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UVA ASL Program Events and Activities

In our goal to create a language community that emulates the closeknit, supportive Deaf community, our students have several opportunities to apply their language and cultural skills in several interactive signing events and activities.  These activities are an enjoyable and painless way to improve your signing skills (and grades!) and meet other ASL students of different levels and in different classes.  Go check them out!  These include:

•ASL and Deaf Culture Lecture Series

          -Upcoming ASL & Deaf Lecture Series Event

          -Past ASL & Deaf Culture Lecture Series

•Friday Signing Lunch

•ASL “Pod” in the Shea Language House

•ASL Peer Tutoring Program

•DEAFS Student Organization/CIO

•Language Commons Events/“Last Language Standing” Contest

•ASL Program Year-end Celebration

•Charlottesville Deaf Community “Silent Suppers”

•Gallaudet University Connections and Events


UVA ASL Program’s ASL & Deaf Culture Lecture Series

Since 1993, our ASL Program has been bringing performers, lecturers, and noted scholars of the Deaf-World to the Grounds of the University of Virginia to entertain and enlighten us all to the beauty of ASL and issues and current topics regarding Deaf culture and the Deaf community.  Past notable presenters include Bernard Bragg, Betty G. Miller, Carol Padden, Jack Gannon, MJ Bienvenu, Peter Cook, Claudia Gordon, John Lee Hart, Ben Bahan, Harlan Lane, Glenn Anderson, Thomas K. Holcomb, Nyle DiMarco, and many others.  These events have been both fully sponsored by the ASL Program and cosponsored with organizations like the Virginia Festival of the Book and other UVA Departments and Programs.

We aim for two events each semester.  All events are free and open to the public and interpreted for those who don’t sign.  Some events may be available for viewing online.  Information on events is available by contacting the ASL Program.

 Upcoming ASL & Deaf Culture Lecture Series Events

Rescheduled Event:

Susanne Wilbur, LCSW, and Gregory Farber, PhD, “Mental Health Counseling and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”

Date TBA – Stay Tuned

Friday Signing Lunch (Every Friday at 1:00 at “The Pav” eatery)

Every Friday at 1:00 our students of all levels gather for our voluntary weekly Signing Lunch usually in the Backroom of the “Pav XI” eatery in Newcomb Hall (sometimes when the weather is nice, we’ll be just outside of Newcomb Hall). You’ll be amazed at how much this fun activity will help improve your signing skills and at the new ASL students you’ll meet.

ASL “Pod” in the Shea Language House

Shea House is an alternative living option for students wishing to have an immersive experience in a language. Shea House is open to any full-time student at the University of Virginia who can demonstrate at least a first-year competency in their language. ASL students can take advantage of this unique opportunity to live with their fellow ASL-signing peers and improve their signing skills, learn more about Deaf culture, and have fun. For more information about Shea House, visit and see the ASL Program Director and the current ASL Language Assistant (LA) to arrange a visit. 


Residents in Shea earn one credit hour each semester (up to two credits) that can apply towards the ASL Minor.  ASL Shea House students live in the conveniently located Shea House and engage in daily signing dinners (Monday through Thursday) and weekly Language Corners all under the guidance of the ASL LA. Dinners are social events where everyone comes together and converses in sign, occasionally joined by ASL faculty members (the Shea dinners require a certain minimum dining plan). Language corners are both fun and educational and have included events like interpreter Q&A's, game and movie nights, field trips (e.g., to the Charlottesville Farmers’ Market), professor round table discussions, and cultural events.

ASL Peer Tutoring Program

The ASL Peer Tutoring Program is a totally voluntary program where intermediate and advanced ASL students help tutor and converse with students to help improve their skills.  They often have access to vocabulary lists and other helpful review materials to help ASL students of all levels.  Tutors sign up for blocks of time throughout the week to be available in the Language Commons of New Cabell Hall (Suite 296, either in the Alcove or main room).  Students can drop in and take advantage of this free and helpful service.  For tutoring times, check the schedules posted outside of the ASL offices or check with an ASL faculty member.  If you’re interested in serving as a volunteer tutor, check with the ASL Program Director.

