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The RIT Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Undergraduates (RIT-RISE)

RIT-RISE is an NIH-funded training program for qualified Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Undergraduate Bachelor’s-level students (RIT-RISE Scholars) who want to eventually become PhD scientists in biomedical, biobehavioral, or clinical research fields.

RIT-RISE enhances RIT-RISE Scholars’ research skills through intensive paid research experiences and prepares them to successfully apply to enter PhD programs after they graduate.

Dare to Dream

Are you a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing undergraduate student at RIT? Do you want to become a scientist? With the RIT-RISE Scientists-In-Training Program, getting a doctorate (Ph.D.) degree is now more possible than ever.

We Need More Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Scientists

There are not enough Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing scientists in biomedical, biobehavioral, and clinical research fields. As a result, the scientific workforce is not able to adequately include the ideas and perspectives of deaf and hard-of-hearing people. This lack of diversity makes science less efficient in serving all populations. Therefore, the National Institutes of Health is collaborating with RIT/NTID to develop the RIT-RISE program to increase the number of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing scientists!


RIT-RISE is a research training program for a small number of qualified students (RIT-RISE Scholars) who are enrolled in any of 16 eligible RIT degree programs. RIT-RISE Scholars:

  • Conduct research with an RIT faculty mentor for three years.
  • Spend a summer doing research on another campus.
  • Receive student wages during the school year (5-15 hours per week) and two summers (full-time) to do research and to participate in RISE activities until graduation.
  • Travel to two national research conferences – the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS [link to ABRCMS:]) and a national conference in their discipline.
  • Take courses and workshops to help them grow as a scientist and apply to graduate school.
  • Develop an Individualized Development Plan (IDP) with the RIT-RISE team.
  • Receive personalized advising to prepare for graduate school.


Qualifications for becoming a RIT-RISE scholar:

  • Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing RIT Bachelor’s-level student
  • Sophomore or higher with 3 years left at RIT
  • Serious desire to become a PhD scientist
  • GPA 3.0 or better
  • Major in one of the 16 eligible degree programs:
    • Biochemistry
    • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
    • Biology
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Biomedical Sciences
    • Biotechnology & Molecular Bioscience
    • Chemistry
    • Computing and Information Technologies
    • Computer Science
    • Computing Security
    • Criminal Justice
    • Game Design & Development
    • Human-Centered Computing
    • New Media Interactive Development
    • Psychology
    • Web and Mobile Computing


Undergraduate students who participate in intensive undergraduate research experiences are highly successful in getting into a Ph.D. program. If you are a qualified Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing undergraduate, the RIT-RISE program will provide access to intensive research experiences, and to present your research results at national and local conferences. PhD programs are more likely to accept academically successful applicants with such research experiences.


  • Conduct independent scientific research and pursue new knowledge
    • Set up your own research projects using your own ideas
    • Help make important scientific discoveries such as helping to find a cure for cancer or a new medicine
    • Choose who you want to hire and work with
  • Increase deaf/hard-of-hearing representation in the academic and science worlds
    • Help the scientific workforce to become more inclusive and efficient to serve all people
  • Earn good salary with a good quality of life
    • Make more money as a scientist than most other jobs
    • Control your schedule as a scientist more than most other jobs
    • Work in university as faculty or in the industry or for the government

The RIT-RISE program can help you to become a successful scientist!!