RIT/NTID lecture series features talk on self advocacy, being a deaf person in the corporate world

Pamela Seibert in black jacket and pink top

As a deaf person working in the corporate world, Pamela Siebert believes in the power of persistence and networking—both of which she says helped her land a software engineering job at one of the world’s largest technology and consulting companies.

She will share her insight when she returns to Rochester Institute of Technology as the featured speaker for The Edmund Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series.

Siebert, a software engineer for IBM and a National Technical Institute for the Deaf graduate, will present “Be Your Own Advocate as a Deaf person in the Corporate World” at 7 p.m. April 25 in the CSD Student Development Center, room 1300. A question-and-answer session follows the free presentation, which will be delivered in American Sign Language. Interpreting services have been requested.

Siebert, who was born to deaf parents and raised in St. Paul, Minn., will discuss her background and career path, how she adapts to continuously evolving technology, and how she works with many different people all over the world. She graduated from RIT in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in information technology from the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences and earned her master’s degree in software development and management from RIT. She volunteers for the Kansas Association for the Deaf board and was Miss Deaf Kansas from 2005 to 2007.

The purpose of the Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series, established in 1980, is to bring distinguished speakers to RIT/NTID to share expertise and scholarly contributions that stand on the cutting edge of advancement in the education and career success of deaf persons. Edmund Lyon (1855-1920) was a noted manufacturer, inventor, humanitarian and philanthropist in Rochester, who served as a trustee of both RIT and the Rochester School for the Deaf.

For more information about the Lyon Memorial Lecture Series, email Karen Beiter atkjbndp@rit.edu.

RIT/NTID holds Student Research Fair

Photo by: Jorge Samper

Cody Cummings, a laboratory science technology student from Austin, Texas, is hoping that his research in the analysis of the sealant bitumen from objects will help archaeologists better determine when and where ancient artifacts were created.

Nicole Pannullo, a chemistry student from East Patchogue, N.Y., is using fluorescence to improve our understanding of what’s in our water.

On Friday, April 15, Cummings and Pannullo will join 27 other deaf and hard-of-hearing student researchers at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf’s Student Research Fair, 10 a.m.–noon, April 15, in Rosica Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology. This first-ever event at NTID will give undergraduate and graduate students, in partnership with faculty mentors, the opportunity to present posters or give demonstrations on topics related health science, communication studies, access technology and environmental research, among others. The Student Research Fair also coincides with National Undergraduate Research Week.

Todd Pagano, associate dean for Teaching and Scholarship Excellence and founding director of NTID’s Laboratory Science Technology program, is among the coordinators of the research fair.

“NTID has a history of providing our students with access to cutting-edge technology that helps enhance their research endeavors,” said Pagano. “Pair that with a top-notch core education and partnerships with faculty mentors who are experts in their fields, and it’s apparent that we are able to successfully deliver a strong research-based student experience.”

Jessica Contreras, an experimental psychology graduate student from Eagle River, Alaska, will also present her research. She has found that deaf people who are raised in impoverished language environments do not develop executive function skills—like focus attention, planning processes, remembering instructions and multitasking—as optimally as those who have had normal exposure to language since birth.

Lorne Farovitch, an environmental science master’s degree candidate from Tucson, Ariz., is studying the survival rate of various pathogens in surface water and sediments that will help him and others in the field understand the relationship between the evolution of antibiotic resistances and their capability to survive in environments where they don’t normally live.

“There are several ways to examine the pollution level in water,” explained Farovitch. “If the pathogens are able to survive in water and sediment samples for a long time, that tells me it is polluted with a high concentration of nutrients. The most polluted nutrients come from wastewater and drainage water from agricultural land.”

The Student Research Fair is funded by the NTID Office of the President and jointly sponsored by the associate dean for Teaching and Scholarship Excellence and the associate dean of Research.

RIT/NTID program encourages students to pursue doctoral degrees

Lorne Farovitch with lab coat, gloves and glasses holding bottle with other bottles around him.

A new program at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf is helping fill the gap that exists when it comes to deaf and hard-of-hearing students earning doctoral degrees in science disciplines.

The Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program, in partnership with University of Rochester and funded by a grant from the National Institute for General Medical Science, helps eligible students enrolled in master’s programs at RIT prepare and apply for doctoral programs in behavioral or biomedical science.

Up to three graduate students are selected each year for entry into the Bridges program. Most of their tuition is paid, and they also gain experience—and earn a paycheck—working in laboratories at RIT and UR. Throughout the program, they meet regularly with mentors who help prepare them for the academic rigors of earning a doctorate, attend at least two professional conferences and complete three research rotations at UR laboratories. Currently, there are six students enrolled in the Bridges program, and potential students are encouraged to apply.

“This is an amazing opportunity for aspiring deaf and hard-of-hearing scholars who have long been underserved and under-recognized,” said Peter Hauser, principal investigator for RIT and director of the Deaf Studies Laboratory at NTID. “To date, this is the first educational program specifically tailored to deaf and hard-of-hearing scholars who want to pursue advanced degrees. We are proud to have started this program in Rochester, a community characterized by a well-educated and large deaf population, with a unique and collaborative atmosphere.”

