Washington, DC, United States
Washington, DC, United States

Gallaudet University is a federally chartered private university for the education of the Deaf and hard of hearing located in Washington, D.C., on a 99 acres campus.Founded in 1864, Gallaudet University was originally for both deaf and blind children. It was the first school for the advanced education of the deaf and hard of hearing in the world and remains the only higher education institution in which all programs and services are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. Hearing students are admitted to the graduate school and a small number are also admitted as undergraduates each year. The university was named after Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a notable figure in the advancement of deaf education, who himself was not deaf.Gallaudet University is officially bilingual, with American Sign Language and English used for instruction and by the college community. Although there are no specific ASL proficiency requirements for undergraduate admission, many graduate programs do require varying degrees of knowledge of the language as a prerequisite. Wikipedia.


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News Article | April 11, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Robert Panara, an influential teacher, poet and pioneer in the field of deaf studies, was immortalized as the 16th inductee into the U.S. Postal Service's Distinguished American stamp series on a Forever stamp today. The dedication ceremony took place at the theatre bearing his name at Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). Panara's contributions to Washington, DC's Gallaudet University and NTID dramatically expanded educational opportunities for the deaf.   The 2-ounce stamp features a photograph of Panara taken in 2009 by Mark Benjamin, official NTID photographer. Panara is shown signing the word "respect." Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, was the art director. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 2-ounce price. The current price is 70-cents.   Followers of the Postal Service's Facebook page can view streaming video of the event at facebook.com/USPS. The public is asked to share the news on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #PanaraForever and #DeafEducation.   During his 40-year teaching career, Panara (1920-2014) inspired generations of students with his powerful use of American Sign Language (ASL) to convey Shakespeare and other works of literature. One of his best-known poems was the intensely personal "On His Deafness."   "Our stamps are miniature works of art that highlight the American experience," said U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David Williams in dedicating the stamp. "In creating this stamp our goal was to communicate Robert Panara's love and enthusiasm for literature, poetry and theatrical pieces as he used American Sign Language to make each topic more dramatic and enlightening. Poetry and drama came to life through his unique style of expression, Robert was famous for his ability to establish an immediate rapport with his students, through fluid, eloquent sign language which many described as 'sculptures in the air'."   Joining Williams were NTID President and RIT Vice President and Dean Gerard Buckley; NTID Instructional Support Faculty member John Panara (son); as well as author and NTID Professor Emeritus Dr. Harry Lang. U.S. Postal Service Marketing Vice President Steven Monteith served as master of ceremonies.   "Seeing my father honored on a U.S. postage stamp as a 'Distinguished American' makes me extremely proud," said Panara. "As a teacher and an authority in the fields of literature and deaf studies, he inspired so many people, both deaf and hearing, during his lifetime. It's an especially important milestone for the deaf community. Deaf people everywhere can celebrate this stamp that helps promote deaf awareness."   Lang, author of a leading Panara biography, quoted an essay written in Panara's college days in 1944. "He wrote in an essay, 'What the world needs today is more teaching that comes from the heart and soul,'" said Lang, who used the phrase in his book titled: Teaching From the Heart and Soul: The Robert F. Panara Story. "I knew Bob well for more than 40 years, and as his biographer I can vouch that he lived that ideal. He was — and still is — cherished by his students, colleagues and friends for his passion and compassion."   