08:33 AM

Connected to the Deaf Community

Student of the Week: Alondra Garcia

“I really encourage students who are interested in interpreting to go for the program at STC. Knowing another language is good for you and an asset. Plus, it’s really needed in this community right now.”

STC Student of the Week Alondra Garcia

South Texas College student Alondra Garcia has felt connected to the deaf community since childhood and hopes to one day contribute to the area’s communication between the deaf and hearing populations by becoming a sign language interpreter.

Garcia said when she was a young student at McAllen Independent School District she became aware of her campus Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, which educates, supports and advocates for every deaf or hard of hearing student to ensure they achieve their highest potential.

“Deaf students from all over the Rio Grande Valley attend McAllen (ISD) schools for this program,” Garcia said. “I noticed that in most of my classrooms there was an interpreter present. I always wondered what they were saying and what they were doing with their hands. And that’s really what peaked my interest.”

Garcia, 20, is now part of the STC American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting Studies Program and is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science Degree in the Sign Language Interpreter Specialization.

The ASL and Interpreting Studies Program is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their practical communication skills and cross-cultural understanding to provide them with the foundation required for careers in languages and cultural studies. Interpreting between deaf and hearing cultures is a process of communicating spoken English messages into ASL or Signed English and rendering ASL or Signed English messages into spoken English.

“The program teaches us how to communicate with the deaf population and how to voice for them, properly,” Garcia said. “We learn how to get the information across without distorting the message. You can also earn a teaching degree. That’s a great way to be able to get involved and pass the skills on.”

The Pharr native said it was one of her cousins who initially introduced her to the STC program.

“She found out that I was really interested in interpretation and did research on what was offered,” Garcia said. “I didn't know STC had a program, and I immediately became interested in it.”

Garcia said after she earns her degree she hopes to work for the college because of its strong presence in the deaf community.