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Idaho State University

Sign Language Interpreting Program Director Receives Highest Distinction from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

September 12, 2019

LaVona Andrew, program director and clinical assistant professor for Sign Language Interpreting at Idaho State University in Meridian, has been recognized with the Distinguished Service Award by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). Andrew was surprised with the award announcement at the RID biennial national conference in Rhode Island in August. The DSA is considered to be the highest honor bestowed upon an RID member. It includes a cash prize and registration for the next national conference.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an outstanding RID member who has made a major contribution in his/her area of expertise and has influenced the profession on local, state and national levels.
This award is given only by nomination, and 25 members in good standing must concur and submit their signatures. The candidates are then reviewed by the RID Scholarships and Awards Committee for final selection.
Andrew’s nomination was written by Mish Ketjek, an interpreter educator at Portland Community College and the Region V RID Board Representative.  In her speech, she wrote the following:

“To the Scholarship and Awards Committee, I would like to nominate LaVona Andrew for the Distinguished Service Award. LaVona has served the field of interpreting on every level, from sharing her experience as a heritage signer to working as a teacher, a volunteer leader, and as an advocate for the Deaf community. She has distinguished herself as a true leader of interpreters, with experience serving at a local, state, and national level.

LaVona served as Idaho RID Professional Development Chair, then as Idaho RID President for two terms. At the Regional level, she chaired the interpreting committee for the 2008 Region V Conference, co-chaired the same committee for the 2010 Conference and co-chaired the program committee for the 2012 Region V Conference. She also served two years as the Region V Representative for the Interpreters with Deaf Parents Member Section. At a national level, LaVona served on the RID Board of Directors as the Region V Representative and as a Member-at-Large.

In addition to service within RID, LaVona has held leadership roles serving as one of the founding Directors of the Deaf Center of Idaho and helped establish an Idaho chapter of the American Sign Language Teachers Association. She served on the Idaho Interpreter Licensure Task Force and the Idaho Deaf Mental Health Task Force. For three years she served on the Educational Interpreter Inter-agency Consortium and lobbied successfully for passage of a minimum standard for K-12 interpreters in Idaho. She combines her passions and works as a co-coordinator for “Signing Shakespeare” which aims at making theater accessible.”

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