Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown to speak at OU-C ‘Recognition of Graduation’ event

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown will deliver the keynote address at Ohio University-Chillicothe’s Recognition of Graduation event at 7:30 p.m. on June 8 in the Shoemaker Center on campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor Chillicothe Campus students who have earned associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio University during the 2011-12 academic year.

A pinning ceremony for graduates of OU-C’s nursing program will be held at 6 p.m. on June 7 in the Shoemaker Center.

Justice McGee Brown has been a trailblazer throughout her career. She became the first African-American woman to serve as a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court, joining the court in January 2011. She was previously the first African-American woman elected to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

A common theme throughout her professional and community work is her advocacy for children and families.

She was first elected to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations and Juvenile Division in 1992. As lead Juvenile Court judge, Justice McGee Brown led the creation of the Family Drug Court and the SMART Program, a truancy and educational neglect intervention effort.

Justice McGee Brown served on the Common Pleas Court until 2002, when she retired from the bench to create the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She served as founding president until 2010, when she became candidate for lieutenant governor of Ohio.

Justice McGee Brown graduated from Ohio University with a degree in journalism/public relations, and she earned her Juris Doctorate from the Ohio State University. She later served on the Ohio University Board of Trustees.

She is the former chair of the United Way of Central Ohio, The Ohio State University Alumni Association and the National Council of the OSU Moritz College of Law. In 2008, Justice McGee Brown was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame. Among her honors, she has received the Champion of Children’s Award, YWCA Women of Achievement Award, Women of Color Woman of the Year, Girl Scout Great Award and several honors from Ohio University and the Ohio State University.

“I am very pleased that Justice McGee Brown has agreed to deliver the keynote address during our graduation event, and I look forward to hearing her remarks,” OU-C Dean Martin Tuck said. “As an individual whose career has been dedicated to advocating for others, particularly those who are most vulnerable, she brings a perspective that is especially relevant to our graduating students. On the Chillicothe Campus, we emphasize to our students the importance of ‘paying forward’ and using their talents and knowledge to help others. Consequently, Justice McGee Brown’s perspective should especially resonate with our graduating students as they embark on their own career paths.”

“Further, as an alumnus and former board member of Ohio University, it is especially fitting for Justice McGee Brown to address our students, who are joining the ranks of proud Ohio University alumni,” Tuck said.

Formal commencement activities are held on the Athens campus.

OHIO ASL Club members experience the rich history of Gallaudet University

By OU-C public relations student-employee Rebecca Reif

During their recent trip to Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., 11 American Sign Language Club members from Ohio University-Chillicothe and Ohio-University Lancaster used American Sign Language to explore Deaf culture at the historic university.

“Galluadet was the first higher education institution in the United States with programs and services specifically designed to accommodate Deaf and hearing impaired students,” said Ashlee Rauckhorst, coordinator of student activities at OU-C. “The students who attended this trip were fully immersed in Deaf culture, especially as communication among participants was mostly through American Sign Language.”

Trip participants, most of whom had studied sign language for months or even years before the trip, found that visiting the university was a great way to practice signing with others outside of the classroom.

“Learning to sign is something I have always wanted to do,” said Marlene Fout, a junior at OU-C and a co-organizer of the trip, who began learning sign language in 2010. “The trip was a wonderful learning experience! In the past, I struggled a lot with my signing skills, but loved the language too much to quit. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to be immersed in the Deaf culture during our visit. Now, I am much more comfortable signing.”

Recent OU-C graduate and ASL Club president Sherri Wilson was inspired to learn and practice sign language from her ASL instructors at OU-C. “I understand the struggle of communication because of my memory loss as a young woman,” said Wilson. “I had to relearn the English language and it is still a challenge. My college education was scary in the beginning because I had very few words, but I understood sign language. I loved it from day one.”

Reflecting on her visit to Gallaudet, Wilson was impressed with how the university structure seemed to embody the spirit of Deaf culture. “The university is rich in detail and distinct in its presentation,” said Wilson. “The character is strong and full of strength. The beauty of the people is matched by the history of the university; what a wonderful combination!”

During their stay, trip attendees viewed Deaf Jam, a documentary portraying how American Sign Language complements spoken poetry.

“Deaf Jam really moved me,” said OU-L student Angela Goldman. “I love the visual aspect that American Sign Language brings to poetry; it displays the beauty of true poetry in motion. I’m excited that American Sign Language is starting to enter the spoken word movement. My hope is that there can be a bridge built between the worlds of the Hearing and the Deaf and that people can come to appreciate the wonderful culture that exists within the Deaf community.”

