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.

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

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)

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:

Two Sisters to Receive 2011 GUAA/LCCF Awards on April 9th

Two PKZ Sisters will receive awards from the Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA) and Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund (LCCF) at Peikoff Alumni House, Gallaudet University on April 9, 2011, during the 42nd Annual Charter Day.

Sister Franna Lou Corley Camenisch (L) will receive the GUAA Pauline "Polly" Peikoff “Service to Others” Award and Sister Melissa Socorro Draganac-Hawk (R) will receive the GUAA Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

Congratulations to both of you!

PKZ Sisters Involved in 2011 Academic Bowl

National Organization of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority would like to recognize those Sisters who were actively involved with the 2011 Academic Bowl ( as dedicated volunteers!

Nationals Committee: Sherry Bravin Duhon - AB, Coordinator Rachel M Benedict - AB, Assistant Deborah Elliott DeStefano - Parent Booth, Renca Dunn - Evening Programs, Wendy Wiatrowski - Meals, Linda Stamper - Program Book, Beverly Buchanan - Hotel

Volunteers: Leticia Arellano, Clara Baldwin, Beth Sonnenstrahl Benedict, Danielle Berrigan, MJ Bienvenu, Yvonne Olsen Catt, Norma Halischak Clapp, Donna DeVito, Janna DiBiase, Abby Strauss Drake, Jean Drake, Stephanie Durand, Joy Fraychineaud, Alice Frick, Donna Guardino, Leila Hanaumi, Susan Roberts Hanrahan, Amy Hile, Beth Hortie, Lisa Jacobs, Justine Jeter, Stephanie Johnston, Isabella Kogan, Laurie Liefermann Ballinger, Mary Keane, Delia Lozano-Martinez, Holly MacFadden, Olivia Malcolm, Alyce Slater Reynolds, Wanda Riddle, Elsie Ritchie, Carlisle Robinson, Thelma Gonzalez Schroeder, Aimee Sever, Karen Sheffer, Amy Siebert, Agnes Sutcliffe, Nanette Virnig, Allison Weiner, Janet Rothenberg Weinstock, Jean Zisman Marcia Zisman

Coaches: Yvonne Davis-Talley, Edna Johnston, Maureen Mazza, Dana Sipek, Grace Walker

Additionally, the Sorority provided activities and gave out 500 free secret cookies to teams, coaches and participants. Thank you for representing PKZ well as always!

Sister Phyllis Frelich, an acclaimed actress, will be on CSI Thursday, February 3

Sister Phyllis Frelich, a Tony Award-winning actress, has landed this key role as Mrs. Betty Grissom on CSI. Be sure to tune in to "The Two Mrs. Grissoms," the title of the episode, on Thursday, February 3 on CBS! This episode will also feature other deaf actors Marlee Matlin, Tyrone Giordano, Anthony Natale, to name a few.

A preview trailer can be found at

Sister Tiffany Sue Williams Leads ADWAS After Sister Marilyn Jean Smith

Sister Tiffany Sue Williams has recently been selected as the new Executive Director of the Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS), replacing the outgoing executive director Sister Marilyn Jean Smith who founded the agency in 1986. ADWAS is the first of its kind that serves Deaf and Deaf-Blind women and children who experience domestic violence and sexual assault. Big hoots to Sister Tiffany on her new endeavor in March 2011 and best wishes to Sister Marilyn on her retirement. Check for more information.

Sister Carol Padden Awarded MacArthur Fellowship

Our very own sister, Dr. Carol Padden, daughter of Sister Agnes Padden was named as one of 23 recipients of a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a "genius grant," for her work in linguistics. Following is a link to the Washington Post story about the award which includes information on Carol. Our hootiest congratulations to Carol for this wonderful honor! To read the full story:

To read Carol Padden's profile: