Doctoral Student Profiles




Adam J. Hogan

Adam J. Hogan is a third-year doctoral student studying under Dr. Todd A. Gibson. He earned his MA in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Louisiana State University in 2004, after which he worked as a school-based speech-language pathologist for sixteen years before returning to LSU. During this time, Adam served as a member of the assistive technology support teams in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Kingwood, Texas; evaluated and treated children with complex communication needs in preschool through high school; and spent the last three years of his clinical career at a kindergarten campus in Zachary, Louisiana. His research interests include child and adult second language acquisition, second language phonological acquisition; the utility of nonword repetition as a tool to aid in the identification of language impairment in bilingual children. Additionally, given the scarcity of bilingual speech-language pathologists in the United States, Adam is also interested in identifying and improving methods of bilingual speech and language evaluation when conducted by monolingual speech-language pathologists.



Tahmineh Maleki

Tahmineh Maleki is currently in her third year of pursuing a PhD. Her educational background includes completing a master's program in Speech Therapy in 2019, where she focused on assessing children with developmental language disorders (DLD) at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Furthermore, she has over six years of experience working as a speech-language pathologist, starting after she obtained her bachelor's degree in 2015. During this time, she worked with Persian-speaking school and pre-school age children. Originally from Iran, Tahmineh's research interests revolve around child language development and disorders. Her studies are strongly influenced by evidence-based practice, particularly in the areas of late talker's children, early acquisition, and intervention. Moreover, she serves as the primary instructor for COMD 2050 (Intro to Language) and COMD 4380 (The Development of Spoken Language).



Kwaku Nyantakyi

Kwaku Nyantakyi is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Louisiana State University, under the supervision of Dr. Janna Oetting. Kwaku graduated from the University of Ghana with a BA in geography and linguistics in 2017. He completed his MS in speech and language therapy also from the University of Ghana in 2020. After his bachelor's degree, he worked as a teaching and research assistant at the University of Ghana, Department of Linguistics. He also worked as a clinical fellowship intern at the Speech and Hearing Rehabilitation Center in Accra, Ghana,  where he assisted in the treatment of children with various speech, language and hearing impairments. Kwaku’s research interest is in culturally and linguistically appropriate assessment and intervention for children with developmental language delay. He is currently in charge of teaching lab courses in the D4 Child Language Lab, as well as tutoring the Introduction to Language undergraduate course. 



Aswathy Anakkathil Pradeep

Aswathy Anakkathil Pradeep is a fourth year (Spring 2020) doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Louisiana State University, supervised by Dr. Susan Duncan. Aswathy completed her master's in Speech-Language Pathology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (2019) and her bachelor’s degree in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology from Manipal University, India (2017). She is an ASHA certified (CCC-SLP) speech-language pathologist licensed to practice in LA. She was the primary instructor for COMD 2050 (Introduction to language) and COMD 2081 (Introduction to communication disorders) and teaching assistant for COMD 4382 (Language disorders of children), COMD 3150 (Phonetics), COMD 4250 (Anatomy and physiology for speech and hearing), and COMD 4754 (Bilingual Language Development and Disorders). She won the 2022 LSU alumni association best teaching assistant award and has been recognized as the best communicative teacher by LSU communication across the curriculum (CxC) for Fall 2021.  She is interested in neuro-communication disorders and associated treatment in adults, and currently her research focuses on transcutaneous auricular vagal nerve stimulation among individuals with post-stroke aphasia. Aswathy hails from the verdant state of Kerala, in the south of India.  


Tengwen Fan

Tengwen Fan is a first-year (Fall 2022) doctoral student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Louisiana State University, supervised by Dr. Julie Schneider. Tengwen completed her Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology (2022) and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (2019) in Shaanxi Normal University, China. Tengwen is interested in exploring the language development of young children with behavioral, electrophysiological and neuroimaging approaches. Tengwen is now conducting research on the neural basis of statistical learning and vocabulary learning from context of developing children, which is funded by Juneau Family Child Speech and Language Research Fund.


Ella Tabari

Ella Tabari is a Ph.D. student in the department of communication sciences and disorders and a research assistant at the Human Neurophysiology & Neuromodulation Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Johari. She completed her first Ph.D. in Neurolinguistics at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid where she conducted her research in understanding the Neural Signature of Bilingualism using the Magnetoencephalography (MEG) technique. Currently, her research focuses on the validation of HD-tDCS for improvement of speech and limb motor control in healthy older adults and individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Her research centers around utilizing EEG and HD-tDCS/tACS to study the neural correlates of language. Specifically, she investigates how these neurophysiological methods can shed light on the mechanisms underlying language processing and its disorders. Her multidisciplinary approach, encompassing neuroscience, experimental psychology, and linguistics, allows her to explore new frontiers and develop innovative solutions that can positively impact individuals with communication disorders. 

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Jesica R. Sykes

Jesica Sykes is an openly autistic adult pursuing her Ph.D. in the Department of Communication Sciences at LSU under the mentorship of Dr. Eileen Haebig. Jes earned a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics and an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Lamar University. Jes has worked clinically as an ASHA-certified, Distinguished Early Professional, and ACE – awarded speech-language pathologist in various settings across the lifespan. Professionally, Jes is interested in studying how autistic people use language (spoken and non-spoken) to communicate as well as theory of mind (ToM). Other areas of interest include bidirectional autistic and non-autistic communication partner skills, the communicative value of stimming, sensory processing, and the overlap of the LGBTQIA+ and Autism spectrums. As an autistic researcher, participatory approaches and community engagement are of paramount importance to include diverse autistic individuals within the research process (a realm which traditionally has excluded these individuals). Current areas of service include board member for the Disability Caucus of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, research collaborator for Research on Autism Driven by Autistic Researchers (RADAR) and is an advisory member and ongoing consultant for Making Sense of Autism, LLC. Outside of academia Jes enjoys running, music, reading, writing, and befriending any animal.


Biraj Bhattarai 

Biraj Bhattarai is a second-year doctoral student (Fall 2022) in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Louisiana State University under the mentorship of Dr. Bijoyaa Mohapatra. He completed Bachelor of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Tribhuvan University, Nepal (2018), and a Master of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology (2021) from All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), University of Mysore, India. He was part of many research projects during his master's program and has authored several scientific publications. He was working as Speech Language Pathologist at AIISH before joining his PhD program at LSU.  
Biraj’s research interest in understanding cognitive and language processing in neuro-communication disorder, specifically Aphasia. His research focuses on utilizing neuroimaging technology (fNIRS) to assess neural correlates of cognition, language, and related functions in persons with aphasia.  
He likes playing cricket and soccer. 


Muhammad Ayyaz

Muhammad Ayyaz embarked on his doctoral journey in Fall 2022, dedicating his research to the field of adult bilingual communication disorders. He completed his undergraduate studies at Forman Christian College Lahore, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and later, he pursued a Master of Science in Applied Linguistics from The University of Management and Technology, Lahore. He is also a graduate of the UT-CELT program at The University of Texas at Austin. Muhammad's primary research interest lies in exploring evidence-based practices for adults who are bilingual and experience communication disorders. With a focus on dual-language phonological patterns, currently, he is investigating the impact of the mora on bilingual language production and how it influences the exact temporal coordination of syllables in native and non-native languages. To that end, driven by his passion for helping others, he envisions a future where he develops innovative tools tailored to the unique needs of bilingual individuals grappling with speech and language disorders.