Member Milestones

Phoebe Honig Schlanger 100, on July 9, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Schlanger received a bachelor’s in speech pathology at Brooklyn College in 1943 and a master’s in speech pathology at the University of Wisconsin in 1944. She taught in the speech departments at Marietta College, West Virginia University, Ohio State University, Montclair State University (assistant professor), and the Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York (professor emeritus upon her retirement). An ASHA Fellow, she produced many publications, some of them in collaboration with her husband, SLP Bernard B. Schlanger.

The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association of Kean University’s School of Communication Disorders and Deafness, was awarded Gold Chapter Status. The Kean University chapter’s Gold Status indicates that it far exceeded NSSLHA’s mission to inspire, empower and support students.

Dr. Mahchid Namazi pioneered The School of Communication Disorders and Deafness’ new post-graduate Bilingual Speech Language Certificate Program, which is the first in the state of New Jersey and one of only a few in the country. She also presented Neurodiversity and Autism for the School-Based Speech Language Pathologist and Assessment and Intervention in Emerging Bilinguals: A how to for the monolingual SLP on Additionally, Dr. Namazi presented, with A. Brunette, S. Cara, H. Chiou, K. Johnson, G. Nunez, and G. Robinson, Barriers experienced by marginalized students and Opportunities and resources for marginalized students, at the ASHA Convention.

Dr. Kate Nealon was awarded The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s 2022 Advancing Academic-Research Careers (AARC) Award. Additionally, she and students from The School of Communication Disorders and Deafness created videos that will help children with disabilities and their families in Uganda. They worked with Imprint Hope, a nonprofit that supports children and their families by providing medical care and rehabilitation as well as education about disabilities to families in rural villages throughout Uganda The three-part video series were designed to train Imprint Hope’s staff and to teach families about and to support them in dealing with speech and language disorders.

Dr. Geneva Mayne and Dr. Mahchid Namazi have in press, Trauma as a Social Determinant of Health in Women with Voice Disorders. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology.

Dr. Stefanie Martelle and Dr. Mahchid Namazi published, Feeling Thrown for a Loop?: The Effects of Inferencing on Spoken Language Idiom Comprehension (SLIC) in ASD. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools.

Dr. Jeanne Tighe and Dr. Mahchid Namazi have in press, SPICES: Disclosure Practices to Help Caregivers Digest a Diagnosis of Developmental Language Disorder. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology.

Dr. Iyad Ghanim presented his research about bilingualism at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) in Washington, DC and at the International Symposium for Bilingualism and L2 Processing in Adults & Children (ISBPAC), Norway. He will be presenting his research at the Architectures & Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLAP) meeting in York, UK. He will also be presenting at the Bilingualism Forum at University of Illinois-Chicago, and at the “Bilingualism Matters” Research Symposium.

Dr. JoAnne Cascia and Dr. Mahchid Namazi presented, Creating a neurodiversity specialization in a Speech Language Pathology Master’s Program at the CAPCSD Convention.

Professor Karen Villanueva presented with Dr. Christine Carmichael, Dr. Douglas Parham, and Dr. Erin Burns, Problem solving and information exchange: Interviewing processes for facilitating holistic admissions in graduate programs Dr. Judith Koebli contributed a chapter to the recently published textbook Cellular, Molecular, Physiological, and Behavioral Aspects of Traumatic Brain Injury, (2022). Academic Press, UK. ISBN 978-0-12-823036-7.

Dr. Natalie Neubauer has been appointed assistant dean for undergraduate and clinical education for the health science programs at Seton Hall University. This promotion has followed her 12-year career as director of clinical education in the master’s speech-language pathology program at Seton Hall.

Patrick R. Walden, PhD, CCC-SLP, has joined Monmouth University’s Department of Speech-Language Pathology faculty in West Long Branch, New Jersey and was appointed chair of the department. Dr. Walden served on the St. John’s University Communication Sciences and Disorders faculty for the past 14 years prior to moving to New Jersey and joining Monmouth University. He also recently published the article, Individual Voice Dimensions’ Prediction of Overall Dysphonia Severity on Two Auditory-Perceptual Scales in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR).

Have a Milestone you would like to submit for the winter issue of VOICES? Email by November 10.

Jennifer Biener, MS, CCC-SLP

Jennifer Biener was recently interviewed by Theresa Richard, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, on her very popular
speech pathology podcast, The Swallow Your Pride Podcast. Our interview focused on dysphagia in adults with developmental disabilities, which has been an area of specialty for me, but I also share personal
insights on clinical education, clinician and family dynamics and perspectives on disability. The link to the podcast is below and includes a description as well as access to show notes:

Amanda R. Copes, EdD, CCC-SLP

Amanda R. Copes earned her doctorate in organizational leadership from Stockton University in December

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra presented two programs on COVID-19 and the Audiologist – What We Know So Far to the
New Mexico and Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Associations (a similar article was published in the Winter 2022 issue of VOICES). Also, a program titled Is COVID-19 Brain Fog Actually an Auditory
Processing Disorder? was a featured webinar by the American Academy of Audiology (February) as well as a formal lecture given to the Joint Defense Veterans Audiology Conference (April).

Karen J. Kushla, ScD, CCC-A

Karen J. Kushla was recently named to the ASHA Special Interest Group (SIG) 19 Speech Science
Coordinating Committee. She will be serving a two-year term ending in 2024.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra, had an article published in the September, 2021 issue of The Hearing Review titled: COVID-19 and the Hearing Care Professional: What We Know So Far. The article is a quick audiological reference to the potential effects of the COVID-19 virus on hearing and balance, testing and the management of COVID-19 survivors.

Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP/COM

Robyn Merkel Walsh’s work on tongue tie was featured at the American Laser Study Club and the American Academy of Physiological Medicine where she was invited with Lori Overland as invited instructors.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra presented three lectures in August/September (two in-person and one remote) titled Audiological Management of COVID-19 Survivors to the New Hampshire Academy of Audiology, Alabama Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association (remote). He also had a similar article published in the September issue of Hearing Review.

Phillip A. Hernández, EdD, CCC-SLP

In spring 2021, Phillip A. Hernández received tenure and was promoted to associate professor at Stockton University where he teaches in the Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. Dr. Hernandez is an active NJSHA Multicultural Issues Committee member.

Jeanne Tighe, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

Jeanne Tighe is a doctoral student in the Speech-Language Pathology Program at Kean Unversity. Together with her mentor, Dr. Mahchid Namazi, they were awarded the 2021 Research Mentoring Pair Travel Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The Research Mentoring-Pair Travel Award (RMPTA) is given in conjunction with the Research Symposium, a multi-session event held at the ASHA Convention. The award is designed to foster the research career development of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have expressed an interest in, or are pursuing, research careers in communication sciences and disorders.

