Category Archives: Uncategorized

Museum Review: The Merchant’s House Museum

by Gabriela Godlewski (CE ’19)

Front entrance of the Merchant’s House Museum, open everyday in the afternoon except Tuesday and Wednesday. Photo from Panaromio.

Located on East Fourth Street between Bowery and Lafayette, The Merchant’s House Museum is a perfectly preserved home of the Tredwell family, a merchant family whose last heir died almost a century ago. After the death of Gertrude Tredwell, a distant cousin of the family bought the home, thereby saving it from foreclosure and turned the estate into a museum with all the family’s possessions remaining inside. While it is a fascinating place based solely on the fact that it looks exactly as it did a hundred years ago, it is even more intriguing and fitting for Halloween because it is known as “New York’s most haunted house.” Legend has it that though Gertrude Tredwell may have died, she never left her former home. Knowing this, a certain Halloween enthusiast and I bought ourselves tickets for the Spooky Candlelit Ghost Tour  (the Super Spooky Tour was unfortunately sold out) and decided to check the place out for ourselves.

Our Spooky Lit Ghost Tour began in the basement of the house where our group watched a documentary detailing the history of the house an introduction of the haunts in the house. The tour led us through the dark hallways, bedrooms, and parlors of the house, illuminated only by strategically placed candles and the tour guide’s flashlight.

To add to the spookiness, the house was “dressed for mourning,” as wakes and funerals of family members took place in the house. Every mirror was draped with black cloth and the parlor was prepared for a wake, coffin and all. Even in the darkness, it was clear that all the furniture in the room was very old-fashioned but carefully preserved and in great condition. Some rooms also had mannequins dressed in the gowns of the Tredwell family. In each room, the tour guide relayed stories told by past visitors and shared audio from paranormal investigations that occurred in the rooms. She also showed us photos that appeared to show ghostly figures in them and pointed out the exact spots where the photos were taken. Though I unfortunately saw no ghosts, I did feel some distinct pokes along my left arm throughout the tour. Maybe (hopefully) those pokes were from the Tredwells saying hello.

This museum is a gem of East Village, unfortunately known to a select few. Not only is it incredibly fascinating as a historically accurate window of life over a century ago, but it is also located only three blocks from the school! The yearly Spooky Ghost Tours are $25 each, but daytime tickets cost only eight dollars with student ID. Though I enjoyed exploring a real haunted house at night, I highly recommend visiting the museum in the daytime. Not only are the tickets cheaper, but in the daylight more of the exhibits are visible, which include letters and trinkets from the family. Also, during the day, visitors can choose to either go on an accompanied tour or a self-guided tour, and from what the tour guides told me, most of the ghost sightings happen, in fact, during daylight hours. Most importantly, each floor in the Merchant House is open during the daytime, whereas only the fourth floor servants’ quarters are open to owners of Super Spooky Ghost Tour tickets. Though the Merchant House Museum is unknown to many at Cooper, its doors are always open to anyone who wishes to go on an adventure into the past without going too far from home. ◊

The Doors of Cooper

by Jeremiah Prat (EE ’19) 

Photo by Winter Leng (ChE ‘18).
Photo by Winter Leng (ChE ‘18).

When one door closes, the saying goes,
another one opens (hopefully more easily than doors into ROSE).

But what if that door goes around and around,
no beginning, no end, and no transfer of sound

‘twixt compartments of travel, so all conversation pauses
because no sound can travel from the mouths above our jawses

to the ear of our friend stuck 90 degrees to our right,
‘til we both cross the membrane from our school into daylight.

With no start and no stop this door’s stuck in a loop,
neither open nor shut, only swift passing through,
and halfway gets you nowhere but trapped in a box,
and too much brings you back where you already was!

Though your tireless revolving might just power the lobby,
your pushing and shoving’s a poor excuse for a hobby

(goes to show non-Cooper architects should just be renamed sub-parchitects).

Or what if door closes, but leaves quite the gap
(I’m referring to the stalls in the loo in the NAB)?

While it’s technically shut, its whole point is kaputt,
and your business is put on display way, way more than it should, so the door’s really no good!

Others still just stay locked, defended by a red-lit box,
and some are hardly doors at all, like a certain RA’s in the residence hall.

