Visiting from universities across the U.S., the Helen Keller Fellows, who are 10 graduate students working on degrees with emphasis in simultaneous vision and hearing impairment, met at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus in October for orientation to their one-year experience.
Funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education, the five-year Personnel Preparation project is in its second year. Dr. Linda McDowell, associate professor of special education at The University of Southern Mississippi, assisted in administrating a partnership with Western Oregon University, where the grant is based.
Other partners in the Helen Keller Fellows project include faculty from more than 10 universities across the nation; each partner university nominates a fellow for the year.
According to McDowell, Southern Miss is working collaboratively on leadership training with other universities, increasing the state’s capacity to better serve individuals with dual sensory impairment (deaf-blindness) and at the same time assisting in building the capacity of other states.
“Families and service providers in Mississippi should feel encouraged by this growing number of leaders in the field learning skills to improve and increase the necessary supports for children and youth with deaf-blindness,” she said.
As a Helen Keller Fellow, students participate in a variety of projects and events, including seminars, webinars and attending the national deaf-blind project seminar week. There are also internship opportunities that include planning, participating and assisting in leading technical assistance and hands-on activities with administrators, families, agencies, deaf-blind children and youth.
The overall goal of the Helen Keller Fellows project is to increase leadership and networks across the nation to lessen the gap between children with simultaneous vision and hearing impairments, and the professional expertise required to meet their educational needs.
For more information, contact either Toni Hollingsworth or Dr. Linda McDowell with the Mississippi Deaf-Blind Project at 800.264.5135.
Visiting from universities across the U.S., the Helen Keller Fellows, 10 graduate students working on degrees with emphasis in simultaneous vision and hearing impairment, met at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus in October for orientation to their one-year experience. The second cohort of Helen Keller Fellows are, from left to right, (front) Lianne Legaspi of Hunter College, New York; Bobbie Fletcher of the University of Alabama; Christel Williams of East Carolina University; Jody Steinhilber of Boston College; Emilie Mulholland of the University of Utah; (back) Tanya Derkash of San Francisco State University; Rachel Heuston of the University of Arizona; Ashle Wilson of Texas Tech University; Diane Dalsimer of Utah State University; and Judi Emerson of The University of Southern Mississippi. (Submitted photo)
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu/gulfcoast .