Worcester Women’s History Project
Adding a new dimension and a new group to the Worcester Women’s Oral History project was truly a collaborative effort! This year six students (Jessica Acox, Camille Alvarado, Kerilyn Anderson, Lauren Spadaro, Stefan Swiadas, and Steve Wych) in the Deaf Studies Community Based Learning seminar class with Professor Judy Fask interviewed deaf women in the community.
The initial interviews with the Holy Cross students and the deaf women were videotaped. Deborah Sinkis and Kristin Pagliuca were interviewed in spoken English. Mary Jane Rose, Joan Philip, Dennise Scott, Elaine Ducharme and Ying Li were all interviewed in ASL.
Copies of the ASL interviews were then sent to Dennis Cokely, director, and instructor Trudy Schafer of the Northeastern University ASL/English Interpreting program in Boston, MA. The students from NU then had a “field trip” with Ms. Schafer and came to Holy Cross to join Prof. Fask’s students. Groups of NU and HC students dispersed throughout the building, each with a small audio tape recorder and the CD of the signed interview. Watching the interviews together, the HC students voiced their own questions posed in the interview and the NU students interpreted the ASL responses of the Deaf women in the interviews and voiced them in English into the recorders.
These audio taped interviews were then sent to Linda Douglas, Office Administration Program Director at the Salter School in West Boylston. Her Executive Office Administration students, Darneice Robinson, Maria Fabbo, Randylin Bourassa
and Merlyn Nazario then listened to the audiotapes and transcribed them to printed English. This was now in the correct format that was sent to the Worcester Women’s Oral History project!
The next step will be to take the written print and “caption” the original ASL tapes so the interviews will be fully accessible to people who know ASL and to those who don’t but will be able to read the English captions.
This pilot project was a true example of what collaboration means and what a community can accomplish!