Scott and Shayna, both born profoundly deaf, have climbed some of the world’s highest mountains.  Rather than letting their disability define them, they created their own expeditions ranging from backcountry hiking, sea kayaking, bike packing, and climbing mountains. Scott and Shayna picked up skills mostly by watching YouTube videos and asking others through paper and pen because of the lack of accessibility in outdoor education. This has ignited their passion for making the outdoors more accessible to Deaf and hard-of-hearing youth, as well as others in marginalized communities.
RSD students and staff Spend all day with Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger as they recount their experience of becoming the first all-Deaf team to reach the summit of North America’s tallest mountain, Denali, at 20,310 feet, and the obstacles they had to climb over as Deaf mountaineers. 
Shannon Galpin is an American activist, author, adventurer, and producer of the movie, Afghan Cycles. In 2013, she was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. As the first person to mountain bike in Afghanistan, Galpin is credited with encouraging Afghan women to ride bikes, which led to the creation of the Afghan Women's National Cycling Team and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Galpin also started a US-based series of mountain biking camps called Strength in Numbers for women in their 20s and 30s who have experienced gender violence, believing that "…..an army of women can change the world."
Of particular interest to RSD students and staff, and Rochester's Deaf community is Galpin's advocacy work on behalf of the Deaf community in Afghanistan, where she used her influence and network of friends to gain access to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and persuaded him to donate land in Kabul to build a School for the Deaf.
British adventurer Dave Cornthwaite has a habit of doing things differently. Since quitting his job as a graphic designer in 2005, Dave has become a record-breaking adventurer who has traveled over 22,000 miles without motors as part of his groundbreaking Expedition 1000 project. He has created hundreds of short films and written three books, including his bestseller Life in Slow Lane. Tens of thousands on six continents have enjoyed his uniquely entertaining and motivational keynote presentations. Dave also is the founder of SayYesMore and the YesTribe, community initiatives designed to create opportunities that nudge people towards discovering what they're capable of doing and becoming. His passionate advocacy of the word YES has contributed to the sprouting of countless adventures worldwide, big and small, by individuals and families from all walks of life.
Actress Katie Leclerc, star of ABC Family's Switched at Birth started learning American Sign Language at age 17, three years before she found out she had a degenerative inner ear disorder that includes hearing loss and vertigo. Since receiving her diagnosis, Katie has traveled the country meeting people of all ages, inspiring them to see obstacles in their lives as stepping stones for making the world a better place for others. It actually was her disease that helped her land the leading role in Switched at Birth and that led to numerous other TV and movie roles, including her recent lead role in Hallmark Channel's Cloudy with a Chance of Love.
Wildly popular among students at Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD), Katie shared with them how she dealt with extreme bullying in school and how they can heal the world one person at a time. Through her evening storytelling presentation on October 19, Katie's timeless message of practicing goodness and patience resonated with both young and old, Deaf and hearing.
C.J Jones used his Word Adventure stage performance to lift our hearts and encourage us to find joy and humor in unexpected places. His one-man tour de force combines his voice, American Sign Language, and mime to explore the peaks and valleys of life through an unforgettable presentation guaranteed to be a hoot!
CJ has appeared on numerous TV shows, everything from Cold Case to Sesame Street. He founded Sign World TV in 2001 to help broaden the opportunities for Deaf people's entertainment. He recently wrapped up filming Baby Driver, co-starring with Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, and Kevin Spacey. It was released worldwide in March 2017. 
James Waters lived a life of "privilege," as he calls it. He was born into a successful, hard-working Connecticut family and attended only the best schools in Europe and New England. After graduating from Harvard, where he was a member of the varsity swim team, he landed a job at the White House where he served for four years under President George W. Bush in various capacities.
Convinced that there was more he could do to support his country's war on terror, James left the security of his White House job in exchange for the grueling and sometimes perilous life of a Navy SEAL. As a SEAL Platoon Commander, James completed three overseas deployments to Afghanistan and other areas. Upon leaving active duty James continued as a Platoon Commander with SEAL Team 18 in the US Naval Reserve. Along the way, he received several military and Presidential commendations, including the Bronze Star Medal. 
The practical knowledge, values, and life lessons James learned have become the bedrock for his current life as a husband, father, businessman, and motivational speaker. He is an exceptional man for our times whose motto of "service to others" compels him to share his unique insights via community presentations, magazine articles, TV interviews, and school visits. 
When Dimitra Kokkevi-Fotiou's parents first realized she was deaf, her father, a member of the Greek Parliament, facilitated the construction of the Athens School for the Deaf. Since then the school has served as a springboard for many deaf Greek students who have enjoyed successful careers. Today, perhaps none are more celebrated in Athens than Dimitra herself, Curator of the National Archaeological Museum's Pre-Historic Collection for more than 35 years. In 2008, RSD Travel Abroad Program participants spent a day with Dimitra while in Athens. She not only stirred their imaginations during a tour of the National Archaeological Museum, but her fascinating and engaging presentations also made the field of archaeology come alive for them.
When Todd Huston's legs got caught in the propeller of a boat at age 14 and his right leg later had to be amputated, his life radically changed. However, Todd turned this personal tragedy into a blessing for others. He became a psychotherapist and clinical director of Nova Care's Amputee Resource Center in Southern California. But he wanted to do more to raise people's awareness of the ability of all of us to overcome challenges.
