myRITStory – DRISHTI BHANDARI

Program: Metals and Jewelry Design, MFA

The journey from NIFT, India to RIT was endearing as Drishti recalls it. Coming from a jewelry-design background wanting to acquire more expertise in her field, Drishti made a conscious decision to join RIT’s Master of Fine Arts program in Metals and Jewelry Design, one of the most reputed metal design programs in the entire country.

“I always have people curiously coming up to me asking questions about my program as a majority of them come mostly from engineering and computing backgrounds”, says Drishti. “They find it brave and challenging to pursue a field so unique and unheard of”.

Having her jewelry pieces represented at India’s reputed fashion shows, it was time for Drishti to explore further into the field and acquire higher professional standing in her field. After extensive research, she chose RIT because of the impressively designed curriculum and the exposure provided by the department. She was taken aback by the composition of the curriculum that provides broad exposure to metalworking techniques, promises expanded knowledge of applied design, strong perceptual and philosophical concepts and helps develop an individual mode of expression, facilitating her to practically implement her theoretical knowledge from her under graduation into the creation of intricate models. With an existing impressive portfolio, she believed that an advanced degree from RIT and assistance from industry-renowned professors were sure to guarantee her immense success in the design field.

Drishti plans on making the most of her experience at RIT. Along with the comprehensive coursework that requires long and arduous hours in the ceramics and metals lab, she juggles between schoolwork and a fun job at the Brick City Café and believes it is a great way to meet new people and make ends meet as well. From late hours in the lab crafting beautiful designs with her own hands, she believes that the hands-on experience is providing her with a more detailed outlook in the metal design field.

“People back home are scared to pursue their interests in fields that are unheard of because of the stringent rules back here in the US. However, if an individual is determined enough to work for something that they truly love, success comes easy. I would not have found a better place to learn and hone my skills than at RIT amongst the best peers and faculty.”

Lastly, Drishti considers that choosing Rochester Institute of Technology turned out to be a much better decision than she expected. She believes that although it has been one of the toughest things she has had to do, at the end of the day she loves every second of it!

 

 

New to RIT: What to do next?

As intimidating as it is to arrive in a new country alone amidst new people, it is always important to keep a note of the primary things to get done before the Fall semester starts.

Here is a guide on every detail a new arriving student at RIT must follow before the start of classes:

Moving-in

If you are lucky enough to be traveling with companions split the cab expenses when you first arrive at the airport. The university runs shuttles a week prior to the start of classes from airport, train and the bus stations so that people arriving from all over the world do not have to go through the hassle of Uber and all that luggage and can safely arrive at the university.

A majority of the graduate student reside in several off-campus apartments near the university. Thanks to technology and the geniuses working at Uber, is it now easier to get a ride from any corner of the city. Also make sure to stalk up on the groceries the first week you are here and do not forget to explore the wonders that American supermarkets like Walmart, Wegmans, PriceRite etc. have to offer!

A great resource for new students to buy stuff for their homes is the Goodbye-Goodbuy Sale held in the Orientation week. The thrift sale contains every possible piece of item a student might ever need for extremely cheap prices.

New Student Orientation

The new student orientation provides important information of special interest to international students including:

  • Immigration Information on Maintaining Legal Status While in the U.S.
  • Employment in the U.S. (On and Off campus)
  • Health Care and Health Insurance
  • Cultural Adjustment
  • S. Tax Obligations
  • Safety Concerns
  • S. Social Security Numbers

The orientation is where a student receives information about the absolute life at RIT and in the city of Rochester. For international students, this is primary information session that briefs the students about the conduct and policies of the university and also provides the checklist of the tasks that need to be done after first arriving on campus.

  • The first and foremost thing that any new student should do is get their i20s signed from the office of International Student Services located in the Student Union. This marks that the student has successfully entered the university.
  • The second step would be to visit the Office of Registrar in the George Eastman building to get the official University ID Card. This card is useful while entering residence hall, labs, libraries, buying meals, for campus events, and more and is the primary identification when in the university.
  • The next step would be to head down to the Graduate Admissions Office to submit copies of your degree certificate and transcripts in the Bausch and Lomb Center.

