Women With STEAM

Written by Kathleen Uske
ADHC Class of 2014
WWS Committee Chair

The mission of the Albert Dorman Honors College Women With STEAM (WWS) Alumnae Initiative is quite simple – engage, empower, and incentivize the next generation of female leaders in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture, and Mathematics.  Our inaugural committee consists of successful young women who have earned degrees ranging from Bachelors and Master degrees in engineering disciplines to PhDs and MDs.

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Kathleen Uske ’14, WWS Committee Chair

This year’s committee was extremely impressed with the range of interests, experiences, and accomplishments set forth by the first Women With STEAM applicants.  Choosing the recipients of the Women With STEAM scholarship was made difficult by the strength of the applicant pool, but the committee is proud to have selected a well-deserving group of young women to receive both financial and personal support from the WWS Alumnae Initiative.  Our dedicated alumnae are looking forward to providing mentorship and guidance to the future STEAM leaders who will be starting their academic careers with the Albert Dorman Honors College at NJIT this fall.

Congratulations to Karen Ayoub, Lauren Hutnik, Srushti Karra, Ridhi Mehta, and Annaleigh Potterton, the 2016 Women with STEAM scholarship recipients!

Knit n’ Crochet Club

Submitted by Katherine Cicala
Albert Dorman Honors College

As the Spring 2016 semester wound to an end, the Albert Dorman Honors College’s new Knit n’ Crochet club prepared to donate their projects.  The service-based club strives to provide comfort to those in need through homemade knit and crocheted items.  Throughout the semester, members worked during meetings and in their free time to craft projects ranging from scarves to hats.

Knit Hats

This past semester, 53 students knit and crocheted hats to donate to cancer patients at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.  Prior to that, members also donated their projects to the Salvation Army.  Depending on the speed of the knitter or crocheter, a project could take anywhere from 3 to 10 hours.

All students are invited to join!  Prior experience is not required as members are taught how to knit or crochet.  Last semester, the club met during Wednesday and Friday common hours.  Information for the Fall 2016 semester will be announced at the start of the fall semester.

NJIT Global Brigades goes to Panama

Written by an anonymous pre-med Honors Scholar
and member of Global Brigades-NJIT

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From March 11th through the 18th, members of the NJIT Global Brigades, most of whom are students in the Albert Dorman Honors College, spent their spring break in the cities of San Carlos, Las Lajas, and Las Delicias in Panama.  Under the direction of Hirva Vyas, the president of Global Brigades-NJIT, this brigade of students was able to successfully treat 400 patients, build five latrines, and spend over 160 hours of community service making a difference in the lives of those who cannot afford to have health care.

Hirva started this organization on campus when she was only a sophomore at NJIT.  Since its inception, she has done an amazing job leading the brigade and ensuring that each student has an enlightening experience.  It was through her excellent leadership skills and personable attitude that NJIT and the Honors College name shone above the other universities present in Panama.

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Prior to going to Panama, the brigade fundraised over $40,000 in order to successfully send 35 students and one physician on the trip.  This fund also provided medications that were given to members of the local community.  Using the holistic model recommended by Global Brigades, our goal was not only to provide immediate relief but also long term aid.  Setting up a “Charla” (chat in Spanish) station, students got to understand diseases such as Dengue and STDs, and they found ways to inform the community members about these diseases in Spanish.  Preventative education was the priority, as this can help reduce future healthcare needs.

With Hirva’s leadership and passion for healthcare, Global Brigades was able to make a difference in Panama and provide healthcare for Panamanians who otherwise have to travel four or more hours each way to seek medical attention.  As Hirva graduates and pursues her degree in medicine, she leaves behind an organization that has achieved so much in so little time that the next executive board will have to work hard to surpass Hirva’s accomplishments.

