All posts by Kathy Johncox

Kathy is the editor and writer for Parent News. She is a Communications, Marketing & Multimedia Services Specialist at RIT/NTID.

RIT/NTID team wins National Association of the Deaf College Bowl for the sixth time

Gerry Buckley in orange RIT golf shirt cheering w/four team members and two coaches in black RIT shirts holding trophy.

A student team from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has won the National Association of the Deaf College Bowl academic competition for the third consecutive year, and earned its sixth victory overall.

Held at the biennial NAD conference since 1988, the College Bowl is a four-day question-and-answer academic competition with topics as varied as literature, science, mathematics, history and current events. The event, which brings together deaf contestants from top colleges and universities serving deaf and hard-of-hearing students, regularly draws more than 1,000 audience members to the finals.

Teams of four students from each school vie for the trophy and scholarships for their respective colleges. In addition to RIT/NTID, teams at this year’s competition held in Phoenix were from California State University-Northridge, Gallaudet University and the University of Minnesota.

The winning RIT/NTID team members are Lauren Berger, a psychology major from Rochester, N.Y.; Eric Epstein, a software engineering major from Tucson, Ariz.; Asher Kirschbaum, a mechanical engineering major from Washington Grove, Md.; and Emmanuel Perrodin-Njoku, a biomedical sciences major from Washington, D.C.

“The weekly practice throughout the year paid off big time,” said Epstein. “I am so proud of my teammates for their yearlong efforts in studying. I look forward to the next generation of Tigers who will undoubtedly defend the bowl.”

The team worked with co-coaches and RIT/NTID faculty members Christopher Kurz and Gary Behm to prepare for the competition.

“The entire RIT/NTID community is so proud of our College Bowl team for bringing the trophy back to campus for another two years,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “Lauren, Eric, Asher and Emmanuel did an extraordinary job against fierce competition. They are carrying on a great tradition, and it was wonderful to have so many of our students, faculty, staff and alumni in the audience cheering on our students.”

Cool Co-op: Benjamin Polstra

BenPolstra with glasses and a white shirt and striped tie standly proudly, just got a job offer for after graduation with GEICO

Benjamin Polstra, an information technology major from Noblesville, Indiana, spent the summer on co-op at GEICO in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He used his information technology skills to work on business projects and other assignments, both individually and as a part of a team, and was pleased to discover that he and GEICO have something in common—both are interested in casting aside old traditions and embracing new ideas. He was offered and has accepted a full-time job at GEICO and will be starting work there as part of their Technology Development Program.

Young artists, writers win RIT/NTID’s digital arts, film, writing competitions

Wings, created by high school student Mai Lee Vang is a close up illustration of bird wings of various shades of brown.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has announced the winners of the annual Digital Arts, Film and Animation Competition for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students, as well as the SpiRIT Writing Contest.

The Digital Arts, Film and Animation Competition for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students, in its 10th year, generated dozens of entries in graphic media, photo imaging, film and 3D animation.

The winners of each category, receiving a $250 prize, are:

  • Film: Paola Colon of Chelsea, Mass., a student at Boston Arts Academy, for School Bullies.
  • Graphic Media: Reverlin Young of Hemet, Calif., a student at California School for the Deaf-Riverside, for The Story of My Life.
  • Photo Imaging: Mai Lee Vang of Gentry, Ark., a student at Arkansas School for the Deaf, for Wings.
  • 3D Animation: Austin Marden of Marion, Ind., a student at Indiana School for the Deaf, for Ghost Falcon.

The runners-up were:

  • Film: Christopher Kurogi of Orem, Utah, a student at Orem High School, for Rulu Adventure.
  • Graphic Media: Nabeela Shollenberger of Boonton, N.J., a student at Governor Livingston High School, for Cartoon Self-Portrait/Photoshop.
  • Photo Imaging: Guillermo “Alex” Castaneda of Little Rock, Ark., a student at Arkansas School for the Deaf, for Branford Pear, and Deanda Holloway of Lonoke, Ark., a student at Arkansas School for the Deaf, for Drip Drop.

The winning entries may be seen at www.rit.edu/ntid/dafac/winners.

Winners of the SpiRIT Writing Contest were Eliana Rosenzweig of Rye Brook, N.Y., a student at Blind Brook High School for The Power of Premonition and Judgment; Christopher Brookes of North Chili, N.Y., a student at Bishop Kearney High School for his untitled submission; Regan Brady of Shaker Heights, Ohio, a student at Hathaway Brown School for Huck Finn: America’s Son; and Mia Hoffman of Westerville, Ohio, a student at Westerville North High School for Life Behind the Hearing Aid.

Writing contest winners receive their choice of $500 or a spot at NTID’s Explore Your Future summer camp.

For more information on the SpiRIT Writing Contest, go to www.rit.edu/ntid/writingcontest/.

RIT/NTID, Xamarin Inc. collaboration to provide opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in mobile app development

Brian Trager in blue button down shirt gesturing in front of white board with writing on the board and overhead image display.

When faculty members at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf were creating a new degree program in mobile application development, they looked to cross-platform developer Xamarin Inc. for guidance and expertise. The result of this collaboration is the fall launch of a new academic program, which recently received approval by the New York State Education Department and earned a grant from the National Science Foundation of more than $820,000.

Funding from the three-year NSF grant, “RoadMaPPs to Careers: A New Approach to Mobile Apps Education featuring a Mapp for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students,” will train and equip students in RIT/NTID’s Information and Computing Studies Department where the new program will be housed, and is based on the Xamarin cross-platform approach to mobile application development.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Xamarin assisted in the development of the new associate degree program, and company representatives serve on the advisory board for curriculum review. The company recently was acquired by Microsoft.

“Xamarin has given us access to their ‘Xamarin University’ curriculum materials, provided data we needed for our program and grant proposals, came to campus to carefully review our plans and gave us invaluable guidance,” said Elissa Olsen, chairperson of RIT/NTID’s Information and Computing Studies Department. “We are so pleased that they have agreed to serve on our program advisory board and continue to guide the program in the future based on industry trends.”

The company also will support student-learning activities such as career awareness events and will hire students for co-op and full-time employment.

“We are proud that Xamarin will play a major role in the overall success of the mobile app development program, not only because the curriculum uses the Xamarin platform, but also because our experts will advise and assist the team on all aspects of the program,” said Bryan Costanich, vice president of education services at Xamarin Inc. “This is a unique opportunity to work with the deaf community to provide training and employment in one of the fastest growing industry segments.”

Cool Co-Op: Ruth Carroll

Ruth Carroll in green shirt working on a laptop computer.

Ruth Carroll from Queens, New York, is a design and imaging technology major working her co-op at VaynerMedia, a social media/digital advertising agency in New York, New York. In her position as a studio intern, she works with the studio production team assisting with video shooting of advertising footage, transcribing dialogue and editing videos with Adobe Premiere.

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.