Brightest and Best
Julie Johnson

Julie Johnson

Hometown: Paul, Idaho

High School: Minico High School, Graduated 1990

Class Year: Senior at ISU-Meridian Health Science Center

Major: Associate of Science (from ISU), in Sign Language Studies
Bachelor of Science in Educational Interpreting

Interests/Hobbies: I have three kids-two boys, ages 11 and 13, and a girl age 8. I'd say my hobbies are whatever my children are doing at the time. In spring, summer and fall, it's baseball. In fall, it's football and in spring, it's gymnastics.

Career goal: My motto is "baby steps first" so my immediate goal is graduating in May 2011. Then I'd like to work as a sign language interpreter in the public school system, preferably the same district where my children attend school. That way, we remain on the same schedule.

Why sign language/educational interpreting: My brother and sister-in-law came to visit five years ago. She worked in the Texas state disabilities office and took classes in American Sign Language. She showed me what she'd learned, and I instantly fell in love with the language.

Because ASL is very expressive, I often joke that I have the "face" for sign language and my hands are just trying to catch up. I wouldn't make a good poker player because my face tells it all.

On a serious note, sign language is a tool to bridge the hearing and non-hearing worlds. The more sign language we interpreters have, the more options available to the deaf community.

Why ISU-Meridian Health Science Center: Because it's the only bachelor's program in educational interpreting in the Boise Valley. I wouldn't have been able to embrace this new career had the program not been here. It is my passion. It is what I love.

ISU Experience: I first enrolled in ISU 20 years ago right out of high school. I moved into a dorm, made a lot of friends and loved campus life.

My ISU experience today isn't much different except I have developed much better time-management skills, thanks to marriage and three kids. My classmates are younger, but we've become good friends. I tell them I have a lot of wisdom to impart... (laughing...) and real- life experiences to share. They keep me young so it's a win-win situation for everyone.

Advice to future students: If you find your passion go for it, and you're better off pursuing it with a college degree.

I'd tell younger students to earn that degree the first time around because it's harder to go back to college when you're 40 and faced with family responsibilities.

When I left ISU the first time, life started to happen and it took me 20 years to get back to class.

Nationally the amount of student debt following graduation continues to increase. For information on how you can help educate the next generation of great Idaho State University scholars contact the ISU Foundation or call (208) 282-3470.


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