Remembering a NJSHA Hero: Eloise (Ellie) Porter Murray, MS, CCC-SLP

On July 23, 2021, NJSHA lost one of the most influential volunteers who guided the association through its major growth period by serving as NJSHA treasurer for more than a quarter of a century. Well before the time of Robert Craven and then Diane Yenerall at our wonderful Craven Management Associates, when NJSHA managed itself; Ellie Murray was our organizer, overseer, planner and budget-money manager par excellence. Probably the most frequently used phrase during her tenure was, “Ask Ellie!” Ellie was at every board meeting, every continuing education event and especially at every Convention – making sure that NJSHA made fiscally appropriate decisions while remaining viable and growing. In addition, Ellie was a consistent contributor to and advocate for the newly-formed School Affairs Committee. She was a champion for speech-language pathology services for all school children who presented with communication problems that prevented them from successfully accessing the curriculum, helping to make East Brunswick Township public school system a district of excellence. She advocated for her students and, when she finally retired, she continued to see private clients right to her passing. The importance of advocating for our profession and our clients did not slip by Ellie either, so she stepped in as the founding treasurer of the New Jersey Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Political Action Committee (NJSLP&A-PAC). There was never a need that arose that Ellie Murray did not willingly tackle. Indeed, she was one of the early pillars upon which the stability and success of NJSHA was dependent, and she met that challenge in her usual remarkable “Ellie manner.” And, for this exceptional commitment to NJSHA and the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology, NJSHA is humbled and grateful, and recognizes Eloise Porter Murray, MS, CCC-SLP. Thanks, Ellie!

In Memoriam: Vishweshwara (Vishwa) Bhat, PhD, CCC-A

Dr. Vishweshwara (Vishwa) Bhat passed away on July 22, 2021. Dr. Bhat began his career in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at William Paterson University of New Jersey (WPU) in 1989. He was tenured in 1994 and promoted to associate professor in 2000. He received his doctorate in audiology from the University of Texas – Dallas, in 1989.

Dr. Bhat taught many undergraduate and graduate courses at WPU over the years, and touched the lives of countless students. He specialized in middle ear mechanisms, auditory processing disorders and aural rehabilitation. He was a beloved faculty member who was known for his kindness, sense of humor and generosity. Dr. Bhat was especially generous with his time; he is remembered as someone who went above and beyond to help students understand material and be successful in his courses. He loved photography and was always there to capture special moments at both professional and personal events. It brought him great joy to share his photographs with others. Dr. Bhat was an active member of NJSHA, known to many as “honorary photographer” at the Annual Conventions. Dr. Bhat is survived by his wife and son, Shobha and Santosh Bhat, and many other family members, friends and colleagues.

Joan Braunlin-Warner, MS, CCC-SLP

Joan Braunlin-Warner, MS, CCC-SLP, retired on January 1, 2021, after 38 years as a speech-language specialist in the West Milford Public Schools. She continues to serve as treasurer and Convention co-chair for NJSHA.

Jose Centeno

Jose Centeno and his colleague J. L. Harris published Implications of United States Service Evidence for Growing Multiethnic Adult Neurorehabilitation Caseloads Worldwide in Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, 45(2), 77-97 (open access).

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, chaired a panel discussion for new audiologists at the annual (virtual) meeting of the American Academy of Audiology in April. He also presented a three-hour seminar on Audiological Management of COVID-19 Survivors for the West Virginia Audiology Association. The two-hour version of that program was presented at this year’s NJSHA Virtual Convention.

Robynne Kratchman, MS, CCC-SLP

Robynne Kratchman, MS, CCC-SLP, was one of the speakers on a recent ASHA Voices podcast: Let’s Talk About Productivity in Health Care. This podcast aired on May 13, 2021. Robynne also participated on June 8 in a panel discussion about productivity in health care settings during ASHA’s online conference Empowered SLSs in Health Care: Breaking Barriers and Shaping Solutions.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP/COM

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP/COM was published with Kristie Gatto in the Journal of the American Laser Study Club with a paper entitled The Team Approach in Treating Oral Sensory-Motor Dysfunction in Newborns, Infants and Babies With a Diagnosis of Tethered Oral Tissues.

Nancy Polow, PhD, CCC-SLP

Nancy Polow, PhD, CCC-SLP, received the 2020-2021 Union County Woman of Excellence Award for Entrepreneurial/Medical for her leadership, commitment and many contributions to the community.

Courtney Caruso, MS, CCC-SLP

Courtney Caruso, MS, CCC-SLP, owner of Liberty Speech Associates LLC, recently published the cookbook From Meals to Milestones: 35 Delicious Dishes to Encourage Child Development with her husband and five-year-old son. The cookbook is intended to teach parents and caregivers how to incorporate their toddlers and preschoolers in the cooking process while simultaneously encouraging child development.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD, had a COVID-19 related article published online by the American Academy of Audiology titled COVID-19 in Cerumen – A Potential Source of Viral Spread of Patients Infected With SARS-CoV-2. Also, the Canadian Academy of Audiology ( reprinted his article COVID-19 “Long-Haulers”- The Emergence of Auditory/Vestibular Problems After Medical Intervention on their website.

Tracy Lawrence, MA, CCC-SLP

Tracy Lawrence, MA, CCC-SLP, retired on January 1, 2021, after 37 years as a speech-language pathologist. For several years she was chair of the NJSHA Convention in Atlantic City.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP, was an associate editor of the 2020 International Journal of Orofacial Myology and Myofunctional Therapy. She was published in this journal as well

Rachelle Simons

Rachelle Simons was nominated for a Governor’s Educator of the Year Award. She works in Orange County. Unfortunately, SLPs cannot move on to the County Level.

Jose G. Centeno, PhD, CCC-SLP

Jose G. Centeno, professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences in the School of Health Professions at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, recently published the following two publications in the current issue of the Aphasiology journal:
Centeno, J. G., Kiran, S., & Armstrong, E. (2020). Editorial: Aphasia management in growing multiethnic populations. Aphasiology, 34 (11), 1314-1318

Centeno, J. G., Kiran, S., & Armstrong, E. (2020). Epilogue: Harnessing the experimental and clinical resources to address service imperatives in multiethnic aphasia caseloads. Aphasiology, 34 (11), 1451-1455

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra presented two virtual lectures to the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology and to the Arkansas Academy of Audiology in September and November. Topics were: CBD and Essential Oils for Hearing Loss, Tinnitus and Vertigo (Pennsylvania) and Diabetes and Audiological Management of Hearing Loss and Vertigo (Arkansas). Also an article titled: COVID-19 “Long-Haulers” – The Emergence of Auditory/Vestibular Problems After Medical Intervention was published online by the American Academy of Audiology (

Jennifer Biener, MS, CCC-SLP

Jennifer Biener’s first ASHA proposal submission entitled, A New Paradigm: Aging Adults With Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and Dysphagia was accepted! Although the Convention was cancelled, she is still very proud of this achievement and the work she and her co-authors put into it.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra was the guest presenter for a podcast hosted by the American Academy of Audiology in July that reviewed audiological management for patients with diabetes. In August, Dr. DiSogra had an article titled Diabetes and Tinnitus published by the American Tinnitus Association in their publication Tinnitus Today.

