NYU Tandon Celebrates Achievements of Our Students and Faculty

A Look Back at 2017

NYU Tandon was selected as the new hub for virtual and augmented reality, and is developing a state-of-the-art facility to advance VR/AR companies right here in New York and Brooklyn.

Innovation is at the heart of NYU Tandon. Our students and faculty explore how science, technology, and research can impact our community and society through groundbreaking solutions and ideas. This year was no exception — with the announcement of NYU Tandon’s selection as the new hub for virtual and augmented reality, to the launch of the Veterans Future Lab and the school’s new artificial intelligence research institute AI NOW, to its commitment to advancing diversity and women in STEM — NYU Tandon has much to celebrate. Here’s a look back at the many achievements of our students and faculty from the past year:


Graduate Student Receives Marconi Young Scholars Award

Shu Sun, an electrical engineering doctoral candidate and NYU WIRELESS researcher, received the 2017 Paul Baran Young Scholar Award from The Marconi Society. Sun is the second student researcher at NYU to receive this award, which recognized her work on millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum for 5G wireless communication, including her close-in free space path loss model and her development of the world’s first open source channel modeling software. Sun also received the prestigious Neal Shephard Propagation Prize Paper Award from the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (VTS) for an article she co-authored with NYU WIRELESS founding director Theodore Rappaport on large-scale propagation path loss models.

Smart Gun Design Competition Awards $1 Million to NYU Tandon Team

A team comprised of NYU Tandon alumni and students including Sy Cohen, Ashwin Raj Kumar, Jonathan Ng, and Eddilene Paola Cordero Pardo won the Smart Gun Design Competition. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams awarded the team a $1 million grant to support their proposed innovative design that prevents unauthorized users from firing a gun, employing fingerprint detection, an RFID keycard, and voice recognition.

NYU Tandon ASCE Chapter Finished in Top 10 at Concrete Canoe Competition

After their first-place victory at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Concrete Canoe Metropolitan Regional Conference, the NYU Tandon ASCE student chapter finished in the top-10 at the National Concrete Canoe Competition in June, competing against teams from across the U.S., Canada, and China. The team impressed judges with their innovative, sleek, and sustainable canoe design.

ASCE Awards ASCE NYU Tandon Student Chapter for Achievements

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recognized the achievements and recent competition victories of the NYU Tandon ASCE student chapter, awarding the student leaders with the 2016 Certificate of Commendation. This is the first time the chapter received this award, which honored the efforts of the student officers: Nathan Evelkin, Manoela Hammoud, Cliff Cheng, and Ashlene Bisram.

Student Leaders Honored by American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE)

Sederick Dawkins and Justin Sutton were honored for their leadership of the NYU Tandon student chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy - New York Metropolitan Chapter (AABE-NYMAC). Both Dawkins and Sutton were celebrated for their commitment towards providing students with educational and professional advancement, and mentorship opportunities within the energy industry.

Sustainable Farmers and NYU Tandon Students Win NYU Green Grant

A group of NYU Tandon students are taking on sustainable urban farming with their vertical farm that received a $20,000 Green Grant from the NYU Office of Sustainability. We Are the New Farmers, comprised of Jonas Günther, Omar Gowayad, Will Nodvik, Sridhar Parthasarathy, Selim Senocak, and Sarvesh Sivaprakasam, has been transforming their original small-scale environment called a ‘food computer’ to a larger-scale prototype, and will use the grant to incorporate more innovative additions to their design.

Multiple Tandon Students and Organizations Honored with President’s Service Awards

NYU President Andrew Hamilton recognized the achievements of students and student organizations for their commitment to civic engagement and serving local communities. Honored students included: Rawan Abbasi, Mahmoud "AG" Abugharbieh, Kristen Ma, Parth Mehta, Georgey Mekkaringattu Joseph, Pirthmey Singh Randhawa, and Sumayya Vawda. Tandon and all-university student groups included: Entrepreneurship & Innovation Association, Tandon Muslim Students Association, Design for America of NYU, and HackNYU 2017.

