Tag Archives: 95-2

I’m Wild About Boring Things

By Vanessa Ritz (Art ’18)

It’s 12:00am, and I’m sitting on the grey floor listening to really shitty rap searing through the studio. It’s Monday. For those of you who are not familiar with the freshman sculpture studio: imagine a room. Now suck the oxygen out of the room. Now turn the heat on in the room. Now line the walls and floors with massive chunks of cardboard. Cardboard smells, cardboard is dusty, cardboard will be the death of me. But cardboard is cheap.  My threshold is only so high for claustrophobic spaces and ringing music, so by 1:00am I wobble out and try to regain feeling in my legs. Why is St. Marks so inviting to me? By 1:14am, I’m coming to the sad realization that I have no clothes left. I put my laundry in a bag, go down to the machines, and throw it in. The alarm goes off for machine, and I realized I never turned it on. I give up. Getting into the top bunk is slowly tearing my left wrist muscles because I would rather store supplies on the ladder than have an adequate living situation. 6:40am, my alarm goes off and I somehow get to the gym for a 6:45 boot camp class, so go me. I always imagined the people who go to these classes are important executives before work, but in reality they are full of mostly unhappy middle-aged women, wearing their husbands’ t-shirts and low-key flirting with the Filipino instructor, plus that random NYU student. There will always be a random NYU student. Everywhere. Bitches. 7:40am, I decide this is a good time for food shopping.  Okay first of all, food shopping sucks so bad. It is overwhelming and food is heavy and costs money. After about an hour of walking in circles and picking up random shit that I don’t know what to do with, like ginger, I realize there is too much food so I empty about half the cart, hope I kept the important stuff and lug the bags back to the dorm. By now people are waking up, so I eat breakfast and go to the foundation building to work. The thing is I don’t have class on Mondays until the evening so I really don’t know why I force myself to do things so early. Maybe I enjoy militaristic rigid schedules. The cardboard room in the morning is quiet. At around 2pm, I’m kicked out for a class so I go to the dorms for lunch. Probably carrots, cheese and peanut butter. I think I am addicted to peanut butter. I realized this about four months ago when I found myself eating it everyday. I tried to give it up but that day I had it twice so I have just succumbed to peanut butter.  It could be worse. It could be heroin. 

Distribution & Reflection: A Weekend at MoMA PS1

By Robert Godkin (ChE ’18) and Kelsey Mitchell (Art ’18)


This year marked the 10th annual New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. The fair, presented by Printed Matter, “the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the distribution and appreciation of artists’books”, exhibited a plethora of books, zines, catalogs, and periodicals. It brought together an incredibly diverse set of artists and writers, who together, created a colorful and inspiring presentation of work. Specific galleries and exhibitions within the space highlighted the power of the book, through attention to the form of the book itself (ie. the specificity of the bound, the size, the structure) as well as the way it evokes a sense of reflection through narrative and image.

One exhibition, put in place by Daniel J Wilson, was an advocate of ‘anti-social media.’ He has been working to document 1,440 moments in a person’s day with a phone app. Users receive a notification at random, and have only 60 seconds to snap a picture of whatever is around them. Wilson’s aim is to reverse society’s mental obsession with instant gratification, and get people away from the ‘likes’and ‘tweets’on Facebook and Twitter. His project is anonymous and users are able to view their year-long collection of pictures at the conclusion of the project.

It is interesting to think that we live in a time where one generation exists in complete conjunction with the idea of the ‘post’and the ‘upload’in relation to what they believe is ‘newsworthy,’and yet the other half of the population has just been assimilated into it. Perhaps this reluctance to the instant, to the self-absorption associated with social media, stems from here. As an app for the anti-social media, it seems both poetic and revolutionary; a kind of beautiful experiment in which those who are immersed in the virtual world must reconsider and re-evaluate their actual role in it.

In another vein of the artist ‘book’, Danilo Montanari, an Italian artist, focuses on using form to delineate the cinematic quality of his art. He uses the accordion style to depict chronology of sorts and narrative. He primarily works with Italian art of the 1970s and sequences photographs; he works on storytelling through photography. Handmade and written documents are the essence of his written and photographic work, where his storytelling can be accessed through the relationship between image and text.

