October 20, 2015
By Angelyn Francis
Donning a set of navy velvet robes and a mortarboard on her head, Ellen Hibbard placed an index finger to each corner of her mouth and then whipped them away, exclaiming “PA!”
This means “I did it!” in American Sign Language (ASL). Last Thursday, Hibbard, who is deaf, graduated with a PhD in communication and culture from Ryerson. Her dissertation titled “Impact of Vlogging on Deaf Culture, Communication, and Identity” was prepared using a mix of ASL video and English text and she delivered the defence entirely in ASL — a first for Ryerson.
Hibbard’s defence was presented to a mix of hearing and deaf committee panelists and audience members. Four ASL interpreters were present to ensure the event was accessible to all.
Watch video - Ellen Hibbard on graduating and what inspired her to do her dissertation on the impact vlogging has had on deaf culture.