Tabitha Mortensen is graduating from Western Oregon University this June with a major in American Sign Language studies and a minor in psychology.
Mortensen is from Salem, Ore. and is a full time mother to Zoe and Ezekiel. Her favorite lunch spot in Monmouth is Yang’s, and her favorite study spots on campus are the amphitheater outside of Rice Auditorium and the College of Education’s computer lab.Mortensen’s favorite events on campus have been the Coming Out Stories, because of the connections she has gained with peers and mentors that faced similar struggles.
She decided to go to WOU because of the Deaf and hard of hearing education program. She also liked that the campus was small, that there was a large presence and support system for the LGBTQ community, and that Western has many different options for Deaf Studies.
During her time at the university,Mortensen found out through an audiologist that she suffered from significant hearing loss. While being a student at Western she received her first FM system, first hearing aids, and was able to use an interpreter in the classroom. Thanks to Heather Holme, Kara Gournaris, Mike Oliver, WOU’s Office of Disability Services, and her interpreters,Mortensen received necessary resources, better accessibility, encouragement, and learned how to be an advocate for herself.
Mortensen’s advice for incoming freshman is to remember that your college years go by quickly, so to make sure you slow down, take your time, and become more active in your campus community.
After she graduates,Mortensen will start the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Masters of Education program at Western Oregon University.
Congratulations, Tabitha. Best of wishes to you and your future accomplishments.