Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

[email protected]: LORNE

English does not and will never define your intelligence level. While English is an important skill to have — everybody has something they’re good at. There are people who are savvy with mechanics, sewing, or chemicals. There are so many different intelligence levels, and … science is what I’m good at. Hello, my name is Lorne. I’m a third year Ph.D. student at
the University of Rochester enrolled in “Translational Biomedical Science” — it’s a long program name! I was born in Canada, moved to Arizona and attended the Arizona Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (ASDB). After I graduated, I went to Gallaudet University and double majored in Biology and Chemistry. Once I finished that, I wasn’t sure what to do. Eventually, I decided to go to RIT and get a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science. And now I’m here! Ever since my Junior year in high school, I thought I wanted to do something with medicine or even be a physician because I liked working with people. As I continued my studies, completed internships, and hands-on experiences, I realized that field wasn’t for me. I preferred to be behind the scenes which included field and lab work. I liked it better, I was more comfortable
and I enjoyed it. Right now, I am studying Epidemiology which is the study of how diseases are spread. Traditionally, a Ph.D. program would require you
to pick one area to study in such as Microbiology or Biochemistry but really we should have skills in more than one Science field. In my Ph.D. program, I study two fields — Bench Science, which is what you see behind me, and Public Health. So my Ph.D. is in both fields combined. With Bench Science, I focus on biochemistry for diagnostics testing. With diagnostics testings, I develop tests to improve the health care system by starting with biochemistry. I start with different chemical trials, work on math algorithms, prepare the chemical testings, and do a long term experiment with implementation. It’s an intense process! When that project is finished, I move my focus onto Public Health. There are many researches in Public Health — I use a qualitative research method where I interview various people in different communities or groups to learn what they need and what is important to them. The reasons to interview can vary, but for my project I interview deaf people to see how we can improve the health care system. My research focuses on the healthcare system regarding tick-borne diseases. I’m the only deaf person here,
but really — it’s nice being alone. I get to read more, I get to do my own thing,
and I focus more. With other deaf people around me, I tend to get distracted, which makes it harder for me to focus. There’s both pros and cons to it. During my studies, I noticed that signs for Science terms were not great and some terms had to be fingerspelled. It was frustrating because I wanted to
learn Science in my own language. I decided to get involved in ASLClear and ASLCore — these two organizations encourages more STEM signs. For example, “ATOM” has always been signed this way. But that’s terrible! Together, we discussed on how we could improve that sign looking at its function, its visual appearance, and shape. We decided on — “ATOM.” That’s the “ELECTRON,” “PROTON, “NEUTRON,” then all of this together becomes “ATOM.” And when two “ATOMS” combine,
they become a “MOLECULE.” Molecules are everywhere, my shirt has molecules, my book has molecules, and even you! You are made of molecules! Molecules are everywhere! I bet that visual sign helps you understand what an atom is, because now you understand, right!? I’d like to share a few important skills which helped me get to where I am today — first is to be assertive. You need to know when to stand for something you need, especially when you request accommodations. Be assertive and ask for what you need. Second, think big! You’ll achieve something alongside your dream, but if you dream small then your achievement could be smaller than your dream. And last, be passionate about what you do! When you have fun and enjoy what you do, then it will last through your entire life.

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