Fellows 2021-2022

Meet the current cohort of student fellows.

Anaya Britton (mentored by Dr. Barrière)

Nadia Calderon (mentored by Dr. Nagano)

Nadia Calderon is a senior at Hunter College, majoring in English: Linguistics and Rhetoric with a concentration study in mathematical sciences. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 2 years old and had trouble overcoming insecurities surrounding her accent. She attended speech for five years in elementary school and was never pleased with her results. Nadia overcame her insecurity through her discovery of communication sciences. Enlightened, she continued her journey by taking additional courses that covered linguistics, phonology, and audiology. As a bilingual in English and Spanish, Nadia hopes to cover bilingualism in her research. After graduation, Nadia plans on taking a gap year to work in early intervention, with the desire to gain more experience before applying to graduate school for speech pathology. As a recipient of the Hispanic Brotherhood Scholarship, TheDream.US, and as a member of the ILLC 2021, Nadia hopes to inspire other underprivileged Hispanics to enter the field of communication sciences.

Nariba Cintron (mentored by Dr. Barrière)

Nariba Cintron hails from the beautiful twin island of Trinidad and Tobago and migrated to the U.S. in 2004. She is a first-generation college student at LaGuardia Community College and a self-proclaimed Trini Brooklynite. Currently, she majors in Education and intends to transfer in pursuit of a dual major— focusing on Communication Sciences and Disorders and Linguistics. Afterward, she will acquire her Master’s and eventually her Ph.D. As a former DREAMer recipient, Nariba understands the need for multi-cultural inclusivity and is passionate about de-stigmatizing the elitist assumption that ethnic and minority dialects are inferior to their formal counterparts. Her interests lie within cross-cultural learning, code-switching, and language acquisition. Nariba’s love for diverse languages, cultures, and dialects transcends into possibly treating and diagnosing speech disorders. When she is not studying, she enjoys reading dystopian and sci-fi novels and spending relaxing days at the beach. No matter where life takes her, Nariba believes her purpose is to assist individuals and communities who are disadvantaged, marginalized, and most vulnerable in society.

Kayla Credle (mentored by Dr. Moody)

Crystal Gilbert (mentored by Dr. Moody)

Crystal Gilbert is a fourth-year Communication Sciences & Disorders student at Brooklyn College. Her Caribbean background and her lived experience as an African-American woman in America inform her speech language pathology research and help her to cater to the linguistically diverse populations of NYC. After graduation, she will continue her academic journey in pursuing a Master’s Degree and later in life she plans to attain a PhD. Her research interests include language acquisition, African American English, accents, and cultural competency, but for her, all knowledge is worth an exploration. She enjoys finding amazing long running shows to binge watch and spending time with friends on the weekends.

Faizeh Hammood (mentored by Dr. Nissenbaum)

Faizeh Hammood is a senior at Brooklyn College double majoring in communication sciences and disorders and linguistics, as well as minoring in children and youth studies. Her research interests include sociolinguistics and different varieties of the Arabic language. Being a bilingual Arabic speaker, she looks forward to diving into researching the language further with the help of the ILLC program. Currently, she assists Brooklyn College professor, Dr. Fuse in a systematic review about minority parents perceptions on their children with autism. Upon graduation, she plans on pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and begin working with children with special needs. She is the Vice President for Brooklyn College’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA) Chapter.

Kiara Hicks (mentored by Dr. Gorman)

Kiara Hicks is a rising senior at Montclair State University majoring in linguistics with a concentration in language engineering and a minor in Mandarin Chinese. She has always been fascinated with stories about the human experience whether they be in literature, music, or film, and it is this interest that led to her love of language and the field of linguistics. Kiara is also engrossed in the worlds of politics, education, human rights, and policy reform. Her research interests are an amalgamation of these passions, and result in her desire to conduct computational sociolinguistic research. Kiara’s ILLC research focuses on using programming skills to better understand technological and societal biases. After graduation, Kiara plans to be the first in her family to obtain a PhD and to help other underrepresented students achieve their academic goals. Born and raised in New Jersey, Kiara also enjoys diners, horticulture, sustainable fashion, and hopes to be able to explore various artistic passions more in graduate school.

Lema Majdalawieh (mentored by Dr. Nissenbaum)

Lema Majdalawieh is a Senior at Brooklyn College. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with a primary major in Communication Arts, Sciences, and Disorders, and with a secondary major in Linguistics. She was drawn to the field of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences by a desire to work with geriatric populations and the personal experience of a family member receiving therapy after suffering a stroke. She has shadowed SLP’s at two different hospitals in adult rehab units. After graduation she plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology.

Christa Mathew (mentored by Dr. Moya-Gale)

Jaylene Mendoza (mentored by Dr. Moody)

Farida Olaleye (mentored by Dr. Barrière)

Farida is a Sophomore at SUNY Stony Brook University, where she is pursuing a B.S in Psychology and a B.A in Linguistics with a minor in Spanish Language and Literature. Raised in Nigeria, she migrated to American when she was 10 years old. She is particularly interested in code-switching and language acquisition in children. She hopes for a career where she can work with infants and children, hoping to make a difference. In her spare time, she loves to paint minimalistic art, travel, dance, and work tirelessly to bring awareness to mental health issues.She is not afraid to try new things and learn from new experiences.

