Page 1

The alumni magazine of Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Spring 2011 Vol. 38 I No. 6

NEW FaceS OF Innovation Shining a light on NYU-POLY’s WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLoGY





Jerry MacArthur Hultin President

p4 launchpad

Barbara Noseworthy Vice President Development and Alumni Relations Anthony Kapp Director of Alumni Relations Michelle Kerr Director of Communications Cable Editor Kathleen Hamilton Patrick Keeffe Cielo Lutino Erin Newton Contributing Writers L.F. O’Connell Associates Publication Design Marian Goldman Elena Olivo Principal Photography

Push Play She is the R Sloan Supports Study on e-Learning at Poly, Stanford and Michigan Reading, Writing & Robots What's Next for the i2e Campus Transformation?

The Architect of MetroTech: George Bugliarello Changing the Face of Innovation Go WEST, Young Women Roboteams Grow in Brooklyn Multiplayer: Unlocking the Social Benefits in Gaming

student sector

Bright Ideas: Billy Gordon Flying High: NYU-Poly Aeronuts reINVENTION: Ed Bear

poly buzz Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy, to Deliver Keynote Address at NYU-Poly And the Winner Is... Swami Discusses the ‘Journey Home’ A Presidential Invitation: Ursula Burns

faculty feature Using Yeast to Build a Better Plastic A Moving Experience for Doctoral Student Turned Author Professors Honored as IEEE Fellows What Prompts Citizen Scientists to Conduct Research for Free? Concrete Findings Katherine Isbister Awarded Humboldt Research Fellowship Supporting Dr. George Bugliarello's Legacy Faculty Notes Bio-material Pioneer Joanna Aizenberg Delivers Morawetz Lecture 2010 Bugliarello Prize Recipient

Produced by Polytechnic Offices of Development and Alumni Relations and Marketing and Communications.

Polytechnic Institute of NYU is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Institute is committed to provide equal employment opportunity to all employees and to all applicants for employment regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, military status, or any other status protected by federal, state or local law.

alumni news Letter from the Alumni President Poly-made Women Help Strengthen PIAA William Parrish, Jr. Receives NYU Martin Luther King, Jr. Award

Polytechnic Institute of New York University is a 501(c) (3)


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

4 6 6 8 10

p12 features

Address correspondence to: Michelle Kerr, Cable Editor Office of Marketing and Communications Polytechnic Institute of NYU Six MetroTech Center Brooklyn, NY 11201 E-mail or call (718) 260-3491 Change of address: Office of Development and Alumni Relations Polytechnic Institute of NYU Six MetroTech Center Brooklyn, NY 11201 E-mail or call (718) 260-3885 Polytechnic website:

Printed on partially recycled paper. Certified processed chlorine free.


12 16 23 24 26

p30 30 32 32

p34 34 34 35 35

p36 36 36 37 38 38 40 40 41 42 42

p43 43 44 45

class notes


Trustees Luncheon





alumni events Spring 2011

Below: One of NYU-Poly’s brightest young stars shares his innovations in LED with us in our featured story, Bright Ideas page 30

Billy Gordon EE/NE ’11


LinkedIn: Polytechnic NYU Alumni


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011






More than 150 leaders of business, government, academia and students gathered at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) to officially launch its new Center of Innovation for Technology and Entertainment (CITE), with a panel discussion exploring innovation in the $32 billion global video games industry – a driver of technology and growing economic sector for the state. NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin, New York State Senator Martin J. Golden (R) of the 22nd State Senate District in Brooklyn, and Edward Reinfurt, executive director of NYSTAR, cut the ribbon for CITE, which was funded by a $2-million state grant.

In his remarks, Bill de Blasio, City of New York Public Advocate, congratulated Senator Golden and President Hultin on having the foresight to partner on CITE and its innovation lab, expressing pride as an NYU alum in the partnership forged between NYU and NYU-Poly. “Investing in initiatives like CITE fosters collaboration between academia and industry, ensuring that New York will remain among the leading states as a hub of innovation,” said Senator Golden. President Hultin stated: “With CITE, NYU-Poly’s researchers, students and industry partners are well-poised to contribute to the economic growth of New York. CITE will facilitate the collaborative development of groundbreaking digital gaming and new media technologies with tangible commercial applications.” New York is home to a thriving game design and development community that includes Kaos Studios, Take-Two Interactive Software, Atari, Large Animal Games, Zynga and a chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), among others. According


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

(L to R) Edward Reinfurt, executive director, New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation; Jerry Hultin, president, NYU-Poly; Senator Martin Golden, NY-22nd District, Assistant Senate Majority Whip; Katherine Isbister, research director of NYU-Poly’s Game Innovation Lab and associate professor; Michael Balagur, architect, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP

to a recent report from the Entertainment Software Association, the industry employs 5,474 people in the state; contributed nearly $270 million to the state economy in 2009; and has grown at an annual rate of approximately 5 percent since 2005. CITE will showcase the invention, innovation and entrepreneurship, or i2e, philosophy that permeates NYU-Poly’s programs and curricula. The centerpiece of CITE is the Game Innovation Lab, a dynamic space dedicated to research and learning. The lab’s core activities are grounded in computer science, engineering and user experience, with participation by researchers, educators from allied disciplines and gaming industry partners. The New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation’s Executive Director, Edward Reinfurt, lauded CITE as a model of economic leadership at the university level that advances the “culture of entrepreneurship we need to create throughout the state.” Bringing greetings from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo,


$32 Billion Global

$270 Million New York State

Reinfurt quoted from a letter from the governor, which read: “The launch of the CITE Game Innovation Lab is exciting for many students who will benefit from this resource for developing new technologies based on challenges to innovation and creativity. It also represents an impressive approach to thinking outside the box, in terms of exploring products and services that have future potential. I know that it will be a place where American ingenuity will grow and flourish among tomorrow’s technological leaders, and I commend the University for continually expanding the horizons of higher education.” Key features of CITE, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, include: a dynamic media display wall, measuring more than 12.5 feet wide by 5 feet high, providing glimpses of the work being developed inside; a high-tech “living room” where researchers and students can evaluate and discuss prototypes and showcase work; a 3,000 square-foot open floor plan with a flexible technical grid to integrate teaching and research areas with projection, shared monitors, moveable smart boards and modular furnishings; and a state-of-the-art Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)/Video Quality Lab. NYU-Poly has a tradition of leveraging technical innovations to spur entrepreneurial activity. For 28 years, the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) has been a leading research institution in wireless and wireline communication networks, digital communications, integrated and secure information technologies and multimedia applications and services. To officially launch CITE, a panel discussion highlighted collaboration between academia and the digital gaming industry toward growing the industry in New York. NYU-Poly’s Katherine Isbister, research director of NYU-Poly’s new Game Innovation Lab and an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Digital Media (Humanities and Social Sciences and Computer Science and Engineering departments), moderated the discussion with: Chris Cross, lead designer at Kaos Studios and a 20-


According to a recent report from the Entertainment Software Association

year veteran in the video game industry; Frank Lantz, director of the NYU Game Center and creative director of Zynga New York; and journalist Evan Narcisse, who writes about video games, comic books and pop culture for Essence, AOL, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and Crispy Gamer. “New York City is just starting to develop its own personality as a gaming community,” said Lantz. “I can see the city growing into a world capital of game development the same way it is for other cultural forms – art, literature, fashion.” Among other entrepreneurial initiatives at NYU-Poly are business incubators that provide the guidance and resources that organizations need to grow into successful ventures that expand the city economy and accelerate commercialization of technology developed by faculty, students, alumni and other entrepreneurs. NYU-Poly started the Brooklyn Enterprise on Science and Technology (BEST), its first business incubator, at its Brooklyn campus in 2004. In 2009, the Institute partnered with New York City and Trinity Real Estate to open its second incubator at 160 Varick Street in Manhattan. Also in 2009, NYU-Poly started the New York City Accelerator for a Clean Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE) with $1.6 million in seed funding from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA); ACRE supports clean-technology and renewable energy startups while building the economic sector within the city. NYU-Poly also hosts the NYC Media Lab, a consortium with the NYC Economic Development Corporation and Columbia University, which fosters research and collaboration among universities and the city’s 10,000 media companies. NYU-Poly is also a partner in the Urban Innovation Technology Center, another city initiative that connects building owners and technology companies to clean technology innovation and commercialization. Additionally, NYU-Poly is among the public and private partners of NYC Seed, which provides funding and support to create the next technology companies in New York City.

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011




Rachelle Friedman ’71

SHE IS THE An Interview with Entrepreneur, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of J&R Music & Computer World

J&R Music and Computer World, an independent, family-owned business, marks its 40th anniversary this year. Occupying a full block across from City Hall, it is a New York City institution for locals and tourists alike, and has been the venue of frequent celebrity sightings. Michael Jackson, a devoted customer, called it his “favorite toy store in the whole world.” Few people know that NYU-Poly (then Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn) had an indirect influence in the selection of J&R’s iconic Park Row location. In 1971, newlyweds Rachelle ’71Chem and Joe Friedman (the R and J in J&R) decided to earn a little extra money by turning Joe’s love of electronics into a specialty store. They chose a 500-square foot Park Row space because it was within walking distance for Joe, who

worked as an electrical engineer at Western Union, and just a couple of subway stops away for Rachelle, an undergraduate majoring in chemistry at Poly. Rachelle would work at the store between classes or while running a long experiment in the lab. Rachelle, a Brooklyn native, planned to attend medical school and chose Poly because she could study science at an excellent university and still commute from home. She originally thought that she would stop working at J&R once she started medical school, but she and Joe both loved the business. About a year later, more space became available, and they expanded into music, one of Rachelle’s passions. J&R set itself apart from its competitors by offering reasonable prices, stocking hard-to-find items and allowing customers to special order,

Sloan Supports Study on e-Learning at NYU-Poly, Stanford and Michigan »

While e-learning now occupies about a quarter of enrollments in U.S. higher education and in corporations, there is a marked difference in how coursework is delivered to the user. Companies deliver training using self-learning modules with employees learning largely on their own. In higher education—as practiced at NYU-ePoly, the school’s online learning unit—students and faculty interact with each other, mirroring on-campus classrooms. To gain a better understanding of the dynamics of corporate e-learning, the Sloan Foundation, one of the nation’s most respected private funding sources, has given NYU-Poly a $65,000 grant to study e-learning in the corporate environment. For nearly two decades, the Sloan Foundation encouraged the advance of online education, pro-


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

Rachelle Friedman served as trustee of NYU-Poly from 1999–2005 and served as a chair for the Promise Fund.

“Compete using your brain—there, we’re all equal. Excel using your compassion.”—Rachelle Friedman

with all items sold by knowledgeable salespeople. “We always put ourselves in the customers’ shoes, which allowed us to create formulas that were different from what other stores were doing,” says Rachelle. The store began to build a reputation and underground buzz as the place to go for something different. Rachelle’s background in science and Joe’s as an electrical engineer helped shape their thinking as entrepreneurs. “Scientists are taught to test, test, test. I think that’s very important in business,” she says. The store continued to grow as Rachelle and Joe used their knowledge of technology to understand the needs of their customers and what people wanted in their homes and offices. Recognizing the potential of the personal computer in the days before it was affordable for the average consumer, J&R was the first among its competitors to open a computer department and then a dedicated computer store. In 1998, they recognized the early impact of the Internet and became one of the first companies to launch online sales, leveraging the back-office strength of their popular mail order business to service web sales. They remain one of the highest-rated sites for customer service. One of only a handful of women who attended Poly in the early ’70s, Rachelle draws on both her classroom and overall experience. “Attending an engineering school was the best education I could have gotten. Going to Poly, which was male-dominated at the time, toughened me up in a good way to be in a male-dominated business,” she says. She hopes the number of women studying science, technology, engineering and math continues to grow, and advises women at NYU-Poly, “Compete using your brain—there, we’re all equal. Excel using your compassion.”

Today, J&R’s 300,000-square-foot retail space is the largest single-location home entertainment, electronics, music and computer megastore in the country, known for its comprehensive offerings, knowledgeable staff and good pricing. Salespeople specialize in specific products in order to help customers find the exact product and accessories they need, and to educate customers in their use. Rachelle finds it rewarding to be in a family business, where she works with her husband, one of her sons and people who have been with the company for as many as 35 years. Asked to reflect on what qualities enabled her be successful as a young entrepreneur, she says, “Passion, patience—a lot of patience—and resiliency. I think I embodied those qualities and still have them. I was very passionate about the products we sold then and still get excited when new products and music come out. I am extremely patient, which benefits me when I negotiate a deal, which is what entrepreneurship and this business are all about. When there’s a problem, you need to be resilient—to be able to step back, apprise yourself of the situation and tackle it.” Resiliency has been key. On September 11, 2001, J&R—just blocks from Ground Zero—lost everything. The store was taken over as a command center for the police and fire departments and remained closed for six weeks. As a family business, they decided to keep paying all of their employees. Her advice to future entrepreneurs reflects her successful experience to date: “Be sure that you are passionate about your idea. If you love it, if you really think there’s a need, if it’s something unique, then go for it and put whatever you need into it.”

viding funding of over $80 million to universities across the country. The corporate e-learning study falls directly under NYU-Poly’s online strategy, targeting mid-career company technical and managerial personnel to enroll in the school’s online graduate programs. Under the Sloan grant, a dozen key corporate e-learning executives at three different universities—NYU-Poly, Stanford University and the University of Michigan—will participate in a three-part series of half-day focus groups that began in January at NYU-Poly. The focus groups will be held at the two other institutions during the spring. Luther Tai, senior vice president, Enterprise Shared Services, Con Edison, believes workshops such as this one are integral to professional development. “The format of the workshop was excellent,”

says Tai. “It provided a platform to discuss training practices, industry concerns and future trends in regard to e-learning…It was intriguing to hear how e-learning is used in different organizations and do a comparison with the initiatives underway at Con Edison.” NYU-Poly’s Enterprise Learning unit is the lead institution (, with Vice President Robert Ubell acting as moderator. NYU-Poly has teamed with NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) in offering nearly 100 graduate and certificate programs to corporate, nonprofit and government clients in New York, around the country and across the globe. In October, the two NYU schools released their first joint catalog (


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


The CBSI program allows NYU-Poly fellows to connect their academic and research skills with societal needs, while summer research and training programs advance teachers’ knowledge.


