Monthly Archives: July 2016

Cool Co-op: La Shea Murray

Female student sitting and working at computer desk.

La Shea Murray from Feasterville, Pennsylvania is a design and imaging technology major working her co-op at RMS Graphics in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. In her position as a graphic design technician intern, she works with the art director to make, modify and produce designs for various commercial printed materials using Adobe software, and assists with putting together custom fulfillment kits.

Cool Co-ops: Samantha Abert

female student sitting at compuer with colorful Crayola products

Samantha Abert, a design and imaging technology major from Emmaus, Pennsylvania, is a graphic production intern at Crayloa, LLC, in Easton, Pennsylvania. She is part of a creative team that focuses on the development and use of creative tools like crayons, pencils, markers and clay. Part of her job is to research craft ideas and create artwork with Crayola products that the company could use on social media as examples of what consumers can make with those products. She also created concept sketches for colored pencils packaging.

Opening events for academic year 2016-2017

Four students in brown t-shirts with an orange RIT imprint pose for a

Join the RIT community for opening events for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Convocation for New Students and Families begins 2 p.m. Wednesday, August 17 in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center. This event provides new students with a traditional induction into RIT’s intellectual community. The Convocation for New Students and Families features an academic procession, recognition of faculty, welcoming remarks by Dr. Sandra Johnson, senior vice president for Student Affairs, and Andrea Shaver, president of Student Government. Dr. Leslie Kate Wright, associate professor, Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, College of Science, and a recipient of the 2015-2016 Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching, will serve as keynote speaker. In his remarks, Dr. Destler will provide the overall acceptance of the new class and our commitment to their livelihood and academic growth.

Participants in the Tiger Walk, which precedes the Convocation, will greet new students beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Tiger Walk has become a tradition where alumni, faculty, and staff enthusiastically greet the incoming class as they enter the Field House. 

President Destler’s Address to the Community will be 9 a.m. Friday, August 19  in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center. The chairs of Academic Senate and Staff Council, the president of Student Government, and the interim vice president and associate provost for Diversity and Inclusion will each welcome us to the new academic year and briefly share their plans for the upcoming year. Dr. Destler will then deliver his address. A coffee hour will precede the President’s Address, beginning at 8 a.m. on the second floor of the Gordon Field House.

All members of the RIT community are invited and encouraged to attend of these events. Mark your calendars now for the Tiger Walk at 1:30 p.m. and the Convocation for New Students and Families at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, and the President’s Address to the Community at 9 a.m. on Friday, August 19.

NIH grant provides postdoctoral research, teaching experience for deaf scholars

Sarah in dark grey top and Wyatte in light grey shirt with mult-gray tie standing in front of staircase

A nearly $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will help advance research, teaching experiences and career preparation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences fields for deaf and hard-of-hearing postdoctoral scholars.

A program, known as the Rochester Postdoc Partnership (RPP), serves as a national model that allows deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who have earned advanced degrees to create mentored teaching experiences and do postdoctoral research at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and University of Rochester.

“What sets this research postdoctoral experience apart from traditional postdoctoral research is the emphasis on teaching scholars ‘how to teach’ and design new courses at RIT/NTID in full-inclusion classroom settings for deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing undergraduates,” said Peter Hauser, director of the NTID Center on Cognition and Language and the Rochester Bridges to Doctorate Program. “People who are deaf, like myself, are underrepresented in life science disciplines and few are applying for biomedical or behavioral science research grants. This program is helping to rectify that circumstance.”

The program, which received five years of funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences through the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award, is now in its second year.

Two postdoctoral scholars currently are participating in the program.

Sarah Latchney, Ph.D., from Victor, N.Y., earned her doctoral degree in molecular toxicology at University of Rochester Medical Center and has performed postdoctoral research in neuroscience at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Latchney is now at the Wilmot Cancer Institute at URMC performing postdoctoral research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms affecting bone marrow hematopoietic stem cell biology in normal and pathological conditions. Latchney said she joined the RPP to take advantage of the unique training focus to enhance her academic research portfolio with the added dimension of acquiring skills in teaching pedagogy, designing course curriculum and teaching new classes at RIT/NTID and URMC.

Wyatte Hall, Ph.D., from Albany, N.Y., earned his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Gallaudet University and performed one year of postdoctoral research in clinical psychology at University of Massachusetts. His research in the RPP program at URMC focuses on the lifelong consequences of language deprivation in deaf children and the developmental impact of early-language experiences on health literacy and outcomes in prenatal care and reproductive health of deaf females. Hall is starting his second year in the program and has gained teaching experience, research skills and training in grant writing to develop his future independent academic research and teaching program.

“It’s exciting to see the program taking off and impacting the careers of deaf and hard-of-hearing scholars, who are extremely underrepresented in science careers beyond a master’s degree,” said Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean.

