Meet the Presenters | Conference 2014

Nkiki Akunwafor

Nkiki Akunwafor

Nkiki Akunwafor grew up in Maryland and currently lives in Boston.  Nkiki has worked at Deaf, Inc. as an Independent Living Specialist for the past five years.  She graduated from Gallaudet University with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and minor in Spanish.  In college, Nkiki participated in a language immersion program in Spain.  She also completed her senior year internship in Costa Rica, working in the Deaf Costa Rican community.  Nkiki is an active member of Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf and enjoys volunteering within the community with different activities. Nkiki is a member of National Black Deaf Advocates.

 

 

 

Rachel Benedict

Rachel Benedict

Rachel Benedict is a Deaf Education graduate student at Boston University where she also received her Masters in Applied Linguistics. She is a native of Maryland, grew up there and attended Gallaudet University. Rachel aspires to teach Deaf children like her and is especially interested in studying in how language interaction and development happens in the classroom. Other than being a learner for life, Rachel is obsessed with the snow and skiing!

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Bucci

Bruce Bucci

 

Bruce Bucci, M.Ed., Ed.S,  has worked in the field of Deaf Education for 15 years as a teacher, team leader, workshop presenter (Deaf Education, Leadership and Organizational Change), ASL storyteller, and Instructor (McDaniel College, Holy Cross College, Rhode Island College and Boston University). He has a BA from Rhode Island College, a MEd from McDaniel College and an EdS from Gallaudet University. He currently teaches Deaf Literature, ASL Literature, Deaf Culture and History, and American Sign Language (ASL) as a second language. Mr. Bucci’s research includes the impact of a teacher’s ASL fluency skills in content area on Deaf students’ learning achievements in each content area. Currently, he serves as Director of the Programs in Deaf Studies at Boston University and Advisor for the Deaf Studies Club.

 

 

 

 

 

Dennis Cokely

Dennis Cokely

Dennis Cokely is currently the Director of the ASL Program, Professor, and the Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Dennis is internationally known as a consultant and lecturer. For 15 years Dennis worked in various positions at Gallaudet University (as a teacher of elementary and high school students, an administrator, an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School, and as a Research Associate in the Linguistics Research Lab where he worked with William Stokoe). In 1985 he served as Director for a project funded by the Canadian government through the University of New Brunswick to develop a model curriculum for Interpreter Education programs. From 1983 through 1987 he served as the president of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and was instrumental in revising the RID’s certification and testing program. During the past several years he has conducted numerous training modules both in the United States and abroad on ASL semantics and developing and conducting diagnostic assessments of interpreters.  Dennis received his doctorate in Sociolinguistics from Georgetown University and also has a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics. His publications include numerous articles, a series of five textbooks on American Sign Language (generally known as “The Green Books”) which he co-authored with Charlotte Baker-Shenk, Sign Language Interpreters and Interpreting and Interpretation which he edited and A Sociolinguistic Model which has been translated into German and excerpted into Swedish and Japanese. A Sociolinguistic Model is widely used in the U.S. and Europe for interpreter education and has formed the foundation for formal diagnostic assessments of interpreters in the US, Canada and Europe. Through the company he co-founded, Sign Media, Inc., Dennis has produced and/or directed over 250 videotape programs focusing on American Sign Language, Deaf Culture, and Interpreter Education.

 

Betty Colonomos

Betty Colonomos

Betty M. Colonomos, currently serving as Director of the Bilingual Mediation Center, is a fluent ASL/English bilingual. Her academic training has been in Deaf Education/Speech Pathology (undergraduate), Counseling (graduate) and Linguistics (doctoral.)  Betty was awarded the Masters Comprehensive Skills Certificate (MCSC) from RID in 1980.  She was the second recipient of the Mary Stotler Award for excellence in Interpreter Education from CIT.  Betty has chaired many national committees on standards and evaluation of interpreters. Ms. Colonomos is well known as an educator of interpreters and language consultant.  She has developed the most widely used model (Integrated Model of Interpreting  – IMI) for teaching processes used in interpreting.  Her current energies are focused on creating Communities of Reflective Practitioners.  She is the oldest daughter of Deaf parents.

 

 

 

Matt Etemad-Gilbertson

Matt Etemad-Gilbertson

Matt Etemad-Gilbertson, CI & CT, is a freelance interpreter in the Boston area with 16 years of interpreting experience. After 10 years as a contract interpreter with a vocational rehabilitation agency, Matt worked as the Trainer/Manager for the Boston Sorenson location. Now working freelance again, his professional interests include the work of Dean & Pollard on the Demand Control Schema and its application to interpreting, and more specifically, to supervision. He has served as a Screening Evaluator with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for the past 8 years. Matt lives in the Boston area with his husband and daughter.

 

 

 

Patrick Graybill

Patrick Graybill

Patrick Graybill was born in Kansas just before World War II began. He is one of seven children; five of them, including him, were born Deaf. , and he has a hearing sister, who is a retired sign language interpreter. In 1958, he graduated from the Kansas School for the Deaf, where an eloquent Deaf teacher whose storytelling ability made him think seriously about becoming a storyteller. He also saw his older sister in a school production of Tom Sawyer, which planted in his head the desire to be an actor. He graduated from Gallaudet College with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1963 and a master’s degree in education in 1964. Then he had a position of an instructor at Kendall School for the Deaf for three years and became disillusioned with his first career, which led him to decide to study to be a Roman Catholic priest at Catholic University for two years without support services. He then accepted an invitation to be a member of the National Theatre of the Deaf and had a wonderful decade of professional acting as well as of operating its summer school for aspiring actors for a few years. He retired in 2004 as a performing arts and literature professor for twenty-three years at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and still serves as a permanent deacon for Emmanuel Church of the Deaf, a Catholic church in Rochester, New York. He was being conferred the degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Honorius Causa, from St. Thomas University, Miami Gardens, Florida, on May 7, 2005. His avocations are acting, storytelling, creating original poems in his native language, American Sign Language, and translating texts from English into ASL.

