On the heels of the first day of classes of the 2021-2022 academic year, the second annual New Student Academic Convocation came to order virtually on September 10. Before the presentations began, attendees viewed a montage, accompanied by an upbeat soundtrack, of many of New York Tech’s new students’ smiling faces, home towns (both near and far), and areas of study.
Developed and emceed by Associate Provost for Student Engagement and Development Tiffani Blake, M.Ed., New Student Academic Convocation is a way to welcome New York Tech’s newest students. The event featured remarks from members of New York Tech’s leadership team, Student Government Association (SGA) representatives, and alumni.
SGA President for the New York City campus, Lillian Pratt, the first speaker in an impressive roster, began by saying, “I’d like to congratulate all of you for your determination and resilience to get to this point in your academic career. As the past year and a half have brought countless challenges to all of you, I could not be prouder to welcome you, the next class of New York Tech Bears.” She also told the new students that their academic life will be what they make it and to always question things, asking why, and sometimes, why not. “Enjoy your time here at New York Tech, enjoy New York City and Long Island, enjoy the freedom to keep searching for the answer to ‘why.’ The faculty and staff will be here with you every step of the way, to support you and guide you, starting today,” she said.
Next, President Hank Foley, Ph.D., shared that “faculty and staff are always looking for more ways to enhance the student experience, not just in the classroom but beyond the classroom, so you always feel connected to the school.” Highlighting changes made in how Tech delivers education and provides safe learning spaces, he reminded the students that the most important reason why “faculty and staff are here is because of you.”
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Junius Gonzales, M.D., M.B.A., congratulated new students for the hard work that got them to this day, emphasizing that coming to New York Tech is “a tremendous choice.” He encouraged students to hone their skills in “adaptability, flexibility and agility,” and encouraged them to think about how they will build the collaborative communities that will help them succeed.
Alumni Offer Encouragement and Advice
The alumni address portion of the event featured remarks from Randolph Duke II (B.S. ’11), who is a user experience (UX) researcher at Facebook, and Shreya Bendre (B.F.A. ’19), a research analyst at Discovery, Inc.
“I can assure you that you are in for a very transformative experience,” said Duke, who recalled thinking hard about the best advice he could give to the new students. He encouraged them to take advantage of the academic support services and peer-led study groups that New York Tech offers and reminded them, “there’s no mistake that you are here to achieve remarkable things and meet remarkable people. Embrace it, and remember to support the people around you.
“New York Tech has amazing student organizations and clubs that I encourage you to join, or better yet, start from scratch. You are surrounded by a community of thinkers and doers and owe it to yourself to get involved and discover more about who you are and what you’re capable of” He summed up his remarks by adding, “You are a New York Tech student now. It will be up to you to find a way to make it to becoming a graduate. Don’t forget to get used to challenges, leave your comfort zone, and know that you truly belong.”
Bendre offered insight from her days as a student, stating that her “strongest piece of advice for everyone beginning their college experience is to start early with gaining experience. This could be finding an internship, a job, or even a student leadership position. You will be surprised how many internships you can find even as a freshman.” She also encouraged them to have fun and experience all that New York, and New York Tech, have to offer. “These really are the best four years of your life, and they’ll go by in a blink of an eye.”
“I’ve made lifelong friends from this school, and I was able to meet people from so many different walks of life that I would have never gotten, being from the suburbs of New Jersey. New York Tech will help you to figure out who you truly want to be if you let it. Enjoy the upcoming years, and good luck to you all,” she added.
Principles of Community
Next, reflecting on the importance and symbolism of the event as the beginning of the new students’ academic journey, Anoushka Guha, SGA president for the Long Island campus, presented to President Foley, the incoming class. Guha then led the students in reading the Principles of Community that will guide their experience at New York Tech.
Watch the entire event, including the reading of the Principles of Community.
In closing remarks, Blake said, “My personal challenge to each of 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. Make time to develop healthy relationships with classmates.” Blake encouraged new students to attend programs and events sponsored by faculty, various departments, and organizations on campus. She also urged them to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Blake concluded by saying, “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.