Benjamin, who photographed Panara for a Signing in Public Spaces poster, said he was a much-loved personal friend and icon of the deaf community. "I had photographed Bob often for various events and awards, and we had worked on projects together here at the NTID," said Benjamin. "It was an honor to try to capture the essence of Bob Panara — intelligent, creative, kind, funny and full of joy. I hope this image helps to convey his story."   Panara's Legacy At age 10, Panara was profoundly deafened after contracting spinal meningitis, which damaged his auditory nerves. He attended Gallaudet College (now University), in Washington, DC, from 1940 to 1945. In essays such as "The Significance of the Reading Problem" and "Poetry and the Deaf," he began to consider the best methods of teaching deaf students and inspiring them to learn. Panara believed, as he put it in the former essay, that teaching should come "from the heart and soul" — a philosophy captured in Lang's biography.   After becoming the first deaf person to obtain a master's degree in English at New York University, Panara returned to Gallaudet in 1948 to teach English. There he became widely admired for his dynamism, innovative techniques and passion for poetry and English literature. When the Gallaudet Theatre was established, he helped translate a number of plays into sign language, including Oedipus Rex, Hamlet and Othello.   In 1967, Panara was one of the founders of the groundbreaking Waterford, CT-based National Theatre of the Deaf, which provided deaf actors with a venue for thriving in the performing arts. He also helped found NTID and in 1967 became its first deaf faculty member. The new college was part of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York state.   Panara taught English to both deaf and hearing students at NTID for the next 20 years. At his retirement in 1987, he left a legacy that included the drama club he founded in 1970; a theater named after him; a more widespread appreciation for the expressiveness and complexity of ASL; and many former students who felt they owed much of their later success to his influence.   In addition to teaching, Panara made significant contributions to the field of deaf studies. He was one of the editors of The Silent Muse: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry by the Deaf (1960). In the early 1970s, he wrote influential articles on deaf American writers and deaf characters in modern literature. In 1983, with his son John, he wrote the book Great Deaf Americans.   Distinguished American Stamp Series Other individuals commemorated as part of the Distinguished American Stamp Series include: 2000: General Joseph W. Stilwell and Senator Claude Pepper; 2001: Hattie W. Caraway; 2002: author Edna Ferber; 2004: athlete Wilma Rudolph; 2006 virologist Albert Sabin; 2006 medical scientist Jonas Salk; 2007: Senator Margaret Chase Smith and author Harriet Beecher Stowe; 2008: author James A. Michener and physician Edward Tradeau; 2009: philanthropist Mary Lasker; 2011: stateswoman Oveta Culp Hobby; 2012: actor Jose Ferrer; and 2014: aviator C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson.   Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at Post Office locations, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to:   FDOI – Robert Panara Stamp USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services 8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300 Kansas City, MO 64144-9900   After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by June 11, 2017.   Ordering First-Day Covers The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:   U.S. Postal Service Catalog Request PO Box 219014 Kansas City, MO 64121-9014   Philatelic Products There are five philatelic products for this stamp issue: • 114010, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $15.95. • 114016, First-Day Cover, $1.14. • 114021, Digital Color Postmark, $1.85. • 114024, Framed Art, $39.95. • 114030, Ceremony Program, $6.95.   Many of this year's other stamps may be viewed on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or via Twitter @USPSstamps.   The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.   Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm.   For reporters interested in speaking with a regional Postal Service public relations professional, please go to about.usps.com/news/media-contacts/usps-local-media-contacts.pdf. Follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/usps), Instagram (instagram.com/uspostalservice), Pinterest (pinterest.com/uspsstamps), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/usps), subscribe to our channel on YouTube (youtube.com/usps), like us on Facebook (facebook.com/usps) and view our Postal Posts blog (uspsblog.com).   For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and usps.com/postalfacts. A photo accompanying this release is available at:


News Article | April 11, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Robert Panara, an influential teacher, poet and pioneer in the field of deaf studies, was immortalized as the 16th inductee into the U.S. Postal Service's Distinguished American stamp series on a Forever stamp today. The dedication ceremony took place at the theatre bearing his name at Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID). Panara's contributions to Washington, DC's Gallaudet University and NTID dramatically expanded educational opportunities for the deaf.   The 2-ounce stamp features a photograph of Panara taken in 2009 by Mark Benjamin, official NTID photographer. Panara is shown signing the word "respect." Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, was the art director. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 2-ounce price. The current price is 70-cents.   Followers of the Postal Service's Facebook page can view streaming video of the event at facebook.com/USPS. The public is asked to share the news on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #PanaraForever and #DeafEducation.   During his 40-year teaching career, Panara (1920-2014) inspired generations of students with his powerful use of American Sign Language (ASL) to convey Shakespeare and other works of literature. One of his best-known poems was the intensely personal "On His Deafness."   "Our stamps are miniature works of art that highlight the American experience," said U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David Williams in dedicating the stamp. "In creating this stamp our goal was to communicate Robert Panara's love and enthusiasm for literature, poetry and theatrical pieces as he used American Sign Language to make each topic more dramatic and enlightening. Poetry and drama came to life through his unique style of expression, Robert was famous for his ability to establish an immediate rapport with his students, through fluid, eloquent sign language which many described as 'sculptures in the air'."   Joining Williams were NTID President and RIT Vice President and Dean Gerard Buckley; NTID Instructional Support Faculty member John Panara (son); as well as author and NTID Professor Emeritus Dr. Harry Lang. U.S. Postal Service Marketing Vice President Steven Monteith served as master of ceremonies.   "Seeing my father honored on a U.S. postage stamp as a 'Distinguished American' makes me extremely proud," said Panara. "As a teacher and an authority in the fields of literature and deaf studies, he inspired so many people, both deaf and hearing, during his lifetime. It's an especially important milestone for the deaf community. Deaf people everywhere can celebrate this stamp that helps promote deaf awareness."   Lang, author of a leading Panara biography, quoted an essay written in Panara's college days in 1944. "He wrote in an essay, 'What the world needs today is more teaching that comes from the heart and soul,'" said Lang, who used the phrase in his book titled: Teaching From the Heart and Soul: The Robert F. Panara Story. "I knew Bob well for more than 40 years, and as his biographer I can vouch that he lived that ideal. He was — and still is — cherished by his students, colleagues and friends for his passion and compassion."   Benjamin, who photographed Panara for a Signing in Public Spaces poster, said he was a much-loved personal friend and icon of the deaf community. "I had photographed Bob often for various events and awards, and we had worked on projects together here at the NTID," said Benjamin. "It was an honor to try to capture the essence of Bob Panara — intelligent, creative, kind, funny and full of joy. I hope this image helps to convey his story."   Panara's Legacy At age 10, Panara was profoundly deafened after contracting spinal meningitis, which damaged his auditory nerves. He attended Gallaudet College (now University), in Washington, DC, from 1940 to 1945. In essays such as "The Significance of the Reading Problem" and "Poetry and the Deaf," he began to consider the best methods of teaching deaf students and inspiring them to learn. Panara believed, as he put it in the former essay, that teaching should come "from the heart and soul" — a philosophy captured in Lang's biography.   After becoming the first deaf person to obtain a master's degree in English at New York University, Panara returned to Gallaudet in 1948 to teach English. There he became widely admired for his dynamism, innovative techniques and passion for poetry and English literature. When the Gallaudet Theatre was established, he helped translate a number of plays into sign language, including Oedipus Rex, Hamlet and Othello.   In 1967, Panara was one of the founders of the groundbreaking Waterford, CT-based National Theatre of the Deaf, which provided deaf actors with a venue for thriving in the performing arts. He also helped found NTID and in 1967 became its first deaf faculty member. The new college was part of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York state.   Panara taught English to both deaf and hearing students at NTID for the next 20 years. At his retirement in 1987, he left a legacy that included the drama club he founded in 1970; a theater named after him; a more widespread appreciation for the expressiveness and complexity of ASL; and many former students who felt they owed much of their later success to his influence.   In addition to teaching, Panara made significant contributions to the field of deaf studies. He was one of the editors of The Silent Muse: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry by the Deaf (1960). In the early 1970s, he wrote influential articles on deaf American writers and deaf characters in modern literature. In 1983, with his son John, he wrote the book Great Deaf Americans.   Distinguished American Stamp Series Other individuals commemorated as part of the Distinguished American Stamp Series include: 2000: General Joseph W. Stilwell and Senator Claude Pepper; 2001: Hattie W. Caraway; 2002: author Edna Ferber; 2004: athlete Wilma Rudolph; 2006 virologist Albert Sabin; 2006 medical scientist Jonas Salk; 2007: Senator Margaret Chase Smith and author Harriet Beecher Stowe; 2008: author James A. Michener and physician Edward Tradeau; 2009: philanthropist Mary Lasker; 2011: stateswoman Oveta Culp Hobby; 2012: actor Jose Ferrer; and 2014: aviator C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson.   Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at Post Office locations, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to:   FDOI – Robert Panara Stamp USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services 8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300 Kansas City, MO 64144-9900   After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by June 11, 2017.   Ordering First-Day Covers The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:   U.S. Postal Service Catalog Request PO Box 219014 Kansas City, MO 64121-9014   Philatelic Products There are five philatelic products for this stamp issue: • 114010, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $15.95. • 114016, First-Day Cover, $1.14. • 114021, Digital Color Postmark, $1.85. • 114024, Framed Art, $39.95. • 114030, Ceremony Program, $6.95.   Many of this year's other stamps may be viewed on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or via Twitter @USPSstamps.   The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.   Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm.   For reporters interested in speaking with a regional Postal Service public relations professional, please go to about.usps.com/news/media-contacts/usps-local-media-contacts.pdf. Follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/usps), Instagram (instagram.com/uspostalservice), Pinterest (pinterest.com/uspsstamps), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/usps), subscribe to our channel on YouTube (youtube.com/usps), like us on Facebook (facebook.com/usps) and view our Postal Posts blog (uspsblog.com).   For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and usps.com/postalfacts. A photo accompanying this release is available at:


