Tandon students shine at All-University Commencement

Made in Brooklyn: 2 Tandon students

Meet two NYU Tandon students who will be taking part in the 187th All-University Commencement Exercises on May 22, 2019 at Yankee Stadium.


Marcus Cheung

Hometown: East Brunswick, NJ
Degree: Mechanical Engineering, B.S.


I love cars and had always set my sights on automotive engineering, but I’m interested in the arts too. The ability to take courses in Integrated Digital Media made Tandon a great fit for me, and I knew that I would have the chance to work with people from diverse backgrounds and grow as a person myself.

I had heard about Formula and Baja teams, which allow students to build vehicles from the ground up and race them, so when I got to Tandon I helped launch NYU Tandon Motorsports, a team that now participates each year in the international Baja SAE competition. Contestants design and build an off-road vehicle prototype that can withstand rugged terrain and then compete in a grueling endurance race. It was exciting to be in on the ground floor of a major initiative like that, and as the captain of the team for the last few years, I’ve developed leadership and business skills in addition to the hands-on engineering experience. It was also exciting to see NYU Tandon Motorsports become one of the first members of Tandon’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program, which allows students to work, for academic credit, on a major multidisciplinary project for several semesters. 

I completed an internship at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, working in the Highway Loss Data Institute in Virginia. I got exposure to a wide variety of topics like biomechanics and ATDs, which are Anthropomorphic Test Devices, otherwise known as crash test dummies.

Vehicles are such a big part of people’s lives, and I want to make a positive impact as an engineer by ensuring that they are as safe as possible.

See Marcus Cheung drive the off-road vehicle he built with the NYU Tandon Motorsports team at Yankee Stadium

Octavia Larentis

Hometown: Cambridge, England
Degree: Biomedical Engineering, M.S.


I had a varied background. I attended school in Belgium, earned my undergraduate degree in mathematics and economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and explored electrical and electronics engineering at Virginia Tech. While I was in Virginia I also worked as a software engineer.

In the course of all that, I became interested in image processing, and I knew Tandon had strengths in that area. I appreciated the fact that NYU provides a lot of opportunities to do multidisciplinary research, especially with the medical and dental schools, and I was able to work in the Preclinical Imaging Laboratory at NYU Langone’s Department of Radiology.

Biomedical engineering is not just a branch of engineering; you can look at it as an entire skill set that will allow you to solve problems in many areas. I decided to tackle the disappearance of honey bees, which is a serious global concern. As pollinators, bees have a direct impact on food production, and declines in their population can seriously affect human nutrition and health.

I was part of a team that devised a hive monitoring device that could improve the wellbeing of the colony. It fits under the hive lid and alerts beekeepers to changes in temperature and humidity; releases a miticide when needed, since mites pose a grave danger to the bees; and measures other stressors.

Tandon and NYU as a whole are very supportive of entrepreneurial activity, and I took part in the Prototyping Fund, which provides resources, tools, and mentors to student founders of startups.

Listen to Octavia Larentis and her teammate, Monica Mendoza, talk about their hive monitoring device, Beespect