SCPS Faculty Spotlight: Gabriel Cohen

Courtesy of Gabriel Cohen

For the month of August we are spotlighting esteemed Pratt faculty member, Gabriel Cohen, who teaches undergraduate and continuing education courses at Pratt Institute. This upcoming fall semester, Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) launched the Writers Workspace. A new program geared towards students and creative professionals interested in growing and further developing their writing practice. Beginning on October 2nd, Gabriel will be teaching, 1st Chapters: Start Your Novel, a 10 week course that will focus on guiding and preparing budding novelists in taking the first steps towards composing a novel. It will also be useful for writers who may have written some previous drafts.

As a longtime Pratt faculty member, Gabriel Cohen brings with him an extensive and impressive professional and educational resume. He is the author of a literary novel, four crime novels, and a nonfiction book, and was a finalist for an Edgar award. He has written essays for the New York Times, Poets & Writers, and TimeOut New York just to name a few. He is also in his tenth year at Pratt Institute and has previously taught writing at New York University, the Center for Fiction, and Long Island University. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Gabriel Cohen about his life and career. Tune in below to hear all about his  background in the creative world, his literary accomplishments and his approach to teaching as an educator.

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in the creative world?

Gabriel Cohen: I grew up in a family of writers, painters, and filmmakers, so I was exposed to the creative process very early. I studied English in college, then went on to a stint as a musician and songwriter, and did freelance journalism for a weekly newspaper. I shifted to writing mostly novels because I find it enormously satisfying to imagine characters, places, and stories, and then use craft to make them come alive for readers. I love how both fiction and nonfiction promote a deeper engagement with the world and with other human beings. (I especially love researching and writing about New York.)

Pratt SCPS: What would you say have been your greatest professional achievements so far?

Gabriel Cohen: I was excited to write features about this city for the New York Times, including articles about con artists who actually “sold” the Brooklyn Bridge, and about the brash Comments sections on neighborhood blogs. And I was proud to publish five novels, but an especially satisfying aspect of my career was publishing a nonfiction book about how to survive divorce, and then getting letters from total strangers around the world who said that it helped them get through tough times.

Courtesy of David Iskander

Pratt SCPS: When did your Pratt journey begin and what has it been like?

Gabriel Cohen: I am beginning my tenth year of teaching at Pratt. I have enjoyed helping Writing Program students improve their craft, introducing freshman students to nonfiction through explorations of New York City*, and learning about design myself when I teach thesis writing to graduate Design students.

*For example, I take them on a field trip to write about the Fulton Mall. I ask them if they could write about the city if they were deaf and blind, and then I read them an amazing essay by Helen Keller in which she did just that.

Pratt SCPS: What has been the most important lesson for you as an educator in this field?

Gabriel Cohen: I believe that as a professor I have a responsibility to always keep working on learning about education and improving my teaching technique. It doesn’t matter how good a writer someone might be if they can’t help students learn the craft. I started a program at Pratt to enable teachers to get together for informal meetings to share tips about how we can improve as educators.

I teach that writing is an act of communication as well as self-expression, and that as writers we have to learn craft in order to be able to provide vivid, engrossing experiences for readers.

Pratt SCPS: What upcoming courses will you be teaching at Pratt?

Gabriel Cohen: I’ll be teaching a freshman Studio writing course and a novel-writing course for undergraduates, as well as this adult course for the School of Continuing and Professional studies.

If you’re interested in learning more about Gabriel Cohen’s upcoming course at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies visit the main website. Make sure to  subscribe to our blog stay up to date on all of the upcoming features!


The Student Leadership Team behind the PreCollege Summer Program

(from left back row, Sam, Madison, Veronica, from left front row, Janelle, Eva, Laura, Moby & Urva) – Courtesy of Sam Stuart

The PreCollege Summer Program wrapped up a few weeks ago, however it would not have been a resounding success without the dedication and hard work of this summer’s Pratt PreCollege staff and leadership team. The Pratt PreCollege Summer Program is a month long academic program geared to high schools. It’s a wonderful opportunity for close to 400 students to explore  their interests in art and design and to get a glimpse into what the college experience is really like. At the conclusion of the program students receive elective college credits and have the honor of showcasing all of their hard work in a Final Exhibition. In recognition of the successful end to another exceptional PreCollege Summer Program, we’ve chosen to spotlight the amazing contributions made by the Pratt PreCollege leadership team this summer.

