Language facilitator earns Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language, plans to continue supporting her students and the Deaf community


Rising up at KUEC: In this Q&A series, outstanding 2022 KU graduates share how the KU Edwards Campus has helped them start, advance, or change their career. Meet Rosita Gonzales.

Rosita (left) with daughter Josephine, son Terence, and husband TJ

Rosita Gonzales, Language Facilitator at the Kansas School for the Dead, graduated from KU this May with a Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies. As one of a handful of universities in the region to offer a bachelor’s in ASL and Deaf studies, KUEC’s flexible programming was invaluable to a working mother like Gonzales.

“I chose KUEC because of the newly established American Sign Language and Deaf Studies bachelor’s degree program. They offered classes in the evening and I was able to complete my practicum requirements over three semesters, which was a life saver for a working mom.”

Find out more about Rosita and what she learned at KU.

What is a typical day in your life like?

My day starts with a warm cup of Earl Grey tea and prayers to set my day on the right path. I head into work and support my students and their language acquisition. Then it’s a night of classwork and spending time with my family.

What makes you the happiest?

What makes me happiest in my everyday life is going on a long run, reading a good book, and having a hearty laugh with my family.

What motivates you?

While there are many things that motivate me, being a hard-working role model for my children is what keeps me going.

Why did you choose KU and the Edwards Campus?

I chose KUEC because of the newly established American Sign Language and Deaf Studies bachelor’s degree program. The Edwards Campus is close to home and perfect for a working student.

How did KUEC meet your personal and/or academic needs?

My desire was to earn a bachelor’s degree and KUEC made that possible. KUEC offered classes in the evening and I was able to complete my practicum requirements over three semesters, which was a life saver for a working mom. 

How has your degree prepared you for the future? 

My degree has given me tools to further provide the best support for the students I work with and the foundation to get started in the professional field of Interpreting.

What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?

For me, the most difficult part has been earning a degree while navigating a pandemic. When classes moved to zoom, I wasn’t sure I could gain the practical experience I needed. I remained optimistic and always tried to find the positives in an unprecedented situation. 

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is becoming the first of eight children to earn a bachelor’s degree.

What is your favorite memory of your time at KUEC?

After a long period of Zoom meetings and social distancing, the ASLD program professors hosted a Signing Weekend in conjunction with Johnson County Community College ASL professors and students. They also invited local Deaf Community members and we had a great time using American Sign Language, building relationships and creating lasting memories. 

What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?

My long-term goals include further developing my interpreting skills and becoming more of an ally to Deaf Community. 

What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a masters?

If you are considering getting your degree, “Why wait?” “Go for it!” You are worth the investment.

Learn more about KU’s Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies.
 


Learn more about the American Sign Language & Deaf Studies program

Download the program guide


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