ICC Class of 1995 (Interpreter Preparation)
Interpreter Preparation Instructor and Program Coordinator, Illinois Central College
Tell us about the career path that led you to your current job.
I began my career as an ASL interpreter immediately after attending ICC, but eventually continued my education, while working as an interpreter. I found a deep sense of satisfaction in my career as an interpreter and provided services in a plethora of settings. It was when I started mentoring IPP students, in my role as professional interpreter, I discovered a love for teaching. An opportunity for an adjunct teaching position in IPP later presented itself. Ultimately, it led to my current job.
How did ICC shape your future or help you attain your professional goals?
It is no exaggeration to say that my education from ICC changed the trajectory of my life. I first heard about interpreter preparation 14 years prior to enrolling in a program. I finally entered the ICC IPP in 1993 (the first year the program was offered) with no marketable job skills and graduated with a new passion and a career.
What does it mean to you to be able to teach at ICC and educate future ICC alumni?
My role in educating another generation of interpreters is deeply meaningful to me. My work as a teacher and coordinator allows me to influence the next generation of interpreters. There is a current shortage of ASL interpreters in the US and each ICC IPP graduate that enters the field helps alleviate that.
What advice would you give current students at ICC to succeed?
To current students I would say – “Don’t let the pandemic limit your academic or career success. While many factors have changed since it began, you still have the ability to succeed if you decide to do so.” I would add the following to all students – “You get to decide how successful you will be, as an ICC student and, in your future. Work hard and utilize all the resources ICC offers. Take your coursework seriously and reach out to your instructors for help. Know at times this will not be an easy path. That’s okay! Remember your goals and develop your inner grit! Winners don’t give up. They search for ways around the obstacles.”
Don’t let obstacles stop you. My decision to register for my first ICC class was a big one. The day I came to enroll, I was turned away from doing so because I had an overdue library book at the Peoria Public Library. I don’t know what system was in place to monitor that, but the individual at the enrollment counter told me to go pay the fine at the library and come back. I was embarrassed and disappointed. While walking back to my car, I told myself to forget the whole thing. But I did not. I drove back to Peoria, got the book, went to the Lakeview library branch, paid the fine, came back to ICC and registered for class. In retrospect, that was a crucial decision. Yes, it was a silly requirement, but I would have been more foolish to let it affect my whole future. My message to students continues to be not to let life’s annoying obstacles stand in your way!