Member of the Month- December 2018

Celeste F. Blackmon

Celeste F. Blackmon CCC-SLP holds a BA in Speech Correction and a Master of Communication Disorders from the University of South Carolina. Celeste has had 35+ years in this profession and is still going strong. After 28 years in the South Carolina public school system and ready for a new challenge, Celeste re-opened the speech therapy rehab clinic at Tuomey Healthcare Systems Outpatient rehab in 2011.  Always ready for a new challenge, Celeste transitioned from outpatient to inpatient rehab in 2017 with Palmetto Health Tuomey. Celeste holds certifications in LSVT, Vital Stim, MBSimp, and MDTP.

During her tenure in the public schools, Celeste was also selected by her peers as Teacher of the Year for Alice Drive Elementary in 1996. She completed her career in the public schools as the Lead SLP for Sumter School District 17.  She also served on several task force committees with the SC State Dept. of Ed.

Celeste has been involved with SCSHA for most of her career.  She has served as Convention Chair and on the executive board, serving as President of SCSHA in 2006. In 2011, Celeste was honored to receive the Honors of the Association. 

Celeste shares her passion for her profession as she mentors and inspires upcoming SLPs, providing clinical supervision for SLP students from both USC and SC State, as well as CF supervision.

There is life outside of work.  Celeste enjoys spending time with family and friends.  She enjoys working around her house and yard, sitting on her porch drinking coffee and watching the birds, and reading.  Celeste and her husband Lee enjoy getaways, especially to the beach and to visit their grandchildren. Her stepson and daughter in law are the parents of her three precious grandchildren: Isaac 12, Hannah 7, and Naomi 5 months.

Several years ago, a co-worker made the comment to me that “you have had so many life experiences”.  While I joked with her that was a nice way of telling me I’m old, I realized many of these life experiences, some good – some not so good-- have played a vital role in my growth not only as a person, but also as an SLP. Many people keep asking me how much longer I’m going to work.  My response: “Until it’s not fun anymore.”   I love my job and my co-workers who make every day fun.  Right now, I’m still loving the experiences and challenges of my chosen career. I don’t plan on going anywhere yet!


 

Member of the Month- November 2018

Miranda Grice

Miranda McCarthy Grice is currently a school-based Speech Language Pathologist with Lexington District #4 at the Early Childhood Center.  After graduating from Swansea High School in 1998, she attended Columbia College to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology in 2002.  She was the SCSHA Student of the Year for 2002.  Having fallen in love with the profession, recognizing the possibilities/ opportunities, and enjoying the relationship built with clients, she continued her education at the University of South Carolina and earned her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology in 2004.  She has been with Lexington #4 for the last 12 years (having spent 2 years in Lexington District #1).
While in Lexington #4, she has served 3K to 2nd grade, but for the last 8 years has thoroughly enjoyed working with 3K, 4K, and 5K students at the Lex. 4 Early Childhood Center.  The ECC is the first public school in South Carolina to provide a Montessori curriculum to 3K and 4K students in a full day program for which she is very proud of Lexington #4.  She took multiple Montessori classes to better prepare to be one of the SLPs serving the school and to more fully understand the curriculum in which most of the students participate.  She loves being part of a child’s early speech and language development.  For the last several years, she has shared her positive experiences and therapy techniques with Columbia College students and USC graduate students while serving as a supervisor.  She also serves as a guest speaker for the Sandhills Montessori Institute within Lexington #4 to provide information on normal speech and language development with teachers becoming Montessorians.  Most recently she was a co-presenter with Lindsay Wilhelm on “Implementing Speech and Language Strategies within the Classroom” to Montessorians at the South Carolina Montessori Alliance.
In her hometown of Swansea, SC, Miranda has volunteered to be a steward of the town’s first “registered” Little Free Library (she has since found there was another unregistered- glad for that).  When she heard that many community families had as few as 10 books in their households, she decided to complete the library project that she had been considering for years.  She knew that her household had nearly 2,000 books between 4 family members and that her daughters had strong language and literacy skills furthering her belief that strong language skills are the first indicators of intelligence and one of the best way to improve language is being highly exposed to books and someone to read to a child, she asked her husband, Robert Grice, to build a little library.  Using remnant materials to build the library, it was placed in the front of a local business, Accurate Manufacturing in Swansea.  They have had an overwhelmingly positive response from family, friends, and community members and are in hopes that it will continue to benefit the community.
Miranda is a lifetime member of Sharon “Crossroads” United Methodist Church and has been the church secretary for nearly 20 years and has served in several other roles in her adulthood.  For the last seven years, she has been a Sunday School teacher and youth leader, providing weekly lessons.  Recently her professional life has crossed into her spiritual life when she signed a worship song, “What a Beautiful Name,” at the church homecoming.  This event was very powerful for her spiritually and has encouraged her to learn new songs to share this form of communication.  She has found that trying new things outside of her comfort zone has sparked creativity with her therapy techniques and improved her overall professional skills.
When she’s not working, completing professional responsibilities, teaching at church, participating in church events or taking books to the library, she’s enjoying time with her daughters, taking them to Goins Dancing, traveling, reading, crafting, organizing something, cleaning, or doing laundry. 
“If all my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it I would soon regain all the rest.” Daniel Webster