Prestigious Scholarship Awarded to Cybersecurity Student and Bridge Program Graduate

Before Yin Mei began her master’s degree in cybersecurity at NYU Tandon, she discovered her computer science skills in the accelerated online course “A Bridge to NYU Tandon,” which is aimed at helping people learn computer science who have little to no background in it. Mei received the 2017 Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security Program (SWISIS), which provides financial support and mentoring to female students interested in computer and cyber security, and was also chosen to be part of the interdisciplinary NYU Cyber Scholars Program.

Four Students Win Audi-Forbes Idea Incubator Challenge on Safe Transportation

This October, Audi and Forbes partnered with NYU Tandon to sponsor a challenge to Tandon’s women students in conjunction with their 2017 Forbes Women’s Summit. The 27 students broke into teams to develop safe, reliable and affordable transportation options for women and girls in underserved communities. The winning team designed a mobile app called TogetHER that provides traveling companions by connecting women with similar commutes. Brittany Kendrick, Aida Mehovic, Camila Morocho, and Emily Muggleton won the first-ever $50,000 Audi Drive Progress Grant.

Financial Engineering Students Take Top Prize in National Competition

At the annual University Trading Challenge (UTC), a team of graduate students from the Finance and Risk Engineering department placed first in the competition. The team, comprised of master’s students Jojo Tang, Hao Zhan, and Yuehan Liu, excelled in the competition’s four intensive challenges that center on real-world trading and business management.

Doctoral Student Recognized with Scholarship for His Work on Protecting Water

The New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) awarded civil and urban engineering doctoral student Samuel White with its N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship. The award recognizes White’s work on hydro-diplomacy, the protection of water on a transnational level, through his collaboration with Professor Ilan Juran and UNESCO on an ecosystem preservation project, and his commitment to water quality issues and public service.

Student Team Advances in Hyperloop Competition

After a team from NYU Tandon was selected out of 120 university teams by the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition to refine and build their prototype, the team returned to SpaceX’s headquarters in California to debut their pod and to receive feedback as they further develop their design. The Hyperloop is a ground transportation system conceived by SpaceX and Tesla’s Elon Musk for high-speed passenger and cargo pods.

United Nations Challenge on Data and Climate Change Awards Tandon Team

The United Nations (U.N.) Data for Climate Change Challenge tasked researchers, students, and data scientists to implement data-driven climate solutions. After presenting their research at the 2017 U.N. Climate Change Conference, a team of NYU Tandon students, including Yuan Lai, Bartosz Bonczak, Boyeong Hong, Sokratis Papadopoulos, Awais Malik, and Nick Johnson who were led by Assistant Professor Constantine Kontokosta, received the Best Data Visualization Award for their development of the first-of-its-kind high resolution spatial-temporal model of urban greenhouse gas emissions.

Student Honored by National Science Foundation for K-12 Community Outreach

The National Science Foundation awarded computer engineering student Peter Ferrarotto for his work with NYU Tandon’s Science Outreach and Research (SOAR) program, which supports K-12 STEM education in the New York community. Through SOAR, Ferrarotto designs online modules for Brooklyn Technical High School students to use in their chemistry labs, implementing technology to foster a unique learning environment.

Virtual Reality Student Demo Wins Prize at NYC Media Lab Summit

A team of Integrated Digital Media students won a second-place prize for their virtual reality demo at the 2017 NYC Media Lab Summit. Gabriella Cammarata, Najma Dawood-McCarthy, and Chun-Fang Huang were awarded $1,000 for their project, Untitled Realities, which explores immersive virtual reality experiences and how they can influence human identity formation.

Tandon Teams Award Top Prizes in InnoVention Competition

The InnoVention prototyping competition, which challenges student-led teams to build prototypes and pitch commercially-viable technology ventures to solve global problems. After the 10-week challenge, two Tandon-led teams were awarded second and third place prizes to continue developing their ventures. Multicorder, an educational device and platform, featured Zainab Babikir, Shiva Duraisamy, and Theodore Kim. INVIP, a wearable device for the visually impaired, featured Nicolas Metallo, Nuvina Padukka, and Brenda Truong.


