Student Profile: Alexis O'Rourke

New York, NY
B.S.A.T., Architectural Technology - Construction Management
Year Expected to Graduate
Long Island
Student Profile: Alexis O

Setting an Example for the Next Generation

After graduating from Brookfield High School in Connecticut, Alexis began her journey at New York Tech. Her uncle and cousin also attended New York Tech, so choosing the Architectural Technology, B.S.A.T with a concentration in Construction Management and a minor in Business was a natural choice for her. “You could say it runs in the family,” she admitted.

O’Rourke sat down with The Box to talk about her experience and involvement at school. She is the founder of TECH music (@nyit_techmusic), co-founder of the Creative Tech Club (@creative_tech_nyit), and part of Assistant Professor Michael Granatosky, Ph.D.’s Bio-Inspired Robotics Project.

What have you found to be the most challenging part of your academic journey? How did you overcome it?
Developing a work ethic. In high school, I was a low average student. I always had a hard time finding interest in my schoolwork and applying myself, and that definitely showed in my grades. In college, I blossomed; not only because the work I was doing more interesting, but also many of my professors served as mentors and helped me through my struggles. This allowed me to complete my work at my highest ability.

You are the founder of TECH Music, tell me something about it. Has music always been your passion? What motivated you to found this club?
Music has always been a part of my life. At a very young age, I began playing clarinet, and from there, many more instruments. Throughout my music career, I always found I was able to put a smile on the audience’s faces. That’s what I wanted to bring to New York Tech from day-one. It has been an absolute journey starting TECH Music. There have been many challenges, but also many rewarding moments for the group as well as for the community. Three years ago, TECH Music was just a dream of mine, and now, as I leave New York Tech, I see a strong organization.

You are the co-founder of Creative Tech Club, tell me something more about it?
Creative Tech Club focuses on innovation and the creative technology of the future. The most notable moment I had with the organization was in spring 2019, when we were able to present at Creative Tech Week at our Manhattan campus. We worked with Isabel Draves and her team to create a mesh network inspired by IBM’s Call for Code initiative. At the event, I met myriad professionals from many different companies, including IBM, Snapchat, and Microsoft. Since then, I have been a part of several different conferences and events where I continue to network with professionals and companies from all around the world. Through this, I am able to be a voice for my generation, bringing in new experiences and perspectives to the group that might not have been there otherwise. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this diverse group of innovators and creators.

What did you learn while working with Assistant Professor Michael Granatosky on the Bio-Inspired Robotics project?
Working with Dr. Granatosky has allowed me to learn many critical life skills. Our interdisciplinary Bio-Inspired Robotics project was worked on by a diverse group of individuals. Our field of studies included architecture, electrical engineering and computer sciences, mechanical engineering and biology. The goal of this project was to recreate a Blue Tongue Skink specimen as a robot.

Most importantly for me, this project gave me insight into my thesis research. My research will focus on robotics and AI in three parts: emergency situations and response; research laboratories; and educational implications. Chrisitan Pongratz, M.Arch., senior advisor to for special projects, is currently advising me on this, my final research project here at New York Tech. I owe many thanks to everyone I have worked with at New York Tech as they have each shaped me as an emerging professional in this ever-changing world we live in.

What advice do you have for incoming students coming to New York Tech?
Get involved. New York Tech is not like other schools where student activities are at the forefront. Since we are a commuter school many people focus on their academics and go home. There are so many hidden opportunities academically or through student life that make you a more well-rounded emerging professional. Join a new club, try a new sport, attend a new class. Do things you wouldn’t usually do. Take the chance and make a difference. Leave your mark for the next generation of New York Tech students.