Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Since coming to RIT in 1992, Dr. Jenkins has served as RIT Faculty-in-Residence (1993 – 1995), RIT’s first Assistant Provost for Diversity (1999 – 2002), Director of Undergraduate Degree Programs in the School of Communication (2011 – 2016), and Interim Vice President and Associate Provost, Division for Diversity & Inclusion (2016 – present).
Jenkins is the recipient of many awards. Among the RIT awards are the 2010 Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching, the 2005 Isaac L. Jordan Pluralism Award, the 2004 RIT Diversity Trailblazer Award, the 1993-94 Provost’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the 1996 and 1997 Higher Education Opportunity Program “Community Professor” awards which recognize a professor who has made a difference in the lives of HEOP students at RIT, and NTID’s (National Technical Institute for the Deaf) 1995 Pluralism Award.
Jenkins’ scholarly publications and presentations center around studies in intercultural communication, political and visual rhetoric, and the rhetoric of gospel song. Most recently, the focus of his research has been on pragmatism and the rhetoric of inclusion in Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign.
Jenkins, K. B. (2015). [Review of the book Studies of Communication in the 2012 Presidential Campaign, edited by Robert E. Denton, Jr. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014. 239 pages]. Presidential Studies Quarterly. Volume 45, Issue 4, 812–814. DOI: 10.1111/psq.12231.
Jenkins, K. B. and G. Cos (2010). A Time for Change and A Candidate’s Voice: Pragmatism and the Rhetoric of Inclusion in Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign”. American Behavioral Scientist. 5(3): 184-202.
“Small Group Branding: A Visual Identity”, presented with Dr. David Neumann at the William A. Kern Conference, Visual Communication: Rhetorics & Technology IV, held April 10 – 13, 2008 at the Strathallan Hotel, Rochester, NY.
“Transforming the World: Examining the Visual Rhetoric of Gordon Parks Through Half Past Autumn.” National Communication Association 93rd Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; November 17, 2007.
Activity-Based Learning in the Small Group Communication Classroom; Short Course Presentation; National Communication Association Convention; Chicago, IL; November 5, 1999.
The Rhetoric of Men: A Comparative Analysis of the Rhetoric of the Million Man March and The Promise Keepers’ “Stand in the Gap” March; 89th Annual Conference; Saratoga, NY ; April 23 - 26, 1998.
Jenkins, Keith B. (1990). The Rhetoric of Gospel Song: A Content Analysis of the Lyrics of Andrae Crouch. A dissertation submitted to the Department of Communication in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Tallahassee: The Florida State University Music Library.
Ada began her career at RIT in 2004 as Sr. Staff Assistant in the Office of Government and Community Relations where she supported the United Way Campaign and the Brick City Homecoming, and the first Imagine RIT. She also managed the RIT Events Calendar and was part of the team that put together the RIT Event Planning 101 Resource Handbook that is use by event planners in the university. In 2007 she moved to the NTID Office of the President as Sr. Staff Specialist supporting the Executive Assistant to the President. In that position she supported a wide variety of projects such as the NTID Strategic Decisions 2020 and the national multi-institution Health Care Task Force for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students pursuing careers in the health field.
She joined the Division for Diversity and Inclusion in 2012 as Administrative Assistant to the Vice President and Associate Provost. In that role she supports the Vice President and his team to achieve the goals related to the mission and vision of the division and of the university. Her support includes all what it is related to calendaring, special commitments, division initiatives, programs and special projects where the Vice President is involved and that relates to the objectives of the division and the Provost’s office. Her support is extended to: the Board of Trustees Diversity Sub Committee, the MOCHA Program, the AALANA Faculty Advisory Council (AFAC), the RITAdvance Executive Advisory Council, the AALANA Faculty Associate and the Council for the Representation and Engagement of Women Faculty (CREW).
Over the years, she has volunteered on many university initiatives and events, such as commencement, Imagine RIT, Bick City Homecoming, Staff Council, Staff Recognition Awards Selection Committee, etc.
Tina’s passion for helping others led her to the classroom. She taught Computing and Mathematics courses at Monroe Community College and later became a full time professor at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the Golisano College of Computing in 2002. As an Assistant Professor for 10 years, Tina helped create the Network, Security, and Systems Administration Department. She was nominated for the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching.