One of Montanari’s representatives at the table said the work focuses on “elasticity and colorful history”, an inspiring sentiment considering it is something that viewers can personally engage with and therefore create our own interpretations using our knowledge of our own history. This relationship between elastic history and book form is very interesting because it kind of touches on the Wilson project, where our personal history is documented through an elastic medium, the internet, and here Montanari is depicting history through an elastic accordion book. The connection between tactile and virtual is evident through the vein of documentation.

IMG_6421 BOMB magazine, a veteran of sorts at the Art Book Fair, continues to draw interest from visitors. Started in the Lower East Side, BOMB focuses on maintaining artist-to-artist rhetoric and that might be lost by the interpretation of a critic or the average person. The magazine offers an eclectic perception of art, one which publishes a conversation rather than an article, it “disseminates artist-generated content”and establishes a direct source of thought and discussion.

From a Cooper perspective, BOMB has featured the School of Art’s Professor Margaret Morton’s book, “Cities of the Dead,” in its past March edition as an ‘Editor’s Choice in Art’selection. In addition, BOMB also featured Natasha Marie Llorens, adjunct professor and art history teacher, for her analysis of artist Chris Domenick’s sculpture and performative lectures in his exhibition Wet.Lobby.Luxor.

The artist book produces a kind of storytelling that, through the power of image and text, is both reflective and addressing. The New York Art Book Fair continues to display this sentiment through the wide range of work distributed and informed by the publishing collectives who produce them. This weekend in Queens persists year after year for that precise reason —it gives artists an audience and an outlet to share their work in the expectation that it will influence and inspire.

Sports Update Tennis - Photo provided by Kevin Shi (CE' 16)

Sports Update

By: Mary Dwyer (ChE ’19) and Hossam Saleh (ChE ’18)

An update on Cooper Athletics as the sports teams begin their seasons

Coming off an intensive training trip to Cape Cod, where teams had two-a-day practices and cross-training sessions with certified professionals in yoga and physical therapy, the Cooper Athletics program is strengthened and well-prepared for its upcoming seasons.

The soccer team’s perfect 3-0 record represents the dedication of the athletes who devoted some of their summer to training. After two golden goal victories against the Culinary Institute of America and Vaughn College earlier this month, the team extended their winning streak to 3 games as they defeated The Webb Institute 4-0 in regular time. Charles Dorrance-King (Arch ’18) scored two powerful headers through set pieces created by playmaker Andrew Peña (CE ’18). Freshman Zalmai Levrat (Arch ’20) scored a magnificent volley just outside the 18-yard line, while Wei Tin (ME ‘18) ended the night with a sneaky chip ball past the Webb goalkeeper.

Following the victory, Peña stated, “So far, the team has shown extreme determination and resilience to win the first three games of the season, and I hope that we continue and improve in the same fashion as the season progresses. The team owes part of its success to the new freshman additions to the team who have solidified our back line and provided goals in each game.” The Cooper soccer team was boosted with the arrival of freshmen Kyle Brady (ME ’19), Robert Dietz (Art ‘19), Jonathan Bair (EE ’19), Lea Simoniello (Art ‘18), Casey He (BSE ‘19), Christopher Watkins (EE ’19), Misha Luczkiw (EE ’19), and Zalmai Levrat (Arch ’20).

The coed soccer team is currently the only team in season. Tennis and women’s volleyball will begin their seasons within the month. Kevin Shi (CE ‘16), senior captain of the Cooper tennis team, commented, “Everyone at Cape Cod and recent practices has shown an incredible amount of improvement.  If that’s any indication for the season, I’m expecting another undefeated year.” The tennis team’s first match is against Pratt on Saturday, September 26th.

Sports Update Soccer - Photo provided by Jonathan Bair (EE' 19)

The first official season of Cooper golf begins in October. The coed team, led by junior Jack Donnellan (CE ’17) and senior Matthew Smarsch  (CE ’16), is looking for more experienced players to join them. Donnellan comments, “the team is looking solid at our weekly practices.” For all those interested in joining Cooper’s newest athletic team, contact Smarsch, Donnellan, or junior team member Ryan Smith (ChE ’17).

Both men’s and women’s basketball begin their seasons in November after returning from their trip to Florida. The teams are led by senior captains Andrey Kovalev (CE ’16) and Matthew Smarsch and Nina Berlow (CE ’16), Jamie Chan (ChE ’16), and Kayla Weg (CE ’16) respectively. Both teams practice throughout the entire academic year and into the summer. Berlow comments, “We have students from every grade and every major playing with us…It’s awesome to have a group of accomplished students, skilled athletes, and fantastic people working together.” Keep an eye out for the alumni games in October for a chance to see the athletes in action before their seasons begin.

Years & Years 2 - Photo by Brandon Quinere CE '19

Years & Years makes it “shine” at Terminal 5

By: Brandon Quinere (CE ’19)

I think it’s safe to say that all people yearn for that moment where we truly understand what exactly we want from our world: where we want to be, what we want to do, who we want to love. That period is definitely a transient one, and oftentimes, in trying to reach that, it can feel distressing rather than triumphant. It’s true: maturing can definitely feel strenuous, so why even bother? Why not revel in our youth while we can? During their sold-out show Thursday night at Terminal 5, British synthpop band Years & Years led the crowd in an all-out frenzy that made growing up finally feel celebratory.

The three-piece band, made up of vocalist Olly Alexander, synth player Emre Türkmen, and bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, are relatively new to the music scene. Their first full-length LP, Communion, released in July earlier this year, is a collection of perfectly crafted pop songs that take musical influence from a wide scope of genres. The bouncy “Border”is your new favorite Phoenix song and the slow-building “Take Shelter”is what FutureSex/LoveSounds would’ve been if Justin Timberlake worked with Disclosure instead of Timbaland.

While the band may not necessarily be pushing boundaries sonically, their sound definitely helps to amplify the main themes of the album ranging from discovering oneself to finding and losing love. The blaring synthesizers present in many Years & Years songs feel like a call to gather, something for all of us to feel and experience together.

The crowd at Terminal 5 remained enchanted by the alluring onstage presence of the band, especially that of vocalist, Alexander. The frontman engaged the audience as he danced his way through the 14-song set, even going into the crowd during the anthemic “Shine.”A few lucky fans received warm embraces from Alexander during the performance, while countless others at least had something very memorable for their Snapchat stories (Take your pick with what’s more important).

Years & Years 1 - Photo by Brandon Quinere CE '19

The club-ready closer “King”was an obvious crowd favorite, generating ferocious screams from fans right from the opening notes alone. Personally, one of my favorite moments of the show was the band’s cover of Blu Cantrell’s song “Breathe.”Although it was an injustice to cover any Blu Cantrell song that isn’t the legitimately great “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!),”the band’s take on the R&B record was a sensational groove of the night.

“If you’re on a date tonight, this is the time to get close to them,”Alexander told the crowd in between songs. “If not, I’m sure Grindr’s busy.”The venue erupted with laughter at this remark, but the implications behind it, the uncertainty of the future and whatever its outcome may be, is something of interesting note. The music of Years & Years soundtracks a millennial experience of maturing in today’s day and age: no one knows where we’re going, but we’ll get there, someway, somehow.

Nonstop Cooper - Photo By Winter Leng (ChE '18)

Nonstop stops… to chat with Bill Mea and the Presidential Search Committee

By: Pranav Joneja (ME ’18) and Anthony Passalacqua (ME ’18) 

Nonstop Cooper, the community residency and workspace for civic engagement, closed up shop  earlier this month. Luckily, Nonstop went out with a bang, with two paradigm-shifting community events: the first, an intimate Q&A session with Acting President Bill Mea, and the second, a think tank with trustees on the Board regarding the impending presidential search.

On September 16, Acting President Mea sat down with students, candidly answering questions covering a wide array of topics including the settlement of the lawsuit, recent changes in the administration, and the presidential search moving forward.

The consent decree, mediated by the Attorney General and signed by the Board and the Committee to Save Cooper Union (CSCU), has several legally-binding provisions, including: Cooper Union will return to a sustainable, tuition-free model as soon as practical, and the school will be required to change its by-laws to allow for two student trustees with voting powers and fiduciary duties, among several other changes to the governance structure.

The changes formally came into effect on September 23, 2015, following some amendments to resolve minor clerical errors. Mea further elucidated that he was required to sign the decree on behalf of Cooper Union, in his capacity as Acting President.

When asked what he believes the necessary qualities of the next President are, Mea responded, “Most importantly? We need a president who will be a listener.” Mea opined that a so-called “rent-a-president” will never be able to effectively run Cooper Union.

Acting President Mea was particularly attuned to the notion that Cooper Union needs a president who understands its culture, and one who will dedicate him or herself to listening and learning about what the community believes its institution represents. And the students and faculty, for their part, are going to need to be patient. Mea further commented that no president of any institution, be it a community college or the entire United States, can be effective immediately. All leaders have a period of settling in, and the Cooper Union community will have to concede that.

Acting President Bill Mea answers questions at Nonstop Cooper - Photo by Yifei Simon Shao (ME '19)

Acting President Bill Mea answers questions at Nonstop Cooper – Photo by Yifei Simon Shao (ME ’19)

Mea also revealed that he attended a meeting with the Board of Trustees on September 16, prior to the Q&A session. At this meeting, he presented the “Goals of the Institution,” a document drafted by the deans of each school outlining the intended direction of the college as we move forward.

Acting President Mea deferred the release the document to The Pioneer and to the wider community citing the fact that “The goals were written in an abbreviated format for presentation, which worked because we were present at the Board meeting and able to more fully explain them. To publish the goals to the community and have the community fully understand them, we need to add the narrative that we verbally provided to the Board,” and that “…some of us need to formally share the goals with our staff and faculty before they are published to the entire community.”

However, Acting President Mea was able to speak to at least one of these goals, saying that he wanted Cooper Union to “return to a focus on faculty and students, and on celebrating their work.” After last year’s scandal with charging added tuition for ‘overload’ credit registration, Mea wants to ensure that the administration functions in a manner consistent with the culture of the school, and that both groups remain satisfied and productive.

The discussion took on a heavier tone when the topic turned to finances. In Mea’s eyes, the school has to walk a dual path: the first, a path towards free, which Cooper Union is legally obligated to follow as soon as its practical; and the second, a path to avoid closing down under the immense financial pressures of debt service payments and budgetary constraints.

Clearly, the path ahead is difficult. Thankfully, Bill Mea is a “finance guy.” His experience over the past two decades in the finances of higher education institutions places the school in safe hands, at least during the interim.

On September 18, several trustees on the recently formed Presidential Search Committee attended a think tank hosted in the Nonstop space, addressing community concerns about the search and selection of Cooper Union’s next president.

Out of nine total members of the Committee, three from the Board were in attendance: Robert Tan (Arch ’81), Kevin Slavin (Art ’95), both Alumni Trustees, and Richard Lincer, Chairman of the Board. Other trustees on the Committee who were unable to attend the think tank include: Eric Hirschhorn (ME ’89) and Johnny C. Taylor Jr., both co-chairs of the Committee. Finally, the remaining four members of the Committee will include Jessica Marshall (EE ’17) representing the student body, and two faculty members and one part-time faculty member yet to be decided.

It is particularly important to note Johnny Taylor’s experience as President and CEO of “the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the only national organization representing nearly 300,000 students attending this country’s 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).” According to Kevin Slavin, “Johnny basically finds presidents [for various colleges] for a living.”

The trustees assured everyone that the Committee will “cast a wide net and consider non-traditional options” for candidates. While it is somewhat unclear what these options may include, Chairman Lincer made the point that, at the time of the decision, former President Jamshed Bharucha was a very traditional choice in the sense that he had decades of experience in academia and was the provost at Tufts University prior to his appointment at Cooper.

Students and alumni discuss community issues at Nonstop Cooper - Photo By Sage Gu (CE'19)

Students and alumni discuss community issues at Nonstop Cooper – Photo By Sage Gu (CE’19)

Kevin Slavin pontificated three key abilities he believes the next president must possess (though he conceded that the rest of search committee might not identically agree with him). The three abilities are:

Fundraising — According to Slavin, fundraising is “absolutely non-trivial,” going as far as to say “the survival of an institution can depend on the ability of the president to raise money.”

