Student Testimonials

Read what some of our students have to say about their experiences with ASL/Deaf Studies:

 *NOTE* These are experiences from students who have completed different levels of ASL from level one to level five. 

"I majored in Biology and minored in ASL/Deaf Studies at Niagara (Class of 2016), and am now a radiology resident in Pittsburgh. I have been able to use my ASL skills to communicate with deaf patients I have taken care of in the hospital. A particular memory comes to mind during my time in the ICU where I was able to comfort a deaf patient in an otherwise precarious moment. I am so grateful for my education in Deaf Culture, which taught me how to best serve patients belonging to the Deaf community." - S. O

"Since graduating from Niagara University with a minor in ASL/Deaf Studies, I went on to work at St. Mary's School for the Deaf. I attended RIT to continue my education for interpreting. I am now a working freelance interpreter." L.C.

"I just wanted to reach out to tell you about an Elsa party I did this past weekend! The birthday girl’s aunt was deaf, and was signing to her niece when I first got there. She was very excited when I was able to sign with her a bit, and I was so happy that I could! It was a really awesome experience, and I was so glad that I could make everyone feel included." - I. D. 

"I majored in Liberal Arts with focuses in Fine Arts and English. I needed to pick a language and was interested in taking ASL. Immediately I fell in love with the language and culture so I decided to make ASL/Deaf Studies my minor. I was able to have an independent study where I shadowed a TOD (Teacher of the Deaf)  at St.Mary's School for the Deaf. Upon graduating, I applied for NTID's TOD program. I got my masters in Deaf Education and did my student teaching at Ohio School for the Deaf. After graduating, I went to France to briefly study LSF. Now I am teaching middle and high school at St. Mary's School for the Deaf." A. Z. 

"I was floated to the emergency department. A Deaf woman had come in and she was moderately distressed. The nurses informed me that an interpreter would be there in the next half hour. I mentioned to them that I knew some ASL and could try to ask if she needs anything while we wait. They said okay so I signed basic questions to her to see if I could do anything to help. She started signing rapidly and I could only get bits and pieces of the conversation. She started to get frustrated with having to go so slow. I totally understood why because she was in a lot of pain and just wanted it to be fixed. It was hard because I knew that I was not the best person to help her by a longshot. I ended up getting her blankets and helping her to the bathroom. By the time we were done with that, the professional interpreter got there. Later, when she was feeling better, she got my attention and expressed her gratitude. I felt poorly that I could not help her more. This only drove my ambition for improving my skills so that I can help more the next time. Overall, it was a great learning experience for me and I am thankful to have experienced that. I know that I will come into more contact with the Deaf community since I live in Rochester. I believe that with each experience, I will continue to learn more to provide the best possible care to my patients." D. H.

"I was working at Wegmans last night and I had an older woman who barely spoke any English but she knew sign language. In order for me to give her the medication, I had to ask her for her first and last name which I was able to sign from what we learned. I then asked her to fingerspell her name so I could type it in which she did so I was able to go through with the transaction." - M. D. 

"I am currently working for the Buffalo Bills training camp as a Business Development Assistant Intern. At Saturday’s practice, I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. A deaf couple approached me and looked confused. At this point, not knowing they were deaf, I asked if I could assist them in any way. This is when the man pointed to his ears and shook his head. I then proceeded to sign back to him. The pleasant surprise on his face was enough to make my day. I continued to sign to him, explaining the area he was in was for family and friends of the team and how to make their way to general admission seating across the field. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in a long time. The appreciation they displayed was extremely rewarding to me." - K. W. 

"I have been student teaching this semester in 3rd-4th grade. I was talking to one of the students about sign language. She was so excited to learn about it! I taught her some and now she is showing everyone “the magic of sign language” as she calls it." - M. P.

"I always found ASL fascinating and when I realized I could use it to open the world of math for people my world changed. After learning ASL at NU and student teaching at St. Mary's School for the Deaf I knew I needed to make being a Math Teacher of the Deaf my career. I went on to earn a Master's of Science in Deaf Education and start my career as the Secondary Math Teacher at SMSD. Without NU's ASL/DS program I wouldn't be where I am today, I'm forever grateful!" - C. G.

"In my experience working as a nursing assistant, I had the opportunity to meet and have a conversation with a patient who was deaf. The nursing staff did not know American Sign Language so the main form of communication they used was written notes and gestures. When the patient learned I had some education in American Sign, he was very thrilled to be able to communicate with someone effectively. Overall it was an amazing experience that really helped the patient have a better experience while in the hospital. Seeing his face light up when he met someone else who he could communicate with was one of the best feelings in the world." T. H.

"The first time that I used ASL was in a healthcare setting. I had just gotten a report and walked into the patient's room. The patient was not Deaf but there was a man sitting next to him asleep. I turned on the lights and started to say "Good Morning" and the person next to me lifted up a paper that said "I'm Deaf, please don't try to talk to me without an interpreter". The patient was on comfort care and this person was their health care proxy. With my background in ASL, I signed to him a quick greeting and asked if he needed help. As soon as I started to sign, I could see this man's face go from shock to joy in all of two seconds. He got so excited. We ended up having a small conversation before I had to go back to help other patients. For the rest of the day, I was the person that ended up going to that room if the call bell went on. I was not the person that they used for an interpreter but I helped for smaller needs such as getting water or blankets. It would have been unprofessional for me to interpret without the proper training but I could tell it was really nice for everyone to have someone to be able to easily communicate with this man. It made me feel so great to be able to impact this person's healthcare experience even though it was just a small impact. I will always be thankful for his patience and compassion for both me and the other nurses because he had to change for us in order to get proper healthcare." D. H.
"I worked in public service and early in my time there I took a call from a deaf person. They ended up coming into my workplace to take care of business. I was excited and nervous for the interaction but my knowledge of ASL kicked in. I was happy to be able to provide a service for that individual as I knew there weren't any other employees that knew how to sign." K. R.