By RORI MOORE
Sitting on a couch in a West Campus hallway, 20-year-old Chris Molten watches as other students walk by. Some laugh, some talk on the phone or to peers and some listen to music. For Molten, the sound falls on deaf ears.
Molten has been deaf since birth. He moved to Tucson with his parents and sister from St. Louis at age 6, and graduated from the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind.
He is the only deaf person in his family. His mother and sister know sign language well, and his father knows a little. “I communicate with my dad by writing things back and forth,” he says, signing to his interpreter, Torrey Mansager.
At Pima, Molten is one of several hearing-impaired students enrolled in English as a Second Language classes. “I like the ESL class because it helps me improve my English,” he says.
Most of Molten’s friends at Pima are deaf, which makes it easier to be on campus.
He is a full-time student, majoring in counseling. “Right now I really would like to focus on relationship counseling,” he says.
Molten wants to continue his education at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Gallaudet is the world’s only university in which all programs are specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.
His hobbies include photography, hanging out with friends, playing video games and eating his favorite meals: Mexican food, Chinese food and pizza.
He also likes playing and watching basketball, and has attended a few professional games with his dad.
During the conversation, when passersby distract Molten, Mansager taps his knee to regain his attention.
Molten puts his head down and smiles as he talks about his love life, or lack thereof. He says he does not have a girlfriend, and laughs nervously.
He begins signing to a friend, Mike, in a bashful way. They get into a debate and Mansager can’t keep up. The two friends laugh and play-fight as Mike mocks Molten’s answers.
Molten depicts himself as a mischievous person. He laughs while recounting a time he played a prank during a camping trip.
“I put shaving cream in a friend’s sleeping bag and it got all over his face,” he says. “He was mad but I told him to just go clean it off.”