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Meet Our Engineering Student Council

POSTED ON: March 26, 2021

The Engineering Student Council (ESC) represents and operates in the best interests of the students at the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. The Council is administered by three administrative chairs (ad-chairs) Alex Cho CE’22, Bibi Razak CE’21, and Brighton Huynh CE’21. They serve as liaison to the Deans. Continue reading to learn more about them and what they do as ad-chairs.

Brighton Huynh CE’21 
 
Image of Brighton HuynhMy name is Brighton Huynh, and I am a fourth-year Civil Engineering student. During my time at Cooper, I had the opportunity to explore research and industry work through internships, but will be taking a detour from engineering for a few years to do Teach for America after I graduate. The ad-chair position has a history within itself, but I conceive of it as a non-hierarchical position that works to facilitate the communication of thoughts and desires of the engineering school to the faculty and administration. I came into Cooper for the potential for agency within my own education so the ESC to me is a tool to educate my peers on the options they have to make change in the institution and serve as one of the tools they can use to do so. Working as an ad-chair has granted me a lot of valuable insight into the dynamics of academic institutions, which I hope will prepare me as I work to foster educational equity in the near future as a teacher.
 
Bibi Razak CE’21 
 
Image of Bibi RazakHi, my name is Bibi, and I am a senior Civil Engineering student. Currently, I am one of the ESC ad-chairs, but before that, I was my class’ representative. I have only been a part of the Engineering Student Council since my junior year, but I have learned a lot about school politics and how Cooper’s administration is run since then. Information from all levels and departments of Cooper being passed through each other is at the heart of the ESC. This council attempts to keep everyone up to date on all progress that needs to be made or progress that is made around our school. For this reason, ESC is important to keep students on board with all possible opportunities or developments that may be made throughout the school.

As an ad-chair, Brighton, Alex, and I attend a few different meetings. There is the weekly dean’s meeting, which is the most frequent. Here, we discuss issues brought up in ESC meetings to the deans and the deans fill us in on what they have been doing or what new changes are coming about. There is also the bi-weekly ad-chair meetings, where the ad-chairs from all the different schools and Dean Chamberlin meet up to discuss overarching issues that affect everyone. There are several different meetings that come up, but regardless of the meetings we attend, our goal is to be the voice of the engineering student body. Our purpose as ad-chairs is to sit in on meetings and be advocates of the student body when decisions are being made.

Becoming an ad-chair was something out of my comfort zone, but because of it, I believe I have become a better communicator. Simply sitting in on meetings and hearing the communication flow alone helps a lot. Past this, I have gained a lot of knowledge in terms of what goes on in our school and how actions are taken to make reparations. I am still working on becoming a better ad-chair, but I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity.

Alexander Cho CE’22
 
Image of Alex ChoHello, my name is Alex Cho, and I am currently one of the three ESC Ad-Chairs! I am a junior Civil Engineering student, and I am currently trying my hardest to get an internship this summer (it is going very medium right now, but I believe!). I am a fan of working out and basketball, and I am an avid music listener of all types of music, specifically rap and 80s-90s rock currently. 

I was class representative my freshman year at Cooper for the CE’22 class and have been an ad-chair the last two semesters. Put simply, the ad-chair position acts as an intermediary between the upper management of the school and the students in the engineering school. The position entails dealing with sectional issues brought forth during biweekly ESC meetings or by other means and communicating this information to the Deans of Engineering as well as communicating any information from the Deans to students. Weekly meetings with the Deans of Engineering are organized to communicate and discuss important short- and long-term issues prevalent through the engineering school. I also meet with the other ad-chairs of the Art and Architecture Student Councils to discuss school-wide issues and events. 

There are many moving parts going on behind the scenes which I was unaware of my first two years at Cooper. Dealing with these moving parts made me realize that the ESC is a fundamental institution within the engineering school, as it represents all of the engineers within the school. Problems are always expected to emerge throughout the semester, whether it be within the classroom or a larger institutional issue or decision. These problems often cause clashes between students and faculty due to either misunderstandings or poor handling of a situation due to the natural power dynamic between students and faculty of any academic institutions. ESC acts as the intermediary to professionally handle these misunderstandings for the sake of the students as well as to make sure their voices are heard within upper management without worry of compromising their relationships with faculty members. 

While I was initially not too interested in student governance, the experiences and meaningful connections made through this position have made me come to appreciate and enjoy my work as an ad-chair. I appreciate the new people that I get to meet, both students and faculty, as I would have never interacted with them if I hadn’t become an ad-chair. 

My two semesters as an ad-chair have really boosted my soft skills, due to constantly communicating in a semi-professional nature. Due to an increase in interactions with faculty, I have found it is much easier to talk to with my professors one-on-one and clearly articulate my ideas. It has also made me care more for the school and its future even after I leave; I want Cooper to remain a prestigious institution even 10-20 years down the line, and hopefully all the work that I do will benefit at least one person down the line.

  • 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.