Screening of “Moonlight Sonata” during Brick City Homecoming

dark blue background with image to resemble piano keys with outline of young boy and older man.

A new documentary by Oscar-nominated, Peabody and multiple Emmy winning director and former RIT Trustee Irene Taylor Brodsky, "Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements," features Brodsky's deaf son and her parents, RIT/NTID retirees Paul and Sally Taylor. The film will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, in RIT/NTID's Panara Theatre, as part of Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend. The screening is free, but seating is limited to first-come, first-served attendees. Paul and Sally Taylor, along with Irene and her son, will be in attendance and will be available for a question-and-answer session at the end of the film.

To learn more about "Moonlight Sonata” and nationwide screening venues please check out www.moonlightsonatadoc.com

North Korea’s nuclear armament and the use of technology to improve society are topics of Oct. 18 symposium at RIT

text reads Former Special Envoy to North Korea Joseph DeTrani, with image of light skinned male wearing suit and maroon tie.

“Nuclear Weapons in North Korea: Deal or No Deal?”, a discussion of North Korea’s nuclear armament and the role that technology plays in improving society, will be hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology as part of its Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend. The symposium, free and open to the public, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, in RIT’s Louise Slaughter Hall, room 2220.

The discussion, which concludes with an audience question-and-answer session, will analyze motivations for the North Korean government’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and provide a reflection of the world’s everyday efforts to improve technology for the betterment of society.

Panelists include former Special Envoy to North Korea Joseph DeTrani, who also is a retired U.S. ambassador and professor in the Department of Defense and Strategic Solutions at Missouri State University; Stephen Noerper, senior director for policy and education at the Korea Society, and a professor at Columbia University; and Terence Roehrig, a professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College, and director of the Asian-Pacific Studies Group. The symposium will be moderated by Ellen Granberg, RIT provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

“The nuclear challenge casts an important question on the relationship between technology and humanity,” said Dongryul Kim, associate professor of political science in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and an expert in the politics of East Asia and international relations. “North Korea has invested heavily in its nuclear capabilities while hundreds of thousands of its citizens face food shortages, leaving many to die of starvation. This symposium will address potential motivations of North Korea for its nuclear development and thereby give us a chance to consider how well we are responding to the North Korean challenges to both our humanitarian concerns and the world nuclear non-proliferation regime under the U.S. leadership.”

To register for the symposium, which is co-hosted by RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and College of Liberal Arts, go to www.rit.edu/gcr/brickcity/events/755/nuclear-weapons-in-north-korea-deal-or-no-deal.

Student Spotlight: Making discoveries abroad with NTID

Two images of light-skinned female with glasses and long hair in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

Looking to learn more about the roots of American deaf culture, fourth-year student Grace Bradford went on a study abroad trip to France. From June 24 to July 4, the ASL/English interpretation and School of Individualized Study (SOIS) double major traveled with other NTID students to Paris, Reims, La Balme-les-Grottes and Lyon.

During the trip and the accompanying spring semester course, Bradford and her peers learned more about French deaf studies, deaf communities and culture. Additionally, they learned Langue des Signes Française (LSF) so the students could communicate with their French peers in their native sign language during the trip.

Bradford’s SOIS concentrations are in history, museum studies and environmental sustainability, and she hopes to apply her skills as an interpreter in a national park or museum setting. Outside of her studies, Bradford is involved with Hands of Fire (a deaf chapter of RIT CRU), the RITPagan club, the Outing club and SVP (freshman orientation for NTID students). She also works part time for REI, and works with RIT Catering and RIT’s Department of Access Services as an interpreter and notetaker.

To learn more about the NTID study abroad programs, go to https://www.ntid.rit.edu/academics/study-abroad. For more information about other study abroad opportunities, go to https://www.rit.edu/academicaffairs/global/study-abroad.

Question: Why are you interested in pursuing a career in ASL interpretation?

Answer: This is a question that deaf people will often ask interpreting students and I can never give an eloquent answer. I have nothing better to say, than it’s a calling. I graduated from high school in East Tennessee and later moved to Indiana, and in both places I had exposure to the deaf community. Through those experiences, I just fell in love with the culture and the language, and I just knew that was what I wanted to do. Since I was 12 years old, I knew I wanted to be a combat medic in the U.S. Army and that I wanted to be an interpreter, and here I am doing both. I got out of the Army in 2014, so the events didn’t quite happen in the sequence I wanted it to, but I am still fulfilling my dreams.

Why were you interested in going on this particular NTID study abroad experience?

A little-known fact about American deaf culture is that it actually has its roots in France. Thomas Gallaudet worked closely with a man named Laurent Clerc when he went over to France. Clerc came back with Gallaudet to the U.S. and helped him set up the first deaf school. So, a lot of our linguistic features, at least in the beginning stages, had strong echoes of French Sign Language (LSF). This trip was a great opportunity to see where American deaf culture and its roots come from. We had the opportunity to get a tour of the first deaf school in the world, we saw the boyhood home of Laurent Clerc, and a lot of other sites that are incredibly historically significant to deaf culture. With my background in history, I was really nerding out.

Tell us about the class that you took that accompanied your study abroad.

We briefly discussed major tipping points in French history, such as the Revolution, as well as some prominent French deaf figures. We also took time to learn LSF before going on the trip. While there are minor similarities, LSF and ASL are two completely different languages, so it wasn’t necessarily easy to pick up the second language. I would equate it to learning Spanish as an English speaker. Once you’re over there for a couple weeks, you start getting the hang of it and you can have basic conversations. I’m definitely not fluent, but now I know basic phrases to communicate with when I go back.

What was your favorite part about this study abroad experience?

Academically, I think, because I have a linguistic nerdy mind, my favorite part was learning LSF. We didn’t have the time to get too deep into it, but I really cherish learning other languages. If it were possible, I would learn them all. Anytime I travel I just have so much fun learning different phrases and communicating with the locals.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I’m not entirely sure, life always has its curve balls. I reckon I’ll probably stay here for a few years and get some interpreting experience under my belt because this is such an amazing place to be for that. Then, when I am ready, I would like to do an internship at Yosemite National Park and get my ranger certification. I’m really interested in making national parks more accessible for everyone, and right now access services are lacking for those who are deaf and hard of hearing. So, hopefully after Yosemite, I’ll move on and be able to set up full-time access services within the National Park Service.

NTID events during Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend

black background with orange and white writing describing the events for BCH weekend

A number of exciting events are planned for this year’s Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend, Oct. 17-20. Here are just a few:

  • Volunteer of the Year and Distinguished Alumnus Reception: 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 in the CSD-Student Development Center. Join us in honoring RIT Volunteers of the Year Chris and Staci Wagner, and NTID Distinguished Alumnus Michael Rizzolo.
  • NTID Alumni Ice Cream Social: 1-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 in NTID’s Alumni Conference Room in LBJ Hall. Fun, networking, and ice cream! A great way to start Homecoming Weekend!
  • Nuclear Weapons in North Korea: Deal or No Deal? 4-6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 in Louise Slaughter Hall, rooms 2220-2240. NTID and the College of Liberal Arts are sponsoring a panel discussion on North Korea’s nuclear armament. Moderated by Provost Ellen Granberg, the panel features experts in Korean studies and former U.S. Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, parent of RIT/NTID student Zoe DeTrani.
  • Moonlight Sonata: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 in Panara Theatre. A new documentary by award-winning filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky, "Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements," features Brodsky's son and her parents, RIT/NTID retirees Paul and Sally Taylor. The screening is free, but seating is limited to first-come, first-served attendees. Paul and Sally Taylor, along with Irene and her son, will attend and will be available for a question and answer session at the end of the film. To learn more about "Moonlight Sonata" check out the trailer here.
  • Parent Welcome Breakfast: 9-11 a.m. in Dyer Arts Center. Fuel up with coffee, bagels and other continential breakfast treats before your busy day.
  • NTID Alumni Tailgate: 5-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Drifters at the Hilton Garden Inn. Join the NTID Alumni Association for food and fun before the RIT Men’s Hockey Game at the Blue Cross Arena.
  • RIT Hall of Fame Induction: 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 in Ingle Auditorium. Featuring RIT/NTID golfer and alumnus John Rush ('79) as a member of this year's induction class. 

We hope you'll join us!

Deaf entrepreneurs share success stories as featured Lyon lecture presenters Oct. 8

Male and female wearing black t-shirts that read Mozzeria inside their restaurant.

The founders of Mozzeria, a San Francisco-based pizzeria with all deaf employees, will share their success stories as part of the Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. “Getting a Piece of the Pizza Pie: The Story of How we Launched a Successful Business” will be presented by Russell Stein and Melody Stein from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the college’s Dyer Arts Center, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall.

The Steins will talk about their journey of launching Mozzeria and how they are educating others about deaf entrepreneurship through their latest venture as co-CEOs of Yantern, a consulting and mentoring service for first-time or established business owners.

The free talk will be presented in American Sign Language. Interpreters have been requested. To register, go to https://t.ly/xY6zK .

The purpose of the Lyon Memorial Lectureship Series, established in 1980, is to bring distinguished speakers to RIT/NTID to share expertise and scholarly contributions that stand on the cutting-edge of advancement in the education and career success of deaf persons. Edmund Lyon (1855-1920) was a noted manufacturer, inventor, humanitarian and philanthropist in Rochester, who served as a trustee of both RIT and the Rochester School for the Deaf.

RIT receives multiple accolades for promoting diversity and inclusion

African American male faculty showing scientific slides to three African American female students. All are in blue lab coats.

Two national organizations focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in higher education recently presented Rochester Institute of Technology with multiple awards for the university’s work in the field.

RIT received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — RIT will be featured, along with 92 other recipients, in the November 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the sixth year in a row RIT has been named as a HEED Award recipient.

For the third year in a row, RIT is being honored as an institution committed to diversity for 2019 by Minority Access Inc. Minority Access is a nonprofit organization committed to increasing diversity, decreasing disparities and reducing incidences of environmental injustices. Each year the organization identifies exemplary colleges and universities whose commitment to diversity and efforts to implement it serve as an example for other institutions. Fewer than 200 colleges and universities nationwide were recognized by the organization this year. Minority Access will make a formal presentation in recognition of RIT’s commitment at their National Role Models Conference, Sept. 26–29 in National Harbor, Md.

Professor André Hudson, head of RIT’s Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, is among the individuals Minority Access will celebrate at the National Role Models Conference this year. Hudson is trained as a biochemist and his research focuses on biochemistry and microbiology, specifically, in amino acid metabolism, structural analyses of enzymes involved in amino acid and bacterial peptidoglycan metabolism, and the isolation, identification and genomic characterization of plant-associated bacteria. The organization aims to identify and recognize inspirational role models in various categories to inspire others to emulate them, and thereby increase the pool of scholars and professionals who will find cures for illnesses or solve technological problems or address social disparities in society.

“We are honored to be recognized nationally for our tireless work providing more underrepresented men, women and deaf and hard-of-hearing students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn, grow and succeed,” said Keith Jenkins, RIT’s vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion. “Congratulations to Professor Hudson and the countless other RIT community members who work tirelessly to make RIT a diverse and inclusive community.”  

Earlier this year, RIT was named a Diversity Champion by INSIGHT Into Diversity for the fourth consecutive year. The magazine named RIT a Diversity Champion for its cumulative efforts in the area of diversity and inclusion throughout its campus communities, across academic programs and at the highest administrative levels. RIT was one of the first colleges and universities in the nation to receive this designation given by INSIGHT into Diversity.

RIT’s Global Cybersecurity Institute to open in 2020

Rendering of RIT's Cybersecurity Institute

To help make the world a safer place, RIT is creating the Global Cybersecurity Institute (GCI), aimed at meeting the demand for computing security and artificial intelligence professionals, while developing future technologies, protocols and human understanding needed to address the global cybersecurity crisis.

The institute, to be housed in a new, state-of-the art facility, will expand outreach, research, and student-focused programs to help RIT become a nexus of cybersecurity education and research. GCI will bring together academic disciplines—computing, liberal arts, engineering, business and others—to conduct interdisciplinary sociotechnical cybersecurity research. It also will develop industry, government, and academic collaborations, and professional development programs. GCI is expected to open in fall 2020. More.

New School of Information formed at RIT

close up image of a computer keyboard and mouse.

RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS) is forming a new School of Information to recognize the changing roles of information professionals. The school aims to bridge the digital divide and make computing solutions available, accessible, usable and suitable for all.

The School of Information is a merger of the GCCIS Department of Information and Sciences Technologies and the Center for Computing Outreach, Research and Education (C-CORE), the GCCIS “computing for all” initiative, started by Dean Anne Haake in 2017.

The new school—which is nicknamed the iSchool — will allow RIT to continue offering degree programs for those studying in the areas of information technology, human-computer interaction, user experience, informatics and more. It also will enhance computing education opportunities for non-computing students from across RIT’s disciplines and for the public.

“Digital literacy is no longer enough — to be competitive we all now need digital competency,” said Steve Zilora, professor and director of the School of Information. “The iSchool will play a large role in developing digital competency, both with RIT’s non-computing students and with the adult public.”

The iSchool offers three undergraduate degrees, three graduate degrees and two advanced certificates, including a bachelor’s degree in web and mobile computing and a master’s degree in human-computer interaction. The school also offers eight minors and immersions for computing students, varying from mobile development to database design and development.

Many degrees are offered online, in addition to on-campus. Zilora said that students earning these degrees are able to create innovative systems and design information solutions that benefit individuals, organizations and society.

“The IST department has always been about applied computing,” said Zilora. “This reorganization gives us the opportunity to not only teach applied computing, but also to practice it.”

By working with C-CORE, the school will offer courses designed to provide any RIT student with the skills necessary to better understand, leverage and visualize their domain data. These courses will provide essential skills in web, databases, programming and data analytics.

The school also will work with C-CORE to begin offering these skills as an immersion — a concentration of three courses in a particular area — for non-computing students at RIT.

GCCIS established C-CORE to bring together projects that can change the way that computer science is introduced and spark an interest in computing for students from all disciplines, backgrounds and ages. Inspired by President Obama’s 2016 Computer Science for All initiative, the center shares in the goal of empowering students to learn computer science and equipping them with the computational thinking skills needed to be creators — not just consumers — in the digital economy. C-CORE is led by Director Paul Tymann.

The school also will introduce an extension program, to reach beyond RIT and provide fee-based training services for local employers, as well as free seminars and webinars for adults in the community. Using programs prepared by RIT faculty and staff, the school aims to help adults build skills and computing technology competency.

“We are excited to continue moving this “computing for all” initiative forward and collaborate across the university to make introductory computing skills a more integral part of what every student learns while at RIT,” said Haake. “The new School of Information has an interdisciplinary focus that is going to benefit our students and the broader community.”

For more information about the School of Information, go to rit.edu/iSchool or contact the school at 585-475-2700.