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NIH grant provides postdoctoral research, teaching experience for deaf scholars

23 Jul

Sarah in dark grey top and Wyatte in light grey shirt with mult-gray tie standing in front of staircase

A nearly $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will help advance research, teaching experiences and career preparation in the biomedical and behavioral sciences fields for deaf and hard-of-hearing postdoctoral scholars.

A program, known as the Rochester Postdoc Partnership (RPP), serves as a national model that allows deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who have earned advanced degrees to create mentored teaching experiences and do postdoctoral research at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and University of Rochester.

“What sets this research postdoctoral experience apart from traditional postdoctoral research is the emphasis on teaching scholars ‘how to teach’ and design new courses at RIT/NTID in full-inclusion classroom settings for deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing undergraduates,” said Peter Hauser, director of the NTID Center on Cognition and Language and the Rochester Bridges to Doctorate Program. “People who are deaf, like myself, are underrepresented in life science disciplines and few are applying for biomedical or behavioral science research grants. This program is helping to rectify that circumstance.”

The program, which received five years of funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences through the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award, is now in its second year.

Two postdoctoral scholars currently are participating in the program.

Sarah Latchney, Ph.D., from Victor, N.Y., earned her doctoral degree in molecular toxicology at University of Rochester Medical Center and has performed postdoctoral research in neuroscience at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Latchney is now at the Wilmot Cancer Institute at URMC performing postdoctoral research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms affecting bone marrow hematopoietic stem cell biology in normal and pathological conditions. Latchney said she joined the RPP to take advantage of the unique training focus to enhance her academic research portfolio with the added dimension of acquiring skills in teaching pedagogy, designing course curriculum and teaching new classes at RIT/NTID and URMC.

Wyatte Hall, Ph.D., from Albany, N.Y., earned his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Gallaudet University and performed one year of postdoctoral research in clinical psychology at University of Massachusetts. His research in the RPP program at URMC focuses on the lifelong consequences of language deprivation in deaf children and the developmental impact of early-language experiences on health literacy and outcomes in prenatal care and reproductive health of deaf females. Hall is starting his second year in the program and has gained teaching experience, research skills and training in grant writing to develop his future independent academic research and teaching program.

“It’s exciting to see the program taking off and impacting the careers of deaf and hard-of-hearing scholars, who are extremely underrepresented in science careers beyond a master’s degree,” said Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean.

Rochester has built a global reputation as a center for deaf and hard-of-hearing culture and education. In the last decade, collaborations between RIT, NTID, UR and the deaf community have led to a number of unique programs designed to support the growth of deaf and hard-of-hearing scientists.

The program is seeking additional deaf and hard-of-hearing postdoc scholars. For more information, go towww.urmc.rochester.edu/academic-research-careers-deaf-scholars/about-the-program.aspx.

Flanagan named RIT/NTID athlete development coordinator

18 Jul

Skip Flanagan in maroon plaid button down with black t-shirt carrying book bag over his right shoulder

Alumnus and baseball standout Sean “Skip” Flanagan has been named athletic development coordinator for Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. In this role, Flanagan will work in tandem with the RIT Center for Intercollegiate Athletics, RIT varsity and club coaches and NTID faculty and staff to support the participation of deaf and hard-of-hearing student-athletes on varsity and club teams. 

Flanagan, of Framingham, Massachusetts, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in exercise science from RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and currently is working on a master’s degree in educational leadership-intercollegiate athletic leadership at the University of Washington in Seattle.  He previously was RIT/NTID’s student-athlete liaison, a student ambassador for NTID, and played professional baseball.            

As athletic development coordinator, Flanagan will meet periodically with coaches of all RIT varsity teams, attend practices and meet with teams to provide educational seminars to improve team dynamics, as well as meet regularly with individual athletes to develop relationships, provide mentoring, support and problem-solving strategies. He will serve as representative of NTID at RIT athletic department staff meetings and functions.


“We are pleased to have Skip return to his alma mater in a role that takes full advantage of his experience both in the classroom and on the field,” said Dr. Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “He will serve as a role model to young deaf and hard-of-hearing student-athletes who attend RIT/NTID as well as those considering their college options.”

RIT/NTID celebrates growing number of Ph.D. candidates

15 Jul

Madeline Beach in black cap and gown with pink lei around her neck standing next to Peter Hauser in blue cap and gown at podium

Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf is honoring deaf and hard-of-hearing graduates who will continue on to earn doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Four RIT/NTID students were enrolled in 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—that is helping to fill the gap that exists when it comes to deaf and hard-of-hearing students earning doctoral degrees in science disciplines.

Up to three graduate students are selected each year for entry into the Bridges program. Most of their tuition is paid, and they also earn experience—and 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.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of these students, who are advancing toward their doctoral degrees and making meaningful contributions to scholarly research,” said Dr. Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “They are role models for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate students interested in STEM disciplines.”

            The students being honored through the Bridges to the Doctorate program:
            • Lorne Farovitch (Vancouver, Wash.), graduated with a master’s degree in environmental science and will attend University of Rochester Medical Center to earn a Ph.D. in translational biomedical science.
            • Madeline Beach (Aurora, Ill.), graduated with a master’s degree in applied statistics and will attend Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to earn a Ph.D. in biostatistics.
            • Jessica Contreras (Eagle River, Alaska), graduated with a master’s degree in experimental psychology and will attend the University of Connecticut to earn a Ph.D. in developmental psychology.
            • Gloria Wink (Rochester, N.Y.) graduated with a master’s degree in environmental science and will attend University of Rochester Medical Center to earn a Ph.D. in epidemiology.

Other RIT/NTID graduates who are continuing on to earn advanced degrees:
            • Natalie Snyder (Rockville, Md.) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science, with minors in exercise science and psychology, and will attend University of Maryland Eastern Shore to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
            • Courtney Kellogg (Lake Waukomis, Mo.) graduated with a master’s degree in chemistry and will attend University of Rochester Medical Center to earn a Ph.D. in Pathways of Human Disease.
For more information about the Bridges to the Doctorate program, go to http://deafscientists.com/

Gaining Business Knowledge on Co-op

14 Jul

Female student with Caterpillar heavy equipment in the background

Marlet Mancera’s co-op experience as a corporate accounting intern at Caterpiller taught her many things among which are that employers value excellence, commitment and teamwork. Her RIT courses helped her develop skills in Microsoft Office, Excel and other software related to her business and accounting interests. She is sure that her business administration degree and accounting training will guide her to a successful future. 

RIT included in “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2017”

6 Jul

Aerial photo of RIT's sustainability building, four stories high with a red brick and glass exterior

Rochester Institute of Technology has again been named in the “Fiske Guide to Colleges,” one of only 26 private and 21 public universities included in the 2017 edition. The guide highlights RIT’s position as a leader in providing access services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students through its National Technical Institute for the Deaf and its focus on career-oriented and technology-based academics. More.