Robots Two Brooklyn institutions announced an expanded partnership to help encourage the borough’s young people to explore careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Brooklyn Community Foundation’s $500,000 grant to NYU-Poly could triple the number of underresourced Central Brooklyn elementary, middle and high schools that employ students’ fascination with robots to engage their interest in STEM subjects. Founded in 2007 with the foundation’s support, NYU-Poly’s Central Brooklyn STEM Initiative (CBSI) pairs teachers from economically disadvantaged Brooklyn schools with graduate fellows from NYU-Poly’s engineering programs to design dynamic, hands-on classroom lessons, thereby also helping to develop both teachers and graduate fellows. In fall 2010, CBSI expanded from 12 to 18 Brooklyn elementary, middle and high schools. The three-year gift from the Brooklyn Community Foundation aims to expand the program even


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

further, to 36 schools. More than 80 percent of students served are minorities, and half are females. Both groups are historically underrepresented in the STEM disciplines and careers. CBSI has had a profound and measurable impact on students: a recent outside evaluation reported that 74 percent of the 810 participating students increased their overall grades one-half or one full letter grade, and 80 percent saw their science and math grades improve one-half or one full letter grade. More than threequarters of the students said the program increased their interest in STEM subjects and careers. “One of the greatest strengths of NYU-Poly—and America—

Promoting Science & Technology In Schools

lies in our diversity,” said Jerry Hultin, NYU-Poly president. “The Brooklyn Community Foundation’s long and deep commitment to CBSI has encouraged some of Brooklyn’s best young, diverse students in STEM studies and set them on a path to pursue higher education and rewarding technical careers.” The CBSI pilot was created in 2007 through grants from the Independence Community Foundation (ICF)—now the Brooklyn Community Foundation—and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Since then, the Brooklyn Community Foundation has contributed $800,000 to this educational program, including the $500,000 gift. Its cornerstone contribution also allowed NYU-Poly to obtain funding from the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 Fellows Program to support the graduate fellows.

“We believe all of Brooklyn’s young people should have the opportunity to join the advancing fields of technology, engineering, math and science.” —Marilyn Gelber

launchPad “We believe all of Brooklyn’s young people should have the opportunity to join the advancing fields of technology, engineering, math and science,” said Marilyn Gelber, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “Our partnership with NYUPoly creates those opportunities by pairing graduate engineering fellows with teachers in Central Brooklyn schools so students can stay engaged by participating in robotics competitions and learning more about cutting-edge developments in the field. The Foundation and its Board of Trustees—particularly New York State Regent Dr. Lester Young, Jr., whose leadership in education inspired the project—is thrilled to join with NYU-Poly and other foundations and supporters in our goal to triple the number of schools participating in the program. We view this as just the beginning, and are excited about the future.” The CBSI program allows NYU-Poly fellows to connect their academic and research skills with societal needs, while summer research and training programs advance teachers’ knowledge. NYU-Poly fellows spend summer recess training in mechatronics and robotics. Over the course of a summer, teachers work in tandem with fellows to research and design projects for the classroom. When school resumes, the fellows and teachers continue their partnership, bringing robotics projects to life with students and exposing them to tools and techniques used by scientists and engineers. The CBSI is also supported by grants from The Black Male Donor Collaborative, Motorola Foundation, NY Space Grant Consortium, White Cedar Fund and XEROX Foundation.

President, Brooklyn Community Foundation


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


Below: Dr. Katherine Isbister previews the Center of Innovation for Technology and Entertainment (CITE) at a Town Hall in February, which provided a snapshot of the fast pace, vast scope and progress of projects in NYU-Poly’s 10-year i2e Campus Transformation.

What’s Next for the i2e Campus Transformation? Updates On In-Progress and Upcoming Initiatives Shared at Town Hall Nearly two years into the Polytechnic Institute of New York University’s 10-year i2e Campus Transformation, a Town Hall held in February provided a snapshot of the fast pace and vast scope of related projects that are in progress and those that are still to come. The projects support the key strategies of the $38-million capital plan approved by the Institute’s Board of Trustees last October: 1) renovate Rogers Hall, 2) expand into MetroTech Center, 3) focus on entrepreneurial development opportunities and 4) allocate for ongoing asset improvements. “The primary goal of the campus transformation is attracting and retaining the best faculty and students to our institution,” said NYU-Poly President Jerry Hultin. “Faculty need great spaces to do research and teach; students need great spaces in which to explore, connect and innovate. That’s why we’ve been doing this.” Among in-progress projects highlighted was NYU-Poly’s potential expansion into leased space in MetroTech Center to accommodate faculty offices, dry labs, small classrooms and administrative functions. The move would free up space for new faculty, allow for renovation of current facilities and give the Institute a bigger presence around the central square. Dennis Dintino, vice president of finance and business affairs, also made the financial case for moving into MetroTech Center, citing an assessment of facilities that concluded that a full-scale renovation of the Jacobs Admin-


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

istration Building would require a $48-million in February, and Poly Pods—flexible furniture investment. “Instead, we can move into a Megroupings that will facilitate impromptu coltroTech building for substantially less—from laborations—will be installed throughout the $22 to $28 per square foot,” he said, describcampus this spring. ing current real estate market conditions that Finally, Town Hall presenters touched have yielded favorable long-term lease rates. upon future transformation initiatives, in Also at the Town Hall, cluding an opportunity for Katherine Isbister preNYU-Poly to participate in viewed another initiative— the construction of a new the Center of Innovation interdisciplinary facility befor Technology and Entering proposed by New York tainment (CITE), funded by University along Manhata $2-million grant from the tan’s First Avenue Health State of New York—and Sciences Corridor. The provided a glimpse into the state-of-the-art building innovative research and would extend the reach of teaching approaches the NYU-Poly’s planned new new center will foster. bio-engineering department “Games present a wonbeyond Brooklyn. Also on derful opportunity to teach the horizon are: Rogers Hall interdisciplinary teams,” said renovations to upgrade labs NYU-Poly President Isbister, associate professor for new faculty hires, adof Computer Science and dress some interim issues Engineering and Humanities and Social Sciin existing labs, and create additional acaences, and research director of CITE’s Game demic spaces; the planning for the proposed Innovation Lab. “Designers, electrical engiredevelopment of the Jacobs Administration neers, programmers—they all need to work and Civil Engineering building sites; ongotogether in a collaborative environment.” ing asset improvements in the Dibner and The extensive 1st and 4th floor restroom Wunsch buildings; and the development of renovations in Rogers Hall were completed a comprehensive Climate Action Plan.

“ The primary goal of the campus transformation is attracting and retaining the best faculty and students to our institution.” —Jerry Hultin

Spring 2011


DREAMS NYU-Poly’s Promise Scholarship Fund has helped students fulfill their dreams of earning a college degree in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics since 1988. As the Institute’s largest scholarship program, the Fund has supported over 2,000 students. Many recipients are from minority groups, the children of immigrants and the first in their families to attend college. Many are also women, a traditionally underrepresented group in science and engineering. We are proud of our legacy, extending the promise of an outstanding education and student experience to the most deserving students who might not otherwise be able to attend NYU-Poly.

Help us keep the promise.

For more information on the event, the scholarship, or to donate please go to



June 15, 2011 BROOKLYN, NY

The Legacy of George Bugliarello



Architect of



As a young boy growing up in Trieste, Italy during World War II, George Bugliarello was fascinated by machines, particularly the engines of war: ships, tanks and airplanes. Over time, however, he became interested in the peaceful uses of machines—how people could design, employ and interact with machines to enhance and enrich human life. Bugliarello spent the next seven decades exploring that idea. An acknowledged visionary who made significant changes in engineering and education, he was the embodiment of the NYU-Poly philosophy of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship—i²e. He was an early pioneer of how universities can advance cities through crucial collaboration and innovative thinking. He had a seemingly unending litany of successful inventions—scientific and educational—to his credit: A computer language for water resources; pioneering graduate programs in biological and financial engineering; and the founding and editing of respected professional journals. He was a dean of a leading engineering school and president of one of the nation’s finest science and engineering universities. Perhaps his greatest achievement was as the “master architect” of MetroTech, one of the first urban university industry research parks in the United States, which revived dying downtown Brooklyn and continues to thrive to this day. Tin-Kan Hung, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University with Bugliarello. “George was a true pioneer,” he said. “He had his vision of a university’s role in city development as early as the late 1960s…He had always been way ahead of everyone.” Bugliarello, who served as president of NYU-Poly from 1973 to 1994 and as chancellor from 1994 to 2003, was president emeritus and institute professor at the time of his death on February 18. Until that


time, he continued to teach, educating the engineers and thinkers of the future. He also could be found at his writing desk at the lectern and in international capitals, where he consulted with governments on how to design sustainable cities. He tirelessly promoted the interaction of engineering, the humanities and social sciences as an indispensable approach to solving urgent societal problems. Bugliarello explained this vision in one of his 2010 reports to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), “Engineering, Technology and Society:” “Products of engineering surround us and affect virtually every aspect of our lives, influencing culture, art and religion in a tightening circle of reciprocal interactions… To respond to society’s demands, the very education of engineers is becoming more interdisciplinary…The synergy of engineering with other societal activities is the root cause of the material prosperity of many societies and is a key to improving the condition of many developing countries.” Encouraged by his accomplished parents—his father was a physician; his mother, a lawyer—Bugliarello studied engineering at the University of Padua and graduated summa cum laude in 1951. He was ready to go to work, but restless: “I wanted to have a profession, to go on adventures, to travel around the world.” His university advisor suggested that he “take a look at what they’re doing in America.” Bugliarello left Italy for the University of Minnesota, where he earned a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1954. He returned to Padua to teach civil and hydraulic engineering. The following year, he began his doctoral studies in civil engineering and hydrodynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After earning his doctorate in 1959, Bugliarello accepted a faculty position at Carnegie Mellon, where he taught fluid mechanics and established

a program in bioengineering. During this time, he designed a computer language for water resources called Hydro. He also wrote the first in a series of books on water-resource engineering, Computer Systems and Water Resources, with F.J. Gunther, and founded and chaired the university’s graduate program in bioengineering. Bugliarello became dean of engineering and professor of civil engineering and biotechnology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1969. Interested in science policy, he wanted to look at how natural, mechanical, information and energy systems affect society. This approach formed the core of his concept of “biosoma,” or the interaction of biological organisms, social institutions and machines.

He was an early pioneer of how universities can advance cities through crucial collaboration and innovative thinking. In 1973, NYU-Poly (then Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn), wrestling with increasing deficits, recruited Bugliarello as its new president. Surveying the bleak prospects of Poly’s deteriorating neighborhood, he saw a challenge for the University—to use its strengths in science and engineering in a synergistic way. If Poly could attract technology-based businesses to downtown

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


Dr. George Bugliarello was a dear friend and close colleague. I admired George’s high ambitions, unfaltering professionalism and endearing enthusiasm. In his leadership as the president of Polytechnic and in his many creative endeavors, George had an unrelenting passion for the world and the conditions in which we live. He was a visionary and truly embodied the innovative spirit of NYU-Poly. Jerry Hultin NYU-Poly President


Brooklyn—and create programs that would prepare professionals for those fields—it could help the borough and itself. Bugliarello admitted that his idea was daunting, but added, “You have to think big. City officials were very concerned about the future of business in New York, because Wall Street and the banking industry were so essential to the city’s economic health.” He convinced Stanley Steingut, then speaker of the state assembly, that telecommunications was critical to the future of the financial industry. That industry had suffered not only from a severe loss of jobs in the 1973 to 1975 recession, but also from a crippling lag in computer technology. “The industry was way behind,” he said. “London and Tokyo were far ahead technologically and they were overtaking Wall Street.” But before he could help the finance industry, he had to fix Poly and its budget deficit. It took four years of belt-tightening, 1973 to 1977, to balance the budget, aided by millions of dollars from New York State to help cover the deficit. Bugliarello and David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan Bank, collaborating as members of the city’s Business-Labor Working Group, got to work, exploring what New York City needed and how Poly, as a top science and engineering university, could help. Bugliarello knew that, besides telecommunications technology, the financial industry needed “a mathematical background that MBA programs did not have.” He and his colleagues created the first American graduate program in financial engineering. Similar programs were established later at MIT, Illinois Institute of Technology and Carnegie

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Mellon. “It produced people who were catalysts for new companies, which enhanced economic development in New York City.” Bugliarello proposed the university industry research park called MetroTech in 1975. After 14 years of planning, Poly and the city broke ground for the 16-acre, 4.7 million square-foot project in 1989, and construction proceeded quickly. “What made everything possible,” he said, “was that Brooklyn Union Gas, now part of National Grid, was the first to say it would sign up as a tenant, but not by itself.” Then the Securities Industry Automation Corp., which processes all stock-exchange trades, signed. Both companies moved to MetroTech in 1990. They were joined eventually by Chase Manhattan Bank, Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the City of New York Information Center and other businesses. At full capacity, MetroTech attracted 20,000 jobs. “MetroTech created a positive environment and outlook for both Brooklyn and the University,” he said. “A lot of people in Brooklyn had given up. Developing MetroTech gave us all a sense of hope that things could be better, that we could improve the neighborhood and create new things—that we should not give up.” As part of the research park development, Poly renovated some of its buildings and built a new academic facility, which houses the Bern Dibner Library and the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications. Bugliarello’s drive, engagement and tenacity created a significant legacy. “George had a vision and he made it happen,” said Robert Dalziel EE’56, retired vice president of global

Spring 2011

George Bugliarello 1927–2011 marketing for AT&T, who served with Bugliarello on the NYU-Poly Board of Trustees. “MetroTech was at the heart of the renaissance of downtown Brooklyn. He did a real favor to the citizens of New York City.” Crain’s has written, “It is not an exaggeration to say that MetroTech saved the borough’s economy.” In 1994, in recognition of the creation of MetroTech, he was awarded the New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology. Bugliarello, a lifetime National Associate of The National Academies, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1987 and had served on its council. Most recently, he was serving his second term as Foreign Secretary of the NAE and was chair of the NAE Council’s International Affairs Committee, as well as interim editor-in-chief of The Bridge, the NAE’s quarterly publication. He chaired the Board of Science and Technology for International Development of the National Academy of Sciences, the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment of the National Research Council, and the National Medal of Technology Nomination Evaluation Committee. From 1984 to 2000, he served as U.S. representative on the NATO Science for Stability/Science for Peace Steering Committee, and in 2009, received the Marconi Society’s Beacon of Light Award. In describing Bugliarello, faculty and pro-

fessional colleagues pointed not only to his intellect and vision, but also to his personal and leadership qualities. “He’s been called a Renaissance Man. He could talk with almost anyone on any topic and built relationships easily,” said Richard Thorsen, vice president emeritus. “George was compassionate, but he was also firm and decisive. These are qualities you want in a leader, and they contributed to his success.”

cities. We have to look at how we will need to design cities in the future and ask a lot of questions. What kind of technology do we need and how will it affect our lives? We also must examine the broader context of sustainability—how do we sustain emotional and political ideas?” Yang Zhou ’13CE, after taking the “Biosoma” course last fall, wrote to thank Bugliarello. Zhou called the course “wonderful” and said it changed her view of civil engineering. She learned that engineers have to think beyond structures: “The future of the city will be determined by solving many different issues in the world.” He knew the inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs who will help solve the world’s urgent problems are learning and conducting research in classrooms and laboratories today, at NYU-Poly and around the globe. “I want students to think outside of the box, to gain a sense of things in the flow of history and human development. When they become intrigued by this, that’s when I get excited,” he said. “By bringing the humanities and social sciences together with the sciences and technology, we will create the visionary engineers that the future demands.” A memorial remembering Dr. Bugliarello was held on April 27th on the MetroTech campus.

