San Diego County

Registry of Interpreters

for the Deaf (SDCRID)

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Leah Brown (she/her)  2021-2023

photo ID: multi-ethnic woman with grey and brown wavy hair pulled half up smiling at the camera wearing earrings, a white and black polka-dotted shirt,

a turquoise pendant necklace, in front of a gray background

Leah Brown was born and raised in San Diego.  She graduated from California State University San Marcos in 2006 with a Bachelors degree in Sociology.  In 2008, she graduated from the interpreting program at Palomar College and began her career as a sign language interpreter.  When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family practicing Taekwondo, mountain biking, surfing, camping and traveling.


JoJo Sullivan (she/her)  2021-2023

photo ID: white woman with red framed glasses is smiling in front

of a grey backgroundwearing a red Stanford t-shirt, in front of a gray background

JoJo Sullivan was born and raised in San Diego, the youngest, and many say the favorite, of 3 CODAs born to Mike and Carol Gallagher.  She became nationally certified in June of 2002.  She had to go see about a boy up at Stanford University where she continued to freelance and was introduced to VRS for the first time.  After returning to San Diego and putting a ring on it, married life took her to Seattle.  Seattle was a great place to live and work until JoJo became homesick…and then morning sick…so back to San Diego they went.  Glad to be home and working her 20th year as a freelance interpreter.  JoJo is looking forward to contributing to the SDCRID board for the first time.


Paul Gabriola (he/him)  2021-2023

photo ID: a light skinned, mixed Filipino, Italian man smiling at the camera,

wearing a black shirt with buttons, in front of a light background

Paul Gabriola was born and raised in San Diego and was first introduced to the Deaf community in 2008.  He graduated from Palomar College’s ITP program in the Fall of 2019 and became nationally certified in February of 2020.  After working and living in Washington D.C. while completing his M.A. in linguistics as Gallaudet University, he moved back to San Diego to continue to develop his skills.  He now works in the greater San Diego area as a freelance interpreter and does VRS.  He is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Linguistics at Gallaudet University.  He is committed to ensuring the interpreting profession places a priority on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the day-to-day work that is done.


Jessica Cole  2021-2023

photo ID: a white woman with blonde hair and a v-neck black t-shirt, 

in front of a gray background

Jessica Cole grew up in Chula Vista and completed her undergraduate degree at Emerson College in Boston.  She began working in Deaf education as an aide and later as a teacher for three years in Chula Vista before transitioning to the ITP at Mesa College.  She completed her program concurrently at Mesa and Palomar Colleges and began working as a freelance interpreter while also beginning her MA at UCSD where she studied ASL literature.  After graduating and doing short stints in community freelancing and VRS, she settled into a job she loves with the San Diego County Office of Education, where she has been for 10 years.  In her free time, Jessica loves to walk around the city, travel, read, and (over?)analyze pop culture for its social justice implications.



Jessica Tinoco (she/they)  2022-2023

photo ID: Brown person with short hair smiling directly into the camera.

wearing medium size hoop earrings, a nose ring,

and a black v-neck blouse, in front of a gray background

Jessica Tinoco is a native of San Diego and has been a working interpreter for 14 years. She has spent some time working in different regions, even moved away for a bit, but her roots pulled her back home.  She hopes to provide more networking opportunities as SDCRID's Working-Rep. She would like for us to come together as colleagues that feel a sense of community as opposed to feeling like each of us is in a silo.  Lastly, she is also committed to the original purpose of serving on the Board which has been and will continue to prioritize diversity.



Angelo Ricasata  2021-2023

Angelo Ricasata is a 1st generation Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Filipino-American, San Diegan native, having grown up in a military family.  He had previously lived in Hawai'i for 4 years due to said military family life and had attended Cal Poly Pomona for 6 years, with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He has traveled to the Philippines, Japan, and Europe and has drawn inspiration from them to pursue his taste in architecture as well as cultures.  He has worked at Palomar Community College from 2016-2018 as an ASL Lab Technician and a Deaf mentor for Interpreting students in school and theatre settings.  Currently, he works for a design company based in Miramar that specializes on home remodels and new builds. His passions lie not just in architecture but also in performing arts (dancing and playing the violin), sketching, foreign languages (both verbal and nonverbal), as well as cultures.  He also performed for the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival and the one-time San Diego Deaf Dance Performance Event, with his specialization in SongSign.  He has a respectful and positive attitude and ensures complete and in-depth understanding with communication among parties.



