Faculty & Staff | Communication Sciences & Disorders

Helen Sharp, PhD, CCC-SLP

Helen Sharp

Director and Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Helen Sharp joined the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders in August as the Director. Helen replaces Marty Fischer, founding director of the School who retired as Emeritus Professor in July. Helen joins Pacific University after 11 years on the faculty of Speech Pathology and Audiology at Western Michigan University. Helen’s primary areas of interest include ethics, dysphagia, and cleft palate and other craniofacial conditions. Helen completed her undergraduate work in Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada. She attended the University of Pittsburgh for her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and completed her Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Iowa.  Helen was a Fellow in the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. She previously served as the graduate program director in speech-language pathology at Western Michigan University together with other leadership roles in assessment and curriculum development. Helen is a past president of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

Joanna Close, MS CCC-SLP

Adjunct Clinical Supervisor

After a few post-college years as a ski bum/newspaper reporter, Jo returned to Oregon to re-consider her professional future. She discovered the field of speech-language pathology and studied communication sciences and disorders at Portland State University and the University of Oregon, where she discovered her passion for cognition. Jo brings clinical experience as a speech-language pathologist at the Portland VA Medical Center where she specialized in outpatient assessment and treatment for individuals who had sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI). Jo has also worked in acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, and private practice settings in the Portland Metro area. She is excited to join the Pacific University School of Communication Sciences and Disorders team. Jo finds graduate students’ excitement about the field of speech-language pathology contagious.

When she is not working as a clinician or supervisor, Jo enjoys reading, writing, coffee shops, travel, camping/hiking, and spending time with her teacher husband and preschool daughter.

Caitlin Fitzgerald, MS CCC-SLP

Clinical Assistant Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


I am delighted to join the College of Education as assistant professor of clinical education in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

I was born and raised in Oregon and earned my master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Portland State University. Clinically, I am passionate about medical speech-language pathology with a special interest in pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders. I gained much clinical experience at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, serving on the feeding team, craniofacial disorders team, performing video fluoroscopic swallow studies and providing inpatient services.

I enjoys mentoring students and look forward to supporting them through their clinical education at Pacific University.

Peter Flipsen, PhD, S-LP(C), CCC-SLP

Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Dr. Peter Flipsen Jr. has been at Pacific since fall 2013. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is certified as a speech-language pathologist in both the United States and his native Canada. Dr. Flipsen’s overall area of research interest is with speech sound disorders in children. He is a co-author of  the soon to be released 8th edition of Articulation and Phonological Disorders: Speech Sound Disorders in Children. Dr. Flipsen has published research in several areas, most notably regarding speech development in children who are born deaf and then fitted with cochlear implants. Most recently he has turned his attention to the rather pesky problem of the treatment of persistent speech errors in older children and adolescents.

Marcia Frost, MS CCC-SLP

Clinical Assistant Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Marcia Frost joins the College of Education at Pacific University as Assistant Professor of clinical education in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Marcia came from Phoenix, AZ where she served as a Speech-Language Pathologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center/Barrow Neurological Institute.

Marcia has a masters degree in speech-language pathology from Purdue University. During her eleven years of acute care hospital experience Marcia has developed a thorough understanding in the evaluation and treatment of those with complex medical and particularly neurological communication and swallowing impairments. The past two years she has split her time between adults and newborns, working in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit addressing feeding impairments. This, along with her prior experiences in an outpatient comprehensive neurorehabilitation program, has given her insight into the role of the speech pathologist along the entire continuum of care; from infant to geriatric.

Outside of work Marcia is passionate about yoga/meditation, reading and being active outdoors; including hiking and camping with her husband, Jeff, and her three boys; Cayden, and twins, Asher and Owen. During college football season, she can be found cheering on her home town team; or attempting mindfulness if they’re losing. Since moving to Oregon she has taken up a love of gardening and an appreciation for the rain.

Melissa Fryer, MS CCC-SLP

Assistant Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders



Melissa joined the faculty of the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders in May of 2017 after serving as an adjunct clinical supervisor in the Pacific Psychology and Comprehensive Health Clinics since August of 2015. She is proud to join an amazing academic and clinical team focused on innovation, advocacy and research in the field of Speech Language Pathology.

