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DEAF STEM NEWS

Expanding American Sign Language’s scientific vocabulary

July 11, 2021

A lack of signs for many scientific terms impedes deaf people’s entry into the sciences. Deaf scientists want to chip away at the barriers by developing more ASL signs for scientific terms.

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Tiffany Panko Named AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador

January 10, 2020

Tiffany Panko, M.D., M.B.A., a deaf postdoctoral researcher in the Rochester Postdoc Partnership, was named one of 125 IF/THEN ambassadors by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). IF/THEN seeks to further women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers. Panko is not only passionate about supporting women in STEM, she’s also an ardent advocate for health literacy and reproductive justice. She’s currently conducting a study – the first of its kind – to investigate whether Deaf women have the same level of understanding about contraceptives and family planning as hearing women.

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On becoming a physicist: Colin Lualdi shares the challenges and triumphs of a Deaf physics graduate student

November 22, 2019

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign physics graduate student Colin Lualdi quickly realized he was venturing into uncharted territory when he arrived at Illinois Physics at the start of Fall 2017. Deaf since birth and a native speaker of American Sign Language (ASL), Lualdi was now among a very small group worldwide of Deaf individuals working in physics. The exhilaration of performing cutting-edge research was accompanied by a sobering discovery: the lack of a common language model for effective scientific discourse in ASL was going to be a far greater challenge than he’d anticipated.

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‘She has no barriers:’ Meet Bethany Baker, UNF’s first deaf nursing student

June 29, 2019

The UNF Disability Resource Center provides Baker with the interpreters while she does her clinicals at Flagler every Wednesday and attends classes. She also volunteers for service learning with the American Red Cross in Jacksonville.

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Deaf Nursing Student Uses Social Media To Empower Aspiring Healthcare Professionals

May 21, 2019

Deaf and hard-of-hearing nurses have — and continue — to work in the healthcare field, making a difference caring for and treating patients. Nurses who have hearing challenges may use accommodations at work they are legally entitled to, or they may have varying tools that can assist them to do their jobs, but working as a deaf nurse is very possible. Read on for more information about what it takes to be a deaf nurse, along with resources for deaf and hard-of-hearing nurses.

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Discovery retreat teaches coding to Lubbock-area deaf and hard-of-hearing students

April 13, 2019

Lubbock-area deaf and hard-of-hearing students in grades six through 12 met at Texas Tech University to learn about coding drones.

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RIT & NTID focusing on STEM careers for the deaf and hard of hearing

March 15, 2019

Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf is receiving a $1.6 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. It will use the grant to transform its DeafTEC Technical Education Center for deaf and hard-of-hearing students program into a resource center with a goal of placing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in highly skilled jobs in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

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Coding Concepts in American Sign Language

January 25, 2019

At Apple, we believe technology should be accessible to everyone, and all students deserve an opportunity to learn how to code. Will and Tim, software engineers at Lyft, explain coding concepts in American Sign Language and give advice on app development from a Deaf perspective.

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Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Students Participates in LEGO Robotics Competition

December 18, 2018

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ISD hosts STEM Days workshop for deaf students from across the state

November 17, 2018

Middle school students from across the state programmed robots and built lemon batteries and solar-powered phone chargers Thursday and Friday at Iowa School for the Deaf. It was the school’s first-ever STEM Days event.

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Healthcare Language Barriers Affect Deaf People, Too

October 11, 2018

With healthcare access a perennial headline these days, we need to call attention to how one simple factor exacerbates health inequities and healthcare barriers for millions of deaf people: the lack of meaningful and effective communication access.

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American Sign Language tours now offered at Loggerhead Marinelife Center

September 26, 2018

This past Sunday marked the start of the International Week of the Deaf (IWDeaf), an initiative celebrated every year by the international deaf community on the last full week of September. Coinciding with this year’s IWDeaf, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is happy to announce that it is now offering American Sign Language tours in addition to our regularly scheduled daily tours for guests visiting the Center.

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Barbara Spiecker recognized one of the thirty young change-makers as part of the global "30 Under 30" by leading environmental education association

August 15, 2018

Thirty young leaders, including Barbara Spiecker, from around the world are being recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) as the top young change-makers in environmental education for 2018. Each year, the Environmental Education (EE) 30 Under 30 program highlights the work of young professionals, under the age of 30, representing diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, who are using environmental education to create change in their communities and forge a sustainable future.

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Space without sound: One woman’s journey to become America’s first deaf astronaut

July 25, 2018

Julia Velasquez wants to become America's first deaf astronaut. NASA has never selected a deaf man or woman for its astronaut corps, but the California resident is hoping to change that. Along the way, Velasquez has interned at NASA, received her pilot's license and even spent time at a simulated Mars habitat in Hawaii.

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RIT/NTID Deaf Graduates Pursuing Doctorates

2018

RIT/NTID recognizes growing number of doctoral students and graduates.

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NASA’s First Deaf Engineer in Active Crewed Mission Control Role Impresses

May 12, 2017

Johanna Lucht was born deaf in Germany, where resources for deaf people were, at the time, limited. Her school did not provide an interpreter until Lucht was 9 years old. Lucht has worked with NASA Armstrong’s research and engineering department, sensors and systems development branch, and vehicle integration and test branch since being hired by NASA. She says the challenges she faced growing up as a deaf person in the hearing world in-part prepared her for her role at NASA.

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Alicia Wooten gives a speech at the March for Science: Boston

April 22, 2017

Alicia Wooten, a Deaf Ph.D student gives a speech to the crowd at the March for Science rally in Boston about deaf scientists and accessibility.

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By The Power of One

March 9, 2016

As a part of the More than Scientists movement, Barbara Spiecker -- a Deaf Ph.D student -- discusses why she cares about climate change and whether we still have hope.

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Signs of quantum science: Collaborative project creates quantum science terms in American Sign Language

March 1, 2021

Because signs in American Sign Language (ASL) do not exist for many STEM concepts, interpreters are forced to fingerspell words in an effort to communicate concepts, forcing a deaf person to channel between ASL and English to make sense of topics discussed. A collaboration between Harvard’s Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM) and The Learning Center for the Deaf (TLC) is attacking this challenge, with the aim of developing ASL modules on quantum science topics for undergraduate students.

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School for deaf takes kids into woods for nature-based learning

December 15, 2019

The kids — and the adults supervising them — are part of the New Mexico School for the Deaf Forest Day Learning program. Marisa Soboleski, coordinator of the initiative, said the school has been conducting the program for four years and that each participating class spends a few hours in the forest every two weeks. Looking at the kids running around in the forest, Soboleski explained that having time for play is important. “Often adults look at play and think it’s frivolous, like ‘oh they’re just playing,’ ” she said. “But playing is full of developmental learning and it is a very powerful tool. Information is retained much more deeply.” Kim Hand, a pre-K teacher at NMSD, said in addition to play, learning from the classroom is incorporated into the forest program.

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Living and breathing science: Becoming a biologist

July 23, 2019

“I always had an interest in how the body protects itself,” says Alicia Wooten, ’11. “The thing I love about immunology is that it is always evolving.”

Wooten, who hails from San Antonio, TX, and graduated from RIT’s College of Science with a B.S. in biomedical sciences in 2011, successfully defended her dissertation at Boston University in early June.

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Ph.D. student receives prestigious Microsoft Research grant for diversity in computing

June 24, 2019

Larwan Berke, an RIT Ph.D. student, was awarded the 2019 Microsoft Dissertation Grant for his work that uses automatic speech recognition as a captioning tool to enable greater accessibility for users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

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Pi + 1 Day at Rochester School for the Deaf

April 23, 2019

Atomic Hands want to take a moment to highlight the efforts of K-12 teachers in shaping our current and future STEMists. Hands waving for Heather Mooney and Carolyn Cronauer of Rochester School for the Deaf in addition to countless RSD staff who made the Pi + 1 day event possible on March 15, 2019. Of course the event wouldn’t be a smashing success without RSD’s curious, engaged students. Big thanks to Shanya Alvarez and Cayne Aggas for sharing their experiences of the event. Photo credits go to Rochester School for the Deaf. If you want to browse more photos of the event: https://www.flickr.com/phot…/rsdeaf/albums/72157707446623825

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Zero is a mighty number! Watch Rocky Mountain Deaf School staff telling the story of "Zero the Hero" by Joan Holub in ASL!

