Like many colleges and universities, William Woods University has honor societies for most academic programs. However, until now, American Sign Language interpreting majors had no organization to celebrate their academic achievements.Now the American Sign Language Honor Society will recognize students who achieve in this unique field of study.
William Woods is one of about 30 schools in North America that offer a four-year degree in ASL, and the university has recently added an online version. The online program targets students with two-year degrees who wish to earn a baccalaureate degree and gain national certification.
Twelve ASL students were selected as charter members of the new honor society:
- Sally Bohlinger of Lake Elmo, Minn.
- Samantha Boyd of Brentwood, Mo.
- Jessi Govero of Steedman, Mo.
- Cindy Harris of Steedman, Mo.
- Alison Heifner of Potosi, Mo.
- Colleen Hofer of Plainview, Minn.
- Samantha Huesemann of St. Peters, Mo.
- Sharon Mehl of Higgensville, Mo.
- Chelsee Watson of Springfield, Mo.
- Christina Wilde of Carrollton, Texas
- Jonah Wilson of Auxvasse, Mo.
- Katherine Wortmann of Mexico, Mo.
The American Sign Language Honor Society’s primary mission is to encourage and recognize high academic achievement in ASL studies for high school and college/university students. Like honor societies for other languages, the ASL honor society seeks to enrich the overall learning experience of those studying ASL.
Shauna Ward, instructor of American Sign Language interpreting, sponsors the organization.
“I’m excited to see more recognition than before for interpreting students and the program as a whole,” said Ward. “This will be a great opportunity for students to feel good about their accomplishments.”
Alison Heifner, a May graduate of WWU’s ASL Interpreting program, is enthusiastic about being a founding member of the honor society.
“It’s an amazing organization to be a part of, and it’ll look great on a resume. Plus, this will be another way for students to get together and work on developing their skills.” William Woods University is the first high school, college or university in Missouri to establish an ASL honor society.
The ASL Honor Society will work closely with Hands Up Club, another WWU sign language organization, to enhance students’ overall experience and skills.
“We are excited about the potential success from the new ASL Honor Society and love seeing new groups started on campus by students,” said Lacey Sweeten, director of student involvement. “All of our student-run organizations support the co-curricular activity on campus, as well as promote academic success.”