Students & Fellows

Students & Fellows


Post-Doctoral Fellow

James Curtis
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

James A. Curtis, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S is a speech-language pathologist and postdoctoral research fellow in the Upper Airway Dysfunction Laboratory at Teachers College, Columbia University. James completed his PhD at Columbia University, his master's degree at New York University, and his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. Prior to beginning his studies and research at Columbia, James worked clinically as a speech-language pathologist specializing in voice and swallowing disorders within the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California San Francisco. The aims of James’ research interests are three-fold: (1) to improve dysphagia evaluation practice patterns through the development of novel assessment techniques and the refinement of currently employed measurement methodologies; (2) to develop a deeper understanding of the pathophysiologies contributing to the development of dysphagia; and (3) to identify and develop robust and clinically feasible treatments for dysphagia in people with neurodegenerative diseases. James is currently completing a 2-year postdoctoral research fellowship funded by the American Brain Foundation and the Parkinson’s Foundation in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology where he will be examining the effects of a novel treatment paradigm aimed to improve swallowing in people with Parkinson’s disease.

 

 

 
 
 
 

Clinical Fellow

Brianna Kiefer
Clinical Fellow

Brianna Kiefer, MS CF-SLP is currently a clinical fellow in the Laboratory for the Study of Upper Airway Dysfunction. She is also a doctoral candidate in Dr. Jessica Huber’s Motor Speech Laboratory at Purdue University. Brianna obtained her masters degree in speech and language pathology from Purdue University in 2017. While pursuing her masters, she completed clinical rotations at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago and at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Indianapolis. Brianna’s research broadly aims to test and develop speech treatment paradigms for individuals with neurodegenerative diseases, particularly those with Parkinson’s disease and ALS

Doctoral Students

Doctoral Candidate

James Borders, MS, CCC-SLP is a doctoral student in the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences at Teachers College, Columbia University. In 2016, he earned a master’s degree from the MGH Institute of Health Professions with a concentration in medical speech-language pathology and completed his clinical fellowship the following year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. James continued to work in both inpatient and outpatient roles at Boston Medical Center before joining the Upper Airway Dysfunction Laboratory. James’ research interests include sensorimotor rehabilitation of cough and swallowing dysfunction, as well as the dissemination and translation of research into clinical practice.

Doctoral Candidate

Avery Dakin, M.S., CCC-SLP is a doctoral student in the UAD Lab. Avery earned her graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology from New York Medical College in 2018. She completed her clinical fellowship in the UAD Lab prior to beginning her doctoral studies. Avery's research aims to improve the evaluation and management of swallowing and cough disorders in neurodegenerative populations. 

 
 
 
 
Doctoral Candidate

Jordanna, MS, CCC-SLP is a doctoral student in the Laboratory for the Study of Upper Airway Dysfunction at Teachers College, Columbia University. She completed her masters degree in Speech Language Pathology at Columbia University in May 2017 and subsequently completed her clinical fellowship  in the Upper Airway Dysfunction Laboratory. She has extensive experience in evaluation and treatment of swallowing and cough disorders in neurodegenerative disease. Her primary clinical and research interests are in developing novel evaluation and treatment paradigms for airway protection and motor speech disorders in neurologic populations.

Master's Students

 

 
 
Master's Candidate

Gabriella is a second-year graduate student in the the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Teacher's College, Columbia University. She plans to pursue a medical-based Speech Language Pathology career.  Her interests include in bilingual populations, dysphagia, aphasia, TBI, speech and swallowing disorders in patients with nuerodegenerative diseases. Her personal hobbies include, reading, dancing and making culturally diverse meals with her family and friends.

 
 
Julianna Chapman
Master's Candidate

Julianna is a first-year master’s student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She recently completed her post-baccalaureate in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Portland State University in Oregon. Her areas of interest include speech and swallowing disorders in people with stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. In her free time, Julianna enjoys hiking, running, traveling, and creating floral art.

Master's Candidate

Kirby is a second-year student in the Master's program for Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College. She completed her undergraduate degree in Speech Communication Disorders and Spanish Linguistics at the University of Virginia and spent the past year working in Madrid, Spain as an English teacher in a secondary school. Her undergraduate research experience included international research in Belgium and the Netherlands surrounding Core Vocabulary in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices. New to the city, in her free time Kirby is enjoying spending time in Central Park and trying to find the best slice of NY pizza.

