Meet the Staff

Meet our Directors:

Leslie S. Kessler, M.A., CCC-SLP is the Executive Director of Language & Voice Experience, clinics she created.

Areas of certification include: LSVT, LMRVT, CSCFT, PROMPT, DTTC Beckman, McNeill Dysphagia Therapy Program, FEES, and MBS.  Leslie has innovated therapy programs unique to Language & Voice Experience. This includes interventions for chonic cough and throat clear, oral motor dysfunction, saliva management and swallowing, dyspraxia, cognition, and respiration.

Leslie was awarded Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from New York University in speech-language pathology and audiology and was indoctrinated in Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT). Leslie developed and implemented the videofluroscopy and swallowing program at Potomac Hospital, in Virginia.

Leslie has presented and continues to present at numerous conferences, including the Motor Speech conference, Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area  and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Maryland’s graduate course in Motor Speech Disorders, is an active researcher and presenter, has been published in peer-reviewed journals and texts, and is a frequent speaker at symposiums, association meetings and support groups for Parkinson’s Disease.

She authored and is offering training in her pediatric voice therapy program Buzzy Child- Resonant Voice Therapy That’s Fun!

Jennifer “Rodney” Hsia, M.A., CCC-SLP is the Assistant Director of Language & Voice Experience

She is certified in PROMPT, Beckman, DTTC, Stanley Greenspan floortime model, and S.O.S. feeding. She is also certified in Phono-Graphix, and provides reading therapy through Special Programs. Rodney incorporates speech, language, oral motor therapy, sign language, attention, and memory treatments into each session. Therapy goals follow the patient’s needs as well as their extended life’s needs. It is not only her goal for the patients to learn through therapy, but also for the process to be enjoyable!

Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, as well as her Master of Arts degree, at Indiana University


Meet our clinical staff:

Stacey Schmelzer, M.S., CCC-SLP, Assistant Clinical Coordinator

Stacey has a special interest in working with pediatrics and children with a special interest in autism.  Among other therapies she is certified in PROMPT, and Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) for autistic people.

Stacey attended North Carolina Central University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She was employed in the preschool setting for a year, before earning a Masters of Science degree in Speech Language and Auditory Pathology at East Carolina University. She helped organize and teach a summer camp for children with autism through her graduate program, and presented at the North Carolina NSSLHA conference in April 2010.

Emily Duke Wishik, M.S., CCC-SLP, Assistant Clinical Coordinator

Emily has a special interest in the voice and voice disorders. She is a voice specialist with experience in treating the singing voice as well as the speaking voice.  This area of interest led her to complete a masters thesis examining the effect of traditional versus semi-occluded vocal warm-up on the acoustics of the male singing voice.  She is certified in LSVT, LMRVT , CSCFT, and myofascial release for voice and swallowing. Through the National Center for Voice and Speech (NCVS) and the University of Utah, she received her Vocology Certificate in 2014.

Emily attended the University of Mississippi, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Communicative Disorders with a minor in Vocal Music. She is a graduate of Auburn University, where she earned a Masters of Science in Communication Disorders. During her final semester as a graduate student, Emily served as a graduate intern at Language & Voice Experience.

Betsy Stickels, M.S., B.M., CCC-SLP

Betsy has a particular interest in voice and voice disorders. She is a voice specialist with experience in treating the singing voice as well as the speaking voice.  She completed  a masters thesis in transgender voice therapy and has presented this research at several local and national conventions. Betsy has taught singing voice lessons for the past 10 years to students of all ages and abilities and continues to teach voice on site through Special Programs.  Among other therapies she is certified in LMRVT, CSCFT,  and is trained in LSVT.

Betsy attended Catholic University of America, where she earned a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. After graduating, Betsy earned a Bachelors of Arts in Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland- College Park. She is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland where she earned a Masters of Science in Speech and Language Pathology.

Angela Rivera, M.S., CCC-SLP

Angela’s areas of expertise are in early childhood articulation disorders, dysarthria, tongue thrusts, and apraxia. She has attended continuing education courses that include: PROMPT, Beckman Oral Motor, Orofacial Myology, and Talk Tools courses with a focus on sensory motor approaches for apraxia of speech and feeding therapy. She is bilingual in Spanish and also holds expertise and interest in early childhood language delays and disorders with regards to expressing and understanding language, grammar, and pragmatics.

Angela attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Human Organizational Development  with a concentration in health services. She is a graduate of New York Medical College where she received a Master of Science in speech language pathology.

Kristi Ash, M.S., CCC-SLP

Kristi’s areas of interest include Childhood Apraxia of Speech, articulation disorders, language disorders, reading disorders/Dyslexia, and pediatric swallowing/feeding disorders. She is conversationally fluent in sign language and has additional experience in aural rehabilitation. Kristi is passionate about working with young children and making therapy both enjoyable and functional. Her recent training includes PROMPT, Food Chaining, and Talk Tools: A Sensory-Motor Approach to Feeding Therapy.

Kristi attended University of Connecticut, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech, Language, & Hearing Disorders. She is a graduate of Gallaudet University, where she earned her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology.

Bryn Quinlan, M.S., CCC-SLP

Bryn has particular interests in language, cognition, and alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). She has experience in providing intervention to pediatric clients with speech, language, and cognitive disorders, as well as individuals with autism and complex communication needs. She is also experienced in treating adults with a variety of cognitive, communication, and swallowing disorders resulting from stroke and degenerative neurological diseases. Bryn has expertise in using both low tech and high tech compensatory strategies and alternative communication solutions. Bryn’s work experiences include diverse settings from alternative education institutions to the Veterans Affairs and Medical Center in Portland, OR.

Bryn earned a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College in Claremont, CA, where she focused on Russian and Eastern European Studies. After working for a non-profit in education policy  research, Bryn pursued further education in speech and hearing sciences, eventually earning and Master of Science in Communication Disorders and Sciences at University of Oregon in Eugene, OR.

Meet our Administrative Staff:

Briana Irby is the first person to greet you when you arrive in the Chevy Chase office and the first person you speak to on the phone. In addition to scheduling initial evaluations, she performs multifaceted office support to the clinicians.

Jessica Smith is the first person to greet you when you arrive in the Shady Grove office. She has a degree in Secondary Education and Social Sciences and previously managed offices in a variety of industries, including Law and Lobbying firms, Chemical companies and Commercial Real Estate.