Linda Miller

Students at the break

CLASS OF 2013
Spotlight on our Graduates



Linda Miller

 
Certificate of Achievement in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies
 
One of the first ASL graduates of PCCC.
 
EOF Award for Academic Achievement

 

Paterson Resident to Receive Her Second Degree from PCCC

On May 23, Linda Miller will graduate from PCCC…for the second time.

 
“My daughter calls me a professional student,” joked the Paterson resident. “But she’s my biggest cheerleader.”

 
A graduate of John F. Kennedy High School, Linda earned an Associate in Arts (A.A.) Degree in Liberal Arts/Humanities from PCCC in 1991.  

 
As a member of the Class of 2013, she will receive her Certificate of Achievement in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies,  one of the first graduates to complete the program at PCCC.

 
“Ever since I saw a woman signing on a PBS television program years ago, I was drawn to sign language,” said Linda, but her career path took a different direction, toward speech therapy. 

 
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from William Paterson University and her M.S. degree in speech therapy from Northern Arizona University.

 
“Competition was tough around here,” said Linda, explaining her decision to go to Arizona.  Also, the school offered a program that enabled her to attend from June to July for three summers.  

 
“It was very intense and very hard, because I had to take care of things at school and take care of things at home, too,” said Linda.   Her daughter, a young teen at the time, stayed behind in New Jersey and was cared for by her aunt

 
She enjoyed a 10-year career as a speech therapist in the City of Passaic public school system and had also taught in Montclair at a private school for adults with autism.

 
When the agency that employed her lost their contract with the Passaic schools, they cut their staff and Linda lost her job.   That was her incentive to return to college.

 
“I was still interested in signing and saw that PCCC offered an ASL program,” said Linda.  She was also encouraged by the many job opportunities she saw for people in the ASL field.

 
Though she found the program demanding, Linda said she learned a lot and is grateful for the support she received from fellow students and the ASL faculty.

 
“I got a lot of help here and could always ask for tutoring when I needed it,” she said.   The hard work paid off when Linda received an academic achievement award last year from the College’s  EOF (Educational Opportunity Fund)  program.

 
She served as secretary of the ASL club and participated in activities with the deaf community.   
“It was scary at first to socialize, because you don’t know how they will accept you, “ she said. “But if you go often to deaf events, and they see you’re trying to communicate, they really welcome you in.”

 
While Linda thinks it’s exciting to be in PCCC’s first group of ASL graduates, she pointed out that as the pioneers “We didn’t have anyone ahead of us to tell us what to expect and help us along. ”

 
In fact, she and the other ASL pioneers have filled that role for newer ASL students , tutoring them and providing encouragement.

 
As one of PCCC’s first ASL  grads, Linda feels a special connection to the program and hopes it will continue to grow and flourish.

 
“There’s a real need for interpreters,” she said.  “The deaf community is everywhere, in every field, and as people become more aware of that, the demand will grow even more.”

 
Linda is looking forward to eventually becoming a sign language teacher.  “I may even study a Middle Eastern language,”  she said.  “Interpreters who know those languages are in high demand.”   

 
That will mean more school for her.  “Anything’s possible,” she said