Daron Ladson

Daron Ladson’s interest in American Sign Language and Deaf culture began at a very young age.

“I started taking sign language classes at my church when I was 10 years old so I could communicate with a girl there who was deaf,” says Ladson, 21, a fourth-year interpreting major from Capitol Heights, Md. “I enjoyed it so much that I continued my lessons at the Kendall Demonstration School at Gallaudet University throughout elementary school, and decided early on to pursue a career in interpreting.”

He chose RIT/NTID, knowing he would get an excellent education in interpreting and the interaction with the Deaf community he sought.

“This is such a special place; it’s broadened my horizons,” he says. “I’ve made friends from different cultures and diverse backgrounds from all over the United States.”

Ladson says that interpreting is a humbling experience for him.

“When I’m interpreting it’s not about me, it’s about facilitating communication between two different parties,” he says. “It’s very rewarding.

“I’ve gained many benefits as an interpreter,” he adds. I’ve become a good listener; it’s taught me how to work well under pressure; and it’s provided me with many opportunities to learn new things. For example, when I’m working as a student interpreter in RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, I’m not only helping a student but I’m learning the most interesting things like Web design, 3-D sculpture and photography.”

Ladson says it’s the student life at RIT that he enjoys most. He’s held leadership positions in the Ebony Club and NTID Student Assembly, and was a member of RIT’s Gospel Ensemble and the ALLANA Collegiate Association. He received the Dr. Robert Frisina Award and the Dawan L. Albritton Humanitarian Award in recognition of his commitment to education and his exuberant NTID spirit.

After he graduates in May, Ladson’s goal is to find a job in interpreting, perhaps in a church. He has an interest in becoming a preacher, and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of extending his education to study in that field.

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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