For Immediate Release
UTB/TSC Graduate Student Committed to Serving Deaf Community
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JULY 19, 2011 – Among the dedicated employees at the Disability Services Office at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College is Interpreter Coordinator Rosemary Liñan-Landa.
Landa, who received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UTB/TSC in May, has already begun her graduate work taking summer classes at Lamar University in Beaumont, one of only two schools in Texas offering a master’s degree in deaf studies. Beginning in August, she will begin full-time online courses along with commuting to Beaumont two weekends a month while keeping her job at UTB/TSC.
“It is so rewarding to work with our deaf students and see them taking advantage of the opportunities available for their education,” said Landa. “These young, motivated minds arrive as new college students and are transformed while here, and it’s a beautiful sight to see them walk across the stage at graduation.”
Landa learned American Sign Language at a young age from her father and mother. Her father lost his hearing as a child in Matamoros and her mother learned American Sign Language to communicate with her husband.
“I was raised in the deaf community; these are my family and my friends,” said Landa. “There was never any question in my mind about what I would do with my life; I am committed to serving the deaf community, to give back to the community that gave so much to me when I was growing up.”
A resident of San Benito, Landa achieved her Level One ASL certification shortly after graduating in 2001 from Science Academy of South Texas in Mercedes. Her first interpreting experience at the age of 16 convinced her that she wanted to dedicate her career to deaf studies.
Landa’s formal training began in the American Sign Language and Interpreter Training program at San Antonio College. After receiving her associate of arts degree and a Level Three ASL certification, she worked as a case worker for the deaf at the Independent Living Center of the Southwest Center for the Hearing Impaired in San Antonio, the same place where her father’s life changed dramatically after his family moved to the U.S.
“In Mexico my father didn’t really get an education due to his deafness, but after his family moved to San Benito at the age of 15, he was able to go to the Southwest Center for the Hearing Impaired to learn ASL and other skills,” said Landa. “He was sorry to have missed out on so much of his education, and he and my mom were very encouraging for me to continue with mine.”
A call from A Sign Language Company in McAllen brought Landa home to work. With only 12 Level Three interpreters in the entire Rio Grande Valley, her skills were greatly needed. She was on-call, going wherever needed, places such as Child Protective Services and the Social Security office.
In May 2006 Landa began working with UTB/TSC students as an interpreter in the Office of Disability Services.
“Rose is a highly skilled interpreter – the best we have and one of the best in our region – and she is also creative and resourceful,” said Stephen Wilder, Disability Services Coordinator. “Right away she realized the need for more qualified interpreters to serve our students, so she developed a plan to mentor non-certified interpreters, allowing our department to become self-sufficient and not dependant on an outside agency.”
Continuing her education at UTB/TSC to receive her bachelor’s degree, Landa decided to major in psychology.
“I took a couple of courses and fell in love with psychology,” she said. “It is helpful for me in my work. Drs. Davis, Johnson and de la Garza especially had a positive impact on my studies.”
In her quiet way, Landa is a force to be reckoned with. She did not qualify for financial aid and has paid her own way through school. All of her hard work has been rewarded, however, with a Deaf Mosaic Scholarship that covers her tuition at Lamar University.
“I’m a little terrified but I am optimistic that I will make it through,” she said. “I am excited because I am going to learn so much.”
Landa is also a member of the program advisory board of the interpreter training program at South Texas College. She helped develop the curriculum for this program that was inaugurated last year, and is the only one in the Valley.