IEEE Recognizes Electrical Engineering Professor for Contributions to Multimedia Networking

Yong Liu, professor of electrical engineering and faculty member at NYU WIRESLESS and the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE acknowledged Liu’s work with multimedia networking systems, which are crucial to the global Internet and online traffic, as well as his development of real-time bandwidth estimation and video adaptation algorithms.

National Science Foundation Selects Tandon Researchers for CAREER Award for Work on Smart Cities and Transportation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) selected two New York University faculty members, Joseph Y.J. Chow and Constantine Kontokosta, as recipients of the prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development Awards (CAREER Awards). Through their CAREER Awards, Chow and Kontokosta, assistant professors of civil and urban engineering and faculty with the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), will further their research into urban transportation and mobility, smart cities, and making cities healthier, safer, and more livable.

H&M Global Change Awards Professor for Sustainable, Solar-Powered Nylon

Miguel Modestino, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received the 2017 Global Change Award from the H&M Foundation for his research into more sustainable production of nylon material. Modestino and his co-researchers are proposing a zero-emissions method that eliminates the use of oil and will develop synthetic nylon with solar energy, plant waste, and water and will capture greenhouse gases within the fabric. The Spanish edition of the MIT Technology Review recently named Modestino one of the “Innovators Under 35,” celebrating his innovative research into solar energy towards developing a more sustainable textile industry and reduction of fossil fuel production.

IEEE Honors Professor with Prestigious Industrial Innovation Award

The IEEE recognized the pioneering work of Thomas Marzetta, who originated the concept of Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) — a cornerstone for the 5G wireless technology. Marzetta, who is a distinguished industry professor and faculty with NYU WIRELESS, received the 2017 Communications Society Industrial Innovation Award for his development of the concept of Massive MIMO since his time at Bell Labs, where he was director of the Communications and Statistical Sciences Department.

Senior Lecturer Recognized for His Innovative Teaching

Allan Goldstein, senior lecturer of Technology, Culture and Society, was named by the Chronicle of Higher Education to their inaugural list of Teaching Innovators, which honors faculty who use unique teaching approaches and fosters deep connections with students. Goldstein was recognized for his teaching in his Disabilities Studies course, which brings together engineering students and consultants from organizations like HeartShare and ADAPT, who work together on multimedia projects and create human-centered designs and technologies. Goldstein also received the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award, which recognizes NYU faculty for their commitment to social justice and embodying the teachings of Dr. King.

Professor and Research Team Reveal Vulnerability of Mobile Phone Fingerprint Recognition

Computer science and engineering professor Nasir Memon led a team of researchers from NYU Tandon and Michigan State University College of Engineering, who discovered a vulnerability in fingerprint-based security system on mobile phones and other devices. As systems capture only partial fingerprints, the research determined that enough similarities between partial prints could lead to the development of a MasterPrint hack. Memon also led a research team who developed an application called IllusionPin to combat shoulder-surfing, or when people standing closeby can observe private and financial information on mobile phones and ATMs.

Construction Industry Group Awards Civil and Urban Engineering Professor

Frank Lombardi, adjunct professor of civil and urban engineering and former chief engineer of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, received the 2017 Moles Member Award for Outstanding Achievement in Construction. The organization honored Lombardi for his multiple accomplishments and contributions to New York and New Jersey, including structural repairs after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and restoration of PATH service after 9/11.

Office of Naval Research Awards Professor for Work in Electromagnetics

With our increasing reliance on electromagnetic devices, research into computational electromagnetics (CEM) is essential — a task that Michael O’Neil is taking on. The assistant professor of mathematics at NYU Tandon and NYU Courant received the 2017 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award to pursue his research into simulation and design tools for CEM through the development of state-of-the-art, analysis-based algorithms. O’Neil’s research could provide simulations for other mathematical physics, including fluid dynamics and heat flow.

Data Science Professor Becomes First Woman Chair of Prestigious Computing Association

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) recently named Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Juliana Freire as its chair, making her the first woman elected to this position in SIGMOD’s history. As a professor at NYU Tandon and the NYU Center for Data Science, Freire works within data reproducibility and leads the development of innovative data science tools, including the Memex Suite from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Contributions of Dean Sreenivasan

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce celebrated the immense contributions of Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan, honoring him with the 2017 Building Brooklyn Award, which selects individuals who have enriched the Brooklyn community. Dean Sreenivasan spoke to NYU Tandon’s deep connection to Brooklyn, transforming the Brooklyn Tech Triangle into the Innovation Coastline. The Awards also celebrated the NYU Tandon MakerSpace for its impact on STEM education.

