Our Interpreters & Staff

Our Nationally Certified Interpreters

Ruann Wood, CEO; B.S. Interpreting; RID: NIC-Advanced; SC:L Candidate
Owner/Operator Since 2007

Greater Knoxville Area

Hello! My name is Ruann Wood. The deaf community gave me a name sign that reflects how happy I am and how often I smile. You may think I hail from Tennessee, but I do not. As a military wife, I have traveled all over the United States and lived in 9 different states during our 20 years in the military. Quite the experience. Oh, by the way, I hail from Wisconsin. I graduated from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga with a bachelor’s degree in Sign Language interpreting. I also received an associate’s degree in Sign Language interpreting from Portland Community College (PCC) in Portland, Oregon. I enjoy interpreting in legal settings, for counseling sessions and business meetings; however, I will interpret for anything that comes my way. When I have free time I prefer to spend it hiking and backpacking through the mountains. I also enjoy running, exercising, and reading. I will read books, magazines, or whatever I can get my hands on.

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Robin Anderson, RID: NIC-Advanced
VCI Team Since 2010

Greater Knoxville Area

Hi I’m Robin Anderson. I was raised Knoxville. Previously, I worked at Tennessee School for the Deaf for four and a half years in the cottages. Then I work as an interpreter for students who were mainstreamed. For a few years, I wasn’t really involved in interpreting full time. I have worked at VCI since 2010. I have been involved with the deaf community here in Knoxville for more than 20 years. I’m married to a wonderful man and we have two children, a daughter and a son. My certification is RID NIC-Advanced. My preferred interpreting experience is conference interpreting, but really I don’t mind to do anything. When I’m not working, I enjoy singing and I love to mow the grass.

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Anna Bass, M.S. Counseling; B.S. Education.; RID: CI/CT
VCI Team Since 2008

Greater Knoxville Area

Hello, my name is Anna Bass. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. While living in Birmingham, I learned American Sign Language from the Deaf community. After many recommendations from the Deaf community, I decided to attend the University of Tennessee where I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language Interpreting. I interpreted for nine years as a freelance interpreter and during that time obtained my CI/CT (Certificate of Interpretation and of Transliteration) through RID (the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf). I then went back to graduate school where I received my degree in mental health counseling. I currently work part time for Visual Communication Interpreting where I tend to interpret weddings, funerals, and business meetings.

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Lydia Harmon, B.A. Interpreting; RID: CT
VCI Team Since 2008

Greater Knoxville Area

Hello, my name is Lydia Harmon and it is wonderful to meet you. In the year 2008, I obtained my national certification to interpret. I enjoy interpreting church services and college classes. I also interpret medical appointments and business events. When I’m not interpreting, I am taking care of my two kids. I also participate in Operation Christmas Child as a volunteer worker.

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Melinda Kerr, B.S. Education; RID: CI/CT (currently inactive)
VCI Team Since 2010

Greater Knoxville Area

Hello, my name is Melinda Kerr. I am from North East Tennessee. I possess a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Tennessee. I have both a certificate of interpreting and transliteration (CI/CT) from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). I have many hobbies that all involve being outside. I love hiking, golfing, and just enjoying the sunshine.

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Megan Pray, B.A. Interpreting; RID: NIC
VCI Team Since 2010

Greater Knoxville Area

Hello, I am Megan Pray. Yes like this, P-R-A-Y. I grew up in Pennsylvania and after graduating high school I started studying special education and elementary education at Kutztown University. And after two years of studying, I decided I wasn’t passionate about teaching 24/7 and doing the same thing all day. I made up my mind to transfer here to Tennessee where I went to Maryville College. I graduated in 2009 with my bachelor’s degree in sign language interpreting. After that, I went on to receive my National Interpreter Certification (or the NIC) offered through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). I now interpret in the Knoxville area and I prefer medical interpreting. It is my favorite. I also love dogs. People in Knoxville refer to me as the dog lady. I have two dogs of my own. With my available free time, I enjoy participating in a dog rescue group. I drive a Prius which I absolutely adore. Looking back, I can wholeheartedly say that I love my job. I enjoy meeting new people and traveling. I tend to lean towards American Sign Language; however, I can sign English too.

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MaryAnne Thaldorf, B.A. Deaf Ed K-12; RID: CI/CT
VCI Team Since 2010

Greater Knoxville Area

Hi! I’m MaryAnne Thaldorf. I was born and raised in Florida, the Sunshine State! I love the Sunshine State! While living there, I became a teacher for the Deaf. I lived in different places in Florida before I finally moved here to East Tennessee. When I moved, I no longer taught, but instead focused on working as a freelance interpreter. I enjoy living in this area and in my free time I love to hike, bike ride and travel. I’ve enjoyed meeting new people in the area, and I hope to meet you one day too!

