RIT/NTID Students Graduate with Accolades and Bright Futures

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As graduating students Friday packed up to head home or to start new chapters in their careers, many paused one last time to look back on their college years and reflect on their achievements.

Several students at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf were honored with their families and friends at an Academic Awards Luncheon prior to their graduation ceremony.

“This is an amazing group of graduates who are going to change the world,” NTID President Gerry Buckley said.

Also in attendance was a visitor from the U.S. Department of Education. Michael Yudin, acting assistant secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, is Saturday’s NTID graduation speaker.

“I congratulate the students on this incredible achievement,” Yudin said at the luncheon. “Too many of our kids don’t even go to college. Many drop out in high school. That means many of them become relegated to low-paying jobs, higher rates of poverty and higher rates of relying on social services. Education is not just a moral imperative. It is an economic imperative. So thank you for persevering and putting in the hard hours.”

The graduates who received awards:

  • Jonathan White, a Computer Integrated Machining Technology major from Williamsburg, Mass., received the Academic Achievement Award for students earning an associate degree.
  • Alexis Chasney, an interpreting major from Goleta, Ga., and Graham Forsey, a management and marketing major from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, received the Academic Achievement Award for students earning a bachelor’s degree.
  • Rosy De La Cruz, a Master of Science program in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf of Hard of Hearing major from Dumont, N.J., received the Academic Achievement Award for students earning a master’s degree.
  • Amie Sankoh, a Laboratory Science Technology major from Dallas, Ga., received the Outstanding Graduate Award for students earning an associate degree.
  • Robb Dooling, a Computer Science major from Omaha, Neb., received the Outstanding Graduate Award for students earning a bachelor’s degree.
  • Kelley Duran, a Software Engineering major from North Fayston, Vt., received the Outstanding Graduate Award for students earning a master’s degree.
  • Tristan Wright, an interpreting major from Rochester, received the Outstanding Graduate Award for interpreting students earning a bachelor’s degree.
  • Derek Landis, a Criminal Justice major from Frederick, Md., is the 2014 NTID College Delegate for undergraduates.
  • Matthew Annis, a Master of Science program in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf of Hard of Hearing major from Pittsford, N.Y., is the 2014 NTID College Delegate for graduate students.

Other students who had recent achievements include:

  • Graham Forsey, a management and marketing major from St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Victoria MacPherson, a biomedical science major from Doylestown, Pa., Alyssa Miller, a graphic design major from New City, N.Y., Michael Roppolo, a journalism major from Stony Point, N.Y., and interpreting students Emily Call of Utica, N.Y., Allison Garth of Stony Brook, N.Y. and Kathryn Womack, of Rochester, were named Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars.
  • Antonietta Alfano, a hospitality major from Rochester, Ashleen Evans, an accounting major from Lebanon, Ind., Stephanie Kiessling, a hospitality major from Jackson, N.J., and Samanha Shupe, a graphic design major from Richmond, Va., received 2014 Legacy Leadership Awards from the Center for Women and Gender.
  • Abubaker Ali, an urban and community studies major from Lansing, Mich., Tiffany Bridgett, a psychology major from West Henrietta, N.Y., Robert Dooling, a computer science major from Omaha, Neb., Mika Hongyu, a hospitality and service management major from Montpelier, Vt., Sadie Kulhanek, a psychology major from Lincoln, Neb., and Helen Yu, a business management major from Sunnyvale, Calif., received Alfred L. & Ruby Davis Leadership Awards.
  • Dawn Fitch, a biology major from Zanesville, Ohio, and Jeffrey Shaul, a biochemistry major from Cincinnati, Ohio, received the Sharon Rasmussen Personal Achievement Award, given to an NTID-supported student who has demonstrated considerable personal growth. The award is sponsored by the academic support area of the NTID Department of Science and Mathematics.
  • Ryan Hait-Campbell won a first-place award in the Technology & Engineering category for his presentation on MotionSavvy at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • LiXuan He, a business technology major from Oakville, Ontario, received the Al Van Nevel Memorial Foundation Award, awarded to a student in NTID’s Business Department who has excelled and shown leadership.
  • Justin Simmons, a packaging major from Pickerington, Ohio, received the Frederick Douglass Memorial Scholarship.
  • Isaiah Tyler, an interpreting major from Rochester, received the Rochester Area Continuing Education’s Outstanding Adult Student Award.
  • Elizabeth Uhrinec, an interpreting student from Syracuse, N.Y., received the Walls Olson Memorial Scholarship.
  • Franly Ulerio-Nunez, a laboratory science technology major from New York City, received the American Chemical Society’s “Achievement & Excellence in the Field of Chemistry” award.
  • Jing You, a hospitality major from Nashville, Tenn., won a scholarship from the Rochester Hotel & Motel Association. She worked at the RIT Inn.

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