Dancers at the 16th Annual SOURCE


STUDENT POV: 16th Annual SOURCE Presentations

May 3, 2019

Pictured: Third-year interior design major Karla A. Pérez presented a series of drawings and traditional Mexican dances with her dance troup, Manhatitlan.

Elizabeth Belnap is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and plans to pursue a master’s degree in English this fall at Brigham Young University. Read about her SOURCE experience below.

On Friday, April 26, more than 160 students gathered on the New York City campus to present their research at the 16th Annual Symposium of University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). One of those students was me.

I was the last speaker on the morning panel, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the presentations ahead of mine. Students talked about abstract painting, 3-D printed sculpture, and Frankenstein adaptations. Together, they really brought to light the wide array of talents and interests we have at NYIT. 

Watch the video and read more below.

Amy E. Herman, a “recovering attorney” and art historian, gave the keynote address following the morning presentations. Laughter rang through NYIT Auditorium on Broadway more than once during her interactive talk, “The Art of Perception Leadership Training: Seeing What Matters.” Through exercises, she showed us how poorly people recognize what’s right in front of us. For example, working in pairs, one student closed their eyes while the other described an image on screen. Herman then showed three similar images and asked the “blindfolded” students to guess which one had been described. The results proved that minor details—such as mentioning an inconsequential looking table—could make all the difference. In the end, she encouraged us to try to see things in new ways. “I want to help you convert observable details into actionable knowledge,” she said.

In the afternoon, students presented their research findings during a poster presentation at 16 West 61st Street. Seniors Josiah-David Sykes and Randy St. Fleur, both electrical and computer engineering majors, showed me their project “Conscious GPS,” a hardware system that helps visually impaired people find bus stops. “Our team wants to help provide a higher feeling of independence for our users,” Sykes told me.

Karla A. Pérez, a third-year interior design major, was responsible for the music ringing through the 11th Floor Auditorium. She and her dance troop, Manhatitlan, presented a series of drawings and traditional Mexican dances with the goal of changing the way Mexicans and Mexican-Americans are portrayed in mainstream culture. “My culture influences me a lot in my work, and just as a person. I want to get into cultural advocacy later in life,” Pérez said.

The afternoon brought more panels. Since I had gotten my presentation out of the way, I was free to relax and enjoy listening to other students present their findings. Janelle Zapiti, a junior studying life sciences on the Long Island campus, impressed us with her research about Mustn1, a protein in vertebrates that is essential for normal cartilage growth. Her work could have exciting, long-term implications for people with chronic illnesses like osteoarthritis.

At the end of the day, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Lou Reinisch, Ph.D., spoke to us. “You probably won’t remember the physics homework you did, but you’ll remember the research you did for SOURCE,” he said, before handing out certificates for our participation.

Professor Roger Yu, dean emeritus of NYIT College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the SOURCE committee, is central to SOURCE’s smooth functioning. He was very pleased by the success of this year’s conference: “So many smiles on SOURCE presenters’ faces after the event made the year-long preparation worthwhile. We can’t wait to start the prep work for next year.”


161 students participated in SOURCE, either individually or as part of a group. Students presented from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences, the School of Management, the School of Architecture and Design, the School of Health Professions, and the College of Osteopathic Medicine. There were more than 200 guests in attendance.