People

Lab Director

Teresa Gray

teresag@sfsu.edu

Education

  • 2015 Ph.D., Boston University
  • 2008 M.A., San Jose State University
  • 2000 B.A., University of California at Santa Cruz

Research Interests

Dr. Teresa Gray is an Assistant Professor in the Communicative Disorders Program. Her expertise is in the areas of aphasia, traumatic brain injury, and bilingualism. She supervises on- and off-campus adult neurogenic clinics and teaches the graduate level seminars on adult language disorders. She is the director of the Gray Matter Lab. Her research interests focus on bilingual aphasia and language access, the mechanisms of control in linguistic and non-linguistic contexts in aphasia, and the role of language rehabilitation and its short-term and long-term effects on functional communication.

Graduate Students

Olivia Chu

Education

  • 2020 M.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University
  • 2016 Post-baccalaureate in Speech & Hearing Sciences
    Portland State University
  • 2010 B.S. in Biological Sciences with emphasis in Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior
    University of California, Davis

Research Interests

My previous experience as a medical interpreter made me learn to appreciate the importance of communication between people and bilingualism, which eventually led me to the field of speech-language pathology. Having had the privilege to work with patients with aphasia in the past as a student clinician, I have developed an interest in learning more about this neurologically-based language disorder, especially in the bilingual/multilingual population. The Gray Matter Lab provides me with the opportunity to learn more about these topics and to further develop the needed skills to grow as a clinician as I conduct research work involving bilingual/multilingual patients with aphasia. In the lab, I administer diagnostic tests in Cantonese and English, as well as assist with the Chinese section of a multilingual, web-based interactive tool for aphasia treatment.

Lindsay Johnson

Education

  • 2020 M.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University
  • 2018 B.A. in Communicative Disorders
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

After shadowing a Speech Language Pathologist in a Special Education school working with emergent communicators I pursued a bachelors degree in the direction of Speech Pathology. During my time in my undergraduate degree I realized a passion and interest in neurologically related disorders with adult populations. This prompted me to spend a year shadowing a Speech Language Pathologist in an acute setting with patients post stroke with aphasia. I’ve spent the last year working in an ALS research clinic within the augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) lending library. Within this role I assisted with a hands on lab at the National Speech Langauge and Hearing convention (ASHA) supporting SLPs in AAC evaluations with degenerative diseases. The areas of research I am most interested in is quality of life post aphasia diagnosis with individuals and their families. In my spare time I love walking my dog Max, mastering Indian curries from scratch, and volunteering in my community.

Michelle Kwong

Education

  • 2020 M.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University
  • 2017 Post-Baccalaureate; Communication Sciences & Disorders
    Chapman University
  • 2015 B.A. Linguistics & French, Global Studies
    UCLA

Research Interests

I have had extensive experience working with children with various developmental levels in Early Intervention and in schools as a nanny, a Registered Behavior Technician in ABA, and a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant at a multi-disciplinary pediatric clinic. While working with children has been rewarding these past few years, I really wanted to expand my skill set and experience working with adults in my graduate career. The Gray Matter Lab gives me the opportunity to work with both mono- and bilingual individuals with aphasia. My research interests include exploring the relationship between generalization from the trained language vs untrained language on the BAbSANT study and how attention may play a role in this process. I've also enjoyed learning from administering diagnostic tests and attention tasks while conducting reliability on previous therapy sessions. I look forward to continuing expanding my interests in this field. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, practicing yoga, cooking, and binge-watching Netflix.

Julia Navarro

Lab Manager 2018-2019

Education

  • 2020 M.S. Candidate; Communicative Disorders
    San Francisco State University
  • 2017 Post-Baccalaureate; Communicative Disorders
    Idaho State University
  • 2003 Bachelor’s and Master’s degree; Economics and Business Management
    Ural State University, Russia

Research Interests

Acquiring new languages has been my personal journey after I moved to the United States from Russia a decade ago. Since then, I have been continuously working in adult education and teaching Russian. This experience has led me to the field of Speech Language Pathology, and once I made this connection, there was no turning back. While learning about the neurology of language processes and innovative therapy techniques, my goal is to to provide support and improve patients’ lives through communication. In the lab, I work on three projects: 1) for the babSANT project I administer diagnostic testing and treatment in English and Russian; 2) I am collaborating on the development of the codeswitching project; and 3) I co-direct the bi-monthly Conversation Club geared to enhance the quality of life for people with aphasia.

Michell Peck

Education

  • 2021 M.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University
  • 2019 B.S. in Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

Having had an extensive background working with children who are on the autism spectrum, my current interests lie in finding cutting edge, research-vetted interventions for speech-language pathologists in a variety of fields. The Gray Matter Lab’s commitment to provide evidence-based interventions that ultimately improve the quality of life for people with aphasia could not be more in tune with my ambition. I am honored to be a part of the team. In the lab, I am focused on administering treatment and diagnostic tests in Spanish and English with an interest in the maintenance of treatment outcomes over time. In my future career as an SLP, I hope to possibly expand into conducting research on voice disorders and effective treatment interventions for people who have auditory processing disorder. In my spare time, I enjoy singing, cooking, world travel, and spending time outdoors with my partner and my dog.

