Liberal Arts in Action
Communication Disorders

Kyomi Gregory '05 (Communication Disorders)

Assistant Professor of Speech-Language Pathology, Salus UniversityKyomi Gregory

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at Salus University. I specialize in child language impairment and working with individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. I teach courses, supervise students for clinic, research, and have administrative duties. The Minority Recruitment program and the lasting mentorship that I formed with Dr. Gwenyth Lloyd and Dr. Wade-Lewis helped in my journey through academia as well as my foundational education in communication disorders as an undergraduate. After New Paltz I attended University of Buffalo for an M.A. in speech-language pathology and received the Arthur A. Schomburg Scholarship.

A liberal arts degree was foundational in later leading to my research and Ph.D. journey at Louisiana State University. I pursued a B.A. in communication disorders and a double minor in black studies and linguistics. I ended up pursuing my research in examining the use of teacher ratings in child language screening for children that speak non-mainstream American English dialects such as African-American English and Southern White English. My research was centered around my undergraduate exposure to areas of interests. I was able to combine my love of communication disorders with linguistics and black studies. My interest was first sparked by the "Black English" course taught by the late Dr. Margaret Wade-Lewis.

August 2016

Emily Palmerino '11 (Communication Disorders)

Emily PalmerinoSpeech-language pathologist

Working in the Communication Disorders Program helped me achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a speech-language pathologist.  More specifically, working in the Speech-Language and Hearing Center for the Clinical Participation elective when it was an Early Intervention (EI) clinic guided me towards one of my main interests in the field:  early intervention.  Giving undergraduates the ability to experience life in the clinic was such a huge part of why I chose New Paltz, and it really solidified my decision to continue on to graduate school for my master's in speech pathology.  

After doing a year abroad in a volunteer program living with adults with disabilities called L’Arche, I moved back to my home state of Massachusetts and began working part time for Thom Worcester Area Early Intervention and part time at a clinic called Speech and Language Specialties. My main interests in the field include early intervention, motor planning disorders, and stuttering. I utilize Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking Program and Sarah Ward’s 360 Thinking program in small groups at our clinic. 

The work I did at New Paltz within my major helped me to think broadly about what I could do with my interests in people, language, and learning, and once I realized that speech pathology was right for me, the workload and the constant challenges from my professors helped prepare me for graduate school.  At New Paltz, I was also part of residence life as a resident assistant, which taught me a variety of skills that help me with the counseling aspects of speech pathology.  

June 2019

Jenn Gilligan '11 (Communication Disorders)

Jenn GilliganDoctor of Audiology; Audiologist and Tele-health Innovator at Eargo; Part Time Professor, SUNY New Paltz

My time at New Paltz was enriching and inspiring. I believe that a liberal arts education is the best investment I have ever made. I was able to pursue my interests, broaden my overall knowledge base, and at the same time, my major and minor (Communication Disorders/Deaf Studies) thoroughly prepared me for graduate school and my future career as a Doctor of Audiology. Thanks to the dedication and expertise of New Paltz professors, I arrived at CUNY Graduate Center, my first choice school, with a solid foundation in hearing, speech and research methods. During my first year of doctoral study, I received the Graduate Award in Audiology for outstanding scholarship and research, which I couldn't have achieved without the excellent, high quality undergraduate instruction from New Paltz. 

My interests center around the audiological rehabilitation and counseling of older adults, utilizing the fundamental principles of health literacy and patient-centered care. In addition to classes and ongoing research, I completed a full-time Audiology Traineeship at the Manhattan VA hospital and an externship at a leading Manhattan non-profit organization, focusing on populations with dual-sensory impairment, PTSD and dementia. I recently authored a peer-reviewed article on the topic of health literacy, and continue to present seminars and posters at AAA and ASHA conventions.  I was also invited to collaborate on an international project developing curricula for hearing healthcare providers, which debuted in Summer 2015.  I was delighted to receive the 40 under 40 Award in 2016. I enjoy being part of a tele-health team that is redefining the way hearing healthcare is delivered. As a professor and researcher I love to share my passions for academic and clinical work with the next generation of SLPs and audiologists.

 June 2019

Mary Grace Hamme '12 (Communication Disorders)

Mary Grace HammSpeech-language pathologist at the Learning Center for the Deaf in Massachusetts

The experiences that I had attending a liberal arts college has led me to work as a speech-language pathologist at a school for the deaf. During my time at New Paltz, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. There, I realized that I had a passion for traveling and for working across cultures. Upon returning, I thrived at New Paltz because the school offered such a wide variety of classes that let me learn across disciplines, learn about diversity and other cultures, and shape me into becoming a global citizen.

Since attending New Paltz, I have traveled to Ethiopia to work with children who are deaf. I have shared my experience with other alumni and staff, and more of the New Paltz community is participating in this project this June. The flexibility that New Paltz gave me to pursue all of my interests has helped me find my unique niche within the field of speech-language pathology. Currently, I am a full time speech-language pathologist at the Learning Center for the Deaf in Massachusetts, and I couldn’t be happier. I am proud of the work that I am doing and enjoy the diversity of my caseload. I feel that from my undergraduate and travel experiences, I am well equipped to be a culturally competent, accepting, and skillful therapist. 

  August 2016

Sarah Tatko, '06, '08g (Communication Disorders)

Sara Tatko

Clinical Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

My undergraduate and graduate years at SUNY New Paltz helped me become a better learner. Rather than memorizing enough facts to earn a certain grade, I was challenged by my professors to learn why. To become more curious. To focus less on the end result and more on the path of getting there.  Speech therapy isn't algorithmic; there's no recipe you can follow to get a guaranteed result for your client. As a clinician, you have to develop your own philosophy and approach within a framework that's backed by the science and evidence. I credit my experience at SUNY New Paltz with giving me the confidence and foundation to build my own practice and, most importantly, never stop learning.


