John Dropkin Tutor of the Year Award

The Award

Professor John J. Dropkin had a long, rich, and multifaceted association with School of Engineering, first as a graduate student, then as a faculty member, as Chair of the Physics Department, and later as Professor Emeritus. What may not be as well known is that after he retired from the Physics Department in 1978, Professor Dropkin continued his commitment to science education at Polytechnic by founding the Learning Center and directing it for ten years. This was a place where students could go for academic support in physics, chemistry, and calculus. They could speak with Professor Dropkin, or with one of the peer tutors he recruited and trained. Students could ask questions, get help with their homework, and prepare for exams.

Then, as now, engineering students were intelligent, curious, and hardworking young people with dreams of building their futures through careers in science and engineering. Like today’s students, they were often the first in their families to go to college, and many of them were recent immigrants to the United States. They often juggled their educational and professional goals with more immediate financial needs. Professor Dropkin was committed to reaching these talented young people through the sciences and to supporting their efforts to succeed in their chosen fields.

The Polytechnic Tutoring Center (PTC) is the direct descendent of Professor Dropkin’s program. We are proud to continue the work he began.

In that spirit, The Dropkin Tutor of the Year Award was established in 2007. The PTC gives this award each year in memory of John J. Dropkin, who chaired the physics department from 1947 until 1978, then served the students by establishing mathematics and science tutoring services. This award recognizes peer tutors who continue this tradition by helping their fellow students at the Polytechnic Tutoring Center.

Latest Recipient

This year's John J. Dropkin Tutor of the Year Award goes to:


Kubra Akbas.

Kubra is completing her undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering in May 2018. She started school as a psychology major and was able to study abroad in London her first year at NYU. At the end of her first year, she applied to transfer from the NYU Core Program to NYU Tandon. She then applied to the BS/MS program at the end of her second year and is going to be completing her Master's in Mechatronics and Robotics in May 2019. She began tutoring physics in Fall 2016 and she has been enjoying it ever since. She's very dedicated to helping her peers because she knows how hard it is to be struggling and not know who to go to. In her free time, which is almost nonexistent as an engineering student, she enjoys playing video games and watching tv. Her future plans include finishing her Master's degree and working in the research and development section of a company. Boston Dynamics is her dream company where she hopes to help develop Spot, SpotMini, and Atlas. She plans to apply for a professional engineering license soon and hopefully will pursue a PhD as well in the coming years.

All Recipients

Year Awardee
2018 Kubra Akbas
2017 Tim Charlton
2016 Dylan Steffey
2015 Eugene Stolberg
2014 Aman Ali
2013 Edward Melcer
2012 Jinhui Zhao
2011 Rahul Anthony
2010 Karthik Muthukumar
2009 Shivani Patel
2008 Kartik Arora & Nahida Sultana