What does it mean to you to be an engineer?
Engineers are creative, innovative people; in part, that’s why it’s been so interesting studying design and media in an engineering school setting.
How is your field being redefined for today and tomorrow’s needs? What contributions do you hope to make to this redefined landscape?
Everyone is beginning to recognize that there
is not a strict divide between tech skills and artistic skills — it’s very possible to work at the intersection. The whole point of a program like IDM is to merge artistic inquiry with scientific research and technological practice. It’s why we don’t just learn to code in order to build software; we consider coding a creative activity and code a creative medium. And even if you’re purely a computer scientist or software developer, it can be interesting to keep in mind all the creative avenues your skills can open up for you. Other examples are turning 3D models into physical 3D prints and using new materials such as growing and molding mycelium substrate.
I got to work directly at the intersection of tech and art during many projects. One of my favorites involved designing wildlife figures composed of simple geometric shapes on Adobe Illustrator. I then laser cut the designs using acrylic to create wall decor and used a CNC machine to mill the animal designs into jewelry pieces that raise awareness of endangered species.
I’m actually staying at Tandon to earn a graduate degree in Management of Technology, which will allow me to merge my interests in tech, creativity, and business. I foresee being able to aid in the development of innovative new designs and processes — something that’s important in most industries — and leverage everything I’ve learned in the process.
How did NYU Tandon help you redefine yourself?
Some people might not think of an engineering school as the best place to learn communication skills, but that hasn’t been my experience. I’ve worked as a communications intern at NASA’s Langley Research Center, and I helped a bilingual consulting firm totally digitize their workspace and user experience. I also served as the Communications Team Lead at the NYU MakerSpace, which involved marketing, social media, and event planning, as well as innovating the space to make it more accessible and sustainable. Like tech management itself, those skills will be useful in whatever industry I ultimately join.