Christie Ong

Christie Ong’s mother once told her she’d have a bright future and would be a role model for other deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

Today, Ong, of Seattle, Wash., has taken those words to heart and embraces her college experience with a passion for rigorous academic studies and leadership activities.

At 21, Ong has achieved a couple of “firsts” at RIT: She’s the first deaf or hard-of-hearing student to major in RIT’s advertising and public relations program, and she’s the first student—deaf or hearing—to hold the Major Student Organization liaison position on RIT’s Student Government.

A third-year Dean’s List student, Ong is making the most of her college experience.

“I want to take full advantage of my RIT education and explore other areas outside my major like women’s studies, human resources and nutrition,” she says.

Ong has a zest for life, and is involved in many activities. In addition to her MSO liaison duties, Ong sits on the RIT’s President’s Commission on Pluralism and Inclusion, she’s a member of the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society and the DOVES, a club for deaf female students. She also served as communications director for NTID Student Congress last year.

Ong also a member of the student chapters of the American Marketing Association, the Public Relations Student Society of America and the American Advertising Federation.

“I knew I wanted to be an integral part of the student community, so I started getting involved immediately when I arrived here,” she says.

She’s been recognized for her active participation in student clubs and organizations and outstanding academic achievement. Ong has won the Vice President/Dean’s Scholarship, the Nathaniel Rochester Society Scholarship, the RIT Student Government Freshman Scholarship, the Dr. Robert Frisina Award and the Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Pluralism Award.

This summer she’ll participate in PEN-International’s Summer Leadership Institute in England, and afterwards she hopes to study in Ireland for six weeks.

“My family is my inspiration,” says Ong. “My parents emigrated here from Indonesia and I recognize the hardships they endured for me and my brother, a member of the world-renowned “President’s Own” U.S. Marine Corps Band. I hope to someday inspire others as my brother and parents have inspired me.”

Ong is well on her way.

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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