Student Life

Student Experiences


Criminal Justice

US Army Veteran

Criminal Justice Student Association

Veterans Club

“My admissions process was pretty smooth.  Dealing with the Veterans Office here on campus, I’d say they were very helpful.  They made sure that my GI Bill was all set so I could register for classes easily.”

Army Strong

Richard Barney enlisted in the United States Army upon graduation from high school.  After completing basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, he went to Goodfellow Airforce Base in Texas for his Advanced Individual Training, specializing in Military Intelligence.  A Rochester native, the Army gave Richard the opportunity to see other parts of the country, as well as the world, stationing him at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Grafenwohr, Germany.   A combat veteran, he served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning awards and distinctions such as the Army Commendation Medal (three of them!), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and Army Combat Action Badge, among many others.  After eight years of service and reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant, Richard was honorably discharged from the Army.  Soon after, he decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.  Richard plans to work for a federal law enforcement agency someday, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency or the US Marshals.  

Transitioning to RIT

Deciding to attend RIT was an easy decision for Richard, as he grew up in the Rochester area and has had several friends and family members attend the University.  He was pleased with the smooth admissions process, aided every step of the way by RIT’s admissions team and the university’s Veterans & Military Services Office, which specializes in helping students navigate how to use their VA benefits.  RIT is recognized as Military Friendly school, participating in the  Yellow Ribbon Program which provides qualified veterans and dependents 100% tuition coverage each academic year.

Support for veterans carries over into the classroom at RIT, where Richard says his military experience is valued. “My professors are very understanding of the fact that I’m a veteran.  They understand that I’m not a traditional student and that I do bring a lot of life experience into the classroom.  There are relatable things between being a soldier and what we’re studying.  They appreciate when I share my experiences in class.” 

RIT also has a Veterans Club on campus, so military veterans are able to connect with one another outside of the classroom.

RIT and the College of Liberal Arts would like to thank Richard and veterans like him for their service to our country.


Public Policy

Honors Program

“With the Honors Program, it's not that you take a bunch of different, harder classes. It's really about enriching your experience here at RIT."

Honors Program at RIT

“I'm very involved in the Honors program," says Stephanie, who served as the organization's Vice President. "It's fun, it's also challenging. It's also been a great way for me to learn how to lead and manage people."

The Honors program at RIT is a great way for exemplary students to have opportunities to engage in various academic and service-based activities, including unique course offerings and various events. Honors students also receive the benefits of early class registration, free course overloads, and the option for special-interest housing in the Honors Hall.

The Honors program revolves around three pillars: academics, leadership and citizenship. Students are required to maintain a certain GPA and collect Honors academic credits. Additionally, members must provide 20 hours a year of service, in a leadership role or by giving back to the community.

"You get out of it what you put into it, and the program can do amazing things. As much as I put in, I feel like I get even more out of it."

Learn more about the Honors Program here:


Political Science

Internship in Kosovo


“I love that the College of Liberal Arts is small.  You get to work one-on-one with professors, and the classes are small and engaging.”

Choosing the Liberal Arts, Political Science

Like many prospective college students, Chris wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to major in.  “I started out at RIT as a business management major, then switched to computer science,” he says.  It wasn’t until he took a class from the Political Science department that found his niche.  “I fell in love with the liberal arts and political science.  I really liked taking classes on topics that were unfolding current events.”  When asked about the reasons to study Political Science, Chris answers, “Politics isn’t going away.  It’s always evolving and changing.  That’s what makes it so exciting, it’s never the same thing.  You get to learn something new every week.” 

Why study Political Science at RIT?

As a student in the Political Science program, Chris elected to pursue the Digital Politics track.  “RIT is a university that is up-to-date with technology.  Pairing political science with technical knowledge and skills prepares you for the future, for 21st century politics.”  Topics that Chris has studied in class include cyberpolitics, social media and integrating it into the political landscape, and new issues brought up by technology. 

