Cooper Norris

"I see strong diversity energy around RIT,” says Cooper Norris, a second-year student from Fairport, New York. “It is definitely unique because here many groups of races, disabilities, sexual orientations, religions and beliefs blend into one and work together.”

Norris, 20, chose RIT with some encouragement from friends, family and teachers. His desire to major in engineering also influenced his choice, as he knew the reputation for strong engineering programs at RIT.

“I always have been fascinated with math and how it works, and I’ve always wondered how things work out there in the world,” says Norris. “I thought that a major in Mechanical Engineering Technology would suit me greatly. Now I love my major because there are so many different factors to learn about how things work. It really has interested me so far.”

RIT’s variety of support services to make sure students have the best learning environment in college was important to Norris, and he also wanted the experience of studying and living with both deaf and hearing students.

Norris is involved on campus as secretary for the student organization Spectrum, and plays in the Deaf Volleyball Association. He also is a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He finds time for his hobbies of listening to music, hanging out with friends and cooking.

Even though in day-to-day life he’s busy, he also is thinking about the future.

“My goal is to work in a place where I can construct things, or even invent something new,” he says. “I believe that no matter how hard the obstacles are that you encounter in your life, you always must find a way to overcome them. Don’t let anything stop you.”

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

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