Meet Our Group Facilitators
MnCAN is fortunate to have an experienced group of passionate professionals working to facilitate conversation and support groups with a focus on the tenets of life participation, supported conversation, a social model of natural interaction and support.
Carly Cauley MA,CCC-SLP
Carly Cauley, MA, CCC-SLP facilitates MnCAN aphasia conversation groups in St. Paul and Wayzata. Carly began her education at the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing Science and completed her Masters Degree at the University of Minnesota. As a student clinician, she gained experience in a variety of settings including Minneapolis VA, Camp Courage, the Intensive Aphasia Program at North Memorial Medical Center, and MSA Aphasia conversation groups. Carly has experience in providing speech language pathology services to nursing/rehabilitation facilities and in the public school setting. Carly has a particular interest in aphasia rehabilitation and working with adult neurologic deficits.
Sheen Chiou, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
H. Sheen Chiou, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at the Minnesota State University, Mankato. Sheen received a Master’s degree from University of Buffalo in 2001 and a doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Her clinical and research interests include language and cognitive communication disorders in adults with neurogenic disorders. Sheen has trained numerous graduate students in conducting aphasia therapy and cognitive rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She also supervised and facilitated the Minnesota State University Mankato Aphasia Group for five years. As a speech-language pathologist, Sheen has worked in a variety of clinical settings including a transitional care unit, long-term care, and outpatient rehabilitation. Sheen grew up in Taiwan and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. She enjoys sharing her expertise about bilingual aphasia and multicultural education with colleagues, students, clients and family. Currently Sheen facilitates the MnCAN aphasia conversation group and individual treatment sessions in Wayzata and is currently working on an outcomes measurement tool to measure the functional success of our participants through their participation in MnCAN conversation groups.
Sarah Helm MA, CCC-SLP
Sarah Helm, MA CCC-SLP is a Speech Language Pathologist who received her Bachelor’s Degree from St. Cloud State University and a Masters Degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Sarah facilitates two MnCAN aphasia conversation groups in the Burnsville area, which grew from one group started in 2005. She enjoys the opportunity to help people with aphasia gain and increase their communication goals. She has supervised and trained numerous graduate students in Communication Disorders through the aphasia conversation groups and developed close relationships with the Speech Language Pathology departments in hospital settings, particularly Fairview Ridges Hospital, who frequently refer their patients with aphasia to the groups. Sarah has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient rehabilitation, school settings and transitional programs for young adults. Sarah currently resides in Burnsville with her husband and their four children.
Krista Petersen MA,CCC-SLP
Krista Petersen, MA, CCC-SLP earned her Bachelors Degree from the University of Montana in 1989 and her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1995. Krista has worked with adults in the area of neurogenic communication in acute care, home care, long term care and rehabilitation settings. She also has experience treating children with communication disorders exhibiting challenging behaviors. She is currently a Speech Language Pathologist at St. Mary’s Care Center, a long term care and rehabilitation facility in Winsted. Krista co-facilitates an Aphasia Conversation Group in Lester Prairie, MN with Leah Seifert, MS CCC-SLP. Krista is pleased to facilitate the first out-state MnCAN group!
Leah Seifert MS,CCC-SLP
Leah Seifert, MS, CCC-SLP earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1994 and her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from the St. Cloud State. Leah has worked with adults in the areas of neurogenic and swallowing disorders in acute care, home care, long term care and rehabilitation settings. She also has experience with pediatric communication and feeding disorders in acute care, home care, outpatient rehabilitation and school settings. She is currently a speech language pathologist at Glencoe Regional Health Services in Glencoe, MN. Leah co-facilitates the MnCAN Aphasia Conversation Group in Lester Prairie, MN. She is excited about the opportunity and finds the group to be a favorite part of her work!
Martha Shannon, MSW
Martha Shannon, MSW received her Masters Degree in Social Work in 1986 from Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Martha’s experience includes provision of social services at North Memorial Medical Center where she worked on the Neurorehabilitation and Orthopedic Units. Martha has provided care partner support group services to significant others of stroke survivors for over five years. She currently facilitates a support group for MnCAN in Burnsville.
Mary Strom, MA, CCC-SLP
Mary Strom MA, CCC-SLP, received a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota and has worked as a Speech Language Pathologist in a public school setting for the past 34 years. She has extensive experience with all age groups ranging from preschool through high school. She is recently retired from the school setting and has developed a special interest in working with adults with aphasia. She started as a volunteer for MnCAN in the St Paul aphasia conversation group for the 2015 winter and summer sessions and has been inspired by the mission of MnCAN! She is delighted to now facilitate the St Paul group allowing flexibility of other MnCAN facilitators to meet the growing needs in the east metro area.
Heather Hurley-Vangerud MA,CCC-SLP
Heather Hurley-Vangerud MA,CCC-SLP has a nursing degree from University of Arizona in 1976 and has worked as a clinical nursing instructor for nursing aid and LPN programs. Heather went on to secure an MS degree in Speech Language Pathology in 1984 from the University of Arizona. She has worked as a speech-language pathologist in the public schools for the past 22 years. She also has extensive background in working with adults in long term care facilities, inpatient, outpatient and home care settings. In addition to her professional expertise, Heather studied voice/singing at the University of Arizona School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and MacPhail School of Performing Arts. Heather has incorporated her love of singing and theatre by serving as an opera performer, vocal music director, and writer/director of several plays for high school musical productions. Heather currently facilitates a second MnCAN Waconia conversation group and is initiating an Aphasia Chorus Program with MnCAN.
Jack Thomas MS,CCC-SLP
Jack Thomas joined MnCAN in February 2016 as developer and facilitator of the Rochester, MN aphasia conversation group. He has provided Speech Pathology services at Mayo Clinic since 1982 and served as lead supervisor since 1994. Jack also contributes to clinical protocol design and execution of research on neurological motor speech disorders. He spearheaded the development of the division’s Speech Pathology Clinical Fellowship Year Program through the Mayo School of Health Sciences, College of Medicine, and serves as program director. Jack has been an invited presenter to more than 80 regional, national and international meetings, and has been author and co-author of various peer-reviewed journal articles, books, workbooks and book chapters on neurologic speech and language disorders and speech/voice restoration after laryngectomy. He received a B.S. degree in special education: speech pathology and audiology in 1974 from the University of Oregon, and a M.S. degree in speech pathology from Portland State University in 1982. He is board certified by the Academy of Neurological Communication Disorders and Sciences and was named Associate in the Division of Speech Pathology in 2009.