Cornell Tech Celebrates First RI Graduation

Happy start of summer, Islanders! It is an absolutely beautiful time to be on Roosevelt Island. All of us at Cornell Tech have been enjoying the gorgeous blooming cherry trees surrounding the campus and the Island, and we have been spending more time outdoors as the weather finally begins to warm up. I’m excited to share several updates with you.


We made it! Our first academic year on Roosevelt Island is complete. On Friday, May 18, we held our Startup Awards competition at our end-of-year Open Studio celebration. Student startup teams competed for pre-seed funding and coworking space at the Tata Innovation Center so they can pursue their startups full-time after graduation. We announced the winners of the competition the following day at our graduation recognition ceremony, where we graduated 200 students, including students across all masters’ programs and PhDs.

We’re proud that the winners of this year’s Startup Awards are pursuing groundbreaking technologies with real-world impact. The winners include:

litOS: 800 million illiterate people worldwide struggle to use smartphones. litOS is a text-free, voice-assisted mobile OS solution to solve this.

ReverCare: ReverCare connects families to curated resources and coaches to ease the burden of caring for elderly loved ones.

TogethAR: An AR platform which utilizes mobile technology to foster real-world impromptu social collisions through collaborative gamified experiences.

Kipit: Kipit builds devices that automatically track your personal items and alert you before you leave anything behind.

The startups will be on the Island next year, so look out for what’s next with these great budding companies.

3D-Printed Life Hacks

In my last column, I wrote about a project undertaken in the MakerLAB@Cornell Tech. We asked the Roosevelt Island senior community to submit challenges for projects that would make their everyday lives easier.

The MakerLAB hosted Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine students in collaboration with Roosevelt Island seniors to create real-life solutions to those challenges. Six interdisciplinary teams were created, and they developed prototypes. 3D printing technology and the design thinking processes were introduced in a series of workshops on how to build an idea into a physical product.

The course was led by the head of Cornell Tech’s MakerLAB, Niti Parikh, who presented some of the project highlights at our most recent Community & Construction Task Force meeting. And I’m excited to share them with all of you.

One student team was presented with the challenge of how to help consumers with limited strength and dexterity use household products. The students created an adjustable strap to help open doorknobs, jars, and bottles.

Another team, confronted with how to enhance physical activity for those with limited mobility, created a device that holds an iPad and can attach to a walker, making it easier to practice online physical therapy.

A third team developed a mobile app-based reminder for products – as well as an ergonomic 3D-printed adapter to grasp keys – to help consumers remember everyday items.

I want to extend my sincere thanks to all of the Roosevelt Island seniors who made this possible! We heard positive reviews from both the seniors and students about this course, and heard that both groups truly helped and learned from each other.

Campus Update

Work on the Verizon Executive Education Center and Graduate Roosevelt Island Hotel are moving along. Foundation work is complete for the Verizon Center, and excavation work is under way for the hotel. I will continue to keep all of you updated on this progress at the quarterly Community & Construction Task Force meetings, and through this column.

Visit Us!

We are very excited to announce that, in addition to our exterior campus tour and audio tour, we now have dedicated tours to explore the art inside The Bloomberg Center. There are a limited number of spots on each tour so we encourage you to look at the schedule and sign up if you are interested. For more information and to view the schedule, visit:

For more information on Cornell Tech, please visit, and feel free to get in touch with any questions!

Jane Swanson

Community Liaison, Cornell Tech

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