Elena Iskandarova

While attending schools in the Republic of Uzbekistan for students who are hard-of-hearing, Elena Iskandarova enjoyed different styles of dance, volleyball, and playing saxophone in the student orchestra.

When her mother won a lottery called “Diversity” in 2000, the top prize was a visa. The following year, Iskandarova emigrated from Uzbekistan to America with her family, all of whom are hard-of-hearing. They settled in New York City, and Iskandarova attended Lexington School for the Deaf.

“An internship as a medical records clerk in my senior year of high school led me to become interested in finance and accounting,” she says.

“RIT was my first choice for college, because it has good Business Studies programs, supportive services for students from NTID, and equal opportunities for deaf and hearing students alike.”

Iskandarova, who speaks, writes, and signs in Russian, counts English and American Sign Language as her third and fourth languages. She is vigilant about mastering the communication skills she will need to be a success in the world of business.

“I work very hard on improving my English skills,” she says. “When I write essays, for example, I think carefully about vocabulary, choice of words, and grammar. It helps me to do my best in my business courses.”

Iskandarova’s extracurricular activities include participation in the Financial Management Association and the Next Generation of Accountants, two student groups in RIT’s College of Business as well as RIT/NTID’s English Issues Committee. On Thursday nights she enjoys watching cartoons at RIT’s Anime Club.

“I realize that expectations for students at RIT are higher than what we experienced in high school,” she says. “Deaf students in high school should do all they can to do well in English, math and science. Then they should plan to come to RIT/NTID because it has many good things waiting for them.”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2006 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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