A.A. Sign Language Interpreting, Phoenix College
B.A. Theatre and Dance, Sonoma State University
M.A. Deaf Theatre: Production and Administration, Sonoma State University
Also attended Gallaudet University
1. How did you decide to attend your college/university?
I went to a community college near my home. I had been working as a waiter for years, then became injured and couldn’t depend on my back for work. I decided to try college and see if it could change my life.
2. How did you afford college/university?
My family did not contribute to my college tuition at all. I worked several jobs and also ate at Taco Bells 59 cent menu most days. Once I began interpreting, I worked at schools during the day and went to college at night. When I finally got into Gallaudet University, I borrowed student loans.
3. What was unique about the college/university you attended?
Gallaudet University was an entirely Deaf college. I was one of only 3 hearing students in the undergraduate program. I studied theatre and dance while I was there. It was amazing. I consider it my "year on Mars". It was an out of this world experience and changed my professional life completely.
4. Did you have any experiences transferring?
I transferred to Gallaudet University for one year from Sonoma State University. It took me four years to get into Gallaudet because of the requirements for a “hearing” student. I had to have a home university, be there for a year before and a year after transferring, set up a consortium with both colleges for financial aid reasons, among other things. It was a lot of work, but completely worth it. I actually had to be at SSU for an additional Senior year because of the transfer. I didn’t mind at all.
5. What kinds of jobs did you get after graduation?
I worked as a sign language interpreter for many years while I attended college, but after graduation, I taught junior high school, and got a staff position at SRJC. Later I moved to Phoenix, Arizona and taught at the college I had graduated from for 7 years. I became an administrator and didn’t like it much. I missed the ocean and so I quit Phoenix College and moved back to Sonoma County.
6. How did you discover you current position?
I had worked at SRJC previously, and so when I quit my job in Phoenix, I flew out here to explore things. While I was on campus at SRJC for less than two hours, three people approached me and told me that there was an open Interpreter senior position available. I competed in a national search, and fortunately, won this position. I couldn’t be happier. I hope to have my ashes spread under a tree here one day when it’s all over.
7. What do you love about your field?
So many things. I get to sit in on college classes every day ( and I don’t have to do homework). I’m the boss, so I get my choice of classes. Every semester is different. I get to interpret for amazing people and events on campus, outstanding theatre performances, visiting sports or political stars. If it’s happening on our campus and a Deaf person wants to attend it, we will provide interpreters. This is an awesome place to work and it really feels like a family of staff, administrators, and faculty. We have some amazing scholars here and it’s an honor to be able to interpret their classes. Also, I love being a part of the Deaf community. I get to do really cool things, too. One of them was to interpret the National Anthem at Super Bowl LVII, in 2008. I couldn’t love my career more than I do. It’s such a great feeling to wake up excited to go to work every day.
8. Do you have any tips for transfer-bound students?
Know that you are not in this alone. Go to the Transfer Center and meet with a counselor and let them guide you. They are here to help you accomplish your goals.