Cohort 1 Scholars

Sulaiman Adeoye, Deafness/Hard of Hearing - University of North Carolina, Greensboro
NLCSD Scholar - SulaimanFor about 13 years, Sulaiman has been teaching Mathematics to Secondary School students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) at Marlton School, Los Angeles, California.  He has also served in other capacities such as the school's Athletic Director, Math Coach, Math Department Chair, Secondary Department Chair, in-service teachers' mentor or support provider, and part time math method teacher at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

Besides, he is an active and prolific member of the school's several committees including the Instructional Leadership Team, Common Core Team, Common Core Math Team and Personnel Selection Committee among others.

Sulaiman earned his B.Sc in Economics with a minor in Accounting from University of Ilorin, Nigeria. After working briefly for a year with Afribank Nigeria PLC, he relocated to the United States for further education. He obtained his Master’s from Gallaudet University, Washington, DC and CSUN in administration and special education respectively. He also has two distinct teaching certifications to his credit from CSUN (Math and DHH credentials).

He is attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for his PhD in special education. His research interest in in the area of mathematics instruction of DHH students.

His hobbies include reading, writing, travelling, watching movies, cooking, walking, exercising, playing ping pong and soccer
Brooke Barnhill, Deafblindness - University of Utah
Brooke Barnhill, NLCSD Cohort 1 ScholarBrooke Barnhill has worked in the field of Special Education for 10 years. She earned her BA in Psychology in 2001 and her M.Ed in Special Education, specializing in Deafblindness, in 2005. Over the years, she has had the pleasure to work in a variety of roles within the field of special education. Brooke has worked as: a 1-to-1 aide to children with autism, a parent advisor in early intervention, a special education classroom teacher, a district wide teacher, and as a statewide deaf-blind educational consultant. She found that each new opportunity brought more questions on how to best serve those that she worked with and is excited to pursue her PhD at the University of Utah. 

Brooke’s main areas of interest include; early intervention to support families of infants and children who are deaf-blind, language acquisition for individuals with multiple impairments including sensory loss, and how to best teach care providers and educational teams to carry out best practices with fidelity.  She hopes that her studies will yield results that not only answer important questions but will also provide resources that may help parents and teachers implement meaningful change in the lives of individuals who have disabilities, including deafblindness.

Brooke enjoys reading, exploring new places, and trying different foods that she has never had before.
Eric Caruso, Blindness/Visual Impairment - Florida State University
NLCSD - ScholarsEric Caruso spent nine years working as a guide dog mobility instructor for The Seeing Eye in Morristown New Jersey.  While there he worked on training the dogs and then worked to team up people with visual disabilities and the fully trained guide dogs.  While working at The Seeing Eye Eric completed his Master's degree in Adult Orientation and Mobility from Western Michigan University.  For the last year Eric has been working as a Computer Access Technology (CAT) instructor at the West Haven VA Hospital.  As a CAT instructor one works with the veterans on a number of different programs and products and tailor a program to fit exactly what they need.  At the hospital, the instructors work with a number of different programs and products such as JAWS, ZoomText, Guide, iPhone and iPad, Mac computers, Windows computers, and Apple TV.  

In his spare time Eric enjoys playing soccer and hockey.  He also runs half marathons and has been a guide for a blind runner on a couple of occasions.
 
Brittany Dorn, University of Northern Colorado - Deafness/Hard of Hearing
NLCSD Scholar - BrittanyBrittany Dorn is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in special education at the University of Northern Colorado. Before moving to Colorado, Brittany worked as an itinerant teacher for the deaf/hard of hearing for four years.  In this role, Brittany taught students of all ages (pre-K through grade twelve), consulted with teachers and school staff, and presented in-services on hearing loss.  Brittany was also involved in social programming for students with hearing loss, including three years working at Clarke’s Explore the Outdoors camping trip for teens and four years working at Clarke’s Summer Adventure camp, including one year in which she acted as coordinator.  Brittany has presented on topics related to hearing loss at nationwide conferences, including the Clarke Mainstream Conference, the AG Bell Convention, and the Educational Audiology Association Conference. Brittany is particularly interested in fostering self-advocacy skills among deaf and hard of hearing students.

Brittany received her Master’s degree in deaf education from Smith College in Northampton, Mass.  Before becoming a teacher of the deaf, Brittany worked as a second grade teacher in a mainstream classroom in Hartford, Conn.  She earned her BA in English and journalism at the University of Connecticut.  She enjoys reading, journaling, and yoga.
 
Danene Fast, Blindness/Visual Impairment - The Ohio State University
NLCSD Scholar - FastDanene Fast began her journey in the field of education with a dual undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Special Education for Children with Visual Impairments from Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA.  After teaching for three years, she attended Western Michigan University to earn her Master’s degree in Orientation and Mobility.

Originally from New Jersey, Danene has worked in several capacities throughout the past twenty years, including positions as a TVI, COMS, Graduate Assistant and Outreach Consultant, in the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Michigan, Alabama and Ohio.  She currently resides in Worthington, Ohio, with her husband and two sons, where she is employed as a manager for the Programs in Sensory Impairments (VI, HI and O&M), as well as the lead instructor for the OSU Program in Orientation and Mobility, at The Ohio State University.

Danene is active with the Ohio Chapter of AER, where she currently serves as Treasurer of the organization, Division Nine of AER International, where she serves as the Blasch Scholarship Committee Chairperson, the Council for Exceptional Children and several local committees with a focus on services for children with visual impairments.  Beginning in the Autumn Semester of 2015, she will be attending The Ohio State University where she will pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree within the Department of Teaching and Learning.  Professional objectives include impacting the field of sensory impairments through focus on advocacy, research, and commitment to preparation programs for prospective educators
Taylor Hallenbeck, Deafness/Hard of Hearing - University of North Carolina, Greensboro
NLCSD Scholar - TaylorTaylor Hallenbeck is a certified Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing.  She holds a B.A. in English and History, a B.Ed. in Elementary (K - 8), and an M.Ed. in Education of Deaf/Hard of Hearing.  During completion of her M.Ed., she began working as a Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing.

First, she worked in British Columbia. as an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, covering a medical leave.  Then, when that term was up, she moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Her first year there she worked part time as an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and part time as a substitute teacher at the Manitoba School for the Deaf.  The following September, she began full time work as an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and has worked there for the past 4 years.

During her time in Winnipeg, Taylor has been involved in various professional projects and organizations.  She has helped gather and write resources for families in preparation for Manitoba’s 2016 launch of its Newborn Hearing Screening Program.  She has also been the journal editor for the Canadian Association of Educators of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Journal for the past two years.  As well, she has been involved in planning, running, and presenting in multiple professional development conferences over the years.

Taylor is going to the University of North Carolina Greensboro to study mathematical literacy in the education of students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing.  Taylor is fluent in English and ASL.  In her spare time she enjoys reading, dancing, travelling, and camping.
Leala Holcomb, Deafness/Hard of Hearing - University of Tennessee, Knoxville
NLCSD Scholars, LealaLeala comes from a multigenerational deaf family with her parents and grandparents passionately involved in improving the quality of education for Deaf children. After graduating from the California School for the Deaf, Fremont in 2005, she continued her education at Gallaudet University and earned a B.A. in International Education and Development. She also obtained a M.A. in Deaf Education from National University.

She returned to CSDF to teach in the Early Childhood Education department where she was instrumental in developing American Sign Language (ASL) standards, bilingual resources, and visual nursery rhymes. She is also committed to the anti-oppression work and aims to eradicate systemic inequalities within the education system. Since then, she has taught college level courses at Kapiolani Community College and Chinese University of Hong Kong on topics pertaining to Deaf education. She also has been giving presentations at national and international conferences in addition to providing consultations to schools.

Currently, she is a second year Ph.D. student and devoting her energy on a new enterprise called Hands Land: ASL Rhymes and Rhythms for Young Children. She is also the international consultant for the Vietnam Intergenerational Deaf Education Outreach Project.
Kimberly Hutter, Deafness/Hard of Hearing - University of North Carolina, Greensboro
NLCSD Scholar - KimberlyKimberly Hutter is working on her PhD in Special Education – Deaf and Hard of Hearing at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Her area of concentration is Education Law and Policy Reform with a focus in state and federal policy relating to educational interpreter preparation programs and educational interpreters employed in the K-12 setting.

Prior to Kimberly’s studies at UNCG she was an Instructor in an Interpreter Training Program at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Washington.  She worked on various projects including ASL Storytelling Time at Barnes & Noble, Silent Coffee Chat, and the viewing of "No Ordinary Here: The Superdeafy Movie."  She also attended a variety of meetings and presented at area workshops in an effort to bring awareness and support of Washington State House Bill 1144, requiring Educational Interpreters to gain a 3.5 or higher on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment to acquire employment. 

Kimberly earned her Master’s of Education Degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University, Bachelor’s Degree in Sign Language Interpretation from Siena Heights University, and Associate’s Degree in Educational Interpreting from Northcentral Technical College.  She holds her National Certification in Ed: K-12 Interpreting. 
 
Casey Reimer, Deafness/Hard of Hearing - Washington University, St. Louis
NLCSD Scholars - KraussCasey Reimer attends Washington University in St. Louis where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She is focusing on developing the social skills of preschool children with hearing loss as well as different vocabulary learning strategies for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
 
Casey is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan where she earned her B.S. in Elementary Education. Upon graduation, she followed two of her passions, teaching and traveling, by moving to Sydney, Australia and then Park City, Utah. After two years of teaching, traveling, and snowboarding Casey moved to St. Louis to begin her Master’s of Science in Deaf Education at Washington University in St. Louis. When she completed her Masters, Casey accepted a job teaching children with hearing loss to talk and listen at The Moog Center for Deaf Education in St. Louis. With the guidance and mentorship of listening and spoken language specialists at The Moog Center, Casey spent two years working with children aged 3-6 in an intensive therapeutic setting. While teaching speech, language, and listening skills to children with a range of hearing loss and language ability, Casey’s desire to expand her knowledge in the field of deafness grew. In her free time, Casey coaches a Special Olympics basketball team, enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the lake in Michigan. She is forever a Wolverines fan and is now an adoptive Cardinals fan.
 
Gloshanda Lawyer, Deafness/Hard of Hearing - University of Tennessee, Knoxville
NLCSD Scholar - GloshandaGloshanda Lawyer is a South Carolina native. She attended the University of Minnesota where she completed her Bachelor's of Individualized Studies with concentration in Linguistics, Spanish Studies and Deaf Studies as well as her Master's of Education (Special Education) where she received teaching licenses in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education and Early Childhood Special Education. From 2011-2014 she worked as a Preschool Teacher at Metro Deaf School a bilingual- bicultural school with ASL as the language of instruction, in Saint Paul, MN. During that time, she also served as Co-chairperson for the Parent Teacher Group for one year and the High School Track and Field Coach for 2 years. In 2014, she resigned her positions at Metro Deaf School in order to work as a Birth-3 Early Childhood Special Education Teacher for Saint Paul Public Schools where she worked under Part C of the Federal law and did home visiting instruction with families and infants and initial assessments for Special Education. Gloshanda has also worked as a professional Spanish medical interpreter for the past 7 years and as a Spanish medical translator for the past 2 years. She also does community-based interpreting for Deaf individuals in Spanish settings (ASL-Spanish) interpreting. 

Gloshanda will be attending the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to complete her doctoral studies with emphasis in Early Childhood and Deaf Education. 
 
Kevin McCormack, Blindness/Visual Impairment - University of Massachusetts, Boston
NLCSD Scholars - KevinKevin McCormack has been working as a certified orientation and mobility (O&M) specialist for the blind for 11 years. His students have ranged in ages from two to 92, with the bulk of his work with school-age students. He has worked for World Services for the Blind, the Arkansas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, and Boston Public Schools. He has taught adjunct in O&M at Stephen F. Austin State University and UMass Boston. He got his O&M certificate training from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2005. Kevin was president-elect of the Arkansas chapter of the Association of Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) in 2014 and is currently the Chairman of the International Services and Global Issues Division of AER. He is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he will work to obtain a PhD in Global Inclusion and Social Development. He would like to focus his research on the applications of O&M among immigrant and/or refugee communities. Here are a couple of videos he has created to assist people in a variety of ways to understand and promote O&M for the individual student and in the community. 

Basic O&M: This video has been translated into Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Turkish:

The Value of O&M
 
Ann Pilewskie, Blindness/Visual Impairment - The Ohio State University
NLCSD Scholars - AnnAnn Pilewskie has been a special educator for 35 years, serving students with complex or multiple disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and blindness/visual impairments, in various capacities. She received her B.S. in Special Education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. in Special Education/Supervision from The Ohio State University.  She has served as a classroom teacher in both elementary and middle schools and as the Low Incidence Consultant and a Special Education Coordinator for Columbus Public Schools. Ann also served as Director of Autism Services at the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. She most recently served as the Transition Coordinator at the Ohio State School for the Blind and Project Manager for the Ohio Transition Collaborative for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired, a special contract/project with the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI)/Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) (OH’s Vocational Rehabilitation Agency).  

Ann has been an instructor for Outreach and Engagement classes, as well as TVI classes at the Ohio State University and a frequent presenter at conferences, workshops, and professional development engagements, in the areas of: transition and integrated employment; students with complex disabilities including those with autism and blindness, blindness and orthopedic impairments, and other intellectual disabilities, developmental or communication disorders; inclusion/differentiated instruction; sensory and environmental accommodations to meet the needs of all learners, as well as other current topics in the education of students with disabilities.    

Recently, Ann has led in the development and coordination of not only a summer residential program, but a year long intensive work and independent living skills program for young adults who are blind or visually impaired with secondary disabilities, many of them complex. 

Ann will begin work in August on her Ph.D. in the area of Transition and employment issues for young adults who are blind and visually impaired, with a focus on those with complex disabilities, and closing the gap between education and vocational rehabilitation. Ann will study at THE Ohio State University.
 
Kristi Probst, Deafblindness - Illinois State University
NLCSD Scholars - KristiKristi Probst is a second year doctoral student at Illinois State University focusing on educating learners with deafblindness.  She holds certifications in Special Education for Deaf & Hard of Hearing, Low Vision & Blindness, Learning Behavior Specialist 1, Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education.  Kristi has worked as a teacher for the Deaf, an itinerant teacher for the Visually Impaired, Developmental Therapist, University Supervisor for teacher candidates, Sign Language Interpreter, and teacher for students with Learning Disabilities.  Kristi has served as a peer reviewer for the Journal for Visual Impairment and Blindness, a reviewer for the AER International Conference, consultant for American Printing House for the Blind, and as a test item reviewer for Dynamic Learning Maps.  She has also served as the Director of Special Needs Ministry at Eastview Christian Church, has volunteered for various community organizations serving children with disabilities, helped create a program to meet the worship needs of individuals with disabilities in Central Illinois, and helped develop a Vacation Bible School program for children with developmental disabilities and their siblings.  Kristi is active in the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, CEC (DHH, LVB, TED, LD), Illinois chapter of AER and the Illinois Teachers of the Hearing Impaired.  Currently, she is the Chair-Elect for the Multiple Disabilities/Deafblind Division of AER, serves on the Board of Directors for AER as student representative, and is a student representative for the Council for Teacher Education at ISU.  Her current research interests are: education of learners with deafblindness, deaf/hard of hearing, or have visual impairments; comorbid conditions of individuals who have sensory impairments; educational needs specific to underserved populations of children with sensory impairments; inclusive classroom participation of children with both moderate to intense educational needs and deafblindness, hearing impairment, or visual impairments; and teacher training programs in special education and deafblindness, deaf education, and low vision and blindness.  Kristi resides in Central Illinois with her husband and three boys.
 
Carlie Rhoads, Blindness/Visual Impairment - Vanderbilt University
Carlie RhoadsCarlie Rhoads currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a doctoral student in the visual disabilities program at Vanderbilt University. Her current research interests include comprehensive disabilities, communication, coaching of paraprofessionals, and dual-media learners.
 
She holds certifications as a teacher of students with visual impairments, special educator grades kindergarten through 12th, and holds highly qualified status in language arts and reading.  Carlie has earned an endorsement as a teacher of students with visual impairments from Vanderbilt University, a master's degree with a focus on comprehensive disabilities from Vanderbilt University, and a bachelor's degree in English literature and education from Belmont University. 
 
Carlie has worked as a comprehensive development classroom teachers for two years, where she taught children with comprehensive disabilities in grades kindergarten through fourth grade.  She is also the former president and founder of Belmont University's Best Buddy program chapter, and has provided in-home care support for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and severe intellectual disabilities for four years.  Carlie additionally lived overseas for numerous years and has a basic understanding of Arabic, Danish, French, and Spanish.  In her free time, Carlie enjoys volunteering at the Tennessee School for the Blind, reading, and drawing.  She now considers herself a Nashvillian after years of residing in Nashville and has become a loyal fan of the Nashville Predators.
 
Carlie currently works with Dr. Deborah Hatton of Vanderbilt University and they have recently concluded a single subject case study on a dual media learner, using pre-teaching keywords as an intervention strategy.  They have plans for future research involving communication, constant time delay, and coaching paraprofessionals. 
 
Susan Yarbrough, Blindness/Visual Impairment - Florida State University
NLCSD Scholars - SusanThis fall, Susan Yarbrough will begin her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in Special Education - Visual Disabilities at Florida State University.  She recently completed three years of teaching at the Tennessee School for the Blind (TSB) in Nashville, where she taught Orientation and Mobility and Expanded Core Curriculum classes to students of all ages and abilities, though Susan has a particular interest in teaching children who are young and/or have multiple impairments.  She holds ACVREP COMS certification and state teaching endorsements in special education, including visual impairments, early childhood, and modified curriculum.  She has formerly held regular education endorsements in elementary education.  At TSB, Susan served as a member of the coaching staff and was the head cheerleading coach for three winning seasons. 

Prior to moving to Nashville, Susan earned her M.S. in Special Education - Visual Disabilities at Florida State University, interning in Tallahassee and at Perkins School for the Blind.  At Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, Susan studied Inclusive Elementary Education and obtained her B.S.  While in high school and college, Susan spent eight summers working at the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind, serving in a variety of roles from general counselor to assistant director.  Susan enjoys reading a good book, camping with friends, and spending time with her family.
 
 

Cohort 2 Scholars

Janna Dunagan - Deafness/Hard of Hearing - University of Arizona
JannaJanna Dunagan, MS, Deaf Education, has worked with with deaf and hard of hearing students of all ages in the state of Idaho.  She earned her bachelors degree in American Sign Language/English Interpreting from Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon and her masters degree in Deaf Education from Texas Woman's University in Fort Worth, Texas.  For five years she taught at the high school level with a strong emphasis in transition planning. She
has recently been teaching in the Idaho Educational services for the Deaf and Blind Outreach Preschool Program.  She has had experience teaching language acquisition in both the Listening and Spoken Language classroom as well as the Total Communication classroom.  In the Fall of 2016 she will be studying at the University of Arizona in Tucson to attain her PhD in Special Education with a focus in Deaf Education.  
 
Tina Feldman - Deafness/Hard of Hearing - University of Arizona
Tina M. Feldman is beginning her doctoral studies in Special Education: Deaf Education at the University of Arizona.  She graduated from Gallaudet University with a BA in English, and an MA in Linguistics.  She earned her second MA in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from the University of Arizona.

Tina has twenty-two years of educational experience.  Most recently, she taught high school English at the Arizona School for the Deaf.  Her experience spans birth to grade 12, serving two years as a Deaf Mentor Coordinator before moving to classroom teaching.  She also has experience teaching deaf/hard of hearing students in itinerant settings.

During her time at the Arizona School for the Deaf, Tina was part of a mentor team for the ASL-English Bilingual Professional Development.  She continued to provide professional development for the ASD-Tucson campus, ranging from the state-mandated Structured English Immersion to using data to inform teaching and RTI.   

In her free time, Tina enjoys cycling, and spending time with her family.  
Genevieve Francoeur Anderson - Blindness/Visually Impaired
Genevieve is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, an Orientation and Mobility Specialist, and an endorsed special education generalist with mild/moderate experience.  She has been working as an itinerant teacher for a Denver area school district for the past three years.  Her areas of interest within the field of visual impairments include educational equity and the education of children with additional disabilities including deafblindness who have significant support needs. 
 
