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Aug 12 2010

NYIT Students Design Sustainable Kitchen for Individuals with Disabilities

Old Westbury, N.Y. (Aug. 12, 2010) – The residence hall for New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)’s Vocational Independence Program (VIP) has a new  environmentally friendly kitchen, designed by four NYIT students who competed against other NYIT teams for the honor.

The winning team of NYIT occupational therapy students Zuleika Tenf (B.S. ’09; M.S. ’10) and Francis Elaine Omaga (B.S. ’09; M.S. ’10)  and  interior design students Abigail Marcelo (B.F.A.’10) and Gina Abatiello (B.F.A.’10) was called R4 (Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, and Renew). The team won first place and a $5,000 scholarship. The primary goal of the contest, held in April 2009 as part of NYIT’s Sixth Annual Symposium on University Research and Creative (SOURCE), was to design a sustainable kitchen that incorporated technology to enable individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities to learn to live independently. The R4  team’s design featured ergonomically designed spaces, a teacher work station, wheelchair-accessible countertops and appliances, and a stovetop to heat ferrous pots.

“This contest was a great opportunity for students to work collaboratively in solving real-world challenges,” said Ernst VanBergeijk, Ph.D., M.S.W., associate dean and executive director of VIP. “The winning team was able to design something that is now a reality, as well as actively contribute to the learning experience of students in VIP.”

The Vocational Independence Program (VIP) is a program for students who have significant learning disabilities. Since its inception in 1987, VIP has enabled hundreds of young adults to maximize their potential for independence. Participants are full-time students who live on NYIT's Central Islip site in a residence hall staffed 24 hours a day by VIP faculty and professionals. VIP students meet regularly with academic, social, and career counselors who help tailor the program to individual needs.

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 90 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 15,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 85,000 students have graduated from NYIT. For more information, visit


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