Alumni Profile: Jessie Menchak


We are less than a week away from the start of the spring semester. Looking forward to seeing all our great students back on campus – Except for Jessie Menchak, a Deaf Education major who just graduated in December! We asked her some questions about Deaf Education and her experiences at TU:

Jessie 1What made you choose deaf education?

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.  A friend of mine introduced me to ASL in high school. I chose deaf education because I realized that I loved ASL and I wanted to combine my desire to teach with ASL – hence deaf education 🙂

What was your favorite part of the program and why?

My favorite part of the program was when I had the opportunity to student teach at the Kansas School for the Deaf. I enjoyed this experience because I greatly improved my signing skills, met some incredible teachers with strong teaching methods and received practical experience in the field of deaf education.

What advice would you give to future Deaf Education majors at TU?

For those of you pursuing a degree in deaf ed, my advice is to study hard, make as many connections in the Deaf community that you can while in school and always keep your eyes open for opportunities to be a part of not only your school and church community, but also the Deaf community.

What was it like interning at Kansas School for the Deaf?

Awesome! Interning was the most difficult semester of my college career, yet the experience made me grow more in my ASL skills, in my ability to face and conquer challenges, and in my attitude toward teaching than anything other experience I had while at TU.

What do you plan to do next?

The next phase of my life consists of obtaining a masters degree in Educational Psychology, achieving a license in interpreting and substitute teaching as my occupation while I am furthering my education.

How do you think your Deaf Education degree will help you achieve these goals?

My deaf ed degree will help me achieve these goals by supplying foundational information about deaf education, deaf history, Deaf culture, and many other aspects of the Deaf World that I will build upon in my future endeavors.



Spring reading clinic for Deaf and hard of hearing students at TU!

This spring, here in the Deaf Education department at TU we have a very exciting new program we are launching. We will be starting a free reading clinic for Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students in the Tulsa area in grades kindergarten through twelve.

The clinic will initially be attached to a spring course taught by Jessica Scott, a new faculty member in the Deaf Education program this year, on the literacy development of DHH students. As part of the course, students enrolled will tutor a student for one hour a week on reading and writing skills. This will benefit the Deaf Education student, who will get hands on practice teaching literacy skills in a supervised environment, as well as the DHH student.

Jessica has done a lot of work in this area before – before she came to TU she coordinated the Jeanne Chall Reading Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education, supervised reading specialist interns, and worked as a reading specialist herself at The Learning Center for the Deaf.

It is our hope that once we get this free clinic off the ground, that we can expand and continue the clinic to provide free literacy tutoring services for Tulsa area DHH youth all throughout the academic year.

We have been working to grow our collection of children’s literature for use during tutoring sessions, and through the generosity of friends, family, anonymous donors, and the local bookstore The Frugal Bookworm our collection has gone from zero to these shelves full!Image

We are very excited to get this program started in just a short month from now! If you have any interest in donating books to our cause, we accept any gently used children’s books that you may already have in your collection (comment below to get contact information!) or you could also check out our wishlist at

Do you know of any similar programs? Any advice for us as we get started on this new project?

Scholarship for TU’s Deaf Education program

Dr. Sharon Baker, the head of the TU Deaf Education program, has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs to provide tuition support for students majoring in Deaf Education who are in their junior and senior years. This funding will continue to support students for the next five years, with 2018 being the final year of funding.

Students who receive the Deaf Education grant must fulfill a service obligation by teaching deaf and hard of hearing students in high-needs areas upon completion of their bachelor’s degree.

This funding comes from a Personnel Preparation grant, which are funded to train teachers in chronic shortage areas, and educators of the deaf and hard of hearing are among the highest need areas. The teacher shortage is further compounded by the small number of Deaf Education teacher preparation programs in the U.S. Currently, only 80 university programs are preparing teachers to work with deaf and hard of hearing children. As a result, it has been estimated that for every 56 deaf and hard of hearing children who need a teacher, we are preparing one.

The Deaf Education program is pleased to be able to support our upperclassmen majoring in Deaf Education in this way!

Deaf Education at University of Tulsa

Welcome to the Deaf Ed TU blog!

This is a space for prospective students, current students, alumni, teachers and researchers to learn about and engage with the Deaf Education program at TU. We will share news about the program, about the achievements of our students (both past and present), and about issues related to Deaf Education in general. We will also share new advances in research in Deaf Education. We look forward to sharing with you and learning from you!

Deaf Education at the University of Tulsa