Victoria Gonzalez
Master's Candidate

Victoria is a first year master’s student in the Communication Sciences & Disorders: Bilingual Extension-Dual Certification Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She graduated with a B.A. in Linguistics and a minor in psychology with a Certificate in Speech and Hearing Sciences in Linguistics, from Rutgers University, where she worked in a Language Acquisition lab and a Cognitive Psychology lab. Her research and clinical interests are in speech, swallowing, and voice disorders in adult populations. In her free time, Victoria enjoys creating diamond paintings, working on her SLP/lifestyle-geared blog, and taking walks with family and friends.

Lily Katz
Master's Candidate

Lily is a first year Master’s student in Communication Sciences and Disorders, at Teachers College, Columbia University. She graduated in 2017 from the George Washington University with a B.A. in International Affairs, and a minor in the Middle East. Her primary areas of interest include speech and swallowing disorders in pediatrics, developmental language delays, and individuals who have suffered from stroke and neurodegenerative disease. In her free time, Lily loves to hang with her two fur babies, roller skate, listen to music, and dance!

Master's Candidate

Belle is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Sciences & Disorders: Bilingual Extension-Dual Certification Program at Teacher's College, Columbia University. She received her BA in Communicative Disorders at California State University, Fullerton where she was a research assistant for Dr. Kristofer Brock in investigating the effects of Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, symbols, and interface designs on people with aphasia. Her research and clinical interests focus on upper airway dysfunction in people with neurodegenerative diseases and examining the utilization of AAC devices by persons with aphasia.

 
Master's Candidate

Marissa is a second-year student in the Master’s program for Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teacher’s College. In May of 2019, she graduated from Dickinson College with a Bachelor of Science degree double majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. At the undergraduate level, she participated in biomedical research both at Dickinson and off campus at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Marissa studied the molecular basis of inflammatory gene expression and cellular communication in inflammatory diseases including acute lung injury and mevalonate kinase deficiency. She is interested in medical-based speech language pathology as it relates to swallowing and speech disorders. In her free time, Marissa enjoys spending time with family and friends, coaching a local youth girls’ softball team, and baking.

Tiffany Wu
Master's Candidate

Tiffany is a first-year master’s student in the Communication Sciences & Disorders Bilingual Extension Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She graduated in 2015 from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Medieval/Renaissance Studies and Spanish. She recently completed a post-baccalaureate in CSD at Cal State Fullerton, where she discovered an interest in voice and communication for the gender-diverse, swallowing disorders, and culturally-responsive care. In her free time, she enjoys biking, gaming, watching films, and playing music.

Alumni

Master's Candidate

Victoria is a first-year student in the Master’s program for Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teacher’s College. She recently graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor of science degree in Cognitive Science: Pre-Professional Speech-Language Pathology and a double minor in Human Development & Family Studies and Disability Studies. Her undergraduate research experiences include working in the Child’s Play Learning & Development Lab at the University of Delaware. She is interested in medical speech-language pathology, particularly dysphagia and infant feeding. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys spending time with family, reading and working out. 

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Alexandra E. Brandimore is Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, Department of Biobehavioral Sciences at Teachers College, Columbia University. She completed her masters and doctoral studies at the University of Florida prior to joining Columbia University. Her primary areas of research target the development of evaluative techniques and treatment paradigms to improve upper airway dysfunction in persons with neurodegenerative disease. Her clinical work has mainly been in the area of Movement Disorders where she has evaluated and treated deficits of motor speech, cough, swallowing, voice, and respiratory function in a diverse array of patient populations.  While at Teachers College she plans to continue interfacing her research and clinical passions through the development of a multi-disciplinary clinical research center effort.

Master's Candidate

Julia is a first year student in the Master's program for Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teacher's College, Columbia University. She recently graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders, a minor in Special Education, and a certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Julia's areas of interest include populations with neurodegenerative diseases who suffer from swallowing and speech disorders. In her free time, Julia likes to cook, watch movies, and spend time with her friends and family. 

 

Master's Candidate

Elana (Loni)  is a second year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders: Bilingual Extension - Dual Certification Program at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Her primary areas of interest include speech and swallowing disorders in people with neurodegenerative diseases and traumatic brain injury.  In her free time, Loni loves traveling, spending time with friends and family, spending time outdoors, and dogs.

