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The Rochester Institute of Technology Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RIT-RISE)

Scientists-In-Training Program for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Undergraduates

Dare to Dream

Are you a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing undergraduate student at RIT? Do you want to become a scientist? With the RIT-RISE Scientists-In-Training Program, getting a doctorate (Ph.D.) degree is now more possible than ever.

We Need More Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Scientists

There are not enough Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing scientists. As a result, the scientific workforce is not able to adequately include the ideas and perspectives of deaf and hard-of-hearing people. This lack of diversity makes science less efficient in serving all populations. Therefore, the National Institutes of Health is collaborating with RIT/NTID to develop the RIT-RISE program to increase the number of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing scientists!


  • You will have the opportunity to conduct research with a faculty mentor at RIT and to spend one summer doing research on another campus.
  • You will receive student wages for your work in a research laboratory and active participation in the RIT-RISE program during the school year and the summer until you graduate.
  • You will have the opportunity to travel to two national research conferences – the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students and a national conference in your discipline.
  • You will participate in courses and training designed to help you grow as a scientist.
  • You will work with the RIT-RISE team to create an Individualized Development Plan.
  • You will receive coaching and instruction on preparing for and applying to graduate schools.
Doctoral Preparation Navigational Guidance Financial Support
  • Bachelor’s degree in one of the 15 participating programs
  • Specialized research courses and training
  • Three years of supported research experiences
  • Personalized career development plan
  • Academic and research training advising
  • Professional development training

Three years of paid research experiences

  • Sophomores: 5-10 hours/week during academic year and 40 hours/week for 8-10 weeks in summer
  • Juniors: 10-15 hours/week during academic year and 40 hours/week for 8-10 weeks in summer
  • Seniors: 10-15 hours/week during academic year


Qualifications for becoming a RIT-RISE scholar:

  • Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing sophomore or second-year RIT student
  • Very interested in and committed to becoming a PhD scientist
  • GPA 3.0 or better
  • Major in one of the 14 RIT-RISE eligible majors/degrees
    • Biochemistry
    • Bioinformatics
    • Biology
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Biomedical Sciences
    • Biotechnology & Molecular Bioscience
    • Chemistry
    • Computing and Information Technologies
    • Computer Science
    • Computing Security
    • Game Design & Development
    • Human-Centered Computing
    • New Media Interactive Development
    • Psychology


Other than getting a very good GPA (at least 3.0, preferably 3.5 and above), the key to getting into a Ph.D. program is to obtain successful undergraduate research experiences, as evidenced by doing and making:

  • Posters and presentations
  • Publications

The RIT-RISE program can help you obtain successful undergraduate research experiences so you can become a successful scientist!!


  • Conduct independent scientific research and pursue new knowledge
    • You can set up your own research projects using your own ideas
    • You can help make important scientific discoveries such as helping to find a cure for cancer or a new medicine
    • You can choose who you want to hire and work with
  • Increase deaf/hard-of-hearing representation in the academic and science worlds
    • Help the scientific workforce to become more inclusive and efficient to serve all people
  • Earn good salary with a good quality of life
    • You can make more money as a scientist than most other jobs
    • You can control your schedule as a scientist more than most other jobs
    • You can work in university as faculty or in the industry or for the government

The RIT-RISE program can help you to become a successful scientist!!