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Prepare for a Career with Deaf / Hard of Hearing / DeafBlind Communities, with an American Sign Language Studies Associate Degree

An American Sign Language Studies student practicing signing to another person.
If you are interested in a career working with the Deaf / Hard of Hearing / DeafBlind communities, Northern Essex Community College is a great place to start. Prepare for a career in interpreting, education, human/social services, and more. Our American Sign Language Studies Associate Degree has three concentrations to choose from:

  • American Sign Language Concentration
  • Human Services Concentration
  • Interpreting Transfer Concentration

You can view the individual concentrations under Courses and Requirements below.

Why Choose NECC?

With the American Sign Language Studies Associate Degree Program at NECC, you can save thousands of dollars on your bachelor’s degree by transferring. Earn a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language – English interpreting, Deaf Studies, education, human/social services, or a related field.

An additional option is to enter the workforce directly as a direct service provider. Direct service provider work in residential programs, independent living organizations, or state agencies.

As an American Sign Language Studies student at NECC you will:

  • Learn about the language, culture, and community of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.
  • Gain real-world experience through a practicum (internship) experience. You will work directly with members of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind community.
  • Participate in networking opportunities with alumni and professionals in the community.

Because of NECC

Earning an American Sign Language Studies associate degree is an advantage in any profession that serves the Deaf/ Hard of Hearing/ DeafBlind community.

Upon completion of the degree, you can:

  • Take advantage of a transfer agreement to earn your bachelor’s degree in an American Sign Language Studies related field. This will save you thousands of dollars on the cost of your degree.
  • Obtain an entry level job in settings such as residential programs, community organizations, agencies, and much more.
  • Prepare to take the state-level Massachusetts Interpreter Screening through the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH). MCDHH-screened interpreters are eligible for entry-level interpreting work.

 

Courses and Requirements

 

Program Pathway

A pathway is the most efficient sequence of courses semester-to-semester recommended for students to complete their degree. View the suggested pathway for American Sign Language Studies, Associate in Arts.

Career Paths & Job Market

Career Paths

Career Paths

  • Full-time or part-time Interpreting in a variety of settings
    • Colleges and Universities
    • Public Schools
    • State Agencies
    • Hospitals and other medical/mental health institutions
  • Freelance Interpreting
Transferring to a 4 year College or University

Transferring to a 4 year College or University

NECC provides an excellent starting point for students interested in pursuing Deaf Studies or Interpreting.

Some college websites for students likely to transfer:

Upon completion of a degree, interpreters take the Massachusetts Interpreting Screening exam in order to qualify to work in the state of MA and NH.

After a few years of experience, national certification may be pursued through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Contact

Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator

Kevin Fleese, M.Ed., ASLTA-Master

M.Ed Professor, Program Coordinator

Phone: VP 978-241-7049
Email: kfleese@necc.mass.edu

Program Contact Information

Faculty

Kevin Fleese

M.Ed Professor, Program Coordinator

Phone: VP 978-241-7049
Email: kfleese@necc.mass.edu

Larry Stephen

M.S. Adjunct Professor

Phone: VP 978-241-7053
Email: lstephen@necc.mass.edu

Diane Mele

M.A., LMHC, ICTC, NIC

Phone: V 978-556-3359 VP 978-241-7056
Email: dmele@necc.mass.edu

Leslie Young

American Sign Language Studies Program Assistant

Phone: V 978-556-3667 VP 978-377-8033
Email: lyoung@necc.mass.edu

Faculty Biographies

Kevin J. Fleese, M.Ed.

Faculty Member, American Sign Language Studies Program

Kevin FleeseKevin Fleese is a Professor and Coordinator under American Sign Language Studies Program at Northern Essex Community College. He has been teaching in the American Sign Language Studies program since Fall 1994. He is the second Deaf professor to receive his tenure but his first tenure in ASL Studies in New England.

Prior to becoming a faculty member at NECC, he was a software specialist and taught computer classes at Digital Equipment Corp in Santa Clara, CA and Marlborough, MA.

Kevin’s first experience teaching in American Sign Language was at Vista College in Berkeley, CA. He was a part of the implementation of the nationally acclaimed “Signing Naturally” ASL immersion curriculum which is widely used across the US today, serving as one of the first ASL instructors to field test that program. He now supports wide-opening to True Way ASL which is currently using in the program at NECC.

