Facilitators and Speakers
Get to know the speakers and facilitators of the 2023 Friends Convention. They include stuttering experts, researchers, educators, artists, and longtime members of stuttering self-help and support communities!
Angelica Bernabe is a person who stutters from Peru and the director of the Specialized Center for Stuttering (Centro Especializado en Tartamudez). She is a psychologist, master’s degree student at Michigan State University, and Research Assistant in the Spartan Stuttering Lab. She is dedicated to working with people who stutter and training professionals, having presented for clinicians from 25 countries. Angelica won the International Fluency Association Clinician Award in 2022 (Canada) for her work helping people who stutter in South America. She runs a Stuttering Podcast and a Youtube Channel, and is part of the stuttering organization Stamily (The Netherlands). Angelica speaks Spanish, English, and Portuguese, and she is learning Dutch!
Jia Bin, M.A.
Jia Bin, M.A., is a doctoral student and research assistant in Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University. With undergraduate studies in English Language and Literature in China, she holds two Master’s degrees in Secondary Education and Communicative Sciences and Disorders in the United States. Jia is a global leader in the Chinese stuttering community and actively contributes as a board member of the World Stuttering Network (WSN), a chapter leader of the National Stuttering Association (NSA), and the vice president of the Spartan Stuttering Group. Jia’s contributions and leadership are driven by her personal experience as a person who stutters, aiming to empower and support fellow stutterers worldwide.
Nic Brow, MA, CCC-SLP
Nic Brow, MA, CCC-SLP works as a speech language pathologist at the Sisskin Stuttering Center and is a clinical educator at Western Michigan University. As both an undergraduate at the University of Vermont and graduate student at the University of Iowa, he conducted research on stuttering during his training in Speech Language Pathology. Nic frequently presents on acceptance-based therapy for stuttering both nationally and internationally. Nic predominantly works with youth who stutter and their families, within the framework of Avoidance Reduction Therapy for Stuttering (ARTS®). In his free time, Nic enjoys surfing, traveling, and spending time with family.
Lee Caggiano, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-F
Lee Caggiano, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-F is the mother of a son who stutters and is co-founder and Director of FRIENDS: The National Association for Young People Who Stutter. She is the Director of Stuttering Therapy and Resources of Northern Colorado and treats children, adolescents and adults who stutter. Lee is committed to providing a high level of parent education and training and has developed and coordinated workshops for children who stutter, families and professionals for the past several years. She has presented at local and national conferences regarding the needs of young people who stutter and their families. Lee serves as a consultant to many school districts as well as teaching the graduate level fluency courses at New York University, Queens College, and Long Island University-Post.
Nick Caruso M.S., CCC-SLP
Nick Caruso M.S., CCC-SLP is a person who stutters and a speech-language pathologist at the Chmela Communication Center in Buffalo Grove, Illinois where he provides assessment and treatment for clients of all ages who stutter, have other fluency disorders or have other speech and language needs. Nick is a Facilitator at Camp Shout Out, and a co-director of the Camp Shout Out Community Connections virtual program. He received a Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Midwestern University in Downer’s Grove, Illinois in 2020. In recent years, Nick has guest lectured at Midwestern University (fluency course), and has presented twice at the Virtual Logopedics Conference in the Czech Republic (with colleagues Kyle Pelkey, M.S., CCC-SLP and Erik Raj, Ph.D., CCC-SLP). Nick is forever grateful for the relationship with his mentors Kimberly Hoffer, CCC-SLP, and Kristin Chmela M.A., CCC-SLP, BCS-F.
Jason Cassell, LCSW
Jason Cassell, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist, currently practicing in New York City where he treats adults, adolescents, and couples, including many clients who stutter. Graduating from the Columbia University School of Social Work, Jason has advanced training in psychoanalysis, trauma, and mindfulness. In the past he has conducted workshops for FRIENDS, the National Stuttering Association, the American Institute for Stuttering, and New York University. He is married to Kristel, a lovely speech therapist who stutters.
Derek E. Daniels, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Derek Daniels is an associate professor at Wayne State University. He has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on stuttering. Derek is a person who stutters, and conducts research on psychosocial aspects of stuttering, public perceptions of stuttering, identity, stigma, intersectionality, and culturally responsive practices. He is a native of Houston, TX, and currently enjoys urban life in Detroit. Derek is a former President of the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA), and currently serves as MSHA’s Vice-President (VP) for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
George Daquila, PhD
George Daquila, PhD has stuttered his whole life. He found the stuttering community later in life at the age of 28, he loves being part of it and the broader disability community. George is an Engineering Manager at Google, where he is also a member of the disability community and a leader of the stuttering group. George is a fierce advocate for equality of people with disabilities in the workplace. He believes his experiences with stuttering make him a more effective and empathetic manager. George holds a PhD in physics from Virginia Tech.
