Saw the Sign

A first, full-time sign language interpreter at Mississippi State is beginning his duties with the university’s Student Support Services office.

Niall Cook was a staff interpreter at Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services for 10 years before joining MSU earlier this year.

Cook said he became fascinated by different languages in childhood and began learning American Sign Language in 1993 while studying linguistics at the University of Mississippi. While there, he quickly made friends with members of the local deaf community who eagerly shared their language and culture with him.

His ultimate goal is to help individuals with disabilities become self-empowered.

“So many people with disabilities may have had people speak for them and make choices for them their whole lives,” the Coffeeville native explained. “They may not be aware of the rights that they have or the technology that’s out there. “

With Disability Support Services, Cook will conduct counseling and related sessions for new students, as well as assisting those with hearing and sensory impairments.

Cook is a member of the state and national chapters of the National Association of the Deaf and Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. He has served in several capacities on the board of the Mississippi Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and currently is its treasurer.

For more about MSU Student Support Services, telephone 662-325-3335 or visit www.sss.msstate.edu.