Lauren Tolo

Lauren was born and raised in Arizona, a state where dual language use and bilingualism is a known entity. In college, she earned her degree in Humanities, but through elective classes was introduced to “American Sign Language 101” and immediately fell in love with it. While in the interpreting program, she was given the opportunity to hone her skills working with a young DeafBlind girl with multiple disabilities. That experience opened her awareness to the significance of American Sign Language and how Deafness exists in all populations, intersecting age, disability, culture, identity, etc. Lauren began working in the classroom at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind as an Intervener, working one-on-one with DeafBlind students providing information that the individual is unable to gather on their own. She was inspired to dedicate her professional life to facilitating communication and bridging the gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds. Out of this experience emerged her career as an educational interpreter. Now, living in Central Oregon, she interprets for a Deaf student in a general education classroom. Lauren’s greatest reward is being able to open the Deaf world to hearing people who have long since been denied access to the richness of ASL and Deaf culture. She is currently a member of her agency’s ‘Equity Team’, working together with Deaf and Hard of Hearing students and professionals to create pathways for social, educational, and economic equity in Oregon and beyond. She is committed to providing full accessibility and qualified interpreters and strives to always empower Deaf and Hearing children, regardless of their identity otherwise, with the knowledge they need to advocate for themselves, discover themselves, broaden their horizons, and accomplish their dreams.