NTID Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The mission of the NTID Office of Diversity and Inclusion is to help transform NTID into a more inclusive and diverse learning community with emphasis on access, success, and equity by recruiting, retaining, and ensuring success of diverse students, faculty, and staff.

Meet Our Team

Executive Team

Alesia Allen
Assistant Vice President for NTID Diversity and Inclusion
Joseph Hill
Assistant Dean NTID Faculty Recruitment and Retention
Thomastine Sarchet
Assistant Dean ALANA Academic Outreach, Access and Success
Peter Hauser
Assistant Dean for Research Mentorship
Aaron Pagan
Marketing Communications Specialist
Erica Scorpio
NTID ALANA Staff Retention Specialist

Support Staff

Christan Monin
Senior Staff Assistant

Alesia Allen is responsible for overseeing implementation of NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan. She serves as a member of the NTID Administrative Council and works closely with Keith Jenkins, RIT vice president and associate provost of diversity and inclusion, and his team. She monitors diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity and access regulations and issues in higher education and advises the NTID president and other NTID administrators on matters related to diversity and inclusion. Allen collaborates with faculty, staff, students, and other NTID units, including the NTID Diversity Group, to support diversity-related initiatives at NTID. She also has oversight responsibility for the NTID Faculty Program in Academia (NFPA), which is designed to diversify NTID’s faculty, and for recruitment and retention efforts for faculty and staff from historically underrepresented groups. 

Allen has experience working as a diversity dialogue facilitator, helping undergraduate students explore divisions among people on the basis of racial and ethnic identity and helping them examine racial and ethnic dynamics within and across deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing communities. She has provided multicultural workshops and mentored students of color, providing resources for them to succeed in their studies and in their careers following graduation.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from RIT/NTID and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Gallaudet University. 

As assistant dean for ALANA faculty recruitment and retention, Joseph Hill will work closely with Allen to diversify NTID’s faculty, with special emphasis on recruiting individuals who identify as African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American and Native American (ALANA). He will participate in the search process for faculty candidates, working with search committee chairs to increase diversity in candidate pools. He also will lead initiatives to support the retention and success of ALANA faculty members at NTID. As part of his new role, which is a three-year appointment, Hill will be a member of NTID’s Administrative Council.

Hill holds the rank of associate professor in NTID’s Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education. His research interests include socio-historical and -linguistic aspects of African-American variety of American Sign Language and attitudes and ideologies about signing varieties in the American Deaf community. His contributions include The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Its History and Structure (2011), which he co-authored with Carolyn McCaskill, Ceil Lucas, and Robert Bayley, and Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community (2012).

Hill earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Gallaudet University.

In Thomastine “Tommie” Sarchet-Maher’s new role as assistant dean of ALANA outreach, access, and success, she will work closely with NTID Academic Affairs on the development and expansion of domestic and international outreach and transition programs; dual-credit coursework; and assessments for admissions, placement and retention. She will work collaboratively to develop academic outreach and transition pipelines for ALANA, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), and international students that minimize barriers, increase access and participation to educational opportunities, and promote overall success. She also will serve as a member of NTID’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion executive team. 

Sarchet-Maher is a member of the NTID Administrative Council and has been director of the Center for International Educational Outreach (IEO) since 2016, overseeing NTID’s international partnerships. She also serves as liaison to RIT Global Education and works closely with RIT’s international admissions’ offices, consulting and advising on international deaf and hard of hearing applicants. In 2018, she was named the Paul and Francena Miller Endowed Chair for International Education for NTID, a rotating appointment through all colleges of RIT. 

She teaches in NTID’s Master of Science program in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. She also leads curriculum development, assessment, training, and evaluation for international deaf education programs and established the Summer Transition Program (STP) and Fall Transition Program (FTP) with NTID faculty member Jessica Trussell. Sarchet-Maher serves as co-director for the Center for Education Research Partnerships (CERP) with Trussell. She is the 2005 recipient of the Isaac L. Jordan, Sr. Staff Pluralism Award; is a founding member of the NTID Diversity Group (NDG); co-chaired NTID’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee; and served as co-moderator for NTID’s First Community Dialogue on Race. As a BIPOC woman in a leadership role, Sarchet-Maher formally and informally mentors non-tenure track faculty and staff of color seeking education and career advancement.

