IM this article to a friend!

January 28, 2003

Survivor Christy Smith Creating Excitement in the Deaf Community

From: Gallaudet - 28 Jan 2003

For Immediate Release
January 28, 2003
Contact: Mike Kaika, Director of Media Relations
Phone: 202-651-5050

Survivor Christy Smith Creating Excitement in the Deaf Community

Washington, DC—On Thursday, February 13 at 8 p.m. Eastern time millions of
deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people who work in the field of deafness
will be glued to the TV watching the new CBS series, Survivor: The Amazon.
For the first time, a deaf woman will be one of the 16 people on the show.

Christy Smith, a 2000 graduate of Gallaudet University and a 1996 graduate
of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf on the Gallaudet campus was
selected as one of the 16 finalists for the upcoming series. According to a
CBS spokesperson, “tens of thousands of people applied to be on the program
but only 16 with type A personalities who are dynamic individuals looking
for the adventure of a lifetime were accepted.” Each contestant had to
handle 39 days in extreme circumstances and undergo extensive physical and
psychological tests prior to the final selection.

This is the sixth installment of Survivor which won the award for the best
reality-based television program at the 29th Annual People’s Choice Awards
recently. For the first time, it will have a team of men versus a team of
women stranded in a remote section of the Amazon River. The men’s team is
called the Tambaqui (named after a tasty fish), and the women’s team is
called the Jaburu (a local bird). The series was filmed in Brazil along the
Rio Negro during the start of the hot, humid, and rainy season.

An athletic, adventurous, and energetic young woman, Christy grew up in
Colorado and now lives in Basalt. She recently worked as a children’s
adventure guide in Aspen. During her college years at Gallaudet, she majored
in sociology with a concentration in criminology, was very active in the
Discovery Program and did an internship at a center for juvenile

Her love for the outdoors lured her back to Colorado after graduation to be
a children’s guide for the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf. This camp is
designed for deaf and hard of hearing children from ages 8 to 18. During the
camping sessions, a variety of activities are offered such as outdoor
education, horseback riding, and river rafting, as well as sessions on
developing communication skills and opportunities for personal growth.

In her three years with the popular Discovery program at Gallaudet, Christy
quickly became one of leaders and taught rock climbing and canoeing as well
as survival skills on hiking trips. Jean Berube, director of the Discovery
program and an assistant professor in Physical Education and Recreation,
said, “Christy is assertive and likes to try new things. She is a risk-taker
and likes challenges. Her spirit will bond the women together well on

As part of the requirements for her sociology major, Christy did an
internship at the Waxter Children’s Center, a juvenile detention center in
Laurel, Maryland. She worked with hearing teenage girls who didn’t have very
much self-esteem or confidence and who couldn’t work with other people as a
team. This didn’t deter Christy and soon after she started her internship,
she established a “challenge class” for a group of 11 girls. Christy also
did an internship with abused women and she used some of the Discovery
activities to help the women develop trust in people again. Her academic
advisor, Margaret Vitullo-Weigers, an assistant professor of sociology,
said, “Christy is a free spirit and always looking for new things to do and
challenges to accept.”

Christy’s educational, cultural, and social experiences at Gallaudet have
paid off and now the results will be seen beginning February 13 on Survivor:
The Amazon.