Gabriel Arellano

A Heritage Signer who has lived and worked in the US, Denmark, Italy, and the UK, and uses American, Danish, Italian, and British Sign Languages. Arellano has studied signed language linguistics and anthropology (Univ. of New Mexico ‘01), ASL and Deaf Studies (Gallaudet MA ‘07), and was a Ph.D. candidate on language documentation at University College London in the UK. At Sign Language Research Lab (Georgetown), he researched and developed a translation of Heritage Sign Language by 15 Master Signers (Gallaudet, Fay, Veditz, and others) and consulted on heritage sign language and sign language linguistics. Arellano is employed for ASLPI (ASL Proficiency Interview) at Gallaudet University, and as Deaf STEM Camp Director for Camp Mark 7 in New York. Arellano's experiences led him to develop a desire to help the Sign Language community achieve its goals of improving the quality of education of the Deaf in the United States and worldwide as well as raise its literacy level through STEMS.

Andrea De Leon

STEMS’ Literacy Coordinator from Canary Islands, Spain. She is fluent in Lengua de Signos Española (LSE), American Sign Language (ASL), written Spanish and English. Andrea has a B.A. in Library Science by the Carlos III University of Madrid. And her study as MA candidate on Deaf Studies: Cultural Studies at Gallaudet University is in process. As literate, her great dedication is to expand the ways to integrate people, including deaf individuals, to contain the ability to use language, numbers, images, computers, and other basic means to understand, communicate, gain useful knowledge, solve mathematical problems and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture in our Information Age.  Also developing the metadata to extend these abilities of computing, mobility, and information sharing the data of Sign Languages around the world. Being a librarian, Andrea believes that storytelling is one of the importance in eco-literacy to promote educational learning in youth and diversity.  These experiences and knowledge are what Andrea commits to seek for better literacy to improve the quality of life for our Sign Language community.

Shirley Shannon

The facilitator of the STEMS team. Shirley works to ensure the STEMS Leadership Team synergizes well and is an advocate for the deaf and signing community. She is of Hispanic and Irish descent and resides in Puerto Rico. She attended at the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla for four years and has studied Office Systems, Business Administration and Elementary Education. Shirley transferred to Gallaudet University in the Early Childhood Education program and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Communication Studies in May 2017. Her internship at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in the Communication area has provided her with a rich experience. Currently, she is employed with the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes as a Community Engagement Specialist. Also, she has teamed up with Gabriel Arellano and Kirsten Swanson, STEMS’ Sustainability Education Coordinator, on advocating for the deaf community in Puerto Rico. Shirley loves learning different languages, which include Spanish, Puerto Rican Sign Language (PRSL), English, American Sign Language (ASL).

Raashi Dewan

A senior in the Richard Montgomery International Baccalaureate program and has been a member of a FIRST Tech Challenge team for four years as well as a member of Team USA 2018 for the Olympic style robotics competition. Raashi has a passion for sharing her knowledge of STEM with other students in an effort to increase accessibility to STEM and robotics. She has developed curriculums to teach rookie teams and has mentored multiple teams in the D.C. area and abroad. She is committed to improving robotics opportunities for the deaf community as the Robotics Coordinator for STEMS.

Kirsten Swanson

Kirsten is STEMS' Sustainability Education Coordinator. She works to foster connections with schools, government organizations and local, national and international organizations to coordinate hands-on and project-based learning activities that promote eco-literacy and inspire and educate the youth on climate change, sustainable living, conservation, responsible global citizenship, and other sustainability-related topics. She also coordinates partnerships with organizations to carry out local community initiatives that promote biodiversity, sustainable development, and a high quality of life. She works at U.S. Green Building Council as a Regional Coordinator for the South Atlantic and South Central regions. She earned a B.A. degree in Philosophy, as well as a Masters in Public Administration from Gallaudet University.

Le Toudjida Allara

Le Toudjida Allara as a former United Nations brat originally from the Republic of Chad and a proud deaf resident of the lovely State of Maryland, is Manager of External Relations of STEMS LLC. Prior to complete his two Bachelor degrees in Government (aka Political Sciences) and International studies along with a minor in Deaf Studies, and plus his Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, he was a top mathematician student of the Department of Mathematics at Gallaudet University—where he was recipient of the (1) English Language Institute (ELI) certificate of merit in recognition of outstanding performance on the Mathematics portion of the Gallaudet admissions examinations; (2) Nippon Foundation Sasakawa International, “Service Above Self” Rotary International, Linwood Smith, Andre Muller International and Langenberg Memorial Scholarships; and finally (3) Gallaudet University Diversity & Equity Trailblazer Award—and microelectronic engineering student of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) at Rochester Institute of Technology. In addition, he has contributed his service as Math Coach, Math tutor and Math Instructor at the Gallaudet University Tutorial & Instructional Programs (TIP) for more than 8 years, and as MPA intern for a congressional office at the Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Furthermore, he is ongoing/on-hold candidate of Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Deaf Education program at the Gallaudet University Department of Education and Master of Science in Recreational & Sport Science (MSRSS) in Soccer Coaching Education program at the Ohio University Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education. Apart from STEMS LLC, he continues to serve for global deaf community as Executive Director of STAND for Ubuntu, Inc., Global Affairs Manager of Society Without Barriers-Cote d’Ivoire (SWB-CI), consultant of several international organizations, and sports & recreation coach.