Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff

speech language pathology 0200


The faculty and staff of the Speech Language Pathology program have a diverse background in clinical speech-language pathology, academic research and supervision.


Jennifer Essig, MA, CCC-SLP
Elkhart Center, A108
(574) 520-4008




Jennifer Essig, MA, CCC-SLP/L is the program director for the anticipated graduate program in speech-language pathology. She received her graduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has lived in the South Bend community for the last 14 years. Prior to assuming the role of program director, she served as the Assistant Clinic Director at Saint Mary’s College, placing students in the community for fieldwork experiences and teaching both undergraduate and graduate students. In professional practice, Ms. Essig has worked primarily in adult neurogenic disorders working with individuals in a variety of settings. She has a particular interest in stroke rehabilitation and head and neck cancer and continues to work in clinical practice at both area hospitals. She is currently teaching undergraduates in the health sciences program. She is dedicated to creating a collaborative and community engaged graduate program that will prepare students for a successful career in speech-language pathology.


Jerin Burch, MA, CCC-SLP
Elkhart Center, A119
(574) 520-4010



Jerin Burch, MA, CCC-SLP is the Clinical Director for the Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) graduate program. She earned both her Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences and her Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from Indiana University, Bloomington, and completed her Clinical Fellowship Year at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, where she continued to work as a speech-language pathologist until choosing to return to Indiana. In addition to her acute care, rehabilitation, and outpatient experiences gained at Mayo, Ms. Burch has clinical experience working in a variety of settings including assisted living, skilled nursing, public school at the secondary level, and pediatric outpatient. Her greatest clinical interests are in adult neurogenic disorders, and application of neuroscience in the treatment of cognitive and communication disorders. She is currently teaching undergraduate courses in the health sciences program. Ms. Burch is excited to be leading a collaborative clinical program that will benefit the community and prepare IUSB’s SLP graduate students for competency and success in their careers.

Jennifer Hatfield

Jennifer Hatfield, MHS, CCC-SLP
NS 407
(574) 520-4258



Jennifer Hatfield MHS, CCC-SLP/L has a Master of Health Sciences degree from Governor’s State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Valparaiso University. In addition, she holds The American Speech Language Hearing Association’s Clinical Competence Certificate {CCC} and is licensed by the Indiana Speech Language Pathology and Audiology Board. Jennifer continues to manage and work clinically in her private practice of over 20 years, collaborating with many local health professionals. She is nearing the completion of her Doctoral degree in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University Bloomington. Jennifer enjoys teaching not only within the concentration of Speech Language Pathology but also the core Health Sciences courses as well. Research interests include human performance improvement, interprofessional collaboration/education, executive functioning/student success and online learning.


Alisha Springle, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL
Elkhart Center, A114
(574) 520-4015



Alisha Springle, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL earned her PhD from Old Dominion University (Special Education). She earned her BS from Bowling Green State University (Summa Cum Laude, Honors) and MS from Purdue University (Andrews Doctoral Fellow). Dr. Springle is a proud Board-Certified Specialist in Child Language Disorders (BCS-CL), who is passionately interested in how language grows and develops, and what happens when that development is atypical. She loves learning and sharing the small changes that we can all make to help others communicate and function. She gained 17 years of invaluable practical experience working as an SLP with 22 preschool-age public school students in the states of Ohio and Florida, before transitioning to full-time teaching and clinical supervision. Her current research is focused on effective identification and intervention for children with Developmental Language Disorder.

Patricia Geels

Patricia Geels, M.A., CCC-SLP 
Elkhart Center, A116




Patricia is a proud double Cardinal, having earned both a B.S. and M.A. in speech-language pathology from Ball State University. She is working toward a PhD in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at Western Michigan University. Professor Geels' research is informed by her 10+ years in clinical practice and explores the role of speech-language pathologists in oncology care, particularly the experiences of those with cancer-related cognitive impairment. She loves learning and teaching through a relationship-based approach and, as a life-long South Bend resident, is committed to building strong relationships with students, faculty, and the community in this position.

Megan E. Cuellar

Megan E. Cuellar, Ph.D., CCC-SLP



Megan Cuellar has earned academic degrees from the University of Tennessee (B.A., Audiology and Speech Pathology), the University of Memphis (MA, Speech Language Pathology), and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (PhD, Speech and Hearing Science). Megan has teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including Midwestern University, located in Chicago, Illinois, Illinois State University, located in Bloomington, Illinois, and San Jose State University, located in San Jose, California. Currently, Megan researches and teaches coursework in the area of Acquired Neurogenic Cognitive-Communication Disorders with a special interest in Swallowing Disorders, as well as Motor Speech Disorders. Megan's research aims to use whole EEG neuroimaging techniques to explore the effects of stimulating mirror neurons to enhance swallowing, motor speech, and language skills in clinical populations. She also uses EEG to explore the functional neurophysiology of verb naming abilities in individuals with Aphasia in virtual reality environments.

Angela Dixon

Angela Dixon, MA, CCC-SLP





Angela received her education in speech-language pathology at the University of Iowa (BA) and University of Kansas (MA), where she developed a love for working with children with cleft palate and other craniofacial conditions. She is currently the Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN, where she has maintained a clinical specialty as a speech-language pathologist in the Cleft Palate/Craniofaciial Program for almost 20 years. Angela is the Coordinator for ASHA Special Interest Group 5: Craniofacial and Velopharyngeal Disorders, and is the Chair of the Learning Resource Committee for the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

Ellen Kelly

Ellen M. Kelly, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-F






Ellen Kelly is the Director of Educational Innovation at the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research at the University of Texas at Austin. She has a bachelor's (St. Bonaventure University) and master's (Divine Mercy University) in psychology and a master's and doctorate (both from Syracuse University) in speech-language pathology. She has worked clinically, conducted research, taught, presented, and published in the areas of stuttering (and other speech fluency disorders), and counseling for speech-language pathologists and audiologists, for over 35 years. She is a consultant to the Stuttering Foundation where she helps with content development, podcasting, webinars, and provides responses to inquiries about stuttering from around the world.