Our Goals

The study’s primary goal is to understand how communication features associated with autism and fragile X syndrome are shaped by genetic and physiological factors. Our work often adopts a family approach, where we study both children affected by neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as their parents.

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Our Team

Our team is comprised of a wonderful, interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate student research assistants who contribute to this research. The team is directed by Dr. Jessica Klusek. Interested in joining our team? We are currently recruiting PhD students, post-docs, and undergraduate students interested in becoming involved.

Our Lab

Our research facilities are located on the campus of the University of South Carolina in the Montgomery Speech and Hearing Clinic at 1705 College Street. Visitors can park in the Close-Hipp parking garage on Henderson Street. We are conveniently located within walking distance to Columbia’s Five Points district, home to a number of local eateries and shopping.

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Principal Investigator


Jessica Klusek

PhD CCC-SLP

Dr. Jessica Klusek is an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Klusek received her PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She followed her doctoral training with an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship in Psychology at the University of South Carolina, where she completed interdisciplinary training in physiology, psychology, and genetics. Dr. Klusek is also a certified, licensed speech-language pathologist.


⭐ Introducing our Lab Members! ⭐


Laura Friedman

Ph.D. CCC-SLP

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Laura Friedman is a postdoctoral fellow in the SC Family Experiences Lab. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked with adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome. During her doctoral studies, Dr. Friedman worked with families of children with autism spectrum disorder as a certified speech-language pathologist in a pediatric private practice. Dr. Friedman’s research interests include characterizing the language skills of adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as examining the broader impact of language on later adulthood outcomes, including friendship development, employment, and self-advocacy skills.

Laura

Carly Moser

Carly Moser

Ph.D. Student

Carly is a doctoral student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at the University of South Carolina. She completed her BA in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina in 2016. Upon graduating, she joined the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab working as a research specialist, conducting assessments with children with developmental disorders. Her current research interests include exploring factors contributing to the variability in developmental outcomes in those with autism spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome.

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Incoming PhD Student

BIO COMING SOON 😀

Alexandra Hickey

Research Specialist

Alexandra graduated in 2019 from the University of Maryland, where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. She has previously worked in the Developmental Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, assisting in research on social interaction in children and adolescents. In the future, she hopes to work towards a PhD in Clinical Psychology and focus her research on individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Jennifer Sun

Research Specialist

Jennifer received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Brain and Behavioral Sciences in May 2022 at Purdue University. She is passionate about helping families, believes research to be a crucial part in helping individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, and wishes to further contribute to the scientific field.

Her past experiences include working in the following labs:

Sleep & Developmental Studies Laboratory (P.I. Amy J Schwichtenberg)

The ESDI Lab (P.I. Jessica Bradshaw)

Veronica McLean

Research Specialist

Veronica graduated in 2020 from the University of South Carolina, where she earned her BS in Experimental Psychology and English with a writing concentration. She has previously worked in the SC Family Experiences Lab as an undergraduate. She is also a first-year graduate student in clinical mental health counseling at Wake Forest University.

✨ Meet our Masters Students ✨

Laurel Copes

Graduate Student

Laurel graduated in 2018 with a degree in English literature from Louisiana State University. After working for a time in the editorial field, she found her love for speech-language pathology and she is in her first year of the speech-language pathology program here at UofSC. She is interested in pediatrics, with a specific focus on feeding and medically complex individuals and has been enjoying her time working in the family experiences lab!

Molly Pumphrey

Molly Pumphrey

Graduate Student

Molly is a second-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program at the University of South Carolina. She graduated from the University of Alabama in December 2020, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. In the future, Molly is interested in working with adults with neurogenic communication disorders.

Emma Grace Cornell

Graduate Student

She is a 2020 graduate from the University of South Carolina. She has a bachelors degree in Public Health. Her specific interests as an SLP-to-be are with adults with traumatic brain injury, tracheotomies and laryngectomies. She has worked in the Family Experiences Lab for almost seven years now and she is grateful for the connections she has made and the knowledge Jessie pours into us as students. 

Haley Wilson

Graduate Student

Haley is from Walterboro, South Carolina and is in her first-year of the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Program at UofSC. She also completed her undergraduate career there in December of 2020, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Public Health with a minor in Psychology. In the future, Haley has an interest in working in pediatric feeding and swallowing.

Elysse Trevino

Graduate Student

She is a first-year graduate student in the Speech Language Pathology Master’s program at UofSC. In December of 2021, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a concentration in communication neuroscience and a minor in music. In the future, she hopes to work with pediatric feeding and swallowing, but is excited to explore all clinical scopes of practice. She also looks forward to exploring more of the research side of communication and making connections with everyone in the lab!

Nadia Sabeh Ayon

Graduate Student

Nadia is a first-year graduate student in the Speech and Language Pathology Masters Program (MS-RES) at the University of South Carolina. In 2019, Nadia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from the Saint-Joseph University of Beirut, Lebanon. She recently joined the Family Experiences Lab and is very excited to be an active member of the team.

Get to know our Undergraduates! 🙂

Abbie Broadhead

Abbie Broadhead

Undergraduate Student

Abbie is a sophomore pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology on the Pre-Med track. Her hometown is right outside of Philadelphia in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, she plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in pediatrics.

Aneri Patel

Undergraduate Student

Aneri is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Medical Humanities and Culture. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, she plans to attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician. She is currently working on a project, which she was awarded a Magellan, titled “Distinguish between Mild Cognitive Impairment and Cognitively Healthy Aging by employing several metrics.”

Aneri Patel

Barret Smoker

Undergraduate Student

Barret is a junior pursuing a degree in Public Health with a minor in Nutrition and Food Systems. His hometown is in North Augusta, South Carolina. After graduating, he plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in surgery.

Kathryn Klein

Undergraduate Student

Katie is a junior from Dunlap, Illinois currently enrolled in the University of South Carolina Honors College. She is and is pursuing a degree with majors in Biological Sciences and Experimental Psychology, as well as a minor in Spanish. She plans to attend medical school and work towards a career as a physician following her graduation in 2023.

Reet

Reet Verma

Undergraduate Student

Reet is a senior at the University of South Carolina’s Honors College majoring in anthropology and double minoring in Spanish and Biology.

Samantha Greenberg

Undergraduate Student

Samantha is a senior from Long Island, New York. She is pursuing a bachelor’s in Biological Sciences on the Pre-Med track. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, she plans to attend medical school.

Britton Parker

Undergraduate Student

Britton is a second year Biological Sciences major in the South Carolina Honors College, planning to graduate in 2024. 

Megan Little

Undergraduate Student

Megan is a senior majoring in Public Health. She is from Fort Mill, SC and will be graduating in the Spring of 2023. After graduating, she plans on going to graduate school for Speech Language Pathology.

Colette Slatas

Undergraduate Student

Colette is a senior at the University of South Carolina, and is from Connecticut. She is a Public Health Major with a Business Administration minor hoping to pursue a career in speech-language pathology.  She is planning on attending graduate school to get her masters in speech-language pathology after she graduates in Spring 2023.  

Eric Niu

Undergraduate Student

He is a junior in the Honors College pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences. His hometown is Hartsville, South Carolina. After graduation, he plans on attending medical school and pursuing a career within general surgery.

 

Suebin Im

Undergraduate Student

 Suebin is a senior from Columbia, SC majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology. She plans to attend medical school after graduating from the University of South Carolina.

Alumni

Katherine Bangert – Now an Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Jillian Gierman – Now works in California as a HS SLHP


Last Updated on 10/28/2022 by Jennifer Sun