Dr. Chih-Hsiang “Jason” Yang is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Exercise Science and a faculty fellow at the TecHealth Center. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Kinesiology with a focus on the psychology of physical activity at The Pennsylvania State University. He was employed by the University of Southern California as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Preventive Medicine before joining the University of South Carolina. His research focuses on applying mobile technologies and dual-process theories to understand the within-person, time-varying phenomena underlying health behaviors and outcomes in real-life contexts. He is a baseball fan and enjoys bowling.
Dr. K. Jason Crandall is an Associate Professor of Exercise Science and Co-Director of the Western Kentucky University Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging. With funding from the Retirement Research Foundation, Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation, National Institute on Aging, and the U. S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, his research focuses on novel physical and cognitive interventions to improve quality of life of older adults particularly Bingocize®, an innovative combination of bingo, exercise, and health education. In his free time, Dr. Crandall enjoys running and spending time with his daughter.
Celine Benedico is a first-year graduate student in the speech language pathology program at the University of South Carolina. She is originally from Lake Mary, FL and just graduated from Florida State University with her Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Science and Disorders. Celine hopes to one day work in either a school or private practice setting with children. In her free time, she enjoys walking, hanging out with friends and family, or laying out on the beach!
Reilly Kocian is from Nashville, TN, and is a senior undergraduate student at USC. After graduating with a B.S. in Public Health and a Minor in Neuroscience, she plans to attend medical school. She’s currently a part of the Mindful Walking Project and is writing her South Carolina Honors College thesis focusing on the effects of walking physical activity in mitigating dementia-related cognitive decline in older adults. In her free time, she enjoys baking and spending time with friends and family.
Kendall Mahmood is a senior Public Health major at the University of South Carolina. She is originally from Fort Mill, SC. After graduation in May 2024, she plans to attend graduate school and obtain a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. Kendall hopes to one day work in a hospital to help improve communication function and quality of life for older adults following a stroke or TBI. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking at the riverwalk, and hanging out with friends or family.
Anna Kate Maxwell
Anna Maxwell is from Fort Mill, SC, and is currently a senior undergraduate student at UofSC. She plans to pursue an M.D. after graduating with a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Spanish. Her research interests include cognitive development, mental and physical well-being, and electrical engineering in regard to biological function. Anna is also currently a part of the PATCH lab, a project between the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Public Health focused on the development of a wearable technology capable of accurate and comprehensive measurement of energy expenditure. Her hobbies include reading, painting, and volunteering with friends.
Katlyn Nguyen is from Fort Mill, SC, and is a Master’s student in the in Speech-Language Pathology Program at the University of South Carolina (USC). She completed a B.S. degree in Public Health with a cognate in Natural Sciences at USC. In the lab, she manages the undergraduate volunteers and leads the Mindful Walking Study. She enjoys working with the pediatric population and plans on working in early intervention after graduation. In her free time, enjoys spending time with her family, shopping, traveling, and trying new foods.
Cara Vandergriff is a PhD student in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina. She earned a master’s degree in writing and linguistics from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2011. In 2018, she earned a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Western Kentucky University. After obtaining the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), Cara practiced as a medical SLP in her home state of Tennessee, as well as Georgia and Oregon in a variety of sub-acute settings. Her areas of clinical interest in techniques and tools to promote independence, connection, and communication among individuals with neurogenic communication disorders intersect with her current research role in the Aging Gracefully lab. Cara is an avid fly angler who enjoys fishing the rivers of Southern Appalachia in her free time.
Mona Wiatr is from Wroclaw, Poland, and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Physical Education in Wroclaw. Her work focuses on physical exercise and its role in irisin myokine secretion in carcinogenesis. She received a B.A. in Physical Therapy at the University of Physical Education in Wroclaw and an M.A. in Physical Therapy at Wroclaw Medical University. She works as a physical therapist in Poland with various populations, including neurological disorders, pediatrics, and sport-focused patients. Her interests include public health, oncology, and physical exercise as non-pharmacological approaches for acute diseases. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at the rehabilitation shelter for wild animals, painting, and exercising.
Jamie Jones is from Seneca, SC, and is a recent graduate from the Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of South Carolina. During her time at USC, she worked in the Aging Gracefully lab and assisted with running the Intergenerational Book Club, presented research at ASHA, and co-authored two published papers. She also holds a B.A. in Psychology from Clemson University. She will be completing her CF at a local elementary school. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, crocheting, gardening, and spending time with her family.
Abby Kiesow is from Beaver Dam, WI, and graduated in May 2023 with a B.A. in Psychology. Her research interests include dementia risk factors, health outcomes, and mental and physical well-being. With the Aging Gracefully Lab, Abby successfully defended her senior thesis, “Mapping Risk Factors for Dementia Across the United States,” for the South Carolina Honors College. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis and walking her dog.
Dara Thompson is from Spartanburg, SC, and is a recent graduate from the Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of South Carolina (USC). She graduated with a B.A. in Public Health from USC in 2019. During her time in undergrad, she completed a 6-month internship in the rehabilitation department in an acute care setting. Dara enjoys working with the aging population in the medical setting and would like to obtain a position as a clinical fellow in a skilled nursing facility to continue working with her desired population. In her free time, she enjoys loving on her cats, traveling, reading, and spending time with family.