This is the fourth in a series of profiles of this year’s graduating class.
Gina Chusan has never been afraid of hard work. Despite her hearing impairment, she’s tackled every job from baby sitter to factory worker. Now that she’s been accepted into the accelerated Master of Social Work Program at Lehman College, the mother of four can move closer to her dream of working in her field.
After moving to the United States from her native Ecuador with her husband and two children, Chusan immediately began to study English at a community center in the Bronx. She took on various jobs for over a decade to support her family, including working as a full-time domestic violence counselor at a Bronx agency. After giving birth to two more children, she decided it was time to pursue her college degree.
Chusan enrolled in Hostos Community College, graduated with an associate’s degree in liberal arts, and entered Lehman as a social work major. Although she was able to juggle work, parenting, and her studies, her hearing impairment created some challenges for her in terms of capturing complete information in class settings or on the job.
A trip to Lehman’s Student Disability Services Office transformed her education experience. She was provided with an FM transmitter, which helped to enhance her hearing. “At the Disability Office, they are not only able to facilitate you but they understand what you are going through,” she said.
Chusan is wasting no time getting started on her master’s program as she has already begun her course of study this summer at Lehman. She’s looking forward to building a career as a social worker, with a focus on domestic violence.