Sara Bianco-Critical Link 8

Hello! I'm Sara Bianco. My life journey as a Deaf person, a mother of a Deaf child, and an American Sign Language (ASL) teacher has brought me to Indianapolis, Indiana where I was offered a wonderful opportunity. Last fall, Dr. Julie White asked me to co-teach an ASL/English Interpreting course with her. What a rare opportunity! Never in my ten years of teaching American Sign Language did I have a chance to become involved in teaching interpreting. I said, "YES!"

Our first semester was such an eye-opener for both of us that we are co-teaching two courses this semester. Now, we cannot imagine going back to having just one teacher in the classroom. We believe interpreting students have tremendous benefits by having both a Deaf and a hearing teacher in the classroom. Our program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is evolving by adding more interpreting courses that are either being co-taught or taught by a Deaf person.

Julie and I are taking things one step further by doing research as we co-teach to validate what we feel is true. More and more people are saying that including the Deaf community in every way is very critical and more research is needed to support this approach. 

We submitted an abstract proposal to the Critical Link 8 conference being held at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland from June 29 to July 1, 2016. This conference is one of the most prestigious in the interpreting field. "Critical Link International is committed to the advancement of community interpreting in the social, legal, and healthcare sector" (

Our proposal explores role-space (Llewellyn-Jones & Lee 2014). We examine how physical, psychological, mental, and linguistic space interact and blend as we co-teach. Using the conceptual blending theory as developed by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, we will analyze the different roles and spaces we use.

The conference committee accepted our paper! We will give a presentation at the conference, so we are now planning for our travel. Because I work part-time for IUPUI, I qualify for very limited travel funds from the university. I'm also unable to afford the trip myself. I am looking for support for the remainder of the funds I need to travel to Scotland to co-present our findings. Without me as a part of the team, our presentation becomes moot because we need to emphasize the importance of a Deaf-hearing team!

$3,000 will help me cover registration for the conference, travel, room, and board for the conference. If I receive funds from grants and other donations, I will update this page. If for some reason I am unable to meet the fundraising goal and am unable to go to the conference, the money will be returned to the donors.

After the conference, Dr. Julie White and I plan to give several workshops for free of charge to the community on our research. We strongly believe our findings could impact both the Deaf and the interpreting communities in positive ways. What we've learned can be applied to many types of Deaf-hearing relationships, not only teaching.
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Sara Bianco
Carmel, IN

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