Don’t Miss Out on Imagine RIT 2018!

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

For those of you interested in innovative and interactive presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and different exhibitions – have you heard of Imagine RIT? If not, today it’s the time for me to introduce it to you all.

Imagine RIT is an annual festival of Innovation and Creativity that turns the entire RIT campus into a giant expo showcasing interactive student projects in fields of science, technology, arts, community and beyond. And this year, the festival is being held on Saturday, 28th April 2018, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Every year, it’s a great opportunity for the RIT students, faculty and staff to showcase their innovative work to the public, and also a great campus-wide event for the visitors to experience the dynamics of the campus.

Last year was the ten-year anniversary of Imagine RIT and there was about 400 exhibits displayed at the festival. Various types of creative projects were involved including Puppy Prosthetics, customized drones, Air Force bomb disposal robot, Ferris wheel model, and so on. Almost all of the projects delivered valuable messages with the implementation of technologies and some of them could even address real quality-of-life issues. Personally, I am also planning on attending the event and demonstrate some of the research work that I have been working on. I take this event as a valuable chance to exchange ideas with people who are a big fan of innovations and technologies.

Recently, the Imagine RIT team has just announced that President Munson is sponsoring a Performing Arts Competition as part of Imagine RIT 2018. And this exciting news means RIT community members who are into things like dance, music, drama, comedy and juggling can also have a stage to show their talent to the public. There’s also a Poster Contest for this year’s festival if you would like to check some beautiful designs out! And lastly, if you want to know about the festival, please visit their website at

RIT’s Secret Amenities

by Josiah Bonifas, MBA student

In my last Blog I spoke about the importance of being active and taking care of our bodies. This week I would like to highlight some of the facilities and healthy, fun opportunities that are available at RIT.

On top of the various clubs that students create and the multiple physical education/health classes taught, there are some hidden gems in RIT that I have found during my time here. First off, for a motivated individual, they supply you with everything that you would possibly need. I have always been an advocate for working out and have visited many gyms, so believe me when I say that RIT has an excellent fitness center. They cover over machine and free weight necessary, while also providing an open exercise area on the upper level for CrossFit workouts, or stretching. There are multiple indoor and outdoor tracks if you’re one of those crazy running people as well. Working out alone can be daunting, but the staff are more than happy to assist in spotting you or even giving advice. Now to the hidden gems.

RIT’s Wellness Center has a sign-up option where you can work with a trainer to carve out a workout or fitness plan/diet. This can provide anyone an excellent advantage and expert guidance. They can also check your weight, body fat, and ranges of motion as you set goals to improve all those functions. This can save you a lot of independent time and research.

Another cool hidden gem that every student should know is the free chiropractic care that RIT students are available to use. The Rochester Health Center, Affiliate of New York Chiropractic College on, 1200 Jefferson Rd, Rochester, NY 14623, offers all RIT students free treatment. It is an excellent training facility that I have been using since I found out about it. Chiropractic treatment can be beneficial to anyone, and is an awesome advantage to have while at college.

Some final gems that current or incoming students might want to keep in mind are, the Red Barn Rock climbing center, the Wave pool (lazy river) section of the aquatics center, the hot tub, the sauna rooms, the ice skating rink with public skate hours, the indoor racquetball courts, and the outdoor tennis courts which have multiple public hours. A lot of times we want to do something different and fun, but aren’t sure what to do. These are just a few ideas of things available.

I’ll rap up with this. As you’ve read along, this can easily sound like a cheesy infomercial where I end the speech saying, “All of this can be yours for only $19.99!”. But that’s not my goal. I have always operated under the opinion that the more you know, the more you’ll do. When I graduated from undergrad I looked back and was a disappointed to find out about some things that I didn’t even know existed. I always had a few regrets of things that I wished I had tried at the time. This Blog is just to highlight some of the great opportunities here that might interest you. Give it a shot. You never know if you’ll find something you might truly enjoy.

P.S (Here’s the links to the Facility hours and the Chiropractor College)

My first Toastmasters Club session

by Krishna Tippur Gururaj, Computer Science MS student 

I had heard about Toastmasters a couple of years ago from a friend who was looking for a way to overcome a crippling fear of public speaking. I mirrored similar feelings but due to some circumstances, I could not find out more and join. Last semester I came across an e-mail from the RIT chapter of Toastmasters. I was keen on attending a meeting but unfortunately, the timings of their weekly sessions coincided with classes so I was not able to take part.

