Growing up with her sights set on Broadway, Monica always had a passion for performance and collaboration. After taking beginner ASL classes in both middle and high school, her creative energy shifted to pursue a career in sign language alongside the Deaf Community. Her transfer acceptance into the American Sign Language Program exposed her to the diverse Boston Deaf Community and is currently preparing her for a career as an ASL/English Interpreter.
Here is her Northeastern story…
Monica began taking elementary ASL classes in early middle school simply because the language seemed fascinating to her from the get-go. Throughout middle and high school, Monica gained insight on ASL linguistics and the richness of Deaf culture. Knowing that she wanted to work within the Deaf community, Monica initially studied Communication Disorders at a university in New York. There, she could not embody the same passion for Speech Language Pathology and Audiology as her classmates. After attending a performance of Deaf West’s Spring Awakening on Broadway, where Deaf and hearing actors worked alongside one another to create a musical, Monica’s spark for ASL was reignited. Desiring to continue her journey with ASL, Monica applied to Northeastern’s ASL Program as a Spring Transfer.
“During my short but valuable time at Northeastern, Deaf faculty members and Deaf Community guest lecturers helped to increase my skills almost exponentially. The unique and immersive experience offered by the Interpreting track here at Northeastern made me confident in my decision to pursue a future career in interpreting.”
With the expertise of program director, Dr. Dennis Cokely and professor Angela Herbert, Performance Interpreting taught Monica and her classmates how to approach interpreting texts such as the Star-Spangled Banner, fables, classic American poetry, and more. In addition to the handful of required texts, students got to pick additional materials to work on, perhaps interpreting a pop song or a funny monologue. The flexibility of the course gave Monica the ability to cater her portfolio toward her own strengths and interests in performance interpreting.
Coming from a background in musical theater and performance, this course was a clear stand-out in the core interpreting curriculum for Monica. Performance Interpreting required months of creating and revising different interpreted drafts of each text. Monica was able to independently reach out to Deaf faculty members, previous graduates of the ASL Program, and members of the Boston Deaf Community for feedback on her drafts. The course was a fun, challenging, dynamic, and unique experience for Monica and instilled motivation within her to constantly incorporate valuable feedback in her work as an interpreter.
NU Stage Musical Theater Company
While the ASL Program is an amazing, rich, and rigorous experience, Monica still wanted to somehow find an additional, creative outlet that could refuel her love for musical theater. Joining NU Stage Musical Theater Company was the perfect opportunity!
NU Stage is Northeastern’s premier student-run, on-campus, musical theater club that produces several productions a year. Monica was lucky enough to be involved in two mainstage productions (The Drowsy Chaperone, Godspell), a cabaret, and several musical revues throughout her journey at Northeastern.
NU Stage was very accommodating and flexible enough to fit perfectly into Monica’s busy schedule as an Interpreting major. Engaging in theater on campus gave Monica a way to not only continue her love for performance, but additionally it helped her to branch out and meet more Northeastern students outside of the relatively small and tight knit ASL program family. Her experiences with NU Stage will forever remain near and dear to Monica’s heart, making those long days of interpreting all-day and rehearsing all-night totally worth it!
“Hello! My name is Monica Marotta and I am currently a senior in Northeastern University’s ASL Program. My major is ASL/English interpreting and I will be graduating very soon, this May. With the help of our wonderfully supportive Deaf faculty members and interpreting professors, Northeastern has been a wonderful experience for me to learn and develop my ASL and interpreting skills. I truly do cherish this program and will miss it very much when I graduate!”
Monica’s final year in the ASL Program continues to give her countless opportunities for both observing and producing real-world interpreting while still taking courses. In the Fall semester of her senior year, Monica was placed in a stage government office to shadow and observe the designated interpreter there. On a weekly basis, Monica was able to observe and confide in her supervisor, a seasoned interpreter working in several different professional settings.
Currently on practicum, Monica is working as an interpreting intern at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, MA. The topnotch group of staff interpreters at The Learning Center, many of whom are NU graduates, have become an extremely useful source of feedback and advice for Monica as she approaches the end of her college journey. This semester, Monica is able to actually work as an interpreter in various low-risk assignments, always accompanied by another professional interpreter onsight. Although real-world interpreting can be quite challenging and definitely intimidating for interpreting students, the energy and support provided by The Learning Center is nothing but endearing and vital for Monica’s growth in the field.
While Northeastern and Boston have been amazing places for Monica to learn and grow as an interpreter, Monica plans to return home to New York after graduation in May. She is eager to begin exploring the Deaf and interpreting communities in the New York Metro area and Long Island. She plans to work fulltime in a Deaf environment where she can continue to build her skills and engage with the Deaf Community before delving into interpreting. Future goals for Monica include National Certification through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and freelance interpreting work in theater, concert, medical, and mental health settings.
This is Monica’s Northeastern Path…Where will yours lead?
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