By bringing the humanities and social sciences together with the sciences and technology, we will create the visionary engineers that the future demands. —George Bugliarello


George Bugliarello believed implicitly in the power of applied science and engineering to solve the planet’s seemingly insurmountable problems. He spoke at The Cooper Union about technology, science and society, and the tightening circle of reciprocal interactions. “I’m concerned about the sustainability of water and energy resources, and about the facts of jobs and demography. In the developing world, the majority of people are under 30 years old. But the developed world is getting older,” he said These concerns formed the basis of his courses, “Sustainable Cities” and “Biosoma: Environmental Design of the City of the Future.” “They’re exploratory,” he said. “Half of the world’s population lives in

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


thelead “ At NYU-Poly, some remarkable women are engaged not only in research and teaching, but also in the creation of processes and applications that are making significant contributions in health, medicine, energy and the environment.”

Changing the Face of Inno Much has been said and written about the key role STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will play in securing global leadership in the future. In this male-dominated arena, women have made some measurable inroads as educators, researchers and entrepreneurs. At NYU-Poly, some remarkable women are engaged not only in research and teaching, but also in the creation of processes and applications that are making significant contributions in health, medicine, energy and the environment. The National Academy of Engineering reports that nationally, women now make up 20 percent of the undergraduates in science and engineering. At NYU-Poly, however, the numbers are strikingly stronger—women comprise 26 percent of the student body.


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

Dianne Rekow, provost of NYU-Poly and senior vice provost for engineering and technology at NYU, called NYU-Poly “one of the most woman-friendly universities in the country,” citing a survey in the December 2010 issue of Forbes that ranked “The Best Colleges for Women in STEM.” NYU-Poly placed seventh out of the top 20 institutions. “Surprisingly, there are lots of women in civil engineering,” Rekow said. “Studies have shown that the fields that appeal to women are environment and health, so they tend to study chemistry, chemical engineering, civil engineering and bioengineering. Engineering is essentially i²e: innovation, invention and entrepreneurship. What differentiates us at NYU-Poly is how far we have taken the whole

2640 B.C. Chinese Empress Si Ling-Chi invents silk

of InnovatioN enterprise. At the Varick Street incubator, students and faculty work in a continuum, from the initial idea to all of the frustrations of starting a new business. Some of our alumni have graduated from the incubator and started their own companies. Seeing the birthing process of a new enterprise, the reality of the struggle, gives a much different perspective than just learning in the classroom.” Rekow speaks with pride and excitement about the breadth of innovative and inventive research being conducted by the women of NYU-Poly: Katherine Isbister, associate professor of digital media, explores human-computer interaction. Some of her students, collaborating with others from NYU’s Tisch, Courant and Steinhardt schools, are active in Isbister’s Game Innovation Lab.


1000 A.D. Alchemist and Sister of Mary, Hebraea, discovers the formula for hydrochloric acid and invents the double boiler

WOMEN AT NYU-POLY LEADiNG THE NEXT GENERATION OF FEMALE MINDS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Kristen Day, head of humanities and social sciences, specializes in urban design and behavior. Her current work examines how the design of cities can promote human well-being. Phyllis Frankl, professor of computer science and engineering, is searching for bugs and security vulnerabilities in software and database applications. Lisa Hellerstein, associate professor of computer science and engineering, specializes in computational learning theory and is developing methods that enable computers to generalize and “learn” from data or experience. Cable spoke with four other women—three faculty members and one alumna—about how their research and its vital, real-world applications are helping to engineer the future.

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


1650 Astronomer Maria Cunitz publishes Urania propitia, unveiling a better solution to Kepler’s Problem


“ When I was growing up on a farm in Minnesota, I didn’t know girls couldn’t do stuff.” 18

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Dianne Rekow decided to “go against the grain” and study science and engineering in an era when girls were not encouraged to do so. She credits her rural childhood with her decision: “When I was growing up on a farm in Minnesota, I didn’t know girls couldn’t do stuff.” Rekow has followed that “can-do” path throughout her distinguished career. She earned an astonishing roster of degrees in biomedical engineering, physics and mechanical engineering. She has an MBA and a doctorate in dental science, holds six patents and spent 11 years in industry, including serving as program director for pacemaker development at Medtronic. This prodigious education and career prepared her well for her current job, a dual appointment as provost of NYU-Poly and senior vice provost for engineering and technology at NYU. When the affiliation agreement was signed in June 2008, Rekow was in her current NYU post. Then, she was asked to be the provost at NYU-Poly, too: “They wanted me to be the bridge and keep the academic side of Poly moving.” Part of her responsibilities is to facilitate the ongoing merger. “I’m also recruiting new faculty and we’re working on what the future should look like. It’s exciting because NYU adds value to Poly and Poly adds value to NYU.” The two institutions, each more than 150 years old, had evolved from very different cultures, Rekow said. That presented large challenges for the merger, how fast should it proceed, and how NYU and Poly should work together. “Academically, we’re pretty well aligned now,” she said. “We’ve seen a remarkable improvement in SAT scores and the retention of freshmen, and the faculties are collaborating extensively.” Many of the remaining issues are operational. Each institution has separate procedures and systems for scheduling, numbering courses, budgeting and making payments, she noted. Rekow said the merger has brought to Poly “the breadth of NYU’s science offerings, access to a medical and dental school for engineers, and the incredible breadth of its liberal arts curriculum—something you simply can’t have at a small institution.” Working with the faculty, Rekow is recruiting top researchers and new faculty. “Poly has a strong reputation in many fields for extremely high-quality work, she said. “Our leadership is related to quality education, publications and research, and how they have an impact on the world. We’re in an expansion phase; we’re selling a dream. For people who want to build a career and to relate to this city, these are very exciting times.”

Spring 2011

1777 Mary Katherine Goddard was the first American postmistress and the first to print the Declaration of Independence with the names of the signatories

1842 Countess Lady Ada Byron Lovelace writes the first computer program in history


Assistant Professor– CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL SCIENCEs Jin Kim Montclare’s “natural curiosity about how things worked and excellent mentors,” including her high school chemistry teacher, inspired her interest in a science career. Now an assistant professor of chemical and biological sciences, Montclare sees mentoring the future generation of scientists as part of her daily role as a educator. As director of NYU-Poly’s Protein Engineering and Molecular Design Lab, she mentors two of her doctoral students, Carlo Yuvienco and Jennifer Haghpanah, who are working with her on important research. The lab is producing genetically engineered co-polymers with crucial applications in such diverse fields as artificial therapeutics, sustainable energy and environmental remediation. She is quick to acknowledge the contributions of her students: “They are the ones performing all the experiments. They make it possible for us to start on the applications phase of our research.” Yuvienco, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering who will complete his program in 2012, said, “She creates a lab environment that requires colleagues to probe and take interest in each other’s work. Dedication and focus is not simply required—it is almost contagious.” Currently, Montclare is collaborating on a project with the NYU College of Dentistry and the Hospital for Joint Diseases that involves new co-polymer applications including cartilage repair. “We’re engineering proteins that can assemble into particles or gels,” she said. “The particles may be used in drug delivery, while the gels can be used to grow cells and engineer tissue.” These protein materials serve as “scaffolds” and interface with cells. In the cartilage-repair project, Montclare uses hydrogel scaffolds to generate tissue for repairing damaged cartilage. “The protein scaffolds will be used to interface with cartilage cells,” she said, “so that actual bio-compatible cartilage tissue can be made and then placed in the body.” Montclare’s protein polymers can be critical in environmental remediation. “By exploiting the stimuli-responsive behavior of our materials,” she said, “we can trap organic agents like PAH, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—found in car exhaust, cigarette smoke and charcoal-broiled foods—and substances like heavy metals that contaminate water.” Protein scaffolds, she said, also can enhance the absorption of light, “a key step towards harvesting energy from light and producing sustainable energy.” Montclare believes that science and engineering offer “tremendous opportunities” for young women. “More importantly, I believe we provide our students, as future scientists and engineers, with the knowledge to make a direct impact on humanity.”


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

“ I believe we provide our students... with the knowledge to make a direct impact on humanity.” Spring 2011


1903 Marie Curie wins her first Nobel Prize for physics

1988 Gertrude B. Elion, former Poly doctoral student, was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine



“ [NYU-Poly students] help create, develop and realize ideas. They’re eager to learn and to move the engineering field forward.” 20

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

If cell phone service inside your house or office has improved, you can thank research engineers like Elza Erkip. An associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, she is a leader in improving wireless communications. Erkip pioneered the concept of “cooperative communications,” using other cell phones in the same wireless network to forward information cooperatively. “Mobile users can transmit at higher data rates and obtain better video quality,” Erkip explained. “This results in fewer dropped calls, higher download speeds and higher quality when you view a high-definition video signal on your smart phone.” Funded partly by the National Science Foundation, this work involves NYU-Poly colleagues and collaborators from the University of California, Davis. “Cooperative communications became very popular in academia and industry,” she said. “NYU-Poly is a leader in cooperative communications, and some of the ideas we pioneered are now being used in next-generation, cellular communication standards.” Erkip’s current research also focuses on femtocells, “small WiFi access-point devices that further increase the capability of cell phones,” she said. Femtocells improve coverage, voice quality and battery life. For Erkip, a passion for science is almost genetic: “I was always interested in math from a very young age. I come from a family of mathematicians and engineers. My dad was an engineer and my older brothers are professors of math and engineering. The choice of engineering was very natural for me. For me, electrical engineering has the right level of mathematical depth and engineering intuition.” Erkip enjoys interacting with NYU-Poly students. “It’s fun,” she said. “They help create, develop and realize ideas. They’re eager to learn and to move the engineering field forward.” Özgü Alay, who received her PhD in electrical and computer engineering in 2010, was advised by Erkip and Prof. Yao Wang. Today, Alay works as a software developer for T-VIPS AS in Norway, a leader in professional video-transport solutions. During doctoral work, Alay said, “The most important thing is guidance. Elza kept me heading in the right direction. She was supportive, too, with a ’you-can-do-it’ attitude.” Erkip believes science and engineering are “fantastic careers” for women. “My two young daughters and I solve math puzzles and think about math problems for fun,” she said. “And I encourage them to learn more about math and science. As more and more women become involved in these fields, younger women will feel more welcome. I think this trend is bound to continue.”

Spring 2011

2000 Professor Yao Wang of NYU-Poly receives the New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology


Assistant Professor – FINANCE and RISK ENGINEERING As a senior economist for the Bank of Canada, Zhaoxia Xu and a team of colleagues played a crucial role in that central bank’s response to the 20072008 economic crisis. Xu and the team knew that the Canadian economy was comparatively healthier than the American economy. Their task: to “recommend potential policy tools, including non-conventional monetary policies and implementation methods” in case the situation worsened. Today, Xu, an assistant professor who joined the faculty in 2010, brings her expertise and financial-crisis engineering experience to the classroom. She was attracted by NYU-Poly’s “remarkable” Finance and Risk Engineering program, the quality of its faculty and students and its location. “New York is one of the best cities for anyone working in finance,” she said. Xu is still mining her experience as an economist during the global financial crisis. Her latest paper (in progress) analyzes how companies handled financing, investment decisions and product-market competitions after the collapse. “The changing landscape in the financial industry,” Xu said, “has made finance and risk engineering more exciting.” Since the crisis began, regulators have been conducting a series of financial reforms aimed at making the U.S. financial system more transparent, accountable and less vulnerable. To achieve that goal, Xu believes, the financial world needs to improve its understanding and measurement of risk—something especially important in the aftermath of a crisis. Of her newest course, Advanced Corporate Finance, Xu said, “I want to give students the tools to apply real-world financial theories so they will be able to analyze current financial issues in a corporate environment.” Through case studies, Xu immerses her students in finance theory as well as in the analytic and communications skills essential to sound financial decision-making. “My students learn how to make financing and dividend decisions, and how to raise capital through initial public offerings. They also explore corporate-governance issues.” Jasper Ojongtambia, who will complete an MS in Finance and Risk Engineering in June, called Xu one of the best professors he’s had at NYU-Poly: “I owe some of my success to her.” His project for Xu on investment banking in West Africa became an important part of his master’s thesis. Ojongtambia, who plans to pursue a PhD, also holds an MS in Telecommunication and Information Management and an MBA from NYU-Poly. Xu enthusiastically recommends her profession to students. “The finance industry is very competitive and challenging,” she said. “Being smart and hardworking is the key to success. It’s a fantastic career.”


