Grad Profile: Demeter Finch

Demeter is a first-generation honors student here at WOU who will be obtaining a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Special Education and Humanities with a minor in Spanish. 

Why did you choose WOU?

The American Sign Language/English Interpreting program.

What do you love most about WOU?

The professors and overall elevated level of support across the campus

What do you love most about the Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Special Education and Humanities degree you completed?

The connections and relationships I have made with the professors, fellow students, and future colleagues.

What have some of your extracurriculars been?

I participated in the 2018 Service Learning Trip to Seabeck, WA to participate in a week-long camp for DeafBlind adults. I was an ASL and Spanish tutor for the 2018-2019 school year. I was a part of the ASL Club and briefly held the position of treasurer before needing to step down due to becoming pregnant and not being able to make the time commitment. These various activities led to several special relationships with a variety of people that have become a support system that I never knew I needed or wanted.

What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?

I have to say how proud I am to be graduating with honors and graduating Summa Cum Laude while being a mother to an infant. This has been such a long journey for me overall, and being a mother is hands down the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I am proud of myself for pushing through the sleepless nights and finishing this degree for not only myself, but for my beautiful daughter, Persephone Sue.

Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you? Please tell us about it!

There have been several. However, I have to say that one of my biggest inspirations in my time at WOU has been Profesora Claudia Costagliola. The first class I took with her was Conversational Spanish. There is a tendency for people to take that class because it is “easy” and often little to no homework. Claudia did things a little differently. We had weekly homework and in-class discussions for a one credit course. I left that class with so much more information and education than I had ever anticipated for a “simple “class. I was able to take a few more classes with Claudia and get to know her better. Claudia is from Chile and quickly became a strong female role model to me. She genuinely cares for her students and demonstrates a level of compassion and understanding that I have rarely seen. She is such an authentic and brave woman and I feel honored to have been her student and have had the pleasure of interacting with her. Te quiero profesora.

What will you miss most about college?

The supportive learning environment and access to outstanding amazing academic resources.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I have been fortunate enough to already begin the transition into my career. I have several projects that I will be taking on over the course of the summer. I want to pursue my certifications for ASL/English Interpreting while continuing to work in and around the DeafBlind community as a Support Service Provider (SSP) and interpreter. Ultimately, I have a 5-year goal to assist with improving overall resources and access to mental health services for and run by the Deaf and DeafBlind communities.

What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s all a part of the learning process. Life would be boring without the mistakes.

What do you know now that you wish you knew your first term in college?

My first term of college was actually in fall of 2001. I would tell my 18-year-old self that it is necessary to show up for class to get through college lol. In reality, I wish I would have known the importance of self-care, balance, and not to sweat the small stuff.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

The third floor of the library. It is a place I spent many hours studying and preparing presentations and projects. The reason I enjoy it there is because everyone else is there for the same reason. There is a sense of shared community. All of us need that quiet space to do what we need to do and everyone is respectful of one another’s need for that quiet space.

Did you have any funny mishaps or moments of confusion when you first started at WOU?

My first day at WOU during my first class we went on a quick treasure hunt across campus. This happened to be my Introduction to Interpreting class which meant, in theory, I would continue to have class with several of these people over the next few years. I was feeling pretty good until I quit paying attention and caught my toe on the sidewalk and fell flat on my face in front of everyone. Luckily, I didn’t get hurt and many people helped me save face by pretending it never happened. Oddly enough, on my way to class during Winter term the same year, I slipped on ice and fell. No one was around to see that. And Spring term? You guessed it. I went to sit on a bench and misjudged where it was at and fell on my bum. I just like to think of it as how I used Interpretive Dance to acquaint myself to WOU.

What’s the most important lesson you learned about yourself while in college?

I do not need to follow anyone else’s timeline. I spent my 20’s learning who I was as a person and assisting my family through tough times while others were going to college, getting married, buying homes, and having children. I didn’t get married until I was close to 30. I got my AA degree at 33, became a mother at 35 and am now getting my BA degree at 35. I still haven’t bought my first home…and I am just fine with that. My life isn’t about anyone’s journey but mine.

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