Areas of Study


Master’s students in the Department of Interpretation and Translation (DoIT) take a sequence of three research courses in their program of studies. The result is an in-depth study on a specific aspect of signed language interpreting or translation.

The students present their results during the DoIT Annual Student Research Forum that takes place each Spring. Many MAI students go on to publish their research findings in professional journals.

A description of the 2018 MAI student research projects are given below:


Krystal Nicole Butler
Same Degree, Different Story? Exploring the Experiences of Students of Color in Interpreting Programs

One avenue aspiring interpreters take towards acquiring American Sign Language (ASL) and English proficiency is attending an Interpreter Education Program (IEP). A student’s overall perspective of their IEP experience is shaped by the nature of their exchanges with faculty and peers and their academic interactions within the classroom.

This study compares the perspectives of white students with students of color to determine similarities and differences in their IEP experiences.


Lena Jenny
The Impact of Self-Expression: Experiences of Female ASL Interpreters That Present Using Masculine-Tethered Traits

The range of gender-expression that appears in the professional realm is increasing. In the ASL-English interpreting profession, many women are challenging the antiquated norm of the “professional female dress code.”

When hearing, female, ASL-English interpreters present as more “masculine” at work, are they met with resistance or support? Why do they challenge the norm at all?

This study delves into the experience of these women by investigating the intersectionality of sexual orientation, gender identity, and race.


S.J. Knight
Interpreting-Related Anxiety in Interpreter Education Programs: Perceptions of Student and Faculty

The act of interpreting has been shown to be a highly stressful experience. While studies have demonstrated the need for interpreters to manage their stress, this topic may not be thoroughly covered in interpreter education programs.

The aim of this study is to examine the atmosphere toward anxiety in these programs and to provide recommendations for educators as to how to support students who struggle with interpreting-related anxiety. The findings are drawn from a nationwide survey of faculty and students from four-year interpreter education programs.


Jeremy Miller
Impact of Visual Preparation Materials on Depiction in ASL Interpretations and Target Audience Comprehension

For Deaf and Hard of Hearing students taking courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), signed language interpreters often serve as the principle point of access to highly technical subject matter. However, if interpreters have limited scientific literacy and knowledge, the accuracy of the interpretation may suffer.

In this study, I explore how the use of visually rich preparation materials impact both interpreters’ ASL production and Deaf students’ comprehension of and engagement with STEM lectures at the postsecondary level.


Cami Miner
Interpreting for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Emergent Signers in Academia

Deaf individuals who acquire American Sign Language later in life, called emergent signers, tend to use interpreters while acquiring ASL in academic settings. In this situation, interpreters face the challenge of facilitating access to academic content while the client is still acquiring ASL.

This study investigates emergent signers’ comprehension of linguistic features in a transliterated and ASL interpreted lecture. Post-study interviews provide insight into their preferences and perspectives. Findings have implications for practitioners and researchers working with this population.


Jenni Mosiman
A Survey of Interpreters’ use of RID’s Alternative Pathway to Certification

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) established a means for practitioners who do not hold a bachelor’s degree to document professional experiences in order to sit for the interview and performance portion of the National Interpreter Certification (NIC) exam. This “Alternative Pathway” is RID’s approach for increasing the professional standards of interpreters who are currently working in the field.

This study examines how interpreters fulfill the requirements of the Alternative Pathway in order to gain certification.


Angela D. Reel
Respect for Colleagues: Are sign language interpreters harming their profession?

Positive working relationships are critical both to employees’ job satisfaction and work outcomes. In the sign language interpreting profession, respect between colleagues is a critical component to workplace success. Conflict between colleagues may impact an individual’s mental outlook, lead to burnout, and result in attrition in the field.

Further, the presence of “horizontal violence” may have larger implications for the profession at large. In my study I examine the prevalence of horizontal violence experienced by sign language interpreters with the aim of improving working conditions in the profession and cultivating positive collegial relations among interpreters.


Rachel Sulmonte
The Effect of Educational Interpreters on Successful Social Integration of Mainstreamed Deaf Students

The increase of Deaf students being mainstreamed in public schools resulted in a high demand for qualified educational interpreters. Although much research has explored the social experiences of Deaf mainstream students, the impact of educational interpreters on students’ social integration has not been investigated.

This study examines the experiences of eight Deaf students who recently graduated from mainstream programs and presents themes of how educational interpreters positively impacted the students’ successful social integration in the school setting.


