Major: American Sign Language Interpreting
Carly Mitchell started her college education at Illinois State University seeking a degree in Deaf Education.
However, while she still wanted to work with the deaf population, Mitchell decided teaching was not the right path to take. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and, as she began searching for the right career, learned more about interpreting as a profession.
“I did research on a few interpreting programs and decided on College of DuPage for a number reasons,” she said. “Many programs I looked at were out of state, and I liked that COD was close to home. COD was affordable – since this was my second degree, I was not able to receive financial help. Lastly, but most importantly, COD’s Interpreting program has a deaf director and deaf staff. When learning a language, it is important to learn from native users.”
The American Sign Language Interpreting program helped Mitchell receive the training needed to become licensed and work as an interpreter.
“The teachers were very honest,” she said. “I liked this because it helped me to focus on my strengths and where I needed to improve. Once in the interpreting classes, the groups were smaller which is helpful, and the small groups became family. The program also helped me to connect with professionals in the field.”
Having earned her American Sign Language Interpreting Certificate, Mitchell is ready to move her career forward in the interpreting field. She currently works in a deaf and hard of hearing elementary classroom as a teacher’s aide, which she did while attending COD. The position allows her to work with deaf adults and students and see their different styles of using ASL.
Mitchell’s goal is to build her own ASL interpreting business, which would allow her to experience many types of interpreting jobs.
“The various experiences will only help me continue to grow,” she said. “The business will also give me the flexibility to spend time with my family and control my work/life balance. My ultimate career goal is to work as an ASL interpreter at large events, like ComicCon and the Chicago Auto Show.”
COD provided Mitchell with the education she needed to succeed, and she advises students considering the program to go all in.
“Take every chance you have to use the language every second you possibly can,” she said. “It is not going to be easy, but it is definitely worth it.”