Engineering Notebook

Shoop's Stoop - June 2024 Newsletter

POSTED ON: June 26, 2024

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Welcome back to the East Village, 41 Cooper Square, and Shoop’s Stoop! We successfully completed yet another academic year and I want to share just a few of the exciting things that happened in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering since my last update.

Late in the semester, we learned the sad news of the passing of Lincoln Williams, a class of 2027 mechanical engineering student. On May 2, we held a very touching celebration of his life on the Alumni Terrace with his family, faculty, staff, classmates, and friends. To commemorate and honor his life, his friends and family are establishing a fund in his name. If you would like to contribute, please do so via this link: https://cooper.edu/giving/lincoln-williams-memorial-fund and designate the gift in memory of Lincoln. His parents, Susan Scandrett and Michael Williams, will be notified of your contribution. If you have any questions, you can reach out directly to Terri Coopersmith/VP of Development at Cooper Union at 212-353-4136.

The Cooper Union’s 164th Commencement on May 22, 2024, was a wonderful celebration of our amazing graduates. This year we had a total of 122 undergraduate students and 26 graduate students graduate from the School of Engineering. For our undergraduates, this included 17 Chemical Engineers, 27 Civil Engineers, 32 Electrical Engineers, 21 Mechanical Engineers, and 5 General Engineers. In addition to the undergraduate degrees, members of this graduating class were awarded 60 minors: 7 Mathematics Minors, 32 Computer Science Minors, 9 Bioengineering Minors, 5 Chemistry Minors, and 5 HSS Minors.

Our fall 2024 incoming first-year class is again very strong. We admitted 114 students into the Class of 2027. There will be 22 students majoring in Chemical Engineering, 28 in Civil, 29 in Electrical, 30 in Mechanical, and 5 in General Engineering. Women comprise 44% of this class. Additionally, 10% of this class identify as underrepresented minorities, 21% self-identified as the first in their family to attend college and 9% of the class is international. This year we have 43 entering Master of Engineering students. 81% of these admitted students submitted standardized test scores with an average SAT score of 1478 and an average Math SAT score of 765.  By all measures, this is yet another very strong entering class!

This fall, we will add a new tenure-track faculty to our Chemical Engineering Department ranks. Abhishek Sharma received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2021 and since then has been a postdoctoral scholar at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. His areas of academic interest include thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, molecular simulations, chemical kinetics, and statistical mechanics-derived molecular simulation of phase transitions. Over the past four years, I have hired 11 new tenure-track faculty, nearly one-third of the tenured and tenure-track faculty in the School of Engineering. In 2013, the composition of the tenured and tenure-track faculty in the School of Engineering was 6.3% women and in Fall 2024 it will be 42% women!

As you will recall, this academic year is our ABET Record Year. We submitted our request for evaluation to ABET on January 31, 2024, and that initiated our reaccreditation. We are currently in the final stages of completing one Self-Study Report for each of the four ABET accredited programs – think of each being a 300-400-page report – needless to say, a tremendous amount of work! These self-studies will be submitted to ABET by July 1, 2024. The reaccreditation evaluation will be a comprehensive general review with an on-site visit of four Program Evaluators (PEVs) and a Team Chair that will occur on September 29 – October 1, 2024. By all measures, we are in good shape for this reaccreditation.

Our students and faculty continue to do amazing things. I encourage you to read about their accomplishments in this newsletter's articles!

Thank you again for sharing your valuable time with me on Shoop’s Stoop! It continues to be an exciting time to be part of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. I look forward to sharing additional updates in future editions of Shoop’s Stoop! From all of us at Cooper, enjoy your summer! 

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Barry L. Shoop, Ph.D., P.E.  |  Dean of Engineering  |  Albert Nerken School of Engineering

Tags: Barry L. Shoop


Shoop's Stoop - April 2024 Newsletter

POSTED ON: April 16, 2024

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Greetings from the East Village and welcome to the latest Shoop’s Stoop!

Our students and faculty continue to do amazing things! I encourage you to take the time to read all the articles in this newsletter. They include student activities and successes, faculty contributions and accomplishments, curricular initiatives, and alumni activities.

At the beginning of this academic year, we advertised for a tenure-track faculty position in the Department of Chemical Engineering. I am pleased to announce that we have successfully hired Abhishek Sharma to fill this position. Abhishek received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2021, and since that time, has been a postdoctoral scholar at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. His areas of academic interest include thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, molecular simulations, chemical kinetics, and statistical mechanics-derived molecular simulation of phase transitions. We very much look forward to having Abhishek join us in August!

Earlier this year, Nori Perez, the Dean’s Office Manager, and Elizabeth Waters, our Director of STEM Outreach, were both offered amazing opportunities elsewhere that allowed them to further their professional careers. So, in a relatively short time we were able to hire replacements that allowed continuity of operations. On April 1, Lizbeth (Liz) Soto joined our team as the new Dean’s Office Manager. Liz was previously the Administrative Coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center and most recently the Senior Administrative Manager at Weill Cornell Medicine. On March 18, Yvonne Thevenot joined our team as the new Director of STEM Outreach. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Mathematics, Science, & Technology, at the Teachers College at Columbia University and is the Founder of STEM Kids NYC. She focuses on curriculum and instruction design with culturally responsive pedagogy and approaches. We welcome these two amazing individuals and look forward in anticipation to the great things they will do for Cooper!

Our faculty continue to do amazing things. Professor Jennifer Weiser, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in biomedical sciences from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. She will join the faculty of Graz Technical University (TU Graz) in Austria. She will be a Visiting Professor in the Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Biobased Systems (IBioSys) during the spring semester of Academic Year 2025.

Our students also continue to do amazing things. Ubaidullah Hassan ChE'25 was named a Goldwater Scholar. Hassan is working with Professor Robert Topper in the Department of Chemistry on research that applies computational chemistry methods to the area of atmospheric chemistry. Our Solar Decathlon Team secured a place as a finalist under the Multifamily Building Division. Among twenty teams competing in the multifamily division, only ten advanced to compete in the finals that will be held at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, CO. We also had seven other students receive scholarships from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE), and the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) Metropolitan Section. I encourage you to read about these amazing student achievements in this newsletter.

Our Summer Study Abroad Program continues to thrive. This summer we will send 11 engineering students abroad. This includes Technische Universitat Dresden and Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, both in Germany, Reykjavik University in Iceland, the National University of Singapore, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid in Spain, the Barbara Ford Peace Building Center in Guatemala, Universidad de Burgos in Spain, and Bar-Ilan University in Israel.  

Finally, on March 29, we notified next year’s first-year applicants of our admissions decisions. This year’s applications were very strong. Including early decision, regular decision, and deferrals, we have admitted a total of 254 students to the School of Engineering. Even though we continue to be test optional, 84% of the admitted class submitted standardized test scores, and the average SAT score for Math is 770 and 730 Verbal. 76% of this admitted class will graduate with Calculus B/C, multivariate calculus, or linear algebra and 74% will graduate with AP Physics. Of this year’s admitted students, the total number of women was 40% and the percentage of first-generation is 15%. By all accounts, this admitted student class is very strong!

Thank you again for sharing your valuable time with me on Shoop’s Stoop! It continues to be an exciting time to be part of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. I look forward to sharing additional updates in future editions.

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Barry L. Shoop, Ph.D., P.E.  |  Dean of Engineering  |  Albert Nerken School of Engineering 

Tags: Barry L. Shoop


Shoop's Stoop - December 2023 Newsletter

POSTED ON: December 6, 2023

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Given the tumultuous state of our world today, I thought it would be appropriate for us to begin by reflecting on the original vision of Peter Cooper during a similarly divisive period in American history. In a letter to the Cooper Union Trustees in 1859, Peter Cooper shared the following:

“I trust that the students of this institution will do something to bear back the mighty torrent of evils now pressing on the world. I trust that here they will learn to overcome the evils of life with kindness and affection.”

Since its founding over 164 years ago, The Cooper Union has risen to make hugely positive impacts that have shaped our city and nation. We collectively have the privilege and the responsibility of sustaining Peter Cooper’s founding vision, and I am confident that we will continue this impactful legacy.  

As we quickly approach the end of fall semester and anticipate a much-needed winter break, I wanted to provide an update of the activities in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering since our last newsletter in October.

Our students continue to knock it out of the park. This semester we have had a total of 58 engineering students attend conferences around the country. This represents over 10% of the students in the School of Engineering! Of this total, 36 presented research results in the form of posters or oral presentations. As is our tradition, our chemical engineering students walked away with a number of awards for the Undergraduate Research Poster Competition at the 2023 AIChE Annual Student Conference. Emma Cohen BSE’24 took 1st Place in the Material Science Division, Caitlin Noonan ChE’25 took 1st Place Overall Environmental Division Award and 1st Place Award in Environmental Division I, and our Cooper Brue Team took 1st Place for Best Beer Label and 3rd Place Overall in the Annual Beer Brewing Competition. I encourage you to read the articles in this newsletter about some of the students and conferences. These student professional development experiences are made possible through the generous donations of Alan Fortier ChE’79 and Gerry Posner EE’69.

Since my last Shoop’s Stoop, we have added two staff members to the School of Engineering Dean’s Team. Earlier in the semester, we welcomed Jake Zweiback as a part time Student Accommodations and Proctoring Scheduler and toward the end of the semester we expanded his role to include student payroll and a full-time position. On November 27, Ms. Blair Ribeiro joined as our new Research Grants Administrator for the School of Engineering. With our new faculty hires, we are seeing increased research productivity and needed a full-time grant manager to support our faculty pre- and post-grant award needs. Blair comes to us with years of experience in grant management. Previously, she was Grant and Contract Officer at Cornell University and most recently the Senior Grants and Contracts Administrator at Georgetown University. She has tremendous experience with federal funding agencies, New York State grants, and foundations. She also has paralegal experience. We look forward with anticipation to this new role and Blair’s contributions!

We continue to innovate and improve our curriculum and improve our students’ experience. On November 14, the Engineering Curriculum Committee met to consider several curricular changes including the addition of several courses. The Department of Mechanical Engineering proposed the addition of two new cross-registered interdisciplinary courses: EID233 Environmental Technologies for the Built Environment: Fundamentals and EID234 Environmental Technologies for the Built Environment: Materials and Systems. These two engineering courses will be cross registered with ARCH134A Environmental Technologies EVT Fundamentals and ARCH134B Environmental Technologies: Matter, Materials, and Making allowing engineering students to enroll in these two required architecture courses. Additionally, a new chemistry elective was introduced: Ch381 Environmental Chemistry and Climate Change. This course will develop and consider important aspects of environmental science within the context of global climate change. It will introduce and apply the core ideas of green chemistry, an international environmental movement. And finally, last year’s successful interdisciplinary capstone pilot was formalized and improved further this year. On December 5, we hosted an Interdisciplinary Capstone Showcase where students presented and celebrated their fall semester achievements.

And for an update on one of our new superstar faculty, Alice Pisani. You may recall that Alice is the first Cooper faculty member to hold a joint appointment as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Cooper Union and as an Associate Research Scientist at the Center for Computational Astrophysics of the Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute. In 2019, Alice applied for a prestigious European grant and earlier this semester she was notified that she has been awarded a $1.4M euro grant to support her research on cosmic voids. She will be taking a leave of absence beginning in February to move to Europe to work on this research. She must reside in Europe between 18-months and 2-years before she meets a residency requirement and could return to the US and potentially Cooper. During the first year, she will make the decision on whether she will return to Cooper because she misses teaching or will stay in Europe focused solely on research. If she decides that research is her passion, we have a commitment from the Director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute to hire another faculty member into this joint appointment position. I tell people I have three emotions associated with these developments: first, I am thrilled that she was able to secure such an important scientific position and funding that will drive this important research field forward; second, I am sad that she will be leaving Cooper Union – but hopefully only for a short time; and third, I am grateful that our students had the opportunity to engage with and benefit from a faculty member the caliber of Alice.

Finally, in our quest to better engage with industry, on December 7 we hosted several senior leaders from Nokia Bell Labs and Intel Corporation here at Cooper Union. Part of their agenda was the collaboration between Nokia and Intel, but we also introduced Cooper Engineering to Intel Corporation in an effort to add this company to our growing list of collaborators.

Thank you again for sharing your valuable time with me on Shoop’s Stoop! You should know that these are just a few of the highlights – the tips of the waves. There are many more great things happening in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. I look forward to sharing additional updates in future editions of Shoop’s Stoop!

On behalf of the entire faculty and staff of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering, we wish for you a joyous holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year! 

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Barry L. Shoop, Ph.D., P.E.  |  Dean of Engineering  |  Albert Nerken School of Engineering

Tags: Barry L. Shoop


Shoop's Stoop - October 2023 Newsletter

POSTED ON: October 2, 2023

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It’s that time again when I usher you back to the East Village for a conversation on Shoop’s Stoop! The start of the academic year brings new beginnings, renewal, and the start of the next chapter. For our students, this new beginning is filled with excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and even apprehension. The incoming first-year class is an amazing group of talented individuals who will bring diverse lived experiences, contribute to the richness of our learning environment, and add to the vibrancy of our community. Like our returning students, they have a voracious appetite for learning and are anxious to engage with our community. I want to share some of the things that happened in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering since our last update in June.


This academic year is our ABET Record Year. We will submit a request for evaluation to ABET by January 31, 2024, that will initiate our reaccreditation.  In preparation for the visit, a Self-Study Report for each of the ABET accredited programs must be submitted to ABET by July 1, 2024. The reaccreditation evaluation will be a comprehensive review with an on-site visit scheduled for Fall 2024. Over the summer, we had 10 faculty members from across our four ABET-accredited departments begin the draft of their self-studies, so we are off to a strong start! 


In addition to our focus on ABET, another emerging theme for this academic year is on the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI). In June, I attended the American Society of Engineering Educators (ASEE) Annual Meeting in Baltimore and participated in a session on generative AI in engineering education. There is a very broad spectrum of impact from faculty concerns about academic dishonesty to improvements in student tutoring, support for students with English as a second language to faculty use to create quizzes, reference letters, virtual teaching assistants, and more. Additionally, at our last meeting in April, our Engineering Advisory Council (EAC) admonished us to prepare our students to understand and gain experience using AI tools, which will be prevalent in their professional futures. As a result of these and a growing number of articles about this technology, I am organizing several activities throughout the year. At our first faculty meeting on September 5th, Professors of Electrical Engineering Sam Keene and Carl Sable conducted a workshop that provided an overview of how generative AI works and introduced ChatGPT to our faculty. Later this semester, our Engineering Student Council will organize an open forum for students and faculty to discuss uses of this technology, now and in the future. On the theme of generative AI, Mike Essl, the Dean of Art here at Coper Union, and I visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to see the Refik Anadol exhibition Unsupervised that uses artificial intelligence to interpret and transform more than 200 years of art at MoMA https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5535. We are using New York City as our laboratory! And finally, in December we will host Mark Vasquez (ME’88), Senior Program Manager of IEEE TechEthics, again for an IEEE TechEthics panel discussion, this year on the ethics associated with generative AI.


The beginning of the academic year also brings several new appointments, Dirk Martin Luchtenburg, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering was appointed the C.V. Starr Distinguished Professor of Engineering. Awarded by the Deans of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering, the named professorship goes to mid-career, tenured, associate, or full professor faculty members with documented research accomplishments including peer-reviewed journal, conference papers, and presentations as well as evidence of scholarly collaboration with other institutions and/or corporations. The distinction lasts two years and comes with a $20,000 annual stipend for research activities such as travel, research assistants, equipment, and supplies. Additionally, Sam Keene, Professor of Electrical Engineering, was appointed the inaugural John and Mary Manuck Distinguished Professor of Design. This newly endowed distinguished professor will raise the visibility of design as a unifying element in interdisciplinary approaches at the intersection of art, architecture, engineering, and the humanities and social sciences, and collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to create innovative solutions to societal challenges. Professor Keene will serve as the John and Mary Manuck Distinguished Professor of Design for a three-year tenure, after which the appointment will rotate to another professional school at The Cooper Union.


At the start of Fall Semester, we welcomed two new full-time faculty members to the Albert Nerken School of Engineering and the Department of Civil Engineering. Hejintao Huang joins us after receiving her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a geotechnical disciplinary focus. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and her research focuses on the beneficial use of waste materials. Jeong Eun Ahn received her Ph.D. from NYU Tandon School of Engineering in 2019 with a hydraulics disciplinary focus. She comes to us with four years of teaching experience at Rowan University and her research focuses on developing sustainable water systems and increasing the resiliency of coastal communities. The face of the full-time engineering faculty continues to evolve. Over the past three years, I have hired 10 new tenure-track faculty, nearly 1/3 of the tenured and tenure-track faculty in the School of Engineering. In 2013, the composition of the tenured and tenure-track faculty in the School of Engineering was 6.3% women and in Fall 2023 it is 42% women!


Earlier in September, Washington Monthly released their 2023 rankings and Cooper is ranked #1 Bachelor’s college (#3 in 2022) as well as 22 as best bang for buck in NE.  Also in early September, in the New York Times article The College Access Index Returns | A new look at economic diversity in higher education, Cooper Union was identified among the Largest Increases in the Share of Pell Grant Recipients at Selective Colleges, going from 13% in AY2011 to 29% in AY2021. Additionally, on September 18, the 2024 U.S. News & World Report rankings were released. The school has sustained its overall ranking of #9 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs where a doctorate is not offered. In the Regional Colleges North category, Cooper continues to be #1 Best Value Schools and #2 in Regional Colleges North. Finally, Niche released its 2024 Best Colleges in New York ranking of 228 four-year private and public colleges in New York State and Cooper Union was ranked #6 with an A+ overall Niche grade.


Finally, I invite you to explore the articles included in this newsletter. You will find inspiring articles highlighting the accomplishments of students, faculty, staff and alumni, an indication of the vibrancy of all that is going on in the School of Engineering.


Thank you for sharing a seat and some time with me on Shoop’s Stoop! It continues to be an exciting time to be part of the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. I look forward to sharing additional updates in future editions.
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Barry L. Shoop, Ph.D., P.E.  |  Dean of Engineering  |  Albert Nerken School of Engineering

Tags: Barry L. Shoop


  • 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.