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RIT Saunders College’s Online MBA Program Among Best

13 May

Photo by: A. Sue Weisler

Photo by: A. Sue Weisler

RIT Saunders College of Business ranked seventh on The Princeton Review’s “Top 25 Online MBA Programs for 2015.” This is the first time that The Princeton Review has done a comprehensive ranking of online MBA programs. Saunders Online Executive MBA Program was cited for its “challenging and selective” accelerated program which offers a “seamless experience” with “great support,” “excellent faculty,” and that “RIT has really set the bar in terms of technology.” The Saunders Online Executive MBA program is an AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)-accredited customizable degree with flexible scheduling options and access to a dedicated MBA career services adviser, as well as free lifetime access to RIT’s Career Services. More.

Hz Innovations Takes Top Prize in RIT/NTID’s ‘The Next Big Idea’ Competition

6 May

Greyson Watkins knew that he and his team had the makings of a revolutionary idea that would enhance life for deaf and hard-of-hearing homeowners. To prove it, the all-student team entered their project—Hz Innovations—in “The Next Big Idea” competition at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf—and walked away with the $5,000 grand prize.

The team devised a cutting-edge wireless sound recognition system for deaf and hard-of-hearing homeowners. Sound-capturing units plugged into outlets throughout the home are tied into a single central processing unit, also in the home. When a doorbell rings, smoke alarm chimes or water faucet drips, for example, the unit notifies the homeowner via smart phone, smart watch, tablet or laptop. Virtually any sound deemed important to the homeowner can be recorded and “memorized” by the system during installation.

“I moved into a house and I started noticing all of the important things I was missing,” said Watkins, a fourth-year computer security student from Durham, N.C. “I missed the sounds of my friends knocking on my front door; my washer and dryer are in the basement and I wouldn’t be able to hear the buzzing of the dryer; my food would burn because I would leave the oven on. There are a lot of people out there, including senior citizens, who have similar issues. I just came up with the idea and it took off.”

The one-of-a-kind product—which the team has decided will retail for about $150—will soon be marketed to the deaf community throughout the United States.

Joining Watkins on the team are Keith Delk, third-year new media design student from Benchmark, Ill.; Jason Lee, fifth-year electrical/mechanical engineering technology student from Brunswick, N.J.; Nick Lamb, third-year electrical engineering student from Watertown, N.Y.; Zack Baltzer, third-year electrical engineering student from Rochester, N.Y.; and Chrystal Schlenker, second-year ASL/English interpreting student from Rochester, N.Y.

“Deaf people tend to have to just keep buying items to accommodate their needs—a device for the baby monitor, another one for the doorbell, and so on. This one system is the only thing they need.”

Hz Innovations has been accepted into RIT’s Saunders Summer Start-up Program, which is aimed at assisting entrepreneurs and innovators in developing their business concepts to a point where they are ready to begin to seek angel investment. The team hopes the finalized product will be ready at the end of the summer.

Other winners of The Next Big Idea were:

  • Second place: Team Imhotep II created a website and DVD that allows people who are interested in developing American Sign Language skills to learn style characteristics including body shifts and facial expressions. The team, which won $3,000, includes students Eric Epstein (software engineering, Tucson, Ariz.), Haley Leet (business, Jeffersonville, Ind.), Sarah Margolis-Greenbaum (management information systems, Indianapolis, Ind.) and Perseus McDaniel (graphic design, Renton, Wash.).
  • Third place: 3015 plans to develop software that allows deaf and hard-of-hearing people with cochlear implants to map, or program to the specifications and needs of the user, remotely without having to see an audiologist. The team, which won $2,000, includes students Christopher Fenn (industrial and systems engineering from Pittsburgh, Pa.), Melissa Keomoungkhoun (advertising/public relations from Plano, Texas) and Jonathan Pons (biomedical engineering from Ballwin, Mo.).

The Next Big Idea is an annual competition, sponsored by ZVRS, in which cross-disciplinary teams of deaf and hard-of-hearing students work together to create products, technology or businesses that will be useful to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Hz Innovations Takes Top Prize in RIT/NTID’s ‘The Next Big Idea’ Competition

6 May

Greyson Watkins knew that he and his team had the makings of a revolutionary idea that would enhance life for deaf and hard-of-hearing homeowners. To prove it, the all-student team entered their project—Hz Innovations—in “The Next Big Idea” competition at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf—and walked away with the $5,000 grand prize.

The team devised a cutting-edge wireless sound recognition system for deaf and hard-of-hearing homeowners. Sound-capturing units plugged into outlets throughout the home are tied into a single central processing unit, also in the home. When a doorbell rings, smoke alarm chimes or water faucet drips, for example, the unit notifies the homeowner via smart phone, smart watch, tablet or laptop. Virtually any sound deemed important to the homeowner can be recorded and “memorized” by the system during installation.

“I moved into a house and I started noticing all of the important things I was missing,” said Watkins, a fourth-year computer security student from Durham, N.C. “I missed the sounds of my friends knocking on my front door; my washer and dryer are in the basement and I wouldn’t be able to hear the buzzing of the dryer; my food would burn because I would leave the oven on. There are a lot of people out there, including senior citizens, who have similar issues. I just came up with the idea and it took off.”

The one-of-a-kind product—which the team has decided will retail for about $150—will soon be marketed to the deaf community throughout the United States.

Joining Watkins on the team are Keith Delk, third-year new media design student from Benchmark, Ill.; Jason Lee, fifth-year electrical/mechanical engineering technology student from Brunswick, N.J.; Nick Lamb, third-year electrical engineering student from Watertown, N.Y.; Zack Baltzer, third-year electrical engineering student from Rochester, N.Y.; and Chrystal Schlenker, second-year ASL/English interpreting student from Rochester, N.Y.