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Bethesda, MD (April 28, 2017) -- The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Research Foundation is thrilled to award 52 researchers with research funding in the 2017 award year. "The AGA Research Foundation has a proven track record of funding young investigators who subsequently achieve great success in research. We are confident that the 2017 class will be no exception," said Robert S. Sandler, MD, MPH, AGAF, chair, AGA Research Foundation. "AGA is honored to invest in this year's award recipients and looks forward to seeing how each research project contributes to advancing the field of gastroenterology." The AGA Research Award Program serves to support talented investigators who are pursuing careers in digestive disease research. A grant from the AGA Research Foundation ensures that a major proportion of the recipient's time is protected for research. The awards program is made possible thanks to generous donors and funders contributing to the AGA Research Foundation. Show your support for GI research.https:/ Below are the 2017 AGA Research Foundation award recipients. To learn about upcoming research funding opportunities, visit http://www. . Shrinivas Bishu, MD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor David Boone, PhD, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis Sarah Glover, DO, University of Florida, Gainesville Jennifer Lai, MD, MBA, The Regents of the University of California, San Francisco Jill Smith, MD, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. Chandler Brown, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. Carlos Lodeiro, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Alyssa Murillo, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine Kristeen Onyirioha, University of Texas San Antonio Health Sciences Center Gabriela Portilla Skerrett, San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, Puerto Rico Ray Ramirez, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk Rani Richardson, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Nefertiti Tyehemba, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse Elsie Ureta, California State University of Los Angeles Carlos Zavala, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Edward Barnes, MD, MPH, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill Daniel Duncan, MD, Boston Children's Hospital, MA Amy Engevik, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville Tossapol Kerdsirichairat, MD, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor Anne-Marie Overstreet, PhD, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis Shusuke Toden, PhD, Baylor University Medical Center/Baylor Research Institute, Houston Amy Tsou, MD, PhD, Boston Children's Hospital, MA Lavanya Viswanathan, MD, MS, Augusta University, GA Hongtao Wang, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston Lauren Cole, BS, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix Cindy Law, BSc, University of Ottawa, Canada Christopher Moreau, BS, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Satish Munigala, MBBS, MPH, St. Louis University, MO Rajiv Perinbasekar, MD, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore Chung Sang Tse, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN Anika Ullah, University of California, San Diego Kathy Williams, MS, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, NJ Quan Zhou, MS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor This year's honorees will be recognized during several AGA Research Foundation events at Digestive Disease Week® 2017, taking place May 6-9 in Chicago, IL. The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.http://www. . Like AGA on Facebook.http://www. facebook. com/ amergastroassn> Follow us on Twitter @AmerGastroAssn.http://www. twitter. com/ amergastroassn> Check out our videos on YouTube.http://www. The AGA Research Foundation, formerly known as the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition, is the cornerstone of AGA's effort to expand digestive disease research funding. Since 1984, the AGA, through its foundations, has provided more than $47 million in research grants to more than 870 scientists. The AGA Research Foundation serves as a bridge to the future of research in gastroenterology and hepatology by providing critical funding to advance the careers of young researchers between the end of training and the establishment of credentials that earn National Institutes of Health grants. Learn more about the AGA Research Foundation or make a contribution at http://www. .