Tina’s other passion, the Arts, led her to pursue a new career focus in the Performing and Visual Arts. She completed her second master degree, an MFA in Film and Scriptwriting from RIT’s School of Film and Animation in 2014. Tina created Mended Wings, a media production company, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in RIT’s Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture in the College of Liberal Arts. Tina wrote, directed, and produced several short films and plays. Her most recent film, Remembering the Pythodd, a documentary about a legendary jazz club in Rochester, NY, was selected for the 2013 High Falls Film Festival. Some of Tina’s other directing and writing credits include, The Release, Afternoon Tea, The Movie, and Brick Walls. Four of Tina’s plays were presented at the Mood Makers Books Theatre 1 Play festival: Gone Fishing, The Release, Afternoon Tea, and Afternoon Tea, The Prequel. Tina has also written and directed commissioned work, The Case Of The Missing Pearls, a mystery dinner theatre and film production for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Best of One and Another, for the Rochester Boule; and Celebration of Life, for the Perinton African American Heritage Committee.
Tina is the past manager of the High Falls Film Festivals, 2014, an accomplished actor in film and theatre, and the host and co-creator of the Rochester Community Television 15 (RCTV) talk show Close Up. She and her husband Jose’ just completed the second year of a new TV series called The Pythodd Remix, for which they received the 2013 RCTV Producer’s Award.
As a senior lecturer at RIT, Tina created and taught classes in acting, script writing, and museum theatre. She helped curate the RIT exhibition Resistance, Rebellion and Renewal: Narratives of Progress and Poverty in Rochester and launched a new RIT performance program called Diversity Theatre. Tina was appointed the Diversity Theatre Program Developer in 2015.
Tina’s other degrees are a Master of Science in Product Development (MPD) from RIT and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from The College at Brockport.
Dr. Michael D’Arcangelo currently serves as Director of Diversity Education at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He has previously held positions as director for campus life (RIT), and numerous other Student Affairs positions at RIT, Ashland University, and Washington & Jefferson College.
Dr. D’Arcangelo has worked both directly and indirectly in the field of campus transformation as related to diversity education, leadership development, communications, and conflict resolution. Among his primary experiences at RIT, he is designer and presenter for: RIT’s Bridges multicultural competency program for faculty and staff; presenter and administrator of the Partnerships in Pluralism program; and numerous ad hoc educational programs among university students, faculty, and staff – thus building systems of programs aimed at institutional change. His responsibilities include research development related to Non-cognitive variables (as related to the academic success among underrepresented students in STEM areas).
He previously served as: an instructional consultant for Idea Connections Systems (Rochester, NY); an instructional designer for the YWCA (Person2Person); a co-Principle Investigator for the Learn and Serve America Grant; actor in the Rochester area diversity theater (Thalia productions); and private, independent consultant specializing in the area of unconscious bias and civility. Dr. D’Arcangelo received his: Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in Educational Leadership and Policy; Masters of Science in Human Resource Development from RIT; Masters of Arts in College Personnel and Counseling from Bowling Green State University; and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Psychology from Westminster College (PA). Dr. D’Arcangelo is currently the president of the RIT chapter for The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
Michele possesses more than 18 years’ experience in various administrative roles; including human resources employment recruiter and human resources assistant.
Stephanie works in a collaborative position between the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for Campus Life. In her role, she oversees the daily operation of the MOSAIC Center, coordinates cultural awareness programs, assists in the creation and implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives for the campus community, including Greek Life, and provides guidance and advisement to the multicultural Greek community organizations and councils.
Stephanie believes that a great team is a vital part of a person's success and is grateful for the amazing colleagues and team she works with in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for Campus Life. While not working with students, Stephanie is a Founder, Board President, actress, and writer in the Rochester Latino Theatre Company, Inc. She enjoys community service, traveling, and spending time with family and her Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. Hermanas.
Stephanie has received the Cultura Latina National Award from Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc,.RIT Student Government Extra Mile Award, TANYS Festival People’s Choice Actress amongst others.
Tabita Torres works in the Office for Diversity & Inclusion as a Marketing Specialist and Program Associate in the MOSAIC Center. Tabita previously worked with the United Way of Greater Rochester, Time Warner Cable/YNN, Coordinated Care Services Inc., and the YMCA of Greater Rochester, Inc.
Tabita has a passion for making her community a better place to live for everyone and enjoys volunteering. Tabita has been recognized with the Latinas Unidas 2016 Volunteer Reconocimiento Award and as a Woman to Watch in Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle. Tabita is a lifelong learner and believes “education is life changing.”
