Jamie Berke was born deaf during the rubella epidemic of the 60s. She grew up oral, and learned sign language later on.
Jamie was born profoundly deaf, but with auditory training was able to make use of hearing aids. Over the years, her deafness worsened due to progressive hearing loss. When she was 30, she found she could not use hearing aids anymore. For the next 12 years, she lived without hearing aids, totally deaf, until she got a cochlear implant in February 2008.
Jamie has been an About guide since 1997. Her job history includes managing a closed captioning website and before that, a deaf adoption news service. She was also active in the early "Caption Action" effort of the late 80s to early 90s to increase closed captioning on videotapes. Her resume also includes a four-year stint at the National Captioning Institute in the early 90s, plus she had also worked part time at the National Information Center on Deafness (now Info to Go) at Gallaudet University. Currently, she works at a day job in the "hearing world." By day she interacts with hearing people and attends meetings with the help of interpreters, and at night at home, with deaf people.
Before college, Jamie was mainstreamed in private and public schools and was always the only deaf student in her class, even if there were other deaf students in the school. She attended the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and transferred to Gallaudet University, where she earned two degrees at separate times. The first degree was in English (1987), and the second degree was in Computer Information Systems (1996). In between, Jamie picked up a master's degree in Public Communication from the American University. NTID continues to play a role in Jamie's family as her son now attends NTID.
By Jamie Berke:
I firmly believe in "where there's a will, there's a way." If I don't have the deafness information needed, I will either find it or point you towards it. I will also blog on current news and issues in the deaf community. Plus, I will share my own experience of being deaf as deafness is not something you see, but something that you experience.