Mauela Perea (mentored by Dr. Reilly)

Manuela Perea is a senior at Queens College pursuing a double major in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Psychology. Her undergraduate and professional encounters have encouraged her to pursue higher education to make significant contributions to the field of speech pathology.  Manuela has had the privilege to work for the Department of Education, aiding in the education of elementary school children as a paraprofessional. As a bilingual Latina and an immigrant, Manuela celebrates diversity and recognizes the importance of representation within professional and academic spaces. Manuela believes that if a client has a provider that resembles them or comes from a similar background, an instant connection occurs, which results in increased involvement, comfort, and most importantly, a sense of empowerment. As Manuela continues to pursue Speech Language Pathology, she looks forward to educating her community and peers through her diversity. 

Havi Pham (mentored by Dr. Vermeire and Dr. Nissenbaum)

Havi Pham is a junior in the Macaulay Honors Program at Queens College. She is currently pursuing a dual major in Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD) and English. Growing up, Havi’s favorite pastimes have always involved words; from reading books, to writing short stories and, finally, to creating music have all solidified language into a prominent part of her identity. Havi’s passions have inspired her to take a path that meets her interests in the middle—Audiology. She is particularly interested in being able to implement her Vietnamese-speaking background into future research within the field. After graduation, Havi intends to pursue an Au.D to help those struggling with different kinds of hearing disorders and to add her own potential research to the growing field of Audiology.

Melanie Rosa-Chaves (mentored by Dr. Baigorri)

Melanie Rosa-Chaves is a Long Island native in her fourth year of undergraduate studies at Adelphi University, NY. She is a Levermore Global Scholar pursuing a dual degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders and Spanish with a certificate in Translation Studies. In addition to her coursework, Melanie serves as the president of the Levermore Global Scholar Student Leadership Council and treasurer of the National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Adelphi University Chapter. She previously worked as a research assistant at her university’s Dialect, Development, and Language Disorders Lab, where she studied executive functioning in bilingual and bi-dialectal children. Throughout her undergraduate career, Melanie gained international experience studying sustainable development at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica, Spanish language and phonology at the University of Seville in Spain, and completed fieldwork in Belize. Upon graduation, Melanie plans to attend graduate school to obtain an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology with a bilingual extension in Spanish and Portuguese. In the future, she hopes to become a certified speech-language pathologist and work with diverse populations to create therapy strategies that are both accessible and sustainable to all communities.

Angel Shaji (mentored by Dr. Barrière)

Angel Shaji is a junior at Macaulay Honors Brooklyn College pursuing a double major in Communication Arts, Sciences, and Disorders; and Creative Writing, with a minor in Psychology. She speaks both English and Malayalam, and has always been intrigued by the vastly unexplored territory of people such as herself. As a bilingual, Angel is heavily influenced by the way languages shape our relationships, inner monologues, and ever-evolving culture. Following graduation, Angel wishes to pursue a Masters and PhD in Speech Language Pathology. In her spare time, she can be found bullet journaling or reading a fantasy novel!

Sara Tafur (mentored by Dr. Barrière)

Sara Tafur is a junior at Molloy College majoring in Speech Pathology. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, then migrated with her family to the United States. She quickly learned the English Language with the help of her older brothers. Along the way Sara had to push herself to learn new concepts at home since she was home-schooled during her early childhood. Her interest in the speech sciences was sparked when she saw the progress her younger cousin was making once he started seeing a speech therapist. This inspired Sara to enter the field. Her research interests include language acquisition and code switching. After this program, she plans to continue studying in graduate school to receive a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology.

Victoria Torregrossa (mentored by Dr. Datta)

Victoria Torregrossa is a third-year Communication Sciences and Disorders student at Molloy College with a minor in psychology. She gravitated towards this field due to her passion to assist people in rising to their fullest potential. Victoria always knew her purpose was to work with others, and her speech therapy sessions as a child pushed her towards choosing this career path. Her experiences being in speech therapy showed her the profound effect speech has on an individual’s life. Additionally, Victoria’s enjoyment of science and the social sciences aligns with her research interest in neurology and how impairments on our cognitive abilities affect the ability to comprehend speech and communicate effectively. Her openness to work with anyone despite age or ability will lead her to a multitude of possibilities as she wishes to attain her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

Genesia Watters (mentored by Dr. Shafer)

Genesia Watters was born and raised in a small city called Belmopan which is located in Belize, Central America. Watters self identifies as Creole, which is one of the several ethnicities that can be found in various parts of Belize. She obtained her associate degree in English at the University of Belize and is currently a senior attending Queens College majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Watters aspires to earn her Master’s and PHD in Speech Language Pathology. The realities of limited research and lack of diverse clinicians specialized in speech, language and hearing impairments in Central America and the Caribbean; sparked Watters’s interests of working with a wide range of populations, including speakers of Caribbean English Creoles (CEC) ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics. Watters serves as a peer counselor for Queens College students and is the co-founder of BLASK-LCD, a support group for Black, Latinx, Asians and students of color in her CSD program. With an unending passion for empowering women, she is also a JFEW Scholar (Jewish Foundation for Education of Women) at Queens College.