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

“ The changing landscape in the financial industry has made finance and risk engineering more exciting.” Spring 2011


2000 NYU-Poly Professor Elza Erkip wins the IEEE Communications Society Stephen O. Rice Paper Prize in the Field of Communication Theory


’09 Electrical Engineering –Secure Hardware llc

“ Two years ago, I was worrying about passing my finals. Now I own a company!” 22

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Three years ago, Linda Lieu ’09EE was a junior in computer science working on a summer research project with her advisor, Prof. Ramesh Karri, when her future called. Karri asked Lieu to be his partner in starting Secure Hardware LLC. Established in 2009, their firm creates software to enhance the security of hardware testing. Their work involves augmenting the security of the communications protocol JTAG, a standard of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) that is used to program and debug integrated circuits. A testing interface for 20 years, JTAG also can be used to configure system components or store data on a smart card. “JTAG can be exploited to attack systems,” Lieu said, “including hacking the Xbox 360, reprogramming satellite-television access cards and reconfiguring router settings.” Their JTAG enhancements greatly strengthen computer security by providing authentication of JTAG devices, preserving the confidentiality of data and protecting against inauthentic messages, she said. “Linda is learning everything about forming and shaping the company as we go along,” Karri said. “She’s smart, hard-working and focused. Those are qualities that can make a successful entrepreneur, when a few lucky breaks are thrown in.” Lieu said Secure Hardware has its office in “Poly’s ‘basement’,” the Brooklyn Enterprise on Science and Technology, or BEST, incubator. Secure Hardware’s research and development is sponsored by the U.S. government. The partners plan to sell their secure-JTAG technology in both the civilian and defense markets. Key applications of their product could include ATMs, electronic fund transfers, and for healthcare, national-identification and smart cards. Other relevant applications may include defense, government agencies and the Department of Homeland Security. Currently, Lieu is completing a “proof of concept” of Secure Hardware’s proposed security extensions for JTAG. “I’m also learning the tasks that it takes to run a company,” she added. “I can manage the technical aspects of this project, but the business side is a whole different world.” Lieu said she and Karri only recently set up an adequate accounting system. “We’re slowly learning the ropes. You can’t buy this experience anywhere!” “It’s exciting to be out of your comfort zone,” she said, “But being an entrepreneur requires a high degree of tenacity and commitment, as well as an appetite for risk-taking. To be honest, it still feels unreal. Two years ago, I was worrying about passing my finals. Now I own a company!”

Spring 2011

2008 Professor Jin Montclare at NYU-Poly begins work on a science outreach program and wins the Dreyfus Special Grants Award

Go WEST, Young women:

symposium. “We believe there are women who are unsure of the fields of science and engineering and are still making decisions,” she said. “For them to hear from other women in that field and the trials they went through— that would serve as encouragement.” Tanzee Silver ’09, the event’s keynote speaker and an NYU-Poly alumna, similarly acknowledged the symposium’s value. “I know when I was their age, I had a lot of questions about the engineering field and what I was even getting myself into, especially when I got that first bill,” she laughed. “It’s good to know the choices other people made, the mistakes they made, and how you can avoid them.” The event also offered a peek into life at NYU-Poly today, with the last panel consisting of currently enrolled students. They spoke about internships they recently completed, residence hall life and how they spent their weekends—“cooking,” answered panelist Ryana Sikder, a graduate student in biomedical engineering. Heather Fomin, associate dean of admissions and moderator of the panel, drew laughs when she said she could always tell what Ryana was making because of the pictures she posted on Facebook.

Inaugural Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WEST) Symposium Held at NYU-Poly As if saving the best for last, the Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WEST) Symposium took place on the final day of National Engineers Week on February 26. It was the first time ever for the event, and it attracted 171 guests keen to learn about the accomplishments of NYU-Poly women in fields traditionally dominated by men. Parents and high school students from the region gathered at the Institute to listen to panelists of established professionals, as well as women currently enrolled at NYU-Poly, discuss their experiences. Barbara Hall, associate provost for enrollment services, moderated the first panel, which featured Professors Jin Kim Montclare, Chemical and Biological Sciences; Kristin Day, Humanities and Social Sciences; and Franziska Berger, Mathematics. Peppered with questions from the formal to the informal, the women addressed such topics as prejudices they had faced, the passions that drew them to their respective disciplines and their dating lives. Raised hands among attendees indicated an engaged audience, with parents tending to ask for hard numbers—one father wanted to know the Institute’s attrition rate—with students focusing their questions in less quantifiable areas. For instance, one student wanted to know if any of the panelists ever felt discouraged. “Everyone has bad days, right?” answered Professor Montclare, who recommended cultivating a supportive network, or cheerleaders, as she called them. She also suggested that students “be open to mentors because they see something in you that you might not see in yourself.” For Joy Colleli, dean of admissions and new student services, Professor Montclare’s response demonstrated the value of the


“ It’s good to know the choices other people made, the mistakes they made, and how you can avoid them.” — Tanzee Silver ’09 Afterward, Ms. Hall remarked, “The day was just plain fun and our guests’ responses gratifying.” She was referring to unsolicited, enthusiastic feedback from the audience, such as the e-mail received from alumnus Ed Kanczweski ’96, who attended the symposium with his daughter. Praising staff, he wrote, all “collectively advanced the initiative to encourage females to pursue and succeed as engineering professionals.”

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


ROBOTEAMS GROW IN BROOKLYN More than 400 Brooklyn middle schoolers packed the halls and gymnasium of NYU-Poly for the 11th annual Brooklyn qualifying round of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League (FLL) robotics challenge. Twenty-two teams advanced to the Citywide FLL Robotics final in March. Meanwhile, in NYU-Poly’s Pfizer Auditorium, 38 high school teams from the New York metro area linked to a NASA video to discover their challenge: to create and program their large robots to hang geometric shapes on a grid during the citywide FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Fitted with kits and instructions, the high school students spent the next two months preparing for the intense competition.




FIRST LEGO League Robotics Challenge Amid thunderous applause and spirited shouts from teachers, parents and team mascots, 37 teams faced off in this year’s FLL Brooklyn Qualifier, which challenged middle schoolers to design and program small LEGO robots to complete biomedical tasks like stenting blocked arteries or mending broken bones. Mentored by teachers—as well as NYU-Poly graduate fellows who conducted in-classroom lessons to complement the robotics challenge at 16 of the schools—the teams spent months creating the robots debuted at the January 8 competition. Teams also presented research papers on biomedical topics. Among the five boroughs, Brooklyn schools boasted the highest rate of participation. Demand for slots was so fierce that due to space constraints, several Brooklyn schools had to compete in the Manhattan and Staten Island FLL qualifiers. The Champions Award went to PS 11, Team: Mission 11, Genesis Xaverian, Team: Genesis and IS 318, Team: Blood, Sweat and Gearz. Teams also competed in research, robot design and teamwork. “The FIRST robotics events ignite youngsters’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at a critical time in their educational lives, and the results can be profound, influencing their future performance and even their career paths,” said Jerry Hultin, president of NYU-Poly. “NYU-Poly has long been committed to excellence in STEM subjects at the highest levels, and it is very


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

rewarding for our faculty and graduate fellows to support a new generation of scientists and engineers through FIRST.” Of the 16 FLL teams mentored by NYU-Poly graduate fellows, 13 advanced to the citywide finals. This year’s FIRST events at NYU-Poly were sponsored by Time Warner Cable’s East Region/NYC, Consolidated Edison, Swiss Re and The David L. Klein, Jr. Foundation; NYU-Poly is the affiliate partner. FIRST is an organization dedicated to inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders, engaging them in exciting mentorbased programs that build science, engineering and technology skills. In all, NYU-Poly supports robotics/mechatronics initiatives in 18 lowincome schools as part of the Central Brooklyn STEM Initiative (CBSI). This program sends NYU-Poly graduate students to 18 elementary, middle and high schools to challenge young people to design, build and operate robotic devices, and teach them mechatronics through hands-on learning activities. The initiative is a public-private partnership supported by The Black Male Donor Collaborative, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Motorola Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, XEROX Foundation, NY Space Grant Consortium and Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate; the supporting graduate fellows program receives major funding from National Science Foundation’s GK-12 Fellows Program.



13 of 16 FLL teams mentored by NYU-Poly graduate fellows advanced to the finals





Benjamin Banneker Elementary PS 256 — 1

Benjamin Banneker HS — 2

Langston Hughes PS 233 — 3

Stanley Eugene Clark PS 399 — 4

Boys and Girls High School — 5

10 1





Philippa Schuyler IS 383 — 8 Ronald Edmunds Learning Center MS 113 — 9


The Bedford Village PS 3 — 6 Urban Assembly Institute of Math — 7 & Science for Young Women


18 13



Eugenio Maria De Hostos IS 318 — 10 Bedford Academy — 11



1. PS 3 RoboTigers compete in the NYU-Poly gym during the FIRST LEGO League Brooklyn Qualifiers. (left) 2. A look from above onto the 11th Annual FLL Brooklyn Qualifier, supported by nearly 75 members of the NYU-Poly community who volunteered for the day’s activities. 3. NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin at the opening ceremony of the FLL Brooklyn Qualifiers. 4. The students of PS 11 take the winning run around the NYU-Poly Gym after capturing the 1st Place Champions Award.


Dr. Ronald E. McNair PS 5 — 12 Teunis G. Bergen PS 9 — 13


It Takes a Village Academy — 14

Mott Hall Bridges Academy — 15

Crispus Attucks PS 21 — 16

Young Scholars Academy for — 17 Discovery and Exploration PS 636

Purvis J. Behan PS 11 — 18

5. Vikram Kapila (center), NYU-Poly associate professor of mechanical engineering and lead of the Central Brooklyn STEM Initiative, with Banneker Bots and NYU-Poly graduate fellow and mentor Nicole Abaid at the FLL Brooklyn Qualifiers.




Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


achievement personality camaraderie teamwork



socialization movement


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

written By Katherine Isbister

multi Unlocking the social benefits in gaming

player When people think about video games, they usually conjure up a mental image filled with violence and competition—soldiers with weapons dashing through the terrain of a first-person shooter game, cartoon-like characters in rapid-action combat in a console fighter, or maybe a basketball or football game that looks strikingly like the real thing on television. While it’s true that many perennial bestselling titles in video games offer these kinds of experiences, there are a growing number of games that are not violent or competitive. Some of the truly noteworthy innovations in games shape our experience by creating empathy and stronger connections among players. These games belong in the pantheon of great art forms that can inspire us to be better people and change how we think of ourselves. My research focuses on choices designers make that heighten the social and emotional richness of digital experiences. We observe people playing games in the Social Game Lab at NYU-Poly (now housed in the newly-completed CITE Game Innovation Lab), and record and study what is happening between the players as well as on-screen. While studying games and how they are played, I’ve come to the realization that the player’s experience—even for games that appear very violent—may be very different than the images we see on the Internet, in the news, or even when looking over someone’s shoulder as the game is being played. Katherine Isbister is research director for the Game Innovation Lab and associate professor.


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


Unlocking the social benefits in gaming

The belief that games are isolating and anti-social is not supported by the data about actual gameplay. Over half of gamers surveyed by the Entertainment Software Association report playing games with others (ESA 2008). While casual gaming on PCs or handhelds may take place in isolation, and while single-player campaign modes are still popular in some genres, a lot of the gaming done with consoles (such as the Xbox, PlayStation 3, or Wii systems) is social. Research has shown that players have a better time when playing with others, as opposed to playing alone against computer-generated opponents (Mandryk and Inkpen, 2006). Perhaps we should consider video game-play the same way that we think about team sports or family board games— as an activity that can bring people closer together, strengthening ties through shared experience of emotional highs and lows and friendly social drama. This has become clearer as the Nintendo Wii and the

tools for building connection and empathy: player avatars, rapid-fire feedback loops and movement mechanics. Player Avatars

The player’s persona in the game world is an avatar, usually depicted as a little person or creature. The player directs the avatar through the game world, somewhat like manipulating the strings of a puppet. The player is encouraged to project him-or herself into the persona of the avatar, resulting in a melding of puppeteering with personal identity. This is a very powerful combination that can be better understood by comparing the avatar to the fantasy persona associated with certain types of cars (think of Ferraris or BMWs, perhaps). This combines with the feel of driving the car in the moment, creating a powerful experience for the driver. These effects are even more powerful when the “vehicle” is a simulated on-screen person that responds to your every move. When a player has an on-screen avatar,

Research has shown that players have a better time when playing with others, as opposed to playing alone. newly released Xbox Kinect have gained popularity in households, and images of families playing together have proliferated the Internet. see: Figure 1

If video games work like team sports or board games, why do I consider them to be a revolutionary art form that changes how we connect? Games have introduced three key innovations to our mediated experience that are groundbreaking design


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

the player is pulled more deeply and effectively into the game world, including the social interaction of that experience. In my lab, I’ve observed that games with avatars tend to be associated with heightened social activity, such as shouting or laughing as people play. I believe this is because people feel more closely tied to the action in the game and what happens to their avatar strongly affects their own feelings in the moment of game play. With the rise of customization

Spring 2011

capabilities built into player avatars, these effects may become even stronger. see: Figure 2

Games have taken two powerful effects—extension of the physical self and identification with a virtual self—and combined them to generate new kinds of empathic and connective experience. Rapid-fire Feedback Loops

Earlier, I compared video games to team sports and family board games, but the digital nature of games gives them a tremendous advantage in creating camaraderie and engagement among players—the ability to give players rapid, highly tuned feedback as they take action in the game. For example, a game designer can create more excitement about succeeding at a goal by programming in special effects when that goal is met— fireworks in the air, triumphant music, scoreboards that rapidly tally accumulated points in a visually dazzling way. see: Figure 3

These kinds of effects can also be used to reward synchronized action among teammates, or just to create added excitement about achieving a common goal. This is not unlike the types of bells and whistles that broadcasters add to sports events to frame up the action and increase the excitement. In this case, it is tied directly to player actions in the game. Imagine if every time you did some chore around the house that your spouse really appreciated, you heard triumphant theme music, the room lit up and you were given a pile of gold coins. This is a powerful design tool for shaping emotion and forging connection. Movement Mechanics

The third powerful innovation that games bring to creating empathy and connection is movement-based game action. Research has shown that physical

movement can drive feelings. If a person moves as if she is happy, then she will start to feel happy, without even realizing why (Strack et al., 1988). Human beings find emotions to be highly “contagious.” We “catch” emotions simply from watching one another express them (Hatfield et al., 1994). Consequently, seeing another person move as if she is really happy and excited makes us feel that way as well. With the rise of game controllers that allow movement—Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony now all have these devices as part of their home gaming consoles—there are more and more games designed with movements that tend to create excitement and enthusiasm in players. This creates a positive cycle of emotion that makes these kinds of games fun and leads to positive feelings among those who play together. Our lab group is currently studying how movement impacts player emotions. In the first phase, the group performed an in-school study comparing games that have varying degrees of movement and how this impacts the players’ emotions to see if this benefits

Figure 1

Photo of a family playing with the Xbox Kinect together.

cite game innovation lab

learning as an end goal. This project is part of the larger Games for Learning Institute. view:

Then the group designed a game called Wriggle! that allowed us to conduct controlled experiments to examine the effects of movement on emotion during social play. see: Figure 4 view: watch?v=o7h1umCØo4w).

