As the leader in VRS education, the Institute offers curriculum designed especially for VRS interpreters utilizing the latest, highest-quality video relay and educational technologies. Additionally, the Institute aims to increase the number of qualified deaf and hearing interpreter education instructors as well as offer field professionals access to and support for the latest VRS technology in an interpreter education environment based on best practices and latest research in the field.
Carolyn Ball Executive Director
Carolyn Ball, Ph.D., has most recently been working as an Associate Professor of Interpreting and Director of the American Sign Language & Interpreting Program at William Woods University in Fulton, MO. She received her B.S., and her M.A. in Administration from Brigham Young University—then earned her Ph.D. in 2007 in Adult Education from Capella University.
Throughout her university experience and career Carolyn has had great passion for teaching, with specific focus on training those who train interpreters. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled "The History of American Sign Language Interpreting Educators", was the first-ever treatment of this subject and has become a foundational reference for ASL Interpreting Educators. Carolyn has served three times as president of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers. She continues to publish many professional articles related to improving interpreter process skills.
Carolyn has recently been named the Executive Director of the new Sorenson VRS Interpreting Institute—a multi-million dollar, leading-edge 15,000 sq. ft. teaching facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah, dedicated exclusively to educating interpreters and those who train American Sign Language interpreters.
Annette Miner has a Master's degree in Psychology and an Educational Specialist degree from Western Michigan University. She has been interpreting for 25 years and teaching interpreting for 15 years in various types of settings. She taught full time at Salt Lake Community College as well as coordinated their interpreter education program. She has taught part time at interpreting programs in San Diego, California, directed and taught courses in an online grant program to deliver education to interpreters working in K-12 settings, and has worked as a mentor for working, pre-certified interpreters. She has served for over 10 years on the Board of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers as President, Regional Representative, and currently, as Director of Research and Publications. She holds a Certificate of Interpretation and a Certificate of Transliteration from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, National Interpreter Certification (Master Level) and Professional certification from the American Sign Language Teachers Association.
Holly Nelson has been interpreting American Sign Language for 15 years in various settings. Much of her experience is in post-secondary settings, where she taught, provided interpreting services and was responsible for training, research, advising and coordinating services. Holly also worked with students and held faculty and staff positions. Holly holds RID NIC Master Certification, Professional Level Certification from the Utah Certification Board, Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment Certification and is also a Candidate for Specialized Legal Certification from RID. She has a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Criminal Justice from Weber State University.
Holly has worked as an interpreter/trainer for the Utah State Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Utah Interpreter Program and as a program mentor and trainer for the Interpreter Certification Advancement Network (ICAN). She has worked as an instructor with Salt Lake Community College American Sign Language Interpreting Program and Corporate Training's American Sign Language Interpreting Fast Track Program and as an adjunct instructor with Weber State University's foreign language department. In addition to mentoring and teaching workshops for over a decade, she has developed courses and mentoring curriculum that address the interpreting needs in the community. Holly is currently spearheading a project to update Interpreter Training Program curriculum and assist with associate and bachelor degree articulation in Utah to enable students to meet national certification requirements.
Holly is a past-president of the Utah Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (UTRID). She served on the Board for eight years as president, vice president and member-at-large. Holly was also an RID certification maintenance program-approved sponsor and the UTRID webmaster. In 2010, during her tenure as webmaster, the RID website won the Region V Best Website award. In addition to her many contributions at the state level, Holly served nationally as the co-chair for the 2010 RID Region V Conference, held in Salt Lake City.
Samond Bishara hails from a Deaf family in California. He received a Bachelor's degree in History with a specialization in Deaf history from Gallaudet University. He was employed at Sorenson Communications for five years as a Desktop Technician in the Information Technology department. While there, he provided consultation and support to the VRS Interpreting Institute interpreting lab. He is now a full-time faculty member and lab instructor with the VRS Interpreting Institute. He has also been an adjunct professor in the ASL department at Brigham Young University since 2008.
Jeni Rodrigues joined the faculty of the VRSII in 2012. Prior to becoming a VRSII faculty member, she managed the Sorenson Communications Riverside and Burbank (Calif.) Interpreting Centers. She has worked as an interpreter for 15 years - in academia, Video Relay Service and community settings as well as worked as a mentor for Sorenson Communications and Cerritos Community College in Norwalk, Calif.
Jeni holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach in Women's Studies, and a Master of Education degree from Northeastern University, in Boston. She is currently working on her Ph.D. Jeni holds a Certificate of Interpretation (CI) and a Certificate of Transliteration (CT) from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and Level Four Advanced Certification from the National Association of the Deaf.