Teruel, who works in CSUN's renowned National Center on Deafness (NCOD), is one of 11 people with disabilities selected this year to receive the prestigious Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Awards. The awards were presented Friday, December 8, in Washington D.C.
Teruel, 22, who plans to save the money for attending graduate school, said she was ecstatic upon learning of the award. "I clapped my face with my hands and jumped up and down," she said. "This year definitely is the year for me. This really is turning out to be my millennium."
The Chicago native, who graduated from CSUN in May as an English major with an emphasis in creative writing, bested 24 other contestants from across the country in July to be chosen as the new Miss Deaf America. As such, she is a role model for the nation's 28 million deaf and hard-of-hearing residents.
Teruel's latest award comes from AAPD, a national organization that promotes political and economic empowerment for the more than 56 million U.S. children and adults with disabilities. The AAPD leadership awards program was established in 1999 in honor of Hearne, the founder of AAPD.
The awards recognize emerging leaders with disabilities who also have a positive impact on the community of people with disabilities. Teruel and the other recipients each will be paired with a nationally recognized leader in the disability community who will support them through mentoring.
Teruel learned of the competition through her involvement in the Miss Deaf America program, and was chosen by AAPD from among hundreds of applicants. Teruel and her father attended the AAPD awards ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel.
Teruel is planning to pursue a graduate degree in journalism, hoping to write about her experiences. She said she also hopes to improve the quality of education for deaf students, increase job opportunities for deaf people and improve access in public places.
Teruel is an associate project coordinator at CSUN's National Center on Deafness, which provides sign language interpreting and other specialized services to nearly 300 deaf students on campus. CSUN and NCOD serve the largest university population of deaf students in the western United States.
@csun | December 11, 2000 issue
Public Relations | University Relations
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