As Vaughn College continues to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are pleased to highlight Vaughn mechatronic engineering graduate Ryan Tang ’17. We caught up with Tang to hear his inspirational story after graduating from Vaughn and how his journey post-graduation has circled back to the classroom.
Steeped in his roots
Tang is proud of his Asian heritage and says being raised with strong cultural connections by his Taiwanese parents gave him the confidence he needed to be the inspirational professional he is today. Born in Ecuador, Tang explained how at an early age, his parents insisted he learn their native language of Mandarin. “We speak Mandarin in our household,” Tang said. “I’m grateful to my parents for being strict with me about learning our language. Being fluent in Mandarin is giving me a competitive edge in my career.”
Finding his passion
Even at a young age, Tang said he loved engineering, and says that his high school experience led him on the path to becoming an educator and mentor. “I believe my high school years fed my inner passion to want to help students, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs,” Tang explained. “My sisters are educators, so I suppose this passion to teach runs in our family,” he continued.
As a lover of robotics, Tang discovered Vaughn and was drawn to its mechatronic engineering program. “I knew Vaughn was the perfect college for me,” Tang said. “Sharing my passion for engineering and robotics with my classmates who were equally as excited gave me the inspiration and encouragement to excel.” Tang quickly made his mark on campus. In 2015, he co-founded the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) team, which he remains involved with to this day as a consultant and adviser. Tang said it was this type of role—as mentor and teacher—that shifted his path from future engineer to educator.
Teaching mechatronic engineering
After graduation, Tang didn’t need to go far to land his first job. He began teaching at Vaughn as an adjunct professor, leading courses in robotics and mechatronic engineering. “I owe my passion for both teaching and engineering to my Vaughn professors, Dr. Rahemi and Dr. He,” he said humbly. “Their dedication to their students’ success inspired me to do the same for others.”
Tang decided to take his passion for learning one step further and is pursuing a master’s in engineering education. “It was important to me to continue my education in both engineering and education,” he explained. “I want to be the best I can be for my students.”
Currently on the weekends, Tang works as the head coach and STEM coordinator at KG CompuTech, a computer-training center for young students in Flushing, Queens where he teaches computer technology and robotics to middle school and high school students. “I love motivating and encouraging my students to learn critical thinking skills. They love competing in the robotics competitions.” Tang says his students see him as combination of drill sergeant and big brother. “I work my students hard to keep them focused, but I always make it a point to spend time with them after our work is done. They need to talk, and I’m there to listen and mentor them. It’s a rewarding profession and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
His advice to students
As an Asian American, Tang said he’s proud to be represented during AAPI Heritage Month. Coming from an Asian American household, he encourages students to embrace their culture, work hard, stay motivated and not fall behind.
When asked why he chose to teach engineering instead of working as an engineer, his answer was simple: “It’s more rewarding to inspire 100 students to become engineers than to work in the field as one person. There’s power in numbers. I believe motivating and encouraging students to pursue their dreams is the perfect equation to creating a future of leaders and innovators.”
Vaughn College’s core values place an emphasis on embracing diversity in all of its dimensions. We offer some of today’s most sought-after degrees in engineering and technology, management and aviation. Find out where a Vaughn degree can take you. Apply today!
Sometimes, you need not look any further than your own backyard to see your future. For Vaughn College senior Samia Oishi ’21, her love of engineering and her family’s tradition of growing their own food were the driving forces that motivated her to pursue a degree in mechatronic engineering and a career in renewable energy.
Born in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Oishi’s family moved to Brooklyn, New York when she was two years old. For as long as she can remember, Oishi said her parents always grew their own fruits and vegetables in their garden in Brooklyn. “I didn’t realize it then, but our garden was my first taste of learning about sustainable energy.”
Throughout her school days, Oishi said she always enjoyed science, but it wasn’t until she joined the robotics team in high school that she became hooked. “I joined the robotics team just for fun,” she said. “I didn’t know much about it at the time. Little did I know how it would put me on a path to Vaughn College.” She explained how being part of a team was a great learning experience. In her sophomore year in high school, Oishi went on to become the co-captain of the team—a position she maintained until graduation.
During her senior year, Oishi and her friend decided to attend a college fair at her high school. “I happened to meet an admissions adviser from Vaughn while at the college fair,” she explained. “When I heard about the mechatronic engineering program, I knew immediately it was the program for me. That day changed my life.”
In 2017, Oishi enrolled at Vaughn. She joined a learning community of a group of students who shared the same interests and schedules. “Joining the learning community was a wonderful experience,” she said. “Vaughn is an amazing college. The small class sizes, wonderful staff of professors and student community make going to college feel like my home away from home.”
Oishi landed an internship at Kinetic Communities Consulting, a New York Minority and Women-owned Benefit Corporation that works with utilities and government agencies to help diverse New York communities adapt to solar and sustainable energy. “My role there plays a major part of who I am and where I’m striving to be in the future,” said Oishi. “We educate low-income families about the importance of solar energy and show them how to use and install it. It’s all about helping people make their lives better.”
