Tom Lam is a Vietnam-born-Chinese who immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 3. As a 2020 MSW candidate, he is currently a full-time student at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. After receiving his bachelor’s in Deaf Studies at Cal State Northridge in 2000, Tom interpreted in various educational settings. Tom wasn’t always a professional interpreter. His past experiences include being a Sign Language Specialist for the Department of Children and Family Services of LA County and the Community and Family Support Coordinator and Liaison for the Office of Special Education at Boston Public Schools.
Yoshiko ‘Koko’ Chino currently works as a consultant and independent contract signed language interpreter. Working in the deaf community for over 25 years, her past positions include serving as director of a statewide interpreter referral in New Mexico, executive director at Gallaudet Interpreting Service, and as a direct service provider/signed language interpreter. Koko also has an extensive history in volunteer engagement in RID at the national and state level. Her primary focus areas include: mentoring; systems change; licensure; working with CDIs; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and program development. Her interpreting work has spanned the following settings: medical and mental health, legal/court, social services, post-secondary education, government, business and legal settings. Koko holds her BS Summa Cum Laude in Signed Language Interpreting from the University of New Mexico and her Masters in Public Administration from Gallaudet University. Currently, Koko divides her time between St. Paul, Minnesota and Kaneohe, Hawai’i.
Makoto Ikegami is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for the states of Pennsylvania, Florida, and Georgia. Currently, Dr. Ikegami is an ASL Therapist for one of CaringWorks’s residential programs, Hope House, which is a program for men who are seeking recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction. Dr. Ikegami’s responsibilities at Hope House include assessment, psycho-education, and individual and family psychotherapy for deaf and hard of hearing members. Prior to joining CaringWorks, Dr. Ikegami worked for 8 years at PAHrtners Deaf Services providing case management and outpatient therapy to deaf and hard of hearing people with mental health concerns. Dr. Ikegami received his MSW from Gallaudet University in 2009 and received his DSW from Walden University in 2019. The title of his dissertation is Social Workers’ Experiences with Deaf and Hard of Hearing People with Mental Illness. Dr. Ikegami has made a number of presentations related to addiction and mental health and serves as a Board Member at Large for The American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association (ADARA) and an Advisory Committee Member for BRIDGES Deaf Advocacy Program: Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV).
Lifelong learning and social justice are at the heart of Roschawn (Schawn) Tubig Hardesty’s professional and service work. She began learning ASL from family friends at the age of seven and has been a nationally certified ASL interpreter since 2002 with legal certification since 2011. Hardesty is one of approximately 30 interpreters in the nation to identify as a Person of Color who holds the RID Specialist Certificate: Legal. She is a proactive collaborator and an advocate for equitable access to communication, information, and resources.
Hardesty holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Washington (Seattle), a Certificate in ASL from Northeastern University (Boston), and an M.A. in Teaching ASL from the University of Northern Colorado (Greeley) with research interests in the essential foundations of ASL interpreter education and collaboration with educators from heritage signing backgrounds.
As Director of Operations for the University of Northern Colorado’s Project CLIMB, (Cultivating Legal Interpreters from Minority Backgrounds), a Department of Rehabilitation Services Rehabilitation Services Administration interpreter education project that aims to increase the number and quality of interpreters in the legal specialty, particularly Interpreters of Color and interpreters with heritage signing backgrounds (Coda and Deaf), Hardesty draws on her professional knowledge and lived experience to promote each participant’s opportunity for continued education and cura personalis, or development of the whole person. She has also served as a Student Services Specialist and ASL interpreter through Washington State University’s Community, Equity, and Inclusion Excellence pillar of the Division of Student Affairs; co-founder of the Spokane Interpreter Mentorship Program; two-term Board Director on the Washington State Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Board of Directors; committee service on RID’s Legal Interpreting White Paper committee; WSU’s Community Response Team, Diversity and Inclusion committees; Asian American/ Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Affinity Group; several local and statewide professional development and conference steering committees; Community Standards Advisor; Interpreter Coordinator for the Eastern Washington Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; and Administrative Support Manager at D.E.A.F., Inc in Allston, Massachusetts.