In 1994, Todd pursued a climbing record set by an able-bodied individual, trying to climb the highest peak in each of the fifty United States in one hundred days or less. He did it in 67 days, shattering the world record by more than four weeks! Todd's testimony of courage, chronicled in his book More Than Mountains: The Todd Huston Story, has been heralded in hundreds of newspapers and magazines around the world, including Sports Illustrated, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. He is featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, A Second Helping, and has appeared on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, C-SPAN, and Inside Edition.
Todd's riveting multimedia presentation at RSD will inspire hope and courage for all who wrestle with disabilities or obstacles of any kind, providing encouragement to break free from whatever keeps them from being and doing good in the world. His own continued inspiration comes from others who have overcome challenges, including those in the Deaf community. He recently finished writing a screenplay for a motion picture called Silent Huddle about a deaf high school football team.
Hailing from Vancouver Island Julie and Colin Angus possess a passion for exploring the world using human-powered modes of transportation. Through their adventures, they motivate others to lead active and environmentally-sustainable lifestyles. Julie is the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean; Colin is the first man to circumnavigate the globe solely on human power (rowing, skiing, biking, hiking). Their inspirational, multi-media presentation included footage and stories of extraordinary challenges they faced, such as bicycling across Siberia and rowing through four cyclones in a rowboat.
SIGNMARK was a mere child when he discovered he could bridge the gap between his deaf parents and hearing grandparents by translating Christmas carols into sign language. this deaf, 31-year-old from Finland is an award-winning recording artist with a mission to bring deaf and hearing communities together around the world. Performing alongside him is hip-hop artist Brandon, who lends his voice to hearing audiences. Signmark, who holds a Master's degree in Education, teaches deaf children that all things are possible when you follow your dreams...and he is living proof.
In 2006 he became the first deaf person in the world to land a recording contract. Two years later he was awarded the prestigious Finland Prize in recognition of his "significant artistic work and promising breakthrough." Also, he was voted into the finals of the 2009 National Eurovision Song Contest and later that year was named The Outstanding Young Person of the World. In addition, last year he was appointed by the Finland Minister for Foreign Affairs to serve as his special representative for promoting the rights of people with disabilities. 
Signmark's multimedia presentation at RSD night included signed and sung performances (ASL and English) as well as reflections on his work and travels throughout the world as an advocate for the rights and cultures of people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.
Imagine what it would be like to immerse yourself in a wild place for months at a time, fight with inclement weather, and eat dried food for weeks, carry heavy equipment over treacherous terrain and sit still for hours in one spot waiting for the "unusual" to occur. And then, when the sun finally breaks through the clouds and hundreds of caribou are crossing your path just meters away, all the adversities are forgotten. Time stands still, and your heart races.
This is the life of wildlife photographer and conservationist Florian Schulz, a life he is eager to share with RSD's Adventures in Education audience. Mr. Schulz is the founder of the "Freedom to Roam: Wildlife Corridor" Project, National Wildlife Federation's Photographer of the Year, and winner of the Independent Book Publishers' Outstanding Book of the Year Award for his photo journal, Yellowstone to Yukon, Freedom to Roam
Dr. David Gallo is a pioneer in ocean exploration and an enthusiastic ambassador between the sea and those of us on dry land. As Director of Special Projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he was one of the first oceanographers to use a combination of manned submersibles and robots to map the ocean world with unprecedented clarity and detail. Join us to experience the humorous style and breathtaking imagery of this world-acclaimed "stand-up scientist."
Christy Smith, who is deaf and a former contestant on CBS-TV's "Survivor: The Amazon," and Dave Justice, an ASL/English interpreter and deaf community advocate, are co-founders of Discovering Deaf Worlds, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between deaf and hearing people around the world. The duo has traveled throughout the world, meeting with deaf community leaders, government officials, educators, and deaf youth and their families. You can learn more about their adventures at www.discoveringdeafworlds.com.
George Kourounis, the host of the adventure television program, Angry Planet, is one of the world's most active storm chasers. As a filmmaker, he has documented extreme weather, natural disasters, and natural phenomenon. He is the first person to have ever filmed from the inside of three of the world's most fearsome forces -- a tornado, the eve of a hurricane, and inside an active volcano.
This year’s Adventures in Education program takes you below the earth’s surface and back millions of years. On Thursday, October 12, 2006, at the RSD Auditorium, Paleontologist Jack Horner presented “Cool New Stuff About Old Dead Dinosaurs,” the title of his fascinating presentation that sheds fresh light on prehistoric times.
Dr. Horner shared stories from his many dinosaur digs around the world and the discoveries he has made that are helping to shape our knowledge of the earth’s ancient inhabitants and their environment. Considered one of America’s preeminent paleontologists, he has written numerous books and articles and even served as the technical advisor for the Jurassic Park films and the inspiration for the lead character, Dr. Alan Grant.
Grab your pith helmet and your binoculars as we go exploring the African Safari and the wilds of the Amazon with Rusty Johnson. During our tour of these exotic places, we had the opportunity to meet some of the locals in person. Rusty's live animal ambassadors accompany him to this Adventures program. Mr. Johnson shares his experiences as a world traveler and wildlife advocate with school children around the world. His message of preserving our most precious resource (our environment) and the endangered species we share our world with is made even more exciting as he includes live animal ambassadors in his presentation. Of equal importance to his environmental message is his powerful personal account of overcoming dyslexia to become a highly successful public speaker and conservation advocate.