Sarchet-Maher holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in secondary deaf education, both from RIT/NTID. She currently is completing her doctorate in Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Rochester.  

In Peter Hauser’s new role as the assistant dean of research mentoring, he will work closely with the NTID pre-tenure faculty and the faculty in the NTID Fellowship Program for Academia (NFPA) to support their individual development plans. He will establish and lead a committee to develop NTID’s five-year research plan, including research mentorship support and resources. He also will become a member of NTID’s Administrative Council.

Hauser has been the director of the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program for under-representative minorities in biomedical sciences funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2014 and the principal investigator (PI) of the Broadening the Participation of Deaf Individuals in Sign Language Research program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 2013. He served as the Science Mentorship Leader of the NSF Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning 2011 – 2015. He also served as the leader of the NTID Pre-Tenure Faculty Group since 2016 and will continue to be the point of contact for tenure-related questions and support. He founded the NTID Tenure Track People of Color group in 2017 that now will be led by NTID’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion executive team, of which Hauser is a member.

Hauser will continue to direct the NTID Research Center on Culture and Language (CCL) where NTID faculty study deaf and hard-of-hearing communities of practice with the goal of enhancing sociocultural connectedness, health, learning, and well-being. In 2011 when Hauser received his tenure, he was recognized as one of the RIT’s Principal Investigator (PI) Millionaires, and he was the first NTID faculty member who had funding from both National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health totaling over $1 million. Since then, he has continued to be awarded grants from both federal agencies. He has published more than 50 peer-review journal articles and book chapters and has presented his research all over the world. Hauser is the past recipient of the RIT Provost’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring (2018), NTID National Advisory Group Outstanding Service Award (2009), Isaac L. Jordan, Sr. Pluralism Award for Promoting Diversity (2006), RIT Exemplary myCourses Teaching Award (2006), and Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005).

Hauser holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and philosophy from Central Connecticut State University, and master’s degrees in psychology and linguistics and a PhD in clinical psychology, all from Gallaudet University.

Christan Monin is a senior staff assistant in the NTID Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She provides administrative support and assists in coordinating events, workshops, and trainings.

Christan works closely with NTID’s director of diversity and inclusion and director of recruitment and retention as well as with students. She also provides administrative support for the NTID Faculty Program for Academia (NFPA) and manages a database of deaf professionals.

Before joining RIT, Christan served as a staff assistant for the Academic Advisement and Undergraduate Admissions departments at SUNY Brockport. Christan holds two degrees from Brockport, a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Health Science and a Master of Arts degree in English literature.

In her free time, Christan enjoys learning ASL, writing letters to her sponsored child in India, knitting, reading, cooking, and traveling.

Aaron Pagan is responsible for the development of marketing and communications efforts for the NTID Office of Diversity and Inclusion. He manages our office's social media presence, internal communications and the monitoring, tracking and assessing success of all marketing and engagement initiatives.

After graduating from RIT's School of Communication in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Advertising and Public Relations, Aaron worked as an account manager at ZP Better Together. While there, he worked closely with the company's development of their Black Lives Matter webpage, held a role in the marketing committee and participated in the company's first employee resource group focusing on the professional development of BIPOC individuals.

He has collaborated with different organizations such as LinkedIn for their #InItTogether campaign and Parsons School of Design | The New School as a creative director highlighting challenges the Deaf community faces within society, culture and the fashion industry.

In his free time, Aaron loves taking photos, hiking, traveling to new countries and trying a variety of different foods.

Erica Scorpio is responsible for designing and implementing programs and initiatives that focus on strategies to increase employee satisfaction. She does this by interacting directly with NTIDs’ ALANA (African, Latin, Asian, Native American) staff to identify barriers and opportunities for career growth and promotion, while at the same time devoting her attention to improving the overall retention of NTID’s ALANA staff.

After graduating Siena Heights University in 2016 with her bachelor’s degree in Sign Language Interpreting, she was accepted into an interpreting apprenticeship at NTID’s Department of Access Services (DAS). After successfully completing her apprenticeship, NTID offered her a full-time interpreting position at DAS. She worked at DAS for five years while also becoming heavily involved with diversity and inclusion initiatives.

