A Special Visit

Did you know that there is a push to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour? The current administration feels this move is needed to get full-time workers out of poverty.

Would you be willing to stand outside, braving the freezing temperatures, for the opportunity to hear Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden speak? Trust me, it was worth it! MCC (Monroe Community College) Applied Technologies Center hosted the event, at which Vice President Biden discussed a topic near and dear to students hearts: education directed at jobs that are currently unfilled. After Vice President Biden’s presentation, exposing the job openings due to the lack of workers that have specific training, Dr. Jill Biden, who is herself a professor at a community college, discussed the important role community college programs fulfill as they adapt programs to supply the training currently in demand by businesses.

Claudia Gordon (First African American deaf woman political appointee with the Obama Administration, serving as Special Assistant to the Director of the US Department of Labor) was able to secure a few tickets for NTID President Dr. Buckley. Twelve students, along with some professors, were fortunate to attend this unique experience. I was happy to see some familiar RIT/NTID faculty members attending when I arrived, including our wonderful Dr. Buckley, Dr. Todd Pagano (Professor of the Year), Dr. Jessica Cuculick (NTID alumna, who recently earned her Ph.D.), Professor/Lawyer/Rabbi Dr. Jennifer Gravitz, Dean/Professor Dr. Schmitz, Marianne Gustafson (Associate Dean for Curriculum & Special Projects), and last but not least, one of the most humble people I have ever met in my life, Dr. Bernie Hurwitz (Executive Assistant to the President).

My favorite part of Vice President Joe Biden’s speech was: “Men and women paid equally should happen.” I couldn’t agree more. What a powerful statement!

The Bidens reminded us that education truly leads to economic prosperity. They noted that manufacturing jobs are coming back to the US as the previous trend of outsourcing reverses.

Overall, I am grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime. I also presented a copy of my autobiography, Austin’s Gift, to an assistant of US Senator Schumer. That was pretty exciting for me!

On a personal note, thank you Claudia Gordon and NTID for making this experience possible!

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About Lauren

Major: Multidisciplinary Studies

Hometown: Algonquin, Ill.

Why I chose RIT: After attending Explore Your Future (EYF), I fell in love with the campus, the accommodations for deaf and hard-of-hearing students are great, and I love the Rochester-based Wegmans supermarket!

Clubs/Activities: I am the vice president of the Masquers Drama Club, active in theater productions and bowl. I also am the author of Austin’s Gift, and sometimes make appearances related to organ donation.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy public speaking, being creative, performing on stage, promoting organ/tissue donation and studying about policies that improve the lives of others.

What I like best about RIT: I love attending RIT hockey games!

Favorite T.V. Show: “Chopped,” and “Masterchef.”

Fun fact about me: I have donated 10 inches of hair to “Locks of Love” twice, most recently to prepare for my role as Charlie in RIT/NTID’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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