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SAA Conference Speakers Bios

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is currently Vice President of Oaktree Products, Inc., she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech & Hearing Sciences and her Master’s degree in Audiology from Cleveland State University and her Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Cincinnati, where her clinical research investigated the effects of varying degrees of HIV on the auditory system. Dr. Bankaitis has served as assistant professor at Wichita State University, Salus University, Director of Audiology at the St. Louis University Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology, and Market Product Manager for a middle-ear implant company. With Dr. Bankaitis’ extensive research, along with her professional affiliation with Oaktree Products, Inc., her experience has made her an invaluable resource to audiology and other hearing healthcare professionals.

Ashley Hughes, AuD

Dr. Hughes joined Starkey Hearing Technologies in 2015 as a Research Audiologist on the Clinical Product Research team. She conducts, Pilot, Alpha, and Beta test trials on emerging technologies prior to market release. Additionally, Dr. Hughes is actively involved in the American Academy of Audiology, the Student Academy of Audiology, and the Minnesota Academy of Audiology. Prior to earning her AuD from the University of Illinois in 2014, Dr. Hughes worked as an audiology extern at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR).

Kathryn Makowiec, AuD

Dr. Makowiec is a clinical audiologist and the Vestibular Fellow at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She graduated with a Clinical Doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.) from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with a specialty in Vestibular Sciences after completing a clinical externship at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center.


Ryan McCreey, PhD

Dr. Ryan McCreery is currently the Director of Research and Director for the Center for Audiology at Boys Town National Research Hospital. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology from University of Northern Colorado. He also received his Master’s degree in Audiology and his PhD in Human Sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently an adjunct professor at Salus University and Nova Southeastern University. Dr. McCreery’s pediatric research focuses on improving speech recognition for children with hearing loss, as well as cognitive and linguistic contributions to speech recognition in children. 

Frank Musiek, PhD

Dr. Frank Musiek is one of the leading figures in audiology today. He is a renowned researcher, scholar, professor, and clinical audiologists whose research on electrophysiology and central auditory processing has let to numerous assessments and tools that have given way to further understanding of the human auditory system. Dr. Musiek received his Master’s in Audiology from Kent State University, then completed his PhD with a focus in Audiology and Neurophysiology at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Musiek teaches and runs the NeuroAudiology Lab in the department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Arizona, prior to that he taught at the University of Connecticut where he served as the director of auditory research since 2001. Prior to UCONN, Dr. Musiek was Director of Audiology and Professor of Neurology and Audiology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover New Hampshire. Dr. Musiek has published over 170 peer reviewed articles and presented nearly 400 papers at national and international conferences around the world. He has also edited or authored 11 books. He has received numerous awards and recognitions including the James Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology in 2007. Dr. Musiek’s research interests include Central auditory processing disorders, auditory evoked potentials, and neuroanatomy & neurophysiology of the central auditory system.

Jennifer Shinn, PhD

Dr. Jennifer Shinn is an Associate Professor and Chief of Audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Kentucky. She holds her MA from East Carolina University and her PhD. from the University of Connecticut. Her areas of expertise are auditory disorders, electrophysiology and the diagnosis and (re)habilitation of auditory processing deficits in children and adults. She maintains a clinical practice, and her research focus is in the areas of neuroaudiology.

Chris Zalewski, PhD

Dr. Zalewki received his undergraduate from The Pennsylvania State University, his Masters in Audiology from The University of Maryland, and his PhD in Audiology from Gallaudet University. He has served as a clinical research audiologist with the National Institutes on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2002. Chris has also maintained a regular adjunct faculty appointment at the University of Maryland since 2000. He has served as a Board of Director of the American Balance Society since 2013. Chris also recently began a three-year term on the Board of Director’s for the American Academy of Audiology beginning in 2016. His primary interests are in vestibular physiology and balance disorders, with an emphasis on rotational testing, otolith assessment, and the investigation of the auditory and vestibular phenotypes of rare genetic diseases and syndromes. In addition, Chris also has a personal interest in the historical perspectives of medicine and, in particular, vestibular science.