Student Trustee Candidates

2021 – 2023 Candidates

Since 2015, The Cooper Union has two Student Trustee positions on the Board of Trustees. Each year, the Board seeks students who are interested in non-profit governance to serve as a Trustee for a two-year term.

Vote now for your choice to be the next Student Trustee at The Cooper Union! 
Voting closes on Friday, April 30, 2021 at 5pm. Students must log into Outlook to cast a vote and may only vote once.

Please remember you are voting for your first-choice candidate. The candidate you do not vote for will automatically become your second choice.

Elias Dills
Ellias DillsI am currently a second year architecture student. I was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My father went to the School of Architecture at Cooper in the 90’s; the legacy and presence of The Cooper Union have been in my life for as long as I can remember. As a student of the same school, it feels dutiful to become as involved in the school as possible at the highest level. I was involved in the Architecture Student Council and helped put up multiple architecture exhibits while in school in person, and continue to be engaged both within the architecture school and interdisciplinarily through the “New York City; A 5000 Year History” course and a proposed Menschel Fellowship project with students from the engineering school. If elected, I am committed to communicating the opinions of my peers to the board, bringing the art, engineering, and architecture schools into closer dialogue within their pedagogical frameworks, and ensuring the continuation of Cooper’s legacy of free tuition within the 10 year plan and beyond.

Shirley Yan
Shirley YanI’m a second-year civil engineering student. I grew up on Long Island, New York, and I’m running for the Student Trustee position. I am passionate about education, and I’m currently working for the Cooper Union Admissions department, as well as working as an enrichment specialist teaching STEM classes at various NYC elementary schools. The Cooper Union is an institution that cites fostering intersections of study and practice among the fields of Art, Architecture, and Engineering as one of its Institutional Goals, and this matter hits very close to home for me. My personal goals include holding our school and its deans, Curriculum Committee members and other Board members accountable, and encouraging the Board to provide funding towards making Cooper a more cohesive, collaborative school. The engineering school was hugely successful last semester with its revamped EID-101 TA system, of which I was a part, and the Board questioned whether such a system could be adapted for other engineering classes as well as the other schools. I look forward to learning about how our school and the Academic & Student Affairs committee plans to carry this out. I also believe this could increase Cooper’s visibility, an important part of Cooper’s strategic plan, as a more robust and interesting curriculum would attract more students. My background as a student, an educator, and an ambassador of this school makes me well-prepared for the Student Trustee position, and I am excited to bring my experiences and thoughts to the table.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.