The Start ASL Team
We have a core team of professionals working to ensure that the best ASL has to offer is made available to you in an easy to understand manner.
Meet the core team!
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..
Amee SevrieLead Education Coordinator
Amee Sevrie is Deaf and is bilingual in ASL and English. Originally from Alabama, she has traveled to over 20 countries and loves to experience new things. She has completed an MA in Deaf Studies from Gallaudet University and an MA in Teaching ASL from University of Northern Colorado, and she has a strong passion for teaching ASL and Deaf History. She has extensive experience in working with students as a tutor and as an educator and believes that learning can be both fun and meaningful.
Jessica MayerStudent 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 ValansiWebsite 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 is a Deaf actor and model. He 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 is an EIPA and NIC Advanced certified ASL interpreter. She 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 is an RID certified ASL interpreter. Mark 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 is an interpreter with Bachelor's degrees in English-ASL Interpreting and Theatre from Columbia College in Chicago. Darcy 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 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 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 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 is hard of hearing and started learning ASL when he was 13 years old. He is currently attending college and majoring in acting.