ASL/English Interpreting Faculty

ASL/English Interpreting Faculty


Jessica Bentley-Sassaman, program coordinator and assistant professor

Jessica Bentley-Sassaman

Bentley-Sassaman, Ed.D., graduated from Bloomsburg University in 2001 with her Bachelor's of Science degree in interpreting. She earned her Master's of Art degree in linguistics from Gallaudet University in 2006 and has finished her Doctorate in education from Walden University in 2011. The focus of her study was Deaf-Hearing interpreter teams and how they work together as a team.

Bentley-Sassaman, Ed.D., has been interpreting professionally since 2001, earning her Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) from Boystown Research Hospital, Certification of Transliteration, and Certification of Interpretation from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). She also holds the state legal certification from the Administrative Offices of the Pennsylvania Courts.

She is one of only eight interpreters in PA to earn the Special Certificate: Legal (SC:L) from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. In addition, she is the only college faculty in PA to hold this certification. RID describes this certification as, "Holders of this specialist certificate have demonstrated specialized knowledge of legal settings and greater familiarity with language used in the legal system. Certification recognized by RID, documented training and legal interpreting experience are required prior to sitting for this exam. SC:L holders are recommended for a broad range of legal assignments." She is also involved in the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PARID) and a member of the Conference of Interpreter Trainers.

Research and Scholarship

May 2013 — Bentley-Sassaman, Ed.D., was recently published in the Journal of Interpretation, which is set up through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. The article, part of her doctoral study related to deaf-hearing interpreter teams, focused on how deaf interpreters and hearing interpreters know how to come together to work as a team. Her progressive research focuses on an area of interpreting that has seen very little research to date.

Jodie Ackerman, instructor of exceptionality programs, ASL and deaf culture

Jodie Ackerman

Jodie Ackerman hails from Delevan, New York and moved to Bloomsburg in 2009 to start her teaching career at Bloomsburg University. She currently teaches as an instructor. She received her B.S. in Information Systems from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1997 and then attended Gallaudet University earning her M.S. degree in Leisure Services Administration and a certification in Management in 2007.

She is currently pursuing her Certified Deaf Interpreter certification through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. She is a member of Pennsylvania Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, National Association of the Deaf, the Conference of Interpreter Trainers, and the American Sign Language Teacher Association. She is the advisor for Signify, a sign language practice club.

Leonard Granda , instructor of exceptionality programs, ASL and deaf culture

Leonard Granda

Leonard Granda has taught America Sign Language for 14 years in various levels from kindergarten to college level students. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Gallaudet University and a Master’s degree in Education of the Deaf from San Diego State University. Mr. Granda has taught at San Diego State University, The College of the Holy Cross, Austine School for the Deaf, The Learning Center for Deaf Children, Loudoun County Public Schools (VA) and various community colleges. Granda is currently completing his doctoral degree at Lamar University in Deaf Studies / Deaf Education. Granda enjoys traveling with his wife, Lizor-Granda and his two kids, Ethan and Ashlyn along with their hearing dog, Kelsey.

Kristin Lizor, instructor of exceptionality programs, ASL and deaf culture

Kristin Lizor

Kristin Lizor, Ed.D., has more than 20 years of intensive educational and diversified working experience in both the Deaf and hearing communities. Her educational background consists of a Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminology and Victimology, a Master’s of Science Degree in Counseling, and she is currently working on completing her doctoral degree in Deaf Education/Deaf Studies, focusing on Deaf inmates and the Americans with Disabilities Rights. Lizor has served as a Deaf mentor, drug and alcohol counselor, Deaf victims advocate, ASL consultant, private tutor, and ASL instructor. Lizor is a highly motivated and talented individual who strive to create an innovative and positive learning environment. She is active in advocating for the Deaf community and is working on becoming a Certified Deaf Interpreter through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Bridget Klein, instructor of exceptionality programs, ASL and deaf culture

Bridget Klein

Bridget Klein grew up on a 60-cow dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. She enrolled in Keuka College in New York, to receive her Baccalaureate Degree in American Sign Language. After receiving her degree, she moved on to attend Gallaudet University in Washington, DC to receive her Master’s Degree in Sign Language Teaching and Culture Studies. Ms. Klein is a current PhD candidate in Anthropology at American University in Washington DC. Klein holds the professional level certification through the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA).

Jeni Rodrigues, instructor of exceptionality programs, ASL and deaf culture

Jeni Rodrigues, M.Ed. joins the faculty at Bloomsburg University Fall 2013, relocating from Salt Lake City, Utah where she served as full-time faculty at the VRS Interpreting Institute. Interpreting professionally since 1998, she has experience working in a variety of settings including: educational (primarily post-secondary), video relay service, corporate, medical, mental health, performance, social service and legal. She has served as an interpreter mentor, trainer and educator for the past five years. Prior to relocating to Utah, Ms. Rodrigues managed the Sorenson VRS Interpreting Centers in Burbank and Riverside, CA.

As a nationally certified interpreter, she holds a National Interpreting Certificate (2013), NIC-Advanced (2011), and Certificates of Interpreting and Transliteration (2006) from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). She also possesses National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Level IV-Advanced (2001) certification. Ms. Rodrigues completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Women's Studies from California State University, Long Beach, her Master of Education degree in Interpreting Pedagogy from Northeastern University and she is currently working on her Ph.D. in Interpretation at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.