Melissa received her Bachelor of Arts in History from Oregon State University and a Master of Arts in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Portland State University. Having a passion for working with older adults, she served as a speech pathologist in skilled nursing for 10 years in the Portland metro area. Becoming increasingly interested in reimbursement, Medicare, and advocacy for older persons, Melissa joined the Oregon Speech and Hearing Association as their State Advocate for Medicare Policy in 2015. She has served on the Editorial Review Board for the American Speech and Hearing Association, Special Interest Group in Gerontology as well as volunteered for the Oregon Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She is currently interested in trends in clinical supervision of speech language pathology graduate students, including interprofessional education and supervisor development. In her free time she loves gardening and eating. You can find her on Instagram at nw_cottage_garden.

Emily Gibson, MS CCC-SLP

Adjunct Clinical Supervisor

Emily Gibson is an Adjunct Clinical Supervisor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has been a practicing speech-language pathologist in the Portland Metro area for 14 years, serving children in the Kindergarten through 12th grade age range. Her primary area of interest is the assessment and identification of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Emily studied Spanish at the University of Oregon as well as in Quito, Ecuador and Puebla, Mexico. She is a proponent of dual language instruction, and an advocate for content-based and collaborative service delivery models in the schools.

Born and raised in Portland, Emily enjoys visiting the Oregon coast (and venturing out farther when possible), reading, and spending time with her husband and two children.

Katie Lardy

Student Services Manager


Katie Lardy joins the School of Communication Sciences & Disorders as Student Services Manager after working for nine years in the Career Development Center at Pacific University as the Assistant Director and Pathways Coordinator. She also coordinated the Advantage Scholars Program.

Katie genuinely enjoys working with, and supporting, students through their educational journey. Katie graduated from Pacific University with a double major in Spanish and Integrated Media, which fueled her love of literature, photography, and travel through an eight-month study abroad in Quito, Ecuador. Taking photographs at Machu Picchu was a highlight!

Prior to working at Pacific, Katie served as a Marketing Coordinator for the Intel Teach to the Future Program and as a Communications Coordinator for the chamber music festival, Music @ Menlo in Atherton, CA.

Outside of work, Katie finds great joy spending time with her husband, Paul, and two young daughters, Bella and Bailey, experiencing life through their eyes and pursuits. In addition, Katie highly values volunteering for the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce Leadership Hillsboro Program as an advisory council member. She values being involved in learning about the multi-dimensional needs of the community and helping to connect motivated individuals with others to learn how they can collaborate in order to make our communities better for present and future generations.

Rik Lemoncello, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


I was excited to join the College of Education faculty in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders in Fall 2012. I am passionate about teaching and clinical practice in the area of adult/medical speech-language pathology. With expertise in cognitive rehabilitation, evidence-based practices, motor speech disorders, dysphagia (swallowing disorders), and scholarship of teaching and learning, my scholarship advances best practices for adults with acquired brain injury.

I am passionate about interprofessional practice, collaboration, and community service. My research focuses on assistive technologies that support memory and cognitive skills. I am currently exploring projects that enhance social and community participation for adults living with brain injuries, including development of a bakery staffed by people with brain injuries and coached by an interprofessional group of students from speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and psychology! My teaching incorporates technology, active learning, and cognitive supports to build and reinforce brain connections. With many local and national connections, I am excited to share my experience, passion, and scholarship with students and colleagues at Pacific University.

I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics in 1997 at the University of Rochester (1997), Master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Emerson College in Boston, MA (1999), and my PhD in speech-language pathology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR (2008). I worked in several medical settings in the Boston, MA area from 1999-2004, and have continued clinical work with adults with brain injury throughout my academic career.

In my spare time, I love to bake, spend time with my two black cats and black lab, garden, and explore "easy" hiking trails in the local area with my partner.

Kerry Mandulak, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Dr. Mandulak couldn’t be more pleased to join the faculty in the new School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Pacific University. Dr. Mandulak’s clinical career has been focused on the assessment and treatment of children and families affected by cleft lip and palate, velopharyngeal dysfunction, and other craniofacial disorders. Her clinical interests formed the basis for her research interests pursued during her doctoral training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including applying acoustic analysis techniques for investigation of speech production and speech perception in children with repaired cleft palate. She finished her doctorate in September 2009.

