After graduating from the Alabama School for the Deaf in Talladega, Alabama, Carolyn went on to Gallaudet University where, in 1977, she completed a B.A. degree in psychology with a minor in social work. In 1979, she received an M.A. in Counseling of the Deaf and, in 2005, a Ph.D in Special Education Administration and Supervision both from Gallaudet University.
From 1979-1996, Carolyn held several positions as a residence and high school counselor at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf and a counselor with the Houston Community College system. She was also a career counselor at Gallaudet and coordinator of minority achievement and multicultural programs for the pre-college programs at the university.
Carolyn is currently a professor in Gallaudet's Department of ASL & Deaf Studies and has been teaching since 1996. She has conducted numerous seminars and workshops related to multicultural issues in the deaf community and black deaf history. She was the recipient of the Thomas and Julia Mayes Award in 2005. In 2006, she served as a diversity fellow in the Office of the Provost.