BROOKLYN, New York, Nov. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NYU Tandon School of Engineering Senior Lecturer Allan B. Goldstein's Disabilities Studies course, where engineering students and self-advocates with cerebral palsy explore how to communicate, connect, and cultivate their abilities by making videos together, is the subject of the acclaimed documentary "The Ability Exchange." The award-winning film will screen at NYU Tandon Pfizer Auditorium on Wednesday, November 30, at 6:00 p.m. A panel discussion will follow; the screening is free, although registration is required.
The course is part of the NYU ABILITY Project, which brings together engineers, designers, scientists, educators, speech and occupational therapists, and individuals with disabilities. The program is one of the many ways in which the NYU Tandon School of Engineering uses technology in service to society.
Described by Indiewire as "an empathy engine," the film illustrates the trajectory of personal growth and bonding that these first-time filmmakers experience in the classroom and beyond. A Q&A session will take place after the screening and will include remarks from Goldstein, NYU Tandon Professor and Co-Founder of the NYU Ability Project R. Luke DuBois, and "The Ability Exchange" Director Bing Wang; Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan will introduce the film. Victor Calise, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, will moderate the session.
"At NYU Tandon, a long standing dictum has been that Man is one with Nature, from which flows the ideal that one must use one's technical and scientific knowledge for the benefit of humankind," Sreenivasan said. "The Ability Project and our Disabilities Studies course ensure we are cultivating the character of students as well as their technical knowledge in their chosen field. We are pleased to welcome Director Wang and to invite all New Yorkers and their friends to share the insights he gleaned from Allan Goldstein's life-affirming course."
Goldstein is a faculty member in the Technology, Culture and Society Department at NYU Tandon. He helped establish the Disabilities Studies minor, a cross-school, interdisciplinary program intended to educate students about the historical, social, and legal circumstances that shape the experience of disability – and help them discover ways in which they can put their engineering knowledge to use in the field. His is one of three core courses for the new minor.
"As an educator, it's very rewarding to see how the students change throughout the semester," said Goldstein. "This heartwarming film captures that transformation and showcases just some of the pedagogy that makes a Tandon education unique. Viewers will see a different side of engineering students and self-advocates living with cerebral palsy." The film documents how students work together with consultants from United Cerebral Palsy of New York City throughout a semester that often transforms their lives.
Bing Wang produced, directed, shot, and edited the film, which takes place in an intimate class setting at NYU Tandon and NYU's Media and Games Network (MAGNET). Woven into his story are glimpses of the unusual experiential teaching method that Goldstein uses in his class.
"It's gratifying to have this screening in the place where it all started," said the filmmaker. "It feels like a homecoming of sorts because of my time on this campus as well as with the students and advocates in the film."
Wang was concurrently awarded a master of arts degree from the Cinema Studies Program at the Tisch School of the Arts and a Culture and Media certificate from the Anthropology Department at New York University. A Brooklyn transplant by way of his native China, Wang says he adores cinéma vérité and investigating family, communication, and identity topics. He is known for his editorial role in Heather White and Lynn Zhang's powerful feature "Who Pays the Price: The Human Cost of Electronics" and Fusion's TV documentary "Lavender Marriage." He associate-produced Ursula Liang's award-winning film "9-Man" and is developing a new project about gay deaf parenting.
Paul Tudisco, a self-advocate living with cerebral palsy who served as a consultant in the class, met students in the Disabilities Studies course who would later help him develop the Limitless Stylus tool that is optimized for users with limited hand mobility.
"The film shows that people with disabilities can do anything," said Tudisco. "It was inspiring to help teach students more about disabilities and now have a film to show the world."
About the NYU Tandon School of Engineering The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, when the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly) were founded. Their successor institutions merged in January 2014 to create a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within the country's largest private research university and is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu