Andover Quota Scholarship Assists NECC Deaf Studies Student
Little did Lina Garcia Kosko know growing up in Colombia that her sister’s profound deafness would shape her own career path.
But, it did. Today the 27 year-old Watertown resident is enrolled in Northern Essex Community College’s deaf studies program where she is laying the foundation to become an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. The mother of two girls, seven and two-years-old, she will graduate with an associate degree in May. She currently holds a 3.9 GPA.
Garcia Kosko has been recognized for her academic achievements by the Andover Quota Club, with a $1,500 scholarship. The Andover Quota Club has been funding a scholarship for an NECC student in the deaf studies program for more than 20 years. Quota Club International has been championing the hearing impaired for well over 90 years.
She is one of 250 NECC students overall to share nearly $200,000 in scholarship money for the 2014-2015 academic year. The majority of scholarships range from $500 to $1,500 and come from a variety of sources, including private donors, memorial donations, local businesses, and private foundations.
“This scholarship is obviously a huge help,” she says. “It is financially beneficial for me so that I can continue to move forward with my education.”
She was presented with the scholarship by Quota Club members Susan Smith, who sits on the Quota Club scholarship committee, and Mary Beth Nason, the current Quota Club president, when they visited the Haverhill campus.
Her story really began before she was born. Her older sister was born profoundly deaf. Garcia Kosko was born into a household that knew little about raising a deaf child and knew less about the deaf community.
Nearly 15 years ago her sister and dad traveled to America so she could be “fixed” with a cochlear implant. After being enrolled in the Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham her sister and the rest of the family learned to be proud of her deafness. Eventually, her sister declined the cochlear implant.
During this time, Garcia Kosko, her mom and another sister also had arrived in America. The entire family learned English while her sister had the added pressure of learning ASL.
Garcia Kosko progressed and went on to graduate from North High School in Worcester and earned a medical assistant associate degree from Hesser College. It was not unusual for her to be asked to translate English to Spanish or vice versa. One day a colleague noted that if she learned ASL she could be trilingual.
With that as an incentive, she enrolled in NECC’s Deaf Studies program.
“I love the program,” she says. “It is amazing to see how all the classes connect with my life and all that I have been through with my big sister. Even though I have had a sibling in the deaf culture, I never understood it. This helps me understand.”
Once she graduates from NECC, Garcia Kosko will work toward her bachelor’s degree in Interpreting from Framingham State University. Her ideal job, she says, will be to work as a trilingual interpreter within the Spanish community.
These programs are designed for individuals interested in a career that involves providing services to the deaf and hard of hearing community
These programs prepare students to either enter the workforce directly or transfer to a four-year bachelor’s degree program.