georgia and taught elementary school before changing careers. Jessie has worked in a variety of settings including: outpatient services, home health, early intervention, clinics, and schools. Jessie currently runs her own private practice in Tennessee called, Signal Mountain Speech and Development LLC (SMDS).

SMDS has been open for 3 years and serves pediatric clients ages 2 to 14. Jessie’s practice started as one private client, quickly moved to a home office with several families, and now is a shared clinic space that she renovated in 2019. She plans to move SMDS to its own building, hire 1-2 more SLPs, and add parent-and-me and story time classes to their services. The practice will also be next door to an Occupational Therapist who she shares clients with and promotes.

Jessie loves working with families in a one-on-one setting and “watching a child’s face light up when they recognize their progress.” She wanted to create a place to serve her local community “where quality services took precedence over quantity of clients.” Her ability to have a flexible schedule is an added bonus! Jessie credits her family, friends, and fellow Radford graduate, Lane Thomas Brown (who runs her own practice called Vulcan Speech Group) for supporting her in growing SMDS to what it is today.

Jessie is married and mom to two school-aged boys, so free time is hard to come by, but her family enjoys traveling, camping and hiking together. She also enjoys reading, gardening, and hanging out with friends. 

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Jessica Pogue '09

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Reinfred is a COSD alumni who received both his bachelor’s degree (2015) and master’s degree (2018) from RU. He is currently working with adults (ages 32 to 101) in skilled nursing and outpatient settings. As an SLP, Reinfred enjoys being able to help people regain or maintain their swallowing, cognitive, or communicative function. He says, “it’s especially rewarding when former patients tell me, months after discharging from therapy, that they are still utilizing the skills they learned in our therapy sessions.”

In addition to his clinical work, Reinfred is also pursuing a career in creative writing. He began incorporating SLP content shortly after finishing his master’s degree and publishes it to his website (https://www.raddocentral.com/). Reinfred wanted to represent SLPs outside of the typical educational and instructional information that can be found online to make it more accessible to the general public. He says, “I thought about the contributions John Grisham has made to increase the visibility of the law profession through his novels. Realizing the potential that creative writing has to bring an idea such as law to the mainstream made me want to do the equivalent with SLP. From there I started writing a yet-to-be-finished group of poems and short stories dedicated to the ‘Big 9’ areas in the SLP scope of practice.” Two of his poems have been published.

In his free time, Reinfred continues his creative pursuits through writing, live readings, music, and visual art. He tries to incorporate advocacy into those pursuits. He also likes spending time with his girlfriend, dog, friends, and family.

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Reinfred Addo '18

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Kenzie VanDerwerker is a COSD alumna who attended RU for both her undergraduate (2015) and graduate degree (2017). She began her career as an SLP in the school system then moved to an outpatient/inpatient clinic for both adults and children. Now Kenzie works at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters where she enjoys assisting individuals in finding a way to communicate their needs, wants, and ideas.

In addition to her clinical work, Kenzie is active in the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia (SHAV). She began as a committee volunteer after graduating from RU, moved into a position as secretary for the executive board, and now serves as SHAV’s Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology. Her current position focuses on advocating for the needs of SLPs. Kenzie has presented at the local, state, and national level on a variety of topics including ADHD and executive functioning, selective mutism, challenging behaviors, speech sound disorders, fluency disorders, and phonological awareness.

In her free time, Kenzie enjoys flipping houses under the guidance of her father and volunteering with various programs for children and young adults including National History Day (a non-profit organization based around historical research) and Odyssey of the Mind (a creative problem-solving program for students from kindergarten through college). 

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Kenzie VanDerwerker '17

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Cory and Heather Lane are COSD alumni who met during their time at Radford University. They sat next to each other in the graduate workroom, struck up a conversation, and “the rest is history.” They dated throughout their time in the speech-language pathology graduate program and were recently married in July 2022. They enjoy spending time outdoors together, especially with their fur babies, Beau and Josie, who keep them busy. Heather is finishing her clinical fellowship in early intervention and working primarily on feeding and early language skills. Because her job is very parent-centered, she enjoys answering families’ questions, showing them new strategies, and assisting them in developing the skills to help their children continue to grow. Cory completed his clinical fellowship in June and is working as an SLP in elementary, middle, and high schools.  He likes that his job allows him to work with children from preschool through high school.

