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Ana Bolsoni (Tandon '18)

Master Problem Solver

Ana Bolsoni (Computer Engineering, Class of 2018) got some much-needed financial support — and a big confidence booster — when she received three named scholarships at a pivotal moment in her undergraduate career.

“When I got the news, I cried,” said Ana, whose Brazilian exuberance shines through the New York reserve she has adopted after two years of living here. “I was so happy. I am so thankful.” 

Ana is something of a coding superstar. She acquired these skills from her obsession with computer games, which she has played since she was 14 in her native Rio de Janiero. Gaming helped her develop a knack to get the computer to do exactly what she wanted it to. It also led her to NYU.

Ana was drawn to NYU Tandon by the famed NYU Game Innovation Lab, the strong computer engineering faculty, and the city.  She found a mentor in Haldun Hadimioglu, professor of computer science and engineering, who works with security hardware.

Like many students in her field, Ana spends her time hunched over her computer writing lines of code for her classes at NYU. But she is also involved in numerous student clubs that build community and bring good ideas to fruition. With Linda Sellie, professor of computer engineering, she created the Women Coding Hour to nurture the success of women engineers — something that is a priority at NYU Tandon. 

Last year, she helped organize HackNYU, an annual marathon competition in which students have 48-hours to develop their ideas, find startup partners, and solve real-world problems. She also serves as an ambassador on the Poly Project, which gives Tandon students the chance to engage in community service. The teams behind HackNYU and the Poly Project were each awarded a 2016 President’s Service Award.

For all of her service to the school, in April 2016, NYU Tandon acknowledged Ana as Student Leader of the Year. 

The following month, however, a personal crisis hit, and Ana doubted that she would be able to continue at NYU. The first of her setbacks came in 2015, when her father lost his job in Brazil’s economic crisis, and as a result, Ana’s primary means of support for NYU was gone. As industrious as ever, she found work as a teaching assistant for a general engineering course and as a virtual learning technician with NYU Tandon Online Live to cover her day-to-day expenses. But when she turned to the banks for an additional loan to pay her NYU tuition, she was told that she had reached the limit.

“At that point I started freaking out,” Ana said.

What Ana didn’t know is that she had a secret weapon. From all of her efforts in community building for NYU Tandon, she had unwittingly built a strong support system for herself. She talked to Professor Hadimioglu. She contacted financial aid. She appealed to Anita Farrington, associate dean of Student Affairs, and ultimately wrote about her plight to Dean Sreenivasan.

Fortune turned in her favor. Ana got word that she was awarded the Professor Myron M. Rosenthal Scholarship* in late July. The windfall didn’t stop there. In the next few days, she found that she was also the recipient of the Lemelson Scholarship* and the Stanley Nisenson Memorial Scholarship,* enabling her to cover the year’s tuition. “I still can’t believe it,” said Ana. “I have been struggling financially for the last two years, and now I feel there’s someone looking out for me. “

If her many activities aren’t enough, in the coming academic year, Ana will be taking on more. As incoming president of the Patent Pending Club, she will help bring together engineers, faculty, and businesses to learn about the patent process. She is also student chapter president of ACM-W, the Association for Computing Machinery’s committee for women in computing.

“There are so many things I like about the school,” said Ana. “I tend to overwhelm myself, but I just love it. I just want to contribute more and these scholarships enabled me to do so. Without them, I wouldn’t be the president of Patent Pending, I wouldn’t be the president of ACM-W. I wouldn’t be here!”

Ana will have the opportunity to meet with the donors who are making her education possible at the annual Scholarship Luncheon next spring — something she is very much looking forward to.

If the past is any indication of future success, Ana’s plans to pursue a doctorate in computer engineering, teach and conduct research, seem to be certain.

* The Myron M. Rosenthal Scholarship was funded by late friend and faculty member, Professor Myron M. Rosenthal.

** The Lemelson Scholarship is funded by Dorothy Lemelson, whose husband, Jerome Lemelson, was an alumnus of NYU (‘47, ‘49, ‘51) and Brooklyn Poly (‘95).

*** The Stanley Nisenson Memorial Scholarship is funded by friends and family of Brooklyn Poly alumnus, Stanley Nisenson (‘52).