Regina Daniels is North Central’s newest American Sign Language professor. Photo by Samantha Bergum.
With a passion for dancing and PhD in signing, the two assets come together for North Central’s new ASL professor
Regina Daniels is the newest professor in the Carlstrom American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting program at North Central. Teaching American Sign Language is only one of the many hats she wears.
Daniels grew up with her mom and sister in New Orleans. She grew up in a deaf home but attended a mainstream school, meaning she was the only deaf student in her classes until her middle school years. She then attended a residential deaf school. She was very involved in fine arts including dance, theatre and pageants.
After graduating high school, she was recruited to Gallaudet University for dancing. Although she loved being there the only thing she imagined herself doing after school was dancing and Gallaudet didn’t offer a dance or theatre major. As she wrestled through considering her next step, one of her professors suggested American University.
Daniels’ took an internship at American University and from there they recognized her talent for dancing and encouraged her to attend Julliard School, Columbia College or Philadelphia University. Her top choice was Julliard but the tuition price was high, so she went to Philadelphia. She realized she didn’t know what she wanted to major in, so she went back to live with her mom and sister in Maryland.
While at home she was involved in deaf theatre companies. While working with the theatre companies, she discovered The University of Maryland and decided to go there for her bachelor’s degree in dance. Following the achievement of her bachelor’s degree she went to Chicago for graduate school.
Through her dance classes she met with her interpreters to teach them dance words and make sure they knew what she needed to know to be successful in her classes. Teaching ASL, Daniels’ began to see the art’s dynamic uniqueness.
Her professors began to ask why she didn’t teach ASL because she was so good at it. Daniels’ considered it and finally decided to teach an introductory ASL course. As she started she fell in love with teaching and dancing was slowly pushed to the side.
She graduated with her master’s degree and continued teaching and being involved in signing theatre companies. As she continued to do theatre she realized her love of teaching and decided to really pursue it. She took a teaching while pursuing her PhD through Boston University and taught there for four years.
While in Boston an associate professor at North Central, Bill Ross, asked her if she was interested in taking the position at North Central. All things seemed to point to her being at North Central and truly feels that she has found her home.
She has not only grown in her teaching, but also has grown a lot in her faith. She grew up Catholic and has enjoyed learning more about the Lord.
“My office days are Tuesday and Thursday, and I can typically do work from home, but I will always drive in for chapel.” Daniels said. [Through an interpreter]
She loves the experience North Central holds within the spiritual realm and being able to experience it with fellow faculty members and students.
“This job has everything I have wanted and gives me opportunities I didn’t have teaching elsewhere,” Daniels said. She has enjoyed ‘dreaming’ with Ross about what’s next for the Interpreting program at North Central.
She hopes to add emphasis to interpreting majors because it is a very broad major in itself and gives students the opportunities to learn more about the specific field they plan to go into. She also hopes to partner with the theatre department to do more deaf theatre.
Outside of North Central, she plans to do some side work at the Guthrie with deaf theatre as well. She is so excited to be able to combine her passions of teaching with dancing/theatre and grow here at North Central.