The trip to Salt Lake City from New York was exhausting, but the journey Lisa Santiago experienced to get to graduation would be one she will never forget. Lisa was traveling to Salt Lake City for WGU's summer graduation ceremony for which she had been chosen to be a graduate speaker. She delivered her speech to 100 other graduates in her primary language, American Sign Language.
Lisa was born and raised in New York and attended a special school for deaf students until the sixth grade. She was mainstreamed into the public school system and learned the importance of having specialized teachers for hearing impaired students. This experience stayed with Lisa through most of college, until she found WGU. "I had become frustrated by the lack of support services at other universities, such as professors not being able to meet to clarify concepts, assignments, ideas and tasks," Lisa says. "However, I was determined to earn my degree and decided to look on the internet for an online college or university."
Lisa enrolled in WGU's Teachers College in September, 2005 to finish her degree online and achieve her dream of becoming a teacher for other deaf students. "I knew I wanted to be a teacher for deaf students so I could serve as a successful role model," Lisa said.
Lisa was excited to meet her WGU mentor at graduation for the first time to thank her in person for all the extra help she gave. "My mentor was so kind, understanding and patient with me when I was struggling with concepts and assignments," Lisa said. "She would give up her time to explain the things in more detail that I didn't understand right away."
Lisa has worked as a teacher's aide in a school for the deaf for over ten years. Now, having earned her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree, Lisa can now have her own classroom.
"Even though I am deaf, I am very proud of myself because I have proven that I am capable of earning a very challenging degree just like people who can hear," said Lisa.