Fabian Wilks

Fabian Wilks saw RIT/NTID as the perfect fit for him.

Wilks, 26, was born in Jamaica and began attending a residential school for the deaf at age three. When he was 17 years old, he moved with his family, all of whom are hearing, to the Bronx in New York City. He started high school there, but transferred to the Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C. After graduating, Wilks studied accounting at LaGuardia Community College in New York City before transferring into NTID’s 2+2 program in Business.

“It’s a great environment here,” he says. “I like the mix of deaf and hearing students; that the college community is friendly, supportive and welcoming; and that communication is easy and accessible. I visited RIT/NTID four or five times before I transferred, and when I started here I already felt a strong bond to the college.”

Wilks says his studies keep him busy, but, as a people-oriented person, he really enjoys getting involved on campus. He is interim president of the Deaf International Students Association, a Big Brother to first-year students in NTID’s Business Studies program and an American Sign Language tutor for RIT’s interpreting students. He also plays soccer and likes to drive and take in the sights of Rochester.

A second-year student, Wilks recently has transferred into RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business, and is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems.

Wilks hopes someday to own his own company and provide business-related services to deaf individuals. If his drive and ambition continue, he’ll turn that dream into a reality.

He takes his motto to heart: “If you struggle in life, you will be successful.”

Says Wilks, “My life has not been easy, but I’ve overcome difficult situations that I believe were instrumental to who I am today: a strong, determined and happy person who is successfully pursuing his dreams.”

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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