Elsa Sylvester
Team Interpreting: An Examination of Interpreter Support during ASL-to-English Interpretation

The success of collaboration during team interpreting can impact the overall outcome for both hearing and Deaf consumers. Despite this, the profession of ASL-English interpreting has limited research regarding the relationship between co-interpreters on teamed assignments.

This research study examines the demands faced by the “on” interpreter when interpreting from ASL into English and how decoy feeds from the “support” interpreter impacts the working relationship between the interpreters.

MAI Student Research main page

Past MAI Student Research Projects

MAI Student Research – Spring 2017

MAI Student Research – Spring 2016

MAI Student Research – Spring 2015

MAI Students Peer Reviewed Publications

Many MAI students in the Department of Interpretation have published the research they conducted as graduate students. Below is a sampling of MAI student publications.

Knodel, R. K. (2018). Coping with vicarious trauma in mental health interpreting. Journal of Interpretation, 26(1), Article 2. Read more.

Bower, K . (2015). Stress and burnout in video relay service (VRS) interpreting. Journal of Interpretation, 24(1), Article 2. Read more.

Lang, C. (2015). Language use at RID conferences: A survey on behaviors and perceptions. Journal of Interpretation, 24(1). Read more.

Ganz Horwitz, M. (2014). Demands and strategies of interpreting a theatrical performance into American Sign Language. Journal of Interpretation, 23(1). Read more.

Sforza. S. (2014). DI(2) = Team Interpreting. In R. Adam, C. Stone, S. Collins, &; M. Metzger (Eds), Deaf Interpreters At Work (pp. 19-28). Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Marks, A. (2012). Participation framework and footing shifts in an interpreted academic meeting. Journal of Interpretation, 22(1), Article 4. Read more.

Spingarn, T. (2001). Knowledge of Deaf community-related words, symbols and acronyms among hearing people: Implications for the production of an equivalent interpretation. Journal of Interpretation, 69-84.



Grading System: letter grades only.

This course introduces students to the field of International Development by examining the history, theories, and models of development. Drawing on a range of case studies, students gain an understanding of development as a set of institutions and networks that emerged in the post WW II period and proliferated primarily throughout the Global South, facilitated by neoliberal policies. Critically analyzing the role of development organizations from the Global North in foreign assistance, as well as their influence on social policies and political decision-making, students will apply their insights to current development issues, controversies, and debates.

This course expands upon IDP 770: Introduction to International Development by exploring human rights frameworks currently reshaping the field of international development, particularly with respect to sustainable development goals. IDP-771 applies human rights theories and models to case studies from Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, signed language communities, and persons with disabilities around the world to analyze human rights indicators in the context of sustainability, as well as social movements, grassroots activism, and other forms of non-governmental organizing work. This course also examines the impact of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), assistance projects/programs, international laws, and social protection policies for communities at the local, regional, national and international level.

This course explores how micropolitical factors shape individual experiences and social relations within and between groups. Understanding human experiences and practices connected to gender, race, ethnicity, language, disability, sexuality (and so on) as changeable, contradictory, and often situation-specific, we will examine personal choices, identities, and community formations as legacies of and responses to the ways power is organized under late-modern capitalism and post-colonial international relations. Drawing from a wide range of social scientific materials, we will pay especial attention to intersections of race and class, as well as local, national, and global affiliation in the formation and transformation of people's lives. Course activities focus on the project level in which development takes place, allowing students to examine those social categories that most impact development outcomes, associated political processes, and individual and group action of the group or groups selected for the semester project.

This course builds upon IDP 770 and 772 by focusing on the intersections between race, gender and sexuality in international development agendas emphasizing the role of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing people and people with disabilities. Drawing on theoretical and practical cases, students will explore the ways that race, gender and sexuality shape individual and group identities including diverse practices, perspectives and creative development action. Through critical analysis of the course's core concepts, students will develop insight into the social issues faced by particular groups around the world, as well as the ways that others forms of categorization further impact social inequalities, such as: socioeconomic class, social hierarchies, disability, ethnicity, family structures and expectations, language and communication, and religion.

This course focuses on collaborative formulation, development and evaluation of programs working with Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people and people with disabilities in disaster and humanitarian contexts. Exploring current philosophical, theoretical, and methodological stances related to collaborative program development, course activities demonstrate the salience of international human rights frameworks for sign language-centered leadership and disability rights, and connect these to bi- and multilateral organizational and funding channels now undergoing enhancement as a result of the United Nations introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using the latter as a foundation to identifying socioeconomic problems and barriers to self-determination, participation, and equity, students will design program proposals in response to an actual Request for Proposal (RFP). Work on peer teams, students will then submit an Evaluation Plan for an actual program. In addition to cultivating program development and evaluation skills, course activities provide students with opportunities to practice program management skills and grant-writing experience.