DEAFS Student Organization/CIO

DEAFS (Deafness Education and Awareness For Students) is a UVA student organization/CIO (Contracted Independent Organization) started by a Deaf UVA ASL student in 2002 to promote the use and awareness of ASL and a greater understanding of Deaf culture and issues important to the Deaf community at UVA.  DEAFS activities vary from year to year but have included assisting with the ASL Peer Tutoring Program, organizing field trips to Gallaudet University and Deaf Awareness Day at Kings Dominion Amusement Park, assisting with the ASL and Lecture Series Events, Bowling Night, organizing Coffee Chats, giving out candy at Trick or Treating on the Lawn (TOTOL), and other social events and activities.  For more information about DEAFS events and the list of current DEAFS Officers, see the ASL Program Director.

Language Commons Events, Including the “Last Language Standing” Contest

The Language Commons, located in suite 296 of New Cabell Hall, holds several language-related events for the UVA Institute of World Languages (IWL) and also serves as a study space for all language students by providing games, activities, and various study areas.  Visit for more about the Language Commons.

Among several Language Commons activities is the “Last Language Standing” contest held at the end of the year that challenges students from all the IWL languages to have groups of students conversing and interacting in their language throughout an entire day.  The ASL Program has been among the winners of this contest every year, enjoying a fun day of language conversation and activities and besting other language departments with much higher enrollments.

ASL Program Year-end Celebration

At the end of each academic year, we gather to celebrate all graduating ASL students, the year’s Shea House residents, our volunteer tutors, all ASL students and faculty achievements, and especially those graduating with the Minor in ASL and Deaf Culture.  There’s food, cake, refreshments, and plenty of conversation.  Keep an eye out for announcements about the event towards the end of the academic year or check with an ASL faculty member.

Charlottesville Deaf Community “Silent Supper”

Since the mid-1990’s, the local Deaf community has invited members of the signing community, including UVA ASL students, to different local restaurants to meet and share signed conversation.  These dinners usually occur on the third Wednesday of the month.  Keep an eye out for announcements or check with an ASL faculty member regarding the next “Silent Supper.”

Gallaudet University Connections and Events

A large part of our learning about Deaf culture that occurs in our language and elective courses centers around Gallaudet University, the premier university for the Deaf in the world in Washington, DC, situated less than three hours from Grounds.  Our program, students, and our DEAFS student organization have taken advantage of this proximity to attend open houses, sporting events, lectures, performances, and other events at Gallaudet University.  Check Gallaudet’s website at for more information and the latest schedule of events.

Many students from our ASL Program have successfully gone on to graduate school at Gallaudet University, the premier university for the Deaf in the world in Washington, DC.  UVA students have attended Gallaudet University graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, Social Work, Interpreting, Psychology, and others.  Our current and former UVA Gallaudet graduate students are generally happy and eager to advise and mentor any current UVA students considering graduate school at Gallaudet and Gallaudet University regularly holds online and in person Graduate School Open Houses.  See the ASL Program Director for their contact information and the latest dates for Gallaudet Graduate School Open House or check  


Past ASL & Deaf Culture Lecture Series Events

Nyle DiMarco, Deaf Utopia: A Memoir and Love Letter to a Way of Life.  Cosponsored event with the Virginia Festival of the Book, presentation and interview with WAWA Snipe at the Paramount Theatre (3/24/23)

Orpheus & Erica: a Deaf opera, featuring Deaf performers John Maucere, Amber Zion, and WAWA Snipe.  Cosponsored event with the UVA Music Department and Victory Hall Opera Company, three performances in Old Cabell Hall, March 21-24, 2023

Kathleen Brockway, “The Lost Shared Signing Community of Lantz Mills and the Shenandoah County Virginia” (2/16/23)

Panel Discussion of Former ASL Students Who Attended Grad School at Gallaudet University (modified Lecture Series event) (4/5/22)

UVA ASL Teachers Panel Discussion (modified Lecture Series event) (11/10/21)

[Event with Raymond Luczak cancelled and Lecture Series suspended due to pandemic]

“Breaking the Sound Barrier: A Deaf Opera Workshop,” featuring Deaf performers Amber Zion, Sandra Mae Frank, and Jackie Roth. Cosponsored event with the UVA Music Department and Victory Hall Opera Company (2/27/20)

Harry Wood, “STEM, Robotics, and Deaf Education” (2/11/20)

Windell Smith, Jr., “An Evening with Wink, a.k.a. Windell Smith, Jr.” (11/5/19)

Alim Chandani, Ph.D., “Advancing the Deaf Community in India” (9/19/19)

