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Student speakers announced for 146th annual Commencement Exercises

April 19, 2016

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On April 15, 2016, Provost Carol Erting announced the student speakers for the 146th annual Commencement Exercises, to be held on Friday, May 13, 2016, beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Field House. Ardavan Guity, from Tehran, Iran, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in deaf studies, will speak on behalf of the undergraduate Class of 2016. Tong Song, ’13, from Beijing, China, who is graduating with a Master of Public Administration degree, will speak on behalf of the graduate student class.

Guity attended a school for the deaf in Iran. He began his commitment to community service at age 12 as a UNICEF delegate for children and teenagers with disabilities. In 2005, he led the Iranian Center for the Deaf (ICD) and helped found its Deaf Youth Section. The following year, Guity represented the ICD at the Asian Youth Deaf Camp in Miyazaki, Japan. The experience inspired him to establish and lead the first Young Deaf Iranian Camp in 2007. In 2011, Guity served as a delegate for the World Federation of the Deaf Congress in South Africa and taught interpreters about International Sign Language at the SIGN5 Conference of Sign Language Users at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey. From 2011 to 2012, he was a researcher at Alzahra University in Tehran, working on a sign language and deaf culture educational book and DVD for sign language interpreters.

After earning a degree in computer science at a university in Iran, Guity enrolled in Gallaudet’s English Language Institute (ELI) in 2013 and became an undergraduate student in 2014. He has been a peer advisor for three years. In this capacity, he co-hosted several panel discussions, including a diversity panel, “Who Am I?” in March of this year. He has been accepted to Gallaudet’s accelerated master’s/doctorate program in linguistics for fall 2016. 

Upon graduating from high school in 2008, Song came to the United States and began her studies in the ELI. In fall 2009, she began her undergraduate studies at the University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in 2013. Song returned to Gallaudet in 2014 to pursue a Master of Public Administration degree. She also worked as a student assistant in Tutorial and Instructional Programs, managing tutorial appointments, tracking students’ progress, and assisting in preparing tutorial materials, exhibits, and demonstrations. In addition, Song served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Business, working on research projects and developing new course materials, and volunteering with the department’s Income Tax Assistance program, providing free tax return preparation. She is currently interning in the University’s Finance Office.

The Student Commencement Speakers Committee was chaired by Don Miller, ’99, of the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. Other committee members were Marina Dzougoutov, ’02, of the Department of Art, Communication, and Theatre; Thuan Nguyen-Lakrik, ’00,  representing the Gallaudet Staff Council; Damien Spillane, ’10, representing the Graduate Student Association; and Jaddua Johnston, representing the Student Body Government.

19 April 2016

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