Sign of Support: Mill Neck Organization Mentors Bloom Grads
Lindsay Byrne started her professional career at Mill Neck Family of Organizations. Through her current position as Assistant Director of Interpretive Services, she has come to know Bloom grads for their exceptional readiness as ASL interpreting professionals.
The Mill Neck family of organizations provides a wide range of support for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, including ASL interpreting. Byrne praises her experience with Bloomsburg, particularly with the Collaborating to Assist Teacher Candidate Hiring (CATCH) Conference, which has allowed her to interact with and recruit pre-service interpreters. She commends Bloomsburg’s commitment to its students and the interpreting industry while noting the active presence of alumni at conferences and their willingness to support current students and graduates.
“Bloomsburg grads are very real [and] understand what the world truly is. Their alumni are very serious about being present for their students and the industry.“
Byrne says that Bloom grads apply to Mill Neck with a solid understanding of the day-to-day realities of the interpreting profession. She attributes that to the requirements set by the program and the high number of “hands-up” time each student must complete before and after graduation, which allows students to adjust to the unique challenges of an ASL interpreter. From social conversations to medical appointments or signing legal documents, interpreters must be adaptable and possess a wide range of skills with an honest awareness of their skillset.
“From customer service to medical appointments to job interviews, an interpreter has to realize that every job and every hour can change, and you have to get ready for that,” explained Byrne. “You accompany someone to a medical appointment, and now they are going for a CT scan – Are you comfortable with that? Are you willing to put your name on that deposition? You can put someone’s life at risk.”
“The ASL program [at Bloomsburg] is set up to be challenging that when you graduate, you are fully prepared to enter the world of interpreting, and that world is also challenging.” Said Megan Newman, ’17, Bloom grad and current Mill Neck Interpretive Services staff interpreter.
Burne also underscores the significance of mentorship and stability when transitioning from college to the professional realm, and says Mill Neck plays a role in helping students obtain the time and experience necessary to explore their strengths and ask questions to ensure effective communication. As Assistant Director, she frequently receives requests for observations from different universities, including Bloomsburg.
“Throughout your education, we spend a lot of time volunteering and observing, and I feel that involves a lot of networking, so from my experience, [I] did observations through Mill Neck, and they were a great partner and got me out to meet people,” says staff interpreter for Mill Neck Interpretive Services, Nora Reade ’17. “Bloomsburg was amazing.”
“As an agency, we take time to find mentorship and get find a good match with both student and interpreter. We have a screening process to ensure confidence before putting you in a job. Bloomsburg students ask a lot of good questions that tell us they understand the realities of the job.”