Stacey D. Johnson, SLPD, CCC-SLP

Stacey D. Johnson, speech-language pathologist at Paterson Public Schools, Paterson, New Jersey, has been elected to the Kean University Alumni Association board of directors (treasurer). Dr. Johnson graduated from the university with a BA in speech-language-hearing sciences, MA in speech-language pathology (along with her daughter Dr. Anastasia L. Johnson) and a speech-language pathology doctorate. “I want to be able to pay forward and assist my alma mater,” Dr. Johnson said. “I have intense pride and appreciation for Kean University because of my time at Kean and so in appreciation I wish to continue to serve the needs and interest of the University however I can.”

Joanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP

Joanne Summer has moved to Manasquan, New Jersey, and is beginning to provide virtual and on-site speech-language therapy services in this new location. She was recently approved by the National Stuttering Association to be a local chapter leader. She established the Monmouth County Local National Stuttering Association (NSA) Chapter to serve adults and adolescents who stutter in Monmouth and nearby Ocean Counties. Founded in 1977, the National Stuttering Association (NSA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing hope and empowerment to adults and children who stutter, their families and speech professionals through support, education, advocacy and research. Although the chapter is meeting virtually at first, it will meet in person at a location to be determined in Monmouth County once it is safe to do so. There is no charge to attend these meetings. For further information about the chapter and its meetings, please contact Joanne Summer at or call (201) 323-2686.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP

Robyn Merkel-Walsh and her co-authors have been published in Clinical Pediatrics: Functional Improvements of Speech, Feeding, and Sleep After Lingual Frenectomy Tongue-Tie Release: A Prospective Cohort Study – Richard Baxter, Robyn Merkel-Walsh, Barbara Stark Baxter, Ashley Lashley, Nicholas R. Rendell, 2020, Robyn also has been appointed a Myo Mastermind by The Breathe Institute of California. She is also a featured guest lecturer for Gold Lactation for her contributions on tethered oral tissue. Had the ASHA Convention been held, she would have presented on Orofacial Myofunctional Consideration With Lisps.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra was the 2020 recipient of the Clinical Excellence in Audiology award from the American Academy of Audiology for his career work publishing, teaching and lecturing about pharmacology issues as they relate to the profession of audiology. He published three featured articles for the American Academy of Audiology’s COVID-19 Resources Section of the Academy’s website: 1) Audiological Management of COVID-19 Survivors Treated With Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin; 2) Ototoxicity of FDA-Approved Drugs Being Re-Purposed for COVID-19 Treatment; and 3) Dietary Supplements Used for COVID-19 Treatment. To access the complete articles go to and search COVID-19 DiSogra. He also presented three remote lectures in May/June at the Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association annual meetings and presented an Audiology OnLine webinar on CBD and Essential Oils for Hearing Loss, Tinnitus and Vertigo.

Judith R Koebli, PhD

Judith R Koebli recently published her research article An Exploration of Higher-Level Language Comprehension Deficits and Factors Influencing Them Following Blast TBI in US Veterans in the journal Brain Injury. It is currently available online.

In Memoriam: Nancy J. Patterson

One of NJSHA’s past presidents, Nancy J. (nee Odierno) Patterson, died on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at VNA Hospice at St. Clare’s Hospital in Dover. Nancy was a certified speech-language specialist (SLS), who worked for the Rockaway Township Board of Education for nearly 40 years. She also had her license in speech-language pathology from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

A lifelong Rockaway resident, Nancy was a parishioner of St. Cecilia’s Church in Rockaway. Her professional credits include her past Presidency of NJSHA as well as membership and past Presidency of the Morris County Speech-Language-Hearing Association for two terms. In addition, Nancy and her husband were both involved in community theater before her children were born, having joined Dover Little Theater in the early 1980s and continuing to work there for more than a decade in all capacities…actor, director, stage manager. She had a powerful singing voice and was involved in shows including South Pacific, Little Shop of Horrors, A Christmas Carol, Anything Goes and Our Town.

As a lifetime member of NJSHA, Nancy was a devoted volunteer for the School Affairs Committee (SAC) for more than 30 years. She spearheaded NJSHA’s effort to formulate FAQs for school-based members and was working to revise and update the FAQs at the time of her passing. Nancy’s volunteer work for SAC led her to run for and win a seat on NJSHA’s Board of Directors, which, in turn, led to her two year presidency of the association. She was a concerned leader and, as president, she made certain to be informed of and contribute to the function of all committees and their issues. In 2005, Nancy received Honors of the Association, NJSHA’s highest award, for her overall volunteerism to NJSHA and her devotion to school-based issues.

In her capacity as an SLS in Rockaway, Nancy developed an innovative program that enabled other SLSs in the district to have adequate time to serve their students appropriately. Nancy became the SLS who tested all initial child study team cases in the district. By relieving other SLSs of this responsibility, the program provided them with time to test “speech only” students, do reevaluations and provide effective speech-language pathology services for their students. Due to the success of this program, the Rockaway Township Board of Education was awarded NJSHA’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999.

Nancy will always be remembered by her colleagues at NJSHA as someone who was not afraid to speak her mind and who often led others to be more vocal and effective. Her talent as a singer enabled her to entertain at NJSHA events as well as at her retirement dinner from the Rockaway school district. When not working or partaking in NJSHA responsibilities, she spent quality time with her family, including her seven grandchildren. Nancy’s passing is a great loss to the NJSHA community.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra presented a two day program in January at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco covering Pharmacology and Audiological Management of Ototoxic Medications. In March he presented two programs at the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia (SHAV): Diabetes and Audiological Management of Oral and Injectable Medications and Essential Oils for Hearing Loss, Tinnitus and Vertigo.

Mary Faella, MA, CCC-SLP

Mary Faella has been named treasurer for the Council of State Speech-Language-Hearing Association Presidents (CSAP). She will serve a two year term.

Stacey Palant, MA, CCC-SLP, ADHD-RSP

Stacey Palan was awarded the specialized certification of ADHD-RSP by The Institute of Certified ADHD Professionals. The Institute of Certified ADHD Professional is a non-profit organization providing certification to clinical professionals working with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosed clients and is endorsed by the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) organization.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra presented a total of eight lectures during October and November on a variety of pharmaceutical and drug side effects topics to the following organizations: Michigan Audiology Coalition, Wyoming Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Alabama Academy of Audiology, South Dakota Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Student Academy of Audiology at Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana). In addition to the lectures, Seminars in Hearing published his latest article, Auditory and Vestibular Side Effects of FDA-Approved Drugs for Diabetes, in the November issue.

Mahchid Namazi, PhD, CCC-SLP

Mahchid Namazi is the new Executive Director of the School of Communication Disorders and Deafness at Kean University. She and Dr. JoAnne Cascia have been awarded a NJ Autism Center for Excellence faculty scholarship to develop a 12-credit interprofessional training program for speech language pathology students at Kean.

