Kristin Johnson Scholarship Fund

On June 15, 2024, our friends in Northern Pennsylvania will once again Kayak for Kristin with proceeds benefiting the Kristin Johnson Scholarship Fund offered by Apraxia Kids. Last year the fund awarded 7 graduate students studying to become SLPs a $1000 scholarship each. Visit and join the Kayak for Kristin public Facebook page for event details and information on how you can kayak with them on the beautiful Allegheny River.

Apraxia Kids is excited to announce the 2023 winners of the Kristin Lynn Johnson Scholarship.

Sedem Adjewoda
Jaclyn Bougades
Madeline Cloutier
Hannah Krug
Elizabeth Shilling
Linsey Williams
Natalie Yoder

The Kristin Lynn Johnson Scholarship was offered for the second time this year and we received over 120 applications! The caliber of the applicants made the selection process a challenge, but these seven students really stood out above the crowd. We are proud to honor Kristin’s legacy through supporting these exceptional future SLPs to continue pursuing their similar passions.

Kristin Lynn Johnson was a dedicated pediatric SLP who touched the lives of countless students. In 2019, Kristin’s life was taken too soon by a motor vehicle accident. Apraxia Kids is privileged to partner with Kristin’s family to honor her extraordinary life and passion in helping children with severe speech sound disorders including childhood apraxia of speech, by awarding these seven students each with a $1,000 scholarship in time for the spring 2024 semester.

Here is a highlight of just some of the accomplishments and experiences our winners shared with us. Congratulations to Sedem, Jaclyn, Madeline, Hannah, Elizabeth, Linsey, and Natalie!

2023 Scholarship Winners

Sedem Adjewoda will be graduating from Nova Southeastern University with a master’s degree in Speech Pathology. During graduate school, Sedem advocated for increased diversity within the speech pathology field by collaborating with peers and faculty to promote the recruitment and support of speech pathology students from diverse backgrounds. In the future, Sedem plans to contribute to the advancement of research and clinical practices of pediatric speech sound disorders, specifically exploring the symbiotic relationship between technology and therapy to enhance the efficacy of interventions, particularly for children with CAS and other motor speech disorders. Sedem is committed to fostering communication skills and empowering the lives of children dealing with the CAS and other motor speech disorders.

Jaclyn Bougades will be graduating from Kean University with a Master of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Jaclyn discovered her passion for speech-language pathology when she was just 16 years old while babysitting a toddler with CAS and related comorbid diagnoses. Jaclyn’s early passion for speech therapy led to her interning at Camp PAL, a multidisciplinary intervention-based summertime program for children with learning and developmental differences, where she continued to grow her knowledge, experience, and passion for CAS. Jaclyn is currently conducting research on the counseling process in conjunction with speech-language pathology with the belief that it is an important and necessary aspect of the therapeutic relationship, particularly with children with CAS and their families. Jaclyn aims to prioritize development of confidence and self-advocacy for everyone she works with in the future, empowering everyone to reach their goals.

Madeline Cloutier will be graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a Master of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Madeline knows the importance of patience, perseverance, and customizing therapy for each child. After seeing her hard work pay off with one CAS client already, Madline inadvertently became the “CAS Clinician” in her university’s clinic where she was able to develop her skills and passion more. She will also be working under a CAS specialist in her final semester. Madline is driven towards CAS, plans to continue to work with this community in the future, and is eager to help all children find their confidence and their voice.

Hannah Krug will be graduating from the University of Iowa with a Master of Arts Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Hannah worked as a teaching assistant for Dr. Hayo Terband (who specializes in motor speech disorders in his research) and had the wonderful opportunity to learn about CAS in detail through his expertise. Hannah discovered that “creativity is key” when designing therapy for children with CAS; she develops innovative therapy sessions to fit each client and their interests, abilities, and needs. Hannah plans to continue to work with this population in the future and continue her learning so she can help children feel empowered to communicate and provide them with the best possible tools to do so.

Elizabeth Shilling will be graduating from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro with a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Elizabeth’s journey to becoming an SLP began when two of her three children were experiencing communication challenges. She dove headfirst into researching and advocating for her children. Knowing firsthand the challenges that children and families can face, Elizabeth emphasizes the importance of interprofessional collaboration, early intervention, and caregiver education to provide the best evidence-based care possible while supporting and strengthening the whole family unit. With her bilingual skills, she brings countless personal experiences to the table to help her be the best SLP for the children from all backgrounds she works with.

Linsey Williams will be graduating from the University of Montana with a Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Linsey worked in a school setting as an SLP Assistant for children with speech sound disorders and childhood apraxia of speech before moving on to a private practice in North Pole, Alaska where her approach to therapy was able to flourish even more. Since Linsey serves such a rural and vast population, she plans to continue advancing her career to ensure that she is equipped to provide appropriate services to as many people as possible. She has spent a great deal of time providing the necessary parent coaching for strategies to be worked on at home to continue progress being made in therapy.

Natalie Yoder will be graduating from Augustana College with a Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Natalie was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech at two years old and knew she wanted to be an SLP when it “resolved” in second grade; she has never wavered from that goal. Natalie knows firsthand the hard work and dedication it takes to overcome apraxia and she hopes to make an impact on someone’s life like her own SLP did for her. Natalie has already spent years dedicated to the apraxia community; she was the Walk Coordinator for the St. Louis Walk for Apraxia, she has written guest blogs for Apraxia Kids, she was featured on a local news station to spread awareness of CAS, and she strives to attend our Boot Camp in the future. Natalie wants to specialize in CAS because she knows personally how much effort it takes to speak, and she wants her clients to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Previous Scholarship Winners

Alexandra Garabedian will graduate from Eastern New Mexico University with a Master of Science in Communicative Disorders in May 2023. Alexandra found her “why” moment at a young age as she was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) herself. Alexandra’s own lived experiences with CAS, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and still struggling with words on occasion all help to build a strong rapport with her CAS clients and connect on a deeper level. She has strong foundational knowledge of and clinical experience in working with children with CAS and Alexandra plans to continue providing a safe, comfortable, and understanding therapy environment.

Madeline Cheyne will graduate from Montclair State University with a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology in December 2023. Madeline was awarded a fellowship in undergraduate school and an assistantship in graduate school, both to conduct research studies related to communication disorders and CAS. Madeline works under Dr. Elaine Hitchcock as they use biofeedback for CAS studies, and has presented portions of this study at the national ASHA Convention. Madeline plans to provide comprehensive whole-child assessment and treatment, and is considering a doctoral degree in the field of speech sound disorders with a focus on translational research.

Lucero Varela Zavala will be graduating in May 2023 from Saint Mary’s College Notre Dame with dual degrees, a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology and a Master of Arts in Autism Studies. Lucero has worked with a variety of clients using AAC and several evidence-based therapy approaches. Lucero’s long-term goal is to be a bilingual SLP to bridge the gap in the Latino/Hispanic communities to ensure that Spanish-speaking clients with CAS are receiving the best services, support, and information possible.

Amber McIvor will be graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a Master of Arts in Speech Language Pathology in August 2023. During her graduate school career, Amber independently researched evidence-based information on childhood apraxia of speech and provided such thorough treatment for a CAS client that faculty approached her to present that case study to a conference of peers and professionals. Upon graduation, Amber plans to work with school-aged children in the public-school setting before potentially pursuing a PhD in communication science and additional CAS research opportunities.