Giselle Lopez chose Gallaudet University primarily for personal growth as a Deaf individual, to become more fluent in American Sign Language, increase her knowledge about Deaf culture, and to network with other professionals in the Deaf community. She graduated from the Social Work, M.S.W. program in 2008 and went on to have a successful career in the field. Giselle is currently a School Social Worker at Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Springs, Georgia and an honorary member of board for the Instituo de Ayuda al Sordo Santa Rosa, Inc (English Translation: Institution to Help for the Deaf) in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic.
When asked how Gallaudet prepared Giselle for her career, she stated, “Being a deaf person, Gallaudet University really instilled a strong sense of confidence in me that I could succeed while working in an environment with hearing peers. This newfound confidence was critical as I learned how to make important decisions such as providing guidance to families with deaf children to put them on the right path in life. Gallaudet helped me reach a better understanding of the clientele I assist today with my social work through role playing, developing a stronger sense of empathy, and applying concepts on the micro and macro levels. Through this training, I have developed an ability to face unique challenges in my career, such as implementing an academic improvement program at Georgia School for the Deaf and providing transitory support to Instituto de Ayuda al Sordo Santa Rosa, INC as they transformed their communication accessibility approach to include Sign Language.”
Giselle’s advice to future graduate students: “As you embark into the working world, whatever your field of study, never be afraid to take big risks. Sometimes, you have to buckle conventional wisdom to advance your career. Learn everything about your job by becoming really involved with each situation and never be afraid to ask for help. Always be a team player, as this is a really important aspect of social work. Sometimes, in your career things will backfire or lead to failure, but never forget that things will work out eventually with persistence.”