His educational and professional credentials include:

  • Masters of Education in Deaf Studies; Boston University
  • Bachelors of Arts in Communication Arts; Gallaudet University
  • Bachelors of Science in Business Administration; Gallaudet University
  • Seasoned presenter of workshops and trainings relating to Deaf Studies, ASL curriculums, ASL Linguistics, and Deaf Culture
  • Implemented state screening for interpreters for the state of New Hampshire
  • Served as a member of the New Hampshire Interpreting Licensure Board by appointment of the Governor of NH – 2003-2005

Gayle Johnson Clemenzi, MA, CI/CT, NIC-Master

Gayle ClemenziGayle Clemenzi has been involved with the Massachusetts Deaf community on the North Shore for over 30 years. She holds a Masters of Arts Degree from Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, studied ASL Interpreting at Northeastern University and has worked as a teacher of the Deaf in public and private schools.

As a professional interpreter since 1993, she has worked in a variety of settings, including; state and private agencies, medical and educational environments.

Gayle has presented workshops on team interpreting and has been a mentor to new interpreters and students, specifically in the field of VRS. She has worked in the field of VRS since 2005.

Her educational and professional credentials include:

  • Bachelor of Science Degree: Education, English Minor– Gordon College, MA
  • Master of Arts Degree: Education – Gallaudet University, Washington, DC
  • Northeastern University Interpreter Training Program – Boston, MA
  • Member of MassRID
  • Licensed ASL Interpreter in New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts State Screened Interpreter – (1993)
  • Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf:
    • RID Certificate of Transliteration (2005)
    • RID Certificate Interpretation (1997)
    • RID NIC Master Certification – (2009)

Aimee Stevens, BS, M.Ed

Aimee StevensAimee Stevens graduated from the University of New Hampshire at Manchester in 2000 with a BS in Communications, in 2002 with a BS in Sign Language Interpretation and from Framingham State University in 2015 with M.Ed. in Educational Technology.

Aimee has worked in the dDeaf community for 17 years as an interpreter and 12 years as adjunct faculty in the American Sign Language/English Interpreting Program at UNH-Manchester and is a recent addition to the adjunct team at Northern Essex Community College. She continues to work as an interpreter in NH, doing mostly emergency medical work.

She works at the Gallaudet University Regional Center at Northern Essex Community College since 2009 as a Project Coordinator and as the Massachusetts Family Sign Language Program Coordinator, since November 2017.


Dr. LeWana Clark, CSC, CI/CT/SC:L/Master Mentor, MEd, PhD

Dr. LeWana ClarkLeWana Clark (CSC, CI/CT/SC:L/Master Mentor, MEd, PhD) works as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter specializing in court/legal settings, teaches interpreter education and professional development workshops, and mentors new and experienced interpreters. Adding to her many accomplishments, she has completed the Master Mentorship Program in 2005 then graduated from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her Master’s Degree in 2011: Independent Degree Study Program, Specialization: Transformative Learning for ASL/English Interpreters; Thesis: “Beyond ASL Vocabulary: Towards Bicultural and Bilingual Proficiencies for ASL/English Interpreters. She completed her doctorate studies at Gallaudet University in 2018 with a dual concentration of Pedagogy and Research from the Interpretation and Translation Department. Her doctorate focused on the effects of teaming on the identification of speakers during a court proceeding – “The interactive courtroom: The Deaf defendant watches how the speaker is identified for each turn-at-talk during a team interpreted event.”

Required Documents

American Sign Language Studies Criteria Packet (PDF)

Additional Information

Student Learning Outcomes - American Sign Language Studies Associate Degree

Student Learning Outcomes – American Sign Language Studies Associate Degree

  • Devise, Compose and present advanced low level receptive and expressive proficiency in American Sign Languageas established by ACTFL. (see Appendix A).
  • Integrate, sensitivity and understanding of the norms, values, and influence of diverse cultural, historical and global perspectives within the Deaf community.
  • Develop and maintain appropriate skills related to Deaf Community, organizations, and careers in social services, education, and life-long learning of ASL.
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