When it comes to doors we’ve got plenty,
and this great school opens so many,
though squeaky or rusty or inane they may be,
and for the time being they be far from free,
the journey’s important to you and to me,
and no number of doors, be it one, two, or three,
can keep us from being the best we can be!

Hold them open for your pal, let none stand in your way,
and be moving always forward, while those doors are here to stay.

Concert.fish team working. Photo by Wentao Zhang (ChE '19)

HackCooper

By Brandon Quinere (CE ’19)

There’s a scene in the TV series Silicon Valley where the gang at Pied Piper recruit a young programmer known as “The Carver” to configure their application to the cloud. After spending the night going through each line of code to fix an error, he crashes on the couch. “You said you could code for 48 hours straight.” An extremely lethargic Carver replies, “How do you think I do that? Adderall.” While there were no traces of Adderall at Cooper’s third annual student hackathon over the weekend, there was a whole lot of caffeine.

HackCooper was held over a 24-hour period in the NAB, opening the doors of our building to students eager to explore their maker side. Whether you were new to hacking or already adept at a programming language, all students were encouraged to register and participate in this weekend-long event in the hopes of winning from a selection of prizes.

Using the resources at hand as well as their own individual skillsets, participating students at HackCooper teamed up with one another to brainstorm through the night and develop an original project. “Cooper’s hackathon is all about giving students the time and resources to discover and explore work that really interests them,” said coordinator Zach Tzavelis (ME ‘19) on the goals of HackCooper.

Submitted team creations were evaluated by a judging panel and appropriately awarded in a number of categories including Most Technical Hack, Best Data Privacy Hack, and the biggie: Best Overall Hack. Prizes for each award varied, given the wide variety of sponsors supporting the event including Facebook, LinkedIn, Bloomberg, Viacom, and Autodesk.

Mentors from the sponsors were also available for mentorships throughout the night, allowing students to communicate one-on-one with industry professionals about their hack. In addition, various tech talks were given in both Rose Auditorium and classrooms. Furthermore, Major League Hacking, the official student hackathon league backing HackCooper, made available different software packages and hardware for teams to use in their projects. And of course, in typical hackathon fashion, there was much “swag” to be given out.

Virtual Reality. Photo by Wentao Zhang (ChE '19)
Virtual Reality. Photo by Wentao Zhang (ChE ’19)

Designated classrooms and labs were open for teams to use, allowing them to camp out in their workspaces and develop their creation before the submission deadline in the morning. Because this was an overnight event, student coders were aware of the imminent risk of sleep deprivation, but excessive caffeine consumption was definitely not encouraged. The onsite rep from Major League Hacking, Li Chen, put it best: “If you’ve never had a Red Bull before, tonight’s not the night to try it for the first time.”

By the morning, familiar classroom arrangements were left unrecognizable as teams tirelessly worked to submit their hacks on time. After a preliminary round of judging on Sunday afternoon, the participants and judges gathered in Rose to see the eligible teams present and demo their projects onstage. Winners were determined and announced shortly after these final demos. This year’s submissions can be found at: http://hackcooper2016.devpost.com/submissions

Best Overall Hack went to Concert.fish, a project made with the intent of making music listening more collaborative through listener feedback. Concert.fish was developed by the team consisting of Rafi Mueen (BSE ‘19), Michael Lendino (EE ‘20), Andrey Akhmetov (EE ‘20), Richard Yee (Art ‘18), and Michael Ossienov. The team was granted an all­-expenses-­paid trip to the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, CA to participate in Facebook’s own hackathon. ◊

Chris Watkins (EE '19). Photo by Wentao Zhang (ChE '19).
Chris Watkins (EE ’19). Photo by Wentao Zhang (ChE ’19).
Meet Dilara Seyman (ME '20). Photo by Winter Leng (ChE '18)

Meet The First: Dilara Seyman (ME ’20)

By Gabriela Godlewski (CE ’19)

Meet Dilara Seyman (ME '20). Photo by Winter Leng (ChE '18)
Meet Dilara Seyman (ME ’20). Photo by Winter Leng (ChE ’18)

Where are you from? And how did you hear of the Cooper Union?

