Category Archives: Student Life

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 names Student Life Team director

Tim Albert in grey/white windowpane plaid suit jacket with lavender button down shirt and striped tie. Banquet tables in back.

RIT/NTID has named Marvin “Tim” Albert of Columbus, Ohio, as director of the college’s Student Life Team. 

Albert has more than 11 years of experience in the K-12 education field as a peer/school counselor, supervisor, student life coordinator and dean of students. He earned a diploma in applied computer technology and an associate in applied science degree in imaging technology from RIT/NTID, and went on to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Gallaudet University.

As president of National Black Deaf Advocates and board member of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD), Albert worked to make improvements to educational programs and schools for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

“I’m pleased to welcome Tim back to the RIT/NTID community,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “His national leadership experience along with his love for the college and our students will usher in a time of renewed vitality to the Student Life Team.”

In his role as Student Life Team director, Albert will supervise and oversee co-curricular events, including clubs and Greek life for RIT/NTID’s 1,200 deaf and hard-of-hearing students. 

RIT/NTID names first director of diversity and inclusion

Stephanie Albert in blue v-neck top with short hair and silver earrings standing near flowers in front of a grey house.

Stephanie M. Smith Albert has been named the first director of diversity and inclusion at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Albert has more than 10 years of professional experience in the education field as a school counselor at the Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring, Georgia, St. Rita School for the Deaf in Cincinnati, Ohio, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, and most recently was the director of Student Life at Ohio School for the Deaf in Columbus, Ohio.

In her new role, Albert will be responsible for all NTID issues relating to diversity and inclusion, monitoring NTID’s progress on RIT-wide and NTID-specific initiatives and goals, and identifying issues to bring to the NTID president and his administrative council, as well as the RIT vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion.

She also will keep current on diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity and access regulations and issues in higher education, and present on these topics to internal groups of faculty, staff and students; and work with student leaders and other units within the college, including the NTID Diversity Group, to support diversity-specific initiatives.

Albert earned a master’s degree in school counseling at Gallaudet University, a bachelor’s degree in marketing at Wright State University, and an associate degree in accounting at RIT/NTID. Additionally, she has held secondary school counselor certification in the state of Georgia and an alternative administrative specialist license in the state of Ohio.

“We are pleased to have Stephanie ‘back home’ at RIT/NTID in this new and exciting role,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “Diversity and inclusion are top priorities for both NTID and the greater university, and we look forward to what Stephanie will bring to these efforts.”

Deaf RIT graduate defines strength in the face of adversity

Amie Sankoh in a long-sleeved light color top, jeans and ankle boots sits w/sculpture of a roaring tiger with trees behind her.

Amie Sankoh has overcome many obstacles in her life—and her walk across the stage during this weekend’s commencement ceremony for RIT’s College of Science will mark the beginning of a new chapter.

The biochemistry student, who is deaf and supported by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, will begin studying in August for her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. One day she hopes to use her expertise to conduct groundbreaking research on vaccine development and disease prevention.

As a young student in the west African country of Sierra Leone, Sankoh struggled due to her deafness and a lack of resources. Her parents, refusing to accept failure, made the bold decision to send their 12-year-old daughter to the United States where she would live with her father’s best friend and his family, attend better schools and ultimately gain more opportunities.

Sankoh’s breakthrough came in high school, where her love for mathematics and chemistry flourished. She also learned sign language, which enabled her to break down communication barriers with other deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

“Once I discovered my love for math, which was very visual, I knew that I could do anything with my life,” she said. “My mind was set on attending RIT/NTID because I knew that it was the right fit for me.”

Throughout her academic career, Sankoh participated in internships at top companies like Dow Chemical Co. in Pennsylvania and credits NTID faculty and staff for teaching her how to strengthen her communication skills, advocate for herself and develop her love for Deaf culture.

“My parents have always had very high expectations of their children, and they greatly value education,” she said. “NTID has given me the confidence to believe in myself and affirm that I can make it, especially in a tough science field. I’ve learned how to work with people who are hearing and deaf, study alongside faculty researchers and sharpen my interview skills. I just know that I’m going to make it. I work really hard.”

At NTID, Sankoh was a member of the Organization of African Students (OAS), Ebony Club, the Student Life Team and supported Spectrum, the LGBTIQ and straight alliance. And in March, Sankoh also become a U.S. citizen.

“Amie is an amazing person who exemplifies how to grow oneself,” said Joseph Johnston, director of RIT’s Center for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. “Amie’s resiliency and optimistic attitude provided such benefits to herself and the RIT community. She is a very special human being and is one of my favorite students I have ever had the pleasure to work with.”

Sankoh added, “Life is hard and we all have challenges. I’ve fallen and have gotten back up every time. I’m proof that there is always a way to overcome challenges.”

At the University of Tennessee, Sankoh will have 24/7 access to interpreting and notetaking services and will also receive a stipend to conduct her research. She said although her father is somewhat shocked and surprised at her achievements, she knew, deep down, that he expected nothing less.

“My father is so impressed by everything that I’ve been able to accomplish. And I’m so proud that he will be able to watch me cross that stage and move one step closer to my achieving my dream.”

Winners of RIT/NTID’s Next Big Idea announced

Chris Wagner, Wade Keller, Hans Khols and Gerry Buckley together in front of brick wall with a check.

BAGMAG, a hands-free solution for making skateboards more easily portable on the back of a backpack, took home the $5,000 first prize in the 2017 Next Big Idea competition at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Judges from the competition’s sponsor, ZVRS, a video relay service headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, reviewed the projects of the four team finalists, asked questions and selected first, second and third place winners:

$5,000 First Place: BAGMAG, uses a strong magnet inserted on the backpack that connects to a strong magnet affixed to the bottom of the skateboard and eliminates the need to remove the backpack and use straps to affix the skateboard.

$3,000 Second Place: ASL Storyteller, an interactive app that offers sign language to babies, both hearing and deaf, to help with language development and creates a richer environment for signing babies.

$2,000 Third Place: Expect Zone, a rear-view mirror with three flashing lights that lets deaf or hard-of-hearing drivers know when an ambulance, police car or fire engine is coming near. It flashes more quickly as the emergency vehicle gets closer.     

Four teams of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf went head-to-head April 26 during The Next Big Idea Competition, a ”Shark Tank” style business competition.

The contest is an annual event where teams of students combine skills related to their individual majors to create innovative products, technology or businesses. Teams work with mentors on their projects and compete before judges for cash prizes. This year marks the sixth anniversary of The Next Big Idea competition.

Team members are:

ASL Storyteller—Julie Love, a Graphic Design major from Riverside , California, and Logan Lugo, an International Business major from Columbus, Ohio.

BAGMAG—Hans Khols , an Industrial Design major from Boston, Massachusetts, and Wade Kellard, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Expect Zone— Amelia Hamilton, a New Media Marketing major from Austin, Texas, and Tanner Ketchum, an Accounting Technology major from Austin, Texas.

VIGN— Tobin Zolkowski, a Communication and Criminal Justice major from Neenah, Wisconsin, Iswor Ghimire, a Global Computing major from Nepal, Mohd Afifi Ishak, an Industrial Design major from Malaysia, and Jose Lopez, an Applied Computer Technology major from Los Angeles, California. Vign, described as a “Netflix for deaf people,” is designed to stream program content in sign language.

 “The Next Big Idea competition is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work, creativity and innovation on the part of these student inventors and entrepreneurs,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “We have seen some amazing products and services start in this competition and move into production. We thank ZVRS for their steadfast support since the beginning of the Next Big Idea, and are grateful for the belief they have in our students.”