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Elise Turner, B.A. Interpreting; RID: NIC
VCI Team Since 2009

Greater Knoxville Area

Hello my name is Elise Turner. This is my sign name. I was born and raised in Ohio. My family settled down in Columbus, but we later moved to the northwest to the town of Ayersville where I graduated from a small high school. In 2004, I graduated high school and decided to attend Maryville College located in Maryville, Tennessee where I received my bachelor’s degree. My two favorite interpreting situations are medical and theatrical/musical events. I love interpreting doctor’s appointments, trips to the dentist, surgeries, and child birth. My second favorite is interpreting on stage for a singer or presenter.

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Mary Wagenblast, B.S. Sign Language Interpreting; RID: NIC
VCI Team Since 2017

Greater Knoxville Area

Hello, I am Mary Wagenblast. I moved to the Greater Knoxville area from Chula Vista, CA in 2016.  My interpreting experience is mainly in the community college and K12 realm, as well as my current work in video relay service (VRS), and now community interpreting.  I hold a Bachelors degree in American Sign Language interpreting with a Minor in Biblical Studies from Tennessee Temple University.  My favorite interpreting assignments are in community college settings.  When I’m not working I am hiking and mountain biking with my husband and two beautiful dogs.  I also enjoy writing and painting.

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Gwen Walton, M.A. Creative Writing; RID: NIC
VCI Team Since 2017

Greater Chattanooga Area
VCI Interpreter Gwen Walton

(video coming soon) Hello, I am Gwen Walton. I moved to Chattanooga from Denver, Colorado in 2016.  My interpreting experience spans from working at Rocky Mountain Deaf School, community college, video relay service (VRS), and now community interpreting.  I hold a Masters of Arts and Culture degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis on Studio Arts, and a sign language interpreting degree from Front Range Community College.  My favorite interpreting assignments are in community college settings.  When I’m not working I am hiking and mountain biking with my husband and two beautiful dogs.  I also enjoy writing and painting.

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Matthew Waterhouse, B.S. Interpreting; RID: EIPA
VCI Team Since 2015

Greater Chattanooga Area

Hello, I am Matthew Waterhouse. I grew up in Aiken, South Carolina. I currently live in Chattanooga on the border of Georgia and Tennessee and have lived there for around 8 years. I have a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language Interpreting from Tennessee Temple University which is also located in Chattanooga. I also possess certification through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) primarily for education, K-12. Not only do I enjoy educational interpreting but I also love interpreting dramatic productions. While I was growing up, I really enjoyed the theater and the atmosphere fits me perfectly. Interpreting and participating in the theater are two things I take pride in and enjoy.

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Rachel Blevins, B.A. Sign Language Interpreting; RID: Pre-Certified
VCI Team Since 2017

Greater Knoxville Area

(video coming soon) Hi. I’m Rachel Blevins and I am excited to be back on the VCI team and interpreting for the Knoxville area Deaf community after taking a year to work in the greater Memphis area. I am a 2016 graduate of Maryville College and am currently a RID Candidate for Certification. I look forward to interpreting for you in the near future.  Also, watch for my weekly blog on this website and on the VCI Facebook page.

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 Deaf Interpreter
Lavona Collins, Language Specialist
VCI Team Since 2016

Greater Knoxville Area

Hello, my name is Lavona Collins. I am from Maryville, Tennessee. I graduated from the Tennessee School for the Deaf in 1974. Here at Visual Communication, I will be working as a Deaf interpreter. If a hearing sign language interpreter is working with a deaf client and there are communication barriers present, preventing successful communication, I will be called to lend my services. With my skills, I will be able to establish a language foundation. A language foundation needs to be established because some deaf clients have limited communication skills. They may use a unique form of sign language only used within their own home, or they may communicate solely through gestures. Other deaf clients may not be able to read or write English. Working alongside the hearing interpreter and deaf client, my role is to make sure the communication process is smooth and successful. All the situations, experiences, and happenings I am involved with are completely confidential.

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Staff

Ruth Goss, B.A. Sign Language Interpretation

Scheduler

Ruth Goss Badge

Hello. My name is Ruth Goss and I am very excited to be part of the Visual Communication Interpreting team as the scheduler and office assistant. I graduated many years ago from Maryville College with a bachelor degree in American Sign Language interpretation. Marriage and three wonderful children lead me on a different path in my life’s journey; however, I am happy that my chosen path led me back to my field of study. In my spare time I enjoy western square dancing, reading, crocheting and visiting with friends and family. All of my children are grown and have moved away from Knoxville. My husband and I thoroughly enjoy opportunities to connect with them not to mention playing with and loving on our grandchildren.

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