She has worked with exceptional children in a variety of capacities.  Genevieve first began volunteering in her brother’s self-contained classroom when she was 15-years-old.  She worked her way through college as a counselor at residential homes for adults and children with autism and significant disabilities.  After college, she provided respite care for children with disabilities who were medically fragile.
 
Genevieve enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, camping, and fishing.  She has three kids, (Camille, 12; Ava, 11; and Dominic, 7), a husband (Dave), and two bunny rabbits, Marilyn Manson and Honey Boo Boo.
 
Karla Giese - Deafness/Hard of Hearing - Illinois State University
Karla GieseFor Karla, deaf education has been a way of life.  Born hearing, Karla began losing her hearing as an infant and became profoundly deaf by the time she was nine years old. Her parents chose to raise her with an emphasis on spoken language, using speech therapy, hearing aids, and FM systems while being educated in the mainstream setting. By middle school, Karla began learning sign language and used an interpreter through high school and college.  After many years of teaching in a variety of total communication programs, Karla learned about Cued Speech and its benefits.  She is now a certified instructor of Cued Speech and conducts regular workshops.  Her passion is parent advocacy and literacy.

Karla earned a BA in Deaf Education, Elementary Education, and Special Education from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  She later obtained her Masters in Early Childhood Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. She also got her Early Intervention credential as a Developmental Therapist-Hearing (DTH) and as a Deaf Mentor and spent some time working in the early intervention system in Illinois. 
 
Karla has worked with deaf and hard of hearing children of all ages, from birth to age 21, across all educational settings, utilizing all modes of communication.  It’s been a great learning experience, both personally and professionally!  Throughout her career, Karla has been an active participant in a variety of organizations and has attended numerous trainings, conferences, and workshops on a variety of topics related to deafness. In addition, Karla has given several presentations on various topics including Cued Speech, language acquisition, hearing loss, parent advocacy, and service dogs for the deaf.

Currently, Karla is enrolled at Illinois State University’s Special Education PhD Program. In her free time she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
As a student of deaf education programs, as a teacher in deaf education programs, and as an administrator of deaf education programs, Karla has come full circle. She is very excited as she continues her journey in the field of deaf awareness and education!
 
Kelsey Holton - Deafness/Hard of Hearing
Kelsey HoltonKelsey Holton has been an art, English, and Deaf/Hard of Hearing teacher in a variety of settings since 2008. Originally from the Chicago area, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Art Education with a minor in Communicative Disorders from Northern Illinois University. For four years, she was an art educator in K-12 public schools. During this time, she taught at Blackwell Elementary - a full-inclusion school which incorporated an American Sign Language curriculum for Deaf and hearing children.

In 2012, Kelsey’s love of travel took her to central Vietnam for one year where she taught English and volunteered for Bread of Life – a program to support the acquisition of language and vocational skills for Deaf Vietnamese young adults. 

Upon returning to the U.S. and settling in Tennessee, Kelsey earned a Master of Science in Deaf Education from the University of Tennessee.  With K-8 students at the Tennessee School for the Deaf, Kelsey has been focusing on language development through the medium of visual art resources.  Kelsey will begin her doctoral studies at the University of Tennessee in Deaf Education with a focus on literacy.

In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys reading, hiking, ceramics, and playing her banjo.
Mi Young Jun - Deaf/Hard of Hearing - University of Arizona
Mi Young JunMi Young Jun was born in South Korea and raised in the Chicago suburbs for twenty years, but she has called Arizona home for the last decade or so. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Special Education at the University of Arizona. Prior to entering the program, Mi Young was a certified teacher for deaf and hard of hearing students. For five years she taught both English and history at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf. 

Mi Young completed her bachelor's degree in history at Boston University. She obtained her two master's degrees in library science and Special Education: Deaf and Hard of Hearing from the University of Arizona. Mi Young enjoys reading, writing, crafting, and playing with her dog.
Amber Rundle-Kahn, Blindness/Visual Impairment - University of Northern Colorado
Amber Rundle-KahnAmber is a Teacher for Students with Visual Impairments and a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist. She has 15 years of practical experience working in large and small metropolitan school districts.  While the majority of her responsibilities have been in the K-12 setting, she has experience working with adults as well as infants and toddlers in Part C services. Amber’s extended responsibilities have included recruitment and retention efforts, mentoring and training new teachers, serving as team lead, and establishing a new “in-house” program in her current position.

Amber is interested in research and leadership opportunities; in August she will commence her PhD studies in Visual Impairments at the University of Northern Colorado.  Amber is interested in studying service models across the country to analyze and understand how varying service structures might impact employability. She is also interested in working to streamline the transition process across the multiple transitions children and young adults encounter.
Mandi McNamara - Deaf/Hard of Hearing - Washington University
Mandi McNamaraMandi McNamara is a PhD student in the Speech and Hearing Sciences program at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Mandi studied Deaf Education, Communication Disorders, Disability Studies and Psychology. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Truman State University and her Master of Science in Deaf Education from Washington University in St. Louis. 

Mandi has spent the last two years working as a teacher of the deaf specializing in listening and spoken language at the Moog Center for Deaf Education in St. Louis. In the past, Mandi has served as a direct support provider, community support coach, youth education leader and early childhood educator for children with developmental disabilities. Currently, Mandi resides in St. Louis, where she enjoys cooking, playing volleyball, and spending time with family and friends. 
 
Onudeah “Oni” Nicolarakis - Deafness/Hard of Hearing - New York School for the Deaf
Oni NicolarakisOnudeah “Oni” Nicolarakis has been an educator for 10 years, serving  Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing students ranging in ages from 3 to 10 years old, using American Sign Language (ASL) and English bilingual methodologies to provide access to grade level curriculum materials. She received her BA in Early Childhood Education and her MA in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Oni has taught at California School for the Deaf, Fremont, Texas School for the Deaf, Lexington School for the Deaf, LaGuardia Community College and P.S. 347: “47” The American Sign Language and English Lower School. Starting this August, she will be the Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Specialist at the New York School for the Deaf (Fanwood).

Outside from the school setting, Oni has been involved in numerous organizations/committees in order to elevate Deaf/Hard of Hearing education:  National Association of the Deaf Education Strategy Team (teacher representative), National American Sign Language and English Bilingual Early Childhood Education (northeast region representative), Empire State Association of the Deaf education committee (chair), and Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf-Kids New York (point of contact).  

Social justice is a passion of Oni’s and she has made it a life long goal of hers to ensure every child is given equity, access, and an even level playing field to thrive in this world.   She believes it all starts with early childhood education.  This encouraged her to pursue her Ph.D, focusing on curriculum design, social justice, and bilingual education at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City.
 
Tara Brown-Ogilvie - Deafblindness - University of Northern Colorado
Tara Brown-Ogilvie has enjoyed over six years of working within the field of Deafblindness. During that time, she served in a multitude of roles: support service provider, vision rehabilitation therapist, tactual sign language interpreter, and certified orientation and mobility specialist.

Tara holds a MSEd along with a BS in Sign Language Interpreting and will be continuing for her PhD in Special Education with an emphasis in Deafblindness at University of Northern Colorado.

Through her previous employment at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults, Tara has fostered research interests in Deaf-Blind communication, touch signals, adaptive orientation and mobility techniques along with the psychosocial aspects of dating with a disability.

Tara has given in-services to a multitude of universities along with formal presentations at the AFB & IAER Leadership Conference, the Southeastern Mobility Association Conference, and the Southern Regional Honors Council  Conference.

Tara has also been co-published in the Council for Exceptional Children: Division on Visual Impairments Quarterly and in the textbook, Interpreter Education: Strategies for Extending Student Involvement in the Deaf Community.

In the community, Tara served as a steering committee member in the Pedestrians for Accessible and Safe Streets Coalition, a board member for the New York Parent Association for Deaf-Blind, and acted as consultant for the NYC Office of Emergency Management and Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education – Wood (ICRE-Wood).In her free time, Tara enjoys traveling, hiking, and ballroom dancing.
Lauralyn Randles - Illinois State University
NLCSDLauralyn Randles has worked with individuals with visual impairments and concomitant disabilities throughout Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois working with high needs districts.  She is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and an Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS). Lauralyn most recently worked as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist in rural midstate Illinois covering a large caseload over five counties.

Lauralyn attended Bradley University where she earned Learning Behavior Specialist and Elementary Education credentials, as well as a letter of endorsement to teach Early Childhood. Subsequently she attended Northern Illinois University where she earned Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialist credentials. Afterward she earned a Certified Orientation and Mobility standing from ACVERP. Most recently Lauralyn is completing her Early Intervention credential as part of the first EL VISTA Program cohort through Illinois State University. She is an AFB Delta Gamma Fellow.

Lauralyn co-presented research findings on the subject of TAGteach in inclusive classrooms at the Autism Society of America conference and the Bradley Student Exposition. She has also presented research findings in the area of robotic humanoids for social skill instruction to individuals with autism. Lauralyn has been involved in curricular modification development to an assistive technology course at Bradley University. Lauralyn has guest lectured to undergraduate and graduate level courses on Visual Impairment and Orientation Mobility topics.
 
Elizabeth Rosenzweig - Deaf/Hard of Hearing - Teachers College, Columbia University
RosenzweigElizabeth Rosenzweig MS CCC-SLP LSLS Cert. AVT is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Listening and Spoken Language Specialist, Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist.  She is in private practice, providing therapy, advocacy, and consulting services to families around the world via teletherapy.  Elizabeth mentors aspiring Listening and Spoken Language Specialists and provides continuing education seminars to audiences of parents and professionals worldwide. She writes extensively on all topics related to hearing loss on her website, www.AuditoryVerbalTherapy.net.
 
Elizabeth is a student in the Deaf Education PhD program at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Her research interests include: professional preparation/coaching, meeting the needs of families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, auditory verbal outcomes, and parent counseling.
 
