SIGN LANGUAGE SPECIALISTS OF WESTERN PA - Key Persons
Cassidy Donaldson graduated from Mount Aloysius College in 2019 with her bachelor's degree in American Sign Language/ English Interpreting. While in college, Cassidy was the president of the interpreting club and helped run the biennial student-interpreting conference. Cassidy enjoys working in the education setting as she also obtained her associate's degree in Early Childhood Education. During her senior year, she interned at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind. Shortly after graduation, she began working for our company.
- Adjunct Professor for ASL 1
Dave was driven to be able to talk with his deaf son. He is a NAD IV (National Association of the Deaf, level 4) certified, registered interpreter who graduated from Mount Aloysius with an AA in Interpreter Training. After that, he worked part-time for four years at Mount Aloysius as an interpreter, and later as an adjunct professor for ASL 1 and ASL 2 classes. He began working as an interpreter at the Hiram G. Andrews Center in 1992. In 2002, he became one of the charter employees of SLS. His 19 Years of experience in this field and his skills led to a promotion to Lead Interpreter in January of 2009. He interprets in a wide variety of settings including post-secondary and community, but feels his niche can be found in the building trades and automotive settings. He is an asset to SLS by being our resource for up-to-date information on all of the newest technologies available to Deaf consumers.
James Howsare holds RID-NAD National Interpreter Certification. James also holds an AA degree from Mount Aloysius College in interpreter Training, and a BA degree in Letters, Arts and Sciences with a focus on intercultural communication from the Pennsylvania State University. James has been interpreting and working with the Deaf community in a wide range of settings for over 20 years. In addition to his background as an ASL/English interpreter, James also has conversational fluency in Spanish. James lived in Nicaragua and worked for an NGO promoting the acquisition of Nicaraguan Sign Language among Nicaraguan Deaf children. James finds his niche in educational interpreting and advocates for the language rights of Deaf children.
Jennylynn is a graduate of Mount Aloysius College with her BA in Sign Language/Interpreter Education and also holds a fine arts degree. Jennylynn has been working as an educational interpreter for the past 9 years but just recently joined the slswpa staff. Jennylynn holds an Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA). Jennylynn enjoys working in the educational system because she never stops learning.
Joyce is the only child of Deaf parents. American Sign Language was her first language as she acted as interpreter for her parents from an early age. This early connection to Deaf society enables her to not only connect with the Deaf community on a theoretical and academic level, but also to actually share and intimately understand Deaf culture. She is one of a handful of interpreters in our area to have certification in IC/TC Interpretation and Transliteration (1986), CI certification of Interpretation, CT certification of Transliteration (2000), and Pennsylvania State Court certification (2008). Joyce, along with the Interpreters of Sign Language Specialists of Western Pennsylvania have over 50 years combined of experience serving Deaf consumers in the areas of secondary, post-secondary, vocational/technical, and college level education. They are also familiar with area hospitals including the emergency departments, critical care, hospice, occupational and physical therapy, as well as doctors' and dental offices. They have also worked with a variety of state and federal agencies including Social Security Administration, Department of Public Welfare, Children and Youth Services, Early Childhood Intervention, and Local and District Courts.
Julie is a pre-certified, qualified interpreter who began her studies at Luzerne County Community College in 2008 where obtained an Associates degree. After moving to the South Western region of PA she was introduced to the Deaf community where she learned about the culture and language. Julie enrolled at Mount Aloysius College where she spent time at Deaf Gatherings, volunteered to interpret with community members, and held presidency of the Interpreting club for the college. Julie graduated from Mount Aloysius with her Bachelor's degree in American Sign Language/English Interpretation in 2016. She interned with SLSWPA during her senior year and began interpreting with our company shortly after graduation. She has experienced a variety of interpreting settings including: medical, educational, theater/performance, and business. She has her EIPA. She is provisionally registered with ODHH and is a candidate for the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) through RID.
Katelyn is a pre-certified, qualified interpreter who began her studies at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College in 2007 and then transferred to Mount Aloysius College in 2009. She graduated from Mount Aloysius with her Bachelor's degree in Sign Language/Interpreter Education. She began working at SLSWPA shortly after graduation. She previously did internships with Sign Language Interpreting Professionals and Center for Hearing and Deaf Services in Pittsburgh. She has experienced a variety of interpreting settings including medical, educational, and business. She is a candidate for the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) through RID.