Tomicka Wagstaff is the Senior Director of Academic Access and Success here at Rochester Institute of Technology. She received her Bachelors (Sociology) and Masters (Higher Education) degree from Buffalo State College and eventually earned her Ed.D in Higher Education Administration from the University of Rochester. Dr. Wagstaff has been in the Higher Ed field for 15 years working in areas such as Multicultural Affairs, Residential Life, Conduct, Grants, Orientation, Financial Aid and TRIO. She also has taught, as an adjunct in the Sociology department at RIT. Dr. Wagstaff is a member of the Women of Color research team at RIT looking at issues of tenure and promotion for this population, the DDI Strategic Planning Taskforce, Women of WOCHA Council, and Early Alert Advisory Team.
In the Rochester Community Tomicka is a graduate of United Way AALDP. Professionally she is a board member and district representative for the Association for Equality and Excellence in Education, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a member of the Council of Education.
Tomicka has received the Emerging Black Leader Award, Buffalo State College Distinguished Alumni Award, Honoree for the Women of Distinction and Style Award and the Keeper of the Flame Award.
Devon Watters is the Communication and Design Specialist for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She graduated from RIT in 2014 with a BFA in Graphic Design. In her role, she is responsible for the graphic design, marketing, communications and brand guidelines throughout the division. She also oversees the divisional web presence, division publications and social media platforms.
Devon serves on the marketing committee for the RIT Young Professionals group.
Ricki Wensel is the Director of Financial Services for the Office for Diversity & Inclusion. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Accounting from Rochester Institute of Technology. Ricki began her career at RIT in 2007. Her responsibilities include financial management and oversight for the division.
Over the years, she has volunteered at many university events including Imagine RIT and RIT graduation.
In her free time, Ricki enjoys biking, hiking, gardening and spending time with her family.
Sandra W. Whitmore began her career at RIT in the College of Liberal Arts in 1999 and in 2003 joined the Office of the President. Sandra currently serves as the Senior Director of Operations and RIT’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator for the Division of Diversity & Inclusion. Managing the daily operations, oversees the areas of Public Relations/Marketing & Multicultural Programs, as well as the official representative for compliance issues for Title IX, and constructs methods to achieve the Division of Diversity & Inclusion’s goals. Supervised by the Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion the role is critical to the overall achievement of RIT’s mission of achieving best in class in the areas of diversity and inclusion in higher education.
She has served the institute in various capacities as Vice Chair of Staff Council, Chair of the President’s Commission on Pluralism & Inclusion, and Coach for Partnerships in Pluralism. Currently Sandra is serving as the Chair of the RIT Ombuds Advisory Board (2006), Administrator for the Global Leadership Certificate Program, Staff Council Member (Shared Governance) and Advisor for the Model United Nations Major Student Organization as well as a member of the RIT Leadership Institute Faculty teaching team. Sandra also serves the Greater Rochester Community as a member of the Facing Race Embracing Equity Committee and the Genesee Valley Chapter of Society for Human Resource Professionals (SHRM). She is also the co-designer for the Person2Person partnership program for the YWCA in Monroe County.
Sandra is very active as a faculty member (since 2005) in the RIT Leadership Institute providing workshops and developing curriculum for leadership certificates and courses for students. She is one of the founding members in creating the Global Leadership Certificate Program for students in 2006. This certificate program has become a signature program at RIT and has been presented at National Conferences along with receiving the prestigious award from the New York State Leadership Consortium. Taking the certificate program one step further, Sandra is an adjunct professor at RIT, teaching the Leading in A Global Environment Course.
In 2015, Sandra is one of the co-founders in developing and launching Women of Color, Honor and Ambition (W.O.C.H.A.). Which is initiative developed for historically underrepresented women students in a predominately technical university the opportunities to engage in a yearlong program to enhance leadership ability, build comradery, access mentorship and open networking opportunities.
Sandra holds a Master’s Degree in Service Leadership & Innovation, Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration (Honors), a Minor in Communications, Certificate in Organizational Change and Leadership from the College of Applied Science Technology, 2009 and an Associate’s Degree (High Honors) in Business Administration, 2005, all from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is also certified in Title IX Administration and Investigations from the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA). Sandra is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (HRCI) and SHRM-SCP (SHRM) as well as a certified Mediator emphasizing the Social Justice Mediation model.
