PKZ’s 2013 Woman of the Year: Claudia Gordon

The National Organization of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority, Inc, is pleased to announce the selection of Claudia Gordon, Esq. as its Woman of the Year. Ms. Gordon will be honored at a Tea Luncheon on Saturday, November 9, 2013, at Gallaudet University. In July, 2013, Ms. Gordon was President Obama's appointee to the White House Office of Public Engagement as the Public Engagement Advisor to the Disability Community. She serves as a liaison between the disability community and the Obama administration.

She was formerly with the Department of Labor as a special assistant to the Assistant Secretary in the office of Federal Contracts and Compliance. She also served as a senior advisor in the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Mrs. Gordon is the first deaf African-American to become an attorney, and the first deaf graduate of the American University Washington College of Law.

She obtained her Juris Doctorate degree in 2000 and became an Equal Justice Foundation Fellow. Ms. Gordon then went on to work for the National Association of the Deaf's Law and Advocacy Center from 2000 to 2002.

Born in Jamaica, Ms. Gordon lost her hearing the age of eight. Because of her hearing loss she could no longer attend school in Jamaica, and by the age of 11 her mother had moved to New York City where Ms. Gordon was enrolled at the Lexington school for the Deaf, learning sign language for the first time.

Ms. Gordon is active in a variety of community activities, including the National Black Deaf Association (NBDA) and the National Coalition for Disability Rights. She also serves on Gallaudet University's Board of Trustees and the Board of the Lexington School for the Deaf.

Tickets for the Saturday, November 9th Tea Luncheon (which is open to all women) can be purchased online at

2013 NPKZ Woman of the Year & Tea Luncheon

To Women of the Metro Washington, DC Community, you are warmly invited to attend the National Organization of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority Woman of the Year and Tea Luncheon.

Mistress of ceremonies: Sister Tabitha Jacques

Guest speaker: Dr. Genie Gertz, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Location: Student Academic Center Multipurpose Room, Gallaudet University

Date: Saturday, November 9, 2013 from 12 - 4:30 pm

Light lunch with tea will be served. Appropriate attire is encouraged. 

For further information, print or download the flyer (PDF).

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Phi Kappa Zeta & Delta Epsilon Sororities’ Woman Scholarship Fund. This fund will provide financial assistance for housing to single mothers are enrolled full time at Gallaudet University. This event is sponsored by the National Organization of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority, Inc.

Spring 2013 Pledges of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority


Congratulations to the new pledges of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority for the spring of 2013! Ivy Davis (Sophomore), California Justyna Grela (Junior), Alberta, Canada Lisa Jarashow (Senior), California Michelle Mansfield-Hom (Junior), Maryland Chelsea Morris (Sophomore), Maryland Alexandra Polivanchuk (Freshman), Sweden Kirsten Pudas (Senior), Minnesota Cindy Siebert (Sophomore), Minnesota Bianca Richards-Hamilton (Sophomore), Arizona Claire Tucker (Sophomore), Maryland Nicole Strom (Sophomore), California Shayna Unger (Junior), Maryland Trisha Waddell (Sophomore), Kansas Julia Wallace (Senior), California Bethany Weiner (Sophomore), Maryland

2012 Clickathon!

The Collegiate Sisters of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority is excited to announce our fundraising event, "CLICKATHON" which will take place on October 19 from 7 pm - 2 am at Field House parking lot. Are you up for some competition?! Join the fun & see who stays in their car with seatbelts on the longest!

Support MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) and No Texting and Driving ( and take the pledge to never text/drink and drive. It will be an AWESOME memory for you during your Gallaudet years! E-mail to SIGN UP!

We look forward to seeing you THERE!

A Look Into Summer 2012

Throughout summer of 2012, our sisters embarked on amazing journeys all over the world, gaining experience from doing internships, and seeing unseen places. Sister Jessica Agnes Willoughby, Sister Tandy Samara Lewis, and Kakia Proedros Danielle Ashley Dawn Berrigan had the chance to explore different countries of South East Asia that vary from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Sister Jessica Agnes Willoughby also explored the country of Guayna and taught deaf children theatre. Sister Tiffany Ann Putt was the only one who touched three different continents (eight countries) in seven weeks! Sister Lauren Sonnenstrahl Benedict and Sister Laurie Bessie Rodriguez seized the opportunity to explore Central America. Sister Ashley Elizabeth Bergeron handled her summer fairly well after summer school, backpacked Europe and then went on a road trip across southern US. Sister Corinna Sara Hill was more than thrilled to welcome a new sister-in-law, and later had the chance to backpack Europe (twelve countries). Kakia Logios Janna Alys DiBiase spent two weeks exploring the enchanted state of New Mexico, visiting the White Sands and exploring Roswell. She found the UFO conspiracy a tad bit funny with our Alumna Sister April Rose Bottoms who is currently working her second year with AmeriCorps.

