Logo for CIT 2020 Conference - Transforming Interpreter Education

Moving the Conversation Forward: MAISCE Research Roundtable Discussion

by Erica Alley, Valerie McMillan, Lindsey Williams, Peggy Belt, Brian Rasmussen, Sarah Himmelmann & Mitchell Holaly

Roundtable Discussion

Date | Time | Room

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Using a social justice lens, the Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity (MAISCE) at St. Catherine University aims to educate students to become leaders for effective, ethical, and enduring change within the interpreting profession. With a deeper understanding of the linguistic, social, and political context in which interpreting unfolds, students learn strategies to move the conversation forward, supporting positive outcomes within the public at large.

This roundtable discussion specifically addresses MAISCE students’ application of their knowledge of intersectionality, power, privilege, and access to the design and implementation of a thesis or action research project. Participants will visit 6 tables of their choosing for 15 minutes . During the first 4-5 minutes, the leader of the roundtable will introduce their information (as outlined below). Using the remaining time, participants will discuss their thoughts regarding the information and/or ask additional questions to move the conversation forward.

One roundtable, led by Erica Alley, will address methods used to support the research conducted by students in the MAISCE program. Specifically, the MAISCE is an online program that is one of a kind in its approach to student research. During this discussion the following strategies used by the MAISCE program will be discussed: a) research handbook, b) research advisors, c) three course sequence, d) online strategies, e) methodology videos, f) research defense meetings, and g) publication plan development.

The six remaining roundtables will discuss the research conducted by students, including their research experience, methodology, and findings from their studies. These roundtable discussions are described as follows:

  • Lindsey Williams will share findings from the exploration of the lived experiences of interpreters who identify as disabled. This research seeks to establish a baseline for this group of professionals; their numbers, what kinds of disabilities they have, how they got interested in interpreting, and strategies that they use within the field of interpreting that differ from other groups.
  • Sarah Himmelmann will discuss the ways in which the formative experience of deaf interpreters influences their decision-making and the strategies they implement in support of attaining communication equity.
  • Peggy Belt will share her study of the challenges faced by K-12 educational interpreters in Missouri and their thoughts regarding potential strategies for improving their preparedness and, therefore, deaf and hard of hearing students’ access to education.
  • Valerie McMillan will address the strategies recommended by Black and African American interpreters for increasing the pool of professional Black and African American interpreters in the field.
  • Brian Rasmussen will outline strategies used by recent ITP graduates across the country in preparation for certification testing.
  • Mitchell Holaly will share his findings on the current state of interpreting with DeafBlind individuals in Michigan, including demographic trends, barriers to specialization entry, and gaps in skills/knowledge among working interpreters.

Participants in the roundtable discussions will have the opportunity to both learn about important topics within our field, as well as contribute to continued dialogue that supports application of the findings of these studies to further development of interpreter education.

Participants will be able to:

  • Contribute to continued dialogue regarding power and privilege in the field of ASL-English interpreting in response to student research topics.
  • Describe the methods and findings from six MAISCE student research projects exploring interpretation and communication equity.
  • Discuss strategies used to support graduate student research.

A white woman with long dark brown hair wearing a black t-shirt and necklace smiles at the cameraErica Alley, Ph.D., is currently the Chair of the ASL and Interpreting Department at St. Catherine University. She has led the development and organization of the Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity (MAISCE) at St. Catherine University since 2014. Erica holds her doctorate in American Sign Language – English Interpreting Research and Pedagogy from Gallaudet University and has published/presented on the topics of video relay service, video remote interpreting, and the impact of the interpreter on the impression made by deaf applicants during job interviews. Erica holds national certification through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

A black woman with shoulder length black hair wearing a purple blouse smiles at the cameraValerie McMillan is an Only Hearing Child of Deaf Adults (OH CODA) (3 deaf siblings born after her). She is a mother of two beautiful kids Jaylen and Madison. She graduated from Barton College receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Educational Interpreting with a concentration in Deaf Education in 1998. She has been a professional sign language interpreter since 1995. Currently, she is the Director of the Greenville Center of 11 years. She is the Lead Advisor for the African American Advisory Committee at Sorenson. She is involved in the COMPASS Program by being the co-lead for the Bridge (phase 4) component, mentor in phase 3, facilitator for Open House meetings, and a part of the Navigation Team. She also serves as a hearing mentor in the Deaf Interpreter Academy for Deaf People of Color at Sorenson. She is a very active member within this field. She sits on numerous boards and has served as an officer in many organizations (National Alliance of Black Interpreters (NAOBI, INC), former Chair of the NC Interpreter/Transliterators Licensing Board, IDP Region II Rep, Eastern Region ITOC Rep, Wilson Community College Advisory ITP Board, and Eastern NC School For the Deaf Advisory Council.

A white woman with short reddish-brown hair sits on a coach with paisley pillows and smiles at the cameraLindsey Williams is an interpreter and mentor working in the VRS and medical interpreting arenas. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as well as BEI, EIPA, and RID Ed:K-12 interpreting credentials. She is currently studying for a masters degree in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. She also has Jimmy the cat and Gus & Rosie the sugar gliders. In her free time she enjoys being an auntie, people-watching in crowded places, and she’s “a huge forking fan of The Good Place!”

A white woman with shoulder-length blond hair wearing brown-rimmed glasses looks up at the camera in front of a white wallPeggy Belt, NIC, MICS Master, received her Master’s degree in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity (MAISCE) from St. Catherine University and her bachelor’s degree in English/ASL Interpretation from William Woods University. She has served RID on both state and national levels as a committee member and chair, in addition to being a charter member of the MO-RID chapter and later serving on its board. Ms. Belt has been very active in a number of roles in the Missouri Interpreter Certification System (MICS) from test administration and evaluation to professional development as well as being involved with the process of changing the state’s interpreter standards and regulations. Most recently, she has been interested in understanding the state’s educational interpreter population. She currently works as the Communication Coordinator for the Missouri School for the Deaf.

A Latinx man with short black hair and a black beard and mustache wearing a black shirt looks straight at camera in front of purple wallBrian Rasmussen is the staff signed language interpreter at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They provide ASL-English interpreting for students and faculty as well as mentoring for novice signed language interpreters. Brian is also the staff advisor for the CNM Queer-Cats student group and they serve on both, the CNM LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee and the CNM Equity Council. Brian believes in the possibility of creating equity and social justice through individual and community transformation. To that end, they hope to create generative conversations and a community of practice where diversity and uniqueness are valued. Brian obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in linguistics and signed language interpreting from the University of New Mexico in 2007 and their NIC Master credential in 2009 from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Brian is currently a graduate student in the MAISCE program at St. Catherine University, where they study interpreting and communication equity. Brian dreams of creating a program in New Mexico where recent graduates from interpreter education programs can obtain formalized mentoring and supervision, assisting them towards the goal of obtaining national certification and on-going professional enrichment.

A white woman with blond hair and darker roots wearing a purple shirt looks at the camera in front of a tan stucco wall.Sarah Himmelmann, a native American Sign Language user and a culturally Deaf woman currently working as a freelance Deaf interpreter with the goal of always providing communication equity.  She is a professor at American River College for their ASL/Deaf Studies and Interpreter Preparation Programs.  Sarah has an associate’s degree in ASL-English Interpreter Preparation Program from American River College and a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Rochester Institute of Technology.  She is currently enrolled in the MAISCE program at St. Catherine University.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time and making memories with her family which happen to include five children and two dogs.

Mitchell Holaly

Picture and bio coming soon