Q: What made you choose the College of Education & Human Development to earn your graduate degree?
A: “I got my undergraduate degree from Georgia State and it was the professors in the College of Education & Human Development who helped me choose this college. Dr. Judith Emerson and Dr. Jessica Scott have helped me figure out where I want to be and what I want to do. Georgia State is one of the only universities in Georgia with a strong Deaf education program and in my last year of undergrad, Dr. Emerson spoke to one of my classes. She knew me because I’d taken some Deaf education classes already and she saw the potential in me that I didn’t see myself.”
Q: What has been your favorite moment during your graduate program (in class, in an internship/experience in your field, etc.)?
A: “Last semester, we volunteered at the Association of College Educators – Deaf and Hard of Hearing International Conference in Atlanta, where all of these professors who study Deaf education came together to share their expertise. We got to attend lectures and presentations, and we met all of these really interesting people – even the people from our signing videos that we watched to learn sign language. It got us really excited about the field we’d chosen.”
Q: What is one interesting fact/detail you’ve learned about the field of special education – deaf education?
A: “Each student who is Deaf or hard of hearing is completely different. Dr. Emerson always says that if you’ve met one Deaf person, you’ve only met one Deaf person – you will not find one student who is the same as another. Everyone signs a little differently and there are different dialects in American Sign Language. I’ve just been placed in a Pre-K class for my practicum and these students haven’t figured out their Deaf identity yet, and I’m excited to watch them figure out for themselves who they are and how they want to be involved in the Deaf community.”
Q: How do you plan to move lives forward after you complete your degree?
A: “I’m interested in teaching in a Deaf and hard of hearing public classroom in a Title I school, where I can work with students who may have experienced more hardships in their lives than others. I want to be in a classroom with elementary students, but I’ve found that having professors who helped guide me as I figured things out has inspired me to consider teaching at the university level and help people like me find their path. I’d like to prepare future teachers in Deaf education, but I know that I want to get that classroom teaching experience first and hopefully come full circle back to the university.”
Q: What’s one fun fact about yourself you’d like to share?
A: “My younger brother is Deaf and that’s what made me interested in this path in the first place. I’m also in my third semester working in the Sign Language Lab on campus, where I monitor the lab and help students learn sign language. It’s been really great.”
This story is one in a series on College of Education & Human Development graduate students.