A professor with more than 30 years of experience and a graduate student have been chosen to receive prestigious public service awards from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Rose Marie Toscano, a professor in the Department of Liberal Studies at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, has been named the 2014 recipient of RIT’s Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award.
Meaghan Malone, a sustainable engineering graduate student in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, was named recipient of the Bruce R. James ’64 Distinguished Service Award for her service both internationally and in the greater Rochester area.
They will be recognized at a 4 p.m. ceremony on May 8 in RIT’s Ingle Auditorium, in conjunction with United Way’s Day of Caring.
Toscano, of Rochester, began working at NTID in 1980 teaching English to deaf and hard-of-hearing students, a discipline that coincided with her background in teaching English as a foreign language. She has given back to the local, regional, state and national communities through volunteer work and council positions.
Among her accomplishments, Toscano is especially proud of her efforts to advocate for the rights of families and individuals with disabilities in her role as chairperson of the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. She has also worked to promote increased numbers of deaf and hard-of-hearing students going into health care careers in her role as co-chair of the National Task Force on Health Care Careers for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community.
Toscano has been a member of the Our School of Rochester Board and the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Rochester.
“I am very touched and humbled,” said Toscano. “I hope that this award encourages others to consider service as an important part of their lives.”
Along with the award, Toscano receives $2,500 to be donated to the charities of her choice. She has selected The Advocacy Center in Rochester, SKIP of NY and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“It’s so important for these small organizations to know their work is valued and that their efforts on behalf of persons with disabilities is supported,” said Toscano.
Malone, a Rochester native, has been involved in community service for as long as she can remember.
In 2004, Malone became involved with Hospice, where she has donated her time for nearly 10 years. Coincidentally, her first international Hospice trip to Kolkata, India, in 2006 was with Toscano’s daughter. Toscano chaperoned the trip as well as participated in the volunteer efforts. She has since traveled for hospice to Falta, India, back to Kolkata and to Richard’s Bay in South Africa.
“International travel is an amazing opportunity, especially when you stay in a country where you do not speak the same language,” said Malone. “Despite the language barrier, I was able to connect on an emotional and physical level with the hospice patients.”
Her most recent trip was an RIT class trip to Borgne, Haiti, where she helped build waterless- toilet prototypes for an organization called Friends of Borgne, which helps educate and feed the children and elderly in Borgne. Malone said she felt very fortunate to be able to assist with their mission.
In the Rochester area, she is a member of Altar Guild at Asbury Park First United Methodist as well as a weekly volunteer and board member at the Isaiah House. On her own time, Malone gives socks, hats and other essentials to homeless people in Rochester.
Malone will receive $1,000 with her award to be donated to the charities of her choice. She has selected Friends of Borgne to receive the donation.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to give back to a community that gave all they could for us during the weeks we stayed in the country with them,” said Malone.
About the awards:
The Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award Fund was created by Alfred L. Davis on the occasion of the 65th year of his association with RIT to commemorate the dedication of the four RIT presidents with whom he worked, in their service to the Rochester community. The purpose of this award is to honor the four presidents, Mark Ellingson, Paul Miller, M. Richard Rose and Albert Simone, with whom Mr. Davis served at RIT, and to recognize a current member of the faculty or staff who, through his/her public service, mirrors the lives of the four presidents, who have been not only outstanding professionals but also caring members of the community.
The Bruce R. James ’64 Distinguished Public Service Award commemorates the public service of Bruce James, chairman emeritus of the RIT Board of Trustees. The award recognizes an RIT student for exemplary public service in the community with hopes other students will engage in public service.