This semester I happen to be free during their meetings so finally in the 5th week, I got myself to go for a session of Tiger Tales Toastmaster Club. I walked in apprehensively, got greeted at the door by a smiling greeter (I found out later that one member is assigned to be a “greeter” each session) who realized almost immediately that I was a newcomer and patiently walked me through the sign-in process, handed me a copy of the day’s agenda, and found me a spot.

It was 6:28 PM and the session was scheduled to start at 6:30 PM. I saw people walking around chatting with others so I expected a delay in proceedings. I could not have been more wrong. At exactly 6:30 PM, the “opener” walked up to the front of the room, banged the gavel, and started speaking. And just like that, everything was engrossed in what was being said. I found out that there was a pre-decided theme of the day, which on that day was “realization”. The “opener” spoke for a couple of minutes about it, giving the audience his view on what realization meant to him. It was short, yet informative. At 6:33 PM, he introduced the “toastmaster” for the evening, whose primary task from then onwards was conducting the meeting. The toastmaster then welcomed all members and paid special attention to the guests for the evening. The guests, or newcomers as I would call us, were given a quick overview of how Toastmasters works, how their goal is to promote public speaking and to help anyone hone their speaking skills. He introduced several key positions for the evening, a person oversaw time-keeping, another one kept track of the grammar being used, while another person counted the number of times a speaker used filler words (“ah”, “umm”, “like”).

And then the session got underway properly. There was a range of speakers for the day; one was doing his first Toastmasters’ speech, while another one was practicing to participate in an international Toastmasters competition. There was also a section where open questions were asked and anyone in attendance could go up and answer. This addressed the impromptu part of public speaking and served as a perfect complement to the previous section where speakers gave prepared speeches.

In the end, the meeting was concluded by reviews given by the “timer”, the “ah-counter”, the “grammarian”, and the general evaluator. Each person’s comments were well-appreciated and applauded. There was even a small prize given to the person who gave the best answer for the open question section.

The last thing that the president of the club did before adjourning the session was to speak to the guests of the evening and made us give our two cents about the experience. I absolutely loved the whole thing and made sure that everyone knew how much I enjoyed.

I would love to join the club and learn the art of public speaking from others and was thoroughly impressed by the ease with which each speaker spoke and the way all constructive criticism was given and taken. I cannot wait to go back next week and I hope that this will be an enriching experience for me going forward.

The Minimalist Journey

by Ami Patel, Computer Science MS student

It was the onset of Fall, and I had already decided to move from my off-campus apartment to someplace with better commute options to RIT. I hadn’t decided where, but, I knew I was moving out. My mind was already prepared for shifting, and slowly, I started sensing the materialistic possessions around me. My closet was overflowing; the drawer was full of random stuff, the shelves brimming, and random piles of boxes in the storage area. A thought crossed my mind; I can never fit all that in the three suitcases I came with. And just then the Minimalism video I had watched a few months ago popped into my head.

I binge watched few videos on Minimalism, and I felt connected with this idea because there was so much clutter around me, it was just too much. I went through my entire room and the apartment to remove things I didn’t need anymore. While I was at it, I realized three major causes of my situation, two of which are prevalent to other students too.

Of course, the first is bringing 3 FULL medium size suitcases along with me. It was the first time I was moving out of my house to live independently, and I thought, I needed All my stuff. Almost all incoming international graduate students I came across, were carrying that much belongings and that’s where the problem lies – normalizing the fact that we will need so much stuff.

As far as you are not moving to a remote island, you can buy things as you need. That brings us to the second cause – Students buy things, a lot of things. Though we brought so many clothes, we are going to buy clothes pertaining to trends in the new city. Something else we students buy a lot is electronics and gadgets to ease our life. For this, I would ask you to go through your online order history and analyze if you have extensively utilized all the products you ever bought. The third issue in my case is that I was a hoarder. I wasn’t good at letting go the things.

