Below you can see the profiles of individual presenters.

Janine Butler [Captioning Research Panel]

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Janine Butler is a PhD candidate in the Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication program at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Her specializations are accessibility, multimodality, and embodiment. Her dissertation advocates for the integration of captions and subtitles into the space of the videos we create in different academic and professional contexts.  In addition to caption studies, she researches and engages in visual/digital rhetorics, Deaf Studies, and Writing Program Administration. She can be contacted at butlerja13 at

Deborah Fels [Caption Software Research Panel]

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Deborah Fels

Dr. Fels has a PhD (1994) in Human Factors from Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. She is currently employed as a professor in the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management, and the Director of the Inclusive Media and Design Centre at Ryerson University. Her research interests involve inclusive design, access to media and technology for people with disabilities and older adults, inclusive video game design and inclusive business. Current research projects include: 1) emotive captioning and music visualization including software application, EnACT for adding animation to text; 2) audio description including software tool, LiveDescribe and LiveDescribe Web; 3) TerpTube – co-creator for creating online sign language web pages and for sign language interpreter training support tool; 4) sensory substitution techniques for access to sound and visual information including creation of a vibrotactile system called the Emoti-chair and a vibrotactile music facility, the VibroFusionLab; 5) mixed-reality gaming for older adults; and 6) needs analysis methods that are inclusive of older adults. She is also a professional engineer.

Rian Gayle [D/deaf Educator User Panel]

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Rian Gayle

Rian Gayle was born in Kingston, Jamaica and became deaf at the age of 3 and a half. His family struggled to find the right resources for him as a deaf person. It took many years, but they would eventually find the resources they needed, although it was somewhat limited, to help him grow and challenge Society’s negative perception of Deaf/hard of hearing persons.

Rian went to a Deaf school before he was transferred to mainstream school and back to a Deaf institution where he became the head of the student body and won a scholarship to a mainstream community college in PA in 2000. Rian graduated with honor and went back home to Jamaica to work for 3 years. He won another scholarship and went to study at Gallaudet University where he earned his BA and MA degree in Business Administration and International Development for Persons with disabilities, respectively.

After, Rian went back home to contribute to the fight for human rights for Deaf persons and persons with disabilities in Jamaica. He worked with the Jamaica Association for the Deaf for 4 years to educate the Jamaican society about the rights and needs of the Deaf community. He also helped to lobby and got the law changed to allow Deaf Jamaicans to legally get their driver’s license.

James House [Captioning Activism Panel]

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Jim House

Jim is a Communication Specialist at the Hearing Speech and Deaf Center (HSDC) in Seattle, focusing on communications technologies. He is also involved in several consumer/civic/industry forums and coalitions covering access issues with captioning, emergency communications, and in mobile, text and video telecommunications. Jim led a successful consumer initiated “Captions On Now!” grassroots movement in Portland, Oregon recently that led to a model ordinance requiring televisions in public places within the city to have the captions turned on. Prior to HSDC, Jim has been an advocate of various disability rights issues for more than 25 years on the national, local, and state levels. Some of Jim’s achievements during his tenure at Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TDI) include work on the 21st c. update of the ADA and many presentations on consumer advocacy and also television and Internet captioning. One successful grant proposal resulted in more than $3M in federal funding to develop emergency preparedness training programs and other projects.

Bramm Jordaan [Captioning Activism Panel]


Braam Jordan Profile Picture
Braam Jordaan

Braam Jordaan: Braam launched a social media campaign #WHccNow to advocate for the White House to improve accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing people with government attention. Without closed captions on videos from the White House published on social media,  deaf and hard of hearing people are excluded. The hashtag for ‘White House closed caption now,’ trended on Twitter’s accessibility advocate communities. The White House responded with a State of the Union preview video with open captions, and the State Department Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, Judith Heumann announced that the White House opened an Accessibility Officer position to lead inclusion efforts.

With over 30 major international awards under his belt for film and animation work, he advocates tirelessly to promote sign language and human rights for deaf people around the world through his colorful spectrum of work. He works with the United Nations and is a council member of the UNICEF Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities. He has published children’s books with Cambridge University Press.

Braam consistently inspires others through his involvement in deaf communities, especially “Deaf” Sign Language User groups. He sets high standards in his work while drawing inspiration from the very community he is a part of.

Follow him on Twitter: @braamjordaan


Svetlana Kouznetsova [Captioning Journey Presentation]

Profile of Svetlana Kouznetsova
Svetlana Kouznetsova

Svetlana (Sveta) Kouznetsova is a founder of Audio Accessibility who consults and trains businesses on how to make their aural information accessible via quality captioning and other types of communication access. She is also a public speaker and an author of a book, Sound Is Not Enough: Captioning as Universal Design. Sveta is an experienced deaf professional with a Masters degree in Internet Technology and several professional certifications who has also been involved in other projects related to web user experience and accessibility. Follow Sveta on Twitter at @svknyc and @audio_a11y and on Audio Accessibility Facebook page.


Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Linder [Captioning Research Panel Chair]

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Katie Linder

Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Linder is the Research Director for Extended Campus. Katie earned her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Whitworth University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University. Katie is the author of Rampage Violence Narratives (Lexington Books, 2014) and the forthcoming Blended Course Design Workbook: A Practical Guide (Stylus, 2016). Some of her more recent journal publications can be found in Innovative Higher Education and the Journal of Open, Distance, and e-Learning. Katie’s research interests include online and blended learning, accessible online learning, and faculty development.

Michele Linder [Captioning Activism Panel]

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Michele Linder

Michele is a most active consumer advocate for captioning for several years. With a childhood diagnosis of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, she developed practical skills and knowledge to participate in the hearing world, first mainly with lipreading. Michele considers captioning her language, as over 90% of the millions who need access to speech visual do not use sign language. Michele serves on the board of the SayWhatClub as Treasurer and has volunteered with that online hearing loss group in many capacities. She was introduced to captioning advocacy on a broader scale during a January 2011 interview she conducted with Lauren Storck of the CCAC. Michele is a tireless advocate online for captioning inclusion and anywhere she is faced with exclusion due to lack of captioning. Most recently this 2016 election season Michele is proud to serve as a delegate and to introduce Live Event Captioning (CART) to political conventions at the district, state, and national levels. Inside the CCAC her powerful advocacy letters are excellent models for all of us to learn from.

Michael Lockrey [DIY Captioning Panel]

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Michael Lockrey

Michael is profoundly Deaf and relies 100 per cent on good quality captioning for access to audio-visual content. By leveraging technology, he has become a highly respected and innovative service provider in the captioning and accessibility community and he has provided captioning services to a large number of companies for many years. He also provides audio description services and is a big believer in utilising Deaf people for scripting these narratives so they can utilise their strengths in visual communications and to foster greater cross-disability collaborations.

Michael is highly cognisant of the workflows required in creating good quality accessibility outcomes through captioning and he has also developed an open-source web app, to enable anyone to fix up the automatic craptions on YouTube videos (even if they are not the content owner or original creator of that video). Michael was also part of the ACMA’s last consultative panel on live captioning (“Live captioning: Let’s Talk”) late last year which will inform the ACMA’s response on the captioning quality standards that apply to TV Broadcasting in Australia.

For this panel, Michael will be discussing how he has worked closely with Mike Ridgway for many years on developing and improving captioning outcomes in the web environment and whilst “it’s not possible to boil an ocean” (or provide captioning on every single YouTube video, it is possible to do a lot more to dramatically improve captioning accessibility outcomes in this space.

Contact Details
Email: michael.lockrey at



Darja Pajk [Captioning Activism Panel]

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Darja Pajk

Darja joins the Panel from Škofja Loka, Slovenia. She has been working with disabled people for about 25 years as an occupational therapist  (University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Health Sciences). At the start of her career she worked with children and teens, and soon shifted to adults and worked in one of the biggest centers for adults with mental and physical disabilities. Her hearing loss started at age 23 and now she has no heaaring. In 2014 she decided to get the CI that dramatically changed her life in positive ways. Before this, in 2008 she became more actively involved with HOH people and in 2012 was elected Vice President of ZDGNS  In recent years she continuously gives lectures about hearing loss, deafness, and necessary adaptation for several institution, and wrote a manual for people getting cochlear implants in Slovenia. She has successfully introduced Live Event Captioning in her country (STT is the acronym in Slovenia for “speech to text”) because as she says, hearing loss should not be an obstacle in life. Captioning and subtitles are environmental changes so many need and she raises awareness not only in her own country, but also across Europe.


Darlene Parker [NCRA Presentation]

Profile of Darlene Parker
Darlene Parker

Darlene is the Director of Steno Captioning and Realtime Relations at the National Captioning Institute (NCI) and also the co-chair of the CART/Broadcast Captioning Committee of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA,) ofwhich she has been a member since 1975.

After spending 10 years as an official court reporter in Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Darlene joined NCI in 1984 as a member of the real-time captioning staff. She was just the sixth person in the country to become a realtime captioner. Through the years, she has developed real-time training programs and has trained more than 250 real-time captioners. She has served on several NCRA committees and has presented more than 80 seminars and speeches on the topic of captioning.

Darlene graduated from the University of Alabama. She earned a CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) in 2014 and in 2015 she was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Court Reporters.

