Universities

Deaf UTech grad wants more college interpreters | Main stories

When Céline Lobban began her studies at the Jamaica University of Technology in 2017, she was the only deaf person in her class in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science.

Lobban knew from the start that it would have been a daunting task, but she was undeterred.

It was in third year at Denbigh High School in Clarendon that she completely lost her ability to hear after years of using a hearing aid, so she had already experienced what it was like to be in a classroom and not being able to communicate.

Talk with the gleaner Through an interpreter at her graduation ceremony on Friday, the 25-year-old said the communication barrier often left her feeling isolated.

“I sometimes felt alone because I was the only deaf student in the whole class. I wanted to bond, I wanted to communicate with them, but it was hard because they could hear and I was deaf,” Lobban said.

Despite the challenge, Lobban chose to focus on her dream of working in the computer industry. It was a passion sparked by a teacher at the JAD May Pen Unit for the Deaf, to which she transferred from Denbigh High.

One of her professors inspired her to attend UTech and ensured that she did well academically in order to enroll.

She also attended Lister Mair/Gilby School for the Deaf in Kingston to study subjects that were not available at the JAD May Pen Unit for the Deaf.

His academic performance was rewarded with a scholarship from the National Commercial Bank, which financed his university tuition.

For his father, retired police officer Evon Lobban, the stock market was the financial miracle he prayed for.

Since her school fees were taken care of, Evon said he made sure to support his daughter in any other way she needed.

“At least four times a month, mi haffi checks that she’s sure everything is in order and mi nuh leaves her outside, all medical. I have a relationship with the people at the university who [if anything]a mi dem call,” he said.

But Evon still had to find an interpreter for his daughter, which would cost him up to $2,500 an hour. But he said it was worth it.

“She’s brilliant, man, and now she’s not missing a semester,” the proud dad said.

Evon’s devotion to his daughter hasn’t gone unnoticed, as Lobban said the gleaner that he was “the foundation and the foundation” that pushed her to complete her studies.

Lobban said her degree — a bachelor of science in computer science with a major in information systems — allowed her to create the life she always wanted.

“I’m so happy. It means now I can finally achieve the things I wanted to achieve. I can get the kind of job I want to get,” said Lobban, who currently teaches information technology at his alma mater, Lister Mair/Gilby School for the Deaf.

“I am a person who has broken many barriers and so would like for my success, especially in this area, to influence other deaf people to show them that they can have similar success,” she said. declared.

And even as she celebrates this milestone, she hopes the next deaf student who decides to attend college in Jamaica won’t be the only one in the class and will benefit from more interpreters.

“Right now in Jamaica you don’t have a lot of interpreters available, so when you think about going to college, the first thing a student thinks of is ‘who is going to interpret for me?’ and then they also think about the financial aspect of that, in terms of paying interpreters, because with a deaf person, if they can have that financial support for interpreters, that would be really important,” she said .