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Deaf Studies Today!

Peaks and Valleys to Explore

Digital Conference, April 4-16, 2022



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Keynote Speakers

Dr. Rezenet Moges-Riedel

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Rezenet Moges-Riedel, Ed.D, is Assistant Professor in ASL Linguistics and Deaf Cultures program at California State University, Long Beach. Her dissertation focuses on intersectional experiences and retention of Deaf Faculty of Color, working at postsecondary institutions. Her current works are heavily shaped by critical race theory, which she reframed "White Oralism" and "Black Deaf Gain."  Her research interests also emcompass in linguistic anthropological issues, such as sign language contact, demissionization, and female masculinity signing styles. Moges(-Riedel) has published in Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity and Sign Language Studies journal. She also had several book-chapters published by Oxford University Press and Gallaudet University Press.

Dr. Carrie Lou Garberoglio

Headshot of a caucasian woman with wavy, shoulder-length brown hair and clear-rimmed glasses. She is wearing a black long-sleeved swoop neck knit top with a black blazer. Accessories include mustard coloured ball-shaped dangling earrings.

Carrie Lou Garbero
glio, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. She co-directs the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes and is the principal investigator for the federally funded grant. Her research focuses on the psychological factors involved with transition, and strategies for mitigating systemic disparities in deaf communities. Dr. Garberoglio has led the development of many peer-reviewed publications, data reports, technical reports, and research translations from English to ASL. Dr. Garberoglio’s work seeks to counter commonly held narratives about deaf people that are built on a deficit perspective. She advocates for examining the deficits within systems, then changing the systems — not the people.

Twitter: @carrie1ou


About Deaf Studies Today!



The international Deaf Studies Today! conference is a professional, academic conference that brings together the brightest minds and latest thinking within the interdisciplinary field of Deaf Studies. Running from 2004 to 2014 the biennial Deaf Studies Today! conference quickly became the primary site for the exchange of information and thinking for anyone interested in Deaf Studies. The conference has also become an important cultural space where Deaf people gather to create, renew and maintain relationships. After a four year break, Deaf Studies Today! returned  in 2018 with a series of mini and digital conferences.

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Conference Format

The 2022 Deaf Studies Today! conference will be a digital conference in which conference registrants can view presentations at their own pace. All keynote and accepted presentations will be pre-recorded.



Full Registration $75.00 Yes
Student (current) $15.00 No
UVU affiliated (Students, Faculty, Staff)  Free No
 Parents of deaf children* $15.00 No
(*not for parents in deaf-related professions)


**Registration Now Closed**

Thank You Conference Student Interns

Sarah Maener - Lead Intern

Sabrina Bosen

Monica Esquivel

Brandi Hansen

Jennifer Hooley

Natalie Jones

Jennilee Kishpaugh

Brooklyn Paxman

Elisabeth Sheber

Elizabeth Stubbs

Conference Panelists

Leala Holcomb, PhD

Leala Holcomb is a postdoctoral research associate studying language and literacy at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Holcomb is White, Deaf, Non-Binary, and uses gender neutral pronouns. Ze feels fortunate to have received exemplary ASL/English bilingual education through the California School for the Deaf in Fremont. Ze went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in international education and development from Gallaudet University, a master's in special education with specialization in deaf and hard of hearing from National University, and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Holcomb taught university courses on language, literacy, and multilingualism in deaf education and provided consultations and presentations to families, teachers, and schools, both nationally and internationally. Ze also was a former early childhood educator working with deaf preschoolers and their families where ze was instrumental in developing American Sign Language (ASL) standards, multilingual learning resources, and visual nursery rhymes. Dr. Holcomb is a co-founder of a non-profit organization called Hands Land, whose mission is to expand educational resources through ASL rhyme and rhythm for young children that integrate into family and school activities. Ze is also a co-editor of a special issue in the Languages journal called "Translanguaging in Deaf Communities". Much of Dr. Holcomb's work is driven by her commitment to eliminate systemic inequalities within the education system.


Christopher D. Johnson

Christopher D. Johnson,  generally known as CJ in the Deaf Community, was born in Carrollton, GA, as an only deaf child to Donald and Emma Johnson and an older brother to Dr. Emmanuel Johnson. More importantly, a beloved grandson of Lillie Heard Love on his maternal side. Johnson graduated with a degree in Sports Management from the University of West Georgia. Upon graduation, he recognized his unquenchable thirst for knowledge in discovering his deaf identity. This led Chris to pursue his journey to explore the deaf world. 

