Letter from the Dean of Engineering

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I write with great pleasure as I contemplate our newest students, nearly 600 aspiring engineers and scientists who comprise the Class of 2017, the first four year class that will graduate from the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. (It became official on January 1, 2014.) These students possess a wide array of talents and passions, and among their ranks are inventors, business owners, activists and volunteers. Some, like John Meyer, a computer science major, can claim all those qualifications. As the CEO and lead engineer of the tech company TapMedia, John had developed 34 iPhone apps at the time of his admission. He is also the founder of DevFund, an initiative that encourages inventors of apps to donate a portion of their earnings to charity. John is representative of the high caliber of the School of Engineering Class of 2017, about which you will be reading more in upcoming issues of Cable.

SAT scores for our incoming freshman have been steadily increasing over the last several years. For this year the average score for full-time incoming freshman is 1342, an impressive gain of almost 30 points over the previous year. Our recent trans- formations seem to be attracting some of these bright young people; during the convocation last fall, one said, “I have always been focused on studying engineering, and it’s great to be able to do it at NYU now.”

The Class of 2017 is also impressive in its diversity; its members are proof of our continued commitment to underrepresented minorities, financially and racially, and of others who might not previously have considered a career in a STEM-related field as a possibility. An incredible 40% of our incoming undergraduates are the first in their immediate families to at- tend college, and an even greater percentage—more than half of the class—receive need-based federal Pell Grants. According to Payscale.com, which ranked us among the top-ten schools in the country this year, we are providing these students with a solid path to successful careers. To walk around the MetroTech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn is to see a microcosm of the City, indeed the world: a tenth of the freshman class hails from outside of the U.S. with almost 20 countries—from Taiwan and Turkey to Kenya and Kuwait represented. African American and Hispanic students make up a fifth of the freshman class, and women account for a quarter— strong numbers for an engineering school and very good news for the engineering profession as a whole. We aim to do better and better.

The incoming class thus exemplifies the distinctive blend of excellence and diversity that is a traditional hallmark of the School of Engineering. What awaits them now, you might wonder. They will take rigorous classes and labs with some of the most respected professors in their fields, among them Maurizio Porfiri and Justin Cappos, both of whom have been placed by the editors of Popular Science on the “Brilliant 10” list of the most visionary scientists in the nation; they will take part in our many student competitions, some spearheaded by themselves, some by other NYU schools; undertake internships at our renowned incubators; and experience a new culture by studying abroad.

The merger with NYU has opened up myriad cross-discipline collaborative learning and research opportunities, and I trust that I will see many members of the Class of 2017 studying at the new multi-school Media and Games Network, working alongside the engineering professors who have won seed grants for cross-institutional research projects with colleagues from other schools, and attending events in Washington Square.

Over the next few years, I am looking forward to interacting with all of you, and hope you have the chance to visit the campus to meet some of us directly. You will be pleased to see the progress we have been making. Our alumni have always served as powerful and inspiring role models for our current students, and you might find in some of them your own younger images.


Katepalli Sreenivasan