April 2, 2019

"Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. That's what all the other numbers think of Zero. He doesn't add anything in addition. He's of no use in division. And don't even ask what he does in multiplication. (Hint: Poof!) But Zero knows he's worth a lot, and when the other numbers get into trouble, he swoops in to prove that his talents are innumerable."

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Schools for deaf and hard of hearing students in the Southeast gather at their first-ever robotics event

February 25, 2019

Nineteen robotics teams to compete in the Southeast region’s first-ever VEX Robotics Competition tournament of all deaf and hard of hearing students, in partnership with The Robotics Education and Competition Foundation

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URMC planning new master’s program for sign language interpreting in medicine and science

January 17, 2019

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are in the final stages of designing a new master’s degree program in sign language interpreting in medicine and science. The program’s planners say it will help deaf students succeed in advanced science fields that have historically been difficult to access.

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How deaf researchers are reinventing science communication

December 11, 2018

What do synapses actually look like? Or macrophages, the cleanup crew of the bloodstream? Can you picture the process of metastasis, the spread of cancerous cells through the body? Science can feel pretty abstract in English: the words themselves don’t teach you much about the concepts they describe. They’re just necessary bits of jargon to be memorized. But some researchers are finding ways to translate this complex language and make it more accessible.

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Learning about Estuarine Ecosystems in American Sign Language

November 6, 2018

Three New England research reserves, the Center for Research and Training at The Learning Center for the Deaf, and Boston University create an immersive instructional experience for educators of the Deaf, aided by a NOAA grant.

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Scott Cohen, Science Education Advocate For The Deaf Community

October 4, 2018

Doctoral student Scott Cohen (Ph.D. ’19) brings his passion for science education to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

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Deaf doctoral candidate files complaint against UC Berkeley, citing discrimination

September 16, 2018

A deaf visiting student researcher and doctoral candidate filed a complaint Wednesday alleging that UC Berkeley failed to provide the necessary accommodations — namely American Sign Language, or ASL, interpreters — for her to complete her degree.

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Deaf pharmacist breaks barriers

July 30, 2018

Dr. Bethany Friskum. a pharmacist who is deaf, is breaking barriers in the medical job field by proving that you don't need to be able to hear to be successful in your career.

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WHERE I'M COMING FROM: Alicia Wooten, one of the underrepresented voices in science offers unique perspectives

April 23, 2018

When Alicia Wooten (MED’19) was three years old, doctors told her parents that she had progressive hearing loss. Today the PhD candidate in the School of Medicine’s Graduate Medical Sciences Division, who works in the pneumonia biology lab on the Medical Campus, studies the host pathogen response to Streptococcus pneumoniae. While she says the lab environment can be harder for people who are deaf, her work is made easier by some very supportive colleagues.

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300 Deaf Medical Professionals at AMPHL Conference

July 24, 2017

300 deaf medical professionals met together at a biennial AMPHL (Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss) conference in Rochester, NY recently. Daily Moth interviewed with a deaf doctor, Dr. Christopher Moreland of UT Health San Antonio -- he will tell us more about deaf and hard of hearing medical professionals and AMPHL.

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Museum Honors 11 Deaf Men Who Helped NASA Send Humans to Space

May 11, 2017

In the late 1950s, NASA recruited 11 deaf men from Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) to study the long-term effects of weightlessness on the human body before the agency ultimately sent astronauts to space. The group of men, also known as the "Gallaudet 11," suffered from inner-ear problems. As a result, they did not experience the adverse effects of motion sickness, making them the perfect candidates for early spaceflight experiments, according to a statement from NASA.

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Dr. Caroline Solomon's speech at the March for Science: Washington D.C.

April 22, 2017

Dr. Caroline Solomon, a Deaf university professor, gave a speech at the March for Science in Washington D.C. listing some of the contributions deaf scientists made (and are making) in the field of science. ​ Video begins at the 36:30 mark.

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