Ph.D. Students

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Yara Aljahlan

Yara Aljahlan, is a second year PhD student working with Dr. Tammie Spaulding. Her current research interests include specific language impairment, child language assessment, and Language acquisition in infancy. Yara gained clinical experience working with children with various developmental disorders through working in medical settings in Saudi Arabia and in the United States prior to returning to academia.


Sarah Camera

Sarah Camera is second year AuD/PhD doctoral student working with Dr. Erika Skoe in the Auditory Brain Research Laboratory. Her current research examines how music training and conservation efforts affect auditory processing. General research interests include the diagnostic and research utility of electrophysiological tools, as well as training effects on auditory processing.


Nicole Cruse

Nicole Cruse is a Ph.D. student and NSF IGERT fellow. Her research focuses mainly on narrative and storytelling patterns and what those patterns can tell us about how language operates in the brain. She explores how language patterns can be used as measurements for speech therapy and improved quality of life for those with neural-based communication disorders, primarily Aphasia and TBI.


Jackie DiFrancesco

Jackie DiFrancesco is an AuD/PhD candidate in the Hearing Conservation Lab.  Her interests include occupational audiology, hearing conservation and optimizing hearing protection for workers with hearing loss.  She is currently working on projects developing a military-specific auditory detection test, and developing a hearing conservation program for workers in the transportation industry.  Jackie is a certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist by CAOHC (Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation).

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Julia Drouin

Julia Drouin is a Ph.D. student and NSF IGERT fellow. Her research interests include: speech perception, perceptual learning, auditory processing, neuroimaging techniques, electrophysiology.


Pam Furmeister

Pam Fuhrmeister is a Ph.D. student in the Language and Brain Lab and is advised by Dr. Emily Myers. Pam’s primary research interests are in cross-linguistic speech perception. She is interested in individual differences in learning non-native speech sounds, as well as the cognitive and behavioral processes that underlie the perceptual learning of speech sounds and how these change over the lifespan. Pam’s current project seeks to investigate the perceptual learning of non-native speech sounds in the adolescent population.

Nikole Giovannone

Nikole Giovannone is a PhD student and Jorgensen Fellow working with Dr. Rachel Theodore. She received her BA in Psycholinguistics from Mount Holyoke College. Her interests include speech perception, prosody, functional plasticity, and electrophysiology.


Dameon Harrell

Dameon Harrell is a doctoral student working with Dr. Erika Skoe and Dr. Ed Large.


Ted Jenkins

Ted Jenkins is a PhD student working with Dr. Carl Coelho. His research interests include how hand gestures and body movements can communicate meaning across discourse, facilitate general executive function for language planning, as well as how this may be utilized for individuals with language disorders resulting from neurological damage (e.g. Aphasia)


Mike Kurth

Mike Kurth is a dual AuD/PhD student working with Dr. Cienkowski in the Aural Rehabilitation Laboratory. He is the instructor of record for Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders.


André Lindsey

André Lindsey is a doctoral student and NSF IGERT fellow working with Dr. Carl Coelho. He worked clinically in skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation prior to returning to academia. His interests are traumatic brain injury, aphasia, and the interaction between language and other domains of cognition, particularly memory and prospective memory. He facilitates the University of Connecticut Brain Injury Alliance Support Group meeting which meets the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month.


Ali Marinelli

Alison Marinelli is a fourth year AuD/PhD doctoral student in the Aural Rehabilitation Laboratory. She is advised by Dr. Cienkowski. Her research interests include aural rehabilitation, counseling and psychosocial issues relating to hearing loss. Her focus lies on the phenomena of listening effort, which is increased in those with hearing loss. Alison is currently teaching Introduction to Aural Rehabilitation and she has also taught the associated writing section in past semesters.


Nicholas Monto

Nicholas Monto graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.S. in Psychology in 2014. He is currently a second year predoctoral student and is studying the language familiarity effect in talker recognition. More specifically, he is interested in the basilar neural mechanisms that may aid in producing this effect. Other interests of his include data science and machine learning.


Ashley Parker

Ashley Parker is a Ph.D. student, NSF IGERT associate, and SLAC fellow working with Dr. Erika Skoe in the Auditory Brain Research Lab. Prior to coming to UConn, she received her M.A. in Linguistics at Indiana University. Her research interests include auditory processing and language in children and adults, effects of noise exposure, neuroplasticity within the auditory system, and the use of electrophysiological techniques.

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Shannon Wannagot

Shannon Wannagot is a fourth year dual degree (Au.D./Ph.D.) doctoral student in Dr. Cienkowski’s Aural Rehabilitation Laboratory.  Her clinical and research interests include aural rehabilitation and amplification in the pediatric population.  Specifically she is interested in speech understanding in adverse listening environments, like a classroom, for children with hearing loss. Shannon has served as the instructor for Introduction to Audiology for the past 3 years.

Amanda Wadams

Amanda Wadams is a first year PhD student working with Dr. Mozeiko. Prior to returning to academia, Amanda worked clinically in skilled nursing and home health settings.  Amanda’s research focuses on the relationship between cognitive functioning and language, especially in those with acquired brain injury. Specifically, Amanda is researching attention, working memory, executive function and metacognition in people with aphasia.



Kacie Wittke

Kacie Wittke is a doctoral student and NSF IGERT Fellow working with Dr. Tammie Spaulding. Prior to returning to academia, she worked as a speech-language pathologist in a pediatric medical setting where she gained experience with a variety of childhood language and developmental disorders.  Her current research interests include specific language impairment, autism, and executive functioning.

Torri Ann Woodruff

Torri Ann Woodruff is starting her first year in the Audiology PhD program in the department of Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences at UConn. She completed Bachelor’s degrees in Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences and Psychology at the UConn before moving to Washington, D.C. to attend Gallaudet University for her Non-Clinical Masters in Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences. Torri Ann has experience in a clinical capacity as a graduate student clinician at Gallaudet University and at a private practice. With regards to research, she was involved with labs at both Universities concerned with topics such as amplification related stigma, intervention services for individuals with blood and needle phobia, and telehealth for aural rehabilitation services with cochlear implant users. With these experiences, her focus has become the administration of support services for pediatric clients and their families.