Deaf and Hard of Hearing Conference: Resilience & Success

DRM's Deaf & Hard of Hearing Conference, Resilience & Success, will take place on June 7th, 2024 at UMaine Augusta. Registration is now open! The focus of this conference is on resilience and success at work. We are thrilled to host an incredible keynote, panel and workshops.

Keynote: Dr. Amie Fornah-Sankoh

Headhot of Amie - a black woman, smiling, and who is wearing a blue blazer and blue blouse.

Amie Fornah-Sankoh acquired her PhD from the University of Tennessee's Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology. Her scientific journey commenced at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she earned Laboratory Science Technology and Biochemistry degrees. Before joining the University of Tennessee for her Ph.D. in 2017, Amie undertook various internships and participated in multiple research projects, further solidifying her commitment to scientific exploration.

During her time at the University of Tennessee, Amie achieved significant milestones. She secured a National Institute of Health (NIH)-)-supported Fellowship for her initial two years, followed by a three-year Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and another NIH predoctoral fellowship. Additionally, she authored four scientific publications, with more in progress, presented at a national meeting, and delivered multiple poster presentations.

Amie's PhD thesis explored biological communication, particularly focusing on the impact of hormones on plant-pathogen interactions. Communication is fundamental to the survival of any individual or population of organisms. As a Deaf person who has never taken the ability to communicate for granted, Amie especially believes in the adage that knowledge is far more valuable when properly shared. This belief has led her to engage in several activities that have a broader impact on the scientific community. Her research brings a unique perspective, particularly significant given the limited opportunities for young Deaf individuals in STEM, underscoring the importance of diverse voices in scientific inquiry.

Amie's life story is one of resilience, overcoming challenges originating from her Deafness during Sierra Leone's civil war. She had to overcome barriers to survival, education, and language acquisition, but instead of breaking her, these experiences fueled her determination and helped her thrive. Amie's passion for outreach drives her advocacy for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students in STEM, where she endeavors to offer them hands-on laboratory experiences, serving as both a role model and a catalyst for breaking barriers.

In 2023, Amie made history as the first Deaf Black woman to earn a STEM doctorate. This milestone reflects her journey of perseverance and achievement, reaching its culminating point in her selection as the featured speaker for her university's 2023 Graduate Hooding Ceremony. Her most fulfilling realization is that she can excel as a scientist and a community advocate.

Currently, Amie serves as a Senior Research Specialist at Dow Coating Materials, where she contributes to the development of innovative waterborne barrier coatings for paper, enhancing functional performance and promoting recyclability in paper-based packaging applications.

Sponsorship & Exhibitors

This conference will offer a limited number of sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities. Detailed sponsorship information can be found here.

To register as either a sponsor or exhibitor, please complete this form.

Questions about sponsorship? Contact Julia Endicott at


  • Covenant Health
  • Teltex
  • Bureau of Rehabilitation Services
  • Maine Association of the Deaf
  • Maine Hands & Voices
  • Maine Resiliency Center