The Ohio State University at Marion

Non-traditional student 1 of 16 chosen to sign national anthem in Ohio Stadium

December 21, 2021
Non-traditional student 1 of 16 chosen to sign national anthem in Ohio Stadium

Being a successful student, a mom, senior psychology major, and a full-time administrative assistant to the Office of Dean and Director at The Ohio State University at Marion brings with it many challenges. Becky Conley added to an already challenging schedule this fall by putting her sign language skills on display in front of 100,000 Buckeye fans and a national television audience.

Conley, an Upper Sandusky resident was 1 of 16 Ohio State students chosen university-wide to sign the national anthem and Carmen Ohio November 20th during the Ohio State vs. Michigan State football game at Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio State Marion Senior Lecturer in American Sign Language (ASL), Emily Fermier sent an email to all Ohio State Marion ASL 1102 students at the end of the spring semester regarding the opportunity.

“We had to reach out to Tamara Steele, an instructor on Columbus campus, if we were interested. I received an email a few weeks later along with the video tutorials for the national anthem and Carmen Ohio,” said Conley.

Conley shared that this opportunity was outside of her traditional comfort zone, but she embraced it and is so thankful for the opportunity.

“I am a back-of-the-room type of person,” she explained. “So, putting myself out there was incredibly intimidating, but so worth it. I felt that it would be an amazing opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people.”

“I was so nervous but once we took the field. I had a commitment to keep,” said Conley. “I had been given the great honor of signing the national anthem on a national stage.”

According to Conley, the enormity of the moment didn’t disappoint.

“Being a huge supporter of our military,” she said, “and to have such an incredible responsibility to honor this great country was overwhelming to say the least.”

“The Shoe is truly as loud as they say when you are down on the field,” said Conley. “We opened with Carmen in the end zone and to hear everyone singing along while we sang in our own special way is a true testament to what being a Buckeye means.”

Conley, who just completed her third ASL class (1101, 1102 & 1103) this past autumn semester, explained that she originally chose ASL as her second language to complete a general education curriculum requirement for her psychology major, but it provided her so much more than that.

“I feel as though I could speak for all the students in our class when I say that we owe all that we have learned to Emily Fermier,” she said.

“Her classes were so engaging and accepting,” Conley shared. “Learning to sign was the goal but she taught us how to communicate. I highly recommend this course, not for just credit, but rather a more inclusive world.”