Category Archives: Events

Building community is the theme of latest NTID Dyer Arts Center exhibits

Man and woman looking at two large paintings. Woman is pointing to the painting on the left.

Two exhibits running simultaneously at the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf have a central theme of connecting Rochester’s deaf and hearing artistic communities.

Open through Dec. 15, “Cultivating Connections: Growing Communities in the Flower City” showcases artwork representing our local community and features artists living within Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Orleans, Livingston and Genesee counties. “6x6 Deaf Pride” features more than 100 artworks created by members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, as well as allies of the deaf community. The artworks in the “6x6 Deaf Pride” exhibit are available for $20 each. Proceeds will be donated to the Dyer Arts Center.

All of the artwork is representative of the artist’s community, which can include, but isn’t limited to, geography, religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, or LGBTQIA+ identification, or a combination of these.

“Originally, this exhibition was only going to showcase local deaf artists, but I realized that by doing that, we are siloing ourselves from the Rochester community,” said Tabitha Jacques, Dyer Arts Center director. “This exhibit—in which 50 percent of the artists are deaf— is about celebrating how unique Rochester is and will hopefully bring a new set of visitors to the gallery. We want our guests to learn more about the deaf experience, the diversity of our local communities and the Dyer Arts Center.”

Jacques is also expecting the dual exhibits to have a “ripple effect,” building a continued interest in connecting Rochester’s deaf and hearing communities.

“One of my goals has always been to bridge the artistic and deaf communities,” added Jacques. “Many years later, my goal is the same, and I’m proud that it is manifesting in this way.”

The gallery is located on the RIT campus in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, go to www.rit.edu/ntid/dyerarts/.

NTID Performing Arts and RIT College of Liberal Arts co-present ‘Cabaret’ Nov. 30-Dec. 2

A group of multi-ethnic male and female dancers with arms linked in a circle kicking up their heels.

The unique blend of deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing students performing on stage together will guarantee theater-goers a one-of-a-kind experience at the debut of the Tony-award winning classic Cabaret at Rochester Institute of Technology. The performance of the hit musical will run in Panara Theatre in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and 2 p.m. Dec. 1–2.   

The show, directed by Andy Head, visiting assistant professor, welcomes theater-goers to the top-secret Kit Kat Klub, where the music is loud, the dances are flashy and the party rages on. The club’s newest headliner, Sally Bowles, meets American writer Cliff Bradshaw, and their lives become entwined. But, as Nazism spreads throughout Germany, questions and concerns continue to grow about how the club, its patrons, and Sally and Cliff—played by Kyle Buohl, a third-year ASL-English interpretation major from Boston—will fare. The show is not appropriate for children under 12.

“Though it takes place in a very specific era, Cabaret has a timeless feel to it,” said Head. “Set in Germany at the crossroads of the crumbling Weimer Republic and the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Party, it shows us how people react to a rising story on the horizon. Some flee, some fight, some fall in line, and some ignore the problem. A story like Cabaret forces us to ask ourselves how we react when we see injustice spreading around us.

“In addition, we’ve changed the roles of many of the characters from hearing to deaf and the effects are far-reaching. It affects the characters, the way the story is told, and how the audience receives the story. Because of these conceptual changes, audiences will be treated to a truly new and unique Cabaret. On a daily basis, I am amazed by what our students can do. This show is challenging them in ways they might never have been challenged before onstage.”

This is Victoria Covell’s first foray into musical theater. She takes on the lead role of Sally Bowles.

“It has been a rich learning experience, and I am loving it,” said Covell, a third-year graphic design major from Jacksonville, Ill. “I have had to learn to balance my time with school work and memorizing my lines. But it has forced me to get out of my comfort zone and learn how to be self-confident. I also love that I have been able to make new friends along the way.”

The show is co-presented by RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and NTID’s Performing Arts program.

Tickets can be purchased through RIT University Arenas and are $5 for students and senior citizens, $10 for RIT faculty/staff/alumni, and $12 for the general public. Tickets will also be sold at the door two hours before show time on performance days. American Sign Language interpreters will be available for all performances. For more information, call 585-475-4121.

RIT officially opens new MAGIC Spell Studios building

Night shot of two-story brick building with front sign that reads

Rochester Institute of Technology opened the newest building on campus—the 52,000-square-foot MAGIC Spell Studios. The building brings together RIT’s academic strengths in game design and development, film and animation, and digital media. The new facility—the only one of its kind in the Northeast—boasts the latest in technology and design, rivaling media production studios in New York City and Hollywood. More.

RIT/NTID honors researchers with Sponsored Programs Awards

Group photo of 14 smiling men and women with orange flower corsages.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf recently honored 12 researchers and program directors for their work leading to new knowledge, strategies or programs and services to improve the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. 

