Cresson, Pa. – Last year a creative idea blossomed into a tradition for Mount Aloysius College. The idea was to create a much needed social engagement opportunity for members of Central and Southwestern Pennsylvania’s deaf community. The event—The Deaf Gathering—was a success 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. Originally held in the college’s Wolf-Kuhn Gallery; the turnout for the initial event was so huge that the Gallery could barely contain the excited crowd. Subsequent “Deaf Gatherings” at Mount Aloysius were held in the College Cosgrave Center. The next MAC Deaf Gathering will take place Friday, October 18th from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., again in the Cosgrave Student Center meeting rooms. Refreshment is available.
For the hearing public, attending a Deaf Gathering is a truly awesome experience—no hyperbole. Unless you are able to read lips or use English Sign Language you are largely incommunicado yet captivated by the excitement. Luckily, there are many Mount Aloysius sign language students who are only too happy to help facilitate conversation. Assistant Professor of the American Sign Language/English Interpreting program at Mount Aloysius College, Kierstin 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 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 exist side-by-side every day.”
Mount Aloysius College has a long history of teaching sign language and interpretation. The College excels due to small classes, 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.