Erika Murray, our President, is a passionate, fun-loving CODA from Maryland who moved to the NY Metro area in November 2016. Erika has jumped right in and is ready to fully contribute to the Board and its members.
Erika comes from a large Deaf family and grew up fully immersed in ASL language and culture. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Studies from Towson University in Towson, Maryland. One of her key accomplishments was spearheading a pilot study that highlights new and innovative ways to provide Internet access through ASL. The study was published in the Warwick University International Journal of Undergraduate Research.
Since she graduated in 2013, Erika has interpreted in various settings, such as VRS, educational, and general freelance. She enjoys getting a taste of everything the field has to offer. Erika became a nationally certified interpreter, earning her NIC in 2019.
In addition to sharpening her professional craft, Erika has an unwavering commitment to developing herself as a leader and community member. She is currently a performance coach in a renowned and rigorous leadership program.
Fun Fact: Erika thrives on nature and the outdoors and enjoys leading an active lifestyle of snowboarding, yoga, and hiking.
Contact Erika at President@nycmetrorid.org
Tim Smith is from Staten Island, New York. He has been involved with the local Deaf community since 2011. Tim first attended the College of Staten Island where he was first exposed to ASL and eventually served as Vice President of the ASL Club and as a member of the board of directors for the local chapter of NYPIRG. During this time, Tim met and became involved with the local Deaf community and decided to dedicate his life to this field.
Tim then attended the Seymour Joseph institute of American Sign Language and graduated in 2015, has a BA in Community and Human Services from SUNY Empire State College, and is NIC certified.
Tim previously served on the board of NYC Metro RID as both a Director at Large and Secretary, and is looking forward to working with both the Deaf and interpreting communities in this new capacity.
Contact Tim at Vicepresident@nycmetrorid.org
Bram earned National Certification by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) as a sign-language interpreter in 2008. He's been New York City Metro RID's Membership Chair since 2006; Recording Secretary and Board Member with New York Deaf Theatre from 2006-14; ASL Coordinator for Nicu's Spoon Theatre since 2005; and TOYS Theater's Media Relations Coordinator since 2001. In addition, Bram has been coordinating monthly ASL-interpreted Services and Events for New York City's Town & Village Synagogue since 2005, for which the Synagogue recently won a Schechter Award from United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism's Metropolitan New York District, and also sometimes interprets there, too.
Contact Bram at Secretary@nycmetrorid.org
Brianna is Jamaican-American. She was born in Miami, Florida and her parents are from Jamaica. Her interest for interpreting began when she took her first American Sign Language class during her freshman year of high school. She took the class just to fulfill her language requirement but little did she know it was going to become a vital part of her life. From the young age of 14, she was certain that becoming an interpreter was her destiny.
In 2016, Brianna graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s in Communication and Science Disorders concentrated in American Sign Language Interpreter Training. She has interpreted in a variety of interpreting settings such as K-12, post-secondary, religious, medical and mental health. Currently, she works independently as a freelance Interpreter.
Fun facts: Brianna is a world traveler. She is currently learning Spanish and plans to learn French next. Brianna loves dancing and weight lifting and listening to soca, dancehall, and reggae.
Contact Brianna at AssociateRep@nycmetrorid.org
Mara Stephens has been a freelance interpreter since 2011. She is excited to get more involved with NYC Metro RID and represent members this year as a Director at Large. Mara has been intimately involved with the Deaf community since 2004. After being in a play with a Deaf and hard of hearing cast her life was forever changed for the better. Mara is a graduate from Laguardia’s Community College IEP program. She enjoys interpreting in various settings such as medical, educational, VRS and social events. She loves teaming with a CDI’s.
Fun fact: She is a 500 hour certified Yogi, has a daily practice and interprets advanced yoga classes. She grew up one of nine children and is a twin. She has two children who the loves of her life. She was a professional actor here in NYC for 25 years. She is also a professional organizer- YES, she wears MANY hats.
Contact Mara at Directoratlarge1@nycmetrorid.org
Kelly is a proud graduate of LaGuardia Community College’s ASL-English Interpretation Program (Class of 2017) and has been working as a freelance interpreter since early 2018. She is thrilled to be in this field and loves working with NYC’s vibrant, rich and diverse Deaf Community! Kelly’s professional background includes a wealth of experience in hospitality, tourism and the performing arts. She is a licensed New York City tour guide and longtime member of SAG-AFTRA. Interim Director At Large is the first Board position Kelly has ever held. She is excited to use her unique strengths and experience to serve her wonderful colleagues and the amazing Deaf Community!
Contact Kelly at Directoratlarge2@nycmetrorid.org
Diana is new to Metro RID as a board member but definitely not new to the community. She has seen it all as a social worker and as a pre-certified Deaf interpreter.
She was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to flying hands. Moved to NYC at age four along with her Deaf family. You can say she is really a New Yorker. After graduating from Long Island University with a degree in Psychology, Diana quickly signed up for audiology related courses at Marymount Manhattan College. She studied linguistics, phonetics, speech science, and the like. She immersed herself into the auditory world as it was fascinating for her- and she also hoped to be a Deaf audiologist. However the universe had different plans for her.
While working for FEGS (formerly NYSD), Diana began exploring the role of a Deaf Interpreter. She took several workshops and felt it was her true calling. Diana began interpreting for the community in the summer of 2014. The more she interpreted, the more she loved it. After taking the Deaf Interpreter Conference II in Pennsylvania, Diana knew it was time to make it official. She decided to pursue for the certification and passed the knowledge exam. She plans to take the performance exam when the time comes.
Currently, Diana works full time at New York Foundling with an incredible team, making a difference in every family with deaf members. Diana continues to interpret on a regular basis in the community, working with some of the best ASL and Deaf interpreters.
Being in the social work field for approximately seven years, Diana is familiar with most resources in NYC and also sees the gaps in the community in terms of accessibility, equality, and Deaf rights. She is very involved in the community and often collaborates with many professionals (including lawyers, mental health providers, activists, and so on). As a board member, Diana is eager to work with the team and make noises in the community, no matter how big or small!
Fun facts: Diana knows Russian Sign Language and is currently learning Israeli SL; She is an adrenaline junkie; In her downtime, Diana enjoys baking and reading a GOOD book.
Contact Diana at Directoratlarge3@nycmetrorid.org
Michael Fisher is originally from Staten Island, New York, but has planted new roots in Merrick on Long Island. He arrived back in the NYC area in December 2018 after graduating from his ITP at Keuka College in 2016 and working in Rochester, New York, for a few years. He obtained his National Interpreter Certification in March of 2018 as well as his master's degree in Applied Linguistics and Foreign Language Pedagogy from UMass Boston in May of 2019. He has worked in a variety of settings -- including video relay, postsecondary, k-12, medical/mental health, corporate, social services, etc. He currently works as a staff interpreter for ASLI and as an adjunct instructor for Troy University's online ITP.
When Michael is not interpreting or teaching, where might you find him? He may be deadlifting at CrossFit, exploring new places behind the lens of his Nikon DSLR, or volunteering at his local kitten shelter.
Michael has been the chair of the mentorship committee since the beginning of 2020, but is now looking forward to serving on the NYC Metro RID board. Becoming more involved with all that the NYC Deaf and interpreting community has to offer will help him to continue building his skills and network.
Contact Michael at Directoratlarge4@nycmetrorid.org