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As an undergraduate and master’s student in Speech-Language Pathology, Emily gravitated toward research and worked with Drs. Sheila Pratt and Malcolm McNeil to accomplish two masters-level thesis projects. During her clinical fellowship year in speech-language pathology at VA Pittsburgh, Emily discovered her passion for engaging with individuals with post-stroke aphasia. So many individuals with aphasia are left with lasting, chronic language impairments, and she became interested in treatment response variability, which may be driven by stroke-induced comorbid non-language cognitive deficits. Emily decided to begin her Ph.D. with Dr. Michael Walsh Dickey to determine what drives aphasia treatment outcome variability. She hopes that her research program will characterize diverse treatment responses in individuals with aphasia who demonstrate heterogeneous language and cognitive
profiles. Ultimately, Emily felt motivated to begin her Ph.D. so that her research could improve service delivery and, ultimately, quality of life for individuals with aphasia. Moreover, Emily feels enthusiastic about teaching, mentoring, and training future speech-language pathologists.


Department of Communication Science and Disorders


Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Science and Disorders

Representative Publications

  • Goldberg, E.B., Meier, E.L., Sheppard, S.M., Breining, B.L. & Hillis, A.E. (2021). Stroke recurrence and its relationship with language abilities. Journal of Speech and Language Hearing Research, 64(6).
  • Meier, E.L., Kelly, C.R., Goldberg, E.B., & Hillis, A.E. (2021). Executive control deficits and lesion correlates in acute left hemisphere stroke survivors with and without aphasia. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 16(2), 1-10.

Research Interests

  • Language recovery in post-stroke aphasia
  • Memory and learning abilities post-stroke and their influence on aphasia treatment response
  • The impact of post-stroke sleep dysfunction on cognitive function and treatment response in post-stroke aphasia


Ongoing Projects

  • Cognitive functions supporting learning over time in naming treatment for aphasia
  • Validity of the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Sleep Disturbance (SD), Sleep Related Impairment (SRI), and Fatigue in patients with post-stroke aphasia
  • The influence of sleep quality on hippocampal resting state functional connectivity with the language network in the aging population