Student Spotlights

Students in the Honors Program regularly earn the top awards at RIT, and are internationally recognized for their work and studies.

Creative Excellence

Screen shot from the short film Limelight

Honors students Siobhan Gannon and Eryk White (Film and Animation) won special recognition for their short film, Limelight, at the Ithaca Short Film Festival (Best Animation) and at the Virginia Emerging Filmmakers Festival (Official Selection) with many festivals still to be decided. This work, created as a senior animation capstone, depicts a retired game show host struggling to let go of his glory days gone by. In an allegorical journey through the game show’s sound stage, Siobhan and Eryk address the challenge of what to do when the limelight fades away.

Goldwater Scholars

portrait of Emily Mahoney portrait of Quinn Kolt

Honors students including Emily Mahoney (Chemistry BS) and Quinn Kolt (double major in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science) have been named Goldwater Scholars — a prestigious award for undergraduate students in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The award is based on academic merit and research experience, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree and is given out to about 300 students nationwide, out of over 5,000 eligible students.

Fulbright Awardees

Established in 1946, the Fulbright prize is one of the most prestigious in academic circles and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, promoting cultural exchanges with more than 140 countries. Approximately 1,900 US students earn this award each year from around the country. A number of other Honors students have also been named finalists for this award in the past, including Matthias Hausman (double major in Mechanical Engineering, and International and Global Studies), Victoria Scholl (Imaging Science), Kaylin Beiter (Biomedical Sciences) and Rose Rustowicz (Imaging Science).

Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award

The Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award celebrates the top 1% of undergraduate students who are able to maintain a high standard of academic excellence while also giving back to their community through civic or volunteer work, conducting research, or being engaged in a co-op or work in their field of study. This year’s class of Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars includes the following Honors students:

College of Art and Design

  • Juliana Falcon
  • Rebecca Harris
  • Serina Lin
  • Priscilla Nascimento

College of Engineering Technology

  • Donovan Liem
  • Nathaniel Strong

College of Health Science and Technology

  • Katherine Koontz

College of Liberal Arts

  • Bo Allaby
  • Damien D'Arcy
  • Pema Lama

College of Science

  • Megan Borek
  • Hunter Heineman
  • Gabriella Orfanides
  • Isabelle Pilo

Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

  • Renee Bodgany
  • Cole Easton
  • Kyle Embling
  • Mohammad Eshan
  • Olivia A. Gallucci
  • Ryan Keller
  • Allison Maus
  • Connie McGinnis
  • Jordan Reeves
  • Ian Ip "Sam" Sit
  • Vishwesh Venkatramani

Kate Gleason College of Engineering

  • Daniel Brunner
  • Elizabeth Fairchild
  • Amelia Gilbert
  • Eli Hansen
  • Jacob O'Donnell
  • Sam Silliman
  • Daniel Zeznick

National Technical Institute for the Deaf

  • Abigail Bush
  • Christina Wrynn

Saunders College of Business

  • Danny Le

School of Individualized Study

  • Hannah Jay


Excellence in Student Life Award

The Excellence in Student Life Award (formally Alpha Sigma Lambda) was founded in 1964 to celebrate students who represent the guiding principles of Engagement, Scholarship and Leadership and who demonstrate a healthy balance of academic success and student engagement. Students selected for this honor have a high GPA and hold significant leadership positions within RIT-related activities. This year’s awardees include Honors students:

  • Ann Byerley, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
  • Rachel Kogut, College of Art and Design
  • Serina Lin, College of Art and Design
  • Shane Lockhoof, College of Liberal Arts
  • Gabby Orfanides, College of Science
  • Michael Penna, Saunders College of Business
  • Michael Perez-Gelinas, College of Art and Design
  • David Prichett, College of Science
  • Griffin Warntz, College of Engineering Technology

Community Impact Award

The Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement coordinates the application and/or selection process for the Community Impact Awards. This year’s recipients of the Alfred L. and Ruby C. Davis Scholarship includes Honors student Buyi Owo-Odusi. This year’s recipients of the Fredrick Douglas Scholarship includes Honors student Victoria Newson. Elissa Sainthil was also a recipient of the Walls Olson Memorial Scholarship.

Fram Chair Awards

The Fram Chair Award comes from Gene Fram's philosophy of encouraging students to engage with interdisciplinary and deeper thinking. 

Large Group Winners: for their Presentation: Alt-Andalus: An Exhibit of a Medieval World That Never Existed

  • Annie Barber, COLA
  • Jess Edwards, SOIS
  • Juliana Falcon, CAD
  • Taode Ogden, GCCIS
  • Emily O'Shea, CAD

Honorable Mentions:

  • Lucas Diamond, GCCIS
  • Tevin Hendess, KGCOE
  • Emily O'Shea, CAD
  • Maya Sullum, CHST, 
  • Lauren Schack-Sehlmeyer, KGCOE
  • David Brassie, CHST
  • Maya Quaranta

Students in the RIT Honors Program hold leadership positions that impact policy and student lives.

Student Government members

Women's Senator – Olivia Gauthier

43rd Annual Student Writing Awards

Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Liberal Arts honored student achievements in writing which recognize exceptional student writers in our RIT community each year. 

Henry and Mary Kearse Writing Award:

  • Jenna Warren, COLA, Communication
  • Emma Eagan, COLA, International and Global Studies with Sociology and Anthropology

Stan McKenzie Endowed Writing Award: 

  • Abigail Block, NTID, ASL, English Interpretation
  • Raina Freeman, GCCIS, Computing Science