In 2019 she joined the DAS Diversity Outreach Committee with the goal of bridging the gap between NTID interpreters and the NTID Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing/Deaf-Blind BIPOC communities. Herself and the committee provided educational opportunities that incorporated principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and community. She continues to work towards creating a space where BIPOC community members can freely express their feelings, develop their identities, and ultimately cultivate a sense of belonging. She will be completing her master’s degree in Human Resources Development in the summer of 2022.

In her free time, Erica loves to take her dog Bailey to the park, try out local coffee shops and travel to different countries.

Supporting Collaborators

Blake Nitko
Social Media Coordinator
Rachel Green
Special Assistant for Interpretation and Special Projects

NTID’s Antiracism and Social Justice Plan

Equal opportunity is one of our country’s most cherished values, but events here in Rochester and in communities across our nation demonstrate that we have work to do to ensure equal access and opportunity for all. The racism and inequity that exist in our society cannot be ignored.

See NTID's Antiracism and Social Justice Plan

Affiliated Organizations

NTID Diversity Group (NDG)

The NTID Diversity Group (NDG) is a faculty and staff volunteer group committed to promoting the best possible learning, living and working experience for AALANA (Asian, Latino, African, and Native American.) members of the RIT/NTID community. NDG's focus is community involvement, professional development and being a resource for the RIT/NTID community.

RIT Division of Diversity & Inclusion

The RIT Division of Diversity & Inclusion works collaboratively with academic and administrative units to provide a holistic range of services that enhance access and success for historically underrepresented students, faculty and staff, support education and scholarship, and ensure a welcoming, inclusive, vibrant and accessible environment for everyone.

NTID Faculty Fellowship (NFF)

The mission of the NTID Faculty Fellowship (NFF) is to work towards diversifying the faculty by increasing the number of post-secondary STEM instructors and professors from historically ​underrepresented groups who are qualified to teach DHH college students. The program provides qualified Fellows with up to three years of mentored experiences, opportunities, and resources to prepare them for academic careers working with the aforementioned population.

Each Fellow will have an individualized professional development team that will guide their overall career development and success. The program has two tracks: one for those who desire a post-secondary teaching career (lecture track) and one for those who desire a balanced teaching and scholarship career (assistant professor track).

While NTID is particularly interested in increasing the number of STEM faculty from underrepresented groups, candidates from other disciplines offered by NTID are eligible to apply.

NTID Anti-Racism Scholarship Fund

The deadline to submit a proposal has passed.

The Office of the RIT/NTID President and the Office of the Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion (OAVPDI) have jointly established a $75,000 Anti-Racism Scholarship Fund as part of the RIT/NTID Anti-Racism Plan. The funding will support up to five projects with budgets of $15,000 or less, and durations of up to two years. All RIT/NTID faculty and staff are eligible to apply for this funding as long as they have support from their supervisors that their project can be a part of their plan of work. Applicants are encouraged to include BIPOC students as active members of the project team. There are two project types: Anti-Racism Scholarship Projects and Anti-Racism Instructional Projects.

Get more information about the fund: NTID Anti-Racism Scholarship Fund

Black Heritage Month Celebration Luncheon

A long-standing tradition in the NTID community, the Black Heritage Month Celebration Luncheon has evolved since its beginnings in the early 1990s. It began as a simple sharing of lunch among a small group of faculty and staff and, as of February 2020, is now a community-wide event with guest speakers. This transformation is the result of the efforts of Johnnie “JB” Brown, an NTID staff member who retired in 2020. You can learn more about the history of the luncheon from this downloadable PDF.

JB is also responsible for the establishment of the Johnnie “JB” Brown Black Heritage Month Celebration Endowment Fund, which is nearly fully funded and will cover all costs associated with the annual luncheon in perpetuity. If you would like to give to the fund, you can easily do so online here.

Diversity Spotlight

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Spotlight
Christie Ong
Christie has light skin, long, wavy dark hair and wears a sleeveless teal top and a bright pink necklace. She is leaning against a white background. The top of the image has a black background with the NTID Office of Diversity & Inclusion logo, and lettering in purple, orange, and white: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Featured Spotlight. The right side of the image contains Christie’s quote: “I encourage others to exchange stories, travel to other countries and/or parts of the same country you live in, and attempt different cuisines.” The bottom of the image has a purple background with white lettering: Christie Ong. Advertising and Public Relations-College of Liberal Arts (COLA) ’09 Alumni. Photo Credit: King Winarta/@Ultimux (Instagram handle)