A touching essay about her experiences as an intern in the Sulphur Springs School District earned American Sign Language student Courtney Wiscarson a statewide scholarship, and the honor of being the first student from College of the Canyons to win the award.
“Fingers flutter and hands slide as they form pictures and words; each sign comes together to create the beautiful art of American Sign Language,” Wiscarson wrote in her award-winning essay for the Dr. Bernard L. Hyink Scholarship given by the California Internship and Work Experience Association (CIWEA).
The COC Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE) department is a member of CIWEA, California’s leading professional association for educators and employers dedicated to supporting internship and work experience programs in higher education.
Gina Bogna, acting assistant dean of COC’s Internships, Job Development, and Career Center, encouraged 10 students from the college to apply for the award’s two-year college category, which was open to students from California’s 113 community colleges. Only one winner – Wiscarson – was selected to receive the $1,000 award.
Her 750-word essay about working as an interpreter highlighted the resilience of the deaf and hard-of-hearing students with whom she worked. She also touched on the uncertainty she felt in taking what she learned in the classroom and applying it in a professional setting, in particular, her worry about signing incorrectly to the children.
Wiscarson credited her mentor with guiding her through the internship experience: “She did everything in her power for these kids, and she did everything in her power for me.”
The successful internship confirmed Wiscarson’s career goal of working as an interpreter with elementary school children.
For more information about Cooperative Work Experience Education at College of the Canyons, visit www.canyons.edu/cwee