Southern Utah University psychology major Lauren Roylance has been hard of hearing most of her life. Thanks to the encouragement of her SUU Academic Advisor, Roylance was able to use her EDGE project to learn more about American Sign Language (ASL) and become fluent enough to use interpreters in her classes.
Originally, her plan was to transfer to Utah Valley University and major in deaf studies, but after a meeting with her academic advisor, Roylance decided to take the initiative of increasing her ASL proficiency into her own hands.
“I am hard of hearing and have to work hard to make sure I don’t miss things in everyday conversations and in my classes.” Roylance explained, “It wasn’t until my skills became more developed and my confidence in conversing in ASL increased that I realized how hard I actually have to work to hear others.”
Roylance accomplished this ambition by collaborating with a local Cedar City ASL interpreter, taking community ASL classes at Cedar City library, and attending a deaf branch for Sunday church services. Building relationships with the deaf and hard of hearing community in Cedar City made this project more meaningful for Roylance.
“I decided to take an out of the box approach to reaching my goal of growing in ASL.,” said Roylance, “I am hard of hearing and have always wanted to build on the two years of ASL that I took in high school and this project was a way to do that.”
Roylance is now comfortable enough in ASL to have interpreters help her in class and has built meaningful relationships with the deaf and hard of hearing community. This project has also helped Roylance move toward her career goal of being a school counselor for deaf and hard of hearing youth.
“My EDGE project became my reason to stay here in southern Utah.” Roylance furthered, “Becoming conversational has given me the ability to switch between English and ASL to fit the environment and allow me to have total communication and access.”
SUU’s School of Integrative and Engaged Learning (EDGE) allows each SUU student to plan a special project that is designed to help them achieve a unique personal or professional goal. The EDGE Program is a five-step process involving preparation, exploration, commitment, completion, and reflection. For more information about SUU’s EDGE Program, visit their website.