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First student begins Flagler Fast Track Master's program in Deaf Education

Oct 29, 2021

The Flagler Fast Track Master's program was started at Flagler College to give undergraduate Deaf Education majors an opportunity to pursue higher education related to their specific field of study.

Students can begin taking courses for their Master's degree while in the undergraduate program, saving them both time and money.

Sasha Pabis, dressed in her graduation gown, stands at the gate entrance to Flagler College.
Sasha Pabis, dressed in her graduation gown, stands at the gate entrance to Flagler College.

The exceptional students who pursue this fast track option understand the value in seeking continuing education as a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students. Further, they know that obtaining your Master's degree will provide them with further coursework and research opportunities to be a better teacher with a deeper level of knowledge and experience with evidence-based best practices.

What influenced you to want to pursue a Master’s in Deaf Education?

I have always believed that learning is continuous and knowledge everlasting; it is something that can never be taken away from you. I have looked up to my professors and mentors at Flagler College and I aspire to be like them one day. I believe that continuing my education and pursuing my Master’s Degree in Deaf Education will help me reach my goals of being a valued and knowledgeable professional in the field of Deaf Education.

Which part of your undergrad curriculum (if at Flagler or Other School) do you consider the most impactful to your education?

During my undergraduate studies in Deaf Education at Flagler College, I was able to complete my senior internship, which allowed me to have hands-on experience as a headteacher in a deaf classroom. I was able to employ my knowledge of American Sign Language, Deaf culture, instructional practices, and classroom management strategies that I gained during my undergraduate courses in an actual classroom. Each day of my internship provided me with a new experience and lesson to add to my teaching journey!

Who is somebody who embodies the values of Flagler College in the Deaf Ed or Innovative Field that you look up to? (The Values are: Transformative Learning, Respectful & Inclusive Communities, Citizenship with Integrity, and Thoughtful Stewardship)

Two individuals that embody Flagler College’s values of Transformative Learning, Respectful and Inclusive Communities, Citizenship with Integrity, and Thoughtful Stewardship are Dr. Michella Maiorana-Basas and Dr. Jennifer Catalano. Both of these professors are leaders within the field of Deaf Education and represent these values within the Deaf Education Program at Flagler College. They have both worked profusely to ensure that students feel respected, acknowledged, and valued in the department and overall college communities. Dr. Maiorana-Basas and Dr. Catalano have supported my goals and guided me towards reaching my highest potential in education.

After completion of this program, where and what are your plans in relation to Deaf Education?

After receiving my Master’s Degree in Deaf Education, I hope to continue my journey in Deaf Education by teaching deaf and hard of hearing students in an elementary school in the state of Florida. I believe that it is my role as an educator to provide support and guidance to all deaf and hard of hearing students so that they can indisputably obtain a full language and reach success in their education. I think that my true purpose is to help students enjoy learning; I want to motivate my students to want to learn by showing my own passion for education. I seek to inspire my students to become future leaders in the world.

What is an industry you would like to make a serious impact in besides education, if you were to pursue a different career where and why? (i.e. Accessible visual audio in advertising? Translators and Deaf educated personnel in the Medical Field? Etc.)

An additional field that I have been interested in besides education is interior design. Many Deaf people use sign language to communicate, which is a visual-kinetic language. Since our built environments are constructed mostly by and for hearing individuals, Deaf individuals can experience challenges that make them alter surroundings to fit the way they inhabit space. For example, Deaf people often rearrange furniture into a conversation circle to allow sightlines of everyone so that visual conversation is accessible to all. This approach to architecture and design is known as DeafSpace. I have always wanted to bring awareness to DeafSpace so that schools, restaurants, offices, and other buildings can create Deaf-friendly environments that fit Deaf individuals’ unique ways-of-being and optimize conditions for visual communication.

How has/will being a student in the Flagler Fast Track Master's program impacted your journey to becoming a teacher of students who are Deaf and hard of hearing?

Being a student in the Flagler Fast Track Master’s Program has allowed me to receive my Master’s Degree in Deaf Education at a quicker and earlier rate. I was able to begin my master’s courses during my undergraduate studies with professors that I already had relationships with, which allowed me to feel comfortable when starting my master’s courses. I liked that I was able to take the courses that were already required for my undergraduate degree simply at a higher level. Therefore, I was still in classes with my peers and known professors, but I reduced the amount of courses I needed to take to complete my master’s degree. By the time I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I was already halfway done with my master’s courses! After graduation, the remaining master’s courses are completely online, which allowed me to work and have a personal life while still working towards my master’s degree.

Sasha Pabis
Bachelor of Arts - Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (May 2021)
Master of Arts - Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (August 2022)

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