Sister Isabella Kogan had the opportunity to travel with ASL Taglit- Birthright group in Israel for eleven days before heading to Stayton, Oregon where she worked as Administrative Assistant at Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) for six weeks. Sister Noel Elizabeth King, Alumna Sister Renca Lillian Dunn, Alumna Sister Rachel M Benedict, and Alumna Sister Priscilla Ann Joan Biskupiak also worked at YLC this summer. Sister Shea Ammons Rasmus saw plenty of campsites, national parks, historical marks, as well as interesting museums before working at Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York as a staff member. Sumbaino Grammareus Ann Summerlin Whited had a quite interesting summer working at summer camps. She was selected among 11 other players to represent the USA at the 2nd World Deaf Volleyball Championships in Bulgaria. She had the honor to play with four of our very own Alumna Sisters - Alumna Pia Marie Paulone, Alumna Sister Justine Barbra Jeter, Alumna Sister Shana Rosalina Lehmann and Alumna Sisters Kristina Ann Burke. The team brought home the Silver. Khrusophulax Maria Karoline Margaret Klassen had a blast in Brazil along with her Canadian volleyball team for PanAm Games and brought home the Silver. She also enjoyed working at Deaf Youth Today camp for ten long, but wonderful weeks.

Plenty of our sisters have done doing volunteer work and internships in the states as well as around the world; Sister Danielle Dawn Koplitz volunteered for Junior Achievement Jamaica that lasted for two months along with Alumna Sister Misella Mahina O’Lanai Morita Tomita. Proedros Andrea Theresa Serena Amati spent her summer working for Dr. James A. Smith in the Department of Civil and Environment Engineering at Princeton University. She worked with data imported from an Eddy Covariance sensor, analyzing vegetation and urbanization. Sister Valerie Flora Farr interned at Deaf Hope in the Bay Area and helped her family renovating the house. Sister Amy Marie Bachtel enjoyed the experience of being an intern, working with the Early Intervention Program at Ohio School for the Deaf. Sister Stephanie Cora Johnston completed two internships over the summer, which were obtained through American Association of People with Disabilities’ internship program. She interned for Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's office on the Capitol Hill and a non-profit organization, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. She also was part of a meeting at White House along with other eleven AAPD interns to discuss the future of disability movement, where President Barrack Obama attended!

Anagrapha Grammareus Chanel Mandeville Summer sure had a whirlwind summer, from a spiritual journey in Israel to winning a crown and stressing in between to prepare for upcoming activities at Gallaudet University. She was crowned as the Miss. Deaf America at the NAD Conference in Louisville, KY, and later gave her first of many workshops at Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) throughout her two-year reign. Sister Noel Elizabeth King participated in the NAD Conference as a delegate representing for the Deaf Youth USA (DYUSA), and she was selected as the Vice President for DYUSA organization 2012-2014.

In all, we learned so much about ourselves through exploration this summer. Our personal experiences were truly rewarding, for they brought us with valuable knowledge and insight. It is important to be grateful for the freedom and opportunities we have in this country, as well as for all the loving people that surround us. Now, we’re more than motivated to kick off our year with a bang!

Quick Facts

Did you know that…

  • O.W.L.S was founded on Saturday, January 9, 1892?
  • Agatha Mary Tiegel entered Gallaudet at age 15, became first President of O.W.L.S at age 19, and graduated when she was 20?
  • May Martin was the first Secretary of O.W.L.S.?
  • the first 13 women became charter members of O.W.L.S.?
  • four of the original O.W.L.S hailed from Pennsylvania?
  • three of the original O.W.L.S were Gallaudet College (now University) class valedictorians: Agatha Tiegel, 1893; Lily Bicksler, 1894; and May Martin, 1895?
  • Brown and gold were the original colors of the O.W.L.S?
  • the alumnae came together and formally established the National O.W.L.S at the 1910 National Association of the Deaf conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado?
  • In 1954, the National O.W.L.S, with Adele Gertrude Jensen Krug as its venerable president, gathered and voted to modernize by changing the name of the O.W.L.S to Phi Kappa Zeta?
  • Brown and gold was then replaced with navy blue and white?
  • as of October 2011, there are 1698 Sisters in total?
  • De’VIA artist Chuck Baird painted “WHOOO’S THERE?” in 1992, when O.W.L.S/PKZ celebrated its centennial?

“WHOOO’S THERE?” Acrylic 28 x 34 inches The yellow eyes of an owl double as binoculars through which a birdwatcher peers. Baird, Chuck. Chuck Baird, 35 Plates. San Diego, CA: Dawn Sign Press. 1993


Compiled by Sister Janet Rothenberg Weinstock

2012 High School Essay Contest Results

Summer is finally here! Congratulations to those who have just graduated. You all will be missed!

The high school essay contest committee deliberately looked through numerous entries from students across the country. We have narrowed down to two wonderful entries! The topic is "I am given one opportunity to travel using a time machine, I would go to the time of..." Many have shown a great ability to sum up to just 200-300 words expressing their viewpoint in history.

The winner of the contest is Alissa Poston, a freshman at University High School in California. 

If I was given one opportunity to travel using a time machine, the time I would choose to travel to would be the early 1700s. This was the time when the foundation for the United States of America was being created. This was both a time of pride, and a time of internal struggles to truly become an unprejudiced nation, as well as human being. The constant constitutional debates forces one to analyze their own morals, and to become a better, unprejudiced person, or in some cases, hypocritically inflict on their own people the same oppression as their former government had once done to them.

I would desire to hear the debates, and hear the final cheer when the constitution was written- Americas' people solemnly swearing to abide by it, and fight for human rights. It would be a time of great tension, but hope and faith in the future-hope that America would one day be the strongest country in the world- a leader in trade and agriculture and in military- but most importantly- a positive demonstaration of democracy, a demonstration that all countries would soon follow. I would hope that we, as Americans, Would be the role model for the pure-hearted. We would give everyone equal rights and a fair trial- and an especially fair shot at life. I would hope that each of the delegates to the constitution convention would have faith in our great nation, and that their children would live to see it prosper into what it is today.

And the honorary mention goes to Nathaniel Olson who is a sophomore, also at University High School.

If you know them, extend your warm congratulations!

PKZ's 2011 Woman of the Year: Tami Hossler

The National Organization of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority, Inc., is proud to announce Tami Hossler as their 2011 Woman of the Year. Tami is an untiring and fierce advocate for the rights of Deaf children to a bilingual education. Tami, a hearing mother, became involved in deaf education when it was discovered her daughter, Erica, was deaf. At that time they lived in Indiana, and thanks to a knowledgeable audiologist, Tami was referred to the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD) where she witnessed her daughter blossom in the school’s bilingual program where both American Sign Language and English were used in the classroom.

From there Tami became an advocate and lobbyist not only for her daughter, but for all deaf children. She has been actively involved in the rights and needs of deaf children at ISD, and has worked for deaf children all over the country—from Florida to Alaska to California to Washington DC.

Tami is on the Board of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition (DBC) and is the Outreach Coordinator for DBC; she is on the Board of the American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC), and Editor of the ASDC newsletter, The Endeavor; she is on the Education Committee for the Florida Association of the Deaf, which is now heavily involved in passing a Bill of Rights for Deaf Children; and she is a member of the coalition for the Indiana School for the Deaf.

She has presented at an unknown number of conferences, among them the National Association of the Deaf Conference, 2010; a presentation to the Indiana Governor’s Office, 2011; Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Conferences in 2011 and 2009; and at conferences in California, Florida, Montana, and Georgia.

Tami is a role model for many hearing parents with deaf children. She spends hours on the phone with parents; she has also attended IEP meetings with other parents to make sure that ASL is included as the language of instruction. Tami was one of the leaders in the Parents United for Gallaudet, Unity for Gallaudet, during the 2006 protest.

Tami lives in Florida with her husband Jeff, who is very supportive of her activities. Her daughter, Erica, is a PKZ member. Tami has another daughter and just became a grandmother.

Dr. Beth Benedict talks about Tami Hossler's outstanding contributions in ASL.

Holiday Afternoon Tea Time & NPKZ Woman of the Year

To Women of the Metro Washington, DC Community, you are warmly invited to attend the Holiday Afternoon Tea Time and NPKZ Woman of the Year at Peikoff Alumni House, Gallaudet University on Saturday, December 10, 2011 from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

There will be a short program, where the NPKZ Woman of the Year will also be announced, with tea refreshments. Appropriate attire is encouraged.

All attendees will be eligible for a drawing for a refund of the admission cost. You must be present at the tea party to receive the refund.

