RIT/NTID Students Participate in White House Youth Summit

Two students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf are participating Wednesday in a youth summit at the White House with senior administration officials to talk about the Affordable Care Act and other issues affecting young Americans.

The students, Hugo Perez, a civil engineering technology major from Los Angeles, and Lakeishia Brown, an electrical engineering major from Evans, Ga., are among 160 students and recent graduates expected to participate. They may tour the White House prior to the summit.

“I am definitely beyond excited,” Brown said. “I mean, I’ve seen the White House from the outside, but didn’t think I would set foot in it. At least not anytime soon.” She’s eager to participate in the summit and ask questions as the conversation begins.

Perez said he’s getting goose bumps knowing he’ll be at the White House. “This is a huge opportunity for me to learn something new from the youth summit,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama who also oversees the Office of Public Engagement, and Anton Gunn, director of External Affairs in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, will be among the administrators attending the summit.

“I am thrilled our students have been asked to participate in this summit and have a chance to share their opinions about what is important to them,” said NTID President Gerry Buckley.

Claudia Gordon, liaison to the disability community for the White House Office of Public Engagement, extended the invitation. Gordon, a lawyer who became deaf at age 8, was a member of RIT/NTID’s National Advisory Group.

The summit, which begins at 2 p.m., is expected to be streamed live at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

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