Tag Archives: 9-29-2014

Sports Update

Yara Elborolosy (MCE ’16)

With the end of September comes the start of fall and of the rigorous demands of classes, with midterms and even second exams looming in the future. For the scholar athletes of Cooper, this is also combined with the demands of their teams. For the soccer team, their season has already started with three games played against two of their rivals, CIA and Webb Institute. A long-standing tradition for the soccer team is to play these two teams for Cups, the Campbell Cup and the Webb Cup respectively, where the winning team brings the cup home. They lost their first match against CIA on September 6th, but on September 14th, they defeated CIA and brought home the Campbell Cup for the first time in four years. On September 20th, they defeated Webb Institute after a tense match to keep the Webb Cup home. The next match for the soccer team will be on September 26th against King’s College at Randall’s Island.

For the men’s tennis team, their first game is the 1st Annual Fall CU Invitational on October 17th and they have been practicing hard in the mornings to prepare for their upcoming match. The women’s tennis team is in the process of rebuilding, since most of their team had graduated this past May, and has their first match in the spring.

The cross-country track team has been running around the city, practicing and participating in local races. The men’s volleyball team, with their first game in January, has been focusing on building their team and practicing consistently. Women’s volleyball started their season along with the school year with three games already completed against St. Joseph, Pratt, and Mount Saint Vincent and another one upcoming on September 27th against CIA. They are also in the rebuilding process but are very hopeful in their team and what they can accomplish.

The first men’s basketball game will be an Alumni game on October 25th at Baruch JHS. They have some very skilled players on every position and were lucky to find talented new members to join their team. With friendships both on and off the court, the team chemistry is wonderful. The women’s basketball team is also in the rebuilding process but with the skills that were developed at Cape Cod and consistent practices, they are confident of what the team will be capable of. Their first game will also be an alumni game on October 25th.

For more details and schedules, check out the “Student Affairs” section on the Cooper website!

Cooper Union Soccer Team

9/6/2014 Cooper Union CIA
Score 0 2
9/14/2014 Cooper Union CIA
Score 2 0
9/20/2014 Cooper Union Webb Institute
Score 4 3

Cooper Union Women’s Volleyball Team

9/5/2014 Cooper Union St. Joseph
Score 0 3


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.


Faces of Cooper: Philip Yecko

Anushree Sreedhar (ChE ’18) & Caroline Yu (EE ’15)

     Meet Philip Yecko, Associate Professor of Physics, the newest member to the physics department.

     The Cooper Pioneer: Where are you originally from?

     Philip Yecko: I was born and I grew up in Pittsburgh. I was there until college and since then I’ve been pretty much everywhere.

     TCP: Can you tell me about your educational and professional background?

     PY: Sure! It’s a long story. When I was a student at MIT, I studied Physics. I didn’t know about Cooper at the time. If I had I would have loved to have been here, but at that time MIT was all I could think of. I was a graduate student at Columbia, where I did my Ph.D. in Astronomy.  I had been a physics major but I was more interested in classical physics than modern or particle physics. In order to do more classical physics in grad school, I had to go into something slightly different, so I switched to astrophysics. That’s also when I realized what interested me most was fluid dynamics. I began studying the fluid dynamics of atmospheres of planets and eventually of accretion discs, which are the structures that form solar systems. After that I did postdoctoral work in Florida, Paris, and Italy.

     TCP: That’s amazing. I’m going to assume that your favorite subject is physics then?

     PY: Yes, my favorite subject is physics! And I suppose everything I do is connected to fluids.

     TCP: And astronomy?

     PY: Yes. A lot of problems in astronomy can be studied from a fluids point of view.  But I also moved from studying these really large astrophysical objects like discs to fluids that are microscale and magnetic fluids in the blood.

     TCP: How did you hear about Cooper Union and what brought you to Cooper Union?

