Culture Show 2014: Cooper Humor

Yara Elborolosy (CE ‘14)

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For a small school, Cooper happens to have a diverse community, and the Culture Show, run by SAS (South Asian Society), is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate this. On April 5, 2014, the Great Hall was filled with over a hundred people waiting to see their friends and classmates perform. With the hosts giving a little skit in between each of the acts, the audience was kept entertained throughout. The acts were amazing as usual, demonstrating not just the culture but the talent of the Cooper Union student body. There were several vocal acts, showing off the beautiful voices of the students. Gospel Choir, started a couple of years ago, sang a couple of very inspirational songs with beautiful soulful voices. Peter Morfe (EE ‘16) did a solo act, singing very graciously as usual and so did Ethan Lusterman (EE ‘14), who sang and played the guitar. A few of the members of Coopertones did a Disney Medley, singing some very popular songs from Disney movies such as Reflection from Mulan and a Whole New World from Aladdin. Sons of Pitches, four males from Coopertones, sang together for the last time in their Cooper career and they sang as beautifully as always. Coopertones was the last vocal act, singing several heart-warming songs and had the audience very pleased. The Cooper Union Dramatic Society was also involved and they gave a wonderful preview filled with great acting of their upcoming play, Figaro, which is showing next week. Yo-Yo club also performed, using glow in the dark yoyos to start off their act, which had the audience in awe and ending with various cool tricks. Cooper Union students are also very diverse in their dancing skills, with Ballroom Dance doing very classical and elegant dances and Breakdance doing some amazing tricks and routines. CooperNova had a wonderful dancing routine as well. Boys Dance was very amusing with their animal costumes, which they stripped off to Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty to the amusement of the audience. Girls Dance was great as well with people from all over and with a surprise guest of the male gender. The show ended with group dance, which had so many people that both the stage and the space in front of the stage were used. Their beautiful costumes, great music, and interesting dances was the best way to end the night. But the show wasn’t over, as SAS played a video dedicated to the Senior Class who helped them put the show together along the way. There were shirts being sold to help raise money for the costumes for the show and a lot of delicious Indian food served for free at the end of it. If you missed the culture show this year, make sure you get a chance to attend it next year. ◊

Photo Credit: Howie Chen (EE ‘16)

Founder’s Day 2014: The Peter Cooper Block Party

Chae Jeong (ChE ‘16)

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On Sunday, April 13th, 2014, The Cooper Union Alumni Association held The Peter Cooper Block Party for Founder’s Day 2014. The event occurred in two sessions, the first being The Awards Ceremony from 10:00 PM to 1:00 PM in the Great Hall. During this time, The Cooper Union Alumni Association presented awards that honored alumni achievements in art, architecture, and engineering, amongst other recognitions of service and dedication. This year, award recipients were the following:
• Jay Moskwitz (Phy ‘70), for the Gano Dunn Award for Engineering
• Julian Laverdiere (Art ‘93) and Augusta Savage (Art ‘25) for the Augustus Saint Gaudeus Award for Art
• Leslie Gill (A ‘82), for the John Q Hejduk Award for Architecture
• Patricia Buckly Moss (Art ‘55), for the Peter Cooper Public Service Award
• Sean Cusack (BSE ‘98), for the Alumnus of the Year Award
In addition:
• Henry Chapman (Art ‘10), Alexis Lenza (CE ‘05) and Victoria Sobel (Art ‘13) were recognized as the Young Alumni of the Year.
• Special Recognition for Extraordinary Service was given to Barry Drogin (EE ‘83/MEE ‘86), Michael Borkowsky (ME ‘61), and Jeffrey Gural.

Following the Awards Ceremony was the Street Fair on Astor Place (between Broadway and Lafayette) from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The Street Fair featured a variety of activities, food stands, and showcase booths. Among those was the Inventor’s Row, a series of booths that presented the work of modern day inventors. At 2:30 PM, these inventors took part in an Inventor’s Panel where they discussed the process of invention and innovation. Amidst all of the activity on Astor Place, The Coopertones, The CooperNova Dance Team, and the Daddy Long Legs Blues Band performed on the Jeff Gural Stage. At 3:00 PM, The Peter Cooper Jello Challenge was held and the Street Fair event concluded with the Tealightful Raffle Drawing at 4:00 PM. ◊

Photo Credit: Christine Huh (Arch ‘18)

Cooper Union Visits IIT Bombay

Caroline Yu (EE ‘15)

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During Cooper Union’s spring break, President Bharucha, Dean Dahlberg, and Professor Tzavelis travelled to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. The Cooper Union and IIT Bombay are starting a new student exchange program. The purpose of the trip was to enable Cooper faculty to get to know the IIT Bombay faculty and students as well as to see their campus.

