LOFT Counselor Biographies
LOFT Co-creator and Lead Counselor, Sessions 1 and 2
Ken is a CPA and a partner in a CPA firm in San Francisco. Prior to that, he was the Executive Director of The Children’s Hearing Institute in New York and a partner in another CPA practice in Los Angeles. Ken is currently the president of the board of the Jean Weingarten Peninsula Oral School for the Deaf, a past president of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and has current and past service on boards of many other organizations. He received the Honors of the Association from AG Bell at the 2006 Biennial Convention in Pittsburgh. His involvements have brought him recognition among his peers as Distinguished Alumni of his high school and as the Public Service Award recipient for the California Society of CPAs. Together with the late Donna Dickman, Ken co-created the LOFT program which debuted in 1996 at AG Bell’s Biennial Convention in Snowbird, Utah. He is past President of the Board of the San Francisco Circus Center. Ken’s interest in the circus stemmed from his taking a clown class at the Clown Conservatory.
Counselor, Session 1
Catharine is a Business Analyst at Phase2 Technology. She is a dedicated advocate for using technology to bridge the accessibility divide – constantly finding new uses for accessibility. Her influential work has been recognized through national leadership awards, honors, and national publications. In 2011, Catharine was listed as "People to Watch" in the Washingtonian Magazine's Tech Titans feature, and was the recipient of the American Association of People with Disabilities national leadership award. Catharine is also the Founder of Keen Guides. She lost her hearing at eight months old, has used Cued Speech since she was eighteen months old and received her first cochlear implant at the age of three. When in college, Catharine completed a successful internship to increase accessibility and awareness at the Dali Universe gallery at the County Hall Gallery in London. After graduating from Wake Forest University, she began her career in accessibility at VSA Arts, the Smithsonian Freer and Sackler Galleries, and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the National Cued Speech Association.
Counselor, Session 1
After graduating from UC San Diego with a Bioengineering degree and spending a few years in the biotech industry, Matt has since settled in eastern Tennessee with his wife and two Welsh Corgis. He is currently the technical lead of Knoxville Utilities Board's Smart Grid project, where his hearing abilities are tested on a daily basis by the abundance of Southern accents in his department. He was born with severe-to-profound sensory bineural hearing loss, wearing hearing aids up until he opted for his cochlear implant at age 16. A glutton for punishment and sometimes too stubborn to ask for assistance, Matt has a tendency to challenge himself with the most difficult hearing situations possible - often spending upwards of an hour on the phone at work every day, listening to radio broadcasts and podcasts on a daily basis, being a member of the marching and jazz bands in high school, and discussing what's for dinner with his wife from three rooms away. He was an inaugural member of LOFT in 1996, has spoken on several panels at AG Bell conferences, and currently serves on the AG Bell scholarship committee. An expert in knee and hip pain, Matt can often be found hiking, running, playing soccer, and exploring the world on foot. During down times, he is a photographer, student of the culinary arts, tech geek, and loyalist to the Angels baseball team.
Counselor, Session 2
Nate is the Administrative Specialist and Operations Lead at Recreational Equipment Inc, in Bellingham, Washington. Last year he was recipient of the Anderson Award, REI’s highest award nominated by his peers. He has been a lifelong AG Bell member, and is an alumnus of LOFT. At the age of two he began to lose his hearing and has worn a hearing aid in his right ear. While he still uses a hearing aid for his right ear, Nate and his family decided to implant his left ear at the age of 23. Nate grew up in the Seattle area and went to college at Western Washington University where he met his wife, Molly. He received his bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Theater Arts. In his spare time he enjoys sports (Go Mariners, Seahawks, and Huskies!), music, being outdoors, reading, and takes pride in the landscaping of his house.
Counselor, Session 2
Stacey is a licensed audiologist and is an assistant professor of audiology at Central Michigan University. She was identified with hearing loss at the age of 10 months and received her first pair of hearing aids at 11 months of age. She received a cochlear implant at the age of 18 years. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the College of Wooster with a minor in German Language and Literature, Stacey spent a year in Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. When she came back to Ohio, Stacey received her Au.D. from the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium (NOAC) and her Ph.D. from Kent State University, with specializations in early intervention, pediatric audiology, cochlear implants, and educational audiology. Stacey has been a member of AG Bell since 1996, was a member of the inaugural LOFT class in 1996, and has presented at AG Bell conventions. Currently, she is a member of the AG Bell College Scholarship Committee. When she has free time, Stacey enjoys traveling, ballroom dancing, and the culinary arts.
Counselor In Training, Session 2
Although she might look like a teenager, Michelle is a teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing in the San Francisco Unified School District. Before receiving her teaching credential, she obtained her Ed.M/MA in Deaf Education and Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Michelle was diagnosed at birth with deafness in both ears. Later, an audiologist determined she had a severe-to-profound hearing loss in the left ear and complete deafness in the right ear. From the time she was 11 months old, Michelle attended the San Francisco Hearing & Speech Center (now known as the Hearing & Speech Center of Northern California). She was mainstreamed in first grade and spent most of her time reading books when she was supposed to be playing at recess. Upon high school graduation, Michelle attended the University of California, Los Angeles where she became a spirited Bruin. During her college years, she participated in various student groups, studied abroad, spent a quarter in Washington, DC researching special education and arts education, and volunteered at No Limits for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English with minors in Disability Studies and Global Studies. As an alumna of LOFT 2004 and as a recipient of an AG Bell grant, Michelle believes in the unique and transformative experience that the program provides for teens with hearing loss. In her free time, Michelle enjoys traveling, hanging out with her friends, writing, watching movies, listening to music, practicing her guitar, dancing, and doing yoga while thinking about her next big meal.