I’m from Istanbul, Turkey. My friend and I were searching schools online and came across The Cooper Union. My friend had met someone at summer school a few years ago who is now a sophomore at Cooper. He told me that his friend loved Cooper and that he was extremely happy there. The next week, when my international college counselor and I were working on my college list she also mentioned Cooper as an option. She knew about Cooper because a student from my high school applied here after a someone from Cooper visited my school that year.

What attracted you most to Cooper?

I was already impressed with what I had read online about Peter Cooper’s philosophy and the history of Cooper. So, when my counselor said I should apply, I decided to do so. After looking at the Common App for Cooper I realized I liked the essay topics and was pleased with the fact that the administration at Cooper was actually interested in the students’ backgrounds, personalities, and thoughts.

So tell me more about Istanbul and your life there before coming here.

I volunteered at animal shelters for eight years, and consequently, I took care of a lot of dogs and cats. I used to take the sick puppies and older dogs home as they needed extra care. I would nurse them so that the puppies could be adopted and the older ones could spend their last days in a warm and loving atmosphere. Since I lived in the suburbs next to the biggest forest in Istanbul—the Belgrade Forests—there were a lot of stray dogs who I would feed as well. One of my three dogs was rescued from a shelter and another one is a stray that followed me home.

How does New York compare to Istanbul?

Istanbul is much cleaner than New York, but there are still a lot of similarities between the two. At times, I don’t notice I am in a new city. However, Turks are much closer to each other, and hence I feel a bit lonely here. However, thanks to my totally awesome roommates and friends I am much happier than I was when I first arrived.

How are you enjoying living in New York so far?

My favorite part about New York is Central Park. We have some big forests in suburban parts of Istanbul, and all my life I lived either right next to Marmara Sea or the Belgrade Forests. Growing up, we always had a yard or garden, so I am used to being close with nature. Even though Istanbul is near a lot of forests, there are not a lot of parks. The few parks in Istanbul were also far from the city center whereas Central Park is right in the middle of Manhattan.

What attracted you most to Mechanical engineering?

When I was ten years old, the door of our living room fell and I was the one who repaired it. That moment was the first time I realized how much I enjoyed figuring out how something works, what’s wrong with it, and how to fix it. I always loved spending time around machinery but it hadn’t occurred to me to be an engineer up until that point. The moment I put the door back in place and saw it was fully functional was when I knew I wanted to solve mechanical problems as a career.

As I grew up, I discovered more and more about what mechanical engineers did, and it made me more excited than I could ever imagine to be. When I was 16, I studied in the United Kingdom, the birthplace of modern mechanical engineering. By then, becoming a mechanical engineer was the main goal in my life. Besides that, I volunteered a lot in my community. I worked at the dog shelters, but I also worked with children who had leukemia, helped with arts & crafts for paralyzed people, and read to the elderly at the nursing home. I realized that in everything I did, helping others and making strangers’ lives easier were what made me happy. Since engineers are the ones that make the world a better place by bringing economical and practical solutions to everyday problems, I believe being an engineer will enable me to work for and contribute to the advancement of humankind.

What else are you hoping to get out of Cooper? 

I am looking forward to start thinking like a real engineer, especially knowing how things work and being able to mentally draft objects just by looking at them. I also am excited to be able to discern when and how to improve them. ◊

Meet Professor Diego Malquori. Photo by Yifei Simon Shao (ME '19)

Faces of Cooper: Professor Diego Malquori

By Anthony Passalacqua (CE ’18)

Meet Professor Diego Malquori. Photo by Yifei Simon Shao (ME '19)
Meet Professor Diego Malquori. Photo by Yifei Simon Shao (ME ’19).

Can you give us a little background about yourself?

