Spotlight: One student out of 36,000

Abel Pacheco

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Vania Ellison Jounior deaf studies major, is very happy at CSUN where she has improven her sign language skills that can help her communicate better with her parents. Photo Credit: Jacquelyn C. Hampton / Staff Reporter

Vania Ellison Jounior deaf studies major, is very happy at CSUN where she has improven her sign language skills that can help her communicate better with her parents. Photo Credit: Jacquelyn C. Hampton / Staff Reporter

One challenge Vania Ellison, a junior deaf studies major, faced was growing up in a household with deaf parents.

Leaving them behind to come to CSUN was difficult because during high school Ellison took care of her mother.

“Before I left, I had to make sure everything was going to be OK,” Ellison said.

Ellison had to find a caretaker for her mother, schedule doctor appointments and make sure there was enough money for the year she’d be away.
“If my mom’s not happy then I’m not happy,” Ellison said.

Though leaving her family and friends behind to attend CSUN was difficult, Ellison quickly found her niche on campus.

After battling with low self-esteem, Ellison feels relieved knowing she is part of a community of friends who love and support her.

“It always takes my breath away to see how much my friends love me and show their appreciation for me.”

Returning the favor, Ellison recalled the time during her freshmen year that her best friend came out to her.

Her best friend invited her to an LGBTA meeting on campus in support of the coming out to which she was more than proud to attend. She has been with the organization for two years now.

“CSUN has been fantastic. I will always remember my freshman year … That’s where I met all my friends,” she said. “My first year of LGBTA, my first boyfriend. My sign language had improved dramatically. And I just felt myself really grow as a person, I was able to realize this is who I am, this is who I want to be. It was a happiness that I had never experienced before.”