Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute


People


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Stephanie Cawthon

Dr. Stephanie Cawthon is the director of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute. For more information, read Cawthon's full bio.



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Tom Humphries

Dr. Tom Humphries is associate professor and associate director of the Teacher Education Program as well as associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego. One strand of Humphries' current work focuses on how "talking culture" among Deaf people in recent history informs our understanding of cultural processes and how meaning circulates. In addition, he has developed a teacher training curriculum that uses a new construct: the application of indigenous bilingual teaching practices to classrooms of deaf children. He has published two widely used American Sign Language textbooks, Learning American Sign Language (Allyn & Bacon, 2004) and A Basic Course in American Sign Language (TJ Publishers, 1980). He is co-author (with Carol Padden) of Deaf in America: Voices From a Culture (1988) and the newly released Inside Deaf Culture, both from Harvard University Press. He received his Ph.D. in cross cultural communication and language learning from Union Graduate School. To contact Humphries, visit the UC San Diego website.


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Poorna Kushalnagar

Dr. Poorna Kushalnagar is a research associate professor in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Kushalnagar received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) pediatric research loan repayment award and research supplement to promote diversity in health-related research for her postdoctoral training at the University of Washington. She served as a research fellow for an NIH Institutional National Research Service Award in community-based participatory research at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She also participated in a 2011 NIH and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Summer Institute on Applied Research in Child and Adolescent Development. She is the principal investigator of two active NIH grant awards (R01 and R15). She has extensive experience in conducting and supervising educational and neuropsychological assessments with deaf and hard of hearing students. She received her B.A. in psychology from Gallaudet University and her M.A. in psychology and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Houston. To contact Kushalnagar, visit the Rochester Institute of Technology website.


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Ross E. Mitchell

Dr. Ross E. Mitchell is an associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Redlands. Prior to joining the Redlands faculty, Mitchell was a senior research scientist and associate director for program, policy, and population studies in the Gallaudet Research Institute at Gallaudet University. His research has two foci: (1) education policy analysis and evaluation and (2) the population of school-age deaf and hard of hearing children in the United States. His work emphasizes both original and secondary analyses of large-scale survey and academic assessment studies. To contact Mitchell, visit the University of Redlands website.



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Carrie Lou Garberoglio

Dr. Carrie Lou Garberoglio is an educational researcher and evaluator. Her research examines deaf individuals’ psychological processes in a variety of contexts: teaching, language learning, computer-mediated communication, and transition from secondary to postsecondary settings. She is the current co-Principal Investigator of an OSEP-funded center on strengthening postsecondary outcomes for deaf individuals, the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes. Carrie Lou has authored over 17 scholarly publications, two books in preparation, and numerous technical and evaluation reports. As a part of her goal to increase research rigor in work that involves deaf communities, Carrie Lou is the co-editor of Research in Deaf Education: Contexts, Challenges, Considerations, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2017. She also teaches research methods and statistics coursework at the University of Northern Colorado. As a deaf person who was raised in the deaf community, Carrie Lou is committed to increasing the accessibility of research for deaf audiences, using ASL in video formats to translate and disseminate complex academic content. Carrie Lou holds two masters’ degrees, the first in Deaf Education and Deaf Studies from Lamar University, and the second in Program Evaluation from the University of Texas at Austin. She obtained her PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. 




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Jackson Busenbark

Jack Busenbark is a driven leader with over 15 years of professional experience. Busenbark strives to promote self-sufficiency for deaf individuals. He is an award-winning expert in community relations, outreach, marketing and sales, mainly in the telecommunications relay industry. His background in K-12 educational administration, as well as his own experience navigating the deaf education system, has fueled his passion to better postsecondary outcomes for deaf individuals. Additionally, he has served on the boards of several deaf-related organizations and is currently president of the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation. He holds two bachelor’s degrees from Gallaudet University in psychology and computer information systems, and a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix in business administration.


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Summer Crider Loeffler

Summer Crider established her own educational media company, The Giving Cypress, LLC, in 2014, to provide videography and educational consulting services. Crider obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in deaf cultural studies from Gallaudet University. She periodically teaches ASL to deaf adults at Austin Community College and deaf studies courses through Gallaudet University's online degree program. She is currently a board member of ASLized, specializing in educational technology, development of online curriculas, translation, and accessibility technologies. She is passionate about the environmental and social justice issues and can be found volunteering at community events, providing media and accessibility services.


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Savannah Davidson


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Laura Dodson

Laura Dodson serves as the outreach coordinator for the National Deaf Center. With a strong interest in the deaf community, equal access, and making things happen, Dodson makes quick work of coordinating events and projects within the organization. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and brings over 15 years of educational experience to the center.


