Skip to content

Summer course brings young deaf-blind leaders to Kendall Green

July 3, 2010
Arrow Buff


Advocacy and leadership were the focus of a recent summer course from the College of Professional Studies and Outreach’s (CPSO) Burstein Leadership Institute. “Deaf-Blind Young Adults in Action (DBYAA)” brought together 12 aspiring leaders from around the country, as well as uniting several important institutions. CPSO teamed up with the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) in New York City, Texas Tech University, the American Association of the Deaf-Blind, and the American Foundation for the Blind to offer the course.

During the five-day program, participants, ranging in age from 19 to 28, learned about current advocacy efforts. They also strategized to bring greater awareness and policy change to their own states and regions. Last summer, students in the course landed an audience with President Barack Obama. While this year’s group was not able to see the commander-in-chief, it did touch two policy hubs. The group ventured to Capitol Hill to meet with representatives of the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs and the Federal Communications Commission. 

Both the on- and off-campus environments were ideal for these young leaders, said Suzanne Ressa of HKNC, who ran the program with Dr. Amy Parker of Texas Tech. “DBYAA is very grateful to Gallaudet University for providing us with such an accessible location for our program.” Ressa added that the University’s strategic location put them all in enviable proximity to lawmakers. In addition, participants could easily interact with people they met on campus and see others with the ambition of understanding the political system and having a lasting impact.  “Smooth access, smooth communication,” Ressa said, summarizing the experience, “and they feel they are part of a larger community by being here.”

The group had a chance to meet prominent members of that community on June 18 when President T. Alan Hurwitz and CPSO Dean Joseph Innes visited a session. Dr. Hurwitz told the participants that their work had personal significance for him. Many of his friends, he explained, are members of the increasingly active deaf-blind community. He acknowledged that although individuals who are deaf-blind face challenges, they can also wield political influence.

The DBYAA is one of several leadership courses offered by CPSO this summer. For more on summer programs during this and upcoming sessions, visit the Summer Programs site.

3 July 2010


Recent Posts

Roberto E. Wirth, E-’74 & H-’09, passed away on June 5 in Rome, Italy. Mr. Wirth was owner and managing director of the Hotel Hassler in Rome, one of the most prestigious family-owned hotels in the world, and owned several other hotels and resorts throughout Italy. He was a strong advocate for deaf people in...

Alumnus Timel Benton has signed a contract with the Bay Area Panthers of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Benton, who graduated last month, is the first Gallaudet Bison to sign a professional football contract since Tony Tatum signed on with the Utah Blaze in the now-disbanded Arena Football League (AFL) in May 2013. Benton was...

James Caverly, ’11, who plays Theo Dimas in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, will play Professor Harold Hill in the Olney Theatre Center’s summer production of Meredith Willson’s Tony-winning musical The Music Man, which opens tonight and runs through July 23. The show’s official opening is on Thursday, June 23. Sandra Mae Frank, ’13,...

About the Author

Gallaudet University

Published Articles: 849

Recent Posts
Deaf hotelier Roberto Wirth passes away
Alumnus Timel Benton to play professional football
Alumni, faculty featured in The Music Man at Olney Theatre Center
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