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Kristen Secora headshot

Kristen Secora, PhD

Assistant Professor, Communication Disorders (working with the deaf focus team and special education team)


Kristen Secora is an assistant professor in deaf education and special education. She is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) with her Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She worked as an SLP in a public elementary school for three years before joining the faculty at the University of Tennessee. Professor Secora has a passion for equipping pre-service teachers and speech-language pathology/audiology students with the tools to prepare them for graduate school and their professional lives.


Professional Background


Professor Secora’s research focuses on developing tools for fostering and assessing language development for deaf and hard of hearing children, particularly those who use American Sign Language.

  • Visual perspective-taking abilities in deaf signers
  • Theory of Mind development for deaf signers


Doctor of Philosophy (Language and Communicative Disorders), San Diego State University / University of California San Diego

Bachelor of Science (Neuroscience), Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX



Secora, K., & Emmorey, K. (2019). Social abilities and visual-spatial perspective-taking skill: deaf signers and hearing nonsigners. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education24(3), 201-213.

Brozdowski, C., Secora, K., & Emmorey, K. (2019). Assessing the Comprehension of Spatial Perspectives in ASL Classifier Constructions. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education24(3), 214-222.

Secora, K. & Emmorey, K. (2014). The Action-Sentence Compatibility Effect in ASL: The role of semantics vs. perception. Language and Cognition, 1-14.

Secora, K. R., Peterson, J. R., Urbano, C. M., Chung, B., Okanoya, K., & Cooper, B. G. (2012). Syringeal specialization of frequency control during song production in the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata domestica). PLoS ONE. 7(3), e34135.

Posters/Presentations at Conferences

Secora, K. & Emmorey, K. (2015). Differing Social and Nonsocial Strategies for Deaf Signers and Hearing Nonsigners During Visual-spatial Perspective-taking Tasks. Poster presented at the 2015 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, November 12-15, 2015, Denver CO.

Secora, K., Pyers, J., Perniss, P., & Emmorey, K. (2015). Perspective-taking in Manually-Produced Spatial Descriptions and the Role of Inhibitory Control. Paper presented at the 37th Annual meeting of the German Linguistics Society Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS), March 4-6, 2015, Leipzig, Germany.

Secora, K. R. (2013). The Action-Sentence Compatibility Effect in ASL: The role of semantics vs. perception. 11th Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR) Conference. July 10-13, 2013, London, England.

Secora, K. R. & Emmorey, K. (2013). The Action-Sentence Compatibility Effect in American Sign Language. 26th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, March 21-23, 2013, Columbia, SC.

Kristen Secora headshot

Contact Information

  • Jane and David Bailey Education Complex, 1126 Volunteer Boulevard Knoxville TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-974-3435
  • E-mail: