Current iSHINE Scholars

2019-2020 iSHINE Scholars 

Alex Coleman, SLPAlexandra Coleman, SLP

Hello! My name is Alexandra Coleman and I am a first-year graduate student at Appalachian State's University studying Speech-Language Pathology. I completed my undergraduate degree at Northern Michigan University where I majored in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. I became interested in working with students with high-intensity needs after working with adults with developmental disabilities during my undergrad. I am really looking forward to learning effective ways to teach students with HIN and helping students with HIN communicate.




Melissa Johnson, SLPMelissa Johnson, SLP

Hello! My name is Melissa Johnson and I am so excited to be an iSHINE Scholar! I am from Winston-Salem and attended Appalachian for my undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I am currently in my first year in the Speech-Language Pathology Master's program. I was drawn to iSHINE because of the specific training in individuals with high-intensity needs. My mom has been a special education teacher for 23 years and I plan to follow in her footsteps in working in a school system. Through her connections, I have experience working with Special Olympic athletes and with several other students with diverse abilities. I am excited to build my knowledge and insight into working with these individuals and how to best serve their unique needs. I am grateful to have been selected and know this training will guide me as I work on my goal of becoming an SLP

Sarah Jones, Reading EducationSarah Jones, Reading Education

Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Jones and I am thrilled to be an iSHINE scholar! I am a graduate student studying Reading Education after completing my BS in General Curriculum Special Education this past May. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I slowly began to realize that my degree did not dive deeply into students with high-intensity needs (HIN), and that was distressing to me. In every classroom I have been a part of, I have noticed students with higher needs, specifically, students with severe language deficits are often unaccounted for because their teachers have not been trained properly in how to help them. I am excited to not only learn strategies to help these students, but I am thrilled to immerse myself in research and culture that is inclusive of students with HIN. My goal in completing this iSHINE program is to learn interdisciplinary practices to benefit students with HIN, as well as strategies to discern effective research from ineffective research regarding these students. I am so excited to start this insightful journey with iSHINE!


Maeve McGannon, SLPMaeve McGannon, SLP

Hello! My name is Maeve McGannon and I am a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Masters program at Appalachian. I graduated from Converse College in 2018 with my BA in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education, and I am excited to begin my journey with iSHINE! As I was obtaining my undergrad degree, I fell in love with working with Deaf/hard of hearing children and the community/culture that surrounds them. Over time, however, I found that being a classroom educator was not my passion. I wanted to know how I could continue to work with this population of students, but from a more specialized perspective. That's how I decided to become a speech-language pathologist as this would allow me to continue to work with Deaf children, while also focusing on my specific areas of interest: language and literacy. My goal is to help Deaf/hard of hearing students develop adequate language abilities (spoken or signed) in order to best communicate in a hearing world, as well as guide these students to develop literacy skills that will help them obtain the careers of their choice. This was a major driving factor in my decision to be a part of iSHINE as I want to make sure I have all the tools and experience necessary to best serve these students after I've graduated. I'm looking forward to learning about how to work with other populations of high intensity needs students as well as how to collaborate with other professionals in order to better serve my future students.


Colleen McIndoe, Reading EducationColleen McIndoe, Reading Education 

My name is Colleen McIndoe and I’m a graduate student studying Reading Education. My undergraduate degree is in Special Education, adapted curriculum. I have always wanted to be a special education teacher after working with a girl in the first grade as her buddy in the general education classroom. Throughout middle and high school, I continued to explore my passion through volunteer activities through the Special Olympics and The Miracle League of the Triangle. Once in college, my internships and activities during the summers have only worked to compound my interest in individuals with high-intensity needs. In addition, I work as a caregiver for a 13-year-old girl with high-intensity needs, and she has become somebody who has motivated me to be the absolute best teacher/person I can be and I consider her to be one of my best friends. I decided to pursue my Master's degree in reading education after taking a class with Tom Gill. I adore children’s literature and ensuring access to literacy for children with high-intensity needs is something I’m very passionate about. I decided to join iSHINE because it really seemed to combine all of the things that I’m passionate about and would give me an opportunity to collaborate with individuals from different fields that have similar goals to mine! I’m looking forward to gaining as much knowledge as possible from both my professors and my peers!

Carolina Parris, Special EducationCarolina Parris, Special Education 

Hello! My name is Carolina Parris. I am a cat mom, graduate student, and iSHINE scholar! I am so excited to be a part of this opportunity. I have a huge passion for helping others to be advocates for themselves. My undergraduate degree is in adaptive special education with a minor in communication sciences and disorders. The iSHINE program has a focus on both of these, so I am excited to learn more from both aspects! In my spare time, you can probably find me watching Netflix with an iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, snuggling with my fat cat, Izzy. 

Katie Therman, Special EducationKatie Therman, Special Education 

Hello! My name is Katie Thermann, I’m an army wife, dog mom, grad student, and an iSHINE scholar! I’m so excited to be an iSHINE scholar this year. This is an amazing opportunity and I’m so excited to learn more ways to help my future students. My goal for this year is to learn more tangible tools to help me teach my students with high-intensity Needs (HIN), especially in reading and writing. I received my undergraduate degree in Special Education general curriculum and also have licensure to teach special education adapted curriculum and elementary education. I am currently in grad school studying special education.