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Melissa Lyness, ​B.S., SLPA, ATP/RESNA
Licensed Speech-Language Pathology Assistant, Assistive Technology Professional

Simeen Mansuri earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders and Deaf Studies and her master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from California State University, Fresno. Additionally, she holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Simeen is bilingual, and is fluent in English and Farsi. 

Simeen has 6 years of experience in providing assessment and treatment to a diverse patient population including but not limited to individuals with neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, etc.), autism spectrum disorders, and a variety of pediatric speech and language challenges. She has worked in private clinics with children and adults, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers, and in the acute hospital setting.  Simeen is dedicated and genuinely cares about the well-being of her patients. She is passionate about stroke rehabilitation and specializes in dysphagia-swallow dysfunction.

Simeen has lived in Fresno for 26 years attending elementary school, junior high, and high school in Clovis Unified School District. She enjoys giving back to her community. She was an AmeriCorps volunteer from 2005 to 2007. She managed several nonprofit public education programs for the Fresno Fire Department where she received the “Volunteer of the Year” award in 2007. She also served on the Fresno Fire Chief’s Foundation from 2014 to 2015. 

Aubriel Soghomonian is currently working toward her Bachelor's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Fresno State University, and hopes to continue toward her Masters.  She is happy to be a part of the Empower team as an administrative assistant. She enjoys the family oriented and positive atmosphere Empower provides, and the ways in which clients and families are treated with respect and offered various supports. She is learning a lot about the field of Speech Language Pathology through working at Empower, and enjoys interacting with clients on a daily basis.

In her free time, Aubriel enjoys live music, traveling, and meeting new people.  She has traveled to 13 different countries, which has allowed her to love and embrace other cultures.

​​​Aubriel Soghomonian
Administrative Assistant 

Melissa returns to us as a Speech Language Pathologist Clinical Fellow (CF-SLP) after completing her Master’s Degree at Idaho State University. Originally, Melissa joined us as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant after completing her Bachelor’s Degree at Sacramento State University. She is a native of Northern California but has enjoyed calling Clovis home! 

Melissa has experienced a variety of settings and populations that included both adults and pediatric disorders. Melissa is driven to empower her clients and their families with their communication needs. She is passionate about advocating for her patients and providing them with resources they need to feel empowered. 

Melissa enjoys working with children with a variety of communication profiles and disorders, as this is where her initial spark came from for the field of speech-language pathology. What really makes Melissa's day is when she can see it "click" with a child and how quickly communication is enhanced with their communication partners. Additionally, she is absolutely inspired by seeing the growth in communication between her client and their care-givers. It's truly amazing. 

Melissa also discovered a new love for the adult population during her clinical experience at Idaho State. She enjoyed working with patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and more and advocating for services to assist in regaining swallowing function, cognitive deficits, and expressive and receptive language. 

Melissa is excited to rejoin the Empower team as she knows the supportive environment with the staff creates a positive environment for clients to make growth, develop new skills, and/or regaining skills that may have been lost. She is happy to be able to support the Central Valley community! 

