Leading online news platform BostInno recently released its annual 25 Under 25 Awards List, which honors some of the brightest young minds of 2020 in Massachusetts. Among the list of exceptional Boston teen and college-age technologists and entrepreneurs from prestigious institutions including Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, and Tufts, is Curry College sophomore Catherine Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald joins their ranks for her work developing an American Sign Language (ASL) pocket guide for Mansfield Police Department officers to bridge the communication gap with hearing-impaired residents in the community.
“I feel so honored to be a part of a list such as this,” she says. “It has really opened my eyes to the impact that, not just myself, but the other bright minds of my generation can have if we put our minds to it.”
Born with hearing loss, Fitzgerald has previously led ASL training sessions for police officers and produced the pocket guide that is now in high demand from surrounding police departments. Last November, she was recognized as one of three winners at the 21st Annual Oticon Focus on People Awards, a program honoring individuals with hearing loss and the hearing care professionals who open new possibilities for the hearing-impaired community.
A criminal justice major, Fitzgerald hopes to one day become a computer forensics technician or an intelligence analyst. With her career aspirations already in mind during her college search, she ultimately chose Curry for its strong criminal justice program and highly-recommended faculty. “The professors that teach the criminal justice classes have really helped me solidify my desire to have a career in this field,” she says.