I stumbled upon American Sign Language in high school when we were required to take a foreign language course. I thought ASL would be easy and fun, so I signed up and from day one I knew I wanted a career in which I could use this beautiful language (I quickly found out that it was NOT as easy as I had originally anticipated). I took two years of ASL in high school and my teacher, Julie Durden, really inspired me to pursue a career in the field of Deaf Education.
I went on to receive a Bachelor's degree in Elementary/Deaf Education from Flagler College, where I graduated in the fall of 2010. In the fall of 2011, I attended the University of North Florida and studied Disability Services with a focus on Deafness. I absolutely loved the program, because I was able to learn about a broad range of disabilities and also deepen my understanding of the Deaf Community. In the Summer of 2012, I participated in the Philippines and Hawaii Service Learning Trip, in which I taught deaf middle school students in both locations and co-led a workshop for the teachers at the school in the Philippines. The trip really showed me how different Deaf Education settings can be across the globe, and yet how similar the challenges can be for educators. I graduated with a 4.0 from UNF in the spring of 2013 and even got married the following weekend.
Dr. Caroline Guardino, one of my most involved and inspiring UNF professors, asked me to join the iRead Graphic Novels summer camp as a counselor in the Summer of 2013. I taught deaf and hearing students 3rd through 8th grade. We incorporated the use of modern technology, such as iPads, as a way to show students another avenue to enjoy their favorite graphic novels, as well as create their own.
I was then hired on as an assessor for a research study conducted by The Center on Literacy and Deafness (CLAD) led by Georgia State University. I assessed about 50 kindergarten through 2nd grade students at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, using over 30 different tests in reading, writing, and language.
In the summer of 2014, I completed an intensive 9 week course in California to become a certified Bikram Yoga instructor. I am currently working on creating classes/workshops in St. Augustine that infuse American Sign Language and Bikram Yoga for Deaf practitioners.