Dr. Mandulak is active in the American Cleft Palate – Craniofacial Association and was recently elected to the executive council. Locally, she serves on the Medical Advisory Committee for Smile Oregon, a not-for-profit organization committed to improving care of children affected by cleft lip and palate in Oregon. In addition to cleft palate and craniofacial disorders, Dr. Mandulak is passionate about working with people who stutter. She is a member of the local stuttering support group, loves mentoring students with this specific clinical interest, and provides speech therapy whenever she can.

Outside of work, Dr. Mandulak has enjoyed exploring Portland with her husband David and son Henry. She loves working on anything crafty, coming up with new and exciting things to cook for her family, and reading books not related to work!

Gayatri Ram, PhD, CCC-SLP

Clinical Assistant Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


I am delighted to join the College of Education as an assistant professor of clinical education in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Most recently, I worked as a speech-language pathologist with elementary school-age children in a public school system in Oregon.  Prior to relocating to Oregon, I earned my Master’s and Doctoral degree in speech and language sciences at Ohio University.

Clinically, I am passionate about developing protocols for assessing linguistic and literacy skills in children with and without language impairments.  Much of my research work has focused on understanding and explaining lexical acquisition skills in children as well as investigating the relation between school-age children’s morphological knowledge and their literacy skills. I enjoy teaching and am very excited about the opportunity to mentor students to become future professionals at Pacific.

Outside of work, I enjoy cooking vegetarian cuisine, hiking, and traveling to different places within United States and internationally.

Eric Sanders, PhD, CCC-SLP

Assistant Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


I am thrilled to be a member of the inaugural faculty of the new School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Pacific University. I recently completed my doctoral degree in the speech and hearing sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to beginning my doctoral studies, I worked for the Miami-Dade County public school system as an augmentative alternative communication (AAC) specialist and for a private practice in the South Florida area.

My research interests include the study of language and literacy for individuals with significant intellectual disabilities. Currently my work is focused on understanding how individuals with disabilities answer questions. In addition to my research, I am passionate about teaching speech-language pathology students about working with people with disabilities.

I am also excited to begin exploring the Pacific Northwest with my fiancée, Emily. In my spare time, I enjoy record and book shopping, seeing live music, and following Miami sports teams.

Amanda Stead, PhD, CCC-SLP

Assistant Professor,
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders


Amanda Stead is an assistant professor in the College of Education in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her PhD was completed at Louisiana State University in 2011 with a focus on the relationship between language, assessment, and Alzheimer's Disease. Her passion for working with dementia patients comes from personal family experience and from her experiences in long-term care settings. It is her personal goal to educate students and the community about the important role speech-langauge pathologists play in the care of dementia patients.

In addition to teaching a course in progressive illness and dementia, Dr. Stead teaches graduate courses in communication and aging, counseling and aphasia. She was recently awarded a teaching award from the Oregon Speech-Langauge and Hearing Association (2013). Her current research examines the relationships between technology, discourse, aging and dementia. It is her hope to develop more patient-friendly assessments of memory and language to minimize patient distress and increase clinical preparedness.

She is active in her community and enjoys providing students with opportunities to interact with older individuals. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, craft, and work in the garden.

Patricia Thomas, MS CCC-SLP

Adjunct Clinical Supervisor

Tricia Thomas has been helping transgender women and men of all ages find their authentic voices since 2014. Tricia joined the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders as an Adjunct Clinical Supervisor in 2016 and developed a Transgender Voice Program which is hosted by the Outside In Clinics in Portland. Tricia has presented on management of Transgender Voice at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 2016 Convention, and at Oregon Health and Science University Voice and Swallowing Clinic’s Grand Rounds on Transgender Voice.

Tricia is a Spanish bilingual school-based speech-language pathologist serving in the Reynolds School District. With a background in education, publishing and business, she received her Masters of Arts from Portland State University in Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2013. She specializes in using literacy-based interventions to address language impairment in children.

Tricia and her daughter moved to Portland, Oregon in 2006. Tricia loves yoga, exploring local farmers’ markets, and hiking in Oregon and Washington with her two dogs.