Administration — The president must “be able to take care of the day-to-day running of the school.” Between unions, healthcare, and various legal and lesser administrative tasks, the president will have his/her hands full.

Culture — It is the president’s duty to “define what the school means.” Cultural traits like workload, student-faculty interaction, and relationships with industry are generally influenced by the president.

Robert Tan and Richard Lincer pitched in on what a president is expected to never do. According to Lincer, the president will not have a provost in his or her administration for the simple reason that there is not a sufficient budget for additional administrators. The president also cannot be unwilling to visit and listen to the community before his hiring. In fact, Lincer said “any candidate who is serious will have to commit to come visit the school and hear the community.”

Highlighting the gravity of the position, Kevin Slavin noted that if we do find the perfect candidate, his/her tenure at Cooper Union will likely be “the most important thing that [he/she who] comes here will ever do.” Slavin further clarified that the community must realize that the president is not going to be some magical quick fix to the school. “Fixing the school is going to take much longer than the president will be here,” he said, and ultimately the whole community needs to be proactive in healing and renewing Cooper Union.

As for when we should expect a new president to find him or herself sitting on the seventh floor of the foundation building, the Board of Trustees is aiming for the start of the next academic year.

Lubalin at Thirty - Photo Credit Brenda So EE'18

Professor Tochilovsky on Thirty Years of The Herb Lubalin Center

By: Anthony Passalacqua (ME ’18)

Photo by Brenda So (EE ’18)

Curator of the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, Professor Alexander Tochilovsky sat down with The Pioneer last week to discuss the Center’s thirty-year history, expound on the significance of typography to design and tell us about legendary designer Herb Lubalin himself.

An overview of the Center

The Center opened September 10, 1985, and we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary with a glimpse into the collection here. The collection has grown immensely over 30 years and we wanted to do an exhibition showing that.

The stuff that we have is predominantly archival graphic design work. But we’ve been very active in trying to find a balance of material that’s more contemporary: books and magazines on designs and well-designed books and magazines; things that tend to be useful to students. It’s just such a great collection that students are always welcome to use.

Pulling books and resources for students is one of the main things we do, since we like to facilitate access to students and make it easy for them. We’re even open to researchers in the general public by appointment.

The exhibition is going to be on display until October 3, and is open ten to seven Monday through Saturday, and twelve to five on Sundays. We’re going to do something with the gallery that we haven’t done in the past: we’re going to swap out a big chunk of the show with new work halfway through so people get to see twice as much work.

On putting the gallery together

There were three people, including myself, who are curating the show, and we all worked on selection and curation. Several Cooper students helped as well and we have a thank you panel that lists them and other contributors. Whenever we do exhibitions it’s almost impossible to do them without student help, plus it’s a great way for students to get involved and see things behind the scene.

On the designers currently showcased

The show is broken into segments, and each segment uses the theme of thirty – so for the thirty posters that’s thirty designers. There are also thirty drawers pulled into the space that we use when researchers come. Each drawer has 15 individual designers, and with 9 drawers that makes about 150 different designers on view right now.

When we swap everything out there will be not quite double, but about 200 individual designers on view over the totality of the show.

 On the significance of typography to design

Typography is integral to design. There is always language in graphic design, and typography is what shapes that language, it’s what gives it form. When it’s done well, typography allows the viewer to access the information faster, better and to get as much out of it as they can.

A lot of small details that go into how we read are understood intimately by typographers. For example, many books are set where the column width is too wide, and that makes it harder for the eye to follow along. Most people have experienced this: you’ll be in school, reading, and you have kind of a glitch. You read a line twice or three times over and that is usually caused by a flaw in the typography. If typography is done well, reading is long and uninterrupted because you’re not aware of the shapes of letters. If people can get information out of text language in the quickest and easiest way possible means the typographer did a good job.

Graphic design is very much about ideas; about visual description and aesthetics. You don’t want the typography to be in the way, but you want it to be a cohesive and harmonious part of the overall design. There is a legacy and history of typographic posters — work that doesn’t have any imagery except typography. A lot of designers specialize in finding solutions without having to rely on images or illustrations. The whole thing is language.