JD Davis, “The JD Show” ASL Storytelling and Literature (3/26/19)

Khadijat "Kubby" Rashid: "What it Means to Deny People with Disabilities, Immigrants, and People of Color the Fundamental Right to Vote" (1/24/19)

Michelle “Muck” McAuliffe, Artist and Gallaudet Professor, “Salt & Pepper” (11/13/18)

Brett Shaffer, “The Flipside” a unique brand of Deaf humor (10/11/18)

Christopher Jon Heuer, Ph.D, Kristen Harmon, Ph.D., Tonya Stremlau, Ph.D., and Lilah Katcher, "An Evening of Fiction."  Cosponsored event with the Virginia Festival of the Book and relating to the book, Tripping the Tale Fantastic, and its Deaf/HH contributors (3/23/18)

Willy Conley (with two Gallaudet student actors), "A Taste of Deaf Theater" (2/22/18)

Evon Black, "Black Deaf Americans: Challenges and Successes" (1/24/18)

Panel of former ASL students at U.Va., "Using ASL in Our Professions" (4/5/17)

Jenny Witteborg & Rhonda Jennings-Arey, "LEAD-K: Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids" (2/28/17)

Madan Vasishta, Ph.D., "An Evening with the Author of Deaf in Delhi and Deaf in DC" (11/1/16)

Terry Malcolm, "The Importance of Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs)" (9/29/16)

Monique Holt, "Live! ASL Storytelling Performance" (2/18/16)

Caroline Solomon, Ph.D, "Making Waves: Engaging Deaf People in STEM Fields" (2/9/16)

Nancy Rourke, "My Journey from Deafhood to 'Artivism'" (10/20/15)

Glenn Anderson, Ph.D., "The Other Movement Inspired by Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement" (1/23/15)

"An Evening with Deaf World Travellers" (panel discussion) (10/28/14)

Joseph J. Murray, Ph.D., "Deaf Gain: Rethinking Human Diversity" (9/16/14)

Alan Abarbanell, “The World of Abababa”  (4/1/14)

Rocco DeVito, “Legendary Deaf Coaches” (11/19/13)

Wayne Betts, Jr., "Deaf Lens: Deaf Perspectives in Filmmaking" (4/9/13)

Henry "Hank" Klopping, Ed.D., "Doing the Math to Save Schools for the Deaf" (3/19/13)

Daniel Koo, Ph.D., "Signs of Things Past: The Effect of ASL and Modality on Working Memory" (11/13/12)

Monique Holt, "Chinese Folklore and Shakespearean Sonnets in ASL" (3/27/12)

John Lee Clark, “Writing from the Margins: Deaf-Blind People in North America, 1850 to the Present” (2/21/12)

Claudia L. Gordon, "Justice Everywhere: Civil Rights and the Disability Community" (1/26/12)

"See What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary" (film screening 3/22/11)

Brian Greenwald, Ph.D., "Calling A.G. Bell: Eugenics and Deaf Americans, 1883-1922" (2/22/11)

Gaurav Mathur, Ph.D., "What Makes Sign Languages Unique? Building Signs" (11/10/10)

Flying Words Project (Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner), "Live!: Poetry in Motion" (3/23/10)

"Spotlight: VSDB Virginia School for the Deaf" (film screening with Deaf director Jennifer Witteborg, 10/27/09)

Kristen Harmon, Ph.D., "Transdeaf: Hearing People Desiring Deafness" (9/29/09)

Greg Hlibok and Michael S. Stein, "Deaf People and the Law" (3/10/09)

Patti Durr, "Visual Histories: Deaf People's Experiences in the Holocaust" (10/23/08)

Mel Carter, "Looking Back: Tales of a Deaf Virginian" (9/30/08)

Benjamin Jarashow, "Live! ASL Storytelling and Poetry" (3/26/08)

Carol-lee Aquiline, "Deaf People and Human Rights: Focus on Developing Countries" (11/13/07)

Douglas C. Baynton, Ph.D., "'The Undesirability of Admitting Deaf Mutes': Deaf Immigrants and American Immigration Law, 1882-1924" (10/4/07)

Cinnie MacDougall, "Roleshifting: Uses in Signing and ASL Storytelling" (3/27/07)

"Through Deaf Eyes" (preview screening of clips from PBS documentary and discussion with Rachel Bavister, 3/13/07)

Manny Hernandez, "Live! ASL Storytelling" (10/10/06)

