2017-2019 Cohort

Brienna Herold

Brienna grew up in rural Wisconsin and attended Gallaudet University for her bachelor’s degree in Biology.  Through lab experience at the National Institutes of Health, Brienna learned that a ‘traditional’ lab setting was not for her and she decided to look into computer science related fields.  Brienna decided to join RIT’s master’s program in Information Sciences and Technologies and was chosen as a Bridges Scholar.  Brienna looks forward to new skills and experiences gained while at RIT and in the Bridges Program that will help her reach her goals of obtaining a PhD and building a career as a research scientist.

Sarah Kimbley

Sarah was born and raised in Florida and transferred to RIT from the University of Florida where she had begun as a nursing major.  Sarah soon realized nursing was not her forte and came to RIT/NTID for her bachelor’s in Psychology.  Before she graduated, Sarah had been working in the NTID Center on Cognition & Language and had been exposed to the Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate Program early on.  She felt this would be a good program to pursue for the interaction, mentorship, research experiences, and more.  Sarah is currently pursuing her master’s in Experimental Psychology and will be looking into various types of PhD programs focused on neurological aspects of Psychology.

Victoria Popov

Victoria grew up in California, attending a mainstream school.  She came to RIT/NTID for her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences.  Victoria has gained some research experience during her time at RIT/NTID and because of that has become interested in otolaryngology and psychology fields.  These interests have lead Victoria to pursue the Professional Studies degree under the School of Individualized Studies, focusing on biomedical sciences and psychology.  Victoria is excited to bring together research and clinical work as she narrows down her choices for PhD study.

2016-2018 Cohort

Steven Murdy

Steven graduated in 2015 from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) receiving a BS in Public Policy with a minor in Science, Technology and Society. The bulk of his studies regarding Public Policy focused on health policy within the United States healthcare system. He is currently working towards an MS in Health Systems Administration through the College of Health Sciences and Technology at RIT. Throughout his time at RIT, Steven was fortunate to have internships with the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and United States Congress. To further his career goals, he decided to join the Bridges to the Doctorate program for the training and mentoring services they provide while he pursues a master’s degree. Currently he is conducting research on FDA regulatory standards focusing on drug therapies, specifically biomarkers.

Jeff Shaul

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

2015-2017 Cohort

Andrea Amati

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

Sara Blick

Sara grew up in Scotia, NY and attended a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) program in Albany from pre-school until 8th grade.  She then attended and graduated from Scotia-Glenville High School.  After graduation, Sara attended RIT and earned her Associate’s degree in Lab Science Technology and then her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences.  Sara knew she wanted to further pursue her education in the science field and when she saw the Bridges to the Doctorate program at RIT she knew it was a great fit for her.   Sara recently graduated from RIT with a master’s in Interdisciplinary/Professional Studies with a focus on Biology, Health Systems Administration, and Bioinformatics.  She begins her PhD in Pathology program this Fall (2017) at the University of Rochester.

2014-2016 Cohort

Madeline Beach

Madeline graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Mathematics, specializing in statistics. She is currently working towards an M.S. in Applied Statistics through the Center for Quality and Applied Statistics at RIT. After earning a Masters, she hopes to continue on with a PhD either in Biostatistics or Statistics with a specialization in biostatistics. Madeline is 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

Jessica is from Anchorage, Alaska and was at RIT for the 6 years.  She has worked at the Deaf Studies Laboratory as a Research Assistant during that time and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice.  Jessica earned her master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from RIT.  She is now pursuing her PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Connecticut and plans to become a researcher.  Jessica’s research interests are language and how the brain develops, specifically in relation to signed languages.

Lorne Farovitch

Lorne was born in Vancouver B.C., Canada and grew up in Arizona. His deaf parents raised him along with two hearing siblings.  He went to Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind because his parents wanted him to have full access to learning through American Sign Language.  After graduating from high school, Lorne went to Gallaudet University and graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry.  He is fascinated with science; it has many different and interesting areas that he was not sure about until he saw the Rochester Bridges to Doctorate Program. 

Lorne feels the Bridges Program was perfect for him because it helped him narrow his focus to an area of science that he is most interested in. Lorne received his master’s degree in Environmental Science in 2016 and during that time was involved in research on the survival of various pathogens in surface water, sediments and soils.  He is now pursuing his PhD in Translational Biomedical Science: Infections & Immunity, from Molecules to Populations at the University of Rochester.

2013-2014 Cohort

Gloria Wink

Gloria was raised in Rochester, NY and comes from a deaf family.  She has an associate’s degree in Laboratory Science Technology from NTID, and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from RIT.  Gloria earned her master’s degree in Environmental Science from RIT in 2015.  Her main research project while at RIT/NTID was with Dr. Todd Pagano investigating the chemical components in the vapors of electronic cigarettes and how they impact lung health.  Gloria is now pursuing her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Rochester.

Gloria says the Bridges Program helped her with the transition from graduate school to her chosen Ph.D. program.  There are not many Deaf scientists with doctorate degrees, so she wants to prove to everybody that Deaf people can accomplish this goal.  Having a Ph.D. will improve her future by providing more opportunities:  working for the government, becoming a professor, or being an independent researcher.  Her 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, she would like to continue to conduct research, and mentor students to provide them with valuable research experience.