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Sam Brougher has this advice for students looking for a full college experience at RIT: “Turn off your computers and go meet people.”
Brougher could have gone to Carnegie Mellon or Cornell, but the community aspect of RIT’s Honors Program cinched his decision. He liked the idea of being part of a group of busy, active, like-minded friends and the chance to take honors classes in subjects that interested him.
Brougher started his RIT career as a computer engineering major, but switched to psychology after his second quarter.
“I didn’t like technical writing or programming; I liked learning how people think,” Brougher says.
Now a graduating senior, Brougher is a research assistant for Nicholas DiFonzo’s National Science Foundation-funded rumor research project. He will return to RIT next fall to begin graduate work under Esa Rantanen in the engineering psychology program and will continue as DiFonzo’s research assistant.
Brougher says the sense of community he cultivated at RIT initially grew out of living in the Baker dormitory with other honors students, as well as taking honors courses and completing the required “complementary learning” or community service.
The service or leadership projects required of all honors students have made him see his own place in the world a little differently. He volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and became the first president of the RIT organization Students for Cambodian Schools, part of the Rural Schools Project, a program that uses financial donations to build schools. College of Liberal Arts honors faculty advisor Linda Reinfeld inspired Brougher and other students to get involved.
“If you’re able to supply them with $14,000, they will build a school in Cambodia,” says Brougher. “And so that is our goal. We have a coin collection in the Student Alumni Union right now, and we’re on our way.”
After completing his master’s degree, Brougher plans to volunteer for Teach for America, a program that places college graduates in underprivileged schools throughout the country.
“As soon as I graduate, I am going to do Teach for America,” Brougher says. “I want to do this for the same reasons I’m helping the Students for Cambodian Schools. The best way to help people is to educate them.”