Shoop's Stoop - September 2021 Newsletter

POSTED ON: September 16, 2021

Shoop Stoop Graphic

Welcome back to Shoop’s Stoop! The start of a new academic year marks a renewal, a continuation of a journey of learning, exploration, and growth. Our return to in-person learning is filled with anticipation as our returning students look forward to reengaging with the Cooper community that they so missed over the last 18-months and our first-year students are truly excited to begin their journey. I can tell you that the campus felt electrified during the first-year welcome and orientation week! With this newsletter I want to share some of the things that happened over the summer in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering since our last update in June. 

First, you will notice a new graphic for Shoop’s Stoop. We had the great fortune to have Dayi Novas, a 2020 graduate of the School of Art, as the Art Director for the virtual 2021 School of Engineering End-of -Year Show and she agreed to use her creative talents to develop it. 

In our June newsletter, I mentioned a number of students who were going to take advantage of our expanded summer study abroad program in the summer of 2021. Students engaged in research at the University of Burgos in Spain and at Reykjavik University in Iceland and others participated in a humanitarian engineering effort in Guatemala in partnership with the Barbara Ford Peace Building Center. I encourage you to read the article in this newsletter that provides more detail about these cultural immersion experiences. The summer study abroad program is supported by the Victor and Eleanor DiFranco Endowed Fund and the E. Durbin and J. Morris Innovation Fund. 

During the summer, six of our tenured and tenure-track faculty members spent part of their summer engaged in efforts to support our comprehensive curriculum review. They collaboratively undertook activities focused predominantly on the common curricular experiences of all engineering students. This effort began with benchmarking of best practices of subjects including modern professional skills, the first-year experience, mentorship, support for a diverse student body, diversity, equity and inclusion, the common curriculum, programming, ethics, and others. The resulting 148-page report was distributed to the full-time faculty and will be used to inform the completion of the comprehensive curriculum review during this academic year. 

Our incoming first-year class is very strong. We admitted 147 students into the Class of 2025, again exceeding our target of 135. There are 32 students majoring in Civil, 33 in Chemical, 34 in Electrical, 32 in Mechanical, and 16 in General Engineering. Women comprise 40% of this class and 15% identify as underrepresented minorities. 21% of this class self-identified as the first in their family to attend college and the class has citizens of 13 different countries. About 79% of our students live in New York or New Jersey. Qualitatively, this is a class composed of many talented and accomplished musicians and artists. This cohort includes singers, pianists, violinists, jazz musicians, dancers, and more. More than one student has performed at Carnegie Hall. From studying music theory to starting literary magazines, students shared their passions around the intersection of art, music, and engineering. This class has already engaged in research. Students have pursued research in bioengineering, machine learning, sustainable energy, and climate change with a few examples including developing a low-cost solar-powered refrigeration container for communities without electricity, conducting carbon reduction research, studying the effects of prenatal drug exposure in adolescents, developing a “smart cane” utilizing 3D depth imaging, and designing a pair of glasses that deploy eye drops in your eye if the user cannot do it themselves. And finally, this class made a profound impact in their communities and share a commitment to social justice, from organizing a book drive for schools in Bhutan and in Haiti, to installing water pumps along the border in Cambodia, to spending hours tutoring their peers, or participating in activism around climate change, race, and equity. We are truly excited to add this class to our Cooper Community! 

We had several upper-class EE students take some great initiative just prior to the beginning of the academic year to build community and technical skills. Members of the leadership of the IEEE Student Branch created and conducted an IEEE Open Projects Space workshop the week before the First-Year Welcome & Orientation Week. The workshop introduced first-year students and sophomores to the EE lab and to basic EE test, measurement, and troubleshooting skills by building some simple Arduino-based electronics projects. It also helped fill in some equipment familiarization gaps left by last year’s online modality and provided a jump-start for the first-year students. It provided some early community building among students attending and students running the program. This workshop also provided a pilot for a subsequent year-long experience based on the UCLA IEEE Open Project Space Program. 

I shared previously that last year we introduced for the first time the Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) course structure in order to improve the project-based experience of our students. VIP courses engage students in a project-based experience over multiple semesters to apply disciplinary knowledge and gain important professional skills. Last year we introduced three VIP courses: one on the topic of Smart Cities, another focused on Solar Decathlon, and the third was Cooper Union Motorsports. This year, in addition to these three VIP courses we are adding a fourth: Frontiers of Bioengineering. 

On September 13, the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings were released. The school has moved-up in overall ranking to #9 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs where a doctorate is not offered. In the Regional Colleges North category, Cooper continues to be #1 Best Value, tied for #1 Most Innovative Schools, tied #3 for Undergraduate Teaching, and #4 for Ethnic Diversity

Finally, I encourage you to take some time to read the articles included in this newsletter. There is a lot going on in the School of Engineering. In addition to the article about our summer study abroad program, there are articles about faculty research, alumni and student fellowships and scholarships, and a few of our student competitions.  

Thank you again for sharing your valuable time with me on Shoop’s Stoop! It’s an exciting time to be part of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. I look forward to sharing additional updates in future editions. 


Barry L. Shoop, Ph.D., P.E.  |  Dean of Engineering  |  Albert Nerken School of Engineering

Barry L. Shoop
  • 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.