Incoming 2015: Part One

August 24, 2015

A new class arrives at The Cooper Union this week. In this first of a weekly series we asked a few of the incoming students some questions about their background, their interests and their hopes. 

Matt CebulskiMatt Cebulski
School of Architecture
Massapequa, Long Island via Moscow, Russia

How did you become interested in studying architecture?

I can’t remember any specific event that made me lean towards architecture.… I’ve always loved the different ways societies designed the spaces they lived in. It seems trivial at first glance, but how a space is designed speaks volumes about the people who created and lived in it.

Why did you choose to attend The Cooper Union?

To me, Cooper seemed to be the best possible choice out of my acceptances. The school is right in the middle of Manhattan, one of the largest and most important cultural hubs in the world. The Foundation Building itself is absolutely stocked with any supplies I could ever need to let loose my creativity. It’s pretty much the equivalent of a dungeon’s treasure stash in a video game.

What are you most looking forward to during your time here?

I’m looking forward to finally being able to work at what I love, without any restrictions. High school has bogged me down with so much stuff that I’m most likely never going to remember, so I’ve been waiting for this opportunity to focus all my time on what’s important to me.

What have you been up to over the summer?

I’ve been working at a restaurant part-time, working on scattered art projects, and teaching myself the guitar.


Mary DwyerMary Dwyer
School of Engineering
Wayne, New Jersey

How did you become interested in studying engineering?

Up until my junior year of high school, I wanted to be a writer. My mom, because she's an engineer, often took me to women in STEM events to meet other female professionals and to simply get inspired. During my junior year, I went to the women in engineering event at Cooper and for the first time I understood what engineering is. It's solving problems and improving the world. It's what I wanted to do with my writing, except more hands-on and physical. I still value the human aspect of writing, of understanding people and the world on a deeper level. The combination of meeting people, understanding their needs, and then working to fulfill those needs is humanitarian, it's engineering, and it is so thrilling to me.

Why did you choose to attend The Cooper Union?

Cooper is a challenge. But we are supported throughout the challenge. We are surrounded by a group of like-minded people who want to see us succeed. It's not competitive. It's cooperative. And because the students work as a team, we not only are able to conquer the classroom but we also work together to maintain the ethos of the school itself. It's an inspiring place.

What are you most looking forward to during your time here?

Going to art shows, meeting people, learning about the history of Cooper and being a part of perpetuating its future.

What have you been up to over the summer?

I just finished Invention Factory with Professor Wolf and Professor Lima. Anushree Sreedhar, a rising sophomore, and I won second place for reinventing the residential fire extinguisher! 


Asante MillsAsante Mills
School of Art
Deer Park, Long Island

How did you become interested in the study of art?

I can remember walking into my grandmother’s makeshift art studio (which was my mom’s former childhood bedroom) and fiddling with her paintbrushes and riffling through her art magazines. I can still see her early work hanging in my memory.  I think that seeing her make art ignited my initial passions in the study.  My mom had enrolled me in a multitude of summer art programs over the years as well.

Why did you choose The Cooper Union?

I knew that I wanted to go to school in New York City.

What are you most looking forward to during your time here?

I really am looking forward to meeting my classmates and gathering different opinions and outlooks on life. I can’t wait to meet them!

What have you been up to over the summer?

I have been working on a myriad of art projects that involve recycled paper and plastic. I’ve been working as a sales associate in retail at the local outlet mall, and I have been helping out at Huntington Fine Arts with their portrait classes too.

  • 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.