Darlene is co-author of “Real Time Writing: The Court Reporter’s Guide for Mastering Real Time Skills” and numerous articles. Through her work on an NCRA Legislative Subcommittee, she co-authored the Caption Quality Best Practices, which NCRA submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC.) Those Best Practices relating to captioners and captioning companies were substantially adopted by the FCC in their final order of March 2015.


Mike Ridgway [DIY Captioning Panel]

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Mike Ridgway

Mike Ridgway, a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, USA, describes himself as an ordinary guy with ordinary hearing who has an extraordinary interest in making video content accessible, not only to the deaf and hard of hearing, but also across language barriers. He believes that he and his colleague Michael Lockrey, a profoundly deaf captioning enthusiast who resides in Australia, have a solution for the problem of how to provide quality understandable captions and subtitles for the massive amount of video content being produce on a perpetual basis on the web today.

Mike has been involved with practical captioning solutions in a multiple ways. In 2014, he was appointed as the Volunteer Coordinator for English Captioning of Khan Academy’s thousands of educational videos. Make has spent most of his efforts on his own projects and has taught himself just enough web programming skills to build two web sites which are directly focused on solving key problems.

One site is DIYCaptions. It allows anyone to be able to access and edit automatic captions in any of the approximately ten languages for which YouTube creates captions by means of machine transcription. The second site, is a web portal that allows individuals who have a need for captions, either due to hearing disabilities, out of an interest in accessing video content in other languages.


Nicole Snell [Captioning Research Panel]

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Nicole Snell

Dr. Nicole E. Snell hails from Los Angeles, California originally and now lives in the greater Boston area. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Bentley University in the Department of Information Design and Corporate Communication (IDCC). Her interdisciplinary research interest explores the intersection(s) of language, technology and culture through examination of both the rhetorical and phenomenological functions of existing and emerging new media and channels of mass communication that facilitate accessibility, such as captioning, for marginalized groups.


Lauren Storck [Captioning Activism Panel Chair]

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Lauren Storck

Lauren is the founder and President of the CCAC (, an official non-profit organization of over 800 hundred volunteer citizen captioning advocates and thousands more on social media connections. In past lives she lived and worked in New York, London UK, and Boston, MA, after earning her Ph.D. in Psychology. As a clinician, teacher and consultant (Clinical Faculty, Harvard Medical School 1987 – 2003) her publications span issues of group, social, and international dynamics, leadership and online behavior, aging and caregiving, women’s issues, captioning studies and hearing loss. She has been deafened for 15 years. welcomes new members and inquiries.


John Waldo [Captioning Activism Panelist]

Profile of John Waldo
John Waldo
John Waldo is an attorney whose practice focuses on advocacy for deaf and hard of hearing people. He was deeply involved as lead counsel, co-counsel or friend-of-the-court in successful lawsuits aimed at instituting captioning at movie theaters. Working through national and statewide non-profits, he has worked to obtain captioned performances at live theaters in Washington, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and California. He worked to get scoreboard captioning at professional and university athletic venues in Washington and Oregon. He recognizes that state and federal disability laws are not self-implementing, and require active advocacy. While he regards litigation as a last resort, he also believes that where friendly collaboration fails, we then need to go to court rather than simply surrender.
John has had a progressive sensorineural hearing loss since childhood, and currently has one cochlear implant and one hearing aid. He believes that being part of the population for which he advocates is a significant advantage both in terms of credibility and in terms of understanding what solutions will and will not prove effective. John and his wife Eve live in Houston, but his practice is nationwide.
You can reach John at johnfwaldo at hotmail dot com.

Margot Whitfield [Caption Software Research Panel]

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Margot Whitfield

Margot holds a MMSt (2012) in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto and an MFA (2004) from York University. She is also a qualified teacher and works occasionally for the Toronto District School Board, primarily with children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other types of developmental disabilities. She has worked for over 6 years in her current position as Scholarly Research and Creative Associate at Ryerson were she has been managing technology projects according to grant deliverables and researching diverse disability community groups. Prior to that, she worked in art access, education and marketing. For 6 years she worked at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the Education Department and at the Royal Ontario Museum briefly as an intern. Furthermore she has experience working with people of various types of disabilities and knows some American Sign Language (ASL).


Sean Zdenek [Opening Keynote; Captioning Research Panel]


Sean Zdenek profil photo
Sean Zdenek

Dr. Sean Zdenek is an associate professor of technical communication and rhetoric at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He holds a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, an MA from California State University at Stanislaus, and a BA from University of California at Berkeley. At Texas Tech, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in web accessibility and disability studies, sound studies, report writing, style, document design, writing for publication, developing instructional materials, and others. Sean is the author of Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2015). He has been keenly interested in closed captioning for over a decade and writing about it since 2009. Visit the supplemental website for Reading Sounds (, send Sean an email (, or follow him on Twitter (@seanzdenek).