The Orientation week is a great chance to finally get in touch with your PAL in person and learn more about the university and the events that are happening all over the campus. It is also a good time to start looking for on campus jobs (either in person or through handshake applications) before the start of classes.

The week before the classes also marks the RochesterGlobalConnection Welcome Picnic event held at one of the heritage spots in Rochester where new international students from UofR, RIT, MCC and Nazareth College come together for lunch engage in great activities and get to interact with the locals of the city.

Department Orientations are held separately by all colleges and provide specific information about the student’s program of interest, tours of the college, personal interaction with the faculty and advisors and provide more information about the classes and the college in general.

SSN

Every year ISS plans an entire day wherein the students are taken downtown to apply for their Social Security Numbers. The office also provides loads of instructions on how to apply for it, what all documents are needed to apply for it and any other documentation help that a student might need.

Tiger Walk & Ice Skating

One of the finest orientation events is the Tiger Walk held at the Quarter Mile in the university wherein new students all take a round of the entire university with the band playing and faculty and parents cheering the students all along the walk. It remarkably highlights the true spirit of the Tigers at RIT and also a fun way to explore the campus and meet new people!

Enjoy some Ice Skating at the Frank Ritter Ice Arena during orientation week. Public skate hours are available for members of the RIT community and the general public.

Resource Fair

The Resource Fair allows new students and their families to get their questions answered, meet with staff members, take care of business, and get information regarding the resources and services available at RIT and in the community. Students can also get mobile phone Sim cards, get their bank accounts set up and get loads of free goodies!!

Explore the campus

The Office of Graduate Education offers hour long, student-guided walking tours of the academic, athletic, and campus life facilities. They originate the Bausch and Lomb Center, #77 and can be arranged with advanced notice.

The Orientation Week is the most fun time on campus with the sun glistening and cheers all around the campus. Make sure to be on the lookout for emails from various departments and organizations for awesome orientation events on the campus all week long!

Good Luck!

IST Labs at GCCIS

The Golisano College is housed within a three-floor, 126,500 sq. ft. facility that features stunning architecture coupled with state-of-the-art research facilities.

There are 13 classrooms, 12 studio teaching labs, and 16 dedicated labs at the College, offering access to the study of every major computing platform. The College’s dedicated Security Lab is isolated from the rest of the campus’s networks to allow the in-depth study of viruses, firewalls, and other computer vulnerabilities.

The Lab Assistants are responsible to manage the Cage. The cage is basically a hub that stores a plethora of hardware that the students can lend for their classes or projects; it is also the place where the labbies sit and take care of the multiple labs in the IST department.

The labs at the IST department are as follows:

  • NETWORK LABS
  •  Networking Lab
  • Systems Administration Lab
  • AirGap Lab

  • SECURITY LAB

  • DATABASE LABS
  • DB Small Lab
  • DB Medium Lab
  • DB Large Lab

  • OPEN LABS
  • Grad Lab
  • Open Lab and Tutoring Center

  • MAC LAB 1 (CS Dept)
  • MAC LAB 2 (CS Dept)

Additional labs include an Entertainment Lab for 3D modeling game and interactive media development lab, a Mobile Computing and Robotics Lab for the research and development of portable devices; and an Artificial Intelligence lab dedicated to the understanding of human reactions and processing.

First Mid-Semester Break in the States!

With the last few weeks of the semester draining the energies out of every student, I was fairly excited for the winter semester break screaming a trip to the warm and beautiful state of California (Christmas was near!!).

As an international student experiencing the dreary cold of Rochester for the first time, I had been looking forward to this break for months now. As much as I was grateful for my remarkable semester back in the university, I was in desperate need of a break away from the harsh weather and the tedious routine.

I landed at the San Francisco International Airport after a long 6-hour flight from Chicago but was astonished at how un-chilling the weather was in the state as compared to back in Rochester. I was going to stay with my cousins in Milpitas, situated in the Silicon Valley which is almost an hour away from the city of San Francisco and a few miles out from the headquarters of companies like Google and Microsoft.

