Communication Disorders & Sciences Alumni Association

The Communication Disorders and Sciences Alumni Association (CDSAA) offers its members the opportunity to join a wide network of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

The goals of the alumni chapter are:

  • Create opportunities to develop and sustain a supportive interaction among alumni, students, faculty, staff and community
  • Promote and support the common educational interests of the Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences
  • Heighten the community's perception of our alumni, CDSAA Chapter, the CDS Department, and California State University, Northridge
  • Help shape the future of the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology professions
  • Reconnect with old friends in the CSUN Residential and Distance Learning Programs or gain new friendships
  • Share knowledge and experiences with collegians, recent graduates, colleagues, and the university

We invite you to join the chapter and check out upcoming events.

Join Chapter Now        Upcoming Events

To contact the CDS Chapter send an email to


Chapter Contacts


Become a fan of CSUN Speech Language and Audiology Alumni on Facebook:

CDSAA Board Members

Leanne Stein ’13
Past President

Reason for serving on board: Leanne Stein graduated with her Masters of Science from the CSUN CDS in May 2013. She was a Ruth Rothman scholarship recipient, a CSHA graduate student scholarship recipient, and a Mediscan scholar. She currently works as a SLP in hospitals and skilled nursing homes.
Yasmin Luque ’12
Programs and Events Officer

Reason for serving on board: Yasmin graduated with her Masters of Science from the CSUN CDS in December 2012. She currently works as an SLP at a private practice and recently completed coursework for her BCBA certification.

Donate to the Chapter

Support your chapter with a gift. Your contribution benefits current and future students, chapter professional development activities, scholarships, and so much more.  To donate to the Chapter, please click here, select Alumni Programs as the area and select the chapter from the list of funds. 

Awards and Honors

Our Online Program for the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (Communication Disorders and Sciences) was selected for the Outstanding Program Award for 2013 by the National Awards Committee for the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). 

This important award reflects our commitment to academic standards and forward-thinking in quality online education programs. View the video
 about this award and the program. Congratulations to the CSUN CDS Distance Learning Program faculty, staff, alumni and students!  Read more here


On June 5, 2013, several CSUN alumni, students, faculty, administration, as well as family and community supporters gathered for the Annual CDSAA Awards Celebration at the CSUN Grand Salon.  Throughout the evening, students and alumni were recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the field of Speech-Language Pathology.  Dean Sylvia Alva was presented the Honorary Alumni Award and CDSAA President, Felicia Conlan, received the Distinguished Alumni Award.  

The event also included a silent auction and raffles as a fundraiser for the Language, Speech and Hearing Center Voice Lab. We are grateful to the many organizations and individuals who donated to the cause. This year’s event included entertainment from vocalist Christine Katzenmaier (aka Christine Sofiane) who is a classical singer and recent graduate student from the CDS Dept at CSUN.  She was a student clinician in the CSUN Voice Clinic under the supervision of Dr. Kochis-Jennings who teaches coursework in voice disorders.   CDSAA Board member and webmaster, Carol Siem, who is an SLP with Los Angeles Unified School District, also played classic tunes on the violin as guests arrived.  We look forward to next year’s annual program.


This year’s CDSAA Honorary Alumni Award was presented to Dr. Sylvia A. Alva, Dean of the College of Health and Human Development.  Since coming to CSUN in 2008, Dean Alva has generously shared her time and resources to help promote Speech-Language Pathology and allied health fields.  The gracious and approachable Dean Alva has attended several CDS Alumni and CDS Department events.   She carries a strong commitment to innovation and collaborative partnerships. She is active in campus-wide strategies to improve student learning and success. Dr. Alva co-chairs the advisory board of the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing, an interdisciplinary collaboration to promote prevention and community-based approaches to health and wellness. Previously, Dr. Alva was the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Programs at California State University, Fullerton. 
The busy Dean volunteers her time and expertise to serve on the board of the Volunteers of America of Los Angeles, AmeriCorp’s Jumpstart program and is on the advisory board of several centers of excellence in the college.  She has also served on the advisory board of Head Start of Orange County, the Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee and other state government and assembly committees. 
Dr. Alva was born in Los Angeles and is a first-generation college student.   She serves as an inspiration to many.  She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Ph.D. and M.A. in Developmental Psychology.  She earned a B.A. in Psychology with High Honors from California State University, Los Angeles. From Harvard University, she earned a certificate in Management Leadership Development.  Her research interests and publications include peer-reviewed publications and professional presentations on psychosocial development and educational attainment of Hispanics, psychosocial stress and coping, and educational effectiveness. She has received several awards including the Apple of Gold in Educational Leadership.  We are proud to honor her in appreciation and recognition of her valuable contributions to CDSAA.

Surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues, Felicia Sison Conlan proudly accepted this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award during the CDSAA Alumni Celebration.  She was also recently recognized as the “2013 Chapter Leader of the Year” by the CSUN Alumni Association. Felicia became President of the CDS Alumni Association just after graduating in 2009 during her Clinical Fellowship.  When she attended her first board meeting she was elected to head our organization and did so for four years. She worked diligently to include mentorship, professional development, membership recruitment, advocacy and social events. She urged everyone's participation with the slogan,  "Let's make a difference together!"  Under her leadership, she established close relationships with the university and advocated to increase public awareness of the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology professions.  The CDSAA website grew to become a resource for information to include social networking outreach to alumni and students. She initiated the Alum-Chum Mentor-Mentee program and helped organize this year’s successful SLP Speed Mentoring Night.  Felicia has been active in helping to raise funds to create a state of the art Voice Laboratory for the CSUN Language Speech and Hearing Center.  
Since receiving her Masters of Science degree in CDS from CSUN, Felicia has been a “Visiting Professor for a Day” and gave a rousing speech as the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Representative at the 2010 Commencement. She has written many feature articles as a freelance writer.  As an SLP, she has been interviewed by CNN, Money Magazine, and the Student-Doctor Network and has been invited to speak at colleges and high schools.  For several years, she has volunteered with the San Fernando Valley Alumnae of Zeta Tau Alpha to help with the Komen Race for the Cure along with her husband, Bobby, and sons.
Felicia is a Speech-Language Pathologist with the Los Angeles Unified School District working with children from preschool to high school.  Before deciding to become an SLP, she worked for KCAL/KCBS-TV in Los Angeles as a television reporter, producer, writer and assignment editor and has won Golden Mikes and Emmy nominations for her work in television news. Felicia gave up a budding career in broadcasting to be a full time mother to raise her two boys, Brady and Riley, scholar athletes who play baseball.  She was also a Little League team manager.  For a few years, she was a bilingual substitute teacher in a dual immersion program for Spanish and English.  She says all these life experiences have helped her become a more effective SLP.
Felicia was elected to serve on the Nominating Committee for the California Speech-Language Hearing Association (CSHA) District 7 and was appointed to serve on the CSHA Marketing and Leadership Board.  She will head the subcommittee on Media Relations to combine her passion as a Speech-Language Pathologist with her skills as a journalist.  She plans to continue the campaign to raise public awareness in the field of Speech-Language Pathology on state and national levels.  

Earlier this school year, the CDS Alumni nominated Laurie Cartwright, one of our exceptional alumni to receive the CSUN Alumni Association Volunteer Service Award.  She received these honors in a special ceremony by the CSUN Alumni Association.  As a Speech-Language Pathologist, Laurie Cartwright, supervises CSUN students in the Communication Disorders and Sciences Department perform hearing and speech screenings and provide speech therapy to clients in the community.  She supports and attends CDSAA events as well as the activities of the student organization, NSSHLA.  She has lent her expertise and assistance at the Language, Speech and Hearing Center Boot Camps each summer and is active in the California Speech-Language Hearing Association.



Perpetual plaques imprinted with this year’s awardees hang in the CSUN Language-Speech and Hearing Center.  Award recipients include: 

Distinguished Alumni Award - Alumni who have distinguished themselves to some combination of professional achievement, ambassadorship, and support of the CDS Department and CDSAA
03           Muriel Goldojarb
04           Mindy Newhouse
05           Marianne Stone-Smith
06           Michael Biel
07           Liza White
08           Lannie Legler
09           Helen Sherman Wade
10           Joanna Cazden
11           Ruth Rothman
12           Janice Woolsey
13           Felicia Sison Conlan
Honorary Members of CDSAA Award – provided invaluable service
02           Ruth Harris &Dr. Randy Aker
03           None listed
04           Dr. Judy Trost Cardamone
05           Shellie Hadvina & Dr. J Stephen Sinclair
07           Dr. Ed Hall
09           Dr. Phillip Reid
10           Gail Wilson Lew
11           Diane Davis Endowment, President Jolene Koester
12           Melanie Hudson
13           Dean Sylvia Alva
Ruth Harris Award for Clinical Excellence – presented in partnership with the CDS Department to honor CDS Graduates best exemplifying excellence in professionalism and spirit in honor of Ruth Harris, former Clinic Coordinator, Force of Nature - Force of Nurture
04           Marianne Kuts
05           Spring Langford
06           Zara Mouboiadjian
07           Nicole Varanakas & Carolyn McCarthy
08           Katy Flood
09           Eric Bram
10           Marissa Klein-Wilding
11           Karen Malka
12           Ivonne Molina, Sydney Baker, Anna Jewett
13           Peter Cummings

Additional Information, Resources & Helpful Links


ASHA Advocacy Link:
CSHA Advocacy Link:

Job & Volunteer Opportunities:

Students should consider this: To gain exposure/experience, find a local private practitioner to observe or work with. Learning about your options and keep up to date on changes, particularly for telehealth. Take relevant coursework as early as possible (aphasia, swallowing). Volunteer if possible to get added exposure and gain contacts in hospitals.

CSHA Job Listings: 
Thinking of working in health care? It is exciting, fast paced, and varied. You can see adults and children, work with diverse disorders, and team with other medical professionals. Working in health care exposes you to the latest trends in practice, including telehealth. You can work in a hospital, clinic, or clients’ homes as an employee or as a private practitioner. In private practice you can also work to modify accents or enhance the communication skills of people in the corporate world. Here are some resources to help you learn more: 
SLPs in health care: 
Private practice: 
Corporate Speech-Language Pathology: Is it right for you? 

Useful Links

Find out about the CSUN Distance Learning Program

CSUN Communication Disorders and Sciences Residential Program:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:

California Speech-Language-Hearing Association:
Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board
PediaStaff Newsletter Link:

For Articulation, Language, Fluency, Pragmatics, AAC and Thematic Therapy Ideas:

Website from Caroline Bowen, PhD

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National Aphasia Association

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National Hearing Organization

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