DCDL Steering Committee Members

ReBecca Bennett (she, her)

woman wearing glasses and white sweater

My name is ReBecca Bennett. I am a Deaf advocate, perpetual student at Gallaudet University, and the director of Signs of Fun/Signs of Fun Camp. My passion is early language acquisition for deaf/hh/deafdisabled children and language rights. One of the main reasons I began this journey with establishing a Virginia Deaf Digital Resource Library is because ASL literacy is critical and should be an integral part of Deaf Education. Limiting the definition of literacy to reading and writing, which are inequitable forms of language for some students, can perpetuate systemic inequities in our educational system. My hope is that this library will help bridge this gap.

Nan Carmack (she, her)

Headshot of smiling woman

Dr. Carmack serves public libraries across the Commonwealth and, by extension, their patrons. She is committed to inclusion for all library persons. As a hearing librarian, she recognizes the gap in services to public library patrons, as well as the gap in accurate history regarding deaf history. Her interest in this project is part of her larger commitment to the intersection of social justice and intellectual curiosity.

Dr. Rhonda Jennings-Arey (RJ) (she, her)

Woman signing

Dr. Rhonda Jennings-Arey has twenty years of teaching experience at the K-12 level. She worked at the Maryland Schools for the Deaf in both Frederick and Columbia before returning to her the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, Virginia. Rhonda has taught in elementary, middle, and high school, specializing in English and American Sign Language for Deaf students, hearing students as a second language, and hearing faculty and staff. At the post-secondary level, Rhonda has over seventeen years of experience teaching college and university students. Rhonda is an adjunct at the JSRCC, TCC, and University of Louisville. She has also taught at Blue Ridge Community College, Towson University, Radford University, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Gallaudet University, and McDaniel College. Dr. Jennings-Arey has degrees in Deaf Education, Sign Language Education, Literacy Specialization, and Administration and Supervision. Her doctorate degree is in Post-Secondary and Adult Education. She has an ASLTA certification at the Master level and endorsement in ASL instruction through the state of Virginia. She has experience working as an Instructional Designer, Interpreter Rater, and Educator. She is currently certified by RID as a Certified Deaf Interpreter where she works as a freelance interpreter. She now works full time as an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia.

Christopher D. Johnson

Christopher D. Johnson is a Black deaf male who hails from Georgia with two degrees, one in Sports Management and the second in Sign Language Education. Besides his scholarship, Mr. Johnson is currently serving as president of the District of Columbia Area Black Deaf Advocates and advisory board member of the Center for Black Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University.

Barry Trott

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Barry Trott is Adult Services Consultant at the Library of Virginia, where he helps public libraries across the Commonwealth plan and develop services for adult library users. He manages the DCDL website and is co-creator of the Virginia's Deaf Communities: A Spatial Story map.

Babak Zarin (he, him)


Babak Zarin is the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Access Services Librarian, where he helps to offer accessible programming and administers the Fredericksburg Talking Books library. A member of the 2018-2019 ALA Spectrum Scholar cohort, and 2022 winner of the Virginia Library Association's Advocacy Award, his research interests include fandom studies and how library services can adapt to today's pluralistic information seekers.

Katherine Brockway

Melanie Williams