Government by the students, for the students

Florence Tong with Dean Jelena

Dean Jelena Kovačević and Florence Tong, undergraduate student council president at the 2018 convocation ceremony

When Florence Tong was a junior, she ran for the office of president of the NYU Tandon Undergraduate Student Council, reasoning that if she were elected and did well, she’d get a chance to run for a second term to build upon her accomplishments and see her long-term vision for the council come to fruition.

This coming fall, Tong, will, in fact, start her second term, and as she had hoped, she and her fellow officers amassed a notable record of achievement that will serve as a springboard for the coming academic year.

Among their impressive accomplishments was negotiating a significant increase in the amount of funding available to send representatives from Tandon student chapters of groups such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and Out in STEM (oSTEM) to their national conferences.

“As a result of the increased funding, many more students got to have that valuable experience, and they came back so inspired,” Tong says. “It wasn’t just the chance to network and make professional connections, although that is a big component of those events; it’s also a matter of being among so many people with similar interests and affinities and feeling like a part of a community.”

She points, as well, to another initiative of which she is especially proud — the “Made in Brooklyn” showcase, which allowed students to exhibit their projects to visiting alumni and which she’d like to see become an annual tradition.

Tong and the other newly elected officers for the 2019-20 academic year (see below) will meet in the summer to set forth their specific goals, which will include codifying the process by which students apply for conference funding; lending increased support for Tandon teams taking part in such events as the Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe competitions and the Baja Motorsports challenge; and working to amplify students’ voices and viewpoints to university leadership.

She is excited to be continuing to work with Dean Jelena Kovačević, whose students-first ethos makes her an empathetic sounding board and strong advocate.

“It feels very fitting to be a woman student government leader alongside a woman dean,” Tong says. “Tandon is headed in a great direction, and my overarching goal is to represent the school well within NYU and the broader community. I think sometimes people don’t understand what engineering is or appreciate what engineers do, and I’d like everyone to know that the most interesting, talented people you could ever imagine are working and studying right here at Tandon.”

Newly elected members of the Undergraduate Student Council:

  • President: Florence Tong
  • Vice President: Jonathan Lin
  • Treasurer: Zhi (Steve) Li
  • Director of Marketing and Public Relations: Jennifer Kang
  • Director of Student Success: Shivam Jindal
  • Marketing and Public Relations Commissioner: Alessandra DeCesare
  • Diversity Commissioner: Naya Simone Acosta
  • Chief Of Staff: Fariha Mahjabin
  • Senator: Jason Zilberkweit
  • Director of Programming: Vida Saffari
  • Wellness Commissioner: Alexandra Brinton

The incoming Graduate Student Council will include:

  • President: Shreya Gossain
  • Senator: Radhika Kerur
  • Vice President Programming: Parth Shah
  • Vice President Communications: Arpan Sharma
  • Vice President Finance: Shrishti Bhatnager
  • Alternate Senator: Swati Girish Dixit