Rachel Schles - Blindness/Visually Impaired - University of Pittsburgh
Rachel Schles is excited to be moving to Pittsburgh to pursue her PhD in Vision Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. For the past 4 years Rachel worked as an itinerant teacher of students with visual impairments (TVI) in Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia. During her time in Virginia, Rachel placed an emphasis on collaborating with other TVIs in her district to develop consist, high quality assessments for students with visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities or deafblindness. Rachel was a founding member of the vision program’s first Parent Outreach Committee, and continually searched for ways to help families with limited English proficiency learn more about the special education process so that they could advocate for their children’s needs. As a NLCSD Scholar, Rachel is eager to expand an approach she developed to use student portfolios and project based learning to teach students with visual impairments expanded core curriculum skills. Rachel is currently Chair of the Education Curriculum Division of AER and Editor of the CollAERborations Newsletter. Rachel received a MEd. in Visual Disabilities at Vanderbilt University, and a BA in History at Vassar College. Born and raised in New York, Rachel enjoyed living in Tennessee and Virginia, but is looking forward to moving to Pennsylvania to once again experience all four seasons and hopes to go snowshoeing more often! In her free time Rachel is an avid quilter, enjoys cooking, and loves to travel.
Elaine Smolen - Deaf/Hard of Hearing - Teachers College, Columbia University
Elaine SmolenElaine Smolen is currently pursuing her PhD in deaf education at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she worked for over six years as a head teacher at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech/New York, where she prepared four- and five-year-olds for kindergarten. A certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS Cert. AVEd), Elaine provides early-intervention evaluations, family-centered Hearing Education Services, and teletherapy for students in New York City and beyond.  She also helps train new educators of the deaf by mentoring student teachers and scoring teacher candidates' edTPA portfolios as part of their state certification processes.  She has presented on self-advocacy and language development at several national conferences.  Elaine's research interests include family involvement in education, language acquisition, and the linguistics of spoken and signed languages.

Elaine attended The College of New Jersey, where she received a master’s degree in deaf education and elementary education and a bachelor's degree in English. She holds teaching certification in the areas of deaf education, elementary education, and English.  Elaine enjoys reading, baking, going to the beach, and traveling.  She also loves taking advantage of New York's cultural events and sees as many open-captioned and sign-interpreted Broadway performances as she can.
Bernadette Van Den Tillaart - Deafblindness - The Ohio State University, Columbus
Bernadette Van Den TillaartBernadette started her work at the Center for Deafblindness at Royal Kentalis in The Netherlands as a teacher for the deafblind. Intrigued by and enjoying communication in the world of touch, she has continued working in the field of congenital and acquired deafblindness for over 30 years in a variety of roles and settings. She also developed a deafblind interaction program.

Since her move to the United States in 2002, she has been working with several national and state educational agencies and universities, such as OSSB, TSBVI, Perkins, PRCS, PSU, BU, TTU and OSU, for training, instruction, assessment and consultation. As a team lead, she developed several peer-reviewed on-line intervener OHOA modules with the National Center on Deafblindness. She is a board member for national and state (deaf)blind advisory and professional boards, an (inter)nationally invited speaker and has (co-)developed materials on deafblindness.

Bernadette holds two master degrees in sensory impairments, Ohio TVI and THI licensures, and Coaching and Training certifications in Video Interaction Guidance. She found that her work experience and study have functioned as an intertwined spiral, continuously evoking new questions and sparking novel ideas, to serve tactile learners and to share with their educators who search for support.

Starting Autumn semester of 2016, Bernadette will pursue a Ph.D. degree within the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. She intends to focus her research on preparation programs for educators of learners who are deafblind.

Bernadette enjoys reading, walking, theater, and spending time with her husband, twin sons, and friends.
Linda Hagood - Deafblindness
Linda HagoodLinda Hagood has worked for 30 years as a speech language pathologist, with more than half of that time focused on communication intervention with children and adolescents who have visual and multiple impairments. She entered this career path through her work with students who have deafblindness in a special program at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired for children who had rubella syndrome following the epidemic of the 1960s.  This work, initially as a paraprofessional, then as a teacher and SLP,  sparked her interest in the unique communication challenges faced by this population.  Later, after being trained as a speech language pathologist in the speech communication program at the University of Texas, she worked both as a a communication specialist and educational consultant in a variety of settings, including TSBVI, public school programs, regional technical support centers, and private speech clinics, where she received and provided specialized training in the area of autism to augment her background in visual and multiple impairments.  While working at TSBVI, Linda developed two curriculum guides, both published by the school’s curriculum department. The first guide, Communication: A guide for teachers of students with visual and multiple impairments  (1996) focused on communication programming for children with deafblindness and other multiple disabilities.  The second guide, Better Together  (2008) was developed to address the growing population of students with dual diagnoses of visual impairment and autism.   Linda has enjoyed sharing her work with teachers, therapists and parents through professional development presentations throughout the US and most recently in India, where she was supported by Perkins International in a training activity in 2015.  She currently teaches an online graduate course for Perkins School for the Blind on relationship based programming for students with visual impairment and autism, entitled “Better Together.” Linda continues to work and play with children who have social communication needs and visual impairment; the students have always been her best teachers.
 
Linda currently lives in western Washington state on the Kitsap Peninsula, where she enjoys kayaking, hiking and exploring the nooks and crannies of the Olympic Peninsula.  Her children are grown and she is happy to stay connected to them, while focusing her caregiving instincts on a big white dog and an occasional guest cat.
Kaitlyn Millen - Deafness/Hard of Hearing - University of Northern Colorado
Kaitlyn Millen is currently pursuing her PhD in special education at the University of Northern Colorado. For the past two years, Kaitlyn has been working at a non-profit organization in Fort Collins, CO called, No Barriers, as the School Programs Manager. In this role, she has planned a variety of programs ranging from expeditions in the Grand Canyon for students who are blind, visually impaired, and sighted as well as leading an expedition in Peru for students who are Deaf and hard of hearing. 

