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These pages are intended to maintain our connection with WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences alumni, donors and friends, providing updates on what is new in the department, and to let you know about our alumni events and news.

Notable Alumni

Neil Aiello (BA '88, MA '92 in audiology) is in private practice with his father, Dr. Frank Aiello, in Richland, Washington. They now have offices in Kennewick, Prosser, and Sunnyside, and hope soon to open another service center in northeastern Oregon. The centers offer a full range of diagnostic audiological and rehabilitative services include dispensing of hearing aids and assistive listening devices.

Christiane Dechert (M.A. '97) has been a clinical educator at the University of Wyoming since 2002. She worked in a variety of clinical settings in Wyoming and Colorado before joining the clinical faculty in the Division of Communication Disorders. In addition to teaching clinical skills to graduate students, she has taught undergraduate classes in phonetics, diagnostics, and speech disorders. In 2008, she was president of the Wyoming Speech Language Hearing Association. She is currently serving as Wyoming's representative to the ASHA Advisory Council. She has a strong interest in multicultural issues and international service opportunities.

Dr. Anna C. Diedesch (B.A. ’04) earned her doctorate of audiology (Au.D.) from Wichita State University in 2008. She completed her Au.D. externship at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR) at the Portland VA Medical Center, where she continued to work for three years as a research audiologist upon the completion of her audiology degree. While at NCRAR, she worked on several grants, one of which focused on the effects of central auditory processing disorders associated with high intensity blast exposure sustained by our nation’s Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Diedesch recently returned to work on her Ph.D. focusing on the effects of aging and hearing impairment on sound localization.

Dr. Stephen A. Fausti (BA '65) directs the VA's National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research at the Portland VA Medical Center and is a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Oregon Health and Science University. He gained international recognition for his pioneering research and clinical expertise in assessing high-frequency auditory sensitivity and using high-frequency testing for early identification of hearing loss caused by ototoxicity. Dr. Fausti received the Magnuson Award, the VA's most distinguished honor for rehabilitation investigators, in 2004.

Dr. Pat Feeney (MA ’79) is the Director of the VA National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research at the VA Medical Center in Portland, OR. He received his PhD at the University of Washington (UW). He is the past Chief of Audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology, HNS at the UW. He conducts research on the assessment of peripheral auditory function and adult hearing screening. He is a Past President of the American Academy of Audiology.

Dr. Kresent O. Gurtler (MA '88) earned his doctorate of audiology (Au.D.) from A.T. Still University's Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2006. Dr. Gurtler holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. He was born and raised in Alaska. Currently, he is the managing member of Southern Arizona Hearing and Balance, L.L.C., in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Marty Laronal (MA '01) has been a speech-language pathologist for the Muckleshoot Birth to Three Program in Auburn, Washington, since graduating from WSU. In 2008–2009, she provided speech and language services to the Muckleshoot Head Start Program. Marty is most excited about incorporating Whulshootseed (the Muckleshoot language) into the Muckleshoot literacy program, as well as in her therapy plans. She contracts with the Quileute Indian Tribe to provide speech and language services to infants in their Baby Face and daycare programs and to children aged 5 to 15 years in the Quileute Tribal School. Marty has served on the board of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation from 2006–2009.

Trish (Nagel) Niehl (BA '79, M.A. '80) is system director for Franciscan Health System Therapy Services (PT, OT, and SLP) based in Tacoma, Washington. She is responsible for inpatient and outpatient therapy operations of five hospitals and five PT clinics in the south Puget Sound region.

Dr. Tim Saltuklaroglu (BA ’95) is an associate professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at the University of Tennessee. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 2004, he has co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications on the nature and treatment of stuttering in addition to presenting his research at both national and international conferences. Dr. Saltuklaroglu is a person who stutters and entered the field of speech-language pathology to help others who stutter and learn more about the disorder. He has provided many different types of therapy for stuttering in the public school system and in university clinical settings to both children and adults who stutter.

Brian Shute (MA '86, speech-language pathology) is co-owner of Communicative Medical Clinic, Inc., one of only four nationwide service and supply companies to provide an extensive stock of communication aids for laryngectomy patients in the country. They also provide their own line of tracheostoma filters, approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Rachel Tapper Zijlstra (BA '94, MA '98 in speech-language pathology) is director of clinical services with Pro-Speech in San Diego. She has 8 full-time SLP colleagues and says "we work very hard to serve the community... From summer camps for users of augmentative and alternative communication (Camp TAALCC) to our 'BabySign' program, in which we teach parents and babies with profound hearing loss basic signs to facilitate early communication, to our phonological awareness-based reading programs (Reading STARS), Pro-Speech keeps me very busy. I enjoy the variety of this diverse, service-oriented environment, which can be hectic, but is always rewarding."




We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and support of Speech and Hearing Sciences at WSU.

Your Gifts to Us Support:

  • Student scholarships and financial aid
  • Student and faculty research
  • The purchase of new or updated equipment for laboratories and classrooms
  • Recruitment and retention of world-class faculty
  • Student travel expenses to present their work at professional conferences

J. Richard Franks Scholarship Endowment for Native American StudentsOur Fundraising Priority

We are building the J. Richard Franks Scholarship Endowment for Native American Students in Speech and Hearing Sciences to honor this visionary man who saw that Native Americans were vastly under-represented in the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology and took action to change this. Franks passed away in 2011, but over a 25-year period, he oversaw WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences' efforts to recruit and graduate Native American students.

Reasons to Give

  • Tuition only covers approximately 60 percent of the costs to educate Speech and Hearing Sciences students. Alumni and donor gifts help offset these costs and prevent further tuition increases for current students.
  • Annual giving provides crucial funding that allows us to offer more scholarships and financial aid to the 80 percent of Speech and Hearing Sciences students who rely on this to help finance their education.
  • Gifts also ensure we are able to give students access to the most updated learning environments possible.


Current Stories

The third annual Camp Candoo for children with severe speech disorders is underway on the WSU Spokane campus. Here's a mention on the WSU Medicine Facebook page. Associate Professor Nancy Potter and Clinical Associate Professor Amy Meredith, along with several UPCD students, work one-on-one and in groups with children ages 4-8.

Associate Professor Ella Inglebret Speech and Hearing Sciences Associate Professor Ella Inglebret is a member of a team that created a new method for teaching the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Inglebret participated in the launch of the new Honoring Tribal Legacies school curriculum in Omaha, Nebraska.

Assistant Professor Mark VanDam has received a wide variety of media attention of his research examining how mothers and fathers differ in the way they communicate with their young children. Here are samples of the stories written:

Dr. VanDam has also gained attention on another subject: a device he and colleagues are developing to help Parkinson's patients speak louder.

Associate Professor Nancy Potter and two SHS graduate students hosted Speech and Hearing Sciences' eighth annual ALS Forum on Oct. 16, 2014.

University Programs in Communication Disorders
“Clinical Supervision: The Celebration of a Partnership” (PDF) »

Presented by Melanie W. Hudson

UPCD 25th Anniversary CelebrationUniversity Programs in Communication Disorders 25th Anniversary Celebration March 7-8, 2014 (pdf)

Clinical Associate Professor Amy Meredith and a group of five Speech and Hearing Sciences students spent a week in Guatemala in March 2013 with the Hearts in Motion nonprofit organization. Click here to view a short video of some of their experiences.
This was a service-learning opportunity for the students and the third consecutive year SHS has participated. Click here to see photos from their trip. A more complete story will be in the 2013 edition of Wavelength, due out in June and accessible from this web page.

Academic Coordinator Georgina Lynch Joins Expert Panel Discussion on PBS Health Matters: "Understanding Autism”
December 2012

Associate Professor Ella Inglebret received WSU's 2012 Faculty Diversity Award in recognition of her demonstrated commitment to diversity over a span of 20 years. More »
April 2012

Assistant Professor Amy Meredith received a 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award for the innovative strategies she uses to educate students, including those from diverse backgrounds, as well as for her dedication to provide services to children with disabilities and their families. More »
January 2012

Associate Professor Nancy Potter received the WSU Spokane Faculty Excellence Award for excellence in teaching, research, and service. She is a national leader in new pedagogies, including human simulation guidelines for endoscopy training. Her pioneering, interdisciplinary research examining the interactive factors and systems that affect motor speech disorders has made her a nationally and internationally renowned expert on the speech and language problems in individuals with galactosemia. A founding member of the Interprofessional Education and Research group, she has been a leader in promoting interprofessional collaboration.

Assistant Professor Amy Meredith received the 2012 Washington State University Distinguished Teaching Award for outstanding achievements and contributions to undergraduate education. Meredith was recognized for her inspired, innovative, and effective teaching and mentoring.

Associate Professor Ella Inglebret has been elected as a fellow in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), a lifetime honor extended to fewer than one percent of members. More »
October 2011

Alumna Elise Benadom and Associate Professor Nancy Potter have published an article on the use of simulation in training students to perform transnasal endoscopy. More »

Students in Dr. Amy Meredith's speech anatomy class presented culturally appropriate recipes for easy-to-swallow dishes at a series of two potlucks in fall 2011. Part of a class assignment, the recipes were created for fictional patients diagnosed with swallowing disorders. "The potluck provides a fun end-of-the-semester way to bring in problem-based learning, in addition to cultural competency," said Meredith. The recipes have been collated into a Dysphagia Cookbook that is available for download here (PDF, 14MB).More »
November 2011

