Sasha Lakshmi Ponappa, a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, will present “Finding Social Justice a Meaningful Home in Academia” from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, May 1, in the college’s CSD-Student Development Center 1300/1310, as part of the Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series.
Her lecture will explore how to find social justice a meaningful place in academia where students, faculty and staff are embraced for their intersectional identities. Attendees will gain insight and tools on how to cultivate social justice principles to further enrich the lives of students and the community served. Ponappa will draw from her own experiences as a former RIT student and how they started a lifelong journey of becoming a “social justice warrior.”
Ponappa has been an advocate for more than a decade to eradicate violence within deaf communities in Rochester, N.Y.; Oakland, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. She is the director of the Program for Deaf Adults at LaGuardia Community College, where she supports deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf-blind students in furthering their educational goals and making their collegiate experiences inclusive and accessible. Ponappa earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from RIT and her master’s degree in social work from Gallaudet University.
The purpose of the Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series, established in 1980, is to bring distinguished speakers to RIT/NTID to share expertise and scholarly contributions that stand on the cutting edge of advancement in the education and career success of deaf persons. Edmund Lyon (1855-1920) was a noted manufacturer, inventor, humanitarian and philanthropist in Rochester, who served as a trustee of both RIT and the Rochester School for the Deaf.