Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Jennika Stamm

Name: Jennika Stamm ’10
Age: 23
Education (UR and additional): B.A. in American Sign Language, University of Rochester, 2010
Current city/state of residence: South Brunswick, NJ
Family: Married to another UR 2010 graduate (he graduated with a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Linguistics)
Community activities: Volunteering at local wildlife rehabilitation centers

When and how did you choose your major?

I wanted an extra class my sophomore year, and my friend suggested I take ASL 101. Since I knew a few signs and most of the alphabet, I figured there was no reason not to. I almost immediately fell in love with ASL—both as a language and as a large part of Deaf culture—and it evolved into a major from there.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

I knew quite a few professors and staff on campus when I was there because I worked on campus. All of the ASL professors were very helpful, and they were definitely my strongest mentors. Unfortunately, because of things at home, I lost contact with them after graduation, but I wish I kept in contact.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

I learned so much from the University of Rochester, and so much of it is still in play and useful in my life. I’d say that the most important of them, since I don’t want to list all the things I learned and still use, is the interpersonal skills and cultural knowledge I learned from all of my ASL classes and teachers. The Deaf community is very different from how I grew up, but a lot of things from my education are applicable, even outside of the Deaf community.

What advice do you have for current students?

Do what you love. I know it sounds kind of corny, but if there’s a class you really want to take or a club you’re really interested in, make sure to take it or join it! My biggest regret is that I didn’t take more science or art courses and didn’t participate in more clubs while I was at the U of R… and, as a college graduate, you just don’t get those kinds of opportunities to learn and experience things that you get from college. So, take the great opportunities available to you while you can!