Rochester has built a global reputation as a center for deaf and hard-of-hearing culture and education. In the last decade, collaborations between RIT, NTID, UR and the deaf community have led to a number of unique programs designed to support the growth of deaf and hard-of-hearing scientists.

The program is seeking additional deaf and hard-of-hearing postdoc scholars. For more information, go

Flanagan named RIT/NTID athlete development coordinator

Skip Flanagan in maroon plaid button down with black t-shirt carrying book bag over his right shoulder

Alumnus and baseball standout Sean “Skip” Flanagan has been named athletic development coordinator for Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. In this role, Flanagan will work in tandem with the RIT Center for Intercollegiate Athletics, RIT varsity and club coaches and NTID faculty and staff to support the participation of deaf and hard-of-hearing student-athletes on varsity and club teams. 

Flanagan, of Framingham, Massachusetts, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in exercise science from RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and currently is working on a master’s degree in educational leadership-intercollegiate athletic leadership at the University of Washington in Seattle.  He previously was RIT/NTID’s student-athlete liaison, a student ambassador for NTID, and played professional baseball.            

As athletic development coordinator, Flanagan will meet periodically with coaches of all RIT varsity teams, attend practices and meet with teams to provide educational seminars to improve team dynamics, as well as meet regularly with individual athletes to develop relationships, provide mentoring, support and problem-solving strategies. He will serve as representative of NTID at RIT athletic department staff meetings and functions.

“We are pleased to have Skip return to his alma mater in a role that takes full advantage of his experience both in the classroom and on the field,” said Dr. Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “He will serve as a role model to young deaf and hard-of-hearing student-athletes who attend RIT/NTID as well as those considering their college options.”

RIT/NTID receives Motorola Solutions Foundation Innovation Generation Grant

Two smiling female students, one with dark hair and the other light hair and glasses holding a toy robotics vehicle.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf today announced it has received a grant for $30,000 as part of the “Innovation Generation Grant” program from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc. Through the grant, RIT/NTID will fund their Tech Girlz and Tech Boyz outreach programs.

The Innovation Generation program provides awards to organizations that foster and support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives for teachers and students (U.S. preschool through university level) — especially girls and underrepresented minorities.

Tech Girlz and Tech Boyz are week-long summer camps offered to deaf and hard-of-hearing students entering 7th, 8th and 9th grades who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math. They are taught in English and sign language and offer participants hands-on opportunities to explore technology, build robots and personal computers, and more.

“We are grateful for Motorola Solutions Foundation’s generous support of our outreach tech programs,” said Dr. Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “These camps provide opportunities for young deaf and hard-of-hearing students to explore careers that they may not have realized were available to them.”

Motorola has been a leader in supporting RIT/NTID’s academic and outreach programs, and this is the fourth time they have helped fund the Tech Girlz and Tech Boyz programs. Since 1984, Motorola Solutions has provided more than $1,000,000 in funding to various RIT and NTID programs.

The Motorola Solutions Foundation grant program overall will impact about 1 million students and teachers this year, each receiving an average of 120 programming hours from partner non-profit organizations and institutions. Programs support special populations, including girls and women; underrepresented minorities; the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; people with disabilities; and the military. 

“The Motorola Solutions Foundation created the Innovation Generation Grant program nine years ago to support educational experiences that spark students to turn their dreams into innovations that will shape our society’s future,” said Matt Blakely, executive director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation. “Organizations like RIT/NTID are teaching tomorrow’s leaders that careers in engineering and technology are both fun and within their reach.”

For additional information on the Motorola Solutions Foundation grants programs, visit: and for more information on RIT/NTID please visit

Kiersten Blankley named director of student & academic affairs at RIT/NTID

headshot of Kiersten Shinrock Blankley with long blonde hair and medium blue button down shirt with collar.

Kiersten Shinrock Blankley of Rochester, New York, has been named director of student and academic affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Blankley will work closely with NTID’s assistant vice president for student and academic affairs and will have direct responsibility for the college’s Career Exploration and First Year Experiences programs. She also will oversee NTID’s Judicial Affairs response and coordinate with RIT Judicial Affairs Officers. She will serve as the point of contact for Public Safety/Crisis Management, parents and Vocational Rehabilitation representatives.

Blankley earned bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and American Sign Language-English Interpretation from RIT, and a master of social work from Washington University in St. Louis.

Prior to her appointment at RIT/NTID, Blankley served as associate director of reunion and affinity programs in RIT’s Development and Alumni Relations Office as well as an adjunct professor in RIT’s School of Individualized Study. She also served as a campus advocacy response and support advocate. She has been a freelance interpreter and serves as the chapter advisor for the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority on campus.

“We are pleased to be welcoming Kiersten back ‘home’ to NTID in the role of director of student and academic affairs,” said Stephen Aldersley, associate vice president for academic affairs. “Her education and background in sign language and Deaf culture, together with her additional training and experience will be invaluable as we renew the traditionally strong leadership team in student and academic affairs.”