The leadership team was comprised of eight current Pratt Institute students. Each team leader had an extremely active role in all facets of this summer’s program. As a group, the leaders were responsible for their individual roles and duties which included student advisement, coordinating operations, field trips, cultural excursions and additional activities, as well as overseeing the mentors. There were over 30 student mentors this summer all of whom are Pratt Institute students. Who better than Pratt students to mentor, guide and advise PreCollege students about the Pratt experience. Being a part of the PreCollege Summer Program is an experience like no other. Current Pratt students are able to gain highly useful skills that will guide them in both their academic and professional careers.

In recognition of their invaluable contributions to the success of this summer’s PreCollege Program, we’d like to introduce you to the dream team that helped to make this summer’s program a truly exceptional and memorable experience for our PreCollege high school students. Meet Eva, Veronica, Urva, Samuel, Madison, Moby, Janelle and Laura, the Pratt students who helped to coordinate  and oversee various aspects of both the academic and activity related components of this summer’s program. This leadership team had an integral role in making sure all facets of the PreCollege Summer Program came together seamlessly and provided invaluable support to the PreCollege Office staff.

Courtesy of Sam Stuart

Here’s a quick breakdown of each other the leadership team members and their individual roles this summer. For this summer’s PreCollege program, the leadership team was divided into two additional teams within the main team that would be responsible for specific aspects of the program.  The subdivisions were categorized into areas of focus: academics and activities. Team leaders that were a part of the academic team were responsible for coordinating the academic side of the PreCollege program which included student advisement, studio operations, faculty and student support in the classroom and studio space, and assigning mentors to groups of PreCollege students based on their art and design concentrations groups.

The  academic team leaders were the following Pratt students: Veronica, (Grad student, Art Therapy & Creativity Development), Urva (Grad student, Communication Design), Samuel (Senior, Photography Major) and Eva (Sophomore, COMD Graphic Design). Eva a sophomore in the COMD Graphic Design Program was the Design & Operations Coordinator in the PreCollege Summer Program. Her responsibilities included providing design support to the PreCollege office and in addition to this coordinating various operations and working with other team leaders to insure that all aspects of the program ran effectively on a daily basis.

Also providing operational support in this summer’s program was Samuel, a senior in the Photography program. Samuel’s role this summer was being the Studio Mentor Coordinator. Throughout the summer program the PreCollege students would be immersed in a full day of course work and in the evenings they would attend studio space sessions where they had the opportunity to continue to work on art and design projects. As the Studio Mentor Coordinator, it was Samuel responsibility to coordinate which mentors would be assigned to oversee and lead specific studio space sessions based on subject concentrations.

Courtesy of Pratt PreCollege

One important facet of the PreCollege Summer program is ensuring that all of the students have adequate support and resources. Occasionally students requested or needed advisement for a variety of reasons and two of the members of the PreCollege leadership team were responsible for connecting students with the appropriate on campus resources in order to ensure they received advisement and support were Veronica and Urva. Veronica,  a graduate student in the Art Therapy & Creativity Development Master’s program, and Urva a graduate student in the Graduate Communication Design program, both had the role of being Graduate  Assistant Student Advisers. Their contributions to this program included being a resource for students  needing advisement, faculty, coordinating and managing mentors, and providing support to their other team members.

The leadership team members that were a part of the activities team this summer included the following Pratt students:  Madison (Undergraduate student) Laura (Senior, Art History Major), Janelle (Senior, 2D Animation Major), Moby (Senior, 2D Animation Major). Each of these team members were responsible for coordinating the field trips, cultural excursions and additional activities for this summer’s program. They also coordinated and managed the mentors assigned to each field trip and excursion and provided additional support to both PreCollege office, faculty and students.

Laura, a senior in the Art History program and Madison an undergraduate student, were the Art, History and Culture coordinators in the program this summer. They were responsible for coordinating the cultural excursions and assigned mentors to guide PreCollege students during on campus and off campus museum trips which included visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Guggenheim.  Janelle and Moby, both seniors in the 2D Animation program, were the Activities Coordinators this summer.  They helped to support this summer’s program through scheduling and coordinating field trips and weekend activities which include trips to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Governors Island.

Courtesy of Pratt PreCollege

Although this summer’s program has come to a conclusion, the contributions of each of the Pratt student leadership team members was essential to ensuring that the PreCollege students had a rewarding experience in the program. These leadership team members not only contributed a great deal through their hard work and dedication, but they were able to gain invaluable organizational, interpersonal and teamwork skills that they will be able apply to both their academic and professional careers.

To learn more about the Pratt PreCollege Program  visit our website. To stay up to date on the latest student features from  DESIGNTERRA make sure to subscribe. Don’t forget to follow Pratt PreCollege on social media: Facebook, Instagram.

