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Brain Sketch
Meet the Team

The speech-language pathologists at Cortex Initiative specialize in the assessment and intervention of cognitive, speech, and language deficits related to acquired brain injuries and other brain related afflictions. Our clinicians have a variety of experiences in general speech-language pathology across the lifespan, and also possess the unique expertise necessary to assist military service members and veterans with a history of mild-moderate TBI or other diagnoses.

Annie Tamburello Croley, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS

Speech-Language Pathologist

Certified Brain Injury Specialist

Owner, Cortex Initiative


Annie is the founder and owner of Cortex Initiative. She is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist through the Brain Injury Association of America and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from Old Dominion University with a minor in Special Education, and a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from James Madison University. Annie started her career as a middle school special education teacher and a multi-sport coach. She later became an outpatient SLP in a local hospital system, where she treated patients with a vast range medically complex diagnoses, was the lead SLP for both the ALS and MS clinics at a nearby neurology practice, and co-facilitated a support group for people with Spasmodic Dysphonia. In addition to outpatient therapy clinics, she has worked in acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation settings, long term care facilities, and skilled nursing facilities. Annie has extensive clinical experience in general speech pathology with the adult population, including disorders of speech, language, cognition, voice, resonance, and swallowing. Her specific interests include working with clients who have suffered brain injuries, brain tumors, strokes, or have progressive neurological diseases, as well as clients with disorders of the voice.  She has dedicated much of her career to developing and refining materials, resources, and interventions that help strengthen the cognitive and language abilities of high performing military service members and civilians with a history of mild traumatic brain injury.  Annie enjoys educating family members on the impact of TBI, and regularly collaborates with other professionals nationwide to ensure superior care for her clients. She is nationally certified with leadership and clinical supervision experience. Annie is the proud mother of a young son, two stepchildren, and the best doodle-dog, Bobo. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, traveling, and volunteering with her husband's military hockey charity, Warrior for Life Fund.

Sam Michael, MSEd, CCC-SLP, CBIS

Speech-Language Pathologist

Certified Brain Injury Specialist

Sam is the lead clinician at Cortex Initiative. She is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist through the Brain Injury Association of America and is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist who has obtained a Certificate of Clinical Competence through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Sam earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Hunter College in New York, New York, and her MSEd in Speech-Language Pathology from Old Dominion University. She provides exceptional services for people with difficulties in cognitive communication. Her skill set includes providing adult and geriatric cognitive, language, speech, and swallowing therapies. Sam has clinical experience providing services in skilled nursing facilities, long term care facilities, and assisted living facilities, as well as the home health and outpatient settings. She is particularly skilled at identifying an individual's organizational needs and facilitating interventions that will benefit the client at home, work, and in the community. By optimizing time management strategies, routines, planning, and technology, Sam has helped many clients improve their day to day functioning and productivity. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, cooking, and watching horror movies. 

Emily Keller, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Emily earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Speech and Hearing Sciences from University of California Santa Barbara. She went on to complete her Master of Science in Clinical Speech Language Pathology from Northern Arizona University. She has enjoyed working extensively with both pediatrics and adults in the university, school, hospital acute care, and adult rehabilitation settings. She has experience with evaluation and treatment of a variety of diagnoses and disorders, including dysphagia, cognitive disorders, pediatric feeding disorders, articulation and language disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, fluency disorders, voice disorders, autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and chromosomal abnormalities.  Emily was also involved in research examining outcomes of fluency strategies as well as collaborating on a pilot study to investigate assessment and rehabilitation of mild traumatic brain injuries in collegiate athletes. She enjoys working with families to facilitate communication success and maximizing the benefits of therapy.  Emily moved to Virginia Beach from San Diego in 2016, where she has been working in pediatric outpatient settings and in early intervention.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband, newborn son, and dog.  

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