Logo for CIT 2020 Conference - Transforming Interpreter Education

Persisting: A Collective Case Study of Five Certified AA/Black Interpreters in Cincinnati

by Elizabeth Jean-Baptiste & Amber Burley Munnerlyn

Poster Session

Date | Time | Room

Return to 2020 Conference Schedule

In an attempt to better understand the disparities that exist in the field of interpreting, the presenter(s) will be conducting a collective case study of the five RID certified interpreters in Cincinnati who identify as African American/Black. Through participatory data analysis of their interview transcripts, the five interpreters will engage in identifying themes across their experiences in the path to becoming certified. This research aims to identify the structures necessary for their success, as well as the challenges they faced in becoming certified. The presentation will also provide a brief overview of the literature that informs this inquiry.

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the process of a collective case study using participatory data analysis.
  • Locate literature on existing research concerning the experience of the AA/Black interpreter in the U.S.
  • Articulate the shared themes of success in the pathways of five RID certified AA/Black interpreters in Cincinnati.
  • Articulate the shared themes of challenges in the pathways of five RID certified AA/Black interpreters in Cincinnati.
  • Consider benefits of addressing the themes of success and challenge in their role as a colleague, educator, and/or administrator in the interpreting field.

A white woman with short blond hair smiles at camera wearing a grey t-shirt covered by a magenta cardigan in front of a light purple backgroundElizabeth Jean-Baptiste, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati, is a RID Certified interpreter since 2001 and interpreter educator since 2005. She has more than ten years of overseas experience, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya (2006-2008) and Zambia (2008-2009), professor at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, Fellow with Discovering Deaf Worlds in the Philippines, and most recently as a consultant to the Kenyan National Association of the Deaf and Kenyan Signed Language Interpreter’s Association.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sign Language Interpreting and Master’s degree in Adult Education and Administrative Leadership from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Education and Community-Based Action Research at the University of Cincinnati. Her research areas of interest include collaborative change research, evaluation and design, critical pedagogies, and relational teaching and learning. Other academic pursuits focus on teaching critical thinking skills, service learning, interdisciplinary curriculum for improved interpreter education, discourse analysis, ethical decision-making, closing the school-to-work gap, cross-training of spoken and signed language interpreters, and international experiences as a key element to interpreter education.

A black woman with wavy long dark brown hair smiles at camera wearing pink shirt and colorful scarfAmber Burley Munnerlyn, Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati, is a RID Certified Interpreter since 2008. Amber worked 10 years in VRS, 5 of which were in management. During her time in management she was one lead for a project focusing on Black Interpreters in VRS. The project focused on planning workshops, and providing support for AA/Black interpreters. Additionally the project was responsible to design and present trainings. It also engaged in consultation to fellow employees and managers on issues specific to AA/Black Interpreters in VRS. Amber serves on the RID CEO search committee, RID Scholarship and Awards Committee and RID Diversity Council.

Amber has a dual Bachelor’s degree in Sign Language Interpreting and ASL/Deaf Studies from Maryville College in Maryville, Tn. She also earned a dual Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Currently as Asst Professor Amber is teaching ASL and Deaf Theory and Foundation courses. She is partnering with Elizabeth Jean-Baptiste in her doctoral research focused on community based action in the AA/Black Interpreter field in Cincinnati.