Well, this journey helped me to downsize heavily on the overwhelming materialistic possessions. I learned two lessons: one, what I really need and two, let go what I don’t need. Minimalism doesn’t mean to live with very few items, but, it means to live with things you really need. Minimalism was not a journey, it’s a lifestyle for me and I’m still exercising it.

My $0.02 to the students who will move to a new place for graduate studies is to carry just a suitcase and (maybe) a half of essential stuff. Buy the necessities as you adjust to your new life, but remember you may move to another city soon, so don’t hoard a lot.

Winter is Here

by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS student

I look out of the window in the morning and my car is covered with snow. I am very annoyed and curse Rochester weather for making my life difficult. My mind quickly starts thinking about writing how to survive in this weather and well long story short I started writing this piece. I wanted to title it “Winter is Coming” but then realized it made no sense because winter has been around for a couple of months already. Now let me think about some ways to survive the Rochester Snow:

1) Snow Boots and Jacket: It gets very slippery when the snow melts and turns to ice so make sure you have a good pair of snow boots. Also, get a jacket that has fur lining on the hoodie because it keeps the snow falling all over your face.

2) Exercise: The cold weather is going to make you lazy and sleepy all the time so make sure you exercise in the winter to avoid those extra pounds and be more energetic.

3) Dry Skin: Your skin and eyes will be extra dry during the snow season. First and foremost cover yourself, get a good moisturizer and a humidifier for the home.

4) Emergency Kit: Snowstorms are not very common but I would still ask people to keep an emergency kit which has things like a battery pack, flashlight, snacks, etc.

5) Stay Healthy: Falling sick is a common thing in the snow season so always make sure you have a hand sanitizer with you, get good amount of sleep and exercise.

These are some of the main things that you need to look out for but there are many other like being careful while you drive in the snow. As I wrap up the article later in the day and looking for a conclusion by wandering outside the library, I see the sunset and a little snowfall which made me realize that I have a love-hate relationship with the snow season at RIT. There are days when I am looking forward to getting out of Rochester and another day when I realize how much I love the snow. Oh before I forget, the man in the picture is President Destler who retired in 2017 and was the 9th president of RIT.

It’s the Year of the Dog!

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

Last Friday marked the beginning of the celebrations for the Chinese New Year (aka Chinese Spring Festival), and it lasted through this Sunday, Feb 18th, at RIT. RIT Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) held a Chinese New Year Celebration Gala on Sunday night. The Chinese Zodiac is made up of 12 different animals and each of them gets an outing every dozen years. 2018 is a Year of the Dog.

Lunar New Year is always the most important and traditional festival of the year in Chinese culture, and we were so pleasantly surprised and glad that RIT president, David C. Munson Jr., also showed up at the event with his family and showed to support for the Chinese international students. During the event, we had performances including Chinese folk dance, rap, crosstalk and comedic skits. We were also honored to invite our well-liked admissions counselor, David Wivell, to give a welcome speech at the beginning of the Gala. Additionally, lottery drawing also drew the attention of the audience. The biggest prize that was given was an Amazon Fire Tablet.

In case you were wondering, Chinese people usually celebrate Spring Festival by having reunion dinner with family and watching Chinese Near Year Gala on TV. In general, people from the North prefer to make and eat dumplings on Chinese New Year’s Eve, and those from the South will eat spring rolls or sticky rice cake. This year I got to have the large banquet with all of my classmates in my program. It was a bit like a potluck, where people bring various dishes and snacks. But meanwhile, we also handmade dumplings, hotpot and other meat dishes for everyone to share. This New Year feast meant a lot to most of the kids in the program since it’s their first experience of Chinese New Year oversea.

For me, Chinese New Year is more like a celebration of friendship and Chinese culture now because it has been 8 years since I got back home for the Lunar New Year. Although I miss the feeling of having a big dinner with my family, I’m pleased that there’s always a new year atmosphere during the Lunar New Year time in the U.S., and I’m super proud of this unique experience and culture that I have. Happy New Year of the Dog everyone! 新年快乐 (Happy New Year in Chinese, pronounced Xīn Nián Kuài Lè/sheen nian kwai luh)!