Being an NJIT Female Student Athlete

Written by Samantha Bersett
Biomedical Engineering
Albert Dorman Honors College

Team

Anyone who is or has been a student at NJIT knows that you’re in for a difficult but rewarding four years, and my time has definitely been just that.  Being a Biomedical Engineering major in the Albert Dorman Honors College and a student-athlete, I’ve had to learn how to balance all of my work without falling off the wagon.  Unless you are involved in athletics yourself, a lot of people don’t get to see an athlete’s side of college life and how busy it can be.  I am a goalkeeper on the Division I Women’s Soccer Team here at NJIT and I’m here to share with you the life of a female athlete!

Sunrise

A typical daily schedule usually starts at 6:00 a.m. when we wake up for a 6:30 practice.  Once practice ends (around 8:30), some people go straight to class, while those who have time go to a lifting workout for an hour.  At 9:30, practice is over for the day and we all head to breakfast.  After breakfast, some people have 10:00 class while others go back to shower and get ready for classes later in the day.  Any time in between classes is spent showering, eating, squeezing in some homework or study hall, or, if we’re lucky, taking a nap.  When classes are finally over for the day, we begin working on homework.  Depending on how late we have class, that might not start until 9:00 at night.  We spend the night working on homework or relaxing if we don’t have any, and then get to bed so we can wake up and do it all over again.

Study at hotelNeedless to say, our days are pretty jam-packed with activities, but something that is really cool about NJIT and the athletic community here is that they do a lot to help us out when trying to juggle the college coursework as well as our sport.  Freshman year, every student-athlete is required to do 6 hours of study hall each week.  We have to swipe in using our student IDs in the Learning Center so that our hours get logged, and then we swipe out when we are done for the day.  These 6 hours force you to be productive and get your work done, which really helps with teaching us good time management skills to use throughout the rest of college.  We even do study hall when we go out of town!  Depending on if the trip is just for one day or for the whole weekend, we always have some time dedicated to homework.  On shorter trips, we do about one hour of study hall on the bus where the coaches tell us to put our phones away so we can focus on our work.  During longer weekend trips, we usually fit in about two hours each day in the hotel lobby or meeting rooms.  Schoolwork is a priority and coaches always make sure that we’re keeping up with our work which is extremely important, especially during the season.

Playing a sport requires a lot of travel.  Especially now that we are in the Atlantic Sun Conference, we play a lot of our games down south.  Road trips are always so much fun with the team!  It gives us all time to bond on the bus or plane ride and explore new places we may have never been!  Usually when we go away for a weekend trip, we always try to plan a day or night where we do something as a team (other than play soccer).  For instance, we went to South Carolina one year and we spent a day exploring downtown Charleston.  When we went to Florida this past season, we got to go to the beach for a day and spend some time with family members who made the trip down as well.  It’s always fun to spend time off the field together and take our minds off of schoolwork and soccer.

Huddle

Being a student-athlete is definitely challenging, but it is also an awesome experience.  While it can be stressful and super busy at times, it’s so rewarding getting to play the game you love with teammates that become some of your best friends!

He Named Me Malala Film Screening and Discussion

Written by Girl Up Co-Founders Jenan Abu-Hakmeh and Anna Vallejo
An ADHC Sponsored Colloquium

NJIT’s newest club, Girl Up, hosted its very fist colloquium event on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.  About fifty people gathered at 6 o’clock in the evening in the Campus Center Ballroom to watch He Named Me Malala, a film about the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and her struggle to advocate for girls’ education.

Team with Poster

Before being brutally shot in the head – an event that catapulted Malala into international headlines – she was already an activist blogger, outspoken and well-spoken.  In the documentary, it is apparent that she shares these traits with her father, but even more so, that she parallels the person he named her after: Malalai of Maiwand, an Afghan folk hero who picked up a flag and shouted words of bravery to the Afghan Army despite their losing situation against the British troops.  Malalai, too, was shot but, unlike Malala, lost her life.

After becoming the face of the movement for girls’ rights to education, Malala now lives in Britain, unable to return to her home district Swat due to Taliban death threats.  Her interactions with her family and brothers, while playful and refreshingly normal, belie the fact that this young women regularly speaks candidly, smartly, and boldly about her beliefs to anyone, whether it is to the President of Nigeria or a room full of world leaders on the United Nations floor.  Her uncompromising and unwilling nature all speak to the sheer importance of girls’ rights and empowerment and the importance of attaining an education in general.

