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Student Spotlight: Pierce Hamilton

Pierce Hamilton

Finding the time to sit down with Pierce Hamilton can be a difficult endeavor. Hamilton, a graduate student in Criminal Justice, has to balance classes, being a Resident Advisor and a job with the Department of Defense.

The journey to Hamilton's busy schedule began with a fateful decision: choosing to attend RIT, though it wasn't his first choice.

"RIT was not my first choice; in fact, I had no idea about RIT until three years ago," said Hamilton, who originally attended Western Connecticut State University.

While at WCSU Hamilton was pursuing a double major of Criminal Justice and Political Science. When he made the decision to switch schools following his sophomore year, RIT was one of the schools that stood out the most.

"I heard about RIT and how they had a really great program especially for deaf and hard-of-hearing students," said Hamilton, who has a cochlear implant. "It was the best decision in my academic career; one of my top decisions I've made in my life so far."

Once on campus, Hamilton's decision was justified through his interactions and experiences in the classroom.

"These are some of the top notch professors and individuals I've had a chance to work with," said Hamilton. "Just being able to learn from them was a humbling experience but I definitely grew from it and learned more than I could have possibly imagined."

Following Hamilton's graduation from RIT last May he faced down his next challenge: working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East Division as their first summer hire under the Workforce Recruitment Program.

Hamilton was assigned to the Office of Counsel where his interest and expertise in law were implemented and enriched.

"I worked with the attorneys and the paralegals with a lot of contract appeals," said Hamilton. "I've done a lot with criminal law, but nothing with contract law so it's extremely different."

Working for the government meant that Hamilton was looking at a new perspective on dealing with the law. "My experience with contract law from one class that I took dealt with the business and the private sector," said Hamilton. "When it comes to the government it's a whole different ball game."

Hamilton's time with the Army Corps of Engineers was a success and opened up new opportunities for him within the government. He now serves as the Student Training and Academic Recruitment or STAR student for RIT and NTID through the Department of Defense.

"In a nutshell, I'm a recruiter and my job is to try to spread awareness that the Department of Defense has a presence," said Hamilton. "We're trying to hire qualified men and women from RIT for careers in the United States' government."

Hamilton has a personal motivation to succeed in his work, especially with his connection to NTID.

"One thing that I'm trying to improve on is hiring people with disabilities," said Hamilton. "Technically myself, I have a disability but I've never seen it that way. A lot of other individuals I've spoken with don't see it that way either."

Anyone that is interested in a position within the Department of Defense is welcome to apply, regardless of major. Hamilton's office is within the NTID Center for Employment in the LBJ building.

For Hamilton, it's just another piece to a very busy academic year. He returned to RIT in the fall to work on his graduate degree for many of the same reasons he was interested in the college in the first place.

"I thought it would be perfect for me to just continue my education here and pursue my Master's in criminal justice," said Hamilton.

Following graduate school, Hamilton hopes to turn his Department of Defense job into another within the government, particularly with the FBI.