“I think that American Sign Language is moving into the spoken word movement at a slow pace and I wish it would move faster,” said Heather Underwood, a junior at OU-L majoring in interpretation. “I think it could have a great effect on people’s everyday lives.”

While she found Deaf Jam to be an amazing documentary, Sherri Wilson believes the film only scratches the surface of Deaf culture.

“I believe that sign language is more than a movement; it is a huge part of the world we have overlooked,” said Wilson. “The Deaf culture has given us the football huddle and started sign language in major league baseball. It’s important to remember that over 80 percent of human communication is nonverbal communication.”
In addition to interacting with students at Gallaudet University on their trip, Ohio students, many of whom had never visited Washington D.C., had the chance to visit national landmarks including the Holocaust Museum and the Jefferson, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and war memorials.

“It was my first time visiting Washington D.C. and I fell in love with it,” said Fout. “The cultural diversity of the city is huge and the history that is present simply won my heart. I’m not a history buff, but when you visit Washington D.C., history becomes real. It’s no longer just dates and facts in a textbook.”

For all students involved, the ASL Club trip provided the opportunity to explore a new city, a new university and a new culture, while having fun along the way.

“One of my favorite things about the trip was sharing the experience with all the wonderful people I was surrounded by,” said Wilson. “There was so much positive energy, happiness and laughter; it was truly a life-changing experience.”

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Innovative ‘Human Library’ is among upcoming Diversity Fest activities at OU-C

An innovative “human library” and a five-kilometer race/walk are among the highlights of the upcoming Diversity Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 12 at Ohio University-Chillicothe.

Music, food, crafts and children’s art creations will be among other activities during the event, which will be held in the parking lot outside of the Shoemaker Center. The fest will be held inside of the center in the event of inclement weather. Admission is free, and the public is invited. Local radio personality Dan Ramey will serve as the emcee.

The human library concept captures the spirit of the event, which focuses on a celebration of diversity and learning from other people’s experiences and viewpoints. Interested individuals can “check out” a particpating volunteer for a 30-minute conversation from noon until 2 p.m.

These are definitely books whose stories cannot be fully told by their colorful covers. For example, among the human library selections is a faculty member with the title “Single but not alone world traveler and dedicated bilingual traveler,” staff members with the titles of “Brutally honest but not so southern belle from northeast Ohio” and “Appalachian gay from blue collar to white collar.” Among student selections are “Sweet caramel blind hard-working college student” and “I can’t even pass for normal.”

“This is a concept that began in Denmark, and this is the first time it will be held in Ohio,” said OU-C Library Director Allan Pollchik, an organizer of the event. “It allows for individuals to see life through another person’s eyes and to gain a new perspective on their own lives. You can find a person with an interesting background and learn from that person’s experiences. The emphasis is on mutual respect.” Or, patrons can check out a community member under the heading “Melungeon world-champion weight-lifter and hunter.”

This will be the second year of the 5-K run/walk for diversity and against bullying, which will begin and end near the Shoemaker Center. Registration is available day of the race or in advance. Race registration and information about the Diversity Fest is available online at

Event sponsors are the Salon Series at Quinn Library and the Stray Cats student organization.

Tulanda Brown shares her insights as part of ‘Successful Women’ speaker series

Tulanda Brown, a project manager with Fluor-B&W Portsmouth LLC, discussed “Working in the Nuclear Field” during the recent installment of the “Conversation with Successful Women Series” at OU-C. The series allows individuals who have attained particular career success to share their experiences and insights with OU-C students and area residents. The series is sponsored by the Ohio University-Chillicothe Giving Circle.

Brown is a professional nuclear and systems safety engineer with more than 15 years of experience at various Department of Energy (DOE) facilities. She is a published expert in nuclear safety regulation development and implementation, as well as ensuring environmental, safety and health controls for facilities undergoing decontamination, decommissioning and environmental restoration. She has been responsible for remediation of more than 148 waste sites.

Brown earned a 2006 Black Engineer of the Year Award and eight DOE Special Act Awards.

Cheerleader tryouts scheduled for interested OU-C students

Tryouts will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on May 5 in the Shoemaker Center for students interested in being members of the Ohio University-Chillicothe cheerleading squad during the 2012-13 academic year.

Being an OU-C cheerleader offers students the opportunity to make new friends, to be part of the campus life and to make his/her college experience more memorable. The co-ed squad cheers for basketball games and participates in college and community events.

No prepared material is necessary for the tryout. Tumbling and mounting experience are valuable but not mandatory. Squad selection is based on all of your cheerleading skills. Those who are unable to attend tryouts may request an individual or video tryout. For more information, call 740-222-4637 or 740-708-6322 or email questions to