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Funky Smell Causes a Scent-sation

Pranav Joneja (ME ’18)

Over the last few weeks, several students have raised a stink about the mysterious foul odor that was emanating from the 5th floor of the NAB. The Pioneer sniffed around to investigate the source of the stench.

One theory suggests that the lockers in the vicinity might have something to do with the smell. Maybe someone left some food over a weekend (or two), letting it putrefy and making the hallways smell rancid. If this were the case, perhaps its time to remind students that the locker area is a shared space – a few bad eggs shouldn’t ruin it for everyone! Personally, I smell this tirade of puns getting stronger. Who nose when it will end!?

Others have the impression that some abhorrent business in the nearby bathrooms could have soiled the freshness of air on the entire floor. In the case that this theory is true, the pungent person responsible for this fetid feat certainly should not hold his or her nose up high in pride. Any way you cut it, it’s clear that everyone shouldn’t have to suffer the tainted air quality!

Mercifully, this smelly situation has now been resolved thanks to the office of buildings and grounds. So one can hope that the only unsavory thing still wafting around The Cooper Union is my scents of humor.

Interview with Howie Chen (EE ’16)

Chae Jeong (ChE ’16)

The Cooper Pioneer: Where did you work?

Howie Chen: This summer, I was an undergraduate researcher for the FREEDM (Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management) Systems Center through CAPS – the Center for Advanced Power Systems at Florida State University.

TCP: What was your daily routine?

HC: I spent weekday mornings at the CAPS office, either reading and annotating past FREEDM research papers for background knowledge for my project, or working through tutorials and test cases to familiarize myself with RSCAD, a real-time power system drafting and simulation environment. Afternoons were spent with my graduate mentor working on a number of things for his experiments for the FREEDM Hardware-in-the-Loop project. These included debugging and modifying the operating system code for the smart grid model, running simulations and collecting power migration and test packet delay data through a virtual network, and writing MATLAB scripts. I spent most of my free time in Florida exploring the neighboring areas of Tallahassee or with friends at the FSU/FAMU/TCC Intervarsity chapter.

TCP: What was the best part about your internship?

HC: The best part of my work this summer was the fact that I was able to expose myself to several different aspects of an industry or research career in electrical engineering. I never would have imagined being able to work with software, network security, power electronics, and control systems, all within the same summer experience.

TCP: How was it different from what you’ve done thus far?

HC: The work I contributed to and saw at CAPS was definitely at a much higher level in terms of novelty and complexity – I remember it took me about two weeks of reading and talking to my colleagues to just gain a high-level, conceptual understanding of the Hardware-in-the-Loop testbed, which consists of real hardware components “in-the-loop” of software simulations to create a real-time demonstration of a virtual smart grid. It was also pretty cool knowing that some of what I was working on could eventually be implemented “in the real world”, and that it wouldn’t just affect my grades or my performance at a competition, unlike any projects I’ve worked on for classes or a club activity.

TCP: What do you feel was the biggest takeaway from the experience?

HC: I think my experience this summer really opened my eyes to and gave me interest in the work of a graduate-level researcher in an engineering-related field. It also exposed me to some fields within electrical engineering that I otherwise would have never considered, and has piqued my interest in pursuing a graduate degree after my studies here at Cooper.

Summer Experiences: Allison Tau (ChE ’15)

Saimon Sharif (ChE ’15)


The Cooper Pioneer interviewed current students from the art, architecture, and engineering schools about their summer experiences. The interviews will be published as a series. We hope they will serve to highlight the diverse achievements of our student body.

Here is our interview with Allison Tau (ChE ‘15).

The Cooper Pioneer: Where did you work?

Allison Tau: I was part of an REU program in engineering education at Olin College of Engineering.  My project involved using a method called discourse analysis to look at transcripts of student team meetings in undergraduate design courses.

TCP: What was your daily routine?

AT: I worked with ten other students (and later two K-12 teachers) in the same studio for five days a week, usually 9 to 5ish. Studio culture could get distracting, especially because we were all friends, but it also created an environment where we all knew what each other was working on and could share relevant information about each others’ projects. We had research meetings several times a week where we could talk about our work and hear from other students doing research at Olin who weren’t a part of the REU.  My favorite part of each day was “tube-thirty”, a break the other REU students and I took at 2:30 every day to watch YouTube videos.

TCP: What was the best part about your internship?

AT: It was really rewarding to be a student researcher rather than just a research assistant. My partner and I were able to take our own direction with the data we had. If we needed more direction, our mentor was able to provide guidance, but for the most part we had the freedom to study what interested us. The other best part of my program was being able to interact with other engineering students with similar interests from across the country.

TCP: How was it different from what you’ve done thus far?

AT: Behavioral sciences research is an entirely different animal compared to technical research. It uses a mixed-methods approach, so you have to be comfortable with both quantitative and qualitative methods. Technical researchers tend to be skeptical of qualitative analysis, so you have to be prepared to defend your findings and know the ins and outs of your work.

TCP: What do you feel was the biggest takeaway from the experience?

AT: Doing research in engineering education has given me the opportunity to reflect on my own experiences as an engineering student. I read a lot of literature within the field of engineering education, so it gave me a fresh perspective on my education as well as something to think about this upcoming year.

Microdance Club

Evan Burgess (Arch ’15)

Have you ever thought to yourself:

“Gee, I wish I could move my body in new and exciting ways, driven by the bass rhythms of popular music.  But I don’t want to go all the way up to Hell’s Kitchen at 9:30 on a Wednesday night, and I can only step away from this HSS3 essay for 30 minutes or I won’t finish it by midnight.  If only I could show off my godly twerking skills in a dark room full of sweaty artists, preferably somewhere within the Foundation Building.”

Of course you have.  I feel this way all the time.

The truth of the matter is that “dancing like there’s no tomorrow with the sole intension of getting all hot and sweaty” is an amazing way to get away from the studio or the computer lab for a few minutes.  It lets your brain rest for just long enough that you can go back to work with renewed energy and enthusiasm, or at least a better perspective.

But where can I find the ideal conditions for dancing?

Thankfully, our fellow students Hunter Mayton (Art ’16), Jakob Biernat (Art ’16), and others have done all of the hard work for us by founding The Microdance Club.  Every Wednesday night at 9:30, they host a 30-minute dance party from start to finish, complete with the appropriate levels of darkness, bass, and raw energy.  Every week features a new theme and student DJ.  The themes so far have included the classic “Nerd Takes Off His Glasses And Is Suddenly Hot,” as well as the unforgettable “And In That Moment I Swear I Was Andy.”

Join them next week, and every week thereafter, on the sixth floor of the Foundation Building behind the round elevator.  Draw a little figure of Miley Cyrus into your Wednesday 9:30-10:00pm timeslot.  They’ll be there.