becky harlan

In its 152-year history, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. never had a deaf female president — until a year ago. Roberta Cordano is the first deaf woman to lead the school.

Gallaudet is a liberal arts university devoted to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Classes are taught in American Sign Language, and all students and faculty are required to know how to sign.

But president Cordano never attended a deaf school herself.

“I grew up during a period of time when it was believed that American Sign Language was what they called a monkey language,” Cordano says, speaking through an interpreter provided by Gallaudet. While the interpreter translates rapidly, Cordano whispers out faintly in English as she signs.

Gallaudet President Navigates From World Of Hearing To Sound Leadership Of The Deaf

GIF: Becky Harlan/NPR

I’m told this mug, spotted near deputy executive producer Cara Tallo’s desk, actually belongs to Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep. FACT CHECK: He is, in fact, a pretty cheerful guy (have you heard that laugh?)!

I’m giving the title of cheeriest mug to this one, though – because it’s full of cookie-dough-flavored booze:

Photo credit: Becky Harlan/NPR

Saint Nick here is featured in our story Christmas Cookie Cocktails: Nice, Naughty Drinks For (21+) Boys And Girls. And if you want the drink – and the mug! – check out the NPR Live video on that page for details. (There’s a Hanukkah-themed cocktail, too). #SOTHIRSTY


The Obama administration is rushing to tie up loose ends before packing up — protecting the rusty patched bumblebee, ending the Cuba “wet foot, dry foot” immigration policy, settling a fraud case over defective air bags and investigating police in Chicago.

But in a series of cramped offices near the White House, a brigade of staff, volunteers and former interns is scrambling to read every letter sent to President Obama — especially the letters from children.

And they will all get read — if not before noon on Friday, when power transfers to the Trump administration, then after, when Obama moves to new digs in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C., says Fiona Reeves, director of presidential correspondence.

“We have had a big uptick in kids writing to the president after the election, often in the vein of farewell letters, or reflective letters,” Reeves says. “Or for older kids, ‘I’ve grown up with you.’ ”

Dear Mr. President: Obama Staff Mobilizes To Answer Kids’ Letters

Photos: Becky Harlan/NPR


The National Mall has flooded with pink, as demonstrators descend on the nation’s capital Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington. Just one day after President Trump’s inauguration, marchers from across the country have gathered in the city to protest his agenda and support for women’s rights.

A three-hour rally is opening the event. The march proper is planned for the mid-afternoon, with a path that’s set to extend from a starting position near the U.S. Capitol to its endpoint near the Washington Monument.

The city’s metro system reported 275,000 rides as of 11 a.m. According to metro officials that’s eight times more than a normal Saturday. Reuters adds that the number is als “82,000 more than the 193,000 rides reported at the same point on Friday,” the day of Trump’s inauguration.

LISTEN LIVE: Women’s March Floods Washington, Sparking Rallies Nationwide

Photos: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images (2); Sarah McCammon/NPR; Becky Harlan/NPR; Polly Irungu/NPR (5)