Diane S. Reyna

Diane S. Reyna completed required coursework in April and is now a Certified Orofacialmyologist (COM) and a Qualified Orofacialmyologist (QOM). She is also a Certified Level 3 Talktools therapist who practices privately and within middle and high schools.

Bernadette Mullen, SLPD, CCC-SLP

Bernadette Mullen was a member of the first graduating SLP doctoral class at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. She graduated in August 2019! She researched the effects of her social skills software, Socially Interactive Learning Avatar Software (SiLAS), on teaching facial emotion recognition to children with autism spectrum disorders.

Maria L. Rodriguez, SLPD, CCC-SLP

Maria L. Rodriguez presented a poster titled Preparedness of Monolingual Speech-Language Pathology Supervisors to Work With Bilingual Clinicians at the 2019 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Annual Convention in Orlando. The purpose of the poster was to share the findings of a pilot study which examined the preparedness of monolingual speech-language pathology (SLP) supervisors to appropriately supervise bilingual supervisees. Results found that bilingual supervisees indicated having to self-teach, enroll in bilingual SLP training programs and reach out to bilingual colleagues when their monolingual supervisors were unable to provide support to clinical questions regarding the assessment and/or treatment of bilingual clients.

Susane Dardeir, EdD

Susane Dardeir completed her EdD with a concentration in speech-language pathology from Nova Southeastern University this past June.

Sarita Eisenberg

Sarita Eisenberg authored the following: Eisenberg, S., Victorino, K., & Murray, S. (2019). Concurrent validity of the Fluharty Preschool Speech and Language Screening Test–Second Edition at age 3: Comparison with four diagnostic measures. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 1-10.

Cheryl B. Johnson, MA

Cheryl B. Johnson has begun her third independent contractor position as a structured literacy dyslexia interventionalist with the Edgewater Board of Education, Edgewater, New Jersey. Currently, she is tutoring five students, grades two to 12. Retirement has allowed her to follow her passion for leading children to supported and eventually independent reading. Dyslexia intervention is her super power!

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP/COM

Robyn Merkel-Walsh will be presenting four poster sessions at the annual Convention of the International Association of Orofacial Myology in New Orleans, Louisiana, and an oral presentation on tethered oral tissue with Lori Overland at the ASHA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Kristin Victorino, PhD

Kristin Victorino authored the following: Victorino, K. R., & Magaldi, N. M. (2019). Navigating terminology and promoting evidence-based practice for child language disorders: Challenges and solutions for educators in the Communication Disorders Quarterly.

Eisenberg, S., Victorino, K., & Murray, S. (2019). Concurrent validity of the Fluharty Preschool Speech and Language Screening Test–Second Edition at age 3: Comparison with four diagnostic measures. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 1-10.

In addition, Dr. Victorino was promoted to the rank of associate professor at William Paterson University of New Jersey.

Kean University Doctoral Program Graduates

Jacqueline Ahrens, SLPD, CCC-SLP, Ambika Bhattacharya, SLPD, CCC-SLP; Michele DeSimone, SLPD, CCC-SLP; Stacey D. Johnson, SLPD, CCC-SLP; Karen Kimberlin, SLPD, CCC-SLP; Tennille Miller, SLPD, CCC-SLP; Bernadette Mullen, SLPD, CCC-SLP; Maria L. Rodriguez, SLPD, CCC-SLP; Keisha Stokes, SLPD, CCC-SLP; and Gillian Velmer, SLPD, CCC-SLP completed the inaugural speech-language pathology doctoral program at Kean University in August 2019.

In Memoriam: Estelle Joyce Theander

Estelle Joyce Theander, 90, formerly of Ramsey, New Jersey, peacefully passed away on August 25, 2019, at Applewood Estates in Freehold, New Jersey. She earned a master’s degree from Columbia Teachers College, in New York City. She completed all of the requirements for a doctorate, except the dissertation, in communication sciences and disorders from Columbia. She began her career in education in the Ramsey Public Schools, as both a teacher and speech therapist. She was a trail blazer, as a public school speech correctionist. Estelle helped to establish The New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) and worked tirelessly for New Jersey State licensure. Estelle served as chairperson of several NJSHA committees. She was a supporter of The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association during her entire career. Estelle was a consummate professional.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra was the guest editor for the special pharmacology/ototoxicity issue of Seminars in Hearing that was published in May. He also contributed one article on drug side effects on audiological and vestibular testing and created a reference guide on ototoxic antibiotics and platinum-based chemotherapy medications for the issue. In June, he was an invited lecturer at the Connecticut Academy of Audiology where he spoke about pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Catherine Fredericks, MA, CCC-SLP, CAS

Catherine Fredericks was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Coalition for the Advancement of Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology (, a non-profit organization established in 1987, to promote the appropriate applications of technology for individuals with disabilities, assure access to resources and provide continuing education to its members and the community at large. She holds the position of recording secretary on the board.

Karen Kushla, ScD, CCC-A

Karen Kushla was named to the ASHA SIG 19 (Speech Science) Editorial Board and is on the SIG 07 (Aural Rehabilitation) and SIG 19 Professional Development committees. She is also presenting as an invited speaker of SIG 19 at the 2019 ASHA Convention; the presentation’s title is: Imagining the Possibilities With Praat: A Hands-On Tutorial on its Clinical and Research Applications.

Fran Leibner, MA, CCC-SLP

Fran Leibner retired from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), Office of Fiscal and Data Services on May 31, 2019. Since 2002, Fran has held a variety of responsibilities at the NJDOE, including facilitation and implementation of discretionary grants and other fiscal agreements/processes, including those required for requests for proposals, consultant agreements and workshops. Regardless of the office housing her position (e.g., the Bureau of Program Development, Bureau of Policy and Planning), Fran has worn many hats, beginning as a link to the NJDOE Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). She has provided technical assistance on grant management and procedures to department staff, local education agencies, organizations and institutes of higher education. Most importantly for NJSHA, Fran has been responsible for providing technical assistance to department staff, school districts and the public regarding speech-language pathology services and pertinent special education regulations and guidance. Prior to joining the NJDOE, Fran worked in the public schools for nine years, as well as in hospitals and clinics for 10 years as both a staff speech-language pathologist and a director. She has performed as the New Jersey representative on the State Education Agencies Communication Disabilities Council (SEACDC). SEACDC includes members from state education agencies, who consult on behalf of students with speech-language or hearing impairments as well as other disabilities. As the liaison to NJSHA, Fran has fielded hundreds of questions on regulations from School Affairs Committee (SAC) chairs as well as NJSHA members. She always has been willing to help clarify and interpret mandates dictated by New Jersey’s Special Education Code, N.J.A.C. 6A:14. An invaluable and reliable resource to NJSHA, Fran is an expert in the field of state and federal regulations and does in-depth research to ensure that the information she provides is correct. For her dedication and professionalism, Fran received NJSHA’s 2017 Distinguished Professional Service Award. It is with the utmost gratitude, admiration and congratulatory wishes on her stellar career and her upcoming retirement that NJSHA bids her farewell from her position at the NJDOE. Though she will be sorely missed, NJSHA wishes her a rewarding retirement with much joy from her family and future endeavors.

Nancy Polow, PhD

Nancy Polow, Owner/Director of Suburban Speech Center and past president of NJSHA, was awarded the 2019 Unity Achievement Award by the Union County Human Relations Commission (UCHRC) on May 6, 2019. Dr. Polow has been an active voice and contributed thousands of volunteer hours to the New Jersey Speech- Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that advanced the profession on local, state and national levels. Suburban Speech Center was selected by NJSHA to receive its Program of the Year award for its outstanding outreach preschool program in the community, the President’s Award for Excellence and the Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr.Polow’s latest honor was the New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award in 2018.

Kimberly Scanlon, MA, CCC-SLP

Kimberly Scanlon, of Scanlon Speech Therapy, published her second book on toddler language development, titled, My Toddler’s First Words: A Step-by-Step Guide To Jump- Start, Track, and Expand Your Toddler’s Language.

Travis M. Tallman, MS, CCC-SLP, ATP

Travis M. Tallman has been awarded The Samuel McFarland Mentorship Award by the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA). She is the first speech-language pathologist (SLP) in all of North America to be receive this honor since the awards inception in 1997. Her dedication to individuals with complex communication needs and her collaborative approach has served to mentor professionals as well as the clients and families she has served throughout her career. After 44 years of service at the New Jersey Institute of Disabilities/Lakeview School, she has retired from her position as director of augmentative and computer services. We are grateful for her many contributions to the field of augmentative and alternative communication as well as her time and dedication to NJSHA over her remarkable career.

Kristen Victorino, PhD, CCC-SLP

Kristen Victorino, PhD, CCC-SLP along with a colleague from the William Paterson University Department of Special Education and Counseling, recently published a paper in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Reference: Victorino, K. R., & Hinkle, M. S. (2019). The development of a self-efficacy measurement tool for counseling in speech-language pathology. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 28(1), 108-120.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra has completed a comprehensive list of diabetes medications that have auditory, vestibular, cognitive and/ or speech side effects in collaboration with the national diabetes audiology project ( To view the list go to and under “MORE” click on the diabetes link. Dr. DiSogra also presented two programs, Diabetes and Hearing Loss and Ear Canal Pathologies and Management as well as moderated a panel discussion on private practice at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Audiology annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in March.

Elaine Hitchcock, PhD, CCC-SLP

Elaine Hitchcock director of the clinical biofeedback laboratory at Montclair State University, in collaboration with Tara McAllister, PhD, director of BITS lab at New York University and Jon Preston, PhD, director of speech production laboratory at Syracuse University, have been awarded an NIH R01 grant to compare biofeedback versus traditional treatment for residual speech errors. The project is funded for five years and will provide opportunities for graduate students to be involved in clinical research.

Diane S. Reyna, MS, CCC-SLP

Diane S. Reyna, owner of Reyna Speech Works, is one of the first to be recognized as a QOM, Qualified Orofacialmyologist by Neo-Healthcare. The QOM, the certification track as a COM, (Certified Orofacialmyologist) and her certification as a Talk Tools level therapist, have encouraged teens and adults to seek her much sought-after skills.

Maria L. Rodriguez, MA, CCC-SLP

Maria L. Rodriguez was selected as the 2019 Educational Services Professional of the Year at Jerome Dunn Academy of Mathematics, Technology and the Arts School #9 in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP/COM®

Robyn Merkel-Walsh has successfully completed the criteria as a Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM®) with the International Association of Orofacial Myology. She is the 303rd COM® internationally.

Robert Woods, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA, ABA

Robert Woods founder and director of Speech and Hearing Associates (SHA), headquartered in Westfield, is celebrating 50 years in practice as of January 2019. Established in 1969, SHA has grown to nine offices in eight counties (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union). Dr. Woods has been recognized for demonstrating the highest professional standards of integrity and ethical principles in the execution of clinical services, and was awarded Honors of the Association from NJSHA. His mission is and always has been patient care. He has always said to his staff, “take care of your patient the best way possible and everything else will fall in place.”

In Memorium: HingKui John Lee, MA, CCC-SLP

HingKui John Lee passed away peacefully on Friday, January 25, 2019, surrounded by his family and friends. He was 49 years old. John touched the lives of many people with his outgoing personality and his work as a speech-language pathologist. His passion was to advocate for and empower those with special needs. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he resided in various cities in New York and New Jersey, until moving to Basking Ridge five years ago. Surviving John are his wife, Sharon (Liang); son, Mannten Lee; daughter, Moncher Lee; mother, AhWoon Lee; two brothers, Hing Foo Lee and Hing-Jung James Lee, and a sister, Jeannee Lee. Memorial contributions may be made to Cancer Support Community Central New Jersey, 3 Crossroads Drive, Bedminster, NJ 07921 or online at

Courtney Caruso, MS, CCC-SLP; Phillip Hernández, EdD, CCC-SLP and Maria L. Rodriguez, MA, CCC-SLP

Courtney Caruso, Phillip Hernández and Maria L. Rodriguez of NJSHA’s Multicultural Issues Committee, presented a poster session titled Multicultural Student Symposium Initiative: Successes & Challenges at the 2018 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. The purpose of the poster session was to share the findings of the post-symposium student survey, which highlighted the successes and challenges of hosting the symposium, and to assist and motivate other state associations and organizations to create similar initiatives to inspire students and professionals to provide quality care to culturally and linguistically diverse individuals.

Karen J. Golding-Kushner, PhD, ASHA Fellow

Karen J. Golding-Kushner taught a three-hour short course at the annual ASHA Convention in Boston in November 2018. The course, Cleft Palate: Treat This, Not That, and How: The Nitty Gritty and Special Topics, was presented at the invitation of the Committee for the Craniofacial and Velopharyngeal Disorders Topic Area. Dr. Golding-Kushner’s book, Therapy Techniques for Cleft Palate Speech and Related Disorders (Singular, 2001), was translated into Japanese by Toko Hayakawa, PhD, and published in August 2018 (Oral Health Association of Japan). In October 2018, Dr. Golding-Kushner was invited to present a lecture entitled Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome, Speech Therapy, and Telepractice at Aichi-Gakuin University in Nagoya, Japan. Attendees were speech-language pathologists, surgeons and students from Japan and Vietnam. Following the lecture, she did a roundtable Q&A session with parents of children with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome.

Cheryl B. Johnson, MA

Cheryl B. Johnson was an independent contractor for the Edgewater Public School District during the 2017-2018 academic term. Her area of expertise is dyslexia intervention. Ms. Johnson is a certified Wilson and International Dyslexia Association Interventionist.

Monique S. Kaye Barone, PhD, CCC-SLPM

Monique S. Kaye Barone presented Alternating Treatments for Idiom Interpretation by Children with Language Impairments at the ASHA Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 16. Dr. Kaye Barone is a former NJSHA President (2005-2007).

