Category Archives: Employment

Twin sisters graduate from RIT/NTID, follow different paths

Two dark-skinned females with glasses wearing graduation caps and gowns, one has an orange master's hood, medallion, gold cords.

Born and raised in Irving Texas, twin sisters Joan “Jo” and Jane Bempong attended mainstream schools together from elementary through high school, and then decided to continue learning together in college when they were both accepted at Rochester Institute of Technology, supported by the university’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

At RIT they were able to live together, but follow different educational and career paths.

“I was always fascinated by technology,” Jo said. “Back in the day, MySpace piqued my interest in coding, so Computer Engineering seemed to be a good fit for me.”

But Jane had other interests. “I was always the person who people would come to for either advice or emotional support,” she said. “I always enjoyed being there for people ever since a young age, which is why majoring in psychology made sense for me.”

They plan to follow their different career interests after graduation, with Jo having accepted a full-time position at Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas, as a software engineer, and Jane either applying to graduate school or getting more work experience in the psychology/mental health field.

As they reflect on their time at RIT/NTID, Jo considers it the place where she grew as an individual.

“I came out of my comfort zone and became an entrepreneur, a researcher, and a leader aside from being an engineer,” she said.

And for Jane, “RIT helped confirm my career choice and increased my passion for the mental health field.”

RIT/NTID student Maya Penn to fulfill personal longing for service with Peace Corps mission

Dark skinned female with dark braided hair wearing a multi-color scarf and purple long-sleeved top.

Growing up in foster care, Maya Penn was surrounded by people who understood the value of sharing and caring for others. Just one month after Penn graduates with her bachelor’s degree in psychology from RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, she will fulfill her own personal quest for serving others with the Peace Corps in Africa.

Penn, who is deaf, is eagerly anticipating her two-year assignment— teaching deaf children in Ghana.  

“This will be a time of significant personal growth for me,” said Penn, who hails from the Bay Area in California. “And I’m just looking forward to impacting the lives of so many children, where there is such a need.”

Although Penn admits that she didn’t know much about the Peace Corps before applying, she knew that she wanted to travel and was hooked when she discovered that there were positions for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to work in schools for those who are deaf. After videophone conversations with Peace Corps volunteers and administrators, Penn applied, interviewed and was accepted into the program.

Penn says that this experience is a “big step” for her, and she is eager to learn as much as she can about different cultures. And even though she’s a bit nervous, she believes her related experiences as a teaching assistant in a school for deaf children, her work at summer camps and at RIT’s Margaret’s House child care center, and her experience tutoring American Sign Language will also contribute to her success in Africa.

And she’s no stranger to traveling in not-so-perfect conditions, having backpacked extensively through Central America and Jamaica.

“I believe that it’s so important for people to study or travel abroad,” said Penn. “It’s crucial to learn from and meet people from other cultures. There are so many opportunities that grow out of these experiences. Of course, you learn and grow in an academic environment, but what you can learn outside of the classroom is beneficial, too.”

At RIT/NTID, Penn was vice president of NTID’s Ebony Club, worked with the NTID Student Life team, was a community student advocate and was involved in theater. She also played intramural volleyball and basketball.

“I’ve loved so much about the RIT/NTID community, including the students, my mentors and all of the events and opportunities,” she said.

Sarah Sarchet, a lecturer at RIT/NTID, met Penn in 2016 when Penn was accepted into RIT’s WOCHA (Women of Color, Honor and Ambition) program.

“Maya is natural leader and a true empath,” said Sarchet. “We ‘clicked’ as a mentor/mentee pair because of how well Maya can relate to others. We both come from large families with many siblings as well as mixed-race families. We had many shared experiences, and our conversations flowed naturally, despite the fact that we had only known each other briefly. And she has been truly bitten by the travel bug. This makes her skilled at meeting new people and learning new cultures. She is unafraid of leaving her comfort zone to try new adventures.”

Of course, Penn says she will miss her parents, who are both RIT/NTID alumni.

“My mom is worried, of course, but she made sure that it’s safe and that I’m in good hands. She’s just so happy that I have the opportunity to do something like this with my life.”

After her work with the Peace Corps, Penn is thinking about pursuing a graduate degree in social work, driven by her time in the foster care system. But she also likes to keep her options open.

“You just never know what’s going to happen after two years in Africa.”

Rising Leadership Academy for NTID-Supported Students

USBLN logo in blue and green with two circles intertwined to the left of the letters.

RIT/NTID students have an opportunity to participate in a unique program to develop leadership skills, sponsored by the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN). The deadline to apply for the Rising Leadership Academy is Dec. 18. Encourage your student to apply today. 

Students can apply at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018RLIapplication. More information on the Rising Leadership Academy can be found on their website

Click on this video link to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffU5ThFai80&feature=youtu.be  

RIT/NTID job fair connects deaf students with employers across the country

Light skinned man on left with cochlear implant wearing suit chats with darker skinned man on right in red golf shirt, tan pants

Representatives from more than 40 local and national corporations, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations will meet with hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing students at the 17th annual job fair, 12:30–4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 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.