  • ​​​Jessica is a Spanish-English Bilingual Speech-Langauge Pathology Assistant (SLPA), licensed in California and Texas. She received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Texas A&M International University in 2012.  In addition to speech therapy, Jessica also had experience working as a Behavioral Therapist, and Special Education Instructional Assistant for CUSD. Jessica has had the opportunity to work with a wide array of children, varying in ages, personalities, skills, interests, and communication challenges, which she believes helped shape her into the therapist she is today. She is passionate about working with individuals who come to speech therapy in search of a voice – a means to express themselves, whether it be verbally, visually, or with the aid of a communication device. Teaching a client an alternative way to communicate (ex: using a picture to request a favorite food), when for whatever reason verbal communication is too challenging, is incredibly rewarding for Jessica. The moment a client is able to produce a sound or word, or reach a new milestone, reminds her of why she chose to be a speech therapist. Jessica loves using music in therapy, and frequently integrates music and colorful visual supports in her sessions. She has special interest in autism spectrum disorders, early intervention, and motor programming challenges. 
  • Jessica is thrilled to be working at Empower with such an enthusiastic and passionate staff, all working together to create a warm and welcoming environment while providing the high quality of services each client deserves. During her free time Jessica volunteers at church organizations. She also enjoys singing in the church choir, learning guitar and taking cooking and sewing classes.
  • Natalia Lopez is a Russian-English bilingual speech-language pathologist, and the founder of Empower Speech Therapy and Life Skills Center. She obtained her Undergraduate and Graduate (Master's) Degrees from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, which was rated the top Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology in the nation at the time of her graduation. Natalia holds a Speech Pathology license in the state of California, as well as a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
  • Her vision for Empower is that it is a place where people can find and use their voice, feel empowered to be their full selves, and increase their ability to express themselves. She believes communication is a human right, and is core to one's ability to feel empowered and loved. Empower is the vessel for the greater mission of empowering and supporting the community at large. Natalia is passionate about helping people with complex communication needs, people with diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, as well as those who have been disillusioned with therapy. She strongly believes that the supportive and positive environment at Empower can facilitate communication for all who walk through our doors. 
  • Natalia has experience providing therapy in a variety of settings and has worked with a wide range of ages and populations. She has worked at private clinics, public schools, as well as private schools for kids and teens with severe autism. She has experience working with a variety of child communication difficulties, including but not limited to: speech/language delay, expressive/receptive language disorders, apraxia of speech, autism (high functioning, minimally verbal, nonverbal, etc), social thinking deficits, and stuttering. She also works with adults and the geriatric population (e.g., lisp reduction, "r" production therapy, stuttering, stroke rehabilitation, and cognitive-linguistic therapy for individuals with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.). She has experience building and implementing dynamic communication systems for non-verbal and minimally verbal individuals with autism.
  • Natalia is a member of the special interest groups for Augementative/Alternative Communication (AAC), Language Learning and Education, as well as Administration and Supervision. Natalia has a strong passion for helping everyone find a voice, and succeed in the individual way that is meaningful and functional for them. Natalia emigrated from Moscow, Russia to Brooklyn, NY at the age of eight. She had first-hand experience having to navigate the world with limited communication while learning English. She grew up among a very wide range of cultures, ethnicities, and religions.  She loves working with multicultural populations, and has special training in Bilingual/Multilingual populations (i.e., is able to differentiate language difference versus language disorder).

"We are a client and family-centered practice, focused on empowering individuals to find and use their voice, feel confident, and be their full amazing selves"

Natalia M. Lopez, MS, CCC-SLP, founder of Empower Speech-Language Pathology

Meet the team

  • Melissa Lyness is a licensed Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) and Assistive Technology Professional from right here in Fresno! She received her Bachelor's Degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences from Biola University, and her ATP certification through Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). Melissa is passionate about the field of speech therapy, and loves helping her clients strengthen their ability to communicate and express themselves. She is very passionate about Assistive Technology and Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Melissa enjoys providing therapy to individuals of all ages and abilities, and loves the variety in the types of therapy techniques she is able to utilize. Each client presents with new exciting challenges, and Melissa truly enjoys going the extra mile to make sure therapy is fun, meaningful, and functional. She enjoys learning about the various supports that are available for clients that make their lives easier on the daily basis. She has special interest in autism spectrum, social thinking deficits, developmental language delays and disorders, AAC use, oral motor deficits, specific language impairments, accent modification, and TBI rehabilitation. Melissa loves seeing and celebrating progress her clients make each week. She feels that working as a team with families and care-givers is integral to success, and is thrilled that the private practice therapy context allows for such team work to occur. In her free time, Melissa enjoys playing the ukulele, hiking, and spending time with her family, friends, and dog. Melissa is ecstatic to be a part of the Empower team!  

​​​Jessica Gamino, B.S., SLPA
Licensed Bilingual Speech-Language Pathology Assistant 

​​​Natalia Morozova Lopez, M.S., CCC-SLP
Licensed Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist, Founder

Melissa Gaston, M.S., CF-SLP 
Speech-Language Pathologist Clinical Fellow

Simeen Mansuri, M.A., CCC-SLP
Licensed Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist