AAC Achievement Award
Kathleen is the ALS Clinical Coordinator for Alabama Neurology Associates in Birmingham, AL. She has evaluated and treated a wide range of conditions including aphasia, dysarthria, dysphagia, voice, language, cognition, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, stroke, and other neurological disorders. She conducts monthly AAC clinics for her clients that have communication needs. Along with evaluating clients for AAC, Kathleen also works to provide support and training for clients and families using specific forms of AAC. The work that Kathleen does is life-changing for her clients in need of this technology. Kathleen is a wealth of knowledge. She is always eager to share with others in her field through mentoring, seminars, and conference presentations. Her desire to continue learning and her willingness to share what she has learned to better the field really sets her apart from others.
AAC Professional Award
Regan has taken on the role of AAC Specialist for the entire Madison County School system. She is working relentlessly to fund access for all the SLPs in the community to receive an iPad with multiple AAC apps to use with our students and is responsible for completing the evaluation process and writing grants for all the students we refer for AAC devices. She spends HOURS traveling between schools and teaching special education and classroom teachers how to incorporate the devices in the school setting. She has also created a playground AAC board and found a company to donate the printed signs for all the playgrounds in the Madison County School System.
Bill was raised in a small farming community in Northern California. He joined the army right out of high school and served twenty years in the military with unmanned aircraft. Bill retired from the Army in 1991 in Huntsville, AL, and made that his permanent home where he still lives with his wife and son. After retirement, Bill became a civilian contractor working as a senior systems integration and test lead using his expertise in unmanned aircraft. Bill was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in December 2018. The first sign was slurred speech. Loss of verbal communication quickly became his most severe symptom. Since being diagnosed, Bill has suffered complete mobility loss in addition to his communication needs. He uses a Tobii Dynavox i-13 with gaze interaction and has been motivated to learn all that the device can offer. He is a great self-advocate and works with his SLP's at the VA Hospital in Birmingham to make sure he has the equipment needed to support his communication needs. Bill uses Communicator 5 as his communication software and accesses the internet, his phone, tv remotes, and more using his device. Through it all, Bill has kept a great attitude and positive outlook on life.
Distinguished Service Award
Attorney Yvonne Saxon is employed by the Alabama Attorney General's Office as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Appeals Division. She has served as General Counsel for the Alabama Board of Examiners for Speech Language-Pathology and Audiology for 33 years, since 1988. Most SHAA members are very familiar with Yvonne Saxon, due to her multiple convention sessions over the years on professional ethics and the responsibilities of licensees. Yvonne typically attends each ABESPA meeting, fulfilling a number of important roles. As the Board’s General Counsel she makes sure that all the Board’s actions as well as its response to questions and requests for information are legal and appropriate. This is especially important when the Board is considering making changes to the ABESPA Administrative Code (Rules and Regulations) or responding to questions from licensees or third-party payers. Dr. Larry Molt, current ABESPA Chair, reports: “Yvonne Saxon is an institution on the ABESPA Board. She is an invaluable resource for virtually everything that the Board does, and the loss of her knowledge and years of experience will have significant impact on ABESPA, our licensees, and the consumers of speech, language, and hearing services within Alabama.” Yvonne also plays several vital roles when a complaint is filed against a licensee. ABESPA member Dr. Karen Thatcher, a past chair of the Credential Review Committee, commented: “Yvonne is an exemplary model of ethical conduct. Having been through the complaint process with her several times as Credential Review Chair, I have observed how she guided me on the rules & regulations for investigating a complaint. We had many meetings reviewing complaints – she was always so patient with me during the process and she kept me focused on the key issues at hand. Her knowledge of not just judicial criteria but what she has gained about speech language pathology & audiology while working with the ABESPA board will be greatly missed.” Assistant Attorney General Yvonne Saxon is truly the consummate professional!
Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award
I believe DeLaine Stricklin represents our profession of Speech Language Pathology with the utmost professionalism and respect. She approaches every interaction with a positive attitude and gives 110% to her students, clients, and their families. DeLaine has practiced in all areas of our field. She most recently developed the Alabama Language-Based Literacy Program within the University of Alabama Speech and Hearing Center. This program provides assessment and intervention services for children and adults with reading and writing or other academic challenges, including dyslexia, disorders of executive functioning, and language-related learning difficulties. Not only does this program serve our community well, but it serves as an invaluable learning tool for students. Delaine strives for excellence in the treatment room and the classroom. Her zest for clinical education has a far-reaching impact. Delaine Stricklin is so deserving of the Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award based on her character and career achievements.
Loretta G. Brown Annual Award
Marsi is very knowledgeable in the field of speech-language, especially when it comes to social skills. She has presented at schools and at a summer SHAA Professional Development Seminar on social skills and the use of a program she developed. The speech language pathologists working in Hoover City Schools look to her for guidance and she is a great clinician.
Honors of the Association
This award recognizes an individual whose contributions to the discipline of human communication sciences and disorders has been of such magnitude that her impact on the discipline and the professions of speech language pathology and audiology through clinical practice, teaching, research, administration and legislative activity are recognized throughout the professional community. Kandis Chatman is a speech-language-pathologist who has contributed so much to our field and to our state association, SHAA. Kandis has served our profession with excellence from her earliest clinical days. She has worked in a variety of settings with a passion for AAC. Kandis has had the opportunity to teach and supervise students in two academic settings in our state, and was instrumental in developing the clinical supervision training for SLPs across the state. Kandis’ career path has given her so many opportunities to interact with fellow SLPs and Audiologists, families, clients, and now school-age students. Through all of these settings, her love and passion for helping people communicate and find their voice has been evident. She truly loves our discipline and it shows. Kandis’ contributions to SHAA, our state association, are like no other. She brings enthusiasm, integrity, organization, and dedication to every task she undertakes. As part of the AAC committee, Kandis’ leadership skills were recognized and she quickly became an integral part of the SHAA Executive Board and committee system. She served in various committee roles and was then elected Vice President for Convention. Kandis was an innovative leader as the VP for Convention. She brought SHAA into the social media world, encouraged enhanced use of the website for convention, and even worked to make a convention app/mobile site back before this was commonplace. Kandis was elected President of SHAA and served in this role from 2017-2019, becoming the first Black President of SHAA. During this time, she helped lead the way for a new association management company and created ways for SHAA to grow through membership recruitment efforts. As Immediate Past President, Kandis collaborated with other SHAA leaders and helped navigate leading the association when the pandemic began. She was a voice of passion and honesty when division and tension was at a heightened state, and helped draft SHAA’s response and commitment to diversity in the summer of 2020. Kandis led the way in developing SHAA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and was able to speak at ASHA’s Council of State Association President’s meeting on this. She is, and always has been, an advocate for those who do not have a voice—and she has used her natural and professional talents in ways to make voices heard! Through all of these professional and leadership accolades, Kandis’ true calling has always shown through. The smile and joy that she brings to her clients and her colleagues makes everyone who interacts with her feel brighter. Kandis is a gift to the field of speech language pathology and audiology—and we are so very proud that she is part of our state association! We know that her journey in our field continues still, and we can’t wait to be a part of that journey. Kandis leads well, serves well, communicates well, and loves well! So it is only fitting that we honor her well with the Honors of the Association from SHAA for 2022.
Certificate of Appreciation
This year we awarded a certificate of appreciation to someone who stepped into a very important role in our association with a lot of grace. Managing the continuing education piece for our association is often a thankless, behind the scenes job and Mary Byran does it all quietly without complaint. She worked tirelessly to learn the intricacies of submitting hours to ASHA and ABESPA and the nuances of keeping all of us in good standing through her hard work. She has done all of this through the ups and downs of a virtual convention and a dual offered convention.
Student Recognition Awards
Kenya Pye - Alabama A&M University
Kenya Pye completed her master’s degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Alabama A&M University in December. While a student, she was on the university’s women’s basketball team. She has also served as an assistant coach for the past year, and she was a graduate assistant for the CSD Program. Kenya replicated a research study investigating the effects of Google reminders on prospective memory in patients with TBI. During her time as a graduate student, she gained clinical experience in the schools, a pediatric outpatient clinic, and an acute care setting. She had opportunities to assess and treat adults and children with motor speech disorders, language delays, ASD, aphasia, dysarthria, dysphagia, and voice disorders. Kenya works in a pediatric outpatient clinic. The Alabama A & M University CSD Faculty selected her for this award because of her academic and clinical accomplishments. Kenya will make significant contributions to our field.
Haley Peters - Auburn University
Haley earned her bachelors from Auburn and graduated summa cum laude in 2020. She loved Auburn so
much that she decided to stay for her masters, and is currently in her last semester
of graduate school. The experiences she has accumulated while at Auburn have
been incredible and the relationships formed with clients, clinical
faculty, and especially her cohort have made finishing schooling
bittersweet. This semester she is interning at a middle school and after graduation she plans on working in the schools because she loves the excitement of
working with a wide variety of students.
Sydney Shepard - Faulkner University
Sydney Shepard is currently a first year graduate student and she received her bachelor’s degree from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. Sydney spent 3 years working in Virginia as an in-home ABA clinician for children with autism, and some time in a residential facility for adults with brain injuries before coming to the Faulkner University program for graduate school. Her professional goal is to work with children with autism in a range of settings.
Madison Stephens - University of Montevallo
Madison earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from Auburn University in May 2020. Upon graduating, she began pursuing her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the University of Montevallo. Madison has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her graduate coursework and plans to work with the pediatric population after graduation in May.
Alexis Holland - Samford University
Alexis completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Samford University and is now in her last semester at Samford. Alexis was chosen by the faculty of the CSDS department because of her dedication and commitment to her academic studies, her leadership ability among her peers, her servant heart for others, and her overall level of professionalism that she demonstrates each and every day. Overall, Alexis demonstrates consistent performance in her work at Samford and does so with a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.
Austin Foster - University of Alabama
Austin Foster is a second-year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Alabama. Austin holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Samford University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders from The University of Alabama. In addition to his current clinical practicum in Acute Care at UAB, Austin is currently writing a thesis exploring the connections between stuttering and autism. Upon graduation, he hopes to work in a medical setting and eventually specialize in voice and upper airway disorders.
Sarah McWilliams - University of South Alabama
Sarah currently works as a research assistant in the Adult Speech and Language Lab and Autism Pediatric Language and Literacy Lab. Her research interests are neurogenic communication disorders with a focus in aphasia and apraxia treatment as well as alternative and augmentative communication options for adults. Following her master's degree, she would like to spend time working as a clinician before earning her Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Student Membership Award
Outstanding Audiology Student
As a dual track Au.D./Ph.D. student at the University of South Alabama Alexandria’s career plans are to work in an academic setting, specifically at a university with a graduate audiology program. My specialties for the Ph.D. are vestibular function and industrial audiology. Alexandria’s application detailed their local outreach event called “SuperHEARo Day”. This event is a field day/carnival for the deaf and hard-of-hearing children within Mobile and the surrounding areas. She would like to expand this event to other Alabama cities, such as Birmingham, Montgomery, and Huntsville. This opportunity would allow inclusion of other deaf or hard-of-hearing children that would otherwise not be able to attend. SuperHEARo Day in Mobile. She wrote that utilizing SHAA in this process would be imperative, as SHAA could help with reaching out to contacts and including other audiology schools and audiologists within the state of Alabama in order to plan these events. She believes that SHAA can allow further inclusion of deaf or hard-of-hearing children within the state of Alabama by utilizing collaboration between universities and professionals, and creating a state-wide event for children with hearing loss.
Outstanding SLP Student
This year the committee selected Lillian Rogers to receive the memorial scholarship in Speech Language Pathology. She is a state ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society and she wants to use her membership in SHAA to become more active in legislative issues that are relevant to our field as well as to the Down Syndrome population. She stated that “after completing a clinical placement at United Ability, my love for utilizing Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices to help my friends and clients communicate more effectively was cemented.” After graduation she wants to work in a setting similar to the RISE center in Tuscaloosa or United Ability. She enjoys utilizing AAC devices in therapy.