Meet the president, jenna Giesey!
Jenna Giesey was born and raised in the Thumb of Michigan, in a small town called Deckerville, and is studying to become a CDI. Jenna joined the Michigan Deaf Association Board of Directors as Treasurer in 2019, and has since become Interim President as of August 2020. Her passion for advocacy and community involvement stems from the belief that we must all do our part to improve the world around us by playing to our strengths and working together. Jenna is also a public speaker, volleyball coach, media professional, caterer, and mother.
Meet the vice president, teddy dorsette III!
Teddy Dorsette III is a Deaf filmmaker, entrepreneur and social justice advocate Detroit. He was educated at the University of Michigan where he received a degree in Screen Arts and Cultures. and the Motion Picture Institute, where he concentrated on directing and producing. Teddy co-founded Teddyboy Films & Entertainment LLC, and Def Lens Media LLC to help provide opportunities for others to achieve their dreams as well as harness their skills and talents through different creative mediums. He established a non-profit organization, Reel Def Entertainment, to help Deaf and hard of hearing youth pursue their dreams in the creative arts. He is a passionate filmmaker whose dream is to write stories that will educate others about the Deaf Experience and Black Deaf history. He currently works as the Communications Manager for Detroit Disability Power.
meet the executive secretary, rachel schulbaum!
Rachel Schulbaum was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology and attained her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Gallaudet University. Rachel has worked in a myriad of settings: An outpatient program for people who struggled with alcohol and drug issues, recidivism, community mental health, and most recently in the school environment. She has a strong interest in advocacy, which brought her here to Michigan Deaf Association. She currently works at Ciox Health and is a virtual American Sign Language Instructor for LanguageBird.
meet the public relations coordinator, christopher samp!
Christopher Samp is a Michigan native. He is the fourth Deaf person in his family. Both of his paternal Deaf grandparents (Harley and Jean Marie Samp) attended Michigan School for the Deaf. Mainstreamed as the only Deaf student in his school district, from 3rd grade through high school, he left Michigan to learn more about his Deaf identity at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Christopher graduated from RIT with both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Public Policy and moved to Washington, D.C. to begin his career in government. Christopher has worked for two U.S. Senators and is actively involved with Deaf in Government (DIG). Christopher was a former treasurer with the District of Columbia Association of the Deaf (DCAD, 2012-2014) and has represented as a delegate at the National Association of the Deaf's biennial Council of Representatives several times. Prior to moving back to Michigan, Christopher and his husband lived in Seattle for three years. In Seattle, he worked as Development Director with Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS). Christopher is excited to be home in Michigan and serve the Deaf community as the Public Relations Coordinator with the Michigan Deaf Association. Also, Christopher is the Director of the Office of Disability Affairs for the City of Detroit.
meet the parliamentarian, joseph pfaff!
Joseph Pfaff was born as a fourth generation Deaf person in his family. He obtained his bachelor's degree in America Sign Language from Gallaudet in 2011. He is currently working with Intel teaching Artificial Intelligence our native language. He’s excited to serve Deaf Michigians.
Meet the lgbtq+ coordinator, jahan farzam!
Jahan Farzam has served on the MDA board since 2019. Jahan obtained his MSW degree from Walden University. He has a LLMSW license. Jahan is currently a LGBTQ+ Affirming Therapist. Jahan is very loved in the Michigan Deaf community as well in the LGBTQ+ community.
Meet the region 1 representative, darlene dorsette!
Darlene Dorsette is the current Exceptional Student Education Program Supervisor of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program for the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD). Darlene earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Wayne State University. She also holds a Master of Education degree in Special Education from Grand Canyon University and an Education Specialist degree from Walden University. In addition to her commitment to the students of DPSCD, Ms. Dorsette is an active member of the Deaf Community and she is a member of the National Black Deaf Association. She also serves as a membership coordinator for Deaf Solutions, Inc and serves on the board of Reel Def Entertainment. She is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, where she continues to serve her community and encourage awareness about Deaf culture. Darlene continues to add to her community work by working with Detroit Disability Power as a Field Representative helping community citizens to become registered voter, as well as helping them to understand their voting rights and making a difference.
Meet the region 2 representative, Gary wright!
Gary Wright's goal is to be a voice for MDA in our communities. He is here to share important information with you to increase the quality of life for Michigan and Hard of Hearing residents in Michigan. His hope is to achieve the goal of having the Deaf community recognize the MDA.