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Arnold School of Public Health


Our People

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KRYSTAL WERFEL, PHD, CCC-SLP Lab Director

Krystal L. Werfel, PhD, CCC-SLP is an assistant professor and director of the Written Language Lab at USC. Dr. Werfel studies how spoken language influences written language and applies this knowledge to develop valid and effective assessments and intervention. Most of her work focuses on children with hearing loss and children with specific language impairment. Dr. Werfel has a BS in Early Childhood Development from the University of Tennessee, and an MS in Speech-Language Pathology and a PhD in Hearing and Speech Sciences from Vanderbilt University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in audiology at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center. Her work has been supported by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation (ASHFoundation), the International Reading Association (IRA), and the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR).

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ALISON HENDRICKS Research Assistant

Alison Eisel Hendricks is a PhD candidate in Language Science and Germanic Linguistics at Pennsylvania State University. She earned her BA in philosophy from Occidental College in Los Angeles.  Her interests include child second language acquisition, North Frisian, and minority language learning. Specifically, she is interested in how varying levels quantity and quality of input influence how children learn Frisian as their second language. Alison coordinates the [link to page] Contribution of Phonological Processing to Reading and Spelling in School-Age Children with Cochlear Implants [end of link] project.

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MEREDITH JOHNSON Graduate Research Assistant

Meredith Johnson is a first year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at USC. She graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. After graduation from USC in August 2015, she plans to work as a speech-language pathologist with children and adults. When she’s not studying, Meredith loves to read, shop, and spend time with friends and family.

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MARREN BROOKS Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program

Marren Brooks is a junior seeking to obtain a B.A. in Public Health and a minor in Communication Disorders. After graduating from USC, she plans to pursue her Master's in Speech-Language Pathology and eventually her PhD. This semester, Marren is working with Dr. Werfel on a comparison study of articulation interventions, specifically comparing the use of a tablet versus flashcards. When not focusing on school, Marren works for the Early Autism Project as a line therapist and is president of her service sorority, Epsilon Sigma Alpha. She also enjoys cooking, hanging out with friends, and reading.

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JENNY CO Magellan Apprentice

Jenny Co is a sophomore pursuing a Biology major. She hopes to continue on to medical school and eventually go into ophthalmology. She is currently working in the lab to investigate how print exposure influences orthographic knowledge in second grade children with typical learning. When she’s not invested in her studies, Jenny loves to spend time with friends, bake desserts, and play the piano. 

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JACY HASELDEN Lab Volunteer

Jacy Haselden is a junior at the University of South Carolina. She is pursuing a degree in Public Health with a minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is currently working with Dr. Werfel to analyze how kindergarteners respond to different articulation therapy techniques. During her free time, Jacy enjoys reading, going to the beach, and spending time with her friends and family.

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SYDNEY PEMBERTON Graduate Research Assistant

Sydney Pemberton is a second year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology with a focus on Auditory-Verbal Therapy. She graduated from The University of Tennessee with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders in May 2014. When she graduates in August of 2016 she hopes to work as a speech-language pathologist for children with hearing loss. When she is not studying she enjoys concerts, cooking, and spending time with friends.

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SARA STRALEY Graduate Research Assistant

Sara Straley is a first-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She graduated from USC in May 2015 with an undergraduate degree in Public Health and minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Sara previously completed a project in Dr. Werfel’s Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program. She examined spelling and story grammar in written stories of children with cochlear implants.

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GINA BRUSCIANELLI Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program

Gina is an undergraduate student at USC, pursuing a degree in Public Health with a minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Gina is a participant in Dr. Werfel’s Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program; her study uses language sample analysis to evaluate language use in children with SLI compared to children with behavior disorders.

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SARAH DOMBROSKI Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program

Sarah Dombrowski is an undergraduate student at USC, pursuing a degree in Psychology with minors in Spanish and Communication Sciences and Disorders. Sarah is a participant in Dr. Werfel’s Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program; her study is developing a DVD-training program for teaching parents how to read to their children with hearing loss using strategies that promote print knowledge development.