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S U M M E R 2017



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s one of only 32 polytechnic universities in the United States, NJIT plays a critical role in producing graduates who innovate in ways that improve the quality of life for all and are essential for an economy that is increasingly driven by technology.

Our cover story in this issue highlights the work of a joint team from the Kessler Foundation and NJIT that is developing new applications for wearable devices that will serve as the next generation of robotic exoskeletons. These devices are improving mobility and enabling safer, more independent functioning for people with spinal-cord injuries, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and stroke. At NJIT, uniquely collaborative translational research into the myriad complexities of the brain and neurophysiology is gaining momentum across diverse disciplines that include biology, biomedical engineering, the mathematical sciences and computing. “Meeting Challenges of Understanding and Healing” takes an in-depth look at NJIT’s Institute for Brain and Neuroscience Research (IBNR), which represents a milestone of collaborative synergy among faculty, staff and students that integrates numerous related efforts across disciplines and research centers. Under the leadership of Directors Namas Chandra and Farzan Nadim, the IBNR sets a high bar for research and education at the university to the extent that it succeeds in valuing participation by junior as well as senior faculty, and by an increasing presence of women and minorities historically underrepresented in such leading-edge STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives. NJIT is striving to expand the representation of women in the faculty and administrative ranks, as identified in our strategic plan, 2020 Vision. Our third feature in this issue focuses on three outstanding alumnae who have made significant inroads in the field of chemical engineering – research that has an impact on everyday life. I hope you enjoy reading these articles, and I welcome your feedback. n



Summer 2017

Denise Anderson

f e at u r e s

Christina Crovetto M.S. ‘03

Exoskeleton Crew 8

Tanya Klein

A joint team from Kessler Foundation and NJIT is developing new applications for wearable devices that will serve as the next generation of robotic exoskeletons.

Assocaite Vice President Communications, Marketing and Branding Editor

Editorial Assistant

Shydale James

Contributing Editor


Dean L. Maskevich, Tracey L. Regan Contributing Writers

Babette Hoyle


Production Manager

Diane Cuddy Design


Meeting Challenges of Understanding and Healing 12 

The new Institute for Brain and Neuroscience Research is the primary home for all neuroscience initiatives at NJIT.

Kevin D. Belfield, Reggie J. Caudill, Charles R. Dees Jr., Atam P. Dhawan, Craig Gotsman, Moshe Kam, Anthony Schuman, Michael K. Smullen Editorial Advisory Board

NJIT’s Pioneering Women Chemical Engineers 16 


NJIT Magazine is published by New Jersey Institute of Technology, Office of Strategic Communications. Its mission is to foster ties with alumni, university friends and corporate partners and to report on relevant issues, particularly those in education, science, research and technology.

Meet three alumnae who have made significant inroads in the field of chemical engineering.

Please send letters of comment and requests to reproduce material from the magazine to:

de pa rtm e n ts

NJIT Magazine Office of Strategic Communications University Heights Newark, NJ 07102-1982

Abstracts 2

NJIT news in brief

Point By Point 6


Joel S. Bloom

Athletics update

Charles R. Dees Jr.

Giving 7


Senior Vice President University Advancement

Michael K. Smullen

Director of Alumni Relations _______________________________________

NJIT development news


On the web: _______________________________________

63,126 6/17

Cover photo caption:

Rise of the Humans: NJIT’s biomedical engineers are designing exoskeletons that allow people to plot and execute their own movements with minimal force.

Cover photo: Diane Cuddy

Corrections to the 2016 Honor Roll: While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, we apologize for the omission of the following donor names: 2015, Annual Fellow, Vladimir A. Stiglich, ’62 2016, President’s Club, Victor J. Ferlise, ’67 2016, Annual Fellow, Kevin P. Carroll, ’75 2016, Donor, Vladimir A. Stiglich, ’62

Alumni Circuit 20

Class notes, calendar of events and more

In Conclusion 37

Leading-edge achievements by faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of NJIT





nce home to thousands of Newark Central High School students, today the Central King Building at NJIT exemplifies intelligent, creative and economically impactful urban redevelopment that serves students, industry and the local community. On April 13, 2017, more than 200 students, alumni, faculty, and friends of the university witnessed the official ribbon cutting of the renovated Central King Building, part of a campus transformation designed to enhance the student experience and solidify NJIT’s position going forward as one of the nation’s leading public polytechnic universities. “NJIT was founded in 1881 by industrialists for the purpose of educating a skilled workforce for Newark’s businesses, and we never have lost sight of our symbiotic relationship with this great city,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom. “Newark has given much to NJIT, and NJIT has given much in return. So, it is especially gratifying to know the historic structure behind me, which was home to thousands and thousands of Newark Central High School students over the years, will serve as an important resource to NJIT, the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey and our entire region for many years to come.” Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from NJIT in 2010, said that as the largest single project funded by the State of New Jersey through the 2012 Building Our Future Bond Act, the Central King Building will provide the next generation of youth with a state-of-the-art learning hub where “ordinary students can do extraordinary things” and where student pioneers will spark “innovations that can help health and well-being.” Rochelle R. Hendricks, secretary of higher education, state of New Jersey, called the Central King Building renovation “a testament to brilliance and 2




imagination.” “We are indebted to you, President Bloom, and the students for being cuttingedge in the State of New Jersey,” she said. “NJIT bears witness to a place that is beating the odds.” Noting that “we are at an amazing time in the history of medicine,” Dr. Andrew L. Pecora, chief innovations officer and vice president of cancer services at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), discussed HUMC’s partnership with the Healthcare Delivery Systems Innovation Lab (iLab) at NJIT’s New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), which will include the development of innovation and commercialization centers. HUMC is the first health care charter member of NJII and also has a seat on the iLab’s advisory board. “We could not think of a better place than NJIT and NJII,” he said. Stephen P. DePalma ’72, chairman of the NJIT Board of Trustees, said that the renovation is a critical step in the positioning of the university to continue its impressive growth and

From left: Dr. Andrew L. Pecora, chief innovations officer and vice president of cancer services at Hackensack University Medical Center; Joel S. Bloom, president of NJIT; Stephen P. DePalma ’72, chairman of the NJIT Board of Trustees; Rochelle A. Hendricks, Secretary of Higher Education; Lieutenant Governor Kim A. Guadagno; Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.; and Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.

upward trajectory. “The Central King Building renovation is part of a campus transformation that will improve our capabilities in research and innovation, enable us to attract faculty members who are among the best and brightest in their disciplines, and improve the educational experiences of and outcomes attained by our students,” DePalma said. “The new Central King Building will serve NJIT, its students, its community, its state and our economy well for many years to come.” Also in attendance were Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. and Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., who described the Central King Building as “the crown jewel of the city of Newark.” n n j i t .e du


By Design


ndustry guests, alumni, students, faculty and staff packed Weston Hall at the College of Architecture and Design’s (CoAD) 11th Annual Design Showcase, which offers NJIT alumni the opportunity to meet the next generation of talent and network with their peers. “The work presented by NJIT students is simply inspiring,” said J. Kenneth Modrow ’08, project architect at Gensler. “The quality of their projects is at the professional level. It is very impressive.” The showcase was co-chaired by Mark Parette ’83, principal at Parette Somjen Architects and Chuck Dietz ’83, managing partner at The Dietz Partnership. Parette, whose firm is in the process of renovating NJIT’s Faculty Memorial Hall, added, “The Design Showcase is a special event where the architect and design community come together to support CoAD and its students. It’s a team effort to make this a successful evening, and we have gotten better results every year through our strategic outreach.” In addition to the student exhibition and reception, attendees filled the lecture hall to hear guest speakers Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith from MOS Architects discuss their approach to architecture. President Joel S. Bloom, who also attended the event, described CoAD as “a critical component of NJIT because design cuts across all disciplines, revealing the brilliance of architect and design students and faculty.” n PHOTOS: SCOTT JONES



areer Development Services (CDS) recognized the invaluable contributions of employees to the professional successes of NJIT students during a Recruiting Partner Awards Celebration in April. In 2016 alone, 647 students were placed in co-ops and internships and together earned more than $5.3 million. Additionally, 535 companies recruited at NJIT, and 874 students participated in 1,490 on-campus interviews. “Employer support is essential. Without our employer base, there are no career fairs, internships and co-ops,” said Greg Mass, CDS executive director. “Our recruitment partners join us on our mission to best prepare students for jobs upon graduation.” Siddhartha Bala ’96 (B.S., Computer Science) of TIAA was acknowledged as “Best Campus Champion.” Bala is exceptionally active in helping students hone their job-seeking skills, recruiting at career fairs and conducting resume workshops. “I have a passion and love for this school. I think this award is more a recognition of the fact that there is such a deep pool of talent at NJIT. We know that when we come here we’re going to get really great talent that matches the kinds of things we’re looking for,” he remarked. “One of the things we’re most proud of, recently, is that all of our interns accepted full-time offers. They came and interned with us, they loved the work we do and we

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Left: Siddhartha Bala ’96 received a certificate of recognition from Priya Vin, associate director of alumni relations at NJIT. Right: (L to R) Basil Baltzis, vice provost for academic affairs at NJIT; Emeka Chiedu ’01; Reginald Tomkins, graduate adviser for M.S. in the Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering at NJIT; and Jane Gaertner, associate director of Career Development Services at NJIT.

loved having them there.” Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. was named “Continuous Engagement Partner.” The global company has been a recruiting partner with NJIT since the 1980s. More than 60 NJIT alumni are employed across all levels at Langan, including its president. Other award recipients include Louis Berger (“Most Innovative Engagement”), NJ Transit (“Best Public Sector Partner”), United Community Corporation (“Best Community Partner”), Google (“Best Emerging Partner”) and Pennoni Associates, Inc., Merck and UPS (“Best Diversity and Inclusion Partners”). UPS, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential and PSEG were honored as “Top Employers of Co-ops and Interns,” and Cognizant, Mott MacDonald and Optum were named “Top Employers of Graduates.” For Emeka Chiedu ’01 (B.S., Chemical Engineering) of Advaxis, a biotechnology company developing cancer immunotherapies, the event marked a full circle of sorts.

