Featured photo: Graduating student Anna Hatten poses in the Technology Education and Development Center. (Photo by Emily Gill, Marketing and Communications Dept.)
Marketing and Communications Dept.
Anna Hatten’s love of languages began at a young age and ultimately brought her to Blue Ridge Community College.
“I’ve always loved learning languages. I lived in Haiti for two and a half years as a missionary kid so I became fluent in Creole, and I studied French all through high school,” said Hatten. “I knew I wanted to find a career where I could do something with learning a language.”
After Hatten moved to the area from Raleigh, she began looking at community colleges. She ultimately chose Blue Ridge for its Associate Degree in Educational Interpreting program, which teaches students how to interpret American Sign Language (ASL).
Hatten’s time at Blue Ridge pushed her to expand her world, particularly through attending deaf events.
“American Sign Language (ASL) is a 3D language, so we’re required to attend deaf events,” said Hatten. “I have really had to stretch how I think when I sign. Since ASL is such a visual, gestural language, I really have to picture what I am trying to describe in my mind and then continue to sign it using specific hand-shapes.”
Hatten says she and her classmates attended events together, including Blue Ridge ASL Club’s Starbucks Chats where people gather to build signing skills.
Hatten emphasized the importance of community and finding your friend group. Beyond that, she expressed gratitude for her experience at Blue Ridge.
“The professors are so encouraging and truly want you to succeed and work towards the goal of transferring to a four-year university. Professor Rey who teaches ASL really takes the time to get to know his students on a personal level,” said Hatten. “Professor Rose helped me set up a successful internship with the Department of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The time that they take to make sure their students succeed really makes the ASL program unique.”
Following graduation, Hatten will transfer to Liberty University to complete their language interpreting bachelor’s degree program.
“I’m really looking forward to becoming fully certified through the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) exam, which opens doors to medical interpreting, performance interpreting, and more,” said Hatten. “I’m so excited about all the job opportunities, especially interpreting for plays or music performances.”
Learn more about the Interpreter/American Sign Language program at blueridge.edu/interpreter.