Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Douglas College Valedictorian takes career in hand

Barbie Murphy, Sign Language Interpretation,
Class of 2011 and Valedictorian

By Tamara Letkeman, doug Editor

At the age of 19 Barbie Murphy left her hometown of Kingsville, Ont., for Vancouver to pursue her dream of becoming a make-up artist in fashion and film.

Ten years later Barbie is working with her hands – though not in the way she’d planned. “After seven years in the field I found my soul was not satisfied with my chosen career path, and began to re-evaluate,” she says.

She’s found her way – and then some. A student in the Sign Language Interpretation program at Douglas, Barbie graduates next week as valedictorian.

She says American Sign Language did not come naturally to her, but she never gave up. She had a private tutor, a school tutor and did as much volunteer interpreting as she could during her summers. “I have known since starting Douglas that this was the career I wanted, so it was going to take a lot of dedication to survive. And where I lacked in dedication was made up for by my amazingly encouraging friends.”

Next month she begins her tenure as Public Relations Chair for the Westcoast Association of Visual Language Interpreters’ board of directors. She plans on being an active member in both the interpreting and deaf communities. “I want to be an ally to the deaf community, a mentor to interpreting students, and a supportive, valued colleague to my fellow cohorts.

“I also hope to have a family,” she adds, “and possibly own an expensive box in the sky here in Vancouver.”