Tyler Junior College

Sign Language Interpreting

Scholarship Information

About the Dr. Judy Barnes Honorary Scholarship

Tyler Junior College’s Sign Language Interpreter Training Program began as a natural development of American Sign Language (ASL) courses taught for many years by Tyler resident and member of the local Deaf Community, Frankie Widner. Over the course of time Frankie was joined by other instructors who shared her passion for making ASL accessible to the people of our region. One of those instructors was D.J. Sorenson, who began the first steps in the process of creating a fully accredited Sign Language Interpreter Training Program (ITP) at TJC.

Although, these two women had the vision for the program, it took someone with the credentials and a position at TJC to help that vision become a reality. That person was Dr. Judy Barnes. She was a former student of Frankie and D.J.’s who’d recently gotten her Interpreter certification. The timing was also right, since she had been teaching in the college’s Developmental Reading Program and was ready for a change. Dr. Barnes spent all of 1994 collecting data, attending the necessary meetings, and taking care of all the other endless things required for launching such a venture. No mean feat!

In the fall of 1995 Dr. Barnes began teaching ASL I and Introduction to the Deaf Community as night classes and the TJC Sign Language Interpreter Training Program was born. Over the years the program continued to grow, seeing many wonderful teachers and students pass through its doors. The college even began to see the enrollment of deaf students - perhaps because it was now growing its own interpreters?—and the rest is history. While under Dr. Barnes’ supervision, the TJC ITP was twice awarded exemplary status by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2001 and 2005). It is the only program of its kind available in the northeastern region of Texas. Dr. Barnes retired in the spring of 2008 and passed away July 22, 2012. Her legacy lives on in the program she was so instrumental in creating. The Dr. Judy Barnes Honorary Scholarship was set up in Spring 2010. Offering this scholarship in her name is one way of thanking her for her service and dedication to the TJC Sign Language Interpreter Training Program, its faculty, staff and students, as well as the Deaf community in greater East Texas.

One scholarship will be awarded to a second-year student by the Sign Language Interpreter Training Program. (Amount to be determined by our annual fundraiser)

Instructions for Completing Application

  • Student must have an overall 3.0 GPA.
  • Student must maintain a 3.0 GPA for each semester of the award.
  • Application is to be completed by applicant without any missing information.
  • Please print or type clearly.

Qualifications - Applicants must:

  • Be in or beginning their Sophomore year
  • Be a declared Interpreting Major
  • Must pass all parts of the department Mid-Program Exam on the first attempt with a score of 80 percent or higher

Download the instructions for submission and the application here.