ASL ACCESS BOARD & OFFICERS

ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD

Treasurer, Indhira "Indy" Patricia Dixon has served as a key advisor for ASL Access. Ms. Dixon holds an A.A. degree in Accounting (1991) from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and a B.S. in Business Administration (1996) from Gallaudet University.  Ms. Dixon, who became deaf in infancy, grew up as the only deaf person in her family.  She has three hearing children who are trilingual (ASL, English, Spanish). Ms. Dixon is enthusiastic about ASL Access and its new project, a site that provides English instruction with ASL.

Robyn J. Marcak holds B.A. in Education from California State University, Northridge, as well as an M.S. in Deaf Education from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.  In the state of Texas, she is certified in two areas:  All Levels in Deaf Education and Secondary Level in ASL.  She is also certified in Council on Education of the Deaf.  She is an ASLTA (American Sign Language Teachers Association) and NAD (National Association of the Deaf) member.  Ms. Marcak is currently working on obtaining her national ASLTA certification. 

Ms. Marcak has been teaching high school, college, and continuing education classes for thirteen years.  She started the ASL program at Fort Bend Independent School District in Sugarland, Texas.  In 1996, there were just  120 students. The program now has over 500 ASL students.  While teaching with the Fort Bend Independent School District, Ms, Marcak was filmed by a local cable television show - “All About Kids” - performing  an ASL interpretation of Lean On Me.  In 1998, she started another ASL program at Klein Independent School District in Houston, Texas.  An original group of 60 students has now grown to 500.  Ms. Marcak has written and published curriculums for high school districts and three colleges: San Jacinto College and North Harris College (both in Houston, Texas) and Blinn College in Bryan, Texas.

 Ms. Marcak managed the ASL program for the KISD for 5 years.  She also directed the Deaf Follies performance with the ASL I, II and III levels, teaching hearing high school students as they earned foreign language credit in their ASL courses at Klein Forest High School. Ms, Marcak received the “Outstanding Foreign Language Teacher of the Year”  award for 2001-2002.  She has been giving ASL Workshops across the nation, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Monterey, California, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Indiana, Kansas City, Missouri, Orlando, Florida, San Francisco, California, Brenham, Texas and Frisco, Texas.  She taught ASL and Deaf Culture courses at Cy-Fair College from 2005-2007.   In 2006, she was the “2006 Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award Winner” and was on the ASL Advisory Board for the committee.  She served as the Texas ASLTA (American Sign Language Teachers Association) President from 2003-2011 and she is now a Member-at-Large for the Greater Houston ASLTA.  Ms. Marcak serves on the ASL Access Administrative Board.  She is a full-time ASL professor and the coordinator for the ASL Program at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas.  She is also involved with theTexas Community College Teachers Association (TCCTA) as Chairman of the ASL/Interpreting Programs.  Ms. Marcak won the “2012 National Institute Staff and Organizational Development Teaching Excellence Award” from Blinn College, earning this for her dedication to her students and colleagues.

Alec C. McFarlane is the president of the Library for Deaf Action (LDA), founded by Alice Hagemeyer, MLS, where the production of the I Made America Great Series (IMAG) and the Bridging Deaf Cultures (BDC) collection are the two primary arms of business. He is also the vice-president of the board of FOLDA or the Friends Of the Library for Deaf Action which is the public service arm of LDA. He has been working with Ms. Hagemeyer for more than four years and has spearheaded the action to create the nation’s first Deaf Cultural Digital Library in Maryland. Additionally, Mr. McFarlane serves on the administrative board of ASL Access, Inc., which serves to promote the access to the non-written language that is otherwise known as American Sign Language. Prior to Mr. McFarlane's involvement with the library he spent 30 years in the construction industry specializing in custom homes and light commercial construction and remodeling. He continues to work as the principal of the New Image Associates, Construction Consultants (NIA).

Ellen Walsh Semerjian represents a high level of expertise in church interpreting, providing outstanding sign language interpreting in various churches in her local area, Pahrump, Nevada.  She has been interested in sign language and interpreting for most of her life, and has long enjoyed friendships with Deaf people through her time at The Washington Post and in other settings. Ms. Semerjian provides sign language interpreting and other volunteer services within her faith community. She has a vision for ASL as a worldwide resource!

Founder/Director of ASL Access, Chris Wixtrom, who is hearing, grew up just down the street from California School for the Deaf, Riverside (CSDR) and – as an adult - learned ASL from Deaf friends. Wixtrom earned teaching credentials from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and has enjoyed teaching Deaf and hearing children and adults for over 30 years. Wixtrom provided home education for her three (hearing) children. In 2011, she taught  “Workforce English” through Fairfax County Public Schools/Adult Community Education. She also loves working with Deaf international English-language learners. In May of this year, Wixtrom hopes to complete her TESOL Master of Science degree through Shenandoah University’s online program. Wixtrom is steering development of a new website that will provide ESL (English instruction) with support from ASL.

ADVISORY BOARD

Deanne Bray is an educator at heart. She enjoys teaching math and science to Deaf/deaf and hard of hearing students and encouraging a love for reading. Born deaf in Canoga Park, CA, Deanne is grateful for supportive parents who gave her early opportunities to benefit from Deaf mentors and learn American Sign Language (ASL), as well as to learn English and speech. With a B.A. in Biology from California State University, Northridge, Deanne is now pursuing her M.A. in Education. She has starred in a PAX TV show, "Sue Thomas: F. B. Eye," which was inspired by the real life F.B.I. career experiences of Sue Thomas, a deaf woman who Deanne views as a mentor and friend. Deanne is enthusiastic about putting ASL videos in the hands of hearing, Deaf/deaf and hard of hearing people by way of local public libraries.

Patricia (Trix) Bruce is profoundly Deaf, and proud of it. She has been involved in the performing arts for over 17 years, holds teaching and ASLTA certificates and is an approved sponsor for RID's CMP program. Trix Bruce travels widely to present her popular ASL poetry, storytelling and drama performances and workshops. She is fully supportive of ASL Access's resources to meet everyone's needs.

Alice L. Hagemeyer, M.L.S. is the founder of Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action (FOLDA), a public service of her library consulting business, Library for Deaf Action. In 1976, she became the first Librarian for the Deaf Community at the District of Columbia Public Libary and served in that position until her early retirement in 1991.She initiated an annual Deaf Awareness Week at the D.C. Public Library; this is now celebrated in libraries nationally as Deaf History Month, March 13 - April 15 and Clerc-Gallaudet Week, the first full week in December. She has actively participated in many library conferences and organizations. In the summer of 2000, she was named to the National Honor Roll for Library Advocates of the 20th Century at the American Library Association by the D.C. Library Association. Ms. Hagemeyer is dedicated to promoting full library access to all resources of common interest to people in every community.

Kristen Harmon holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature, with areas of concentration featuring Creative Writing, Ethnography, Folkloristics and Cultural Studies. Since 1999, Ms. Harmon, who is Deaf, has served as Associate Professor of English at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Her experience with ethnographic research, her work with the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, her assistance with the Missouri Folk Arts Program, the American Folklore Society, and the Deaf Way II Language and Culture Strand Committee - as well as her scholarly and creative publications - clearly indicate her strong standing as a champion of cultural, historical, and linguistic treasures.

Jill Jicha is Executive Director of Deaf Children's Outreach based on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and is actively involved with the Deaf Independent Living Association of Maryland. One of her special interests is making literature accessible to deaf children.

Margaret Higgs Klotz is an English instructor at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C. She received her master's degree in Linguistics at Gallaudet University (2000), after studying Deaf Education and Elementary Education, with a minor in Spanish, at Flagler College in 1996. She describes her primary areas of research interest as The Visual World of Deaf Classrooms and Metalinguistics in Bilingual Bicultural Classrooms. Ms. Klotz has provided volunteer services to Deaf communities in Central America, South America and North America.

Troy Kotsur's support for American Sign Language is powerfully expressed through his professional appearances as an accomplished actor. Troy played three dramatic roles (Pap/Duke/Silas) in the Broadway performance of "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," presented by the RoundAbout Theatre Company and Deaf West Theatre. His tremendous talent has won him multiple awards and recognition as he has performed with the National Theater of the Deaf, 16 Deaf West Theatre productions, and as he shared the screen with his real-life wife, Deanne Bray, on PAX Television's "Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye." Troy strongly supports the work of ASL Access in encouraging free access to American Sign Language video resources for everyone through public libraries.

PAST ASL ACCESS VOLUNTEERS

Consultants, Deaf and hearing, volunteer their time to contribute to the success of ASL Access.

We really appreciate those who have volunteered with us in the past, and hope that many more people will volunteer as time goes on.