Master's Candidate

Lauren is a second year SLP graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at Teachers College. Her scholarly interests include speech and swallowing disorders in people with neurodegenerative disease and traumatic brain injury. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Master's Candidate

Renée hails from Canada and is currently a first year CSD Masters student at Teachers College, Columbia University. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a minor in French, a minor in Linguistics and a certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine. Renée is a self-proclaimed ice cream connoisseur and an avid burrito enthusiast. In her spare time, she enjoys naps, cats and cat naps.

Master's Candidate

Alyssa Dicker is a first-year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Masters Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. In May of 2018, Alyssa graduated from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, participating in linguistics-based research during her senior year. Alyssa enjoys the wide variety of populations and specialties in the scope of speech pathology, and is especially interested in swallowing and speech disorders. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys traveling, exploring NYC, and spending time with family.

Master's Candidate

Maria is a first year student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is interested in the medical aspects of speech language pathology, primarily dysphagia and craniofacial anomolies. Maria loves spending time with family and friends, cooking, and traveling. 

Master's Candidate

Dani is a second year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She recently completed her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at Andrews University. She loves the broad range of specialty areas found in the speech pathology field and is primarily interested in voice disorders, dysphagia, and aphasia. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, frequenting bakeries, and exercising. 

Master's Candidate

Alease is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. She completed her undergraduate education at the State University of New York where she majored in Spanish and Linguistics.  Her research interests include dysphagia and bilingualism across the lifespan. In her spare time, Alease enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. 

Master's Candidate

Grace is a first year graduate student in the Communication Sciences Disorders program. Grace loves the wide variety of specialities available to Speech-Language Pathologists and is looking forward to working with clients of all ages. In her free time, Grace enjoys cooking, comedy shows and yoga. 

Master's Candidate

Maryann Krasko is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders: Bilingual Extension - Dual Certification Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She recently graduated from New York University, where she worked with Dr. Tara McAllister-Byun in her Biofeedback Research Lab. While abroad in London, Maryann deepened her speech and language experiences at the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering. Her primary areas of interest are concerned with the neurological underpinnings of upper airway disorders, as well as the feeding of neonates and medically-fragile infants. In her free time, Maryan enjoys traveling to new places, playing the piano, and spending time with her family.

Master's Candidate
Jackie is a first-year student in the Master's program for Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at The College of New Jersey and spent the past year working for City Year, an education nonprofit organization, in Harlem. Her undergraduate research experiences include working in an Emotion and Culture lab as well as a Reproductive and Sexual Health Lab. In her free time, Jackie enjoys trying new restaurants, hiking, and watching movies.

 

Master's Candidate

Sojung is a second year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. She is primarily interested in pursuing a career with the adult dysphagia population and how head and neck cancers + treatment affect upper airway functioning. In her free time, Sojung loves to play tennis, eat the best foods of the city, and watch competitive cooking shows.

Master's Candidate

Katrina is a second year SLP graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at Teachers College. Her scholarly interests focus on disorders of airway protection to improve treatment techniques for people with dysphagia and dystussia as a result of Parkinson's disease, movement disorders, and other conditions. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, and exploring new places.

Doctoral Candidate

Avi is a doctoral student in the UAD laboratory. He earned his master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders at Northwestern University in 2012. Clinically, he has evaluated and treated pediatric patients presenting with a variety of feeding and swallowing disorders. His research focuses on oropharyngeal strength and respiratory kinematics in children with cerebral palsy.  

 

Master's Candidate

Mehak Noorani is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Teachers College. Mehak completed her undergraduate honors thesis in May 2017 on the relationship between aging and dysphagia in healthy adults in the NYU Swallowing Research Lab. She has presented her work at the American Speech Language and Hearing Association conference (November 2017) and the New York State Speech Language and Hearing Association conference (April 2017). In her free time, Mehak enjoys traveling, cooking, and exercising.

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Sarah Perry is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, Department of Biobehavioral Sciences at Teachers College, Columbia University. She completed her masters and doctoral studies at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, prior to joining Columbia University. Her primary research interests concern swallowing, voice and upper airway dysfunction in people with stroke and neurodegenerative disease. She is passionate about improving current assessment and treatment protocols that will ultimately improve patient outcomes. She has clinical experience in acute stroke management as well as experience in the rehabilitation of severe, chronic dysphagia, which she gained at the Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research in Christchurch. She currently teaches the Voice Disorders and Dysphagia courses at Columbia University.