The group is applying what they learned to the design of a movement-based math game that will be played using the new Xbox Kinect—a camera-based movement tracking system.

Figure 2

Games now allow players to customize their avatars, creating likenesses of themselves, celebrities, or fantasy characters. This Nintendo Mii avatar was created to resemble the actress Angelina Jolie.

Taking it Beyond Games

We can learn from the ways that games build connection and camaraderie by designing software for other social applications such as business meetings, health consultations, or educational situations. Putting people at ease and building connections has a positive impact on many practical goals. Part of the social game lab’s focus is taking what is learned from the HCI (Human Computer Interface) community, to help shape a more empathetic, connection friendly future for the software we use every day.

Figure 3

Games can be designed to provide rapid-fire positive feedback for players, such as visual effects like the ones in this casual Halloween-themed game.

Figure 4

Wriggle! is a game we’ve designed in our lab that allows us to test the impact of emotional movement on players, comparing a movementenabled version with a version that uses keyboard controls.

Entertainment Software Association (2008) Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry. Downloaded from on July 17 2008. Hatfield E, Cacioppo JT, and Rapson RL (1994) Emotional Contagion. Cambridge University Press, Paris Mandryk R, Atkins MS, and Inkpen KM (2006) A Continuous and Objective Evaluation of Emotional Experience with Interactive Play Environments. Pp. 1027-1036 in Proceedings of CHI 2006, April 22-27, 2006, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Strack F, Martin LL and Stepper S (1988) Inhibiting and Facilitating Conditions of the Human Smile: A Non-obtrusive Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis. Journal of Personality.


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


“I’m not worried about anyone trying to steal (my

Billy Gordon

Billy Gordon ’11EE/NE is not one to follow instructions. They’re too restrictive. This realization came early in his childhood, when he was consumed by Erector sets and LEGOS. He had the most fun “outside of the box,” creating something entirely to his own liking—without instructions. This remains true today.

“At the end of high school, I was into DIY (do-it-yourself) projects,” says Gordon. “Instead of buying things I needed, I’d just make them.” When he began looking at colleges, he wanted a place where his inherent creativity would be cultivated. NYU-Poly was a perfect fit in curriculum and financial aid. “I’ve enjoyed the intense instruction, and meeting and sharing ideas with students with similar interests,” says Gordon. His time at NYU-Poly has been rife with creativity. He has woven LED lights in his dreadlocks that flash according to the script embedded in a microcontroller attached to an old iPod armband. He entered an updated version—a sensory augmented bike that uses readings from a heart rate monitor to flash a red light on the back of the bike—in this year’s Inno/Vention competition. To no one’s surprise, Gordon was a semifinalist. Popular Science featured his LED chess set in its 2010 July issue. Make Magazine and have covered Gordon’s projects, the latter naming his LEGO USB charger one of its “10 Coolest LEGO-Inspired Gadgets.” Even the Late Show with David Letterman came calling, but Gordon’s late response thwarted his first on-camera appearance.


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

bright The dream job During his first year at NYU-Poly,, a site where users post instructions for making just about anything imaginable, offered him a paid internship at their California headquarters after his postings on the site enticed over a million viewers. “It was my dream job,” says Gordon. All day long, he was paid to create inventions that would help drive user traffic to the site: Tetris-shaped ice cubes, laser tattoos and an eightfoot-tall match, Gordon’s personal favorite and the invention that caught the eye of Make Magazine. While the attention is flattering, Gordon is ready to raise the stakes. “A lot of the stuff I’ve done so far aren’t million-dollar ideas,” he says. “It’s mostly been hobby and art projects, so I’m not worried about anyone trying to steal them, but I hope someday, I’ll have ideas worth taking.” That day may have arrived. “I feel now I could actually come up with stuff that would be worth sharing, worth having other people copy or duplicate it,” Gordon says.


l (my


DIY concepts)... someday, I’ll have ideas worth taking.”

t IDEAS Geeks Rule Gordon’s shift in perspective has prompted him to begin more seriously exploring NYU-Poly’s offerings. He’s added a concentration in nuclear engineering to his studies and is developing stronger relationships with faculty, such as Industry Assistant Professor Matthew Campisi, who gave Gordon advice on his LEGO USB charger and speaks highly of his former student. “He has that extra piece that adds to theory: application,” explains Campisi. “That’s where new ideas and inventions come from—people who understand theory and can apply it to a societal problem. That’s the kind of student he is.” For those wishing to follow Gordon’s path, he believes, “they need to learn what they’re interested in on their own.” Having ownership of an idea and being passionate adds the best fuel to any endeavor. “Competition is really important,” says Gordon, “because it forces you to realize your concepts by actually making something.” He also believes that being creative is not for the faint-hearted. “It takes courage to pursue and share an idea,” he says. “Opening your creation up to peer review, being open to criticism and willing to accept suggestions for improvements, while having the conviction to keep important aspects of the creation (owning the idea) is what takes courage.”


Above: Gordon’s creative interests came to light with his self-made LED chess set, as seen in Popular Science magazine. Also on this page: The e-bolla, modeled after a South American hunting instrument that when released, wraps around the limbs of large animals rendering them incapable of running.

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


Aeronuts Team

David Lopez (Team Captain) ’11BS ME; Gleb Dorogokupets (Team Pilot) ’13BS ME: Carlos Diaz: ’11BS ME: John Fank: ’11BS ME: Eugene Prokofiev: ’11BS ME; Hussein Saab: ’11BS ME; Jon Starr: ’11BS ME



Ed Bear believes that outdated technology—e-waste, as it is known—has many reincarnations. His interest in e-waste morphed out of his avocation as a musician. He began tinkering with audio electronics and making recordings of analog video experiments that he crafted from old gear he got for free. His interest in formal engineering grew directly from his exposure to the significant complexity of analog video systems and a new awareness of the environmental impact of electronics when they become obsolete Funded by New York University’s Green Grants, which supports environmental literacy, applied research and community engagement, Bear performed an audit of e-waste at NYU-Poly during the fall of 2010 and developed

No sooner do you buy the latest technology “must-have” does the coveted item becomes obsolete… yesterday’s news. If you are Ed Bear, you have an entirely different mindset. Yesterday’s technological news is Ed’s playground.


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

Best in Worldwide Quest to Design Lightweight Remote-Controlled Aircraft


NYU-Poly Team Takes Top Honors in SAE Aero Design West Competition » A team from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) placed first in the Advanced Class category at the SAE Aero Design West Competition last week in Fort Worth, Texas. A total of 54 teams from around the world competed in the annual aerospace event, which presents graduate and undergraduate students with a real-life engineering design challenge and requires them to devise an innovative solution. The winning NYU-Poly team, the Aeronuts, is the first to nab a top slot for NYU-Poly in six years of competing at SAE Aero Design West. Previous teams scored second-place finishes in 2009 and 2010. This year’s competitors were tasked with designing, building and testing a radio-controlled plane within specific technical limits and requirements. All competing crafts had to be an original design, fixedwing aircraft with limited engine size and a weight of less than 55 pounds including payload. Each craft was also required to incorporate a braking system and data acquisition equipment to measure landing and takeoff distances. The Aeronuts won the Advanced Class category. These competitors focused on designing an aircraft that can lift as much weight as possible within the gross weight and engine power constraints while incorporating the data acquisition and braking system requirements. With a craft weighing just 13 pounds, the Aeronuts achieved seven successful flights with a payload of 25.5 pounds—the greatest payload of any team—and were recognized for their plane’s remarkable in-air stability amid 30 mph wind gusts at the competition site.

They were also the only team to employ a unique braking system —known as an airbrake—that utilizes existing control surfaces on the craft to create drag rather than relying on wheel brake pads. “This is an exceptional recognition for a group of students who not only demonstrated strong technical knowledge and tactical skill, but also showed their ability to work successfully as a team to solve a difficult problem,” said NYU-Poly Provost Dianne Rekow. “This combination of academic excellence and creative ingenuity is at the heart of what we aim to instill in all NYU-Poly students. The team is a perfect example of i2e,” she said, referring to the school’s commitment to invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to winning the Most Payload Lifted Award, the team took second place in the Technical Design Paper Award for written design plans. Senior design students formed the Aeronuts and four other teams to fulfill the project requirements of the class taken by all graduating underclass students majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Other teams are building highly efficient automobiles and a wind turbine. “This team did so many things right, well beyond developing a great aircraft,” said the instructor of the senior design course, Industry Associate Professor Joseph Boroweic of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department. “They evaluated previous NYUPoly teams’ designs to determine what worked and what needed to be improved upon, and they allowed those lessons to inform their design. Their success is no accident—this team planned to win.”

a series of workshops to teach how excess items—routers, monitors, printers and such—can enjoy a second life as a totally different object. “Good science and common sense suggests that the most efficient way to recover materials is to give new uses to obsolete items,” says Bear. “What sense does it make to create objects with only one use when second, third and fourth lives can be designed from the start? In no field can this type of thinking have more revolutionary applications than in the production of consumer electronics.” The TERRE workshops (Technical Education Reusing and Repurposing E-waste)—five in all—took place last year and gave the attendees hands-on learning in the creation of new objects from discarded ones. “The fundamental goal is to connect the abstract concepts that students learn in class with real physical objects,” says

Bear. “The psychological impact of seeing an equation or process embodied as a ‘real’ consumer object is not trivial.” The workshops got good reviews and Ed plans to take TERRE on the road next spring to the universities and organizations around the country. Daniel Bourbeau ’11ME found the sessions informative and thinks they could become part of an existing course. “I would recommend the workshop because of its practical application and hands-on approach,” says Bourbeau. “The workshop could be integrated into an intro or intermediate electrical engineering class. Students will have a better understanding of the selection and use of various components and will have the opportunity to be creative. Perhaps the best approach is to spread the sessions over several semesters as an ongoing project.”


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


On January 21, 2009, Dr. Steven Chu was sworn in as Secretary of Energy in the Barack Obama administration. Chu was the first person appointed to the U.S. Cabinet after having won a Nobel Prize.

polyBuzz Steven Chu Secretary of Energy To Deliver Keynote Address at NYU-Poly’s 156th Commencement Dr. Steven Chu, the 12th United States Secretary of Energy, will deliver the keynote address at NYU-Poly’s 156th Commencement ceremony at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on May 23. In his current position, Dr. Chu is charged with implementing President Barack Obama’s mandate to invest in clean energy, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, address the global warming crisis and promote job creation. He was the co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics and has a long and distinguished career in atomic physics, quantum

And the Winner Is…

24 34

Cable NYU-Poly’s NYU-Poly's Alumni Magazine

electronics, polymers, biophysics, and most recently, investigating solutions to the nation’s energy challenges and global warming. While at Stanford University, he helped establish Bio-X, a multi-disciplinary initiative that brings together the physical and biological sciences with engineering and medicine.

Dr. Chu earned his PhD in physics from the University of California at Berkeley. He holds 10 patents, 15 honorary degrees and has published 250 scientific and technical papers. His late father, Ju Chin Chu, a professor of chemical engineering, taught at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in the 1940s.

As part of the i2e Campus Transformation, the NYU-Poly community had a chance to weigh in on the choice of furnishings for various locations around campus during the Poly Pods kickoff event in February. The pods will create an impromptu setting for informal gathering throughout the community and lend a dash of vibrant color to underutilized space. The week-long voting campaign took place in person in the lobby of the Jacobs Academic Building or via an online survey. Participants made their selections from 3-5 flexible furniture groupings. A curvy lounge chair, a rectilinear bench with a low-profile back rest and a generously sized coffee table appealed to the majority of voters. The color palette voters favored included blue, orange, red, gray and purple. The final furniture groupings, to be installed throughout campus this spring, will feature combinations of the favorite pieces in the most popular hues.

Spring 2011

Be My Guest » A Presidential Invitation

Ursula Burns ’80 ME

Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns ’80ME was an invited guest of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union Address in January. Burns, seated in the First Lady’s viewing box, was asked to attend in recognition of her involvement with the Change the Equation STEM initiative and the Export Council, both of which aim to improve and stimulate the economy through job creation. Nik Rocklin

Swami Discusses the ‘Journey Home’ An SRO crowd jammed LC 400 in the Dibner Building to attend a lecture and book signing by renowned guru and author Radhanath Swami. His book, A Journey Home: The Autobiography of an American Swami, is one of several texts examined in NYU-Poly’s first-year writing seminar taught by Rachel Stark of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, and chronicles the Swami’s spiritual development. Born Richard Slavin, Swami left his home in Chicago and traveled across Europe, the Middle East and Asia seeking spiritual fulfillment. He eventually settled in Mumbai, India permanently, returning to the United States periodically to share his story and encourage the Bhakti yoga tradition, which he has practiced for 40 years.


Cable NYU-Poly’s NYU-Poly's Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

25 35

Below: Dr. Richard Gross shown holding a device he uses to convert yeast and fatty acids into a bioplastic material.


