Katherine "Kittie" Verdolini Abbott grew up on a farm in Flemington, N.J., daughter of Ed and Rose Tuller (Ed was the General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches from 1959-1970 and worked extensively in the civil rights movement). An avid vocal performer since her youth, Kittie initially majored in vocal performance at Indiana University until a vocal injury caused her to switch majors. Her bachelor's degree ended up being in Italian and German with junior and senior years in IU's foreign study program in Bologna, Italy. She stayed in Italy, performing and recording, for several more years and picked up the equivalent of a master's degree in Music History at the University of Ferrara along the way. She then returned to the U.S. where she completed an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology (Indiana University) and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science (Washington University). Since then she has held faculty positions at the University of Iowa, Harvard Medical School, and since 2001, the University of Pittsburgh where she works in the department of Communication Science and Disorders. The bulk of her current work is research and mentoring of doctoral students. She also sees patients clinically and travels quite extensively offering workshops to clinicians. She is married to Tom Abbott, and has two stepdaughters, Kacey and Kelsey Abbott. The Abbott family has a real "zoo" of pets including a Border Collie/Shepherd dog Cubby, and 7 cats, Bitsy, Kibbles, Jody, Cubbycat, Tazzie, Nellie, and Molly. "No outfit is complete without cat or dog hairs" is the going motto. Both Kittie and Tom are competitive runners and spend considerable time training. Kittie also enjoys eating out. She has been attending Pittsburgh First Baptist Church since 2001, when she first came to Pittsburgh. She is slowly working her way through a Master of Divinity program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, part time.