Tandon’s newest scholar-athlete

Lindsey Hirano

Tandon student Lindsey Hirano was named University Athletic Association (UAA) Freshman Rookie of the Year and First Team All-UAA

First-year students taking the required General Engineering (EG) 1003 course learn early on the importance of collaborative, team effort. Banding together, they put their new knowledge of the design process, CAD, project management, technical communications, and other skills to work on projects with the potential to have real-world impact. This semester, for example, one group, calling itself ReSight, is creating a pair of smart glasses that use a camera to detect words in a user's environment, then convert them to audio to help people with visual impairments navigate their environment more easily.

Engineering principles were new to one member of ReSight, Lindsey Hirano, who admits that she had taken only one short coding course before arriving at NYU Tandon to study computer science. When it comes to teamwork, however, she has plenty of experience. 

A native of South Pasadena, California, Hirano was a valued member of her high school’s varsity volleyball team. Coached by Ivy Chew, Katie Kenline, Jez Nueve, and Jenna Orlandini, she helped lead the South Pasadena Tigers to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Finals in 2019; earned All-CIF honors; and built a high-school-career record of 666 digs and 93 aces. (In volleyball, a dig refers to when a player prevents the ball from hitting the ground on their side of the net after an opponent has spiked or served it; an ace occurs when a player earns a direct point by serving a ball the opposing team is unable to pass.)

Now a member of the Violets, NYU’s volleyball team, which is under the leadership of Head Coach Andrew Brown, Hirano is racking up similar accomplishments. Already named University Athletic Association (UAA) Freshman Rookie of the Year and First Team All-UAA, she helped the Violets clinch the UAA championship for the first time ever in early November, triumphing over Emory University and earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. During that game, Hirano — who plays in the position of libero, a defensive and serve-receive specialist —  was instrumental, leading with 20 digs. (Her career-high occurred during a match against SUNY Cortland in September, when she posted 35 digs, and her first-semester tally stood at 522 total digs, setting a new single-season NYU program record.)

Despite her world-class athletic skills, Hirano does not have her sights set on a pro sports career. “I foresee either working for a large tech company after graduating,” she says, “or embarking on something entrepreneurial in partnership with my sister, who is currently doing data analytics in the entertainment industry.”

Meanwhile, she is enjoying her time in New York (where she recently experienced real snow flurries for the first time), learning to think like an engineer thanks to EG1003 and her other courses, and working to become as formidable in the classroom and lab as she is on the volleyball court.