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PRIMARY PRESENTER

YOU ALL KNOW ME... Mama Sam... but as it is required by RID, here is the obligatory OFFICIAL BIO: 

 

Samantha began her love for Sign Language at a camp she attended around 1980. There among the many available classes was Signed Music. She signed her first song, and was immediately hooked. From there, apparently a career was born, and it all started at an elementary school camp in the Big Bear Mountains of California. 

 

After Sign Language and Drama classes throughout her High School years, she was blessed to attend Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, and there pursue a degree in Art/Theatre. With an ongoing passion for Signing she simultaneously enrolled in a formal Interpreting degree program from Palomar College in San Marcos, CA. Samantha became a ranked Theatrical Lighting Designer, and that love spurred her integration of Performance and Interpreting.

 

Her first concert interpreting assignment was in 1990 and it only took one concert to be permanently hooked on the integration of Sign and music. Samantha has now been interpreting for over 30 years. In the midst of her career, she moved to Nashville to continue her Performance Interpreting pursuits and in 1999, she, along with several local Deaf consumers, began Gate Communications, with the collective goal of advancing Deaf Accessibility, interpreting education, Deaf Community interactions, and ministerial outreach. Over her 3 decades of interpreting, Samantha has interpreted concerts from coast to coast, and provided services alongside Presidents, Country/Christian/Pop Artists, and internationally known speakers. She has taught private ASL/Interpreting classes for over 25 years and spent 10 years as a collegiate instructor in an ITP/IPP. She also has run Deaf Ministries in churches and in private organizations.

 

Samantha has a deep love for foreign sign languages. She has experience signing in 5 foreign sign languages and interpreting in 2. She regularly interacts with foreign Deaf consumers living and traveling within the U.S. and outside our borders. Samantha has been working with the Mexican Deaf Community for over 20 years, and for a season worked as a regular LSM (Mexican Sign Language) interpreter. Samantha is the primary ASL/Interpreting instructor in Gate's ITP, and guides Gate's education department as she travels the country presenting at workshops. She has taught workshops in 26 states and 2 countries. She has literally taught thousands of students, interpreters, and teachers. Her primary position is to serve as the Executive Director of Gate Communications, located in the Nashville area... Music City U.S.A.

LESS OBLIGATORY BIO

Mama Sam loves her job, and loves her intensive training grads... lol... usually. She believes we are all in the same boat, all imperfect, and all striving our best to make the world a better place for the Deaf. She loves deeply, cries easily, and is loyal to a fault. Her grads become her family, her "babies" and their successes fill her heart with joy. She has room enough in it for you. 

ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS TBA