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 ranked among top national universities by ‘U.S. News & World Report’

Male in white labcoat stands and holds a cable, 2nd male in red tshirt and shorts wears headphones and virtual reality eyemask.

Rochester Institute of Technology is being recognized as a top tier national university for the first time in the 34-year history of “U.S. News & World Report” rankings. The change is a result of the university’s reclassification in becoming a “doctoral university” this year due to its rapid increase in research and Ph.D. graduates.

The 2017 edition ofU.S. News & World Report Best Colleges” ranked RIT 107th in the “National Universities” category. These top universities—a grouping of 310 schools— “offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. programs, and emphasize faculty research,” according to “U.S. News.” RIT had previously been listed among “Regional Universities.” Overall, “U.S. News” cites 1,374 four-year colleges and universities in various categories.

“The movement of RIT into the ranks of the nation’s finest colleges and universities is a remarkable story,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “We are not trying to emulate some of the nation’s great universities. We will do what RIT does so well, and that is by being different and capitalizing on that difference to make a truly unique experience for our students and for our communities. We have nearly a dozen programs that are ranked in the top 10 nationally,beyond U.S News. And these programs are in non-traditional academic areas such as interactive games and media, industrial design, imaging science, sustainable manufacturing and packaging science.”

RIT also ranked 33rd among best value schools—“Great Schools, Great Prices.” The calculation compares a school’s academic quality to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of financial aid. “The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal,” according to “U.S. News.” In other rankings, RIT also was recognized for excellence in its business and engineering colleges, its cooperative education program, and its benefits for military veterans.

The move to the top tier national category was triggered earlier this year when RIT was listed as a “doctoral university” by the leading classification of U.S. colleges and universities. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education changed RIT from “Masters – Comprehensive” to “Doctoral University” This change occurs when a university graduates more than 20 Ph.D. degrees per year, a figure that RIT has exceeded in recent years. In May, RIT awarded 35 doctoral degrees in seven Ph.D. programs, the most in its history.

RIT has seven doctoral programs: astrophysics, color science, computing and information sciences, engineering, microsystems engineering, imaging science and sustainability. A Ph.D. in mathematical modeling begins in fall 2017.

“In previous ‘U.S. News’ rankings, RIT historically received high marks in peer review with other universities,” Destler noted. “We are extremely pleased to see our peer assessment scores did well with other presidents, provosts, deans of admissions and high school counselors in the top tier research grouping.” Here, RIT rated 66th among its peer universities and 49th with the counselors.

In further rankings:

  • RIT was among 22 universities recognized for excellent cooperative learning and internship programs.
  • RIT ranked 69th among “Best Colleges for Veterans.” “U.S. News” aims to provide military veterans and active duty service members with data on which top-ranked schools offer benefits that can help make a college education affordable.
  • RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering ranked No. 65 nationally for undergraduate engineering programs among universities where the highest degree is a doctorate.
  • RIT’s Saunders College of Business was ranked No. 77 nationally among best programs for undergraduate business education.

Go to rit.edu/news/story.php?id=56877 for a list of frequently asked questions about the rankings and RIT’s reclassification.

NTID Center on Employment here for your student

Employment counselor in blue shirt works with student in pink shirt to create resume on computer

The NTID Center on Employment (NCE) is here for your student.

by John Macko, Director, NTID Center on Employment

The role of the NTID Center on Employment team is to assist current students and graduates with the search for co-ops or full-time jobs. The key is to make sure your student enlists our support. After their second year, most students are required to do a co-op, so encourage your students to take advantage of some or all of the services we offer. Below are a few of the ways we can help. The NCE website lists many more.

Job Search Assistance

When your student arrives on campus, he or she is assigned an NCE employment advisor based on his or her major. NCE employment advisors provide job search tutoring that can help your student:

  • Write or improve resumes and cover letters
  • Complete a job application
  • Put together a list of references and a portfolio
  • Use books and web resources to find employers to contact about possible jobs
  • Find job announcements on the web and apply
  • Consider different ways to approach employers
  • Prepare for interviews and follow up with employers
  • Understand the various communication strategies and accommodations in the workplace
  • Get ready for the working world

Networking Guidance

We advise students that one of the best ways to find employment opportunities is through networking—asking people they know to help them with their search. Many jobs are not advertised to the general public and may only be known by the people working at the company. These jobs, called the hidden job market, are often found through networking. We can guide your student with some good networking strategies. Their network can help them find job openings and make contact with employers.

Liaison with an Employer Network

Every year, NCE staff travel all around the country to meet with employers and develop relationships that encourage them to hire deaf and hard-of-hearing students who are well trained and ready to hit the ground running. Some of the employers NCE has developed relationships with are: BNY Mellon, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, DOW Chemical Company, FBI, General Electric, Google, IBM, Merck, Microsoft, NASA, National Security Agency, Naval Supply Systems Command, Ohio Health, Sprint, Texas Instruments, Toyota, U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving, University of San Diego and many more.

If you have questions or concerns about anything in the area of employment, or would like to find out who your student’s employment advisor is, please feel free to contact us at by email at ntidcoe@rit.edu, by phone at 585-475-6219 or by videophone at 585-286-4544.

RIT to become first university to publish video game on Xbox One platform

Rochester Institute of Technology will become the first university to publish a video game on the Xbox One gaming platform when Hack, Slash & Backstab is officially launched on Wednesday, Aug. 31. The game, which will be available for purchase, will also debut simultaneously on the Steam platform and be available for sale through the digital storefront Humble.

Hack, Slash & Backstab was produced in residence at RIT in a studio course offered through RIT’s internationally ranked School of Interactive Games and Media, and the RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC).

The game won third place in the Best Visual Quality category of the 2016 Intel University Games Showcase in March as part of the 2016 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

RIT’s game design and development program was recently ranked third at the undergraduate level and seventh at the graduate level according to the new 2016 international rankings from “The Princeton Review.” More.

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.