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

John Dropkin Tutor of the Year Award

Picture of Michael Russo

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:

Michael Russo

Michael Russo is a computer engineering graduate student at NYU Tandon and has been a physics tutor at the Polytechnic Tutoring Center since 2018. He decided to pursue electrical engineering at NYU Tandon for undergraduate school after gaining interest in circuits from his high school physics classes. After finishing the core physics classes, Michael joined the PTC as a physics tutor at the start of his junior year and became the lead physics tutor the following semester. By tutoring physics, he developed a passion for education and wants to eventually become a professor of electrical engineering. At the same time, he developed a passion for embedded systems and robotics. His research since his senior design project has been trying to distinguish between healthy skin tissue and skin cancer tissue by measuring their electrical properties. Michael wants to find a career either in education or embedded systems and plans to be a robotics instructor in the Summer of 2022. 

All Recipients

Year Awardee
2022 Michael Russo
2021 Giles Bischoff
2020 Rosaura Ocampo
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