Ticket is $25.00 per person. Mail your check payable to NPKZ, Inc. to:

Peggy McCoy ( 4001 Old Columbia Pike Ellicott City, MD 21043

You may also purchase the tickets from Janet Weinstock at and Blair Rasmus at

The proceeds will be donated to the National Deaf People of Color Conference. This event is sponsored by the National Organization of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority, Inc.


For further information, print or download the flyer (PDF)

2011 Phi Kappa Zeta Pledges

The Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority is proud to announce our new selection of Pledges this year:

Mimi Rose Adams, Ohio  /  Amy Marie Bachtel, Ohio  /  Lauren Sonnenstrahl Benedict, Maryland  /  Ashley Elizabeth Bergeron, Ontario, Canada  /  Valerie Flora Farr, California  /  Jessica Michelle Fein, California  /  Emily Lynn Fisher, Ontario, Canada  /  Chanel Mandeville Gleicher, Maryland  /  Allison Cindy Erica Heron, Connecticut  /  Corinna Sara Hill, Maryland Krystal Lee Johnson, Texas  /  Stephanie Cora Johnston, Massachusetts  /  Monica Anna Jacinta Keller, California  /  Noel Elizabeth King, Arkansas  /  Samantha Jean Krieger, Indiana  /  Betsie Marie Kulikov, Louisiana  /  Tandy Samara Lewis, Maryland  /  Miranda Marisa Paddon Medugno, California  /  Michelle Joy Morris, Florida  /  Tiffany Ann Putt, Pennsylvania  /  Shea Ammons Rasmus, California  /  Laurie Bessie Rodriguez, Texas  /  Samantha Elaine Ruhland, Minnesota  /  Pakuna Nala Spady, Maryland  /  Ann Summerlin Whited, Indiana

Sister Rosalyn Gannon and Her Husband Receive WFD Honors

Rosalyn and Jack Gannon were recipients of the prestigious International Solidarity Merit Award, First Class, given by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), at the WFD Congress on July 24th.  This award was in recognition of their work to preserve the history of Deaf people around the world. Jack is the author of 3 books, the most recent: World Federation of the Deaf: A History debuts this month at the WFD Congress in Durban, South Africa.  Throughout all of his writing endeavors his wife Rosalyn has been by his side as his partner and behind the scenes assistant.  They make a formidable pair, a dynamic duo, whose commitment and perseverance enlighten the world about the history and accomplishments of Deaf people globally.

Summarized from the National Association of the Deaf at Photo courtesy of Migalida Harney.

Sisters Malzkuhn and Jimenez Selected as Delegates for 2011 WFDYS

Sisters Bregitt Jimenez and Megan Malzkuhn were honored to be selected as delegates to represent Deaf Youth in USA, along with two other Americans, at Durban, South Africa for World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Youth Section’s 5th Youth Camp.

WFD has been a frontrunner in international human rights and Youth Section was formed to encourage leadership and empowerment in international Deaf youth (ages 18-30).

Sisters Bregitt and Megan will be in Durban for a total of two and half weeks, starting with Youth Camp on July 6th and attend the Youth General Assembly to vote on goals, and continue the experience with WFD’s World Congress, from July 18 to 25.

Sister Fanny Corderoy du Tiers as Keynote Speaker at Business Convention & Expo of the Deaf

Sister Fanny Yeh Corderoy du Tiers will be the International Keynote Speaker at the Business Convention and Expo of the Deaf in Reston, Virginia, June 8-12, 2011. She will discuss her experiences as a deaf Chinese businesswoman in Europe, and particularly in France. Discrimination continues to be an issue for business people with disabilities, but even greater for one who is deaf and female. Fanny will share strategies for overcoming barriers, how to pursue business goals, and how to apply those strategies to overcoming barriers.

Sister Katherine Jankowski Writes About Sister Agatha Tiegel Hanson

Sister Katherine Anne Jankowski is embarking on an exciting project – a children's book about Agatha Tiegel Hanson. Written for a middle school audience, the book will cover the life of Sister Agatha, with a special focus her college years and what she endured as a woman in a men‘s college.

Sister Jankowski is currently researching Sister Agatha through written material and anecdotal information shared by Sisters who knew her and who were influenced by her.

Research on Deaf Children in Kenya by Sister Megan Youngs

Research shows United Nations-sponsored instruction for deaf children in Kenya provides essential skills, new hope for the future. Sister Megan Youngs' groundbreaking research speaks volumes about the plight of deaf children living in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. For more than a month last year, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto graduate student lived in Kenya’s overcrowded Dadaab refugee camp to conduct interviews and gather information for her recently completed master’s thesis.

Watch Sister Youngs' research presentation:

Read the article by John Schofield: