Meet the Staff

NYDBC is comprised of a small team that includes the following: Project Director (full-time), three Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinators (one full-time, two part-time, one Spanish-speaking), four DeafBlind Specialists (part-time), Project Assistant (full-time) and Principal Investigator (part-time). Each core staff person brings specific expertise in the field of deaf-blindness.
 
NYDBC Staff
Image Description: NYDBC Staff (from left to right): Jessica Marchionda, Patrick Mullen, Amanda Crayton, Lisa Tsang (front), Rhonda Voight-Campbell, Susanne Morgan Morrow, Suzanne Chen, Alexandra Fiallos, Nanci Bentley
 

Susanne Morgan MorrowSusanne Morgan Morrow, MA, CI, CT — Project Director (Full-time)
Susanne (Susie) is the Project Director of the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative and is also a nationally certified Sign Language Interpreter. Susie’s career started within the DeafBlind adult community at Helen Keller National Center, over 25 years ago. From those direct experiences she then went on to work on the national deaf-blind project where she addressed topics such as self-determination, advocacy, and transition planning for young adults who are deaf-blind. Throughout her career Susie has had the opportunity to present, interpret and provide coordination services in a wide array of venues for Deaf and DeafBlind people. Her work has been seen at regional, national and international conferences, in higher academia, as well as music and theatrical performances.

Susie has also been adjunct faculty at Hunter College in the graduate program on Severe/Multiple Disabilities with an annotation in deafblindness, a mentor and trainer in various interpreter education programs and has acted as the chairperson to various national organizations and committees. Additionally, she is also the lead developer of the Introduction to Sign Language and Braille module, part of the Open Hands, Open Access intervener module series developed by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness and is also on the national team of reviewers for candidates pursuing intervener certification. Susie is a national trainer on a multitude of topics related to access and education of individuals who are DeafBlind and interpreting.

Her entire career has focused on creating linkages between the interpreting, Deaf and DeafBlind communities through her various roles, constantly learning the myriad ways to best act as an ally across communities.
 

Email: susanne.morrow@qc.cuny.edu   Phone: 718-997-4854

Suzanne ChenSuzanne Chen, Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator — Lead & Downstate NY (Full-time)
Suzanne Chen is the lead Family Engagement and Outreach Coordinator for the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative. She is also a parent of a child who is deaf-blind who has CHARGE Syndrome. With NYDBC, Suzanne is responsible for direct outreach and support to families of children who are deaf-blind throughout New York State. She heads up various family activities, including biweekly online meetings for parents to connect and share experiences, support, and resources, as well as leading family conferences and various professional development, in particular within the medical community. Through her family experience she has advocated for her son and has been a part of the special needs and medical communities for over 11 years.

Suzanne also serves on a variety of boards and organizations. Currently she acts as the President of the New York Parent Association for Deaf-Blind (NYPADB) and is the NY state liaison for the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation. Suzanne is also on the Family Advisory Council for the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and is an Ambassador Mom with the March of Dimes. She also serves as Co-Vice President on the Board of Trustees for the Lexington School and Center for the Deaf in Queens, NY.

Suzanne strongly believes that knowledge is power and advocacy brings change. These philosophies are reflected in how she interacts and engages with families and professionals in order to build critical connections.
 

Email: suzanne.chen@qc.cuny.edu   Phone: 718-570-0448

Nanci BentleyNanci Bentley, Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator — Western NY (Part-time)
Nanci is a Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator (FEOC) with NYDBC and is a parent of a child with Pallister Killian Syndrome, a rare chromosomal disorder that causes hearing and vision loss as well as host of other potential challenges. She and her family began their journey into the world of special needs over 9 years ago. Nanci works in collaboration with the other FEOC in order to connect families and increase identification and referral of children with combined hearing and vision loss in New York State, specifically in Western NY. She continues to build her advocacy skills and foster relationships between families, professionals and agencies. Nanci is impassioned by assisting families in navigating the special education process. She finds merit in seeing families find their “voice.”

Nanci currently serves on the Board of Directors for Ability Partners Foundation (CP Rochester, Happiness House, Rochester Rehabilitation) and offers service to the Kiwanis Club to support fundraising events that enrich the lives of children and their families. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the local YMCA. Additionally, she is on the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Rochester Parent Advisory Council, acting as a parent advisor on the Quality Improvement Team. Nanci also works with Inclusion in Motion, an organization working to bring universal design to community playgrounds, to ensure equal access to play.
 

Email: nanci.bentley@qc.cuny.edu   Phone: 716-946-7224

Alexandra FiallosAlexandra Fiallos, Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator — Spanish (Part-time)
Alexandra is a parent of a young adult who is DeafBlind with complex care needs. This lived experience along with her multi-lingual/multi-cultural experiences will lend themselves nicely to the role of Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator, specifically with Spanish-speaking families affiliated with NYDBC. Alexandra has also acted as a Deaf-Blind Parent Advocate with NYDBC for more than six years, providing perspective and critical input to outreach activities of the grant.
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Families who are non-native English speakers are often more comfortable with and better understand their child’s educational needs and care when they communicate with the team in their heritage language. Alexandra is eager to bridge this gap through her community and lived experiences that will contribute to team success in identifying challenges across languages and cultures and striving to identify solutions.

Amanda CraytonAmanda Crayton, MSEd. — DeafBlind Specialist (Part-time)
Amanda has worked for over 10 years with students with multiple disabilities, including Deafblindness. She was one of the first certified Interveners in New York State before becoming a teacher and opening a classroom for DeafBlind children. During her time as an educator, Amanda mentored several interveners in training, provided professional development in multi-sensory learning and developed materials and adaptations for her classroom. She was a finalist for the Helen Bach Moss Memorial Better Beginnings award in 2020 based on the work she did developing this classroom and building knowledge of deafblindness across her team and school.

Amanda continues to develop learning materials for students with vision loss, deafblindness and multiple disabilities. She has extensive knowledge in AAC, pre-symbolic communication and intervener strategies and is an avid 3D printer and maker. Amanda also works closely with the Deafblind International Youth Network, especially on the Friends in Touch global letter exchange for DeafBlind youth. Amanda believes in building communication as a pathway to community.
 

Email: amanda.crayton@qc.cuny.edu   Phone: 518-860-6074

Rhonda Voight-CampbellRhonda Voight-Campbell — DeafBlind Specialist (Part-time)
Rhonda is adjunct faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf in the ASL and Interpreting Education Department. Specifically, she teaches undergraduate students the necessary skills to work effectively with DeafBlind people. Rhonda also has extensive training in protactile communication strategies and provides consultation on the topic throughout the DeafBlind community and other parties. Rhonda believes in the full inclusion of DeafBlind people by fostering fuller access to information through the sense of touch. Rhonda has a bachelor degree in Packaging Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Rhonda is the mother of two Deaf children and is an avid biker, having completed over 100 miles on a tandem bike. She has also been the keynote speaker at the Jr. National Association of the Deaf Conference and received the Deaf Woman of the Year award from Deaf Women of Rochester. Rhonda has also coordinated DeafBlind Awareness Day in Rochester, NY and was a guest curator for “Please Touch,” a tactile art exhibit at the National Technical Institute of Technology for the Deaf (NTID).

Rhonda is thrilled to have a continued partnership with NYDBC as she has acted in various advisory and consultative capacities over the years. She has also contributed to the NYDBC e-newsletter circulation on critical topics of access and inclusion for DeafBlind people.
 

Jessica MarchiondaJessica Marchionda (Jesie) — DeafBlind Specialist (Part-time)
In 2003, as a high school student, Jesie started her journey into the Deaf community by taking American Sign Language classes and volunteering at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf. In 2009, she began working as an instructor at Cleary School for the Deaf, as well as working as a community habilitation specialist for Deaf adults with additional disabilities. It was that same year that Jesie had her first introduction to the DeafBlind community by volunteering for the American Association of the Deaf-Blind conference. In 2012, she began working at Helen Keller National Center where she continues to work as a staff interpreter today. The majority of her work has been focused on working with the DeafBlind community in various roles both, nationally and internationally, including the DeafBlind International Conference – Network of the Americas in 2017 and at various CHARGE Syndrome International conferences throughout the country.
 
Jesie also works as a Video Relay Interpreter and a freelance interpreter for multiple local agencies with an emphasis on mental health. She is an alumna of two interpreter training programs as well as the advanced Mental Health Interpreter Training program. Jesie is currently enrolled at Stony Brook University seeking a higher degree in psychology, as it relates to the fields of deafness and deafblindness.

Patrick MullenPatrick Mullen — DeafBlind Specialist (Part-time)
Patrick is an interpreter with over 10 years of experience with Deaf and DeafBlind youths and adults. He started his professional involvement in the DeafBlind community as an Employment Training Specialist at Helen Keller National Center and prior to that he acted as a volunteer Support Service Provider (SSP). After expanding his training in the area of sign language interpreting through LaGuardia Community College, Patrick continued to look for ways to build upon his knowledge and enhance his skills, hence his involvement with NYDBC. Since that time Patrick has served in various capacities throughout the network. Constantly finding new ways to add to his extensive hands-on experience, Patrick has participated in numerous workshops, conferences and even an intervener cohort designed for working interpreters. Patrick remains informed as to the current practices in the adult DeafBlind community.
 
All of these experiences will lend nicely to Patrick’s role with NYDBC, in particular in the area of outreach and identification of children and young adults who are DeafBlind. He is also currently seeking a higher education degree that will be applicable to the work he does with NYDBC.

Lisa TsangLisa Tsang — Project Assistant (Full-time)
Lisa graduated from the State University at Albany with a degree in Business Administration.  She has excellent attention to detail that has contributed significantly to the various companies she has worked for throughout her career.  Lisa has developed and maintained reports that were critical to the business needs of the respected organizations and provides excellent office management for all staff.
 
Lisa thrives in her ability to maintain close coordination with her team, juggles multiple projects and job tasks expertly and organizes scheduling and managing accounts at the master level. Her overall presence contributes to a more efficient and productive work environment.

Patricia RachalPatricia Rachal, Principal Investigator (Part-time)
Patricia (Pat) is the chairperson of the Political Science department and has been faculty at Queens College for over 35 years. She has provided consultation in over 25 states throughout the country on interagency collaboration, team-building, effective communication skills, systems change strategies and transition planning for young adults who are deaf-blind. She has served as a consultant to two national deaf-blind technical assistance grants and to Helen Keller National Center. Pat has also published on topics in deaf-blindness throughout her tenure in the field. As the Principal Investigator on NYDBC, Pat maintains administrative connections within Queens College and the CUNY system on behalf of the grant program.
 

Email: patricia.rachal@qc.cuny.edu  Phone: 718-997-5470

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