Innovate NY holds first panel

April 30, 2014

Ward Pettibone for WSN

A diverse group of professors explored innovation in their respective fields at the first Innovate New York panel.

The event, held on April 29 at the Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life, was hosted by the Undergraduate Affairs Committee of the Student Senators Council and the University Committee on Student Life. The panel featured CAS professor Daniel Lerner, Steinhardt professor Joe Salvatore and Wagner professor Ellen McGrath.

CAS senior Victoria Ettorre, the president of the CAS Student Council, explained that the panel was meant to be applicable for students in all schools and disciplines.

“The purpose of the event is to show that innovation can happen at multiple platforms,” Ettorre said. “Having the panelists come from different schools within NYU shows that students can enact change in whatever field they wish to pursue.”

Panelists shared personal experiences in their fields, allowing the attendees to gain an insight on education, future employment and the complications of success.

Lerner, who teaches the Science of Happiness, introduced positive psychology and its relationship to achievement. Lerner said success involves well-being as well as hard work.

“There are a lot of people out there that are great at what they do — musicians, athletes — but there is a distinction between being great and being happy and great,” Lerner said.

Lerner gave his definition of innovation.

“Innovation is really about integrating existing roads to align with what your interests and passions are,” Lerner said.

McGrath, who also teaches in the Stern School of Business and is a clinical psychologist, said innovation is a necessary skill to have.

“We see innovation as life and blood, it is a necessity,” McGrath said. “You have to have innovative skills and capacity to go out and do whatever you plan to do.”

Salvatore said people tend to think more about negative results than positive outcomes. When students were asked if they focused more on an A or C grade, most students said they noticed C grades more.

“The grade is what dictates, or tells us what we’ve learned when in actuality the grade is only one kind of quantitative measurement of certain moments in time over an experience that doesn’t really reflect what one has learned,” Salvatore said.

Stern sophomore Rohit Mittal said he thinks the goal of the event was to teach students that they can learn outside of the classroom.

“You can [be] innovative [outside of] business,” Mittal said. “It’s more of execution, not just an idea.”

CAS senior Lindsay Herz said she enjoyed hearing from Lerner and Salvatore.

“Both of them really inspire me, and they both are studying things that I’m interested in,” Herz said referring to her studies in psychology and educational theater.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 30 print edition. Christine Park is a contributing writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com. 

*Correction: A previous version of this article misattributed professor Lerner’s quotes to professor Salvatore. 

WSN regrets the error.

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