Fennell J.,Gallaudet University
Contraception | Year: 2014

Objective Previous survey research indicates that women and men experience reduced sexual pleasure when using condoms, especially compared to nonbarrier family planning methods. This study seeks to explore those experiences of reduced pleasure in-depth and how they affect contraceptive method decisions and use. Study Design In-depth interviews with 30 men and 30 women between the ages of 18 and 36 years in the United States about their contraceptive decisions and use were analyzed. Results Both men and women complained about the way that condoms interfered with their sexual pleasure. Several women (and no men) complained that condoms actually hurt them, and the majority of couples had at least one member who reported disliking condoms. For hormonal methods and intrauterine devices, general side effects were usually one of the most important reasons that women continued or discontinued methods, but few sexual side effects were reported. Conclusions Interfering with sexual pleasure appears to be the most important reason that both men and women do not use condoms, and public health practitioners should recognize the limitations of condoms as a contraceptive technology. Despite problems with general side effects, most women (and men) prefer hormonal methods to condoms. Implications This study provides in-depth descriptions showing that young adult men and women in the United States use condoms less because condoms interfere with their sexual pleasure. Although women often say they experience general negative side effects from hormonal birth control, they usually perceive few sexual side effects from hormonal birth control. Since young heterosexual adults usually perceive themselves to be at much greater risk for pregnancy than sexually transmitted infections, they mostly perceive hormonal birth control to be a greatly superior contraceptive option compared to condoms. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2015

This Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) project The RAVE Revolution for Children with Minimal Language Experience During Sensitive Periods of Brain and Language Development is jointly funded by Robust Intelligence and Cyber-Human Systems Programs of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate; the Developmental and Learning Sciences Program, and the Science of Learning Centers Program of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences; the Office of International Science and Engineering; and the Office of Integrated Activities. The interdisciplinary team expands the boundaries of traditionally separate disciplines by uniting synergistically to explore a transformative learning tool to reduce the devastating impact of minimal language experience on children. Childrens dramatically reduced language experience has been shown to have a deleterious impact on learning language, reading, and achieving normal cognitive functions across life,a problem facing many children in the nation (e.g., children from low SES backgrounds; late-exposed bilingual children). Deaf babies are at particular risk, as beyond minimal language experience, many receive no accessible language experience in early life. The Robot AVatar thermal-Enhanced learning tool, or RAVE, is placed near a babys high-chair and makes available multiple core components of sign language, with speech options, in first-time socially interactive ways, and, crucially, during critical periods of human brain and behavior development. Exploration of this revolutionary learning tool involves scientists spanning four disciplines (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Virtual Human Science, Robotics, and Applied Psychophysiology/Biomedical Engineering), provides science answers about how all babies discover core components of language, resolves previously insoluble problems in the four sciences, and is propelled by the shared objective to enhance early learning gains for populations that would otherwise be at a lifelong disadvantage.

