Julius Fridriksson – Director

Julius Fridriksson is a professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders. He graduated from the Sudurnes Community College (Iceland) with a university preparatory degree (studentsprof) and later completed his M.A. in speech pathology at the University of Central Florida. He then received a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Speech Pathology in 2001. Following completion of Ph.D. study, Dr. Fridriksson joined the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina.

Leigh Ann Spell – Associate Director

Leigh Ann Spell, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is the Associate Director of the Aphasia Laboratory at the University of South Carolina. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at UofSC. She graduated with a B.S. in Education/Speech-Language Therapy from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and obtained her M.S.P. and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina specializing in working with individuals with communicative/cognitive disorders secondary to traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders. She was a professor of Speech-Language Pathology at Columbia College for 16 years and has had a private practice in which she has worked with both children and adults with cognitive/communicative disorders.

Research Assistant Professor

Alexandra Basilakos

Alexandra Basilakos, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist and a research assistant professor with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina. She earned both her B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina, punctuated by time spent at the University of Georgia for her M.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The overarching goal of her research is to improve the clinical management of aphasia in individuals who have suffered a stroke. To this end, her research focuses on using neuroimaging modalities, along with demographic, behavioral, and health-related factors, to understand the complex role of personal factors and brain health on stroke recovery.

Staff

Hanh Adkins – Accountant

Hanh Adkins is the Office and Financial Manager in the Aphasia Laboratory. Hanh is originally from Columbia, SC and received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Darla Moore School of Business at UofSC. She has enjoyed her time and experience gained in the Aphasia Laboratory and looks forward to continuing her work with the C-STAR team. In her spare time, Hanh enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Kelli Powell – Administrative Assistant

Kelli Powell is the Administrative Assistant in the Aphasia Laboratory. She has a B.S. in Business Administration & Management Science from the Darla Moore School of Business at UofSC. Although originally from southwest Florida, Kelli has called Columbia, SC home since obtaining her degree. In her free time, she loves to travel with her family but can usually be found at a baseball game or Gamecock sporting event.

Research Associates

Mary Aitchison – Speech-Language Pathologist

Mary Aitchison, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is a Research Associate and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist at the University of South Carolina’s Center for the Study of Aphasia Recovery (C-STAR). She graduated with a B.A.Sc. in Child Studies/ Exceptional Children from the University of Guelph in Canada, and her M.S.P. and Ph.D. in Speech Pathology from the University of South Carolina. With a career nearing 3 decades, Dr. Aitchison has held various positions that allowed her to maintain, and share, her passion for clinical practice and collaboration in conjunction with teaching, supervision, and research. She has served as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UofSC School of Medicine – Departments of Surgery and Pediatrics, and as Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her clinical experience includes specialization in the rehabilitation of adults impacted by stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological disorders.

Allison Croxton – Speech-Language Pathologist

Allison Croxton, M.S.P., CCC-SLP, is a research associate for the Center for the Study for Aphasia Recovery (C-STAR). Raised primarily in Central Kentucky, she moved to Columbia, SC during high school. She graduated from Dreher High School (’94), and earned a B.A. in English from Wofford College (’98). Her interests in language acquisition/recovery, the power of communication, and her desire to work in a field where she could help improve others’ quality of life, led her to pursuing a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She graduated in 2000 with her Master of Speech Pathology from the University of South Carolina. Allison is excited to be a part of such important research, and is continually inspired by the individuals and families with whom she works. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her three children, extended family, and friends. She also enjoys walking, yoga, reading, photography & music.

Michele Martin-Speech Language Pathologist

Michele Martin, M.S. CCC-SLP, is a Research Associate for the Center for the Study of Aphasia Recovery. She grew up in Sumter, SC and graduated from Columbia College with a B.A in Speech Correction and from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with a M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology. Michele has worked as a speech-language pathologist in a variety of settings including: hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health, and private practice and has experience with a wide range of cognitive and communication disorders, with aphasia being of particular interest. Michele recently moved to a new home on Lake Murray, and she is very excited to have the opportunity to participate in clinical research that will contribute to best practices in the treatment of aphasia. In her free time, she enjoys visiting her two grown children and extended family, home decorating, boating, gardening and relaxing.

Samaneh Nemati-Research Associate

Samaneh Nemati, M.S, Biomedical Engineering is a Research Associate in the Aphasia Laboratory at the University of South Carolina. She graduated with a M.S in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience at Ferdowsi University (Iran). Then she joined Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and the National Center for PTSD, as a Postgraduate Associate Researcher where her work focused on applying connectivity-based approaches to elucidate biomarkers of stress-related psychiatric disorders. Her current focus is application of multivariate methods of data analysis to neuroimaging data of healthy and damaged brains, with a particular emphasis on a clinical population of stroke survivors.

