Professor John J. Dropkin had a long, rich, and multifaceted association with Polytechnic University, first as a graduate student, then as a faculty member, as Chair of the Physics Department, and later as Professor Emeritus. What may not be as well known is that after he retired from the Physics Department in 1978, Professor Dropkin continued his commitment to science education at Polytechnic by founding the Learning Center and directing it for ten years. This was a place where students could go for academic support in physics, chemistry, and calculus. They could speak with Professor Dropkin, or with one of the peer tutors he recruited and trained. Students could ask questions, get help with their homework, and prepare for exams.
Then, as now, Polytechnic students were intelligent, curious, and hardworking young people with dreams of building their futures through careers in science and engineering. Like today’s Poly students, they were often the first in their families to go to college, and many of them were recent immigrants to the United States. They often juggled their educational and professional goals with more immediate financial needs. Professor Dropkin was committed to reaching these talented young people through the sciences and to supporting their efforts to succeed in their chosen fields.
The Polytechnic Tutoring Center (PTC) is the direct descendent of Professor Dropkin’s program. We are proud to continue the work he began.
In that spirit, The Dropkin Tutor of the Year Award was established in 2007. The PTC gives this award each year in memory of John J. Dropkin, who chaired the physics department from 1947 until 1978, then served the students by establishing mathematics and science tutoring services. This award recognizes peer tutors who continue this tradition by helping their fellow students at the Polytechnic Tutoring Center.
This year's John J. Dropkin Tutor of the Year Award goes to Edward Melcer.
Edward Melcer is a undergraduate senior in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He served at the Polytechnic Tutoring Center (PTC) as Team Leader for the computer science team. He also served as a research assistant at NYU-Poly's Game Innovation Lab with a focus on Human Computer Interaction. Through his work in the game lab, Edward has presented at several venues such as the 2012 World Science Festival, 9th Annual Games for Change Festival, and the 2012 & 2013 Conferences on Human Factors in Computing Systems. As a game designer, Edward has won (or placed as a finalist) in several design competitions such as the Games for Learning Design Competition and Future Game Designer Challenge. In addition to the Dropkin Award, Edward is the recipient of the Pearl Brownstein Senior Award as the graduating senior with the highest grade-point average in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Edward plans to pursue a Ph.D. and continue his education at NYU-Poly where he has been awarded the Provost's Fellowship in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. His work will examine incorporating technology to enhance learning in educational environments, and more specifically the use of games, creativity, and play to do so.
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