Davina Mayor was five years old when her family moved from Nigeria to the U.K. “My parents wanted me to have more opportunities and access to better education,” explains Mayor, who continues to seek out the same goals today. That is why she decided to come to Gallaudet, where she is a first-year student studying Information Technology and Business.

Woman with very short hair poses by looking off to the upper right of the frame. She is wearing a white blazer over a black outfit.
Davina Mayor’s childhood experiences inspired the idea for her business, Signscape, which won first place in the BisonTank competition.

She combined all of these life experiences into a business pitch, which won first place in the recent BisonTank competition. Mayor has developed a website called “Signscape,” which will help teach children British Sign Language (BSL) through videos and photos featuring a diverse group of Deaf people. She hopes seeing BIPOC role models will boost young people’s self esteem and encourage them to learn more. By creating a constant stream of new content, the site can keep users engaged while providing employment opportunities.

“Being able to solve problems for people is wonderful,” Mayor says. “I’m deeply immersed in graphic design and entrepreneurship because I love being creative and having the freedom to innovate.”

In addition to launching Signscape, Mayor will be spending the summer interning with Microsoft through the 2024 New Technologists program. “My goal is to fully immerse myself in the dynamic environment at Microsoft. I’m looking forward to the hands-on training with senior engineers and exposure to various tools and programming languages,” she says. “Ultimately, I hope to gain valuable skills and experiences that will help me succeed in my future career.”

Mayor learned about the internship from Shuxu Huffman, ’16, a Microsoft engineer who is an adjunct faculty member teaching a course on AI software development tools. Huffman is excited to see her taking advantage of this program. “The chance to network as well as the experience itself can open doors leading to more opportunities in the future,” Huffman says.

For Huffman, who came to Gallaudet after completing high school in China, being an international student was an incredible way to tap into new resources. “Through my journey I have received so much guidance, support, and mentorship from the community,” Huffman says.

Mayor has felt a similarly warm welcome here, and appreciates what she has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time. “This success is partly because of my move to a more vibrant environment,” she says. “It’s the outcome of hard work, determination, and consistency, and it’s all paid off.”

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