All of DeafTEC’s activities are overseen by our NSF National Visiting Committee (NVC). The committee is made up of academic and industry professionals that bring a wealth of experience and expertise to DeafTEC. Their role is to help us achieve the goals and objectives of DeafTEC by assessing the plans and progress of the Center and advising the project staff.
Members of our NVC include:
Marcia E. Kolvitz
Dr. Marcia E. Kolvitz is an educational consultant who focuses on strategies designed to improve postsecondary outcomes for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, including those with co-occurring disabilities.
Dr. Kolvitz has over 30 years of experience in working with K-12 and postsecondary education programs. Since 1992 she has collaborated with colleagues on technical assistance and dissemination projects at the state, regional, and national level, and worked with well-established networks to share information and resources that can be of benefit to educators, support service providers, professionals in community agencies, and parents.
Dr. Kolvitz holds an MA degree in Communication Disorders with an emphasis on Counseling Individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Northern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Human Ecology with an emphasis on Human Resource Development from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Ms. Elena Gomez is the Deputy Director for Specialized Services Division, which provides leadership over the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) for the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). The DHHS provides technical assistance and policy implementation and coordination to support 50 Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf (RCD) statewide in providing quality and effective vocational rehabilitation services to consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened and deaf-blind.
Prior to serving as the Deputy Director, Ms. Gomez worked in various managerial capacities within DOR to implement programs and monitored VR services in collaboration with other federal, state and local agencies. She is also a former State Coordinator for the Deaf, Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf, and job developer. Ms. Gomez has an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling from California State University, San Diego and a BA in Political Science from California State University, Northridge.
Mr. Ken Harrenstien is a software engineer at Google and has been the lead engineer for Google’s automatic captioning technology.
Mr. Parinay Malik is an abstract artist and a deaf professional at Fidelity Investments, where he is an Inclusive Design and Innovation Strategist and Inclusive Experience Lead.
In his current role as Director, Business Consultant to Fidelity Investments’ new Customer Inclusion Team, where he leads business development and designs enterprise wide disruptive strategy to ensure the continual increase of efficiency and revenue, to foster innovation by creating an inclusive, accessible, and equitable digital and physical experience for our diverse customers and to drive customer acquisition. Having launched the national award-winning innovation & inclusivity program BELONG and Workplace Investing Digital Platforms, he has established Fidelity’s inclusive design structures, systems, and principles, harnessing the power of inclusion to drive innovation enterprise-wide. Rather than moving toward a single design solution, his expertise in inclusive design and emerging technologies expands a business opportunity to encompass more possibilities, more means of access and more inclusive dimensions.
He holds BS in Business Management and Information Technology from RIT and recently graduated with MBA from Babson College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As a sought-after speaker, he delivers keynote talks and workshops that facilitate awareness and education around topics including Inclusive Human-Centered Design, Innovation, and Disability.
Ms. Michelle Maybaum is the founder and President of Desiderata HR Consulting. In that capacity, she provides Human Resources services to start-up companies and non- profit organizations, with a focus on disability inclusion. Possessing more than 30 years of HR experience, Ms. Maybaum was a member of the Disability:IN Board of Directors for 10 years. She also participated in local and national speaking engagements sharing best practices for employing individuals with disabilities.
Prior to consulting, Ms. Maybaum was Senior Director of Employee Relations (ER) at Qualcomm. In that capacity, she was responsible for the global ER strategy, had oversight for all disability awareness and inclusion efforts, and managed the company’s global accommodation process. Ms. Maybaum held the position of Human Resources Manager at both XO Communications and Frazee Industries. Ms. Maybaum earned a BS degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Rochester.
Catherine T. “Katie” Hunt
Dr. Catherine “Katie” Hunt is former R&D Director in Innovation Sourcing & Sustainable Technologies at The Dow Chemical Company. To this end, Dr. Hunt focused on building collaborative teams across industry, academia, and national labs, partnering with foundations and government agencies (i.e., DOE, and DOD). Dr. Hunt began her career as a senior scientist in analytical research at Rohm and Haas in 1984 where, after completing an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University, she held positions of increasing responsibility, from research scientist to process chemist to plant laboratory manager to Director of their worldwide Analytical Network and ultimately, Corporate Sustainability Director and Leader for Technology Partnerships. In 2017 and 2018, she was the Brenton S. Halsey Distinguished Visiting Professor in Engineering at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Dr. Hunt serves on numerous advisory boards including: NSF Math and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee (MPSAC), ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement, and the Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA). Dr. Hunt is a fellow of both the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She holds an AB in Chemistry (Cum Laude with honors) from Smith College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis.
Greg Pollock is the Vice President of Human Resources and Accessibility Officer at PNC Financial Services. He currently works at PNC’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. He started his career as a Public Affairs Specialist at the Dow Chemical Company. He joined Dow’s Feedstocks and Energy Division in 2012 after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and interning in Public Affairs during the summer of 2011.
