ASL Club goes to DeafNation Expo

AK Pachla, Copy Editor

Bakersfield College’s American Sign Language Club has been awarded a SOF (Student Opportunity Fund) grant to attend a special annual event for the deaf community.

DeafNation Expo, a yearly convention held in Pomona, is a gathering for deaf artists, community groups, and vendors to come together and share with one another.

In an email, ASL Club adviser Linda McLaughlin said, “This is an opportunity and a great learning experience for them [the ASL Club members] to learn about the language and culture of deaf people.”

The ASL Club has both hearing and deaf students, all of whom will be experiencing DeafNation Expo for the first time, thanks to the hard work of the club members and the generosity of the SGA.

The $1,600 grant specifically covers the cost of renting a coach for the club to travel to the event. Admission is free and the students will be providing their own meals and other accommodations while on the trip.

Sophomores and ASL Club members Viridiana Alvarez (sociology) and Amanda Rangel (American Sign Language) are excited to be going to this year’s DeafNation Expo. They are looking forward to making new friends and having new experiences. DeafNation Expo is also an excellent networking opportunity for students hoping to become teachers for deaf elementary students, American Sign Language interpreters, and social workers for the deaf.

Alvarez and Rangel believe the event will also be important for the hearing club members. “They [hearing people] get an idea when they go to an event like this full of deaf people signing and no spoken language,” they write.

Another important reason for DeafNation Expo, and why it is consistent with the mission of the college to help send our ASL Club, is so they can see that everything is just as possible for them as for anyone else. Alvarez and Rangel write, “It is an eye-opening experience for deaf students to show that there are successful deaf artists and Deaf[Nation] Expo, which shows us that anything is possible.”

The Pomona DeafNation Expo takes place this year on May 7. This is one of five national Expo events, culminating in the July DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas. For more information, or to register to attend, visit For more information about the ASL club or the American Sign Language degree program at BC, visit