- Major: American Sign Language
- HS: Sauquoit Valley, class of 2007
The language of choice in Rob Stanton’s childhood home was one most of us know of but never learned. “Both my parents are Deaf. I grew up with American Sign Language (ASL) as my first language. Going to school for ASL was an obvious choice for me.”
Joining the United States Marine Corps was also an obvious choice for Stanton. “I had a lot of family in the military. It seemed like the path that was meant for me.” Two weeks after graduating from Sauquoit Valley High School (approximately 10 miles south of Utica) Stanton was in boot camp.
He served four years in the Marines, doing tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan before being honorably discharged in 2011 as a Lance Corporal. “It was the greatest time of my life. I met the best people in the world and I built bridges. For the rest of my life I can go anywhere up and down the east coast and there will always be someone I can stay with.”
Stanton spent six years working various jobs and attending two different colleges before his wife’s work brought them to Syracuse. In the spring of 2018 he began taking classes at OCC and majoring in ASL. During his time here he’s found two homes on campus. One is in the Veterans’ office on the second floor of Coulter Hall. “I love the Veterans community here. As soon as you walk in the Veterans office you feel at home. There are people here you find connections with and you feel that brotherhood and camaraderie you felt in the military. I went to two other colleges and never felt that. The veteran community is very close-knit here.”
The other place where he feels most comfortable is within the ASL community where he is president of the ASL Club. “The faculty is mentoring me and helping me with my goals. Most students wants to be an interpreter but I want to be a teacher.” Stanton will earn his degree in May but plans to be a regular presence on the OCC campus. “I’m going to shadow faculty while I’m going for my bachelor’s and I’d love to teach here while I’m pursuing my master’s.”
You can learn more about OCC’s American Sign Language major by clicking here.
You can learn more about the OCC’s Veterans’ office by clicking here.