Michael L. Cross Jr.

Travel down a reconstructed nine-mile section of New York State Route 394 near Jamestown, and you’ll be treading all over Mike Cross’s hard work, literally.

That’s because the 1996 Civil Engineering Technology graduate of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) worked on that project for nearly three of his eight years as a design engineer for the New York State Department of Transportation.

“I took on many challenges, and I faced some hard decisions. The project was very successful, and I learned many things along the way,” says Cross.

A native of Buffalo, Cross’s fascination for mathematics started in grade school. His interest in architecture blossomed during high school.

“I would draw and draw,” Cross recalls. “By my teenage years, I was creating entire cities on paper, complete with buildings and skyscrapers, stadiums, roads and highways.”

Cross took three years of liberal arts studies at Gallaudet University and pre-architecture studies at University of Maryland before transferring to RIT. At the suggestion of faculty in NTID’s Department of Science and Engineering Support (DSES), he merged his interests in math, art and architecture and enrolled in RIT’s Civil Engineering Technology bachelor’s degree program.

“I had many good teachers at RIT,” says Cross. “What kept me motivated were the study groups of other deaf students in CAST and the assistance we received from DSES.”

In 2003, Cross married RIT/NTID Business alumna Carolyn (Betz) Cross, ‘93.

A former collegiate and Deaflympic track and field athlete, Cross serves on the Deaf Advisory Council for Deaf Adult Services and is a member of the Buffalo Civic Association of the Deaf.

“Deaf students in high school who are interested in science and engineering careers should focus on doing well in their math and science courses,” advises Cross. “They also should meet with people in the fields in which they are interested. It’s important that young adults ask working professionals about their experiences on the job.”

This story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2005 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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