Using Yeast to Build a Better Plastic Richard Gross, the Herman F. Mark Professor and director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing of Macromolecules, has developed a method for producing a strong, highly ductile bioplastic using yeast and one of nature’s simplest building blocks: fatty acids of plant oils. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Like all plastics, the new material is a polymer—a large molecule comprised of smaller, repeating units called monomers. In this case, the monomer itself is relatively new. The units are called omega-hydroxyfatty acids, and when strung together to form a polymer, they can produce a biologically friendly plastic. Until now, omega-hydroxyfatty acids were

difficult and expensive to produce using traditional methods, prohibiting their widespread use. Gross produced the monomer in a first-of-its-kind fermentation process, a fairly quick, low-cost method. The monomer is then polymerized to form a uniquely ductile, strong nat-

A Moving Experience for Doctoral Student Turned Author » The last title Dustyn Roberts expected to have in her list of credentials was “author.” The daughter of an engineer, she decided early on to follow in her father’s footsteps—long before she actually understood what engineers do. One thing she did know: she would rather write a lab report than a creative essay. With a bachelor’s in mechanical and biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s in biomechanics and movement science from the University of Delaware, Roberts landed a job with Honeybee Robotics in New York City that allowed her to work on various projects, such as a portable manipulation system for NASA. After over four years with the company, Honeybee began downsizing. Roberts struck out on her own, establishing a consultancy and continuing to teach a graduate course, “Mechanisms and Things that Move,” that she


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

“This process uses no fossil fuels, and every step is biologically friendly… resulting in a versatile, 100 percent biodegradable plastic.”

ural plastic that biodegrades completely in soil. Gross and his team devised a new way to produce these monomers by using a genetically modified strain of Candida tropicalis, one of the many types of yeast that live harmlessly in humans and animals. The engineered yeast is capable of converting fatty acids of plant oils into large quantities of omegahydroxyfatty acids. When polymerized, the new material may be a suitable substitute for petroleum-derived plastics such as polyethylene for uses such as disposable gloves, multi-layer food packaging films, and films for ice, trash, garments, produce bags and more. “This is a very exciting development in the field, and not just because we’ve created a bioplastic with desirable properties,” said Gross. “This process uses no fossil fuels, and every step is biologically friendly…resulting in a versatile,

100 percent biodegradable plastic.” The new bioplastic is highly resistant to moisture, which is an important improvement over currently sold bioplastics. Gross’ company, SyntheZyme, was tapped by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop this bioplastic. The material was originally intended to serve a dual purpose: as packaging material in the solid state, and as a biodiesel for military engines after being broken back down or de-polymerized to monomer units. The material development and performance in the solid state has been successfully completed; research into converting the plastic to diesel is currently under way. SyntheZyme is a member of the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE), a new-business accelerator for clean technology and renewable energy companies in New York City. Based in the first New York Citysponsored business incubator at 160 Varick Street, NYC ACRE is operated by NYU-Poly as part of its commitment to invention, innovation and entrepreneurship—a philosophy it calls i2e—and receives support from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Richard Gross

Professors Honored as IEEE Fellows » IEEE, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity, has honored three NYU-Poly professors with IEEE Fellow status. IEEE Fellow is a distinction reserved for select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting of the prestigious grade elevation to IEEE Fellow. The honored faculty members included in the Fellow Class of 2011 are: Elza Erkip

associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, for contributions to multi-user and cooperative communications. Nasir Memon

developed in 2007 for New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. Her sojourn into literature was really based on her personal experience as a student. “My formal education did not provide real-life, hands-on experience,” says Roberts, ”so I wasn’t really prepared for the rigors of employment. I wrote the book I wish I had when I started my first job. Making Things Move provides practical application for the reader with easy-to-follow text, photos, diagrams and an equipment list. It is especially helpful for non-engineers because it has enough theory for the reader to understand how to select parts. It is practical and fun, as evidenced by some of the experiments that include designing a cardboard pantograph and creating a mouse-trap powered car.” Roberts’ dedication to hands-on learning has been the impetus for her pursuit of a doctorate in mechanical engineering at NYU-Poly and the basis for her approach to teaching engineering. “If I can break engineering down differently than my professors broke it down for me,” said Roberts, “maybe I can help someone.”


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

professor of computer science and engineering, for contributions to media security and compression. Shivendra Panwar

professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications, for contributions to design and analysis of communication networks.

Spring 2011



What Prompts Citizen Scientists to Conduct Research for Free? Neither Money Nor Résumé Building NYU-Poly Researcher Reports That Volunteer Astronomers Respond Differently Than Contributors to Wikipedia, Flickr and Software

Only days before the NASA Stardust spacecraft beamed home comet photos long awaited by astronomers, other researchers revealed the factors that motivated citizens to volunteer without pay to examine more than a million images of space dust captured by the spacecraft’s predecessor.

Extending the life cycle of our infrastructure and finding ways of detecting the first signs of deterioration before structures reach the “point of no return” has long been a source for scholarly discourse and research. According to a 2009 Report Card by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), America’s aging roads, bridges and transit systems don’t make the

Concrete Findings:

Sensing Molecules Could Improve Infrastructure Health

grade. These structures have deteriorated to the point that ASCE estimates it will take $2.2 trillion over five years for its maintenance. Masoud Ghandehari, associate professor, and Weihua Jin, industry professor in NYU-Poly’s civil engineering department may very well have found some answers to this problem. They are using a di-


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

“ Science simply doesn’t offer instant gratification. That may be one reason that participation dropped off precipitously with tenure in the project. We wanted to find out how to encourage participation.”

Oded Nov

The team of researchers headed by NYU-Poly Assistant Professor of Technology Management Oded Nov reported citizen astronomers were best motivated to spend unpaid hours looking for microscopic stardust particles by the project’s objectives, the fun they experienced and the reaction they expected from their friends and family. Some of those motivations varied significantly from other crowd-sourced projects. The iConference 2011, held in February, chose “Dusting for Science: Motivation and Participation of Digital Citizen Science Volunteers” for its Best Paper Award. Co-authors are Nov, Ofer Arazy of the University of Alberta School of Business and David Anderson of Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). A few days after the conference closed, the second Stardust spacecraft beamed home its comet images. Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers have been sifting for years through 1.6 million series of digital images in search of interstellar dust captured by the predecessor Stardust spacecraft. That daunting volunteer project, called Stardust@home and headed by UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory Associate Director Andrew Westphal, was studied by Nov and his colleagues. “Unlike those who contribute to YouTube, Flickr, or Wikipedia, citizen scientists do not immediately benefit from participation,” Nov said. “Science simply doesn’t offer instant gratification. That may be one reason that participation dropped off precipitously with tenure in

the project. We wanted to find out how to encourage participation.” Citizen science projects, which harness volunteers’ skills, time, effort and computing resources, cost-effectively contribute to scientific research and engage the public in science. Understanding volunteers’ motivations is key to attracting and retaining these online laborers of science. Nov’s prior research found motivations differed for contributors to Wikipedia, opensource software and the photo-sharing site Flickr. Early research by Nov found that Wikipedians were primarily motivated by the fun of contributing; other studies found that improvement of professional reputation is also a motivator. When Nov and other researchers surveyed Flickr contributors for a paper that was chosen Best Paper of the 2009 AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, they found that a sense of community was most important to Flickr contributors. Based on their research, Nov and his colleagues recommended that citizen science projects communicate their mission through social media and employ gamelike tactics to create fun for small research tasks. They pointed to the success of open-source software and Wikipedia, which allow participants to progress in rank. Nov and his colleagues also encouraged professional scientists to adopt Wikipedia-like citizen science structures that empower citizen scientists.

agnostic approach to detect problems in structures at their incipi-

sors that will be added to concrete mixtures. When the mixtures have

ency. The two are working with concrete—the most-used building

hardened, they will use an imaging technique to collect data about the

material on earth—that will have the smarts to self-detect chemical

chemical reactions of aging in the concrete. The data could help material

signs of degradation which compromise the integrity and safety of a

scientists create stronger, more resilient concrete for new construction,

structure far in advance of identifiable physical symptoms.

and also for remediation and preventative approaches that could extend

Unlike those who contribute to YouTube, Flickr or Wikipedia, citizen scientists do not immediately benefit from participation...

Ghandehari is the principal investigator along with co-PIs Jin and

the life of existing structures.

Christian Brückner, a University of Connecticut associate professor of

“Using the optical signatures of the sensor molecules,” said Ghan-

chemistry of a research project that was awarded $400,000 by the Na-

dehari, “we can map the distribution of ionic transport in concrete.”

tional Science Foundation (NSF). The project’s primary goal is to improve

Ghandehari expects that the team’s finding will most likely lead to a

the fundamental understanding of a chemical reaction between cement

commercial application in diagnostics technologies.

and silica-based aggregates (the building blocks of concrete). This reac-

The grant supporting the team’s research is part of an NSF program

tion, known as the alkali-silica reaction, or ASR, is a major contributor to

that targets interdisciplinary research. Ghandehari notes that the funding

the premature weakening of concrete structures worldwide.

will bring together students in NYU-Poly’s civil engineering department

To understand ASR, the research team is creating molecular sen-

and chemistry students at the University of Connecticut.


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


Provost dianne rekow

“Her work stands to transform an ubiquitous aspect of modern life—the daily interaction between humans and computers—and we congratulate Dr. Isbister on this well-deserved recognition.”

Katherine Isbister Awarded Humboldt Research Fellowship »

Katherine Isbister, research director of the new Game Innovation Lab, has been recognized by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with its prestigious Humboldt Research Fellowship. The fellowship offers experienced researchers the opportunity to spend up to 18 months abroad conducting collaborative research with educational institutions in Germany. Isbister will conduct her fellowship at the Technische Universität Berlin. Isbister’s work merges computer and social sciences with a focus on the development of new multi-touch computer interfaces for applications ranging from smartphone and tablet screens to large displays. In addition to heading the NYU-Poly Game Innovation Lab, she serves as an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Computer Science and Engineering as well as Digital Media (Humanities and Social Sciences). “This is an extraordinary opportunity for Dr. Isbister to team with top researchers in this emerging area of innovation,” said Provost Dianne Rekow. “Her work stands to transform an ubiquitous aspect of modern life—the daily interaction between humans and computers—and we congratulate Dr. Isbister on this well-deserved recognition.” Using studies of how physical movements and gestures affect human emotions, Isbister and her colleagues in Berlin aim to design humancomputer interfaces that enhance the social and emotional well-being

of users. Many of the traditional office configurations—such as a worker sitting hunched over a computer keyboard or the rapid clicking motions of a mouse or smartphone keypad—may actually increase feelings of stress and exhaustion, she said. As multi-touch devices become widely prevalent and more time is spent interacting with computers, Isbister sees tremendous opportunity for improving the user experience and possibly even productivity. “There is no reason why everyday tasks like replying to e-mail or searching for computer files cannot be tailored to mimic the gestures that make us feel relaxed and focused, like tai chi or dance,” said Isbister. Last autumn, another member of NYU-Poly’s humanities and social sciences department received a Humboldt Research Fellowship. Myles W. Jackson, the Dibner Family Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and a professor of the history of science at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, will conduct his research at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Mathematics in Kaiserslautern, Germany, this summer. Candidates for the Humboldt Fellowship are selected based on academic record, including criteria such as publications in internationally reviewed journals, expert references and the academic quality and feasibility of the research proposal. Isbister will begin her fellowship in summer 2011.

Supporting Dr. George Bugliarello’s Legacy » Dr. George Bugliarello was a visionary leader and accomplished engineer whose dedication to enhancing education through collaboration and innovation made a lasting impact on thousands of Polytechnic students. Whether you knew George personally, attended Poly during his tenure as president, or followed his career in Brooklyn and beyond, you can forward his legacy by making a gift in support of student scholarships at NYU-Poly. Since 1994, Dr. George Bugliarello has actively supported STEM education through a scholarship in his name awarded annually to


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

an undergraduate student who demonstrates academic excellence. For the past two decades, the Promise Scholarship Fund has helped underrepresented students fulfill their dreams of earning a college degree with more than $17 million in scholarships to Poly students. Dr. Bugliarello’s passion for education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will forever live on at NYU-Poly. To make this important contribution in memory of Dr. Bugliarello, please use the envelope provided in this issue of Cable, or contact a member of the Development and Alumni Relations staff at (718) 260-3885. Gifts may also be made online at

FACULTYfeature Stephen Arnold, Thomas Potts Professor of Physics and University Professor, Physics and Chemistry, presented an invited talk on October 26 at the Optical Society of America’s annual meeting on discoveries made, following funding by an NYU seed grant to himself and David Grier, NYU, Physics. The research, which was later funded by an NSF grant, inspired his talk, titled “Optically Resonant Biosensing and Nanoparticle Trapping within a Whispering Gallery Mode Carousel.”

Avi Ulman, Professor, Chemical and Biological Sciences, received a $3M grant from the National Science Foundation for the renovation of new laboratories for the Institute of Engineered Interfaces (IEI). With additional matching funds of $2M from NYU-Poly, the design stage of the new laboratories is underway. The renovated IEI laboratories will utilize common space and shared facilities for all its research operations. In addition to common synthetic laboratories with multiple hoods and a clean room for nanofabrication, the new space will have a core characterization laboratory and cell culture facility, providing cutting-edge laboratories for our faculty and students. The IEI was established with the aim of developing cutting-edge research and educational programs in interface science and engineering. IEI members come from six NYU-Poly departments—chemical and biological sciences, chemical and biological engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, civil engineering and physics—and from the NYU dental and medical schools, where smart materials and interfaces find many applications. Louis Menashe, Professor Emeritus, has garnered high praise from authors and academicians alike for his latest book, Moscow Believes in Tears, for its scintillating discussion of Russian culture and cinema over the last 25 years.

Maurizio Porfiri, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was the featured speaker at the 3rd H2CU Conference Roma-New York: International Academic Cooperation.

Kalle Levon, Professor, Chemical and Biological Sciences, was featured in an article in FiDiPro on developing biosensors. Levon was featured as the resident guest lecturer in the 2010 Finland Distinguished Professor Programme.

Sung Whang, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, wrote the introduction and edited the book, Nanostructured Metals and Alloys: Processing, Microstructure, Mechanical Properties and Applications, which was published in February.

Zhong-Ping Jiang, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, will deliver the keynote address at the Sixth Annual IEEE Conference on Industrial Electronics and Applications in Beijing, China in June.


Eli Pearce, University Research Professor, Chemical and Biological Sciences, has joined the Scientific Committee of the Polymers for Advanced Technologies Conference, which will be held in October in Lodz, Poland. He is also the co-author of the recently published book, “New Steps In Chemical and Biochemical Physics, Pure and Applied Science.” Co-authors are Gerald Kirshenbaum ’70Chem and G.E. Zaikov of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Bharat Rao, Head, Technology Management, will serve as an area editor on the editorial board of the International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, published by World Scientific Publishing.

Kurt Becker, Associate Provost for Research and Technology Initiatives and Professor of Physics, was interviewed by Larry Greenemeier for Scientific American on the airline industry’s attempts to thwart terrorist attacks. He also served as guest editor, along with Holger Kersten, Jeff Hopwood and José Lopez, for a special issue on microplasmas for the European Physical Journal D.

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011



Below: From left: Bruce Garetz, head, CBS; Joanna Aizenberg; Herbert Morawetz; and Jules Shafer.

