Staff

Photo of  Ashley Bennett BA, NIC, AOPC
Ashley Bennett BA, NIC, AOPC
Staff Interpreter

Ashley graduated from Mount Aloysius College with a BA in Sign Language/Interpreter Education and English. She has been interpreting with SLS since February 2008, and is a nationally certified interpreter holding a National Interpreter Certification (NIC) through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). Ashley left SLS for three months in the summer of 2008 to go work for the Minnesota Conservation Corps as a Crew Leader. While there, she did environmental work and interpreted for the Deaf youth they hired to work as Crew Members. She has always had a passion for the arts, involving herself in theater and music, and has carried that over into her interpreting career by attending workshops to enhance her skills for theater and concert interpreting. Other venues Ashley enjoys interpreting in are the emergency room and the classroom, where she feels as if she is always learning and growing.

Photo of  Victoria Berrier BA, EIPA
Victoria Berrier BA, EIPA
Staff Interpreter

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.

 

Photo of  Rachel Bossard BA
Rachel Bossard BA
Staff Interpreter

Rachel is a pre-certified, qualified interpreter who graduated from Maryville College in May of 2012.  She has a double major in Sign Language Interpreting and American Sign Language and Deaf Studies.  She also has minor in Psychology. She had a great opportunity to experience her internship at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. She is a candidate for national certification through RID. She has been working full-time with SLSWPA since September 2012.

Photo of  Julie Breeze BA
Julie Breeze BA
Staff Interpreter

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 is provisionally registered with ODHH and is a candidate for the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) through RID.

 

Photo of  John Dysert
John Dysert

John joined Sign Language Specialists of Western Pennsylvania working with hard of hearing students at Commonwealth Technical Institute as an Education Coach in 2016. He has a Master’s Degree in English and has additional post graduate education in Non-Profit Leadership. Prior to working at HGA, he worked as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Registered Behavior Therapist at an autism center in Youngstown, Ohio.

Photo of  Joyce Gallagher IC/TC, CI/CT, AOPC
Joyce Gallagher IC/TC, CI/CT, AOPC
Operations Manager of Sign Language Specialists

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.

Photo of  Wendy Grossman BA, MA, NAD IV
Wendy Grossman BA, MA, NAD IV
Staff Interpreter

Wendy (Sink) Grossman earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1988. After graduation, she worked in a variety of K-12 educational settings as a teacher, often being called on to interpret for students when their full-time interpreters were absent. In 1997, she earned her certification through the National Association of the Deaf, achieving level IV (Advanced). Since that time, she has interpreted in a variety of public and private settings, among these interpreting for dignitaries and entertainers such as President Barack Obama, and Nathie Marbury. She has experience in performance interpreting for Off-Broadway shows like CATS and Xanadu, among others. She has also interpreted for many colleges and universities, trade schools, national and local conferences, graduations, funerals, and weddings. She has also earned two Masters degrees in Education, allowing her to consult on projects like the Pennsylvania Alternative System of Assessment (PASA). As a RID-certified interpreter, her preferred interpreting settings are Educational and Medical. She has been employed with SLS off-and-on for six years.

Photo of  Katelyn Hartwiger BA
Katelyn Hartwiger BA
Staff Interpreter

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.

Photo of  Lori Hutchison BA, MA, CSC
Lori Hutchison BA, MA, CSC
Staff Interpreter

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.

Photo of  Terry Jeffreys
Terry Jeffreys
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.

Photo of  Dave Litzinger AA, NAD IV
Dave Litzinger AA, NAD IV
Lead Interpreter

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.

Photo of  Amber Olinits BA
Amber Olinits BA
Staff Interpreter

Amber is a pre-certified, qualified interpreter who graduated from Mount Aloysius College with a BA in Sign Language/Interpreter Education. She also had a minor in English. Presently, she is a candidate and working towards her RID certification. In addition, she is currently waiting for her Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) test results. Amber has experience interpreting in medical locations, outpatient settings, and physical therapy.

Photo of  Robert Spahn BA, EIPA
Robert Spahn BA, EIPA
Staff 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.