P.E.O. PROGRAM FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION | PCE
by Debbie Nielsen Dumler, Chair, P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Board of Trustees FIGHTING FOR COMMUNICATION EQUITY
Devon E. Wilson has found her life’s calling. In 2001, after moving from her home state of Indiana to North Carolina, she found herself far more interested in her church’s American Sign Language (ASL) ministry. When the ministry offered ASL classes, she enrolled and has never looked back. Since 2018, Devon has been a full-time freelance ASL interpreter. She began the interpreter training program at Central Piedmont Community College in 2002. Shortly thereafter, she found herself going through a divorce. In 2005, she became the single mother of a beautiful
program captured her attention, as Devon is committed to fighting for communication equity for the American Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community—which is, sadly, still fighting for the same access to information
as hearing people. As a recent example, consider how the Deaf Community was overlooked during numerous press conference updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Devon wishes to advocate
two-part test. Despite the expense, this certification is necessary, making Devon eligible to contract with
“BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.” –Mahatma Gandhi
from an educated perspective rather than one of emotion, and the knowledge gained in this program is already enabling her to do just that. Devon reminds us that an interpreter is not a distraction, but someone who eliminates a societal inequity and that everyone should continue to learn from one another in order to better know how to make a difference. Devon believes in this mission so strongly that she has very recently decided to enroll at Gallaudet University, the only deaf university in the United States. She will study coursework toward the graduate certificate in Deaf Studies, with a concentration of Language and Human Rights. This type of forward thinking inspired Chapter EF, Carmel, Indiana, to sponsor her for a Program for Continuing Education grant. The MAISCE degree and Gallaudet graduate certificate will provide a salary increase and help Devon support her daughter, Ryann, who will be attending college in a little less than two years. Additionally, Devon will sit for the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) exam, which is a remarkably expensive
daughter, and while also working full time, somehow found a way to continue her studies. In 2007, due to mounting financial hardships, it became necessary for her to return to Indiana for familial support. Fortunately, she was allowed to complete the degree program long- distance, graduated in 2009 and began working as a part- time interpreter.
more state agencies, opening more doors to higher-clearance assignments and subsequently more income. NIC networking will also allow for relocation opportunities for career advancement. Devon’s fibromyalgia disorder, diagnosed in 2010, restricts the types of interpreting assignments she can accept. If an assignment requires significant standing (i.e., stage interpreting) or walking (i.e., warehouse interpreting), she cannot accept the job. This master’s degree and subsequent NIC will open other opportunities, compensating for the assignments that she cannot physically accept. Devon is an example for her daughter in addressing inequities. While her education is paving the way in making a difference in communication equity, specifically for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community, Devon is showing that all inequities should be dismantled, and is teaching Ryann to take a stance against supremacy of any kind in order to level the playing field for everyone. She has seen the need, and she is actively working to fill it.
She enrolled in the Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and
Communication Equity (MAISCE) program at St. Catherine University. The social justice facet of this
PCE recipient Devon E. Wilson
July–August 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD
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