Jamie Olson holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in ASL-to- English Interpreting, from William Woods University, and she holds a National Interpreting Certificate (NIC). In 2005, she began her professional interpreting career as a staff interpreter at de l’ Epee Deaf Center, which allowed her to gain work experience in a variety of venues.  She has worked in the classroom as an adjunct instructor, and is currently working as a full time faculty member at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.  In addition to training interpreters, she works as a freelance/contract interpreter, and is heavily involved in the Deaf community. Currently, she reside in Gulfport, Mississippi with her husband and their four children. Mrs. Olson is quota as saying, “She would not be where she is today if it were not for the patience, love, and support of the Deaf community. They have taught me so much, and for that, I am forever grateful!”     

Vice President

Samantha Sovell graduated from the Interpreter Training program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She is a Mississippi state registered interpreter with a Level 3. Samantha began working for de l’Epee Deaf Center in Gulfport, MS, in 2008 as a staff interpreter and is currently their Youth Director. She previously served on MSRID Board as Secretary for the 2016-2018 term. She is looking forward to seeing where her new role as the Vice President leads her as well as working with the other board members.


Sarah Francis is a state registered (LV-II) and pre-certified interpreter living on the Gulf Coast.  She is a staff interpreter and community outreach coordinator at de l’Epee Deaf Center. Sarah was raised with two Deaf sisters allowing a deeper respect of the life experiences of those with whom she works.  After her son was diagnosed as Deaf at birth, she began to delve deeper in the linguistic components of American Sign Language. Upon graduating from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s interpreter training program, Sarah decided to further her education graduating from William Woods University (Bachelor’s in ASL-to-English Interpreting) and University of North Florida (Master’s Interpreting: General Practitioner).  Her love and appreciation of the language and culture of the Deaf has encouraged her to adopt a service leadership approach in her work. She strives to create environments in which Deaf are empowered through communication access. Sarah’s goal is to act as the exchange of information without the dilution of the message, to serve as the communication bridge  to ensure comprehension, to be an ally for the Deaf and Hard of  Hearing, and to provide access without   intrusion.


Lauren graduated from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s interpreter training program in 2015. She is a state registered (LV-II) and has been in the field since completing the program.  Lauren resides on the Gulf Coast, and within the last three years has worked in many different settings such as, Educational, and Community. Previously, she served as a general member of MSRID, and now is excited to see where her new role leads her as well as collaborate with the other board members on a variety of different topics. She is currently a staff Interpreter for de l’Epée Deaf Center and their Religious Programs Director.  Her love for the community, culture, and people has fostered a passion that shows through her work on a daily basis.

Member at Large

Cheryl Thomas is the former staff sign language interpreter for the Arkansas Supreme Court Administrative Office of the Courts, Office of Court Interpreter Services. Cheryl began her interpreting career in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada prior to moving to Arkansas in 1999.  She has worked in various settings including VRS, education and freelance work, but in recent years has focused on interpreting in legal settings.  In addition to her freelance work and facilitating for Project CLIMB, Cheryl volunteers her time on various national committees.  Cheryl currently holds her NAD V, CI, CT, NIC-M, SC:L, and BEI Court. A DPI, and raised in a large Deaf family, Cheryl lives Louisville, MS with her husband, and has 4 children and 6 grandchildren.  For fun, she enjoys riding her motorcycle and “glamping” with her husband.

Member at Large

Tracy Blocker was introduced to the interpreting profession while attending church. This gave her the opportunity to begin the process of learning ASL within a setting which included a large group of deaf members who actively participated in the ASL instruction. As her relationships grew with the many members of the deaf, she realized her passion and love for the deaf community.  She pursued an interpreting degree, and graduated with honors.

Currently, Tracy holds an A.S. Degree in Interpreting and is working towards a B.S. Degree.  She holds a Mississippi QA Level III and have been working as a registered interpreter for eight years. In the past, Tracy worked as a part time community interpreter.  Today she works in a post-secondary education and greatly enjoys seeing Deaf/hoh students work towards their educational goals. Tracy resides in Madison with her husband of 27 years.  They enjoy traveling and watching movies. She also enjoys helping to organize and coordinate activities and events.

Member at Large

Jordon Oswald is a staff interpreter and DRC Coordinator for Mississippi State University. She  has also had the esteemed pleasure of beginning mentorship for ITP students and plans to  continue to keep her mentor door open to future students. Jordon began her career over 13 years  ago in Little Rock, AR. In addition to her professional training, being raised in both the Deaf and  interpreting communities has enabled Jordon to achieve her Mississippi state QAST level 3 as  well as her EIPA. Above all else, Jordon’s faith is what keeps her grounded, rooted and forward  moving, thus shaping her values of strength, kindness, love and perseverance. A huge passion for  Jordon is interpreter education and she is working hard to expand and enrich interpreter  education in Mississippi. For fun, Jordon loves spending time with her children, family and  studying aromatherapy. 

Student Representatives


Hannah Francis is an interpreting student at MGCCC Harrison County campus. As a student she has passed the Quality Assurance test, maintained a 4.0, and continues to volunteer within the Deaf community as covid-19 regulations allow.

"Mississippi Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf"  1450 North Street Gulfport, MS 39503

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