Derek Braun, Ph.D., and Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, "Genetics and Deafness: Science and Ethics" (4/11/06)

Deborah Meranski Sonnenstrahl, Ph.D., "Deaf Artists in America: Colonial to Contemporary" (3/25/06)

Trix Bruce, "An Evening of Improv: Whose ASL is It?" (3/14/06)

"Audism Unveiled" (film screening and discussion with H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Ph.D., 2/28/06)

Arkady Belozovsky, "The Emergence of Deaf Mafia in the Former Soviet Union" (4/8/05)

Scott K. Liddell, Ph.D., "Directional Signs and Meaning in American Sign Language" (3/18/05)

Harry G. Lang, Ph.D., "Deaf Heritage: Untold Stories" (11/4/04)

Lori Maynard, "Halloween ASL Storytelling" (10/19/04)

Mike Kemp, Ed.D.: "Travels Abroad: Deaf Communities and Sign Language Teacher Education in other Countries" (4/7/04)

Thomas K. Holcomb, Ph.D.: "Demystifying Deaf Culture" (3/17/04)

Michelle A. Banks, "Crossing Boundaries: My Journey as a Black Deaf Actress" (11/6/03)

Joseph J. Murray, "Deaf-Deaf Marriages: The Transatlantic Debate 1883-1900" (4/4/03)

John Schuchman, Ph.D.: "Deaf People in Hitler's Europe" (3/22/03)

John Schuchman, Ph.D.: "Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and the Film Entertainment Industry" (11/15/02)

Cynthia Peters, Ph.D.: "American Deaf Literature: From Carnival to the Canon" (3/23/02)

"Cochlear Implants and Deaf Pride: Possible?!?!?" (Panel discussion with Irene W. Leigh, Ph.D., 2/21/02)

Reginald Redding, Ph.D.: "A Journey through the American Deaf School System" (11/15/01)

Harlan Lane, Ph.D.: "Social Constructions of Deafness" (3/24/01)

Donalda Ammons, Ph.D.: "Deaf Education around the World" (11/9/00)

Lou Fant: "Perspectives of a CODA" (10/17/00)

Brenda Schertz: "Deaf Art: Visualizing Deaf Culture" (4/11/00)

Connie Briscoe: "An Evening of Fiction" (3/25/00)

Katherine Jankowski, Ph.D.: "Deaf Empowerment" (3/24/00)

Ella Mae Lentz: "An Evening of ASL Poetry" (10/18/99)

Betty G. Miller, Ed.D.: "Oppression is Personal: A Deaf Artist's View" (4/27/99)

Bill Ennis: "Live! Deaf Storytelling and Humor" (4/15/99)

Roslyn Rosen, Ph.D.: "Deaf Education: Today and Tomorrow" (3/1/99)

"'I Love You, But...'" (film screening and video introduction by Lawrence Fleischer, Ph.D., 4/16/98)

Dawn Skwersky: "A Deaf Filmmaker's View of Working in the Entertainment Industry" (3/24/98)

Ann Marie "Jade" Bryan: "Using Film to Create Change in Our Community" (3/2/98)

Ted Supalla, Ph.D.: "Historical Films: A Window to Deaf America in the Early 20th Century" (2/6/98)

Bernard Bragg: "Signs on Stage: A Look at Deaf Theatre" (4/22/97)

Betty G. Miller, Ed.D.: "Representing Deaf Experience: Deaf View Image Art" (3/20/97)

Peter Cook: "Avant Garde ASL Poetry: New Dimensions" (2/27/97)

Ben Bahan, Ph.D.: "ASL Literary Traditions" (4/12/96)

Carol Padden, Ph.D.: "How Sign Languages Work" (3/27/96)

Lindsay Dunn: "The Black Deaf Experience" (3/4/96)

Jack Gannon: "A Look at Deaf America" (2/15/96)

Gilbert Eastman: "ASL Storytelling" (4/11/95)

Khadijat "Kubby" Rashid: "The International Deaf Community: A Nigerian Perspective" (3/23/95)

M.J. Bienvenu: "Deaf Culture" (3/6/95)

Clayton Valli, Ph.D.: "ASL Linguistics and Poetry" (2/23/95)

Barbara Kannapell, Ph.D.: "Bilingual Education: Good for Deaf Children?" and "Gender and Deaf Culture" (11/17/93)