Twin Peaks

I had planned on visiting several of the state’s most famous attractions with my family and we started the trip off with a surprising visit to Walmart!! so that we do not run out of food whilst lying in bed until noon!

The cities of Santa Clara and San Jose held some of the most amazing Christmas decorations and were on top of our lists for the places to visit during the break. The most famous among them was a place called ‘Christmas in the Park’ located in downtown San Jose; it truly was a great way to experience the American Christmas first hand. The next few days involved some paint-balling, exploring small cafes in the neighboring regions of Santa Clara and San Jose and spending our nights at Dave and Buster’s amidst great food and arcade games. Our thirst for ‘Places with the best Christmas festivities’ took us next to Santana Row (an upscale mixed-use development center consisting of retail, office space, residential, lodging and commercial district of West San Jose) which housed some of the most amazing cafes that screamed Christmas!

Situated in downtown San Jose

Christmas in the Park

The next destination on ‘Trip California’ was the beautiful city of San Francisco. The ride through the valley was one of the most beautiful ones I had ever experienced, leading us to our first and the most obvious stop: The Golden Gate Bridge. An icon of the bay area, the bridge spreads over a mile and its dusky golden reflections make you realize how much you miss color until all you’ve seen is white glistening snow for over a month.

The other destinations we covered in the city were Twin Peaks, desserts at the famous Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf (for the famous Boudin bakery!), Financial District and ended the night with some ice skating at the renowned Union Square.

The Ghirardelli Square

Union Square

The entire trip was rimmed with bubble baths, the comfort of home-cooked Indian food with the family, the delicacies served in small pretty cafes of nearby counties and beautiful warm pink sunsets.

This amazing trip to the west filled me with a positive determination and excitement for the coming semester back at the university!

THE WALLACE CENTER AT RIT

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Science and Technologies MS student

As the semester comes to a close, finals week become an inevitable stress. With the period approaching, students hurdle towards the libraries and study centers to access as many resources available to get through the final’s week. The Wallace Center at RIT is an important hub of campus life. With numerous resources offered by the center, the learning space is a great place to get serious about schoolwork.

         The Wallace Center at RIT offers abundant resources for the students at the university. With innovation at its core, RIT created The Wallace Center in 2010, blending essential library, faculty development, and multi-media services. The evolution from a library to a true learning center continued with the integration of the Writing Commons, Teaching and Learning Services and Educational Technology Center. Also housed within TWC are The Innovative Learning Institute, ITS help desk and Java Wally’s. With nearly 4,000 visitors each day, TWC is RIT’s place to study, learn, collaborate and connect.

THE WALLACE LIBRARY

The Wallace library has over 400,000 print books available for students to browse and borrow from. Hundreds of thousands of textbooks related to every field from renowned publishers and authors could be found in the library. Along with that, students can also access electronic books, the archive collection and articles from the digital library that can be accessed 24/7 from any location. Through the online database finder, textbooks, journals or articles placed at specific locations in the library can be located and borrowed by the students.

Other than these resources, the library also appoints specific department librarians/ subject specialists that help students out with resources available to them to succeed in their fields. These librarians help students with citation assistance, theses and dissertation databases and resources for successful submission etc. the online ACM library provides students with published materials while researching for a project or a thesis.

The RIT Press is a not-for-profit scholarly book publishing enterprise at RIT that has published nearly 100 titles across a broad range of academic disciplines, as well as titles of regional interest. The library houses major collections related to printing, type design, paper-making, book binding, book illustration etc. It also features the Graphic Design Archive, which preserves the work of over forty 20th century graphic designers working in the modernist traditions.