Herb Lubalin was one of the people who opened the boundaries for graphic design. Without Herb, typography would not be such an integral part of graphic design. Today it’s a very valid way of working, where you can say I don’t need an illustration or a photograph, I’m going to make the whole thing conceptually through type. And it’s huge! Before 1950, that didn’t exist.

On the work of Herb Lubalin

Herb was one of the people who was influential in creating that shift into typography and starting to make work that was conceptually all typographic. It was still playful, interesting, and engaging, but he was making type do things that type didn’t do before. He was really, really good at it. He was good with language: he was sensitive about how things were phrased, an understanding of the brevity of language, and was an expressive writer. Fundamentally, he understood the balance between what words said and what they look like.

He created a huge body of work that is based on that balance between meaning and form, but he also took on a lot of really interesting projects that were socially very important. He is a good model of designers to follow — for how to do good work, and how to find clients that are not necessarily chasing the money. He was never about the money, but rather in just doing good work.

He had a very varied career. He created a number of typefaces with collaborators, and designed magazines, books, book jackets and logos. A lot of the design work that he did is still in use. Once in awhile, people come to the Center to look through work, and they find a logo that they never knew was a piece by Lubalin. They’re stunned something is still being used since they 60’s. Even his editorial design, which is less known, is equally as strong.  He left a great legacy within typography.

On his personal favorite works

There are a lot, and it was very difficult to make the final selection for the show because there’s so much stuff that I like, but I had to make tough choices due to space constraints. In particular there’s a drawer of the work by Fred Troller, a Swiss born designer who worked in New York.

We have the work that he did for a pharmaceutical company in the sixties. His pharmaceutical design was some of the best design made anywhere – it was that good but rarely seen. Most pharmaceutical design was made and sent directly to doctors so it was rare for the general public to see these things. Sadly most of the work has disappeared, because even if it was really beautiful, it has a different kind of dynamic and doctors just didn’t keep it.

However, we have things that are really, really beautiful, and we are fortunate to have those pieces in our collection. It’s stuff that very few people have seen before, an amazing glimpse into a very vibrant industry, of how good graphic design was within the pharmaceutical industry versus how poor it is now. So we have a drawer of Fred’s work, and we have another drawer just dedicated to pharmaceutical design.

In general, my favorites are pieces that don’t necessarily get into design books, but are just amazing pieces. I try to pull the hidden gems people haven’t seen before so people can experience beautiful work.

 On design outside of the art school

I think because there are so many moments in the architecture and engineering career that you have to present work and projects to a small audience, a good sense of typography makes it so much easier to present information in a clear way.

An understanding of typography also means a better understanding of visual hierarchy. Being able to use typography to your advantage to highlight things that are more important and downplay things that are less important can be used to lead the viewer through the presentations in a very clear and concise manner. Type is built for that.

A lot of the things that architects and engineers do, specifically for students, can use typography to make information come through much faster. Placement, size, color of type, typeface choice; they accentuate the visual hierarchy in an easy manner.

Even going as basic as a PowerPoint, presentation tools have pretty sophisticated control of typography. Unfortunately the defaults and templates that are built into Power Point and others are clunky. But if there’s a good understanding of how type is utilized, then all of these presentations and documents can be done in a much more clear and productive way. Ultimately, you want people to get as much information as they can out of the presentation.

When it isn’t used well, typography creates distracting moments, preventing the viewer from penetrating the work and extract information. That’s crucial everywhere, but especially so in engineering and architecture, where there are sort of shiny flashing types of things that can distract the viewer.

Summer Experiences Photo provided by Ryan Smith ChE '17

Summer Experiences: Ryan Smith (ChE ’17)

By Anushree Sreedhar (ChE ’18) and Andy Jeong (EE ’18) 

The Cooper Pioneer (TCP): Where did you work this summer?

Ryan Smith (RS): I worked at a company called High 5 Games at the World Trade Center, New York. It is a casino company that makes game apps for iOS, Android, and Facebook.

TCP: How did you go about working there? Could you briefly explain the process?

