RIT/NTID names recipient of 2017 Scouten Endowed Internship in English literacy

Katie O’Dell teaches deaf students at Neptune Middle School in New Jersey

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Mark Benjamin, RIT/NTID

Scouten Intern Katie O’Dell, center, joins RIT/NTID faculty members Kathleen Eilers-Crandall, left, and Kathy Varone.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf selected Katie O’Dell from Neptune, N.J., for the 2017 Scouten Endowed Internship in English Literacy. Her internship took place in April at RIT/NTID.

O’Dell, a teacher at Neptune Middle School, is responsible for providing English-language arts instruction to deaf and hard-of-hearing middle school students and also teaches a rotating science and social studies class.

The Scouten internship program, which includes an $1,800 stipend, was established in 2004 to honor the memory of Professor Emeritus Edward L. Scouten, who was a faculty member in NTID’s English Department from 1970 until his retirement in 1985. Selected interns must primarily teach deaf students English-language arts at the high school or middle school level and have at least two years of teaching experience.

The selection committee found O’Dell to be “a vibrant and dedicated woman, an educator of the next generation, who is making significant professional accomplishments early in her career. She meets and exceeds the qualifications of this internship.”

A number of O’Dell’s students are deaf with low vision or learning disabilities, and she says that she is dedicated to helping her students reach their dreams. After noticing that these students can make real gains when she teaches to their strengths, O’Dell believes many can succeed at the postsecondary level.

“I strive to incorporate literacy instruction in every lesson I teach, whether or not it is officially a language arts class,” O’Dell said.

Her time at RIT/NTID was spent learning about the resources and instructional strategies NTID uses with deaf students with secondary disabilities.

O’Dell earned a bachelor’s degree in English and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in teaching and deaf education. She holds several New Jersey certificates in teaching and deaf education and the New Jersey Endorsement in English for grades 6 to 12.

She is interested in adapting NTID’s approaches to literacy instruction and incorporating the strategies she learned from her internship at NTID to advance the English literacy skills that her students need to be successful in their secondary and postsecondary education endeavors.

Applications for next year’s internship will be accepted throughout the year. Go to the Scouten webpage for more information.