VCCCD would like you to get to know the staff and faculty who contribute their time, talent & education to the success of our students. We will regularly highlight employees across all four campuses, sharing their professional expertise, their educational path, and a few fun facts about them.
Shyan Diaz-Brown, DSPS (Disabled Students Programs and Services) Specialist/ASL Interpreter

Describe your position: 

My position is pretty unique in that I technically have two positions that have been fused together. 

My ASL Interpreter duties include coordinating and implementing communication support services—using both English and ASL (American Sign Language)—for classrooms, departments, and all campus activities. As a nationally certified interpreter who has taken additional training in interpreter leadership, I’m also responsible for hiring, training, and evaluating provisional interpreters who also support communication access and language equity in the classroom setting. We have developed an amazing team that I’m very proud of! 

As a DSPS Specialist working in the ACCESS department at Moorpark College, I am dedicated to collaborating with faculty, staff, and administration on implementing accommodations for students enrolled in our program. Through committee work, presentations to classes, and ongoing collaboration with departments on campus, I continue to strive for an inclusive and equitable institution for all students.   

How long have you worked for the District? 

I joined the District in Fall 2013. I started at Oxnard College as a provisional interpreter. Five years later, I was fortunate to become the DSPS Specialist/ASL Interpreter at Moorpark College.  

Are you a VCCCD alum? If yes, which college? 

I was a student at Pierce College. I tell all the students I work with that it took me four years to finally transfer to a university. Everyone has their own timeline, all of which are valid and valuable!

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?

Working in student services means you’re never really not working. Nevertheless, on the weekends there is nothing more I love than spending time with my family. We enjoy swimming, hiking, visiting the beach, visiting arcades, and truly anything where we are adventuring together. 

What do you find rewarding about your job or career? 

One of the most rewarding things about my career is that I’m at a place where I can give back to the communities that have helped raise me up. For example, a colleague and I developed a mentorship program for recent graduates of interpreting programs. Our intention is to more holistically support the folks who will be providing language access to our future students, and we want to be part of ongoing improvement. 

Another rewarding aspect of my job is finally being in a space where I can make incremental changes to policies and procedures to be more equitable for students. I am grateful for these opportunities and hope always to remain steadfastly dedicated to improving institutional systems.

Do you do any volunteer work?

In addition to co-developing the mentorship program for recent interpreting program graduates, I also have done a lot of volunteer work for families and individuals in recovery when the programs wouldn’t or couldn’t pay for interpreting services. The Deaf community has provided me with the opportunity to share space with them, and I want to make sure that I give back to the folks who are the reason I have a career in the field of DSPS. 

Two words to describe yourself: 

I would have to describe myself as a relator and a maximizer. I feel most successful when I am encouraging others to recognize and become excited about their inherent potential!

Bonus Question: How did you become interested in learning ASL?

My journey to ASL was an atypical one. In high school, I had already completed two years of Spanish (fulfilling my language requirement), but I needed an extra class to fill my schedule. A counselor told me that ASL would be a good “easy” class because it was “English on the hands.” As incorrect as he was (ASL is a complete, grammatically correct language completely separate from English), it was a blessing for me to have the opportunity to take ASL. It was my first exposure to a Deaf instructor, Deaf culture, and American Sign Language.

I highly encourage anyone who is unfamiliar with ASL or Deaf culture to review Gallaudet University’s American Deaf Culture Info on the Go site. 


Shyan Diaz-Brown with her child participating in an outdoor activity
Shyan Diaz-Brown with her child participating in an outdoor activity


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