“Employers will have the opportunity to recruit talented deaf and hard-of-hearing students in associate and bachelor’s degree programs such as business, finance, graphic design, engineering, computing and more,” said John Macko, director of NTID’s Center on Employment.

Interpreters will be available, and in many cases, the company recruiters are RIT/NTID alumni. Companies registered to attend the fair include Caterpillar, Communication Service for the Deaf, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, FDIC, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Merck, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Prudential and Texas Instruments, among others. 

“Employers continue to want highly qualified employees who bring the necessary skills and who will fit into the company culture and contribute to the company’s success,” added Macko. “Our students are well-trained and can hit the ground running at companies right here in Rochester and all over the country.”

There are a few openings available for employers who want to participate. For more information, email Mary Ellen Tait or call 585-475-6426. 

What: 17th annual NTID Job Fair
Where: Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology

When: 12:30-4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18

Details: More than 40 local and national corporations, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations will be on campus to recruit deaf and hard-of-hearing students and graduates for co-op and full-time positions.

RIT ranks high in Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking

Smiling female student with tan skin and dark hair wearing an RIT t-shirt makes the V sign. Male students stand behind her.

Rochester Institute of Technology placed 130th out of 1,054 U.S. colleges and universities in The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking.

The ranking, developed in partnership with experts and universities, uses 15 individual performance metrics, grouped into four pillars representing Resources (30 percent), Engagement (20 percent), Outcomes (40 percent) and Environment (10 percent), indicators deemed most important to students when choosing a university, according to the ranking organization.

Within the Northeast region, RIT ranked 60th out of 303 institutions. More.

RIT/NTID and EPA ink development of cooperative program

A woman and two men sit facing a large monitor screen. An interpreter is to the screen's right. the screen shows people at desk.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing students attending Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf will benefit from enhanced educational and career opportunities in the environmental sciences, thanks to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the college and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The MOU was formalized during a “virtual” signing ceremony Sept. 12, with representatives from both RIT/NTID and the EPA connecting through live video conferencing.

The purpose of the MOU is to increase cooperation between RIT/NTID and the EPA in areas of mutual interest, including promoting equal opportunity in higher education, contributing to RIT/NTID’s capacity to provide high-quality education, and encouraging the participation of RIT/NTID in EPA programs.

Activities being considered as part of this partnership include:

  • Inviting RIT/NTID faculty and student participation in public policy forums, presentations, seminars and other events at the EPA.
  • The EPA participating in career fairs and other outreach to RIT/NTID students, faculty and alumni regarding EPA employment opportunities.
  • The EPA providing assistance to RIT/NTID for the advancement of environmental education by distance learning technology.
  • EPA representatives participating in lectures, webinars, conferences and other events at RIT/NTID.

“The federal government has been a strong advocate for equal employment opportunities for all individuals, including deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “We are so pleased to be partnering with the EPA on behalf of our students.”

The parties plan to establish a program committee consisting of representatives of RIT/NTID and the EPA to manage implementation of the memorandum. The EPA has designated EPA Region 2, headquartered in New York City, to administer the MOU on behalf of the EPA, working with other EPA offices, regions and laboratories as appropriate. RIT/NTID’s Center on Employment will administer on behalf of the college.

Representatives participating in the signing were, from the EPA: Bisa Cunningham, director, Diversity, Recruitment & Employee Services Division; Richard J. Manna, assistant regional administrator, EPA Region 2; Jon Gabry, branch chief, Division of Environmental Science and Assessment, Hazardous Waste Support Branch, EPA Region 2; Colin “Mark” Oldland, disability employment program manager, Office of Policy and Management, EPA Region 2; Christopher Emanuel, EEO manager/Disability Employment Program, Office of Civil Rights, Affirmative Employment, Analysis and Accountability; Johahna Johnson, Civil Rights and Finance Law Office, Office of General Counsel; Tania L. Allen, chief, Diversity & Recruitment Branch Diversity, Recruitment & Employee Services Division; and Anthony Napoli, diversity and inclusion program manager of the Diversity, Recruitment & Employee Services Division. Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean; John Macko, director of RIT/NTID’s Center on Employment; and Shyrl Scalice, assistant director and employment adviser, RIT/NTID’s Center on Employment, represented the college.

What’s next for members of RIT/NTID’s class of 2017?

group of graduates wearing cap and gown

NTID has a strong history of successful employment outcomes for our graduates. For the past several years, 94% of RIT/NTID graduates who have sought employment have found a job within a year. This year’s graduates are off to a good start—a number of them already have jobs lined up, and others are planning to attend graduate school. We congratulate these students and the entire Class of 2017! Check out what's next for some of our recent RIT/NTID graduates.