Of particular novelty, fNIRS brain imaging provides first-time discovery of babies sensitivities to multiple rhythmic components underlying language vital to healthy language learning. This forms the basis for creating rhythmic patterns at the core of nursery rhymes and conversational samples in sign language (through Motion Capture) and speech. Thermal IR imaging+eye tracking identifies when deaf babies who cannot yet produce language are in a peaked arousal state and ready to learn. This triggers the robot+virtual human to start, cease, or solicit interaction based on the babys social engagement. When the babys gaze locks with the robot, the robot initiates gaze direction to virtual humans, initiating joint attention and socially-contingent conversation in human artificial agent interaction. This triggers an interfaced screen where virtual humans provide rhythmic nursery rhymes and conversations in sign language, with speech options. Together, the RAVE team explores a new aid to children with minimal or no language input; provides the nation with a competitive science and technological edge; and, trains under-represented groups in STEM, students in interdisciplinary science, and young deaf scientists in the advancement of science with transformative translational significance for all society.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 38.83K | Year: 2013

An innovative union of Cognitive Neuroscience, Robotics, and Avatar scientists are coming together for a NSF Signing Creatures Workshop on November 14-15, 2013 at Gallaudet University (Washington, D.C.). The goal of the Workshop is to explore the feasibility of creating Robot and Avatar creatures that can sign and engage in interactive communication with young deaf and hearing children during critical periods of human development. Language acquisition research has established that children must receive early language exposure to achieve language and reading success. Despite research demonstrating the healthy brain benefits afforded to deaf children with early sign language exposure, this is not available to deaf children born to non-signing parents. Signing Robots and Avatar virtual humans can provide sign language to deaf children in communicative toys and games, similar to learning products for hearing children. The Workshop stems from a NSF grant to Cognitive Neuroscientist, Laura-Ann Petitto, PI, (and Science Director and Co-PI of the NSF Science of Learning Center, VL2, at Gallaudet) and Avatar scientist, David Traum, Co-PI, University of Southern California. Joining them is Robotics scientist Paul Oh of Drexel University. Broader Impact: The Workshop brings together deaf and hearing scientists from a broad range of disciplines to address critically important problems for education, learning, and reading in deaf children. The Workshop gives rise to new cross-disciplinary scientific knowledge and exciting explorations into the development of groundbreaking translational learning and reading products for deaf and hearing children. Additional broad applications include language translation, and high school and adult education.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2011

This proposal requests a continuation of one of the most fruitful products of the SLC program, the annual meeting of students and post-doctoral fellows being trained within the various Science of Learning centers. In the past this conference has led to cross-center research collaborations, and to the creation of a national,and even international, interdisciplinary community of young scholars who are likely to continue to be in touch, cooperate and collaborate throughout their future careers.


The goal of this project is to create a linguistically annotated, publicly available, and easily searchable corpus of video from American Sign Language (ASL). This will constitute an important piece of infrastructure, enabling new kinds of research in both linguistics and vision-based recognition of ASL. In addition, a key goal is to make this corpus easily accessible to the broader ASL community, including users and learners of ASL. As a result of our long-term efforts, we have an extensive collection of linguistically annotated video data from native signers of ASL. However, the potential value of these corpora has been largely untapped, notwithstanding their extensive and productive use by our team and others. Existing limitations in our hardware and software infrastructure make it cumbersome to search and identify data of interest, and to share data among our institutions and with other researchers. In this project, we propose hardware and software innovations that will constitute a major qualitative upgrade in the organization, searchability, and public availability of the existing (and expanding) corpus.

The enhancement and improved Web-accessibility of these corpora will be invaluable for linguistic research, enabling new kinds of discoveries and the testing of hypotheses that would otherwise have be difficult to investigate. On the computer vision side, the proposed new annotations will provide an extensive public dataset for training and benchmarking a variety of computer vision algorithms. This will facilitate research and expedite progress in gesture recognition, hand pose estimation, human tracking, and large vocabulary, and continuous ASL recognition. Furthermore, this dataset will be useful as training and benchmarking data for algorithms in the broader areas of computer vision, machine learning, and similarity-based indexing.

