Dominican and New York Institutions Collaborate on Student Innovation Projects

October 19, 2017

(New York, N.Y.) – Dominicans and Americans have joined with two prestigious institutes of technology to provide entrepreneurial study abroad experiences for New York- and Santo Domingo-based students. New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), with support from Santo Domingo’s Instituto Tecnológico de las Américas (ITLA), Dominican non-profit Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), Dominican business incubator Parque Cibernético de Santo Domingo (PCSD), and NYIT’s business accelerator, the Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC), received a grant of USD $25,000 to support a cross-border partnership and to create a “joint entrepreneurship ecosystem” for students in both countries. The grant is part of an initiative known as 100,000 Strong in the Americas, funded by NAFSA: Association of International Educators and CAF: Development Bank of Latin America to increase student exchange between the U.S. and other parts of the Western Hemisphere.

The grant-winning effort, called “Innovation across Borders,” involves six ITLA students and six NYIT students in engineering or computer science fields. This semester, the ITLA students are in New York working with NYIT students, who are their teammates on an engineering challenge to create an assistive technology device to aid productivity in people with physical limitations. ETIC Director Michael Nizich, Ph.D., who is supervising the engineering projects at NYIT, said, “Right now, the teams are about 10 or 11 iterations into their projects. Learning to test ideas and revise plans is part of the entrepreneurial process.” In the summer of 2018, the NYIT students will travel to the Dominican Republic, where they will get acquainted with a new culture and present their projects, with their teammates, at PCSD, a business incubator linked to ITLA in Santo Domingo.

The long-term goal of this cross-border creative collaboration is to contribute to economic development in both countries. “By sending current and future leaders to and from the Dominican Republic and the United States, ‘Innovation across Borders’ will promote intercultural understanding and empower participants to introduce new products suitable for their societies’ challenges and a global market,” said Marta Panero, Ph.D., Director for Strategic Partnerships at NYIT School of Engineering and Computing Sciences.

Eddy Martinez, president of ITLA and PCSD, agreed, saying, “Having student teams from both NYIT and ITLA working collaboratively on design and development projects will not only contribute to the students’ professional development, it also has potential to benefit companies associated with the ‘Cyberpark’ in Santo Domingo and the ETIC in New York.”

The students are excited to work on their projects together and to travel to new places. NYIT Electrical and Computer Engineering sophomore Kehinde Oluwanifemi Williams said, “This is a unique opportunity for me to witness a new culture while building my knowledge base.”

ITLA students are similarly motivated. Felix Pujols, a sophomore mechatronics major at ITLA, said, “I am learning new technologies by way of researching and creating new projects.” Sophomore software engineering major Abigail Rijo Morales added, “I feel that coming to NYIT is a great opportunity, and my parents and friends are very proud of me.”

NYIT sophomore Denesia Mitchell, who is majoring in Engineering Management, noted, “At the end of all this, we can say that we were able to develop an idea on U.S. soil and brand it in the DR.”

About NYIT

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 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 10,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan (New York), online, and at global campuses in Canada, China, and the United Arab Emirates.

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Karen-Marie Belnap
Public Relations Strategist