RS: I met one of the representatives at the Cooper Career Fair in the spring.  After I spoke to the guy at the Cooper Career Fair, I sent him my resume. After that, when I was playing video games in my down time, I got several unannounced calls for a phone interview. The interviewer spoke to me about the stuff on my resume, and during the second interview he asked me some financial stuff, like tax information, and mention little “events” for interns.

TCP: What was your daily routine like?

RS: I would come in, and get assigned to test new games to go out within the month, and then methodically go through the tests and each aspect of the games, such as if the payouts of the slots were correct, if the artwork was good, and basically if the games function properly. Also, there were submissions that had to be made out on platforms like iOS, Android, and Facebook every week, and every Thursday we would come in and do a smoke test, where we would perform a sanity test of the app to make sure nothing is broken.

TCP: What were some highlights during the internship?

RS: I remember working on a particular project involving a slot machine with spinning wheels called “reels”. On these reels are special symbols called “wilds”, and they indicate a higher payout to the player.

When users send a picture of a glitch in the game and claim that “I got this reel positioning that should pay me X amount of dollars and didn’t get paid” and give it to some people, I would look at which ones are actually true. Then I would go through them to see if what they are saying is actually true, and check the back-end code of the game to see if the game can actually produce the reel positioning in the picture. The typical game has 5 reels, and in normal play a wild only appears at two or three, but they would show pictures of reels with wilds on everything. That was cool.

TCP: Did you face any difficult challenges?

RS: The company had a bunch of teams: there was a Quality Assurance (QA) team for the game testers, the game-development team actually making the game, and teams that make fake bills they would test with before the game is out, and these are only three of 25 different teams. I was in the QA team, testing the app, so I would inspect what we are actually putting out to iOS, Android, and Facebook. A common challenge was having everyone do their part in order for everything to work. If stuff broke, we had to figure out which team should be responsible for fixing it.

TCP: Could you describe any memorable accomplishments?

RS: Not much really. I, as an intern, accomplished making consistent submissions to the iOS version of the app. My job isn’t to create or improve something; I was just part of the QA team. I accomplished once a week submitting new patches of the app, basically.

TCP: Did you enjoy the job?

RS: Yes, I really enjoyed the job! What I worked with was the best part of the job, and I also worked at the Freedom Tower. I really liked the people I worked with. They were really friendly. The nature of the job was kind of repetitive; it wasn’t like video games, where a lot of aspects of the game required a lot of testing; it was just slot spinning, and it really did get repetitive.

TCP:  How was teamwork like? Was it different from working on projects at Cooper?

RS: It was basically the same thing. If you get work each week, within the team we would divvy up the work—like video program, main app, i55 casino, etc. There were also Asian-style slot games – “Shake The Sky.” One team was in charge of this “Shake The Sky,” and some other team was in charge of another – “Bingo”. It required more than just one person.

TCP: What were some things that you felt you wanted to continue working on?

RS: There is Game Dev team—they code. Stuff like that is interesting. During the summer, I picked up Python, and I would be interested in learning programming after being around it and seeing what they could do with it. There were teams that built their website, games, etc. The original app was actually run by one person pretty much.  This internship was just like a thing I could do to make some money over the summer. I play video games often, but I don’t think I would want to pursue a career in game testing.

TCP: If you were given an opportunity to work there again as an intern, would you go again?

RS: If I don’t have any other job that would pay me, then yes. It was worth it!

TCP: How did you spend the rest of your summertime?

RS: In my free time, I would play golf with the Cooper golf team every Sunday in Bronx. Every Friday, I would also play video games and Super Smash Bros with my workers. Sometimes I would go out and play basketball at my court. Also I picked up Python over the summer; I decided to teach myself Python as an independent study. I didn’t get to go on a cruise with my parents.

TCP: If you were to give advice to lowerclassmen looking for internships, what would that be?

RS: Don’t be nervous when you have to talk to the person interviewing you. While being interviewed, I was playing video games, and this really helped me be at ease during the interview. I wouldn’t say, “don’t consider [interviewers] superior,” but when you are talking to them, don’t be scared to have normal conversation. I feel that people looking to hire you are looking for skill sets, and intelligence and experience, but also if this person is weird. You shouldn’t stutter every five seconds or go off-topic because you are nervous. Being a good talker is a good skill when you have to go interview. It looks nice to the person hiring you.