Descriptions of convocations past often mentioned excited first-year students filing into the crowded gym, words of inspiration from the speakers, and cheers and good advice from upperclassmen. While Convocation 2020 was not held in a crowded gym because of public health guidelines, the speakers were no less inspiring, the advice no less solid, and the good wishes no less heartfelt than in any other year.
The event featured video clips of excited incoming students explaining what they wanted to accomplish at Tandon (everything from creating sustainable housing to becoming a better, more well-rounded person), and this year Assistant Dean for Academic and Curricular Affairs Jack Bringardner, who also teaches in the General Engineering program, was on hand to describe the Rapid Assembly and Design (RAD) Challenge, which ambitiously asks first-year students to identify a problem, develop a solution, and build a working prototype over the course of a semester. (Bringardner was joined by student project leaders Tatyana Graesser and Frank Zheng, who fired imaginations by describing some of the 2019 projects, including a location-tracking pet collar and a headset meant to prevent sensory overload in people with autism.)
The other major speakers were:
Dean Jelena Kovačević
I recently heard someone say that if you had been asked a year ago where you saw yourself in 2020, there’s a 100% chance you’d have been wrong. Obviously, they were trying to be funny, and admittedly, few of us would have predicted we’d be contending with a global pandemic and all of the challenges that presents.
Still, I find myself hopeful right now, and that rests in large part upon the hopes that each of you brings with you. There is promise that you will work towards your dreams here and that you will push yourselves, each other, and all of us in the process. For my part, I can promise you this much: At Tandon, we will do whatever we can to ensure that your goals are met.”
Associate Dean for Student Affairs Anita Farrington
The convocation ceremony is the school’s opportunity to officially open the new academic year and to welcome our new undergraduates to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering community. Faculty, staff, and students all share a common goal, and that is to create new knowledge and to be a part of the profound effort of solving today’s global problems through the invention and innovation of new technologies.
We recognize that you are on a very important threshold and that this is, indeed, a defining moment in your lives.”
Undergraduate Student Council President Fariha Mahjabin
I won’t sugarcoat it. Engineering school is hard. You are going to be pushed to your limit; you are going to question whether you’re in the right major, the right school, and the right city. But you’re here because you deserve to be. So no matter how difficult it gets, remember that you are smart enough, and capable enough, to be right here.