Mission & Overview


The RIT K-12 University Center creates transformative opportunities for K-12 youth and their educators around Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) to inspire, engage, and prepare the next generation of innovators. RIT K-12 fosters collaborations between the university, K-12 schools, industry, and communities to create high-quality education and workforce development experiences that will shape the game-changing problem-solvers of the future. With a commitment to diversity and social justice, RIT K-12 aims to strengthen its impact by removing barriers to access and supporting pathways to success that recognize strength in difference.


Serving more than 5,000 youth per year - in the Rochester region and beyond - with a collection of initiatives that includes campus engagements, virtual and in-person enrichment, school partnerships, internships, college and career readiness programming, summer camps and more, RIT K-12 is an agent of change in the community. 

RIT K-12 specializes in outreach and informal education at both the local and national levels. A diverse team of skilled practitioners - in education, youth services, STEM, and workforce development - design and implement programming for youth, parents, and K-12 teachers. Our goal is to excite and prepare the next generation of college students, and ultimately, our nation's workforce. 

Everything we do is informed by the shared values of diversity, equitable access, and inclusion. We support the personal and academic success of all students by actively working to eliminate barriers to access, nurturing the feeling of belonging, and creating a welcoming environment in which we can respectfully and thoughtfully learn from our differences. 

A Research Center, RIT K-12's work is funded by an extensive portfolio of federal, state, local, and foundation-based grants.  RIT K-12 is committed to objective-driven planning, evidence-based decision-making, and the integration of evaluation in program design. We are mindful stewards of our resources, with a focus on effectiveness, efficiency, and impact. 

RIT K-12 is home to the Office of Youth Protection and Compliance which supports the RIT community in ensuring the safety and well-being of minors on campus and in RIT-sponsored activities. The Office of Youth Protection and Compliance provides guidance on best practices, training, and resources that allow program directors to provide fun and stimulating educational experiences for youth in a safe and supportive environment. 

Relationships are at the foundation of RIT K-12. We work to establish and strengthen reciprocal partnerships around shared goals. Collaboration with campus, school, community, and industry partners amplifies our impact. We recognize that we can do more and do better when we work together. 

Donna Burnette
Executive Director RIT K-12 University Center
Jessica Small
Director, Finance and Operations
Fran Brigham
Finance and Data Specialist