Michigan student discovers her passion in high school, her purpose at Kent State
Gabrielle Moore had been home-schooled most of her life and had been studying Spanish since she was a preschooler. By the time she was a junior in public high school, Ms. Moore had grown tired of Spanish classes and was looking for a new challenge.
She registered for a class in American Sign Language and found her passion.
"I fell in love with the language and here I am," says the 20-year-old from Howell, Michigan.
Falling in love was easy, but and finding a place to prepare for a career as an American Sign Language interpreter proved to be more difficult, Ms. Moore says.
In Michigan, just one school offered a degree in American Sign Language Interpreting, the small, private, Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.
"It was a very small school, it reminded me of my high school," she says. Ms. Moore knew immediately the school wasn’t the place for her and began searching online for schools that offered the major, which is a relatively new field, she says.
Ms. Moore says she also found Madonna, a private college, to be too pricey for her.
It didn’t take much searching before she found that Kent State University offered the degree.
I wanted to live on campus or by campus to get that whole college experience. I ended up touring [Kent State] and I absolutely loved it.
"I wanted a four-year university," she says, "I wanted to live on campus or by campus to get that whole college experience. I ended up touring there and I absolutely loved it."
With scholarships available to out-of-state students and scholarships for being in Honors College, Ms. Moore says her college costs have been affordable.
"I think Kent State does a really nice job of making sure that they have the scholarships available to out-of-state students," she says.
Ms. Moore started at Kent State in the Fall 2015 Semester. She already had some college credits thanks to advanced placement classes in high school. After packing her schedule with 21-credit semesters, Ms. Moore is now scheduled to graduate on May 12, 2018 — a full year early — with a Bachelor of Science degree in American Sign Language Interpreting from the College of Education, Health and Human Services.
Ms. Moore is finishing her final semester working as an American Sign Language interpreter for Pasco County Schools, in Pasco County, Florida.
My professors are incredible. We have had so many opportunities to practice our skill and to improve.
"For my program, I have very few complaints," Ms. Moore says. "My professors are incredible. We have had so many opportunities to practice our skill and to improve."
She adds that the professors have sought feedback from the students on how to improve the program. "My program has been excellent," she says.
Leaving her home state for college wasn’t a big concern for Ms. Moore, who describes herself as "independent." She was happy for the chance to get to experience life in a different state.
"It was a good experience. I got to see what Ohio people are like. Now I’m getting to see what Florida people are like," she says. "Ohio is different from Michigan. Florida is very different."
In the future, Moore’s dream is to work as an American Sign Language interpreter for the Walt Disney Co. in Florida.
In the meantime, she is content to practice a language she loves and to work to bridge the gap between the hearing and nonhearing communities.
Many have a misconception that the deaf aren’t as smart as the hearing or that the deaf are somehow lacking, neither of which is true, Ms. Moore observes.
"Deaf people are very interesting, because there is a deaf culture and a language and community that is very strong," she says.