 


 

Member of the Month- October 2018

A'Kaila Wilson

 

My name is A’kaila Wilson, I am a recent graduate of Columbia College, in Columbia South Carolina where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and a minor in Leadership Studies.  While attending school full time, I had to learn to juggle my responsibilities as a single parent with family support and a student. Since graduation I have moved back to my home town (Beaufort SC) and have obtained a position as an SLP-A with Spontaneous Therapy contracting with a local charter school (Royal Live Oaks Academy of the Arts & Science).  I have the pleasure of providing speech services in the school setting to students from 1st through 12th grades. 

Building relationships while providing services to my students is the best part about my job.  Additionally, I have the added bonus of being able to provide the skills that I have acquired through my educational career to teach my 2-year-old son Ayden proper semantics and communication skills. In my spare time I love to shop and spend time with my son crafting.  


 

Member of the Month- September 2018

Jason Wigand, AuD, CCC-A

Jason Wigand, AuD, CCC-A is an assistant professor, audiologist, and clinical director of the cochlear implant program at the University of South Carolina's Speech & Hearing Research Center.  He completed undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky and received his AuD from The Ohio State University.  As an audiologist and late-deafened adult and bilateral cochlear implant recipient, Jason is passionate about helping and educating adult and pediatric hearing-impaired individuals and their families. 

His path is a less common one.  Though diagnosed with a high-frequency hearing loss as a teenager and being a consistent hearing aid user, audiology was not his initial field.  After finishing undergraduate degree in economics, he started working for FedEx on the docks.  He later entered the company’s management trainee program and went on to have a 15-year career in regional operations and logistics.  He covered much of the Ohio Valley and New England.  

Jason continued to wear hearing aids as his hearing loss progressed to profound; he was finally implanted in 2004.  After a few months, he was very fortunate to regain normal speech perception and auditory awareness.  He immediately became fascinated with cochlear implant technology and aural rehabilitation, returning to graduate school and begin his career in audiology.

Through his clinical career, Jason has accrued a great deal of experience working with adult and pediatric hearing-impaired populations in both private practice and nonprofit settings.  Additionally, and stemming from being bilaterally implanted, his interest in cochlear and auditory implants increased as a result of working in its research as well as performing regular intraoperative surgical assignments during his externship.  He maintains a keen interest in understanding the technology of cochlear implants and contributing to the better understanding of sound perception and processing of harmonic components of sound.  His time working with various populations of implanted individuals at various stages in their journey has given him a unique appreciation for the multi-disciplinary approach needed in practice and research to forward auditory treatment and rehabilitation. 

Of related yet critical interest to Jason is service and advocacy.  Upon arriving in South Carolina, he immediately jumped head first into committees, boards, and service organizations because helping others and facilitating positive change is of utmost importance to him.  He has an enormous desire to make the state better.  He currently serves on the South Carolina Board of Examiners for Speech Pathology and Audiology as well as treasurer for the South Carolina Chapter of AG Bell and past president for the South Carolina Academy of Audiology.  He is a member of the political action committee and government relations boards for the American Academy of Audiology. 

