The 23-year-old Dallas resident, who has been hearing impaired since she was 3, not only recently graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, N.Y., but also received the school’s Outstanding Graduate Award for students earning an associate degree.
Sankoh lost her hearing after contracting a virus. She has worn a hearing aid for many years and is proficient at reading lips and in speaking.
The laboratory science technology major received the award at a special academic awards luncheon just prior to settling into her second summer internship as a laboratory technician with the Dow Chemical Co.
“I was overwhelmed at being named the outstanding graduate,” Sankoh said after arriving home for the July 4 holiday from her internship in Philadelphia.
Although she said she has worked hard to gain her academic achievements and has had to overcome other hardships in addition to hearing loss, Sankoh said she believes the support she received from Rochester Institute and from her friends and family is what kept her going.
However, the Rochester professor who nominated her for the outstanding graduate award, Todd Pagano, said Sankoh has an “incredible, relentless” attitude toward her education and has never allowed her hearing loss to become an insurmountable obstacle.
Pagano said he had Sankoh in his classes for two years and has done research alongside her.
“Amie has a great love for science and maintains great respect for her colleagues and peers,” he said.
“One of the amazing things about Amie is she is relentless in striving to reach her goals and absolutely nothing is going to stop her,” Pagano said.
It seems Dow Chemical has the same admiration for Sankoh.
Pagano said he selects only his very best students annually to intern at Dow Chemical and, since he has been at Rochester, has sent seven students there as interns.
“Of all the students I have sent to intern at Dow Chemical, Amie is the first one that Dow has requested to come back for a second summer internship,” Pagano said.
However, Sankoh will be returning to the institute in the fall to be part of its pre-med program.