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MAY 20, 2015

To get a really good sense of why Caroline Solomon is a great teacher, you have to go into the field with her. On this particular morning, that means a boat on the Anacostia River.

We're about 4 miles from the campus of Gallaudet University, where Solomon is a professor of biology. She and a student — Anna McCall — are heading in a small boat to take water samples.

The Anacostia is no more than 8 miles long, but it meanders through and around Washington, D.C., past a naval yard, a golf course and I-95, the busiest interstate highway on the Eastern Seaboard.

For months now, Solomon and her students have been dropping probes testing for oxygen, salinity and chlorophyll. It's data that help gauge the river's health, which is not very good right now, Solomon says.

"I know what's in this river," she says, laughing. Her voice is audible as she speaks with us, but she communicates with students in sign language.

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Robert Panara, 94, a scholar in the field of deaf studies, a writer and poet, and a professor at institutions including Gallaudet University in Washington and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, N.Y., died Sunday at a nursing home in Rochester. He had heart ailments, said his son, John.

Growing up in Depression-era New York, Mr. Panara, who lost his hearing before he turned 10 - a casualty of spinal meningitis - received few of the services or accommodations available today for deaf or hard of hearing students. He was educated in mainstream public school classrooms.

He attended Gallaudet, focusing on literature, and taught there for nearly two decades before becoming the first deaf professor at NTID. Beginning in the 1970s, he wrote articles and books that helped establish deaf studies as a formal line of academic inquiry.


Washington Post Article 
By Emily Langer

"Robert Panara, writer, poet, professor and pioneer of deaf studies, dies at 94"

Robert Panara could not hear the noise in Yankee Stadium the day in 1931 when Babe Ruth emerged from the dugout, strode toward him and extended his hand. Mr. Panara, then 10 years old, was deaf. He had lost his hearing several months earlier  . . .

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