by Patricia McCarthy, New York
ASL Honor SocietySince its inception in 2006, the ASL Honor Society has welcomed interpreting education students to participate in our programs. A common sentiment expressed by some interpreter trainers at the most recent ASLTA conference was, “How would interpreting students benefit from the ASL Honor Society?”
First, we offer a means of recognizing the academic achievement of students in 2, 3, and 4 year programs via the Alice Cogswell Medal and Laurent Clerc Medal. These medals are popular incentives for students to pursue academic excellence, and a great way to recognize a student’s performance in class, in giving service to the Deaf community, and in strengthening their ASL skills.
Second, interpreting students are eligible to apply for ASLHS scholarships. The minimum award is $1,250.00, and the largest award in 2013 was $2,000.00. These scholarships are highly competitive and can make the difference between continuing in interpreting education or leaving school. Help your students complete their training by giving access to the scholarships. In today’s economic climate, every dollar counts!
Third, the ASL Honor Society hosts various competitions which focus on applying specific language and / or culture skills learned in the classroom to the ASL community. If your program offers performance interpreting, ASL storytelling / poetry, or ASL literature courses, a natural application would be participating in the annual ASL Literature competition, held each spring. Deepen student understanding of issues, symbols, and metaphors in Deaf culture by encouraging them to participate in the annual Deaf Art competition, held each fall. Winning entries receive cash prizes and recognition for their achievement, and what student doesn’t like that?
Fourth, we help students by helping teachers. Membership in the ASLHS allows teachers to apply for mini-grants, which can be used for any education-related purpose. Whether it’s paying honoraria for guest speakers, purchasing materials, or helping defray the costs of hosting a Silent Weekend, we’re here to make your program stronger.
Programs that teach ASL, Deaf Studies, Deaf Education, and Interpreter Education are welcome to join the ASL Honor Society. We’re the best-kept secret in the field! To find out more information, please visit