Laura Mauldin, born and raised in Texas, came to Gallaudet University for very specific reasons. She states, “I chose Gallaudet because both the school and the graduate program in ASL and Deaf Studies are the only ones like it in the world. I knew I would benefit as a scholar and critical thinker from the unique environment that Gallaudet provided, the vastly knowledgeable faculty in the department, and the connections that could be forged across so many cultures, countries, and communities.”
Laura has continued in her scholarly work as she is currently preparing to defend her dissertation for her PhD in sociology at the City University of New York-Graduate Center. Most of her time is devoted to writing, research and speaking, however when she’s not engaged in academics, she works as a freelance sign language interpreter. Since graduating from Gallaudet and entering the doctoral program in sociology at the City University of New York-Graduate Center, Laura won a teaching fellowship to teach at Queens College as well as a grant from the European Science Foundation which sponsored Laura’s presentation of her research called “The Perfect Body: Between Normativity & Consumerism” at their conference in 2009. Laura also won the Samuel Bloom Award for scholarship in medical sociology from her CUNY department, and just completed a joint visiting scholar position with The Hastings Center and Yale’s Center for Bioethics.
When asked about how Gallaudet University helped to prepare Laura for her work in the field (and future studies) she replied, “There are numerous influences that Gallaudet had on my work. In my academic career, my education there in Deaf cultural studies only spurred me forward in my desire to understand society as a whole. After such intense study and immersion in this community and culture, I wanted to know more about where all of this fit into the larger social world and how social forces act upon it and shape it. More than this, I wanted to have a better understanding in general of the agency individuals have in shaping their own communities, the role social structures and norms play in this, and how disability in general can be understood as a social category. This naturally led me to sociology and this motivation has continued until now as I am finishing my dissertation where I conducted research that explored the world of pediatric cochlear implants, the communities around it, and the controversy over them.”