SSR Lab Members


Director, SSR Lab

Deanna Britton (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences at Portland State University (PSU), and at the Northwest Center for Voice & Swallowing in the Department of Otolaryngology (NWCVS) – Head & Neck Surgery at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. She is Board Certified in Neurogenic Communication Disorders in Adults by the Academy of Neurological Communication Disorders and Sciences (ANCDS). Dr. Britton’s research interests include respiratory support for speech and swallowing.


Second Year Graduate Student

Jillian River (they/them) graduated from University of California Santa Cruz in 2011 with a BA in Anthropology and minors in Linguistics and Education and completed a Post Baccalaureate at Portland State University. They joined the Speech, Swallowing, and Respiration Lab Summer of 2019 and assisted on a study which focuses on the speech and respiration of transmasculine individuals. When not studying you will find Jillian on a bike; either riding around town, competing in a bike polo tournament, or bikepacking in the middle of nowhere.


First Year Graduate Student

Sandra's interests include speech-language pathology with medical and bilingual concentrations. Sandra is a BUILD EXITO alumni and was introduced to research in partnership with BUILD EXITO. Sandra is assisting on a project focusing on the true vocal fold movements during cough. Her experience with BUILD EXITO, the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, and the Speech, Swallowing, and Respiration Lab have supported her with her plans for continuing with research.


First Year Graduate Student

Chadelle Smith graduated from Washington State University with a major in Speech and Hearing Sciences and a minor in Human Development. Chadelle’s clinical interests include the management and treatment of persons with head and neck cancer, behavioral cough therapy, vocal quality in Parkinson’s Disease, and adult dysphagia. Chadelle will be assisting on a project evaluating cough effectiveness for unilateral vocal fold immobility intervention. Outside of her studies, Chadelle enjoys running, hiking, studying viticulture, and sailing. 


Undergraduate Student

Joseph Alonso was born and raised in the Portland Metro Area where he graduated from West Linn High School. He enjoyed his time in AP Law and participated in sports. He is currently enrolled at Portland State University and studying Speech and Hearing Sciences where he wishes to pursue a career in Speech Pathology. He wants to work with children with disabilities. He has worked with a company called Rise Inc. where he has taken care of young adults with Autism. During his work with those within the Autism spectrum, he has helped with their ability to reach goals and achieve a better sense of communication. He is currently working in a lab focusing on vocal fold immobility on coughing as well as participating in other labs and activities. In his free time he gives to the homeless and others in need, in a project with the Seventh-Day Adventist church. 


Undergraduate Student

Karyssa Stonick (she/her) is an undergraduate student at Portland State University pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences who is excited to be joining the Speech, Swallowing, and Respiration Lab. She has a strong clinical interest in pursuing medical speech language pathology, and a research interest in exploring the interconnections between the many body systems involved in speech, swallowing, and respiration. Karyssa’s own experiences as a patient have inspired her passion for the field, her desire to contribute to the emerging understandings, and her drive to raise awareness and advocate for conditions that are rare, lesser known, or misunderstood like Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Dysautonomia, Sjogren’s Syndrome, chronic and invisible illnesses, and more. Outside of the lab and school, Karyssa enjoys spending much of her time going to the Oregon Coast, participating in water sports — kayaking, swimming, boogie boarding, surfing, paddle boarding, skimboarding, and more — doing photography, and playing cards.

Overcoming Adversity --  A video about Karyssa’s experience with overcoming the adversity and obstacles presented by her chronic illnesses:


Organs, Tissues, & Other Issues Podcast

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Post-baccalaureate Student

Alison Wong (she/her) graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a B.S. in Family and Human Services and a Minor in Special Education. She is now a postbac student at Portland State University working towards the Communication Sciences and Disorders Certificate and is assisting on the Dysphagia in EDS Project. Alison spends her free time as a novice indoor gardener, experimental baker, nephew entertainer, and aspirational hiker.