PY: I was a graduate student in New York City and that’s when I learned about Cooper in several different ways and when I first met Alan Wolf. To be honest, whenever I was looking for a place to work, I’ve always looked at Cooper. Until very recently, it never worked out. This is my fourth faculty position, but along the way, Cooper has always been a place of interest to me.

TCP: So you hope to stay?

      PY: Yes, absolutely! I’ve met so many people here who were Cooper students or have one or two or three different affiliations with Cooper. I think it’s great. You are lucky to be in a place where there’s a sense of place and people care about it.

      TCP: How would you describe your current role at Cooper?

      PY: I am half the physics department — me and Alan Wolf– we are the smallest department here.  I’m starting with the Physics Laboratory. There are a lot of things that I want to do there, teaching-wise, but I won’t be able to do them all in my first year here. Next semester I’ll be teaching Modern Physics which, among other topics, has quantum mechanics in it, one of my favorites. I’m really looking forward to it. That class will be in Rose Auditorium and I feel a little strange teaching in rooms like that.  I like to interact with people while teaching, to have everybody involved if possible. So we’ll see! It is a very nice space, so I think it will work out.

     TCP: Do you have a favorite professor or colleague at Cooper yet?

     PY: It’s too soon. I’m afraid I have met not enough people yet. So maybe later you can come back and ask me.

     TCP: What are some of your hobbies?

     PY: Hobbies? That’s a tough one. I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies. I enjoy cooking; it’s relaxing for me. I started growing some grapes. I’m hoping one day I can make wine out of them. I’ve done it once before and it would be fun to try again starting from the vine.

     TCP: What type of things do you make?

PY: With food I’m focused on Mediterranean. Because of time constraints, I usually just make things that are quick. In doing that, I’ve started using less and less meat, which I think is good.

      TCP: What advice would you give to Cooper students?

     PY: You should try to get as much as you can out of this unique environment and the opportunities that you have here. Work with your professors; do research with them. I’m really happy that a lot of students have come to me so far – interested in doing some research. Get as much as you can out of your classes, too.  Cooper isn’t the real world, which has a good side and a bad side. Try to get the good before you go out into the real world where things are more complicated – not as focused.

     TCP: What hopes do you have for Cooper over the next ten years, and beyond?

     PY: I’m aware that Cooper is going through a change as far as the undergraduate tuition model. I think Cooper is based on a lot more than that.  People are talking about a computer science major and a math major. The physics major hasn’t been here for a long time – but physics was really an important part of Cooper at one time so I think it can come back. I have a lot common interests with people in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and math. Fluids isn’t just in physics, it’s also in engineering and in math – so I think there’s a good chance physics can keep growing here. I’ve been thinking a lot about what new courses can be offered and I’ve been listening to students and asking what kinds of courses they would like to have — maybe astrophysical fluids or geophysical fluids. It’s nice when you find an elective that really sticks with a certain place. So that it just clicks because the students really like it.  I used to teach a course like that in non-linear dynamics and patterns. It had applications in physics and astrophysics and biology and it became really popular.

TCP: Do you have any favorite books, magazines, or subscriptions?

     PY: I read the New Yorker regularly. I read the cartoons first and I love xkcd. I’m a big Kurt Vonnegut fan – I like reading but I don’t have much time to read.

Professor Yecko has beautiful pictures of nature as his screensaver…

     TCP: Is it safe to assume you like nature?

     PY: A lot of these involve fluids, you know. Every year in November there’s a fluids dynamics meeting of the American Physical Society. One part of it is a competition called the Gallery of Fluid Motion – you enter an image or a video. This year is the first time I’ll submit an entry. Obviously, the image has to have scientific content, which is not a problem. The problem is making it stand out visually in a meeting of 2000 people, many of them just walking by.

Photo Credit: Jenna Lee (EE ’15)

People’s Climate March

Kevin Sheng (EE ’18) & Saimon Sharif (ChE ’15) 

On Sunday, September 21, an estimated 310,000 demonstrators flooded into the streets of New York City in order to participate in the People’s Climate March. Coinciding with the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, the march was organized in an effort to draw attention to the looming issue of climate change. Billed as the largest climate march in history, thousands of protestors snaked their way down to midtown from Columbus Circle throughout the afternoon, joined by more than 2800 solidarity events across 166 countries.

Though the numbers were certainly impressive enough to draw significant media and political attention, they caused a problem with logistics and organization. It was felt that there was a lack of a distinct and specific message. One freshman who attended the march, Amy Chen (ME ‘18), said that “the message [was not as] clear and strong as I expected.” Another, Helena Zhu (ChE ‘18), said that “the march was more of a combination of different messages, eventually all indicating climate justice; there were themes about biodiversity, protection of the arctic, anti fossil fuel use.”

The march included a diverse range of celebrities from both the political and entertainment worlds, including former Vice President Al Gore, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, actor-activist Leonardo DiCaprio, and many others. Beyond that, however, the march was very much a march of the people. Marchers from more than 1500 organizations “demanding world leaders take action to combat climate change” joined together in an effort to demonstrate to world leaders and policymakers at Tuesday’s UN summit the sheer scale of the climate issue. Young or old, scientific or religious, people of all ages, beliefs, and ethnicities, from all walks of life, marched together, united in the desire for a greener future. “I think feeling the unity of a large group of people over a cause was really powerful” said Hadar Cohen (EE ‘15).

These marchers united with a common cause also included several members of the Cooper community. Dozens of students, graduates, and faculty could be found amongst the packed throng that filled the streets of midtown on Sunday afternoon. “It allowed me to better understand my place in the larger ecosystem and how advocating for something politically can really make a difference” said Hadar. Other students voiced similar sentiments. “I wanted to make that bit of difference in raising political awareness by being just one more voice in the march” said Howie Chen (EE ‘16), who attended the march with a group of Cooper students.  “It’s way too easy to forget about how our lives impact the environment, especially living in Manhattan and being immersed in our studies at Cooper – the climate march was a good opportunity to escape that mentality and gain exposure to other issues that really matter, besides just work and study.”

Anna Kramer (CE ’14) and Hadar held a screening of the short film Disruption in the Menschel Boardroom on the Wednesday before the march, “in preparation for the People’s Climate March to engage Cooper students in the discourse of climate change” as stated by Hadar.  It should be noted that Anna and Hadar organized the Cooper Union group at the march. The 52 minute documentary “lays bare the terrifying science, the shattered political process, the unrelenting industry special interests and the civic stasis that have brought us to this social, moral and ecological crossroads”, and emphasizes the necessity of public mobilization and demonstration, drawing parallels to other successful instances of mass organization such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Suffrage Movement. In terms of scale, the People’s Climate March certainly compares, drawing upwards of 300,000 demonstrators compared to the 250,000 of 1963’s legendary March on Washington. In terms of effectiveness, only time will tell.

Speech by Palestine President Abbas

Anamika Singh (Art ’17)

On September 22nd, the Cooper Union’s Great Hall teemed with anticipation as Ambassador William Clarke introduced President Mahmoud Abbas of the State of Palestine. Standing at a podium not unlike the one Abraham Lincoln had stood two centuries ago, Abbas Mahmoud addressed Cooper Union students and staff, students of other local universities, youth groups, and other members of the public. Early within his speech, Abbas addressed Islam’s current association with terrorism and its role within the socio-political climate of the world as he touched upon the significance of the close proximity of Ground Zero. Abbas quickly condemned ISIS, al-Qaeda, and various other terrorist organizations as inconsistent with Islam.

As Abbas spoke about Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the escalating conflict, he garnered applause from the audience. Within his rhetoric, Abbas incorporated past American conflicts in an attempt to appeal to an American sentiment. For example, he quoted leaders such Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy. Abbas likened the potential actions of today’s public to those of Freedom Riders and Vietnam War protestors in American colleges, thus associating the struggle of Palestine to the Civil Rights Movements and the Vietnam War. He urged his audience to “Rethink Palestine”, his slogan for the night, which was revisited every so often to guide his message.

Throughout his speech, Abbas reiterated his desire for peace between Israel and Palestine, and his hope that Israel could be a “good neighbor” to Palestine. Abbas also took the opportunity to announce his intention to propose a binding timetable for peace in his upcoming address to the UN General Assembly. Despite Mahmoud’s aspiration for peace, he expressed sadness in the fact that he himself may be unable to experience it, “At 79, I do not know for certain if I will ever hold in my hand and taste the sweet fruit of peace. But I do know this for certain. I have held in my hand, and seen with my own eyes, the seeds of peace.”

As Abbas closed his speech, he received a passionate applause and a standing ovation from his audience. As the public began to leave the Foundation Building, a group of Jewish youth began a protest chant against Abbas, shouting, “Abbas is Hamas” and “Shame on Cooper.” This revealed the complexity of emotion within the Cooper Union and New York City community in regards to the hosting of the Palestine President.

Beau Dietl and Associates

Joseph T. Colonel (EE ’15)

On August 11, Campus Safety Services notified faculty, staff, and students that the Cooper Union was dissolving its contract with FJC Security Services Inc. and contracting Beau Dietl & Associates to provide on-campus security.  Sent out via campus-notice, the email states that Cooper’s decision to switch firms stemmed from, among other points, a desire to update Cooper’s security protocols and surveillance systems. FJC stated in the email that they “are proud to have served the Cooper Union since 2005 and wish the community all the best as it moves forward with this transition.”

Students, faculty, and alumni of the Cooper Union voiced concerns over the hiring of the new security firm.  Many pointed to the inflammatory statements made by Robert “Bo” Dietl during repeated appearances on Fox News. In 2007, Dietl weighed in on racial profiling by saying, “And I’m sorry, if I see two guys that look like Abu Daba Doo and Aba Daba Dah, I’m gonna pull ‘em over, and I wanna find out what you’re doing.”  More recently, Dietl appeared on a panel to discuss the militarization of police during the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, defending the actions of Darren Wilson by saying that “bullets go that way.”  Others suggested that such a high profile security firm as B.D.A. seemed unnecessary for a campus which has had only two crimes reported to campus authorities since 2007 (http://cooper.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/assets/site/files/2013/CampusSafety_13-14_V.3.pdf).  Others still pointed to the firing of Owen Solomon, longtime security guard at the Cooper Union, as an unacceptable consequence of the transition to hiring B.D.A.

William E. Mea, Vice President of Finance and Administration, sent out a campus-notice on August 22 in an attempt to address the concerns of the Cooper Community.  Mea writes, “We employed B.D.A. security because we believe that Cooper must become more vigilant than we have been about public safety.  B.D.A. has a strong record for thoroughness and professionalism, evidenced by prior work at Cooper […]. This is an era in which we cannot take for granted that this community will be secure against the dangers that have visited this city or campuses around the country.”

The Joint Student Council met on September 17 to discuss the administration’s handling of security related issues. The JSC issued a resolution calling for the return of Owen Solomon to his previous post at the Cooper Union, the phasing out of B.D.A. from use at Cooper, the creation of a search committee (made of students, faculty, and staff) to “maintain governance regarding future campus security issues and changes,” and a review of the “financial details regarding the transition from FJC to BDA.”

On September 20, Mea sent out another campus-notice email informing the Cooper Community that Cooper would transition to a new security firm and employ B.D.A. in the interim.  Mea writes, “We regret that we did not anticipate the sensitivities expressed by members of the Cooper community about some of Mr. Dietl’s public statements.  However, we recognize the significance of these concerns in the context of our campus climate, particularly during this tumultuous period in Cooper’s history.”  No statement was made regarding the status of Owen Solomon.