ASL Alumnus Spotlight: Harrison Jones, Part 1: Then
ASL Interpreting alumnus Harrison Jones found William Woods University through his sister — who fell in love with ASL after taking a few courses for a diversity requirement.
Jones started as a legal studies major with an interpreting minor, in hopes to work as a lawyer who specialized in working with the Deaf, but quickly reversed to a bachelors in Interpretation Studies with a minor in legal studies — interestingly, the same degree as his older sister.
This would lead the way to his career as an interpreter specialist with Bridge Interpreting – MERIL, where Jones provides interpreting services in a wide range of settings, including legal.
“William Woods really emphasized thinking for myself. I was provided with all of the skills that I needed to succeed, not only as an interpreter, but also as an individual,” Jones said, “[William Woods University] encouraged me to experience everything I could and make the most of my time in college.”
During his time at William Woods, Jones became involved in various groups, including his fraternity, theatre, the President’s Twenty and others.
“I feel like I gained a social education on par with my academic education,” says Jones.
He also attributes much of his success at William Woods to small classes and dedicated faculty.
“The professors are a diverse group and experts in the information they teach. They do their best to make sure that each student succeeds and achieves their potential. They go out of their way to provide you with every opportunity possible.”
“I was provided every hands-on opportunity available to continue my progress and development in my education.”
For students studying American Sign Language Interpreting, Jones offers a few pieces of advice:
• Spend as much time as you can in the ASL and Interpreting labs. This is where a lot of your learning is going to take place and you’ll be able to grow and develop your skills with the language and interpreting process more than you can ever imagine.
• Go out and interact with the Deaf Community. Don’t be afraid! It’s okay that you’re going to make mistakes while you’re signing. The Deaf Community is the best place to learn the language and culture.
• Work together. Don’t look at your classmates as competitors. We all have something to share and things we can learn and teach each other. Take advantage of it by working as a team and supporting each other throughout your time in the program.
• Work hard! You really get out of the program what you put into it, so put everything into it.