L-R: Sue Sullivan '85 and Nina Batt '15
Ever since her middle school jazz band played a concert at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf, Nina Batt ’15 has been interested in deaf culture and American Sign Language.
After participating in deaf studies courses at the College, Batt interned this past summer at DEAF, Inc., a non-profit organization that encourages and empowers deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and late-deafened individuals to lead productive lives. “For my internship,” Batt explains, “I got a taste of everything there was to do in the New Bedford regional office.”
After answering the voice telephone and the video phone (akin to Skype), maintaining facilities, and building relationships with consumers, she decided to take her commitment to the next level by running a half-marathon in DEAF, Inc.’s name. “I had been toying with the idea of running a half-marathon for a few months,” she says.
Since the race took place in Vancouver, a city with close family ties, her family decided to pack their bags in order to enjoy a vacation. But even though she was on break, Batt worked harder than ever. While training for the run, she and her mother sent out pledge letters to friends, family, colleagues, and the Holy Cross women’s field hockey team (she was a member of the team during the 2011-12 season), and together they raised $16,000 in donations. Regarding her sincere commitment to DEAF, Inc., Batt explains that she “wanted to make a difference for the people who were so willing to educate [her].” Notably, Batt ran alongside family friend and Holy Cross alumna Sue Sullivan, who graduated in 1985.
Now back in the swing of life on the Hill, Batt participates in Big Brother Big Sister, the American Sign Language Club, community service and theatre, as she is currently rehearsing for the department’s production of “Machinal,” which is set to hit the Fenwick stage in November. Already looking toward the future, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in deaf education so that she can teach English literature to deaf students. Without a doubt, Batt’s future is bright. As Heather Johnson, director of the Teacher Education Program at Holy Cross, states, she is both an “enthusiastic” and “delightful,” student, and associate professor and chair of the department Erika Fischer describes her as “remarkable.”
Reflecting on her time at Holy Cross thus far, Batt says that she “takes the mission here seriously,” and that she is “thankful to have met members of the community who are so generous, selfless, and willing to help [her] become a true woman for others.”