Students from the United States and six other countries received scholarships from members of Rotary clubs in District 7620, which includes the Washington, D.C., metro area and Central Maryland, on March 9 during Rotary Day 2005. Many Rotarians also volunteered to conduct mock job interviews at the Career Center or took a campus tour. Dr. Robert Shriner, chair of the Rotary District 7620 Scholarship Committee, spoke of his organization’s efforts to increase financial assistance for new and prospective international students. “Some students’ greatest hurdle is not getting accepted to Gallaudet, but paying to come to the U.S. to start their education,” he explained. He said that Rotary International wants to enlist the help of Rotary clubs in other countries to help their students physically get to Gallaudet and start paying tuition costs. Senior Kiombo Nsumbu (fourth from left) gave a personal example of how international students can benefit from these efforts. “I am grateful for Rotary’s support, and I plan to repay it some day,” he said. “Rather than paying back in money, I want to return the favor by using my education to help deaf people back home in the Congo.”
Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) (center) visited Gallaudet on March 11 to talk about the obstacles she faced as the daughter of new immigrants to Southern California in gaining an education and entering politics, and her commitment to fighting for the rights of underrepresented groups. Her visit to campus, which was sponsored by the Department of Government and History in recognition of March as Women’s History Month, was particularly relevant since she serves as the Democratic vice chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues. Solis, who is in her third term in the Congress, is also the first Latina to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In addition, she is the ranking member of the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, part of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Task Force on Health, and a regional whip for Southern California. Her priorities include protecting the environment, improving the quality of health care, and fighting for the rights of working families. Solis said she entered politics to break down barriers that prevent people from minority groups from being treated equally. Her parents, she said, “never believed I could go to college,” a misconception that was reinforced by one of her high school counselors who said she was incapable of obtaining higher education. Even today, she said, “People aren’t accustomed to me [as a congresswoman]. They think I’m a staff member or a visitor.” Solis took the opportunity of her visit to extend gratitude to Frances Marquez, an instructor in the Department of Government and History and “a long-time friend” who, in 1991, as a recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, was a tireless campaigner worker in Solis’ successful bid for the California State Assembly—her first state office. Solis made history in 1994 when she became the first Latina to be elected to the State Senate. Here, Solis is shown with Marquez and President Jordan after being presented a copy of Dr. Jack Gannon’s chronicle of Deaf President Now, The Week the World Heard Gallaudet.
Svend Erik Hansen, the headmaster of Fredericiaskolen, one of three schools for deaf students in Denmark, addressed the Gallaudet community on February 18 about efforts in that country to keep schools for deaf students intact in a changing educational atmosphere. According to a campus promotion for the event, since the 1970s there has been a growing awareness and recognition of deaf people as a linguistic and cultural group in Denmark. Evidence of this lies in the fact that Danish sign language is now accorded the same status as spoken Danish, and over half the teachers at the three schools are deaf. However, the deaf community and schools in Denmark are confronted with the same challenges as their counterparts in other countries faced with technological advancements in assistive devices and cochlear implants. The schools are now mounting outreach efforts to parents of deaf children, soliciting their involvement in identifying children in need of educational services, said Hansen. Fredericiaskolen has been a leader in the field of deaf education, offering a learning approach similar to bilingual, bicultural schools in the United States. Hansen’s presentation was hosted by the Department of Education and the Office of International Programs and Services. (Also pictured is interpreter Paul Harrelson.)
Here is a sample description of some of the works that were displayed: Bogdan, who has been taking photographs for 35 years and has presented his work in numerous galleries, said he greatly appreciates the opportunity to exhibit at Gallaudet.
Bogdan’s “Clef de Zoo, #1” (Zoo Key) is a waterscape photographed from a kayak. It is a culmination of a year’s worth of work with Team 6/7/8 students in which Bogdan and the students created a blog for a U.S. soldier sent to Iraq.
“The waterscape and the beautiful signing hands are in stark contrast to the context of the finger spelling [which relates the fear of a soldier about to go off to war],” Bogdan explained.
Here is a sample description of some of the works that were displayed: “I have worked at Human Resources Services as records/benefits assistant for 28 years. I have resided in Maryland for 35 years. I was born in Haiti where I became deaf. I love arts. I paint, make collages, and have been involved in pottery for the past five years,” said Mitton.
Here is a sample description of some of the works that were displayed: “Clay hand building has been a fascination and joy for me!” said Harrington. “From my first credit class at Gallaudet in the mid - ’90s under Peggy Reichard, I immediately fell in love with clay. From the teaching/sharing of the many inspirational and fantastic faculty/instructors in the staff/faculty classes—Peggy Reichard, the Mitsuis, Linda Jordan, Andre Pellerin, Eve Mitton, and Margaret Boozer — I have learned, cried, and laughed through this process of creating something useful and beautiful from mud. My deaf mother was an avid and talented painter/artist, as well as a visual and dramatic performer; I absorbed my love of the creative arts from her. The hand - built clay pieces I chose to exhibit are personal favorites which I regularly use and display in my home.”
Multicultural Student Programs hosted a March 8 workshop led by Silvia Lemmo, a deaf woman from Argentina who is a human rights activist and former keynote speaker for the XVI World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf. Lemmo came to Gallaudet as part of Women’s History Month activities to share the “Latino Woman’s Leadership Experience” with the campus. When her father, a noted activist for deaf rights in Argentina, died in 1995, Lemmo took the opportunity to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to become a leader in the deaf Argentinian community. She traveled the world, working with developing nations including countries in Africa, Nepal, and India, where she met Mother Teresa. She noted, time and again, the lack of strong leadership in the deaf communities of these countries. Lemmo encouraged the workshop attendees to think of going to developing countries to assist in economic and social development. To successfully encourage social and economic development, Lemmo said people needed to put aside their own personal identifiers, become cognizant of the greater social identity of deaf people, and help leaders develop pride in the capabilities of deaf people. “Latino women are oppressed in third-world countries. I rebelled against that oppression by refusing to think of myself primarily as a woman, instead, thinking of myself as deaf, first,” she said. “I became a leader not because I am a woman, but because I am deaf. That identity is what is important.”