That love for learning took me places I would have never imagined. Early in my career, I was troubled by the devastating effects radiation had on patients' speech and swallowing abilities. I became proficient in the use of FEES and started using endoscopy as a biofeedback tool with patients suffering from severe dysphagia in a small radiation oncology practice. Still, I felt I had more to give and more to learn. I returned back to school to become a physician assistant, and currently work as a clinical assistant professor in the school of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I work primarily with patients with genitourinary cancers who are receiving radiation therapy -- quite a change from speech, language, and swallowing! The skills I learned as a student at SUNY- active listening, developing SMART goals, coordinating care, evaluating data critically, working effectively within multidisciplinary teams - these are the things I rely on every day to help the patients I'm privileged to serve.


I am also thankful that I had the opportunity to pursue an affordable undergraduate and graduate education at SUNY New Paltz. I am a first generation college student and didn't have the financial resources to attend school wherever I may have liked. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was an incredible blessing in disguise - I was able to graduate in 2008 with a very marketable skill, a good grasp of how to learn, and without crushing student loan debt. The investment I made in myself through SUNY New Paltz has paid off in calculable and incalculable ways. I feel really proud about where life has taken me but I am mindful of - and have a deep sense of gratitude toward - the professors, clients, and fellow students who have shaped my journey.

June 2019

Stephanie Peacock '98, '03g (Communication Disorders)

Stephanie PeacockSpeech-language pathologist

I have been in the field of speech-language pathology for 21 years and have enjoyed every minute of it. The Communication Disorders program at SUNY New Paltz prepared me from the start. The undergraduate program, which, at the time, allowed students to earn their Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped certification, permitted me the opportunity to begin working as soon as I graduated. It also afforded me with incredibly valuable placements in my undergraduate years, from which I benefitted the most. My undergraduate and graduate professors were rich in real-life clinical experiences, which contributed greatly to their ability to impart knowledge in a meaningful and practical way that was immediately applicable to the field.

Currently, I am a speech-language pathologist in a public school. I work with students with a variety of needs, including severe and multiple developmental disabilities, like Down's Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as students within the general education setting with learning disabilities and communication delays and disorders. I also provide assistive technology services to students with disabilities so that they may access their curriculum. I have a wide array of strong clinical skills, many of which I was able to develop through my time and experience within the Communication Disorders program. One such skill that has been extremely valuable to me throughout the years is my ability to create and implement data-driven instruction. At New Paltz, I was provided with much support regarding how to objectively evaluate my students and track and interpret their progress. This allows me to not only create interventions for my students that are functional in nature, but also to continually adjust their therapeutic programs according to their needs and the progress that I observe.

Speech therapy isn’t just about data, however; in order to be a successful therapist you have to be able to connect with your students, clients, families, and staff. SUNY New Paltz stood out from the rest in their ability to provide a warm and nurturing environment within which I could hone my professional and interpersonal skills. My professors were knowledgeable, approachable, and enjoyable. Over time, my professors became my colleagues and are still the clinicians I seek out today when I need guidance. I consider myself fortunate to have had the time and experience at SUNY New Paltz and am grateful every day for the career that allows me to connect, support, and nurture others.

July 2019

Tara Beers '05, '12g (Communication Disorders)

Tara BeersSpeech-language pathologist and instructor of American Sign Language at SUNY New Paltz

My undergraduate and graduate studies in the Communication Disorders Department provided me with valuable experiences, knowledge, and the clinical skills necessary to become a confident professional in the field of speech language pathology, as well as an instructor of American Sign Language here at SUNY New Paltz.

During my undergraduate career, my love for American Sign Language developed into a passion thanks to my wonderful professors and the engaging coursework offered in ASL and Deaf Culture through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For the past 10 years, I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to teach American Sign Language at New Paltz.  While working towards my graduate degree in speech language pathology, I gained valuable knowledge and research skills from my experienced professors and hands-on clinical training through my participation in the Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic on campus. My off-campus practicum work in graduate school provided me with the opportunity to implement my learned skills while working side-by-side with professional speech language pathologists in various clinical and educational settings.

Since graduating with my master's degree in 2012, I've become a licensed speech language pathologist and have enjoyed providing remedial speech-language services to elementary and middle school students in local school districts. I am excited to soon begin providing early intervention and preschool services in the area. New Paltz provided me with the education, training, and confidence I needed to become the professional that I am today.

 April 2016

Anthony Amitrano '11 (Communication Disorders)

Anthony AmitranoComplex Director for the Department of Residence Life at SUNY New Paltz

The Communication Disorders program provided me the insight to become a more open and ethically-driven person. Through the program, I learned valuable skills (cultural and social impacts of communication disorders, utilizing evidenced based practice, person-first language and actions) that ultimately helped me immensely in the position I'm in now as Complex Director. These were lessons that I still reference, use in my work, and teach to the students whom I supervise. The professors in the department provided the chance to mature and start to think critically about the people with whom I work and how I view myself both professionally and personally.

After graduating from the Communication Disorders program, I used the skills learned through my coursework and my time as a resident assistant to pursue a career as Complex Director for the Department of Residence Life at New Paltz. With the continued help of the department of Communication Disorders at New Paltz, I have decided to obtain my master's degree and re-enter the field of speech-language pathology.

 April 2016