Award recipients are:

Scholarship Portfolio Development Initiative (SPDI) – Internal seed funding opportunity for early-career faculty and contract research faculty, whose projects typically represent the initial stages of projects that could attract external support in the future. They are:

  • Robyn Dean, assistant professor in NTID’s American Sign Language and Interpreting Education Department: Investigating interpreter fatigue, and how it can be exaggerated or mitigated by varying the way in which pairs of interpreters work.
  • Jason Nordhaus, assistant professor in NTID’s Department of Science and Mathematics: Exploring the behavior of a black hole inside a giant star using dynamical 3D simulations.
  • Corrine Occhino, research assistant professor in NTID’s Sign Language Laboratory: Along with co-investigator Joseph Hill, examining the variations in ASL that correlate to diverse regional, racial, ethnic, and socio-economic factors and evaluating how ASL users regard the use of non-standard varieties of the language.
  • Jessica Trussell, assistant professor in NTID’s Master of Science program in Secondary Education and researcher in NTID’s Center for Education Research Partnerships: Developing and implementing an intensive approach to reading comprehension for deaf and hard-of-hearing readers that requires students to work in collaborative groups. 

NTID Sponsored Programs Awards – A new award program that recognizes individuals who have made a difference. Awardees are nominated by NTID faculty. Awards include:

Student Research Mentor Award to Bonnie Jacob, assistant professor in NTID’s Department of Science and Mathematics. Jacob’s work has supported 17 student researchers. She is the principal investigator of the first all-deaf and hard-of-hearing Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program supported by the NSF. 

Up-and Coming PI Award to Jason Nordhaus, assistant professor in NTID’s Department of Science and Mathematics. Nordhaus is nationally known for research describing stellar evolution. He is affiliated with RIT’s College of Science and its world-renowned Center on Computational Relativity and Gravity (CCRG).

Collaborator Award to Keith Mousley, associate professor in NTID”s Department of Science and Mathematics. Mousley’s work collaborating with other researchers explores issues connected to teaching math and other STEM skills to deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Co-PI Award to Myra Pelz, associate professor and co-PI for DeafTEC. For the past seven years, Pelz has been the full-time co-PI of DeafTEC, one of NTID’s signature programs with more than 29 partner high schools in 17 states.

PI Award to Matt Dye, assistant professor and Deaf x Laboratory director. Dye has successfully launched a long-range program of research in cognitive neuroscience supported by a total of seven awards from NIH, NSF, and the Swiss National Science Foundation, as well as one SPDI award. Dye’s funded projects presently employ a full-time research coordinator and a postdoctoral scholar, and support the efforts of graduate and undergraduate research assistants.

Partner Award to Matt Huenerfauth, associate professor in RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. Presented to a collaborator from one of RIT’s other colleges who has helped NTID realize its goals, the award recognized Huenerfauth as a key partner in projects investigating topics in mixed mode communication and communication technology. He is the founder of the Linguistic and Assistive Technologies Laboratory (“LATLab”), a bilingual (English / ASL) research lab.

Pioneer Award to Mike Stinson, professor and NTID research faculty member. This award recognizes Stinson for his pioneering work to develop speech-to-text technology for the higher education classroom, work that continues to the present in the guise of research on automated speech recognition. C-Print® is the first research-based speech-to-text (captioning) technology and service for educational usage, and has been used in educational environments across the country in grades 4 through postsecondary programs.

X-Factor Award to Donna Easton, research assistant, NTID’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Virtual Academic Community. The award, honoring those who support the work of a project team, was given to Easton for her critical contributions to 11 funded projects including C-Print® and the Virtual Academic Community.

Founders Award to Jim DeCaro, NTID dean emeritus. This award acknowledges a lifetime of achievement in educational programming for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, along with DeCaro’s success in spreading the knowledge and educational expertise of NTID faculty around the world. DeCaro’s vision and drive also were instrumental in establishing NTID’s first dedicated research facility, Rosica Hall, which is presently at full occupancy with four centers, one major program, one research lab, and other research projects that are largely funded by external grants. 

“NTID’s 50th anniversary year is an excellent time to introduce this recognition program,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “The program celebrates why principal investigators seek funding – because they need resources so that they can continue to make a difference in the world.” 

RIT/NTID Career Fair to bring record number of employers to campus to recruit deaf, hard-of-hearing students

overhead photo of LBJ Hall street area with employer tables, banners, recruiters and students.

Representatives from more than 50 local and national corporations, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations looking to diversify their workforce will meet with hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing students—who are also prospective employees—at the 18th annual Career Fair, 12:30–4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The event will be held in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall on the RIT campus.

A record 53 companies, including Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Merck, NavSea, Texas Instruments, the CIA and Prudential Financial, are participating in this year’s career fair. Quicken Loans, PNC and Datto, the cybersecurity and data backup company whose founder, RIT alumnus Austin McChord, recently donated $50 million to RIT, will be attending for the first time.

Interpreters will be available at each table to facilitate communication as recruiters meet the estimated 400 students participating.

Between 25 and 35 RIT/NTID alumni will be coming to Rochester this year to represent their companies at the career fair, serving as recruiters and role models for deaf and hard-of-hearing student job seekers.

