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RIT/NTID faculty member wins national award

12 May

Todd Pagano, center, with ACS President Bassam Shakhashiri (left) and Dreyfus Foundation board member Richard Zare (right).

Todd Pagano, RIT/NTID associate professor and director of the Laboratory Science Technology program, has received the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. That award comes with $15,000 for RIT/NTID to help further promote students interested in science.

Pagano has served on the ACS’s Chemists with Disabilities national joint-board. He has taken nearly 20 of his students over the years to give presentations at national conferences. “They are the only associate degree level students presenting,” says Pagano. “They are the only deaf students presenting. And on three occasions, they’ve been recognized with research presentation awards, competing against hundreds of other students.” More.


Meet Kathleen Szczepanek

27 Sep

“Live and behave honorably with kindness” is the motto that Kathleen Szczepanek, a faculty member in the NTID Business Studies Department, strives to model for her students and in her life every day.

“That is how I want to be remembered,” she says.

Currently a faculty member in the Administrative Support Technology program, Szczepanek has held several positions since joining RIT/NTID 12 years ago. She worked in NTID Alumni Relations and the NTID Vice President’s office, and then worked for five years as an NTID admissions counselor.

“I think my varied roles within the institute have helped me become an effective teacher today,” she says.

A graduate of RIT/NTID, Szczepanek earned an associate degree in Office Technologies, a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and two master’s degrees in Secondary Education and Multidisciplinary Professional Studies with concentrations in Human Resources and Management and Secondary Education.

“My professors at RIT/NTID were big influences on why I went back to school to get my teaching degree and seek a job here,” she says. “I enjoyed my experience at RIT/NTID so much that I wanted to give something back to the institute.”

Szczepanek says her students motivate and inspire her.

“They get me up and going every day,” she says. “My goal is to teach them how to be flexible and adaptable to the fast-changing technology that is all around them, and help them understand good business practices and ethics, so they can be successful when they get out in the real world.”

Szczepanek serves as the cochlear implant mentorship coordinator at RIT/NTID, and pairs students who have cochlear implants with mentors—other students, faculty and staff who also are cochlear implant users—for social events and learning experiences throughout the academic year.

In her spare time, Szczepanek enjoys doing home improvements, reading books and traveling around the United States. She hopes to travel abroad soon. She also is interested in genealogy and studying her Polish heritage and learning about her ancestors.