Project Converse Team

Headshot of Jeff Higginbotham

Jeff Higginbotham, PhD

Jeff is a professor at the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, University at Buffalo. His research focuses on how individuals with impaired movement, including those with cerebral palsy and motor neuron disease, engage in interactions with others, using their bodies and augmentative communication technology. Much of his research examines the distortions in interaction time related to the augmented speaker’s slowly composed productions and the consequent adaptations made by the interactants to accommodate the increased demands on attention, vigilance, memory, etc. He is currently a co-PI on a federally funded project studying composition delay and repair in AAC.

Karen Erickson

Karen Erickson, PhD

Karen is the Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, a Professor in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, and the Yoder Distinguished Professor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences, School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research addresses literacy and communication assessment and instruction for individuals of all ages and abilities, with a focus on individuals with significant support needs. Karen is co-developer of the Tar Heel Reader online library of accessible books for beginning readers, as well as several other assistive and learning technologies. She is a former teacher of children with significant disabilities. Erickson is currently the PI on multiple federally funded research and development projects.

Jenna Bizovi, MBA, BSIE

Jenna is the Assistant Director at the Communication and Assistive Device Laboratory (CADL) at the University at Buffalo. Bizovi is an expert in human factors engineering and human-technology-interaction. She has significant experience in directing teams of individuals with diverse backgrounds in research and technology development. In addition to her research work on the project, Bizovi is also responsible for directing student researchers and engineers on collaborative R&D projects.

Lori Geist

Lori Geist, PhD, CCC-SLP

Lori is an assistant professor at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the research faculty at UNC, she worked in direct service, consultation, and product development, with her efforts concentrated on intervention approaches that target communication, language, and literacy outcomes for individuals with complex communication needs. Her research interests center on leveraging technology in the delivery of effective intervention. She is currently a co-PI on multiple federally funded research and development projects.

Antara Satchidanand

Antara Satchidanand, CCC-SLP

Antara is a PhD candidate in Communication Disorders and Science at the University at Buffalo.  Her masters level research focused on single case design and data-informed clinical decision-making.  Antara’s current research addresses miscommunication and repair in technology mediated communication through the use of microanalysis.  Contexts for this work include examination of referencing tasks  in robot assisted surgery, and communication repair in conversations between individuals using augmentative and alternative communication and their typically speaking partners.

Sofia Benson-Goldberg

Sofia Benson-Goldberg, PhD, CCC-SLP

Sofia Benson-Goldberg is a certified speech-language pathologist who has worked with children and adolescents who use AAC for 7 years. She recently completed her PhD while working as a research assistant at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies. She is a post-doctoral fellow on Project Open.

Headshot of Francesco Possemato

Francesco Possemato, PhD

Francesco Possemato holds a B.A. in Italian Studies from the University of Pisa, and a M.A. in Linguistics from the University for Foreigners of Siena. Francesco completed his Ph.D. at the University of Sydney (2018), exploring L2 multiparty classroom interactions with a focus on the interface between turn, sequence and action projection. By using the methods of “Conversation Analysis and Interactional Linguistics”, his research addresses language and social interaction in a variety of contexts. Francesco has worked for the “Conversational Interaction in Aboriginal and Remote Australia (CIARA) ARC-Discovery” project (Macquarie University-University of Melbourne-University of Queensland). Francesco is the co-investigator for the Aphasia, correction, and micro-collaboration project (Macquarie University) addressing interactions involving people with aphasia, and the external investigator for the “Students’ flourishing through Italian classroom interaction” project (La Trobe University). He is the coordinator of the Conversation Analysis in Sydney(CAIS) group – Australasian Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (AIEMCA). Francesco has published on Italian L2 teaching, atypical interaction, and pragmatic typology.

