Elizabeth (she/her) grew up Deaf, but the cause of her deafness is uncertain. She was either born Deaf due to her beautiful mother having German Measles during her pregnancy, or she became Deaf from a high fever as an infant. Elizabeth’s immersion into Deaf Culture didn’t start until age 20 becoming a student at Gallaudet University. She learned not only about herself but about this beautiful world she’s existed in her whole life, and because of this, Gallaudet will always be home to her heart. Elizabeth loves introducing people to the beauty of Deaf culture and spreading awareness on Deaf people’s capabilities and cultural differences anywhere she can. She is passionate about bridging the gap between the Deaf and Hearing worlds by introducing people to ASL and being an example of what Deaf people can do. It is a dream of hers to live in a world without barriers or limitations by creating a more accessible and understanding line of communication. Is that sweeter if the whole world is full of access to sign language?
Harmony Cote (she/her) was born deaf and into a family with many deaf family members, spanning for generations on her mother’s side. Harmony grew up in both the Deaf and hearing world and is able to successfully navigate both. She has attended both mainstream and deaf schools.
Nicole Faino (she/her) became deaf at the age of two. She has been a paraprofessional and sub teacher for Deaf children for a decade. Nicole is a strong believer in the power of positive thinking in the workplace and developing strong relationships is the foundation of everything she does, both professionally and personally.
Jessica Gross (she/her) is hard-of-hearing, and has worked in Deaf education for the past 17 years. She started her career in education as an ASL interpreter. After discovering her own hearing loss, she earned her Masters degree and teaching license in Deaf education. For the past five years, she has worked as a DHH teacher in high school and transition programs, having also served as a college liaison for students taking post-secondary education courses.
Ashley Hess (she/her) has been Deaf her entire life. She was raised by two Deaf parents and has a younger brother who is Deaf as well. Ashley attended Indiana School for the Deaf since she was nine years old. Currently, she is enrolled at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and is expected to graduate in May 2023 with a BA degree in English/Creative Writing. During her free time, she is a mentor to several interpreters and students taking ASL (American Sign Language) courses on campus. She loves meeting and connecting with people.
Ronald J Howard was born hard-of-hearing. Has been teaching and mentoring students in a group and one on one for 30 years. Taught through TESOL method. Received multiple awards for teaching several seminars. Worked as DI for 5 years in Los Angeles, CA. Received Certification of Completion for CDI at University of Maine. Certification of Completion on RID Code of Professional Conduct at State of University of Northridge.
Damon Johnson (he/him) is in his 20th year as an ASL Teacher, currently teaching at Mounds View High School, MN and Goshen College, IN. He is also a Deaf mentor for 25 years mentoring pre-certified and certified interpreters, families with Deaf children and future Deaf mentors.
Marissa Larson (she/her) is a Deaf, 35-year-old Clinical Research Coordinator currently based at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. She graduated with a Social Work degree from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., which is the only Deaf university in the world. Now, she works closely with Doctor’s in the ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) department by coordinating complex clinical research protocols to help find cures and potential treatments for many types of diseases and cancers.
Hana Malmeth (she/her) was born in Israel and moved to America at the age of 2. She was deaf at birth due to her mother having German Measles while pregnant. She finally fulfilled her dream job and has been teaching ASL at Heschel for the last 5 years. Hana is a strong believer of empathy and putting full passion into everything she does, whether it comes to friends, family, or her job.
Carin Smutny (she/her) was born hard-of-hearing and became profoundly deaf due to illness at the age of 25. She has taught for over 25 years at both the K-12 and college levels. Her teaching experience includes teaching ASL to hearing students as well as teaching Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) students. She currently teaches D/HH students at the college level in Kansas City, Missouri. She has a Master of Science in Education from the University of Kansas specializing in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In her free time, Carin enjoys time with her family, which includes both hearing and Deaf members, as well as volunteering in animal rescue.
Lisa Tilleskjor (she/her) lost her hearing at the age of 4, possibly due to medication. She was mainstreamed in public schools from grade K to 12th. She went to Mankato State University for her Bachelors Degree in Family Life and Child Development, and learned American Sign Language. Lisa received her Masters Degree in Deaf Education at the University of Minnesota. She taught pre-K to 8th grade Deaf and Hard of Hearing students for 13 years and now teaches American Sign Language at the high school level.
Alexander Zuniga (he/him) was born Deaf. He is originally from Texas and moved to California right after high school. He has 30+ years’ experience teaching ASL and he has also helped train and evaluate sign language interpreters. He is also currently work in the medical field as a Caregiver, CNA, and CHHA. Alexander teaches and trains Home Care Aides for members of the Deaf/HH community. He is currently studying to be a Nurse as a Wound Skin Specialist.
Desiree Adamchick (she/her) has been working as an interpreter since 2019. She fell in love with sign language when she met a family friend who was Deaf and simply wanted to better communicate with her. She took a few sign language classes and immediately knew she wanted to do this as a career. She complete an Interpreter Training Program and is now a professional sign language interpreter. Her favorite type of interpreting is theatre interpreting but one day she hopes to do Video Relay Interpreting (VRS).
Taylor Anderson-Linnertz (he/him) was always fascinated by sign language growing up, and learned some basics in his younger years. He never knew where to continue growing this skill in his small town until he met his now very close Deaf friend at a local festival. After learning of a local class, he dove in head first and soaked up everything he could about the language and culture, eventually enrolling in and completing an interpreter training program for his degree in ASL Interpreting. While working as an interpreter in the world of education, he found a love and passion in educating others about this language and culture he loves and appreciates so much!
Karina Bronsink (she/her) learned ASL because she wanted to communicate with a co-worker/friend in their language and fell in love with it and became an ASL Interpreter!
Courtney (she/her) has been interpreting for 15+ years in a variety of settings including VRS, high tech, performance, light legal, light medical, business, education, and Anonymous programs (AA, NA, CA). She holds both an AAS and BS in Sign Language Interpretation as well as NIC certification from RID and earned a 4.3 on the EIPA.
Catherine Copeland (she/her) learned how to sign when she was 14 years old in a religious setting in California. Years later she moved to Montana. She was nationally certified by the age of 21. She currently holds a master’s degree in Education, RID certifications, EIPA score of 4.8 and holds a Master Mentor certification.
Jack Daraitis (he/they) is currently completing their final semester of an Interpreter Training Program. Jack was drawn to learn ASL for many reasons: there was an SSP in their school that would talk about her job and about ASL, a family friend is a CODA, and ASL was a world language offered their high school. Jack has always been surrounded by the language.
April Dunlap (she/her) has been a Sign Language Interpreter for 20 years with experience ranging from community work, VRI, cruise interpreting and international conferences. She and her husband are the proud owners of CEUFlix.com which is an online affordable access to online ceus. April has been an evaluator for the previous MICS testing system as well as the BEI for Missouri. She has served on the planning committee for the Annual Interpreter Conference for several years.
Jeffrey Dunlap (he/him) has been a Sign Language Interpreter for 23+ years with experience ranging from community work, VRI, cruise interpreting, and international conferences. He and his wife April are the proud owners of CEUFlix.com which is an affordable access to online CEU’s. Jeffrey was the chairman of BCI in Jefferson City, MO for approximately 3 years.
Sarah Francis (she/her) having Deaf sisters and a Deaf son started a journey of learning ASL through the Deaf community and by pursuing higher education. Sarah earned an AAS, a BS, and a MS in American Sign Language Interpreting.
Melanie (she/her) received her B.A. in interpreting from The University of South Florida. She has worked as an interpreter in many different settings including K-12, post-secondary, medical, and VRS. She has had a passion for Deaf culture and ASL since joining the ASL Club in middle school and taking four years of ASL in high school. Melanie enjoys spending time with her husband, Josh, daughters, Aidyn Rose and Caleigh Grace, and dogs, Sidney and Gryff. She currently resides in sunny south Florida.
Kenzie Hearne (she/her) took ASL in high school and fell in love with it! She decided to go to school for ASL Interpreting and went on to interpret in education settings!
Amanda Heikkila (she/her) obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from William Woods University, majoring in Interpretation Studies in ASL-English. Amanda takes pride in all of her work, be it interpreting, tutoring or mentoring. She maintains a level of professionalism while still encouraging her students to have fun, relax, and enjoy learning a new language and skill.
Andrea Hinkhouse (she/her) devotes positive energy and motivation to language learners. Andrea works as both an Educational and Freelance Interpreter. Andrea’s childhood best friend was Deaf, and they are still best friends to this day. Andrea graduated from Iowa Western Community College’s Interpreter Training Program in 2013 and has a BA in Communication Arts.
Samantha Hobart (she/her/hers) has been interpreting in the Seattle area for 9 years. Graduating with her BA in Sociology from the University of Washington in 2009 and completing the Interpreter Training Program at Seattle Central Community College in 2012, she went on to earn her NIC in 2014.
Sander Johnson (he/him) learned ASL because there were so many languages being taught in school, and he wanted to learn ASL because he wanted accessibility to someone who is not able to just learn English and communicate.
Karlie Kurtz (she/her) began learning ASL back in high school. After graduation she obtained her masters degree in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education and attended Saint Paul College for ASL Interpreting. She enjoys building relationships and sharing her passion for ASL with others.
