Date: March 7, 2007
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, email@example.com
PNC Faculty Member Earns Purdue University 2007 Focus Award
WESTVILLE – Purdue University North Central faculty member Karen Donah has been selected to receive the 2007 Focus Award presented by Purdue University.
Donah, a continuing lecturer and coordinator of American Sign Language classes at PNC, was presented the award as part of a special event on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus. She was nominated for the honor by PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. The Focus Award is presented to individuals affiliated with Purdue University who have made an outstanding contribution to furthering Purdue’s commitment to disability accessibility and diversity. Honorees are selected each year in the categories of faculty, staff, student and organization. Donah is advisor for the American Sign Language Club and has worked diligently to promote awareness of American Sign Language.
She was first employed by PNC from 1991 to 1997 in Information Services, where she supported and encouraged the use of technology in developing accommodations for students with disabilities.
In the classroom, she teaches American Sign Language to students who hope to use their skills as teachers, business professionals, parents and friends. She has invited students to participate in a “Silent Lunch” program where ASL students and others meet for lunch conversing only in ASL. She has started a similar “Silent Dinners” and other “silent” events in the community. Students and community members are invited to local restaurants and coffeehouses to meet for fun and friendship, all the while using ASL. Nina Coyer, Donah’s sister, who is a deaf ASL interpreter professor at Eastern Kentucky University and Roger Coyer, a deaf retired teacher and football coach at Kentucky School for the Deaf have been on campus at Donah’s invitation to relate their experiences as deaf individuals growing up in a hearing world.
Dworkin, in his letter of nomination her for the Focus Award, wrote, “Karen Donah continues to develop and provide opportunities for her students, for the deaf community in Northwest Indiana and for the public to grow and learn individually and together. Not stopping there, she has significantly contributed to building awareness and sensitivity to issues related to the deaf specifically and by extension, to all individuals with disabilities within the administration and faculty.