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Spotlight on undergraduate Ruby Pittman

ruby pittman

photo credit: Noor Eemaan

“We know keeping workers in silos is bad for organizations, because it discourages communication, collaboration, and innovation,” Ruby Pittman, a junior majoring in Business and Technology Management, says. “But silos are equally bad for the human mindset.”

Few would ever accuse Pittman of confining herself to a silo or having too narrow a focus. To meet her is to be presented with a series of questions — a major one being just what role an artist can play at an engineering school, since Pittman, born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Long Beach, California, is a serious dancer who has studied at the Alvin Ailey School and performed with the J. Chen Project, whose board she now sits on. For that matter, why come to an engineering school to study business topics?

Those are easy questions to answer for Pittman, who serves as the VP of Finance for Tandon’s American Association of Blacks in Energy student chapter, among other extracurricular activities. "My aim is to be a leader in the realm of non-profit management and financial technology and Tandon is the only school that offers a concentration in Technology and Innovation Strategy in Finance, as well as the chance to take electives like Disability Studies and Cities in Developing Countries, all of which are providing me with the solid base of worldly knowledge I’ll need,” she says. “Being at an engineering school also allows me to gain new perspectives and learn at different strategic levels.”

Pittman, who attended Orange County School of the Arts and was deeply involved in her local government’s youth leadership program, Leadership Long Beach, also mentions Tandon’s focus on teamwork and openness to innovation on her long list of reasons for choosing the school. Yet another factor: “NYU Tandon was out of my comfort zone,” she says, “and I considered that an opportunity for growth.”

Raised in an educationally and culturally diverse family that made sacrifices in order to allow her opportunities to creatively express herself and gain exposure in different fields, Pittman hopes that one day her Tandon education will enable her to effect change on a policy level and give back to her family, notably her Grandmother Mays. Giving back proactively is important to her. “You see people asking for money on the subway, arts organizations asking for funding at annual galas, and startups seeking venture capital,” she explains. “It seems as though those missions should be more closely aligned through a platform that promotes, centralizes, and incentivizes philanthropy.”

In the meantime, Pittman has one more reason to be grateful for studying here in Brooklyn. “We’re at the nexus of so many subway lines,” she says. “I can be at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea or the Noguchi Museum in Queens in no time at all.”