Esther Lee-Samia Receives USM Award

The University of Southern Maine recently celebrated the accomplishments of support staff at the annual Classified Staff Breakfast, which took place March 22.

At the breakfast, President Botman presented the 20th annual Distinguished Classified Staff Award to Esther V. Lee-Samia of Springvale.  Lee-Samia, an administrative assistant in USM’s Linguistics Department was recognized not only for her administrative skills, but also for becoming completely immersed in her position in the department.

Although Lee-Samia held a bachelor’s degree in English from Northeastern University when she began working at USM in 2004, she earned another B.A. in linguistics with a concentration in American Sign Language/English interpreting from USM. She earned national certification through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf months after her graduation — a difficult accreditation students are told to attempt after working in the field for two years. She is only the second student in the history of the program to receive certification so quickly. Her interpreting skills allow her to effectively work with Deaf faculty members, the Maine Deaf community, and Deaf visitors to campus.

She is a highly respected leader who spearheads many student activities, such as the ASL Club and annual Deaf Film Festival, which under her guidance now receives local and national attention. Lee-Samia also volunteers for the Cash Coalition’s ASL Tax Day, Sanford Kiwanis fundraisers, and USM’s Royal Majesty Drag Show.

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