I asked Dean Dahlberg how it felt to travel to India as a group representing Cooper: “It was fun traveling as a group that represented Cooper…An IIT Bombay alum, Ron Mehta traveled with us. Ron is a generous sponsor who will provide travel support for both Cooper and IIT Bombay exchange students in the first year of the program. It was fun having Ron show us around his alma mater and reminisce about his time as an undergraduate at IIT Bombay. Everyone at IIT Bombay treated us very well. They were very curious about the environment at Cooper Union and in New York City. Our guides showed us classrooms, labs, student housing and cafeteria. They have a lot of space and equipment. They have an impressive incubator that houses student startup companies. They just opened up a tinker’s space. They invited us to participate in the awarding of students who won an app development contest.”

Her favorite memory of the trip was touring the Aakash project where the Indian government is sponsoring the development of a $49 tablet pc called Aakash. The university houses a group of developers to meet India’s goal to educate hundreds of thousands of software professionals. Dean Dahlberg also enjoyed a meeting with IIT Bombay students interested in visiting Cooper. She comments that in India “high school students must take a rigorous entrance exam to get into college. The IIT Bombay engineering programs admits only the top students from the over 500,000 students who take the required college entrance exam. The students are incredibly smart, hardworking and ambitious. They remind me of Cooper students!”

Professor Tzavelis noticed that the IIT students are all happy with the student activities. He was also impressed with their labs: “Their labs are much bigger than our labs…They had some old equipment but also the latest equipment – we even visited a nanotech lab which was state of the art. For civil engineering, they had the latest equipment like the ones we have. Their labs were 10 times bigger than ours!” The most apparent difference between Cooper and IIT is the student body size. At IIT, lab classes consist of 150-200 students. On the other hand, Professor Tzavelis noted that a major similarity between Cooper and IIT is the high caliber of students in both schools. He was impressed by IIT students working very hard in groups just like the way students work at Cooper.

The greatest incentive to study aboard is having the chance to travel to a different country and experience the way of life in an entirely different environment. Professor Tzavelis strongly recommends that Cooper students – especially those who have never traveled out of the U.S. – to go visit IIT and see how people live outside of America: “This can be a life changing experience. It can motivate the student to do more for the society and for their profession. I strongly recommend that students go there for a semester.”

The deadline for the study abroad application has passed, but if you are interested in studying abroad to IIT and have not had the chance to check out the program, follow this link: http://cooper.edu/engineering/global-studies/semester-exchange. ◊

Photos provided by Dean Dahlberg

Lecture by Archeologist and Social Media Activist, Dr. Monica Hanna

Anamika Singh (Art ‘17)

On April 10th, 2014 The Cooper Union proudly hosted the Award Lecture and Dinner in honor of Dr. Monica Hanna, an Egyptologist who has earned the Safe Beacon Award for her efforts in the preservation of Egyptian archeological antiquities and sites. The night began with welcoming remarks by Lucille A. Roussin, Ph. D., J.D. and the introduction of Dr. Monica Hanna by the president of The American Research Center in Egypt Sameh Iskander, Ph. D.

Dr. Monica Hanna developed a passion for Egyptian history early in childhood. Inspired by her adventures in Egyptian museums and her interactions with archeologists and restoration artists, she pursed further studies in the subject, eventually attaining a Ph. D. as an Egyptologists. When Dr. Hanna was pursuing post doctorate studies in Berlin, revolution broke out in Egypt. As the revolution quickly became the catalyst for the looting and destruction of Egypt’s historical sites and artifacts, Dr. Hanna returned to her homeland determined to protect Egypt’s history. Since, Dr. Hanna has spearheaded massive efforts to protect archeological sites and antiquities which are a target not only for looters who pillage and dig holes in search for artifacts to be sold in the black market but also “land mafias” and urban development.

According to knowledge acquired by Dr. Hanna and her team in the past several years much of the destruction has occurred due to locals and “land mafias” who attempt to destroy and deface archeological sites in order to “erase the collective memory” of the location and use the land for a variety of other purposes. These sites, which are wrongfully seen as a no mans land, have become targets for destruction. Scholars and archeologists are concerned not only for the loss and destruction of these sites but also for the impact it may have on Egypt’s economy in which tourism plays a significant role. Dr. Hanna has managed to save various sites due to efforts through social media and volunteer work. For her efforts and passion Dr. Monica Hanna received the Safe Beacon Award. The Safe Beacon Award was founded in 2006 to recognize achievement in raising public awareness about the destruction of cultural and historical heritage. ◊

Coopernova Places First

Caroline Yu (EE ‘15)

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On April 12th, Cooper Union’s CooperNova Dance team competed in the Empire State Championship, where they placed first. The performance was choreographed to a remix of Animals and Bass Down Low, entitled “Animals Down Low.”

