Katie Wickersham ’16

Using a silent language to teach English to deaf Kenyan children.

Last spring, after three years of intensive courses in communicative disorders, Katie Wickersham ’16 took her knowledge to Kenya where she used sign language to teach English to deaf students and practice speech therapy with students who have hearing aids.

Wickersham had never traveled abroad and was excited to see this part of the world while putting her major to use.

“My studies of deaf culture and deaf education through the University really inspired my trip.”

The Seattle native chose the University of Redlands because of its renowned communicative disorders department and commitment to community service.

Within days of arriving on campus for her freshman year, she knew it was the perfect fit. “As soon as I took my intro class,” she said, “I was hooked. I’ve never had a doubt since.”

Wickersham is president of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association. Over the summer, she interned in Seattle at Social Bridge, a company owned by University of Redlands alumna Lisa Iland Hilbert that helps teens and adults on the autism spectrum and with developmental differences learn social and life skills.

She plans to apply to graduate schools, continuing down the communicative disorders path.

“There are areas I really love,” she said. “For instance, I love the autistic population, and during my internship worked with adults who have autism, finding work for them and transitioning into independence. I also love the teeny, tiny kids with communicative disorders, and working with the deaf population.”