Rochester Institute of Technology receives $1M grant to train deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduates

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf with a $1M grant to develop a scientists-in-training program for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduates. 

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf with a $1.025 million grant to develop a scientists-in-training program for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduates.  

Funded through the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program, the grant is designed to increase the number of underrepresented students who enter Ph.D. programs in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

The program will offer scientific enrichment through "workshops, presentations, and activities that are tailored to the needs of deaf-and-hard of hearing scientists and open to the entire university," according to a university statement. The program will also provide faculty workshops to share best practices for promoting effective communication between hearing and deaf researchers in lab settings.   

Scott R. Smith, a health scientist and research faculty member at RIT/NTID, who is deaf, will lead the program assisted by Paul Craig, a chemistry professor and the head of RIT’s School of Chemistry and Material Science, and Vincent Samar, an RIT/NTID cognitive science professor with many years of experience working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students. 

“We expect the RIT-RISE program to provide even greater opportunities so that deaf and hard-of-hearing students can engage in robust undergraduate research experiences that will enable them to become successful scientists,” said Smith. 

The RIT-RISE program is the first RISE program to specifically serve deaf and hard-of-hearing students. 

“This is a historic development for deaf and hard-of-hearing scholars and for RIT,” said Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “RIT is becoming known as the destination school for deaf and hard-of-hearing scholars who want to prepare for careers in biomedical and behavioral research.”