Mr. Johnson gained his first great sense of belonging as a deaf male through various employment experiences at multiple deaf institutions in the South. During his time in both Tennessee and Georgia, CJ tirelessly advocated removing the school-to-prison pipeline from schools and preserving Black American Sign Language, culture, and its history with a true intention to develop future Black deaf trailblazers. Chris's exemplary community advocacy and toughness of spirit is reflected through is servant, empirical, and organizational leadership. CJ is purpose-driven and a visionary leader with forward-thinking plans that include but are not limited to 1) serving as a member of the Board of Advisors at the Center for Black Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University, and 2) currently serving as the President of the District of Columbia Black Deaf Advocates. 


Rachel Benedict, MA, M.Ed, MA

Rachel Benedict (she/hers) has been in the deaf education field her entire life. A graduate of Maryland School for the Deaf, she attended Gallaudet University and graduated with a bachelors in Biology in 2011. She then went on to Boston University where she started her professional experience in Deaf Education field. Rachel obtained two masters there, Applied Linguistics (2013) and Deaf Education (2014). She then worked as a teacher at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School for two years before moving to Colorado to work at Rocky Mountain Deaf School as a teacher and team leader. Rachel holds her four years of academic bowl coach experience at RMDS close to her heart. Rachel attended University of Colorado Denver’s Leadership for Educational Organizations program (while also getting her Principal License). With her third Masters of Arts in hand, Rachel is now in her first year at Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind’s Jean Massieu School as the Director.

Conference Presenters


John Bosco Conama, PhD

There is a strong perception among members of the Irish deaf community that the community is in gradual decline, with dwindling traditional bases for producing Irish Sign Language (ISL) users. For instance, enrolment in residential schools for the deaf has been declining steadily, and the numbers involved in social, sports and cultural activities in the community have been falling. Therefore, this ongoing research entitled Sense of Community – the Irish Deaf Community explores the notion and strength of community belonging amongst the deaf community in Ireland. This project report presents the results of one element of this research - an anonymous online survey study conducted in June 2020. Initial analysis of the 399 responses to this survey indicates that ISL is one of the primary bonds holding the Irish deaf community together. Preliminary results were discussed in a series of online community dialogues. Issues such as technological advances, educational policies for deaf children in mainstream education, individualisation, and increased social mobility have also impacted how this community operates. Yet, there is a general sense of vagueness of how the community as a concept can benefit them. There is an ongoing but informal discussion on the unsustainability of current community models.


Gloshanda Lawyer, PhD

In this workshop, Dr. Gloshanda Lawyer describes her dissertation research involving the curriculum of colonization. This includes the way that the education system here in the United States was established as well as the continued impact that founding has on students even today. Three themes that emerged from her research will be presented.




Amber Tucker, MA

Ethical decision making is an integral part of the work of interpreters, yet there is a lack of a structured approach to examining and understanding the values that underlie and influence those decisions. Although interpreters are bound to uphold the Code of Professional Conduct and other Codes of Ethics, they often do not examine the values those codes represent. Additionally, interpreters are not trained in the examination and application of their personal and cultural values to ethical decision making. This framework provides a structured approach for interpreters to examine the personal, professional, and cultural values that impact the ethical decisions that arise during the work of interpreting, with the aim of developing a teleological, rather than deontological, approach to ethical fitness.


Tanner Tremea

The Side Effects of Hearing Aids: An Autoethnography This autoethnography is a qualitative study of reflection and learning about the life journey of Tanner Tremea, in finding Deafhood. The method of this research is by a compilation of past, and current experiences in seeking knowledge to how they apply in social, educational, and cultural levels. By combining experience with knowledge the objective is to help readers reflect on the struggle in their own lives. As we reflect on our struggles together, we can build character rather than let our lives deteriorate in the hands of oppressors. It is the nature of life that each person has challenges they must deal with, physical, emotional, or mental. It is simply not enough to respond to those challenges correctly because human error often comes in to change our plans. Finding self-esteem is helpful in responding to life's challenges but being confident with oneself is the key to finding resilience in a harsh world.  

Kathleen Brockway

This presentation will introduce viewers to oral interviews, signed narratives, and historical artifacts of the lost shared signing community of Lantz Mills and Shenandoah County, Virginia between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Perhaps the best known American historical shared signing community was made popular by Nora Groce in her 1985 work, Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha’s Vineyard. Numerous references demonstrate that deaf and hearing townspeople communicated and understood a common sign language in the Massachusetts island colony. For years, historians, writers, and the deaf community have assumed that the Martha’s Vineyard confluence was a singular event. The unearthing of these Lantz Mills community stories, however, excavates yet another unique space where community members utilized a visual language and affordances to thrive as a collective. Deaf citizens of the Lantz Mills area played an important and unique role in the life and economy of the community. The documentation and narratives surrounding this endangered ‘shared signing community’ (McKay-Cody, 2019) are not only important to American deaf communities, but also serve as an important — and initial — chapter in the story of deaf residents in Shenandoah County. There are more stories and details and artifacts to share.