Student Life

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Peer Mentors

Casira Copes


Majors:  Advertising & Public Relations and Graphic Design

Minor:  Italian

Immersion:  French

Hometown: Elkton, MD

"So far, my greatest experience has been attending the Connectology Leadership Conference this past year. COLA sponsored my attendance, and I was able to go to some very insightful workshops that taught me a lot about leadership and communication. A big part of my Advertising & Public Relations degree deals with networking and collaborating with many diverse groups of people. Not only did I get the in-class experience in this aspect, but attending the conference gave me a much wider perspective on these skills. I feel more confident in my communication abilities, and I love that COLA gave me this experience beyond just simple course work.  The added benefit was that many of the workshop presenters were professors from the Department of Communications.  The level of commitment to the students and what they are teaching is really inspiring. I found that after Connectology, I felt much more driven than before. It was a great experience that I would recommend to anyone and everyone!"

Campus Involvement:  Tech Crew, PUB, Secretary for Circle K, and MCAS

Luke Dorsey


Major: Economics

Minors: Accounting, Finance, Statistics

Immersions: German

Hometown: Cazenovia, NY

"My experience as a member of the economics department has rewarding. Above all, the professors offer the opportunity to develop genuine relationships that encapsulate the true value of higher education. The faculty are willing and eager to welcome students during non-class hours in order to help further understanding of classroom material, and also to offer higher level material that enables enhanced understanding. For me, these ‘after hour’ interactions have been the highlight of my academic experience. These interactions both increased my desire to pursue economics and provided me with numerous opportunities to expand my education beyond assignments and exams. In particular, these interactions helped me become a research assistant. Being able to apply all I’ve learned in the classroom to empirical research is the most rewarding experience I have had. Through this research, I will have opportunities to test my knowledge, develop testable hypotheses, and develop my academic writing ability. In the next few years, I will be presenting my research at economic conventions and I hope to end my college career with a published article in an economic journal. This research epitomizes the expanded teaching opportunities offered by the department and its exceptional professors."

Campus Involvement: Men’s Varsity soccer team, Economics Club

Alyssa Jackson


Majors: Journalism and International and Global Studies

Minor: Deaf Culture Studies

Hometown: Naples, NY

“When I first came to RIT in the Fall of 2012, I had never done anything related to journalism. After taking my first class with Professor Hinda Mandell, I quickly fell in love with the craft. I immediately jumped in head first, and completed my first internship with the Finger Lakes Times. The following year I worked for Messenger Post Media in Canandaigua, NY, and this most recent summer I worked with CNN. I love being involved on campus, particularly with the college that helped shape my passion.” 

Campus Involvement:  Editor-in-Chief at Reporter Magazine, member of Alpha Sigma Alpha Gamma Iota, Student Assistant for the Student Advising Office in COLA, Recreation Attendant at the gym, freelance writer for USA Today College, Messenger Post Media, and Rochester Women's Magazine. 

Jean Pietrowski


Major: Museum Studies

Minor: Japanese

Hometown: Cottonwood Falls, Kansas

"The thing I love most about Museum Studies, and what makes me really proud to be a part of the program is how amazing the professors and staff are.  All of the instructors are excited about what they do, and excited to teach their students about it, too. There is definitely not a lack of inspiration and drive in this program, that’s for sure. Even if it is not entirely related to what they teach, the teachers are willing to listen and give you any advice or information on the topic they can. It is so nice to have people who genuinely care for you teaching your classes and give you a new perspective on not only your target career, but life as well."

Campus Involvement: freelance writer, The Reporter and student employee in the Archives and Special Libraries in the Wallace Memorial Library

Danielle Stemper


Major:  Political Science

Hometown:  East Troy, WI

“Coming into RIT I had no idea what I wanted to study. I was in an American Politics class as a general education course my first semester and ended up falling in love within the first few weeks.  I knew I wanted to study the subject more.  I couldn't be in a better place.  The Political Science Department at RIT has not only challenged me academically, but it has given me a support system made up of some of the best professors in the field.”

Campus Involvement:  RIT Women's Club Soccer Team and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority Alumnae Relations Coordinator, Recruitment Coordinator, and Student Government Coordinator

Jackie Lenta


Majors:  Communication and Psychology

Minor:  Criminal Justice

Hometown:  Ijamsville, MD

“I love how everything in the College of Liberal Arts works together so well that I will be able to graduate on time with 2 majors and a minor.  There are so many people willing to help support you and talk about different options you have in reaching your goals.  The professors are great because they all love what they do and care about your success.”

Campus Involvement:  President and Founder of RIT Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), President of Club Field Hockey, student worker for RIT Sports Information, and studied abroad in Australia Spring 2015.

Richard Barney


Major:  Criminal Justice

Immersion:  Deaf Cultural Studies

Minor:  Sociology and Anthropology

Hometown:  Brockport, NY

“As a non-traditional student, I was a little worried about how I would fit in at RIT.  Those worries were quickly washed away and I was welcomed as a student.  As a military veteran, my professors and classmates have valued my previous life experience when sharing it with the class.  During my freshman year, I joined the Criminal Justice Association which has been a great way to meet fellow CJ students and the faculty.  I have attended several field trips with CJSA to the Attica, Auburn, and Albion State Prisons; the Monroe County Crime Lab; and the Public Safety Training Facility.  There are so many different career paths available to CJ majors and the field experience program at RIT is exceptional because it allows students to tailor their experience to the career aspirations.  I will be fortunate to be interning with the U.S. Marshals this year, as well." 