Sara Sayers – Speech-Language Pathologist

Sara Sayers is a Research Associate for the Center for the Study of Aphasia Recovery. She graduated with a B.S. in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and a M.S. in Speech Language Pathology at Towson University in 2009. She is an ASHA certified Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in adult neurogenic communication disorders. Her current focus is investigating the relationship between language impairment and response to treatment in patients with chronic aphasia to better predict aphasia treatment outcomes.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Lorelei Phillip Johnson

Lorelei Phillip Johnson, M.S., CCC-SLP is a postdoctoral fellow and speech language pathologist. She graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and completed her master’s degree in speech language pathology at Vanderbilt University. She defended her dissertation in November of last year and looks forward to graduating with her doctoral degree from the University of South Carolina this spring. Her research interests include aphasia treatment and recovery, neuroimaging, and post-stroke quality of life. She is from Concord, North Carolina and enjoys baking and reading.

Doctoral Students

Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson is a doctoral student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Graduate Program at UofSC. She received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Arizona State University and has previously worked as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant. Her research interests primarily focus on language recovery and speech processing in adults who have aphasia using neuroimaging techniques. She is from Owasso, Oklahoma and enjoys drawing and traveling in her spare time.

Lynsey Keator

Lynsey Keator, MA, CCC-SLP is an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) and doctoral student. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2013 with a B.S. Cognitive Science with a concentration in Speech-Language Pathology and a B.A. in Spanish Studies. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with an M.A. in Communication Disorders, concentration in Speech-Language Pathology. Most recently, Lynsey worked as a research SLP at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Stroke Cognitive Outcomes and Recovery lab collaborating with the C-STAR team. Lynsey’s primary research interests include the interdisciplinary collaboration of speech language pathology and neuroscience in stroke rehabilitation and specifically, the implementation of neuroimaging to explore the recruitment of residual neural networks following a traumatic event, such as a stroke.

Sigfus Kristinsson

Sigfus is a first year doctoral student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at the University of South Carolina and a Speech-Language Pathologist. Sigfus recently moved to SC from Iceland, where he grew up and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Iceland. He plans to pursue a career as a researcher in a university setting. In his free time, Sigfus spends time with his family, reads, hikes and enjoys the outdoors.

Nicholas Riccardi

Nicholas Riccardi is a doctoral student in the Experimental Psychology program at UofSC. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Experimental Psychology from UofSC in 2015. He uses neuroimaging, brain stimulation, and lesion-symptom mapping to study the neural organization of language processing. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with friends, reading, and travelling.

Graduate Students

Delara Abedini

Delara is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). She is from Greenville, SC, and received her undergraduate degree in Public Health at UofSC. Delara started as a volunteer in the Aphasia Lab during her senior year of undergraduate school and is excited to be back as a graduate assistant. In her free time, Delara enjoys painting, trying new foods, and staying active.

Lallie Bennett

Lallie Bennett is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). She is from Meridian, MS and graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in psychology. Lallie is interested in a career working with adults with neurogenic disorders in a hospital or rehab setting. In her spare time, Lallie enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.

Julia Darminio

Julia Darminio is currently a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at UofSC. She is from Eldersburg, Maryland and attended California University of Pennsylvania to receive a B.S. in Communication Disorders. Julia hopes to work with children with neurologically-based disabilities in a school or hospital setting. In her free time, Julia enjoys spending time with her friends, trying new restaurants, and playing soccer.

Judith DeFoor

Judith DeFoor is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at UofSC. She is from Columbia, SC and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Furman University in 2008. During her teaching career, she taught middle school chorus in Laurens and Columbia, SC and elementary school general music in Athens, GA. In her spare time, Judith enjoys singing, listening to podcasts, and playing with her dog.

Anja Derry

Anja Derry is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at UofSC. She is from Florence, SC and received her undergraduate degree from UofSC in Experimental Psychology with a minor in Anthropology. Anja is excited to be working in the Aphasia Lab as a graduate assistant to gain more knowledge about the field outside of the classroom. In her free time, she enjoys watching YouTube or movies, traveling with family & friends, and going to concerts.

Pam Dominguez

Pam Dominguez is a graduate student in UofSC’s Speech-Language Pathology program. Her parents immigrated from the Philippines and moved to Aberdeen, Maryland. She pursued pre-nursing at Harford Community College and worked as a nursing assistant for 4 years. While gathering a lot of clinical experience, she quickly found that Speech-Language Pathology stole her heart. After community college, Pam transferred and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland. When she’s not on campus, she’s most likely at home taking care of her bunny or hanging out with her friends.

Eileen Durkin

Eileen Durkin is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at UofSC. She is from Virginia Beach, VA and graduated from UofSC with a B.S. in Experimental Psychology with minors in Neuroscience and Spanish. Eileen is excited to explore the reach of Speech-Language Pathology and hopes to integrate her undergraduate studies into her practice. In her spare time, Eileen enjoys traveling, going to spin class, and watching the Food Network.