Chiedu was a co-op student under Reginald Tomkins, graduate adviser for M.S. in the Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering. Tomkins has advised some 550 co-op students over the past 30 years, including Chiedu, and was honored for his “Lifetime Achievement in Faculty Co-op Advisement.” Basil Baltzis, vice provost for academic affairs, and a longtime academic colleague, presented him with the award. Chiedu thanked Tomkins for his keen advisement during college and for serving as an inspiration throughout his career, which now involves leading the co-op program at Advaxis. “That responsibility, I embrace it,” he said about providing realworld experience to students. As for NJIT and its talent pool, he added, “I call this place a goldmine. My company is not a big company, but we are fully invested in moving forward to help develop our workforce here. I’m just really stoked at the opportunity to be able to influence minds and pave the way forward.” n




Left: James Gallarda, a senior program officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who specializes in diagnostics, was the keynote speaker at the 2017 President’s Forum and Faculty Research Showcase. Below: From left: Dan Weinberger; Joe Racanelli ’81, ’89; Alissa Sellers; Peter Abitante ’90; William Huffnagle; Robert Cohen ’83,’84,’87; Ken Trimmer ’92; Alex Canonaco ’93; Dale Swarts; and Aaron Essner ’93 (seated).

President’s Forum and Faculty Research Showcase


ames Gallarda, a veteran of public health campaigns that have taken him from high-tech hospitals in urban centers to examining tables “under a tree” in remote villages, challenged the faculty and student researchers gathered in March for the 2017 NJIT President’s Forum and Faculty Research Showcase to name the greatest impediment to improving health worldwide. To their surprise, his answer was neither ingenuity, nor resources, nor political will. “The single greatest deterrent to progress in global health is silos,” observed Gallarda, the forum’s keynote speaker, who leads the tuberculosis diagnostics team for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “The solution is to co-invent the future — to share our

competencies.” He applauded NJIT’s multidisciplinary approach toward problem-solving. His audience, in turn, commended his mission to seek out the underserved. Vincent DeCaprio ’72, vice chair of NJIT’s board of trustees and a longtime executive in the medical device industry, urged the university to become “even more oriented” toward producing technology “for the entire world.” In April, William (Bill) Huffnagle, president of the Joint Replacement Division at Stryker Orthopaedics, gave the keynote lecture at the President’s Forum and 2017 Innovation Day. More than 70 NJIT alumni are currently employed at Stryker, including Robert C. Cohen, Cohen

’83,’84,’87, vice president and general manager of global R&D and chair of the Newark College of Engineering Board of Visitors; Peter Abitante ’90, vice president of implant development; Shawn Kroll ’01, vice president of robotics development; Joseph Racanelli ’81,’89, senior director of research; and Emilio Sanchez ’94, director of business development. “At Stryker, we have developed a great relationship with NJIT,” Cohen said. “The partnership maintains a strong student internship program and feeds collaboration on projects with an impressive faculty. The NJIT alumni at Stryker continue to be impressed with the college’s progress and the amazing transformation of the campus.” The President’s Forum is a featured event in the Albert Dorman Honors College Colloquium Series and is made possible in part by the generous support of the DeCaprio family. n




t’s a given that Albert Dorman ’45, ’99 HON has a special interest in the college that bears his name. After all, the generous endowment of this distinguished mechanical engineering alumnus helped to create Albert Dorman Honors College in 1995, and since then enrollment has more than tripled, the curriculum has expanded to include research, colloquia and community service, and alumni have gone on to pursue careers at notable companies in a variety of industries. What’s also unsurprising is the great respect Honors College students have for Dorman and his wife, Joan. That high regard was on full display when the couple


visited recently from California and were treated to not only a luncheon with and presentations by some of the college’s students, but a birthday celebration as well — Dorman had just turned 91 years old. Even students who were not participating in the day’s activities stopped by to say hello and chat for a bit. “Students are clearly appreciative of Dr. Dorman’s generosity and amazed by his accomplishments. They staged this event to showcase their own activities and accomplishments, and to explain what the Honors College means to them,” said John Bechtold, interim dean. “They did a terrific job and I am so proud of all of them.” Following lunch, the students manned their respective stations across the hallway as the Dormans made their way around the room. The presentations centered on topics and initiatives ranging Left: Joan and Albert Dorman ’45,’99 HON in front of the placard highlighting many of his accomplishments.


from girls who code and entrepreneurial research and patents, to Honors Ambassadors and After-School All-Stars. “The amount of knowledge and wisdom that he emanates when he walks into a room … There’s a huge, huge level of respect that I have essentially for a man that has allowed so many, people like me, to come to NJIT and try to be the best that we can,” commented Mohammad Nawaz, outgoing co-editor-in-chief of the college’s Tech Observer publication, who is graduating and going on to medical school. Showcases of memorabilia and a placard spotlighting Dorman’s illustrious career and community service were recently installed in the Honors College’s second-floor lobby. “We used to get back here at least once a year, but as years go by, we can’t always do that,” said Dorman about visiting the college, then noting about the students, “They pretend that the Honors College has made a difference in their life, but the fact of the matter is, they’re making a difference. They’re spectacular!” n n j i t .e du


NIRWAN ANSARI , distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Tao Han, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, have published Green Mobile Networks: A Networking Perspective (Wiley-IEEE Press), in which they present techniques and solutions for enhancing the energy efficiency of future mobile networks. KEVIN BYRON , who received a Ph.D. in computer science in 2017, and JASON T. L. WANG, computer science professor, are co-authors of the new book Bioinformatics Database Systems (CRC Press), along with Katherine G. Herbert, associate professor of computer science at Montclair State University. The book presents a wide variety of digital repositories for biological structures and sequences including




IRWAN ANSARI, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, delivered a keynote, “Mobile Edge Computing Empowers Internet of Things,” at the 6th International Conference on Sensor Networks in Porto, Portugal, February 19-21, 2017. T. HOMER BONITSIS, associate professor of finance in NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management, participated in the 43rd Annual Conference of the Eastern Economic Association, held in New York City Feb. 23-26, 2017. He was a member of the njit .edu n jit .e du

DNA, RNA and proteins and discusses biological data cleaning trends and current developments in biological data integration standards. MAURIE COHEN , professor of

sustainability studies in the Department of Humanities and director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, has published The Future of Consumer Society: Prospects for Sustainability in the New Economy (Oxford University Press), which examines how the system of mass consumption is changing as well as popular trends such as the sharing economy, Maker Movement and economic localization.

aspirations of NASA’s Apollo space program and the earthbound concerns of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War struggles, as well as environmentalism, feminism and the counterculture. Faced with the funding challenges that followed the moon landing of the summer of 1969, as Maher posits, NASA’s programs attempted to evolve, sometimes successfully, with respect to the concerns of these political and social movements.

A new book by Associate Professor of History NEIL MAHER, Apollo in the Age of Aquarius (Harvard University Press), shows the significant connections between the

ROBERTO ROJAS-CESSA , associate professor in the Helen and John C. Hartmann Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is the author of the new book Interconnections for Computer Communications and Packet Networks (CRC Press). The book introduces different interconnection networks applied to communications of computer systems, the internet and data centers.

conference’s program committee. During the conference, Dr. Bonitsis presented his research on “Has the Euro Enhanced German Competitiveness?” He also was a panelist in a forum sponsored by the EUEMU Working Group on “What the Future Holds for the EMU” and chaired two sessions on international financial issues. BIN CHEN, assistant professor of physics affiliated with the Department of Physics and the Center for SolarEUN ALICE LEE, Terrestrial Research, CHRISTOPHER assistant professor of biomedical FUNKHOUSER, professor of humanities engineering, SIVA NADIMPALLI, and an expertand in digital poetry, assistant professor of mechanical participated in the 101 Mediapoetry and industrial engineering, festival April 11, 2017, in St.were Petersburg, awarded multiyear Early Career Russia. EUN ALICEFaculty LEE, assistant

Development (CAREER) engineering, Program grants professor of biomedical and from the National Science Foundation. SIVA NADIMPALLI, assistant professor of CHRISTOPHER mechanical and FUNKHOUSER, industrial engineering, professor of humanities an expert were awarded multiyear and Faculty Early in digital poetry, participated in Program the 101 Career Development (CAREER) Mediapoetry festival AprilScience 11, 2017, in grants from the National St. Petersburg, Russia. Foundation. KAMALESH SIRKAR, distinguished professor of chemical engineering and Foundation Professor in Membrane Separations, was recognized as a 2017 TechConnect National Innovation awardee for his work on “Continuous Polymer Coating of Drug Crystals, Particles and Nanoparticles” at the TechConnect National Innovation Summit Summit in Washington, D.C. in Washington, D.C. NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017





The Latest News About NJIT Sports

Phillies Call Up NJIT Baseball Alumnus Mark Leiter, Jr. Mark Leiter, Jr., who completed his four-year college playing career at NJIT in May 2013, was called up to the Philadelphia Phillies from the Phillies Class AAA team, the Lehigh Valley (PA) Iron Pigs, in April. He takes the place of outfielder Howie Kendrick on the Phillies’ roster. Leiter Jr., the nephew of former Major League pitcher Al Leiter and the son of former Major League pitcher Mark Leiter, Sr., was selected by the Phillies with the 661st overall pick in the draft June 8, 2013. In being picked, Leiter was the first NJIT student-athlete selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. n

