Incoming 2018: Part Two

August 28, 2018

In this second half of our annual series on newly-arriving students, we meet Annabella Chen, Demauni Sankey, and Sara Yacoub. They answered questions about how they came to be interested in their field, what brought them to The Cooper Union and what they hope to do while they are here. Read part one here.

Annabella ChennAnnabella Chen
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
School of Architecture via transfer from McGill University

Part of the reason I developed an interest in architecture was because I started to realize both how it had always factored into my experiences, and how it related with other disciplines that interested me. For example, in linguistics, which was one of my majors, the word "rose" can denote the flower as much as it can serve as a metaphor for beauty. This idea of something being more than its physical state, of being influenced by those who use it and by its context, of being shared yet understood differently by each person, was what I began to see in architecture.

I appreciated the fact that Cooper cares about the history and study of architecture, but also values the study of architecture through looking at other spheres of thought. Its belief in free education, or at least a more affordable one, speaks to how it values learning and its accessibility, and moreover allows for a greater diversity of students.

I'm looking forward to understanding what architecture is, and what it can be. I'm looking forward to learning from, and being critical of, ideas, processes, people, and myself, and I'm looking forward to doing this with a group of people who are as curious about these things as I am.

This summer I have been interning for a sail and power yacht company in Miami Beach, where I have been creating owner's manuals for the company's boats, and narrowly avoiding sunburns all the while.


Demaouni SankeyDemauni Sankey
Boston, MA
School of Art

From my earliest memories of being a young Bostonian I do remember my fictional and nonfictional worlds competing for my installation of principles. I did not aspire to dribble and tackle; I wanted to become an author of tales that aided in the building of my principles. The inspiration of Stan Lee, Sam Raimi, Haim Saban, Masashi Kishimoto, and George Lucas led me into the world of art. I want to create and activate the imagination of children of color. Studying art is less of an interest and more of a responsibility spanning over a lifetime.

My high school held a portfolio review session and this was my first introduction to The Cooper Union. I stood through many reviews with the ambassadors of various schools, however it was the critique by the woman representing The Cooper Union that stimulated my interest in the idea of my work rather than the craft alone. It was then that I realized that The Cooper Union may very well be the best place to foster that.

During my time at The Cooper Union I hope to obtain a distinct approach to my projects no matter what the media. Adding on to that, the location is especially perfect for a nerdy young adult with high dreams like myself. So many venues to showcase. So many people to share hobbies with. New York Comic Con. Good lord I can't wait for Comic con.

During this past summer, I've had my final chance to go on foolish misadventures with my younger brother and my friends. One of these misadventures being a comedy film in the style of a mockumentary that circles around the lifestyle of a "trap" hip-hop artist. I have also started to return to my obsession with music and my love for 3D animation


Sara YacoubSara Yacoub
Cairo, Egypt
School of Engineering: Electrical

Growing up everything I could get my hands on turned up dismantled and reassembled. By the time I was in high school, I was able to hone these interests through subjects such as mathematics and physics, and especially extracurricular activities like robotics and Arduino projects. However, it wasn't until my experience with Girls Who Code that my decision to study computer engineering solidified into a sure reality. Studying engineering offers me an opportunity to enhance problem solving skills, challenge myself and materialize the subjects of my imagination into real world inventions and applications.

Besides their extensive curriculum, challenging programs, and promising opportunities, what makes Cooper Union stand out from other universities is their tight-knit community. I appreciate and enjoy the way students build each other up and the one-of-a-kind relationships among students and faculty.

I'm mostly looking forward to working with such inspiring and creative minds at Cooper (not only in engineering). Furthermore, I'm especially excited to join SWE and Cooper Motorsports (Cooper's Formula SAE team).

This summer I'm taking the Digital Logic Design class, to get a head start on my classes and some hands-on experience. I'm exploring the NYC area, roaming around with my friends, and soaking up the summer sun before school begins in fall.

  • 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.