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UNC Greensboro’s Professions in Deafness (PID) program is renowned for being the only program in the UNC System that fully prepares students to earn their interpreting license and work in professions that relate to deafness.

While in the program, students demonstrate hands-on leadership through their involved work with the academic and Deaf communities. One example of this is the upcoming Spartan Conference for Educational Interpreters (SCEI). 

SCEI, pronounced “sky,” is an annual, one-day gathering of scholars who focus on educating future teachers of the D/deaf and Educational American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters. The purpose of the conference is to provide a low-cost, relatively intimate opportunity for scholars to present not only their research, but also andragogical practices that they have found effective in training future teachers of the D/deaf or Educational ASL interpreters.

This year’s conference will take place virtually on Dec. 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s open to everyone, however, the target audience will be interpreters that work in an educational setting and students currently in different interpreter training programs (ITPs). The cost to attend SCEI is $50, but a student discount will be applied for those who attend UNCG. 

Each year, the conference has a different topic that helps improve the skill and knowledge of interpreters. The 2021 conference theme is “Lasting Impact of Covid Within the Field of Interpreting.” Presentations will be delivered in American Sign Language.

“The most difficult thing that conference goers will likely be working on as part of their field is preparing for the new normal that has arisen due to COVID-19,” said Sara Rock, a student in the PID program with a concentration in Interpreter Preparation. “ASL interpreting is a field that heavily relies on facial expression and proximity to clients, and COVID-19 has really impacted how we work with Deaf individuals.” 

“It is our hope that this year’s topic will bring together interpreters, educators, and students in order to share ideas and discuss ways the field has changed over the course of the pandemic,” said Katherine Pancho, another student in the PID program. “This virtual conference allows the opportunity to discuss and learn about how we can continue to evolve and grow this field in order to best support the Deaf Community.”

This year, Dr. Jon Henner, assistant professor in UNCG’s Specialized Education Services (SES) Department, will be one of the six speakers at the event presenting on “Agreement Morphology in ASL.” Stephen Fitzmaurice of Clemson University will be presenting on “The Realistic Role Metaphor for Educational Interpreters”. Interpreter and Life Coach Breana Cross-Caldwell will be presenting on “Interpreter Self-Care in 2D”. Holly Newstead and Sheridan Lane will be discussing “Interpreting During a Pandemic.” Guilford County’s Joane Mapas will be presenting on “Low-Tech, High-Tech Resources for Deaf Education Services.”

UNCG alumnus Matt Baccari ’14, who interprets for conference sponsor Communication Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CSDHH), has played a key role in helping coordinate the event for interpreters and Deaf consumers in the Greensboro area. CSDHH is an important Greensboro resource and is where many UNCG students pursue internships.

“The Deaf community surrounding and at UNCG are incredibly supportive and welcoming,” said Pancho. “Without their constant support and insight, we would not be able to be successful in our field. It is through immersing ourselves into the Deaf Community that we can start to fully understand the field we are going into and those we will potentially be working with. Since my first day in the Professions in Deafness program, I have felt nothing but open arms into the community. Professors in our program and those outside of the school have allowed students to feel comfortable in developing their skills and have a better understanding of Deaf Culture.”

View more about SCEI on the webpage here. Register for the SCEI Conference here. For students interested in attending, please email uncgscei@gmail.com with a picture of your student ID to receive the discount link. For more information on UNCG’s PID program visit admissions.uncg.edu.

Story by Dana Broadus, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications

 
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