Graduate student from Bath, New York
Major: Special Education, specializing in Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development
Campus Involvement: Member of the American Sign Language Club and a graduate assistant in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership
Kayla Whedbee struggled with recurring hearing loss throughout her childhood. Despite undergoing seven surgeries in any attempt for healthy ears, by age 12 she was diagnosed with hearing loss. She still struggles with discriminating consonants and vowels low in pitch. Today, she uses hearing aids and other techniques to verbally communicate successfully.
Her childhood hearing loss made her education more difficult. Her struggles inspired her to seek a degree program that would prepare her for a career helping the deaf and hard of hearing community.
“My hearing loss sparked me to be the change I wish to see in the world,” Whedbee said. “I’d like to help children with hearing loss by providing them with the information, resources and knowledge that I didn’t have.”
While Whedbee received her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at another university, she knew she wanted to find a teacher education program that offered a specialization in Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She quickly discovered that Radford University not only offered the only Deaf and Hard of Hearing program in Virginia, but also had a reputation for having faculty and staff dedicated to preparing highly qualified professionals for the rigors of teaching a special education population.
“The Deaf and Hard of Hearing program allows me to work with and make a difference in the lives of children with a hearing loss in a field where educators are scarce and badly needed,” she said. “Radford University already has created opportunities for different licensures and certifications that will allow me to combine my passions expanding my hopes, dreams and goals further than I had planned.”
After graduating in May, Whedbee plans to find a teaching position and hopes to continue earning certification and licensures in special education.
Note: In her photo, Kayla Whedbee is signing “study” in American Sign Language.