 

Doctoral Candidate

Akila Rajappa, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S is a doctoral student at Upper Airway Dysfunction Laboratory. Akila has a passion for dysphagia rehabilitation and her research interests lies in understanding the neural mechanisms of airway protective behaviors. Outside of school and work, Akila enjoys performing Bharatanatyam, a form of Indian classical dance, swimming and spending quality time with her family. 

Master's Candidate

Ryan Ratliff is a second year grad student in CSD at TC.  Prior to his NYC Broadway career, Ryan obtained a Bachelor of Music Ed and BFA in Vocal Performance at The Ohio State University.  Ryan's interests include voice and swallowing disorders in head and neck cancer patients, as well as (the lack of) treatment in apraxia of speech.  Outside of school, Ryan teaches private voice, plays hubs to Richard, and dad to his three pups.  

Master's Candidate

Shana is a first year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Teacher's College, Columbia University. She plans to pursue a medical-based Speech Language Pathology career.  Her interests include in dysphagia, aphasia, and first language attrition of internationally adopted children.  When she's not in the library or cafe studying, she enjoys binge watching Netflix originals and eating culturally diverse foods. 

Master's Candidate

Christina is a first year master's student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her academic interests lie within speech, language, and swallowing disorders within neurogenic and neurodegenerative populations. In her free time, she enjoys Wes Anderson films, going to museums, and listening to music. 

Master's Candidate

Sarah is a second-year student in the Master's program for Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teacher's College. She recently completed her undergraduate degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. Her previous experience has included working in an interdisciplinary environment to address feeding difficulties in pediatric patients and pursuing research exploring verb acquisition in children on the Autism Spectrum. In her free time Sarah enjoys dancing, hiking, and grocery shopping at Trader Joes.

Master's Candidate

Carly is a first year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program. Before coming to Teachers College, Carly was a special education teacher in Chicago through Teach for America. She appreciates the wide variety of specialities available to SLPs and looks forward to working with clients of different ages. Her research interests include speech and swallowing disorders in people with neurodegenerative diseases, aphasia, and traumatic brain injury. Outside of the lab, Carly enjoys traveling, running and going to concerts.

Clinical Fellow

Zeina Seikaly, M.S. CF-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist Clinical Fellow at the UAD Lab. Zeina completed her graduate education in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has experience evaluating and treating a wide variety of speech, swallowing, and language disorders in both acute care and outpatient rehabilitation settings, including specialized training in endoscopic and videofluorosopic swallowing evaluations. Her primary research and clinical interests include dysphagia (swallowing disorder) assessment and management in medically-fragile patients and those with neurological disease. Outside of her work in the lab, Zeina enjoys eating excellent sushi, playing tennis, and exploring New York City. 

Visiting Researcher

Dr. Kelly Silverio is a Visiting Researcher in the Laboratory for the Study of Upper Airway Dysfunction at Teachers College, Columbia University. The focus of her PhD study was voice disorders and electromyography. Dr. Silverio is a professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Bauru School of Dentistry, University of São Paulo—FOB/USP, Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil. She has been teaching undergraduate and post graduate students since 2010. She has experience with therapy in voice disorders and professional voice with singers and teachers. Dr. Silverio is interested in research about voice disorders, cough and upper airway dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease and other kinds of neurological disorders.

Master's Candidate

Karen is a second year graduate student in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her study of interests include dysphagia, aphasia, and early intervention in bilingual children. In her free time, Karen enjoys trying different cultural foods, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Visiting Fulbright Scholar

Paige Thomas is a Fulbright visiting student researcher in the Department of Biobehavioural Sciences at Teacher College, Columbia University. She is studying towards her PhD at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Paige completed her master’s of speech-language pathology degree at the University of Canterbury in 2015. Her primary area of research interest is in improving swallowing and quality of life outcomes in individuals with neurodegenerative disease. While at Teachers College, Paige plans to be involved in as much as possible, to gain a new perspective on swallowing, voice and cough research.

Master's Candidate

Caroline is a second-year graduate student in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Teachers College Columbia University.  Her scholarly interests include upper airway protection in neurodegenerative disorders, as well as effective nutritional management in dysphagia.

Master's Candidate

Olivia Walencik is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders: Bilingual Extension-Dual Certification Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She completed her undergraduate degree at Pennsylvania State University where she majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders and minored in Special Education. Her most recent graduate clinical experience included working with patients with dysphagia as well as various speech, language, and voice disorders in an acute setting. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, watching movies, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

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