Kathy has been interpreting professionally for 19 years. She has her NIC and Ed K-12 Certifications. Kathy has an Associates degree in Interpreting ASL and English from the Community College of Allegheny County. She has worked in Washington D.C., New York City, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. She did a lot of work with the government in D.C. including Homeland Security, Department of Education, US Geological Survey, and the Department of Transportation just to name a few. In New York City she did a lot of work with immigration and attorneys also working with many CDI's. There she also worked at the Fashion Institute of Technology and The Pratt School of Design. Kathy has worked in every part of the field including education, business, video relay service, medical, and mental health. She is very passionate about her work. Her extended family worked at the Western PA School for the Deaf and she started interacting with the Deaf community at a young age. She would volunteer her time at the Deaf Summer camps while she was in high school at WPSD. She also volunteered interpreting at the Hempfield Church of Christ in Greensburg.
Katie is a pre-certified, qualified interpreter. She attended Mount Aloysius College where she spent time at Deaf Gatherings and volunteered to interpret with community members and was the treasurer of the interpreting club for the college. Katie graduated from Mount Aloysius with her Bachelor's degree in American Sign Language/English Interpretation in 2018. She interned with Sign Language Interpreting Professionals (SLIP) during her senior year and began interpreting with our company shortly after graduation. She has experienced a variety of interpreting settings including: medical, educational, and business. She is provisionally registered with ODHH and is a candidate for the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) through RID. She is currently working towards her RID Certification. She has obtained her EIPA.
Lori has worked with consumers who are Hard of Hearing and Deaf for over 30 years. Prior to her retirement in 2007, she was the Director of Student Services, and prior to that position, the Supervisor of Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services at the Hiram G. Andrews Center (HGAC), the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation funded evaluation and training facility. While at HGAC, she was the Site Coordinator for the Northeast Technical Assistance Center, a federal grant serving D/HH students administered by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, NY. She also consulted with NTID on the extension of the federal grant, renamed PEPNet-Northeast, from 2007 through 2011, working as the Outreach Specialist serving the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland. On this grant, she presented at national conferences, developed and worked on regional projects and provided technical assistance to D/HH students, post-secondary institutions, parents, and other stakeholders. She has a BA in Deaf Studies, an MA in Rehabilitation Counseling, and also earned her CRC- Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Lori holds a CSC from RID and is registered with ODHH.
Rachel Mackrell graduated from Mount Aloysius College with her degree in American Sign Language/English Interpreting. While in college, she was the president of the interpreting club during the college's biennial student run interpreting conference. She was an active member of the college's theatre department and enjoys theatre interpreting. During her senior year, Rachel interned with SLS and began working here post-graduation. She is currently working as an educational interpreter.
Rob is a pre-certified, qualified interpreter who graduated from Mount Aloysius College with a BA in Sign Language/Interpreter Education. He also minored in Psychology, an area in which he enjoys utilizing his skills. Rob joined SLS as a Staff Interpreter in January of 2009, and currently holds an Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) certification. Rob has experience working one-on-one with Deaf children while serving as a camp counselor for several summers. He also is familiar with interpreting in a variety of other settings. Rob has gained much of his experience by routinely interpreting in mental health environments such as behavioral health, in- and out-patient services, drug and alcohol addiction groups, and physical therapy.
- Academic ( Educational ) Coach
Terry is currently working with hard of hearing students as an Academic (Educational) Coach at the Commonwealth Technical Institute. He has also worked in many of the majors as CTI such as the Business Retail, Core, Materials Management and Distribution, and Small Gas Engine programs as an educational coach for Sign Language Specialist of Western PA. He works to make education connections with students, teachers, counselors and staff. He has experience working with students in adverse populations in the relevant program areas (tutoring, teaching, advising, professional development and behavioral responsibilities). He sets proper study environments and establishes routines to develop functional skills to help them manage their work independently. Terry encourages students to be independent and self advocate. He coaches students to achieve better grades, greater independence and higher self confidence. He has a high success rate as an academic coach with past students. Some of those students having graduated with high honors. All the students have shown improvements and have received academic achievement awards upon graduation.
He has been working with SLWPA since 2016. Prior to work-in for Sign Language Specialists of Western PA, he worked as a utility foreman, trainer, and field superintendent for a subcontract utility company.
Victoria is a pre-certified, qualified interpreter. She attended Mount Aloysius College, where she was president of the Interpreting Club and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor's degree in American Sign Language/English Interpretation. As part of her studies, she did a four-month internship through SLSWPA. Shortly after graduation, she returned to work at SLSWPA and has been there ever since. Victoria holds an Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) certificate, a provisional registration through ODHH, and is a candidate for the National Interpreter Certification through RID.