Connatser uses upbringing as inspiration

With two deaf parents, the senior setter is hoping to earn a medical degree in audiology.

Tiffany Connatser receives flowers and a framed jersey alongside her parents last Friday. Donald Otto | TTN
Tiffany Connatser receives flowers and a framed jersey alongside her parents last Friday. Donald Otto | TTN

Tiffany Connatser took the floor with her parents to be honored during senior night last Friday while celebrating her final game at McGonigle Hall.

 Alongside two other seniors, the setter didn’t speak a word to her parents during the ceremony, for they would not have heard her.

While her coach, Bakeer Ganes, addressed the seniors, she interpreted his words using sign language, so her parents – who are both deaf ﹘ would understand.

For Connatser, words aren’t the operative difference in communication. Instead, it is body language that the senior claims gives her the utmost advantage.

 “It is easier for me to recognize signals,” Connatser said. “How people are feeling if they do not necessarily say it, how people are responding non-verbally. It is sort of easier for me to pick up body language.”

“It makes it easier to figure out how different actions will elicit different responses from my teammates,” Connaster added via email.

Connatser’s upbringing inspired her to major in communication science disorders and pursue a medical degree in audiology.

The pursuit of an involved degree, as well as applying for postgraduate schooling, has proven tough on the senior, as road games and practices present challenges for her.

 “It is hard for me right now to complete the [medical school] applications, do my schoolwork and travel,” Connatser said. “We travel every weekend, so you have to just do your homework when you get a chance. You cannot procrastinate.”

  In addition to her already full schedule, Connatser serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The committee, designed to serve as a bridge between student-athletes and the university, meets biweekly.

All of her responsibilities notwithstanding. Connatser has still managed to maintain the necessary 3.5 GPA to be honored with academic honor roll.

Connatser’s teammates cited her driven nature as the operative part in fueling such a busy schedule.

“Her competitive drive pushes everyone else on the court with her to do better,” junior libero Alyssa Drachslin said. “She is a great leader as people are naturally going to follow her on the court.”

With the season coming to a close, so is Connatser’s time at Temple, and thus her volleyball career. She described this period of her life as an “identity crisis,” as she is moving on from the sport into the next phase of her life.

Connatser’s younger sister, Brittany, is a sophomore middle hitter in high school who, according to her sister, is beginning to be recruited to play at the  collegiate level.

Aaron Minkoff can EJ Smith can be reached at

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