Karen T. Kimberlin, MS, CCC-SLP

Karen T. Kimberlin who was a member of the New Jersey Dyslexia Handbook committee, was a panel speaker for two special education parent groups, speaking on October 30 for the Montclair SEPAC and on November 13 for the Rockaway SEPAC. The parent groups were interested in several topics related to dyslexia identification and treatment. Ms. Kimberlin provided an overview of what speech-language pathologists do, as well as emphasizing the role of oral language in reading and writing.

Judith Koebli, PhD, CCC-SLP

Judith Koebli presented her dissertation research topic Exploration of Higher-Level Language Comprehension Deficits and the Factors Influencing Them Following Blast Exposure in Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans at the 2018 ASHA Annual Convention in Boston.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP

Robyn Merkel-Walsh was featured as a keynote speaker at the annual convention of the International Association of Orofacial Myology. She spoke on orofacial myofunctional disorders in complex populations. Ms. Merkel-Walsh also was selected to present her poster on oral placement therapy for myofunctional disorders and co-authored two additional posters for the convention on feeding challenges in ankyloglossia, and myofunctional disorders in children with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Ms. Merkel- Walsh’s new book with Lori Overland was released in October entitled Functional Assessment and Remediation of Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs). It features chapters by Scott Siegel, MD/DDS and Anthony Jahn, MD.

Nancy Polow, PhD, CCC-SLP

Nancy Polow owner/director of Suburban Speech Center, was awarded the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award in the Executive Leadership award category. It is considered America’s highest honor for public service and volunteerism. Dr. Polow was also was invited to volunteer and participate at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University. Her achievements were recognized by the Scientific Learning Corporation when she was presented with the Leadership Award and the First Annual Pat Wilson award.

Donna Arthur Salvo, MA, CCC-SLP

Donna Arthur Salvo has retired from the New Jersey education system after working from 1979- 2018. She earned a BA in 1979 and an MA in 1982 from Kean University in speech pathology. She has been a member of NJSHA for more than 35 years. She is now working as a teacher of the deaf, as an Itinerant, for the Osceola County School District in Orlando, Florida.

Donna Spillman-Kennedy, MS, CCC-SLP

Donna Spillman-Kennedy along with co-authors Evelyn R. Klein, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, Sharon Lee Armstrong, PhD and Carolyn Gerber Satko, MS, CCCSLP, presented Selective Mutism: What can EXPRESS do for These Kids? at the ASHA 2018 Convention. The presenters discussed the components of their new program titled EXPRESS (EXPanding Receptive and Expressive Skills through Stories. Plural Publishing 2017) and implementation methods to promote both communication and language skills. This seminar presented a systematic, story-based approach to simultaneously expand language skills and social communication comfort for children ages three to 11 with selective mutism.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra has been selected to be the guest editor for a special issue on pharmacology and ototoxicity for the journal, Seminars in Hearing – a quarterly review journal that publishes topic-specific issues in the field of audiology. Also, in September, Dr. DiSogra was the guest speaker at the annual meeting of the Missouri Academy of Audiology in St. Louis. His topic was Drug Side Effects on Audiological and Vestibular Testing.

Catherine Fredericks, MA, CCC-SLP, CAS

Catherine Fredericks has earned accreditation by The Center for AAC and Autism as a Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP™) Certified Professional. This certification acknowledges the ability of a professional to successfully incorporate the LAMP approach to improve language and communication skills in nonverbal and minimally verbal individuals.

Sue Goldman, MA, CCC-SLP

Sue Goldman has received her acceptance to present at the 2018 ASHA Annual Convention in Boston on the topic, How Can SLPs Address Goals Relative to CCSS Effectively In-Class? An Infused, Collaborative Approach. This approach helps speech-language pathologists succeed in provision of effective in-class services by infusing instruction as opposed to singling out “speech” students within a classroom.

Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP

Robyn Merkel Walsh had recently been published in Diane Bahr’s Ages and Stages Blog discussing the difference between orofacial myofunctional disorders and pediatric feeding. Ms. Walsh will be presenting at the ASHA Convention on Tethered Oral Tissues and is a keynote speaker at the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM) Convention this fall.

Mary Boyle, PhD, BC-ANCDS, ASHA Fellow

Mary Boyle served as the program chair for the 48th Clinical Aphasiology Conference in Lakeway, Texas, from May 22-26, 2018. She was elected for this honor by a committee of past program chairs of the Conference.

Stacy Cassel

Stacy Cassel had her dissertation published, resulting from her 12-year period of time as a doctoral student at Columbia University (two kids, working full time, graduating two years ago at age 48). So worth the effort, since she treasures her role as a faculty member at Stockton University.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra was an invited lecturer at the Indiana Speech-Language Hearing Association annual meeting in April. Later that month, he presented a program titled Ear Canal Pathologies and Management, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). Dr. DiSogra was recently selected to be a member on the Academy’s newly formed Pharmacology Task Force.

Monique Kaye

Monique Kaye, a past president of NJSHA, earned her doctorate in speech-language pathology from Seton Hall University, on May 17, 2018.

Judith R. Koebli, PhD, CCC-SLP

Judith R. Koebli received her doctorate from the School of Medical Health Sciences at Seton Hall University in May 2018.

Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP

Robyn Merkel Walsh has penned a new book with Lori Overland entitled The Functional Assessment and Remediation of Tethered Oral Tissues. This book is the first of its kind, and provides pre-feeding, feeding and speech neuromuscular re-education strategies for pre- and post-frenectomy care. She will also be a keynote speaker at the International Association of Orofacial Myology in October, located in Charlotte, North Carolina. She will be speaking on Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders in Complex Populations.

Lauren Padula

Lauren Padula is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). She is recognized by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an assistive technology professional. Lauren is employed by Technology for Education and Communication Consulting, Inc., which services school-aged children and adolescents throughout New Jersey. In recent months, Lauren and her team have expanded, opening a private practice in Williamstown, New Jersey, under the name South Jersey Speech Center. Lauren assists individuals with complex communication needs and their families in obtaining insurance and privately funded speech-generating devices.

Marla Sperling Reich

Marla Sperling Reich was published in the New York Times Reader Idea section of the Learning Network on January 17, 2018. The article is titled A Speech-Language Pathologist Makes the Times an Essential Part of Her Classroom. ASHA also included a link on their Facebook page and website as well. The article was also picked up by The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) in their ELA SmartBrief on January 22, 2018. It encompasses the idea of reading New York Times articles for a variety of semantic language purposes in a multidimensional way to help spark current conversation in students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Also, Mrs. Reich was the recipient of the Monmouth County Superintendents Educational Services Professional Recognition Program Award for 2017 (Governor’s Educator of the Year 2017), last school year.

Donna Arthur Salvo, MA, CCC-SLP

Donna Arthur Salvo will be retiring after serving as both a teacher of the deaf, as well as a speech-language pathologist in the New Jersey Public Schools for more than 37 years. From the Newark Board of Education for eight years, serving at Newton Street School and Bruce Street School for the Deaf, and from the Mountain Lakes Board of Education, working for the Lake Drive Program for close to 30 years, She has serviced deaf and hard of hearing students throughout her career. She owes much gratitude to the Kean University Speech and Language Program under the supervision of Dr. George Gens, Dr. Martin Shulman, Dr. Joyce Heller and Mrs. Barbara Lecomte. She will be relocating to the Orlando, Florida area.

