Regina Kiperman-Kiselgof

Regina Kiperman-Kiselgof knows firsthand what it’s like to struggle to qualify to attend RIT/NTID.  And she never, ever, takes it for granted.

Kiperman-Kiselgof, a senior employment advisor in NTID’s Center on Employment, was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) Russia, and emigrated with her extended family, which includes several members who are deaf, to Buffalo, N.Y., in 1994.

Her dream was to attend NTID, but she didn’t know enough English or American Sign Language. After six months of studying both languages a remarkable 16 hours per day—reading books, watching television and studying videos--she was accepted as a first-year student.

Kiperman-Kiselgof approached her studies with no-nonsense determination. She believed that, even with her limited English and ASL proficiency, “NTID had faith in me that I would succeed, so I knew I must.”

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2000 and a master’s degree in Career Training and Human Resources Management one year later. Soon after, she was hired at RIT/NTID.

“The first time I met Regina, she was very shy and respectful…and eager to become a student,” recalls Patricia Billies, former NTID admissions counselor who now teaches in NTID’s Science and Mathematics Department. “Years later, when I needed someone to manage a project for PEPNet [the Postsecondary Education Programs Network, an RIT/NTID grant project], I thought of her, and found that my shy student had blossomed into a creative, energetic and innovative professional.”

 Kiperman-Kiselgof spent five years with PEPNet before moving to NCE in 2006, where she says, “No two days are alike.” She teaches a Job Search Process course, helps students prepare for co-ops and permanent jobs, conducts employer training workshops and advises students about employment trends. She willingly accepts new projects and challenges, citing her favorite quotation from Theodore Roosevelt: “Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it."

 “I try not to miss any opportunities,” she says, “because you cannot turn back the clock.”

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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