This past summer, Oishi’s mentor at the internship recommended she apply for an exclusive fellowship at Woman of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE), a national non-profit organization dedicated to building a diverse workforce for the success of global sustainable energy. The application process was rigorous, but Oishi said it was well worth the effort. In addition to submitting her résumé and cover letter, the process required a letter of recommendation, written essay and a telephone interview. Of numerous applicants across the country, WRISE only accepts six candidates for the prestigious fellowship position. “I was thrilled to learn that I was selected to be a 2020 solar power fellow for WRISE,” she said excitedly. For the past four months, Oishi has been networking with other members of the fellowship and learning about the renewable energy industry. “It’s been an amazing experience and extremely beneficial for a student like me, who will be entering the workforce next year. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity. From fellows to friends, it’s all about making connections.”
Looking to the future
With a passionate heart, Oishi stated she is excited to pursue a career in the renewable energy industry. With only one semester to go, she explains how her degree in mechatronic engineering will give her a competitive edge in the field. “Automation already exists in the industry,” Oishi said. “My knowledge of mechanical, electrical and computer engineering will position me favorably for the workforce.”
Harvesting her heritage
At the end of the day, Oishi says she thanks her parents for instilling in her a love for their country and traditions that are deeply rooted in her heritage. “Planting a garden is so much more than watching your food grow. It’s all about the pride in harvesting the food and sharing it with those who need it most. I always wanted to pursue a career to help the world. I’m grateful to Vaughn for helping me get there.”
Is a career in engineering in your future? Discover all that’s possible with an engineering degree from Vaughn College. Apply today.
What do the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Panama Canal all have in common? If you said they are among some of the top engineering wonders of the modern world, you are correct—so get ready to see one of the latest to hit the stage!
Check out the engineering wonder of The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock and Casino in Hollywood, Florida—the world’s first guitar-shaped hotel and the most unique structure to climb the stairway to the sky.
In October 2019, the 35-story, 638-room Guitar Hotel made its solo debut, soaring 450 feet into the skies of South Florida. This architectural wonder took three years to create and is part of the $1.5 billion expansion of the flagship casino resort of Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The hotel is designed to resemble back-to-back guitars. The neck of the guitar extends 75 feet above the roof with light cannons blazing through. Illuminated strings, guitar faces, and floor-to-ceiling glass panels complete the look of a jam that will have you yelling: “Encore!”
So, why the guitar shape? A hotel operations executive explained how the guitar has worldwide recognition as a symbol of music. Additionally, it is the iconic symbol of the Hard Rock. Designed in collaboration with Klai Juba Wald Architects of Las Vegas, De Simone Consulting Engineers worked in strict coordination through all design specialties to complete this challenging, exciting and rewarding project.
How did they build that?
The architectural and engineering genius behind this amazing structure involved skills and expertise across several engineering and construction platforms. Tight controls and flexible designs were key components throughout the project. Experts in the areas of structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering—along with contractors in the construction and related industries—combined forces to meet the demands of this challenging project with its “sexy curves.” Here is a snapshot of how they built this one-of-a-kind guitar-shaped hotel:
- Detailed models of the guitar tower—The models of the guitar tower and other on-site projects were critical decision-making tools to address logistical challenges and ensure precision.
- Preparing the site for construction—A multiacre retention pond was filled in, along with the excavation of another pond, to create balance of onsite water retention. Crews used vibro compaction to prepare the site for construction and this allowed them to begin vertical construction.
- Laying the foundation—Concrete companies partnered to install 36,000 cubic yards of concrete that were used on the guitar tower. Meticulous detail was required for in-slab coordination to ensure that embeds for the curtain wall system, slab edges, plumbing sleeves, mechanical system openings and other openings were precise.
- Structural design—Nine inch thick, post-tensioned slabs were used on levels four through-28 to allow for thinner floor plates. This system allowed the crew to install the curtain wall and the guitar shaped design. This was a critical step to ensure the curtain wall embeds were precisely located on the slab edge.
- Addressing the curves—Several columns needed to be sloped by as much as 40 degrees, since each floor narrows and widens in the guitar shape. Additional thrust reinforcement was designed into the slabs to help hold back horizontal forces from sloping columns.
- Height restrictions—The hotel property lies within the flight path of Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. Design teams worked cautiously to save inches anywhere they could to maximize space for the hotel rooms. More inches could potentially turn into additional floors, thus jeopardizing the height restriction of the structure.
- Cost consideration—As you can imagine, a project of this magnitude required laser-focused cost management. The team used 3D, 4D (time) and 5D (schedule) to communicate their ideas about the project.
How an engineering degree from Vaughn can be music to your ears
The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock and Casino is one of today’s coolest and innovative examples of engineering at its finest. As you can see, the field of engineering and technology continues to play a critical role in defining modern day life and society. As technology and infrastructure continue to develop at a rapid rate, the demand for well-trained electrical, mechanical, and mechatronic engineers is greater than ever. Vaughn’s industry-focused degrees and add-on certifications will prepare you for an ever-changing and dynamic career in your chosen field.
Are you seeking a futureproof career in the engineering and technology field? Discover the possibilities. Apply today!