Spotlight on Student Achievement

Joe Landolina’s renown continues to grow. The inventor of Veti-Gel, a product with the potential to revolutionize trauma care, was featured in the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News and USA Today, among other high-profile outlets. Now, even the U.S. Congress is taking note; Landolina was recently awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, through a program established in 1986 to honor the late statesman.

With the aim of providing a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians and engineers, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program awards generous scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in those fields.

Landolina is the first NYU-Poly student ever to win the extremely competitive prize. According to those overseeing the program, “Recent Goldwater Scholars have [also] been awarded 80 Rhodes Scholarships, 118 Marshall Awards, 110 Churchill Scholarships and numerous other distinguished fellowships.”

Where do you go from NYU-Poly? If you’re Kristian Lightbourne or Calvin Young, the answer is Harvard. Lightbourne, who is earning a master’s degree in industrial engineering, is headed to Harvard Law, while Young, who is earning a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering and who serves as chair of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), will be attending Harvard’s business school.

“We are delighted that two of our students have been accepted into these prestigious programs and are confident that their academic preparation in the Department of Technology Management and Innovation will be put to good use, both in graduate school, and later in their careers,” Department Head Bharat Rao said. “We expect many more to follow in their footsteps.”

When the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) held its 2013 convention in Indianapolis, NYU-Poly students were well-represented—and not just because Calvin Young, ’10, ’13 currently serves as the group’s national chair. Sukari Brown ‘13—whose time at NYU-Poly has included stints as a resident assistant, student ambassador, and presidential search committee member—was named chair of Region I, a post that will give her responsibility for overseeing the activities of 10,000 NSBE members and more than 100 chapters across the Northeastern U.S., Canada and West Africa.

NYU-Poly students who attended the NSBE Career Fair, always a packed event at the convention, also received offers from a long list of big-name employers, including AT&T, Chrysler, ExxonMobil, and Whirlpool.

Radios are used for a wide range of tasks, from the most mundane to the most critical of communications, from garage door openers to military operations. As the use of wireless technology proliferates, however, radios often compete with and disrupt the operations of other radios.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is always seeking innovative approaches that ensure robust communications in congested and contested environments, and to that end, the organization is holding a Spectrum Challenge for teams around the globe.

With the competition in its intermediary phases, the NYU-Poly team is more than holding its own and recently landed in the top 15—out of the almost 100 teams that entered. Professor Shivendra Panwar’s Wireless Infidels, led by student Fraida Fund (one of the few female team captains), will thus be going on to the next stage of the Spectrum Challenge and a chance to win as much as $150,000. The entire NYU-Poly community will be rooting for them!

New York University’s President’s Service Awards recognize the distinguished achievements of students and student organizations for their promotion of learning, leadership, and quality of student life, and NYU-Poly is proud to claim several of this year’s winners.

At the 2013 ceremony, held in April, individual students Sana Altaf, Kazi Helal, Redwan Hussain, Bharat Jain, Aryeh Katz, Allison Munson, Yangzi Isabel Tian, and Gursimran Toor were honored, and NYU-Poly’s Design Tinkering Club, led by Professor Anne-Laure Fayard, and the NYU-Poly chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) were among the organizations lauded.

Altaf, who won for “continued dedication in fostering collaboration among all NYU and NYU-Poly communities and guiding students to shape both the physical and virtual landscape they inhabit,” said it felt “amazing to be receiving this honor” and to know that she was “doing something good for our [school].”

This past year, Poly’s SHPE chapter was a force to be reckoned with, sending 30 people to the national convention, launching two groups in local high schools, and raising thousands of dollars in scholarship money.

The Design Tinkering Club (formerly the OpenIDEO Student Chapter) also enjoyed a banner year; the group was instrumental in launching the student-run Greenhouse, a space devoted to ideation and collaboration, and many of its members traveled to Shanghai over Spring Break, as part of the Global Idea Exchange program.

“We find ourselves brainstorming, no matter the day or hour,” member Stefania Siciliano said. “Because of the collaborative nature of our work, If you ask me who came up with the idea for a particular project, I am never able to tell. Every project becomes a new adventure to share.”

If you think that in order to become a valedictorian, you can do nothing but study, you’d be wrong, and Radu Iliescu is proof. During his time at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), Iliescu was a comforting and helpful presence at the Polytechnic Tutoring Center, where he showed other students that chemistry can be fun and easy when approached correctly, and he also managed to volunteer at a local medical center.

He also spent plenty of time exploring New York City—he did not arrive here from his native Romania until he was 19, a fact that is difficult to believe given his flawless English. His parents, he said, are exceptionally proud of him, and they’ll be cheering him on at the Barclays Center, having flown some 5,000 miles to get here. 

They won’t be the only ones in Iliescu’s cheering section. He has been mentored during his time at NYU-Poly by a host of professors, including Janice Aber and Bruce Garretz. Garretz said,”In my nearly 35 years as a faculty member here, I have interacted with hundreds of undergraduate students, and Radu is unquestionably one of the top three.” Aber agreed. “He is intelligent, level-headed, and hardworking,” she said. “He is held in such high regard by other students that I have heard the question asked more than once, when they were making comparisons among themselves, ‘Yeah, but is he as good as Radu?’ Fortunately, he lacks the arrogance common in very talented people and is an all-around nice guy.”

Iliescu, who is earning a BS in Biomolecular Science and an MS in Chemistry this year, will be attending medical school in the fall. His future patients are in good hands!

Ask around campus and you’ll find that Ximena Aristizabal is popular with fellow students, professors, and administrators alike. The graduating senior has a string of accomplishments behind her, including the presidency of NYU-Poly’s award-winning Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers; a summer job with Pfizer Nutrition, in Singapore; a stint as the lead of an Engineers without Borders waste water management project in El Salvador; and a Helen Warren Leadership Award, which was presented to her on May 20.

A chemical engineering major, she definitely has a string of additional accomplishments ahead of her as well. This summer she’ll begin writing a blog for the Huffington Post, as part of the publication’s Girls in STEM initiative, and—after fielding multiple employment offers—she has accepted a job with Nestle USA. “NYU-Poly’s chemical engineering program prepared me very well,” she said. “The field has so many practical applications.”