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Winners of RIT/NTID’s Next Big Idea announced

27 Apr

Chris Wagner, Wade Keller, Hans Khols and Gerry Buckley together in front of brick wall with a check.

BAGMAG, a hands-free solution for making skateboards more easily portable on the back of a backpack, took home the $5,000 first prize in the 2017 Next Big Idea competition at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Judges from the competition’s sponsor, ZVRS, a video relay service headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, reviewed the projects of the four team finalists, asked questions and selected first, second and third place winners:

$5,000 First Place: BAGMAG, uses a strong magnet inserted on the backpack that connects to a strong magnet affixed to the bottom of the skateboard and eliminates the need to remove the backpack and use straps to affix the skateboard.

$3,000 Second Place: ASL Storyteller, an interactive app that offers sign language to babies, both hearing and deaf, to help with language development and creates a richer environment for signing babies.

$2,000 Third Place: Expect Zone, a rear-view mirror with three flashing lights that lets deaf or hard-of-hearing drivers know when an ambulance, police car or fire engine is coming near. It flashes more quickly as the emergency vehicle gets closer.     

Four teams of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf went head-to-head April 26 during The Next Big Idea Competition, a ”Shark Tank” style business competition.

The contest is an annual event where teams of students combine skills related to their individual majors to create innovative products, technology or businesses. Teams work with mentors on their projects and compete before judges for cash prizes. This year marks the sixth anniversary of The Next Big Idea competition.

Team members are:

ASL Storyteller—Julie Love, a Graphic Design major from Riverside , California, and Logan Lugo, an International Business major from Columbus, Ohio.

BAGMAG—Hans Khols , an Industrial Design major from Boston, Massachusetts, and Wade Kellard, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Expect Zone— Amelia Hamilton, a New Media Marketing major from Austin, Texas, and Tanner Ketchum, an Accounting Technology major from Austin, Texas.

VIGN— Tobin Zolkowski, a Communication and Criminal Justice major from Neenah, Wisconsin, Iswor Ghimire, a Global Computing major from Nepal, Mohd Afifi Ishak, an Industrial Design major from Malaysia, and Jose Lopez, an Applied Computer Technology major from Los Angeles, California. Vign, described as a “Netflix for deaf people,” is designed to stream program content in sign language.

 “The Next Big Idea competition is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work, creativity and innovation on the part of these student inventors and entrepreneurs,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “We have seen some amazing products and services start in this competition and move into production. We thank ZVRS for their steadfast support since the beginning of the Next Big Idea, and are grateful for the belief they have in our students.” 

Knowing the Basics Pays Off

20 Apr

Student with baseball cap, mustache and blue shirt posing at Job Fair

Connor Fitzgerald, a student from from Lennon, Michigan, had a co-op as a machinist at Gleason Works in Rochester, New York. He had learned the basics and more in his Computer Intergrated Machining Technology classes and was able to apply his knowledge to the job right away. Connor was offered a full-time job at Gleason Works, which he accepted and he’s on his way to a bright future. more

RIT/NTID alumnus to perform National Anthem, ‘America, the Beautiful’ at Super Bowl Feb. 5

3 Feb

Kriston Pumphrey with short dark hair and beard, wearing black shirt and leather coat in front of photo of a tree.

For the second time in four years, Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has a connection to football’s biggest game, the Super Bowl.

This Sunday, Feb. 5, RIT/NTID alumnus Kriston Lee Pumphrey will sign the National Anthem and “America, the Beautiful” prior to the much-anticipated kickoff. Pumphrey, a 2010 graduate of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, will perform alongside country music star Luke Bryan and Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Phillipa Soo—three of the original cast members of the Broadway show Hamilton—during the pre-game ceremony at NRG Stadium in Houston. The contest between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons for Super Bowl LI will be televised on FOX. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST.

This will be Pumphrey’s first time performing at the game.

“It’s a huge honor and I’m elated,” he said. “I’m thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am amazed by the stream of support from friends, family and the community at large. I can’t express enough how excited I am to have been selected by the National Association of the Deaf to not only represent our community as vibrant and diverse, but to make RIT/NTID proud.”

Pumphrey works for DPAN-TV, an online video network delivering information and entertainment in American Sign Language, founded by fellow RIT/NTID alumnus and performer Sean Forbes.

In 2014, RIT/NTID alumna Amber Zion performed American Sign Language versions of the National Anthem and “America, the Beautiful” alongside opera star and Rochester native Renee Fleming.

Meet RIT/NTID student Dom Ricchio

1 Feb

Learn more about RIT/NTID student-athlete Dom Ricchio, an applied mechanical technology major from Racine, Wisconsin, who is succeeding in the pool and in the classroom!

Introducing RIT/NTID’s New Athlete Development Program

6 Dec

Headshot photo of male wearing gingham check orange shirt.

A new program is underway, making the competitive world of collegiate sports even more accessible to all students.The RIT/NTID Athlete Development Program  provides support and training to improve quality of deaf and hard-of-hearing athletes’ experience as key members of their respective athletic programs. Skip Flangan, RIT/NTID’s athlete development coordinator, is working closely with RIT varsity coaches, NTID faculty and staff and, of course, the athletes themselves to help ensure greatness on and off the field, court or track. More.