A Kentucky university is leading the way in sign language.
Going into its second year, Eastern Kentucky University's new American Sign Language program is growing leaps and bounds and attracting students from all across the country.
Dept. Chair, Laurence Hayes
Thanks to the program, the hearing impaired are finding out for once they're not the minority.
Last year EKU's American Sign Language Association requested a living space for students who wanted to immerse themselves in the ASL culture.
The rare program attracted students to transfer in from other schools.
"I was really nervous," senior Allie Fowee said. "I didn't have friends here, I wasn't involved in the deaf community here and so I was like what am I going to do?"
But it was easier than she expected to make friends with a similar passion.
"When I started taking ASL, I was fascinated with it, I fell in love with it," senior Mekaella Vailu'u said.
In the program's first year, 18 ASL students lived on the floor and this fall, 32 are enrolled.
Students have access to special video phones, as well as homework and language labs; all helpful tools for students preparing for a career in ASL.
That's now the goal for Vailu'u, but she initially learned for her deaf sister and the program has made a big difference in their relationship.
"Now that I've been here I can communicate with her and I can support her within our family," she said.
To learn more about EKU's ASL program, you can check them out on Facebook or contact the university.