Kristin Kohner (she/her) is in her 27th year of teaching and currently teaches ASL at the high school level. She is also qualified to teach Concurrent Enrollment course at the high school level. She worked as as a university secretary in the ASL office for two years while receiving her Master's degree. She has also worked at camps for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. She has a wide range of experiences and loves teaching!
Amy Miller (she/her/hers) is currently from the St. Louis, Missouri area. She attended John A. Logan College (JALC) and graduated with a certificate in Interpreting in 1993. She became RID certified (CI/CT) and went on to earn an Associate’s in Interpreting (JALC), a Bachelor’s in Workforce Education and Development (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale), and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling (Capella University).
Samantha (Sam) Moss
Samantha "Sam" Moss (she/her) has been working as an interpreter since 2009 after graduating from Goshen College's interpreter program. She has been interested in sign language since she was little since she learned some to communicate with her brother who was born with Down Syndrome. In Girl Scouts she learned more about the language and deaf culture leading her to decide to make a career out of it. After moving in and starting the program she was hooked and hasn't looked back. Sam has experience working in a wide array of settings some of which are theater, music, medical, educational, weddings, VRI, VRS and the general community. When she is not working she enjoys geeking out to Disney, D&D things or hanging with her cats and husband.
Kenton Myers (he/him/his) is a trilingual interpreter and owner of M&N Language Services, LLC, a full-service agency based out of Birmingham, Alabama. Kenton holds a B.A. in Spanish and in Psychology from Birmingham Southern College. He is a nationally certified Spanish interpreter, holding NBCMI and CCHI certifications and is Court Certified in the state of Alabama. He is also a RID Nationally Certified American Sign Language Interpreter (NIC). Kenton serves as president of the Interpreters and Translators Association of Alabama (ITAA).
Michael Ottinger (he/him) first became interested in American Sign Language (ASL) after seeing the theme park interpreters in Orlando. He has taught English in Beijing and was residential staff at the Tennessee School for the Deaf. He now holds a B.A. in Communication from East Tennessee State University with an A.A. in Sign Language Interpretation from Valencia College and has been interpreting in Orlando since 2018.
Lasia has been around sign language her entire life but she decided to take interpreting seriously about 12 years ago. Knowing both ASL and JSL (Jamaican Sign Language) and has been an interpreter for the past 10 years. She loves traveling and experiencing different cultures, food and languages.
Darren Reed (he/him) started his career in bilingual settings 15 years ago. He has been working as an interpreter since 2013. He is a nationally certified medical interpreter (Spanish) and a state screened ASL interpreter. After graduating from the interpreter training program at a local junior college, Darren started his own private practice as a trilingual interpreter.
Sara Salem (she/her) has always been focused on education and teaching others. Already fluent in English and Arabic, Sara became interested in American Sign Language and took her passion beyond learning the language to becoming an interpreter.
Sonja Sowders (she/her) is NIC certified and has been working in the interpreting field for 14 years. She has a friendly approach to her mentoring but still pushes the people she works with to be the best they can be in order to provide the best interpreting experience for the Deaf individuals they work with. She graduated from Saint Paul College in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2007 with an Associate’s degree in Sign Language Interpreting.
Sabrina Spansel (she/her) is an Oregonian currently working in Alaska as an Educational Interpreter. She recently obtained her MA degree in Interpreting Studies from Western Oregon University and wants to go for a PhD or EdD in the future. She loves to travel, explore the outdoors, and recently adopted a kitty named Portland. Her favorite things to do are: decorate, anything with glitter, and spend time with her little family.
Sheila Ward (she/her) is dedicated to the field of Sign Language Interpretation. She learned sign language as a teenager through the association of friends who were CODAs and interpreters who helped kindle her interest in American Sign Language. In 2007, she obtained an AS degree from the Sign Language Interpretation Program at Hillsborough Community College and is currently working on a BAS degree in Supervision and Management.
Tatyania Watts (she/her) obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Maryville College, majoring in American Sign Language- English Interpreting. However, her love for ASL didn't start there. Having Deaf parents allowed Tatyania to be immersed into the Deaf community where she made it one of her goals to instill that same love of the language into others.
Lauren Woitalla (she/her) is a sign language interpreter with a passion for spreading the joy of American Sign Language (ASL). Learning ASL has opened many doors and started friendships that will last a lifetime. When she is not singing, Lauren is spending time with family and friends, playing games, organizing (yes, she finds that fun), and exploring! People have described her as fun, humorous, and passionate. She looks forward to working with you and growing together in the world of sign language!
Jeannette (she/her) originally started taking classes for her theater degree and has since transitioned into becoming a full time sign language interpreter. She loves the access and connections that ASL has given her over the years. It's such a rewarding language and she thinks everyone should learn ASL and be able to engage with such a wonderful community of people.