Pictured from left: Tiffani Blake, Ismael José, Akil Boby, Maylan Studart, and James Marsanico
Undergraduate Class of 2024 Fast Facts:
- Class of 2024: 731 new freshman in a degree program (as of September 9, 2020)
- The major with the most students: B.S. Life Sciences
- Most common country for non-U.S. students: India
- Age of the oldest student: 29
- Age of the youngest student: 16
Prefaced by the smiling faces, home towns, and areas of study of several new students at New York Tech scrolling to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” among other tunes, the first-ever New Student Academic Convocation came to order on September 8, virtually.
Developed and emceed by Associate Provost for Student Engagement and Development Tiffani Blake, M.Ed., the event featured remarks from members of New York Tech’s leadership team, two representatives of the Student Government Association (SGA), and two alumni.
Ismael José, SGA president for the New York City campus, encouraged the new students to learn from their professors, upperclassmen, and peers, as well as their experiences. “There are student organizations, school-sponsored events, hall councils, student senate, religious meetings and environmental organizations, tutoring opportunities, service opportunities, and leadership opportunities, students sharing their international experiences, student research presentations, presenters who come to campus, blood drives, dorm activities, campus bingo and movie nights, and so much more,” he said, encouraging the new students to get involved.
President Hank Foley, Ph.D., affirmed that New York Tech is committed to ensuring students stay on track academically while also helping them stay safe and healthy. He encouraged attendees to be flexible and compassionate, and despite the stressful time we are living in, he shared his optimism that “it is going to be a great year” in which students will learn and, along the way, have fun.
Transformation and Promotions
“This new event represents a transformation in our engagement with new students,” proclaimed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Junius Gonzales, M.D., M.B.A., encouraging students in attendance to get to know the Student Affairs team. Then, in a surprise announcement, he shared that Tiffani Blake and Mary Pelkowski, each of whom was serving in an expanded role on an interim basis, had been promoted to Associate Provost for Student Engagement and Development and Dean of Students, respectively.
The next speaker, NYIT College of Engineering and Computing Sciences graduate James Marsanico (B.S. ’12), who had been working in data science and product management at Bloomberg and now at Imgur, shared insight on his time at New York Tech inside and outside of the classroom. “Engineering surely taught me how to solve a problem, but taking part in extracurriculars taught me how to develop genuine relationships,” he said. Imparting wisdom gained during his academic career, he offered the following advice: embrace discomfort as it will help you grow, give more than you take, and treat everyone with the same respect as you would the CEO. “Remember, it’s up to you to make the most of your time here,” he added.
NYIT College of Arts and Sciences graduate Maylan Studart (B.A. ’18), provided the new students with an entirely different perspective. A former markets reporter covering the New York Stock Exchange for Yahoo! Finance and now a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, Studart was, prior to attending New York Tech, a professional jockey for nine years, a career cut short due to injury. She offered analogies of how riding a racehorse is similar to how you approach life.
“New York Tech embraced my eclectic life experiences and helped me execute my plan B and plan C…I was just a stone, and the professors here polished me into a diamond. And that’s what you’re about to experience and why you’re here. The education you’re about to get at New York Tech will mold you into the future you—it won’t make you into something, but it will be the cocoon that allows you to find yourself, your passion, and your skills—and prepare you for a post-COVID workforce,” she shared.
Principles of Community
Next, reflecting the importance and symbolism of this event as the beginning of the new students’ academic journey, Akil Boby, SGA president for the Long Island campus, presented the incoming class of new students to President Foley. Boby then led the students in reading the Principles of Community that will guide their experience at New York Tech.
To conclude, Blake said, “My personal challenge to you is to take advantage of all opportunities that are shared with you at New York Tech. Balance your time well so that you make it to your classes on time and meet all of your course requirements. Also, make time to develop healthy relationships with classmates. Also, be sure to attend programs and events sponsored by your faculty, Student Life, Career Services, International and Experiential Education, Military & Veterans Affairs, and other college departments, clubs, and organizations,” adding, “I look forward to seeing you virtually and on campus, and wish you the best of luck!”
The New Student Academic Convocation was followed by individual school/college meetings in advance of the first day of classes on September 9.