Government of the people, by the people and for the people

by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS student

It was just another snowy day at RIT and I was having a conversation with my roommate about some food that is being thrown out by dining services at the end of the day. It deeply saddened me to hear food being wasted and I wanted to do something about it. After asking around I heard about the Student Government who is a part of the governing body at RIT which makes policies and votes on them along with Staff Council and Academic Senate. Their mission reads “To represent the interests of the student body through the implementation of innovative programs, services, and initiatives that enrich student lives. We will be the primary source of advocacy for students from Rochester Institute

of Technology and we will utilize our shared governance structure to voice student opinion and concern. RIT Student Government will be the forefront of change within the university.”

I was deeply intrigued by this and felt they would be the best people to talk to about my concern and I did end up talking to them about it. It was a great interaction and that is my first interaction with Student Government. In the next few months I kept learning more and more about them and felt very passionate about the change they are bringing about at RIT. Then came the wonderful day when I saw that they were accepting applications for different elected position in the Student Government. My eyes finally fell upon the Graduate Senator position and understood that the position is of a representative for the graduate students at RIT. After an intense month of campaigning and elections I have successfully won the elections and started in my role. As I went about in the role, I understood the kind of impact that Student Government has in the university. On a weekly basis, I work with the various Graduate Directors in order to discuss the new
programs that are being proposed by the departments and also propose any changes required to the graduate student policies. Apart from that I work with the different graduate student advocacy groups to address graduate student concerns like housing, transportation, etc. Also, I work with President Munson on the University Council where we discuss and vote on various university policy changes.

The presence of Student Government in the University Council ensures representatives who will be looking out for the best interests of students on the council. The impact that my work has on the students and various other stakeholders makes me feel more responsible to the role I have been elected to at RIT. Today as I write this blog I feel proud to be a student of RIT where students are given importance in policy making and this proves that indeed the school cares about its students genuinely and takes their opinions. I see the RIT Student Government as the Government of the students, by the students and for the students and glad to be a part of it.


A focus on fitness

by Josiah Bonifas, MBA student

School can be taxing, both physically and mentally. As our minds stress our bodies tend to stress and breakdown as well. Life becomes a constant struggle to balance good grades, proper rest, and social interaction. On top of that, many students are usually involved in some sort of part time or full-time job. As a 1st year Grad Student I have paid my dues, thus I know firsthand how busy life can get. We end up so overwhelmed by the things we need to get done that we will often neglect to take care of ourselves. I know what you’re thinking. “This guy better not tell me that I should be working out.” Well I won’t say that exactly, but I will say that we should all be taking time to build healthy habits and take care of our bodies. Consider it a long-term investment, just as our studies are.

Mental and physical health are interconnected as study after study shows. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you function better in your studies, and your profession. I know that the idea of even stepping into the gym or making time to work out seems crazy, but there are other things that you can do to start building better habits.

First step is to get up and move throughout the day. I don’t mean like walking from class to class. I mean frequent stretches throughout studying and working. If you can switch it up and work while standing for a bit, give it a shot. Dr. James Levine is credited with the mantra “sitting is the new smoking”. He has studied the adverse effects of our lifestyles for years and is known for inventing the treadmill desk. Because of his extensive studies Dr. Levine declared “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” I encourage you to look him up and read further into it if you have time.

Another step to take to boost your physical health is sweating. I know it sounds a bit gross but sweating has many positive impacts on the human body. Sweating can boost your overall mood and improve mental focus. This can come in the form of working out, or even using RIT’s sauna. Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a health specialist, has studied the effects of physical exertion on the human body. She found a correlation with sweating and mood, productivity, and longevity. She also found that sitting in a sauna provides the same benefits. She encourages people to sit in a sauna 3-5 times a week to boosts overall health. RIT has a sauna available to all students in the Fitness center locker rooms. Although working out provides you with more benefits then the sauna, if you don’t have time to work out try taking some time in the sauna as an alternative.

Other steps you can take to start increasing your physical health are just as easy as the last two. Start by setting small goals and try to hit them each week. Generally, a rule of thumb for remaining active is trying to walk 10,000 steps a day. We all carry our phones with us most of the time, so this shouldn’t be too hard to track. Another step is mapping out a workout plan and trying to get into the gym 2 to 3 times a week. Even if it’s just a quick 10-minute workout, it’ll help build the habit. Lastly be more mindful of your sugar intake and what you are eating. You don’t need to be on a hardcore diet to be healthier. Simply removing soda products, eating a few more vegetables, or not eating late night snacks can help. Whatever you do, implement it in small increments. You might find that it is easier to start forming new habits if you take it slowly rather than trying it all at once. Focus on hitting one or two goals a month, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly they become part of your lifestyle.

