Arts & Life, Special Projects

CSULB student drives passion through ASL

Passion is what drives Long Beach State senior linguistics major Elizabeth Griswold to learn and bring awareness to the hearing impaired.

Griswold fell in love with linguistics and became passionate to learn all that she could.

“This is what I want to do with the rest of my life and I don’t care if it takes me years to get this or years to achieve my goal,” Griswold said. “I want to know every nook and cranny of linguistics, sign language and disability. I wanna know it all and I want to do it all.”

She chose to study at CSULB because of its ASL program. Griswold’s main goal is to become a researcher and hopes her work can end the stigmas that the hearing-impaired community faces.

“I want to focus my research on how sign language can help people who are nonverbal and help them to communicate and give them this like a way of communication and stop the stigma of that people who are nonverbal can’t communicate,” Griswold said.

One of Griswold’s most memorable moments at CSULB was doing her first research project and realizing that research is the path she wanted to take with her major.

Griswold’s passion for this subject not only comes from her love of linguistics, but also from being disabled as well. Being a woman with disabilities, Griswold explains she had to overcome many challenges growing up.

“If I was to tell 12-year-old me ‘you’re going go to college and you’re not only going go to an incredible school that’s like well respected and you’re gonna get a bachelor’s degree in a very tough field and you’re going to like to go up and do incredible things,’ I wouldn’t believe it because that was just how I was raised back then,” Griswold said.

Griswold said some of the hardest lessons she had to overcome in college is learning to be independent and not be afraid to fail. Her advice to current students is to not be scared of failure and that it will only make you stronger.

“Accept that you are not going to be the smartest person in the room. Understand that you are gonna fail and it’s gonna suck, but you can get back up and move on and become stronger,” Griswold said.

She hopes that during her time at CSULB, she helped bring awareness to students with disabilities.

“I hope to leave much more awareness. I want to leave an awareness of that we need to be more inclusive to the ASL community,” Griswold said.

She hopes that in the future CSULB can create more deaf-friendly events and offer more support to students with disabilities.

Griswold is feeling a mixture of excitement and stress to be graduating. She is proud of how far she has come in her education.

“I would tell that 12-year-old me who was in special ed classes who were fighting to get into regular education,” Griswold said. “I would tell her that you’re gonna make it. Don’t change a thing because of who you are.”

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