Georgia Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf



GaRID Board of Directors





Debbie Lesser, CI, CT, CHI
President

 

Debbie learned sign language from the Deaf communities in the New England area. She has been a certified sign language interpreter since 1999; Debbie also holds a degree in Psychology with a focus in crisis intervention.

She has worked in the video interpreting industry since 2007 and has served as the Operations Manager for two different VRS companies (both also provided VRI services). Debbie has managed more than 160 interpreters - all of whom worked from independent call centers all over the country. Debbie's interpreting passions are in medical environments and is where she focuses much of her training and continuing education. Her medical interpreting experience is varied and comprehensive, in both remote and onsite settings. Debbie has completed an intensive Certificate of Healthcare Interpreting (CHI) Program for ASL interpreters established by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). She has also completed specialized medical trainings, such as, oncology with the University of California San Diego (UCSD), various medical systems with the CATIE Center, and mental health through Troy University, the Alabama Department of Mental Health and ADARA. Debbie is an interpreter for and the Director of ASL Services with InDemand Interpreting, a national company specializing in medical settings. All of her experience and education have significantly contributed to her strong leadership skills and the ability to cultivate the skills and talents of her peers.

Debbie is deeply grateful for the cultural and linguistic knowledge she has gained from being a part of the Deaf community and continuously strives to improve the standard of medical interpreting services. When Debbie isn't working she keeps busy with her fiancé, 4 teenagers and 3 very active dogs.




Amy Peterson, MS, CDI
Vice President

Amy Peterson works as a CDI in a variety of settings and has extensive knowledge and experience in legal and mental health settings. Currently Amy is the Deaf Services Coordinator for the State of Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Amy has taught ASL for more than 15 years at universities, community colleges, and in the community and has presented workshops on a variety of topics related to American Sign Language, interpreting, and Deaf culture/history. She has a passion to raise the bar on expectations for interpreters, especially in the mental health, legal and educational setting. Amy has been married to Jimmy for 26 years and has two girls who are also Deaf.



 


Donna FlandersCI & CT
Secretary

Donna Flanders graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in Interpretation for the Deaf in 1991 and immediately moved to Georgia to join the staff of interpreters at Clarkston High School in the metro-Atlanta area. In 1999, Donna left the educational interpreting environment to expand her career working in the community. As an independent contractor, Donna has worked in a variety of settings, both in Georgia, across the States and even abroad. She has had the opportunity to interpret on Broadway as a part of her training as a theatrical interpreter and now specializes in interpreting in the theaters in and around Atlanta. Donna has taught numerous workshops specifically designed for ASL learners and working interpreters, and has also had the pleasure of presenting at the national RID Conference 2013. Currently, Donna works on staff at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Clarkston, Georgia, interpreting for the staff and faculty, but also working on special interpreted projects related to the education of Deaf children. In 2014, Donna created and hosted UpGrade Conference for Educational Interpreters, intended to support the specific needs of interpreters and teachers who serve deaf students. As a seasoned professional working in the field of interpreting and deafness for over 24 years, Donna looks forward to meeting you and supporting you wherever you may be on your journey.





Anna McDuffie, CI, CT, NIC & SC
Treasurer

Anna, a native of Atlanta, graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Interpreting for the Deaf. After graduation, she moved to Boston where she worked as a staff interpreter at the Learning Center for Deaf Children, a bilingual/bicultural school for the Deaf, and also worked part time at Boston University as an interpreter for various graduate programs. Anna returned to Atlanta in 1999 and has been working as a freelance interpreter for the past 14 years. She has also worked for several VRS/VRI companies where she was able to develop skills as an interpreter manager and scheduler.

Anna earned a Certificate of Interpretation and Certificate of Transliteration from RID in 1999, the Specialist Certificate: Legal from RID in 2008 and the National Interpreter Certification from RID in 2011. Anna began teaching medical interpreting workshops along with her co-presenters in 2008 and is very passionate about standardizing best practices for medical and legal interpreting. Anna currently lives in Marietta with her husband, Eric. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her step-daughter, Cece, her fur kids, Bailey and Lola, traveling, playing tennis, traveling, cooking and traveling (did I mention traveling?).






