Berkeley College Professor Inspires Attendees at BE.INnovative Technology Symposium

MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2016
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 Berkeley College BE.INnovative

Photo Captions: (Above, L to R) Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College; U.S. Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez; New York State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon; and Edward Summers, PhD, Executive Director, Brooklyn Education Innovation Network. (Below) One of several panel discussions engages the audience. (Bottom): Students and company representatives take advantage of networking opportunities during the BE.INnovative Symposium. 

Berkeley College Brooklyn BE.INnovativeA diverse panel of New York innovators examined the ways technology can help individuals overcome disabilities and other challenges during Brooklyn’s third annual BE.INnovative Symposium, held on April 7, 2016. The panel, titled Inclusive Innovation: Communities empowering themselves through technology, featured speakers Darshan Desai, PhD, Professor, Management, Berkeley College Larry L. Luing School of Business®, joined by fellow panelists Jason DaSilva, Founder, AXS Map; Allan B. Goldstein, Senior Lecturer, NYU Tandon School of Engineering; Jenny Young, Owner, Brooklyn Robot Foundry, and moderator Paul Russo, PhD, Vice Provost, Yeshiva University, and Dean, Yeshiva University’s School for Graduate and Professional Studies.

“Each of the colleges and universities in downtown Brooklyn contributes to the talent matrix that is driving Brooklyn’s economy, which is one of the fastest growing in the nation,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College. “I am especially proud of our faculty and students who each year participate in BE.IN events.”

The panel on inclusive innovation addressed how technology has played a role in leveling the playing field for those with disabilities, and how businesses, students and individuals have helped by forming communities that create person-centered stories that raise awareness and inspire hope and innovation.

Dr. Desai spoke about different ways to leverage technology innovations to empower highly diverse students and the communities around us. “We have designed a few tech-empowered experiential learning initiatives that bridge the disconnect between the demands of the ‘real world’ and the education system. These initiatives aim to fill the visible skill-gaps and invisible attitudes, ideologies and values gap,” she said.

“This year’s theme, ‘Innovation for All,’ is more inclusive, more broad in scope, including the traditionally disadvantaged, and offering students, faculty, staff and the community practical tools and tips that they can use to be more involved,” said Edward Summers, PhD, Executive Director, Brooklyn Education Innovation Network (BE.IN). 

Ten Berkeley College student volunteers facilitated operations by serving as greeters, with registration, food services, setup and dismantling of space, and recruiting new panel participants for future programs. “The biggest draw for our student volunteers was exposure to panels on civic innovation, women entrepreneurs, obtaining information about resources, and especially the multitude of networking and employment opportunities,” said Michele Figueroa, Berkeley College Career Counselor, Brooklyn.

Michael Roach, Legal Studies, Berkeley College Class of 2018 and President of the student Legal Studies and Justice Studies Club in Brooklyn, was one of the volunteers. “Participating in this event was a remarkable experience for me because it offered networking opportunities. It provided me the opportunity to meet with some of the nation’s leading companies and entrepreneurs,” he said. “It also furthered my leadership skills. Volunteering for these events helps me become a well-rounded individual.”

The third annual BE.INnovative Symposium (formerly known as Tech Triangle U) was hosted by BE.IN member institutions in collaboration with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, whose goal is to exhibit the talents of their students and faculty, and to connect the tech, creative and academic communities in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, while enabling companies to learn about talent recruitment and collaboration opportunities with schools in their own community.

Berkeley College, with its location at 255 Duffield Street in Brooklyn, is part of the downtown Brooklyn Higher Education Consortium, creating a new employment pipeline between Brooklyn’s college and professional students and the area’s rapidly growing tech sector, engaging businesses, cultural institutions, and other community groups to launch innovative extra-curricular experiences for students. 

About the Brooklyn Tech Triangle

Home to more than 1,350 innovation and creative firms, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle comprises Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard – and is a strategic effort to grow the tech and creative sectors through place-making, real estate, workforce development, and policy efforts.  As part of these efforts, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle is working to cultivate a true innovation ecosystem that brings together the tech and academic communities. 

Led by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the DUMBO Improvement District, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan seeks to address the commercial space, office and human capital needs of Brooklyn’s burgeoning tech industry by providing a blueprint for nurturing the growth of this sector and ensuring New York can capitalize on the job creation of the industry. 

About Berkeley College

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls approximately 8,300 students – including more than 700 international students – in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers a Master of Business Administration degree in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ. 

Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College one of the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Degrees for the third consecutive year, and as one of the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Degrees for veterans, for the second consecutive year. The website address is

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