Tag Archives: graduate school

Welcome to a new school year!

Wow, it’s been a long time! Our last post was in March, sharing about the OTDHH conference. Sorry for the delayed posting, but it’s been awfully busy since then! Let’s recap what’s been going on with our Deaf Education professors and students since last March.

First, our 3 Deaf Education seniors not only completed their student teaching, but also graduated from TU, got jobs, and began graduate school at Gallaudet University! Wow, ladies – that is a lot of accomplishments in a short amount of time! Congratulations are definitely in order for Erin, Shelby, and Shawna.

Next, professor Jessica Scott officially became Dr. Jessica Scott – she defended her dissertation on Academic English and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students in April, and graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education in May. Not only that, but her dissertation won the Jeanne Chall Doctoral Student Research award – she will be traveling back to Boston in October to receive that!

Our professors also spent quite a bit of time traveling for work this summer. Dr. Baker attended the International Conference on Sign Language Acquisition in Amsterdam, and Dr. Scott was at the International Congress on Education of the Deaf in Greece! After ICED, Dr. Scott traveled back to St. Louis to begin her position as the Chair of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Special Interest Group at the International Literacy Association.

And the professors weren’t the only ones traveling! One of our seniors spent the summer at Gallaudet University, and another visited Sienna, Italy, where she learned Italian Sign Language.

Phew! Our students and professors have had amazing, productive summers, and are ready to get back to work this fall! We hope that all of you accomplished all you hoped to during the summer break – feel free to let us know what you’ve been up to in the comments!

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ACEDHH 2015

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The Arch at sunrise

Every year Dr. Baker and Jessica Scott travel to the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACEDHH) conference. This year we were lucky that the conference was hosted so close by – in St. Louis, MO! As with every year, we had a wonderful time connecting with old colleagues and meeting new friends! The conference hotel was very close by the beautiful arch, so we had a wonderful view out of our hotel room window!

The conference this year provided us with no shortage of ideas to implement in our classrooms and in the reading clinic. Jessica learned about an assessment of reading fluency and comprehension designed specifically for Deaf/Hard of Hearing children that can be administered in less than 5 minutes on an iPad. The assessment was created by Dr. Susan Rose at the University of Minnesota. So far this is making a great new addition to our instruction in the reading clinic! We also learned about systems in place to help pre-service Deaf Education teachers reflect on their American Sign Language abilities, which we hope to implement this year. The keynote speaker also told us about the importance of writing as a part of the learning process (as well as learning in shorter bursts over longer periods of time instead of learning a new skill or concept in one long session).

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From left to right, Dr. Antia (University of Arizona), Dr. Baker (from here at TU!), Dr. Smith (Texas Women’s University), Dr. Lartz (Illinois State University), and Dr. Paterson (University of Southern Mississippi).

The end of the first night was a social hour where we got to catch up with old friends. It was so wonderful to be in the company of distinguished researchers and teacher educators who are all working to improve the education of pre-service teachers, as well as Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. This was not the only social opportunity, of course. The second night Jessica attended the bilingual Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting, where she was able to visit with professors and doctoral students from Gallaudet University, Columbia University Teacher’s College, and Lamar University, among others. All of these professionals are interested in the bilingual and bimodal development of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, and a number of wonderful and fascinating conversations were had. And additionally, a former student from TU, Jessie Menchak is living in St. Louis and earning her master’s in counseling and an AA in interpreting. She was able to meet up with us for several days of the conference and attend the bilingual SIG social as well. It is always so nice to hear from past students and see how they are doing for post-TU life!

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Dr. Baker and Jessica Scott’s poster!

On Friday morning, Jessica and Dr. Baker presented a poster on the challenges of conducting research in schools for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, which was very well received. In fact, several superintendents of schools shared that they wished all researchers thought about these issues, and a representative of the National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities asked Jessica if she would be a guest lecturer to share this information with doctoral students in the field of Deaf Education!

The ACE-DHH conference is always a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues and researchers across the country who are interested in the same issues that we are here at TU. Who wants to join us next year in New York??

