Bradley Rodrigues comes from two different worlds: the deaf community and his hearing family.

“People often overlook the fact that the deaf community is a microcosm of the hearing community,” Rodrigues said. “There are deaf people from all walks of life, and just because we can’t hear or speak, it doesn’t mean we can’t achieve the same goals in our lives as everyone else. These awareness months have given us an opportunity to educate the public about our stories and experiences.”

Rodrigues is a California native. He was born and raised in the Bay Area, graduating from the California School for the Deaf in Fremont and attaining his degree from Ohlone College. Growing up, Rodrigues was the only deaf member of his family, but his mother took American Sign Language (ASL) classes and taught him his first signs from an early age. As a result, he is bilingual in ASL and written English, which has enabled him to do well through his K-12 education and in college.

“When I was born deaf, my parents weren’t sure how to handle the situation,” Rodrigues said. “As it turns out, my grandmother was also an employee of the Lab at that time, and she introduced my mother to a deaf colleague to discuss his life experiences and accomplishments. As a result of this interaction, my mother was exposed to all the resources about deaf education and ASL.”

Rodrigues has been a member of the Livermore Information Technology’s (LivIT) deployment team since August 2022. His main responsibilities involve building, configuring and deploying computers for new hires, completing general lifecycle replacements and handling custom build requests.

Rodrigues also enjoys seeing various parts of the Lab and meeting new people. Despite not being able to hear or speak, he has found that his IT background and expertise have helped him navigate the workplace; he uses technology to communicate with people and when he can’t use devices, he utilizes the old-fashioned method of paper and pen.

“Long before I joined the Lab, I was told there used to be a community of 20+ deaf employees working here. Unfortunately, most of them have retired and today only two deaf employees work at the Lab, including me,” Rodrigues said. “I am hoping to see that number grow again in the future. I have encountered some other employees who have known some ASL, and that has given me a small sense of community here. I have been keeping in contact with my previous colleagues and friends outside of the Lab so I don’t lose touch with my deaf culture.”

—Abel Morelos