On Friday, May 12, 2023, family, friends, and community will gather to celebrate our Class of 2023 graduating students’ accomplishments as they receive their diplomas. Speaking to them are the following keynote and student speakers.

Dr. Annelies Kusters
Graduate Ceremony Keynote Speaker

Dr. Annelies Kusters is an Associate Professor in Sign Language and Intercultural Research at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has been making significant contributions to the field of signed language research since 2017. Leading a team of dedicated deaf scholars in the humanities, she undertook the trailblazing project “Deaf Mobilities Across International Borders: Visualising Intersectionality and Translanguaging” ( from 2017 to 2023, with generous funding by the European Research Council. 

Dr. Kusters has a diverse academic background, including a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a master’s degree in social and cultural anthropology from the University of Leuven, and Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Deaf Studies from the University of Bristol. Fueled by her passion for ethnographic research, she has conducted extensive fieldwork in places such as Suriname, Ghana, India, the United Kingdom, and several international deaf events and workplaces since 2004. 

Highly regarded for her expertise in the study of language practices, language ideologies, transnationalism, and mobilities, Dr. Kusters is currently delving into International Sign and sign multilingualism within the context of professional mobility. Her unwavering commitment to her research continues to inspire and pave the way for advancements in Deaf Studies, mobility studies, and applied linguistics.

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
Undergraduate Ceremony Keynote Speaker

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, interim president of Mount Holyoke College, is a clinical psychologist widely known for both her expertise on race relations and as a thought leader in higher education. Her 13 years as the president of Spelman College (2002-2015) were marked by innovation and growth, and her visionary leadership was recognized in 2013 with the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award. 

The author of the best-selling “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”and Other Conversations About Race (now in the 2017 20th anniversary edition) and Can We Talk About Race? and Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation (2007), Dr. Tatum is a sought-after speaker on the topics of racial identity development, race and education, strategies for creating inclusive campus environments, and higher education leadership. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, she was the 2014 recipient of the APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology. 

A civic leader in the Atlanta community, Dr. Tatum is engaged in educational initiatives designed to expand educational opportunities for underserved students and their families, as well as to connect communities across lines of difference. Locally she serves on the governing boards of the Westside Future Fund and Achieve Atlanta. Her national service includes her membership on the board of Educational Testing Service, as well as on the board of Sesame Workshop.

Dr. Tatum holds a B.A. degree in psychology from Wesleyan University, an M.A. and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, and an M.A. in religious studies from Hartford Seminary. Over the course of her career, she has served as a faculty member at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Westfield State University; and Mount Holyoke College. Before her 2002 appointment as president of Spelman, she served as dean and acting president at Mount Holyoke College. In Spring 2017, she was the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor at Stanford University.

Edgar Sanabria Ramos
Graduate Student Speaker

Edgar Sanabria Ramos, of Mexico City, Mexico, is a skilled and experienced Deaf educator who was born into a multigenerational deaf family. He is a native signer of Lengua de Señas Mexicana (LSM). Based in Mexico City, Edgar holds a bachelor’s degree in pedagogy from Universidad Tecnológica Latinoamericana, and is graduating from Gallaudet University with a Master of Arts degree in Sign Language Education (MASLED). 

Edgar is renowned for his expertise in teaching and consulting about LSM and Mexican Deaf culture in various schools, agencies, and associations. He developed curricula for a school for the deaf in Mexico, catering to individuals at different levels of education, from preschool to college. His specialization is in ASL-LSM translation, and he works as the Linguistic Advisor for Universidad Autónoma de México (UAM), Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (ENAH), and Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM). He also works as an American Sign Language consultant and Lengua de Señas Mexicana evaluator, and is certified as a deaf interpreter in Mexico.

Edgar is one of the hosts of LSM FORO, where he serves as both a host and interpreter. He has played a vital role in the production of Spanish-LSM-Spanish translation as an Advisor/Coordinator for the LSM dictionary (DIELSEME I and II), specifically designed for teachers of deaf and hearing children in the Mexican national educational system. He provides teaching, advising, and consulting services for teachers of different educational modalities related to education for Deaf and hearing children in bicultural and bilingual settings.

Edgar has served as an Advisor/Coordinator, Translator, and Signatory of the Mexican National Anthem authorized by the Ministry of the Interior. He has also worked as an Advisor and Translator for the SEP/DEEI in delivering stories in LSM, with this quote “Let’s read better every day” emphasized within the LSM community. Additionally, Edgar is a co-founder of and educator with Grupo de Estudio LSM, a company developing and providing LSM instruction through online means. With his extensive experience and leadership, Edgar is a valuable asset to the deaf community and the field of education in Mexico.

Jakiya Murphy
Undergraduate Student Speaker

Jakiya Murphy, of Austin, Texas, came to Gallaudet University as an undergraduate student in the fall of 2019. She majored in English, intending to become an English teacher in the near future. Along the way, she had the opportunity to be part of the Division of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusive Excellence (DEDI) at Gallaudet. Working there for three years, Jakiya enjoyed networking with people from diverse backgrounds. In addition, Jakiya learned how to work with people to fight the injustice, racism, and oppression that students, faculty, and staff experience by spreading awareness and providing workshops.

During her third year at Gallaudet, Jakiya taught the ENG 50 course as part of her internship experience. This experience has given Jakiya a taste of what it is like to be an English teacher. Becoming more confident in her career goals, she became Assistant Director for ALLSTAR (Academic Learning Lab for Student Training, Achievement, and Readiness). The ALLSTAR tutoring center focuses on supporting and tutoring students of color; however, all students are welcome. In this position, Jakiya learned how to work with and teach English to students with different needs and backgrounds, which has helped her in her preparation for her career as a teacher.

Jakiya has been accepted into the Master in Deaf Education Studies program at Gallaudet, and will start immediately after receiving her Bachelor of Arts in English. Her goal after completing her master’s degree is to become an English teacher for high school students in a small deaf school.

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