The Future Is Coming …

… and So Are the Engineers Needed to Design It

Students holding up 2019 banner

Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan had sage words of advice for the members of the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s incoming freshmen class. Drawing on an essay by late Nobel laureate and Poly alum Martin Perl, he counseled the aspiring engineers attending the 2015 Convocation to always know their strengths and use them to advantage; seek out constructive criticism but avoid naysayers; accept that they may have multiple bad ideas before hitting on a single good one; master the art of learning so that they can effectively follow any interest or passion, even when their college years are behind them; and know when to obsess about a problem and when to take a different approach.

The School of Engineering has educated other Nobel Prize winners in addition to Perl, Sreenivasan noted, so similar honors might be in the future of anyone there listening to him.

According to futurist Faith Popcorn, who also spoke to the incoming freshmen, their own, personal robots will one day be waking them in the morning, preparing them a breakfast created in a lab for optimum taste and nutrition, and summoning their self-driving vehicles to whisk them away to their offices and labs (or maybe to that meeting with the Nobel Prize Committee).

We may not be noted futurists like Faith Popcorn, but we predict that if they closely follow Dean Sreenivasan’s advice, it’s going to be an amazing four years and beyond for the Class of 2019—one of the most accomplished, most diverse, and most talented in Poly history. And we don’t need a crystal ball to know what’s in store for the immediate future because the School of Engineering already has a long list of great events and opportunities planned for the coming year.

On September 9, for example, you should be checking out Club Fest, where you’ll snag free food and giveaways while learning all about student clubs like Polybots, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Graduate Indian Students Association, and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association!

While it’s great to be involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible, some of you may have the question of academic majors more on your mind. Rest easy, though, because in February, there’ll be an Expo specifically dedicated to exploring the possibilities that exist within the academic spectrum at the School of Engineering. Ask members of the faculty questions about your current majors (or those you’re actively considering), minor and concentration options, and research opportunities.

Got your academic path all set and feel ready for some intense competition? Few schools can compete with Poly on that score. From November 12 to 14, Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW), the largest student-run cyber security event in the nation takes over the MetroTech Center for a weekend of contests, industry talks and events to prepare best-performing students with the skills and knowledge to shape the future of the industry. If cyber security isn’t your thing, check out the Inno/Vention Prototyping Competition, which launches next February and challenges NYU students to validate, prototype and pitch commercially viable ideas for real-world problems. Inno/Vention aims to build a robust culture of ideation, innovation, and entrepreneurship and ultimately encourages students to take part in the NYU Entrepreneur’s Challenge and NYU Summer LaunchPad. Not sure how to start? Investigate the NYU Prototyping Fund in the “Greenhouse.” Located in the basement of Rogers Hall, the Greenhouse is a collaborative workspace and favorite hangout spot of engineering student all-stars. In addition to offering popular workshops like Arduino Play Time, each fall and spring the Greenhouse teams up with NYU Entrepreneurship Institute to present the NYU Prototyping Fund, which supports student hardware and software prototypes with up to $500 in funding! (Peter Henry, the dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business, was also on-hand to welcome the School of Engineering’s newest members. Stressing that incredible innovation is possible when the worlds of business and engineering intersect, he encouraged attendees to get over to Washington Square to collaborate with their business-school counterparts and investigate the many competitions organized each year.)

Want to check out what your fellow NYU community members are doing? Visit one of the many showcases and demonstrations planned throughout the year—from the NYC Media Lab Summit, where you’ll see hundreds of prototypes and projects ranging from data, mobile, video, virtual reality, hardware and more, to the Integrated Digital Media Showcase, part live performance, part technology demo, and totally cool. Not to be missed is the major Research Expo in May, when our ground-breaking faculty and student researchers show off their work. (Be sure to check out Brooklyn’s coverage of last year’s expo.)

Even after the academic year is over, Poly students don’t seem to rest, because summer here is always a Summer of STEM, with the chance to help teach thousands of NYC school students and their teachers new skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. (Students interested in paid internships with our Center for K-12 STEM can email resumes to at any time or stop by their office in Rogers Hall.)

Our predictions in a nutshell: you’ll study hard, make great friends in your classes and clubs, enter and win exciting competitions, conduct research, collaborate with fellow students and professors, help your community . . . and surpass all expectations.