My academic background is relatively simple. I started physics at the beginning, and I got a PhD in astrophysics. I worked as a researcher in astrophysics for a few years in the evolution of galaxies and quasars. I published some articles on the subject, and then I gradually moved to philosophy. It was not a rupture, but a long transition, in the sense that even while I was working as a researcher in astrophysics I started giving conferences on the philosophical foundations of cosmology, and even modern science like quantum mechanics. This was my first serious approach to philosophy. Later, I moved a lot through different countries, and I finally arrived in Barcelona, Spain. There I started collaborating with the faculty of philosophy, teaching several subjects in the field of epistemology and the philosophy of science, at different levels. I came from science, and thanks to my experience as a researcher and an astrophysicist they opened the door to me. At the same time, I decided to simultaneously study philosophy, seriously. Even though I didn’t follow the whole curriculum of philosophy, indirectly I started on my second PhD in philosophy. I followed some courses on the curriculum, without being officially enrolled, and they accepted me as a PhD student. I started again. I wrote a master’s thesis on the concept of time – [translated] “The Concept of Time – Some Thoughts on Kant and Einstein.” It is sort of a comparison between idealistic philosophy on the conception of time and the theory of relativity. Thereafter, there was a sort of interruption in my research; it was after 2009, and the whole world was chaos. The effect of the crisis on Europe lasted several years, and I couldn’t continue my collaboration with that university, even though I had some level of responsibility as the director of a research group. I had to find some way to survive elsewhere, so I also worked as a highschool teacher for four years. I taught mathematics, physics, and philosophy at the same time. So I had to interrupt for a while my research work. Thereafter I started again, and instead of continuing my work, which is the natural thing when working on a PhD thesis, I decided quite naturally to focus on how artists express through art the conflict between the objective and the subjective dimension of time. Therefore my PhD thesis focused on contemporary art. The title is “Time and Temporality in Contemporary Art.” I moved from astrophysics to philosophy of science, and then again with a continuous transition to the philosophy of art. I think there is a continuous line in my academic and personal evolution. From a reflection on the evolution of the universe as a whole, I moved to the conflict between subjective and objective time, and I finally approached the very question of the expression and the perception of temporality. To add something more, I’d like to describe my personal evolution. It of course follows a parallel path, in the sense that I’ve always been moved by a sincere desire of exploring my internal restlessness. I’ve always been decided to focus on what I really consider the most worthy subject, in any situation. As you can imagine, my personal life has been the same way: very unlinear. I’ve been to many countries and done so many things in my life – not because I was tired and wanted to change, but because I am always looking towards the horizon. I always try to imagine the essence of things past the surface. I remember clearly that this is a personal attitude which I had even when I was a child. I think it’s simply the application of my way of being and what I’ve done.

How long were you in the field of astrophysics before you started to transition into the philosophy of science?

If you say “before you started the transition,” then it’s difficult to say, because my transition started even before concluding my first PhD in astrophysics. I can tell you sincerely that even while I was spending sleepless nights following my calculations about black holes, which I was very enthusiastic about, and moved by a sincere passion for, it was clear to me that what was the most worthwhile question was not the object of our gaze, or even our imagination, but the very fact that we, a small creature on a small planet called Earth, dare to imagine such a complex world. I was fascinated – and I’m not saying this now just because I’m a professor of philosophy – by the very fact that we were trying to reconstruct such a complex reality. Of course, I didn’t pretend, and I’ve never pretended, to reach the final, absolute truth. This was the biggest difference between myself and some of my colleagues. I had the impression from some of them that they pretended to arrive at the final answer about the big bang theory, or the nature of galaxies, or their evolution. To me, it was a very fascinating subject, and I put forth all my effort in order to make a worthwhile contribution, but it was clear that it was just speculation; it was a sort of fascinating play, but the truth, if it exists, was very far from our model. And it was just a model. Sometimes they work, in that the results of our model are not so far from what we observe, and we can compare observation to our model. It’s always distant though, the two cannot match. When it’s not so far, we can say “oh it’s not so wrong, our model.” Maybe it’s just by chance that we arrived at this similarity, but the nature of what we are trying to describe is beyond not only our mathematical capabilities, but even our brains’ capacity. I wasn’t worried about that. I thought, and I think, that it’s still worthwhile to put in that effort, because in trying to reconstruct such a complex reality we are going out of the cave, as in the image of Plato’s cavern. This desire to reconstruct the external reality moved us from a simply material, and trivial way of living, to a different attitude, with respect to all reality, not just with respect to astrophysics. That’s why it’s worthwhile, even if the truth, if we can say that, is very far from our models. Mine is quite a peculiar attitude when compared to many of my old colleagues, which is why I think now that I really had a philosophical attitude. Even at that time I was more interested in the relationship between we as a small creature, and the infinite.

