Confidential Interpreter/Coordinator Aundrea Love hasn't skipped a beat during the COVID-19 pandemic as she continues to be front and center (albeit via Zoom) at Ohlone College where she serves as an interpreter in the Deaf Studies department. Love most recently had the honor of interpreting for Presidential candidate Joe Biden and Vice VuPresidential candidate Kamala Harris as they campaign ahead of the 2020 election. She says it was an honor and humbly added that she's now on their preferred list. And there's a reason for that. Her story of what led to her dream job began long ago and she tells it here.
Always fascinated by languages, I spent my childhood trying to learn various languages—Swahili, French and Spanish chiefly. But before those languages, at the age of seven, I became interested in American Sign Language and set about trying to learn it.
I also enjoyed oratory, and started entering speech contests at the age of nine. This is also about the time I decided that I wanted to become an American Sign Language interpreter. By this point I’d been attending classes with Deaf children at a mainstream school in East San Jose so I’d become quite fluent in ASL.
In 1988 at the age of 12, I entered a speech contest sponsored by McDonald’s and KNTV-Channel 11 entitled Hold on to Your Dreams. The contestants were asked to write about what careers they would like to pursue when they grow up. I wrote a speech about my dream of becoming an ASL interpreter. I won the contest and as my prize, McDonald’s sent my family and me to visit Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. There I had the opportunity to tour the campus, meet the staff and students, and meet Gallaudet’s then first-ever Deaf president.
The following year, I entered the Hold on to Your Dreams contest again where I wrote another speech about becoming an interpreter and again I won. This time my prize was the opportunity to fly to Southern California where I got to meet and have lunch with Oscar Award-winning Deaf actress Marlee Matlin, as well as tour the Caption Center in Los Angeles.
When I finished high school and was ready to go to college, I knew that I needed to come to Ohlone College. As high school was coming to a close, I began to hear more and more about Ohlone’s stellar reputation for its Interpreter Preparation Program. I applied for admission to the program, completed it, graduated from Ohlone, and transferred to Cal State Hayward (now known as Cal State East Bay) where I majored in speech communication with an interpersonal communication option. During my college years I worked as a sign language interpreter at Ohlone College as well as around the Bay Area.
Eventually I got a position as a staff interpreter with Ohlone. I have mentored interpreting students and also had them intern with me. I’ve also worked internationally, in Costa Rica, Vietnam, and the Marshall Islands. A little over three years ago I was promoted to a confidential employee position as District Interpreter/Coordinator for Ohlone. I also still freelance interpret, doing concerts and Broadway theater productions, among other assignments.
I am extremely grateful for the role Ohlone has played in my educational journey and the wealth of knowledge and wisdom that the faculty and staff so freely give. They’ve fostered my love of education and encouraged me to reach higher and farther toward my career goals.