RIT’s Cary Graphic Art Collection

At the library, the students can also access services like:

  • Reserve a study room
  • Borrow or Renew Books/ Borrow from Other Libraries
  • Borrow a Laptop
  • Print, Copy and Scan
  • Writing Commons
  • RIT/NTID deaf Studies Archives
  • Collaboration Stations
  • Graduate Student Support
  • Interlibrary Loan and Donation Services

 With state-of-the-art interiors, the Wallace Center (TWC) is also the second largest employer of student employees at RIT.  They offer employment in the areas of library, information technology, graphic design, as well as general clerical positions.

Private Study Spots in the library

Java Wally’s café located on the first floor (this place serves the most amazing hot chocolate ever!!) makes the Wallace Center so much more than just a library. Study breaks are more fun at this light-hearted café that offers a range of products from light snacks, fresh fruit and all kinds of beverages-both hot and cold.

Java Wally’s at The Wallace Center

During the stress of the Finals week, there are tons of events that are organized by the Libraries staff to help students destress. As part of the ‘Destress Fest’, the library organized events like ‘Make your own Stress Ball’, Therapy Dogs, ‘Guided Meditation’, ‘Tea + Scones’, Coffee Breaks etc. to help student relieve the pressure of the finals.

Therapy Dogs at the library during finals week

The library staff also organizes several workshops for incoming students to demonstrate the most useful research sources at the library and how to make complete use of the services offered by the library for student success.

RIT ASL AND DEAF STUDIES COMMUNITY CENTER

RIT has been home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) since 1968, when the first class of Deaf students enrolled in RIT’s academic programs. In 2010, RIT and NTID partnered together to establish a Center on the RIT campus that provides a place for students, faculty, and staff to gather, interact, and learn about Deaf culture and heritage, as well as American Sign Language (ASL). That Center, the RIT ASL and Deaf Studies Community Center (RADSCC), is centrally located on campus in the Community area of The Wallace Center. It offers a state-of-the-art classroom for teaching and learning, two offices, and a lounge area that promotes open and clear access to communication and interaction among Deaf and hearing peers and colleagues.

The RADSCC is committed to sharing information and resources regarding ASL and Deaf culture with the world. It supports diversity on campus by providing a comfortable, creative environment for interaction between Deaf and hearing people.

For detailed information on the resources offered by the Wallace Center and the Wallace Library, please visit the library website at http://library.rit.edu/ or follow the Wallace center on Instagram @ritlibraries.

 

 

 

 

More Than A Capstone

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student 

A fact for everything is that there is a start and there is an end. At least that’s what our biologically evolved logic tells us. That also happens with a student enrolled in a graduate program too. A lot of times it ends with some creative works graduate students come up with, the capstone project. It is a wonderful way to complete a graduate degree.

Working on something new, designing something amazing, coming up with a new theory or a possible explanation of some physical phenomenon and other similar things done in a final project sure sounds interesting but they are what projects are meant for. But signing up for a capstone project offers us more opportunities of learning than we think it does. There are many hidden perks of working on a project.

One of these opportunities is being friends with you adviser. It is always nice to know people and learn what they have offered this world. What I’ve learnt till now from my graduate school experience is that every professor is a unique knowledge offering machine with learnings that you cannot find anywhere else. It is a great experience working under a professor. But the most amazing part of it is the vision and attitude you develop towards life. And this happens through listening to a few of the countless anecdotes from their life, knowing about the decisions they made, getting aware of their curiosities and learning how they approached it.

If you are the physical body of your academic work, your adviser is the soul of it. And when these two things get along in a constructive way, amazing things can be achieved.

My first co-op experience in the US

by Krishna Tippur Gururaj, Computer Science MS student 

I had taken a break from my professional life to move to the US for grad school back in 2016. Back then, it had been a big change for me to get back to books, assignments, tests, and grades. Well, the summer of 2018 was quite a momentous one for me because I was given a chance to go back to working, albeit temporarily. As an international student, I had known that getting work experience in the US would be an invaluable step in my career.

HomeAway at The Domain, Austin, TX

So I was thrilled when I got a chance this year to go on a summer co-op at HomeAway, a vacation rental marketplace company based out of Austin, TX. My focus area during my Computer Science grad program has been Distributed Systems and I could not believe my luck when I got an opportunity to intern as part of HomeAway’s cloud engineering team. I was super excited to be moving to a new city, and equally nervous to be going back to working in a professional environment.