JJJJJerome Ellis is a blk disabled animal, artist, and proud stutterer from Tidewater, Virginia. He prays, reads, gardens, cycles, surfs, and plays. Through music, literature, performance, and video he researches relationships among blackness, disabled speech, divinity, nature, sound, and time. Born in 1989 to Jamaican and Grenadian immigrants, he lives in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
Hope Gerlach-Houck, PhD, CCC-SLP
Hope Gerlach-Houck, PhD, CCC-SLP is an assistant professor at Western Michigan University. Her research focuses on how context shapes the ways people cope with stuttering and how those different ways of coping affect their psychosocial wellbeing. She is particularly interested in exploring relationships between stigma, concealment of stuttering, and wellbeing. She has been actively involved in support organizations for people who stutter and has worked as a speech therapist at summer camps for youth who stutter. She also oversees stuttering therapy groups for both kids and adults at Western Michigan University. Her research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Chaya Goldstein-Schuff, MA, CCC-SLP
Chaya Goldstein-Schuff, MA, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist at the Sisskin Stuttering Center specializing in trauma-informed stuttering therapy across the lifespan. She is also a person who stutters and is passionate about advocacy and education. Chaya’s involvement in the stuttering community includes leading educational and experiential workshops at national and international conferences and co-hosting the StutterTalk podcast. Her primary mission is to advance the knowledge of stuttering therapy through a trauma-informed lens and resilience-informed care.
Heather Grossman, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F
Heather Grossman, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F is a certified stuttering specialist who has worked with PWS for over 30 years. She is the Director of the American Institute for Stuttering in NYC. She has extensive experience in stuttering research, university teaching and graduate supervision. She is a frequent presenter at national and international professional conferences and is proud to regularly participate in self-help conferences for people who stutter. Heather lives in Long Beach NY with her loyal cavapoo, Elvis.
John Hendrickson is the author of Life on Delay: Making Peace With a Stutter and a staff writer at The Atlantic. He previously wrote and edited for Rolling Stone, Esquire, and The Denver Post. His Atlantic feature “What Joe Biden Can’t Bring Himself to Say” was named one of the best stories of 2019 by Longform. He lives in New York City with his wife.
Caryn Herring, M.S., CCC-SLP
Caryn Herring, M.S., CCC-SLP is a person who stutters, SLP, and a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on desensitization and reducing adverse impact for people who stutter. She has also taught and clinically supervised graduate students at MSU, The University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University. Caryn has been involved in stuttering support organizations since 2007 and currently serves as the chairperson of the Friends board of directors.
Elizabeth Kapstein, LCSW-R, CASAC, EMDR
Elizabeth Kapstein, LCSW-R, CASAC, EMDR is a person who stutters and a clinical social worker who co-founded Passing Twice, and Manhattan Stuttering Group. Elizabeth has been featured in National Public Radio’s segment on Stuttering Theater and Margo Adler’s Stuttering Convention. Elizabeth works as a psychotherapist specializing in trauma- and addictions-informed therapy at www.ektherapy.com in New York City.
Kristel Kubart, M.S., CCC-SLP
Kristel Kubart, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and a passionate person who stutters and who has cerebral palsy. She has been volunteering with FRIENDS for 17 years. She is one of the facilitators of the monthly FRIENDS Virtual Kids Groups. She believes that it is important to ‘show up’ for members of the stuttering community and to live the message that, “It’s ok to stutter.” She is a speech therapist at the American Institute for Stuttering, where she works exclusively with children, teens, and adults who stutter both in person and virtually. She also works as a speech therapist at an elementary school in Brooklyn, NY, where she created a Disability Pride Club. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross and her M.S. in Speech and Language Pathology from Purdue University. She is happily married and lives with her husband Jason and their cat Winnie in Brooklyn, NY.
Allison Ladavat, MA, CCC-SLP
Allison Ladavat, MA, CCC-SLP is a person who stutters, a speech-language pathologist, and serves as the Friends One-Day Conference Director. She currently works at Duquesne University as the clinical adjunct instructor for the stuttering clinic. She is dedicated to educating SLPs and students, so they feel confident working with individuals of all ages who stutter.
