GWU Alumnus Making a Difference for Deaf Children

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Antwan Campbell (’03) is a Leader in Interpreting Profession

Antwan Campbell was inspired to earn a degree in American Sign Language (ASL) because he witnessed how awkward it was for his deaf brother to communicate through a female interpreter.

“I felt that he, being a black male, wasn’t being represented as much as he should be,” Campbell explained. “Caucasian females are the majority in the interpreting profession. There are very few male interpreters available, if any at all. My brother is three years younger than I am and seeing him have to go without an interpreter or have a female talk for him was a very eye-opening experience. This made me want to pursue an interpreting career.”

Since graduating from GWU with a bachelor’s degree in ASL, Campbell earned a master’s degree in public administration and is employed as lead interpreter for Cumberland County Schools in his hometown, Fayetteville, N.C. He oversees the county’s interpreting services and some of his duties include evaluating and observing educational interpreters in the classroom and arranging interpreting services for deaf parents and adults.

While his job improves the education for deaf children in his school system, his role as president of the N.C. Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Inc. gives him a chance to influence state and national policy makers.

“I am a member of an advisory group that is looking at the standards we have for interpreters in North Carolina to determine if we need to increase those standards in order to have the most highly-qualified interpreters working with students in the educational system,” Campbell added. “I am mentoring other interpreters and trying to promote the interpreting profession wherever I can, as it is a passion of mine.”

He developed his confidence as a leader by taking advantage of Gardner-Webb’s opportunities for students. He was involved with the theater, Student Alumni Council and intramural sports. He served as president for Gardner-Webb Resident Advisors and as director of the North Carolina Association of Residence Halls. He volunteered as an ASL lab teacher and tutor and worked in the Sports Information Office.

“Being a leader on campus sparked my desire to become the leader I am today,” Campbell assessed.

He benefitted from challenging courses with Dr. Mary J. High, associate professor of ASL and director of the ASL program. “She was an awesome professor,” he praised. “She helped push us out of our comfort zones and gave us what we needed when we needed it.”

He continued, “My time at Gardner-Webb helped me tremendously, as it gave me plenty of opportunities to mentor and work with other interpreters and the skills that are required to do so. My classes gave me the necessary knowledge to perform my duties and gave me the training needed to function in a real-world interpreting assignment. I learned the theory behind why we do something but also had the opportunity to practice, so I feel I was better able to adapt on the job.”

Campbell recommends Gardner-Webb, because the University offers an exceptional education in a Christian environment that supports and encourages.

“It is a community of family and friends,” he shared. “It is a place where you can learn and grow, not only academically but spiritually as well. My faith is the basis for my life and I was able to continue to nurture that while at Gardner-Webb. The University was more than a school to me, it became my home. Gardner-Webb is a school where your professors know you by name and not by a number—a school where you can stand out and be known for your accomplishments and be rewarded for your successes.”