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Past Speakers

Photo of Raymond Conrad
1995 - Raymond Conrad

Raymond "Ray" Conrad earned a bachelor's degree from RIT in business administration in 1981. He went on to the University of Maryland, where he completed graduate studies in Management Information Systems and then received an MBA degree. In 1995, when Conrad was invited to present for the Edmund Lyon Memorial Lectureship series, he was an office technology consultant for Hewlett-Packard. Conrad was a chairperson of Hewlett-Packard's deaf and hard-of-hearing employee network and is a strong advocate for barrier-free work environments.

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Photo of Jelica Nuccio
1997 - Jelica Bruer Nuccio

Born in Croatia, Jelica Nuccio moved to Alabama as a child. There, her parents enrolled her in the Alabama School for the Deaf. Nuccio's parents disliked having their daughter communicate in ASL, a language they did not understand, so they sent her to the St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis for oral training and later to a mainstream high school. Following high school, Nuccio went on to RIT, where she received her bachelor's degree in biology, and then to Emory University, where she earned a master's degree in behavioral services and health education. At the time of her Lyon lecture, Nuccio was a cryogenic technologist at the Emory Genetic Laboratory as well as a project officer for the Centers of Disease Control. Her Lyon lecture was titled "Breaking Barriers: Trailblazing in the Scientific Field."

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Photo of James Macfadden
1999 - James Macfadden

Born hard of hearing in Hollywood, California, James "Jim" Macfadden attended hearing schools throughout his primary and secondary education and relied on lip reading. After high school, Macfadden attended Gallaudet College, where he majored in economics. Upon graduation in 1962, Macfadden was employed as a computer programmer and moved up the career ladder to eventually become a division manager. In 1986, Macfadden started his own company that provided computer services and consulting.

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Photo of Nancy Oyos Rourke
2002 - Nancy Oyos Rourke

Nancy Oyos Rourke was raised in San Diego, California. After high school she attended NTID/RIT. She was a cross-registered student in RIT's College of Imaging Arts and Sciences with a graphic design major and a painting/illustration minor. Rourke continued on to earn her Master of Fine Arts degree in computer graphics design from RIT. She has worked for Xerox, IBM, and Microsoft. Rourke's Lyon lecture covered the topic, "Succeeding in the Competitive Workplace."

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Photo of David Pierce
2004 - David Pierce

From Lewiston, New York, David Pierce graduated from RIT in 1988 from the New Media program. Pierce has spent over 20 years in the television production industry and has worked as a producer, director, videographer, production coordinator, and programmer. At the time of his Lyon Memorial Lectureship presentation, Pierce had recently re-launched his own production company and was also the president of the NTID Alumni Association. Pierce was selected for the lectureship series in view of his diverse work history and active involvement in television production.

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Photo of Christopher Krentz
2009 - Christopher Krentz, Ph.D.

Dr. Christopher Krentz is associate professor of English and ASL and director of the American Sign Language Program at the University of Virginia. He is author of Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (University of North Carolina Press, 2007) and editor of A Mighty Change: An Anthology of Deaf American Writing, 1816-1864 (Gallaudet University Press, 2000). He has published articles on deafness and disability in literature and culture. Dr. Krentz helped to found the American Sign Language Program at the University of Virginia. Although he began slowly losing his hearing at age nine, Krentz had little contact with the signing Deaf community until age 23, when he got a job at Gallaudet University. There he began learning ASL and proudly identifying with Deaf culture.

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Photo of Henry Kisor
2010 - Henry Kisor, M.S.J.

Mr. Henry Kisor retired as book review editor of the Chicago Sun-Times June 2006 after 42 years as a journalist with major metropolitan newspapers. He became profoundly deaf at age 3 1/2 from meningitis and was orally mainstreamed from kindergarten through high school and college (Trinity College, Connecticut). He holds an M.S. degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. He is the author of six books, all issued by commercial New York publishers, including What's That Pig Outdoors: A Memoir of Deafness (published in 1990; to be reissued in a new edition by the University of Illinois Press in 2010), and continues to write a series of mystery novels set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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Photo of Brenda Jo Brueggemann
2010 - Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Ph.D.

Dr. Brenda Jo Brueggemann is Professor of English at The Ohio State University where she coordinates the Disability Studies program, serves as a Faculty Leader for the American Sign Language program, and also administrates as the Vice-Chair of the English Department, overseeing the Rhetoric, Composition and Literacy (RCL) Program. She has authored or edited 8 books and has published over 40 articles or essays in Deaf Studies or Disability Studies. Her most recent book is Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Spaces (New York UP, 2008). She is currently the co-editor of Disability Studies Quarterly.

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Photo of Nancy Cook Smith
1984 - Nancy Cook Smith

Nancy Cook Smith was born profoundly deaf and attended the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts, and later Glastonbury High School. Following high school, Cook Smith continued to pursue her longstanding interest in arts and crafts at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in textiles. Cook Smith then started her career as a designer with India Imports of Providence, Rhode Island. She subsequently set out as a designer on a freelance basis and moved to Los Angeles. Cook Smith's 1984 Lyon Lectureship presentation was entitled "Words on Confidence."

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Photo of George Kononenko
1985 - George O. Kononenko

George Kononenko, who was prelingually deaf, was born in New Jersey, where he attended the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf for both elementary and high school education. Having an interest in sciences and engineering, Kononenko then entered NTID's mechanical technology program. Following his graduation, Kononenko enrolled in RIT's College of Engineering, where he graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering technology. In 1985, Kononenko was the Research and Development Project Leader for Personal Computer Instrumentation at Hewlett-Packard. His Lyon Lectureship presentation was titled "My Experience as a Deaf Contributor."

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