JABARRY GOODRIDGE NAMED EIVA PLAYER OF THE YEAR; LUKE ROBBE TABS SECOND-TEAM HONORS NJIT senior Jabarry Goodridge was selected as the 2017 Uvaldo Acosta Memorial Player of the Year in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) while senior Luke Robbe earned second-team honors. A two-time EIVA Player of the Year (co-Player in 2016) and first-team honoree, Goodridge ranks second in the nation (as of April 17) in kills per set (4.34) and points per set (5.15) while sitting in the top 5 in attacks per set (9.08). The 6-foot-4 outside hitter led the EIVA in kills per set, overall kills (408) and service aces (0.50) while ranking third in hitting percentage (.329). He was selected EIVA Player of the Week twice this season and recorded double-figure kills in 23 out of 26 matches (did not play in one match), including seven 20+ kill performances. Goodridge surpassed the 1,000 kills mark February 11 against Saint Francis University in the Highlanders 3-2 victory and concludes his four-year career at NJIT with 1,450 kills. He combined for 104 career aces, leading the Highlanders with 46 this season. Robbe, a second-team honoree, combined for 127 kills, ranking third on the team while posting 66 total blocks to lead the Highlanders (8 solo, 66 assists). He recorded double-digit kills in two matches and notched a season-best seven total blocks at Princeton (all assists). For his career, Robbe finished with 375 kills and 214 total blocks. n 6


Nathalie Habegger and Pablo Arrutia Named to 2017 ASUN Tennis Academic Team NJIT tennis players Nathalie Habegger and Pablo Arrutia were named to the 2017 ASUN Conference Tennis AllAcademic team. Habegger, a senior captain from Glad, Switzerland, graduated in May with a biochemistry degree, holding a 3.77 GPA. Arruita, a sophomore from Getxo, Spain, majoring in applied physics and mathematical sciences, was the only honoree to register a 4.0 GPA. n

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hen Joshua Adegboye was 10 years old, his father gave him a broken Game Boy that he cracked open to reveal its greenboard, which he proceeded to take apart and eventually made work again, thus sparking his interest in electrical engineering. Adegboye, whose parents are originally from Nigeria, completed five internships during his years at NJIT and is the recipient of the Bernard Leroe ’46 and Guttenberg Scholarships. In May, he received his B.S. degree and headed to Texas to begin his career at Lockheed Martin. “For each donor in the room, I want to extend my utmost gratitude,” Adegboye told the nearly 100 donors who came to NJIT to meet with the students whose scholarships they endow at NJIT’s 29th Annual Scholarship Brunch held April 28. “I want to let you know that when you give and invest unto others genuinely, you will be repaid in abundance.” n jit.e du

Left: Ester Calderon ’18 and Joshua Adegboye ’17 described how the generosity of donors has helped them achieve their goals at the 29th Annual Scholarship Brunch. Above: (L to R): Albert Dorman ’44, ’99 HON; Adam Bindas ’17; Joan Dorman; and NJIT President Joel S. Bloom

In total, donors endow more than $3.7 million in private scholarships that have helped nearly 1,200 students. Also speaking was Ester Calderon, a third-year applied mathematics major and Albert Dorman Honors College scholar who said that her mother’s ambition to attend nursing school served as inspiration to pursue her own education. At NJIT, Calderon participated in the Math Department’s EXTREEMES research program and is on the executive board of the Knitting and Crocheting Club, which donates hats, scarves and gloves to the Salvation Army and caps for cancer patients to a Newark hospital. Both Adegboye and Calderon are students in NJIT’s Educational Opportunity Program. “Thanks to you, I have a chance to finish my college degree,” Calderon said. “I cannot begin to describe how grateful I

am for each and every one of you and your generosity.” Guest speaker Steven B. Saperstein ’84, chief operating officer of PGIM Fixed Income and a member of the NJIT Board of Overseers, said that the continued generosity of donors is “very important in growing the NJIT Foundation.” Saperstein, who also is a former president and vice president of the Alumni Association of NJIT and currently serves on the Association’s Board as secretary, has established the Steve and Alison Saperstein Endowed Scholarship. “I would not be where I am today without my NJIT education,” he said. Highlights of this year’s event included the presentation of the Albert Dorman Future Leader Award to Adam Bindas ’17, an Albert Dorman Honors College scholar who received his B.S. in chemical engineering in May, and a special performance by the Giga Beats, NJIT’s student acapella group. For more information about establishing and supporting scholarships at NJIT, contact: Darlene Lamourt, director of donor engagement, at 973-5963403 or n NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017



Crew When 23-year-old Floridian Zachary Smith took on his grandfather in a game of ping pong last December, it was no small personal triumph. Smith, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, had been losing strength in his arms for several years and was straining

to perform even simple tasks.

Eating started to become challenging and I was struggling to brush my hair and teeth — the basic stuff people can do,” he recounts. “I want to be more independent. Rather than ask my parents and sister, I want to do more things on my own.” With the support of an exoskeleton attached to his upper body and under the watchful eye of biomedical engineer Madeline Corrigan Ph.D. ’17, Smith was able to resist gravity again and again: grilling burgers, shooting a game of pool and playing fetch with his dog. Later this year, he will be the first person to test a motorized version of the exoskeleton, which incorporates technology designed by Corrigan at NJIT – an embedded computer, software, a force sensor and a motor – into the passive, springloaded device, developed by Detroit-based Talem Technologies, that he now uses.



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Erick Nunez is working on the ankle portion of an exoskeleton that will allow balance in both directions, compliance to uneven surfaces and a mechanism to make the walking gait more natural.


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Kiran Karunakaran (right) developed an algorithm that allows people who can’t move their legs to control an exoskeleton by basing stride – the length and height of steps – on hand movements. Irina Pattison is adding functionality, such as stair climbing.


orrigan and her collaborators have designed a 30-person beta trial, to launch this year, to test what would be the first device to provide self-directed, motorized assistance to people with Duchenne, allowing them to continue using their arms as their muscles progressively weaken. “The exoskeleton operates on admittance control, a robotics-control paradigm in which the motion of the robot is controlled by the magnitude and direction of the force applied by the user’s arm,” Corrigan explains. “Compared to passive arm supports that require the user to have sufficient strength to move them, admittancecontrolled devices significantly minimize friction and inertia, providing more precise compensation against gravity and reducing the exertion necessary to move a limb, particularly vertically.” This operating principle is central to NJIT’s growing research hub focused on biomechanics and rehabilitation; researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering are now working on upper- and lower-body exoskeletons that incorporate it. They embrace its power to give people with various conditions – Duchenne, cerebral palsy and paralysis from spinal cord injuries and strokes – the ability to plot and execute their own movements, rather than to be controlled by a robot that is programmed to direct and move them. Richard Foulds, associate professor of biomedical engineering and director of NJIT’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, describes admittance control as a rediscovered technology. A couple of decades ago, he recounts,

With modified 3D printers, NJIT engineers are able to print carbon fiber-infused nylon parts for exoskeletons that are stiffer and more durable than standard plastic.



Ashley Mont is working on an upper-extremity exoskeleton that can be used at home to support the use of a virtual realitybased stroke rehabilitation program for the arm and hand.

Richard Foulds and Ghaith Androwis are building “The Trekker,” an exoskeleton with motors that allow movement of the hips, knees and ankles, and embedded sensors that monitor the human-machine interaction.

Madeline Corrigan developed modular robotic-assistance technology based on admittance control that will provide progressive support, from passive to motorized, to people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, allowing them to use their arms as their muscles weaken.

the rise of autonomous robots favored a competing technology called impedance control that determines position and engineers the torque the motors provide to achieve it. “Impedance control won out and admittance control languished, because engineers at the time weren’t thinking about humans and robots operating together,” he notes. “Unlike conventional robots that are programmed to move autonomously and may use sensors to engage with the environment, our devices move with the user in an unstructured manner determined by his or her needs. The goal is to have exoskeletons sense the wearer’s intentions and to amplify both the strength and range of motion of their upper extremities for reaching and manipulation, while allowing the sensorymotor capability of the arms to substitute for the missing abilities of legs that are either weak or paralyzed. Ideally, we want this to be done in such a transparent way that the person should feel as if there is no robot at all.” 10


To achieve this, the exoskeleton senses the wearer’s intention every 1/100th of a second by measuring the forces applied by the person on the device, computing where a virtual mass would move in that short time and signaling the exoskeleton to proceed to that new location. The person wearing the device senses the large, heavy robot as no more than the small virtual mass being moved; its values can be adjusted to amplify strength. The upper-extremity exoskeletons eliminate gravity and friction that impede the movements of weakened arms. The lowerextremity exoskeleton interprets the force and direction signaled by hand motions that mirror the legs’ gait.


iran Karunakaran Ph.D. ’16 has developed a half-scale prototype of a wearable robot to be used by people who have lost movement in their legs that bases stride – the length and height of steps – on hand motions. “We can do this because people can generate similar trajectories using their

hands as that of their legs, and by moving the hands, we can prompt the step and replicate that movement, allowing the person to take a more precise stride,” says Karunakaran, who recently joined the Kessler Foundation as a post-doctoral fellow. “We are still learning what can be done and what can’t with our current prototype – there is a big learning curve – but we think that the overall technique using hands to determine gait is going to work.” Ghaith Androwis Ph.D. ’14, an associate research scientist at Kessler and an adjunct professor at NJIT, is working with Foulds to build an exoskeleton with motors that allows movement of the hips, knees and ankles, as well as sensors, to monitor the human-machine interaction. Supported by the National Science Foundation, “The Trekker” is a prototype with open mechanical, electrical and computing architecture, allowing NJIT and collaborators to come up with creative new control strategies using onboard sensors and new actuators to meet the n j i t .e du

Kevin Abbruzzese created assistive devices for stroke rehabilitation of the upper extremity which include a wrist exoskeleton and a gripper. The devices interface with virtual reality platforms to help people recover motor function.

Ghaith Androwis (right) and Peter Michael (left) are combining two types of stimulation in quick succession to reduce two manifestations of cerebral palsy – spasticity and dystonia – which typically occur simultaneously.