Alumna Profile: Stephanie Voss

Hello! My name is Stephanie Voss. I was born and raised in a small town in Pratt, Kansas. When I was a senior in high school, I had big hopes and dreams of going to the University of Kansas and majoring in a medical field of some sort. But at the end of March, I was watching a scary movie, Orphan to be exact, that changed all my plans. In the movie, the mother picks up her Deaf daughter at school and they begin having a conversation about her art project in sign language.

VossImmediately, I was struck by the concept of Deaf children needing teachers. Prior to this, my only experience with Deaf education, American Sign Language, or the Deaf community, was a signed English after-school class I took in middle school, the only part of which I remembered was the alphabet. Even though I didn’t remember any signs, I spent much of my time fingerspelling words “under my breath.” Once I made the connection of Deaf children needing teachers, my mind was set. I was going to be one.

I researched programs for Deaf education and came upon TU’s program. I was initially disappointed by the lack of a Deaf ed program in Kansas, but once I visited campus, I fell in love and knew that I would be just fine in Tulsa.

My favorite part of the Deaf education program was definitely the people I was interacting with and learning from. The professors really, truly know their stuff. If you’re a current, or prospective, student, I highly recommend you suck them dry of all the information they have! Another piece of advice for you is to get involved, both in the Deaf community, as well as in the college community. The years really do go by quicker than you think they will! I worked at Happy Hands for my three years in Tulsa and adored the place! It helped me fall more in love with a field that I knew very little about upon entering college. They are always looking for quality volunteers, and eager Deaf education majors definitely qualify! One last suggestion is to actively pursue learning ASL. Go out of your way to find places and times to use it. Even if it doesn’t seem all that important right now, you will likely regret not taking the extra time to really boost your own skills, especially when you begin student teaching!

My final semester of college was spent at the Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe, Kansas. This was the highlight of my experience in the Deaf education program, I believe. I worked in the Early Childhood Education classroom for 8 weeks and then I moved to a 6th grade classroom for the final 7 weeks. Both classrooms were fantastic and I learned so much in those short 15 weeks! If you have the option, as a student teacher, live in the dorms, interact with the students on a daily basis, and stay at a residential Deaf school for your full semester! There are plenty of opportunities to learn from mainstream programs during your practicum hours, but you may not get as many good opportunities to learn from fabulous teachers at a great, bilingual Deaf school. The connections you will make there can help you considerably in your job search! While I was there, my ASL improved considerably. I went from being barely comfortable with voice-off, full ASL signing, to being comfortable in a full ASL classroom all day. My teaching skills and strategies also improved! I became even more confident in my abilities and my decision to become a deaf educator.

After I graduated in May, I moved to Westminster, Maryland to go to McDaniel College for their bilingual graduate program in Deaf Education. Currently I’m in the middle of my third semester and plan to finish the program after this summer semester! This was a huge jump for me. All of my classes are in ASL, with no spoken English, which has easily taken my ASL to another level. This semester I am finishing practicum hours (it never ends! J), taking a course in Audiology, and ESL Reading in the Content Areas for Deaf students. I am also taking a graduate level certificate course through Gallaudet University focusing on Deaf/HH infants, toddlers, and their families.

There are many things that I am thankful to TU for while I’m here in Maryland. The program at Tulsa has prepared me in so many ways! I came to McDaniel with a lot of background knowledge in a lot of the topics that have been covered in my courses thus far, especially audiology! 😉

After I complete my program, I am hoping to work with Deaf children within the early intervention/early childhood age group, as this is definitely my specialty, somewhere in the nation! I am currently job searching the whole country, looking for the right fit for me! After a few years of working, I may be joining the Peace Corps and working Deaf children in another country for a couple of years. The life skills and experiences that are to be gained from spending time giving back to students who may rarely get teachers who actively care about them and their wellbeing are something that I can then use for the rest of my life and profession. After that? Well! I may do just about anything. I may come back and teach, or I might go back to school for my doctorate of some sort (maybe Audiology!).

Stay strong and keep going! You can do this! There is so much need for you! If you ever need some encouragement, go to a school, interact with the kids and remember why you’re here. Spend time developing yourself and your own goals. Know where you stand, but be willing to understand that all students need something different and your job is to see them succeed, even if they need something that goes against everything you’ve been taught. Trust me, you’ve got this!