Danielle Nader

Danielle Nader, M.S., CCC-SLP

Danielle is a current doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include interventions for children who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems to communicate, and equipping SLPs to provide effective and high quality services for this population. Prior to returning back to school to pursue a PhD, she worked for 4 years as an SLP providing services to young children who use AAC and their families.

profile picture of Todd

Todd Hutchinson

Todd Hutchinson is a life-long user of a variety of communication technologies and is an expert user of MinSpeak. He has worked as a teacher and technical and research consultant at the University at Buffalo, SUNY – Fredonia, Nazareth, and SUNY Buffalo State. Mr. Hutchinson has worked with the Communication and Assistive Device Laboratory at the University at Buffalo for the last 25 years, serving primarily as a research associate on a variety of research grants. In 2018 he gave the Edwin and Esther Prentke AAC Distinguished Lecture at the annual conference of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, recognizing his accomplishments as an augmented speaker. Mr. Hutchinson’s other interests include representations of the disabled in writing and on social media. 

Nancy Quick, PhD CCC-SLP

Nancy is an assistant professor at the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a former center-based and school-based speech-language pathologist, she served individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing with their families. Nancy’s research interests focus on addressing hearing loss among children with significant support needs, as well the communication, language, and literacy needs of children with hearing loss and other disabilities.  

Pamela Mathy

Pamela Mathy, PhD, CCC-SLP is a Research Associate in the Communication and Assistive Device Laboratory CADL in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at the University of Buffalo and a Clinical Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Utah. During her 45-year career, her clinical work, research, and teaching has focused on individuals with complex communication needs who may benefit from Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) including people with a wide range of diagnoses such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other acquired neurogenic disorders and developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorders. Her research and clinical work in AAC have focused on intervention and research to understand how people with complex communication needs use AAC technologies and how these technologies help or hinder their ability to engage fully in social interactions in their daily lives.

Michael Buckley

I have taught courses in software and electrical engineering since 1983 at three universities, currently at the University at Buffalo. I have been an industry consultant for 25 years, and share ownership of a 50-person company in Buffalo, NY that develops embedded systems and industrial control software. I am the father of two boys who are (literally, not figuratively) rock stars. My daughter was disabled, and she sparked my interest in using computers for augmentative communications and therapies. My wife is a pediatric hospice nurse, and has taught me to use technology to care for children beyond help. Our good work has appeared in magazines, on radio & TV, but the greatest opportunities that I have found are in promoting the use of socially relevant projects in schools, where I know that creative energy will carry it forward. At the University of Buffalo, our students are required to use technology, their energy , and real and artificial intelligence to improve the quality of life of the disabled and disadvantaged, and there is no shortage of stories to tell, both promotional and cautionary. 

Gabrielle Martino

I am a senior at the University at Buffalo obtaining a degree in Communicative Disorders and Sciences. I have been working in the Communication and Assistive Device Lab since the fall of 2020. I mainly worked in transcribing videos to look at communicative actions and voice intonations. This upcoming fall I will be going to graduate school to work to receive my Master’s of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

Manohar Golleru

Manohar is a Master’s student in Industrial and Systems Engineering-Human Factors and Ergonomics at the University at Buffalo. His research interests include decision making, use of augmentative and assistive communication (AAC) systems, and applied ergonomics.

Headshot of Jordynn Koroschetz

Jordynn Koroschetz

Jordynn earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in applied behavior analysis and a minor in health and wellness studies from Binghamton University. She worked for several years in a behavioral medicine research lab before pursing her master’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders at the University at Buffalo. After graduating with her master’s degree, she completed her clinical fellowship year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison University Hospital with a specialty in adult dysphagia. She is currently working as a research assistant at the Communicative and Assistive Device Laboratory in addition to working clinically as a medical speech-language pathologist.  

Cassandra Vecchio

Cas Vecchio is a Master’s student researcher at the University of Buffalo in the department of communicative disorders and sciences. Her research interests center around multimodal communication use, and current research for her thesis centers around the use of self-initiated repair in individuals who utilize AAC devices for communication.