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Heather and Cory Lane '21

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Paige Waddell recently stopped by the COSD department as the field representative for Starkey Hearing.  We were excited to have her in the audiology suite!

Paige is a Radford University alum who graduated with a bachelor’s in science in COSD in 2013, while also minoring in Spanish and Psychology, before attending East Tennessee State University to obtain a Doctor of Audiology Degree in 2017. She has worked as an audiologist for almost six years. Beginning at an ENT practice in Raleigh, NC, Paige worked with adult patients performing hearing evaluations, hearing aid fittings, and vestibular evaluations for four years, and performed newborn hearing screenings one-day a week. She currently works for Starkey Hearing as the field representative for the state of Virginia. There, Paige works closely with hearing care professionals. She trains professionals on current products, assists with challenging patient appointments, and provides basic business management advice. As an audiologist, Paige understands the immense feelings of isolation and frustration caused by hearing loss, but says “there is no better feeling than helping someone hear and understand their loved ones after years of struggling to communicate”.

Paige emphasized the importance of finding a hearing care professional that you trust and follows best practice protocols. “There are about 28.8 million American adults who could benefit from using hearing aids, but only around 30% of these people are actually using hearing aids. Hearing loss and treatment get put on the backburner, but the sooner hearing loss is treated, the better the outcomes!”

In her free time, Paige enjoys trying new restaurants, attending concerts, reading, catching up on pop culture, and spending time with friends and family 

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Paige Waddell '13

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Jessica Cartwright Wisman was recently recognized as Healthcare Hero at a Radford University basketball game. She received the recognition after using her expertise and thorough assessment to identify a patient who was in a neurological crisis. The uncovering of this diagnosis led to life saving measures for the patient. An attending physician personally congratulated Jessica, stating her assessment “saved their life.” She states, “It was so rewarding to use my knowledge and expertise to ensure appropriate medical care was received.”

Jessica is a Radford University alumna who obtained her bachelors, as well as her master’s degree in COSD from RU, graduating in 2010. She has been practicing as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for almost thirteen years. Jessica previously worked in Carilion’s inpatient rehab at Community Hospital in Roanoke, working as an outpatient therapist and also running a highly successful brain injury support group. Currently, Jessica works as an acute care SLP at Carilion New River Valley Medical Center. She primarily works with hospitalized adults to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders. Jessica also assists with Carilion’s monthly multidisciplinary ALS clinic, focusing on ensuring patients with ALS have access to appropriate care.

She states a love for providing acute care and feels incredibly honored to be present during someone’s most vulnerable moments and provide a bit comfort and hope for improvement.  She states: “I have a passion for ensuring that patients and families understand my diagnostics and plans for treatment. The most enjoyable part of my job is helping a patient return to eating and drinking after being unable to do so for a period of time or identifying a successful mode of communication for someone who is unable to communicate using speech alone.” In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending quality time with her husband and children by traveling, visiting family, being outdoors, caring for their animals, and finding new experiences!

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Jessica Cartwright Wisman '10

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Shelby Sowers attended Radford University for her undergraduate and graduate coursework. She graduated with her master's of science in communication sciences and disorders in 2020 and has been a practicing speech-language pathologist for three years. Since graduation, Shelby has worked in the public-school setting, serving ages 2.5-22 years old with a variety of diagnoses, including but not limited to, expressive/receptive language disorders, articulation disorders, autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, bilateral hearing loss, metabolic encephalopathy, and Rett’s syndrome. Currently, she works in elementary schools. She states, “I really enjoy working in the school setting because it allows me, as the therapist, to develop a working relationship with each student I serve, as well as their families, and other professionals in their immediate environment. I believe that building strong rapport with the students that you work with is a key part of productive therapy.”

Shelby serves as externship supervisor, serving two graduate students this past academic year and reports it being a phenomenal experience. She has a passion for passing knowledge between professionals and this includes graduate students. “It has been wonderful to see the graduate students grow from week one to their last week of externship. Giving them experiences and information to increase their confidence in the work they do has been extremely rewarding.” Shelby will supervise graduate students in the Radford University Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic this summer. She is looking forward to a summer of growth and success, not only for the client’s attending, but the graduate students serving the clients.

