Former DEC Student Graduates from Harvard Law

Heather Artinian, a former student at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf and the granddaughter of former Center for Hearing Health employee Marianne Artinian, has been fighting against the odds ever since she can remember.

At just 7 years old, she was certain that she’d become a lawyer. Bold and intelligent, young Artinian asked questions, expecting justified answers when she asked “Why?” She saw firsthand how her two Deaf parents were treated by hearing people—ignored, invisible, as if they didn’t matter—and she wasn’t going to just accept it. But how could she change it? By becoming a lawyer.

Artinian’s family story was so compelling that it was featured in the award-winning documentary, “Sound and Fury”—telling the gripping saga of a family torn apart by the use of a cochlear implant. At age 10, Artinian did, in fact, make the life-changing decision to undergo implant surgery.

Having the implant has maximized her ability to integrate among hearing people while she still feels a sense of community with other people who are Deaf, she says.

Things aren’t always copacetic just because she has a Cochlear. Artinian will be the first to tell you she faces hurdles daily, like when one of her professors called on her to answer a question, and then said it was a mistake after realizing she was Deaf.

“When people tell me no, that just becomes more of a motivator for me,” she told Harvard Law Today.  

During her days at Harvard Law, Artinian fell in love with Criminal Law. She joined the Harvard Defenders, diving into the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, ultimately becoming its intake director. After graduation, she will begin a job with Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C.

Artinian is an exemplary illustration of what Mill Neck is all about—empowering the Deaf community to become independent and open their minds to a world of possibilities.

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