Azucena Ceja  (she/her)  2022-2023

photo ID: a Mexican-American woman smiling, wearing a black long sleeve

v-neck shirt with a slicked back ponytail, in front of a taupe background

Azucena Ceja was born and raised in California.  She is a Mexican American woman who loves learning new things and hanging out with her family.  She is currently living in the San Diego area with her husband and their cat named Oslo.  She started learning ASL with her family in 2011.  They did this because her father is hard of hearing.  So they wanted a way to communicate with him if he lost his hearing completely.  From then on, she wanted to learn more ASL.  In 2018, she attended Palomar College to start her journey of becoming an interpreter.  Since being in the program she has learned the importance of equal access the Deaf community needs.  She hopes to become the best interpreter she can be and provide that equal access to the community.



Shannon Chafik  (she/her)  2022-2023

photo ID: white female in front of grey background with brown curly hair,

wearing a white t shirt with floral pattern, in front of a gray background

Shannon Chafik has resided in San Diego for ten years, originally from Northern Nevada.  She has had a long-established dream of becoming an ASL interpreter and after many years, she is finally making it happen.  She is currently in the second year of the ITP program at San Diego Mesa College. Shannon is beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to be the Community Representative for San Diego Mesa College and looks forward to working with fellow students and the community.  Shannon aims in creating an environment with new students where they feel welcomed and supported, as well as educate potential students on the program and its benefits.  Her goal is to strengthen the program at San Diego Mesa College and act as a student mentor to connect students to the Deaf community.  When Shannon is not in school or working, she is spending time with her husband and learning other languages.  In addition to English and American Sign Language, she is conversational in Spanish and Serbian and is learning Moroccan Arabic and French. 


Razi Hall  2021-2023

photo ID: a Black man with a nose ring, wearing a gray cap 

and a black v-neck t-shirt, in front of a gray background

Deaf and a Florida native, Rodney “Razi” Hall lives and works in San Diego for the Deaf community as a Deaf Interpreter.  He is  a native ASL user and enrolled in the ASL Interpreting program at Mesa College to become a Deaf Interpreter.  He received a certification of achievement which allowed him to enhance his interpretation skills and knowledge.  He conducts himself in a professional manner, able to work well with team interpreters.

He worked as a freelance Deaf Interpreter for a year.  Then he joined DCS as staff Deaf interpreter.  He is working on becoming a Certified Deaf Interpreter.

In the past, he volunteered for Deaf Community Services as a front desk clerk and in the Adult Literacy Department as an instructional aide and one-on-one tutor.

He is tied to the Deaf Community.  For most of his life, he lived in the Deaf World.  He served in Deaf organizations setting up Deaf events, working with Deaf people, tutoring ASL, etc.




BIPOC Interpreters

Co-chair: Geri Mu CI and CT, NIC-M (she/her/hers)

photo ID: a smiling Chinese-American woman wearing

a black shirt, has salt and pepper wispy bangs, and a

white headband pulling back the rest of

her hair, in front of a gray background

Geri Mu, NIC-Master, CI and CT, is a Chinese American interpreter in private practice since 1984.  Currently, she is a Testing Committee member for the Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpretation (CASLI).

Geri has been formally involved with multicultural issues since 1997.  She was the Chair for RID’s Cultural Diversity in Leadership committee for eight years and an Advisory Committee member for the National Multicultural Interpreter Consortium.  She is also proud to have been the Interpreting Services Coordinator for the Asian Deaf Conference in 2000 where she was the first to assemble the largest all-Asian Interpreting team known at that time!

She is a lifelong learner, holding an A.A. in Interpreting from Los Angeles Pierce College, a B.A. in Deaf Studies from California State University Northridge, and an M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet University.