Campus Involvement:  Criminal Justice Student Association and RIT Veterans Club

Ja'Nai Gray


Majors:  Criminal Justice and Sociology and Anthropology

Minor:  Political Science

Hometown:  Rochester, NY

“The Criminal Justice department and Sociology and Anthropology department are awesome!  My favorite classes in Criminal Justice have been Corrections, Current Issues, Prostitution and Vice, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Justice, and Seminar on Sexual Violence.  My sociology courses have been interesting and have inspired me to seek out opportunities to do more research on concentrated urban unemployment.  I find the liberal arts faculty to be professional, educated, and easy to talk to.  I know that their support is helping me work toward my goal of becoming a district attorney and a judge in family court.”

Campus and Community Involvement:  President of Teens in Progress (TIP), Internship in the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, McNair Scholar, Emerging Professionals Leadership Certificate Program, Treasurer for Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International, Criminal Justice Student Association, Pre-Law Association, member of the Student Justice Appeals Board, Student Ambassador, HEOP Leap Mentor, and member of Women of Color, Honor, and Ambition (WOCHA)

Victoria Otis


Major:  Sociology and Anthropology

Minors:  Psychology and Deaf Studies

Hometown:  Salem, MA

“Sociology and Anthropology is something that has always fascinated me growing up.  It is a unique major because you learn from both your classes and the social world around.  Rochester and RIT has such a diverse community which has made my learning experience here even richer.”

Campus Involvement:  Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority and student assistant at Margaret’s House.

Devann Lowe


Majors:   Psychology and American Sign Language Interpreting

Hometown:  Scottsville, NY

“The College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Psychology provide a very enjoyable atmosphere. Professors are always welcoming and open to conversation. I have learned that everyone, faculty and students, are committed to bettering their environment. Although we share interests, there are also many opportunities to learn individually and focus on individual interests. COLA holds so many great events for getting to know the college, your professors, and your peers. Being a Psychology major in the College of Liberal Arts is the best decision I have made.”

Campus Involvement:  MCAS Scholar, RIT Athletics, and the National Society of Leadership and Success

Katey Sackett


Major:  Psychology

Minor:  Liberal and Medical Arts

Hometown:  Honeoye, NY

“I come from a very small town so attending a much larger university was something I was initially worried about. Having the personal interaction with all levels of RIT professionals has not only eliminated my fears but helped me personalize my education through independent study courses, honoring a previously discontinued immersion, and chartering clubs. The opportunities I have had to gain experience in the different fields of research both in labs and on my own is invaluable to me and my future. I would not be as successful as I am today without the support of the faculty and staff in the College of Liberal Arts.” 

Campus Involvement:  Psychology Club Founder & President, YearOne Peer Advisor, Circle K International President, Psychophysiology Lab Research Assistant, Social Psychology Lab Research Assistant, Margaret's House Assistant Care Provider, Rochester Area Masterminds Moderator, and NTID Access Services Notetaker.

Shruti Kapoor


Majors:  New Media Marketing and International and Global Studies

Hometown:  New Delhi, India

“Being an international student and having travelled and lived in different countries before attending RIT has made me really passionate about International and Global Studies.  All of the professors that I have taken classes with have diverse professional experiences, so there is a big pool of knowledge and resources to choose from for your field specialization and capstone seminar.  I was not originally a double major, but the College of Liberal Arts offers a lot of flexibility so students are not limited to just one major and I was able to easily add a second major.”

Campus Involvement:  RIT Bhangra, Global Union, Pacha Trends, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Amanda Schartau


Major:  International and Global Studies

Immersion:  Arabic

Hometown:  Rochester, NY

“As a student who did not initially start my academic life in the International and Global Studies program, my transition to a student within the College of Liberal Arts has been my best decision while at RIT. I immediately felt a great sense of belonging as my passions and aspirations finally aligned with my faculty and peers. The academic support and guidance from my advisors and our career services coordinator have significantly influenced my personal and professional development both within and outside of RIT.

Rochester is an excellent city for my interests in conflict resolution and international trauma. Each year, hundreds of refugees arrive to our city seeking a better life – and I’ve had the honor of helping these individuals adjust to the area and new culture through local grassroots agencies. I studied abroad during the summer of my third year in Pristina, Kosovo, as a participant in the Peace Building Post-Conflict Transformation and Development Program. Our instructors were former practitioners in the reconstruction of Kosovo following its newly established independence. With an international cohort of students, not only did the world become a much smaller place, but I was also learning of real-time issues in an emerging country. Needless to say, this was the best summer of my life – and I’m planning to return for research purposes.

As a student at RIT, I’m the International Student Outreach Coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts. My time spent abroad was invaluable and exciting – and it’s my goal to ensure our students have the same experience and support available. Because my courses have a strong understanding of globalization, I’ve thrived as an intern with the United Nations Association of Rochester and have networked with diplomats and professionals in the field of conflict resolution from across the globe.”

Campus/Community Involvement:  Alpha Phi Omega (National Service Fraternity), English Language Center Conversation Partner, International Student Outreach, United Nations Association of Rochester, Global Youth Connect (Human Rights USA Delegation), Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach, and Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor.

Ciara Lutz


Major:  Psychology

Immersion:  Film Studies

Hometown:  Webster, NY

“The career exploration seminar that I took in my freshman year was probably one of the most useful classes that I have taken at RIT.  It provided me the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and my skills and interests through personality tests and other activities.  We were also encouraged to speak with professors in different fields in which we were interested.  It seemed scary at first, but I learned that we have some very intelligent and caring faculty at RIT who are always willing to help.  I am glad that I took the time to examine my options before choosing a major.  It helped me make an informed decision about what to study and make the most of my time at RIT.”

Campus Involvement:  University Studies Student Ambassador, Research Assistant for the RIT Psychophysiology Lab, RIT Honors Program, note taker, and member of the Psychology Club.