Featuring Julie (Porter) Sill '98
Program: M.DEHS (Deaf Education & Hearing Science), School of Allied
(Profiled: May 2013)
I searched for a new position when my family moved to Ohio.
As a parent-infant advisor, it is very rewarding to work with families
who have a deaf child. It
feels good to help parents as they begin life’s journey with a child who
has a hearing impairment.
Participating in early intervention is exciting because it allows the
educator to help the child while they are in the process of growing and
As the Family Center Coordinator, I am able to
watch as the babies grow into toddlers as well as help to bridge the
educational gap for the parents as their child enters the toddler
classroom. Supervising the
teachers and speech and language pathologists is exciting because I get
to see language acquisition in action.
And most of all, it is exciting to see a profoundly deaf child
learn to talk and know that you have helped to create the environment
and real-life learning experiences necessary for them to do so.
The most gratifying aspects of my job
are seeing how access to sound can be a life-changing event for a deaf
child. Watching a baby hear
his/her parents’ voice for the first time is an amazing feeling.
Additionally, it is incredible to watch as such young children
beat the odds of deafness by learning how to talk, despite the many
challenges that they face.
The biggest challenge as a
parent-infant advisor is to always remember to empower the parents so
that they can be their child’s life-long advocate.
It might seem easier to help them make decisions in the short
run, but it will not help them in the end if they rely on you too much.
As you might imagine, deafness comes with many emotions for new
parents. It is my job to
meet them where they are and give them the information that they need so
that they can make important decisions regarding their child’s future.
challenge of being the family center coordinator has been facilitating
the rapid growth of our program.
Because deaf education is a relatively small field, it can sometimes be
difficult to find qualified staff members who share our passion for
helping deaf children learn to talk.
At GCC, I had many educational field opportunities as well as four
separate student teaching assignments.
These experiences as well as the excellent
mentorship from my professors helped me to form my educational
philosophy and better understand the needs of a developing child.
Additionally, my professors encouraged me to
follow my passion of helping others by fostering an environment where
success was found in the learning process.
You are never too old to learn something new.
Follow what you are passionate about and
learn from your mistakes.
Use your life experiences to form the
educational path that is a good fit for you.
Take a chance on smaller leadership roles
along the way.
These experiences will prepare you for future
promotions and job opportunities.
Use a broad search criteria when looking for jobs online.
Be open to moving to a new place so that you
can gain valuable experience for the future.
Never underestimate the power of a good
What are the challenges and rewards of teaching or
working in another culture?
While I have
always worked in the United States, I have taught in three different
states and four different schools.
Each area of the country has aspects that are unique to that area.
Learning more about different areas of the country and the people
that live there can give you a broad perspective of the world.
Seeing the "insides" of different cultures can also give you a better
understanding of differences and give you a more accepting attitude on
What are the challenges and rewards of living in another
culture or geographical area?
Moving around has taught me to appreciate the
differences in people and to accept people for who they are.
In fact, as different as people can be, there are also many
similarities among them. The
more I move around, I have seen that people are still people no matter
where they live. Differences
may grow on you and give you a better understanding of who someone is over
about Julie's graduate school experience
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