Co-chair: Norma Villegas CI and CT (she/they)

photo ID: a Mexican woman with shoulder-length salt and pepper hair and white streaks at hairline smiling at the camera, wearing glasses, a teal dress and black blazer,

in front of a dark gray background

Norma Villegas received her B.A. in Deaf Studies in 1997 from CSU Northridge where she began her work as an educational interpreter.  For more than a decade she worked as a video interpreter, including relaying Trilingual (ASL/Spanish/English) calls from a variety of Spanish-influenced regions.  She has held positions as RID’s Video Interpreter Member Section Trilingual Representative before moving on to the Section's Region V Representative, as well as recently co-chairing SDCRID’s Professional Development Committee.  Norma’s long time passions have been social and economic justice; as a BIPOC Committee co-chair, she is committed to removing barriers and growing the pool of interpreters from historically underrepresented communities to best provide sociocultural and linguistic access to clients from diverse backgrounds.


Chair: Reina Castro (she/hers/ella)

photo ID: a brown-skinned Latina wearing a black shirt blazer with a teal blouse, smiling at the camera, dark brown shoulder-length hair, wearing a silver necklace, in front of a gray background

Reina Castro is a San Diego Native Latina.  She began her ASL journey in 2007 by emerging herself in the DHH program on her middle school campus. Since then, Reina has continued her ASL journey by attending Palomar College's Interpreter Training Program, graduating in 2020.  Reina has served on the SDCRID’s Board and Chairs as Palomar College's Student Rep, Communications Chair, and currently as the Bylaws Chair.  While volunteering, attending Deaf events, and working in a DHH classroom, Reina continues her goal of becoming a certified BIPOC interpreter.  Reina enjoys hiking (hikes with waterfalls!!), camping, traveling, and her passion for Hula and Tahitian dancing!  Reina also enjoys networking within the community.  Don't be afraid to say “hi!”


Chair: Aaron Brewer (he/him)

photo ID: a white man with brown hair, blue eyes smiling at the camera, head is cocked to one side, and wearing a blue shirt with white dots, in front of a gray background

Aaron Brewer ended up in an interpreter training program (ITP) by accident, despite knowing no sign language and having never met a Deaf person.  Two years later, armed with an AAS in interpreting, he escaped his native Ohio for the bright lights of New York City.  There he became nationally certified (CI/CT) and earned a BA in sociology.  Thirteen years later he met a man, got married, and was dragged kicking and screaming to sunny San Diego.  Aaron believes passionately in the work the SDCRID board is doing to diversify the field of interpreting and is excited to help raise money to make this happen.  Please note that if you ever see him interpreting music, he did not know that was part of the assignment before he took it.

Jean Kelly Lending Library

Librarian: Annette Miner, Ph.D., CI/CT, NIC-M (she/her)

photo ID: a white woman with brown and gray hair, v-neck olive t-shirt, and black-rimmed glasses,

in front of a gray background

Annette Miner, PhD, is an interpreter educator, professional interpreter, and researcher.  She received a doctorate in interpretation pedagogy and research from Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.  She has published on the topics of curriculum design, experiential and situated learning in interpreter education, and the role of designated interpreters.

Member Services

Chair: Liz Mendoza, CI/CT, NIC-A, SC:L (she/ella)

photo ID: a white blonde woman with shoulder length straight hair, green eyes, black suit, a black v-neck blouse, silver teardrop necklace, and a bright smile,

in front of a light blue background

Liz is a proud third generation native San Diegan. She graduated from San Diego State University with her BA degree and UC San Diego with her Master's and Doctorate.  Liz is a full-time professor at Palomar College in San Marcos and also works as a freelance interpreter.  Liz was the co-founder of SDCRID in 1997 and has served in various positions.  She has also served as the Legal Interpreter Member Section Chair, North American Representative for the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI), and is currently the Co-Chair of the Test Development Committee for the Center for the Assessment of Sign Language Interpreters (CASLI).  In her free time, Liz enjoys hiking, riding horses, and camping.

