1999 Valedictorian: Josephine Schallehn

Josephine says when she made the decision to go to college, she “had no clue about available accommodations, let alone my right to request accommodations under the ADA.”  She lived in Milpitas at the time and decided to give Ohlone a try, as it was close at hand.  At Ohlone, Josephine was pleased to find guidance provided to Deaf / Hard of Hearing students by counselors, exposure to and getting accommodations in the classroom (real-time captioning), and benefitting from staff and instructors who had existing exposure to individuals with hearing loss.

Josephine tells us her time at Ohlone “was a treasure for (she) had very enthusiastic instructors who loved to share what they knew and do so in ways that made the learning process interesting to me, adding the right amount of challenge and encouragement.  (She) had several instructors who gave (her) very valuable feedback and encouraged (her) in getting and continuing (her) education.”

She certainly did continue her formal education after leaving Ohlone.  In 2001 she earned a B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Sonoma State University, and in 2004, she completed her M.A. in English, also at Sonoma State University.  Her graduate thesis, “Narratives of Individuals with a Post-Lingual, Post-Vocational Hearing Loss: A Discourse Analysis,” was published in 2004.

After completing her M.A., Josephine freelanced as a copy-editor for several years before joining the World Institute on Disability (WID) in 2008, where she still works.  At WID Josephine works as a Projects Coordinator in various capacities supporting departments involved in publications, development, administrative, and finance.  She has participated in the planning, development, and coordination of WID’s annual fundraiser.  She has also fact checked, style and web edited content for many different projects, including Sticks and Stones and EQUITY.  She has also been actively involved with the San Francisco chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).

Josephine is committed to increasing communication, information, and education access for persons with disabilities.  As a hard-of-hearing person, she is dedicated to raising awareness about hearing loss and has been a guest speaker at graduate-level classes to share her experience of living with progressive hearing loss.