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Marissa Filderman

Marissa Filderman is currently pursuing her Ph.D in special education at the University of Texas at Austin. Before starting the program, Filderman earned a B.A. in sociology from the University of Maryland and a M.Ed in curriculum and instruction with a focus on literacy at American University. Filderman taught special education at high-needs elementary schools in Washington, DC, and Pompano Beach, FL. She is particularly interested in research on reading interventions for students with and at risk for learning disabilities.


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Alex Forbis

Alex Forbis has a master's degree in educational psychology, with a specialization in human development, culture, and learning sciences. Forbis' research over the last 2 years has explored quantitative and qualitative methods across social science and educational research. Specifically, his research has explored STEM graduate student learning and collaboration, as well as authentic leadership in spiritual organizations. Currently, he works on the National Center for Systemic Improvement evaluation project.

 
 

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Diego Guerra

Diego Guerra is passionate about community engagement. As the coordinator, Guerra is responsible for Engage for Change | local, a community model that brings people together to promote stronger networks within local communities, which leads to quality access, services, and resources for deaf individuals. Guerra holds a bachelor’s degree in history from The University of Texas at Austin.


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Jennifer Higgins

Jennifer Higgins has 15 years of experience managing research and development programs that focus on accessibility. Over this time, Higgins has led the coordination of three Enhanced Assessment Grant (EAG) projects and has directed all activities for a fourth, which focused on research and development of guidelines for American Sign Language (ASL) and audio representation of K-12 assessment content. At NDC, she coordinates the process of identifying, studying, and disseminating practices at sites across the country that support positive outcomes for deaf individuals. She has published more than one dozen articles and has co-authored one book on high-stakes testing. She holds a bachelor's degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in educational research, measurement, and evaluation from Boston College.


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Tia Ivanko

Tia Ivanko works to promote conditions for optimal success for deaf students by providing information, gathering evidence-based resources, developing training, and providing consultation and support services to inquiring stakeholders. Ivanko has over 15 years of professional experience and brings a comprehensive range of expertise related to education and communication access for deaf individuals. She also has experience evaluating, implementing, and overseeing accommodations and access services. She is a nationally certified interpreter, knowledgeable of technical, ethical, and professional practices within the interpreting field. She holds a master’s degree in deaf education from Western Maryland College and a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College.


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Paige Johnson


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Lauren Kinast

Lauren “Lore” Kinast is a technical assistance specialist. Kinast previously worked at public state universities and community colleges coordinating interpreting, captioning, and accommodations for deaf students to access their education. In addition to having 15+ years of experience coordinating services, she has served on several advisory committees or as a board member for various organizations supporting the provision of access and services for deaf individuals. Prior to working in the postsecondary education sector, she worked as an employment development specialist for deaf individuals, providing job coaching, employment skills training, and awareness and consultation to employers. She received her master’s degree from California State University, Northridge in educational administration and is currently pursuing her doctorate degree at Texas Tech University in higher education leadership with an emphasis on serving deaf students.


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Kameron Kinast


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Andres (Flash) Otalora

Andrés “Flash” Otalora is a native New Yorker with a Colombian heritage. After overcoming spinal meningitis, Otalora became an artist and realized his dream of being a filmmaker. While taking graphic design at Gallaudet University, he took a film and literature course that inspired him to become a filmmaker. He got his first Canon GL-2 as a birthday gift from his father, which only encouraged him to pursue his passion. From a humble beginning of shooting weddings and being in theater, he grew into a director of photography, assistant director, director, editor, and assistant producer for films. Tapping into his artistic roots, he approaches each cinematic shot as if it is a blank canvas to be painted. His love of filmmaking is only growing as he continues to make it his life’s art.


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Claire Ryan


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Sammi Shupe

Sammi Shupe is a graphic designer with a degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2014. After Shupe started her first job, she realized she wanted to do more. She found her passion in bringing her graphic art to life through motion graphics and 2D animations. She likes to get her hands on anything from sewing to filming to 3D printing. She is passionate about volunteering and leading a women's ministry in Austin. She is involved in a Deaf camp in the Dominican Republic every year.


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Laura Thain


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Erica Wendel


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Stephanie Zito

Stephanie Zito is a professional sign language interpreter and trained C-Print captionist. After studying interpreting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Zito went on to pursue her master’s degree in nonprofit management and leadership from the Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management. Prior to joining the NDC team, she primarily worked as an interpreter and captionist in postsecondary settings, but also worked in community, VRS, and K-12 educational settings. She has also devoted her time to working with local, state, and national nonprofit organizations. Currently, she serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Interpreters in Education (NAIE) and volunteers on several committees for the Wisconsin Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (WisRID).