Dr. Amy Meredith and nine speech and hearing sciences students traveled to Guatemala on a service learning trip with Hearts in Motion over spring break, complementing the medical side of the mission with speech rehabilitation work. "This trip showed me that I'm definitely in the right field," said junior Jessica Schmidt. "I know that I can make a difference as a speech and language pathologist." More »
March 2011

Graduate students need hands-on practice performing transnasal endoscopy, but finding volunteers to practice on can be difficult. So when Elise Benadom consulted with Nancy Potter on a topic for her thesis, they decided to explore the use of simulation in training graduate students to perform transnasal endoscopy. The results have been published in the journal Dysphagia. More »
January 2011


Previous Stories

Meredith's teaching methods featured in Anatomical Sciences Education. (Sept. 2010)

Meredith's Class Featured in Anatomical Sciences Education (Sept. 2010)

Chermak Receives AAA Distinguished Achievement Award (April 2010)

Joining Forces to Understand a Rare Disorder (Sept. 2009)

Professor Recognized as Diversity Champion (Sept. 2009)

Spotlight Focuses on Native Achievement Gap Study (June 2009)

SHS Major Highlighted at Fall Commencement (Dec. 2008)

SHS Students & Faculty Help Orphans in China (May 2008)

Rare Metabolic Disease Linked to Communication Disorders (Oct. 2007)

WSU to Host Symposium on Meeting the Needs of Deaf, Hard of Hearing Children (Sept. 2007)

Professor Wins Distinction for Multicultural Research (Aug. 2007)

Professor Seeks to Address Speech Therapy Needs in China (May 2007)

WSU Announces First Disability Studies Prefix (April 2007)

University Hearing & Speech Clinic Offers Book Club for Stroke Patients (March 2006)

WSU Spokane Will Host Foreign Fulbright Scholar (Jan. 2006)

HOPE School to Open for Young Children with Hearing Loss (Aug. 2004)

WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences Scores at the Top (Jan. 2003)


The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences doesn't have any openings right now.


Unlike moms, dads tend not to coo in squeaky voices
Mark VanDam’s research gains more attention.

More dads do diapers, not baby talk
June 1, 2015
Detroit Free Press
Boston Herald
Mark VanDam’s research continues to get some press.

Study: More Dads do Diapers, not Baby Talk
May 29, 2015
Duluth News Tribune
Wenatchee World
The Seattle Times story from May 19, 2015 on Mark VanDam’s research was re-run in the Duluth News Tribune (Minnesota) and Wenatchee World.

The Many Ways Baby Talk Gives Infant Brains a Boost
May 29, 2015
The Smithsonian has an original article featuring Mark VanDam’s research.

We Can Help Parkinson’s Patients Speak Up
May 28, 2015
The Inlander
The Inlander’s issue this week has a number of features on the research and inventions happening on the local college campuses in Spokane, and Mark VanDam’s biofeedback device for Parkinson’s patients is featured.

Study: More dads do diapers but not baby talk
May 27, 2015
Chicago Tribune
Tri-City Herald
Tacoma News Tribune
The Modesto Bee
The Wichita Eagle
Belleville News-Democrat
Idaho Statesman
The Charlotte Observer
The Olympian
San Luis Obispo Tribune
Merced Sun-Star
Mark VanDam’s research in our Speech and Hearing Sciences department continues to gain lots of attention, both locally and nationally.

By avoiding baby talk, dads may help kids acquire language
May 20, 2015
Health Canal

Dads Don’t Do Baby Talk—And That’s OK
May 20, 2015

Who Uses Baby Talk More – Moms or Dads?
May 19, 2015
WSU Health Sciences Spokane Extra
Mark VanDam from the Speech and Hearing Sciences department presented research this week showing how moms and dads communicate differently to their toddlers.

Modern dads may do diapers but not baby talk, WSU study finds
May 19, 2015
Seattle Times

Why Moms Are Better at Baby Talk Than Dads
May 19, 2015

Preparing for Leadership in Speech-Language Pathology
March 2015

Teaching Academy Adds 25, Plans Workshops and Mentoring
December 9, 2014
WSU News

WSU Students Earn Credit Working at Salish Language School
November 2014

Helping children with autism find their voice
April, 2014
Journal of Business

Domino project helps children with autism learn to thrive
February, 2014
Northwest Autism Center

Helping children with autism find their voice
Helping children with autism find their voice

Reaching out to kids who shine
January, 2014
The Daily Evergreen

WSU students gain from autism learning center partnership

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WSU News

Student design enlarges autistic child's world
May 2013
WSU News

Understanding Autism
December, 2012



Nancy Fike
Director of Campus and
Regional Development
Phone: 509-358-7616
E-mail: nancy.fike@wsu.edu