Faculty & Staff

Robert Lyons, PhDdr robert lyons photo
Interim Academic Director and Graduate Coordinator
 
EdD University of Memphis
MA Murray State University
BS Murray State University
________________________________________________________________________
Born and raised in Murray,  Dr. Robert Lyons is a life-long Racer and an MSU alumnus.  Beginning his career in Kentucky K-12 schools, he relocated to Henderson, KY, to teach physics and eventually took a position in Marshall County as a high school assistant principal.  Dr. Lyons returned to Murray in 2000 as a faculty member in the school administration program.  During his tenure, he has served as a department chair and is currently the Assistant Dean for the College of Education and Human Services, as well as the Interim Academic Director/Graduate Coordinator for the Center for Communication Disorders.  Dr. Lyons is motivated by the opportunity to serve and further develop students' growth.
 
Dr. Sharon HartSharon B. Hart, PhD
Assistant Professor
Clinic Coordinator
 
PhD University of Kentucky
MA University of Tennessee
BS Murray State University
________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Hart was an Alabama transplant but has lived in Kentucky for over 30 years. She began her career as a speech-language pathologist working with children in Tennessee and Kentucky schools. The school setting provided many rewarding opportunities to collaborate with other professionals. She joined the Murray State faculty and shifted to teaching college students how to facilitate communication skills in children. This was an exciting new adventure. Dr. Hart enjoys teaching, clinical supervision, and collaborating within the program and across campus. As Coordinator of the MSU Speech & Hearing Clinic, Dr. Hart also enjoys interacting with the wonderful team of off-site supervisors that are such an important part of the program. 

 

Karen Coulter, PhD, CCC/SLP, ATPDr. Karen Coulter
Assistant Professor/Clinical Supervisor

PhD University of Louisville
MS Indiana State University
BS Illinois State University
________________________________________________________________________
Dr. Coulter is an eclectic Midwesterner with a diverse work experience. After marrying a Hoosier from Southern Indiana she worked in the school system and an outpatient rehabilitation center before joining the University of Louisville's Pediatrics Department as well as their Autism Center. Dr. Coulter completed her PhD with U of L and chose to pursue specialization in Assistive Technology, specifically augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). During this period of time she became the full-time advocate and guardian for an individual on the Autism Spectrum, and has come to understand both sides of the proverbial consumer/provider coin. At U of L, Dr. Coulter had many rich opportunities within her multi-disciplinary workplace, such as participating in the feeding clinic, fragile X clinic, and developing her own AAC clinic. Dr. Coulter is a new addition to the Murray State faculty, and enjoys sharing her expertise with students not only in Autism and AAC, but also in diagnostics, language development, and behavioral feeding disorders. She's delighted for the opportunity to grow further in her career within the rich soil of Murray and to be able to support our students in their own professional growth.

 
Kelly A. Kleinhans, PhDDr. Kelly Kleinhans photo
Associate Professor
 
PhD University of Kentucky
MA Kent State University
BS Kent State University
________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Kleinhans grew up in Ohio with a great family. She completed her undergraduate and graduate work in five years. She traveled across the country after college and settled in Clarksville, Tennessee. She worked for the hospital and eventually started an outpatient program in rural Dover, Tennessee. She found Murray State University was just another 30 minutes from Dover and while pregnant with her third child applied for a Clinical Supervisor/Lecturer position and got it! She values a good challenge and enjoys the moment when a student recognizes they don't know what to do but know why they are doing what they do! Dr. Kleinhans loves the myriad of scholarly activities MSU offers faculty and students!


Steven J. Branson, PhDSteve Branson

Part-Time Professor
 
PhD Capella University
MS Tennessee State University
BS University of Missouri
________________________________________________________________________
Dr. Branson grew up in the mid-west surrounded by music and sports. After completing his undergraduate work in Communication Science Disorders at the University of Missouri, he traveled south to Nashville, TN. While attending Tennessee State University to obtain a Master's Degree in Speech Pathology, and Capella University to complete a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration, Dr. Branson and his wife began expanding their family. With two daughters and a son, he and his wife continue to reside in middle Tennessee. After multiple years of working in the healthcare field as a school, clinic, private, and home health speech pathologist, as well as a university clinic director, Dr. Branson found his passion for challenging himself and others within academia. Research and teaching interests include, but are definitely not limited to, voice disorders, diagnostics, stuttering, articulation, and language disorders. Dr. Branson enjoys contributing to the success of future generations of Murray State University Speech Pathologists.
 
 
Alison Brown
Alison Brown MS, CCC-SLP
Lecturer/Clinical Supervisor

MS University of Kentucky
BA Murray State University
________________________________________________________________________
Alison Brown was raised in Murray. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Murray State University in English Creative Writing. After spending a couple of years in Vail, Colorado, she moved to Lexington, Kentucky to earn her Master's degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Kentucky. Following graduation, she joined UK as an Assistant Professor, clinical line. She enjoyed working with a wide variety of patients at UK's Medical Center and Department of Otolaryngology as well as teaching graduate students. Several years later, Alison was able to capitalize upon both of her degrees as Director of Academic Services at Sayre School in Lexington. Identifying and treating students with reading disabilities was a natural fit and has become an area of professional interest, along with voice therapy. Alison is thrilled to return home to her alma mater and educate students to connect with patients as they improve their communication and literacy skills.

