Theatre Student Shares Appreciation for Deaf History Month and ASL

Posted Mar 25, 2024

By Maggie Nicol ‘25

March is National Deaf History Month, and students like Sammi Robinson ’26, who takes American Sign Language (ASL) classes at Otterbein, believe that observing deaf history is important for everyone, not just those who study the language, abilities, and culture of the deaf community.

Sammi Robinson ’26, Bfa Asl
Sammi Robinson ’26

Robinson is a sophomore pursuing a BFA in acting. She has a desire to connect with people on all levels despite obstacles that others face, and before attending Otterbein, she took ASL classes in high school. She continued developing her interest in the deaf community while in college.

“I think deaf culture is important, and bridging the gap between the hearing world and the deaf world is something that’s of great value. I believe that Deaf History Month should be a staple to show deaf pride and how proud that community is of who they are,” said Robinson.

By continuing ASL courses at Otterbein, Robinson has been able to become more aware of others’ needs. “I don’t know what it’s like to be deaf, but seeing other people who know what it’s like makes me want to understand them more, and just generally have a better understanding of people,” she said.

In the spring of Robinson’s senior year, she will have the opportunity to apply for an internship in the theater industry. Because of her background in both acting and ASL, she hopes to intern for a deaf theater. Some of these opportunities are in Connecticut and New York.

“I think having a community that takes pride in their abilities and shows that they can do anything they want to do — just like the rest of the world — is important,” Robinson said.

She believes that Deaf History Month should get more attention so people can learn more about those with different abilities and to understand the strengths of the deaf community, as not everyone is exposed to this community.

“As a traditionally abled person, I want to impact non-traditionally abled people. Because of my experience in my major and background in ASL, I feel I can help bring accessibility into my daily life,” she said.