Proud of our UofM CSD Leaders

The University of Memphis CSD program recruits students and faculty with a goal of developing leaders for the professions. We sat down this fall with four members of our CSD community: a current student, a current faculty member and alumni of our master’s program and Ph.D. program. These conversations shed light on how their service experiences, the encouragement they received from mentors and the skills they gained enabled them to become leaders.

Karissa Terry is a second-year audiology student who is an officer in our local NSSLHA chapter. She notes, “Being involved in student organizations here in Memphis has allowed me to make stronger connections and I have a stronger sense of home because of them.” She has always liked to serve and has gained important new skills during her time in the program, including learning about time management, self-care and navigating new situations. Karissa has also brought a valuable perspective to her work in NSSLHA and CSD as a member of the Deaf/deaf community. She came to Memphis with a firm understanding of how to advocate for herself. During her time in Memphis, she has been learning about and practicing advocating for others.

This year she decided to take on a larger role on NSSLHA’s national board. Karissa was inspired by the prior service of former chapter president and National board rep, Gretchen Nibert. Gretchen regularly shared about her experiences on the national board with the chapter last year and ultimately convinced Karissa that it was an experience she should pursue.         

Dr. Jennifer P. Taylor is the current Director of Clinical Education in audiology and has been a member of the clinical faculty since 2003. She first came to Memphis after being encouraged to apply for her position by her graduate school mentor, Dr. Lisa Mendel. Dr. Taylor was in private practice for the first three years of her career. Working as an offsite supervisor helped her recognize and develop her passion for teaching and working with students prior to coming to Memphis. She has also mentored many students and peers during her time in Memphis.

Dr. Taylor developed her leadership skills thanks to the ongoing mentorship of peers like Dr. Mendel and because of her proactive involvement in organizations like Junior League. As she explained, “A prong of Junior League’s mission is to develop the potential of women and they stand behind that. I have had so many opportunities to participate in leadership training courses, have had great mentors and I have taken advantage of all of these (resources).” Most recently, Dr. Taylor has continued her service and leadership in the field by serving as the president of CAPCSD. During her tenure, with the support of a dedicated team, she worked tirelessly to support, promote, and advance CSD programs across the country.  

Dr. Andrea Moore, an alumna of the SLP program, credits her career mentors and her experiences as a minority with her desire to serve in leadership positions in the field. As she notes, “I had key individuals in my professional life – Cathy Henderson, Portia Tate, Michelle Haney – who saw something in me and took time to grow it.  I will never forget those pushes.’

As an undergraduate at Delta State University, she served as the NSSLHA chapter President. She served as the Continuing Education chair for the Mid-South Conference while she was in graduate school. She did not receive a lot of mentoring during her education but her experiences in graduate school motivated her to support and mentor other minorities. Dr. Moore said, “I never forget what it is like to be the only one or one of two or three in a room who look like me, and that motivates me to encourage others, especially individuals of minority groups about the field… I believe it is never forgetting that serves as my drive for what I do.” Dr. Moore is an Exceptional Children Specialist for Bartlett City Schools in Bartlett, Tennessee. She also currently serves as the chair of the Memphis area Affiliate Chapter of NBASLH, which was recognized as the NBASLH Affiliate of the Year for 2023.

Dr. Memorie Gosa, an alumna of the PhD program, credits her early career mentors and her PhD mentors with the trajectory of her service. She first became interested in pediatric feeding and swallowing during a graduate school placement at LeBonheur. After graduate school, she completed her CFY with Le Bonheur Early Intervention Services. “Carrie Temple, Stacey Dodd, and Dr. Lisa Newman were early influencers and mentors to me. (Their guidance and my experiences) eventually led me to pursue PhD studies to gain the knowledge and skills needed to help fill the gaps in our literature and evidence-based practices around pediatric swallowing and feeding.”

Although she was passionate about pursuing her PhD, she did not have the most straightforward trajectory through graduate school. Shortly after she began her program, she discovered she and her husband were going to have another baby and so she had to briefly delay her education. Still the support and encouragement of her mentors, Dr. Debra Suiter and Dr. Joel Kahane, helped her complete her degree.

Dr. Debra Suiter was a tremendous first mentor for me during my PhD program.  She modeled professional leadership through her involvement in ASHA and Dysphagia Research Society (DRS). She encouraged me to participate in ASHA at the national level and facilitated my involvement in various ASHA committees. Dr. Joel Kahane modeled clinical leadership for me during my PhD studies. He modeled a patient first mindset for me.  “What does the patient need?”  “How can I assist them achieve the goals they’ve set?”  “What else can I do?”  Dr. Suiter and Dr. Kahane helped solidify my leadership approach and I am thankful for their mentorship.    

Today, Dr. Gosa serves as the chair of the Communicative Disorders Department at the University of Alabama. She will also begin serving as chair elect of CAA in 2024. Additionally, Dr. Gosa is involved on the editorial board of the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and is a co-founder of the Alabama Dysphagia Collective. The mentoring and encouragement she received during her early career helped lay the groundwork for the leadership roles she holds.