Our Students

Previous Classes

Class of 2019

Zitlali Cardenas

Zitlali was raised in Los Angeles. Her first encounter with ASL was at her church when they offered beginning ASL classes. After the 3 months were over, she realized that there was a passion for ASL and Deaf culture rising up in her soul. Zitlali was referred to the RCC Interpreting Program by her previous mentors, and that’s when her interpreting journey began. Zitlali already has a BA degree in Art and Design After she graduates, she hopes for a way to incorporate her two passions, Art and ASL, together in her work in the Deaf community.

Heather Culler

Heather was born and raise in San Bernardino. Her profession in her 20’s was cosmetology. That field taught her so much about one-on-one social interactions for over 10 years. A few years ago, she then felt like it is time to study another interest of hers: Communication. Studying American Sign Language in high school, lead her to a lot of different cultures. The more she studied the history of Deaf people and their culture, the more she wanted to be a part of it and understand it. Her goal is to bridge the gap of communication between hearing people who don't know ASL and people in the Deaf community.

Nancy Ruiz Higueros

Nancy grew up in the city of Riverside. Her native language is Spanish, yet she grew up learning English and Spanish simultaneously, since she went to an English-speaking school, She would interpret for her Spanish-speaking parents. Nancy is very excited to be in the RCC Interpreting Program. She originally started learning American Sign Language to be able to communicate more with my very young children and fell in love with the language so she continued to learn ASL. She is looking forward to this semester and to improving her signing and interpreting skills.

Morgan Pollard

Morgan born and raised in Riverside, and was homeschooled all her life until she entered Riverside City College 4 years ago. She was on the Dive team at RCC. This June she will be graduating with her AS Degress in Interpreting, then in the Fall she will be transferring to a 4-Year University where she will get my BA in Early Childhood Education. Her goal is to work at The School for the Deaf, Riverside in their preschool classroom one day. She not take any ASL classes until college, which is when she fell in love with the language, the Deaf community & the culture.

Elizabeth Simmons

Elizabeth Simmons grew up in Riverside, which gave her the incredible opportunity to be exposed to the Deaf community in middle school. Over 10 years have passed and she now cherishes the opportunity to work with the community that has encouraged and cared for her. This semester she aims to hone linguistic and professional skills that will ready her for entry-level interpreting jobs in the coming year. She looks forward to developing and growing this semester with her peers and the Deaf and Interpreting communities.

Maria Argueta

Maria Argueta was born in Los Angeles and raised in Moreno Valley, where she graduated high school in 2015 as well as receiving the Riverside County Seal of Multiliteracy for Spanish and English. She was always curious about ASL and decided to take a class out of curiosity. This led her to continue, and decided to double major. She also also received her Associates Degree in Math and Science. Her goal now is to become a trilingual interpreter, as well as to finish Nursing School with a BSN and also to become a Certified Interpreter. She plans on figuring out a way in the future to combine her love for language into medicine so that she is able to give equal access to all her patients.

Sandra Maiden

Sandra was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to Los Angeles as a child. She was raised like an only child, learning at the age of nine that she had a Deaf sister. She was taught the alphabet and basic signs from her stepdad, to be ready for when her sister came to live with her.

She married at a young age, and decided to further her education in her later years, attending MVC and RCC initially to pursue a degree in Culinary. However, after learning of a second Deaf sibling, she steered her career path to further her knowledge of Deaf Culture and its language in order to grow her relationship with her growing Deaf family of sisters, nieces and nephews. Her plans are to use her AA in the ITP/SAID Program to continue her previous experience of working in childcare and/or IHSS caring for the elderly. This will help open the door to working with more Deaf children and/or Deaf elderly. The main accomplishment is the broadening of her ability to communicate with her Deaf family.

Madelynn Brown

Madelynn Brown was raised in Lake Arrowhead, and graduated high school in 2014. She has many friends who took ASL in school and they all enjoyed it, so in her first year at RCC she decided to take ASL 1. She continued to take all of the ASL courses, and to complete the Interpreting Program. Her current goals are to graduate from RCC, get a Bachelors Degree so that she can teach, and hopefully learn enough Spanish along the way to become trilingual so that her classes are all inclusive.

Brianna Hughes

Brianna Hughes was born and raised in Southern California. During high school she took ASL 1 and 2 at Chaffey College, where her love for ASL continued to grow. After graduating high school, took she transferred to RCC to continue her Sign Language classes. She was asked to join the Deaf Ministry at a church in Chino four years ago and has been interpreting there ever since. Her goal is to become a freelance interpreter after gaining experience interpreting at local colleges. Becoming RID certified is also a goal she would love to achieve.

Brittney Jones

Brittney is in the fourth semester of RCC's Interpreting Program. She earned her Associates Degree in American Sign Language at Crafton Hills College in 2017. After graduating RCC, she wants to obtain her Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Interpreting. Afer graduation, her goal is to become certified through RID. In Brittney's spare time she loves to sing jazz music and perform as much as possible. At the end of the day, she is welcomed by her two wonderful dogs, Dolly and Rocco, as she sips her warm tea to unwind.

Ashley Baer

Ashley is in the final semester of RCC’s Interpreting program and is also currently preparing to graduate from the University of California Riverside with a B.A. in Linguistics. She plans to go on to graduate school and continue to study ASL Interpreting and Linguistics. She is currently doing research through UCR on the topic of ASL Morphology. She plans to move forward and become RID certified and obtain her Masters in Applied Linguistics. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, playing piano, and tending to her chickens.

