Tuesday, October 8, 2019

STIP Student Ariana Havens Combines the Deaf and Hearing Communities through Translation Technology

When my sign language teacher first sent me the abstract of this project, I was skeptical, but intrigued to say the least.  I did not completely understand how this project would work, but my love for sign language was greater than my skepticism. It meant combining both the Deaf and hearing communities through translation technology.  I sent in my application and was promptly asked for a follow-up interview with the program leader, Dr. Parth Pathak .I gave him my decision by the end of that week: I wished to join the summer project .I have always wished to reach out and help people, even as a child.  When my mother began volunteering with our therapy dog at the local elementary school with the deaf or hard of hearing children, my interest in American Sign Language became stronger.  After observing an interpreter in the classroom, I knew from that moment I wished to be a sign language interpreter. This internship over the past semester has only solidified that wish. Not only have I been signing during the duration of this internship, but I have been learning coding and cooperation skills as well.
My coworkers, Allie, Jesse, and Arisa, were so wonderful and fun to work with, bringing new and fun ideas to the table and happily teaching me how to code when I was not signing, since I was completely clueless.  When we were taking breaks, we would tell each other stories or show each other what we were doing in our free time.  Sometimes, even surprising things brought us together: Allie spilled coffee on her laptop and had to buy a new one, a bug flew into my hair in the office, and there were several power outages. Although working one of the most intense jobs I have had in a long time, I have made some wonderful friends and have learned some very important lessons.