University of Florida Doctor of Audiology Resource Links and Staff Introduction

Ian Boyle UF Doctoral Student
July 5, 2015
University of Florida Au.D. student resource links

UF Audiology Department Staff as of July 5, 2015

Debra Shimon, Au.D.

Professional Areas of Interest
My professional areas of interest are adult and pediatric diagnostic assessment and amplification/assistive devices for both of those populations. Included in that is the ongoing training, challenge and experience required in keeping up to date with quickly evolving hearing aid technology. Applying this knowledge to my patients and working with people are my greatest passions.

How did I decide to become an audiologist?
I was near the conclusion of pursuing a degree in Psychology with emphasis in physiology and applied experimental design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when I happened upon an introductory class in Communicative Disorders. I had no knowledge of anything related to this field, or so I thought, but I had heard it was an interesting class. The audiology professors brought in all kinds of equipment and the methods for evaluation were essentially applied experimental psychology and I was hooked. Here was a way to use what I was learning in my original field in a practical way and to help people in the bargain. I was hooked! I made the right decision because I have been an audiologist since 1980 and still love what I do.

What do I like to do in my spare time?
I love being active and outside whenever possible. I have been a cyclist for decades and still love a great bike ride. I have also embraced walking/hiking and stair climbing and swimming. Growing food is another great activity I love and my husband and I have two vegetable gardens and multiple flower gardens. It’s so fun to go out and pick my salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, onions, garlic, tomatoes and whatever else happens to be growing and making something delicious. And for quiet times, you can’t beat a great book or movie and enjoying friends and family.

Dana Ulmer, Au.D.

What are your professional interests, specialties?
My professional interests and clinical specialties include pediatric diagnostics and amplification, electrophysiology and Auditory Processing Disorders. My academic interests include American Sign Language.

How did you decide to be an audiologist?
My grandmother began losing her hearing at a very young age so hearing loss and hearing aids have always been a part of my life. I wanted to be able to help others communicate with their families however possible.

How do you like to spend your spare time?
I am a voracious reader, I love to spend time with husband and daughter and I love to go to Disney World!

Noreen Frans, Au.D.

At St. Paul School eighth graders were encouraged to perform community service and that meant parents of eighth graders had to chauffer their darlings to the assignment. My mom and I chose R.I. School for the Deaf as my volunteer site, I think because it was then located in close proximity to her favorite shopping spots. This was a community of school-aged deaf and hearing-impaired students, some that spoke, some that used sign language, some that wore hearing aids and others that didn’t. As an 8th grade volunteer my job was to read aloud to the primary grade students at the end of the school day so teachers could talk with parents or accompany students for hearing assessment or speech and hearing therapy sessions. I was amazed each week as one of the high school students turned my spoken verses into gestures and finger motions that danced rapidly through the air. I knew from that first day I wanted to learn more about people with hearing loss.

With my graduate degree in my hand and my first six years of career experience behind me, I established a private practice in Audiology serving the hearing healthcare needs of multi-generational family members. After greater than twenty satisfying years of patient care in my practice, I wanted to share my career experiences by teaching and mentoring future Doctors of Audiology. That desire lead to pursuing a clinical and teaching position at the University of Florida. I work primarily with adults to evaluate and diagnose their auditory deficits and maximize hearing/listening potential using state-of-the-art hearing aids, assistive device technology and education. Applying new solutions to improve a hearing-impaired patient’s quality of life remains exciting. I am grateful for the generations of patients that I have had the privilege to work with; I’ve learned so much from them.

When away from U.F., I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and that often leads to a great meal and good conversation. Cooking is a relaxing and creative hobby of mine that everyone seems to enjoy, especially when the herbs and ingredients come from my own small garden. Travel satisfies my wanderlust and gives me an opportunity to experience a variety of new places, adventures and palatal pleasures. During life’s quieter moments it’s easy to get lost in a great book or take a long walk with no particular place to go.

Katie Gray, Au.D.

Clinical Specialties:
– Cochlear Implant Evaluations
– Cochlear Implant Follow-up, including programming and audiologic rehabilitation following cochlear implantation
– Diagnostic Audiologic Evaluations

How did I decide to become an Au.D?
As an undergraduate college student I entered thinking I wanted to enter the business world majoring in business administration. I quickly realized that was not the way for my future. I wanted to do something every day where I could help people in some way. I had an interest in working with children and considered speech language pathology. Once I was involved in speech language pathology courses, I was introduced to the field of audiology. I knew some people personally that used hearing aids and one with a cochlear implant, and the technology was always very intriguing to me. As I learned more about audiology, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do! Audiology has given me the opportunity to help people hear better on a daily basis. Knowing that I can make a difference in a child or an adult’s quality of life is the reason I love what I do as an audiologist.

How do I spend my spare time?
I love to spend time with my family. We enjoy visiting museums, parks and any other special events in the community. If I do catch a moment to myself, I enjoy reading and exercising.

Scott Griffiths, Ph.D.

What are your professional interests?
My professional interests are in diagnostic audiology, balance and attention. I am also very interested in quality and metrics of quality in professional education.

How did you decide to become an audiologist?
I met my first audiologist when volunteering at Rochester School for the Deaf. I was intrigued by her work, and the children she helped. The next two audiologists I met were working in very different areas, and I liked the variety of pursuits in this one profession.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to play my guitars, ride my bicycle, and cook.

Melissa Hall, Au.D.

What are your professional interests, specialties?
Cochlear implants, aural habilitation, pediatric audiology, and hearing aids

How did you decide to be an audiologist?
I was doing my speech externship at a public school in Orlando at a Total Communication program, and found that I was curious as to why some children did better with their implants or hearing aids than others. I really wanted to be able to provide the best possible therapy for them, and felt as though I was missing pieces of the puzzle. I decided to pursue audiology, and fell in love!

How do you like to spend your spare time?
I love to go flats fishing, snorkeling, hiking, and camping. I also really enjoy sewing and embroidery.

Sheridan Martin, Au.D.

I got into Audiology “by the back door,” because I started out in the speech pathology program, but the more I found out about Audiology, the more I realized that this was really what I wanted to do. I loved the diagnostics, which can be like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together to come up with a picture of the patient’s hearing sensitivity. And I basically got into Audiology because I wanted to help people improve their hearing. A big component of better hearing is hearing aids, so that is where I have concentrated my efforts. This has proved increasingly challenging, due to the wonderful strides in technology that has occurred over the past 20 years. It does require continuous education for the audiologist to stay current with the latest technology, but this is one thing that keeps my profession so interesting and exciting! I have the great good fortune to help people improve the quality of their life through better hearing. Since better hearing is an ongoing process, I feel like so many of my patients are also friends.

When I am not practicing audiology, I love to spend time in the outdoors. I have recently become interested in birdwatching and was able to add some new birds to my list when I went to Costa Rica. I also enjoy hiking and walking and try to exercise often. Recently I took swing dance lessons. Lots of fun! Cooking, especially baking, is a very enjoyable pastime for me. I like to share the baked goods with others, so I am able to control my calorie count! You will often find me spending time reading, with family, friends and my adorable pup!

Stephanie Matthews, Au.D.

Dr. Stephanie Matthews received her Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of Florida in 2000. Dr. Matthews specializes in audiologic diagnostic evaluations, audiologic rehabilitation including amplification and assistive listening technologies, and vestibular diagnostic evaluations. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Matthews was a faculty member with the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from 1997 to 2003 and rejoined the department in 2010. From 2003 to 2010, Dr. Matthews was the sole audiologist for an Ear, Nose and Throat physician in South Florida.

Dr. Matthews was an elementary school teacher for two years before deciding to change careers. She was leaning toward becoming a speech pathologist but found the field of audiology to be more interesting. Dr. Matthews has never regretted becoming an audiologist and enjoys working with patients to improve their quality of life.

Dr. Matthews enjoys reading, spending time with her family and pets as well as being outdoors as much as possible.

Emily R. Tuttle McClain, Au.D.

My specialty areas in audiology are pediatric and adult diagnostic testing, pediatric hearing aid fittings and follow up, Universal Newborn Screening assessments, Craniofacial team member. My area of interest is focused on pediatric assessments and follow ups and ensuring that the hearing healthcare I provide is family based.

I decided to focus my efforts in Audiology after I attended a camp in Indiana that was focused on children with hearing loss. I had a dear friend that was a Deaf Educator and she encouraged me to attend this camp with her. I was a lifeguard and I met two little beautiful children who were siblings, a boy and a girl. I could not understand their sign language and they could not understand my spoken speech, but as young as they were they encouraged me to try and communicate with both them and the other campers. They led me by the hand around the camp and showed me the sign language for different items and they truly inspired me. I don’t think they even realized what a great lesson they taught me. To reach out and try to communicate with another is truly a gift. It was at this point in my college career that I knew what I wanted to pay it forward and help pediatric patients to hear.

In my spare time (is there such a thing? :)) I like to spend time with my family most of all whether it is playing flag football, soccer or just hanging out watching television with them. Personally, I enjoy rollerblading, working out to keep fit and my biggest hobby is probably shopping. I enjoy a fresh cup of coffee in hand while strolling through an outlet mall.

Stephanie Norris Partin, Au.D.

My professional specialties are auditory brainstem response testing and diagnostic evaluations on newborns through adults. I also specialize in hearing aids for both adults and pediatrics.
I became interested in the field of audiology through sign language. I babysat a child with autism who used basic sign language to aid his communication abilities. I began taking sign language classes and learned about the field of audiology. I really wanted to help people who had difficulty communicating and decided that getting my doctorate in Audiology would be a great way to do that.

In my time out of the office, I love spending time with my family especially out on the boat fishing! I also like to read and love to go shopping.

Rhiannon Pitkin, Au.D.

I have worked in Audiology since 1998, with the first 10 years of her career being spent in Great Britain. I moved to America in 2008 and received my Doctorate of Audiology from the University of Florida in 2010. I joined the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences soon after. My specialist clinical interests in Audiology include pediatric diagnosis and rehabilitation, neonatal hearing evaluations, cochlear implants and vestibular assessments. I am also committed to teaching and training students and junior faculty and have spent my entire career thus far in a training establishment. I continue to maintain my British license to practice and serves as a mentor to newly qualified audiologists in the UK.

I came to Audiology via an indirect route – I worked for an acoustics company in the car industry – looking at the effect car noise had on drivers and passengers, and from there it was a small leap to wanting to work with the people rather than the objects.

My hobbies have always been outdoor activities – such as diving and hill walking. Living in Gainesville, I miss the mountains but manage to dive in the springs from time to time.

Hannah Siburt, Au.D.

Dr. Siburt received her B.S. from Radford University in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and her Au.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. She is a Licensed Audiologist in the State of Florida, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, and holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She joined the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences at the University of Florida in 2014. Dr. Siburt was previously a Research Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida and a clinical audiologist for the VA North Florida/South Georgia Compensation and Pension Clinic. Dr. Siburt’s research and clinical interests are in aging, amplification, cochlear implantation, electroacoustic stimulation, music and prosody perception, and audiologic rehabilitation. Her recent research focuses on bimodal programming methods. She is faculty advisor to the University of Florida, Student Academy of Audiology.

Recent UF Doctor of Audiology Student Events (pictures below):

Project Yucatan 2015
Student Events
Class of 2017 White Coat Pinning
Little Ears Field Day 2015