People

Dr. Sterling W. Sheffield, Au.D., Ph.D., CCC-A

Picture of Dr. Sheffield, the director of the lab.

Dr. Sheffield is the director and principal investigator of the Speech Perception Laboratory (est. 2018) and an assistant professor in the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences. His current research interests include real-world functional speech perception and hearing performance of individuals with hearing loss and how we can improve their performance with hearing aids and cochlear implants. He received his Ph.D. in Audiology with a focus on cochlear implants from Vanderbilt University (under Dr. Rene Gifford) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on speech perception and spatial hearing (under Dr. Joshua Bernstein). Dr. Sheffield is also a licensed and certified audiologist with an Doctor of Audiology from the University of Iowa. When Dr. Sheffield is not in the lab or classroom he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, cycling, and reading.

Location: HPNP 2130
Office Hours: By Appointment
Contact: s.sheffield@phhp.ufl.edu

 

 


Lab members

Bailey Oliver

Bailey is a Doctor of Audiology student and she received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Science and Disorders from Florida State University in 2019. She has been a member of the Speech Perception Lab since 2019 and is currently working on a project focusing on spatial and spectral cues in Cochlear Implants. In the future as an audiologist, she hopes work with pediatrics and specialize in cochlear implants. Outside of audiology, she likes spending time at the beach, cooking, and watching FL sunsets!

Bailey's photo

Elizabeth Tortolini

Elizabeth is an undergraduate student majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is interested in pursuing a career in Speech Language Pathology. She joined the Speech Perception Lab in 2019 to pursue an undergraduate honors thesis examining the effects of training for cochlear implant simulations and different methods of device programming.

Picture of Elizabeth

Ashley Villanueva

Ashley is an undergraduate student majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and minoring in Disabilities in Society. She is interested in becoming a bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist and working with under-represented populations. Ashley joined the Speech Perception Lab in the Fall of 2020 and is currently working on her undergraduate honors thesis investigating the effects bilingualism, and language proficiency, on speech perception. Outside of the lab, Ashley loves to dance, go to the beach, and spend time with family & friends. 

Ashley V

Natalia Matteo

Natalia is an undergraduate senior majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and minoring in Sustainability Studies, Deaf & Hearing Sciences, and Disabilities in Society. After she graduates, she will pursue a Doctorate of Audiology and is interested in obtaining a Ph.D. related to neuroscience. She will be completing an undergraduate honors thesis investigating Communication Needs and Referral Outcomes in Children Enrolled in Local Head Start Centers with Dr. Fitzgerald. Natalia works at a sea turtle hospital in South Florida and loves being out on the water, and spending time with friends and family. She is super excited to be a part of the lab!

Natalia Matteo Headshot cropped

Jenna Kasten

Jenna is an undergraduate student majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and minoring in Disabilities in Society. She is passionate about pursuing a career in pediatric speech pathology. Jenna joined the Speech Perception Lab in the spring of 2021 and is now pursuing an undergraduate honors thesis examining spatial and spectral cues in cochlear implants. Outside of the lab, you can find Jenna surfing, taking pictures, and eating all kinds of different delicious foods.

Jenna

Samantha Jean

Samantha is a Doctor of Audiology student and she received her Bachelor of Science in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina in 2018. She worked as a research specialist and assessor for the South Carolina Research on Language and Literacy Lab (SCROLL Lab), specifically the Opportunities for Word Learning (OWL) Project, which aimed at identifying children at risk for developmental language disorder. She recently joined the Speech Perception Lab in the summer of 2021 and will be investigating the effects of bilingualism, and language proficiency, on speech perception in Spanish Heritage Speakers. Samantha has always had an interest in cognitive neuroscience and hopes to specialize in cochlear implants in the future.

sam jean

Hannah Walsh

Hannah is a Doctor of Audiology student who earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Auburn University in 2020. She has been a member of the Speech Perception Lab since spring 2021 and is currently working on a project focusing on speech perception and sound quality ratings for hearing aids vs over-the-counter hearing devices. She is interested in potentially pursuing a PhD or opening a private practice. In her free time, she loves to play music, paint, draw, and spend time hiking outdoors.

Hannah

Alaina Massaro

Alaina is a Doctor of Audiology student and received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Science and Disorders and minor in Child Development from Florida State University in 2020. She joined the Speech Lab in the spring of 2021 and is currently working on a project focused on speech perception in Spanish Heritage Speakers. Outside of the lab, she enjoys spending quality time with friends, working out and cheering on the Gator Gymnastics team!

Alaina

Grayson Bishop

Grayson is a doctor of audiology student and graduated from UCF in 2019 with a B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She joined the lab in spring 2021 and is currently working with Eli on the effects of training for cochlear implant simulations and different methods of device programming. In her free time, she likes to play with her dog Moosh!

Grayson

Daniella Fragnito

Daniella Fragnito, is a double-gator! She received a B.S. in Health Science, and is currently a third year Doctor of Audiology graduate student. She has been involved with the Speech Perception lab since early March of 2021, and her research is focused on studying the impact of white matter hyperintensities on speech recognition performance in cochlear implant recipients. 
When she is not busy studying or in the clinic, she loves to hang out with friends, buy LOTS of plants, and try to cook some new recipes found on Pinterest.

Daniella

Amber Gerasimichik

Amber is a UF Doctor of Audiology student, and she received her Bachelor of Health Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders along with a double minor in Disabilities in Society and Deaf and Hearing Sciences from UF in 2021. She has been involved with the Speech Perception Lab since Spring 2022. She is currently working on the hearing aid and direct-to-consumer hearing device comparisons for speech understanding and sound quality project with Hannah Walsh. During her spare time, she enjoys working out, cooking, and hanging with her friends and family. 