“We are always so pleased and proud to see so many of our graduates come back to recruit for their companies,” said John Macko, director of NTID’s Center on Employment. “It’s gratifying to see them come ‘full circle’ and help the next group of students find their place in the world of work.”

An employer panel consisting of representatives from PNC, Route 66 Promotions, Naval Sea Systems Command and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will provide students with insight into what companies are looking for in new employees from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, in the college’s CSD-Student Development Center, rooms 1300/1310.

RIT/NTID’s Center on Employment, the career fair sponsor, also will recognize four companies who consistently hire deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. The companies are Eastman Kodak Co., the Learning Center for the Deaf, Route 66 Promotions and Prudential Financial.

Meet NTID Distinguished Alumni David and Patricia Keinath

Light skinned man and woman wearing light colored tops with trees in the background.

For David (SVP ’83) ’87 and Patricia (SVP ’83) Keinath, it is all about connecting the deaf and hearing communities.

It is this passion that led the couple to establish DEAF Inc. in their hometown of St. Louis. The organization raises awareness for the city’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community, along with providing communication services, outreach and education. It was started after the Keinaths noticed that deaf people were having trouble accessing basic services like health care, fire and police.

“I hope more organizations like DEAF Inc. grow. I really don’t want to see the suffering and hardships that many deaf individuals go through,” David said. “We need to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities.”

The Keinaths see that bridge being built right here at their alma mater, where they feel the connection between the students at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and other colleges is very strong.

“The communication here at RIT is wonderful,” Patricia said. “The mix between hearing and deaf populations—the collaboration—it is a wonderful university. I’m very impressed with how accepting RIT is.”

Part of the reason for this success is due to the Keinaths themselves, who have worked with NTID President Gerry Buckley to create scholarships for students and have remained involved with the college’s academic programs.

In 2016, David was instrumental in re-establishing, after an eight-year hiatus, the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity at RIT/NTID, which he was a founding member of as a student. The ASL-oriented Greek organization now boasts 47 members.

The Keinaths will honored by the National Technical Institute for Deaf on Oct. 19 at the RIT Presidents’ Alumni Ball as the college’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a certified alumnus/a who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic or service organizations over the course of many years. Those honored have brought distinction to their colleges and RIT through their professional, community and/or philanthropic achievements.

RIT students prepare for largest University-Wide Career Fair

RIT students in professional attire line up to sepak to employers at Career Fair.

Nearly 270 employing organizations from 30 states seeking Rochester Institute of Technology students and graduates are attending the 2018 Fall University-Wide Career Fair on October 3, 2018. It will be the largest career fair RIT has hosted in its 17 years of hosting career fairs.

The fair is open to current RIT students and alumni. The event allows them to meet with prospective employers to explore career opportunities for internship, cooperative education and entry- or experienced-level positions.

RIT’s cooperative education model is one of the oldest and largest in the country. More than half of the students participating in co-op will go to work for one of their co-op employers upon graduation, said Maria Richart, director of RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. Richart added the turnout is a clear reflection of the continued strong demand for the outstanding student talent RIT produces. More.

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center director named ‘40 Under 40’ honoree

Light skinned female with short dark hair, wearing grey blazer and multicolored scarf standing next to art sculpture.

Known throughout Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf as a “force of nature,” Tabitha Jacques has been selected as a 2018 Forty Under 40 honoree by the Rochester Business Journal.

As director of NTID’s Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center, Jacques has been credited with expanding the number and enhancing the quality of exhibitions, including curating first-ever exhibits by deaf, black and deaf, Latinx artists; increasing NTID’s permanent collection of art, making it one of the largest collections of works by deaf artists anywhere in the world; collaborating with other organizations, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to highlight art work by people with disabilities; and, along with RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology, has developed a mobile application providing gallery accessibility to deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind and blind museum visitors.

“Since arriving at NTID three years ago, Tabitha has moved all measurables in a positive direction,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “Tabitha is working to change the face of museum accessibility in the Rochester area, and her efforts will bring about countless benefits to the Rochester community and beyond.”

Jacques, from Baton Rouge, La., formerly worked as assistive communication technology program manager at the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Washington state and as an admissions counselor at Gallaudet University. Prior to that, she worked as an exhibit curator, director and producer for the Gallaudet University Museum Project and as an adjunct professor. She was also special projects coordinator for the National Postal Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She earned a Master of Arts in art history and museum studies from Georgetown University. In 2009, she received the Diversity Fellowship from the American Association of Museums, and she wrote the publication Introduction and Experience Within Space. She is also an accomplished lecturer.

Valerie Alhart, a 2015 graduate of RIT’s Saunders College of Business, is also among the honorees. Alhart, who earned her MBA, is senior director of marketing and communications for Pandion Optimization Alliance.

RBJ’s Forty Under 40 recognizes 40 men and women, under the age of 40, who have achieved professional success and have also made significant civic contributions to the community. The recipients will be honored Nov. 14 in a ceremony at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.