Milstein Summer Program @ Cornell Tech

The Milstein summer program at Cornell Tech is designed to be an immersive, engaged learning experience focused on bridging between technological and humanistic understandings of our world. Through mentored workshops, independent projects, collaboration with diverse communities and real-world engagement in NYC, students will develop a situated appreciation of both the forefront of technological innovation as well as the human context in which it is unfolding.

More about The Milstein Program



The Milstein summer program @ Cornell Tech is organized around a set of studio workshops that collectively reflect upon the political and social context of technology, engage with new communities through the medium of sound and oral histories, and collaboratively design new artifacts using digital fabrication technologies. The second summer will provide students the opportunity to pursue a deeper set of interests and sustained, real-world collaboration – through internships, research collaborations and independent study projects. 

The program will be interleaved with experiential activities connecting students to the life and fabric of NYC, including visits to cultural institutions and participation in local arts events, and to one another and their mentors. Students will also contribute to the local Roosevelt Island community by working with local groups and participating in shared events and activities. By the end of the program, students will gain:

  • Unique academic experiences that integrate theory, methods, technology, texts
  • Bridged learning between classroom and other contexts (trips, events, field work)
  • Collaboration both within the cohort and with other stakeholders
  • Deep connection to NYC, and its diverse people and places


Revolutionary Technologies

Led by: Tapan Parikh

Students will deepen their theoretical and historical perspective on social change, and creatively envision various alternatives for the relationship between social change and technology. We will read a range of revolutionary thinkers – including, but not limited to: Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Antonio Gramsci, Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire, Gandhi and E.F. Schumacher. We will use these theories as a lens to reflect both upon existing technology and the underlying relations that create and sustain it, as well as to envision new technological possibilities supported by (and supporting) alternative forms of social organization. We will also watch a number of films for further commentary and reflection on some of the ideas from the class.

Listening in the Wake

Led by: Khadijah Abdurahman

Contemporary debates around the social implications of artificial intelligence – particularly the disconnect between communities impacted by sociotechnical systems and the computer scientists who design them – resurface “relational ways of knowing” as a core competency for technologists. This course will challenge students to develop their relational competency through situated listening experiences, readings, trips and conducting oral history interviews. The course will also introduce students to the process of managing an oral history archive, including doing transcriptions, managing data and sharing content online, and to relate these practices to broader questions regarding the collection and usage of electronic data.

Sound x Color

Led by: Tao Leigh Goffe

Revolutions in technology have electrified the sonic experience from the gramophone to the soundsystem to the Discman to the iPhone. Engaging with the global and electronic currents of sonic media from 1925 to the present, students will learn about a history of evolving sound and military technologies. We will consider the relationship between sound and space, genre and geography, metadata and colonial practices. Through a circuitry of global port cities from Havana to New Orleans to Bristol to New York to Kolkata we will study the development of electronic recordings of vernacular music. Students will work in groups to imagine and produce a collaborative future mixtape using sonic and visual mixing software for the final project. 

Curating The Future

Led by: Bryan Yee

Students will develop and curate museums of/for the future building on artifacts and media created in the various workshops, by authoring next generation exhibitions and collaborative non-linear experiences shared across AR, VR and mobile environments, built with the Unity 3D engine. Students will learn Unity by working through a set of tutorials and custom templates, supported by office hours with program faculty and staff. We will also explore the dynamics of alternative interaction paradigms (gaming, narrative, multi-user, etc.) within these shared spaces and examine the potential impact on media and educational applications. 

Speaker Series




8-9:30pm EDT




Listening in the Wake

8-9:30pm EDT



Sound x Color

8-9:30pm EDT




Invited Lecture

8-9:30pm EDT


Curating the Future

8-9:30pm EDT



First day of workshops

End of program


What are the costs of participating in the Milstein Summer Program at Cornell Tech?

While there is no cost associated with participating in the summer academic program, students will be expected to bear their own housing and dining costs, adjusted by demonstrated financial aid need. We are currently working out housing and dining costs and hope to be able to share those shortly. For the Class of 2022 cohort, all housing and dining costs will be met by the program due to a miscommunication when admitting students.

Are students expected to reside on campus?

Normally, students are expected to reside in the House at Cornell Tech for the duration of the summer program. For more information about living on campus, including housing, dining and other aspects of student life, please see this document. For summer 2020 only, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the program will be conducted virtually.

Will the program help in identifying potential internship opportunities for students?

We will provide opportunities for students to connect with companies and other organizations who are potentially interested in sponsoring projects and internships for the second summer of the program. We also plan to provide support for some internships working with Cornell Tech research projects, city agencies, non-profits and local community-based organizations. 

Can I do another job or internship while participating in the program?

Our program is designed to be an immersive, full-time program. As such, you will not have time to take on an additional job or internship while the summer program is in session. For summer 2020 only, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the program will be conducted part-time in the evenings allowing students to do another job or internship. 

Do I have to participate in the program? Are there any alternatives to participation?

As a Milstein student you are required to participate in the summer program at Cornell Tech.

Can I participate in the program after my freshman year instead?

We are exploring the possibility of allowing rising sophomores to apply to attend the program in the summer of 2021. We will provide further information in the Fall. For summer 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, rising sophomores are welcome and encouraged to participate in the virtual online program. 


Tapan Parikh
Tapan Parikh

Program Director
RevTech Workshop Lead

J. Khadijah Abdurahman
J. Khadijah Abdurahman
Oral historian/Abolitionist/Curator
Listening in the Wake Workshop Lead
Bryan Yee
Bryan Yee

Curating the Future Workshop Lead


Tao Leigh Goffe
Tao Leigh Goffe

Professor/Writer/Sound Artist
Sound x Color Workshop Lead

William Leon
William Leon
Unity and AR/VR Expert
Ian Arawjo
Ian Arawjo

Researcher/Designer/CS Educator
Teaching Assistant

Zifeng Liu
Zifeng Liu

Teaching Assistant