Meet Our Doctoral Students

Ph.D. Students

Henry Giovanny Angulo Jimenez

Henry Giovanny Angulo JimenezMy research concerns bilingualism in marked clinical populations, with a special interest in Spanish-English bilingualism in individuals on the autistic spectrum. Through my research, I aim to inform my own teaching practice and that of professionals in other fields to better serve all individuals.


Mariana Aparicio Betancourt

Mariana Aparicio BetancourtMy clinical interest and my research aim to enhance communication through multiple methods & modalities in individuals with developmental communication impairments such as autism, and to increase the understanding of communication development and associated social and cognitive processes.


Maysoon Biller

Maysoon BillerI am on leave from a university faculty position to pursue a doctorate in Speech and Hearing Science. My research interests focus on children with autism as they develop verbal imitation skills. I plan to return to a faculty position in Communication Sciences and Disorders to teach, supervise, and pursue research.


Christina Bronson-Lowe

Christina Bronson-LoweI use measures developed from theories of fractals and chaos to investigate motor control and motor learning, particularly in the elderly. My goal is to apply this knowledge to improve therapies for dysphagia. I also have a strong clinical interest in speech-language pathologists' contributions to end-of-life care, including supporting patients and families with feeding decisions and communication.


Abbigail Buente

Abbigail BuenteMy research focus is on bilateral cochlear implant user's performance and perception. Specifically how a cochlear implant user’s perception of a sound effects their production of this sound. I am also interested in the effects of bilateral differences on binaural abilities, and plan to pursue this line of research.


Suma Devanga

Suma DevangaMy research interests are to study the intervention approaches for persons with aphasia from a social perspective, and to investigate the multi-modal communication patterns in persons with aphasia. I aspire to be recognized as a research faculty in the area of adult neurogenic disorders.


Megan Finnegan

Megan FinneganI am fascinated by the brain and perception, and in using computers to investigate and model their functioning. I am particularly interested in developing computational models of auditory processing that directly integrate observational data such as MRIs. Additionally, I am interested in exploring the interactions of other neural systems, such as bottom-up and top-down attentional control in disordered audition (in particular tinnitus), and computationally modeling these systems. Ultimately, I hope not only to deepen our understanding of normal and disordered hearing, but aid in the search for better technologies and treatments.


Macarena Galvez Barrera

Macarena Galvez BarreraI am interested in the design of early intervention programs focused on language and communication for Hispanic children. I aim at integrating a psycholinguistic foundation with culturally relevant aspects for the idiosyncrasy of the immigrant families. I hope that through my research I will contribute to the Hispanic families’ welfare by offering them tools to support their children’s language development and academic success.


Ning Hsu

Ning HsuMy research interests involve language development throughout childhood and developmental language disorders. I am interested in studying language development and the potential trait markers of language disorders with a cross-language perspective between Mandarin and English.


Shraddha Shende

Shraddha ShendeMy research interests lie in understanding and discovering any link between hearing loss and cognition in the aging population. I am fascinated by the brain and its neuroplasticity! My goal is to study and discover intervention techniques which might help improve cognitive perceptions and processing in the elderly population with hearing loss. Eventually, I would like to contribute to translational research in the field.


Martha Sherrill

Martha SherrillI have returned to academics to pursue a doctoral degree after spending nine years working as a speech language pathologist in medical settings all around county. Clinically I specialized in treating adults with communication disorders as a result of brain injuries, such as strokes or traumas. Most recently I worked as a home health therapist, and I was struck by way rehabilitation efforts often focus narrowly on targeting impairments in the early weeks and months after an injury. In contrast, individuals and families continue to work on reorganizing and adapting their communication practices long after they stop being patients. My research is designed to address this issue by focusing on continued improvement of language patterns of people with brain injuries long after formal rehabilitation ends. My current project focuses on the use of Animal Assisted Therapy and the support that family and community can provide for patients recovering from chronic language impairments.


Hannah Staisloff

Hannah StaisloffI am a first year Ph.D. student with an interest in Binaural Fusion in cochlear implants. My specific interests lie in interaural timing differences within cochlear implant recipients. After working here as an RA for two years here, I realized I wanted to enhance my knowledge further into learning about cochlear implants through pursuing a Ph.D.


Yihsin Tai

Yihsin TaiAfter working as a clinical audiologist for several years, I started to notice that the evidence-based path in tinnitus is not as strong as other areas in the field of audiology due to the difficulties in defining and identifying the origin of tinnitus. My research interests involve the effects of tinnitus on physiological assessments such as auditory evoked potentials, especially for normal hearing people. I am particularly interested in knowing the relationship between tinnitus and various physiological assessments, how these factors correlate with each other, and how they can be used clinically as part of tinnitus assessment and rehabilitation protocol.


Anna Tendera

Anna TenderaMy academic interests are concentrated on investigating speech disfluency from a multimodal perspective. My current projects integrate aspects of developmental linguistics with stuttering research to explore the relationship between grammatical encoding and speech rate in young children. Through my line of research, I hope to contribute to greater insight into the emergence of stuttering.


Veronica Vidal Velasco

Veronica Vidal VelascoI am interested in children’s communication acquisition in naturalistic environments. Particularly, I would like to study the pragmatic aspects of communication and social interaction in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders within community settings. I was attracted to study and develop my work here because this department of Speech and Hearing Sciences has an holistic and integrative view of communication and its disorders, and it has a particular interest in the development of evidence-based intervention.


Au.D. Students

Andrea Arns

Andrea ArnsMy primary interest at this point is diagnostic testing and management options for all ages. I would love to get more experience with cochlear implants and early intervention for the pediatric population. However, I also have an interest in the geriatric population and would love to be in an environment where I am able to work with a vast age range. I appreciate the diversity audiology has to offer and hope to work with a variety of different patients and hearing disorders. My future goal is to work in a hospital or private practice setting.


Ariel Brownlee

Ariel BrownleeMy clinical interests at this point include: exploring cochlear implants, investigating the vestibular system, and practicing neonatal hearing screenings. My goal is to work in a hospital setting, possibly on a cochlear implant team. I look forward to narrowing my interests in the next 4 years.


Emily Buenting

Emily CooperCurrently, my clinical interests include diagnostics in a wide range of populations. I am also interested in musicians with hearing loss and helping them manage and prevent any further loss or tinnitus through counseling. In the past I have been involved in electrophysiology research and hope to continue learning more about that area through research and clinical practices.



Jacob Caravello

Jacob CaravelloCurrently, my interests include diagnostic testing as well as evoked potentials. In addition to these, I would like to explore more options in the field, such as cochlear implants. I aspire to help both pediatric and geriatric populations and would prefer to work in a hospital or clinical setting.



Katherine Coobs

Katherine CoobsMy clinical interests include diagnostic testing and hearing devices for both the pediatric and geriatric population. I am still exploring the field and hope to expand my interests. I aspire to work as a clinical audiologist in a hospital or private practice setting.


Zoe Dinger

Zoe DingerI chose to come to the University of Illinois for the Au.D. program because of the diverse clinical opportunities offered, as well as the great sense of community and support. Currently I am interested in central auditory processing, but I enjoy all aspects of the field and am looking forward to gaining new experiences. In the future, I hope to work as a Humanitarian Audiologist and learn more about the accessibility of audiological services both stateside and internationally.


Victoria Eschmann

Victoria EschmannMy clinical interests include binaural cochlear implantation in both pediatric and adult populations. I am also interested in aural rehabilitation across the lifespan as well as newborn hearing screening and diagnostics. I aspire to become a part of a cochlear implant team in a hospital setting. I am also interested in working in private practice as a clinical audiologist.


Sarah Gurnik

Sarah GurnikI am currently most interested in the diagnostic testing and habilitation of the pediatric population. That being said, I have other more broad interests in the field and look forward to helping both the pediatric and geriatric populations in a clinical setting.


Miranda Hight

Miranda HightMy clinical interest is in the pediatric population. Specifically, I'd love to work with cochlear implants and aural rehabilitation. Although pediatrics is my primary interest, I look forward to the variety of clinical opportunities the University of Illinois provides me with involving all age ranges. My ultimate goal is to work for a children's hospital or private practice back home in Chicago.


Carolyn Jeon

Carolyn JeonI am interested in diagnostic testing and evaluation for various populations in a hospital or clinical setting as an audiologist. While in the AuD program, I am looking forward to the broad range of training and experiences we will receive here at the University of Illinois. Research-wise, I am interested in investigating how hearing loss translates in different languages and cultures and how hearing loss affects bilingual populations, especially in children.


Kristin Johnson

Kristin JohnsonMy primary interest at this time is in vestibular testing and rehabilitation. I find the science behind balance disorders particularly interesting, and would like to help individuals with these issues lead more comfortable lives. Additionally, I would like to work with the pediatric population at some point in my career, most likely by doing audiometric testing and fitting hearing aids. I hope to work in a hospital or private practice.


Kruti Kadakia

Haley HixI choose the audiology program at University of Illinois because of its outstanding clinical placements and its curriculum. Currently, my clinical interests include pediatric audiology, hearing aids, and aural rehabilitation. In the future, I aspire to work in a hospital setting while being part of a faculty at a university.


Laci Le

Laci LeResearch interests include neuroplasticity after hearing loss, especially in the pediatric deaf or hard-of-hearing population, neurodegenerative diseases that affect auditory function, and the effects of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). My primary research interest, however, is in cochlear implants technology and work in improving speech perception in noise in cochlear implant users.


Daniel Lee

Daniel LeeMy research interest relates to the adaptation of binaural cues in mismatched speech, particularly in bilateral cochlear implant users. I have a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering, so I felt that research pertaining to one of the most advanced hearing technologies would complement my previous studies as well as advance my goal of becoming a research professor. I'm also interested in the clinical aspect of Audiology and can't wait to apply research findings within the clinical realm and vice versa. I find that Illinois' Audiology program is quite versatile, seamlessly balancing clinical work with research-oriented studies.


Carolyn Legare

Carolyn LegareMy objective is to work with the veteran population, aiding in the recovery and life adaptation of current and former service members. As a veteran of the United States Air Force, I have first-hand experience working with soldiers in a multitude of situations where sudden, repeated, or prolonged noise exposure is present. I have unique insight into the hearing needs of the military population in both daily life and in combat; tinnitus and hearing loss is highly prevalent within all branches of our military. I am dedicated to acquiring the professional training needed to provide each patient with the best care and services available, addressing their hearing needs in a holistic way.


Erika Lindgren

Erika LindgrenMy clinical interests include diagnostic testing and habilitation for the pediatric population, as well as hearing aids and cochlear implants for pediatrics. In the future, I hope to be working in a hospital setting. I chose the Au.D. program at the University of Illinois because of the immersion into clinical experience in the first year as well as the many great off-site experiences.


Michelle Nebel

Michelle NebelMy clinical interests include diagnostic testing and hearing aids for individuals of all ages. I am still exploring other aspects of the field and hope to expand my area of clinical interests. In the future, I aspire to work in a hospital in the Chicagoland area.


Alissa Nickerson

Alissa HembroughPresently, I am considering various avenues for my research. However, my interests lie in pediatric audiology and the promising results implantable devices have exhibited. My hope is to eventually work with these populations as a clinical audiologist.


Jamie Petroelje

Jamie PetroeljeMy interests include working with pediatric patients with cochlear implants. I chose to come to the University of Illinois because the program is diverse. The number of different external placements ensure that I will be prepared to work almost anywhere in the field of Audiology.


Akila Prasad

Akila PrasadI have not chosen a concrete path for research thus far, but I am enjoying learning about all the various opportunities we are offered as a career path. My interests reside mainly in cochlear implants, pediatrics and auditory evoked potentials. I hope to one day work in an environment that allows me to be involved in all three areas as a clinical Audiologist.


Lauren Putira

Lauren PutiraWhile I have yet to explore the numerous avenues of research the Au.D program at the University of Illinois has to offer, my current interest is in phantom auditory perceptions such as tinnitus as well as in diagnostic testing and hearing aids. I hope to work in either a hospital or clinical setting in the future.


Mariah Richard

Mariah RichardI chose the Au.D. program at the University of Illinois because of the clinical experience during the first year and the wide variety of off-campus clinical experiences. My current clinical interests include diagnostic testing and hearing aids. Working at a VA clinic or private practice are two employment opportunities I am considering for the future.


Julia Stelmach

Julia A. StelmachI have enjoyed the diagnostic testing and hands-on hearing aid experiences I've had thus far. I continue to explore the many directions this field has to offer. My current interests involve working with cochlear implants and the vestibular system. Upon completion of my doctoral studies, I plan to work clinically with a diverse patient population in a hospital setting.


Anthony Tsao

Anthony TsaoI have a strong interest in working with the elderly in a clinical setting. By performing diagnostic evaluations, I can provide explanations behind the hearing difficulties they face and educate them on how to best use technology to restore a sense of control in their communication. My professional goals involve working in a hospital or private practice to gain experience with different patient cases and eventually working in a research & development facility for a hearing aid or cochlear implant manufacturer.


Malorie Wagman

Malorie WagmanMy current clinical interests include cochlear implants and interoperative monitoring. In the future, I would like to work in a private practice or as a clinical audiologist in a hospital. I am looking forward to my upcoming placements where I will be able explore different aspects of the field in a variety of settings.


Lindsey Yarde

Lindsey YardeI am an AuD student with clinical interests in diagnostic testing and cochlear implants. I have future career aspirations to take my U of I experiences back to Northeastern Indiana to work in a hospital or private practice setting.