Caption: Kang (right) with a friend at Maritime's commencement ceremony
Bitna Tina Kang
Valley Stream, Long Island
What brought you to SUNY Maritime?
My cousin is in the Marines, and he knew all about Maritime. I originally planned to go to an art school because I love to paint, but he convinced me to check out Naval Architecture. I was also scouted to play lacrosse for the school. I eventually came to find that Naval Architecture wasn’t for me, but I found that the Facilities Engineering program was.
What was your favorite class to take?
The cyber security course that the Marine Transportation department put together was really interesting. It’s a unique course because it’s taught by five different professors, ranging from the MT department to the Engineering department. It’s a very hands-on class that discusses what’s going on in the industry right now and what the future may hold.
You’re very involved in the tech industry. How did that start?
It’s an interesting story. I got into the tech world about a year ago through a conversation with an Uber driver. He was driving me into the city and somehow along the way he started telling me all about this non-profit organization in the Bronx that teaches programming for free—The Knowledge House. They offer a free programming boot camp, which usually costs around $5,000-$6,000 and I was super excited by the thought of it. I knew I needed something more to consume my time and put on my resume. I signed up and it changed my life.
I was immediately surrounded by such a supportive community there. I loved going. My friends who graduated from the course got jobs with Google, Viacom and the like but they would still come back to teach and help others. Everyone there is so motivated and cooperative. It was the biggest learning experience of my life.
I actually got an internship because of The Knowledge House. They placed me with Duro UAS, an eco-drone manufacturer located in the South Bronx. I got to do a lot of exciting things with them. We recently finished a prototype for a harbor-autonomous underwater vehicle, and it’s ready for testing in two weeks.
On top of that I work at Liberty Maritime, a shipping company based out of New Hyde Park as an assistant engineer. I’m also active with the New York Supply Chain meetup, a public group that aims to raise questions and pursue answers that will lead to comprehensive, sustainable and profitable solutions in the global supply chain.
Tell us about your efforts to bring that tech industry to campus.
Well my biggest effort on campus is to get students to explore and make connections. That might be difficult to do for some of the kids involved in the school’s regimented lifestyle program. So, I’m trying to bring tech meetups to campus through the Maritime Global Technologies Innovation Center with Dr. Clott, Dr. Burke and Professor Breglia.
MGTIC is an organization designed to spur development and serve as a bridge between the tech, maritime, logistics and finance communities to students, investors and startups.
In addition to the MGTIC, I also helped to establish the Coding Club on campus. I think that learning to code is going to be an increasingly valuable skill in the future, and students should get a jumpstart on that. We host events every semester where students with no knowledge on the subject can come by and learn the basics.
You’re involved in a lot, why do so much?
I feel like it’s not enough. There were times when I wasn’t doing much, but as soon as I got out there I saw the benefit to working and meeting different people. Being involved takes just a few hours out of my day and has a tremendous effect. When I gain experience I can help others as well. That’s part of the reason why my friends and I started the Society of Women Engineers chapter at Maritime about two years ago. I want to be able to help.