Justin Simmons

Justin Simmons, 22, from Pickering, Ohio, is a fourth-year Packaging Science major who plans to graduate in May.

“The field of Packaging Science is something I really enjoy,” says Simmons. “I’m very creative, and I like to design, but I also like math, science and business, so this major is perfect for me because it combines all the subjects I love.”

Simmons attended RIT/NTID’s Explore Your Future program as a high school junior and knew right away he wanted his future to include RIT.

“I was searching for a place where people understood me and where I could be part of a Deaf community, because I didn’t have that experience in my mainstream high school,” he explains. “By coming to RIT I knew I would be with other people like me, have many academic choices to choose from and could take advantage of wonderful support services.”

Simmons is making the most of his time at RIT. Last year, he placed third in RIT’s Tiger Tank, a competition that gives students the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to judges to win cash prizes. This past summer, he participated in RIT’s Summer Start-Up Program, an intense 10-week program where he was coached and mentored in developing his business concept to a point where he is able to seek investment. His product is a fraud detection system that can tell if items such as clothing are worn and used for a given length of time, which gives retailers a defense against retail fraud. He has some major retailers already interested in his product.

When he’s not focusing on academics or furthering his entrepreneurial interests, Simmons works part-time in NTID’s Office of Admissions and serves as an NTID student ambassador. He also is a member of RIT’s CRU (a Christian student club) and the Institute of Packaging Professionals.

“I think RIT has the complete package,” he says. “The wonderful support I get from faculty and being part of the Deaf community in such a warm and welcoming environment makes RIT so unique.

“I came to RIT/NTID with an open mind, and I found myself here—both scholastically and socially.” 

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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