Graduate Spotlight: Sevi

While earning his baccalaureate degree in computer science, Sevi Reyes ‘18 from the Philippines, created a robotic arm to aid those with disabilities, co-founded NYU Shanghai’s tennis team and was Global Vice President of Student Government. After graduation, he’ll be working as a business analyst for Morgan Stanley.


What courses or faculty left a particular impression on you?

I didn't know a line of code when I started Intro to Computer Science. With the help of the Global Academic Fellows (GAFs), especially Nishant Mohanchandra, it began to quickly click with me. Nishant just understood that some students had zero knowledge on the subject, and he built a great foundation for us moving forward.


What inspired your robotic arm project?

During sophomore year, I took Interaction Lab with professor Antonius Wiriadjaja, that made me realize I could make something that was both technological and creative. For my Deans’ Undergraduate Research Fund (DURF), I partnered with two interactive media arts majors and a fellow computer engineering major to create a robotic arm that could help disabled persons pick up objects, just by thinking.  Our research found that existing technology can be medically invasive. We wanted our technology to be functional without being intrusive, so we combined technology that allows control of movement with brainwaves, a camera worn on the head to detect objects, and a headset that monitored eye movement, that would allow the wearer to pick up, say, a bottle of water just by focusing on it.


Where are you headed after graduation?

I had a summer internship with Morgan Stanley when I was studying away in New York, and they called me back for a full time job. I'll be working with them as a business analyst to see how they do things on a large scale. There are many options to specialize: I could go into data analytics, documentation of applications, statistical analysis of other products they have, or cryptography.


What are some of your favorite places in Shanghai?

There's this dumpling place around the side entrance of Jinqiao station that is my guilty pleasure. It's a small restaurant with a huge red storefront and I always get the shrimp wontons and the xiaolongbao. You can get seven xiaolongbao for 6 RMB. And right across the street, there's this really nice fruit lady that I go to for mandarin oranges. I would buy a bunch of mandarin oranges from her before getting on the bus to campus and carry a bag of them around school. The mall across from Jinqiao dorms is really great for international cuisine. I would go for Japanese food, or on a very laid back morning I'd have a coffee and some green curry at Wagas. In the city, there's a lot to see. For art lovers, a visit to M50 is a must.


Any wisdom to pass on?

As cliche as it sounds, you need to come to NYU Shanghai with an open mind. Don’t falter or doubt your decision if things turn out differently to your expectations. I learned that I could come into something and have it be the opposite of what I expected and everything would still be fine.

I foresee myself trying different things and changing paths, and that's okay—the thing about NYU Shanghai is that it teaches you how to deal with rapid change and how to learn from your failures. I think it's something a lot of NYU Shanghai students carry with them: they don't necessarily see things not going to plan as a setback. NYU Shanghai students mostly have a positive outlook on life, which is really nice.