Just another cool spot in the office

After the initial excitement of getting the offer sunk in, I started to look at housing options. I knew I had to work with certain restrictions, i.e. easy commute, short-term lease. HomeAway’s recruitment team helped me get in touch with other incoming interns which was really helpful and made my housing search simple.

After a fast-paced yet informative two-week training program in which I was given overviews of the company vision, the various technologies that were used, and some hands-on on the same, I joined the Digital Infrastructure team in the Cloud Engineering department. The team was friendly and I found my colleagues to be approachable and helpful. I learned a lot and got to experience first-hand how stuff that I have studied about in grad school actually gets implemented in real-world scenarios.

Midway through the summer, HomeAway had organized a hackathon called InternHackATX, through which they intended to get interns from all over (internal and external to HomeAway) to come together for a weekend of bouncing ideas off of each other to solve a problem related to group travel. Three fellow interns and I ended up finishing 2nd overall for proposing a solution to intelligently bring structure to a group conversation between friends planning a vacation. It was an amazing experience and something that I had never done before!

First runners-up at InternHackATX 2018 (after about 3 hours’ sleep in 48 hours)

Before I knew it, it was time to wrap up my intern project, present it to a company-wide audience, and head back to Rochester. It was a bittersweet moment when I was leaving since I really liked living in Austin and partly because I had to get back to books. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience and I am glad I had the chance to learn and become more responsible.

College of Engineering Graduate Mixer

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student 

Graduate life is all about studies, projects, research and similar kind of stuff. Come on! That’s not true. Graduate life is also about knowing what other graduates are being doing. Its also about hour-long philosophical conversation with professors (a chance you won’t get in the class). Well, graduate life is a bunch of other stuff too. Stuff like partying, going on hiking trips in the summer and ski trips in the winter, meeting new people and talking about some deep topics from epistemology and metaphysics to which nobody has an answer.

Being a graduate student requires a lot of mental resource. But sometimes you have to have a break. What better could it be than meeting people you’ve taken classes with in the past. And wouldn’t it be even better to food and drinks! I got a similar opportunity a few weeks back when I attended Graduate Mixer. It is an event hosted by the Kate Gleason College of Engineering for their graduate students and faculties.

It was an experience to see how amazing and different these people are. I got a chance to have a nice informal conversation with almost all the professors I’ve taken classes under. It was nice listing to their anecdotes and learning about their curiosities. Its amazing how different a conversation with your professor can be once you are outside the classroom.

We all meet new people and make new friends. I met some of my friends from my past classes. You really get a sense of time when you meet your friends after a long time and talk about what the good old days, the obstacles you’ve faced together and all the good memories. It feels warm and enlightening looking back at the past. It was a great experience learning what they are up to these days and how their lives are going on.

The only way to understand nature is to look around and learn from it and the first step to it is knowing the people around. Thank you KGCOE for providing this opportunity through this amazing event.

The Week Before Classes Starts

by Ami Patel, Imaging Science MS student

I know it’s such an overwhelming time, the beginning. You have reached RIT, but what exactly are you supposed to do now? Let’s go through various things you need to do before classes start:

Offices:
1. Getting your RIT ID card: You should visit the Office of Registrar, located in the George Eastman Building to obtain your ID card.

2. Transcripts and/or Degree Certificate: You will need to visit the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services, located in Bausch & Lomb Center to get your Transcript and Degree Certificate scanned for the official records.

3. Student Employment Card: In case you have signed the employment papers with any department on-campus, you need to visit the Student Employment Office, located in University Services Center to obtain your Student Employment Card.

4. Getting your i20 signed: If you are an international student, you have to visit the International Student Services, located in the Student Alumni Union Building to get your i20 signed by one of the officers.

Orientation:
1. Graduate Student Orientation: This orientation event provides information on how to smoothly transition into the grad life here at RIT. The registration link will be emailed to you soon.

