27th Annual Convention

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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!

Nic Brow

Angelica Bernabe

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!

Nic Brow

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

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.

Nic Brow

Adannaya Brown

Adannaya Brown (she/her) is a parent of a person who stutters, dedicated advocate, friend, and student of the stuttering community. A relentless chaser of joy, her favorite pastimes are reading, dancing, and staring at the sky. She lives with her husband, four children, and two dogs in Aurora, Colorado.

Kristel Kubart

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.

Kristel Kubart

Patrick Campbell

Patrick Campbell is a stammerer and genetics doctor living in Newcastle, England. He has written about the prejudice people who stammer experience in day-to-day life and how instead, people who stammer could look to take pride in their speech. He was involved in work to create a flag that visually represents the idea of stammering pride. 

Kristel Kubart

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

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.

Jason Cassell

Jeremy Cohen

Jeremy Cohen is a person who stutters, lifelong learner, dad. He is an investor and developer focused on infill housing. He lives with his wife and two kids in Asheville, NC.

Jason Cassell

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.

Jason Cassell

George Daquila, PhD

George Daquila, PhD has stuttered his whole life. He found the stuttering community later in life at the age of 28, and 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.

Jason Cassell

JJJJJerome Ellis

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.

Jason Cassell

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.

Bridget Allen Chapman

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.

Bridget Allen Chapman

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

Ceil Hendrickson

Ceil Hendrickson retired after 45 years as a nurse; after working in Pediatric Trauma at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, as well as spending several years as a Coronary Care nurse. The last 13 years of her career were devoted to school nursing at an inner city charter high school in Philadelphia, PA. Ceil is married, has 2 sons, 2 grandsons and is the proud mother of John Hendrickson, a PWS, writer/journalist and author of the widely acclaimed book, Life on Delay: Making Peace with a Stutter.

John Hendrickson

John Hendrickson

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

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.

Caryn Herring

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.

Caryn Herring

Evan Kestenbaum

Evan is a lifelong entrepreneur, data geek, and person who stutters who has co-founded and led several successful businesses, primarily within the eyecare industry. Evan now supports a broad range of mission-driven businesses, including FRIENDS, and aims to help other entrepreneurs who stutter. After years in New York, Evan now lives in Washington State with his wife Paula, where they both serve in their most fulfilling roles yet: parents to three adventurous daughters.

Kristel Kubart

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.

Kristel Kubart

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.

Kristel Kubart

Stavros Ladeas

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

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.

Mark O'Malia

Jenny McGuire

Jenny McGuire is a person who stutters and a vociferous advocate for the stuttering community. She lives in Lafayette, CO with her husband, two daughters, and dog named Pancakes. Jenny is the Executive Director at Myspeech, where they provide scholarships for acceptance-based speech therapy and advocate for the normalization of stuttering through online initiatives.
It is during the past few years that she has come to realize that all of the best and brightest adults in the stuttering community are affiliated with Friends–truly, if you are here with your child who stutters, your family is in GREAT hands. Jenny looks forward to connecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and doing a lot of listening and learning during this year’s convention!
Kristel Kubart

Jessica McGuire

Jessica McGuire is a passionate and fun-loving speech language pathologist (SLP) with a focus in working with school-aged children. This past school year she has had the pleasure of working with more children who stutter compared to the previous 13 years of being an SLP. With strong feelings about serving people with communication needs as best she can, she has dove all in to the world of stuttering and has made it her mission to learn as much as she can about how to best support her current and future students who stutter. She is elated to be attending the 26th Annual Friends Convention and is honored (and super excited!) to be running one of the kids’ workshops. She is confident that the knowledge and experiences she will gain from Friends is going to change her life and will benefit the lives of her clients throughout her career.

Although she has spent her professional career in Colorado, she was raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Illinois State University. Besides loving being an SLP, she also loves yoga, floating on water, being silly with her toddler and husband, and playing the cajon in a female-strong, acoustic-pop band based out of Northern Colorado.

Mark O'Malia

Róisín McManus

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.

Mark O'Malia

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.

Mark O'Malia

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.

Mark O'Malia

Katherine Preston

Katherine Preston is a British-born writer whose memoir, Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice (Simon & Schuster), chronicles the journey she went on to come to terms with her voice. Her work has appeared in publications such as the London Times, Daily Telegraph, The Millions, The Week, Salon and Tatler, and she is a contributing writer to the ASHA Leader, Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

Mark O'Malia

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.

Erin Samenuk

Aidan Sank

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.

Erin Samenuk

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. 

Onur Tekiner

Onur Tekiner

Onur has stuttered since the age of 3. After moving to Chicago to improve his English skills, he read Van Riper’s books which subsequently changed his life. He wanted to challenge himself because he always hid his stuttering from friends and family, so he began voluntarily stuttering with people all over the city. These open conversations with over 200 random individuals helped him realize that stuttering isn’t something to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Onur graduated from the University of Thrace in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Econometrics.

Barry Yeoman

Barry Yeoman

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.

Barry Yeoman

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.

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