Girls Speak

After watching the film, the members of the Girl Up club of NJIT facilitated a discussion that explored the various themes seen throughout the film.  The discussion question that received the most interesting responses was the final question.  As seen in the film, when Malala was lying in her hospital bed in a coma, her father thought that she would blame him for not stopping her, for not keeping her out of harm’s way.  So we asked the audience: Would you let your daughter attend school if you knew about the danger of her being attacked?  Why or why not?

Audience SideThe audience had mixed feelings about this.  Our first response was from a mother who boldly stated, “We should not let fear control our lives.  We live in fear everyday, for example when our children leave the house, start driving, and go to school meanwhile accidents and attacks are prevalent.  We cannot let the fear control our lives; we have to do the best we can to cope with everyday threats and continue to grow past these obstacles.”  One female undergraduate student added to this, “If I did not send my daughter to school, what message would I be sending my children if I showed them to sit in fear?”

On the other hand, one male undergraduate student had a very different take on the subject.  He presented the idea of homeschooling instead of letting his daughter go out when it is highly unsafe for her to do so.  He suggested that he would homeschool his daughter from elementary to high school, then send her abroad to a safe country for university and bring her back after she had been educated.  Another male student agreed with this viewpoint, adding, “As her protector, I am responsible for keeping her out of harm’s way, even if that means she cannot go to school.  As her father, I am responsible for her and making sure that she is safe.”  After this response, we heard another male student agree with the idea of being his daughter’s protector; however, he would choose to send her to school.  Overall, we had an insightful discussion of varied responses to a very difficult question.

I urge you to take a moment, right now, to think about how you feel about this.  Would you let your daughter attend school if you knew about the danger of her being attacked?

The film screening and discussion of He Named Me Malala is the first of many events Girl Up hopes to host on campus.  Girl Up is a UN Foundation organization that aims to unite girls to change the world.  Advocacy, fundraising, and awareness-based, Girl Up’s main concerns deal with the issues that girls, especially those in underprivileged and underdeveloped areas, face everyday.  Whether this means lobbying for laws banning child marriages, raising funds for school supplies, or raising awareness in your local community, Girl Up is a club that is trying to make a difference.  Girl Up stands with Malala in advocating for the rights of girls to receive an education and strives to empower girls and help them use their voices for good, just like Malala.

Watching “Jesus Christ Superstar”

Written by Jonathan Racki
Freshman, Pre-Med in Biomedical Engineering
Albert Dorman Honors College

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Photo by Shanee Halevi. Depicted is the scene from the play where Judas (played by Ibn Days) betrays Jesus (played by Isaac Jimenez).

The Rutgers-NJIT Theatre Program presented a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Directed by NJIT’s Associate Director of Theatre Arts & Technology, Michael Kerley, the musical ran from March 2nd to the 6th in the Jim Wise Theatre in Kupfrian Hall on the NJIT campus.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” is a 1970 rock opera that depicts the Passion of Christ or his last days through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, a troubled soul who betrays Jesus.  In this production of the play, Jesus was played by Isaac Jimenez and Judas Iscariot was played by Ibn Days, both of whom are Rutgers-Newark students.  Albert Dorman Honors students also participated in the play, with Justin Yen playing Caiaphas.

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Photo by Shanee Halevi.  Depicted is the scene from the play where King Herod (played by Nicolas Oberholtzer) questions Jesus.

The Albert Dorman Honors College invited Honors students to attend the play as a colloquium on March 3rd.  Colloquia are an important part of the Honors College experience because they help enrich students in areas other than academics.  Students become better leaders of a global society through learning about aspects of the world beyond one’s discipline.  This also produces successful, well-rounded students, which is one of the tenets of the Honors College.  This play emphasized culture and gives one a greater appreciation of the fine arts which certainly adds to a student’s well-roundedness in a technology and engineering oriented school such as NJIT.

