C.C., Computer & Systems Engineering student, RPI

“Before I took this speech class, I was not sure about the [speech sounds in the] words I said, especially vowels. I was not sure how the words would sound when I talked. Vowels came out different all the time. I felt not sure other people could understand what I was saying. Therefore, I lost the confidence of communicating with others. Now, I can feel that my speech became clear and accurate. I learned about all the English vowels and now I have confidence to talk with all people. Thank you, Laurie.”

Aneliya Kochneva

“…Working with Laurie was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had with a teacher, ever. After my evaluation, it was a big surprise to both of us that my English pronunciation difficulties were due a speech impediment that had gone untreated since I was a child. When Laurie mentioned this, I realized that many of the difficulties that I experienced speaking in English, I also encountered when I was speaking in my native tongue, Bulgarian. It was incredible how Laurie helped me identify the problem areas in both languages, although she did not speak Bulgarian herself. I was really pleased to see the effort she put into understanding the differences between the two tongues and the comprehensive lesson plan that she created to address all aspects on my speech…The results were incredible. I was amazed to hear myself speak when Laurie recorded me on video. It was a revelation to me that the movement of my mouth highly affected the sound that was coming out and I felt like Laurie taught me how to speak and move my mouth properly for the first time in my life.”

Osman, Chemical Engineer

“I thought that I could speak English very clearly before coming to the US. But when I arrived and was speaking with my colleagues or in a supermarket they asked me to repeat myself because of my Turkish accent.  Laurie has a teaching method which is very scientific and detailed that you can’t find in books or DVDs [to improve your accent]. Her teaching method is highly interactive. I could ask and get the answers to all my questions in our lessons. Now my speech is clear and understandable.  Also, I can understand the US accent easier. The most important result is that I always start speaking with high confidence now.  Thank you Laurie for showing all your experience when working with non-native speakers like me.”

R.L., Business Analytics graduate student, Lally School of Management, RPI

“I have taken English classes [ESL] for more than 12 years and never learned how to make speech sounds until now. With Capital Accent, I took a very detailed evaluation and found out about every incorrect pronunciation pattern I used for so many years. All of these mistakes were imperceptible to us. Now my speech is clearer and I feel confident to talk in class.”

N.T., PhD, Research Scientist, Biological Services, University at Albany

“I thought I could speak English quite well before I started class. However, after a couple of lessons I could clearly hear the difference between how I can speak when I am focusing on sound production following Laurie’s directions and how I usually speak. One thing I learned is that we can study grammar and vocabulary by ourselves or with an English teacher but the only way to really improve your accent is to work with a speech pathologist.  We did an evaluation at the beginning and at the end of the class and I was impressed by the changes in my speech. Despite the intense level, we had a lot of fun. Laurie has a good sense of humor. She is passionate and attentive. To me as a foreigner, Laurie represents a classic portrait of a person who achieves the American dream. Laurie shows this on her own example with Capital Accent that what it takes is to work extremely hard and to believe in yourself.”

Q.W., professor, RPI

“I was shocked to learn the correct pronunciation of so many words I use every day. I have been saying them wrong for years and had no idea.”


“I came to the U.S. in 2011 to pursue my master’s degree in public administration at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, (University at Albany). The school was tough but manageable. I got mostly A’s in my schoolwork. I was confident to start an internship. I still remember my first day at work. Communication was always an issue from the start. Compared to native speakers, I had a lot of disadvantages. Besides cultural differences and understanding of slangs, the accent was a big issue. It prevented people from understanding me. At school, professors encourage international students to participate in the class discussions. As long as foreign students say anything, professors will say, “good job.” But that is at school. In the workplace, people are busy. We have to get our jobs done. If you are hard to understand, they will just turn to another person to get the work done. After understanding the importance of speech, I reached out to find a speech teacher. I knew I needed it desperately. Looking at the evaluation form, I was skeptical that I pronounced that many sounds wrong. I went to bilingual school for my middle school and high school in China. Thinking back, I am glad I made the decision to work on my speech with Laurie. She is not only an expert in accent reduction, but also helped me with my interviewing and networking skills. My relationships with coworkers are better as well. Thank you, Laurie.”

T.T., Professor

“Learning about speech sounds and how to form speech sounds were particularly beneficial to me because I was never taught about these learning English as second language. Taking this course, I learned to hear the sounds…so that I can correct my own speech. (In the classroom,) I can teach better and carry on longer discussions with my students.”

Narsingh, Director of IT division

“Better speech improved my confidence at work.  I can present my ideas more efficiently and communicate more effectively with my coworkers. Clear speech also improved my relationship with my grandchildren, ages 3 and 6, and my American daughter-in-law.”

Ghazi, Biotechnology Graduate Student

“The classes were fun. Laurie was full of enthusiasm and did a great job to encourage me every time I failed in exercises. I noticed a significant difference [in my speech] and this impacted positively on my communication with people around me and made my life better. Thank you, Laurie.”

Sylvie, Nanotechnology Research Engineer

“After only a few lessons, I was able to notice a difference [in my speech.] My confidence improved during oral presentations and now I feel like my voice counts during work meetings. Laurie puts 100% of her energy toward the success of her students, working and understanding their specific needs.”

Miaomiao Angela Zhao, MBA student

“Previously, I always thought that among the Chinese students, anyone who spoke fluent English could communicate with Americans without any difficulty. However, when I could not make myself understood by my native-speaking classmates, I realized that my difficulty was with my pronunciation of words. Then I learned from Capital Accent that the reason for my pronunciation problems is the significant differences between Chinese and English speech sounds. In order to improve my speech, I needed to learn how to correctly pronounce all the English speech sounds that Chinese doesn’t have.”

H.M., MBA student

“Laurie teaches us to pronounce speech sounds we don’t have in Chinese by helping us move our mouths in new ways. We learned that when the jaw, tongue and lips move together correctly, the right speech sound will come out.”

Xiangyu Wang, PhD student, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering

“I’ve been studying at RPI for four years. I’ve taken more than twenty classes. This speech class is one of the best classes I’ve ever had.”

W.W., Lean Master Black Belt, Momentive

“I am more confident than ever to talk in front of people all over the world. I can now control how I speak and am able to pronounce each word correctly and clearly. Laurie, I appreciate your profound expertise, contagious passion and diligent teaching that has transformed my spoken English.”

Claudia, actress

“I have seen other speech coaches [in New York City] before and I did not get results. As a speech pathologist, Laurie understands the mechanics of speech, the process and the psychology behind it. She helped me develop a great awareness and confidence.”

Alfredo, Mechanical Engineer

“I felt the need to improve my speech after experiencing unfavorable situations in which my accent inhibited my ability to coherently express my thoughts. In many instances, my accent forced me to become increasingly conservative when speaking as I concentrated on not only expressing my thoughts, but also making a conscious attempt to sound out every syllable correctly. Capital Accent became the solution I desperately needed. I was able to improve upon the speech patterns that caused my accent with personalized lessons each week that systematically engaged the root causes such as jaw movement and sound prolongation. Laurie created a supportive atmosphere where I felt motivated and never discouraged. In the culmination of the course, my speech improved significantly and my confidence in verbal communication, whether personal or professional, was bolstered.”

Myna D.

“Thank you Laurie for opening a whole new world of sounds to me.”

J.L., Mathematics teaching assistant, graduate student, RPI

“I feel lucky I met Laurie and took her course. After taking a pronunciation course at Capital Accent last semester, I scored full credit on every verbal task at my TA orientation this semester. I feel confident and capable of handling my TA job because I am able to express myself clearly. I feel lucky I met Laurie. She is reliable and her class is awesome.”

Alexander F., PhD, Research Scientist at the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, Albany

“I have never had any big problems communicating with people–students, collaborators, visiting professors. That would be the case until I got out of “the woods,” which is my laboratory, and into a real life of interpersonal communications. Cashiers, people at the deli, plumbers, electricians (the list can go on and on) would look at me with big eyes and serious brain work on their faces trying to understand what I was saying. I hated it until I met Laurie. Laurie is an incredibly hard working person. She is skilled and reliable. She takes her time to explain things. She meets with you, she learns about you, and then she teaches you how to speak correctly. She does not provide some merely generic rules what to do. All her lessons are tailored to your needs. She was a godsend to me. Improving your speech is not an easy road, but it is definitely worth putting the effort in.”