Deaf Biology Professor inspires her students to dream big

William Woods ASL

We were inspired and excited when we heard a recent story on NPR titled, Biology Professor’s Calling: Teach Deaf Students They Can Do Anything. It’s a part of a series called “50 Great Teachers.”

The story is about Dr. Caroline Solomon, a biology professor at Gallaudet University. She got her bachelor’s degree from Harvard, her master’s from University of Washington and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Maryland. Solomon tells NPR of her experience in school often being the only Deaf person in the class, and how she makes a point to tell her students they can do anything.

“Training the next generation of biologists who happen to be Deaf has become Solomon’s mission,” reporter Claudio Sanchez said, “And for that, she’s earned high praise at Gallaudet, including 2013 Distinguished Faculty Award, not because she’s an especially gifted teacher, says Solomon, but because she gets her students to focus on what they’re capable of, not what they’re limited by.”

In the interview, Solomon explains her teaching style, encouraging her students to get up and really visually understand the difficult concepts covered in biology class.

“Our students are so very visual, you have to think about everything in a visual way,” she told NPR.

There is so much you can do with a degree in American Sign Language. Virtually every corner of the United States is in need of people who can interpret, educate and help others who are Deaf or simply want to be able to communicate better. Whether it’s teaching ASL, or teaching in a school where students use American Sign Language, there are so many rewarding careers in the realm of education.