Maya Ariel

“For people who want the best of both worlds—hearing and deaf—RIT/NTID is the place to be,” says Maya Ariel, 22.

Ariel attended a mainstream high school and was the only deaf person in her family. She transferred to RIT three years ago because she wanted more exposure to the deaf community.

“RIT seemed like it would be a better fit for me because it has a large deaf population, and I wanted to learn with both deaf and hearing peers,” says the Livingston, N.J., native. “I also like that it offers great co-op opportunities.”

Although Ariel was undecided on a major when she arrived, she chose a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration-Management because it provides many options for the future.

Ariel has taken advantage of many opportunities at RIT. She currently is a resident advisor, a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, an ambassador for the NTID Admissions Office and an active member of the NTID theater group. She has been involved in eight plays, including solo performances in The Vagina Monologues, an annual performance that’s part of a national campaign to end violence against women.

“Theater is my passion,” she says. “I love bringing a character to life, and I enjoy the close interaction I have with the other actors.”

Helping others also is important to Ariel, and she made time to do a service learning project in Sea Island, S.C., during spring break last year for Habitat for Humanity.

Last summer, she achieved one of her goals to study abroad by completing a six-week immersion program in Genova, Italy. She loved the language so much that she’s completed the requirements for a minor in Italian.

Ariel plans to graduate next year, and this summer will complete her first co-op in Washington, D.C., sponsored through the American Association for People with Disabilities

“I’m looking forward to this co-op, and the new experiences it will bring,” she says.

As for the future, Ariel is optimistic.

 “I’m not sure where I will be or exactly what I will be doing, but I know I will be ready to make my mark in the business world because of the opportunities I have had here,” she says.

Editor’s note: In February, Ariel was featured in ABC’s, “What Would You Do?” program. See www.ntid.rit.edu/news/what-would-you-do for information about her appearance.

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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