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Another college milestone as first master's graduates receive diplomas

Dec 14, 2017
by Jordan Puyear, '17

Three students receiving diplomas at Flagler’s fall graduation ceremony represented a major milestone for the college: the first students to graduate from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Master’s Program. The college’s first master’s program was launched in 2016 as a distance-learning program, and Mary Catherine Serfilippi, Miranda McMillan Slusser, and Olivia Grace Williams joined more than 180 undergraduate students for the commencement on Dec. 9.

Williams said that it was her positive experience as an undergraduate that made her come back to Flagler for the master’s program.

“Flagler is a part of who I am, a part of my history,” she said. “To now be a part of Flagler's history is both emotional and humbling.”

The Master of Arts Deaf and Hard of Hearing was first created to prepare students to properly meet the needs of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. The program’s mission states that this program will not only provide quality instruction, but it is also meant to empower students and the deaf community.

Margaret H. Finnegan, Director of Graduate Studies Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, said she was thrilled about the first graduating class, and looks forward to future graduate programs.

“It is a significant measure of the college’s dedication to growth and expansion of the curriculum, and to the needs of our alumni,” Finnegan said. “[This program] reinforces their technical skills, allows them to collaborate with students all over the country, to work closely with committed professionals and provides research and application opportunities.”

Serfilippi agreed with that sentiment. “As an alumna of Flagler College, I had very high expectations for this program and it far exceeded them,” she said. “I was a little apprehensive about the connections I would make with my fellow classmates and professors, but I can honestly say the way the program was designed made it feel as though we were all sitting in the same room. The professors delivered great content that was challenging and truly made me grow as an educator.” 


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