Student Disability Commission

Don’t Exploit Us: Deaf Community and Technology

3-dimensional white stop sign with a hand inside it, and 3-dimensional white text that reads "DON'T EXPLOIT US" on a red background. Subtitle reads "conversations around the Deaf community and technology research" in black

Video recording will be available here: (Note- captions have not been fully edited yet, but should be done by May 23rd.)

Panelists slides (screen-reader accessible) available here:




Join us for a conversation discussing the ethics of technology and the Deaf community! We discussed topics like signing gloves, research ethics, and some positive technology trends for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

The webinar was on May 15th (Friday) from 4:00pm-5:30pm PDT.

Panelist Information:

Raja Kushalnagar

Picture of Raja Kushalnagar smiling, leaning against a wall.Raja Kushalnagar (he/him) is the Director of the Information Technology program in the Department of Science, Technology and Mathematics at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. His research interests encompass the fields of accessible computing and accessibility/intellectual property law, with the goal of improving information access for people with sensory disabilities. In the accessible computing field, he investigates information and communication access disparities for people with sensory disabilities. For example, he investigates how technology can aid access to multimodal communication or information through speech-to-text (captions/subtitles) or sign language interpreters. In the legal field, he advocates for laws and policies for access and inclusion for people with sensory disabilities, such as automatic captions or audio description. He also serves on organization board committees that focus on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in computing fields, including the Computing Research Association – Widening Participation, Teach Access and Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction. He has mentored 70 plus undergraduates and received over $4 million in grants and has published over 50 peer-reviewed publications.






Katie Roberts

Picture of Katie Roberts.A Gallaudet alumnus and faculty member at Seattle Central college, Katie Roberts (she/her) has taught ASL, Linguistics, and Deaf Studies for over twenty years. As an educator, she has dedicated her life to both uplifting ASL and protecting its status as the language of a marginalized minority group. In addition to teaching, she has frequently given lectures about ASL, the cultural appropriation of ASL, ASL as a language and ASL as a cultural touchstone. In the past, she also worked as a mentor for sign language interpreters and as a language coach. She is a lifelong learner who has just begun to explore the intersection between deaf culture, deaf pride, and disability justice. As a tenured faculty member at Seattle Central, she serves on the Accessibility committee, the Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Committee and participates in hiring committees when needed. She resides in Seattle with her son and her wife. In her free time, she dabbles in cross stitch projects, spends too much time on social media, and binge watches dystopian tv shows. Her favorite ice cream is Rocky Road and she loves the rain.



Melissa “Echo” Greenlee

Picture of Melissa Greenlee smiling, wearing a gray shirt that says #deaffriendly

Melissa “Echo” Greenlee (she/her) is the founder and CEO of – a consumer review platform for Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing individuals to rate, review and find deaf-friendly businesses nationwide. In addition to a review platform, she also launched deaffriendly Consulting providing training and education to a range of U.S. businesses from small startups to Fortune 500s striving to become more inclusive to this demographic.

Born hearing and becoming Deaf at 8 years of age has given her a unique perspective on how to bridge the gap between Deaf and hearing worlds while also mastering the art of self-advocacy. Through her work, she is revolutionizing how businesses interact with the estimated 48 million Deaf and hard of hearing consumers living in the U.S.

A laser-focused optimist, echo serves as a disability advocate far and wide. She is on the board of Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit disability rights law clinic, which has taken on (and won) over 400 cases dealing with discrimination within healthcare, employment, voting, housing, and more. In 2015, echo won the Marilyn J. Smith Inspiration Award, an award named after the founder of the Abused Deaf Woman Advocacy Services to honor visionary, mission-driven, and collaborative individuals who have made a significant impact on the Deaf Community.