Preparing Students for a Data-Driven World

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 5 - 6pm

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We live in an age dominated by data. We harvest it. Mine it. Analyze it. Visualize it.

Data expose structural racism, visualize climate change, and identify the next pandemic hotspot. 

A leading panel of interdisciplinary faculty discuss how data are used across technical and creative fields and how they use empirical reasoning and data-based assignments to prepare to live and work in a data-driven society. Panelists include:

  • Thomas Augst, Associate Professor of English, New York University
  • Min Kyung Lee, Assistant Professor of Growth and Structure of Cities, Bryn Mawr Colleg
  • Brian Mailloux, Professor in Environmental Sciences, Barnard College and Columbia University 
  • David Weiman, Professor of Economics, Barnard College and Columbia University

The panel discussion will be moderated by:

  • Ninad Pandit, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, The Cooper Union
  • Cynthia Lee, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, The Cooper Union

Watch this Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in coordination with The Cooper Union Library program.

This event is organized by Lisa Norberg, Director of The Cooper Union Library, and Loujaina Abdelwahed, Assistant Professor of Economics. The event is funded by Cooper Union Grant Program.

Panelist Bios

Thomas Augst is associate professor in the Department of English at New York University, where he teaches courses in American literature and culture.  He is the author of The Clerk’s Tale: Young Men and Moral Life in Nineteenth-Century America, and co-editor of Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States, as well as a 2017 special issue of American Literary History on “Archives,” which explores the impact of digitization on scholarship and teaching in the field.  He is a faculty co-director of NewYorkScapes, a research community dedicated to exploring the literary, historical, and social aspects of the city of New York using digital forms of scholarship.  In his teaching Professor Augst has explored project-based learning with humanities data and served as faculty co-director of a five-year summer internship in digital humanities for graduate students sponsored by the Polonsky Foundation. 

Min Kyung Lee, Ph.D., is an architectural historian, who studies the relations of mapping, architecture and urban planning, and whose work intersects with histories of science, media theory, and geography. Currently, she is the Banister Fletcher Global Fellow (University of London- Institute of Paris, Queen May University and UCL – Bartlett School of Architecture) and organizing a program, The Quantification of Urban Space based on her manuscript titled, The Tyranny of the Straight Line: Mapping Modern Paris. Her research also extends to migration histories of the built environment, and is currently carrying out a project, Mapping Wigs and Plywood: Korean Migration and the African-American Urban Landscape. Drawing from material culture and feminist and race theories, this work investigates the ways which the economic policies of post-war Korea intersected with the urban development of African-American neighborhoods in the United States. Her work has been awarded fellowships and grants from The Mellon Foundation, the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, The Getty Research Institute, The French Ministry of Education, and the Camargo Foundation. She serves on the editorial board of Oxford Bibliographies-Architecture, as a contributing editor for, and on committees of The Society of Architectural Historians and The Society of Architectural and Urban Historians - Asia. She is Assistant Professor of Modern Architecture in the Growth and Structure of Cities Department at Bryn Mawr College. 

Brian Mailloux is a Professor in Environmental Science and Co-Chair, Environmental Science Department   at Barnard College of Columbia University. He is affiliated with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and serves as the campus representative to the Geological Society of America. His affiliations also include the American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Microbiology. His research area is groundwater microbiology with a focus on naturally occurring arsenic. He has published widely and has taught courses on ecotoxicology, environmental measurements, and water, sanitation, and health, and Big Data, as well as Python for Environmental Analysis and Visualisation.  

David F. Weiman is Alena Wels Hirschorn ’58 Professor of Economics and Faculty Director of Barnard’s innovative Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC).  His teaching spans the interdisciplinary fields of Political Economy and Economic and Social History. In 2014 he received the Economic History Association’s Hughes Prize for Excellence in Teaching Economic History. His current research focuses on the evolution of the U.S. banking-monetary system from Andrew Jackson’s “Bank War” (in 1832) to the formation of the Federal Reserve. Among his most recent publications are “Political Limits to the Fed’s Goal of a Common National Bank Money: The Par Clearing Controversy Revisited” and “Main Street and Wall Street: The Macroeconomic Consequences of New York Bank Suspensions, 1866 to 1914.” He also has written on the origins and labor market impacts of the regime of mass incarceration and co-edited two volumes on the unintended economic and social consequences of mass incarceration.  He is completing a coauthored monograph tentatively titled Toward a More Perfect Monetary Union: The Uneven and Contested Evolution of the U.S. Banking-Payments Network, 1816 to 1923. As ERC Faculty Director he has sought to enhance students’ empirical literacy by embedding empirical analysis (of all types) into courses across the undergraduate liberal arts curriculum. 

Moderators Bios:

Cynthia Lee began her appointment as Assistant Professor of civil engineering at The Cooper Union in Fall 2020. She received her Ph.D. in 2020 from Georgia Tech, and her research interests are in critical infrastructure modeling and community resilience, particularly in urban settings. At Cooper, she teaches first-year engineering design and problem-solving, engineering mechanics, and structural analysis.

Ninad Pandit is a historian, architect and urban planner. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union where he teaches courses on colonialism, urbanism and global history. His scholarship examines the relationships between colonial urbanism, industrialization and the emergence of radical politics in early 20th century Bombay. Ninad has previously held postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University, and at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where his work was supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. 

Organizers Bios:

Loujaina Abdelwahed is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union. She is an empirical macroeconomist with particular interest in foreign aid and natural resources and their impact on fiscal decisions and inequalities. At Cooper, she teaches a wide span of economics courses, including principles of macroeconomics and microeconomics, economic growth and development, and econometrics. Before starting her academic career, Abdelwahed was an Economist at the Egyptian Ministry of Finance. Abdelwahed received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2019. 

Lisa Norberg joined The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art as the Director of the Library in January of 2020. Lisa co-founded the Open Access Network, a non-profit organization committed to finding sustainable solutions to open access publishing and has published widely on the academic library’s role in an open scholarly information ecosystem. She has held leadership positions at the Barnard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill libraries and has taught graduate courses at Pratt Institute’s School of Information and the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-CH. She received her MLS from Indiana University at Bloomington and her BS in Political Science from the University of Wyoming.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.