The Deaf STEM Community Alliance leadership team is housed within the RIT/NTID Center on Access Technology (CAT).


Center on Access Technology (CAT)

CAT is charged to investigate, evaluate, and report on the most effective and efficient use of access technologies and train individuals in their use in order to accelerate the widespread implementation of best practices within deaf education at the postsecondary level. The Center is focusing its efforts on technologies that have a high likelihood of improving access to postsecondary educational opportunities for deaf students within the next several years. Based on research conducted in 2005, four areas of focus were identified. These strands include:

  • Classroom Access Technologies   
  • Mobile Technologies
  • Audio and Sound Technologies of Interest to Hard-of-Hearing Persons
  • Training and Evaluation Services

The Center seeks projects that fall within the following parameters:

  • Those that can adapt/ adopt existing technologies
  • Those that utilize existing professional networks
  • Those that involve education and training

Foundation Projects

Initial inspiration for the Deaf STEM Community Alliance arose from two projects that were sponsored by the National Science Foundation and administered by the CAT. For more information, please see the Documents from Relevant Prior Grants.


Summit to Create a Cyber-Community to Advance Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Individuals in STEM (DHH Cyber-Community)(NSF OCI-0749253) was hosted by RIT, June 25-27, 2008.


The primary outcome of this conference was a report on the current state of online remote interpreting and captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Additionally, the principals prepared a recommendation report specifying the characteristics of a multimedia cyberinfrastructure to provide remote communication support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in mainstream STEM classrooms. Read about the summit here:


Testing the Concept of a Virtual Alliance for Deaf and Hard of Hearing STEM Students at the Postsecondary Level (NSF HRD-0927586), (September 2009-February 2011).


This grant identified how many students are in STEM programs, which colleges they attend, and what resources they need to be successful. Partnering with the national Northeast Regional Center of the Postsecondary Education Programs Network (PEPNet), investigators conducted focus groups with PEPNet leaders to identify key attributes related to academic success of current and recently graduated high school STEM students. Several colleges and universities were selected to partner in development of a proposal for an NSF virtual alliance and components of prototype cyberinfrastructure system were piloted that would support a future virtual alliance. More on the