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Dissertation Defense for Dawn Wessling

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
From: Gaurav Mathur, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School
Re: Dissertation Defense for Dawn Wessling

It is my pleasure to announce that Dawn Marie Wessling, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Interpretation and Translation, will defend her dissertation on “Stories of leaving: A multiple case study of the attrition of novice American Sign Language-English interpreters” on Monday, November 23, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The first forty minutes of the dissertation defense are open to the Gallaudet community via a live webinar.  Register here to attend. 

Ms. Wesslings’ study uses Schneider’s (1987) theoretical framework of attraction, selection, and attrition (ASA) from applied and organizational psychology along with person-organization fit (PO Fit) as described by Caplan (2011) to examine individuals’ attrition from early career professional interpreting practice. The results of this multiple case study found that novice interpreters leave the profession for a variety of fit-related reasons. The primary issues that contribute to attrition are related to unmet needs, inadequate preparation, and interpersonal dissimilarity. An increased understanding of attrition among interpreters may lead to improved strategies to help individuals assess and improve their fit with the profession. Further, the findings may assist the members of the interpreting profession to develop ways to address issues of fit when barriers arise. Critically, increased retention of signed language interpreters will result in a greater number of available practitioners to provide communication access for the deaf community.

The members of Ms. Wesslings’ dissertation committee are Dr. Danielle Hunt, Department of Interpretation and Translation, chair of the dissertation committee;  Dr. Tania Thomas-Presswood, Department of Psychology; Dr. Keith Cagle, Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education, National Technical Institute for the Deaf; and Dr. Amanda Blakewood Pascale, College of Education and Human Services, University of North Florida.

Ms. Wessling has been working as a signed language interpreter for nearly 30 years and has been teaching interpreting and related topics in workshops and academic settings for 20+ years. She is a veteran of the United States Navy and learned American Sign Language from the Deaf community while on active duty. Ms. Wessling entered Gallaudet University as a doctoral student in 2014, with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland University College, Europe and a Master of Education degree from the University of North Florida (UNF).  She currently serves as an associate instructor and the staff interpreter for the College of Education and Human Services at UNF. Her dissertation study of attrition by novice ASL-English interpreters was supported by a Small Research Grant. Her research interests include cognition in natural ASL discourse versus interpreted discourse, interpreted emotional utterances, and language policy in interpreter education. She has published studies and presented research regarding language modality in interpreter education, video relay service interpreting, and language shaming in interpreter education in the US and Europe. She is a member of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the Conference of Interpreter Trainers, the National Alliance of Black Interpreters (DC Chapter), and the National Association of the Deaf. 

Please join me in extending best wishes to Dawn Wessling for her dissertation defense.

 

Posted by Elizabeth Gibbons | Posted November 13, 2020 at 12:59 PM

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