Professor Named Editor-in-Chief to Top Journal on Gaming and Artificial Intelligence

The IEEE Transactions on Games journal selected associate professor of computer science and engineering Julian Togelius as its new editor-in-chief starting in 2018. The prestigious journal explores research into games and computational and artificial intelligence, and will expand its scope into a variety of game-related topics and research.

National Academy of Engineering Selects Professor to Prestigious Research Symposium

The National Academy of Engineering’s E.U.-U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium selected associate professor of electrical and computer engineering Riccardo Lattanzi to participate in the invitation-only symposium that promotes interdisciplinary research collaborations. Lattanzi, a faculty member of NYU WIRELESS, is developing noninvasive methods for mapping electrical conductivity in tissues, which could increase the diagnostic benefits of MRI.

Civil & Urban Engineering Team Awarded Prize for Transportation, Operations Research

Kaan Ozbay, professor of civil and urban engineering, led a team of researchers in a multi-university consortium that is researching the potential of an initiative by the U.S. Department of Transportation and NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). The prestigious Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) awarded the NYC DOT team, including Ozbay, the Franz Edelman Finalist Award for their research in reducing traffic impact and congestion in NYC.

Professor Developing Antidotes to Toxic Chemical Weapons

Aiming to combat the many chemical weapons and other toxic agents like pesticides, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Jin Kim Montclare is engineering antidotes that neutralize these chemicals to prevent and treat exposure. Montclare received a grant from the U.S. CounterACT (Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats) program to continue her research into phosphotriesterase, which can deactivate neurotoxic agents.

Isolating Immune Cells to Better Understand Diseases

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a three-year grant to Weiqiang Chen, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, to continue his development of a platform that uses an immune cell isolation technique and nano-scale biosensors to allow biologists and researchers with a better way of analyzing proteins from individual immune cells. Chen’s research allows for single-cell analysis, which can result in more targeted treatments to enhance immunotherapy treatments and improve patient prognosis with immune system diseases like HIV and malaria.

Creating Small-Scale Reactors to Discover New Polymers

Chemical engineering professor Ryan Hartman is leading a team of researchers who are developing Artificially Intelligent Autonomous Microreactors (microAIRS) that reduce the scale, time, and energy currently required for the discovery process for new polymers. Hartman received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to continue development of the microreactors and the AI system that can quickly analyze a reaction process and determine catalysts to generate a faster and more sustainable process.

Professor Named Fellow of NewCities Foundation

The global nonprofit NewCities Foundaion, which aims to make cities more inclusive and healthy, named Mariela Alfonzo their new fellow. NewCities tapped Alfonzo, a research assistant professor in Technology, Culture and Society, for the fellowship for her ability to develop solutions that merge the theoretical with the practical, including her predictive analysis software that helps placemakers invest in better places.

Google Awards Computer Science Professor for Machine Learning Research

Assistant professor of computer science and engineering Enrico Bertini received Google’s most highly competitive and unrestricted grants, the Faculty Research Award. Bertini received the Google grant for his creation of interactive visualization and machine learning methods that will help developers better understand the decisions made by machine learning models.

Researchers Use New MRI Techniques to Study Cocaine’s Effects on Infant Brains

A team of researchers from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and NYU Tandon, including professor and chair of computer science and engineering Guido Gerig, are researching the impact of in utero cocaine exposure on infant brain development. Using new MRI imaging and analysis techniques developed by Gerig, the research was awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health that will determine the long-term effects of reduced gray matter in infant brains.

ASCE Awards Adjunct Professor for Innovative Design of Deep Excavation Systems

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) honored Dimitrios Konstantakos, adjunct professor in civil and urban engineering, with the 2018 Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award. The award recognizes engineers for their innovative or outstanding design or construction of foundations, retaining structures, or underground construction, and highlighted Konstantakos’ work on deep excavation support systems.

Camila Ryder
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018