Jackie Emmart initially registered for an American Sign Language class just to fulfill her foreign language requirement. She entered Northeastern with her sights set on working in television as a talk show hostess. She could have never imagined that less than two weeks after taking her first ASL 1 class, she would change her major and her career choice, all because of the instructional strategies seamlessly employed by her ASL teacher, Jim Lipsky.
Here is her Northeastern story…
Jackie considers herself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunities she did while as student in the Northeastern ASL Program. She and her classmates became very close as they navigated the challenges and celebrated the successes of language development and learning to interpret between two very different cultures. She spent many hours volunteering for the ASL Program as a Marie Jean Philip ASL Poetry, Storytelling and Deaf Art Competition student coordinator and for the DeafBlind Contact Center as a support service provider. She credits each of these experiences with shaping her as a practitioner. It was through her volunteer efforts that she became a student representative at the national conferences of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators and the Conference of Interpreter Trainers. Both experiences expanded her network of future colleagues exponentially!
Jackie’s ASL coursework was rigorous and the curriculum expected a lot out of her. Each of her faculty members did everything they could to impart knowledge in the classroom, while also offering opportunities to apply theories and to practice out in the Deaf community and among interpreters.
“When working with language and culture, true understanding can only come when among the people of the culture who share that language.”
Toward the end of her program, Jackie started working as an executive assistant at DEAF, Inc., a local non-profit that supports the self-determination of Deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing, and late-deafened individuals in eastern Massachusetts.
“If you’re going to be a student at NU, look up DEAF, Inc. and find a way to support their mission. You’ll be glad you did.”
Jackie graduated from the Northeastern interpreter education program in 2005 and hit the ground running in the leadership arena. She served as secretary on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MassRID) and as Interim Region I Representative on the national RID Board of Directors. She received her MS in Leadership from Northeastern in 2008, and continues to find opportunities for practical application without formal position. Jackie has been fortunate to learn from and work among some of the most talented interpreters the field has to offer, and she believes in paying it forward. As such she served as a practicum mentor for students from four different Interpreter Training Programs from 2005-2015.
“For interpreters, above all else, I believe keeping ourselves accountable to the Deaf community, to our interpretations, and to one another will push us to bring our best selves to each assignment.”