Student Life

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, MCAS, National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), and President of Lambda Pi Eta.

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 classes.  During my freshman year, I joined the Criminal Justice Association.  The CJSA 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.  The Criminal Justice department also does a great job of bringing experts from the field to speak as guest lecturers. 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. During my junior year I was able to complete an internship with the U.S. Marshals Service, and I will be completing my next internship with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives."

Campus Involvement:  Criminal Justice Student Association and RIT Veterans Club

Devann Lowe


Majors:   Psychology and Criminal Justice

Minors: Exercise Science and ASL/Deaf Cultural Studies

Hometown:  Scottsville, NY

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

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

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.

Lizzie Dzivulsky


Major(s): Economics and Public Policy

Minor: Web design and development

Hometown: Rochester, NY

“One of my favorite experiences at RIT has been attending the Connectology Leadership Conference this Spring. As a natural entrepreneur, attending this conference was a no-brainer for me especially because COLA sponsored my attendance. I love getting together with people who have the same kind of passion to be proactive as I do and working towards creating a brighter future. I highly recommend the Connectology Conference to anyone interested in growing personal or organization leadership skills. On the same note, Innovator Hours has allowed me access to this type of society at RIT and provided the resources to turn ideas into reality.”

Campus Involvement: Cru, Innovator Hours, and Women in Business.

Devon Southwick


Major: Economics

Minor: Chemistry

Hometown: Lakewood, NY

“When I started at RIT I was actually a chemical engineering major. Unfortunately, I found that that really wasn’t my calling. I was lucky enough to be taking classes in economics for my then-minor and found that the department was extremely welcoming and supporting. In particular, I was taking Healthcare Economics with Professor and the class showed me the range of possibilities available in studying economics, something I hadn’t fully realized before. One day after class I spoke with Professor Espinosa about my interest in the major, and he encouraged me to keep considering the program. After talking with other professors from the department I came to the conclusion that not only was this a field I was interested in pursuing but it was also a department that would provide me with the tools I needed to have a successful and fulfilling college experience. Since then I have continued to have success in the department - the small size ensures that I am always able to work closely with professors, and the emphasis on research means that I am constantly in a climate that encourages me to be proactive in my studies. The difference between this program and my original program, where I felt perpetually lost and overwhelmed, is tremendous. I really hope to be able to make sure that other students entering RIT economics have the same welcoming experience I did."

Campus Involvement: AICHE ChemE Car member and Library employee.

Emily Gollub


Major: Criminal Justice

Hometown: Grass Valley, CA

“Coming to RIT, I didn’t first start out with the College of Liberal Arts. I thought I wanted to study under the College of Imaging Arts and Science, but I soon made the transition into the College of Liberal Arts. Transferring into the College of Liberal Arts was definitely the best decision I could have made. The College of Liberal Arts provides RIT students so many opportunities as well as a diverse selection of majors to choose from. The staff and professors are always willing to help and are really passionate about each and every student and want to do everything they can to help students obtain their goals. I am truly grateful to be a part of the College of Liberal Arts.”

Campus Involvement: Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), RIT Rock Climbing Club, and RIT Outing Club

Conor Lake


Major: Psychology

Minor: History  

Hometown: Plymouth, MN

“I came to RIT, undeclared, and unsure of what I wanted to do with my future. Being a part of the Liberal Arts Exploration program is a one-of- a-kind experience I won’t ever forget. I got to sample all sorts of classes in COLA until I found a major that fit my interests. I took classes in Museum Studies, Public Policy, and Psychology. It took me a year and a half until I settled on Psychology as my major. The faculty were so supportive in my search of a desired major to pursue. The program was helpful in finding what I wanted to do with my future in terms of career. I wouldn’t trade the lessons I learned in this program for anything in the world. I highly recommend this program to those who don’t know what they want to study in COLA!” 

Campus Involvement: RIT GLBTQIA+ Alliance Public Relations officer (2015-2016) and member, Psychology Club, and Computational Sensing research assistant with Research Experiences for Undergraduates at RIT.

Hannah Barber


Major: Museum Studies

Minor: Italian

Hometown: Rochester, NY

“One of my favorite experience in the Museum Studies program was when I got the opportunity to live abroad and intern at the U.S. Consulate Office in Genoa, Italy. I was lucky enough to get funding through the College of Liberal Arts to live and work for two months during the summer of 2015. During my time there I got the chance to travel all around Italy as well as experience a completely new work culture. Once I was there, I helped plan an official political event with the counselor during the weekdays leading up to the event and then on weekends, I was able to travel. Both my roommates and I were passionate about traveling and were able to make it to Florence, Rome, Turin, Venice, Verona, and Cinque Terre all within eight weeks of being abroad. These travel and work experiences were something that will forever impact my work and sense of cultural understanding. Overall, that summer was amazing and an unforgettable experience.”

Campus Involvement: Event Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity and Alternative Spring. I am also an avid runner and enjoy yoga as well.

Chris Ballet


Major: Political Science

Minors: History, Criminal Justice, Business Administration

Hometown: Pittsford, NY

“The Political Science Department is an absolutely awesome place to be! Not only is it full of great students and professors, but it is also full of countless opportunities for personal growth. The Political Science Book Club is one of the favorite activities amongst students, as well my personal favorite (yes, we are geeks). Headed by Professor Fornieri, the book club allows students to explore a wide variety of books while relating them to the pressing questions of our time. The theme of the most recent book club was freedom, tyranny and friendship, in where books such as the Fellowship of the Ring and Fahrenheit 451 where explored. Guest speakers are also brought in, adding an extra layer of the depth to an already outstanding experience. Now I would be amiss to not mention that we are provided with free pizza at each meeting, something that every college student can truly appreciate. Overall the experience has allowed me to not only further connect with the faculty of the Political Science Department, but also expand my mind; all while discussing books and eating pizza!”

Campus Involvement: 2016 Alexander Hamilton Institute Carl Menges Colloquium at Turning Stone, Political Science Book Club, and Political Science Student Research Consortium.

Victoria Lezette

Major(s): Psychology and Criminal Justice

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Taryn Brennan

Major: International and Global Studies

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