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Incoming 2018: Part One

POSTED ON: August 22, 2018

In the first half of our annual series showcasing a few of the newest arrivals to The Cooper Union we meet Julia Buckley, Earl Kwofie, and Yeji Kim. We asked them how they got interested in their particular field of studies, how they ended up choosing The Cooper Union and what they did over the summer. Read part two here.

Julia BuckleyJulia Buckley
Brooklyn, NY
Mechanical Engineering

I became interested in engineering after taking an introductory class in high school. My teacher gave us many design challenges, and taught me about the different kinds of engineering and how they affect our world. I was already interested in studying math and science, so learning about engineering inspired me to be one.

I chose to come to The Cooper Union because I love everything about being here. Professor Melody Baglione showed me around the engineering building, and the fact that everyone knew each other amazed me. I went to a small high school where everyone knew each other, but knowing how big colleges are I wasn't expecting to have the same experience moving forward. However walking around showed me that The Cooper Union is a community, and as soon as I left I told my parents that was where I wanted to go.

I'm excited work with inspiring individuals who have achieved so much, not only the faculty but the students as well! I want to learn as much as I can here, and getting to work with such amazing people is going to be great. Another thing I'm excited about is living in NYC. Yes, I know I've lived here my entire life, so it's not completely new! But getting to live independently is totally different, and I can't wait to see my city in a new light.

This is the first summer of my life where I will not be traveling to Sweden, where my mom is from. Instead, I'm lifeguarding at Coney Island beach. I'm going to miss my family, but I don't have any regrets about my decision. I love lifeguarding, I get to spend every day swimming in the ocean and laying in the sun (except for last week, which I spent huddling in a sleeping bag trying to avoid the rain and sand blowing into my face). I've also made amazing friends who make the experience even better.

Earl KwofieEarl Kwofie
Belmont, CA via Minneapolis

Growing up I was deeply engaged with math and science. However, instead of seeing them as a means to fulfil a certain practice, I always saw them as a framework to explore my deep curiosity with epistemological constructs and my efforts to understand my surroundings. Architecture indirectly became a part of the framework that I began to use to describe the world. However, I realized that my thinking was limited by a lack of awareness of the concrete details that define architecture. I decided it would be essential that I develop a deep understanding of the concept and practice of architecture to explore the philosophies that interest me.

I chose The Cooper Union because the way in which architecture is approached mirrors my favorite subjects throughout the years: as a framework in which to mediate the way in which you approach other spheres of thought and practice. Another reason why I chose The Cooper Union was because of how thoroughly architecture is explored, which catalyzes students to be deeply engaged with the topic that they are studying. Whether it's through extensive experimentation or rigorous course work, there is a heavy emphasis on becoming well informed on the subject.

I look forward to the change of environment. New York City is a very different landscape from Northern California. It will enable me to enrich my thinking. I also look forward to learning and getting to know my peers, my professors, and the people I meet along the way.

This summer I shuffled between working full time at a summer camp that I had worked at last year and working on art/ design projects both paid and unpaid. I've also had the opportunity to start reading from some of my favorite philosophers and architects, and I have also continued to make time to write more.

Yeji KimYeji Kim
Seoul, South Korea, then the Philippines, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania

I became interested in studying art because of my high school art teachers at Abington Senior High School. I moved to Abington, PA during my Junior year of high school, and adjusting to a new home, new people, and new school was especially difficult for me. The 45 minutes of art class during the school day helped me cope with the stress and gave me an outlet to express myself freely through color, textures, and shapes. The happiness and satisfaction I experienced in creating fueled the little spark of passion for art I had in me at the time, which led me to pursue my interest in studying it.

I was completely oblivious of The Cooper Union until my high school art teacher mentioned it to me in the beginning of my senior year. Later in the year, out of curiosity, I visited The Cooper Union table during National Portfolio Day. The feedback and the encouragement I received from my reviewer during NPD was like no other review I received during the event. This piqued my interest in the school enough to go to one of the portfolio reviews held on campus. The individuals I met were genuinely interested in learning about my art and my thought process. Because Cooper facilitated an environment where artists are respected and challenged simultaneously, I chose to attend.

I am most looking forward to be inspired by my professors' and classmates' perspectives not only in art but culture, current events, etc. I am also excited to spend late nights in the studio with fellow art students and learning different insights from architecture and engineering students as well. Lastly, I am looking forward to exploring the cities and learning from the vast number of museums, exhibitions, and galleries the city has!

After graduating high school I spent two weeks in Taiwan and a week in Korea, which was absolutely amazing. After coming back from Asia, I spent some quality time with my dog, played around in my sketchbook, and traveled with my family to spend some time together before I leave for school.



  • 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.