Cresson, Pa. – Consider the potential isolation of a deaf man or women living in rural, west-central Pennsylvania. Understanding the need for some social interaction, consider too what an opportunity such a social event presents for Mount Aloysius College American Sign Language/English Interpreting students. That win-win symbiosis was the idea behind the Deaf Gatherings at Mount Aloysius College.
Another Mount Aloysius College Deaf Gathering is slated for Friday, February 21st from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the College’s Cosgrave Student Center.
Members of the region’s deaf community are warmly invited to attend and be a guest of the College’s American Sign Language/English Interpreting department. There will be formal presentations and refreshments will be available.
Assistant Professor of the American Sign Language/English Interpreting program at Mount Aloysius College, Kierstin Muroski explained that the idea of a gathering for deaf neighbors has blossomed into a tradition for Mount Aloysius College. “The event—The Deaf Gathering—is successful on many fronts, but the educational opportunity for students of American Sign Language/English Interpreting is enormous. The Deaf Gathering is typically held on select Friday evenings at Mount Aloysius College,” said Ms. Muroski. “Originally held in the College’s Wolf-Kuhn Gallery, the turnout for the initial event was so well received that the Gallery could barely contain the excited crowd. Mount Aloysius College’s Deaf Gatherings are now held in the College’s Cosgrave Center. Deaf attendees really enjoy the social opportunity and our students gain a real-life lesson in communicating.”
For the hearing public, attending a Deaf Gathering can be overwhelming. Unless you are able to read lips or use English Sign Language you are largely incommunicado but the positive feelings and excitement are contagious. Luckily there are many Mount Aloysius American Sign Language/English Interpreting students who are very willing to help facilitate conversation.
Professor Muroski explains that the events perform several functions. “Certainly these are social events for the region’s deaf community,” she said. “However, they are also very practical opportunities for Mount Aloysius students majoring in American Sign Language/English Interpreting to interact with members of the deaf community, learn from them and perfect their communications skills. These students are preparing for a lucrative career that continues increasing in demand across the country and around the world.”
Professor Muroski explains that the American Sign Language/English Interpreting program at Mount Aloysius College explores two different cultures and languages and prepares interpreting professionals for an exciting career. “The pleasure in this career lies in mediating communication,” said Professor Muroksi, “enabling expressive communication between two cultures that reside side-by-side every day.”
Mount Aloysius College has a long history of teaching sign language and interpretation. At Mount Aloysius sign language students excel due to small classes, a high-tech interactive lab, an active student-run club, and the uniqueness of the major which translates into a cadre of students who work closely with one another, developing strong supportive relationships.
MAC Professor Muroski added that the College’s American Sign Language/English Interpreting major is also very mission-oriented. She added that Mount Aloysius students have the opportunity to learn about the culture of deaf people. “We find that while these students are certainly career-oriented and focused on developing as interpreting professionals, they are also dedicated to social justice issues and find satisfaction in their abilities to interact with deaf individuals and participate in various deaf events.”
At Mount Aloysius College students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language/English Interpreting and are well-prepared to find careers working as interpreters in educational, medical, business, religious, and a variety of other settings. Mount Aloysius is one of only 40 such colleges in the United States to offer these programs.