2016-2018 Cohort

Steven Murdy

I recently graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) receiving a BS in Public Policy with a minor in Science, Technology and Society. The bulk of my studies regarding Public Policy focused on health policy within the United States healthcare system. I am currently working towards an MS in Health Systems Administration through the College of Health Sciences and Technology at RIT. Throughout my time at RIT, I was fortunate to have internships with the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and United States Congress. To further my career goals, I decided to join the Bridges to the Doctorate program for the training and mentoring services they provide while I pursue a master’s degree. Currently I am conducting research on FDA regulatory standards focusing on drug therapies, specifically biomarkers.

Jeff Shaul

I was born in Cincinnati, OH – Go Bengals!  For my undergraduate degree, I attended Rochester Institute of Technology.  With my Bachelors of Biochemistry in hand, I came to realize that I was much more interested in working with computers rather than pipettes.  To that end, I am now attending RIT’s Masters in Bioinformatics program.  I am also a Scholar in the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate Program.  I feel like this program is a great complement to my Master’s since the program is helping me develop the tools I need to succeed in academia/industry as a deaf scientist.  With a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, computer science, and data science, I am well prepared for my next goal: a PhD in Bioinformatics or Medical Informatics!  My favorite hobbies, in my occasional free time, include board games and disc golf.

2015-2017 Cohort

Andrea Amati

I was born and raised in Fairfield, Connecticut.  At age 12, my family moved to Frederick, Maryland where I attended and graduated from the Maryland School for the Deaf.  After high school, I went to Gallaudet University to play basketball and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry.  I am currently working on my Master’s in Environmental Science with a goal of obtaining a PhD in Toxicology and becoming a full-time researcher. The Bridges Program is beyond an amazing opportunity that will help me to explore different areas of science and achieve my goals as a deaf scientist.

Sara Blick

I grew up in Scotia, NY and attended a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) program in Albany from pre-school until 8th grade.  I then attended and graduated from Scotia-Glenville High School.  After graduation, I attended RIT and got my Associate’s degree in Lab Science Technology and then got my Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences.  I knew I wanted to pursue my education further in the science field and when I saw the Bridges to the Doctorates program at RIT I knew it was a great fit for me.  I am currently enrolled in the Multidisciplinary Program with a focus on Biology and Statistics.  I plan to get my PhD in Pathology or Immunology, Virology, and Microbiology (IVM).

2014-2016 Cohort

Madeline Beach

I recently graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Mathematics, specializing in statistics. I am currently working towards an M.S. in Applied Statistics through the Center for Quality and Applied Statistics at RIT. After earning a Masters, I hope to continue on with a PhD either in Biostatistics or Statistics with a specialization in biostatistics. I am interested in pursuing research in the field of mental health, specifically issues of quality of life and depression among the Deaf and geriatric populations.

Jessica Contreras

I am from Anchorage, Alaska and I have been at RIT for the past 5 years. I have worked at the Deaf Studies Laboratory as a Research Assistant during this time and obtained my bachelor’s in Clinical Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I am currently working on my master’s degree in Experimental Psychology. My goal is to obtain my PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and become a researcher. My research interests are language and how the brain develops specifically in relation to signed languages.

Lorne Farovitch

I was born in Vancouver B.C., Canada and grew up in Arizona. My wonderful deaf parents raised me along with two hearing siblings. I went to Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind because my parents wanted me to have full access to learning through American Sign Language. After graduating from high school, I went to Gallaudet University and graduated with two degrees in Biology and Chemistry. I am fascinated with science. Science has many different and interesting areas that I was not sure about until I saw Rochester Bridges to Doctorate Program. 

The Bridges Program is perfect for me because it helps me narrow down to an area of science that I am most interested in. Currently, I am a graduate student in environmental science and am interested in doing research on the survival of various pathogens in surface water, sediments and soils.

2013-2014 Cohort

Gloria Wink

I was raised in Rochester, NY.  I come from a deaf family.  I have an AS degree in Laboratory Science Technology from NTID, and a BS degree in Environmental Science from RIT.  I am currently working on a MS degree in Environmental Science at RIT.  My current research project with Dr. Todd Pagano is to investigate the chemical components in the vapors of electronic cigarettes and how they impact lung health.  After I receive my master’s degree, I plan to enter a Ph.D. program in Toxicology.  The Bridges Program is helping me with the transition from graduate school to my chosen Ph.D. program.  There are not many Deaf scientists with doctorate degrees, so I want to prove to everybody that Deaf people can accomplish this goal.  Having a Ph.D. will improve my future by providing more opportunities:  working for the government, becoming a professor, or being an independent researcher.  My dream would be to work for the government for a number of years, then become a professor at a university or high school.  As a professor, I would like to continue to conduct research, and mentor students to provide them with valuable research experience.