Our Staff

NIEC Staff

Trudy Schafer, MPA, MIP


g.schafer@neu.edu / ext: 3027 (V) - 857.366.4190 (VP)

Trudy Schafer, MIP, MPA, CSC, CI/CT, is the Director for the National Interpreter Education Center at Northeastern University. She has been a practicing interpreter since 1976 and an interpreter educator since 2002. Trudy has served as president of Children of Deaf Adults International and two state chapters of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf: Illinois and Massachusetts.

Dawn Whitcher, M.A.

Project Coordinator

d.whitcher@neu.edu / ext: 7078 (V) - 857.366.4181 (VP)

Dawn Whitcher received her B.S. from Northeastern University. 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. As a forever student, Dawn 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. Dawn lives in Connecticut with her husband and two sons.

Danielle Koplitz

Administrative Assistant

d.koplitz@neu.edu / ext: 8734 (V) - 857.366.5205 (VP)

Danielle Koplitz had recently graduated from Gallaudet University with a BA in Deaf Studies. She worked at Communication Service for the Deaf prior to working for NIEC in Austin, TX. Danielle also worked at the Texas School for the Deaf as a DeafTEC Grant Manager and as an ASL Tutor at Austin Community College. During her spare time she enjoys being outdoors biking and exploring Boston.

Dennis Cokely, Ph. D.

Principal Investigator

d.cokely@neu.edu / ext: 8425 (V) - 857-366-4204 (VP)

Dennis Cokely is the director of the ASL Program, a professor. 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 U.S., 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.

Aju Cherian

Media and Technology Specialist

a.cherian@neu.edu / ext: 857-366-5215 (VP)

Aju works as a Media and Technology Specialist for NIEC since 2011. He obtained several degrees in the field of Information Technology from various colleges including Seattle Center Community College and Rochester Institute of Technology. Aju enjoys his work here - developing databases, websites and making videos. His hobbies are playing cricket, chess, volleyball, soccer, swimming and running. He loves to travel to the beach or the mountains. He also enjoys working as a volunteer for nonprofit organizations.