In his role as Assistant Vice President for Research & Student Success, Dr. Wick provides leadership to coordinate overarching strategies in support of the initiatives, programs, and grants that promote student success within the Division of Diversity & Inclusion. Dr. Wick promotes assessment and research efforts that enhance the scholarship of diversity and inclusion and coordinates data collection and analysis to inform organizational decisions and support initiatives which are central to the mission, vision, and strategic plan of the Division. He collaborates with university leadership and members of the Board of Trustees to provide a framework for interpreting progress toward achieving diversity related institutional standards and goals.
Dr. Wick holds a Ph.D. in physics from Clarkson University where he was previously a faculty member (1996 – 2012) and most recently Associate Professor and Director of First Year Physics. From 2003 – 2012 he was the Research Director for a triad of programs that promote the access and success of underrepresented students in STEM, including the McNair Scholars program, Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program. He was a founding member and Co-Director of IMPETUS (Integrated Math and Physics for Entry to Undergraduate STEM), a university outreach program for underrepresented students (2005 – 2012). At RIT he held the position of Interim Associate Director in the Multicultural Center for Academic Success (MCAS) from 2012 – 2013, before formally joining the Office for Diversity & Inclusion in 2014 as Director of Assessment and Research Management.
In recognition of his passion for STEM education and student success, Dr. Wick has been honored with several service and teaching awards, including the Boeing Outstanding Educator Award for “outstanding contributions to the Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design program” (2001), Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Faculty Award for “exemplary performance in the art of teaching” (2000, 2003), Alumni nominated Clarkson Distinguished Teaching Award (2006), and Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award (2000, 2012). He has advised M.S. and Ph.D. students, mentored undergraduate research students, and has published research in the areas of STEM Education, Environmental Science, Engineering Science, and Applied Psychology.
Office of Faculty Recruitment
Dan Downie is a Faculty Recruiter in Rochester Institute of Technology’s Office of Faculty Recruitment. In this role Dan is responsible for supporting faculty searches for the College of Science, College of Health Sciences and Technology, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Saunders College of Business, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Golisano Institute for Sustainability, and Academic Affairs. Whether scouring the internet for members of large-volume database resources or identifying suitable applicant prospects from more niche sources, Dan’s focus is directed at identifying scholars whose experiences and expertise satisfy a variety of requirements, for the sole purpose of increasing the size and diversity of the faculty applicant pools.
Additionally, Dan advises search committees on the institute’s standardized faculty search and selection process, best practices in developing effective advertising and outreach campaigns, and applicant review tracking and recordkeeping, among other faculty search related activities. Dan is also responsible for collecting, refining and analyzing data to provide key performance metrics at the departmental, college, and university levels, as well as internally within the Office of Faculty Recruitment. When combined as multi-year summaries, the results provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of strategies employed in the search process as well as the individual unit or collective progress towards achieving established university diversity goals.
As a retired veteran, Dan served in our nation’s armed forces on active duty in excess of 28 years, with 10 years in the United States Marine Corps, and over 18 years in the Army and Army National Guard. Viewed more as an adventure than a job, Dan served in numerous positions that include helicopter crewmember, weapons and tactics instructor, technical school instructor, production controller, training manager, recruiter, and operations manager among many other collateral duties. Among his most notable assignments, Dan is a combat veteran of the Gulf War and served as the Operations Manager for military forces at Ground Zero in New York City following the 9/11 attacks.
Although Dan holds a BS degree in Organizational Management from Roberts Wesleyan College (’10) and loves the classroom experience, Dan cites the School of Life as his primary source of knowledge and understanding gained through person-to-person exchanges, cultural immersion, personal observation, tactile experiences, and reading.
On a more personal note, Dan is family-oriented and enjoys food, travel and photography, and typically finds ways to mesh the three together. As an avid photography enthusiast, Dan enjoys being outdoors capturing moments in nature and the lives of his family and friends; particularly his granddaughter who is both his favorite subject due to her bountiful energy and near-continuous action, and as his shooting companion as she too enjoys photography as a hobby.
Lorraine serves as the Assistant Director for the RIT Office of Faculty Recruitment. She has overall responsibility for working with faculty search committees in the College of Liberal Arts, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, College of Applied Science and Technology, and the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.
She identifies scholars for faculty positions with special emphasis on African American, Latino/a American, Native American and women candidates. Her efforts focus on executing creative email, internet and social media strategies to diversify the institute’s faculty candidate pools. Additionally, Lorraine plans and manages the annual Future Faculty Career Exploration Program, which brings diverse scholars to campus to explore potential faculty opportunities.