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Cameron Lathan

Lab alumni

Elena Hoogland

Elena is a Doctor of Audiology 2021 graduate who completed her 4th year externship at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. She joined the Speech Perception Lab in 2018 as a Research Assistant, contributing to several studies until she become an alumni of the lab in 2020. Her primary contributions during her work in the Speech Perception Lab included The Effect of Sound Booth Differences on Speech Perception in the Sound Field and Objective and Subjective Measures of Speech Perception and Spatial Hearing in Individuals with Cochlear Implants and/or Hearing Aids.

Elena's photo

Caitlin Smith

Caitlin is a Doctor of Audiology 2021 graduate who completed her externship at UF Health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology: Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience with a minor in Communication Studies from the University of Florida. She worked on several projects during her time as a Research Assistant for the lab from August 2018 – June 2020, including but not limited to, Sound Booth and Simulated Reverberation Effects on Speech Perception and Subjective Measures of Speech Perception as well as Spatial Hearing in Individuals with Cochlear Implants, Hearing Aids, and Normal Hearing Individuals. Caitlin aspires to continue contributing to research throughout her career. Outside of ears, Caitlin loves to travel and spend time with her son, Alec, and dog, Bail.

Caitlin Smiths Picture

Melena Davenport

Melena graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics with a minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders, a specialization in Deaf and Hearing Sciences, and a certification in Teaching English as a Second Language. She is currently working as an Audio Technician at Atlantic Hearing, Balance, and Tinnitus Center and eagerly applying to Doctorate of Audiology programs. Melena is also looking into obtaining her PhD (YAY!). She fell in love with research during her undergrad, where she worked in the Speech Perception Lab on her Spatial Hearing and Sound Localization project. Her current research interests are amplification devices and the onset of hearing loss. Outside of work, you can find her at the beach, in the yoga studio, or at a coffee shop curled up with a good book!

Melena Davenports Picture

Melisa Guerra

Melisa received her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Health Science with a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a minor in Disabilities in Society. She joined the Speech Perception Lab in 2019. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders in hopes of becoming a speech-language pathologist. She thoroughly enjoyed helping with the PSAPs and Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids project during her time in the lab! The lab offered a unique opportunity to gain insights into the field of audiology as it is important to the field of speech-language pathology as well.

Picture of Melisa

Noah Mostafa

Noah is a Doctor of Audiology 2021 graduate. He received his bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Public Health from the University of South Florida. During his time in the Speech Perception lab, Noah completed research on hearing aids and over-the-counter hearing aid options. He hopes to work with veterans and specialize in cochlear implants. Outside of audiology, he enjoys trying new restaurants, gardening, and spending the day at the park.

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Kylie Roland

Kylie received her undergraduate degree at the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Health Science. She graduated with a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a minor in Disabilities in Society. Kylie joined the Speech Perception Lab in 2019 as an undergraduate volunteer and enjoyed helping out with multiple projects in the lab. She is excited for her future career in audiology.

Kylie Rolands Picture

Leah Blackwell

Leah Blackwell is a Doctor of Audiology student at the University of Florida. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the Armstrong campus of Georgia Southern University in Savannah, Georgia in 2018. She joined the Speech Perception lab in 2020. She hopes to pursue a career in Pediatric Cochlear Implant Audiology. When she is not in class or the lab, Leah enjoys spending time with her family and being in the salty air of the Golden Isles of Georgia.

Leah Blackwell

Caitlin Curry

Caitlin is a fourth-year Doctor of Audiology student. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Central Florida. She completed her capstone research project in the Speech Perception Lab on spectral and spatial cue sensitivity in cochlear implant users. Her primary clinical and research interests are cochlear implants, electrophysiology, and pediatrics. Outside of audiology, she enjoys watching Florida Gator and UCF Knight football, and spending time at the beach with family, friends, and her golden retriever.

Picture of Caitlin

Kurt Muellner

Kurt is a Doctor of Audiology student. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders as well as a Master’s degree in Interpersonal & Organizational Communication. He participated in the lab measuring speech perception with normal hearing subjects wearing low-gain hearing aids. His research interests include speech perception with amplification, tinnitus, and noise induced hearing loss. Outside of school Kurt enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 children and getting to the beach as much as possible!

Picture of Kurt

Alexa Velez

Alexa is a Doctor of Audiology Student. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Linguistics from the University of Central Florida. She is completing her capstone research project in the Speech Perception Lab on hearing aids and direct-to-consumer hearing devices. Her current research interests are comparing speech recognition and sound quality in hearing aids and direct-to-consumer hearing devices. She hopes to pursue a career in Bimodal and Vestibular Audiology. Outside of ears, she enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and cycling.

Picture of Alexa

Bella Castillo

Bella receiver her Bachelor’s Degree in 2021 majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is interested in both speech pathology and audiology. She hopes to pursue a career working with TBI patients and doing research! She joined the speech perception lab to explore the field of audiology and learn more about the research side of audiology. In the lab, she helped to test participants for several different projects. She has learned so much from her mentors and peers in the lab and can’t wait to continue participating in lab projects in the upcoming semesters! Outside the lab, Bella loves to do anything outdoors. She enjoys biking, hiking and being at the beach!

Bella's photo

Lexi Wilson

Shelby Fraizer

Leanne Hutker