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Niskayuna graduate shares RIT honor with high school teacher Richard DeSimony

picture of Richard Desimony and Charles Winegar
Teacher Richard DeSimony and Charles Winegar

Niskayuna High School Engineering Technology teacher Richard DeSimony has been honored by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) for his influence on a Niskayuna graduate who was named an RIT "Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar" last month.

RIT asks each Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar to identify a high school or community college teacher that they considered to be "the best" - someone they would honor as a role model who had a profound influence on their plans for the future. When Charles Winegar, a 2010 Niskayuna High School graduate, received the RIT award last month, he chose to honor DeSimony.

Winegar is a fourth-year student in the Mechanical Engineering Technology - BS program in RIT's College of Applied Science and Technology. Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars are students who have maintained a grade point average of 3.85 or higher over the course of 125 credit hours (about two-thirds of those required for a baccalaureate degre). Selection is based on other factors, including creative work, participation on student committees, civic activities and community service, employment and independent research.

RIT chooses less than 1 percent of the qualifying students from all five campuses worldwide for the Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar honor. Winegar was one of 101 students who received the award this year, including 36 students who are members of the honors program and 11 from RIT's international campuses.

DeSimony traveled to Rochester last month, where he and Winegar were honored. Niskayuna High School Principal John Rickert was notified of the award in a letter from RIT Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeremy Haefner.

"We congratulate Mr. DeSimony and we congratulate your school's contribution to the advancement of our society," Haefner wrote. "We cannot progress, compete or advance without an effective system of learning."

While at Niskayuna, Winegar took several classes in the Engineering Technology program including Senior R&D where he and his partner developed a wireless temperature probe for inside a grill that transmitted temperature data to a remote user. He received the department's program award for all four years and the Youngblood Award.

The RIT Award is a tribute both to the undergraduates as well as the teachers who had a profound impact on their lives.

"Most moving is the dinner where we pay tribute to the K-12 and community college teachers these scholars acknowledge as having a tremendous influence on their lives," says Haefner, the RIT provost. "It is a true testimony to the art of teaching and learning. Anyone who has been, currently is, or aspires to be a teacher cannot help but feel the enormous impact teachers have on the lives of their students."