Through continual engagement in service to the field, Jason hopes to help forward the practice and profession of audiology as the primary provider of care for individuals with balance and hearing-impairments. 


 

Member of the Month- August 2018

Shirin Ahmed-Shariff

Born and raised in a multi-lingual family in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, Shirin started her academic career as an undergraduate majoring in Psychology.  After completing two years of pre-requisite coursework at a local college, she transferred to Brock University, in St. Catharnies, Ontario, Canada where she graduated with an Honors BA in Linguistics-Communication Disorders.  She completed her Masters Degree at the Medical University of South Carolina, graduating in 2004 with a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science-Speech-Language Pathology.

After graduation from MUSC, she  spent 3 years working at a pediatric outpatient clinic, followed by 7 years in the Lowcountry's elementary school system. In 2013, Shirin began working full time in her private practice, S.A.S. Speech & Language Therapy, where she is the sole owner and operator.  In addition to managing all paperwork, billing, and administrative work, She provides in-home or in-school services to children in Charleston County. Shirin also contracts with Palmetto Scholars Academy, dedicated to intellectually gifted students, by providing speech and language services as outlined by the IEP; She serves as a member of the evaluation, eligibility, and IEP team; and offers professional guidance and support to educators.

Shirin has a passion to stay current in research and therapeutic techniques in the pediatric field of speech-language pathology, as such, she can regularly be found attending ASHA conferences and laughing it up during the ASHA Foundation fundraisers,.  She then implements her freshly garnered EBP, when she works with her varied caseload.   The dynamism of the differing levels of abilities of her patients keeps her constantly challenged.  She is most fortunate to work with a multi-disciplinary team for a number of patients on her case load.  Utilization of this model, means that they are in constant contact, attending conferences, sharing findings, and collaborating on therapy. This continuity of care allows each team member to carryover various therapeutic strategies into their own individual independent sessions. that they have absorbed from one another.  With this approach, service delivery and achievement of goals and objectives of our shared patients is balanced, well-rounded and attainable.  Shirin’s aim is to create a hands-on, diverse therapy delivery model, giving her patients experiences that are new, unique, and functional.

Shirin is often asked how she has time to do “all the things I do”.  Her response is heartfelt, “Ever since I can remember, my parents instilled in us the importance of humility and balance.  This is important not just in personal and professional lives, but overall, to include community, culture, religion and the practice of our faith.  We must have passion in the things that we do and a personal purpose of how and why we are doing what we are doing.  If we have an opportunity to serve, then we must fulfill that opportunity.  Money is a vessel to the things you want to do but not the end all.  Find the purpose: money will come.  I carry this idea over into my practice, with my patients, their families, and their caregivers”.


 

Member of the Month- July 2018

Angie Neal

Angie Neal is a school-based SLP in Upstate South Carolina. She completed her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Columbia College and her graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology from San Francisco State University. While obtaining her graduate degree, she was able to complete a double internship in craniofacial anomalies at Children’s Hospital of Oakland. Prior to moving to San Francisco, she worked as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant in Colorado Springs, Colorado in long term and subacute care settings. Angie completed her Clinical Fellowship Year at Kidnetics, part of the Greenville Children’s Hospital and while working there received a grant from the Greenville Hospital Foundation to begin a language-based literacy program called “ABC University”. She has served as Vice President for Governmental Affairs for SCSHA, participated in the first ASHA Leadership Development program for school-based SLPs and has been a clinical supervisor for undergraduate speech students for many years.
Angie has a passion for the field of Speech-Language Pathology and loves to share what she has learned stating “If I keep what I have learned to myself, it stays with me and the few I have the opportunity to help. However, when I share knowledge with others, it can impact many!” This past May, for Better Speech and Hearing Month, she posted a quick fact about the field of Speech-Pathology each day for 31 days. She also shared these “Nuggets of Knowledge” with her school and district administrators once a week along with a Hershey’s chocolate Nugget candy. Angie is a frequent presenter all across the United States with B.E.R. and through speechpathology.com. She has also presented at both the ASHA National Convention and the Council for Exceptional Children National Convention and is a published author of two books (The Pirate Who Couldn’t Say Arrr and Simply Social at School).
Helping students be successful in school is her passion. She has spent the majority of her career learning and sharing with others about the connections between language and literacy as well as how deficits in pragmatics can have an adverse educational impact. She is a self-proclaimed “word nerd” and enjoys reading journal articles for fun! She states that she is “constantly curious and enjoys being part of a scientific field that straddles both the medical and educational setting where the evidence is always changing and growing!”

