High schools across the United States, located in a range of communities, offer American Sign Language (ASL) courses as a foreign language option. Some are in 'disadvantaged communities'; a school area where there is a lack of economic resources present for students to benefit from (McKillip, M. E. E., Godfrey, K. E, & Rawls, A, 2012). As terminology would suggest, the inverse of that are schools in advantaged communities. Also in the past, there have been BIPOC recruitment efforts for associates and bachelor level signed language interpreter training programs (ITP) by organizations like the National Interpreter Education Center (NIEC). But to date, neither research has been conducted concerning whether or not interpreting is presented as a career option in the high school ASL classes nor to compare the differences in exposure to this career option among advantaged versus disadvantaged communities. Research shows that these disadvantaged communities have a larger population of BIPOC students, such as the Rochester City School District, where 90.87% of students are identified as BIPOC (Rochester City School District, 2019). Also, while there is a need for more interpreters in general, according to the Registry Interpreters of the Deaf (RID) published statistics, people of color are significantly underrepresented in the interpreting workforce (RID 2019). At the Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID), there are programs in the Department of Access Services (DAS) working to increase the pool of qualified interpreters. The Apprentice program has an open recruiting process while the Randleman program focuses on interpreters of color. These programs recruit interpreters who have already completed an ITP or are transitioning into professional interpreting careers, however there aren't any recruitment programs for prospective interpreter students. To address this lack of data on how individuals begin their interest in interpreting, a quantitative survey was given to working interpreters in the Rochester area focused on the question: Is there a difference between the origin of knowledge and interest in interpreters of color, compared to white interpreters?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Interpreters for the deaf--New York (State)--Rochester--Attitudes; American Sign Language--Study and teaching (Secondary)--New York (State)--Rochester--Public opinion

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Service Leadership and Innovation (MS)


Phillippa Thiuri


RIT – Main Campus

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