IDP-775 introduces students to the design, planning, and implementation of community development projects with Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing people, signed language communities, and people with disabilities with a focus on disaster and humanitarian contexts. Theoretical frameworks address the nature of social change in societies around the world, the interrelationship between inequitable social conditions and efforts such conditions, and the value of local constituencies’ involvement in shaping change. Students will develop essential skills for designing projects, as well as training in collaborative team-building and facilitation of projects that are sensitive to local communities’ viewpoints, social interests, and leadership in local and international development networks.

International development activities place a heavy emphasis on the ability to skillfully interact with and to generate many types of data. This course introduces students to the most common types of research methods and strategies currently used in the international development field, and explores the ethical implications of research planning, methodological decision-making, and research fieldwork. Course activities include: introduction to research formulation and design; literature review; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods; data collection and analysis; rapid assessment methods; and participatory community assessments. Course activities also highlight the elements of a good argument and provide opportunities to analyze, construct, and to refine research arguments.

International development activities place a heavy emphasis on the ability to skillfully interact with and to generate many types of data. This course introduces students to the most common types of research methods and strategies currently used in the international development field, and explores the ethical implications of research planning, methodological decision-making, and research fieldwork. Course activities include: introduction to research formulation and design; literature review; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods; data collection and analysis; rapid assessment methods; and participatory community assessments. Course activities also highlight the elements of a good argument and provide opportunities to analyze, construct, and to refine research arguments.

This course introduces students to standard practices of professional communication, conduct, and preparation of documents and presentation materials and types commonly used in the international development field. Course activities include: technical writing, creating persuasive messages in formats and media appropriate to a variety of audiences (e.g., specialist, non-specialist, targeted groups). Course activities will also address professional communication and conduct, and guide students in preparing their IDMA portfolios for submission at the end of the semester (required for continuing to the second year of IDMA graduate study, practicum and internship experiences)

Professional service and direct action are core features of international development work, and therefore a critical aspect of graduate-level preparation. The IDMA's supervised practicum is designed to offer practical field experience observing and working in an international development assistance organization, federal agency, for- or non-profit organization, or other development-related venue. The supervised field practicum provides students with a critical first opportunity to integrate didactic interdisciplinary study of international development with professional interaction and engagement in an international development organization, federal agency, non-profit organization, or other international development entity (think tank, policy institute). An on-site supervisor and a university-based supervisor (practicum instructor) provide supervision and guidance to promote students' professional development, and application of theoretical knowledge to real-world international development situations, issues, and opportunities.

This course builds on IDP-780 Supervised Practicum for International Development. As in that course, field experience working in a development assistance organization, federal agency, or nonprofit organization is an essential part of graduate training in and preparation for professional careers in the international development field. The supervised internship placement adds to the practicum experience by expanding the scope of professional activities and outputs expected of students, and by increasing students¿ level of responsibility and accountability to partnering organizations and collaborating communities. As with IDP-780, students engage in practical experiences guided by the supervision of an on-site supervisor and a university supervisor (internship instructor). The supervised internship requires a minimum of 360 clock hours.

Building on IDP-779 Professional Seminar I, this course is designed to deepen students understanding of standard practices of professional communication, conduct, and preparation of documents and presentation materials, as well as their understanding and advocacy of human rights, with an emphasis on language, and visible and invisible disabilities. In addition to preparing students for entry into professional international development work (e.g., professional rapport and alliance-building, developing CVs and cover letters for various types of job postings, job search skills), IDP-782 activities guide students in critical reflection on the impact of cross- and intercultural power dynamics for professional interaction, collaborative engagement, and ethical practice.

Grading System: letter grades only.

Independent studies enable advanced study of a topic, of interest to the student and the faculty member, not covered in the curriculum. Independent studies should not substitute for required courses, although exceptions may be considered on a case-by- case basis. Note: A Registrar's Office Graduate Student Independent Study Form ( and syllabus must be submitted to the Registrar's Office before the add/drop period ends to register for an Independent Study

Grading System: letter grades only.

Get the Details

Fill out our inquiry form for an Admissions Counselor to contact you.

Inquiry Form
Apply Today

Create an account to start Your Applications.

Create an Account
Contact the Admissions Office?
Undergraduate Admissions

Contact Us

2018 MAI Student Research Presentations


Select what best describes your relationship to Gallaudet University so we can effectively route your email.
By submitting this form, I opt in to receive select information and deaf resources from Gallaudet University via email.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.