Julie Kerchner

On any given day, Julie Kerchner is running. She might be running on RIT's outdoor track, or jogging around the indoor track at the Gordon Field House. Or she could be tackling a treadmill in the fitness center, or competing for the RIT Tigers in a cross-country meet.

"I love running," says Kerchner, a second-year Business Technology major from York, Pa. "It's a challenge I love to pursue—and my teammates are wonderful friends. They are like family. Both my high school varsity cross-country team and the team here at RIT have made me the person I am today—motivated and determined to reach my maximum potential at whatever life has for me."

As the only deaf person in her family, and one of only four deaf students in a mainstream high school of 1,700, Kerchner has spent her life mostly around hearing people.

"I wanted something different, and I knew RIT would give me the opportunity to be with both hearing and deaf students and provide me with a lot of support," says Kerchner. "Plus, I could learn more about Deaf culture. One of the things I like about RIT/NTID is that students come from all across the United States and many other countries. It gives RIT diversity and makes it a very unique and interesting place."

Someday Kerchner hopes to earn a degree in deaf education, and work with deaf elementary school children. For now, after she receives her associate degree, she'd like to participate in the Disney College Program, a paid internship that provides the opportunity to work with people from around the world, and learn from people skilled in her areas of interest.

"It would be both fun and a good experience," says Kerchner. "I'll be able to apply the knowledge I've learned about business, and gain more skills that will benefit me not only in future jobs, but in everyday life."

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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