Student Life

Peer Mentors

Stephanie Barbato


Major:  Psychology

Minor:  Criminal Justice

Hometown:  Rochester, NY

"I transferred to RIT as a sophomore, and I'm graduating in May of 2015. I've been one of the Peer Mentors for the Psychology department for the past two years, and love doing it! I absolutely love the College of Liberal Arts - I've made such great friends and connections here."

Campus Involvement: Orientation Assistant and Research Assistant in the Comparative Cognition and Perception Lab

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

Brandon Dziedzic


Major:  Psychology

Minor: Exercise Science

Immersion: Communication

Hometown:  Sloan, NY

"I find my time at RIT to be rewarding, providing me with the necessary skill sets and experiences I need to continue on in graduate school. Getting involved with research as an undergraduate has given me the opportunity to work in my field and experience what a career in cognitive psychology may be like. I’ve been involved in all aspects of experimental design, stimuli creation, and data collection and analysis. My co-ops have given me the opportunity to become a co-author on conference presentations as well as journal articles. I’m in a fantastic position to go on to a Ph.D. program in psychology, and so much of it is due to the fantastic faculty and resources I’ve had the opportunity to work with."

Campus Involvement: Senior Research Assistant for the Comparative Cognition & Perception Lab, YearOne Peer Advisor, and Orientation Assistant

Zoe Gaye


Majors:  Political Science and International and Global Studies

Hometown:  Philadelphia, PA

“When I first came to RIT, I was nervous about being in a small college. I thought that perhaps I wouldn’t have as many opportunities for networking as my engineer, business, or photographer classmates. I started in the International/Global Studies major, an even smaller community. The professor of my first American Politics class nagged everyone one taking the course about becoming a part of his department. Until the end of the class, I didn’t take him seriously. The class was full of heated discussion and moral debates. Each issue he presented, I found, related to my studies within the international realm and even enhanced my understanding of them. I enjoyed the class so much, that my (now favorite) professor, successfully brought me into the Political Science major, and I quickly began my journey through the program. I am so thankful I decided to enroll in American Politics with a professor who is so passionate about the department.  I have enrolled in one of his classes every semester since so I’m sure he understands the magnitude by which he’s impacted my education at RIT.”

Campus Involvement:  Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, Gymnastics Club and Notetaker.

Nicole Howley


Major:  Public Policy

Minor:  Philosophy

Hometown:  Phoenix, AZ

"When I first came to RIT, I was in the Industrial Design program. If it was not for a random placement in an Intro to Sociology class my first term, I might still be in that major. That course really made me think about, write about, read about, talk about, and care about issues affecting society today in at a level I had not done so before. By the end of my first year, I thought that maybe I could and should do something to try to resolve at least some of these issues.  That is why I switched to the College of Liberal Arts and to the Public Policy department. In the future, I hope to help enact and adjust policies in a way that helps to resolve some of the issues I learned about in my sociology, philosophy, political science, environmental studies, and departmental courses. This major really allows me to explore all the areas I care about and to take classes in a variety of departments while still specializing in my field. And it even allowed me to fit in a year of art school along the way."

Campus Involvement: Writer and Features editor, Reporter Magazine; Women's Senator for Student Government; Public Policy Representative for the COLA Student Advisory Board; member of the Feminist Coalition; and note taker for Access Services

Kelsey Kiefer


Majors:  Environmental Sustainability, Health, and Safety & International & Global Studies

Hometown:  Old Forge, NY

"I have had the opportunity with my major, and support from the INGS faculty to take my studies global. I spent a quarter studying abroad in Dubrovnik, Croatia, a short-term study abroad in Northern Haiti, and I completed a co-op this summer in Kosovo. Although the co-op focused on my other major, Environmental Sustainability, I will focus on what I learned of the Balkan War for my senior thesis for International and Global Studies." 

Campus Involvement: Student Government and YearOne Peer Advisor

Steph Mackowski


Major: Criminal Justice

Minor: Psychology

Hometown: Allegany, NY

"As a transfer student, I have a unique perspective on RIT and my department. I have dealt with struggles at my old school, but have had the opportunity to grow and become an active member of CoLA at RIT. I love the Criminal Justice department because we have a tight- knit program, with exceptional faculty. Everyone is very welcoming, and there is always someone around to chat with and learn from. One of my favorite experiences was the Criminal Justice Student Association field trip to Attica Correctional Facility. It was a unique opportunity to have a tour of a maximum- security prison, and learn more about prisons. We were able to see what the cells at Attica looked like, what kinds of jobs were available at the prison, and what kinds of activities the prisoners had. We had a great learning experience, but still had a good time and met other students in the department. It was interesting to compare our trip to Attica with what we had been learning in my Corrections class. There is always something special about seeing things you have learned in class applied to the real world."

Campus Involvement: Vice President, Criminal Justice Student Association; Captain, Equestrian Team; Office Assistant, Brick City Catering @ RIT; Intramural Volleyball

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

Nate Saint Ours


Major:  Philosophy

Minor:  Psychology

Immersion:  Religious Studies

Hometown:  Farmington, NY

"The greatest class that I have taken at RIT has been Ancient Philosophy.  Studying ancient Greek thinkers opened my mind to a way of thinking that overcame the vast faith in rationality that pervades modern thinking. The Greeks are different from conventional thinkers because they recognized that the search for truth was based on passion and desire, and constructed their methodologies in relation to this understanding. The class served as a gateway into a past world that enriched my experience of this world, and opened my mind to the potential fallibility of conventional means of thinking. It was not their writings, nor their philosophies themselves that defined who they were, but instead the way in which they lived their lives. Seeing wisdom in this new light changed the way I approached school, and life in general. "

Syafiz Sapien


Major:  Economics

Minor:  Psychology

Immersion:  Arabic

Hometown: Petra Jaya Malaysia

"When I first arrived here at RIT, I felt alienated, alone and everything seemed to be very different from what I was used to. However, the faculty members, staff and fellow students motivated me to get through my first term and helped me to get adjusted to my new life here. The diversity of fellow RIT international students is worth noticing. There are people from all sorts of backgrounds from all across the globe! There are many international student organizations here at RIT that conduct all sorts of events and shows to share their cultures or traditions with the locals. If you are an international student, look for your country’s organization, club or association here at RIT.  You can help them share your culture and traditions with the RIT community. It is a great way to have someone of the same background to motivate you through your studies as well as to aid a little bit of that homesickness. The best part about getting to know a lot of international students is that you will not be lonely when everyone leaves for breaks such as thanksgiving break! If you need any help, I am here to give you a hand in adjusting to your new life here at RIT. Cheers!

Campus Involvement:  President, Malaysian Student Association; Volunteer, Imagine RIT and Islamic Relief USA

Evander Sousa


Major: Journalism

Minor:  Advertising and Public Relations

Immersion: Communications

Hometown: Woodstock, VT

"As someone who did not start college in the Journalism program I found changing my major to be hassle free. It turns out that I was not at a disadvantage like I thought I would be, but actually had an advantage because of my other skills. RIT is great about making sure you don’t miss out because you decide to change majors."

"One of the best things about RIT is that you are required that to take classes outside your major. This allows you to follow your other passions and explore topics you had not thought about. For a journalist this is crucial because it makes you a specialist in a wider range of topics, and helps you grow as a creative thinker and a writer. "

"The Journalism program is made up of professors who have worked in the field, which adds to the quality of education the program provides. The professors pushed me to do better and were always willing to sit down with me and go over my work. By the end of the first semester I was shocked to see how much I improved."

Campus Involvement: Reporter Magazine; Tangent

Andrew Tuttle


Major:  Sociology and Anthropology

Minor:  Arabic Language & Culture

Hometown:  Charlotte, NC

"I am so fortunate to belong to a department where students have such a high degree of access to professors and department resources. I cherish the relationships that I have built with my professors and value the impact they have had on my personal and intellectual development. We have the freedom to explore the world and follow our passions."

Campus Involvement:  COLA Student Advisory Board, OUTspoken, International Socialist Organization, and Feminist Coalition