I enjoyed the play very much and loved the scene where Jesus and later Judas both question God’s plan for themselves.  It is such an emotionally intense moment where the audience can forget that they are watching a play by questioning fate themselves and empathizing with the characters’ plights.  Not only was that a great scene, but the music throughout the play was very enjoyable and the actors did a professional job.  I encourage other students not only to pick a colloquium that is related to your studies but to explore those that are fun and enriching outside of your field.

Networking with Alumni

Written by Anmol Mittal
Senior, Biology

Anmol Photo

On Saturday, January 30th, students of the Albert Dorman Honors College and NJIT alumni gathered at Hotel Indigo in Newark, NJ to enjoy the Rooftop Terrace and network.  Students ranged from Freshman to 5th year students, with majors ranging from Biology and Electrical Engineering to Architecture and Interior Design.  The alumni ranged from recent graduates of the Honors College to alums who have been in the industry for 15 to 20 years.  Along with the delicious hors d’oeuvres and beverages, the conversations that cooked up on the terrace were just as good.

The idea for a networking event at a rooftop terrace came to me as I was discussing with an alumnus, Siddharth Bala (TIAA-CREF), ways to increase networking in the Honors College and he told me about an event that he had gone to in NYC.  I began looking at different places in NYC and saw a rooftop terrace and thought it was the best place to hold an event like this.  We sent out an interest survey to see if the students preferred the event in New Jersey or New York, and after their responses, we chose Hotel Indigo as our venue.

The goal of the networking event was to be able to talk to a variety of alumni and be able to understand their life at NJIT, both the successes and the failures, and how all these experiences shaped their future path.  The alumni that were invited were specifically selected for their success in their respective fields, such as Angelo Russomano (’02 Architecture) who has been featured on Restaurant Impossible.

The event was a great success, and the reviews that we heard from all the alumni and students were very encouraging.  Students thought that this event was very helpful to understand the benefits that NJIT provided and hear the truth from those that successfully took advantage of all the opportunities that the university has to offer.  The feedback the students received on the job hunting and interview process from alumni was appreciated, especially the focus on the importance of connections which helped emphasize the benefits of attending events such as this one.  Senior Biology major Hirva Vyas reported that she “enjoyed it because [she] was not only able to interact with the alumni but also the staff of the ADHC in an environment outside of school.”  To add to this, Junior Electrical Engineering major Aditya Rawal “was amazed by the atmosphere that the rooftop terrace had.  [He] enjoyed the beautiful view from a building that was actually built by an NJIT alumnus!”  Overall, the event was very successful and hopefully it is only the start of an era of new and creative off-campus networking events!

Mentoring the Next Generation in STEM

Written by Joshua Abraham
Albert Dorman Honors College

The STEM disciplines are a set of skills that are increasingly being sought by future employers.  While talking to a few teachers at local public schools, I discovered that students were not properly aware of or interested in STEM.  So Cynthia Ahmed, Kenneth Ly, Aditya Rawal, and I, along with the Center for Leadership and Professional Development, recently started a STEM mentoring program with a local Newark elementary school.  Every week, around a dozen Honors College mentors go to the Camden Elementary School to help students with their math and science homework as well as to introduce them to STEM, college, and careers.

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This week was the mentoring program’s first week.  Initially, all the mentors individually met with the students, and then some of the students gave the mentors a tour of the school.  Anmol Mittal, a senior at the Honors College and an EMT, gave a short presentation on health-related careers, biology, and STEM.  He brought some tools to help make the presentation engaging and fun.  The students at Camden School had a great time because the mentors were able to demonstrate how the math and science they learn in school can be applied to various careers and to solve various challenges that occur every day.  One of the students told a mentor that she “now realized that fractions and division are much more than numbers.”  After watching Anmol’s presentation, a student who previously was not interested in becoming a doctor was inspired to enter the healthcare field by becoming an EMT in the future.