Oyindamola Owoeye is working on a glove with sensors that will improve the coordination between hands and feet in a lower-limb exoskeleton directed by hand movements.

needs of people with a range of disabilities. A full-scale version of Karunakaran’s hand-walking prototype will be the first such device to use the Trekker. Several graduate students are currently working with Foulds to refine these technologies. Doctoral student Oyindamola Owoeye, for example, is developing a glove with sensors that will help steady walkers by detecting imbalances in their stride through connected foot sensors.


n a related project, Sergei Adamovich, professor of biomedical engineering, is collaborating with Kessler Foundation researchers, faculty from the Rutgers University Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences and NJIT students to extend their earlier work linking robotic exoskeletons with virtual reality platforms to improve

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neurorehabilitation therapy for people with limited arm movement caused by a stroke. They are developing an exoskeleton that can be used at home. Kessler Foundation and NJIT are currently developing several new applications for wearable robotic exoskeleton devices with a $5 million federal grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, for which Adamovich is co-principal investigator. The team is also evaluating the efficacy of existing robots for restoring and expanding mobility to upper and lower extremities. Researchers at NJIT have developed a device to prepare people for therapy that will allow them to potentially use these

exoskeletons. Androwis several years ago devised a novel method for decreasing muscle contractions in children with cerebral palsy (CP) by targeting a nerve pathway that bypasses the brain and mechanically stimulating the vestibular system of the inner ear, which senses vertical acceleration and alters muscle tone accordingly. Through controlled oscillations, his chair device has been shown to reduce CP symptoms such as spasticity. “If their muscles are too rigid, they can be injured during robotic therapy,” notes Peter Michael, a Ph.D. candidate who is refining the technology by adding another dimension: whole body vibration via a standing platform, to decrease rigidity. “We’re hoping to open up a 20-minute window for treatment that would be unavailable otherwise.” n Author: Tracey Regan is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer. NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017


Meeting for Brain and

Understanding Research 12


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The Institute

Challenges of Neuroscience

and Healing njit .edu





n recent years, research into the myriad complexities of the brain and neurophysiology has gained momentum at NJIT across diverse disciplines, including biology, biomedical engineering, mathematical sciences and computing. With the formal inauguration of the university’s Institute for Brain and Neuroscience Research (IBNR) in March, the efforts of NJIT researchers to increase basic understanding of the brain that could lead to new healing therapies for related injuries and disease will be more sharply focused and closely coordinated. As the primary home for all neuroscience initiatives at NJIT, the IBNR will serve as an umbrella and organizing framework for collaborative research and training in areas ranging from brain injury, to neural engineering, to neurobiology, to computational neuroscience. Researchers will investigate, for example, how specific behaviors are generated in the nervous system, the mathematical modeling of neural patterns in bacteria, animals and humans, and innovations in brain imaging and neurorehabilitation, among others.


In opening remarks at the IBNR inauguration ceremony held in the Campus Center, NJIT President

Joel S. Bloom offered a succinct summary of the new institute’s working environment: “Very talented people working in teams across disciplines to solve very challenging problems.” This perspective was similarly reiterated by NJIT Provost Fadi Deek, Professor of Biomedical Engineering Namas Chandra and Professor of Neurobiology Farzan Nadim. Chandra and Nadim, both distinguished researchers, are co-directors of the IBNR. As Chandra and Nadim emphasized, the IBNR will not only promote leadingedge integrative research but will also engage students at every level in this research. Chandra said, “We are beginning to unravel some of the greatest mysteries of the brain. But this can only happen if knowledgeable people in many disciplines come together and speak the same language – the language of neuroscience. NJIT is providing the structure critical for making this happen.” Nadim added, “The IBNR puts us in the position of having a truly interdisciplinary program in the neurosciences at NJIT. Involving undergraduate and graduate students in the work of the institute will clearly reinforce how interdisciplinary collaboration is fundamental to meeting the challenges we propose to approach, which include acquiring more comprehensive knowledge of the normal brain so that we

As part of the inauguration of the Institute for Brain and Neuroscience Research, Raj Gupta (left), deputy director and senior science adviser for the U.S. Department of Defense Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office, Colonel Sidney R. Hinds II and Namas Chandra, IBNR co-director, discussed promising research that will be advanced by the new institute with NJIT faculty and students. Commenting on the relationship between NJIT and the Department of Defense, Gupta said that NJIT researchers have a special understanding of the needs of U.S. service members with regard to brain injuries, and a commitment to collaborative work essential for both new insights into basic physiological mechanisms and better treatment.

can understand what’s wrong with respect to diseases and disorders.” SETTING A HIGH BAR

Provost Deek said that the IBNR sets a high bar for research and education at the university, not only in terms of successful scientific investigation but also to the extent that it succeeds in valuing participation by junior as well as senior faculty, and by an increasing presence of women and minorities historically underrepresented in such leading-edge initiatives. Referencing the university’s current strategic plan, 2020 Vision, Deek said that the IBNR is “how the university will look in 2020.” “Establishing the IBNR is a milestone of superb collaborative synergy among faculty, staff and students,” said Atam Dhawan, NJIT’s vice provost for research, in his welcoming remarks. At NJIT, as Dhawan explained, this synergy integrates numerous related efforts across disciplines and research centers. It will also make the IBNR a focal point for collaboration with a wide range of other institutions and funding organizations. Cooperation in working toward common goals in brain and neuroscience research already involves Rutgers University-Newark, Rutgers Biomedical Health System, part of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, the Brain Health Institute




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at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the Kessler Foundation. The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the Kessler Foundation are among the organizations providing funding for research currently underway. The audience of some 200 gathered for the formal inauguration of the IBNR, which included brief presentations of research by faculty and students and a tour of campus research facilities, reflected the inclusive outreach of the IBNR initiative. Commenting on the perspective of his own institution, Sussex County Community College President Jon Connolly said that a key goal at his school is to provide students who want to eventually attend NJIT with the physical resources and solid grounding in the STEM disciplines relevant to successful participation in research such as that going forward at the IBNR. CONTENDING WITH THE NEUROTOXIC CASCADE

The keynote address at the inauguration was given by Colonel Sidney R. Hinds II, M.D., U.S. Army. Currently, he is the coordinator for the Brain Health Research Program for the Department of Defense (DoD) Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office and medical adviser to the principal assistant for research and

technology, Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, Maryland. He has also served as the national director for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. While a critical DoD research priority is traumatic brain injury (TBI) related to the combat experience of U.S. military personnel, Hinds said that the scope of this effort is also far more inclusive. Citing the incidence of brain injuries in the national population — some 1.7 million reported annually with 52,000 deaths — he said that DoD programs and collaborations in this area promise to benefit not only those serving in all branches of our military but also the general U.S. population and the people of other countries. Accordingly, the DoD is working with a wide range of academic institutions and research organizations to investigate the “full continuum of brain trauma and how that trauma occurs.” “We do have state-of-the-art science and critical care but we need to standardize our approach and better utilize what we know. We want to go from good to great,” Hinds said. Going from “good to great,” he explained, will require comprehensive investigation of what he termed the “neurotoxic cascade” of brain injuries — the nuanced, complex impacts on the anatomy of the brain and our neurophysiology. This includes gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the unique challenges presented by mild, or

Professor of Neurobiology Farzan Nadim (left) and Professor of Biomedical Engineering Namas Chandra, co-directors of NJIT’s Institute for Brain and Neuroscience Research.

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Colonel Sidney R. Hinds II, M.D., U.S. Army, was the keynote speaker at the inauguration of NJIT’s Institute for Brain and Neuroscience Research.

concussive, TBI, which are the majority of such injuries. Collaboration will be the key to progress in acquiring new basic knowledge and improving care for the injured, Hinds said. “It is not going to be one organization, not one individual, not one lab but a very multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary approach that will move the field forward toward better understanding of the brain, especially with respect to brain injury.” Commenting specifically on the establishment of the IBNR, Hinds spoke of how it will build on research that NJIT is already doing in collaboration with the DoD and other groups. He characterized the IBNR as a place where “geographically disparate, perhaps mission-disparate, organizations can be brought together to best utilize available resources to answer critical questions about traumatic brain injury and neuroscience.” Under the leadership of Directors Chandra and Nadim, Hinds said, the IBNR will be a place where “shared experiences, shared resources and shared research” can be strategically focused on identifying critical gaps in our knowledge and then prioritizing and initiating efforts that can fill those gaps. n Author: Dean L. Maskevich is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer.



NJIT’s Pioneering


Chemical Engineers



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orn in 1919, Beatrice Hicks ’39 knew by the age of 13 that she wanted

to be an engineer. Decades into her pathbreaking career in sensor design, she urged “the young women of America” to follow in her footsteps lest the country miss out on their talents and suffer declining science standards as a result. Progress, she believed, depended on it. General Ellen Pawlikowski ’78, who directs the 80,000-person Air Force Materiel Command for the U.S.










for learning how to solve problems — “to go into an area I know little about and, in a short period of time, translate that into making a contribution.” Elaine Gomez ’14, a graduate student who tests methods for reusing carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, sees chemical engineering as central to her mission. “We begin with chemical processes, which are smallscale, and engineering allows us to scale them up into power plants and chemical factories that make life better.” Following are profiles of three NJIT alumnae who are pioneers in the field of chemical engineering.