Erika Munro, NIC 
Member at Large

Feeling the constant pull of two cultures, Erika Mercedes Munro grew up interpreting between her Cuban refugee family and her American friends in Miami, Florida.  During summer camp Erika met Deaf and hearing school mates who communicated in ASL and became determined not to be left out, igniting a passion to learn ASL.  Erika took ASL classes for three years during high school, where ASL was offered for foreign language credit, and she continued exposure to ASL from a Deaf community of children.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education from Flagler College while working at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind as a bus chaperone and instructional assistant.

In 2000, Erika moved to Oregon with a full tuition grant for the bilingual/bicultural deaf education program run by Laurene Simms (then Gallimore) at Western Oregon University.  The cohort consisted of 8 people - 6 Deaf and 2 hearing.  Living and working at OSD, while studying in a master’s program where most classes were taught in ASL, continued to improve her fluency in ASL.   In 2001, Erika returned to FSDB to work as an ESOL specialist for Deaf children and later worked there as well as an educational diagnostician until 2008. 

Erika received her NIC in 2013 after a great deal of mentorship and encouragement to dispel fears that she did not possess the ability to pass such a test.  Erika is so grateful for the path in which she is consistently being led.  Currently, Erika works as a freelance interpreter, a church interpreter, and a video relay interpreter. 

Erika is happy to contribute to the Deaf community, which includes the community of interpreters.  When not with the Deaf community, Erika spends time with her husband, two kids, Evan and Elena, and her doggy, Neo.






              Amanda Tate           
Member at Large 

Amanda grew up in Roswell, Georgia and attended Centennial High School.  During her freshman year, Amanda met a deaf student and the student’s interpreter in their band class and knew that American Sign Language Interpreting would be her passion and the career she would pursue.

Amanda attended Valdosta State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in interpreting in May, 2009.  During her senior year internship at Valdosta State, Amanda had the opportunity to interpret VSU’s production of Footloose and discovered her love of interpreting theatre. Amanda lived in South Georgia for six years after graduation from VSU.  While in South Georgia she was employed as an interpreter for Colquitt County Schools as well as doing some community interpreting.  In 2015 she decided to move back to the Atlanta area to be closer to her family.  She continues to enjoy educational interpreting and is glad she gets to work with a great team of interpreters. 

Amanda enjoys being with friends and spending time with her family and especially her five year old Maltese, Zoey.  She attends Birmingham United Methodist Church where she plays hand bells and sings in the choir.  Since moving to Woodstock, Amanda has participated in at least eight 5k races and hopes to do more in 2017.

She looks forward to working with the Board!

     
                      

 

Rebecca Meloy
Member at Large

Becca Meloy earned her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2003.  Six years later she decided to go back to school to study American Sign Language and Interpreting.  She graduated from Georgia Perimeter College in 2012 and was accepted into the 4th cohort of Sorenson's VRSII program in Salt Lake City following graduation.  Then in 2014, she earned her National Interpreter Certification via RID.

Currently, her time is divided between working at Atlanta Area School for the Deaf as a part-time staff interpreter, freelancing in the community, hanging out with the world's cutest nieces, and traveling as much as time and finances allow.

Becca is honored to be a member of the GA RID Board as a Member at Large and is excited to see what the upcoming year holds for our Deaf and Interpreting Communities in Georgia!





Earnestine (LaVerne) Lowe, a native of Houston, Texas has made Warner Robins, Georgia her home for the last sixteen years.  She has been interpreting professionally since 2001 and runs her own business as a freelance interpreter.  Her desire to interpret was kindled by a church service in Wichita, Kansas in 1997.   Due to her husband’s job transfer, LaVerne willingly put her interpreting desires on temporary hold.   Little did she know what God had in store for her once she stepped foot on Georgia soil.  In 1999, feeling another nudge in her heart while participating in “See The Word” Conference (Trenton, Ga.), she surrendered to full time service to the Deaf Ministry at Southside Baptist Church, Warner Robins, Georgia.

