Born and raised in Staten Island New York, Sasha Ponappa always wanted to work with people within the Deaf community. She knew the best place to learn about the Deaf community and earn her MSW would be Gallaudet University’s graduate Social Work Department.
Sasha now works as an Executive Director for Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN), which is a non-profit social service organization based in Washington, D.C. DAWN provides critical services to Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf Blind survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking. When asked about how Gallaudet helped prepare her for her work she stated, “I studied a variety of community based social work practices, and also had the opportunity to meet so many fascinating people. These experiences shaped my understanding of the field I work in, and helped me cultivate the skills that I need in order to succeed in my career.”
Her advice for future graduate students in the Counseling Department is, “Let your journey through Gallaudet be an organic experience in which you are open to all sorts of opportunities and experiences! Keep an open mind about what type of future you want, and stay true to that. You will find that there are people in the Social Work Department who are invested in helping you meet those goals and get you to where you want to be. Most of all- enjoy yourself!”