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Presenter Biographies


Amelia Bowdell, MA, MA, NIC works as a tenure-track instructor at Bloomsburg University and is an ASL interpreter. She teaches translation, interpreting courses, and the business side of interpreting. She earned her bachelor's degree in Sign Language Studies: ASL Interpreting, her first master's degree related to teaching second language acquisition from Madonna University, and her second master’s degree in Interpreting Studies: Teaching Interpreting from Western Oregon University. She successfully defended and published her master’s thesis related to developing bilingualism in ASL and English using second language acquisition. Among other publications, she has also published a chapter in the 1st Open Education Resource (OER) book in the field of interpreting on the topic of “Interpreting English Grammar Classes: Theory, Tips, & Tools.” She is currently working on her PhD doctorate in Composition and Applied Linguistics through Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Amelia has been interpreting since 2005 and earned her NIC. She has been teaching in higher education for more than thirteen years. Amelia’s research interests include but are not limited to bilingualism, second language acquisition, ASL linguistics, language assessment, and meaning transfer for interpreters. On a personal note, she enjoys spending time with her wonderfully supportive husband Jeffrey and their dog. Together they love to play board games and go on walks with their dog.


Kevin Dyels is a full-time certified ASL interpreter for Sorenson Communications. He is also an owner of a performing arts interpreting company called First Chair Interpreted Productions which provides ASL interpreters for 150 performing arts events each year. He has held executive Board and managerial positions with interpreting private and nonprofit organizations throughout the country and commits to mentoring veteran and new interpreters in the interpreting profession. Originally from northern California, Kevin presents interpreting workshops in theater, affect, team building, and self-confidence both nationally and internationally. He has traveled to India, Romania, Hong Kong, and South Africa with Quest Visual Theatre, a performance group that presents workshops and performances to deaf and hearing audiences around the world. Kevin coordinates interpreters for various conferences and festivals throughout the year, works as a professional sound designer and disc jockey, and in his spare time enjoys international travel. Kevin has a degree in theater from the University of Maryland and is married to a partner from Hong Kong. They share a grey Tuxedo kitty named Sylvestre.


Jami Fisher is the Director of the American Sign Language and Senior Lecturer in Foreign Languages in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, a position she has held since 2005. She is a native ASL user and CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), born and raised in Philadelphia. She has a BA in English and Education from Colby College, an M.S.Ed. in Education, Culture, and Society and an Ed.D. in Higher Education from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Her current academic interests include finding ways to integrate meaningful, collaborative, community-based activities into ASL and Deaf Studies coursework as well as documenting and analyzing the Philadelphia variety of American Sign Language.


Paul Glaser is an Ohio native, however Washington State is his home. Paul graduated high school from St. Rita School for the Deaf as valedictorian. He then attended Gallaudet University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Communications Studies in 2003. Paul went on to attend Rochester Institute of Technology, achieving his master’s degree in Deaf Education with a focus in mathematics in 2005. During his graduate career, he focused on researching and collecting math signs for K-12 settings. Since 2005, he has taught mathematics to Deaf students in K-12 settings and at the college level. Paul also developed a learning program to teach math signs to interpreters. It was through teaching that Paul came to realize his love for interpreting. In the early 2010’s, Paul began to take several interpreting classes and workshops in the greater Seattle area, at Gallaudet University, and at Spokane Falls Community College, and became a Certified Deaf Interpreter in 2014 Currently, Paul works at the Center of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth in the state of Washington as a STEM Teacher of the Deaf. Paul worked at Sorenson Communications as an Interpreter Educator in the Professional Development department for 6 years. In addition, Paul specializes in teaching and mentoring educational interpreters in various topics, especially mathematics.


June Goodwin was born into a deaf family. She graduated in 1970 from The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has taught American Sign Language classes at various schools and is currently a Master Lecturer teaching ASL classes at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Justin Hope (he/him), BEI Master Interpreter and NIC, is a freelance interpreter currently based in San Antonio, TX. His journey into the interpreting world began early with Deaf and Hard of Hearing family and friends; he did not realize interpreting was a profession until his college years, during which he was pulled into the field by an encouraging interpreter who became his first mentor nearly twenty years ago. Justin has worked in a variety of settings and served as a designated interpreter for several Deaf professionals over the years. His foray into the designated interpreting arena arose from knowing the right people at the right time. The majority of his work as a designated interpreter has been in the healthcare field, working with Deaf professionals in a range of specialties, such as bench research in neurobiology, postdoctoral dental training, mental health provider graduate training, and much in between. He has also worked in a designated manner with vocational rehabilitation counselors throughout his career. He has a passion for growing professionals through mentoring relationships and teaching skills-based workshops; Justin also enjoys thought provoking discussions on sociolinguistics and how to mitigate interpreters' influence on interpreted discourse. His career has carried him all over Texas, the United States, and internationally.


Daniel Israilov notices every single thing. His eyes capture the smallest details and he learns to imitate with his own art. This is where Visual Vernacular comes in, for him. Born in Kazakhstan, then moved to Israel at the age of nine. At dinner tables, he’d impersonate family members, cracking jokes, and telling stories. At twenty-four, there were more platforms to express his art, and he did just that on his social media. The storytelling led him to his wife, whom he married in New York City. The city that watered his artistic seeds. As he learned American Sign Language (ASL), he learned what he has been doing all along, is called Visual Vernacular (VV). He continued to immerse himself in telling stories in VV and doing stand up comedy. He was rich in knowledge: knowing four languages and understanding several cultures - it was time for him to deliver. A year later, he performed at colleges, non-profit organizations, and poetry clubs with his VV stories. He competed at ASL Elements with various talented VV artists. He taught ASL at Sign Language Center, teaching students how to navigate the language. With the modality of his fingers, his facial expressions and his body movements, he could tell endless stories.


Dr. Rhonda Jennings-Arey has twenty years of teaching experience at the K-12 level. She worked at the Maryland Schools for the Deaf in both Frederick and Columbia before returning to the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, Virginia. Rhonda has taught in elementary, middle, and high school; specializing in English and American Sign Language for Deaf students, and ASL as a second language for hearing students, faculty and staff. At the post-secondary level, Rhonda has over seventeen years of experience teaching college and university students. Rhonda is an adjunct at the JSRCC, TCC, and University of Louisville. She has also taught at Blue Ridge Community College, Towson University, Radford University, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Gallaudet University, and McDaniel College. Dr. Jennings-Arey has degrees in Deaf Education, Sign Language Education, Literacy Specialization, and Administration and Supervision. Her doctorate degree is in Post-Secondary and Adult Education. She has an ASLTA certification at the Master level and endorsement in ASL instruction through the state of Virginia. She has experience working as an Instructional Designer, Interpreter Rater, and Educator. She is currently certified by RID as a Certified Deaf Interpreter where she works as a freelance interpreter. She now works full time as an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia.

Amanda Kennon (she/ her), MA, NIC is a freelance interpreter, mentor, and presenter who resides in Southeast PA. She received her B.A. in Interpreting and ASL/ Deaf Studies from Maryville College and her M.A. in. Interdisciplinary Studies: Individualized Studies: Ethics and Interpreting from George Mason University, completing her Capstone Project, “Ethics & Professional Identity: A Proposed Curriculum for Students in Interpreter Education Programs.” During her sixteen-year career, Amanda has worked as staff and freelance in various settings, frequently mentoring students and novice interpreters. Before moving to Pennsylvania, Amanda lived in Northern Virginia and was active with VRID, serving on the Board as District I Representative, Treasurer, and Vice President. During her tenure, she led discussion groups and workshops on ethical decision making; developed the Community Dialogues series, facilitating several sessions; spearheaded the establishment of the VRID Mentorship Task Force; and presented at the 2016 & 2018 VRID Conferences- culminating in the 2018 VRID President’s Award. Additionally, Amanda presented at the 2016 PCRID Conference; provided in-house professional development as a staff interpreter; and published in the RID Views. As a federal government contractor, Amanda gained experience as a designated interpreter at a DoD agency. Subsequently, she was a staff interpreter at a school system which hired designated interpreters for Deaf teachers. Although she was not working in the designated role, she occasionally provided services and was able to observe a variety of dynamics and the unique demands her colleagues experienced.

Aaron Kubey was the first Deaf and youngest Executive Director/President of the National Theatre of the Deaf. He had the opportunity of working on numerous television, film, theatrical productions, and concerts during his professional career. He regularly works as a Director of Artistic Sign Language (DASL) in the Washington, DC Metro area. He has most recently DASL’d Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, and Next to Normal at the Kennedy Center, and Aladdin and The Band’s Visit at Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, MD. He currently works as a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) and Communication Access Specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mr. Kubey is a 1994 graduate of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. In 2006, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) degree in Theatre Studies from the Theatre School, DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, making him the first Deaf graduate from this prestigious institution. He is a Chicago native, and a diehard Cubbies fan who is thrilled they won a World Series in his lifetime and believes they win it all again and again!


Dr. Melanie McKay-Cody (Cherokee) earned her doctoral degree in linguistic and socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. She has studied critically endangered Indigenous Sign Languages in North America since 1994 and helps different tribes preserve their tribal signs. She also specialized in Indigenous Deaf studies and interpreter training incorporating Native culture, North American Indian Sign Language and ASL. She is also an educator and advocate for Indigenous interpreters and students in educational settings. Besides North American Indian Sign Language research, she had taught ASL classes in several universities for over 40 years. She is one of eight founders of Turtle Island Hand Talk, a new group focused on Indigenous Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind and Hearing people.

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