Penn State to host state’s first Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Academy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has selected Penn State to host Pennsylvania’s first Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Academy, which prepares high school students for their transition to higher education.

The academy is possible through a partnership between the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State, the College of Education at Penn State, the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Bureau of Special Education in the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network within the Bureau of Special Education, and Educational Resources for Children with Hearing Loss, an advisory committee to the Bureau of Special Education.

“We are proud to host the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Academy, which will support and empower high school students as they make the exciting, but also challenging, transition to college,” said Diane Williams, head of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State.

The two-week summer program is free for high school students who reside in Pennsylvania and are deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind. The academy will be held from July 9 to July 21 at University Park campus.

Up to 25 students will be accepted into the program, which will cover assistive technology; communication access options; self-advocacy, self-awareness and the law; vocational development; recreation and team building; financial management; and social work.

“We want participants to gain the independent living and self-advocacy skills that they need to take with them to college,” said Russ Goddard, statewide coordinator of deaf and hard of hearing services for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

For more information, call Autumn Spotts, conference planner at Penn State, 814-863-5100.

Organizers are also seeking applicants for paid academy staff positions, including American Sign Language interpreters, resident assistants, resident assistant directors, and resident directors.

The academy presents a unique working opportunity for Penn State students, including students majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Penn State students who are pursuing a career that will include working with the deaf and hard of hearing community, particularly students who are studying sign language,” said Sommar Chilton, instructor of American Sign Language courses at Penn State. “This is also a wonderful opportunity for students who are interested in a career in education or simply want to support high school students as they prepare for the next step in their academic careers.”

Penn State already hosts the Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired, which helps prepare blind and visually impaired high school students for college. 

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Last Updated October 24, 2016