(from left to right) Bridget Walsh, Christine Weber, Barbara Brown, Anne Smith, and Janna Berlin.

Principal Investigators

anneAnne Smith, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences

Director, Neurophysiological Bases of Speech Production/Language and Motor Interactions
Co-Director, Purdue Stuttering Project
Phone: (765) 494-3799

Anne Smith is a neuroscientist who is interested in how the brain does the complicated task of producing speech. She is also particularly interested in what happens when the speech production system does not work, as is the case in stuttering. She has studied stuttering in adults, school-age children, and in preschoolers to find the factors that contribute to the onset and persistence of this problem.

christineChristine Weber, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences

Director, Neural Systems for Language Processing Lab
Co-Director, Purdue Stuttering Project
Phone: (765)494-3819

Chris Weber’s research program examines neurodevelopmental aspects of stuttering in preschool children. Her longitudinal studies examine behavioral and clinical measures coupled with measures of brain activity elicited for language processing. The aims for her research are to help identify factors that contribute to the development of stuttering and also to discover physiological and clinical predictors of persistence versus recovery of stuttering in preschool children.

bridgetBridget Walsh, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, Research Scientist
Phone: (765) 496-0151

Bridget Walsh is a Research Scientist in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue, and a co-investigator on the Purdue Stuttering Project. Speech production is seemingly effortless, yet it is a remarkably complex process. Dr. Walsh’s overarching interest is how the brain controls this quintessential human ability. She has researched how speech develops in young children, and how the disease mechanisms of disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and stuttering disrupt speech production. Currently she is studying the neural processes that mediate speech planning and production and, in parallel, discovering neurophysiological markers of stuttering using a non-invasive neuroimaging technology, fNIRS.

barb2Barb Brown, M.S. CCC-SLP, Project Coordinator
Phone: (765) 496-6403

As a speech-language pathologist with many years of experience working with preschool children, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to combine my clinical expertise with research on the development of stuttering in young children. The goal of this phase of the Purdue Stuttering Project is to develop clinical screening tools to identify children at risk for persistent stuttering, and my hope is that this will result in earlier and more effective intervention for these children.

barbJanna Berlin, Research Associate
Phone: (765) 494-3799

Janna earned her B.S. in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Purdue and has worked as a Research Associate for Professor Smith since 1993. She helps collect and analyze all physiological data connected with the Purdue Stuttering Project. She also teaches new students in the lab to do the same. When not seeing subjects in the lab she likes to walk her dog, Murphy, read and take camping trips to the western parts of the country.

Post-Doctoral Researchers

EileenEileen Haebig, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
Phone: 765- 496-2435

Eileen Haebig is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue University. She received her PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. As a clinical researcher and certified speech-language pathologist, she is interested in language learning in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. She studies language abilities in children with fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and specific language impairment. Eileen uses a multi-level approach, using eye-tracking, behavioral methods, and event related brain potentials (ERP), to explore how children with atypical development process and learn language.

 Graduate Students

evanEvan Usler, Ph.D. Student
Phone: (765)494-3819

Evan Usler is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences. He graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in International Relations and from the University of Rhode Island with graduate degrees in Information Studies and Public Administration. Interested in the neural subsystems of speech and language, how these systems develop, and how they interact with cognitive and emotional processes, he focuses on stuttering and related neurodevelopmental speech-language disorders. Outside of the lab, Evan enjoys drinking coffee, playing football, and watching holiday-themed Hallmark movies.


katieKatie Lippitt, Ph.D. Student
Phone: (765)494-3799

Katie is a combined M.S/PhD student in the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Science. She graduated from University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Hearing and Speech Sciences and Psychology. Her research interests include the neural underpinnings of normal dysfluencies, such as “um” and “uh”, and pathological dysfluencies, such as stuttering events. Outside of speech language pathology, Katie enjoys singing, baking and playing sports.

 Undergraduate Students


Gina Catania
I am currently a junior at Purdue University studying Speech Language and Hearing Sciences with minors in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies. I hope to go on to become a speech language pathologist and work with children.



RachelRachel Hippensteel

Rachel is a junior in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, with minors in Spanish and Linguistics. She is particularly interested in developmental speech disorders in children. She plans on attending grad school in 2018 to receive her MS in SLHS, possibly with a concentration in bilingual speech therapy. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and spending time with her family and pets.

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