Feeling the constant pull of two cultures, Erika grew up interpreting between her Cuban refugee family and her American friends in Miami, Florida. During summer camp Erika met Deaf and hearing school mates who communicated in ASL and became determined not to be left out, igniting a passion to learn ASL. Erika took ASL classes for three years during high school, where ASL was offered for foreign language credit, and she continued exposure to ASL from a Deaf community of children. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education from Flagler College while working at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind as a bus chaperone and instructional assistant.
In 2000, Erika moved to Oregon with a full tuition grant for the bilingual/bicultural deaf education program run by Laurene Simms (then Gallimore) at Western Oregon University. In 2001, Erika returned to FSDB to work as an ESOL specialist for Deaf children and later an educational diagnostician until 2008.
Erika received her NIC in 2013. She is so grateful for the path in which she is consistently being led. Currently, Erika works as a freelance interpreter, a church interpreter, and a video relay interpreter.
Erika is happy to contribute to the Deaf community, which includes the community of interpreters. When not with the Deaf community, Erika spends time with her family- 4 children, partner, and dog, Neo.