Meet the First Black Deaf Person to Receive a Ph.D. in Canada

Meet the First Black Deaf Person to Receive a Ph.D. in Canada

In 2020, Jenelle Rouse made history as the first Black deaf person to receive a Ph.D. in the country of Canada.

She earned her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario.

In 2008, Jenelle completed the Deaf and Hard Hearing Teacher Education Program at York University in Canada. She then received her Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics in Education from the University of Western Ontario in 2016, before getting her Ph.D. in 2020.

“This is beyond proof of anything [is] possible to break the stigma/stereotype that people think [a] Black Deaf person can’t do anything especially [in] the [field of] education,” her friend Abigail Danquah took to Facebook.

“[If] She can do it then You can do it anything is possible when dream will come true (sic).”

For over a decade, Jenelle has been an educator at a bilingual school for the deaf in Ontario. She also works as a Canadian applied linguistics researcher and a body-movement dance artist, wherein she aims to tell stories through contemporary body movements.

Moreover, Jenelle believes it is very important for every deaf child to learn sign language. That’s why she also advocates for the broader acquisition of the American Sign Language.

Follow Jenelle Rouse on her Instagram @dancer.multi.lens.existence.

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