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About Us

Principal Investigator

Allison Gladfelter

Allison Gladfelter, PhD, CCC-SLP
Email: agladfelter@niu.edu

Dr. Allison Gladfelter is an Assistant Professor in the School of Allied Health and Communication Disorders at Northern Illinois University. Before coming to NIU, Dr. Gladfelter received her Ph.D. and clinical master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Purdue University. She has also worked clinically on an interdisciplinary diagnostic team at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Dr. Gladfelter’s research explores language acquisition in children with autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment with the ultimate goal of developing more evidence-based language interventions for these children. In her spare time, Dr. Gladfelter enjoys traveling around the globe, and recently visited Glattfelden, Switzerland, the hometown of her ancestors.

Graduate Researchers

Alyssa

Alyssa Wunderlich
Email:
awunderlich1@niu.edu

Alyssa is currently pursuing her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Northern Illinois University. She has experience providing services to children in the NIU Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sycamore, IL. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and sciences with minors in American Sign Language and psychology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her past research experience included analyzing speech and language development of young children with cochlear implants using the LENA system. She is interested in working with the early childhood population and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her free time, she enjoys baking and spending time with family.

Erik Johnson

Erik Johnson
Email:
ejohnson12@niu.edu

Erik Johnson is working towards his master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Northern Illinois University. He previously attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked as a special education paraprofessional in a local elementary school. His primary research interests involve language acquisition and motor characteristics in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Katie Myers

Katie Myers
Email:
 kmyers6@niu.edu 

Katie is pursuing her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Northern Illinois University. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in speech and hearing sciences with a minor in communications. She has experience providing intervention to children in Northern’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sycamore, IL. Her past research experience involved reviewing and analyzing clinical case studies and collecting data to determine social validity in the University of Illinois’s discourse analysis lab. She has interest mainly in working with the early childhood population. In her free time, she appreciates spending time with her friends and family and listening to music.

Undergraduate/Post-Baccalaureate Researchers

Bethany Schimetz
Email: bschimetz@niu.edu

Bethany is an undergraduate student majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders with an emphasis on Speech-Language Pathology and minoring in Family and Child Studies. She is interested in research in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and also Dsyphagia both in children and adults. She is currently working with children with both ASD and Down Syndrome ranging in ages from 11 months to 6 years at Gigi's Playhouse. In the future she would like to work in a hospital or clinic setting focusing primarily on children and possibly early intervention. Outside of class, she likes to teach at Gigi's, spend time with family and friends, and hang out with my kitten Niko!

Catherine Nash
Email:
cnash@niu.edu

Catherine is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Communicative Disorders at Northern Illinois University. She has worked with children, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as a tutor in reading and comprehension for grades K-12. Catherine has worked with children in many different aspects and hopes to continue throughout her future career. In her spare time, Catherine likes to work on crafts, watch TV, and spend time with family and friends.

Lauren

Lauren Miller
Email:
lmiller1@niu.edu

Lauren is interested in research pertaining to children who have Autism and children who have specific language impairments. She wants to work with children in early childhood or at an elementary school age. One day, she hopes to work in a clinic, or in a school system. In her free time, she likes to be outdoors, go fishing, and watch movies.

Derek

Derek Willging
Email:
dwillging@niu.edu

Derek is an undergraduate student at NIU majoring in Communicative Disorders: Speech-

Language Pathology. His research interests include language acquisition and pragmatic development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and neurogenic disorders such as Aphasia. He recently completed over 80 clinical observation hours in the school setting where he had the opportunity to work with kids/students ranging from 3-21 years of age. It was during these observation hours that he realized he absolutely loves the joy, laughter, fun, and overall feeling of satisfaction that kids bring to a school based SLP’s job. While he still loves the idea of working in a hospital, if he ends up in the schools, Derek wants to work with either early childhood kids or high schoolers! Outside of class, Derek loves to cook, sing, watch romance movies, and hang out with his fellow COMD friends.

Alumni Researchers

Kacy Kreger

Kacy Kreger
Email:
kkreger@niu.edu

Kacy successfully defended her master's thesis exploring the semantic learning of children with specific language impairment and children with autism. Her past research experience at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee included working on research projects investigating child speech development, learning English as a second language, and clear speech production compared to typical speech production in adult speakers. Kacy also has experience working as a respite care provider with children and adults with disabilities. She graduated with her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Northern Illinois University in May of 2016.

.Alysha Lenert

Alysha Lenert
Email:
alenert@niu.edu

Alysha studied as an undergraduate student at Northern Illinois University. She majored in Communicative Disorders and minoring in American Sign Language, to then get her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology. Alysha is primarily interested in working with children in her future career. She currently works with children and adults with various disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down syndrome. Alysha completed a summer speech-language pathology internship at The Speech Garden Institute in North Carolina. When she's not in the lab or in class, Alysha enjoys knitting, volunteering, hanging out with friends and family, and studying.

Jessica Knapp

Jessica Knapp
Email: jknapp1@niu.edu

Jessica is interested in research focusing on children with speech disorders, particularly focusing on children with autism. She is also interested in the neurological aspect of speech disorders, with interests in neuromotor speech disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. She worked on research involving children with specific language impairment and autism. Jessica also mentors every Tuesday for Sanborn Elementary. The students she mentors are considered high risk, and need help socially as well as with different curriculum.

Elizabeth Schwebemeyer

Elizabeth Schwebemeyer
Email: eschwebemeyer@niu.edu

Elizabeth studied as a post-bacc student at NIU with an undergraduate degree in Education.  She is interested in researching neurogenic disorders such as Aphasia and Dysarthria, disorders related to ASD, and language and voicing disorders.  In the future, Elizabeth hopes to work with children in the school system.  When she has free time, she spends it going on fun adventures with her ten-month old baby boy.

Courtney

Courtney Bieneman
Email:
cbieneman@niu.edu

Courtney has worked with children on numerous occasions throughout her undergraduate and post-baccalaureate experience. She volunteered to coach park district cheerleading for three years to children ages 6-9 years. In high school, she was a preschool teacher for part of the day during her junior and senior years. While working toward an elementary education degree, she participated in many clinical assignments in kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 4th grade classrooms. Her year-long student teaching experience was in a 6th grade classroom with children who had a variety of developmental, behavioral, and learning needs including IEP and 504 plans. Lastly, she was also a substitute teacher for grades k-12 after graduation, most of which were special education classrooms.

Contact Us

HUSKIES Lab
NIU Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic
3100 Sycamore Road
DeKalb, IL 60115
815-753-5211
Parking for families participating in research is the front row of spaces labeled “Guest Parking.”