Chris also cites the faculty as a major reason to study Political Science at RIT.  “They’re all great.  I feel that I’ve built good relationships with my professors.  They’re all personable with their students and very student-centered.  They make themselves available outside of the classroom and I know that I can always go to them for help.”


Advertising & Public Relations

Completed three different co-ops in NJ, NY, and TX

Involved in Greek life, SportsZone, Lambda Pi Eta, PRSSA, Hillel, and Residence Life

“Being an RIT Tiger is unlike being a student anywhere else. Nowhere else can you interact with engineers, coders, artists—any type of student—on a daily basis. I like to compare RIT to the United Nations and I would definitely not have been able to experience all I have at RIT if there wasn’t so much diversity.”

Co-op Experiences

Bender Hammerling PR in Upper Montclair, NJ

“I was sent to Kentucky for the Duncan Hines Festival and also to the UN Headquarters in New York City for the UN Year of Youth Culmination Celebration, both events of which I worked on.”

Martino Flynn in Pittsford, NY

“I conduced market research, created a New Employee Handbook and planned March College Night at The Little Theater (Rochester, NY).”

The Richards Group in Dallas, TX

“It’s the largest independently-owned advertising agency in the US.  I worked in Brand Public Relations, specifically working with nonprofits in the Dallas area. Working at The Richards Group was an eye-opening experience and made me realize I want to work in a huge ad agency once I graduate.”

Advice for RIT Students

Two words: get involved. I would not be who I am today without taking advantage of all RIT has to offer. Go Greek, join a club, play a sport—anything. Use these opportunities to learn how to be a leader and meet new people.

Become friends with the people in your department, professors and school administration. Listen to your professors’ stories from when they were in school, eat with President Destler, ask the experts for help. They’ll see what a hard worker you are and won’t think twice to help you out.

Find a mentor. This can be someone in your department, one of your classmates who is older than you, someone in the same club as you—just someone you can ask questions to and know that they’ll give you their honest answer.

Learn as much as you can, specifically in regards to experiential learning and co-ops. Apply anywhere you think looks interesting—don’t be afraid to venture out from Rochester or your hometown. Be a sponge and take in everything they tell you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask for more work. Come in early and leave late a few days, so you see what it feels like to be a real employee.


Museum Studies

Studied Abroad in Siena, Italy

Completed an internship at the Smithsonian MCI

“The Museum Studies program at RIT is unique in that it is one of a handful of undergraduate programs in the world for this major.  I’ve been given the opportunity to learn about the museum world and the intricacies involved in the many different jobs that are available in this field.”

Favorite thing about her program:

“The Museum Studies program is very tight-knit, and the smaller class size and number of students in the program creates great relationships between both the students and faculty.  The advisors are extremely focused on the success of the students and take a very hands-on approach to take care of each student's needs and interests. 

Study Abroad: Siena, Italy

“During the summer after my sophomore year, I was able to spend the entire month of July in Italy and live with a host family while attending school.  I took Italian classes a few times a week, and then spent the rest of my time working with four other students for a local painting conservator and restorer.  I was able to work on actual art from day one, and we spent the month cleaning and touching-up a ceiling fresco in a local woman’s home.  It was an amazing opportunity and gave me very valuable work experience.  During the month we also had plenty of time for exploring, and were able to visit Florence, go to the beach, relax in local hot springs, and celebrate the upcoming Palio horse race.  Overall it was an experience that I will never forget, and something that I will continue to benefit from for many years.” 

Internship: Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (MCI)

 “For my internship I spent ten weeks living in D.C. and working 40 hours a week at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (MCI).  My project involved working with daguerreotypes, which are photographs printed on silver coated copper plates, and are one of the earliest forms of photography.  I worked with two supervisors and was using different advanced imaging techniques to gain a better understanding of the degradation that had happened over time to the very fragile daguerreotype surface.  In addition to this project, I also had the opportunity to work with the furniture conservator on the restoration of a 19th century flag-pole from the Smithsonian Arts and Industries buildings.  I also spent some time cleaning a very intricately-carved wooden Chinese frame from a painting at the Sackler Gallery.”