Before joining RIT, Lorraine previously served as Director of Circulation for the Rochester Business Journal, and Community Relations and Outreach Manager for the University at Buffalo Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach. Lorraine holds a BA from St. John Fisher College and an MBA from the University at Buffalo. She is a past board member of the Rochester Chapter of the American Marketing Association and the Greater Rochester Postal Customer Council.
HEOP: Higher Education Opportunity Program
Belinda Bryce is director of RIT’s New York State Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), a NY State grant-funded program that provides access and support to historically under-represented students. Belinda works with the State Education Department and within the regional and state HEOP professional organizations. She oversees budgets and reports, hires, trains and supervises all HEOP staff, and sets the expectations and curricular direction for the summer pre-college program. Additionally, Belinda works on Division and University committees and task forces in the area of student success and closing the achievement gap. She is the advisor for the HEOP Students Advisory Board and carries a caseload of HEOP students with whom she meets regularly to provide guidance and support. Recently, she was honored with the Excellence in Service Award for the Division of Student Affairs at RIT.
Prior to HEOP, Belinda oversaw RIT’s College Restoration Program, an intensive academic intervention program for students facing academic probation and suspension. Her work in student support and academic success has encompassed teaching, mentoring, curriculum development, staff supervision, and program administration. Belinda is passionately dedicated to students and their success in college.
Belinda earned a terminal degree in Fine Art from RIT and a Master’s degree in English from the Ohio State University. She has worked in higher education for over 20 years, including 12 years of college classroom teaching in three different colleges at RIT. Additionally, she is trained in brain-based learning, Strengths-Based Learning, and Social Justice Mediation.
Belinda serves as a mentor to graduate students seeking Masters and Ph.D. degrees. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley and is involved with the Rochester Women’s Network.
Beth Caito is the Financial Coordinator for the New York State Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). Beth earned an Associate in Applied Science Administrative Professional degree from Finger Lakes Community College and began her career at RIT in 1994. In her current role, she is responsible for providing oversight, management and reporting on New York State grant and Institute funded budgets. Beth is also responsible for managing and maintaining databases and reporting applications to track student academic performance data. In 2011, Beth was the recipient of the Student Affairs Outstanding Support Service Award.
In addition to her day-to-day job responsibilities, Beth has volunteered at various university events including Brick City Homecoming, Expressions of King’s Legacy and the Diversity Theatre Planning Team. She also serves as the secretary for the Rochester Region Higher Education Opportunity Program Professional Organization.
When Beth is not at work she enjoys spending time with her family, reading and travelling. She is currently a troop leader for Dansville Girls Scouts where she also serves as the Service Unit Manager and Product Sales Manager overseeing all Dansville troops.
Rachel Flaherty joined the HEOP team in August 2015 as the Program Coordinator and Counselor. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Economics from Siena College, and her Master of Science Degree in College and Agency Counseling from SUNY Plattsburgh. Her main responsibilities include advising a caseload of students, coordinating the LEAP Peer Mentoring Program, and facilitating the HEOP Probation Program. She also serves as an Advisor to the RIT Veterans Club, an Advocate for Student Conduct cases, a member of the Financial Wellness Committee, and a mentor in various other programs on campus. In her spare time she enjoys being active outdoors, trying new things, and doing yoga class here at RIT.
Kris’s main role is to provide administrative support for HEOP’s tutoring program and to provide primary and sole administrative support for HEOP admissions. In addition, she oversees a high traffic front office for HEOP, I’m First, LSAMP & McNair Scholars Program, Spectrum Support Program, and College Restoration Program. She has an AAS from Monroe Community College in Executive Secretarial. She’s always worked in the educational field starting with elementary school to catholic school and on to higher education.
Maria is the Assistant Director of RIT’s New York State Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP); a state grant-funded program that provides access and support to historically under-represented students. As the Assistant Director, Maria oversees the tutoring program which includes the administration and supervision of over 60 tutors annually. She is also responsible for the planning, day-to-day administration, and execution of the pre-freshmen summer program, and the coordination of the HEOP freshmen study hours. Additionally, Maria provides academic and personal support to her assigned caseload of students.
