SOIS/NTID student excels on and off the track

Julianne Young says she and teammates adapt communication styles to succeed together

Erin Percy

Student-athlete Julianne Young shines on the track and in the classroom.

Julianne Young is a second-year communication sciences major from Duxbury, Vt., enrolled in both the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and in the School of Individualized Study. She created her major through SOIS to further her goal of entering audiology school after RIT. On top of her studies, Young is also a standout track athlete.

What do you love about track?

What I love about track is the community of people that we have within our team. We are a really close-knit group, and we all get along well. I really love how we can all push one another to get better and work harder so we can reach our goals.

What are your academic interests?

I really enjoy abnormal psychology. Learning about the brain and different disorders is very interesting to me. I also really enjoy science classes here at RIT and appreciate how hands-on and interactive they are.

How do you balance your time between school and athletics?

It is really hard to balance school and athletics personally. Making sure I have time to get any extra help for specific classes, like finding time to go to office hours or to meet with tutors, is a challenge. I do find it really helpful that the track team is very academically focused and that academics come before any of our track goals. After all, we can’t be on the team if we are not doing well in our classes. That is definitely good motivation to maintain good academic standing throughout the year. I really enjoy being on the track team and getting to compete, but I make it clear that academics are my first priority here.

How has being hard of hearing affected your experiences with track?

Being hard of hearing has definitely had an impact on my experience on the track team in positive ways and in some more challenging ways. One positive is that my teammates and I spend a lot of time together, so I really feel like they understand what I need in order to have access to communication at practice or in the locker room. It is an extra challenge having to wear masks around one another because that means I can’t lip read, so I really appreciate when my teammates will sign and gesture to help me out. A lot of them have learned common signs in ASL that come up when we are talking, and that is very helpful. During races it is so loud and echoey on the track that I can’t hear what my coaches tell me, so one of them has started using the sign for “faster” and “good” to communicate with me during races.

What are the added benefits of being a student-athlete?

Being an athlete is important to me because it gets me to push myself to reach new goals each day and season. I enjoy sports for the physical aspect but also for the team aspect. Everyone on the track team is so welcoming and supportive and I am really appreciative that I get to be a part of the track community.

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