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Beatrice Hicks

“Women having a high level of engineering ability must

be recruited today if we are to avoid a tacit acceptance

of lower and lower scientific and engineering standards tomorrow. Considering

the huge number of new

engineers we require each

year, mediocrity cannot be avoided unless the young

women of America, among

whom half of our present and potential scientific talent lies, recognize and accept their

responsibilities to develop

their engineering abilities.” - Beatrice Hicks


eatrice Hicks ’39, an inventor, business leader and urgent advocate for women in engineering, was a pioneer in the field of environmental sensing devices. At the helm of the New Jersey-based Newark Controls, Inc., she designed and manufactured gas density monitors, called switches, to detect potentially dangerous leakages around electronic equipment in missiles, jets and Air Force instruments. Her sensors could anticipate equipment failures, locate them and gather information to correct them. Sturdy enough to withstand vibrations, shocks and extreme temperature variations, they were used in the ignition systems on the Saturn V rockets that

launched the Apollo moon missions, on Boeing 707 aircraft in antenna couplers involved in long-range communications, and for monitoring nuclear weapons in storage, among other applications. She patented a molecular-density scanner and developed an industry model for quality control procedures. Hicks also broke barriers for women in engineering. She was the first woman engineer employed by Western Electric who went on to run her own company and design sensors that made long-range air flight and space travel safer. She was the founding president of the Society for Women Engineers in 1950 and the chair of the First International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists in 1964. At a space symposium for women, she told the audience, “The saying ‘the world is yours to conquer’ is no longer true. Yours is the universe.” Her reputation and impact endure. This spring, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


Ellen Pawlikowski “For the most part, even though we like to say

engineering is a male-dominated field, I can tell you that I’ve met very few engineers who cared whether you were a man or a woman. They just cared about your capabilities. People asked if I had a hard time in class. I will tell you, whether it was at graduate or undergraduate school, I never had trouble finding a lab partner.” - Ellen Pawlikowski



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Elaine Gomez

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

reported in 2014 that on our current trajectory we will reach a point where we will not simply have to curb emissions of carbon dioxide to avoid extreme ocean acidification, potentially catastrophic sea-level rise and severe impacts on human health. We will have to become carbon negative, meaning we will have to devise methods for removing it from the atmosphere and storing it. There are a lot of different avenues to accomplish this and I aim to strategically reuse CO2 via alternative-energy catalysis.” - Elaine Gomez


laine Gomez ’14, a Ph.D. student at Columbia University, is researching methods to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released back into the atmosphere by converting the greenhouse gas into useful feedstocks such as compounds to create liquid transportation fuels or high-value olefins, molecules used in products ranging from adhesives to fibers. “Rather than becoming costly waste, CO2 has the potential to become a liquid fuel that not only is compatible with existing infrastructure, but also contains higher energy density than competing solutions,”


n 2015, Ellen Pawlikowski ’78 was promoted to the rank of four-star general in the U.S. Air Force. Just the third woman in the branch’s history to receive a fourth star, she directs the 80,000-person Air Force Materiel Command, whose stated mission is to “deliver and support agile war-winning capabilities.” In addition to managing city-sized military bases, she directs the Air Force’s investment in weaponry technologies: hypersonics — the ability to travel at extremely fast speeds of Mach 5 or 6; directed energy — lasers and high-powered microwaves that

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says Gomez. Backed by a three-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, she is working with Dr. Jingguang Chen, the Thayer Lindsley Professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia, to devise processes that don’t rely on expensive metal catalysts. “One of the challenges we face is that carbon dioxide is a very stable molecule and so developing a catalyst that makes the compound highly ‘active’ is really important.” She is also combining CO2 with propane to make propylene, which is a high-demand chemical building block. The goal, she says, is to identify processes

that have a significantly higher CO2 input than output, while also creating a valueadded product. “I think our role as chemical engineers is to begin with the fundamentals and then work to apply them in many diverse fields, truly impacting everyday life,” Gomez notes. “Among all the aspects of chemical engineering, my favorite is catalysis, which allows chemical processes that would otherwise occur at slow rates to occur at feasible production times and at large yields if needed. Catalysis plays an integral role in almost every chemical process we can possibly think of.”

allow the military to “get power on a target from a very long distance”; and automated devices that can not only operate on their own and think, but also interact as a human that flies as a wingman would in the plane. She looks to additive manufacturing as the way of the future to support U.S. installations and weapons systems so that they can produce needed supplies and parts at the right time and place. As she puts it, “We make sure everybody has food, but we’re also deciding on the look of the jet my granddaughter’s going to fly when she’s 25 years old.”

During an earlier stint in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, she was responsible for chemical and biological counter-proliferation during Desert Storm, “trying to figure out what we needed to do to protect against biological agents, and one of the answers was to vaccinate people… My job was to make sure we had the right technical information to guide the decision.” Tracey L. Regan is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer.





MAL & FRIENDS NJIT Magazine invites new correspondents to join Mal Simon in sharing news about class members and alumni organizations. Professor emeritus of physical education and athletics, Mal was director of physical education and athletics, and men’s soccer coach, for 30 years. In 1993, he received the Cullimore Medal for his service to the university.

If you would like to be a regular correspondent, don’t hesitate to send an e-mail to the editor of NJIT Magazine: First, the latest news from Mal –


he 1966/1967 NCE basketball team who played in the first home game on campus in the new Franklin Entwisle Gymnasium was honored at the final home game of the NJIT men’s basketball team in the current Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center. Fittingly, both games were wins. Even more notable is that the first game was coached by LOU TORCICOLLO ’56, ’61, the first alumnus to coach varsity basketball at NCE. Lou came to NCE after five years in the U.S. Navy and played three years for Professor (Coach) Fred Bauder. Lou was appointed varsity basketball coach when Professor Joe Fitzgerald had to resign due to the cancer that claimed his life a year later. Coaching was not a full-time position, so Lou maintained a professional engineering career. His first job was at Light Electric in Newark, where he worked for five years followed by 22 years with Neel Tran, a transformer manufacturing company in Brewster, New York, and Brookfield, Connecticut. Becoming the owner, he sold this company in 1992 and spent the next 10 years as a consultant before retiring to his current home in Beach Haven, New Jersey.

He has kept in touch with his players, some of whom attended the game at the Fleisher Athletic Center. I’ve previously featured six of the alumni who attended and in this column will tell you more about Galvao, Olsen and Mulder. In his freshman year, JOE GALVAO played JV basketball followed by three years on the varsity team. He remembers his first three years practicing in the Weston Hall gym and playing home games at Clifford Scott High School in East Orange, and how great it felt in his senior year to have a home court in a brand-new facility on campus. Joe holds the NCE/NJIT records for single season rebounds (402) and rebounds per game (22.3) in the 68/69 season. Joe’s professional career was in the information technology field. He worked for 15 years for several manufacturing firms and then decided to go out on his own for the next 25 years as an independent computer consultant. He was a subcontractor for several large consulting firms in the New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania area. The work involved system and database design and development, and software testing. Joe and his wife, Kathy, live in Long Valley, New Jersey. Members of the ’66/’67 basketball team reunited for a closing game at the Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center: (standing, left to right) Rich Schroeder ’66, Bob Mulder ’69, Ben Gazdowicz ’67, John Bober ’69, Joe Galvao ’70, ‘79, and Rich Olsen ’69; (seated, left to right): Walt Cullen ’71, Coach Lou Torcicollo ’56, ’61, Jack Heath ’08 and Steve DeSteno ’69.



BOB MULDER played four years and was selected to the New Jersey All State team in his last two years. He won the intramural tennis tournament in his junior year and modestly said he lost in his senior year because he had an opponent who could play tennis. After graduation, Joe worked briefly for Gannett Fleming before being drafted and serving in the U.S. Army for two years, including one year in Vietnam. He then worked 10 years as principal engineer for the Passaic County Department of Public Works followed by 20 years as assistant county engineer for the Bergen County Department of Public Works. He semiretired as a consultant before taking full retirement. Bob and his wife, Ruth, live in Midland Park, New Jersey. RICH OLSEN also played basketball for four years. Rich is the NCE/NJIT All Time records holder with 1191 rebounds and is among the top scorers with 1118 points. He received the Outstanding Senior Athlete Award in 1968 and was inducted into the NJIT Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988. After graduating, Rich joined the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, where he worked 40 years until retiring in 2009. He spent his career in the Research and Development organization, mostly in management positions involving tire development and testing. Rich and his wife, Pat, live in College Station, Texas, but are in the midst of moving to Mequon, Wisconsin, to be near their daughter and grandchildren. He said that his “many fond experiences at NCE made me realize that the ‘science’ of technology teaches you how to think logically and sequentially, while being involved in sports and fraternity life (Tau Epsilon Phi) teaches you how to get along with others and achieve common objectives — good preparation for both professional and personal life.” When I learned that GREG LIVELLI ’92 made a contribution to my scholarship fund, I wrote to thank him and ask that he send his bio so I could include it in this column. Greg was a member of the ski team and Tau Lambda Chi Fraternity. n j i t .e du


After completing a degree in mechanical engineering at NJIT, Greg earned an MBA at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. He is currently senior vice president and head of product management for the measurement and analytical business of the ABB Group, one of the largest engineering companies in the world. In this position, he is responsible for a $1.5 billion product portfolio. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, ABB is a leader in robotic, power and automation technology.


efore joining ABB, Greg worked for Emerson Process Management’s Rosemount Division in Boulder, Colorado. In his career, he has traveled extensively around the world (over 100 countries) and lived with his family in Hanover, Germany, from 2012 to 2015. Widely recognized as an expert in flowmeasurement technology, Greg has written extensively about his field and has given numerous presentations at professional conferences. He is an avid hockey fan (Colorado Avalanche) and still loves to ski. After living in Colorado for 13 years, Greg and his wife, Cheryl, now live in Ewing, New Jersey. Diane and I attended a reception of the NJIT Southwest Alumni Club held prior to the NJIT men’s and women’s basketball games at Florida Gulf Coast University.

At a reception sponsored by the Southwest Alumni Club, I had the pleasure of greeting (left to right) Daniel Carroll ’62, Ralph Maddalena ’75, Tulia Rios ’94, Walt Mainberger ’69, and Drew Dodenhoff ’65. For those who might not know, that’s me second from the right.

