Sign language program ranks high
By Ashlee Buhler
Editor in Chief
If you’re a college student with dreams of becoming an interpreter, the Sign Language Interpreter Program at LCC is the place to be.
The program, which is recognized as one of the top interpreter training programs in the state, is designed to prepare students to become interpreters by giving them the skills they need to pass their certification exams.
The sign language program is one of the few three-year programs LCC offers.
Adjunct faculty Molly Carlstrom, who is practicum supervisor and adviser for the sign language program, said the full three years is often needed for students to become fluent — and comfortable — with the language.
“The most difficult thing about learning sign language is the fact that it’s a facial language,” Carlstrom explained. “We are not used to using our facial expressions and our body to communicate — and sign language requires that.”
Brianna Benvenuti, 25, fell in love with sign language after taking a class for her foreign language credit while attending Western Michigan University. Since her professor at WMU graduated from LCC’s interpreter program, she figured she would give it a shot.
Benvenuti, who aspires to become a medical interpreter, said there is always something new to learn with sign language — and that keeps her on her toes.
“There are different dialects and so many different ways of signing things,” Benvenuti said. “There’s words that people use, even on the west coast, that you really don’t hear over here … The same thing happens with sign language.
“You may feel really confident with one deaf individual that you’re working with, but then you see somebody else from California and you’re like, ‘Woah, I don’t know those signs.’”
Brooke Carroll, 22, said being a part of a top-notch program has opened many doors for her. Upon graduating in the spring, she hopes to become an educational or medical interpreter.
“The program produces a lot of qualified and professional interpreters,” Carroll said. “I am very grateful for this program because it has not only allowed me to develop my skills as a future interpreter, but it has contributed to a lot of personal growth as well.
“It’s given me a lot more than just sign languages skills. Being in the program has changed my life.”
For more information about the program, visit https://internal.lcc.edu/cma//sign_lang/.