December 15, 2022

Preparing for her future career, freshman Emma Koch (Hometown: Lucasville, Ohio) decided to pursue a Deaf Studies minor to pair with her overall Nursing degree in hopes to become fluent enough to communicate with possible deaf or hard of hearing patients in a hospital.

“I think someone should choose the deaf studies minor to learn more about how people who are hard of hearing can communicate,” she said. “So, if they meet someone in their career who is hard of hearing or deaf, they could have basic communication skills to help them.”

Koch thought the opportunity to add this minor was a perfect pairing with her nursing degree and her future plans to become a Nurse Practitioner. She wants to use the skills she obtains in both of these careers to participate in the mission field and manage clinics in hard-to-reach areas internationally and throughout the United States.

At the university, she has been able to connect with others interested in her career plans and build her skills for a future of service. In addition to her majors, she is a part of Project BEAR – Building Emerging & Achieving Readers – and works to enhance early literacy instruction for children from birth to age five.

As part of the School of Education, SSU offers both a Deaf Studies minor as well as a K-12 Deaf Studies Certificate. Students enrolled in the program’s courses can enhance their ability to interact and communicate in both work and social settings with individuals living with deafness or hearing impairments. Through their studies, students acquire knowledge of deafness, an overview of the deaf community and its culture, and American Sign Language (ASL) vocabulary.

To learn more about the Deaf Studies program within the School of Education at Shawnee State University, visit