Forbes’ future really is female

The third Forbes Idea Incubator challenged female Tandon students to address the transportation shift towards alternative mobility options

group shot at Forbes Idea Incubator

Six teams of NYU Tandon students gathered in a ballroom to talk transportation on October 19. In partnership with NYU Tandon, Audi of America sponsored a challenge to propose solutions that acknowledge the transformation from traditional car ownership to alternative mobility options like ride-sharing or subscription models. Presented by Forbes, the third Idea Incubator called for a transportation solution from the position of the City, but it inherently took on another perspective — that of women.

The all-female teams brainstormed and designed their solutions before presenting their ideas in front of a panel of judges. This year, the panel included Assistant NYU Tandon Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering at NYU Tandon Li Jin, General Manager of Digital Future Lab Craig Wilson and ForbesWomen Associate Editor Maggie McGrath.

In addition to the encouraging guidance from Audi mentors, the competitors received help from Aida Mehovic, Camila Morocho and Emily Muggleton. These three previous student winners offered words of wisdom not only applicable to the current incubator challenge but to the Tandon students’ future careers as young female professionals.

The three alumnae stressed the importance of thinking beyond the classroom and expanding upon their labels as female engineers.

“We have to realize how much we can contribute with our minds,” Morocho said. “I’m not just an engineer — I’m a thinker.”

The grand-prize winners of the $35,000 grant were Alejandra Querales, Alexandra Carlton-Lyndall, Brianna Migliaccio and Rosaura Ocampo. Their project titled “Nodul” aimed to take advantage of underutilized space and existing infrastructure, such as the many empty parking lots in the City. Beyond solving communication problems between passenger and driver on the pick-up location that consequently adds to traffic congestion, the team saw promise in a potential partnership between private transportation and the City’s facilities.  

“In order to take advantage of the existing space, we want to give opportunities to mobility services like Lyft and Uber who can utilize a small portion of the space through some transaction with the infrastructure, securing a mutually beneficial business partnership,” Carlton-Lyndall said.

While the Idea Incubator culminated in nominating the winning team, in the end, the challenge was less about the competition and more about the process.

Audi Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Tara Rush, currently the only woman on the management board, not only stressed the need for events that support female students in STEM but highlighted the importance of teamwork.

“In partnership with Audi, we have been honored to bring this program to life with NYU Tandon School of Engineering,” Rush said. “We specifically wanted you to come together as teams because we believe that sharing diverse perspectives and bringing together unique and different experiences to an issue can unlock some of the greatest thinking and possibly some of the greatest change.”

The students, clad in shirts spelling out “Steminist,” left the event with a memorable experience of innovation and collaboration.   

Anna De La Rosa
BS, Media, Culture, and Communication
Class of 2021