ATISDA Blog (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area)

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Introducing Your New ATISDA Executive Council

ATISDA has a new Executive Council!

Our organization recently elected Yolanda Secos as President, Dr. Gloria M. Rivera as Vice President, Felipe Ortiz as Treasurer and Melissa Kamenjarin as Secretary. Ursula Carver and Kara Watkins will serve on the Executive Council as Members at Large. The new Executive Council looks forward to serving the members of ATISDA for the next two years.

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Your new Executive Council: (from left to right) Vice President Dr. Gloria M. Rivera (shown in photo), Treasurer Felipe Ortiz, President Yolanda Secos, Secretary Melissa Kamenjarin, Member at Large Kara Watkins, Member at Large Ursula Carver

This election, which took place on January 28, 2017, would not have been possible without the work of our Nominating Committee, which oversaw the nominations and election. Thank you to Brian Gruters, Marco Díaz and Matt Capelle for their work on the Nominating Committee.


Brian Gruters and Marco Díaz of the Nominating Committee counting votes on election day.


ATISDA’s new Executive Council: (from left to right) Treasurer Felipe Ortiz, President Yolanda Secos, Secretary Melissa Kamenjarin and Vice President Dr. Gloria M. Rivera (pictured in photograph)

So that the members of ATISDA can get to know their new Executive Council, the newly elected council members have provided some information about themselves.


President Yolanda Secos

Yolanda Secos, your ATISDA President, writes:

I was born in Madrid, Spain. After obtaining my degree in English Philology & Education from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, I worked as a foreign language teacher in Spain and England, where I was awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). In 1999, I arrived in the US as part of the Visiting Teachers from Spain Program. During the seven years that I worked as a bilingual teacher in Texas, I was asked to interpret at IEP meetings and translate all kinds of documents to facilitate home-school communication. Upon moving to San Diego, I got a Professional Certificate in English & Spanish Translation and Interpreting from UCSD Extension while working as a Spanish language teacher. I have been a freelance English-to-Spanish translator specializing in education since 2006. I am a voting member of the American Translators Association (ATA) and, last year, I was elected as the new Assistant Administrator of the ATA Spanish Language Division (SPD). I served as the ATA SPD Social Media Committee Chair (2012 – 2016), as a Website Committee member (2014 – 2016), and as the Editor of the ATA SPD newsletter Intercambios (2015 – 2016). I have been serving as the president of ATISDA since the end of 2015, and I am currently a member of the ATA Membership Committee. I am the recipient of the 2016 Harvie Jordan Scholarship. I live in San Diego with my husband and my two children.



Vice President Dr. Gloria M. Rivera

Dr. Gloria M. Rivera, your new ATISDA Vice President, writes:

Dr. Gloria M. Rivera, CMI, CHI, is an English/Spanish certified medical interpreter, conference interpreter, and translator.

She obtained her medical degree from the Universidad San Martin de Porres’ College of Medicine in Lima, Peru. Her medical training allowed her to gather experience in different settings, including pediatrics, internal medicine, OB/GYN, mental health, and general surgery, among other specialties. She worked at the Peruvian Navy Medical Center as a general practitioner and general surgeon.

She holds a Professional Certificate of Translation and Interpretation from UCSD Extension and has taught for the medical branch of this certificate program.

Dr. Rivera is a faculty member of the National Center for Interpretation’s Agnese Haury Institute at the University of Arizona with the Medical Interpreter Training Institute (MITI) and Online Seminars for Medical Interpreters (OSMI), where she has worked as an instructor and contributed to curriculum development since 2013. She also teaches specialized webinars for medical translators and interpreters, as well as general topic webinars for all language professionals.

Dr. Rivera recently became the Editor of the American Translators Association Medical Division publication Caduceus.


Felipe Ortiz

Treasurer Felipe Ortiz

Felipe Ortiz, your new ATISDA Treasurer, writes:

Felipe Ortiz, CMP (Certified Meetings Professional), is a UCSD Extension Translation Certificate student soon to graduate (March 15, 2017).

He worked in the hotel/conventions/hospitality industry for several decades and decided to leave this field and embark on a new career as a translator specializing in the tourism/travel/hospitality industry.

Felipe was born in Mérida, Yucatán, México, where he graduated with a BS in Biological Sciences and then immigrated to California to join his family already living there. Upon his arrival, he enrolled at Grossmont Community College in El Cajon, California and graduated with an AS in Food Service Management.

When he enrolled in the Translation Certificate Program in 2015, he decided to join ATISDA and ATA as a student member. He volunteered to help ATISDA by serving on the Bylaws Revision Committee. The purpose of the revision was to make ATISDA eligible to become an Affiliate member of ATA; this was accomplished and recognized at the recent 57th Annual ATA Conference in San Francisco.

Past notable achievements were his service in the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) San Diego Chapter, where he served on the Board of Directors, and became HSMAI San Diego Chapter President. While in the hotel industry, he was named recipient of the James V. Cunningham award for personalized services, given once a year at the annual industry Gold Key Awards Banquet. Meeting Planners, readers of Successful Meetings magazine, voted him runner up for World’s Best Convention Services Manager in 1989.

He looks forward to contributing to ATISDA’s success and growth, collaborating with other Executive Council members and serving as Treasurer for the next two years.


Melissa Kamenjarin Photo

Secretary Melissa Kamenjarin

Melissa Kamenjarin, your new ATISDA Secretary, writes:

I am a Spanish-English translator, editor and proofreader who joined ATISDA in 2015 while I was studying translation. Since then, I have been actively involved in both ATISDA and the ATA, attending as many events as possible to meet fellow language professionals and learn new skills. I completed my Specialized Certificate in Translation (Spanish/English) from UCSD Extension in 2016.

Before studying Spanish translation, I earned a BA from UCLA in History with a minor in German. I love learning new languages and have studied seven so far.

My editing and proofreading background includes reviewing materials in both English and Spanish. For the past six years, I have proofread marketing communications materials for a Fortune 50 company, where I first started reviewing the materials that had been translated into Spanish and now handle the proofreading for the English language written materials. I also work as a Spanish proofreader for a publishing company, reviewing children’s educational materials and performing technical quality assurance on websites. In addition, I have proofread diverse genres of fiction and non-fiction published books: a murder mystery novel, a self-help guidebook and a magazine article anthology.

Shortly after becoming involved with ATISDA, I became the organization’s blog writer, which I love doing because it gives me the chance to promote our growing organization while educating and connecting our members.

In addition to writing and proofreading articles for the ATA Spanish Division’s publication Intercambios, I also serve as the new Copy Editor for the ATA Medical Division’s publication Caduceus.

I regularly attend the networking events and workshops that ATISDA puts on and am excited to be a part of the new Pensadores group, a joint effort between ATISDA and the ATA Spanish Division that gives members the opportunity to refine their Spanish language knowledge.

I look forward to serving as Secretary for ATISDA, a wonderful organization that has helped me so much personally and professionally.