In addition to serving her students, Maria helped sponsor the inaugural Women of Color, Honor, and Ambition (WOCHA) program. She has served as the advisor for the Omega Phi Beta Sorority and for the Latin Rhythm Dance Club. She was a member of the Angels of Mercy, an organization that helps raise money and spread awareness of human trafficking. Additionally, she is a member of the Latinas Unidas, an organization dedicated to empowering Hispanic women and she is a graduate of the United Way’s Latino Leadership Development Program.
Maria earned her Master’s Degree in Student Personnel Administration from Buffalo State College and a Bachelor’s in Social Work from SUNY Brockport. Over her 9 years at RIT, Maria has served in many institute committees and has been nominated for various awards such as the Presidential Award for Outstanding Staff and the Edwina Award. She recently received the Alicia Torres Award by the Ibero-American Action League for her commitment and dedication to the development and well-being of the Latinos in the City of Rochester.
MCAS: Multicultural Center for Academic Success
David Benitez is the Assistant Director of Rochester City Scholars & Men of Color, Honor & Ambition (MOCHA) at Rochester Institute of Technology. In his role, he manages students who are accepted into RIT’s Rochester City Scholarship program and are awarded the tuition waiver. Benitez also serves as an academic advisor and counselor to students through their academic years until their graduation.
Benitez received a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration from the University of Rochester.
In his role as a Men of Color, Honor, & Ambition (MOCHA) Mentor, Benitez provides personal, academic, cultural, social, professional, and leadership development to undergraduate males at RIT, in an effort to positively impact academic success, increase retention, and develop successful leaders. He also volunteers as the club advisor to the Latin American Student Association (LASA) and the Latin Rhythm Dance Club (LRDC) student organizations at RIT.
Liz recently started her role as the Assistant Director for Assessment & Academic Partnerships where she will be working on various assessment projects for MCAS & I’m First, coordinating the division’s tutoring program, and meeting one-on-one with students, which includes supporting students in STEM programs. She has also collaborated with the IMPRESS program, worked with the Center for Orientation & Transition to sponsor DiscoveRIT pre-orientation programs, and is serving on the division’s Strategic Planning Task Force.
Liz earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Nazareth College, a M.S. in Applied Financial Mathematics from the University of Connecticut, a M.S. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Rochester. Recently she completed her Ed.D in Educational Leadership – Higher Education from the University of Rochester, where she studied students’ perceptions and awareness of student loans upon graduation.
Liz started working at RIT in 2012 and previously held positions with TRiO Student Support Services and the College Restoration Program. She will be serving on the Advisory Board for the Center for Student Conduct & Conflict Management and teaching for the Mathematics department. Currently she is the Vice Chair of the RIT Young Professionals and serves on the Nazareth College Alumni Board as the Chair of the Rochester Chapter.
Liz enjoys working with students; whether it is talking about the college experience or working through a problem, providing a place for students to sit and talk is important to her. When not at RIT she likes to cook, read, spend time with friends and family, and explore new places with her dog Baxter!
Sharitta F. Gross-Smith is the Assistant Director of Program Initiatives and Student Development within Rochester Institute of Technology’s Multicultural Center for Academic Success (MCAS). Over the course of her 9 years within the field of higher education, Sharitta taught as an Assistant Professor (adjunct) within Monroe Community College’s Transitional Studies department. In her current role she oversees the MCAS Scholars program, MCAS Scholars Council and the execution of various programming initiatives designed to foster academic success and leadership skills. This is inclusive of collaborating with academic and student support departments within the institute, as well as the Rochester community. Additionally, she provides individual coaching to each of her students, with the objective of facilitating the optimal academic experience through service learning and other interactive experiences.
Sharitta earned a master’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Public Administration from SUNY Brockport and a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Albany and an Advanced Certificate in Project Management from RIT. She is also STARTSMART trained, which is a program led by AAUW that educates women on how to properly negotiate their salaries.
Named as a Rochester Business Journal Top Forty Under 40 in 2014, Sharitta believes strongly in the spirit of servanthood. Within RIT Sharitta is a member of the Staff Recognition Task Force, Veterans Day Breakfast Committee, Program Coordinator and mentor with Determined Individuals Victoriously Achieving Success (D.I.V.A.S) and serves as a mentor in the ‘I’m First Program’. An active member of the Rochester community, she is a Volunteer Advisor for United Way’s Meeting Basic Needs Funding area and a member of WDKX’s Women for Women Programming Committee.