Mentors

As the mentoring program continues to progress, we plan to bring more fun and engaging presentations about careers in the STEM field from other Honors College students.  This program could not have been a success without the hard work of Ms. Feghhi and our partners at After-School All-Stars Newark.  We are always looking for NJIT students to become mentors and either help tutor or give presentations to these elementary school students.

If you’re interested in being a mentor, please e-mail Ms. Feghhi and fill out this form.

Community Service at the Greater Newark Conservancy

Written by Jay Curry
Albert Dorman Honors College

The mission of the Greater Newark Conservancy (GNC) is to improve the quality of life in Newark’s urban communities.  They do this through community gardens and environmental education programs for young children.  In mid-November of 2015, I volunteered at the one-acre urban farm at 138 Court Street.  There are many vacant and unmaintained lots in Newark, and GNC has taken advantage of these large areas of free space by turning them into urban farms.

GNC Garden

The directions stated that the garden was located behind a mansion and I noticed the huge Krueger-Scott Mansion as soon as I reached the street.  There were two other students from NJIT, Matt and Paul, who also volunteered.  Once we were all there, we were greeted by Jacob Kim, Director of Community Gardening at GNC.  He was a very down-to-earth type of guy and young, too.  He gave us a tour of the farm by showing us the greenhouses, the chicken coop, and the beds of soil containing various types of fruits and vegetables for the Newark community.  There were blueberry bushes, broccoli plants, garlic roots, spinach, and kale; basically, everything someone could find in a produce aisle, except you know everything was all natural and contained no pesticides or artificial chemicals, as Jacob explained.  After the tour, we also met Justin Allen, the Director of Urban Agriculture, and Darius Johnson, an urban farmer and also a student studying at Essex County College.  All three were very friendly and happy to see us there.

Our first task was to help prepare a bed of soil for the garlic.  We loosened up the soil and planted over 100 garlic sprouts in the ground.  Next, we went behind the chicken coop and cleaned out all the weeds.  It took some serious pulling to excavate some of the weeds that looked like miniature trees!  Afterwards, we used wheelbarrows to pour wood chips onto the soil and prepared that area for planting.  Then we took the wheelbarrows and brought them back to the soil beds near where we planted the garlic.  The long aisles of soil covered about half of the farm and we covered them with wood chips.  At this point, the urban farm was ready to start growing produce and start feeding the nearby community.  We finished in the afternoon and the three GNC representatives thanked us for our service.

The Greater Newark Conservancy produced over 15,000 pounds of food last growing season, and they need help from Newark residents and from organizations like NJIT, Rutgers, and Essex County College to make their goals a reality.  If you’re looking to volunteer and help out the Newark Community, try giving 138 Court Street a visit.

Social Media Celebrity?

Written by Casey Harrigan
Albert Dorman Honors College

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Photo courtesy of projecteve.com: http://www.projecteve.com/5-great-free-social-media-tools/

Social media platforms including YouTube, Instagram, and Vine utilize mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive and easily accessible environments through which individuals and communities can connect, create, and share.  The astronomical amount of attention that has been generated by social media in recent years is actively creating a revolutionary new landscape of communication.

Not only is social media altering the way in which individuals communicate, it is also redefining what it means to be a “celebrity.”  Now, more than ever, fame is accessible.  In recent years, society has witnessed social media catapult a large number of ordinary individuals, including Tyler Oakley, Jay Alvarrez, and Marcus Johns, to levels of fame and fortune they had never before imagined.

Social media is widespread and far-reaching.  One can release a single hilarious photograph, create an entire account dedicated to a pet, or post a series of inspiring videos about his or her life, and subsequently change the world.

The immense influence that is carried by social media provides a way for talented people who long to operate outside the system to find success.  Fame seekers now have the tools necessary to be their own engines; they have the platform that is required to build their own stage.

Artists, comedians, actors, and actresses from all corners of the globe are reaching millions of individuals every day, every hour, and perhaps even every minute using nothing more than their cell phones.  Social media is so influential that it has become a lucrative career for many individuals.