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Shelby Sowers '20

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Lauren Lawson is a Radford University alumna who graduated with her Master's degree in COSD in 2015. Before coming to Radford, she completed her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance at Elon University in 2009. During the summer of 2023, Lauren completed an intensive voice habilitation and rehabilitation program at the University of Utah, where she became a Summer Vocology Institute-Trained Vocologist. A vocologist is a person with extra training in the speaking and singing voice (i.e., someone who knows what the physics of the voice are, and how to help you make science do the work so you can have a healthy voice).

Lauren has worked with adults and teenagers with diagnoses such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis , dementia, general debility, and vocal fold paresis and paralysis. Additionally, she has worked in a variety of settings including skilled nursing, inpatient rehab, and in her own private practice, Valley Voice! In her private practice, Lauren works in the areas of vocal habilitation and rehabilitation with children and adults. This includes basic singing lessons, implementing voice conservation strategies, and setting up maintenance programs for the speaking and singing voice. She also works with transgender individuals to find a voice that aligns with their identity and to be able to use that voice consistently.

When asked what she enjoys most about being an SLP, Lauren expressed that she enjoys helping people gain or regain skills to maximize their efficiency and efficacy in sharing messages with people who matter most to them, in a voice they love. She states, “Communication is such a luxury we take for granted. Most of us sound how we would like and can say what we want or need to say on demand. I am also a HUGE voice nerd, and simply love talking about any and all parts of the voice that anyone will listen to. Helping people use their voice efficiently or find a voice that they truly align with is magical.”

In her free time, Lauren enjoys cooking with her husband, reading anything about voice, listening to any and all music, baking ridiculous desserts, cuddling with her adorable cats, and as a classically trained soprano, learning to perform death metal music! She also enjoys going to any type of concert with her “old lady ear protection.”

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Lauren Lawson '15

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Emily Guill received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech in 1996 and received her Master of Science in COSD from Radford University in 2009. Emily worked with adults in skilled nursing facilities and in the outpatient/hospital setting, but she changed over to pediatrics in 2011 and has never left!

When asked what she loves most about being an SLP, Emily says that she loves the diversity and variety of patients, diagnosis, families, settings, learning new information each day and making solid connections with other health care professionals. She states, “We are so fortunate here at Carilion to have incredible support to develop new service lines and explore new options of treatment for the children and families that we serve, and to provide greater access to care. It also helps that my teammates are incredible humans!”

Emily recently took the helm of the Carilion Children’s Pediatric Therapy Department as Rehab Manager covering the three hospital locations: (Carilion Community Hospital (OP), Carilion Children’s Tanglewood Center (OP), and Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital (Inpatient--NICU, PICU, PEDS). The department has over 30 highly skilled occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech-language pathologists working in the inpatient, outpatient, and specialty clinic settings, including, but not limited to Tone Management Clinic, Aquatics, Therapy Utilizing Equine Movement (Hippotherapy), Feeding Clinic, Cleft & Craniofacial Clinic, Car Seat Clinic, and Developmental Clinic.

In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband Todd, her dog (Princess “Phoebe”), cat (“Ripley”), and her family of 8 nieces and nephews. Additionally, she loves spending time with friends, seeing live music, enjoying great food, laughing frequently, singing when there is an opportunity, and traveling/exploring new places!

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Emily Guill '09

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Meghan Stinnette studied Communication Sciences and Disorders at Radford University. She graduated from Radford in the Spring of 2022 with her bachelor’s degree and began her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Auburn University in the Fall of 2022. She plans to graduate from Auburn with her master’s in the Spring of 2024.

This past semester, she has been placed at an acute care hospital with an ER and 2 different ICUs. In the spring, Meghan will be relocating to Memphis, Tennessee to complete her final externship at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 

One thing that Meghan enjoys most about being an SLP is being able to listen to the concerns of her clients and to help them to make sense of what is going on in their lives. “I feel that I can do this across the lifespan and with every area within the field of speech language pathology” Meghan says.

Meghan recently presented a poster at the ASHA (American Speech-Language and Hearing Association) national convention in Boston, Massachusetts. She presented with Dr. Gregory Spray, Katie Wallace, and Katelyn Gilson. Their research studied the difference in phonological accuracy between children who stutter and children who do not stutter. The research was conducted from the FluencyBank/ TalkBank database, where they used the software's CLAN and Phon to calculate the phonological accuracy of children 30-50 months.

In her free time, Meghan enjoys exploring different areas in Alabama. Meghan grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, so this was a big move from home for her. She states that she has learned a lot about the culture of Auburn and surrounding areas in Alabama.

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Meghan Stinnette '22