NSF National Visiting Committee

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

NVC Chair

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.


Seth Bravin

Seth Bravin is the director of strategic alliances at Sprint Accessibility. He previously served as associate director of technology access at George Washington University. Prior to that, Mr. Bravin worked at IBM for more than a decade, where he was a strategy manager with IBM Accessibility and performed financial planning for IBM Global Public Sector.

While he was with IBM, Mr. Bravin participated in IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program and spent a month in Indonesia working with a disability non-governmental organization on several accessibility initiatives. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about how higher education can help improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

Mr. Bravin holds an MBA from Cornell University and a B.S. degree in business administration and finance from Gallaudet University. Before attending business school, he worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm, and Dow, Lohnes & Albertson, a corporate law firm.

Mr. Bravin serves on the Lexington School for the Deaf Board of Trustees in New York and on the advisory board for the DeafTEC National Science Foundation grant at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Previously, he served on the boards of Maryland Association of the Deaf, and the Hearing and Speech Agency, a non-profit services agency located in Baltimore.


Picture of Elena Gomez

Elena Gomez

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.

egomez@dor.ca.gov some

Picture of Ken Harrenstien

Ken Harrenstien

Mr. Ken Harrenstien is a software engineer at Google and has been the lead engineer for Google’s automatic captioning technology.


Michelle Maybaum

Ms. Michelle Maybaum is a senior director of employee relations at Qualcomm. In that capacity, she is responsible for the global ER strategy, has oversight for ER efforts for all non-engineering functions, and manages the company’s accommodation process. Possessing more than 30 years of HR experience, Ms. Maybaum was a member of the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) Board of Directors for 10 years. She also participates in local and national speaking engagements sharing best practices for employing individuals with disabilities.

Prior to joining Qualcomm, 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

Gregory Pollock

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. Mr. Pollock 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. At RIT he served as the first re-elected deaf Student Government president (campus population – 18,000 students).  Mr. Pollock currently serves as Board of Directors for the Disability Network of Mid-Michigan (Board Vice-President) and is a Committee Chair of the NTID Alumni Association Board of Directors. He also served as the 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 the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN’s) Corporate Advisory Board.

Mr. Pollock was appointed by Governor Snyder to Michigan’s ‘Barrier Free Design’ Board as well as Michigan’s Construction Codes Commission. He serves as President of the Board at the Disability Network of Mid-Michigan 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 such as the commencement address at the Michigan Career Training Institute (MCTI), Northwood University and Disability Mentoring Day in the Great Lakes Bay region.


Michael T. Qaissaunee

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 four National Science Foundation (NSF) grants awarded to Brookdale: E-MATE 2.0: Building Capacity for Interactive Teaching and Learning, awarded in September 2016; Building a Pipeline of Cyber Warriors Through Education and Competition Offered Through Community Colleges, awarded in March 2013; E-MATE, E-books and Mobile Apps for Technician Education, awarded in October 2012; and a 2003 grant to found the Mid-Atlantic Institute for Telecommunications Technologies (MAITT). As Principal Investigator (PI) of MAITT, 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: blogs, audio and video podcasts, wikis, mobile computing, and educational gaming and simulation. He has conducted workshops and presented keynote addresses at more than 50 conferences and seminars nationwide on topics including wireless, wireless security, iPhone programming, and Web 2.0.

Mr. Qaissaunee is the recipient of two Educator of the Year awards, including the 2007 Global Wireless Education Consortium (GWEC) Wireless Educator of the Year Award and the 2009 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 is currently the Instructional Officer for Deaf Education, Vision, and Assistive Technology in the Katy Independent School District (outside of Houston, Texas).  She also oversees the West 10 Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, which includes Katy, Brazos, Bellville, Sealy, Royal and Hempstead ISDs.  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.  Mrs. Robertson received a B.S. degree in Communication Disorders from The University of Texas at Austin and an M.Ed. degree from Gallaudet University. 


Karen Wosczyna-Birch

Karen Wosczyna-Birch

Dr. Karen Wosczyna-Birch currently serves as the state director of the College of Technology (COT), the executive director of the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, (NSF), and is a professor of Science/Technology at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, CT. She was instrumental in the establishment of the College of Technology’s seamless pathway in engineering and technology that includes all 12 Connecticut Community Colleges, six four-year universities and the 17 Connecticut Technical high schools. The College of Technology model has been recognized as a national model for 2+2+2 pathways from secondary schools to higher education. 

In 2018 Dr. Wosczyna-Birch received the state wide “Woman in Innovation” award for her leadership in STEM education. Dr. Wosczyna-Birch has been instrumental in the successful awards of more than $25 million in grants to support engineering and technology, including two National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education Center grants for the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing under the COT. She holds a BS degree in Chemistry with a minor in Physics/Biology, an MS degree in Physiology Neurochemistry, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership.  


The RIT letter logo in white

National Technical Institute for the Deaf
52 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623

NSF logo

This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 1104229, 1501756, and 1902474.