Born and raised in Rochester, Jonathan Ntheketha has been a member of the RIT community for over a decade. After earning his BA in Speech and Theatre from St. Lawrence University, Jonathan started his career in higher ed as an Admissions Counselor and has amassed experiences at 4 different colleges and universities. He began his time at RIT in 2005 as an Academic Advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and for the past 6 years he has served in the Multicultural Center for Academic Success (MCAS). Now serving as Senior Assistant Director for First Year Initiatives and the Summer Bridge Program, Jonathan enjoys the connections he makes with students, faculty, staff, and friends of RIT. The Summer Bridge Program has provided the springboard to success for many MCAS students, and has become an institutional and regional model for pre-collegiate programs. As he completes his Masters of Science in Professional Studies from RIT’s School of Individualized Study this year, Jonathan is proud to become a Tiger4Life!
In addition to his contributions to the Multicultural Center, Jonathan has contributed to the RIT community as an advisor to numerous student organizations, as a member of the RIT Staff Council, and as Vice President and President of the AALANA Faculty Staff Association (AFSA).
Outside of his life in the Brick City, Jonathan is an actor, singer, father, husband, and all around fun guy. If not rooting for the Bills, he is acting on stage, providing voice overs for local radio, singing in his church’s Worship Team, or shooting commercials or film. Yet it is the energy he receives from his lovely wife and sons, the generational lingo he continues to learn from his students, and the spRIT of the Brick City that rejuvenates and pushes him forward!
Megan Tornow is the Senior Staff Assistant for the Multicultural Center for Academic Success. Megan began her career at RIT in 2008. Her primary responsibilities are; ensuring organizational effectiveness by providing leadership for the Center’s financial, front office, student staff, marketing/communications, records management and information technology functions.
She is currently studying within the School of Individualized Studies. Her central career focus is in Marketing/Communications and Graphic Design, paired with a great passion and drive for serving and developing others. She also holds an Associate of Organizational Studies in Paralegal Studies.
Megan spends time outside of RIT with her three young children, at sporting events, involved with her church, volunteering, drawing, making crafts and singing.
McNair Scholars LSAMP Programs
Kate Torrey is the Assistant Director for the McNair Scholars and LSAMP Programs. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the State University of New York College at Geneseo, and her Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from RIT. Kate has worked with the McNair and LSAMP Programs since May of 2012. Her career in Higher Education began in 1999. Kate also serves as the Faculty/Staff Advisor for RIT’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Kate is the first one in her family to go to college, and is passionate about the needs of first-generation college students. She has an affinity for Star Wars and Doctor Who. She also enjoys traveling and hiking with her husband and two sons.
Bernadette has been at RIT for over 24 years, serving in several different capacities in the Division of Student Affairs and now in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and has loved every minute of it! She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Canisius College and her Master’s Degree in Education from Indiana University. In 2013 she became a Certified Personal Financial Management Educator and developed a Wellness course that she teaches called Financial Fitness.
Currently her passion is in the area of access specifically with first generation college students. She is also personally interested in exercise science and has taken several undergraduate classes at RIT waiting for the opportunity to pursue a second Master’s in Health and Wellness Management. She also serves on the Center for Women and Gender’s Advisory Board, acts as a Student Conduct Appeals Liaison, and the Tigers Care Steering Committee.
Personally she is involved with her church and volunteers time through her sons’ activities including high quality children’s theatre (props), baseball, and hockey. She enjoys exercise, especially weight-lifting, books of all kinds, and her family.
FSP: Future Stewards Program
Nicole Scott is Diné (Navajo) and grew up on the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona. She is of The Red Running Into Water Clan (Táchii’nii), born for the Big Water Clan (Tótsohnii).
As the Co-Director for the Native American Future Stewards Program (FSP), she oversees the recruitment of Native American students to RIT, the implementation and effectiveness of the program, as well as provides academic and social support to FSP students. Nicole is also an advisor to two of the Native American student organizations at RIT: American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) and the Native American Student Association (NASA).
In 2011, Nicole received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ). In 2013, she made the move to Rochester to begin her work with the Future Stewards Program. In 2016, Nicole received her Master of Science degree in from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Dr. Burnette is the oldest son of an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation and received his Ph.D. in economics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2005.
As Co-Director of the Native American Future Stewards Program he works to maintain and build the relationship between RIT and the American Indian community. In his role as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology he teaches courses focused on the Economics of Native America, Native Americans in Film as well as the Economics of Women and the Family.
His current research examines the role education, location and occupational segregation play in explaining the differences in economic outcomes that currently exist for the American Indian population.