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Candice Wittkins is awarded 2020 Oxnard College Classified Employee of the Year
Candice Wittkins knew she found a special place at Oxnard College during one of her first interpreter jobs. After taking a year to work with state rehabilitation centers she returned to OC, where she works as an interpreter, counseling assistant and was recently nominated as OC Employee of the Year.
She was introduced to the world of interpreting when her family immigrated from Germany and like many first-generation children was her mother’s personal interpreter. As a child, Candice began losing her hearing and having spells of vertigo, caused by undiagnosed allergies, and subconsciously taught herself to read lips. It was not until her first job teaching computer classes at a law firm that she had the thought to learn American Sign Language.
“My boss was getting complaints that I was ignoring the attendees during the class, knowing that I wasn’t that kind of person she sat in one of my classes. She realized that when my back was turned to write on the board I wasn’t responding, and she suggested that I get my hearing checked out.”
It wasn’t until she was taking a communication course with Peter Marston at Cal State Northridge she made a really shift in her life plans.
Marston has a thick beard and is very energetic when lecturing, walking around in the room. It made it impossible for her to read his lips. Thankfully, there was an interpreter in the class for another student that incorporated mouthing into her interpreting and did not mind Candice watching her. Candice was able to follow the lecture by reading her lips and this brought her to the conclusion that she should learn ASL.
“I saw her years later and thanked her. She is a wonderful interpreter and I had to tell her that she was my ‘moment.’ It was one of those things where you see something, which was so helpful to my life for such a short term, but it made a world of difference. I could have never gotten through that class otherwise.”
She went on to learn ASL at CSUN and double major in communications and deaf studies. Since then her doctor found the right medication that has given her hearing back. Her children tease her now and call her ‘bat ears”.
Candice has been working at Oxnard College for 14 years and its noticeable to anyone that speaks to her how much love she has for the community. The pandemic has cause people to reevaluate their jobs and someone recently asked her what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
“OC has a wonderful department and I work with the best people. They are the people I invite to my kid’s birthday parties, the people I want to see on mine, and I have only celebrated my birthday three times in my life. We support each other, at work and during times of crisis, and work so well together to help our students. It really is a pleasure interpret the passion OC professors have for teaching and help our students connect to a world, they are often isolated form. It is a joy. I have my dream job!” -
Written by Michelle De Leon.
Michelle De Leon is a member of the marketing and communications team at the District Office. She is a Moorpark College alum and student at CSUN.
The Class Schedule for Spring 2021 is now available online. Priority registration for Spring 2021 begins October 26th. Make an appointment with one of the EAC counselors now to plan for your Spring semester. Call 805-678-5830.
Serving You During this Difficult Time
The Educational Service Center (EAC) is committed to continued service to our students. Because of best public health practices and in compliance with state and local requirements for social distancing, services will be provided by phone and through the internet. Please remember that, with few exceptions, campus is closed to all students.