John Dropkin Tutor of the Year Award | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

John Dropkin Tutor of the Year Award

Photo of 2019 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:

Steven Yang

Steven Yang is a graduating senior majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He got the passion for chemistry from his high school AP chemistry class with Dr. Yan Wang who got her PhD in chemistry from Georgia Tech. He learned the reason beneath superficial phenomenon and since then he started to explore more and more about science.

In college, he worked for the Polytechnic Tutoring Center for three years. During his last year of service, he took the responsibility of team leader for the chemistry group, preparing the mock exams for chemistry midterm and final exams. Besides his regular curriculum, Steven volunteered in Prof. Jin Ryoun Kim’s research lab and conducted research in amyloid protein aggregation which is the main cause for neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson Disease. 

Steven will be going to graduate study starting this fall and he wishes to do research related to nanotechnology which is the area that has great potential to bring revolutionary change into people’s lives. Just as most people about his age, Steven is not certain about what future path he wants to pursue but he would love to explore it.  He will continue to be a helpful person in daily life and his future profession.


All Recipients

Year Awardee
2019 Steven Yang
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