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At Start ASL, we have been educating students for over 12 years and we’re so excited to have you join us!

Over the years, we have brought together a skilled team of professionals (including native Deaf and certified interpreters and instructors) to help bridge the gap between the Deaf and hearing communities by providing the best, most comprehensive American Sign Language learning resources supported by a passionate community of instructors and students.

Meet the Start ASL Team

Michelle Jay

Founder

Michelle Jay is the founder of StartASL.com. She earned a Bachelor‘s Degree in Deaf Studies, with an emphasis in teaching, from one of the nation’s premier programs at California State University, Northridge. Michelle is a published author and has contributed thought-provoking articles to academic publishers such as Greenhaven Press. Her unique articles have done much to support Deaf Culture, and have been printed in resource publications such as American Chronicle and Perspectives on Diseases & Disorders: Deafness & Hearing Impairments

Megan Clancy

Start ASL Instructor

Megan Clancy was born Deaf in Boston, MA in a hearing family. She grew up with total communication, and learned ASL itself at the age of 12. She always has had a strong interest in science and in the arts. As a teen, she attended Youth Scholars Program in theater in Washington, D.C. at Gallaudet University where she performed in a play on stage in ASL. Then following high school, she received two degrees in science, one in biology from Gallaudet then a Master’s in genetics from Medical College of VA. She was the first Deaf person who graduated with a Master’s degree in genetics from this school in Richmond, VA. She also recently completed her ASL Teaching credential at California State University Northridge. Megan enjoys helping people of all ages learn this awesome 3D language of ASL. She will find fun ways to teach ASL through games, storytelling, and watch students blossom learning this language over time.

Katelyn Cheng

Content/Media Coordinator

Katelyn Cheng is deaf since she was a baby and with the aid of cochlear implants she is hard-of-hearing. She earned her BA in Graphic Design from San Diego State University. She grew up oral and was in mainstream education. She fell in love with ASL after she took an ASL class for high school/college foreign language credit during middle school. Upon entering SDSU, she had one passion, which was to learn more ASL. Unfortunately, SDSU did not offer ASL courses for students that are not in the ASL Interpreting Program. Her eagerness to learn ASL eventually led her to the Deaf community where she immersed herself in the Deaf community during her time in college. After college, Katelyn moved to the Bay Area where she began her career in graphic design and email marketing. She is in love with the ASL language, the Deaf culture and community, and she hopes to spread awareness, attract, and encourage people to learn ASL.

Jessica Mayer

Student Relations Coordinator

Jessica Mayer was exposed to a vast and diverse Deaf Community while growing up in Fremont, California. She first learned ASL in high school and continued her education by earning her associate degree in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies from Ohlone College. While going to school, Jessica first volunteered and then worked at the California School for the Deaf, Fremont (CSDF) for over 10 years. Working at CSDF in a full ASL environment taught her how to be a respectful member of the Deaf Community. Jessica has a lot of experience to share and is ready to assist you with your journey to learning ASL and becoming a Deaf Ally.

Dennis Valansi

Website and Technical Support Administrator

Dennis Valansi is a web developer with a passion for design. He has worked internationally, in-house and remotely on projects for leading brands, agencies, startups and charities. He cares deeply about creating world-class, useful and beautiful products that help people and make a difference.

Jared DeBusk

Deaf Actor and Model

Jared DeBusk was born in a small country town called Brooksville, Florida. He is of Dutch, German, French, and Irish descent. DeBusk began acting as a child and he knew that he wanted to be an actor. He trained at several schools and he has performed in various plays. He is a recent graduate from University of South Florida with a BA in Communication Performance Studies.

Crystal Lott

EIPA and NIC Advanced Certified ASL Interpreter

Crystal Lott first started learning ASL in 2000 at Glendale Community College. She graduated from the Interpreter Training Program (ITP) at Phoenix College and currently holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performances from Arizona State University West. Crystal was involved with the AZ Deaf Theatre for many years and is now getting plugged into the Deaf Community in Los Angeles. She aspires to work with Deaf West theatre.

Mark Loyd

RID Certified ASL Interpreter

Mark Loyd comes from a theatrical background and first started learning ASL in 1993 after meeting a Deaf person for the first time and falling in love with the language. He learned ASL primarily through the Deaf community and Interpreter Training Programs (ITP) in Kansas. For the past 16 years, Mark has worked in a variety of settings--mental health, medical, educational, theatre, video relay services (VRS), and more.

Darcy French-Myerson

ASL Interpreter with BA in English-ASL Interpreting and Theatre

Darcy French-Myerson attended Columbia College in Chicago and has interpreted in schools from the elementary to collegiate level, hospitals, big corporations, and in the non-profit sector and the Arts. Darcy has also taught English and Math to Deaf adults seeking their GEDs. Currently, Darcy works as a freelance interpreter throughout Los Angeles and continues to be involved in performance and the Arts.

Mando Garza

Aspiring Deaf Actor at NTID

Mando Garza is an aspiring Deaf actor, business professional, and jack of all trades. Mando has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He has been involved with the theatre at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) and is now currently working as a CDI and studying paralegal & accounting.

Christine Jones

ITP Graduate and Volunteer Interpreter

Christine Jones is an ITP (Interpreter Training Program) graduate and Deaf Studies student at California State University, Northridge. She is a volunteer interpreter and is currently looking to start a steady interpreting career.

Deborah Kanter

Deaf Signer

Deborah Kanter is Deaf and comes from a primarily hearing family, except for one of her brothers who is Deaf. Deborah was introduced to American Sign Language when she was 5 years old. Deborah is currently attending college and majoring in nursing.

Cristian Tun

Hard of Hearing Signer

Cristian Tun is hard of hearing and started learning ASL when he was 13 years old. He is currently attending college and majoring in acting.

Testimonials

We have hundreds of successful ASL students… (you can be one too!)

I took all 3 classes and was amazed at the attention to detail taken to design this course. This course is organized, well-thought out, and fun. I learned a lot! The videos were my favorite part. Since I already had quite a bit of vocabulary under my belt, I wanted practice reading a variety of signers while learning ASL grammar. This course gave me just that. I highly recommend it for anyone learning ASL. THANK YOU, Start ASL!

I am a single mom and unfortunately there are not a lot of affordable options in which I can be with my daughter and still learn ASL. Thank you for making this option available to those who may be not be able to learn in an adult classroom environment and are also hearing. I love this site. I just went through the first three units as a refresher and not sure why I ever left the site. Keep up the awesome work!

I have thoroughly enjoyed this site. This site has helped my husband and I understand and pick up ASL so quickly. I’m hard of hearing, and my husband and I love the ability to learn together. We now are able to better communicate to the fullest we have ever been able to do. Thank you so much.

Schools and Organizations Partnered with Start ASL

Hundreds of schools use our curriculum in their classrooms and offer enrollment into our complete Online ASL Course to their students for foreign language learning.