In Memorium – Justine Joan Sheppard, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Justine Joan Sheppard passed away on Saturday, March 31, 2018, after a long battle with cancer. She was at home and surrounded by her family. Dr. Sheppard was a mentor and friend to many people through her long career. One colleague, Georgia Malandraki, wrote beautifully about Dr. Sheppard and her work: “Joan’s contributions to the field and her tireless work to advance the care and management of individuals with disability are unmatched. But for those of us who knew her best it is her unfailing kindness, enthusiasm for life and true humility for which she will be remembered most.” Dr. Sheppard served as president of NJSHA from 1999-2000. She was the recipient of NJSHA’s Outstanding Clinical Achievement Award in 1991, as well as Honors of the Association in 2002. She is also an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Fellow. Dr. Sheppard was widely known and respected for her work with feeding and swallowing. Her publications were many.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra presented three lectures (including a three-hour ABA Tier 1 program) at the Georgia Academy of Audiology in Atlanta in February. Upcoming lectures include the Indiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Academy of Audiology (both in April).

Cynthia James Duell, MA, CCC-SLP

Cynthia James Duell was recently featured in two internet videos on a website for parents of preschoolers called My Child Gets Ahead. The videos presented suggestions to parents on fun ways to stimulate language development to their preschoolers through baking cookies and playing games together.

Maddy Kalb

Maddy Kalb retired from the public school system in June 2017. She is retooling to change her specialty and advises others in similar situations to move forward, branch out and become competent in other areas. She adds, be sure to prepare by refining and sharpening skills in a less-familiar area through continuing education, onsite mentorships and reading books and articles as an important resource. She recommends ASHA Leader’s February 2015 article: Want to Change Your Specialty?: Step Out- and Retool.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, along with Lori Overland launched their new class Functional Assessment and Remediation of TOTs in Woodbridge, New Jersey. It was attended by more than 80 speech-language pathologists, occupational therapist and physicians.

Mahchid Namazi, PhD, CCC-SLP

Mahchid Namazi from Kean University and a NJSHA board member, has been selected to participate in ASHA’s 2018 Leadership Development Program. The Leadership Development Program is a year-long program for ASHA members with leadership potential. The program encourages the member to develop leadership skills and give back to the professions through volunteering—whether with ASHA, at the workplace or for a related professional organization.

Nancy Polow, PhD, CCC-SLP

Nancy Polow celebrated her 40th year as owner of Suburban Speech Center, Short Hills, New Jersey. An open house was held on January 30 with speech-language pathologists on hand to greet parents and answer questions. Suburban Speech Center is a private pediatric center that has received state and national recognition. Dr. Polow served as vice president and president of NJSHA. Dr. Polow was selected by NJSHA to receive its Program of the Year Award, President’s Award for Excellence and the Outstanding Achievement Award. Her latest honor was the Distinguished Professional Service Award in 2014. Dr. Polow chaired NJSHA committees including higher education and continuing education, as well as two NJSHA Conventions.

In Memorium – Gerard “Jerry” Caracciolo, EdD, CCC-SLP

Gerard “Jerry” Caracciolo, Immediate Past President of NJSHA, passed away on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at his home in Montclair, surrounded by his loving family. Dr. Caracciolo enjoyed a long and distinguished career that included service in the public schools, early intervention, healthcare, private practice and academia. Earning the distinction of Professor Emeritus from Montclair State University, he also served in a number of key positions in professional organizations, including appointments to the ASHA Board of Ethics, the NJSHA Board of Directors, governor appointee to the New Jersey State Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee and Chair of the VOICES Editorial Board. Dr. Caracciolo most recently served as President of NJSHA from July 2015 to June 2017. In May of 2017, he was bestowed the highest award, Honors of the Association. His professional reputation, his teaching, clinical practice, contributions to the profession and service to the university, state and national organizations earned him a number of other accolades including; ASHA Fellow, Outstanding Alumni Award (MSU), NJSHA Distinguished Professional Service Award and the College of Arts (MSU) Distinguished Service Award.

In Memorium – Shirley Morganstein

Shirley Morganstein, of Montclair died on Sunday January 28, 2018. She was born in the Bronx on April 8, 1946. Shirley attended New York University as an undergrad and the University of Minnesota where she received her degrees in speech language pathology and began her professional pursuit of aphasia. As a lifelong champion of disability rights, the seeds of her activism to speak out for change began here. At the Rusk Institute, she studied under Martha Taylor Sarno where she developed her skills as an expert clinician. Dr. Sarno would later write about Shirley, “She has viewed aphasia in a larger disability context where the diversity of impairments, their social and psychological effects on individual identity and the cultural barriers which make intervention especially challenging, are acknowledged and addressed. “Few speech-language pathologists have understood the ‘insider’ perspective of living with aphasia as well as Shirley Morganstein.” Later in her career she would head the Speech-Language Department at the Kessler Institute in West Orange and promote innovative treatment for patients and programs for career development for her staff. In 2004 she would co-found a private practice, Speaking of Aphasia, a Life Participation Approach to Aphasia. It was in this setting that Shirley would become an “aphasia guru”. Shirley was renowned for her “Emotional Intelligence”. She was keenly sensitive to the needs of others, how to support people, and write authentically about the importance of relationships. Her pen was her power. When Shirley spoke, the Aphasia world listened. She created professional workbooks, wrote scholarly articles, taught speech-language pathologists and students, gave lectures, created social websites, blogs and even wrote Aphasia Haiku. “The heat burns deeply/sweat runs down like tears, and I/cannot find its name.” Her family and friends adored her, her client’s flourished and her colleagues revered her. Shirley is survived by her devoted spouse Barbara, son, Jake and niece, Hilary Maybaum. She is predeceased by her sister, Fran Maybaum, mother, Helen and father, Hyman Morganstein. She will be missed by the house menagerie of Mishka, Babe, Sassy and the newcomer Riley.
Donations to honor Shirley can be made to the Lamp for Haiti Foundation.

Mary Boyle, PhD, CCC-SLP

Mary Boyle professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Montclair State University, was elected by her peers to serve as the program chair of the 2018 Clinical Aphasiology Conference (CAC) to be held May 22-26, 2018, in Austin, Texas.

Joan Bruno, PhD, CCC-SLP

Joan Bruno had an invited paper published in The Colors of AAC, the 30th anniversary publication of the Hungarian Bliss Foundation. Her article is entitled Assessing a School-Aged Child for an AAC System in the USA: Our Journey to Enlightenment. It is an honor to be selected as one of the nine distinguished authors contributing to this international publication and the only author from the United States.

