Why Students Choose COSD

A Highlander is not afraid to stand up and say 'I can do this'."

Hannah Tuttle '20

Communication Sciences and Disorders major with a minor in Psychology

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Past Student Spotlights:


Joshua Tuggle '21 Communication Sciences and Disorders major with a minor in Special Education

Joshua is a senior in the COSD program and was elected our NSSLHA Chapter President for the 2020-2021 year. He became interested in COSD because it was the perfect mixture between becoming a teacher and working in the medical field. Joshua is passionate about working with kids and would like to learn how his role as a SLP could help kids expand their literacy skills. He loves socializing and collaborating with others and would like to put his strengths towards helping children communicate for the first time. During his free time, he likes to spend time with his friends and watch supernatural shows. Joshua sees himself working in a school or private practice in the next 5 years and potentially pursuing a Ph.D. program afterwards.

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Jenna is 2nd year graduate student. She received speech therapy services in elementary school and her experience drove her to pursue a career in speech-language pathology. Jenna wants to work with adults and is interested in adult neurogenic communication disorders. She knows firsthand how much of an emotional toll certain experiences can have after speaking with a stroke survivor. She loves the profession because while she helps others communicate, she also gets to build up their confidence while helping them grow in other abilities. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing the violin, spending time with her family, and ending the day with ice cream and an episode of The Office. Jenna sees herself working with adults in a long-term care facility or an inpatient rehab setting within the next 5 years.


Jenna Abrahamsen '21

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Alannah Wilson Pre-Communication Sciences and Disorders major

Alannah is a freshman Pre-COSD major. She chose COSD because she had been exposed to speech-language pathology since a young age. She received speech services as a child and her mother works as a physical therapy assistant. People, especially those with disabilities, have a special place in Alannah’s heart and she wants to make people’s lives better. She enjoys working with both children and senior citizens and sees herself working either in a special education classroom or in a group home for adults. She belives a career in speech-language pathology would be fulfilling because she describes herself as a people person who wants to make an impact on her patients. Alannah has a genetic disorder called Classic Galactosemia. This condition causes difficulty with digesting dairy but can affect patients in other ways. Her twin sister also has Classic Galactosemia and her family noticed how Alannah has a softer and breathier voice while her twin sister has a louder voice. She therefore wants to research whether Classic Galactosemia plays a role in these vocal differences and whether the condition can affect other speech patterns. She likes to hang out with her friends and family, play with her service dog Mimi, and write and sing her own songs. In the next 5-10 years, Alannah sees herself finishing up undergrad and attending Radford for graduate school where she can eventually find a good job and change people’s lives for the better. 

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Kevin is a first-year graduate student in COSD. When asked what drove him to choose a career in speech-language pathology, he said: “My grandfather, Dr. Otis Simmons is one of my heroes. I loved listening to his stories because they were all filled with wisdom and he always quoted famous philosophers. I remember one of his favorite quotes was: "Find a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." – Confucius. A career in speech-language pathology allows me to do what I love (listen and share stories with others). It was God's provision in my life and my grandfather's values that were instilled in me that were driving forces to choose a career in speech language pathology. We're in a field of work where we can make a huge impact in an individual's life as well as their family. That right there is so rewarding to me.” He sees himself working in the school setting with the pediatric population and he is interested in fluency research. In his free time, he likes to listen to Justin Bieber, draw, and eat great food. In the next 5-10 years, he sees himself opening a private practice, The Singing SLP, and partnering with ASHA to foster the recruitment of people of color for speech-language pathology.

COSD Professor Dr. Diane Millar had this to say about Kevin: “The world is a better place because of individuals like Kevin. He’s gracious, generous, thoughtful, and compassionate. Every day, I see the people around him change because of his positivity, and whenever anyone mentions him by name, their smile gets a little bigger and their voice a little softer. Thank you, Kevin, for all that you do and all that you inspire!”


Kevin Simmons '22

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Bettina Comparativo '21

Bettina is a senior in COSD and a Waldron College Student Ambassador. When asked what drove her to pursue a career in speech-language pathology, she said she chose it because: “SLPs train to treat across the entire lifespan. In addition to having a variety of work settings, being an SLP enables us to work with a diverse client, be creative to keep therapy interesting, and most importantly make a lasting impact in their lives.” She sees herself working in a medical setting (rehabilitation center,  skilled nursing facility, or hospital) and potentially opening her own practice in the future.  Through her work as a caregiver at a long-term care facility, she has developed a passion for the geriatric population. Alzheimer's disease research has always been an interest of hers as she works with individuals with Alzheimer's disease and knows first-hand how awful it is. 

When she has free time, she likes to give back to the community. Bettina learned how to coupon so that she can stretch her money further and be able to donate the products (toiletries, food, and more) to various shelters and rehabilitation facilities. It gives her joy to be able to help others.

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Bethany is currently a junior in the COSD program at Radford. She chose to study COSD because it is a diverse field that will provide her the tools to help patients effectively communicate. Bethany enjoys the fact that she can specialize in several areas with the ability to work in many settings. She is interested in working with pediatrics at a clinic or school setting to provide children the essential skill of communicating which would impact the rest of their lives. She feels that someone being confident in their voice and helping a child say their first word or helping a stroke survivor eat a first meal is the most fulfilling aspect of becoming an SLP. When asked about her areas of research interest Bethany shared that she is a singer and vocal performance minor and is therefore interested in exploring the field of vocology. She would like to learn about how voice disorders impact the singing voice and would like to find a way to incorporate her minor within the field of Speech-Language Pathology. She’s further interested in finding the relationship between articulation and acoustics to understand the aspects of vocal tract shaping during speech. During her free time Bethany enjoys spending time with family, friends, singing, reading, watching Netflix, and attending bible study. In the next 5-10 years she sees herself becoming a practicing SLP, but is still deciding which setting to practice in. She looks forward to exploring her options and is thankful for her professors at Radford for helping guide her in her future endeavors. 


Bethany Davis '22

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Past Faculty Spotlights:


Amy Hammond

Amy 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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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!


Dr. Mariam Abdelaziz

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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. 


Shannon Werbeckes '14

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Ashley Felts '10

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.