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It was nice to greet so many alumni I had not seen in quite a while, including PAUL


Prior to starting in NCE’s evening division in 1958, Paul had attended Cooper Union as a freshman. Having grown up in Newark and attended Weequahic High School, well-known for excellent basketball, Paul had been to numerous games at Central High School and so was familiar with NCE, located next door. As a member of Cooper Union’s basketball team, he had actually played against the NCE team, which was coached by Professor/Coach Bauder. In addition to his NCE degrees, Paul completed an executive program at Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck Graduate School of Business. His entire professional career was with Sun Chemical Corporation, where he progressed from plant engineer at facilities in New Jersey, New York and Ohio, to manager and vice president of Sun’s international colorants business in 1982, general manager in 1983, corporate vice president in 1984, senior vice president in 1990 and executive vice president in 1997. He retired in 2001. Paul is an alumni association officer and co-chair of the Florida Gulf Coast Club. He lives with his partner, Betty Perlmutter, in University Park, Florida, on the Sarasota and Manatee county line. Ralph Maddalena ’75, ’77 was born and raised in Newark and enrolled at NCE as a civil engineering major. He was active in fraternity life (Tau Delta Phi), student government, and played basketball for three years. Ralph was elected to several honor societies — Omicron Delta Kappa (Leadership), Tau Beta Pi (Engineering), Chi Epsilon (Civil Engineering) — and graduated cum laude in 1975. While studying for a master’s at NJIT, he was a teaching assistant and assistant basketball coach under Coach Remsen Becker. Ralph joined Mobil Oil Corporation in 1976 and worked for Mobil his entire


professional career, retiring in 2009 as an executive responsible for exploration and production. His career allowed him to travel extensively to South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East. A runner since his high school days, Ralph has competed in numerous races, marathons and ultramarathons over the years. He is sharing his interest and experience by coaching successful cross country and track and field teams at Frassati Catholic High School in Spring, Texas. After retiring, Ralph took up cycling and is an active member of the local cycling club. Ralph and his wife, Pam, who live in The Woodlands, Texas, attend the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament every year and try to catch some NJIT basketball games each season. They reconnected with NJIT through Athletic Director Len Kaplan in 2010 and have hosted the NJIT basketball team, coaches and staff, and alumni at their home when the team’s travels bring them to the Houston area.


alt Mainberger ’69 was on a fiveyear plan at NCE. He worked his way through college by working in the cafeteria and several other jobs. After a year of carpooling from Glen Rock, Walt moved on campus into the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity for the years remaining until graduation. He recalls enjoying many “double hot dog” sandwiches at Ralph and Lucy’s on Warren Street, just beyond the Club Warren bar where faculty could often be found at lunchtime. Walt was a member of the rifle team who competed in the Metropolitan Rifle League against such teams as Cooper Union, NYU and Rutgers. NCE had its own rifle range in the basement of the Specht Maintenance Building and was very successful but had to disband when the range and funding were eliminated. Walt hauled a lot of rifles and ammunition in his 1937 Chevy on road trips. He was stopped once by NCE security during the Newark riots while carrying his rifle from his car to the practice range. Informed that it was not a very good idea to do this NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017




under the circumstances, he agreed and was smart enough to not do it again. Walt’s career was mainly in the packaging machinery field and included working in engineering management for Mahaffy and Hardison, American Can and Hayssen Manufacturing. Walt, who obtained his PE license in 1975, holds several patents in machinery and package design. He still does consulting work through his own company, the Eventide Group LLC. Walt lives in Sarasota, Florida, with his wife, Jeannie. His hobbies include British cars, motorcycles, fishing and sailing. He is mindful of a terrific and affordable technical education he received at NCE and the lifelong friends he made there. I’m sure you all have had one or more “small world experiences” which were astounding. I recently had one such experience on a golf course in Florida with JAMES MORENO ’73, my daughter, Melanie, and her husband, Mark. As we were standing by the golf shop, we heard someone call, “Mal Simon” and looked up to see this big guy coming toward me with a huge smile on his face. He said, “I can’t believe it. I was just talking about you” and went on to tell me he had spoken at a conference only two weeks earlier about people who had an impact on his life. The mystery person was SRINIVAS KRISHNASWARMY ’90, who had been my graduate assistant from 1988 to 1990.


o make a long story short, I had seen him playing basketball in the gym and the next day playing tennis with some of the varsity team members. I needed help in our intramural program and asked him if he had a graduate assistantship, to which he replied “no.” The next day we completed the paper work and the rest is history — setting up our “small world experience” nearly 30 years later. While I am certainly happy that I helped Srini, I am much happier to learn about the impact he has made in his professional career. Srini is currently senior vice president and general manager in Florida for AECOM, an American international 22 N J I T M A G A Z I N E | S U M M E R 2 0 1 7

engineering firm with 95,000 employees. He began his ascent up the corporate ladder when he joined Jacobs-Mott-ACG in 1995 after five years in California working on projects like Caesar’s Palace Casino, several railway and hospital projects, and capital programs for UCLA. For the next 13 years Srini was principalin-charge for United Research Services (URS) on numerous projects, including a Disneyland expansion and a $19.2 billion program in Los Angeles to build 80 new schools and additions. From 2006 to 2009, Srini managed the most successful and profitable operations for URS and in 2011 received a URS award for Outstanding Dedication, Leadership and Commitment. After spending the next two years as the head of URS for the Western United States and the Pacific, he was named managing director and senior vice president of URS South Asia with a focus on programs in Saudi Arabia and India. AECOM bought URS in 2014 and Srini is now back in the United States in his current position with AECOM. Srini and his wife, Rini, who holds a Ph.D. in genetic toxicology, live in Tampa, Florida. After a one-year hiatus, the 17th annual NJIT Florida Soccer Alumni gathering took place at Cape Canaveral, hosted by FABIAN ’74 and Jeanie Hurtado. Highlights of the reunion were the opening night dinner at Milligan’s Reef on the Cape Canaveral inlet, a tour of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral

In addition to Diane and me, the Florida Soccer Alumni group that toured the historic launch facilities at Cape Canaveral included Malcom Clement, Libby Hamilton ‘77, Dona and Carlos Restrepo ‘82, Valeria Clement, Tulia Rios ‘94, Len Kaplan, Alex Bonilla (grandson of Joe Alves), Luis Clement ‘78, Joe Dias ‘86, Joe Alves ‘77, Henry Krauss ‘54, Barbara and Andy Handwerker ‘63, Gisella and Rudy Sapp ‘81, and Walter Starkey, tour guide.

and a fantastic reception and dinner dance at the Hurtados’ Solana on the River Condominium clubhouse overlooking the two-mile-wide Banana River. he NCE/NJIT connections were more than helpful in arranging the special Cape Canaveral tour. Helping arrange the tour was Brigadier General Tom Taverney, who attended NCE for one year before transferring to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Tav, who had played junior varsity basketball at NCE, contacted the commander of Patrick Air Force Base to set up the tour. It should also be noted that one of the original astronauts, Wally Schirra, attended NCE and was a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity before his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. I was particularly pleased that LUIS CLEMENT ’78 traveled from Colombia with his son (my godson), Malcom, and his daughter, Valeria. Luis has issued an invitation with an international flair that the 2018 reunion be held in Colombia. He is joined in the invitation by JOE DIAS ’86, whose future plans include spending six months in Portugal as well as in the United States. Anyone interested please let me know. n


Keep the news coming, folks, to mjs@ Jeanie and Fabian ’74 Hurtado, gracious hosts for the 17th annual Florida Soccer Alumni gathering.

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AN UPDATE FROM JIM ROMANSKI ’85 Jim Romanski recently contacted Mal Simon of “Mal & Friends” renown with a few sentences about where life has taken him from the soccer field after completing his bachelor’s in engineering technology with a concentration in environmental engineering. It was Mal’s suggestion that Jim might want to share even more about his path in life with the NJIT Magazine audience, and at our invitation he sent the following letter and photos. NJIT Magazine invites all alumni – and alumnae – to write and share your experiences after graduation. So send your updates to the editor at We really want to hear from you.


New Haven Symphony. She also plays in a couple of part-time opera companies — the Salt Marsh Opera Company and the Clinton Opera Company. They each play only one opera a year, but I get to go and I have found out that I like opera. She also teaches part-time at Choate Rosemary Hall and gives private cello lessons at home.

Jim writes –


played soccer for Mal Simon at NJIT and graduated in 1985 with a BSET in environmental engineering. My father FRANK D. ROMANSKI graduated from NCE in 1958, B.S. in mechanical engineering, and my older brother FRANK T. ROMANSKI in 1978, B.S. in electrical engineering. I met my girlfriend Patti while working one summer for the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and decided to follow her to Connecticut, where she attended Yale for her master’s degree in music. Eventually, we married and decided to stay in the area and settled in Guilford. We’ve been at our home in Guilford for 20 years now. In fact, my son Nicholas was born in a bedroom of our house (not planned). Coincidently, Guilford is a real hotbed for soccer in Connecticut and a classic New England shoreline town with a splendid Town Green and charming small shops. I started out working in environmental consulting for several years and decided to get my master’s in environmental engineering from the University of New Haven. Afterward, I took a position at Pratt & Whitney managing their airpollution compliance programs across all their plants and worked there for about 12 years. In 2008, an opportunity came along for a similar position at Yale University. Yale has three power plants and, prior to their big expansion involving the construction of five new residential colleges, they planned major upgrades and expansions at the power plants, which would require lots of permitting and environmental work. This sounded like n jit.e du

an interesting position, and because it was much closer to my home in Guilford, I took the positon. It turned out to be a great move. In addition to my day job, for the past 10 years one semester each year I teach a graduate course in air-pollution engineering at the University of Hartford, which is required for their master’s program. I’ve played soccer in the same league as TASHIN KARASAY (NJIT 1975) for the past 27 years. I’m currently playing for the North Branford Over 50 Team. The Over 50 Team isn’t quite as good as the Over 30 Team, which I started out playing on many years ago. But North Branford has a rich tradition in the Shoreline Adult Soccer League with teams in the O30, O40 and O50 Leagues. Some of the O50 guys have sons playing on the O30 team, which is really gratifying to see. My knees and ankles are finally showing their soccer mileage, so I don’t think I’ll make it to an O60 League. Patti continues to play cello for the A team picture taken in my last year with the Over 30 League. I’m in the upper right corner.

Patti continues to play the cello.