Amanda Charney

Amanda Charney’s foundation, Small Steps in Speech, a non-profit organization founded and based in New Jersey, has reached its $1 million mark! Another milestone in 2015-2017 was that they partnered with CASANA. With the CASANA grant, they were able to provide even more grants for those children with childhood apraxia of speech.

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra has been named a Distinguished Fellow by the Audiology Academy of the National Academies of Practice (NAP) for his “significant and enduring contributions in the profession.” The Audiology Academy of the NAP is part of NAP’s 14 healthcare professions, which are committed to the interprofessional advancement of the nation’s healthcare policies and practices. His website now provides information on his university “drop-in” pharmacology lecture program and cerumen management workshop for AuD students. Dr. DiSogra also contributed to the British Society of Audiology’s (BSA) “BSA Grow” online learning program with his lecture titled Drug Side Effects on Audiological Investigations in December. The on-demand program is now available to all members of the BSA.

Catherine H. Fredericks, MA, CCC-SLP

Catherine H. Fredericks has been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare as a “Top Speech-Language Pathologist” in Wayne, New Jersey.

Sue Goldman, MA, CCC-SLP

Sue Goldman presented with Tom Ehren and Shelley Lloyd at the ASHA Annual Convention in Los Angeles, California, on November 9, 2017. The program, Burned out? Fired Up! Advocate!, concerned advocacy as an essential activity for school-based speech-language pathologists.

Stacey D. Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP

Stacey D. Johnson has been accepted into the Kean University Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology (SLPD) program. The School of Communication Disorders and Deafness at Kean University has secured permission to offer a clinical doctorate in speech-language pathology and Ms. Johnson is among the first cohort of students to attend the program that began in September 2017. Ms. Johnson is also an alumni board member at Kean University and serves as a mentor on Kean ALI (Alumni Leadership Initiative).

Ashley Mercado

Ashley Mercado, second-year graduate student at Long Island University, presented her poster Impact of a Clinical Rotation in Ireland on Graduate Students’ Clinical Skill Set and Cultural Competence at the ASHA 2017 Convention. She will be presenting this poster along with co-researchers George Pagano, MS, CCC-SLP and Sean Erickson, MS. She is also a recipient of ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program Scholarship (MSLP). The MSLP is a leadership development program established for up to 40 students ranging from undergraduate seniors, master’s students, audiology students enrolled in a communication sciences disorders program and students pursuing a doctoral degree. The MSLP is a one-week program which takes place during the ASHA Convention.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP

Robyn Merkel-Walsh was published in the ASHA Leader, November edition with an article entitled Waiting Room Woes. The article discussed problems and solutions for private practitioners. She also presented a poster session at the 2017 ASHA Convention with Lori Overland, MS, CCC-SLP, NDT/C, CLC entitled Functional Assessment of Feeding Challenges in Children With Ankyloglossia.

Giuliana Pantone

Giuliana Pantone, MS, CCC-SLP, completed her clinical fellowship at Bound Brook School District and was awarded her CCCs!

Donna Spillman-Kennedy, MS, CCC-SLP

Donna Spillman-Kennedy in collaboration with Evelyn Klein, Sharon Lee Armstrong, Janice Gordon, Carolyn Gerber Satko and Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, has published a book about treatment of children with selective mutism – Expanding Receptive and Expressive Skills Through Stories (EXPRESS): Language Formulation in Children With Selective Mutism and Other Communication Needs through Plural Publishing. All proceeds from the sales of the book will be donated to selective mutism research. Donna has been working with children who have selective mutism for 14 years and continues to treat these children through her private practice, Integrated Speech Pathology, in Watchung, New Jersey.

Nancy Wernikoff, MS, CCC-SLP

Nancy Wernikoff is a speech-language pathologist in private practice. Seven years ago, she purchased a Havanese puppy and decided to train, Simi, as a therapy dog. She takes Simi to schools for autistic and developmentally delayed children. In addition, Simi is trained to be a reading dog. They go to libraries and children that have difficulty reading out loud, will read to Simi. After many visits to the Ramsey Public Schools classes, Mrs. Judy Copeland, a speech-language pathologist, took pictures of the children as they learned how to pet and respond to Simi. Mrs. Copeland authored a picture book for the children with Simi, entitled Simi Goes to School. It has been an excellent teaching aid.

Karen Tacountes Dionisio, MA, CCC-SLP

Karen Tacountes Dionisio has retired after 43 years in the field. She graduated from Montclair State College in 1974. Karen worked with children and adults in the early years of her career and spent the last 27 years dedicated to providing speech and language therapy to children in Branchburg Township School District. She is looking forward to spending more time with her six grandchildren and promoting language and communication through play!

Robert M. DiSogra, AuD

Robert M. DiSogra has been appointed as an adjunct professor of audiology in the distance learning doctoral program at the University of South Alabama. He is teaching the Pharmacology/Ototoxicity course. Also, Dr. DiSogra gave several lectures on Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus and Drug Side Effects on Audiological and Vestibular Testing in September and October at the annual meeting of the California Academy of Audiology and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (September). In October, he presented the Pharmaceutical program at the Alabama Academy of Audiology and the Montana Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP

Tatyana Elleseff was appointed as a Clinical Instructor with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Psychiatry. She will also be presenting an oral session (seminar) at the ASHA Annual Convention, November 9-11, 2017, entitled Practical Strategies for Monolingual SLPs Assessing & Treating Bilingual Children.

Audrie Leiter Sonzogni, MS, CCC-SLP

Audrie Leiter Sonzogni has retired after 37 years of speech therapy in various schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP and Lori Overland, MS, CCC-SLP, C-NDT

Robyn Merkel Walsh along with Lori Overland presented a course on Functional Assessment and Remediation of Tethered Oral Tissues. This course was part of an inter-professional workshop hosted by Scott Siegel MD/DDS entitled Connecting the Dots in TOTs. The course was held on June 6 in New York City, and attended by oral surgeons, physicians, chiropractors, IBCLCs, SPLs, RDHs and OTs. A similar presentation by Robyn and Lori, was recently accepted for the 2017 ASHA Convention.

Mahchid Namazi, PhD, CCC-SLP

Mahchid Namazi assistant professor at Kean University, is excited to welcome the first cohort of doctoral students in fall 2017 to the SLPD program which she is coordinating.

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson, a graduate student at Kean University and Dr. Mahchid Namazi’s graduate assistant, has been selected as a participant in ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program’s class of 2017.

Patricia A. Remshifski, PhD, CCC-SLP

Patricia A. Remshifski has recently been appointed as director of the Program for Research and Support for Rett Syndrome at Monmouth University. This program, housed in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology, supports instructional programs and research endeavors designed to assist persons with Rett syndrome and their families.

Frances B. Weldon, MA

Frances B. Weldon has somewhat retired after 30 years working in the public schools. She is still providing early intervention services through and LSVT therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease. She is happily doing contract work when not traveling, and just attained her fifth ACE award!

Julia Wolfrom, MS, MA, CCC-SLP

Julia Wolfrom just completed her second master’s degree – a Master of Arts degree in school leadership at Rowan University, with principal certification, in New Jersey.