Ismael José is the New York City Campus Student Government Association President for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Box caught up with him to find out more about his plans and goals in the challenging year ahead.
Where you are from, how did you find your way to New York Tech, and what are you studying?
My family is from the Dominican Republic, I was born in Brooklyn, and I currently reside in New Jersey. I lived most of my life in a suburban cookie-cutter area, so applying to New York Tech was a pretty outlandish thing for me to do. Getting accepted was almost like a “come back home” letter for me. This was my destiny.
I have always known that I wanted to work with the human body, but not by becoming a medical doctor. I am majoring in life sciences with an emphasis on biomedical engineering. It combines my love for living organisms with the concepts and principles of engineering.
Why did you want to run for SGA president?
My decision stemmed from my philosophy of “be the change.” I want to see those around me succeed, and I feel that I can help create a better environment for them to do so, so why not do it? The SGA president, with a student government that works correctly, is one of the greatest forms of representation for students on campus. As a group, we can bring about the success of all students equally.
What are some of the things you would like to do as president next year?
During this COVID-19 epidemic, it may feel like we are out of touch with civilization and the normal has changed. I think most of us are excited to get back to school, even though the reality might not be what we desire.
The New York Tech experience can sometimes seem like madness, but it's the little things that bring our students the most joy. We are a smaller campus, meaning we are more connected. Providing students the ability to connect in events, workshops, and other campus opportunities is advantageous to all. I wish to continue these events and to add more. For example, maybe we could look into more professional development seminars so that students can continue to increase their interests at school.
Tell about an experience or a person at New York Tech that has had a lasting impact on you.
I have had a collection of experiences and people who contributed to who I am. All these connections and experiences came from New York Tech. There are too many to name and just as many stories for each. But all have been valuable lessons and have taught me skills that I hope to use in my presidency and beyond.
One notable figure was former SGA president Bryan Diaz, who put me on the path of student engagement and helped me become an active member of my New York Tech community. That is something I am very grateful for.
What are your plans for the future?
If you asked me about my future plans when I was 5, I'd have said that I'm going to solve the mysteries of science. But I know that science cannot be solved by one person; it needs a group of great minds (even though history may say otherwise).
Leading a group of people is not an innate skill; leaders are made, they are not born. Being president will allow me to prepare myself for leadership positions in the future while giving me a more active role now. It is not about the accolades or the achievements; it is about uplifting those around you so that they can shine, and together we shine brighter.