Lorne Farovitch, an environmental science master’s degree candidate from Tucson, Ariz., is completing his second year in the Bridges program at RIT/NTID. While he always knew that he wanted to earn his Ph.D., he needed expert advice to help him home in on his specialty.

“Before I entered the Bridges program, I enjoyed internship experiences in polymer science, neuroscience and marine biology,” said Farovitch. “But I was able to find my passion for microbiology and immunology through the Bridges program. I worked with Professor Martin Zand at UR to study lymphocytes and their capability to migrate through the body. My research with Professor Jeff Lodge at RIT allowed me to analyze water samples from Lake Ontario to determine pollution levels from medications that are distributed through open water. I studied how pathogens in water help spread disease, and how these diseases impact our health. My eyes were opened to a variety of skills, all of my questions were answered, and I was able to determine the path that I wanted to take.”

Scott Smith is a research associate professor at NTID and the Bridges program science mentorship director.

“Our Bridges students realize that deaf scholars can be scientists and work successfully with their hearing counterparts,” said Smith. “From professional development and training opportunities to support-group discussions with their peers and mentors, this program provides a personalized education plan to lead them on the path to earning that coveted doctoral degree. We’re teaching them how to become professional scientists.”

For more information on the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program, visit: http://deafscientists.com

RIT/NTID alumnus making his mark in Washington, D.C.

Photo by: Mark Benjamin

Christopher Samp graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in public policy, and in 2010 completed a master’s degree in science, technology and public policy. He currently works as a research assistant for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (Illinois) and is heavily involved in the deaf and hard-of hearing community in Washington, D.C. More.

RIT School of Film and Animation ranked nationally

RIT School of Film and Animation among best in country.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Film and Animation is once again among the top film schools in the country as ranked by Animation Career Review, a leading online source of information for aspiring animation and game design professionals. It received high marks for academic reputation; admission selectivity; the program’s depth, breadth and faculty; value as it relates to tuition; and geographic location. SOFA program offerings include a BFA and MFA in film and animation, and a BS degree in motion picture science, giving RIT one of the broadest curriculum choices in the country. More.

RIT/NTID featured in Syracuse Post-Standard story on Rochester’s Deaf community

two students working in the Deaf Studies Lab with laptop in front of them and others behind.

The Syracuse Post-Standard’s Empire Magazine featured a cover story on Rochester’s vibrant Deaf community, including RIT/NTID. The multimedia story included a still photography slide show and video and featured several RIT/NTID students, faculty, staff and administrators, who discussed the high employment rate of RIT/NTID graduates; the growth of a “deaf middle class” in Rochester; the availability of deaf professionals in a variety of fields, including medicine, dentistry and more; and the willingness of hearing Rochestarians to learn sign language and engage with their deaf and hard-of-hearing neighbors and colleagues. The article refers to Rochester as a “tremendous model.”

 

Providing cyber security training and job opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing RIT students

female student with glasses working on computer next to male student with other students and computers in background

While most RIT students are sleeping late and enjoying some free time during spring break, 23 deaf and hard-of-hearing students are participating in a rigorous, week-long training designed to provide them with experience in the rapidly growing field of computer forensics.

The first-of-its-kind Computer Forensics Boot Camp for deaf and hard-of-hearing students held March 21-24 at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, provides 32 hours of training toward EnCase certification – the standard in cyber forensics.

The boot camp is the brainchild of RIT/NTID alumnus Scott Van Nice, systems manager, Forensics Information Security, Cyber Security – Threat Intel at Procter & Gamble, who has been on campus throughout the week. Van Nice connected with fellow RIT alumnus and president and CEO of Guidance Software Patrick Dennis, whose company is providing the training and who visited campus Tuesday. Procter & Gamble, Guidance Software and Ernst & Young are major sponsors of the boot camp.

Students were selected based on their high GPAs and majors related to the cyber forensics area such as Networking and Systems Administration, Criminal Justice, Human Computer Interaction and Computer Science.

“We are incredibly grateful to Guidance Software, Procter & Gamble, Ernst & Young, and all of the companies involved in making this boot camp a reality for our students,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “Patrick, Scott and their companies recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in all phases of business. The students attending the boot camp represent some of RIT/NTID’s best and brightest, and they are eager to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity for training.”

Computer forensics, sometimes known as cyber forensics or cyber security, is a field that is becoming increasingly more important to companies of all sizes.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The proliferation of criminal activity on the Internet, such as identity theft, spamming, e-mail harassment and illegal downloading of copyrighted materials, will increase the demand for private investigators. Opportunities are expected to be excellent for computer forensic investigators.”

Throughout the week, students have been in classroom training from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., breaking for lunches and dinners featuring keynote presentations by Van Nice, Dennis and others. A career night for program participants Wednesday evening featured networking opportunities with representatives from companies including Prudential, JP Morgan Chase, the CIA, Cisco, Comcast, Procter & Gamble and Ernst & Young.