Director: James Coyle, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, ASHA Fellow
Jim Coyle is a Board-Certified Specialist in Swallowing Disorders. He teaches courses in the Master's program in SLP and PhD programs, and supervises undergraduate (BPhil) and graduate (MS, PhD) student dysphagia research. Dr. Coyle evaluates patients and teaches clinical practicum in UPMC hospitals (adult diagnostics) and is funded by the NIH to investigate the use of technology and signal processing in the screening and treatment of dysphagia. With over forty publications to date, his entire research team is working toward extending dysphagia diagnostic services to underserved areas, and increasing dysphagia diagnostic and screening accuracy. Other research includes the effects of exercise in relating dysphagia caused by radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, and investigation of brain networks related to swallowing function. He's a Fellow of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and received the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016.
Mandy Mahoney, MA-SLP, CCC-SLP
Mandy Mahoney is a 6th year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders working in Dr. Coyle's Computational Deglutition Lab. She received a BA in Psychology and worked in Development Psychology research before completing a post-baccalaureate program in CSD and an MA in Speech-Language Pathology. Her primary research interest is in infant dysphagia, though higher education pedagogy is a close second. She also works part-time as a speech-language pathologist treating adolescents with executive functioning needs. In her spare 10 minutes a week, Mandy enjoys time with her two girls and fluffy cats.
Erin Lucatorto, MA CCC-SLP
Erin Lucatorto is a speech-language pathologist and 4th year PhD student in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her BA in Nutritional Sciences from Penn State University before working and training in several research labs. Erin completed a post-baccalaureate program in Communication Science and Disorders and earned an MA in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. Erin’s primary research interests are in computational analysis of swallowing and swallowing disorders in organ transplant and cardiothoracic surgery patient populations and implementation science.
Maya Balachander, MA SLP Student
Maya is a second-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at Pitt. She has a strong interest in working with patients with swallowing difficulties. She is originally from Illinois and is excited to continue to explore Pittsburgh! One interesting fact about her is that she and her siblings all share the same birthday!
Emma Daly, MA SLP Student
Emma is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with a bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Vermont in 2021. Her primary interests include pediatric and adult feeding and swallowing disorders.
Kelly Piserchia, MA SLP Student
Kelly is a second-year master’s student in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated from Towson University with a BS in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology in 2021. Her primary interests include pediatric feeding and swallowing diagnostics and intervention.
Kathleen Sharp, MA SLP Student
Kathleen is a second-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated from Ohio State University in 2021 with a B.A. in Speech and Hearing Sciences and minors in Linguistics and American Sign Language Studies. A student in the Clinical Concentration in Dysphagia, a primary area of interest lies in adult swallowing disorders.
Sami is a first-year graduate student pursing Speech Language Pathology (SLP) in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. In May of 2022, she graduated with a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University. She is interested in the medical side of SLP, specifically, brain injuries, strokes, and dysphagia patients. A fun fact about her is that her high school dance team was flown out to LA to perform on the TV show World of Dance!
Olivia Flood is a first-year master's student at the University of Pittsburgh studying speech-language pathology. She received her bachelor's degree in Communication Science and Disorders from Florida State University. Her primary interests include pediatric feeding and swallowing diagnostics and intervention.
Ian Hepler (he/him) is a first-year graduate student in the Communication Sciences & Disorders department at the University of Pittsburgh. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders from Penn State University in 2022. His clinical interests include instrumental & clinical assessment of pediatric swallowing/feeding & voice and treatment of swallowing, voice, and motor speech disorders.
Ting is a first-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at Pitt. She has been an SLP in Taiwan for 2 years. Her primary interests include pediatric and adult feeding and swallowing disorders. One interesting fact is that this is her first time in the States, so she is excited to continue explore Pittsburgh!
Sophia Weissman is a post-baccalaureate student in the Communication Science and Disorders program at Pitt. She plans to attend graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology next year, and is interested in pediatric feeding and swallowing as well as adult speech and swallowing disorders. She enjoys baking and visiting used bookstores.
Undergraduate Research Students
Sasha is a 2nd year undergraduate honors student studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is also pursuing a linguistics minor, ASL certificate, and Conceptual Foundations of Medicine Certificate. She plans to get a masters in Speech-Language Pathology at Pitt! She is interested in pediatric speech therapy but is excited to gain more knowledge and experience within the other fields of SLP. A fun fact about Sasha is that her first language is Russian.
Jeanne Seanor is a 3rd year undergraduate student majoring in Communication Science and Disorders, minoring in Linguistics, and receiving a certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine. Jeanne has previously shadowed at Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg, Virginia, where she was placed in the units of acute adult inpatients and outpatients, as well as pediatric outpatients. Through this experience, her interest grew in dysphagia and aphasia. Outside of school, she is the fundraising chair of Take the Back the Night, a club aiming to end sexual violence and sexual assault. Jeanne is also a member of Theta Phi Alpha, a sorority at Pitt.