How goes it?
When you first meet me, you may think, “ahh, such a people person!” And you’d be mostly right, but trust me, I am not your average people person. One reason is because some of my favorite souls on this earth have four-legs and are covered with fur. But another reason is because I don’t just enjoy people, I’m interested in them. I listen to them and I learn from them. And because of this, I can usually understand most people’s perspectives. A gift and a curse. I use this gift to help others recognize one of the most difficult parts of being human, that what’s “normal” and right for you may not be “normal” and right for someone else, including how we speak. Understanding communication is not easy, it’s complicated, it’s complex…but it’s the complexities of it that I love best. And when you meet me, I’ll happily tell you why.
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I received my BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Hampton University. I also have a background in acting and hosting and love to travel. Fortunately, I got to spend a semester abroad in France where I acted in two plays, both in French. This reignited the acting bug that I'd always had in me since I was a child. So, I decided to move to Los Angeles after college and take a stab at acting for a bit before I had to return to school for my master's degree.
I received my MA in Hearing and Speech Science from the University of Maryland. Afterwards, I worked as an SLP for 10 years in Brooklyn, New York where the majority of my caseload consisted of African American and Hispanic/Latinx children. During this time, I worked in 15 different schools with children from preschool to 21 years of age, working extensively with administrators, teachers, parents, and other professionals in a team-based approach. While living in New York, I hosted the Brooklyn Cable shows Neighborhood Beat: Red Hook and Neighborhood Beat: Prospect Heights.
Ever since college, I knew I wanted to get my masters in speech-language pathology, but the doctorate came as a surprise. While working as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in NY City, I realized that I had too many questions about the kids I was serving. Then I realized that to really fulfill my curiosity, I had to answer those questions myself. So, I went back to school and earned my PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Illinois.
Becoming a Tiger
I currently teach courses on child and adolescent language disorders, communication disorders in society, and clinical problem solving for school-age populations at Auburn University. I conduct research focusing on the classroom/educational and clinical experiences of speakers of nonmainstream dialects of English, with a particular focus on African American English-speaking children and adults. My passion lies in exploring the intersection of culture, language/dialect, communication, and literacy. My work also focuses on the cultural-linguistic competence of professionals and students working with culturally-linguistically diverse populations such as teachers, SLPs, and librarians.
In My Journeys
I absolutely love to travel. So much so that I’ve been to 20 different countries and territories across 6 different continents. Once I studied abroad in France, I realized just how small the world really is. My love of travel has to do with the experience of meeting new people, eating awesome food, being immersed in a different culture, eating awesome food, hearing and speaking a different language, and probably eating awesome food. I remember one of my dearest friends told me she noticed that I was happiest when out of my own element. I never realized how right she was. As strange as it sounds, I also like being uncomfortable at times (to an extent), because I know it means that I’m growing. This may be one reason why I’ve lived in 6 different states thus far and have moved to many of them without knowing anyone close by. I plan on packing my bags soon for continent #7 (aka Antarctica).
In addition to my teaching and research with the university, I spend much of my time with my family and friends. I live in Opelika, AL with my husband, my beautiful son, and our rescued boxer/pit bull mix, Huggs. In my downtime, I enjoy practicing my almost-lost-but-not-forgotten skills of speaking French, playing the piano, and walking on my hands.