Danielle Verdecchia (CE ‘13), a Cooper alumnus and avid dancer, helped choreograph the dance routine. I asked her about the development of preparing for the competition: “CooperNova started thinking about performing in competitions at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Since the group had only just been formed that year, the dancers were content with doing performances solely at school based functions and sports events. As the group became more comfortable dancing together and experiencing each member’s unique style, we decided that a competition would be a great next step for the team: it would give us the opportunity to meet new people, experience different types of dance (hip-hop, cheer, lyrical, etc. are styles included in most competitions), and improve on our skills… When choreographing a hip-hop piece, the music is the most important thing: a good beat and move-inspiring lyrics are key when choosing a song for a routine. Early on in the process, I usually put the song I’ve chosen on repeat and listen to it for a few hours, mostly just goofing around and letting the rhythm sync in. All it takes is one starting move to get a routine started: once I have that, the rest of the moves fall into place. I like to incorporate dramatic movements during sudden changes in the music, and ripple-effect choreography in sections that would normally seem more mundane. A good way to keep things interesting is to change routines and keep the dancers on their toes-if they’re constantly entertaining the audience, then they are doing their job! It’s always important to choreograph a piece section by section-if you try to do the whole thing in one shot, the movement begins to look the same and unoriginal. Doing a piece in sections makes each part that you’re doing new to you in that moment, and keeps your mind fresh with ideas.”

CooperNova will be competing at “The U.S. Finals” competition on May 3rd in Providence, Rhode Island. The team will be in the Senior Hip Hop Division. Most of the teams that CooperNova would compete against are either other college dance or studio teams. Verdecchia said that the team is “very excited to compete and will hopefully continue this legacy on in future years of CooperNova!” ◊

Photo Credit: Lauren Bernales (EE ‘15)

April ESC Open Meeting

Caroline Yu (EE ‘15)

This past Monday, April 14th, the Engineering Student Council held an open meeting. Dean Dahlberg attended the meeting to give an update on the engineering school. She began her update by mentioning the press release that gave the statistics on the students admitted to Cooper this year. The big question is yield, which will be answered on May 1st when the accepted students have to notify Cooper whether they will attending this fall or not.

Faculty searches for replacement positions are being conducting in various departments. The physics department is looking for two full-time professors. The electrical engineering department has conducted interviews for a full-time position. The chemistry department brought in five people to interview and the computer science faculty search is being put on hold until a new computer science program is fully developed. A second associate dean position will allow for further research and development in graduate programs.

Dean Dahlberg shared the four main programs she has been focusing on. The first is the pre-college program. The second is the Master’s degree programs. The third is connecting with companies and have them sponsor student-led projects. The fourth is a graduate degree program in entrepreneurship.

Interesting notes on these programs include the focus on international recruitment since New York City is a big attraction for international students, the focus on supporting new faculty to conduct new research projects with undergraduates, looking at post-baccalaureate programs, looking at the need to rent student classrooms in other buildings around the city, and lastly, generating a non-traditional computer science program that focuses on human and computer interaction, analytics, big data, visualization and informatics.

Other topics that were covered in the open meeting included the calls made to admitted students, an update on the peer mentorship program, an update on the faculty auction, and an update on the logistics of submitting faculty compliments. ◊

Green Roofs

Yara Elborolosy (CE ‘14)

As the United States and the world become more aware of the negative effects human actions are having on the planet, many steps, such as building green roofs, are being taken in order to reduce these effects. Modern green roofs are designed to be made up of several layers, for example a root barrier to protect the roof from the roots, and the drainage mat to help in draining water. There are several benefits to green roofs, such as water management to save the water, runoff delay to reduce pressure on the pipes and sewer systems, thermal regulation to regulate the temperature change and reduction of solar radiation. The main disadvantage is the initial cost, but because of many benefits, it becomes profitable after a couple of years or so. Due to these benefits of having green roof, the Javits Center located on 34th street and 11th avenue, which is one of the biggest convention center in the country, has begun installing a green roof. Cooper Union, under the advisement of Professor Cataldo, and Drexel University, under the advisement of Professor Montalto, who is a former student of Professor Cataldo, are working together to do a study on the green roof to analyze the benefits of the green roof for over a year. A metal drainage system is being installed to determine how much water is being drained by the green roof, weather stations are set up to monitor the weather to analyze how effective the green roof is in regulating the temperature, and lysimeters are set up to determine the amount of actual evapotranspiration from the vegetation on the green roof. This study will be conducted for at least a year or two to get an accurate idea of the green roof effects. The projects like this are springing up all over the city and it’s these small steps that will help the world become much more sustainable by both helping the environment and being more efficient with resources. ◊