The advances in linguistic knowledge about ASL and in computer-based ASL recognition that will be accelerated by the availability of resources of the kind proposed here will contribute to development of technologies for education and universal access. For example, tools for searching collections of ASL video for occurrences of specific signs, or converting ASL signing to English, are still far from attaining the level of functionality and usability to which users are accustomed for spoken/written languages. Our corpora will enable research that aims to bring such vision-based ASL recognition applications closer to reality. Moreover, these resources will afford important opportunities to individuals who would not otherwise be in a position to conduct such research (e.g., for lack of access to native ASL signers or high-quality synchronized video equipment, or lack of resources/expertise to carry out extensive linguistic annotations). Making our corpora available online will also allow the broader community of ASL users to access our data directly. Students of ASL will be able to retrieve video showing examples of a specific sign used in actual sentences, or examples of a grammatical construction. ASL instructors and teachers of the Deaf will also have easy access to video examples of lexical items and grammatical constructions as used by a variety of native signers for use in language instruction and evaluation. Thus, the proposed web interface to our data collection will be a useful educational resource for users, teachers, and learners of ASL.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 519.69K | Year: 2013

Gallaudet University is the worlds only liberal arts university with programs and services specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students. Gallaudets S-STEM project provides scholarships to deaf students majoring in biology, chemistry, or mathematics.

This projects intellectual merit results from addressing the severe under-representation of deaf individuals in STEM fields by providing a specific plan to prepare deaf students for STEM careers. The goals of this plan are realized through the following objectives: 1) recruit deaf students into STEM majors, 2) provide scholarships to talented deaf STEM students with documented financial need, 3) provide individual and group activities to support undergraduate S-STEM Scholars, 4) assist deaf S-STEM Scholars in overcoming cultural and linguistic barriers, and 5) to provide support services to deaf S-STEM Scholars to ultimately enter STEM careers.

Broader Impacts result from increasing the number of talented deaf students who choose a STEM major, and increasing the number of deaf STEM majors who are well prepared to enter STEM careers. Deaf S-STEM Scholars are interacting with deaf mentors and deaf scientists to understand that they truly can make significant contributions to STEM fields. There is a need for replicable best practices in educating deaf undergraduates in STEM disciplines, and this project can help develop such practices. Plans are in place to disseminate these best practices on Gallaudets website for prospective students and the public. Plans are also in place to reach the STEM education community through presentations at national venues and publications in professional and higher education literature, including those that focus on teaching and learning.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 8.86M | Year: 2011

NSF and Gallaudet University?s Science of Learning Center for Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) entails multidisciplinary projects sharing in scientific purpose the discovery of how aspects of higher cognition are realized through one of human?s most central senses, vision. Through the enhancing lens of natural signed languages, projects investigate how deafness and visual languages provide a window into the flexibility and structure of the human mind. Projects identify the effects of visual processes, visual language, and social experience on visual learners? development of cognition, language, and reading and literacy. Visual learning is unraveled in monolinguals and bilinguals spanning development, to promote optimal practices across educational settings. Center projects are divided into seven Strategic Focus Areas. Four involve state-of-the-art scientific research, neuroimaging, and/or computational modeling, each rendering emerging findings to educational intervention design, including, Visual & Cognitive Plasticity, Language Development & Bilingualism, Reading & Literacy, and Translational Research to Educational Practice. Three involve, Translational outreach, Center Management, and Diversity. Uniqueness: Deaf and hearing scientists and educators; two-way dialog among researchers and teachers/public; Student Leadership Teams; infrastructure promoting national and international resource sharing across vast partnership institutions; capacity to serve as the nation?s ?first-response? regarding educational priorities. Broader Significance: Center products ensure advances in education for students at risk for low achievement. Comparative analyses of auditory and visual bases for language, reading, and print-literacy lead to new paradigms for understanding learning essential for enhancing educational, social, and vocational outcomes for all humans, deaf and hearing, consequently transforming the Science of Learning.

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