ASLIE Graduate Anna Beard fell in love with American Sign Language
Anna Beard, 2014 EKU graduate, fell in love with American Sign Language (ASL) while in high school. Beard’s boyfriend at the time, now husband, Wade, has a younger brother who is deaf and the whole family used ASL to communicate with him. “I realized that I was part of this family and I should probably learn how to sign,” said Beard.
She signed up for church camp for deaf and hard of hearing youth and hearing people who wanted to learn sign language like she did. Not only did she gain knowledge of ASL, but Beard also gained a love for the language and decided she wanted to serve people in the deaf community. “I went that summer and met deaf people and college students who were studying to become interpreters who now have become lifelong friends,” said Beard. “It really helped tie everything together that this was my family, but also introduced me to a whole line of work,” said Beard.
Beard chose Eastern Kentucky University’s American Language and English Interpretation program to continue her education. ASL, a language expressed by movements of the hands and face, is the primary language of North Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. The language as its own grammatical structure and phrasing distinct from English, as well as regional dialects that differ throughout the country. Although ALS is complex, becoming proficient was worth it to Beard to ensure that the deaf and hard of hearing community get the same experiences as hearing people.
“When you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t matter how hard it is,” said Beard. “These are the people you love, so you want to do everything you can to give them an equivalent message. I wanted to learn and be able to provide the best service I can.”
Beard is employed by the Pulaski County, Kentucky public school district where she interprets for deaf students. When she is interpreting for someone, her goal is to make communicating with others as easy as possible for the deaf client. “My role as an interpreter is that when you’re talking to a deaf person, it should feel like I’m not there,” said Beard. “I want their interaction to be natural.”
Beard also interprets for agencies across the state, at church, and has helped educate local deaf people or their family members. She resides in Columbia, Kentucky and always willing to continue to educate or interpret for anyone she can. “If there are requests within my local community, then I’m happy to do it.”
Anna is the 26-year-old daughter of Doug and Katie Campbell and Chris and Sondra Powell. She is the wife of Wade Beard and mother of two children, Ransom and Lauren.
Article from Adair County Community Voice newspaper.
To learn more about EKU's American Sign Language and Interpreter Education programs: https://aslie.eku.edu/
Published on February 24, 2020