Skip to content

Andrew Morrill

August 11, 2020


Investing in Guam’s Deaf Youth

Guam brings to mind a vacationing paradise of tropical palm trees and white sand beaches. However, Guam is more than just a beautiful island, as third-year Gallaudet University student Andrew Morrill discovered last summer while there on an internship with two other Gallaudet students.

Andrew interned at the Oasis Empowerment Center, which works with women struggling with substance abuse and homelessness. Oasis also administers the Manha Project, the deaf camp outreach project that brings together the sign language community, including parents, professionals, interpreters, teachers, and deaf adults.

Andrew, an international studies and history major, was responsible for working with other interns and a supervisor to host and coordinate a variety of events, forums and workshops during the summer for the Manha Project. Additionally, he helped facilitate sign language camp for deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing children, helped teach a community ASL class every Tuesday, helped facilitate a workshop about Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rights, and helped coordinate ASL movie nights. Andrew helped create and design event flyers, some evaluation forms, access tools, and the camp logo and t-shirt. He even documented the internship experience with his GoPro camera.

Internship Supervisor Heather Zimmerman created internship opportunities in Guam for Gallaudet undergraduates through Oasis. She has a master’s degree from Gallaudet in international development and is currently a Ph.D. student at the university.

“We enhance the island’s well-being through collaborative leadership and capacity building. We do this through a range of advocacy projects-a children and youth summer camp, social events, and workshops and trainings,” said Heather, who grew up in the Philippines and Guam. Heather’s parents run Oasis and she has worked with deaf people in Guam for the past five years.

Andrew was struck by the island nation’s culture during his time there.

“Guam is a collectivist society, they do not believe in individualistic actions. Doing things on my own was considered offensive and egotistic,” he said. “I had to learn how to work with many people, and listen to everyone. I work much better in group situations now, and I find myself giving everyone a chance to express their opinions.”

An endowment from Gallaudet sponsored Andrew’s internship, room, and board. He also received a weekly stipend.

“When you do an internship abroad, I think it’s doubly beneficial. First, you get work experience and the added benefit is exposure to the culture, people, and everything else that’s special about the country you’re in. This broadens your worldview and you come back a different person,” he said.

Andrew said he definitely came back from Guam a different person. His commitment and passion towards his international studies and history majors have increased ten-fold. “This experience just confirmed to me that I’m on the right path, and strengthened my commitment to my dream career in international development.”

–By Jane Jonas

11 August 2020


Recent Posts

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA), and Gallaudet are discussing new inclusive emergency management education partnerships. This dovetails with our new graduate certificate program in Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Planning (DEP, headed by Dr. Audrey Cooper, interdisciplinary lead for the...

Gallaudet students, faculty, staff, and alumni played a prominent role in the 58th biennial conference of the National Association of the Deaf, held June 30-July 4 in Orlando. Florida. The Gallaudet University College Bowl team defended its championship on Saturday, July 2, defeating RIT/NTID and the University of Minnesota. This was Gallaudet’s tenth win overall...

Dr. Caroline Kobek Pezzarossi, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Certification in the Office of Student Success and Academic Quality, is one of several people featured in Diverse Leadership for a New Era, a new Chronicle of Higher Education special report on diversity in administrative ranks in academia. The 48-page report, written by Chronicle senior editor...

About the Author

Gallaudet University

Published Articles: 849

Recent Posts
FEMA, DC HSEMA, Gallaudet enter into emergency management partnership
Gallaudet wins NAD College Bowl
Kobek Pezzarossi featured in new diversity publication
Stories Posts
Adam Novsam, ’90
Corinna Hill
Dr. Caroline Solomon Featured In NPR “50 Great Teachers “
Related Categories
Media Inquiries

For any other media inquiry, please contact:

No media contact found!

Stay up to date on all the Gallaudet happenings, both stories and initiatives we are doing with our Signing community!​

Admissions Requirements

Hearing Undergraduate