If you could go back, would you do it in the same way, starting with the field of astrophysics?

I recognize that it has been a very long, and complicated path. If you think about which is the easiest, or more effective path to arrive as a professor of philosophy, I’d tell you to study philosophy at the beginning and go straight forward. So I have no doubts that what I have done has been much longer, more difficult, and riskier, but I would still do the same. I do not regret the effort which I lived. I say lived because it’s really something that I experienced in myself, deeply. I think that that kind of intellectual effort has been very useful. If I write as I do right now, it reflects my effort to try to synthesize the complexity of reality. When you have to manage so many things – I’m thinking of the evolution of galaxies, which is a subject in which you consider simultaneously in detail both physical processes and the overall structure of the universe – in your mind, and propose an original model, you need to be able to combine both an analytic and a synthetic way of thinking. This is also very useful for anything else you will do. So I don’t regret it. It took a long time to take this path, but I consider that, in everything we do, what matters is not the final result, but the path. Otherwise, we’d all simply wish to die because that’s the final end. Meanwhile, we have a lot of things to do, and the path is more interesting than the result. It’s difficult to say if I would so the same thing, because I’m so curious, and there are so many things that I would like to do, and I’ve had no time to do them. But if the question is “do I regret having spanned so many years studying astrophysics,” then the answer is no.

Can you tell us a little bit about your travels.

The easy part is to tell you that I’ve lived in eight countries. I started in Italy. Then I did my first PhD in Paris, where I did my research project. After that I spent one year in Israel, at a post-doc fellowship. After September 11th, the whole situation in the middle east was quite hot, so we decided to move to a totally different environment: Mexico. I spent three years in Puebla working as an astrophysicist, at the National Astrophysics Institute. Meanwhile, I have also spent almost one year, at different periods, in India, invited by another important institute of astrophysics. I spent three intervals of three or four months at a time in India. After that I arrived in Spain, and spent more or less ten months in Barcelona, and then, as I told you, I started working directly in the field of philosophy, teaching the philosophy of science, and another of my interests, the philosophy of music. And now I am here. I move a lot, following not only my internal curiosity, but also, and above all, my desire to confront myself with other cultures and realities. I never try to hold on to my fixed point of view when I travel. I try to listen, and understand different points of view. While I cannot forget that I am a western person, I really try to put forward an effort to approach, as close as possible, Indian culture, for example. I even studied Hindi, even learning how to write. I did it not only because of my curiosity, but that it is also a way to demonstrate by word and action that I wanted to approach their culture. That’s very useful; when I was on the road, I could totally change the relationship I had with a passerby just by speaking a few words in Hindi. I studied Indian music, and playing it was an incredibly emotional experience with another musician. I couldn’t forget my culture, and of course I didn’t want to simulate being Indian. I really wanted to move from my fixed point of view, to try to understand the other. After living in many countries, I think that it’s useless to look for the best place in the world. It simply doesn’t exist. Instead, we have to find it in each situation of our life to learn and understand something. After my experience in many countries, in many situations, and even in many jobs – even my experience as a high school teacher, which was the hardes job I’ve done – I have found that it’s very useful to experience different points of view. It allows you to more easily understand, for example, the problems of teenagers. As a father, it’s especially important to put forward that effort. We can’t consider that the younger generation are… I don’t want to say stupid, but this is unfortunately the attitude – not my attitude – of many old, mature people. I think the opposite. Young people, even teenagers, have brilliant minds, full of enthusiasm, and curiosity, much more than other people. Unfortunately, they lose themselves for other reasons, but potentially you have incredible potential. My attitude has always been to listen to everybody, even in the case where my situation has been hard for other reasons. I’ve always tried to learn from every country, and every experience.

How has that experience been so far for you in the states?

Well it’s too early to tell so far. I arrived at the end of August, for the first time. I had just been here in May, to give my talk. So I can’t say anything.

What do you feel your role as a professor is for students here, and do you think that’s different from what you’ve seen abroad?

Here I can tell you something. Even though it’s been just one month, I’ve had a very positive opportunity of getting to know you guys, and the dynamic of teaching here. I really have been positively surprised. In Europe I taught in different universities, and there is a more passive conception of teaching. Sometimes students give presentations, but only as official, formal assignments. We don’t have this kind of round table, where we share our opinion, with the direction of the professor, who can moderate, or give hints. I think that’s very important, and I’m happy to have this opportunity. Not only do I think that it important for you, the student, to have the chance to be involved in the process of learning, in the Socratic sense. The professor is just helping you to get out from yourself what you already have at an intuitive level, or in ordering your thoughts. It’s important that one participates, and not just be a passive spectator of a play. It’s also more useful for me as a teacher, as I really have the opportunity, in both the ethics course and in the freshman seminar, to understand what you receive. I have in mind an idea of what I hope to transmit, but sometimes I’m far from reality. Having this chance to share, and participate together, even though we can’t always do that since I need to give formal explanations, is very useful to me in seeing what you receive in the discourse I try to organize. I can also learn from you, both because you can have interesting ideas that stimulate me to go in deep and understand something more, and because I can find tune and adjust my way of explaining something. Although it’s been just one month, it’s a really positive experience.

Do you have any advice to offer the students here?

I’ve just discovered Cooper students, with just a glimpse of an intuition of you. Up to now it’s been very positive, so it’s difficult to understand your weak points. I’m happy with both my ethics course and the freshman seminar. I haven’t seemed to see if there are weaknesses in you. I will just say what I say to all my students, at any level: try to be curious. Something I have experienced my whole life, even to be a good engineer, is that it’s very important to think about art, literature, and many other things. This can make you a better, more complete person, but also in your own work, this allows you to have a wider view. Einstein played the violin, and many other important scientists had other interests besides physics. To be a good physicist, even, you need to be involved in other kinds of thoughts. It is clear why it is so. If you just focus on one, specialized, thing, you’ll be good at that field, but as soon as the conditions are slightly different, you will be lost. I’ve seen this in some of my colleagues who have spent years studying one specific problem, with no idea of the whole picture. Once they took one step outside of their field, they couldn’t move. So it is important to study The Odyssey when you are a physicist. Reading an old text obliges you to learn how to analyze the different levels. Moreover, it gives you a wider view, besides making you a better person. If you want to be a good scientist, you first have to be a good person. So my advice is be curious, travel, and try to see a different point of view. Even if in the end you decide “I prefer my country, my city, my point of view,” that’s fine, but first you have to go out, live, and see the other perspectives. Later, if you come back to your own place, you will have a much wider viewpoint. Travel both physically, and mentally, and move away from a narrow point of view, which is a problem in both science and in society. There is an important American physicist, David Tong, who points out that one of the problems with contemporary science is the fragmentation of knowledge. We are choosing to be in subfields that are too narrow, and people can remain their whole lives in these narrow spaces. We need to open our minds, and Cooper students are in a very positive environment for this. You have a wonderful opportunity to open your mind, with students of the engineering school having to follow literature courses and philosophy courses. I think this is the best place for my conception of education, and maybe, on the other hand, it’s not by chance that that is so – perhaps I was chosen for my conception of education.

What are your hobbies, and how do you spend your free time?

I would like to have free time [chuckles]. If you want a simple answer, listening to music, sailing and walking. ◊

The Black Box Between School and Work

By Robert Godkin (ChE ’18)

You’d think that with the internet, your friends and family, and all the help you get at school you would know the ins and outs of easily transitioning from school to the work place—if that’s what you wish to do. But with many resources comes a lot of confusion and too many opinions to listen to all of them.

A few years ago when Cooper had the Peer Mentorship program, where freshmen were paired up with upperclassmen, the freshmen valued the experience and in one case  said that “I might have failed some classes if it wasn’t for my mentor giving me tips on time management and class selections.” That program unfortunately seems to have been phased out and has now been replaced with the Career Mentorship Program run by our own Career Center.

A largely successful program, the Career Mentorship Program connects students of varying interests and majors to Cooper alumni of similar interests and allows the student to dictate and take control of what they want in this relationship. Students are able to discuss career goals, career paths, general interests, and seek all the advice they need. Participation has grown in the past few years, with the number of alumni that want to participate exceeding the number of students that apply to the program. Students who are happy with the relationships return to the program, but are often paired with other alumni. The student-alumni connection is incredibly important, and makes it much simpler for Cooper students to understand how their predecessors made their way from Cooper to where they are now.

People love talking about themselves, so this is the best chance to figure out what you can give to them and what they can give to you. Networking and conversing with people who have more experience than you are never one-sided. Those who are established and respected in the workplace have been out of school for (probably) a long time. If they cannot translate how they’ve gotten to where they are, how do they expect their company to grow and allow a new generation of employees to prosper? This is where the student comes in and listens to what they have to say.

Be ready to dedicate time and do your research on those you speak with and their respective careers. Prepare yourself a list of questions to ask with regards to the company where your person of interest works, but don’t forget to consider questions that are on a ‘different level’ too, for example: “What about the company makes you want to stay and work there?” A good distribution of ‘on-topic’ and ‘off-topic’ moves in your questions and answers can separate you from the others: no one wants to hear about the classes you take. All mechanical engineers take Mechanics of Materials. All chemical engineers take Organic Chemistry. What allows you to stick out is the work you may have put in those classes outside of the class itself: scientific journals, news articles and projects are all worthy of conversation!

Mentors can be helpful with regards to easing you into being able to connect with a professional; however, if you look online, there are dozens of articles and posts on why you need a mentor.  Though many people may say this, it is more so up to you—the person without (much) experience—to train yourself. You could dedicate time to connecting with people who can assist you in your career. Any established professional connection can turn into your own personal mentorship program. Events where either employers or professionals are present are good opportunities for you to go and find someone who might help you plan your future. As an example, when Career Coach John Crant visited Cooper last semester to speak about the importance of networking, not only were students attracted to this event, but professionals came in to speak with the students. I had the opportunity to speak with representatives from a variety of engineering consulting firms, and had simply asked them why they chose to come to a largely student based event. The most common answer: to interact with the students and hear what they are up to; new projects, new research topics, anything and everything new.

To summarize: work on your projects, attend networking events, get business cards, and actually reach out to the people who have given you their information. They are opening the door for you, and simply want you to walk through it and discuss what makes you you, and what makes them them. A conversation about why you both enjoy the latest Dan Brown novel, or why you have a mutual hatred for particular, poorly structured crosswords may be worth more than asking a professional what you can do to succeed at a company. ◊

Halloween Is Here

By Jeremiah Pratt (EE ‘19)

Ghouls, gargoyles, once again it’s that time of year for your favorite spooky paradise, complete with pumpkins, hold the spice, and cheesy fog effects made with dry ice. Nobody cares if you’re naughty or nice, because tricks and treats go hand in hand this month, and each and every one of us has a skeleton hiding underneath our skin, rattling and chattering away to the din of Monster Mash on repeat, you’d better believe it. While we’re all “hella hype” for this, the greatest 31 days of the calendar year, this writer thinks it best to make absolutely clear a few points of etiquette we’d do well to remember, lest our friends and professors all resent us come November.

1) Though your lectures may fill you with dread and fear, and your snoring classmate sets a stormy atmosphere, and the room seems to scream “HALLOWEEN!” for all to hear, please, resist the impulse to let out a gleeful cackle from the back of the class like a demon-possessed jackal. The only thing spookier than sitting through class is being asked to leave it and never come back.

2) Do NOT throw a Halloween party in the ICE lab.

3) While you may have 31 costumes, one for each day and night, not everyone here always does (though they might!), so take care when approaching a strange looking bloke on the corner of St. Mark’s in a green denim coat. Please try and trust me, don’t mess with a crusty, they aren’t in costume and your slip-up could cost you, so it’s best to keep your excitement to yourself.

4) Wearing all black to a party and proclaiming “I’m an architect” is a cop out.

5) Last but not least, don’t you ever forget, that each monster among us has a heart in their chest, and we all love to spook and we all love to scare, but we all love to smile and we all love to care. The spirit of Halloween is good-spirited fun, so don’t ever do nothing that might hurt someone. Brew your potions with love, cast your spells with good cheer, compliment your friend’s outfit, buy your buddy a beer, go ahead and give a fright. But, let no one live in fear, during this, the absolute best time of the year. ◊