Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Spectrum of Expression

Instagram Reels Series

A post shared by VPM (@myvpm)

In the series Spectrum of Expression, Jess interprets a phrase a day in American Sign Language (ASL) as well as various modes of spoken and gestural expression. These daily teaching moments aim to display the spectrum of human communication and connect people of diverse backgrounds and physical abilities.

Follow the series on Instagram.





Jess has a rare genetic disorder that caused late-onset deafness when they were a teenager. In college, they began learning about Deaf culture and studying American Sign Language. Jess’ proverbial “bread and butter” -- so to speak -- is studying the neurological, emotional, and physiological networks that “make language happen” known as developmental psycholinguistics. Through this work, Jess seeks to build community by breaking down language barriers and fostering linguistic equity.

Jess is also a patient advocate and actively educates others about the myths and realities of living with a chronic illness.



OCTILLION PRODUCTIONSBased out of Charlottesville, Virginia, Zach Keifer has experience in commercial, non-profit, and documentary film production. Zach met Jess in a meet-up for filmmakers to connect with a diverse range of community members to share stories of the region. Zach and Jess hit it off and are currently in production of a short film, Chronically Jess, about Jess and their journey with a chronic illness.

Funding support from Reel South, a cooperative documentary series telling diverse stories from PBS stations in the regional south, through a National Education Association grant.  Production support and additional funding from VPM. 

Related Content