Perfumery and the Evolution of an Industry

Photo: Courtesy of Christin Hume

Over the past half century,  the  fragrance and perfumery industries have gone through periods of both growth and transformation, but none more immense then these last ten years. According to a recent market research report conducted on the current landscape of the global fragrance industry,  shifting consumer demands are playing a key role in the development of new fragrance products and perfumes. These changes are challenging perfumers, fragrance brands and fashion companies to rethink their product development and marketing strategies.  One of these key consumer demands is the  necessity for more transparency in product manufacturing, packaging and marketing.

Transparency has become a vital concern for consumers across industries. When it comes to the fragrance industry it’s not enough to have a product that smells incredible.  Today’s consumers are interested in the details. Specifically the science behind the perfume (ingredients), the product manufacturing process and information about each of the individual perfumers. It’s not enough to launch a new perfume under a historic brand name, consumers want to know: What was the idea and inspiration behind each scent? What are the ingredients? As well as was it created using sustainable  methods? It’s more important now more than ever for fragrance brands to adapt to these shifting demands.

Accompanying the growing need for transparency in product development and marketing, is the groundbreaking transition towards more diversity in the fragrance and perfumery fields. The 21st century is seeing more and more women from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds making waves in the global fragrance industry. Allure Magazine recently published an interesting editorial analysis on this shift towards more diversity in the fragrance industry. In their article, The Changing Landscape of Perfumery, they make note that, “For the first time in memory, women are occupying a slew of top spots in the fragrance industry.” This is a major milestone for women across the board because historically women were not at the forefront of the fragrance industry.  The core of the rationale behind this relates to the history of perfumery in different regions of the world and in  particular in France.

Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema

Historically perfumery used to primarily be a family business  managed predominately by men. Things began to change as family businesses turned into global brands and corporations. Which gave women more access to the perfumery field. As the industry continues to grow and expand the hope is to see more of a transition towards diversity and inclusion.

At Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) we strive to keep up with the changes and innovations occurring throughout the perfumery and fragrance industries. For many years we’ve collaborated with the acclaimed and renowned Cinquième Sens, a leading perfumery school in France, to offer an exceptional Advanced Perfumery Certificate Program  which prides itself on being at the forefront of the advancements and transitions shaping the fragrance industry.

Students enrolled in the perfumery certificate program are presented with the opportunity to dive into the field of perfumery through an extensive and exploratory certificate taught by outstanding and esteemed faculty members who possess decade’s worth of experience within the perfumery field. The objective of our perfumery certificate program is for students to not only receive a superior perfumery education, but to acquire the expertise and knowledge to apply their education into a fruitful career in the creative world.

Photo: Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema

As the fragrance industry continues to transform and expand, it will be necessary for the established perfumers and fragrance manufacturers as well as the new generation of perfumers to learn how adapt to this changing landscape. There is a significant demand to integrate transparency in product development, distribution and advertising. As well as a growing need for perfumers to be more transparent about who they are, where they’re from and what in particular inspired the creation of their fragrance products.

SCPS Faculty Spotlight: Ray Mendez

Ray Mendez

“My singular goal is to facilitate businesses’ success by nurturing their brands’ souls.” – Ray Mendez

For the month of May we are spotlighting esteemed Pratt faculty member,  Ray Mendez, who teaches at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. This June,  Ray will be teaching, Organizational Creativity for Business Innovation, a two-week Summer Intensive course on Pratt’s Brooklyn Campus where he brings his singular goal (quoted above) to life for his students. During this course, Ray will teach his time-tested approach to students, unlocking their abilities to help their businesses achieve in days what would typically take years.

Ray is currently a partner at Masa&Boz, a brand and process design consultancy that helps organizations develop evergreen feedback loops between themselves and their customers. At Masa&Boz, Ray works with marketing leaders to create and implement communication and digital frameworks. Ray honed his creative skills as a creative director in Amsterdam, Mumbai, Berlin and New York at large and small agencies. This is how he learned to foster a culture of change and help businesses reset themselves for the future. He has worked with brands like Apple, Russell Investments, the Empire State Building and non-profits like Greenpeace, the National Women’s Law Center and NY Cares.

Ray also works with business leaders to articulate their visions, link sales to purpose, develop innovative products, package business ideas for the investment community, integrate complex digital ecosystems, name new categories, and design brand experiences. His work pushes his clients’ creative boundaries, propelling them to new levels of success, and earning him numerous awards including a Gold Lion at Cannes.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ray’s upcoming summer intensive course,  Organizational Creativity for Business Innovation,  visit our main website.

