Prospective students learn that inclusion at Tandon means support, encouragement, and mentoring

zoom screenshot of black and latino faculty, alumni and students

Nicole Johnson — Assistant Dean for Opportunity Programs, Director of the TRIO Scholars Program, and co-chair of Inclusion@Tandon — moderated a lively discussion among alumni, faculty, and students for prospective students as part of the Black and Latino Men at Tandon initiative.

When organizers of the Black and Latino Men at Tandon initiative and the Polytechnic Alumni Association planned a virtual “meet and greet” for prospective students, they lined up a high-wattage panel of alumni, industry pros, faculty, and current students. A lot more than simply meeting and greeting ensued.

Discussion ranged from possible career paths (10 years from now, there may be fields and technologies we haven’t even yet imagined, so remain open and curious) and how to deal with microaggressions in the workplace (the consensus: you are bigger than any microaggression, so don’t allow it to be a distraction) to the value of an advanced degree (credentials speak for you before you even enter an interview room) and what it’s like to study at Tandon (the strong consensus: there’s a community here waiting to welcome you with open arms and devoted to supporting you throughout your academic and professional journey).

The dozens of students participating got a good sense of that community, along with a healthy dose of encouragement, motivation, and sound advice.

Nicole Johnson — Assistant Dean for Opportunity Programs, Director of the TRIO Scholars Program, and co-chair of Inclusion@Tandon — kept things lively, eliciting questions from viewers, practical answers from panelists, and food for thought to benefit everyone. 


Sebastian Abreu (Mechanical Engineering student): You’re going to have a lot of demands placed on you, and you’ll be busy, but you’ll be surprised at how much you can handle.

Kevin Bishop (‘11): There’s an equation I always keep in mind: Multiply your goals by the amount of preparation you’re willing to do, and that equals success.

David Capana (’94): Use your undergraduate years wisely; this is your time to consider the type of career you want to have, whether that’s in industry or research. Think carefully about whether you will be better served by getting a graduate degree right away or getting some real-world experience first. 

Gerry Dawes (’89; Past president of the Polytechnic Alumni Association): Life can be hard, and you’ll get a lot of advice about how to achieve success. Don’t forget to have fun while you’re doing it.

Sederick Dawkins (’17): Everything that happens to you can be a teaching moment; learn from your experiences.

Richard Day (’15): Be willing to make sacrifices to do what’s important.

Francisco de Leon (Faculty member): Your future is not pre-determined; you can shape it however you like with enough work.

Amakoe Gbedemah (Faculty member): I tell all my students to speak up, ask questions, and truly absorb the material instead of just memorizing it because that’s how you build a strong foundation of knowledge.

Tomas Gutierrez (Electrical Engineering student): Cultivate confidence and build a network of like-minded people.

Robert V. Jones (’87): If you’re attending NYU Tandon, you’ve already proven that you have what it takes to succeed. Just keep showing up and doing the work, and you will be successful.

Ramon Parchment (’19): Stay motivated, diligent, and goal-oriented.

Nikolai Wolfe (’09, ’11): Remember to always network and act with firm purpose. Know what you want to accomplish. 

Black and Latino Men at Tandon Virtual Meet and Greet

Watch the Panel Discussion

Hear from Black and Latino NYU Tandon faculty, alumni and students speak about their experiences.