Steff was born in Albuquerque, NM, three and a half month premature and the smallest baby to live in 1983 in the state. After being told by the doctors that she wouldn’t survive past the age of five, Steff was part of a study by Stanford University Medical Center to see if moving to sea level could help under-developed lungs to grow and develop more. The study proved true and after the age of 3 Steff was off oxygen full time. Since then, Steff has lived in Pagosa Springs, CO, Angel Fire, NM, Graham, TX, Waco, TX, Portales, NM, and Simms, TX. Steff and her husband Kevin have a daughter named Mary, 7 and son, Karter, 5.
Steff has two younger sisters, Maeson and Bennet, who are fraternal twins, and an older brother who stutters, named Jasper.
“I remember first hearing Jasper stutter when I was about four, and he was about 9. I honestly didn’t think much of it. It didn’t ever bother me to hear him stutter, I just remember wanting to hang out with my big brother because I always thought he was the coolest (and I still do.) I just thought that was how he talked,” she recalls. “I didn’t think anything of it until I overheard my parents talking his stuttering behind his back. That really hurt my feelings. I never thought of my brother’s stuttering as a negative.”
Steff decided to become an SLP while in high school, “When I saw what SLPs do, I knew immediately. I knew I wanted to help people like my brother. I wanted to give people a voice, and change a society that still has a hard time accepting people like my brother. I decided to devote my career largely to advocating for people who stutter.”
Since then, Steff has made a big impact, practicing in hospitals, inpatient rehab facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and also in public schools. Steff also loves to teach, “I have taught college courses for seven years and now teach adjunct for Baylor University with their new graduate program online. Although my practicing career has been mostly medical (I adore treating aphasia and dysphagia as well,) my clinical specialty, research, pro bono work, and volunteerism has been all stuttering and cluttering related.”
Steff involvement with the NSA started six years ago. “I was researching stuttering conferences and ways to get more involved in the stuttering community when I came across the NSA Conference Facebook page. The more I heard about the NSA, the more I wanted to get involved. I had started to do some volunteer work with the Stuttering Foundation of America, but I kept hearing about these amazing support group meetings. I knew I needed to get in touch, and ultimately try to get my brother involved.”
Steff attended her first conference in July of 2019, “It was LIFE CHANGING. I purposefully attended non-CEU courses, and those courses intended for people who stutter, and I sat back and listened. I learned. I took it all in.” But it was the impact it had on her brother what touched her the most, “The best part of it all was that my brother and his daughter joined me, that was his first NSA anything! I saw my brother open up and talk to more people than I have ever seen him talk to— EVER. I still cry every time I talk to someone about his first NSA experience. I can’t help it, it was absolutely amazing. It made my… I don’t even want to say career because it’s beyond that, it made my everything! He even initiated conversations with strangers! I had never seen my brother do that. I have also never seen him smile so much. When I became an SLP I used to think I was putting on a cape to “save” people who stutter, but oh boy did I have it wrong. Y’all are the ones who have saved me.”
Steff is currently the leader of the Mount Pleasant, TX Combined Chapter.
David Alpuche was born and raised in México City, where he lived most of his life before calling Dallas, TX home. He has been stuttering since the age of four, though his outlook on stuttering has changed drastically. David attended his first NSA conference in Ft. Worth in 2011, and says life hasn’t been the same since. Professionally, David is a full-time photographer (mostly weddings, photojournalism and fine art) who dabbles in writing and translating. He is the current Chapter Leader of the Dallas, TX Adult NSA Chapter, and was awarded Chapter Leader of the Year (with co-leader Sivan) in 2017. David has been commissioned to write a series of spotlight pieces on our Chapter Leaders and Regional Chapter Coordinators.