Campus update: While we've worked hard to preserve the possibility that students could return, the remainder of the spring semester will be conducted online. Staff will work remotely until at least April 20. See the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates page.

Peer Mentor Staff

Andrius Alvarez Backus Portrait

Andrius Alvarez-Backus
Hi, my name is Andrius Alvarez-Backus, and I’ll be a sophomore this year at Cooper Union! I’m from central Massachusetts, I’m an Aquarius, and I’m currently studying in the School of Art. I love visiting museums and galleries in the city, traveling, watching bad reality TV, and hitting up the best local ramen spots.

Alexa Jakob Portrait

Alexa Jakob
Hey y'all! I'm a second-year electrical engineering student. I'm from Toronto, Canada and grew up in Westchester, NY. In terms of academic interests, I'm interested in interactions between electrical and mechanical systems especially as it relates to robotics and aerospace. What I do at Cooper: oSTEM (Founder and President), SWE (Treasurer), Engineering Student Council, Girls' Dance, Robotics Team, Autonomous Golf Cart Research Project. What I do outside of Cooper: Orchestra (I play violin!), reading, skateboarding, Catan, speak French and Spanish. Ask me about: cool murals, activism, and long walks around the Lower East Side, why tardigrades will change the world, that time I wrote a Python script to do my physics homework for me, and completely changing the path you're on and why that uncertainty is okay!

Thodoris Kapouranis Portrait

Thodoris Kapouranis
Hello! I'm a 2022 electrical engineering sophomore planning on going through the computer engineering track. I'm from Athens, Greece and an international student, although I've been living in NYC for numerous years now and have been a commuter all that time. My major-related interest is programming and software, although I do enjoy the hardware aspect and layout design work of EE. On the nontechnical side I delve into language learning (Japanese for 4-5 years now), calligraphy, and primarily rhythm games.

Andrew Kim Portrait

Andrew Kim
I am an international student who is nationally Korean, but grew up in Malaysia. I love playing volleyball in my free time and I watch a lot of anime. If you are interested in energy engineering, the volleyball team, working out, or talking about anime, feel free to get in touch :)

Daniel Kim Portrait

Daniel Kim
I'm Daniel Kim, sophomore Electrical Engineer. I am from Long Island, so naturally one of my favorite pastimes is fishing. I also enjoy playing ping pong, tennis, and badminton. Currently at Cooper, I am the co-president of the Ping Pong Club and also a member of the student council. If either of these sound interesting to you, feel free to reach out to me. Facebook, email, whatever works for you. :)

Mack Lagoy Portrait

Mack Lagoy
Hi! My name is Mack, I’m 19 and a sophomore in the School of Art. Before Cooper I lived in a small town in Western Massachusetts so I love things like nature and hiking. I'm also into music, tattoos, and sculpture.

Jonathan Lam Portrait

Jonathan Lam
Hi, I'm Jonathan Lam, a rising sophomore EE! I really (really, really) enjoy programming computers, so I'm taking the CE track and the new CS minor here at Cooper. To get a sense of what I do, this summer I joined the CUCC staff, designed data visualization for a research project about traffic optimization, wrote a Linux driver and configuration tool for a drawing tablet, and worked on a web dev project for auction houses. Last year I joined the Motorsports electronics team and the ping pong club. This year we might start a Rubik's cubing club! If you're interested in any of these, feel free to reach out. Of course, if you'd like to discuss classes or sleep schedules (or Javascript or Linux), just let me know!

Maks Mamak Portrait

Maks Mamak
Full name Maksymilian, but I usually go by Maks. I'm currently a fourth-year architecture student and have been living most of my life in NYC, with a brief interlude where I lived in Poland for four years. If it has anything to do with space, time, education, music, philosophy, community, or comedy, I'm into it! I'm a veteran commuter at this point, and I've been a part of the School of Architecture’s archive and student council for a few years now, so if you have any questions regarding those feel free to reach out to me, anytime. Welcome to Cooper!

Alice Meng Portrait

Alice Meng
Hey, this is Alice, a second-year architecture student. I was born in NY and grew up in Beijing, China. I like doodling and photography. Come to me if you want to know about being part of the Cooper community, life as a student with a multi-cultural background, or simply being an explorer of New York City!

Claire Merkle Portrait

Claire Merkle
As a current sophomore in The School of Art, I love exploring the different art-making approaches Cooper offers. I have recently been interested in creating more narrative art and incorporating sculptural materials. During my first year, I worked at The Cooper Union Saturday Program office and with different engineering-oriented clubs doing design work. I could also always be found at the opening night senior art shows. I am originally from Upstate New York, but now love, and always miss, the city.

Chris Mignano Portrait

Chris Mignano
Hi, I’m Chris Mignano, a rising third-year Mechanical Engineer. I am from Staten Island, and while I lived in the dorms freshman year, I’ve been commuting from southern Staten Island for over a year now. I love music, fishing, playing basketball and soccer, and I spend most of my time outside of classes in Brian’s machine shop in LL2. At Cooper, I am a part of the motorsports team and I have been leading an effort to build the world’s largest functioning Rubik’s cube with Professor Lima. I spent this past summer in Iceland under Professor Dell, working on a geothermal garden and thermoelectric generators. I’ve lived in the dorms and I’ve commuted to the city for school for 5 years of my life . I've also been subject to my own ups and downs at Cooper. Please feel free to contact me, whenever, with any questions or concerns. Excited for what’s to come!

Olivia Park Portrait

Olivia Heuiyoung Park
Hello, I'm Olivia, from Seoul, Korea. I went to high school in Irvine, California, and am currently studying Mechanical Engineering. I love the performing arts, teaching, and creating things (You can see more on my website:! I am the Student Manager of the Cooper Union Computer Center, Operator of Makerspace, TA for various STEM outreach programs, and a tour guide for admissions. I am also the president of Coopertones (the a cappella Group!), Korean Association of Cooper Union (KACU), and the Secretary and ME20 Student Representative of the Engineering Student Council. I am always, always available to talk, to answer questions, to help, or even just to hang out!

Ilias Proko

Ilias Proko
I was born in Chalcis, Greece. I finished 6th grade in Greece and then moved to Albania to finish 7th and 8th grade. In 2014, I arrived in the United States and went to Fort Hamilton High School to continue my education. I am now a student at The Cooper Union School of Engineering studying Civil Engineering, as of 2018. Although I am a commuter from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, I have found the time to be an active member of ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), as well as Steel Bridge. As a member of Steel Bridge, I was taught how to weld and cooperate closely with the other team members to construct the next bridge that will lead the team to victory. Whenever time permits, I like to work out, go cycling with my friends, and travel. When the weather is not on my side, I will be found experimenting with electronics and gaming with my friends.

Tong Shu Portrait

Tong Shu
Hello, I am tong. I am from Changzhou, China. I am a senior Architecture student at Cooper. I am enthusiastic about design opportunities in every aspect of the living environment. I believe in the power of architecture to make better space for people. I am a fan of the annual Thanksgiving pumpkin carving contest that you can carve out your best pumpkin lantern design from none.

Carena Toy Portrait

Carena Toy
Hi, I’m Carena! I’m a BSE in the class of 2020, taking mostly Mechanical Engineering classes. I’ve lived in both Dallas and Seattle. I’ve been on Engineering Student Council all 4 years at Cooper and will be an Ad-Chair this last year! In my free time I’m also involved in Girl Scouts and I judge gymnastics.

Sydney Vernon Portrait

Sydney Vernon
My name is Sydney Vernon and I am an art student, class of 2021. I grew up in Prince Georges County, Maryland and have built a supportive community of artists in that area as well. At Cooper, I’m particularly interested in creating large-scale portraiture. I like to study fashion, music, and cognitive therapy outside of my art practice. I go to museums and galleries almost every week and listen to a lot of disco. One of the clubs at Cooper I am deeply invested in is the Black Student Union, which I am Co-President of.

Kailey Weaver Portrait

Kailey Weaver
I'm a sophomore in the school of Art and I'm from Western Massachusetts. My interests, other than art, are mostly related to politics, feminism, and houseplants. I look forward to getting to know the incoming class, and being a part of creating a strong community at Cooper. I'm always open to talking about anything, either school-related or not.

Sunny Zhao Portrait

Sunny Zhao
My name is SunHung Zhao—more commonly known as “Sunny”. I was born in NYC and have lived here all my life. Whenever I have spare time, I indulge in the culinary arts. It’s always exciting to see how minor changes to a recipe can alter the taste of a dish. As a ChemE, I am particularly confident in my knowledge of Chemistry and will be happy to provide assistance on anything related to it. Like a jack of all trades, I’m not limited to topics in chem, and I’ll be able to offer insight on a variety of things, or find someone who can.

  • 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.