Miako Villanueva, PhD, CI/CT
Interpreter / Interpreter Coordinator - Washington, D.C.

Miako Villanueva has been honored to serve DDW as the lead interpreter and interpreter coordinator for the annual Galas and other events based in Washington, DC. An avid traveler and lover of languages and cross-cultural connections, DDW's mission is close to her heart.
If you ask Miako where she’s from, you’re likely to get a more complicated explanation than you expected. Although she has now lived in the Washington, DC, metro area longer than anywhere else in her life, early years in Hawai’i, high school in small-town Arkansas, and young adulthood in Colorado all played formative roles in shaping who she is today. 

Miako was first introduced to the Deaf community and ASL in Colorado Springs. Always fascinated by questions about how people understand each other (as evidenced by her Psychology major and German minor at Colorado College), she was blessed with a CHAMP deaf teacher for her first ASL class (shout out to Jeannette Scheppach!). The desire to immerse herself in Deaf culture led to volunteering and then working for four years as a dorm supervisor at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (Go, Bulldogs!), as well as interpreter training at Pikes Peak Community College. Her insatiable curiosity and love of language and culture wouldn’t allow her to stop there, however. In 2002 she followed her quest for more and deeper learning to Gallaudet University, where she pursued graduate studies in Linguistics, bleeding Buff and Blue as a proud Bison alum (MA 2004, PhD 2010).

Miako is honored to be able to continue her learning as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Linguistics at Gallaudet. She specializes in Applied Linguistics and engaged research – incorporating the knowledge, approaches, and understandings gleaned from linguistic research of ASL directly into language teaching and interpretation. Miako also maintains a thriving interpreting practice, working primarily as an independent contractor and specializing in advanced educational, performing arts, government, religious, and international settings. She particularly enjoys the overlap of linguistics and interpreting, and will take full advantage of any opportunity to discuss language and nerd out about the ever-changing dynamics that create the awesome challenge that is cross-cultural communication. Consider yourself warned - smile!