 

Susan Brown photoSusan Brown, MA, CCC-A
Lecturer/Audiologist
Program Director

MA University of Kansas
BGS University of Kansas
________________________________________________________________________

Susan Brown grew up in Kansas. After studying engineering for two years at college in Nashville, TN, Susan changed her major and returned to Kansas to study communication disorders at the University of Kansas. She decided to focus on audiology and earned her Master's Degree from the University of Kansas, Medical Center. After working for a year in the Medical Center's Audiology Clinic, Susan moved to Sydney, Australia and worked for Australian Hearing Services, providing diagnostic and rehabilitative services to people of all ages. After returning to the U.S. Susan took her audiology services on the road, traveling throughout the state of Georgia to provide assessments and rehabilitation. Susan is now the audiologist in the MSU Speech and Hearing Clinic and also gets to teach juniors and seniors in the Communication Disorders program. She thoroughly enjoys being at Murray State University because it is a place of possibilities and opportunities.


Stephanie SchaafStephanie Schaaf, MS, CCC-SLP
Clinical Supervisor

MS Murray State University
BA Murray State University
________________________________________________________________________
Stephanie was raised in Crestwood, Kentucky (around the Louisville area) before coming to Murray in 2001. She earned her Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology and Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders from Murray State University. Although she didn't originally plan to make Murray her permanent residence, Murray has a way of immediately making you feel at home. Pair that with a passion for the lake and discovering all that LBL (Land Between the Lakes National Recreational Area) has to offer, she suddenly found herself captivated! She has worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist in a variety of settings, including long-term care, acute rehabilitation, home health and schools. Throughout her professional experiences working with a variety of adults and children, she discovered that she truly has a passion for disorders across the lifespan. Stephanie is enthusiastic about her field and loves having the opportunity to make a positive impact on students pursuing a career in communication disorders. She believes that being an effective therapist is a delicate balance of knowledge and clinical skills which would not be possible without guidance from strong instructors, supervisors, and mentors from the very beginning of one's educational journey. Stephanie is honored to be part of a team that provides guidance and builds confidence as students grow into clinicians and find their own unique skills and interest.
 

 Jill Slayden, MS CCC-SLPJill Slayden photograph
Clinical Supervisor/Lecturer
 
MS Murray State University
BS Murray State University

 ________________________________________________________________________
Jill grew up in Paducah, Kentucky.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and a Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology from Murray State University.  She started her career working for a local rehabilitation company servicing several nursing facilities and a hospital in the surrounding areas. She and her husband then relocated to Marshall County Kentucky where she was employed by Marshall County School System for many years.  During her time there she briefly served as the county's deaf and hard of hearing resource person, was appointed to serve on two Assistive Technology Outreach Program committees and completed training in the use of the Picture Exchange Communication System.  During that time her love and interest in working with children and young adults with severe disabilities grew.  Out of this love and interest grew a private practice servicing adults with severe disabilities.  She is now honored to be a part of the Murray State Communications Department and looks forward to being an Instructor and clinical supervisor.


Megan Smetana, MS, CCC-SLPMegan Murphy Smetana photograph
Clinical Supervisor/Lecturer
 

MS Murray State University
BA Rutgers University
________________________________________________________________________
Megan grew up in New Jersey and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Rutgers University. She moved to Murray with her husband in 1999. After taking the Child Language Development course at MSU, she fell in love with the field of speech-language pathology. She began post-baccalaureate class work in 2006 and completed her Master's degree in 2010. Megan has a broad basis of clinical experience including acute inpatient rehabilitation, acute care, adult and pediatric outpatient and skilled nursing facility settings. Megan is currently a clinical supervisor for graduate students in our clinic and preschool settings and teaching undergraduate courses.

 

Jasmine YoungJasmine E. Young, MS, CCC-SLP
Clinical Supervisor/Lecturer

MS Alabama A&M
BS Alabama A&M
________________________________________________________________________
Mrs. Jasmine E. (Spruill) Young is a native of Birmingham, AL. She currently resides in Murray, KY with her husband Kelvin. Jasmine received her Master's of Science degree (2004) and Bachelor of Science (2002) degrees from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Normal, AL (Huntsville, AL) where she studied Communicative Sciences and Disorders. Jasmine's clinical experience consists of speech-language disorders across the lifespan; however, specializing in dementia, aphasia, and dysphagia have been on the list of her greatest passions. In 2008, Jasmine began performing Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) and by 2012 was servicing 14 homes in the North Alabama Region. In the fall of 2012, Jasmine moved to Murray, KY and was able to transition into academia as an Instructor and Clinical Supervisor for the Center for Communication Disorders at Murray State University.

 

Wendy Briere

Wendy Briere
Academic Administrative Assistant

BS University of Maryland, College Park
_______________________________________________________________________
Wendy is originally from Blackstone, Massachusetts, but moved to Southern California when she was a sophomore in high school. She has lived in many states including Rhode Island, Maryland, Tennessee, Washington, Kansas and Kentucky. She has also had a wide variety of job experiences, including candle making and milking cows! She has a degree in Elementary Education but finds being behind the desk as an Administrative Assistant a better fit. She is mom to a teenage son and also to a daughter, who has 4 sons (making Wendy a grandmother!). She loves the camaraderie, experiences and educational opportunities MSU offers.