Date of Award

Winter 3-9-2015

Exit Requirement


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies


Special Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Elisa Maroney

Committee Member

Dr. Adele Schepige

Committee Member

Dr. Caroline Solomon


Since the 1990’s there has been an ever increasing number of Deaf people seeking higher education and pursuing a wide variety of professions and careers that enhance their life experiences. The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields have seen an influx of Deaf people interested in engaging in education and life-long careers in these fields and their respective disciplines. One of the reasons behind this growing interest by Deaf people is the National Science Foundation’s commitment to expanding the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM (NSF, 2012). Many Deaf students in higher education and Deaf professionals engaging in STEM careers and professions report a lack of qualified signed language interpreters available to access communication events that are necessary to become successful in these fields and disciplines.

In the field of signed language interpreting worldwide there has been no research conducted on interpreters and the interpreting process in STEM. There abound many anecdotal experiences by Deaf professionals and signed language interpreters alike regarding the challenges of working and interpreting in STEM. One consequence of not having qualified signed language interpreters in STEM is that the professional development of Deaf students and Deaf professionals who choose to study and build careers in these fields is hampered. In this exploratory study, competencies specific to interpreting in various aspects of the STEM fields and disciplines, as identified by the Deaf consumers who engage interpreting services, will be identified and described.