NTID Research Center on Culture and Language


The Center’s mission is to conduct translational, transdisciplinary, and cross-institutional research on cognitive, linguistic, and socio-cultural factors to advance learning, well-being, and health. The Center strives to globally disseminate these discoveries and ultimately have a transformative impact on social structures, the deaf experience, and society as a whole.

The Center’s training mission is to provide state-of-the-art research mentorship programs to train future generations of deaf scientists and other professionals. The Center’s research projects and training programs are funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and NTID. To learn more about CCL, please visit our Laboratories, Mentorship Programs, and Center Personnel pages on the left.

Photo of woman in lab coat sitting at a desk, holding a clipboard.

Mentorship Programs

Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate

There are too few deaf scientists out there, so the University of Rochester (UR) and RIT have developed a partnership to address this gap. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate program aims to increase the number of deaf scientists in the biomedical and behavioral science disciplines. The program selects top RIT graduate students who are deaf or hard of hearing and wish to pursue a doctoral degree. The Rochester Bridges Program provides them with unparalleled, mentored research experiences at RIT and UR for two years. These scholars are provided individualized attention from a team of scientists who will mentor them. The scholars will also take three or more doctoral-level courses at UR, and receive research stipends, tuition waivers, and conference travel funds.


Rochester Post-doc Partnership

The University of Rochester (UR) and RIT are committed to developing a pipeline of highly-qualified deaf and hard of hearing scientists. With funding from National Institutes of Health, the Rochester Post-doc Partnership provides post-doctoral fellows three years of mentored biomedical or behavioral science research experiences at the UR and mentored teaching experiences at NTID/RIT.


Broadening the Participation of Deaf Students in Sign Language Research program

With funding from the National Science Foundation, this program provides the top deaf and hard of hearing students from higher education institutions across the United States with mentored opportunities in sign language research. Specifically, this program supports students who are conducting sign language research to attend the Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference, the largest international conference for sign language researchers. The program provides ASL/English interpreters at the conference and opportunities for the selected scholars to network with well-known sign language researchers.

Theoretical Issues in Signed Language Research (TISLR) - Student Mentoring and Travel Award

Center Directors

Portrait of Peter C. Hauser

Peter C. Hauser, Ph.D.

Center Director

Portrait of Jessica Cuculick

Jessica Cuculick, Ed.D.

Associate Professor
Associate Director

Center Faculty

Portrait of Alesia Allen

Alesia Allen, MA, NFPA Fellow

Visiting Assistant Professor

Portrait of Joseph Hill

Joseph Hill, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Portrait of Corrine Occhino

Corrine Occhino, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

Portrait of Deirdre Schlehofer

Deirdre Schlehofer, Ed.D.

Associate Professor

Center Staff

Portrait of Nikki Cherry

Nikki Cherry, M.Ed.

Coordinator and Interpreter

Portrait of Jessica Contreras

Jessica Contreras, M.S.

Research Program Coordinator

Portrait of Susan Rizzo

Susan Rizzo, M.S., M.A.

Research Program Coordinator

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Portrait of Tiffany Panko

Tiffany Panko, M.D., M.B.A.

Graduate Students

Portrait of Kara Farquharson

Kara Farquharson, B.S.

Portrait of Chelsea Wilkins

Chelsea Wilkins, B.S.

Undergraduate Students

Portrait of Ashley Mussallem

Ashley Mussallem

Portrait of Samara Patterson

Samara Patterson

Portrait of Daphine Postl

Daphine Postl

Portrait of Surya Putra

Surya Putra