 


 

 

Member of the Month- June 2018

Laura Maurer

 

Laura Maurer is currently a Speech Language Pathology Assistant for McCulloh Therapeutic Solutions in the Upstate of South Carolina. In 2017, Laura graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and a minor in Leadership from Columbia College, in Columbia, South Carolina. Laura has plans to pursue her master’s degree soon, but was eager to apply her passions and knowledge outside of the classroom while giving back to her community. She found the opportunity to do just that through McCulloh Therapeutic Solutions (MTS) and The First Tee Upstate!

 

As a former speech therapy student herself, Laura brings a unique blend of passion, grit, empathy, and dedication to each child she serves. Through McCulloh Therapeutic Solutions, Laura is able to serve in public schools during the school year, and in their private practice during the summers. During the 2017-18 school year, Laura was able to serve students in Plain Elementary, Lake Forest Elementary, Blue Ridge Middle, and Blue Ridge High School in Greenville County School District. During the summer, Laura will serve children and their families in MTS’ Spartanburg Clinic. As a SLP-A, Laura works closely with a direct supervisor who supervises her caseload, attends meetings with her, helps write goals and treatment plans, and other various tasks. Laura is confident that her hands-on experiences as a SLP-A will help her succeed at the graduate level. She is thankful for the experience to serve a diverse caseload early in her career with the support of her supervisor and company who strives to give the next generation a voice that lasts forever!

 

Laura is equally passionate and involved with The First Tee, a national organization that teaches life skills through the game of golf. As a former participant of The First Tee Upstate, Laura wanted to give back to an organization that gave so much to her. As a former collegiate golfer, Laura credits the sport, and specifically The First Tee, with her success related to interpersonal skills. Currently, Laura is a Level 1 Certified Coach, holding weekly classes for beginning golfers. Laura’s favorite part of The First Tee is that while teaching golf, she is incorporating life skills using The First Tee’s 9 Core Values. It is Laura’s hope that through her roles as coach and speech language pathologist assistant, she is able to positively impact the next generation!

 

Laura is motivated by Maya Angelou’s quote, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” Laura looks forward to many more years in our beloved profession, striving to make a difference!

 

 *parent permission to use photo*

 


 

Member of the Month- May 2018

Dr. Jessica Berry

Dr. Jessica Berry is currently an assistant professor of speech pathology and audiology at South Carolina State University.  She completed her Bachelor's degree in COMD at Winthrop University, her MA in speech pathology and audiology at South Carolina State University.  She completed her doctoral studies at Louisiana State University in COMD with a minor in Linguistics.  Dr. Berry’s most recent work Dialect Variation of Copula and Auxiliary Verb BE: African American English–Speaking Children With and Without Gullah/Geechee Heritage was published in the Journal of Speech Language Hearing Research in September 2017. 

Dr. Berry is the owner of Berry Institute, LLC a private pediatric speech therapy practice and has worked as an early intervention/pediatric speech therapist for over 6 years in Louisiana and South Carolina.  Dr. Berry is passionate about the Gullah/Geechee language and has worked as a translator/transcriber with the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture project (2014) and completed the first ever Gullah/Geechee professional development sessions for early childhood teachers in Charleston County School District (2017). 

Dr. Berry was selected out of 74 applicants by the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD) as one of the 20 participants for the fourth-annual CAPSCSD Leadership Academy.  The Leadership academy was held April 10-11 at the Hilton in Austin, Texas and was led by Jeffrey Buller, Director of leadership and Professional development, Florida Atlantic University.  The academy consisted of eight 90-minute sessions that focused on topics designed to build and strengthen aspiring academic leaders.  Having completed the CAPSCD Leadership Academy, Dr. Berry joins an outstanding group of leadership academy alumni who are leaders and innovators in the field.

Dr. Berry enjoys learning and growing and plans to use all that she has learned at the CAPSCD leadership academy and through her years as an educator/clinician to mentor next generation of scholars.