Patti and I have two children — Sydney, 21 years old, and Nicky, 19 years old. Sydney was an All-State Goalie for Guilford during her junior year, 2011. The summer after her junior year she broke a vertebra in her back going for a save in a summer tournament. She had back surgery to repair it but was unable to play her senior year. She was co-captain with another player who tore her ACL, who also could not play her senior year. Sydney decided not to risk injuring her back again and hung up her goal-keeper gloves and decided not to play in college. She still loves soccer and plays some pickup ball





with her dorm-mates, beating up on the guys. Sydney decided to go to UConn for a five-year program in biomedical engineering and German Studies. She chose to go to Heidelberg for an entire year and study at the world-renowned University of Heidelberg. The first half of the year they study German language and culture. Then the students have to find an internship with a German biomedical company. Sydney is also an accomplished violinist. She auditioned for, and made it, into the University of Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra. So she gets to play in an orchestra in Europe, the birthplace of classical music. Sydney is having a great time traveling around Germany and so far France and Belgium. We plan to go to Germany in the summer when she’s done with her

formal program and spend several weeks traveling with her. Our son Nicky was diagnosed with autism at age three. Nicky has been in special schools for children with autism and has done pretty well. He has a large vocabulary when it comes to reading but he still can only ask for basic things. We remain hopeful that he will start to blossom. Meanwhile he participates in many activities. Guilford is very involved with the Special Olympics Unified Sports Program. I try to attend most of the events and do photography for them. Patti has taught Nicky to play the piano and cello. Last year, we moved Patti’s mom Marilyn, a career violist and violin teacher, up from Long Island to a retirement community about three miles from our home. Patti, Nicky and Marilyn all play in the Community Music Orchestra, based

in Essex, Connecticut. They do not have auditions and will accept anyone who can play. So they get three generations of players from our family. Patti does some of the orchestra’s musical arrangements for them as well. Nicky has also been in an assisted dance program and last year was the Prince in their Nutcracker production. You never know where life will take you. Patti and I are truly grateful for our lovely children and rich life here in Guilford. I think back to my undergraduate years at NJIT with gratitude for the excellent education and life experiences that I received there. I look forward to attending more of the annual NJIT alumni soccer get-togethers. nn All the Best! Jim Romanski Class of 1985

Nicky on stage in the Nutcracker.

Our son Nicky in action at a Unified Sports Basketball Tournament. Nicky also plays the cello.

Our daughter Sydney was All-State Goalie for Guilford.

Dinner outside at Lenny and Joe’s Fishtale, our favorite summer family restaurant in Madison, Connecticut.

Sydney is also an accomplished violinist.

On the Logan Pass trail at Glacier National Park in Montana.

Music is a family affair — Patti, Nicky and Marilyn playing together.



RECOGNIZING EXCEPTIONAL ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT In what has become an Alumni Weekend tradition, the Alumni Association of NJIT honored six graduates for exceptional achievements in the private and public sectors at a dinner enjoyed by the honorees along with family members and friends.


OM BURY ’02 is the CEO of

Division 9 Design + Construction, a general contractor offering additional services resulting in convenient and cost-efficient outcomes for clients. After graduating from NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design, Bury realized that his knowledge of architecture and understanding of space, paired with an ability to execute effectively and efficiently, allowed him to partner with fellow classmates to open their own company, Division 9 Design and Construction. His success skyrocketed when a new series on the Food Network opened casting for restaurant designers and builders. Bury and Division 9 were enlisted by fellow designers to do the build. That series, “Restaurant Impossible,” quickly took off and Bury’s character as the “Tom the Builder” was secured. Marc Summers, the show’s executive producer, called Bury “the best [casting] find ever” and crucial to the program’s success. In addition to his reputation as an expert restaurant designer and builder, Bury added a proven ability to successfully build a restaurant in under two days and $10,000. “Restaurant Impossible” wrapped after 13 seasons and over 150 restaurants, all of which Bury and his team built. The show gave the company a great deal of exposure and today Division 9 Design and Construction has expanded to cover New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia. COLETTE L. SANTASIERI ’89, ’12

lives in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and is the executive director, policy and planning innovation for civil infrastructure environment at NJIT. In addition to her degrees from NJIT, she also has a bachelor of science in environmental planning and design from Rutgers University. Dr. Santasieri has been a leader in the fields of civil infrastructure and the environment for over 30 years. She has n jit.e du

served as the first and only chief engineer at the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority; member of the New Jersey Innovation Institute Core Leadership Team; editor of the Access to the Region’s Core Supplemental Draft and Final Environmental Impact statements; and recently as director of strategic initiatives at NJIT. In her current role, she secured over $10 million in grants and contracts, creating a portfolio of infrastructure and environmental research, projects and technical assistance programs, and leads multidisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, planners, architects, economists, social scientists and NJIT students. Dr. Santasieri has helped to position NJIT on the national stage for brownfields cleanup, including securing $6 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and with that created and directs the NJIT Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities Program. She secured NJIT’s position on two teams that won millions in EPA funding for brownfields grants that provide technical assistance throughout the entire United States and in every tribal nation. TOMMASO F. SCARFONE ’67 retired

as a manager of air conditioner plants from Carrier United Technologies. Scarfone’s family emigrated from Italy to Canada in 1953, during which he worked to support his family. When they were able to enter the United States in 1960, Scarfone launched his career as a cabinetmaker, quickly picking up English from co-workers. He credits his mother for convincing him to continue his schooling, and he entered NJIT in 1963 at the age of 25. In addition to his professional success, Scarfone also is honoring his parents by funding a scholarship in their names: The Antonio and Ida Scarfone Memorial Fund.

RICHARD R. SCHATZBERG ’93 is the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of NeST Technologies, Inc., a global software services and business/knowledge process outsourcing (BPO/KPO) firm. In his capacity as CCO, Schatzberg leads North American operations and provides sales and business development leadership in other global markets, including Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He is a technology entrepreneur, having founded various businesses that leverage technology to create positive social, economic and business impact, including the National Cloud Technologists Association (NCTA) that provides training, certification and services in the area of cloud computing, network security and business continuity services. Schatzberg serves on various boards, including as treasurer of the Abilities Fund, a nonprofit organization providing seed capital to entrepreneurs with disabilities. He also is a Board member of Abilities, Inc., a part of the Henry Viscardi Center, the National Business and Disability Center. In addition to these roles, Schatzberg serves on the Albert Dorman Honors College Advisory Board. KARISA C. SCHRECK ’04 is a fellow of

Neuro-Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Medicine. Dr. Schreck grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and was homeschooled throughout her elementary and high school education. She is NJIT’s youngest graduate, having enrolled at age 15, completing her degree at NJIT three years later. After graduating, she completed her M.D. and Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She then completed a residency in neurology under a joint program between Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Schreck is married to a fellow graduate, THOMAS SCHRECK ’03, who is a software engineer for a company in Maryland. In addition to her professional success, she also served as the keynote speaker at the first “Women With STEAM” program, hosted by Albert Dorman Honors College, NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017




where she supported its mission of attracting the next generation of female leaders to the STEM and architecture fields. JOSEPH G. STANLEY ’78,’85 is a vice president at Mott MacDonald (MM). He is a recipient of the Newark College of Engineering Outstanding Alumnus Award and serves on the Advisory Board for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NJIT. Stanley has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and has served on various university committees. Some of Stanley’s most notable projects include designing a water supply facility that is cited by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for its strategic importance to the water supply of the northeast portion of the state. n

ANNUAL HONORS FOR ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE Newark College of Engineering marked 19 years in March of honoring the accomplishments of notable alumni, industry partners and high-achieving students at the college’s annual Salute to Engineering Excellence.


his year,

KEVIN CARSWELL ’79 and ROCCO PALMIERI ’72, ’77 each received

an Outstanding Alumnus Award. The NCE Spirit Award was presented to

Kevin Carswell ’79 and Robert Cohen ’83, ’84, ’87


a member of Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, PA and current co-chair of the firm’s Creditors and Debtor Rights Practice Group. PSEG was the recipient of the Outstanding Industry Partnership Award—an award received on behalf of the company by JOHN A. BRIDGES ’87, vice president of Electrical Operations. One of Kevin Carswell’s most memorable moments as an NJIT engineering student was his first physics test. “Even though I paid close attention in class, took a lot of notes and studied hard, I did not do very well on this first test,” he recalled. I thought this was going to be the end of my time at NCE. I then found out that I had scored higher than anyone else in the class. The test had been designed to assess the relative capabilities of the 26


class and frankly to weed out the weaker students. Although I felt better about having the top score, I was not happy that I did not do better, so I committed to study even harder. This certainly paid off throughout my time at NJIT.” For Carswell, his BSEE degree and his success as an NJIT student laid a solid foundation for everything else he accomplished in his career. “Although I really enjoyed learning the fundamental theories of science and engineering, what really energized me was the application of these theories to solve real-world problems and develop new technology which can have a far-reaching impact on the world,” he recalled. “It is the focus on real-world applied knowledge which I believe makes NJIT stand out as a top public university.” His undergraduate years were an extremely pivotal time as, like many young people before attending NJIT, he did not have a very clear direction in his life. “I was not a very good high school student, but NJIT saw my potential and accepted me into the BSEE program,” he said. “I had taken two years off to work after graduating high school, which actually helped prepare me to really roll up my sleeves and get to work. Frankly, when I started my freshman year I was very afraid that I would quickly flunk out.

