Bridge Program Leads Alum to a Faculty Post
The Bridge Program, a unique initiative designed to give individuals lacking a background in science or engineering a way to prepare for select NYU Tandon master’s degree programs, is becoming known for taking its graduates far in their careers. That’s not exactly the case, however, for recent alum Meredith Mante — at least not in the geographic sense.
Mante remains right here in Brooklyn, where she has been named a visiting assistant industry professor in Tandon’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
Mante, an elite college pole-vaulter who earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at Princeton, had demonstrated an early interest in computer science, learning some scripting languages on her own when she was just 12 years old. She was stymied, however, by the lack of computer science courses at her high school and put any dreams she may have harbored of a programming career well on the back burner. Then, when it came time to consider graduate school, it seemed too daunting a process to compete with students who had spent four years earning B.S. degrees in computer science. Just to prepare for that type of leap, she realized, could take at least a year’s worth of courses and up to $20,000.
After she took an evening programming course with Anthony Scordino (who also serves as the VP of Information Technology at Westchester Community College), he suggested that she seriously consider the prospect, and he encouraged her to find out more about NYU Tandon, his own alma mater. At an information session here in Brooklyn, she found out about Tandon’s Bridge Program, discovered she would be a good candidate, and decided to make the leap.
In just a few months (and for the price of just three traditional college classes), Mante improved her knowledge of C++ and learned the foundations of data structures, computer architecture and operating systems. The small class size and supportive professors enabled her to shine, and her grades were good enough to win admission to Tandon’s master’s degree program in computer science. (Anyone finishing the Bridge with an average of at least a B+ is invited to apply.)
Unsurprisingly, she continued to shine during her master’s program, impressing her professors enough to be offered a position as a teaching assistant in a freshman computer-science course. She was particularly happy to serve as a role model for incoming female students. “While we are proud of the percentage of women who make up our incoming freshman class, it’s even more important to ensure that they have a good first-year experience,” she explains.
At Tandon, there are several women who serve as TAs for the first-year computer science courses. I think that helps women who are new to the school to see their potential.”
She subsequently oversaw a summer lab session, and her thoughts began to turn to a career in teaching and mentoring. Thus, when Professor Phyllis Frankl, who has long been engaged in efforts to recruit more women to STEM, mentioned the possibility of a visiting professorship, Mante jumped at the chance.
“I feel grateful to Tandon for the role it has played in my education and excited to join its faculty so that I can guide other students the way I have been guided,” she says. “And with the recent appointment of Jelena Kovačević as the school’s first female dean, it’s a particularly exciting time to be a new faculty member here. She’s an example of just how far women can go in STEM and an inspiration to us all.”
It’s likely that soon Mante’s students will be saying the same thing about her!
A Bridge Program to NYU Tandon
Designed to guide students towards a fundamental understanding of computer science, the Bridge program provides its students with a unique perspective on the multidisciplinary applications of computer science. Professor Nasir Memon, who conceived of the program, notes that many students discover computer science later on in life or in their academic career, but find a transition daunting
“Computer technology touches almost every field one can think of today — from transportation, education, and medicine to entertainment, business, and public policy,” Memon elaborated. “I have no doubt that those who complete the Bridge Program are well on their way to making vital contributions in whatever endeavor they chose.”
A Bridge to NYU Tandon Program Benefits
- Convenient online format so you can take part from anywhere
- Accelerated 15-week course format for fall and spring, 12 weeks in summer
- Live and recorded classes with interactive modules provide a flexible education tailored to your schedule
- 30-40 hours per week to finish the program
- Only $1,500 for the entire program (the equivalent of three traditional courses)