Ansley Fetner

Ansley Fetner is a graduate student in UofSC’s Speech-Language Pathology program. She grew up in Johns Creek, GA and earned her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Georgia. While she is excited about all aspects of the field of Speech-Language Pathology, Ansley is very interested in working with individuals who have neurogenic disorders, particularly traumatic brain injury and stroke. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs, and hiking.

Lily Jarold

Lily Jarold is a graduate student in UofSC’s Speech-Language Pathology program. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and received her undergraduate degree in Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating, Lily taught ESL in Japan before returning to Pittsburgh and working for the TalkBank Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, which led her to pursue graduate studies in Speech-Language Pathology. In her spare time, Lily enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors.

Janie Logue

Janie is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). She earned a B.A. at UofSC where she majored in Public Health. Janie started out as a volunteer in the Aphasia Lab her senior year and will continue to work in the lab as a graduate research assistant. During her time as a volunteer at the Aphasia Lab, Janie has developed a passion for working with stroke survivors and is interested in focusing on this population once she graduates. In her free time, Janie enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors.

Alexis Munksgard

Alexis Munksgard is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at UofSC. She grew up in Warren, Pennsylvania and received her undergraduate degree in Communication Science and Disorders from Bloomsburg University. Alexis aspires to work with adults with neurogenic disorders. In her spare time, Alexis enjoys going for walks, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Anne Elise Nicoladis

Anne Elise is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). She grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and graduated with a B.S. in Experimental Psychology from UofSC. Anne Elise enjoyed her research experiences in the UofSC’s Psychology Department and is excited to work in the Aphasia Lab. She first discovered speech-language pathology because of her passion for working with children. When not in the lab or in class, Anne Elise enjoys walking her dog, working out, and going out for brunch.

Molly Oglesby

Molly Oglesby is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at UofSC. She is originally from Elberton, GA, and she earned her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Georgia. Molly is especially interested in working with children or adults with neurogenic communication disorders, but she is excited to explore different areas of the field throughout graduate school. In her spare time, Molly enjoys taking dance classes, trying new recipes, and spending time with her friends and family.

Jane Stratton

Jane Stratton is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Program at UofSC. She is from Columbia, SC and graduated from Clemson University with a B.A. in Biological Sciences and minor in Animal and Veterinary Science. After graduation, Jane worked as a Registered Behavior Technician at an ABA clinic in Columbia. In her free time, Jane enjoys working out, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson is a Master’s student in Linguistics, with a concentration in Psycholinguistics. She received her B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research interests include language acquisition, lexical and syntactic processing, and language impairment. She is a member of the Aging Brain Cohort (ABC) team in the Aphasia Lab. In her free time, Sarah enjoys equestrianism, hiking, reading, and foreign language study.

Samantha Wilt

Samantha Wilt is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Program at UofSC. She is from St. Mary’s County, Maryland and earned her undergraduate degree in Speech Language Pathology & Audiology at Towson University. Samantha is looking forward to gaining knowledge in all areas of speech-language pathology, but has a particular interest in working with adults with neurologically-based communication disorders in a hospital or rehab setting. When she isn’t in the clinic or lab, Samantha enjoys reading, sewing, and spending time with family.

Undergraduate Students

Anthony Androulakis

Anthony Androulakis is an undergraduate student majoring in Biology on the Pre-Med track at the Honor’s College of UofSC. He started volunteering at the Aphasia lab when he was a sophomore at Dreher High School. He’s fascinated by how the brain processes sounds and melodies, especially after a brain injury such as a stroke. He wants to explore how computer science can be used to improve brain health. He desires to help those who suffered post-stroke aphasia to regain their ability to communicate. In his free time, Anthony enjoys hiking, bicycling, traveling, making crispy waffles and fresh pasta, playing piano, and swimming.

Laney Hayes

Laney Hayes is an undergraduate student at the South Carolina Honors College pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. She aspires to attend graduate school and obtain a Master’s degree in the same field with a heightened emphasis on tissue engineering. She hopes to one day do engineering-based research for a global medical agency geared towards assisting areas with limited access to modern medical technology. She has a passion for people and loves to help those in all walks of life in any way possible. In her free time, Laney loves to run, travel, read, and crochet.

Lauren Ritson

Lauren is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. She one day hopes to go to medical school to pursue pediatrics or neuroscience. She was inspired to pursue a career in medicine because her little brother, Tyler, spent his entire life in hospitals and she saw the impact it had on her family. She wants to use her voice for the voiceless (those who have difficulties describing what they are enduring because of age or disability). In her free time she loves socializing with her friends, dancing, traveling with her family and doing yoga.

Kyler Spell

Kyler Spell is a freshman undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina studying mechanical engineering. Kyler would like to extend his studies into research and engineering-related research. He has a passion for computing and technology and their integration into our world. As a classically trained musician, he enjoys listening to and playing a variety of different musical styles. He enjoys watching all kinds of sports and especially Gamecock athletics programs.