ASL Club and Linguistics

Submitted by Joyce Parvi on

On January 25, 2023, UW's ASL club hosted the Deaf Professionals Spotlight, a Zoom webinar meant to give d/Deaf professionals a platform to share their experiences working in a variety of professional fields. The current vice president of ASL Club, Alessio Tosolini, a Linguistics and Computer Science double major, reported on the event: 

“The panel was composed of Kellie Martin (small business owner and art director for Deaf Spotlight), Austin Vaday (Software Engineer at Snap Inc.), and Melissa "Echo" Greenlee (Founder and CEO at Deaffriendly). Dan Mathis moderated the event. Mathis asked questions regarding the experiences, struggles, and successes of the professionals for an audience of over 70 participants. Interpreters were provided.

Mathis played an integral role in the panel, both creating the questions and delivering them in a way that highlighted the individuality of each panelist's experiences. The event started with Mathis asking each panelist about their upbringing and the paths they took to reach their current positions. He then transitioned to how they overcame communication barriers, and during the last 10 minutes, the floor was opened to the audience's questions. The recording will be posted on ASL Club's website.

The event was organized by UW ASL club officers Ben Kosa (Computer Science), Anabel Blankenship (Business) and me [Alessio Tosolini], with both the d/Deaf and hearing community in mind. "Our mission is to make ASL and Deaf culture accessible and approachable. By hosting open events, we hope to build a community of Deaf and hearing students on our campus", says club president Ben Kosa. The Deaf Professionals Spotlight marks the main event of the year organized by the club, but with the club growing in numbers, the officers are planning to organize more community events moving forward. This quarter, the club will be hosting the ASL Winter Showcase on Feb. 17th from 6 - 9 pm, a collaboration with Seattle University's ASL Club to put the spotlight on ASL student performers. Additionally, the club is seeking signing volunteers for the DeafBlind Service Center Ice Skating Event to help with deaf/blind/deafblind participants. More information for both events can be found on the club's instagram (@uwaslclub) or website.”