One of LaVerne’s deepest desires is to be a blessing and example to all who are in our profession, especially to those who serve in churches/Deaf ministries.  She wants to see the negative stigma of church interpreters removed.  Her desire is to see those involved in this arena strive for excellence and National Certification.  That same desire gave her the motivation to spend countless hours studying, researching and developing skills necessary to become a nationally certified interpreter.  All the hard work paid off; she earned CI/CT and NIC Certificates in 2008.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Recognition of Outstanding Leadership and Service for Communication Contest for  the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Optimist International:  2009- current
  • Recognized as the Interpreter of the Year for Deaf Awareness Banquet for 2006 and 2012
  • Southern Regional Rep for National NAOBI:  2011-2012
  • Deaf Ministry Service Award:  2006
  • Houston Hero of the Year for Houston Home Journal:  2005
  • Secretary for Middle Georgia Chapter  Association of the Deaf:  2003
  • Recognized by a TV station as the 2001 Outstanding Volunteer for  work in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Community (“Straight from the Heart” Award Winner)
  • Recognized by Middle Georgia Tech as the 1999 Volunteer of the Year for work with the Adult Literacy Program

 

LaVerne has been married to Larry Lowe for 33 years. They have two beautiful daughters:  LaShawnda (RID certified and staff interpreter for Albany HS), Jasmine (RID certified and staff interpreter for Albany HS) and a very ADORABLE grandson, Jaedyn.

Earnestine (LaVerne) Lowe, a native of Houston, Texas has made Warner Robins, Georgia her home for the last sixteen years.  She has been interpreting professionally since 2001 and runs her own business as a freelance interpreter.  Her desire to interpret was kindled by a church service in Wichita, Kansas in 1997.   Due to her husband’s job transfer, LaVerne willingly put her interpreting desires on temporary hold.   Little did she know what God had in store for her once she stepped foot on Georgia soil.  In 1999, feeling another nudge in her heart while participating in “See The Word” Conference (Trenton, Ga.), she surrendered to full time service to the Deaf Ministry at Southside Baptist Church, Warner Robins, Georgia.

One of LaVerne’s deepest desires is to be a blessing and example to all who are in our profession, especially to those who serve in churches/Deaf ministries.  She wants to see the negative stigma of church interpreters removed.  Her desire is to see those involved in this arena strive for excellence and National Certification.  That same desire gave her the motivation to spend countless hours studying, researching and developing skills necessary to become a nationally certified interpreter.  All the hard work paid off; she earned CI/CT and NIC Certificates in 2008.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Recognition of Outstanding Leadership and Service for Communication Contest for  the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Optimist International:  2009- current
  • Recognized as the Interpreter of the Year for Deaf Awareness Banquet for 2006 and 2012
  • Southern Regional Rep for National NAOBI:  2011-2012
  • Deaf Ministry Service Award:  2006
  • Houston Hero of the Year for Houston Home Journal:  2005
  • Secretary for Middle Georgia Chapter  Association of the Deaf:  2003
  • Recognized by a TV station as the 2001 Outstanding Volunteer for  work in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Community (“Straight from the Heart” Award Winner)
  • Recognized by Middle Georgia Tech as the 1999 Volunteer of the Year for work with the Adult Literacy Program

 

LaVerne has been married to Larry Lowe for 33 years. They have two beautiful daughters:  LaShawnda (RID certified and staff interpreter for Albany HS), Jasmine (RID certified and staff interpreter for Albany HS) and a very ADORABLE grandson, Jaedyn.

GaRID
P.O. Box 4341 Valdosta, GA 31604
www.garid.org

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software