Professional Development

Co-chair:  Nathan Brown (he/him)

photo ID: a Black man with black-rimmed glasses, beard, gray shirt with buttons,

in front of a gray background

Nathan Brown is a Black nationally certified ASL Interpreter who has been in the field since 200and is a native of San Diego and the deaf community.  He is an interpreting instructor at Mesa College and a Program Manager for Heritage Learning, Training and Development at Sorenson.  Nathan is also a graduate student at Western Oregon University studying the intersection of race and interpreter education.  When not serving the community in these roles, you can find him with his partner Eileen and children Brooke and Aubrey enjoying the sights and tastes of San Diego or wherever else their travels call them.

Co-chair: Lori Bellama (she/her)

photo ID: white woman with brown hair past her shoulders, brown eyes, awkwardly smiling at the camera, wearing a blue shirt with a black cardigan,

in front of a white background

Lori graduated in 2006 with a Bachelors of Science in ASL interpreting with a minor in Anthropology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.  She began freelancing as well as working part-time as a staff interpreter for Boston Arts Academy while simultaneously working towards her credentials through several mentorship and training programs, becoming nationally certified in 2009.  In 2010, she escaped the frigid Boston winters for sunny San Diego and became a staff interpreter at Deaf Community Services of San Diego until 2014 when she transitioned back to freelance interpreting.  Lori has worked passionately since graduating with and for new interpreters individually in mentorship as well as with the DCS internship programs and as the Co-Chair of the Mentorship Program at SDCRID.


Chair: Lucy Annett (she/they)

photo ID: a mixed Asian woman with wavy brown/auburn hair to one side, brown drop earrings, dark gray tank, owl tattoo on the left arm, in front of a gray background

Lucy Annett formerly had a life as a music teacher after getting her music degree at "the U" (University of Minnesota) then later transitioned to ASL interpreting after attaining her associate's degree.  Yes, she is that old.  However, she had long been connected to the Deaf community through her Deaf Taiwanese mother.  She moved to Boston starting her career as a university staff interpreter and freelancing.  She  got her CI/CT and picked up other interpreting interests along the way including court/legal, healthcare, theater, and...really almost anything.  She managed to pick up an M.Ed. degree as well.  After 16 years, she moved to San Diego and is now all about the vibe here.  She is honored to work with SDCRID because who wouldn't enjoy giving away money like Oprah?  "You get a scholarship! And you get a stipend!"  Please note that if you ever see her interpreting music, it's because she accepted the gig that Aaron wouldn't take.

Web Administrator

Web Administrator: Lucy Annett  (she/they)

photo ID: a mixed Asian woman with wavy brown/auburn hair to one side, brown drop earrings, dark gray tank, owl tattoo on the left arm, in front of a gray background

See Scholarships...also, she is honored to be the web administrator for SDCRID because this feeds her need for attention to detail and grammar nerdiness.

Young Professional Interpreter Network (YPIN)

Co-chair: Kiley Rizzo (she/her)

photo ID: white woman with blonde hair, pink glasses,

wearing a black dress with a red cherry print,

in front of a gray background

Kiley Rizzo was born and raised in Southern California. She recently moved to San Diego from Riverside County to further develop her skills and connect with the Deaf Community.  Having received her A.A. in Deaf Studies from Palomar College in 2020, she has now graduated with an A.S. degree in ASL/English Translation and Interpreting Studies in May of 2022.  In order to continue her studies, Kiley transferred to William Woods University online to earn a Bachelor's degree in interpreting.  As a fresh ITP graduate, Kiley hopes to assist her colleagues in building professional development opportunities and a diverse community through YPIN.  When not working as an Instructional Signing Aide, she enjoys reading, exploring local coffee shops, and spending time with her family.

Co-chair: Starr Lang (she/her)

photo ID: a white woman with brown hair,

buns on both sides of her head, smiling at the camera, wearing a black top, in front of a gray background

Starr Lang started her ASL journey freshman year of high school in 2016 which lead to her recent graduation from Palomar’s ITP program with the 2021 cohort.  Currently, she is working toward taking the EIPA exam and in the future, hoping to transfer to CSUN to study ASL literature.  She is looking forward to working with YPIN as she navigates her gap from ITP graduation to the completion of her Bachelor's degree.  She really hopes that she can help contribute to developing a community of young interpreters who are experiencing similar challenges so that they can support each other in their own interpreting goals.


Chair: Vacant


Chair: vacant


Chair: vacant


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