Mr. Pollock co-chairs the Pittsburgh Disability Inclusion Consortium and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD), the Epilepsy Association for Western and Central PA. He previously served as President of the NTID Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Under his leadership, PNC was recognized by Disability:IN as the 2019 Employer of the Year for its “exemplary policies, strategies and initiatives that have resulted in measurable progress in the areas of disability inclusiveness in the workplace, marketplace, and supply chain”.
He also served as the Diversity & Inclusion Leader for Dow North America following his role as Public Affairs Manager for all six Dow sites in Louisiana. During his time at Dow, Mr. Pollock co-founded Dow’s Project SEARCH program which provides meaningful employment skills for transitioning students with developmental disabilities. He also represents PNC on Disability:IN’s Corporate Advisory Board and chaired their ERG/BRG Committee.
Mr. Pollock was previously appointed by Governor Snyder to Michigan’s “Barrier Free Design” Board as well as Michigan’s Construction Codes Commission. He is a recipient of the “40 under 40” Spirit of Rotary Award as well as the NCAAP’s Young Professionals Leadership Award and has been featured on Lt. Governor Calley’s “Hidden Talents Tour”, ABC’s “What Would You Do?” on the employment of Deaf & hard of hearing people and is a frequent keynote speaker, including events with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the G20 Summit, Northwood University and Disability Mentoring Day in the Great Lakes Bay region.
Michael T. Qaissaunee
Mr. Michael “Mike” Qaissaunee is Chair of the Engineering and Technology Department at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey. He has been the driving force behind multiple National Science Foundation (NSF), National Security Agency (NSA), and US Department of Education grants awarded to Brookdale. Qaissaunee is also the Director of Brookdale’s Cyber Center, and NSA-designated Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.
Mr. Qaissaunee led the development and implementation of several new courses related to wireless communications, and co-authored a 10th grade Engineering and Technology textbook. He has also been active at his own campus and around the country in promoting the adoption of new technologies in and approaches to teaching and learning, including: web-based interactive content, virtual reality (VR), blogs, audio and video podcasts, wikis, mobile computing, and educational gaming and simulation. He has conducted workshops and presented keynote addresses at more than 60 conferences and seminars nationwide on topics including wireless, wireless security, iPhone programming, and Web 2.0.
Mr. Qaissaunee is the recipient of three Educator of the Year awards, including the 2007 Global Wireless Education Consortium (GWEC) Wireless Educator of the Year Award and the 2009 and 2020 High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) Educator of the Year Award. The awards recognize his outstanding contributions to advanced technological education at both a local and national levels and significant contributions to the education and training of today’s technology workforce. Mr. Qaissaunee received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware (Newark, DE).
Elaine W. Robertson
Ms. Elaine Robertson recently retired as the Instructional Officer for Deaf Education, Vision, and Assistive Technology in the Katy Independent School District (outside of Houston, Texas). She also oversaw the West 10 Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, which includes Katy, Brazos, Bellville, Sealy, Royal and Hempstead ISDs. Ms. Roberson continues to work for the district in these areas part time as a consultant. A strong influence in her life is her sister, Maura, who is profoundly deaf. Maura attended Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf in New York and later Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Big Spring, Texas.
Ms. Robertson has served as a Teacher of the Deaf, Parent Infant Advisor, Instructional Officer, as well as the Director of Education at The Center for Hearing and Speech, a nonprofit organization. Ms. Robertson received a B.S. degree in Communication Disorders from The University of Texas at Austin and an M.Ed. degree from Gallaudet University.
Dr. Karen Wosczyna-Birch has been a champion of engineering and technology education for the past 30 years. Since 1995, she has been the state director of the CT College of Technology (COT) where her leadership has been instrumental in creating nationally recognized seamless pathway programs in engineering and technology between all 12 public community colleges in CT with 10 universities and high schools. She is also the Executive Director of the National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (NCNGM), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Center of Excellence and a Professor of Applied Technology at Tunxis Community College. Since 2004, she has received over $25M in funding from the NSF, including two grants for international partnerships. Karen has implemented strategies resulting in an increase in the enrollment of underrepresented populations in STEM programs at the community colleges.
Karen has received numerous awards for her accomplishments as a professor and for her passion for increasing the diversity of the STEM population including the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the international honor society Epsilon Pi Tau (EPT), the 2018 CT Women of Innovation Award in the Postsecondary Academic Innovation & Leadership Category, the 2012 New England Board of Higher Education Excellence Award for the State of CT and most recently, the 2020 HI TEC Innovative Program of the Year Award and 2021 ITEEA Special Recognition Award. In 2014, she was invited to the White House College Opportunity Summit recognizing leaders like Karen for their commitment to STEM education. She also serves on numerous local and national boards including the Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society and Hartford High’s Academy of Engineering and Green Technology.