Bio-material Pioneer Joanna Aizenberg Delivers Morawetz Lecture The rainy weather gave Joanna Aizenberg, a Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences researcher and professor, the chance to point to yet another potential application of her research: waterrepellent clothing. The scholar was visiting as the honored guest of the CBS/CBE Distinguished Lecture Series, established by the Chemical and Biological Sciences and Chemical and Biological Engineering departments to recognize the contributions of NYU-Poly’s Herbert Morawetz to the field of polymer research. While seasoned practitioners in the field of polymer research could delight in the historical tie between the two scholars, other attendees were just as enthralled by Aizenberg’s presentation, which touched on the connections between nanotechnology, biology and the physical sciences, as well as the possible application of those connections to novel electronics, photonics

and tissue engineering, among other uses. For example, Aizenberg’s study of the brittlestar, a starfish made from crystals, inspired her to develop environmentally responsive, artificial microactuators that function like a starfish’s pedicellaria, those pincer-like structures that seemingly exist to prevent larvae or like animals from settling on its surface. By fabricating hybrid nano/microstructures that mimic the skin of a starfish, Aizenberg moves us closer toward new materials with reversible optical or wetting properties. Imagine, for instance, a material with anti-icing properties that can also blend in with its surroundings.

The possibilities that could come from Aizenberg’s research led to enthusiastic exchanges with audience members, who peppered the scientist with questions. “I think it was really fascinating,” said Nicole Rivilis, a dual electrical engineering and chemical biomolecular engineering major. Arthur Frohlich, an electrical engineering major who attended the lecture with Rivilis, seconded his classmate’s assessment, saying “fascinating” was just the word he would use to describe the talk. “One of my goals now is to look up the stuff she mentioned,” he said, referring to the concepts and findings Aizenberg introduced.

2010 Bugliarello Prize Recipient » David Wong, an associate dean of research and a professor in the Division of Oral Biology and Medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry, was named the recipient of the 2010 George Bugliarello Prize. This is the second time the prize created in honor of Polytechnic Institute of NYU's late President Emeritus George Bugliarello has been awarded since its incipiency in 2007. Wong is a dentist-scientist whose research focuses on the molecular determinants of head and neck cancer. He recently received two four-year awards from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research for the creation of the UCLA Collaborative Oral Fluid Diagnostic Research Center and the Human Salivary Proteome Project. The salivary proteome project will map an entire catalogue of proteins in human saliva and will use microsensors to detect oral cancers and oral pathogens in saliva. Wong’s prize-winning article “Salivary Diagnostics” presented a unique balance of biology, technology and benefit to society as well as offering “a number of surprises.” The Bugliarello Prize is awarded for a superior interdisciplinary essay, review of research, or analytical article published in American Scientist, Sigma Xi’s bimonthly magazine of science and engineering, and carries a $5,000 award. The prize is chiefly endowed by gifts from the Teagle and Greenwall foundations in honor of President Emeritus Bugliarello, former institute professor of civil engineering and Sigma Xi’s president from 1992-93.


Cable NYU-Poly's Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


letter from the

AlumniPresident Dear Fellow Alumni, As I prepare to complete my term as president this June and look forward to serving as immediate past president, I look back with admiration, respect and gratitude to all of those with whom I served. I could not have asked for a better team! I am always in awe of the experience, dedication, hard work and determination our leadership has when it comes to serving our alma mater and ensuring that our goals are achieved. In July 2010, the PIAA leadership (Executive Officers, Executive Council and the International Board of Directors) outlined a number of goals for the 2011 academic year. They included: 4 Supporting NYU-Poly’s overall development and engagement goals 4 Actively participating in fundraising with an emphasis on the Annual Fund and increasing alumni giving and first-time donors 4 Researching the other alumni associations at the NYU schools 4 Marketing our PIAA more actively and promoting our alumni benefits to the alumni base 4 Assist in generating employment opportunities for our alumni The PIAA leadership has worked tirelessly this past year to accomplish these goals and to deal with day-to-day management issues. Our standing committees, as outlined in our bylaws, as well as our two created ad hoc committees, are well-managed, chaired by exceptional leaders and attended by active alumni who serve without reservation. We all benefited from having the dedication of the following chairpersons leading our efforts: Standing Committee Chairs Nominating Committee – George Likourezos ’92EE Audit Committee – Neil Weiser ’73EE Bylaws Committee – Dick Eden ’73EE Awards Committee – Frank Namad ’68ME Scholarship Committee – Rosa Yaghmour ’98ME


Ad Hoc Committee Chairs Marketing & Communications Committee – Josiane Arbouet ’96 ’99IS Fundraising Committee – Co-chaired by Gerry Dawes ’84 ’89EE & Charlie Hinkaty ’70MA These past few years have been defined by numerous challenges for our association, especially regarding the NYU-Poly transition. All the while, the PIAA has built an excellent relationship with the administration, faculty, alumni base and students. We have worked closely with President Jerry Hultin, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Barbara Noseworthy, Provost Dianne Rekow, Director of Alumni Relations Anthony Kapp and the trustees to continue our support and contributions to NYU-Poly causes such as Concrete Canoe, Promise Fund, Polytechnic Fund, Engineers Without Borders, Toast and many others. In closing, I want to thank all of those with whom I served during my terms as an International Board Director and as president. I learned something from each and every one of you and want to express my gratitude for your support, your service, leadership and dedication to our alma mater. Best,

Christine Ianuzzi ’87BSEE ’94MSISE

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011



Poly-made Women Help Strengthen PIAA

trical engineering because she felt it was “more marketable and promotable as a career.” Although it was only 24 years ago, the idea that a woman would become an engineer was a bit unusual, but not for Ianuzzi. “I was raised to believe that I could be whatever I wanted,” she said. “I studied engineering at Poly because I wanted to be successful working in the sciences. Poly was a great choice and the catalyst for my entire professional career.” Ianuzzi also earned an MBA from Baruch College in 1996. She landed her first job as an engineering aide at ABC one day after graduation. Over time, Ianuzzi rose through the ranks to become director of engineering. In 2000, she was named vice president of Broadcasting Technology, Engineering and Operations and eventually became senior vice president before joining HBO. She has remained loyal to her alma mater throughout her successful professional career, serving as an international board member of the PIAA in 2008 and the organization’s president since 2009. She’s also on the advisory board of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and listed among the “35 Most Admired Engineers in Radio” in 2007 and 2009. She is especially proud of her role in shepherding various PIAA teams through the transition of the NYU and Poly affiliation, fundraising and cultivating relationships with students and administration. Janis Peck-Paradiso ’03CompE, is an assistant director in the Office of Business Development at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and also serves as a


The women of NYU-Poly have not only earned recognition in the corporations and prestigious academic institutions across this country. Many, like Georgia Fisanick ’71, former president of the alumni association, have broken the “second glass ceiling” by becoming the first women to also hold executive positions in industry and academic organizations. Cable takes a look at some of these dynamic women who have not only realized professional achievement, but as dedicated members of the Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association (PIAA), have made undeniable contributions to the direction and success of their alma mater. As vice president of studio operations at Home Box Office (HBO), Christine Ianuzzi ’87EE ’94ISE spends her days overseeing several operational and production areas that create and perform the post-production work for HBO promos and interstitial content. It is just the latest crowning jewel in a 24-year career that has placed Ianuzzi in the corner offices of esteemed global networks such as ABC, overseeing television and radio operations. Initially, she had hoped to study medicine, but decided after a year of pre-med that she was better suited for engineering. She settled on elec-


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


1. Christine Ianuzzi ’87EE ’94ISE 2. Janis Peck-Paradiso ’03CompE 3. Rosa Yaghmour ’98ME 3

member of the PIAA’s International Board. The job places her at the center of technology transfer activities of the college with a particular focus on marketing, negotiations and licensing the college’s technologies. Prior to joining the medical college, she worked for four years in the Technology Transfer Office at the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, managing the Downstate Medical Center’s intellectual property portfolio. As a student at NYU-Poly, Janis was active in various student clubs and organizations; her involvement in the PIAA seemed like a very natural transition. “I was invited to speak at a Poly event for the

William Parrish Jr.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE),” says Paradiso. “Christine Ianuzzi was also speaking at the event and she encouraged me to get involved with the alumni association. It was a great idea, because I was very interested in giving back to Poly.” Janis’ involvement led to a seat on the PIAA’s International Board where she serves by programming various events for alums and current students that promote outstanding achievement, fellowship and communication. Josiane Arbouet ’96 ’99IS, an entrepreneur, and Rosa Yaghmour ’98ME, an intellectual property lawyer, have more in common than being successful NYU-Poly grads and PIAA Executive Council members. Josiane heads her own planning and development firm, Heron Ventures, Inc., which she co-founded in 2004 after a successful career as a director of new product development at a subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange. Her clients cut a large swath across the new economy, ranging from private companies, government agencies to not-for-profits. She helps identify and develop local markets for sustainable growth. A former Promise Scholar who also sat on the Promise Fund’s board, Josiane is also the founding member of GRAHN-USA, a think tank and action group for a new Haiti. She recently joined the executive management team of Innovative Energy Solutions as a business development officer, charged with responsibility for business development strategy and the expansion of innovative clean tech solutions. Rosa, on the other hand, is a corporate intellectual property attorney at Advanced Technology Materials (ATMI), Inc., a publicly held global leader in enabling process materials and process technology for semiconductor, display and life science industries. Technology transfers, licensing, and patent, trademark and copyright matters all come under her purview. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering, Rosa wanted an advanced degree in another field. “I thought a JD would set me apart from the pack” says Rosa. “It turned out to be a great decision.” Two very different women with very different interests. The common denominator between both women, however, is their desire to be the next president of the PIAA. “I want to serve the NYU-Poly community in building a global support network for current and future alumni,” says Josiane. “Alumni and students have expressed a desire to connect to a professional and social alumni network that understands their goals, shares their values and facilitates collaboration. I hope we can come together to share our passion for excellence and leverage our strengths in sustainable innovation and science to solve unprecedented global challenges.” Rosa sees the major part of her role, should she become PIAA president, as working with NYU-Poly as it moves toward becoming a school of NYU to expand the role of alumni and provide students with support. “I believe that the success of our alumni and the success of NYU-Poly is intertwined,” says Rosa. “Alumni and the administration must establish a closer relationship if this is to happen. Also, renewed effort must occur in our outreach to alums for greater support, financial and otherwise, to NYU-Poly.”


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

William Parrish, Jr. Receives NYU Martin Luther King, Jr. Award William Parrish, Jr. ’01MOT, president and CEO of NobleStrategy, a construction management and training firm, was named the 2010 recipient of New York University’s (NYU) Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award. The presentation commemorated the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to the NYU campus in 1961. The studentnominated award honors NYU faculty who exemplify the spirit of Dr. King through positive impact in the classroom and the community. Parrish is an assistant adjunct professor and teaches Municipal Contracts and Claims, Business Development and Management and Operating and Managing a Construction Organization. "I was truly surprised by the honor and will cherish it because Dr. King always emphasized that we should try to do our best; to achieve excellence when no one is watching," said Parrish. "We have always emphasized that approach—the idea of always taking the high road and doing things the right way… The award is very special… and extremely relevant to what we do at NobleStrategy." With more than two decades working in the construction management and training industry, Parrish’s firm has partnered with public and private interests on many large-scale, multi-stage education projects. A LEED accredited professional since 2004, he is recognized regionally for his coalition building skills with key public and private constituencies. Parrish earned a BS in Building Construction Technology from Hampton University and an MS in Management of Technology from NYU-Poly.

Spring 2011



Edward Bobroff ’40ME is an active

part-time volunteer lecturer at Explorers LLC, which is supported in part by Salem University of Massachusetts. David Edelson ’46Chem retired from Bell Labs in 1985 and Florida State University in 1994 as a professor of chemical engineering. David is now acting as special assistant to the dean of engineering at Florida State University and is entertaining the idea of retiring for the second time again soon. Stan Schreiner ’48EE is retired and living in a senior residence in Philadelphia, PA. During his career, he spent 24 years at ITT Laboratories in Nutley, NJ on numerous R&D projects for the U.S. military. His work at ITT included a transfer to France and Belgium, where he was director of systems engineering for Digital Telephone Switching Systems until 1979. After returning to the U.S., Stan held other positions with ITT, and then with a manufacturer of computer data switching equipment. Peter Reuter ’’48EE founded Trygon

Electronics (went public in 1962), Displex Corp. (went public in 1982), and a number of private companies, all in the electrical, electronic and software business in either the U.S. or Germany. He is currently looking for start-up opportunities, commuting between Lake Worth, FL and Roslyn, NY.

Michael F. Caporianco ’52ChE has

changed careers and is now a writer. He writes spiritual books, poetry and fiction. His latest books are: The Evolution of Holiness and The Bogus Pope


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine



(Publish America, Frederic 2010). The former is a chronicle of the Catholic Church through the lives of saints (first through eighth centuries); the latter is a novella that he notes has “all the ingredients of a best seller.” The Bogus Pope was co-authored by Leonard Badia. Michael and Leonard are currently working on having a movie made based on their book. Paul Shapiro ’52EE retired from

Unisys Corp. in 1991 to increase his time for adventure travel. Gerald H. Rich ’54EE recently visit-

ed alumnus Anthony Annunziato ’52EE and his wife, Irma, in Garden City, NY. During 2010, Rich’s wife of 55 years, Marilyn, died. Harry Thomas ’55EE worked for

LILCo from 1952 until 1984, when he was offered a position with Northeast Utilities in Hartford, CT. In 1995, Harry retired from the position of principal engineer at Northeast Utilities. He is very happy and busy, living with his wife. Recently, Harry became a councilman for the Town of Vernon, CT after retiring as a member of the Vernon Inland Wetland Commission. In his spare time, he assists his stepson in keeping books for his business, Distinctive Gardens and Tree Services, LLC. Harry is looking forward to his 80th birthday in August. Victor Wallace ’55EE is professor emeritus at the University of Kansas and continues to research developing mathematical modeling techniques for performance of traffic in computers and communications. He is celebrating 50 years of marriage, and has two sons and two granddaughters.

Spring 2011


Harry S. Haber ’56ME ’60ME continues to enjoy retirement. Norman P. Marshall ’57EE is retired and currently living in San Diego, CA. John La Scala ’59MG retired to central Florida over 11 years ago. He and his wife, Lily, have spent this time enjoying over 35 ocean cruises, where they met many new friends. When they aren’t at sea, they like to read the local newspaper and visit their two children, who live nearby. Charles R. Ortloff ’59AE ’61AE had two papers presented at the March ’11 Semi-Therm 47 Semiconductor and Thermal Management and Modeling Conference in San Jose, CA. The papers are titled: CFD Methods in Spray Cooling Heat Transfer and CFD Analysis of Water Supply and Distribution Systems in the Ancient World and Recovery of Lost Hydraulics Knowledge.