Lesley Peng

Lab Manager

Education

  • 2021 M.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University
  • 2019 B.S. in Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

Growing up as a second generation Chinese-American in the States, my parents spoke to my siblings and me in English only while they spoke in Mandarin with each other. Despite the lack of opportunities to speak in Mandarin, I found myself picking up the language easily just by observing my parents interact with each other. I have always been interested in linguistics and how one language differs from another. Taking the neurolinguistics course at SF State furthered my interest in how multilingualism works in the brain with language and executive control. As a research assistant in the Gray Matter Lab, I am spearheading the non-linguistic codeswitching project and administer bilingual diagnostics and treatments for the babSANT study. In my free time, I like to play video games, hike, listen to music, mess around on the piano, and bake/cook up some random concoction.

Monika Zacharewicz

zacharewiczmonika@gmail.com

Education

  • 2019 M.S. Candidate; Communicative Disorders
    San Francisco State University
  • 2017 B.A., Communicative Disorders
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

I am originally from Poland and became interested in clinical work after shadowing a speech-language pathologist. My research interests are focused on exploring the effects of language treatment in bilingual adults with aphasia and examining how effects of training the dominant or non-dominant langauage may generalize to the untrained language.  More generally, I  am interested in neurology, the brain-behavior relationship, and functional communication following brain injury.  I am also interested in learning about physiology of the swallowing mechanism and its interrelationships with other functions such as breathing and voice.  

Naomi Zaragoza

Education

  • 2021 M.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University
  • 2019 B.S. in Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

I have always had a passion for helping Spanish speaking communities and the adult population. After shadowing speech-language pathologists in a hospital setting and taking the neurolinguistics course, I developed an interest in neuroplasticity and its ability to create neural connections after brain injury. Within the the Gray Matter Lab, I am mostly interested in bilingualism, aphasia, and TBI, as well as their effects on cognitive functioning and language. In my spare time, I enjoy running and spending time outdoors with my dogs.

Undergraduate

Violeta Ayala

Education

  • 2020 B.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

For as long as I can remember I have always felt very passionate about helping others. Throughout my educational career I didn’t really know what path I would take. When my son was two, we realized he was very behind in language skills compared to other children his age. He was referred to speech therapy. This inspired me to become a speech language pathologist. I know first-hand how important, valuable, and life changing it is for patients to be able to receive the best therapies available. My research interests are for finding just that, the best evidence-based therapy methods for bilinguals and multilingual populations. In my spare time I enjoy being reading, being outdoors, and spending time with my family.

Hannah Khorassani

Education

  • 2020 B.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences & Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

I am in my fourth year here at SF State with a double major in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and Business with a concentration in Marketing. Recently I returned from studying abroad in Spain, where I was able to focus on my Spanish skills and improve my fluency. Growing up in a bilingual household, I have always been interested in multilingualism as I feel as if it allows people to connect with each other and share opportunities, creating a global community.

I have always been fascinated with the brain and what makes people so unique, hence the reason why I joined the Gray Matter Lab team. In the lab, I am currently working on babSANT and the abSANT study, as well as building experimental paradigms that tap verbal and nonverbal control mechanisms for the SF Build project. This semester I am also co-leading the lab’s Conversation Club that fosters quality of life experiences for people with aphasia. In addition to my work in the lab, I work at a preschool. I love my job so much that I hope to continue including working with children in some way in my career. In my free time, I love to travel, take pictures, and spend time with my friends at the beach.

Melody Leñero

Education

  • 2022 B.S. Candidate; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

Growing up deaf in one ear sparked my passion for Audiology at a very young age. As a young kid and to this day I have always wanted to help people like me, and that is what I intend to do as an Audiologist. I am most interested in working with kids who, like myself, are hard of hearing, because I feel that I can personally relate to their struggles. Volunteering with several speech pathologists has further sparked my passion for this field and has given me a good grasp on the importance of speech pathologists and what they do. Within the Gray Matter Lab I am most interested in bilingualism and recovery patterns for bilingual stroke patients. In my spare time I love to play with my chickens and dogs.

Maryvi Morales

Education

  • 2020 B.S Candidate; Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

In the past few years, I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with many children as a Registered Behavior Technician in ABA, Special Education Paraeducator, Bilingual Instructional Aide and afterschool program leader. Through these jobs and my language experience (simultaneous Spanish-English bilingual), I am passionate about becoming a bilingual speech language pathologist. In the lab, I currently administer an intensive naming treatment (BAbSANT) in Spanish and English that examines within- and between-language generalization. I also co-lead the Conversation Club that supports improving quality of life for people with aphasia. I feel very fortunate to be be a part of this team. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, concerts, and traveling.

Research Assistants

Pia Etchegoin

mpetchegoin@gmail.com

Education

  • 2017 B.A., Communicative Disorders
    San Francisco State University

Research Interests

 I am passionate about helping individuals find their voice. I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ever since moving to the United States I have dreamt of working with the Spanish speaking community and contributing to the field of speech and language pathology. I am very interested in research, specifically within the bilingual community. I am also passionate about helping older adults find their voice after traumatic events including brain injury and strokes. I also enjoy educating the community about important topics such as stroke prevention. In my free time I like to hike, camp and fish, while exploring the beautiful areas around California.

LAB MANAGER: Spring 2016 - Spring 2017