Stavros Ladeas is a PWS, a proud father and software engineer based in Providence, RI. He spent a decade in NYC where he met his amazing wife and became involved in the stuttering advocacy community. His work challenges him and helps him grow, and he enjoys being a new parent in his free time.
Mark O’Malia, M.S., CCC-SLP
Mark O’Malia, M.S., CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and person who stutters. He is a full-time clinician at The American Institute for Stuttering (AIS) in NYC, working with people who stutter across the lifespan.
Sara MacIntyre, M.A., CCC-SLP
Sara MacIntyre, M.A., CCC-SLP is the director of YouSpeak, a private practice in Philadelphia, where she works with individuals of all ages who stutter. She is also the Director of Programs and Education for The Stuttering Foundation and an Adjunct instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sara previously served as the Friends One-Day Conference Director and is passionate about continuing to grow access to local support opportunities. Sara is a person who stutters herself and has the support community to thank for shifting her thoughts, creating hope, and showing her that you can succeed, and be someone who stutters.
Róisín McManus is stutterer, nurse practitioner and mother. She has been involved with Friends since 2010, and still gets chills witnessing its impact on kids, families, adults and therapists. She works as a nurse practitioner specializing in palliative care, and lives in Providence, RI with her husband, daughter and extended family.
Kyle Pelkey, M.S., CCC-SLP
Kyle Pelkey M.S., CCC-SLP is a person who stutters and speech-language pathologist at the Chmela Communication Center in Buffalo Grove, Illinois where he provides assessment and treatment for clients of all ages who stutter, have other fluency disorders, or have other speech and language needs. Kyle is a Facilitator at Camp Shout Out each summer and a co-director of the Camp Shout Out Community Connections virtual program. He received a Master of Science Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania in 2018. During his time at Misericordia, Kyle presented fluency research focusing on neural-imaging studies utilizing near-infrared spectroscopy at both state and national conferences. Kyle is forever grateful for the relationship with his mentors Glen Tellis Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Kristin Chmela M.A., CCC-SLP BCS-F and Erik Raj Ph.D., CCC-SLP, as they have facilitated his evolution as a communicator and clinician.
Naomi H. Rodgers, PhD, CCC-SLP
Naomi H. Rodgers, PhD, CCC-SLP is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa. She directs the Iowa Stuttering Lab where her research team examines the cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of stuttering and communication differences more broadly. She also teaches SLP courses in stuttering, counseling, and clinical methods. Her work is inspired by her experiences as a person who stutters, clinician, and advocate in the stuttering support community. She is deeply committed to the mission of Friends and is honored to be part of our collective journey towards greater inclusion and acceptance of stuttering.
Aidan Sank has been an enthusiastic ally of the stuttering community for over a decade, and is particularly passionate about the intersections between stuttering and the arts. After working professionally as an actor and arts educator for many years in NYC, he found his true purpose and identity through his time as Artistic Director of Confident Voices at SAY, pioneering new programs, trauma-informed curriculum, and educational training. Now, he is absolutely thrilled to be moving on to develop CAPS: Community and Arts for People who Stutter – a brand new non-profit serving young people who stutter through innovative and progressive online arts programming across Canada and the US.
Reuben Schuff, MSAAE., P.E.
Reuben Schuff, MSAAE., P.E. is an aerospace engineer in Cape Canaveral, FL in the space exploration industry. He is also an author, traveler, Toastmaster, and juggler. He is a person who stutters and contributes to the stuttering community in numerous ways, including NSA, Friends, and Stuttertalk. He is the consumer advocate for the American Board of Fluency and Fluency Disorders.
Barry Yeoman is a person who stutters and journalist in North Carolina. He teaches at both Duke and Wake Forest universities. He has been active in the stuttering self-help movement for more than 30 years.
Tricia M. Zebrowski, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Tricia Zebrowski is Professor Emerita (2018) at the University of Iowa. Her research, clinical and teaching career centered on the nature and treatment of stuttering in children and adolescents. Starting in 1998, Tricia directed UISPEAKS, a summer residential program for teenagers who stutter. She has published widely in journals, books and conference proceedings, and served as senior editor for the 4th edition of the textbook Stuttering and Related Disorders of Fluency, published in 2022 (Thieme). Controversial book title aside, Tricia is proud to share the work of so many talented researchers and clinicians in this text. A happy ending to a rewarding ride at the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center.