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Program Description

Graphic depicting the path to acceptance into Ph.D. program in Biomedical Research, Biobehavioral Research, or Clinical Research. From Dare to Dream, to Research Preparation, to Research Experience, to Supplemental Research Training, to Career Preparation.




The RIT-RISE Scientists-In-Training Program has two overarching missions:

  • Create cultural changes at RIT to make it easier for all interested deaf and hard-of-hearing students to access undergraduate research experiences
  • Support up to 6 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing RIT-RISE Scholars who will successfully gain admission into doctoral (Ph.D.) programs


The vision of the RIT-RISE Scientists-In-Training Program is to build a community for increasing number of successful Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Scientists to thrive at RIT and nationally.


Because the RIT-RISE Scientists-In-Training Program has two missions, our program has two parts. The open/public component is public and open to all RIT students and faculty – deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing). The second part is closed and will be provided only to selected RIT-RISE Scholars.

  • Open to RIT/NTID (University-Wide)
    • Career advice and support, especially from other deaf and hard-of-hearing scientists
    • Professional development workshops and presentations
    • Specialized research and interpreting classes
    • Specialized mentoring training for faculty research mentors
  • RIT-RISE Scholars Only
    • Individualized Development Plan (IDP)
    • Personalized Research Orientation Meetings
    • Three years and one summer of paid research experiences at RIT (40+ faculty mentors available)
    • One summer of paid research experience outside of RIT (15+ mentors available)


Participating programs and contact person for each:


Full description of what participating as an RIT-RISE scholar looks like over four years

All Years. RIT-RISE Scholars will receive individual counseling on career development and planning. You will regularly review your Individualized Development Plan (IDP) with your research advisor and with the RIT-RISE staff and program coordinator and attend Doctoral Readiness Meetings with the director of the RIT-RISE Pre-Doctoral Advising Center. There will be workshops twice a month where you can meet other deaf and hard-of-hearing Scientists who will share their journeys and answer your questions. You will also receive training in biomedical and biobehavioral research.

Year 1. First year students can attend symposia, workshops and presentations sponsored by RIT-RISE to learn about the program and to meet RIT-RISE mentors. Event notices will be posted in student centers in RIT buildings, on social media and on this web site.

Year 2. Sophomores majoring in one of fifteen different disciplines (Biology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology & Molecular Bioscience, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Computing and Information Technologies, Human-Centered Computing, Web and Mobile Computing, Computer Science, Computing Security, Game Design & Development, New Media Interactive Development and Psychology) will submit their application materials (online form, transcript, personal statement and CV) to the RIT-RISE website. RIT-RISE Scholars will be notified by October 31, 2017. By the spring of your sophomore year, you will be matched with a mentor in your discipline, and you will start working in her/his lab.  You will also start taking courses on the Responsible Conduct of Research and Introduction to Research that will fulfill general education or major requirements.

Year 3. Juniors will continue participating in RIT-RISE activities, with funding to spend a bit more time in the research lab. In November of year 3, RIT-RISE Scholars will attend ABRCMS (the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students), where they will have an opportunity to present their research findings. The summer between years 3 and 4, Scholars will conduct research in an affiliated lab that is part of a major medical center with one of our external RIT-RISE mentors. You will spend time in the RIT Pre-graduate school office learning about applying to graduate school and preparing for the Graduate Record Exam.

Year 4. Seniors will continue to conduct research with their RIT-RISE mentors and will be encouraged to take upper division electives that enhance their learning and their potential for getting into the Ph.D. program of their choice. Scholars will submit abstracts for national meetings in their disciplines. They will then accompany their mentors and present their research at one national conference, probably in the spring of their senior years. Scholars will work with the director of the RIT-RISE Pre-Doctoral Advising Center to work on graduate school applications, Curriculum vitae, and personal statements.


Some recommended courses (some of these may already be required for your major) to prepare you for graduate school:

  • BIOG 101 Explorations in Cellular Biology and Evolution
  • BIOG 102 Explorations in Animal and Plant Anatomy and Physiology
  • MEDS 250 Anatomy & Physiology I with Lab
  • MEDS 251 Anatomy & Physiology I with Lab
  • MATH 181 Project-Based Calculus I
  • MATH 182 Project-Based Calculus II
  • PHYS 211 University Physics I
  • PHYS 212 University Physics II
  • CHMG 141 General & Analytical Chemistry I with lab (CHMG 145)
  • CHMG 142 General & Analytical Chemistry II with lab (CHMG 146)
  • CHMO 231 Organic Chemistry I with lab (CHMO 235)
  • CHMO 232 Organic Chemistry II with lab (CHMO 236)
  • CHMB 402 Biochemistry I
  • PSYC 221 Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYC 222 Biopsychology
  • PSYC 223 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 224 Perception
  • PSYC 225 Social Psychology
  • PSYC 235 Learning & Behavior
  • PSYC 250 Research Methods 1
  • PSYC 251 Research Methods 2
  • PSYC 310 Psychophysiology
  • PSYC 311 Psychopharmacology
  • PSYC 312 Biological Bases of Mental Disorders
  • CSCI-101 Principles of Computing