RIT/NTID alumni have found success in a variety of careers. As we celebrate NTID's 50th anniversary reunion, here are some of their stories.
Richard Potter ’72 (retail management)
Job: Owner of Richard’s Fabrics in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
How did NTID help prepare you for your career?: “I attended a regular high school and had no interpreter or any help with accessibility. I graduated on my own, with some help from my parents and tutoring, but I learned much more at NTID with the interpreters and notetakers that were available to me. It made learning a lot more accessible. In June of 1973, I was the first NTID graduate to be self-employed and open my own retail business. This coming June, I will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of my fabric and textile store, and I plan to retire soon.”
How did NTID help you get where you are today?: “It has had a tremendous impact on me and has really brought so much to my life, and not just in terms of my education. I have some life-long friends from the program that I still see and keep in contact with, and I have so many fun memories that will never fade. Of course, it prepared me to be a fifth-generation business owner in my family, and my son has learned from me and has become a sixth-generation owner of his own business, Wines Tasty. My experience at NTID was really something special.”
CJ Jones ’73 (applied computer technology)
Job: CEO of Sign World TV Inc. and Elevate!, producer, director, writer, actor (appeared in Baby Driver in 2017), entertainer, motivational speaker and musician
How did NTID help prepare you for your career?: “I was the first deaf computer operator at Xerox and the first person to suggest and create a co-op program for NTID students so they could be trained at Xerox. I was also the first deaf person to become a lead operator at Xerox.”
How did NTID help you get where you are today?: “When I stopped working at Xerox, I started to pursue a career in the entertainment field. I have been self-employed full time for 35 years. I can say with great appreciation that NTID helped prepare me with the knowledge, leadership skills, experience and responsibility I needed to succeed. I have very fond memories of NTID and have always spoken highly of the teachers who helped shape me to be what I am today.”
Jacquelyn Wilson ’06, ’07 (laboratory science technology, applied arts and sciences)
Job: U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist
How did NTID help prepare you for your career?: “The LST (laboratory science technology) program at NTID helped me prepare to smoothly transition into RIT for the biotechnology bachelor’s program. My career required a bachelor’s degree as a minimum when I was hired, and I wouldn’t have accomplished this without the LST program at NTID.”
How did NTID help you get where you are today?: “One of my favorite professors, Todd Pagano, inspired me to be who I am today. He believed in me and told me that I would succeed in anything that came my way. We still keep in touch occasionally to keep him in the loop with what I’m doing. Every time we touch base, he tells me that he has no doubts about my abilities or my accomplishments. Thank you to Dr. Pagano for the inspiration. I am happy to be where I am today.”
Jasmine Zambrano Oregel ’12, ’13 (computer-aided drafting, packaging science)
Job: Packaging engineer for American Honda Motor Company Inc.
How did NTID help prepare you for your career?: “My experiences at NTID prepared me not only for my career, but also for life. I got a better understanding and was prepared for anything once I got into RIT. NTID helped me improve my English, math and other skills dealing with the engineering program CADT (computer-aided drafting technology) by learning from my professors’ experiences. NTID also helped me by having a career fair that encouraged me to find some good job opportunities that would build my experience level, and it helped me figure out which companies I was most interested in.”
How did NTID help you get where you are today?: “My experiences at NTID and RIT helped me be prepared for my career and gave me many opportunities for hands-on experience working with faculty members I got to know personally. Also, I developed life skills through meaningful interaction with my sorority, Alpha Sigma Theta, students, professors, staff, and my family.”