Admission is FREE and open to everyone, including Vermont community members and Deaf community members! The events for Deaf History Month at UVM will occur during the month of March 13 through April 6. 

Short-list of Events:

ASL-English Interpreters will be provided at all of the events. If you are seeking additional accommodations, including, but not limited to Deaf-Blind interpreters or English real-time captioning, please email Hannah at ACCESS: no later than March 1st. This deadline will ensure accommodation requests are met.  We can accept requests after March 1st and we will do our best to meet those needs based on availability of services.

Posters Available!

Deaf History Month 2014 PosterJpeg, opens in new window.


Melissa Draganac-Hawk

“Diversity Within Deaf Community: My Personal Journey”
Melissa Draganac-Hawk
Davis Center Livak Room (4th floor), 7 PM – 9 PM

The presentation will focus on personal identity and how identity is shaped over time.  The presenter will discuss mechanisms for coping with successes and challenges of local and national organizations.  She will also share her professional journey to become an Early Childhood Education principal and how volunteer service on Valentine's Day Committee member led to becoming the vice-president for National Association of the Deaf, and the important lessons she has learned along the way.

Melissa Draganac-Hawk (Pennsylvania), a first-generation American of deaf immigrant Peruvian parents, received a master’s degree in Linguistics and two bachelor’s degrees in Theater Production & Performance and American Sign Language from Gallaudet University.  Currently, she is the Principal of Early Childhood Education at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and an adjunct professor of American Sign Language at the University of Pennsylvania. Involved in the deaf community, Melissa was the president of the National Council of Hispano Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and was the Executive Director of Deaf Women United. Melissa has been involved with the NAD throughout her life in various capacities: as a youth, she participated in the Junior NAD and the Youth Leadership Camp, and as an adult she directed the Miss Deaf America Finals in 2002 and 2008. She has been an NAD member since 1988, focusing on issues affecting youth and diversity. In her free time, she enjoys being with her husband, Sam, and son, Etzio.


“Universal Signs”
Fleming Museum, room 101 (basement), 7 PM - 9 PM

After the death of his fiancée’s daughter while in his care, Andrew (Anthony Natale), a Deaf artist, becomes a prisoner of his own mind. Tormented day and night by memories and self-blame, Andrew falls in a downward spiral of depression and anger that alienates everyone around him. It is only through a serendipitous friendship and new love with Mary (Sabrina Lloyd) that Andrew is able to sense the life around him – forgive himself, rediscover his muse, and experience the transformative power of love.


“Age of Consent for Cochlear Implants”
John Dewey Lounge, Old Mill 325, 6 PM - 8 PM

Hosted by UVM’s Lawrence Debate Union, this will be a friendly debate between the members of the UVM Lawrence Debate Union and Deaf community members.  This event is an opportunity for the audience to view the different perspectives on both sides of the debate and be educated on how this topic impacts the Deaf community at large.


FRIDAY, MARCH 21: Brunch & ASL Roundtable Discussion
Living/Learning Fireplace Lounge (2nd floor of Commons building); join in anytime between 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Topic of discussion: following up Melissa Draganac-Hawk’s keynote speech.  All are welcome to share their perspectives, even if you were not able to attend Melissa’s keynote address.  Free bagels and coffee will be provided!


Davis Center Brennan's Pub (basement), 6 PM - 8 PM

Join us for an evening of mime and storytelling at Brennan’s Pub at the University of Vermont.  Students from ASL II, ASL III, and ASL IV classes will perform ABC and Number stories, Visual Vernacular stories, Deaf jokes, and many more!  Meanwhile, other students, interpreters, ASL pros, die-hards, and anyone who can sign are also encouraged to come on stage and give it a try!  Those who do not know ASL or are not comfortable with signing in front of an audience can join us by being our audience members to witness the art of Deaf Culture in action.  Food and drinks will be sold at Brennan’s Pub.


Davis Center Livak Ballroom (4th floor), 7 PM - 9 PM

Join us in an evening of ASL games amongst peers and ASL students.  ASL Faculty, Teaching Assistants and ASL students will be your hosts, which means a good time is guaranteed!  Everyone is welcome, regardless of signing level and experience!


John MaucereSUNDAY, APRIL 6: The John Maucere Show with Special Guest Ashley Fiolek
Davis Center Grand Maple Ballroom; 3 PM – 5 PM 
Q & A after the show

About John:
John Maucere is an internationally recognized performer who played a critical part in breaking down social stereotypes by being the very first deaf actor to take part in ABC’s Talent Development Program with Tom Hanks and Arsenio Hall.  John created and portrayed the SuperDeafy character, a Deaf superhero in a movie, No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie starring Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, which was recently released to rave reviews at the Heartland Film Festival.  He appeared on several television shows, including LAW AND ORDER, SOUTHLAND and ABC Family’s highest-rated show, SWITCHED AT BIRTH.  Worldwide, John has made numerous appearances alongside with other celebrities.  John attended Gallaudet University, where he was one of the rally leaders who led Gallaudet through the historic 1988 Deaf President Now (DPN), which sparked his lifelong passion to inspire people to believe that Deaf people can do anything.

ashley fiolek on her honda
About Ashley:

Ashley Fiolek, 23 years old, is a professional motocross racer.  She was born profoundly deaf and attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.  At the tender age of 7, she began her racing career and eventually went on to be the first deaf person to win an American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) championship.  Since then, she has earned 4 more championships in her 5 years of racing as a pro.  Ashley now tours the United States giving motivational speeches at Deaf schools.  In 2012, Ashley published her first book, Kicking Up Dirt, co-written with journalist Caroline Ryder.  On television, she was invited to be on Conan’s talk show, the first deaf person to do so.  Ashley is a guest star (as a motocross racer, of course) on ABC’s SWITCHED AT BIRTH.  To date, Ashley Fiolek has broken through many boundaries despite being deaf and being a woman.  She is a positive role model for all.


Deaf History Month is sponsored by:

Academic Support Programs lgogo


Academic Support Programs




Campus Programs

Campus Programs



Past Deaf History Month Archive: