Dafne Abur
Doctoral Student
Boston University
Mentor: Edy Strand

Bio: Dafne is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Her research primarily focuses on auditory contributions to speech motor control in Parkinson’s disease. She is particularly interested in whether changes to auditory perception are related to disruptions in speech motor control and if these relationships differ by speech subsystem in Parkinson’s disease. Her long-term goal is to lead a laboratory that investigates the underlying mechanisms for speech changes in populations with neurogenic communication disorders. Fun fact: She loves to make speech and voice related puns.


Tiniyja Burney
Master's Student
Ohio State University
Mentor: Ilia Papathanasiou

Bio: Tiniyja Burney is a MA-SLP student at The Ohio State University with the ultimate goal of obtaining a Ph.D. Her research interests focus on quality of life in adults with neurogenic and neurodegenerative communication disorders. She currently is a research assistant in Dr. Stacy Harnish’s Aphasia Lab. Her master’s thesis explores the relation between attention and picture naming performance in persons with aphasia. When not studying, carrying out research and learning at her externship sites, she enjoys reading and crocheting.


Vanessa Burshnic
Doctoral Student
University of South Florida
Mentor: Brooke Hallowell

Bio: Vanessa Burshnic is a speech-language pathologist and Advanced Fellow at the Durham VAs Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center. Clinically, she enjoys working with individuals with dementia and their care partners. In her research career, Vanessa is interested in studying the implementation of cognitive-communication supports in routine clinical practice for dementia care. She is interested in studying feasibility and acceptability, as well as alignment of these interventions with stakeholder priorities. When Vanessa is not working, she enjoys running, biking, and paddle boarding.


Carly Cermak
Doctoral Student
University of Toronto
Mentor: Janet Petterson

Bio: My research interest includes pediatric acquired brain injury.  Currently I am in my last year of my PhD studying language outcomes in preschool traumatic brain injury. I am also a clinical SLP that worked for five years full time before coming back to school for a doctoral degree.  I swim competitively and hold a provincial record for my age group.


Hannah Franz
Master's Student
University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Carole Roth

Bio: My interests surround acquired neurologic communication disorders, specifically TBI. I’ve conducted clinical research at the VA Boston Health Care System studying mTBI in returning Veterans and I currently work as a graduate assistant examining concussion, TBI, and stroke. My Master’s thesis involves a graph theory analysis of modularity in fMRI data with active duty service members, investigating the difference between healthy controls and mTBI. I plan to pursue a CFY in the medical setting and a PhD to improve, establish, and practice more efficient interventions for acquired neurologic communication disorders. I enjoy yoga, exploring new restaurants, and the occasional Netflix-binge! 


Rebecca Goodridge
Master's Student
Vanderbilt University 
Mentor: Melinda Corwin

Bio: Rebecca is a master’s student studying speech-language pathology at Vanderbilt University. She is currently pursuing a clinical placement in the Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute working with adults with neurologic communication disorders and writing a thesis on informant-based subjective cognitive decline to aid in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. She has completed clinical placements in the Vanderbilt University Hospital (Acute Care), Aphasia Group, Stewartsboro Elementary School, and the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center pediatric outpatient clinic. After graduation, she aspires to work with adults in a medical setting. In her free time, she enjoys singing, running, and spending time with friends.   


Lynsey Keator 
Doctoral Student
University of South Carolina
Mentor: Ellyn Riley

Bio: My primary research interests include the interdisciplinary collaboration of speech-language pathology and neuroscience in stroke rehabilitation. In the Aphasia Lab at the University of South Carolina, my research aims to explore the recruitment of residual neural networks to determine patterns and predict recovery for people with aphasia. I plan to pursue a career as a clinical researcher to conduct clinical research, rehabilitate individual with neurogenic disorders and train the next generation of speech-language pathologists. In addition to my work in clinical settings and the lab, I enjoy hiking, doing yoga, and reading.


Hana Kim
Doctoral Student
East Carolina University
Mentor: Amy Ramage

Bio: My research interests lie in discourse processing and cognitive ability with adults with acquired neurogenic disorders. Within this framework, I would like to utilize my expertise to undertake innovative research academically to serve the public in a practical way. Outside of my work, I enjoy listening to classical music, watching sports, and travelling.


Allyson Lindsay
Master's Student
University of South Florida
Mentor: Neila Donovan

Bio: Allyson Lindsay is a second-year graduate student at the University of South Florida. She is currently completing a 9-month Traineeship at the James A. Haley, VA. Alongside externship, she’s working on a Master’s Thesis focusing on individuals with aphasia, entitled: Enhancing Intergenerational Conversation Using Visual Cues. She hopes to obtain her Clinical Fellowship within the VA system or another adult hospital setting.  Ally is interested in obtaining her Ph.D., to help contribute to the field through clinical research. She loves spending time with her grandparents. You can also find her at a local Old Navy browsing for the best deals!


Jessica Salley
Doctoral Student
Case Western Reserve University
Mentor: Heather Coles

Bio: My research interests are in pediatric brain injury and cognitive-communication. Particularly, I am interested in the academic experiences of these children and strategies and supports that can improve their performances.  After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in academia, conducting research and teaching.


Anna Saylor
Master's Student
Duquesne University
Mentor: Melissa Johnson

Bio: I am interested in research to create supportive environments and establish effective modifications for adults with neurogenic disorders. I am completing a master's thesis project aimed at examining aphasia-friendly medication information with the goal to improve independent comprehension and management for this population. Once I graduate, I plan to work clinically to gain experience in clinical practice, treatment, and assessment. After gaining a firm foundation in the field, I hope to continue further education and pursue a PhD. I have a passion for learning, and hope to help future students find a similar love for helping people with communication disorders.


Michael Scimeca
Doctoral Student
Boston University
Mentor: JoAnn Silkes

Bio: As an M.S.-Ph.D. student I have positioned myself to pursue a career in the field that combines my clinical interests and research endeavors in aphasia. My primary areas of focus consist of bilingual aphasia, assessment and evaluation in aphasia, and treatment at the sentence production and discourse production levels. After graduating and completing my dissertation in Dr. Swathi Kiran's lab, I aspire to return home to Orlando, FL and do my part in strengthening aphasia research and clinical practice in the sunshine state. In my free time, I enjoy reading novels and exploring Boston, especially in the fall.