Summer at Pratt SCPS: The Breakdown On What to Expect

With the beginning of summer just a few short months away, we at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies would like to invite current and prospective students to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities offered through our summer programming. Whether you’re a local to the New York or New Jersey area or visiting from another part of the country or  globe, we encourage you to make use of the many resources available to  you at Pratt Institute. Studying at Pratt enables students with the unique opportunity to work side by side with some of the most creative and inspiring individuals from around the globe, whose diverse cultural, professional and educational backgrounds and experiences have led them to pursuing an art and design education at Pratt. Having New York City as your backyard is an exceptional perk because it places students in an advantageous position to utilize the best that this vibrant city has to offer.

Now that the spring semester is winding down, it seems fitting to start looking ahead and planning for the upcoming summer season. Every year at Pratt SCPS, we offer an extensive schedule of summer programming for students and adult learners interested in taking advantage of the warm summer months in NYC. This upcoming summer, we’ve slightly revamped our Summer Intensives programming, to offer students an even wider selection of courses and workshops that can accommodate the schedules of all types of working professional and students.

The first selection of courses offered through our Summer Intensives program this year is our credit intensives. There are two summer sessions being offered that run four weeks each. The first session runs through the month of June, (beginning on June 3rd) and the second takes place in July (beginning on July 1st). Students interested in enrolling in our credit summer intensives can choose from the following subject areas: architecture, creative writing, digital photography, fashion design, fine art, graphic design, drawing, interior design, illustration, sustainable design, industrial design, and three-dimensional design. For more detailed information on the courses being offered and the schedule of each summer session: Summer Intensives.

For Students interested in noncredit intensives SCPS is offering certificate programs that range from one week to ten week intensives spread throughout the summer. Our noncredit intensives feature programming in the following subject areas: branding and digital marketing, exhibition design, floral art and design, furniture design, graphic design, motion graphics, perfumery, photography and video, visual merchandising design, public speaking, accessories design, painting, mixed media arts, product design, architecture, lighting design, digital drawing, jewelry design, interior design and much more. Noncredit intensives are ideal for creative professionals and students interested in sharpening their skill sets and expanding their knowledge on a particular subject. For more information: Noncredit Summer Intensives.

In conjunction with the array of course options available to students through our Summer Intensives program, is our PreCollege Summer Program geared specifically to high school students interested in getting a head start on an educational and professional career path in the art and design field. Every summer we welcome hundreds of high school students to our Brooklyn campus for a month long academic immersion into art, design and architecture. Students who attend the Pratt PreCollege Program get to select a concentration of study modeled after Pratt’s undergraduate course study and will automatically be enrolled in art history, foundation and portfolio development classes. At the end of the program students will receive elective college credits and have the opportunity to showcase all of their hard work in a Final Student Exhibition. The Pratt PreCollege Summer Program is a great opportunity for high school to explore their creative passions, prepare for college, and create an exemplary art portfolio.

Whether you’re a student enrolled in one of our Summer Intensives or the PreCollege Program, you’ll discover that you  may occasionally have downtime. We encourage you to supplement your course load this summer by taking advantage of being in New York City. This city is arguably one of the greatest in the world with an unparalleled  art and design scene. From the diversity of people, cultures, sights, foods, and landmarks to the intersection of culture, art, media, design, business, architecture and technology, New York City offers an assortment of the most profound and unique art and cultural experiences on the planet.

Studying in New York during the summer presents the exhilarating challenge of trying to see and experience as much as possible during the only time throughout the year when the weather is optimum for exploring. In fact, every neighborhood in this city comes alive during the summer, offering something unique and intriguing for all kinds of creative types. If you’re primarily studying at the Pratt Manhattan Campus, why not explore the endless array of art galleries in Chelsea and SoHo or the captivating modern architecture near the High Line and Hudson Yards. If you’d like to be more adventurous head uptown towards the Museum of Natural History on the west side or the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the east side.

As a Pratt student you get free or reduced entrance into a variety of museums throughout the city including the Guggenheim, MOMA, The Whitney and the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) to a name a few. If you’re studying at Pratt’s Brooklyn campus, be assured there are just as many wonderful landmarks, galleries, and museums to visit. Including the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum. To learn more about the wide array of resources and activities available to students at Pratt Institute: Student Life. 

There is something truly unique about taking classes during the summer at Pratt Institute. It maybe the long warm days, the beauty of the New York City during the summer, or the plethora of activities and resources available to students at both the Brooklyn and Manhattan campuses. Maybe it’s the energy of Clinton Hill and the adjacent neighborhoods surrounding the Brooklyn campus or the vibrancy of Union Square just steps away from the Manhattan campus.  It could be a combination of all of these things that make studying at Pratt during the summer such a distinctive educational experience.  If you are a current college student, a high school student or a working professional who is on the fence about whether to enroll or register in  one of our summer programs we urge you to seize this  opportunity to study in New York City this summer at Pratt. The rewards from such an experience could prove to be immeasurable.