Projects, calendar, tuition, and application for the 2015 Summer STEM Program will be posted in early January 2015.


Summer 2014 Projects

NOTE: Classes will operate if a minimum class size is reached. Our intent is to admit students into their highest-ranked course selection.  Course popularity and class size constraints will determine final placement.

STEM Takes Flight at Cooper Union
HotSeat Chassis, Inc

Under an exclusive agreement with HotSeat Chassis, Inc, Cooper Union will offer students an opportunity to learn STEM concepts through flight simulators.  This untraditional teaching approach is being pioneered to help students achieve the Common Core State Standards of Mathematics, prepare for topics including earth science, physics, geography, health, and business.  A variety of math and science teaching strategies will be used to address each student’s individual learning style, while keeping learning fun and exciting.

The flight simulator allows students to navigate anywhere on our planet, all geographically and topographically correct, in one of 50 different planes.  Using the Flying Makes Learning STEM Fun™ STEM lab, students learn math and science by creating flight plans on an edustation®, Flight Sim PC.  They learn the fundamentals of fluid mechanics and flight physics as they chart these plans and train muscle memory using a yoke, throttle, and rudders.  This program has been highlighted in the Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report.

Digital Electronics for the Inventor
Prof. Yash Risbud
Department of Electrical Engineering
Director, C.V. Starr Research Foundation

This hands-on course challenges you to assess, design, build, test, and demonstrate an electronics project from scratch.  Daily lecture topics include digital logic design, circuit theory, programmable devices, and basic microelectronics.  Students will work with diagnostic tools critical in creating a successful device of their own design.  Initial designs by the faculty will be used as demonstrations and practice experiments.  Student work culminates with an original design they create in small teams.  Each student will build several circuits individually, with the final projects performed in groups.  Students will develop your skills in project management, prototyping, protocol and functional testing, quality assurance, and device deployment.

Building (and Breaking) Modern Architectural Structures
Prof. Jameel Ahmad and Prof. Cosmas Tzavelis
Department of Civil Engineering

This laboratory course is centered on designing, building, and testing innovative building materials for innovative structural and architectural applications.  Laboratory sessions include mixing, pouring, and testing high-strength reinforced concrete beams and columns using super-plasticizer additives.  These additives allow concrete to approach the strength and performance of structural steel.  The dynamic response of the structures students build will be characterized using a shaker table that simulates seismic loading.  Beam deflections and column buckling will be determined through compression and tension machines, while façade glazing panels will be placed under shock loading to understand how they protect buildings from explosions.  Model bridges will be designed and built by student teams and crushed under a material testing machine.  Laboratory reports and oral presentations are prepared and delivered by students who work in groups of 3 or 4 under close faculty supervision.

The course will be conducted in the Materials & Structures Lab and the Concrete Lab of The Cooper Union Civil Engineering Department.

An Introduction to Mechanical Engineering: The Rube Goldberg Project
Prof. George Delagrammatikas
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Drawing from Peter Cooper’s legacy of invention, students are immersed in a rigorous, hands-on engineering competition that broadens their understanding of mechanical engineering concepts through application. Lectures and laboratory demonstrations prepare the students to perform their team-based activities, centered on designing and building a "Rube Goldberg" machine in order to learn how basic electromechanical devices operate. Among the fundamental experiments are: DC motors, microcontrollers, internal combustion engines, pumps, structures, vibrations rigs, wind tunnel applications, automotive systems, refrigeration units, and pressure vessels.

Racecar Design through Engineering Experimentation
Prof. Brandon Balili
Automotive Laboratory Technician
Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering

This hands-on laboratory course allows students to explore heat exchangers, pumps, internal combustion engines, a wind tunnel, refrigeration cycles, direct-current motors, and fundamental microcontroller use. Students will have the opportunity to explore design considerations, such as hardware/software selection or system level integration, to help connect theoretical foundations with application. A team-based research project will allow students to design, build, and test systems for the Cooper Union Formula SAE racecar. These systems include, but are not limited to: 1) a wireless data acquisition system, 2) a new aerodynamic nosecone, 3) a lightweight crash structure, 4) frame testing system, and 5) carbon-fiber suspension members.

Protecting NYC from the Effects of Hurricanes
Prof. Joseph Cataldo and Prof. Vito Guido
Professors of Civil Engineering

On Monday, October 29, 2012 the New York City tri-state area was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. This hurricane was one of the worst storms to make landfall in the northeastern United States in recent times. The New Jersey coastline was decimated, lower Manhattan was flooded and without power for many days, Staten Island saw catastrophic loss of life and property, as did Coney Island and the Far Rockaways. This section will research and design solutions to the following problem: What financially viable measures can be taken to prevent storm surge damage and how can these solutions be constructed? The students will simulate storm surges by both mathematical modeling and laboratory experiments. Students with particular interest in learning about fluid mechanics are especially encouraged to apply.

Saving the World: The Exploration of Sustainable Energy and Untapped Green Resources
Prof. Robert Dell
Director, Center for Innovation and Applied Technology
Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering

One of the greatest challenges seen by modern society is that of ensuring energy independence. This section allows students to explore and invent novel technologies that would exploit energy sources that have remained underutilized in recent times. Students will be able to identify potential methods of harvesting green energy while becoming familiar with data collection, basic heat transfer and thermodynamics, energy measurement, and infrared thermal imaging. Potential green solutions may include cascade utilization, thermoelectrics, wind, waste heat, solar and organic energy resources; project selection is defined by student interest. One of the exciting projects include the first waste steam heat-powered robot that monitors and controls a heated urban garden. The same technologies have been used by Prof Dell to grow banana plants in Iceland and grass and flowers in December in New York City.

Genetically Engineered Machines: The iGem Competition
Prof. Oliver Medvedik
Assistant Director, Maurice Kanbar Biomedical Engineering Center
Sandholm Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

The International Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM) is an intensive synthetic biology competition open to students from universities around the world. Ever since its international launch in 2005, over 200 teams converge onto the MIT campus annually to showcase their engineered biological systems. Since 2012, the organizers of IGEM have added a special high school track for the competition. This section provides a laboratory studio for students to research, design, and build projects in preparation for their entry into future competitions. The types of projects launched by students run the gamut from biomedical applications such as: 1) engineered enzymes for synthetic blood substitutes, 2) living biosensors that can detect pathogens in lakes, 3) novel biomaterials produced using modified organisms, and 4) even using the genetic code of the organisms themselves as means to encrypt high densities of information for long term storage.

Additional Projects and Courses

As in the past, we have accommodated requests for a summer experience that allows high school students to explore their passions in the STEM fields at Cooper Union. If you are interested in a particular type of course or subject area, please contact us so that we can discuss the possibilities. We would have to find at least twelve students to register for the course once an available faculty member is identified. Examples can be introductory courses in engineering design, app development, digital fabrication, mathematics, physics, and chemistry, all taught at the advanced placement or college level, and with a laboratory component in some cases.

  • 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.