Our Team

Courtney Byrd, Founding Director

Courtney T. Byrd is an Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University-Shreveport, her master’s degree from Texas Christian University and her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. In 2006, upon completion of two years as an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow, she joined the faculty in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her research interests include the study of speech-language contributions to childhood stuttering and the development of innovative treatment and clinical training tools. Her research lab received an endowment in 2012 and was renamed the Dr. Jennifer and Emanuel Bodner Developmental Stuttering Lab.

In 2014, The Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute was established as a distinct endowed institute dedicated to excellence in clinical research for which Dr. Byrd serves as Founding Director. The mission of the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute is to help persons who stutter, their families, and their clinicians through the development, provision and sharing of evidence-based practices, the implementation of progressive clinical training methodologies, and the completion of innovative research with an emphasis on translating theory to practice. 

Dr. Byrd has published her research in a variety of journals including but not limited to Journal of Fluency Disorders, Journal of Communication Disorders, Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, Folia Phoniatrica, and PloS One. She has also published several book chapters and presented her research nationally and internationally. Additionally, Dr. Byrd is a recipient of the Moody College of Communication Teaching Excellence Award, the Texas Exes Teaching Award, the Office of the Dean of Students Outstanding Advisor Award, the UT System Wide Regents Award for Outstanding Teaching, the President’s Associates Award, the Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship, and the William David Blunk Memorial Professorship. Byrd is also a Provost’s Teaching Fellow and was conferred membership in The Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Elizabeth Hampton

Elizabeth Hampton, MA, CCC-SLP

Associate Director

Elizabeth Hampton, MA, CCC-SLP received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University and is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin master’s program in Speech-Language Pathology. Her clinical experience includes work in the public schools and private practice. She has been a critical member of the Bodner Lab since it was established in 2006. As the Associate Director of the Lang Stuttering Institute, Elizabeth contributes significantly to program development and clinical supervision.

Danielle Werle

Danielle Werle

Doctoral Student

Danielle Werle, MA, CCC-SLP is a doctoral student at the The University of Texas at Austin studying under the mentorship of Dr. Courtney Byrd. Danielle earned her BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology at Western Michigan University and MA in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Iowa. As a licensed clinician, Danielle has primarily worked with children in the non profit and private sectors. Her research interests include the cognitive and behavioral contributions to stuttering and effective communication.

Katie Winters

Katie Winters

Doctoral Student

Katherine (Katie) Winters, MA, CCC-SLP, is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin studying under the mentorship of Dr. Courtney Byrd. Katie earned her BA in Speech and Hearing Science and her MA in Speech-Language Pathology from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Katie worked as a certified speech-language pathologist with both children and adults in hospital settings. Currently, she supervises student clinicians in the Lang Stuttering Institute. Her research interests include measurement of cognitive and affective components of stuttering, clinical education and interdisciplinary training related to fluency disorders, and evaluation and treatment of fluency disorders, language disorders, and social communication.

Robyn Croft

Doctoral Student

Robyn Croft, MS, is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin studying under the mentorship of Dr. Courtney Byrd. Robyn earned her BS from the University of Texas at Austin and her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from Texas Christian University. Currently, she is completing her clinical fellowship at the Lang Stuttering Institute to earn her full certification as a speech-language pathologist. Robyn's research interests include the interpersonal contributions to stuttering treatment, stigma and stereotype threat reduction, and resilience-building in the stuttering population.

Geoffrey Coalson

Geoffrey A. Coalson,

PhD, CCC-SLP
Doctoral Alumnus

Geoffrey A. Coalson, PhD, CCC-SLP is an Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He earned an MS in Speech-Language Pathology from Vanderbilt University. Under the mentorship of Dr. Courtney Byrd, he received his PhD in Speech-Language Pathology from The University of Texas at Austin.  His research focus is the contribution of phonological, phonetic, and linguistic factors to stuttering in children and adults.  Specific research interests include the interaction of segmental and metrical properties of speech prior to production in individuals who do and do not stutter.

Zoi Gkalitsiou

Zoi Gkalitsiou

PhD, CCC-SLP
Doctoral Alumnus

Zoi Gkalitsiou, PhD, CCC-SLP is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Technological Educational Institute of Epirus, Greece and her master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin, under the mentorship of Dr. Courtney Byrd. Her research interests include the investigation of linguistic and cognitive factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of stuttering using eye-tracking methodology, the manifestation of stuttering in bilingual speakers, and the improvement of evidence-based practices in stuttering.

Alejandro Granados

Alejandro Granados

Graduate Research Assistant

Alejandro Granados is a MA student in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Texas at Austin. Alejandro is involved at the Lang Stuttering Institute as a graduate research assistant. He earned his BA in English and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is on the bilingual certification program in order to work with underserved bilingual populations with speech and language disorders. Prior to starting his master's program, Alejandro worked as an environmental science educator in Yosemite National Park leading school groups on educational outdoor education excursions.

Juliet Walker

Administrative Associate

Juliet Walker, is the Administrative Associate and is integral to the smooth business operations of the Lang Stuttering Institute team. She worked in television and film in Los Angeles for 15 years before coming to Austin and her work includes supervising editing for award winning shows such at The Sopranos and Dirty Jobs. She lends her expertise and talents to the LSI's wide range of media projects. It brings her joy to be part of a team that is making a difference for so many.

Brianna McBride

Brianna McBride

Student Assistant

Brianna McBride is an undergraduate student at The University of Texas at Austin pursuing a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Currently, Brianna is minoring in American Sign Language and plans on being fluent upon graduation. She is in various organizations on campus that focus on service, community development, and she works as a Student Ambassador for Texas Admissions. After graduation, she intends on going to graduate school to pursue a Doctorate of Audiology (AuD.). Brianna serves as a Student Assistant for the Lang Stuttering Institute.

Ariah Watson

Ariah Watson

Student Assistant

Ariah Watson is an undergraduate student at The University of Texas at Austin, pursuing a BS in Communications Sciences and Disorders. She is a member of the National Student Speech, Language, and
Hearing Association. She has dedicated her time volunteering at Austin Speech Labs and assisting active Speech and Language Pathologists. Ariah is interested in pursuing an MA in Speech-Language Pathology after she graduates from UT, in hopes of one day opening her own practice and treating people for their communication and swallowing disorders. Ariah serves as a Student Assistant for the Lang Stuttering Institute.


View Lang Stuttering Institute Student Leadership Organization

A critical component of the Lang Stuttering Insitute team is the many students who support our mission. View our award winning Lang Stuttering Institute Student Leadership Organization (LSI SLO) and the many outstanding graduate and undergraduate students who help us to create new knowledge and apply those advancements in the lab to our treatment.