New Year, New Semester

by Kexin ‘Coco’ Wang, Visual Communications Design MFA student

This year, for the first time in four years, I got to spend the New Year back at home in China. Although I couldn’t stay long enough for the Chinese New Year, I appreciate that I was able to be with my family and friends in my hometown, wishing for a bright and promising new year together.

I recall that last time when I was home for winter break, I had just finished my first semester in College, and now I am a graduate student who has got one semester down successfully. Really, time flies so quick! It’s hard to believe how much I have grown and developed as a person through the college years and my first year here at RIT. “The only thing that is constant is change,” as Heraclitus said. However, I think for me, the only constant is my willingness to accept the change and thrive, and my adaptation to them. I believe that change creates possibilities that help me to live my life better.

From high school in Maine to college in Colorado, and to now in Rochester, along with trips to Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, Belgium, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Japan, I enjoyed every single challenge and opportunity that came my way. In the meantime, I keep training myself to develop greater confidence in my ability to navigate new surroundings and further expand my skill-set. So for the new year and new semester, I am still aiming at the achievement of the very same goal, which is to embrace and adapt to the changes.

What will my biggest change or challenge be in 2018? I guess at the moment it’s going to be trying to find a valuable internship and switching into “work mode” during the summer. Gladly, RIT has a co-op/internship and summer research program that could help students get a paid internship with real world experience. If you want to learn more about this opportunity, you could visit their website for more information. So hopefully, I could get an internship in my dream field and make summer meaningful.

That is just one big challenge I could name for now, but as I am in a phase of life with so many unknown experiences lying ahead, I might get surprised at any moment. Therefore, I am also learning how to prepare myself for any possible options and feelings and know how to make healthy decisions and plans. I am extremely excited for this year full of surprises and study/work mode changes, and hopefully I could get to live the life I wish to! And I strongly hope your New Year is off to a good start!

#myRITstory – Megan Fritts

Megan Fritts is from Erie, Pennsylvania and completed her BFA in Illustration in May 2008. She is currently working towards her Master’s degree in Professional Studies with a concentration in Higher Education and Leadership. Read her #myRITstory below!

Megan is an Academic Adviser in the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

I started working at RIT during my undergraduate degree, and was asked shortly after graduation to come back as a temp for a staff assistant position. I became the full-time staff assistant in 2008, and moved into an academic advising position in July of 2012.”

Megan loves working with other RIT students and uses her own experience as a student to inform her advising style. “In the 10 years that I have been working full-time, I have had the great opportunity to work with hundreds of different students in their educational path of earning a degree. This includes students who start in a major and decide it is not the right fit, those who earned a degree and are coming back to pursue a new career path, those that start and finish in the same program, etc. Working with students has been extremely rewarding experience, and one that is different every day. What I went to school for in my Bachelor’s degree had nothing to do with the career path that I chose to pursue after school. However, the experiences that I had in school, and in finding a job have been a great influence in how I work with students and guide them through their academic path. ”

Megan also had good suggestions for students who are on a job hunt. “Do not give up! Do not be afraid to use the connections and resources that are provided for you through RIT. If you have a friend or a family member that can help make a connection at a company for you, use this opportunity. This is not cheating or taking the easy way out. At the end of the day, they can help with the connection, you will be doing the interviewing and proving you deserve the position. Additionally, RIT’s Co-op and Career Services office provides resources and assistance to alumni for life. Keep a close connection with the co-op advisor’s, former faculty, and most importantly, do not be afraid to use the vast and amazing RIT alumni network.”

RIT offers mock interviews for students so students have the opportunity to be “interviewed” by people in industry and receive valuable feedback before their real interviews take place. Megan recommends students keep practicing their interview skills, whether finding example questions through Google or talking to others in a field about their experiences or questions they had. The more knowledgeable you are going into an interview them more comfortable you will feel. Also, If you have some close friends or peers in your major or in industry already, ask if they will do a mock interview with you.

Thank you, Megan, for sharing your #myRITstory!