 

Edgar Herrera

Edgar Herrera

Edgar Herrera is currently the Business Manager in the Administration and Finance Department at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), where he has worked for the past 25 years.  Edgar has been involved with the Deaf community in various capacities for over 23 years.  He is currently the treasurer for two nonprofit organizations; KeySteps, Inc., and most recently International Deaf Emergency (IDE). He has held various positions as President, Treasurer, and General Board Member of the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf.

Edgar was born and raised in Guatemala.  When he was a teenager, he moved to the United States for educational opportunities.  He is married to Elsa, together they have three children, Javier, Julius and Alejandra.

 

Marlene Hostovsky

Marlene Hostovsky

Marlene Hostovsky grew up in Somerville, MA in a large family with three deaf sisters and seven hearing siblings. She graduated from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and currently works at the Mass. Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as an Accountant. She is active in the local Deaf theater group, A Show of Hands for which she wrote and directed “Eyeth: The Journey” which was performed in Boston in 2011. She is currently directing a second play, “A Deaf Family Diary,” which will be performed later this year. She lives with her husband Paul and two children, Joshua and Amber, in Medfield, MA.

 

 

 

 

Jim Lipsky

Jim Lipsky

Jim Lipsky has been an ASL/Deaf Studies/Interpreter instructor at Northeastern University and Tufts University in Boston, MA since 1992.  He was one of the first graduates of the Northeastern University Interpreter Preparation Program for Deaf Persons (IPPDP) in 1996.  He is now nationally RID Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI). He has been a freelance Deaf interpreter for about eighteen years and a Deaf-Blind community interpreter for twenty-five. He has received a master degree in Deaf Studies at Boston University in 1999.  He also has completed a legal interpreter training program by Advancement Seminars, Inc. in 1997.  He has a Professional Certification through the National ASLTA.  Jim is the first person in American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) history to certify Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) ASL Full Rater certification.  Jim is co-coordinator for the Road to Deaf Interpreting (RDI) Workshop series for Deaf participants in Worcester, MA.  We just completed the third RDI program in the Northeast region.  He is also co-teaching a few weekend workshops for Deaf participants who want to learn how to become a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI).  Check the website: roadtodeafinterpreting.webs.com.  He is also giving the various ASL/interpreting workshops around the New England area. He was a Massachusetts State Screened Interpreters Evaluator for Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), Boston, MA from 1999 to 2012. He was also a screener for New Hampshire State Screened Interpreters from 2009-10.  From 2004 to 2008, he was a President of MassRID after serving as a Vice President for two years and was a President of Massachusetts Chapter of ASLTA from 1998 to 2002.

Kristie Medeiros

Kristie Medeiros

Kristie Medeiros is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan who now lives in Milford, Massachusetts. Since 2004, Kristie has been a Teachers Aide for the Program for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children at Bridgewater Elementary School through R.E.A.D.S Collaborative. This experience has led her to a number of opportunities, including teaching ASL in an after-school program and volunteering for the PTO in Milford and for Autism Allied Events. In addition, Kristie is in her second year working as an ASL Mentor with The Mentorship Program. Previous teaching experience includes working as a summer instructional aide at the interpreter training program at NTID, coordinating the RITsign program at RIT for three years and working for the Family Sign Language Program under MSAD for two years. Kristie also attended American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) training for two years. Kristie received her Master of Education in Behavior Management at American International College in Springfield. She is married and the mother of three hearing children.

 

 

Ivelisse Velez

Ivelisse Velez

Ivelisse Velez is a grassroots Deaf and Latina Community Advocate and grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She graduated from Springfield College with Bachelor’s in Human Services with cum laude. Currently, she works as an Intensive Care Coordinator at the Walden Wraparound CSA – The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts serving families with children as part of a bicultural, bilingual mental health care program statewide.  She has worked in human services for over 25 years and developed specialized consultations, staff training and program/process evaluations focusing on intercultural competences and on issues related to valuing diversity within culturally, racially and linguistic diverse school settings, workplaces and organizations. She also conducted and chaired effective cultural sensitivity workshops, conferences, numerous presentations, seminars and panels addressing issues affecting Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers.  She is an active member of Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf {MSAD} as a Vice President of Public Relations, Boston Latino Deaf Association and co-founder of Sound-Off Theatre.

Dawn Whitcher

Dawn Whitcher

Dawn Whitcher, CI, CT, NIC, received her B.S. from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.  With the education of ASL/English Interpreting as her foundation, she then received her M.A. in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from Arizona State University.  Dawn’s thesis was a focus of mentorship programs for working interpreters.   She hopes to pursue a Ph.D., following her RID Board service, in Sociology or Social Justice.  Dawn currently works as a community interpreter in the Boston area and as an adjunct instructor at Northeastern University.  Her experience in leadership extends beyond her current position of RID President.  She has also served on the RID Board as Secretary and Region V Representative.  Dawn also served as the interpreter representative on the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Board of Directors.

 

  • Contact

    Regional Interpreter Education Center
    American Sign Language Program
    405 Meserve Hall
    Northeastern University
    Boston, MA 02115
    617-373-8262 voice
    857.366.4195 VP and voice
    617-373-3065 fax

    Northeastern University Regional Interpreter Education Center