ORONO – A deaf University of Maine student shares how her journey of hearing inspired her to pursue a major in biology and chemistry.
Jessica Hayden was just 18 months old when she was diagnosed as deaf, “I’m profoundly deaf so I can’t hear anything with them off,” said Hayden.
She’s referring to her cochlear implants which she received when she was just a child.
“It was interesting because it took me the same amount of time as a normal hearing baby to learn how to hear and speak. It just didn’t start from birth to two in half or three it just started when I got implanted then two in a half three years later that’s when I started to speak,” Hayden said.
Jessica said when you first get implanted you don’t understand what you’re hearing, “There’s just a lot of input and you don’t know how to interpret what those sounds and noises are.”
It wasn’t until her high school AP Bio class when she discovered her love and interest in science.
“So when I learned how to do a Punnett square how to do a complete one I went home and mapped out why I was deaf and the mutation that made me deaf and that analysis that still interests me today,” said Hayden.
She’s currently majoring in microbiology and looking into double majoring in either molecular and cellular biology or biochemistry.
She said research doesn’t happen overnight and neither did learning to talk. She thinks that lesson makes her perfect for this field, “And so I think I’m going to continue that mindset and see where the science takes me.”
Jessica is only a freshman and said it’s hard to pick exactly which field she wants to go into, but thinks it would be fascinating to go back to her roots and help other people in the deaf community.
“I know that I’m interested in a long time goal of working hard to reach something,” Hayden said.
She said those Punnett squares she learned in high school will always make her realize science is her first love, “That was the first thing I was like whoa this actually matters to me this actually excites me I could do this for the rest of my life,” said Hayden.