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Gallaudet women's soccer head coach Liza Offreda receives her doctorate

Dr. Liza Offered with her diploma from Northeastern University.

BOSTON – Gallaudet University women’s soccer head coach Liza Offreda officially became Dr. Offreda on May 11 here as she graduated from Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies with a Doctor of Education: Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Leadership degree.

"The most rewarding part of receiving my doctorate was being able to share this with my parents.  As a first generation American, I am the first in my family to receive a doctorate degree," said Offreda. "My parents instilled the importance of education in myself and my siblings, so I am proud to have shared this moment with them especially because they served an important role in my success and my determination to finish my degree."

Dr. Offreda started the program in June 2014 and successfully defended her dissertation “Reading Me Back Into School: Successful Deaf and Hard of Hearing Readers in the Mainstreamed Setting” in March of 2018. She selected that topic since she has always been passionate about the field of Deaf Education and literacy success and development in deaf and hard of hearing students, especially in the mainstreamed setting.

"I wanted to contribute to the Deaf Education field and eventually work with educators in mainstreamed programs," said Offreda, who becomes the first in the department to earn a doctorate.

Dr. Offreda had to balance her full-time job within the Gallaudet athletics department as women’s soccer head coach, Title IX Coordinator and Student-Athletes Advisory Committee Advisor along with coursework and dissertation work.

She selected Northeastern University because of the online format along with two summer residencies, which allowed her the opportunity to meet other students from her program along with faculty members while in Boston.

The Northeastern website describes the program as; The Doctor of Education fosters leaders in professional fields to employ existing research and theory to develop and conduct research to investigate, explore, and transform organizational and institutional landscapes. With a deep respect for students' practical experience and knowledge, we teach students via experience how to incorporate practice-based research into their day-to-day professional work.

Dr. Offreda begins her fifth season at the helm for the GU women’s soccer program this fall. The Bison begin the season on August 31 at Washington Adventist University at 4 p.m.

Below is the abstract of Dr. Offreda’s dissertation:

The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to explore the experiences of adult deaf and hard of hearing people as they learned how to successfully read in a mainstreamed setting. The qualitative approach allows for deeper insight into the perspectives of the learner, as these adults reflected on their childhood experiences of literacy development and shared their personal, yet strikingly similar, stories of triumph. Linguistic and cultural narratives are presented, with a focus on the language use of the deaf community versus the hearing community, and on how much support subjects received in terms of access to language, especially in a hearing environment. The theoretical framework is shaped by sociocultural theory and focuses on the importance of social interaction, society’s influence on each individuals’ development, cultural beliefs and attitudes that influence learning, and the environment of the learning process. Unpacking complex issues through narrative inquiry provides a lens into issues that deaf and hard of hearing students face as learners. The investigations in this study tap into those complex issues of history, culture, and language of the deaf community, and may be used as a source of inspiration and guidance for future policy discussions.