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President David Munson to again emcee performing arts challenge on eve of Imagine RIT

22 Apr

Scene from Cabaret with Victoria Covell on shoulders of two actors with other actors in front and back.

Proving that RIT students are stars not only inside the classroom but on the stage as well, President David Munson will emcee his second performing arts competition next Friday night on the eve of the Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival.

Ten acts, including dancers, vocalists and instrumentalists, have been selected as finalists for Dr. Munson’s Performing Arts Competition. The challenge will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 26, under the lights inside Ingle Auditorium on the RIT campus. Like all festival events, admission is free for the all-ages show.

Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the competition and will be eligible to perform during the festival’s official opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27, also inside Ingle.

The challenge is open to all RIT undergraduate- and graduate-level students, with the exception of established performing arts groups. This year’s panel of judges will include Leigh Rubin, who has drawn Rubes cartoons for more than 30 years. Rubin is serving as RIT’s “cartoonist in residence” this year. Judges will score each performance on artistry, technique, audience engagement and stage presence. 

Two of the inaugural challenge’s top finishers from last April are scheduled to perform prior to the announcement of this year’s winners. Victoria Covell, a third-year biomedical sciences major from Jacksonville, Ill., and Gabrielle Robinson, a fourth-year interpreting student from Westerville, Ohio, will collaborate on a duet from “Cabaret,” the award-winning Broadway play that later became a hit film.

At the conclusion of last year’s competition, Munson said he looked forward to making the performing arts challenge an annual tradition before Imagine RIT. The nationally acclaimed festival, now in its 12th year, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 27, with nearly 400 exhibitions highlighting RIT students’ innovation and creativity.

Go to https://www.rit.edu/imagine/contests-performing_arts.php for more information.

Imagine RIT: Innovation + Creativity Festival

22 Apr

RIT Logo with images from previous Imagine RIT events, Imagine logo at bottom left and text

Pull back the curtain on the unexpected and extraordinary at Imagine RIT

It’s that time of the year again! Imagine RIT: Creativity + Innovation Festival is happening this weekend on Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and it’s going to be one you don’t want to miss!

This year features nearly 400 interactive presentations, exhibits, research projects, hands-on demonstrations, and live performances and is absolutely free and open to the public, rain or shine!

Parking is available on RIT’s Campus and at Monroe Community College with a free shuttle service to RIT.

Learn more and check out the entire festival program at www.rit.edu/imagine

#ImagineRIT #CreativityandInnovation

 

RIT/NTID student Bobby Moakley and RIT’s James Myers to receive this year’s Alfred Davis awards

2 Apr

On left, a younger light-skinned male with brown hair and beard, on right an older light-skinned male with brown hair.

A graduating RIT/NTID student leader who has been engaged in public service, student government and environmental stewardship has been named a winner in this year’s Alfred L. Davis Distinguished Public Service Awards. Bobby Moakley, of Boston, a fourth-year environmental science major and graduate student in science, technology and public policy, will receive the 2019 Bruce R. James Award.

The awards will be given at a public ceremony at 4 p.m. Wednesday in University Gallery in Booth Hall.

Moakley, who serves as president of RIT Student Government, has been an avid participant in leadership and community service projects. Last month he participated in RIT’s Alternative Spring Break, traveling to Florida, where his group did disaster relief from Hurricane Michael and helped with coastline reparations.

Kaitlin Stack Whitney, visiting assistant professor in the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, submitted a nomination for Moakley, saying he used project opportunities in her class “to learn more about Rochester’s environment and human communities. He is a thoughtful and engaged student who wants to learn more about the world around him and seizes those opportunities. This work connects to his goals as a student and future professional – he works at the intersection of environmental and social justice issues.”

Moakley also has been a pioneering member of Into the ROC, an RIT program that connects students with city communities, learning experiences and service opportunities.

“Bobby is motivated by what connects people and changes the world,” Stack Whitney said. “He does so much community service to and for RIT because he’s committed to the campus people and to making this the best campus experience for everyone, not just himself. He clearly enjoys getting to think and do with so many people around campus—students, faculty, staff and administrators. Being a collaborator and succeeding at it, as a true peer—with those diverse teams helps remind him that he can do anything once he graduates.”

David Bagley, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, said Moakley, as Student Government president, “has already tackled several campus issues and has created a collaborative culture and positive environment. His personal experiences and passion for the Rochester area have greatly impacted his endeavors as an agent of public service. He truly understands the importance of public service and constantly identifies avenues/platforms to promote and assist others along his journey.”

He said Moakley’s passion for helping others and his natural abilities as an influencer “positively encourage other students to engage in public service. … I hold Bobby in the highest regard as he is always a role model to others in our community and exemplifies what a great student leader should be. We are lucky to have Bobby on our campus. He continues to be a strong voice and a positive change agent.

“It’s such an honor to receive this award and to be recognized for some of my public services,” Moakley said. “It further encourages me to continue serving the community and contributing my skills to those in need.”

Moakley will donate the $1,000 he earns from the award to the Ibero-American Development Corporation, which renovates and manages buildings and affordable homes in Rochester. He spent last summer working for them as an urban fellow.

Also receiving an award is a dedicated Rochester Institute of Technology administrator who helped expand RIT’s global presence as well as being an active community volunteer locally and in Haiti. James Myers, associate provost for International Education and Global Programs, will receive the 2019 Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award. Myers joined RIT in 1988 as an instructor in the School of Food, Hotel and Travel Management. He left RIT to obtain his doctorate in natural resource economics, and returned in 1999, when he became the first academic associate dean of RIT’s American College of Management and Technology in Croatia, and later professor and director of the Center for Multidisciplinary Studies. He currently is associate provost of International Education and Global Programs.

Myers has been an active community volunteer for more than 30 years. He is chairman of the board of directors for Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa (H.O.P.E.), a nonprofit organization that supports health, sanitation and economic development in a rural community in northern Haiti.

He also has been an active member in a marathon training program for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Western New York.

“Jim is widely recognized and highly respected across all of RIT’s campuses,” said International Student Services Director Jeffrey Cox in one of the nominations for the award. “Jim does not engage in any of these efforts for personal recognition or advancement, but is a true believer in trying to make the world a better place. He has a very big heart, but also applies a sharp intellect and creative and highly collaborative approaches to bringing about concrete solutions to vexing social issues – particularly in areas of the globe that are struggling to recover from war or natural disaster.”

Myers said winning the award is “humbling. I was honored to be nominated. I never imagined I’d ever receive it. I do this work because I love it, and the work itself is the reward I receive. That is why I do it.”

He also credits RIT for being “so supportive and generous for recognizing community service work.”

Myers will receive $2,500 as part of the award. He plans to give $2,000 of it to HOPE, and split the remainder between the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Cancer Wellness Center.

About the awards:

  • The Bruce R. James ’64 Award was named after James, chair emeritus of the RIT Board of Trustees. The award recognizes a student for exemplary public service within RIT and/or the wider Rochester community. Its purpose is to highlight one of RIT’s own hidden heroes while also encouraging other students to engage in public service.
  • The Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award Fund was created by Alfred L. Davis on the occasion of the 65th year of his association with RIT, to commemorate the dedication of the four RIT presidents with whom he worked, in their service to the Rochester community. The purpose of this award is to honor the four presidents, Mark Ellingson, Paul Miller, M. Richard Rose, and Albert Simone, with whom Mr. Davis served at RIT, and to recognize a current member of the faculty or staff who, through his/her public service, mirrors the lives of the four presidents, who have been not only outstanding professionals but also caring members of the community. Davis died in 2008.

RIT and SUNY Upstate Medical University create pipeline to medical school

1 Apr

medical setting with dark-skinned female, light skinned female and male looking at an anatomy textbook.

Rochester Institute of Technology and the State University of New York Upstate Medical University are offering a bridge program that guarantees qualified RIT undergraduates admission to the Upstate Doctor of Allopathic Medicine program.

Students applying to RIT can request to be considered for the RIT-Accelerated Scholars Program with Upstate Medical University. This new pathway to a traditional allopathic medical school education for prospective undergraduates from the United States could be an option for students as early as the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Accelerated Scholars Program is designed to mentor a diverse group of qualified students for careers as medical doctors, and will accept five students per year. Upstate will reserve a place for the RIT graduates to matriculate following the completion of their four-year bachelor’s degree. The Accelerated Scholars Program waives the Medical College Admission Test requirement for admission into Upstate Medical University College of Medicine, also known as SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse.

The number of medical school applicants from RIT increased when RIT solidified its health brand in 2008 with the RIT & Rochester Regional Health Alliance and with the opening of the College of Health Sciences and Technology in 2011.

“Offering the option of direct entry to medical school gives RIT students an edge,” said Dr. Daniel Ornt, vice president and dean of the Institute/College of Health Sciences and Technology.

“The competition for medical school is stiff. There are nearly 53,000 applicants and fewer than 22,000 available spots. The RIT and SUNY Upstate collaborative removes the stress of the application process.”

The Accelerated Scholars Program places a priority on cultivating students with broad interests to become future physicians. While participating students must satisfy the general science requirement for medical school and maintain a 3.5 grade point average each semester, they are encouraged to sample and explore different disciplines during their undergraduate education, Ornt said.

“The RIT and SUNY Upstate partnership creates a pipeline for educating well-rounded medical doctors to help offset the future physician shortage as the baby boomers retire,” Dr. Ornt said.

Participating RIT undergraduates will be offered summer programming with Upstate based on the Association of American Medical College’s medical student competencies, including ethical reasoning, effective communication, critical thinking, cultural competence and other topics, according to Krystal Ripa, director of Special Admissions Programs at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

“During these summers, RIT students will also get an opportunity to build community with other students accepted to Upstate who are expected to matriculate together,” Ripa said.

Ian Mortimer, RIT vice president for enrollment management, said the RIT-Accelerated Scholars Program is the university’s first relationship with an allopathic medical school for RIT students.

“RIT is a great choice for future health care leaders,” Mortimer said. “RIT students gain a forward-thinking perspective that places them in some of the best medical schools and Ph.D. programs nationally. The direct-entry medical school option with SUNY Upstate Medical School reflects the high-caliber of an RIT education.”

Winners announced for RIT/NTID Next Big Idea entrepreneurship competition

1 Apr

Five males, two in suits and three in t-shirts, with one holding an oversized check, are smiling at the camera.

Five teams of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf went head-to-head March 28 during The Next Big Idea business competition. DiwaTech, an interface design solution to improve video game accessibility, took home the $5,000 first prize.

Judges from the competition’s sponsor, ZVRS, a video-relay service headquartered in Clearwater, Fla., reviewed projects of the team finalists, asked questions and selected first-, second- and third-place winners.

First place: DiwaTech (Daniel Cox, a human centered computing major from Rochester, N.Y.; Chad Cummings, a human centered computing major from West Henrietta, N.Y.; and Anthony DiGiovanni, a web and mobile computing major from Rochester, N.Y.): By applying a user interface design solution, along with new technologies such as voice recognition, to operating systems, DiwaTech is creating a new software product that allows visualized sound data to represent audio output for video games. According to the team’s submission, “Our vision is to bring accessibility awareness to the video game industry and to develop accessibility standards for video games. We believe this will benefit deaf gamers worldwide.”

Second place: Thinking Hands (Karina Baker, a sociology and anthropology major from Culver City, Calif; Moises Tobias, a design and imaging technology major from West Henrietta, N.Y.; Alina Kenina, an exercise science major from Clarksburg, Md.; and Gabriel Veit, a new media/industrial design major from Austin, Texas): Thinking Hands is an online educational platform that aims to provide academic support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students through the development of interactive educational videos taught in American Sign Language. Thinking Hands took home the $3,000 second prize.

Third place: Halbeg (Bakar Ali, an MBA student from Somalia; Tyler Anderson, a journalism major from Las Vegas; and Eric Epstein, a software engineering major from Tucson, Ariz.): Halbeg Technologies makes all-in-one private networking platforms for businesses that want to improve interaction within communities. It offers a simple way for members within communities to share resources such as posting requests, offering jobs, trading or bartering goods, carpooling or ridesharing, and chatting about community issues, in one platform. Team members said, “Our ‘all-in-one’ platforms make it easier for locals to interact and participate in a shared economy, improving the overall sustainability of the local business community.” Halbeg won the $2,000 third-place prize.   

Other finalists were Fireblazer News (Eric Belozovsky, a human computing interaction major from Framingham, Mass; Eleazar Contreras, a web and mobile computing major from Chicago; Anderson Pleasants, a political science major from Williamsville, N.Y.; and Daniel Devor, an ASL-English interpretation major from Gibsonia, Pa.), which works with hearing news outlets to translate audio, written and TV news content into sign language; and Foldify (Musab Al-Smadi, a software engineering major from Rochester, N.Y.; Steven McClusky, a software engineering major from Blue Springs, Mo.; and Matthew Watkins, an electrical mechanical engineering technology major from Covina, Calif.), which makes folding clothes simpler with an electric machine that reduces human time and effort.

The Next Big Idea competition is an annual event where teams of students combine skills related to their individual majors to create innovative products, technology or businesses. Teams work with mentors on their projects and compete before judges for cash prizes. This year marks the eighth anniversary of the competition.