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Deaf VISA, Inc.

Deaf Visitors and Immigrants for Self-Advocacy


Luisa Ramirez, Chair

Luisa is deaf and is from Colombia. She has been in the U.S. since 1999 and is a student at Towson. For the past 4 years, she has worked at CSSD, Inc., an organization that provides services and group homes to the deaf and blind. She has been involved with Deaf VISA for several years and has also served as Member at Large. Luisa, with her organizational skills and self-starter work ethic, has been an essential part of the success of Deaf VISA.

Laura Wickless, Treasurer

Laura, an RID-NAD NIC Certified interpreter, began interpreting professionally in 1999 after being introduced to the Deaf Community in college. She has worked extensively with Deaf Internationals and in 2011 organized meetings where Deaf Internationals and others addressed unmet needs of foreign-born Deaf in America. Deaf VISA soon emerged. Community members urged Laura to adopt various roles in the organization due to her passion, experience, and background in advocacy. As a Master’s student in Teaching English To Speakers of Other Languages at UMBC, she is also developing innovative interpreting techniques to improve consumer access to language and content in instructional settings.

Matt Rappaport, Regular Volunteer

Matt Rappaport is a hearing IT specialist with a background in education and art, and is currently an Interpreting student at Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). He has a BFA in Art from University of Texas (UT) and an MA in Education from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He has been the volunteer coordinator for the Jewish Deaf Congress and has volunteered with a variety of organizations including: PCRID, Black Deaf Advocates and NAOBI-DC. Matt became involved with Deaf VISA in 2016 when he was helping to plan and coordinate events as president of the CCBC ASL Club.