McDaniel College

Posted on September 2, 2011

Teaching teachers of the Deaf

Spotlight on McDaniel Students

Each year, the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation provides scholarships for Deaf graduate students enrolled in McDaniel College’s Deaf Education Program. These students will go on to become teachers of the Deaf at schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. The following are the stories of three of the Newcombe Foundation scholars currently enrolled in the Deaf Education Program.

Brett Grayson
Brett Grayson received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Garner Webb University, a small private college in North Carolina. He will receive his Master’s Degree in Deaf Education from McDaniel College in December 2012.

Brett began working as a Mathematics teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf in July 2011. Prior to that, he was a dorm counselor at the school for two years, and often tutored the students in the dorm. Brett enjoys the students at the Maryland School for the Deaf and feels that the school is a great place.

Brett has been deaf since birth and is the only one in his family who is deaf. He started learning sign language from his parents before the age of two. Brett attended a preschool program for Deaf children and this was the start of his education. He eventually learned ASL in high school.

Brett plans to continue his education and may earn a Ph.D. in Deaf Education or a related field. He is considering Gallaudet University, Lamar University in Texas, and Boston University for his graduate work, but is continuing to research colleges. Brett has lived in Maryland for three years, but considers himself more of a southerner and may move back down south one day. Brett feels he has adapted very well to Maryland; however, one of the things he misses most about the south is sweet tea. He feels that Marylanders just don’t make sweet tea the way they do in the south!

Brett says life can sometimes be a challenge for a Deaf person. He says, “I want to show the world that it’s okay to be Deaf and that Deaf people don’t need anyone’s pity. They sometimes need some accommodation, but once they have that, they can then do anything that a hearing person can do.”

Brett greatly appreciates the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation scholarship and says that it has been a big help in paying his tuition and buying books. It has allowed him to be more confident and comfortable in the Deaf Education Program.

Brett has been enrolled in the Deaf Education Program at McDaniel College for two and a half years. He appreciates the fact that all of his classes are signed by the instructor, as he used an interpreter in elementary, middle and high school. He says, “You feel more of a connection in these classes, as there is no barrier between the student and the professor — you get the information directly from the instructor. This is a great advantage and really affects how you feel about a place.”

Brett feels that he is on the right path for his life. He first majored in accounting but soon changed his major to Mathematics and finds that much more interesting.

Brett’s advice to anyone who wants to go into teaching is to learn the critical pedagogy, as well as how to interact with others — students, parents and other teachers. He says, “You want to be able to work together as a team and have a positive attitude.”

Jessica Novak
Jessica Novak received her Bachelor’s Degree from Gallaudet University in Family and Child Studies in 2010. She enrolled in the Deaf Education Program at McDaniel College in summer of 2011 and plans to receive her Master’s Degree in 2013.

Jessica has always known that she wants to work with young children. Her goal is to teach preschool and elementary school.

Jessica was born in Arizona, grew up mainly in Minnesota and recently moved to Wisconsin. She has enjoyed living in Maryland while enrolled in the Deaf Education Program. Where she ultimately settles down will depend on her career.

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation Scholarship has helped Jessica by making it possible for her to attend McDaniel College and work towards her Master’s Degree. It has greatly lessened her worries about finances. She says, “I truly appreciate receiving this scholarship, which has helped so many students. I think it’s wonderful that Dr. and Mrs. Wilfrid visit McDaniel College to meet the Newcombe scholars.”

Jessica attended mainstream elementary and middle schools, and was not part of the Deaf community when she was younger. She attended high school at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, where everything is signed.

Jessica is enjoying her classes in McDaniel College’s Deaf Education Program. She enrolled in the Program to open up new opportunities and to enhance her teaching skills.

Jessica is the only deaf person in her family, and all her family members know ASL. “Being deaf can sometimes be a challenge when people assume I cannot do something because I’m deaf,” she says. “When my parents found out that I was deaf at the age of two and a half, my mother thought I would not be able to do things as hearing people can do. But after I succeeded at things such as getting good grades and graduating from high school and college, she realized that I am strong and am able to accomplish things that hearing people can accomplish.”

David Day
David Day received his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Gallaudet University in 2008. He will receive his Master’s Degree in Deaf Education from McDaniel College in 2012.

David was born in Miami, Florida. Both of his parents are deaf and they both use ASL. David attended the Florida School for the Deaf for elementary and middle school where the teachers signed and Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) for high school, where the teachers also used ASL.

David is currently working at MSSD, teaching history to ninth through twelfth grade students. MSSD, on the campus of Gallaudet University, provides a tuition-free comprehensive day and residential four-year high school program for Deaf and hearing impaired students from the United States and its territories. MSSD students are expected to graduate ready for the challenges of adult life.

In 2003, David was working with deaf and emotionally disturbed children at the National Deaf Academy in Florida. He was asked to serve as a temporary teacher, which he did for three days a week. David found that he enjoyed teaching and decided to enroll in Gallaudet University. His goal is to teach in a high school for the next five years and he then hopes to teach at the college level.

David has lived on and off in Maryland for the past four years. He currently lives in Washington D.C.

David says that the Newcombe Foundation scholarship has been a great help to him. It has enabled him to continue in school, pay his bills and buy books. He feels that the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation has helped open doors for many Deaf students.

David is enjoying the Deaf Education Program at McDaniel College. He says, “Every time I take a class I learn something that is very helpful in my teaching at MSSD. The Deaf Education Program has great faculty, who are very knowledgeable about the bilingual program”.