Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has received approval from the New York State Department of Education to offer an associate degree program in mobile application development. The program will prepare students for work in the software development industry with a focus on application design and development for mobile platforms.

“Mobile app development is a field that brings concepts in programming, Web development and interface design together,” said Elissa Olsen, chairperson of NTID’s Department of Information and Computing Studies. “Using current and emerging technologies, students will develop skills in app design, learn relevant programming languages for application development on a variety of smart-devices, and learn the policies and procedures for submitting apps for distribution.”

The program pioneers a unique curriculum that incorporates a cross-platform development framework to create apps that work across multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android and Windows. Most programs adopt the traditional “silo approach” where developing an app for a single platform occurs first before making it work on another platform. By incorporating this cross-platform strategy into the curriculum, students will learn code-sharing strategies through shared projects or portable class libraries with the potential to reuse up to 99 percent of code that will work across multiple platforms and still retain native performance.

The program also incorporates a learning support community, bringing students and faculty together in various activities such as coding competitions, guest speakers and team building exercises. Through this model, faculty and industry experts will serve as mentors to build self-confidence among students and promote greater academic progress.

Experiential learning, such as cooperative work experiences and capstone courses, bring students together with industry partners in all aspects of mobile application development. Students will acquire soft skills, learn teamwork and understand the value of communication beyond the scope of the classroom.

“The new degree program in mobile application development provides our deaf and hard-of-hearing students with the skills needed to compete for highly sought-after positions in this growing field,” said Gerry Buckley, president of NTID and vice president and dean for RIT. “The combination of training and real-world experiences will help to ensure their success.”

RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences also awards a bachelor’s degree in Web and mobile computing with a concentration in mobile application development.

Congratulations to RIT/NTID students Thomas Ansill (Computer Science), Jaime Penzellna (Information Technology) and Daniel Saavedra (Information Technology), who recently presented their research at the 2014 Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics Student Research Conference in Provo, Utah and at the 2014 American Mathematics Society and Mathematical Association of America’s Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore, Md. More.

Justin Drawbaugh

Alumnus Justin Drawbaugh, an information technology specialist for the Defense Logistics Agency Information Operations in New Cumberland, Pa., is the winner of the Department of Defense Outstanding Employee with a Disability Award for 2013.

Drawbaugh completed an associate degree in Applied Computer Technology in 2001, and a bachelor's degree in Information Technology from RIT's B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences in 2003. He joined DLA after he graduated and currently designs, develops and tests numerous system changes for the JAVA Automated Mainfest System. He also was recently designated as the local site coordinator for Section 508 compliance, and is responsible for reviewing application web pages for accessibility deficiencies and recommending corrective action with other team members.

Outside of his routine duties, Drawbaugh serves as a recruiter representing DLA at the annual NTID Job Fair, and mentors deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the Dallastown, Pa., area.

"RIT prepared me not necessarily only because of the lectures, papers and tests, but also because of the real-life classroom experiences, valuable internships and interpresonal interaction and communication with my professors and peers," says Drawbaugh.


Joe Vicario, an Applied Computer Technology major, has never skated a minute for the RIT Tigers, but the third-year student is integral in the daily operation of the men’s and women’s Division I hockey programs. The 21-year-old student manager is the one who coordinates the pregame meal, hangs the uniforms, cleans the locker room and carries the coolers. And he’s the one with the remarkable story of perseverance. More.

RIT/NTID welcomes Michael Bloomfield, an RIT/NTID alumnus to campus on Thurs., Oct. 24, 2013. Bloomfield is a database developer at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. He also is managing partner of ButterflyHands, a nationwide online resource for requesting sign language interpreters. His presentation, “Embracing Technology: Impact Your Career,” will be held from 7-8 p.m. in the CSD Student Development Center, Rm. 1300/1310. He also will be presenting an investment seminar on Fri., Oct. 25 from 1-2:30 p.m. at the same location.

 For more information, contact Karen Beiter.