On November 15, the College of Health and Human Services will host the 2019 Health and Human Services Hero Awards to recognize the unsung heroes in our community whose actions, thoughts and words have had a transformative impact in our region. We will highlight the ten honorees in our Heroes Blog Series.

Heroes19_PamWartkentin_smName: Pamela Warkentin

Occupation: Certified Interpreter, Fresno State

Nominated by: Department of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies

As a child of Deaf parents, Pamela Warkentin grew up balancing her life between the Deaf and hearing cultures. She also experienced firsthand the oppression, injustice and lack of opportunity present within the Deaf community. This ultimately inspired her career in the Deaf community, as an interpreter, advocate and employment specialist.

Warkentin, whose first language was American Sign Language, says serving as a certified interpreter for the past 45 years has been a blessing. A smile lights up her face as she recalls her very first interpreting job at the age of 16, interpreting for her father over the summer, when he returned to school to complete his bachelor’s degree. Today, she enjoys working in a variety of professional settings from the legal, medical and educational fields.

This includes Fresno State, where she has been an interpreter for nearly four decades. In addition, she has supervised numerous students in the Interpreting program since its inception in 2002, as a way to pay it forward to both the profession and the University.

Warkentin’s passion lies in serving the Deaf community and to this day, she remains heavily involved with the Central California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, where she was formerly president and vice president. She has numerous certifications – the highest being the master’s level certification from the National Association of the Deaf.

“What sets Pamela above others is her servant heart. There are interpreters and then there are those who serve with a greater purpose; to give people the opportunity to succeed and foster intercultural relationships. In every encounter, Pamela serves with these goals in mind.” – Dr. Paul Ogden, Department of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies

The 2019 Health and Human Services Hero Awards, which celebrates heroes from each of the seven departments, as well as centers and institutes within our college, will be held on November 15, 2019 at Fresno State. For more information on the event, contact Beth Wilkinson at 559.278.3603 or bwilkinson@csufresno.edu.