William Woods University Students, Faculty Head to 22nd Annual Missouri Interpreters Conference Oct 23-25

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The nation’s most anticipated gathering of the Deaf community and ASL interpreters

There really is a sense of community among the Missouri interpreters that I think brings them coming back every year.

The annual Missouri Interpreters Conference (October 23-25 at the Lake of the Ozarks Tan-Tar-A Resort) has grown from a modest effort by the William Woods University American Sign Language program to one of the nation’s most anticipated gatherings of the Deaf community and interpreters from across the Midwest.

Created by William Woods University American Sign Language Program Director and Professor Dr. Barbara Garrett in 1994, and now run by the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Missouri Interpreters Conference is one of the largest interpreting conferences in the country. It’s a weekend of workshops, exhibits, discussions and getting to know other interpreters from across the state and the Midwest.

During this same weekend, the Missouri Commission for the Deaf hosts the Deaf Empowerment Symposium in partnership with the conference — to empower Deaf and hard of hearing people through presentations about a variety of relevant topics. (This year, William Woods University ASL alumnus Harrison Jones from the Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living (MERIL) will be on the team of people giving the workshop.)

In the past, several William Woods University professors, including Garrett and William Woods University ASL instructor Becky Davis, have presented at the conference — topics like storytelling narratives, Deaf culture, and membership in the Deaf community and how interpreters fit in.

Interpreter Lydia Callis will give this year’s keynote address on Friday, October 23. In 2012, Callis interpreted for then-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. She is the founder, owner and interpreter for LC Interpreting Services, and is a frequent writer for The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed covering Deaf culture in America and public policy reform.

This year’s workshops will cover topics such as consecutive interpreting, K-12 interpreting, legal interpreting, holistic practicing, mentoring and more. Conference attendees can earn Continuing Education Units for the Missouri Interpreters Certification System (MICS) — learning more about current issues and topics, ethics and professional development skills.

The conference is also open to ASL students. Some may be selected as student representatives to volunteer during the conference. Other students go to workshops, meet alumni and start building their professional network.

“We always take a group of at least 20 students with us,” said Garrett, “In fact, Student Life budgets funds for this through the student club Hands Up!

What makes Garrett most proud are the educational and professional development opportunities, but also the sense of community that comes with being at the conference.

“There really is a sense of community among the Missouri interpreters that I think brings them coming back every year.”

For William Woods University alumni, the conference is both a way to continue their education and also catch up with former classmates.

“People go every year and know each other,” said Dr. Garrett. “It’s like a reunion every year.”

Those interested in attending can register online at http://mcdhh.mo.gov/interpreters/conference/.

About William Woods University American Sign Language Program

William Woods University offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Interpretation Studies in ASL-English, a, Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language Studies and an Online Bachelor of Science in Interpretation Studies in ASL-English degree. William Woods University American Sign Language Studies and Interpretation Studies programs are distinct programs. Located in Fulton, Missouri, ASL students collaborate frequently with the Missouri School for the Deaf, and are provided a rich environment for understanding Deaf culture and trends.

About William Woods University

William Woods University is an independent university with main campus facilities in Fulton, Missouri. It has been operating continuously since the late 1800s, taking its current form as a coeducational university with undergraduate and graduate programs in 1993. Today, William Woods draws approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 45 states and approximately 20 foreign countries. William Woods has been ranked as a Top 100 Midwest University by U.S. News and World Report, and has been recognized for the quality and affordability of its online degree programs. With a full liberal arts curriculum, William Woods also offers a strong professional tradition, with nationally-ranked programs in Equestrian Studies and American Sign Language. William Woods University remains committed to serving the public good by helping students link intellectual development with the responsibilities of citizenship and professional life.

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Kathy Groves
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William Woods University
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