AJ Brewington

I was born in San Bernardino and was raised in Riverside. My parents had found out that I was deaf at 8 month old. My mother enrolled me into the Mommy and Me Program where I first started to learn American Sign Language. At age 4 1/2, I started to attend California School for the Deaf and I was exposed there shortly until my parents wanted to push my speech. I attended Chat University to learn oral communication and to Sign Exact English at the same time.

In 2007, I attended to MVC near my home for 5 years studying Early Childhood Studies. I obtained my AA/AS degree and then in 2013 I got accepted in Cal State University Northridge, California. I had to leave RCC while I was in the Interpreting Program that I didn't get a chance to finish. I took ASL 1 at MVC as an elective class for fun, which was how I ended up taking all ASL and Interpreting courses. I attended CSUN for 2 years and graduated in 2015, and walked with my graduation class in May 2016 with my BA in Deaf Studies.

While attending CSUN, I've learned so much and have been exposed to so much by just being involved in the Deaf world. I've been mainstreamed all my life and I've been in classroom settings where I see the hearing classmates that sign, hearing teachers that sign, and Deaf teachers, too. It made my life convenient without interpreters.

I was learning about ASL linguistic, ASL literature, and Deaf Culture toward to my teaching career but I feel like it was about finding myself. I was taking ASL translation--this is how I decided to become a DI--when my teacher became intrigued about how I expanded using ASL in "A Hearing Loss" for my final project.

I passed the interpreting program at CSUN, but for the RCC Interpreting Program, I didn't like that I did not complete the Program there. That is why I decided to go back to RCC to finish where I left off. Being in CSUN, one thing I've finally came to realize in 23 years of my entire life that my mom made me think I was hard-of-hearing. I was Deaf with a big "D" this entire time! I'm proud with my big "D".

Justin Beaulieu

Justin Beaulieu was born and raised in Riverside. He has been interested in American Sign Language since he was a kid. He was taught the basics of ASL in classes from his church. Then he started taking ASL classes at RCC. He enjoyed the classes and learning ASL so much that he decided that he wanted to be an interpreter. Justin is getting his AS Degree in American Sign Language Interpreting and will get his BA Degree in Sociology.

Justin wants to work in many fields as an interpreter, such as Education, Religious, Performing Arts ,and any other fields he can experience.

Tanya Jansen-Small

Tanya Small was born and raised in Riverside. Her mother is hard-of-hearing, and her aunt is Deaf. Consequently, Tanya started learning sign language before she could even talk. Her parents, both being both teachers, decided to homeschool her and her four siblings, so she continued learning sign language all the way through high school. Tanya has been greatly influenced by her oldest sister and two of her uncles, all three of who are interpreters. When she was in high school, Tanya started volunteer interpreting for a couple of her Deaf friends at her church. She fell in love with the field and decided that when she graduated high school, she was going to go through the interpreting program at RCC just like her sister. Tanya continued taking ASL and interpreting classes every semester. In 2017 she began working at California School for the Deaf as an aide in the Parent Infant Program (PIP). Tanya has her Associates degree and is attending California State University to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Communications while simultaneously working towards receiving her interpreting certificate from RCC. Tanya is on track to graduate from the interpreting program this spring, 2019 and plans to get certified at the national level and work as a full-time interpreter once she receives her bachelor's degree.

Betsabe Bolanos

After five adventurous and fulfilling years working in live broadcasting and video production, Betsabe Bolaños found herself being led to search a new career path. Unsure of her next step, she decided to enroll at Riverside City College to keep herself busy learning a new subject. She instantly knew after the first night of her ASL 1 class that she would pursue interpreting as her new profession. With endless support and encouragement from her family, friends and mentors, Betsabe will be graduating from RCC’s Interpreter Training Program in June 2019.

Her ideal genres of interpreting include community, platform, performing arts, trilingual (English-Spanish-ASL), holistic health and religious-type settings. She would also love to be able to combine her passion and experience of world travel with sign language to become a traveling interpreter/tour guide someday. Above all, Betsabe values effective communication and wants to use interpreting to give all individuals she encounters a chance to understand and be understood.

Vianey Moreno

Vianey Moreno is working on her Associates Degree in ASL/ English Interpreting at Riverside Community College, with plans to eventually get Certified. She is involved in the Deaf Community and has volunteered in multiple organizations and events to gain knowledge and experience that may contribute to her learning the language and Deaf Culture. During the Interpreting Program she discover her passion to serve in the Deaf Community and the endless opportunities the career brings. Vianey is a member of CODIE Booster Committee and contributes to the fundraising team to create funds for CSDR student athletes. Her goal is to make a positive ally in the Deaf Community.

Michael Dorn

Back in 2005 Michael took his first ASL class at Chaffey College. Immediately he found himself intrigued and enthralled with ASL and Deaf culture. He transferred to California Baptist University and received a BA in Communication Studies and Theatre Arts. After graduation he sought out a way to study American Sign Language, which brought him to Riverside City College. Currently in his final semester of the RCC Interpreting Program, Michael is looking to work in the Educational field and become more involved in the Deaf Community. Soon, he will be joining a Master’s program in Psychology with an emphasis in Abnormal Psyche. Michael plans to merge the two fields, Psychology and American Sign Language, to work in the Mental Health Field.

Michael Wright

Michael Wright was born in Anaheim. He currently attends school in Riverside to learn deeper about the Deaf community and ASL. He learned the basics of ASL in secondary school and continued in high school. After working as a bartender for many years and serving multiple Deaf patrons, he decided to take more ASL classes and pursue interpreting professionally. After graduation he plans to specialize in Performing Arts and Educational Interpreting around the Los Angeles area.