Alumni eNewsletter: Student speakers for Commencement announced (Archives)

April 15, 2016


Every year, the University selects graduating students to share personal messages about their lives and their impressions of what Gallaudet has meant to them with families, friends, and fellow students gathered at Commencement. It is my honor and pleasure to announce the student speakers for the 146th annual Commencement Exercises, which will be held on Friday, May 13, 2016, beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Field House.

Ardavan Guity, from Tehran, Iran, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in deaf studies, will speak on behalf of the undergraduate Class of 2016. Tong Song, from Beijing, China, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting at Gallaudet in 2013 and is graduating this year with a Master of Public Administration degree, will speak on behalf of the graduate student class.

Ardavan Guity was born and raised in a Deaf family and attended a school for the Deaf in Iran. He began his commitment to community service at age 12 as a UNICEF delegate for children and teenagers with disabilities. In 2005, he led the Iranian Center for the Deaf (ICD) and helped found its Deaf Youth Section. The following year, Guity represented the ICD at the Asian Youth Deaf Camp in Miyazaki, Japan. The experience inspired him to establish and lead the first Young Deaf Iranian Camp in 2007. In 2011, Guity served as a delegate for the World Federation of the Deaf Congress in South Africa and taught interpreters about International Sign Language at the SIGN5 Conference of Sign Language Users at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey. From 2011 to 2012, he was a researcher at Alzahra University in Tehran, working on a sign language and deaf culture educational book and DVD for sign language interpreters.

After earning a degree in computer science at a university in Iran, Guity enrolled in Gallaudet’s English Language Institute (ELI) in 2013. He became an undergraduate student at the University in 2014, pursuing a major in deaf studies. He has been a peer advisor for three years. In this capacity, he co-hosted several panel discussions, including a diversity panel, "Who Am I?" in March of this year.

Guity is gifted with the knowledge of several languages: Zaban Eshareh Iran (the sign language of Deaf Iranians), Persian Sign Language, American Sign Language, International Sign Language, Farsi, Arabic, and English. He has been accepted to Gallaudet’s accelerated master’s/doctorate program in linguistics for fall 2016. Guity states that every day at Gallaudet inspires him.

Tong Song grew up in a loving and supportive family that instilled in her a passion for excellence in education. Upon graduating from high school in 2008 at age 17, she boarded a plane to the United States and began her studies in the ELI at Gallaudet. In fall 2009, she began her undergraduate studies at the University, majoring in accounting. In the summer of 2010, she enrolled at the University of Washington, Seattle, to study JavaScript and animation.

After a year of volunteer work in non-profit organizations, Song returned to Gallaudet in 2014 to begin her studies in the Master of Public Administration program. She also worked as a student assistant in Tutorial and Instructional Programs, managing tutorial appointments, tracking students’ progress, and assisting in preparing tutorial materials, exhibits, and demonstrations. In addition, Song served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Business, working on research projects and developing new course materials, and volunteering with the department’s Income Tax Assistance program, providing free tax return preparation. She is currently interning in the University’s Finance Office.

Song is fluent in Chinese, English, and American Sign Language. She is VITA/TCE tax certified, and proficient in JavaScript and iMovie animation. She takes pride in her interpersonal skills, adaptability, organizational and communication skills, problem-solving, and logical thinking. She describes herself as independent, self-disciplined, confident, positive, and spiritual. Song’s goals are to become an accounting team manager and a leader at a public organization or corporation.

The Student Commencement Speakers Committee was chaired by Mr. Don Miller of the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. Other committee members were Ms. Marina Dzougoutov of the Department of Art, Communication, and Theatre; Thuan Nguyen-Lakrik, representing the Gallaudet Staff Council; Damien Spillane, representing the Graduate Student Association; and Jaddua Johnston, representing the Student Body Government.

Please join me in extending congratulations to Ardavan and Tong. I look forward to seeing them shine at Commencement!


Carol J. Erting

Posted: 9 May 2016

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