Sorority student helping to raise money for autism awareness

Student Spotlight
Tia Canonico, second-year illustration

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Tia Canonico is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, which is hosting Xi Marks the Spot on April 13 to raise money for autism awareness.

Tia Canonico is a second-year illustration major, with a minor in psychology. She is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority at RIT, which is hosting Xi Marks the Spot on Saturday, April 13. Xi Marks the Spot is a team “search and find” on the RIT campus. It is open to members of the RIT community and their families. It costs $5 per person to register ahead of time, and $7 per person to register on April 13. Money raised from the event will help support Autism Speaks and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. To register online, go to

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I am from Long Island, N.Y.

Q: What brought you to RIT?
A: I just transferred here this year from Binghamton University. I came to RIT for the high standards of academia and the great art program. I did not, surprisingly, come for the weather.

Q: What has been your favorite thing about RIT so far?
A: My favorite thing about RIT is definitely the people. Everyone is really friendly and a little bit quirky in their own way, and I love it. I also love how much fun stuff there is to do on and off campus.

Q: What is Xi Marks the Spot?
A: Xi Marks the Spot is an on campus search and find on Saturday, April 13, in which you and your team race to each station of the challenge course, complete the given task and then receive a clue that will lead you to the next station. There are prizes for the fastest team, most spirited team and others as well. All of the proceeds of the event benefit Autism Speaks and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Q: Why do you think it is important to support Autism Speaks and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network?
A: It’s important to us to support these organizations because we want to spread awareness about autism, which is becoming very prevalent, not only in the U.S. but around the world. People who are on the autism spectrum communicate in their own way and sometimes those who are and are not on the spectrum find it hard to understand one another. We want to spread knowledge about autism and encourage acceptance and awareness.

Q: What advice would you give to other RIT students?
A: Manage your time, learn to balance time between all the aspects of college, school, social life, jobs or job-hunting, etc. Try things you’ve never tried before. Be corny, because it’s fun and somebody has to.

Q: What are your plans for after graduation?
A: After graduation, I’d love to work as an illustrator for children’s books, but we’ll see what happens.

Matt Gregory compiles “Student Spotlights” for University News. Contact him at with suggestions.