A pretty lady Janelle Rouse recently made history as the first Black deaf person in Canada to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). She graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2020 with her degree in Applied Linguistics. Rouse also obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Western Ontario in 2016 and her Deaf and Hard Hearing Teacher Education Program from York University in 2008.
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Rouse is an applied linguistics researcher and body-movement dance artist who tells stories through body movements. She is an advocate for deaf children learning sign language and encourages more people to learn. Additionally, she performs theater with sign language.
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Rouse joins a prestigious list of Black deaf scholars with doctorate degrees, including Dr. Alesia Allen, Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa, Dr. Onudeah Nicolarakis, Dr. Rezenet Moges-Riedel, and Dr. Slemo Warigon. The Described and Captioned Media Program estimates there are around 20 Black deaf scholars with doctorates. The first to achieve this milestone was Shirley Allen, who earned her Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Rochester. She also holds a Master’s degree from Howard University and a Bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet University.