“Deaf people tend to have to just keep buying items to accommodate their needs—a device for the baby monitor, another one for the doorbell, and so on. This one system is the only thing they need.”

Hz Innovations has been accepted into RIT’s Saunders Summer Start-up Program, which is aimed at assisting entrepreneurs and innovators in developing their business concepts to a point where they are ready to begin to seek angel investment. The team hopes the finalized product will be ready at the end of the summer.

Other winners of The Next Big Idea were:

  • Second place: Team Imhotep II created a website and DVD that allows people who are interested in developing American Sign Language skills to learn style characteristics including body shifts and facial expressions. The team, which won $3,000, includes students Eric Epstein (software engineering, Tucson, Ariz.), Haley Leet (business, Jeffersonville, Ind.), Sarah Margolis-Greenbaum (management information systems, Indianapolis, Ind.) and Perseus McDaniel (graphic design, Renton, Wash.).
  • Third place: 3015 plans to develop software that allows deaf and hard-of-hearing people with cochlear implants to map, or program to the specifications and needs of the user, remotely without having to see an audiologist. The team, which won $2,000, includes students Christopher Fenn (industrial and systems engineering from Pittsburgh, Pa.), Melissa Keomoungkhoun (advertising/public relations from Plano, Texas) and Jonathan Pons (biomedical engineering from Ballwin, Mo.).

The Next Big Idea is an annual competition, sponsored by ZVRS, in which cross-disciplinary teams of deaf and hard-of-hearing students work together to create products, technology or businesses that will be useful to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

RIT/NTID Student Wins Fulbright Scholarship

29 Apr

History Estill-Varner, an ASL-English Interpreting and Global Studies undergraduate double major from Independence, Missouri, is the proud winner of a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Since it was established in 1946, the Fulbright Scholar Program has administered highly competitive grants to foster international exchanges in education.

Estill-Varner will travel to the Dominican Republic to collaborate with the country’s National Association of the Deaf and the National Interpreting Association to build a sustainable Interpreter Training Program and assessment model to ensure that interpreters of Dominican Sign Language, LESDOM, are consistent and proficient, thus ensuring quality support services for deaf Dominicans.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest exchange program in the country and provides funds for American students to live in another country for one year to teach English, conduct research or earn a graduate degree. Similarly, 40 international students from 25 countries attended RIT this year through the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.

RIT/NTID Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars

20 Apr

Rochester Institute of Technology honored 104 students whose academic and personal achievements have made them this year’s Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars.

The awards, bronze medallions, were presented in ceremonies on April 16, 2015 to those students who have met the scholarship criteria—a minimum grade-point average of 3.85 out of 4.0; completed more than two-thirds of the credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree; and demonstrated community engagement, such as creative work, serve on student committees, civic activities, employment or independent research.

“RIT is pleased to pay tribute to these undergraduates whose demonstrated devotion to excellence is an inspiration to the university community,” said Jeremy Haefner, RIT provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs, who presented the scholars to President Bill Destler and RIT deans at the ceremony in Gordon Field House.

The 2014-15 RIT/NTID Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars are:

Nathan Scott
A graduate of Guilderland High School in Guilderland, N.Y., Nathan is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Applied Arts and Sciences. He has worked as an NTID math tutor and is a member of the Premedical Student Association and the Asian Deaf Club. Nathan is the recipient of the Ronald Dodge Scholarship, the NTID Presidential Scholarship and the Sertoma Scholarship for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. After graduation, he plans to attend graduate school and enter the field of sports analytics.

Natalie Snyder
A graduate of Rockville High School in Maryland, Natalie is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences. She served as a Red Cross volunteer at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with a focus on prosthetics, orthotics and physical therapy. Natalie is an NTID student ambassador and a math and physics tutor at the NTID Learning Center. She is on the RIT swimming and diving team. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Cross-Registered Student Advisory Board. After graduation she plans to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy.

Kyle Murbach
A graduate of Hindsdale South High School in Wheaton, Ill., Kyle is pursuing a bachelor’s/master’s degree in Computing Security. He completed an internship at the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations at the National Security Agency (NSA). He is the recipient of the (ISC)2 Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship and Harold F. Tipton Scholarship, the Bridgestone Americas, Inc. Scholarship, the Nathaniel Rochester Society Scholarship, the Lucille R. Jennings Scholarship, the NTID Vice President & Dean Scholarship, the NTID Presidential Scholarship, and the RIT Presidential Scholarship. After graduation, Kyle plans to become a malware analyst in a government or corporate setting.

Brett Morris
A graduate of Farmington High School in Connecticut, Brett is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Game Design and Development. He worked as an animation teaching assistant at RIT and the University of Washington Summer Academy for Advancing the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computing. Brett is the recipient of the Game Innovators Scholarship, the NTID Presidential Scholarship, and the RIT Presidential Scholarship and is a member of the Honors Program. After graduation, Brett plans to find work in the game or movie industry.

Rachel Green
A graduate of Central High School in Springfield, Mass., Rachel is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language–English Interpretation. She received a degree in deaf studies from Holyoke Community College. She is a member of the RIT Deaf chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma, Epsilon Pi. She worked as a residential advisor and in the RIT Information and Technology Services Command Center. After graduation, Rachel plans to return to Massachusetts and continue working as a sign language interpreter.

Catherine Lambe
A graduate of Whitesboro (N.Y.) High School, Catherine is pursuing a bachelor’s in American Sign Language–English Interpretation. She worked as a student interpreter in the Department of Access Services at NTID and as a financial assistant at the club resource center on campus. Catherine is a member of the Honors Program and provides volunteer interpreting services at City Hall in Rochester and other community locations. After graduation, Catherine plans to move to Boston where she will pursue her national interpreting certification and work as an interpreter in the healthcare field.