2. New Student Orientation: There will be a lot of activities and information sessions about your resources and getting used to the RIT spirit.

3. International Student Orientation: If you are an International student, there will be an entire day of events with a mix of important sessions, social events and maybe a party to meet new fellow students and make some new friends. You will need to register for this.

Traditions/Fun stuff:
Okay, let’s not forget some post arrival traditions at RIT.

1. Take a walk on the Quarter Mile: The Quarter Mile at RIT is a 0.41-mile long walkway that stretches between the dorms and the academic side of the campus. Almost all the important buildings would be on this walkway, so it’s a great way to explore the campus.

2. Photograph with RITchie: If you are still unaware, RITchie The Tiger is RIT’s mascot. There’s a Tiger statue right in front of Eastman Kodak Quad on the Quarter Mile. It’s one of the most popular photograph spots on the campus.

3. Ice cream on Friday at Ben & Jerry’s: Yes, we have a Ben & Jerry’s on-campus. If you receive any email regarding 50% discount, don’t miss out on the opportunity.

4. Join at least one club: One of the fun events to attend during the Orientation week is the RIT Clubs Resource Fair. All the 200 club representatives will be there to provide you information and how to get involved with them. It’s a nice way to immerse yourself in the community.

In case you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. Thanks.

On-campus vs Off-campus Housing at RIT

by Ami Patel, Computer Science MS student

This is an important debate for new students and especially those who aren’t from the Rochester area. There are so many factors and facilities that play a role while finalizing the housing. As someone who has lived both on and off campus here, I feel my perspective can help you out a little. So here are key factors and comparisons of how the options defer.

First thing, what do I describe as on-campus? Any housing communities owned by RIT, whether on campus (Riverknoll, Colony Manor, Perkins Green, Greek Housing, Residence Halls) or situated few miles away from RIT (there are two in this case which is The Racquet Club and RIT Inn). Also, there are two other privately owned communities on the RIT campus. The rest of the housing options I mention in this blog are off-campus accommodations.

Now that we have outlined the terminology, let’s jump to different factors. It always starts with the cost. Rent for the on-campus resident halls and apartments range from $500-$1000/month per person. You can check the rates for individual options here. It’s difficult to draw a line for off-campus options, but I will say you will generally find this between $300-$700/month per person.

Next thing that follows is the privacy – shared or private bedroom. You will find both options at both the places but off-campus tends to be cheaper for both the options. You will also need to consider the cost of transportation. For some cases, with transportation costs, it might cost same as on-campus.

So that brings us to the commute factor. All the on-campus options have access to the RIT Shuttle services, which run from 7ish am till 1:30ish am. Some of the off-campus options are connected to RIT through the city bus transport or by their own private bus to RIT. If you have our own car, off-campus options get much better. Public city bus transport costs $1 for each trip regardless of the distance.

Furnished vs unfurnished – Of course, furnished ones will be on the pricer side. It will be cheaper to furnish on your own than paying that extra money every month for a furnished option. If it’s off-campus, unfurnished is more idea and cheaper.

Well, the last one is quite abstract – amenities. If you are living on-campus all the RIT resources are accessible all the time. Off-campus apartment communities will have some kind of amenities, but, if it’s a private house, there won’t be any. For more resources, you will have to come to the campus.

From my experiences, I feel off-campus is cheaper and a good option if you have your own car or if you are okay with the commute time. On-campus is more convenient for people who prefer better & quicker access to the campus, not plan on having a car or aren’t used to the type of weather Rochester has.

Also, I would like to add how to go house hunting. For on-campus options, you can check here. For off-campus options, it will be best to join RIT Housing group on Facebook. Once you have shortlisted options based on your preferences, you can proceed with the application. In some cases, you will need to find your own roommates, which, you can find on the Facebook group mentioned here. The best time to finalize housing is June & July for Fall semester and November-December for Spring semester.

Thank you for reading through this and I hope this article provided a better outlook on the dilemma. You can leave a message here if you have more questions.