WMTU welcomes Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin will participate in a conversation with a student and faculty moderator as part of WMTU series of talks this Thursday, March 2, at 6:30 p.m. Photo credit: Gaby Torna

Marlee Matlin, an Academy Award winning actress, will be participating in a moderated discussion at the University of Miami on Thursday March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Shalala Student Center Grand Ballrooms.

What Matters to U (WMTU), a Student Government agency created in the spring of 2019, welcomes high-profile speakers to campus for conversations with students and faculty that would not ordinarily occur in a classroom.

At a typical WMTU event, students have the opportunity to hear wisdom and experiences from accomplished individuals of various backgrounds. Student and faculty moderators also can ask hard-hitting questions about how students can take what they learn and apply it to their current journey.

Matlin will be WMTU’s twelfth speaker, following actor and former White House administrator, Kal Penn, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and record producer, Pitbull and social media personality and bestselling author, Tabitha Brown.

Kirsten Schwarz Olmedo, a speech and language pathologist and lecturer within the School of Education and Human Development, will moderate the discussion. Olmedo teaches American Sign Language (ASL) classes as well as “Contemporary Issues in Disability and Society.” Grace Altidor, a fourth-year year health science major and history and sociology minor, will be joining Schwarz-Olmedo as the student moderator. Matlin will be providing insight on deaf awareness and culture.

“I’ve watched Marlee Matlin in countless productions, including the show, Switched at Birth,” Altidor said. “Switched at Birth was the show that first introduced me to deaf culture and ASL, a course I’m currently taking here at the UM.”

Matlin’s influence goes beyond deaf awareness and ventures into breaking barriers as a respected actress in the entertainment industry.

“Her [Matlin] journey over the last 35 years has been not only amazing and engaging, but she has also continued to challenge the limits society has placed on her while also being a strong advocate for inclusion in so many aspects of life.” Schwarz-Olmedo said.

Students can expect to learn more about ASL and the deaf community, as well as disability awareness. There will be a moderated Q&A where students can submit questions that may be answered by Matlin. A QR code to submit questions will be displayed when doors open.

“I also think this opportunity will bring together the UM community and challenge our students to see people with disabilities in a new light,” Schwarz-Olmedo said. “Realizing that disabilities do not define a person or their ability.”

This event is limited to currently enrolled University of Miami students. Tickets are available here. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. For more information, follow @whatmatterstou on Instagram.