New Orleans native Alvin Boyd, lecturer in NTID’s Business Studies Department, didn’t set out to be a teacher or to live in Rochester, N.Y. But a series of events—which he calls divine intervention—led him to NTID in 2004.
Boyd was an Accounting major at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge when he took summer classes at the college’s New Orleans campus and worked at the local post office. Since many of his coworkers were deaf or hard of hearing, Boyd decided to learn some basic fingerspelling.
A few years later, Boyd joined a church with a deaf minister and began participating in activities within the deaf community. Eventually, with encouragement from his wife, he decided to pursue a degree in educational interpreting from Delgado Community College. That’s when a chance meeting changed his life.
Kathleen Szczepanek, who then was an NTID admissions counselor and who now works with Boyd in the Business Studies Department, visited Delgado to talk about NTID’s American Sign Language-English Interpretation program. Boyd was intrigued, but waited a year before enrolling—put off by, among other things, the thought of leaving Louisiana’s balmy climate.
He briefly returned to New Orleans in 2005, following the death of his sister. When he came back to Rochester, he switched into the Master of Science program in Secondary Education of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, from which he graduated in 2007.
He worked in NTID’s Pre-College Outreach and Math and Science departments before joining Business Studies in 2008.
In addition to teaching, he mentors RIT/NTID AALANA (African American Latin American Native American) students and volunteers for some of the college’s outreach programs.
Boyd encourages his students to embrace learning—whether it’s basic business principles or everyday issues.
"I love when they ask lots of questions," he says. "If they're asking, they're thinking. And if they're thinking, they're learning."
This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of FOCUS Magazine.