Sheldon Gordon ’63MA is the au-

thor of Functions, Data and Models, An Applied Approach to College Algebra, published by the Mathematical Association of America. The book integrates large amounts of statistical ideas and methods into algebra. Shelly is semiretired as a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Mathematics at Farmingdale State College of SUNY. Uriel Domb ’62MA ’64AA is the CEO

of Telespace, a satellite communications consulting company based in Toronto, Canada. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.


Uriel played a key role in the first Apollo mission to the moon in 1969 and helped many countries, including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Thailand, Israel and Norway, launch their satellite communications. Richard H. Brown ’60EE is trying to

conquer his second bout with lung cancer. Norman J. Cooperman ’67EE ’73EE retired after 35 years of service with Lockheed Martin and its heritage companies of RCA, GE and Martin Marietta. During his tenure, he contributed to the design of the descent telemetry for the lunar lander, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog circuitry for an airborne navy data link, fetal and infant monitoring medical electronics for high risk birth situations and fielded a demonstration test project to study the feasibility of implementing an electronic mail delivery system for the United States Post Office. At Lockheed Martin, he was instrumental in improving the design of survivable, no-break power distribution systems for combat system elements for the CG 47 Ticonderoga class of guided missile cruisers and DDG 51 Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers. Cooperman also led the effort to implement Solid State Automatic Bus Transfer (SSABT) devices aboard ships requiring a transfer of electrical power from a normal source to an alternate source within a half cycle of detection of a fault. He plans to continue as a consulting engineer, sharing his experiences with his new granddaughter and looking forward to some travel in the near future. Gabriel Goldberg ’68MA is a free-

lance technology writer, targeting audiences from consumers, boomers and seniors to technical experts. He is also a



volunteer with many technology-focused groups, both in his area and around the country. Gabriel attended the Fairfax County Citizens Police Academy and the FBI Citizens Academy and volunteers with both groups’ alumni associations. He is also a member of his county police station’s Citizens Advisory Committee. John Starkenberg ’69AE is an inter-

nationally recognized expert in the modeling of explosive initiation and detonation. Following a 33-year career, he retired in 2008 from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and moved to a position with Dynamic Sciences, Incorporated, where he still serves as a consultant to ARL. In his spare time, he studies jazz saxophone and is building an N-scale model railroad. Sheldon Gasior ’66IE ’70MG is the

unit chief for the Department of Roads and Public Property Maintenance Unit in Kearney, New Jersey’s Hudson County Correctional Center.

CHRISTOPHER SWAN ’77EN is celebrat-

ing his 35th year at Northeast Utilities Transmission in Norwalk, Connecticut. Recently, he assumed the role of director of municipal relations and siting, where he oversees department responsibilities for all municipal relations, external affairs, outreach, siting and substation projects in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and New Hampshire. BRIAN R. SMITH ’78PH is president of

Resonant Insight Advisory LLC. Previously, he worked as a personal financial advisor, venture management investor and as a technology management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton.


Peter Cangiane ’86EE is a manager at Broadcom Inc., a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communication, based in Irvine, CA. Glenn Govier ’80EE co-produced

and performed in two benefit shows in the past year. The shows, Rockn-Relief for Save the Children’s Haiti Earthquake Fund and Rockers Against Hunger for the Center for Food Action, were produced in conjunction with Sony Electronics Inc.’s Employee Action Committee and raised over $6,000. Isabella Szutkowski ’85ME ’87MME

continues to lead critical projects in the area of VoIP Network Planning at AT&T. Isabella recently completed her MBA from the University of Phoenix and is looking forward to spending more time with her family. John J. Zipay ’88AE is the deputy

branch chief of the Structures Section of the Structural Engineering Division at the NASA-Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. He supervises 26 talented engineers who work on the space shuttle, the International Space Station (ISS), the Orion space craft and inflatable habitats for planetary exploration. This year, Paolo Nespoli ’88AE took his second journey to space on the ISS.

Christopher Nwosisi ’94MOT earned

his doctorate in computing from Pace University Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Nwosisi co-authored a paper titled Constructing Binary Decision Trees for Predicting Deep Venous Thrombosis, which he presented at the 2010 International Conference on Software

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011




90s continued... Technology and Engineering (ICSTE 2010) last October in Puerto Rico. He chaired a session of 12 presenters and was invited to be a technical committee member for ICSTE 2011. He also became a senior member for the International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology.

Trustees Luncheon » At the conclusion of the Board of Trustees meeting in March 2011, several trustees who have contributed toward scholarships were able to meet their scholarship recipients. At NYU-Poly, nearly 88% percent of students receive scholarship support which has been contributed by generous alumni, corporations, foundations and friends of NYU-Poly.

Jose Siandre ’03TM is a principal

consultant for Energy Management Consultants, a leading energy costmanagement firm with over 20 years of global experience in advanced riskmanagement services.

Yangzi (Isabel) Tian ’12CBE, James Ligammari ’13CBE, Jessica Yee ’13BMS, Dr. John P. Schaefer ’55CH, Aneeqa Kabir ’12BMS, Yocheved Michelson ’13BMS, William K. Kramer ’52CE

Jamal Rahhali ’07CE is the executive

vice president of energy, engineering and construction management with RJ Consulting Group, Inc. Anthony Vetro ’01ECE, group man-

ager, multimedia, Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, has been named an IEEE Fellow.

Kevin Bishop ’11EE, James M. Smith ’71EE, Shirley Wu ’11EE

Daniel H. Berry ’74EE, Saad Ahmed ’14EE

T. Richard Fishbein, Josephine Chiu ’13CBE

Gideon Dunkley ’11CBE, Charlie Hinkaty ’70 ’72MA, Walter Bartellino ’14ME

Aviva Budd, Aaron and Simcha Dubitzky Endowed Scholar; Nataliya Furman ’11CBE

Sidney and Katherine Friend/NACME Scholar Jeffrey Burdier ’12EE, Mary Kay Friend, William L. Friend ’56ChE Hon’05

Major Codes:

AA: Aeronautics & Astronautics AE: Aerospace Engineering CE: Civil Engineering ChE: Chemical Engineering Chem: Chemistry EE: Electrical Engineering IE: Industrial Engineering ME: Mechanical Engineering EN: Environmental Health Science MA: Mathematics MG: Management MOT: Management of Technology PH: Physics TM: Telecom and Information Management


Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

Obituaries Noel N. Kriftcher Executive Director of David Packard Center for Technology and Educational Alliances Noel N. Kriftcher, executive director of the David Packard Center for Technology and Educational Alliances, died on March 10, 2011. With nearly 40 years of dedicated service to the children of New York City, he rose through the ranks of the public education system from high school English teacher to principal, and ultimately to superintendent of the Brooklyn and Staten Island high schools. While serving as principal of Seward Park High School in Manhattan, he was a central figure in Samuel Freedman’s book Small Victories, which has become a cornerstone in graduate education. As executive director of NYU-Poly’s David Packard Center for Technology and Educational Alliances for 14 years, he developed programs to ensure equity availability, opportunity and access for women and underrepresented minorities in the use of computer technology and the study of mathematics and science. Kriftcher found “teachable moments” in nearly every circumstance of life. He was committed to diversity and led by example in championing equal educational opportunities for all. He attended New York University and earned a doctorate in Education from Hofstra University. He is survived by his wife, Bernadette; children, Eric, Brian and Dana and their spouses, Jeannie, Betsy and Phil; grandchildren, Zachary, Paige, Ryan, Hannah, Charlotte, Sophie, Colette, Sydney, Mackenzie and Gabrielle.

Menachem Lewin Renowned Polymer Chemist Menachem Lewin, research professor in the Polymer Research Institute and the Department of Chemical and Biological Sciences and an internationally acclaimed polymer chemist, died on February 18, in Jerusalem. Lewin would have been 93 last March. When he retired from the Hebrew University, Israel in 1986, Lewin was invited by Professor Herman Mark to serve as research professor at Polytechnic. He continued in this capacity, often collaborating with Professor Eli Pearce on the study of flame retardant polymers until shortly before his death. Although he lost his sight to glaucoma in 2004, he maintained an active scientific career and realized numerous accomplishments. In 1990, Lewin founded the journal Polymers for Advanced Technologies. He also organized many international conferences, such as Polymers for Advanced Technologies and Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials. Lewin won many awards, including the Geneva University Habif Award for outstanding cellulose research in 1959, honorary citizenship of the city of Jerusalem in 1993, and in 2005, the Founders Award of the International Fiber Society and the Semplen Award from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


IN MEMORIAM John Altonji ’52 Gerald P. Baier ’55 Robert Beischer ’43 Salvatore J. Bongiorno ’48 John Cannizzo ’50 Bei-Sun Chu ’53 Francis P. Cullen ’59 Gilbert A. Currie ’70 Sid Deutsch ’47 Joseph Epstein ’53 Joseph G. Feibig ’48 Leo Fiedler ’55 Jerome Gavis ’49 Richard J. Gerhold ’57 William Gordon, Jr. ’73 Anthony William Gray ’60 Alfred D. Gronner ’50 Norman Gundersen ’56 Marvin Hecht ’55 Arthur H. Huber ’56 Matthew Kabrisky ’51 ’52 Gerard Lachs ’56 Rudolf E. Leeds ’51 Walter Horst Lorenz ’47 Martin Paul Marion ’48 William J. Matyas, Jr. ’49 Peter D. Merritt ’03 Rudolph C. Meyer ’53 Milton Mintz ’50 Paul Mischenko ’65 Michael A. Moscarello ’51 Robert F. Rosasco ’56 James Ross ’49 Joseph George Rubenson ’46 Alfred Stirba, Jr. ’39 Michael Stoiko ’51 Sang Whang ’56 Former Trustee: Joseph Gavin, Jr. Faculty: George Bugliarello Joyce Kallir Janett Trubatch ’62 John Robertson White STAFF: Martha Elizabeth Michelsen

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011



NYU Global Academic Centers






9:00 A.M.

12:00 P.M.

8:00 A.M.


1:00 P.M.


2:00 P.M. You’ve got a partner in Abu Dhabi, a collaborator in Singapore and a brilliant idea to share in Brooklyn – so when exactly is the best time for a phone conference across all NYU-Poly campuses and throughout the NYU Global Academic Centers?

8:00 A.M.

4:00 P.M.






Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011

8:00 P.M.

For more information or to register for alumni events, please visit or call (718) 260-3885.

MAY– July 2011 Toast ’11 Friday, May 20, 1–4 p.m. — Gym, NYU-Poly A celebration of the Class of 2011 sponsored by the Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association (PIAA). Full details at Alumni Weekend & Back to School Day Saturday and Sunday, May 21– 22 All alumni are invited to reconnect in Brooklyn at a celebration of Polytechnic’s rich history and promising future, featuring the Class of 1961 as they are inducted into the Golden Jubilee Society. Full details at 15th Annual Polytechnic Golf Tournament & BBQ Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m.—LaTourette Golf Course, Staten Island Join the Department of Athletics and the PIAA during Alumni Weekend for this annual barbeque and golf tournament. Prizes include a chance to win a new car, sponsored by Manfredi Auto Group. Full details at Polytechnic Alumni Association Annual Meeting Sunday, May 22, 2:30 p.m.— Pfizer Auditorium All alumni are encouraged to attend and participate in the 2011 PIAA Election. Event details and voting information available online at NYU-Poly’s Commencement Exercises Monday, May 23, 10 a.m.— Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center The Golden Jubilee Class of 1961 is invited to participate in the ceremony. For information, contact Family Day at the New York Aquarium with Professor Maurizio Porfiri Saturday, June 11, 10:30 a.m.— 602 Surf Ave, Coney Island Alumni are invited to bring their children and grandchildren ages 7 to 13 for a day at the aquarium to learn about how robotic fish are changing the study of marine life. Kids will have the opportunity to build and race a robotic fish. Space is limited. Reservations are required. Full details at Aero Engineering Class of 1951 Reunion Thursday, June 9 —Long Island Full details at Inaugural Conference, NYU-Poly-Capco Institute Paper Series in Applied Science Thursday, June 16— Six MetroTech Center Full details at Alumni Brunch & Estate/Gift Planning Sunday, June 26 — New Jersey Full details at Alumni Reception & Estate/Gift Planning Seminar Wednesday, July 27—California Full details at


alumnievents Polytechnic Alumni Annual Meeting & Nominations Announced The annual election of officers and directors of the Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association, Inc. will take place at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. in the Pfizer Auditorium of the Dibner Library Building, 5 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY. All alumni are invited to attend and vote. The Annual Meeting will follow the Back to School Day festivities. The Association’s Nominating Committee has presented the following candidates:

Officers (two-year terms): President: Josiane Arbouet ’96 ’99 Rosa Yaghmour ’98 Executive Vice President: Christopher Clinton ’09 Michael Urmeneta ’92 ’00 Vice President: Ali Akansu ’87 Leonard Singh ’98 Treasurer: Mohamed Aboshihata ’04 Sonia Moin ’04

Secretary: Jose Garcia ’09 Eric Levenstein ’06 ’08 ’10 International Board of Directors: four positions (three-year terms): Philip Furgang ’60 John Genuard ’85 Konstantinos “Gus” Maimis ’84 Edward Manzo ’72 Cheryl McNear ’92 Robert Migliore ’87 Joshua Washington ’07 John Yankovich ’91

For full details and to confirm your attendance, please visit or call (718) 260-3885 to request additional information or a hard copy of the agenda and meeting documents. If you are unable to attend in person, you are encouraged to vote by proxy. Details regarding proxy voting can be found on the website.

Cable NYU-Poly’s Alumni Magazine

Spring 2011


Six MetroTech Center Brooklyn, NY 11201 Address service requested



Featuring the Golden Jubilee Luncheon celebrating the Class of 1961: “Invention & Innovation in Engineering for the 21st Century” Visit your alma mater, interact with faculty and see firsthand how NYU-Poly is transforming the future of engineering and technology.

4 Reunion Class Dinners

4 Classroom Sessions with NYU-Poly Professors


4 Continental Breakfast

4 Golden Jubilee Luncheon

4 Student Research and Inno/Vention Display

4 PIAA Annual Meeting



4 Polytechnic Classic Golf Tournament & BBQ


May 20-21,2011

4 Campus Tours

Visit for the full itinerary and make your reservation today! Questions should be directed to Anthony D. Kapp, director of alumni relations, (718) 260-3885 or

Cable - Alumni Magazine of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University - Spring 2011  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you