Before moving to Colorado, Kaitlyn worked as a classroom teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing for three years at the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in Northampton, MA. In addition to teaching middle school math, science, and physical education, she started and coordinated social programs including the Explore the Outdoors camping program for D/HH teens, Clarke Buddies (a mentoring and social program), and various other workshops that brought together D/HH students.  She also coached the cross-country team and organized events such as the school-wide science fair at Clarke in addition to serving on the board of the Massachusetts chapter of A.G. Bell as the Director of Teen Programs.  

Kaitlyn received her Master's degree in education of the deaf from Smith College in Northampton, MA. Prior to becoming a teacher of the deaf, Kaitlyn directed the recreation program at the Tennessee School for the Deaf and worked for various outdoor education programs including leading trips in California, Hawaii, and Costa Rica. She also coordinated the ropes course at the Aspen Camp for the Deaf in Colorado. 

Kaitlyn earned her Bachelor's degree in Deaf Studies, Outdoor Education, and Environmental Science from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Kaitlyn is interested in documenting the impacts of social opportunities that bring together students who are D/HH such as camps and outdoor programs. She loves spending time outside, skiing, hiking, running, camping, and mountain biking.
Hilary Travers - Blindness/Visual Impairment - Boston College - Vanderbilt University
Hilary Travers - Blindness/Visual Impairment - Boston College - Vanderbilt UniversityHilary Travers is a Northeast native currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee where she attends Vanderbilt University as a doctoral student in the visual impairment program. She earned both her B.A. and M.Ed. at Boston College and worked as a teacher in the deafblind program at the Perkins School for the Blind for three years. She holds a teaching license for both elementary school students (grades 1-6) as well as students with severe disabilities (grades K-12).

Hilary’s current areas of interest in the field of visual impairment include; working with students with visual impairments and their families, improving transition service plans, and creating employment opportunities for students with combined sensory loss. She has a strong interest in policy and research aimed at making systematic change to better include students with sensory disabilities in every aspect of their community.

In addition to her love for working with students Hilary is passionate about traveling and hiking. In the past year she visited 20 American National Parks and lived in New Zealand where she hiked many of New Zealand’s “Great Walks”.
Nicholas Trotter - Visual Impairment - Florida State University
Nicholas TrotterNicholas Trotter is a certified teacher of students with visual impairments. Over the last three years, Nicholas has served as an itinerant teacher of students with visual impairments in Sumner County, Tennessee. He provided instruction in the Expanded Core Curriculum to students in grades pre-K through eight throughout the school system. Prior to his experience in Sumner County, Nicholas taught physical education for students in grades pre-K through twelve and high school wellness at the Tennessee School for the Blind (TSB) for four years. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at TSB, Nicholas coached wrestling and goalball.

While teaching and coaching at TSB, Nicholas earned his M.Ed. in Special Education – Visual Disabilities at Vanderbilt University. He received a B.S. in Exercise Science, Physical Education, and Wellness from Tennessee Technological University. Nicholas completed the certification program in Orientation and Mobility at Stephen F. Austin State University. During the summer of 2015, Nicholas worked with the Texas Department of Assistive Rehabilitative Services DREAM Program teaching Expanded Core Curriculum skills to high school students and recent graduates with visual impairments. He volunteered as a coach at Camp Abilities Long Island in 2012 and 2013. His professional interests include adapted sports, orientation and mobility, and outcomes for young braille readers in general education classrooms. During the Fall 2016 semester, Nicholas will begin a Ph.D. program at Florida State University in Curriculum and Instruction in Special Education – Visual Disabilities.
Garrison Tsinajinie - Blindness/Visual Impairment - University of Arizona
Garrison Tsinajinie - Blindness/Visual Impairment - University of ArizonaGarrison Tsinajinie is of the Black Streak Wood People (Tsi’naajinii) born into the Big Water Clan (Tótsohnii) from the Navajo Nation. 

Garrison completed both his Psychology B.A in 2010 and Special Education M.A in 2011 at the University of Arizona (UA). After completing his M.A, he worked as an Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired with the Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind ­ Eastern Highlands Regional Cooperative for 5 years - primarily serving students of ages 3­-21 within several school districts on the Navajo Nation. During summer breaks, he also worked with the Navajo Nation Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation in working with adults with visual impairments in the areas of independent living skills and assistive technology. Most recently, he has worked with young adults transitioning from high school to work or higher education as an Orientation and Mobility Intern with the Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired in Tucson, AZ. 

Garrison will return to the University of Arizona to complete doctoral study in Special Education. While a UA McNair Scholar and in collaboration with faculty mentors, Garrison found his appreciation for research by exploring self determination theory to promote independence, specifically among Native Americans with visual impairments. He would like to conduct further research to justify the improvement of services and funding for children and adults with visual impairments in native rural communities. In his spare time, Garrison enjoys listening to audiobooks, camping and taking road trips.