When Ping Liu first arrived at RIT, she couldn’t speak English and didn’t know American Sign Language. Today, she is one of the most successful students in her major and is being recognized with the RIT Outstanding Service Award for International Students.
Liu, 24, is from a small village in northern China where her parents are farmers. Her dream school has been RIT since she was in middle school. An applied computer technology major, Liu hopes to earn her master’s degree in human-centered computing and eventually teach in China and one day work at the United Nations to help deaf people all over the world.
Like many international students, Liu arrived in the United States unaware of the hurdles she would have to overcome and adjustments she would have to make to be successful in the American educational system.
“I had a hard time communicating,” she said. “On the first day of class, I did not think I could stay in the United States for one more day. I felt so lonely and nervous.”
She soon joined RIT/NTID’s Asian Deaf Club as the cultural director and the Deaf International Student Association as the program director, and became an integral part of the college community.
But where Liu really shines is her passionate, enthusiastic promotion of RIT. She created a website to promote RIT among deaf Chinese students. She teaches ASL on the website, fields questions about RIT and applying to RIT, gives advice on taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), including feedback on student writing for the test.
She also wants to establish a scholarship for Chinese students who are deaf. She is at RIT/NTID on scholarship and wants to give back.
“I want to do something good while I am here,” she said. “RIT has changed my life, and I want to do the same for others.”
The leadership awards and scholarship ceremony dinner takes place 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in RIT’s University Gallery.