This fear drove me to work harder than I had ever worked in my life. I quickly discovered that this attitude would be my key to success, not just at IBM, but for the rest of my life. I left NJIT not just with a degree in electrical engineering — for the first time, I really learned to believe in myself and how I could accomplish anything I set my mind to if I committed to working hard.” Carswell is vice president of worldwide sales for Solid State Cooling Systems (SSCS), a small, growing technology company specializing in thermoelectric recirculating chillers for precise temperature control of high-speed lasers, analytical equipment, medical equipment, semiconductor processing systems and a variety of other scientific and industrial applications. He joined SSCS in 2012, after retiring from a 33-year career at IBM. He started at IBM in 1979 as a high performance integrated circuit designer, after earning his bachelor of science in electrical engineering from NJIT. After taking his first management role in 1983, Carswell continued to broaden his impact through various management roles within IBM’s Microelectronics, before moving over to IBM Systems development in 1999 as vice president of IBM Mainframe development. This role was expanded in 2000 when he was asked to lead development for all of IBM high-end servers. In 2001, Carswell was asked to lead the development of IBM’s hard disk drive division, where he transformed IBM’s approach to HDD development. In 2002, he returned to IBM Microelectronics to run all of IBM’s integrated circuit development as vice president of product development. In addition to the development of all ICs used by IBM during this period, his team was responsible for developing advanced processors for the Apple G5 system, Sony’s Playstation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii game systems. Four years later, he took on the role of establishing and managing a large, global engineering team for IBM’s Engineering n j i t .e du



Rocco Palmieri ’72, ’77 and Ted Cassera ’72, a member of the NCE Board of Visitors.

and Technology Services Division, responsible for leveraging IBM’s research and development skills and intellectual property to help other companies develop and commercialize a wide variety of high-tech solutions, many of which were early implementations of today’s internet of things technology. Carswell’s final role at IBM was as vice president of alliance and licensing transactions, where he was responsible for technology licensing and joint development alliances for IBM’s Systems and Technology Group and portions of IBM Research. Throughout his career, Carswell has been an active volunteer, helping many different community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together, the New York Blood Center and Family Services of Poughkeepsie. Since 1999, he has been an active volunteer at NJIT, serving on the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Industry Advisory Board and the initial advisory board for the Albert Dorman Honors College Interdisciplinary Design Studio program. He is an annual guest lecturer in the ECE department’s ECE 101 class and actively participates in the ECE capstone project showcases. In addition to his BSEE from NJIT, he holds a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Syracuse University. What advice would he give to students who are planning to pursue a similar career path? “I often tell students that the most important thing to do at NJIT is to learn the fundamentals and work harder than you have ever worked in your life,” he said. “This investment in time and mental energy will pay back countless times over for the rest of your life.” Carswell said he is “certainly honored” by being recognized as a 2017 NCE Outstanding Alumnus. “I am not sure I am the most deserving given the number of very accomplished NJIT graduates out in the world who feel a lifelong connection to the university and strong commitment to give back and help the university produce more successful

graduates,” he said. “I am hopeful that recognizing alums in this way encourages more NJIT graduates to volunteer time or provide funding to the university.” During the years that Rocco Palmieri ’72, ’77 was an undergraduate student at NJIT, the first man walked on the moon, the Mets won their first World Series, the Jets won their first — and only — Super Bowl and there were demonstrations on campus concerning the Vietnam War. “These were important events,” recalled Palmieri, who was recognized at the 2017 NCE Salute to Engineering Excellence for his achievements since graduation. “My fellow students and I participated in them and became closer because of them. My professors were also great teachers and mentors. They were available for guidance and had a great impact on my life. The campus was not as developed as it is today, but the Student Center was the gathering place for students and a focal point of my college life at NJIT. I truly enjoyed my years at NJIT and I am very happy to have a continuing association with the college today as an alumnus.” There were many other memorable moments that Palmieri associates with his time at NJIT. “There are two that stand out for me,” Palmieri said. “The first, a somewhat comical one, was as a sophomore in surveying class. Our midterm survey test was a field assignment in Branch Brook Park just before the Christmas break. It was extremely cold and we used whatever ‘resources’ we had to stay warm. As the day wore on, panic set in on our crew members as it got darker and our ‘warming resources’ began to kick in. But somehow we completed the assignment just before dark. As we made our way back by bus to the college, we had a good laugh as we realized we shouldn’t have started to celebrate the holiday break so soon.” The other memorable moment was a more serious one as it related to Palmieri’s role as an officer of Chi Epsilon Fraternity in his senior year. “Our guest speaker and award recipient for our annual dinner was Newark Mayor

Kenneth Gibson,” Palmieri noted. “The mayor was also a professional engineer. It was my responsibility to meet and escort Mayor Gibson to our dinner and introduce him to the membership. I was so impressed to meet him, not only a mayor, but a professional engineer as well. Little did he know that I would be a mayor someday.” Born and raised in Newark, Palmieri attended grammar school and high school in the city before attending NCE in 1968. He earned his B.S. in civil engineering in 1972 (cum laude) and an M.S. in environmental engineering in 1977. As an undergraduate student at NCE, Palmieri participated as an intern in community affairs working as a student volunteer for the city of Newark evaluating the city’s public transportation system. This first challenge would lead to a rewarding career in civil engineering. He says that his NJIT degrees “most definitely” have helped him in his career. “I received a great education at NJIT. I was taught by very learned and dedicated professors who helped me develop a basic understanding of engineering principles and who also taught me how to apply them to real world problems. Most of all, I came to understand that my role as an engineer would not only apply to my professional endeavors but to my role in society as a citizen. NJIT had a tremendous impact on my career and my life.” During his 45-year career, Palmieri has worked in both the public and private sectors. Upon graduation from NCE, he began his professional career with the consulting firm of Edwards and Kelcey in their Newark office. In 1973, he accepted a position with the township of Fairfield as assistant to the municipal engineer. Over the next 15 years, Palmieri advanced to become municipal engineer and director of Public Works. Some of his more fulfilling accomplishments were the completion of the township’s $20 million wastewater management system, the development and implementation of one of New Jersey’s earliest municipal recycling programs and the design and construction of the Beverly Road NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017




PSE&G was the recipient of the Outstanding Industry Partnership Award, received on behalf of the company by John A. Bridges ’87.

Recreation Facility, which received a firstplace award from the New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers. In 1988, Palmieri left Fairfield to form the firm of Harper and Palmieri, Engineers and Surveyors, where he was the managing partner in charge of site development projects throughout New Jersey. In 1995, he joined the firm of Schoor DePalma, where he spent the next 16 years as a principal and managing partner of offices in Parsippany, New Jersey, and White Plains, New York. Palmieri cites the Cranbury Business Park Development Project in Middlesex County and the Hilltop Redevelopment Project in Essex County as a few of the more challenging projects he successfully completed at Schoor DePalma. Through his years at Schoor DePalma, and its successor, CMX, he rose to become a senior VP, a principal of the firm and eventually served as a member of the board of directors in 2009-2010. In 2010, Palmieri joined Birdsall Services Group, Inc. and was the manager of Birdsall’s Cranford office. He remained with Birdsall until 2013 when he retired from his fulltime position due to health limitations. Palmieri is currently a senior project manager with Partner Engineering and Science in Eatontown. What advice would he give to students who are planning to pursue a similar career path? “Work hard, learn all that you can and do your best in all you undertake,” he said. “I am a member of the NJIT Civil and Environmental Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. Each semester, board members make a presentation to undergraduate students in the FED 101 class. Each board member discusses their particular area of civil engineering. We 28


also discuss our careers and the experiences we’ve had through the years. I’ve always tried to stress the importance of working hard to earn their degree. I also stress that a formal college education is only the foundation for a career in engineering. Real-life education through actual work is the best teacher. My first job was not my last. It only got me started. As a civil engineer, earning my professional license was a critical goal for me. Developing strong and lasting relationships with colleagues and clients based on mutual respect and trust is very important. Completing work in an ethical, honest and professional manner defines who we are. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, try to have a balance between work, family and recreation. This last one is not always easy.” SPIRIT OF NCE


allagher engages in civil trial and appellate practice and concentrates in the areas of commercial banking, creditors’ rights, auto finance defense litigation, construction contract litigation and title insurance matters. He has served as New Jersey counsel to several national companies, including AT&T Corp., Intercos Europe, SPA, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., K. Hovnanian Companies, Premium Financing Specialists Corp., Stewart Title Guaranty Co. and Valley National Bank, N.A. Since 1999, Gallagher has been a member of the NCE Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Industry Advisory Board, and its chair since 2015. He has established the Frank Gallagher Memorial Scholarship to benefit NJIT students, and has taken the lead in creating an Annual Scholarship Fund. Aside from his efforts for NJIT, Gallagher is also a trustee of the Passaic Optimist Foundation, which raises funds for scholarships for inner-city students to pursue college and post-high school technical training degrees. STELLAR STUDENTS utstanding students from every department of NCE were among the


Jerome F. Gallagher, Jr. Esq. ’80 and Robert Cohen ’83, ’84, ’87.

stellar performers honored at an awards ceremony. Brody Frees, Joseph Geise and Thomas Reardon, students in the Otto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering, received the Saul K. Fenster Innovation in Design Award for their leadership of the Chem-E Car Team, which designed, fabricated and built a unique auto system for entry into the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ annual competition. The Helen and John C. Hartmann Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Xueqing Huang was recognized with the NCE Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Mina Taheri ’16, whose dissertation work was focused on greening the broadband access networks and who is currently working as a senior software engineer in a high-tech company, Advanced Rotorcraft Technology in Silicon Valley, was acknowledged with the NCE Outstanding Doctoral Student Dissertation Award for her excellence in both teaching and research in the Helen and John C. Hartmann Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Other students receiving recognition include Andrea Cano, who was named the recipient of the Madame Mau Outstanding Female Engineering Student Award and Outstanding Senior from the John A. Reif, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Sahitya Allam*, who was named Outstanding Senior Overall and Outstanding Senior in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, along with Christopher P. Donovan from the Department of Engineering Technology; Stefani Kocevska* from the Otto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering; Andrew Pennock* from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering; and Shahar Sarfati* from the Helen and John C. Hartmann Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. n *Dorman honors scholars n j i t .e du


Offering a Real Meal Deal: SATISH CHAMYVELUMANI ’01


ix different cuisines with 30 combos all served hot within 90 seconds, and patrons need only pick, swipe and eat. That’s what Frshly, a fully automated “vend-café” and the brainchild of Satish ChamyVelumani ’01, provides to a growing number of hungry consumers on the move through India’s railway system and airports. It’s an offer the tech startup, established in 2013, calls “plated happiness.” Here’s how Frshly works: Customers desiring fresh, hot food from popular local restaurants choose from a selection of stocked menu items at a Frshly state-of- the-art dispensing machine. The company’s proprietary technology, a “recipe” of robotics and algorithms, then enables the quick procurement, takeaway-friendly wrapping and prompt delivery of the order. To ensure that the food is always fresh, Frshly restocks the dispensing machine regularly. The meals “are packed according to the given specifications for every mealtime at the participating restaurant kitchens and then are transported to the Frshly outlets where they are stacked,” explained ChamyVelumani. “This is as good as any convenience store where products are pre-stacked based on predictive demand analysis.” Customers also can place an order, as well as specify a pickup location and time, via the free Frshly app, available from the Apple and Google Play stores. The app secures their meal until they collect it, at which time the dispenser reheats and serves it. The cost for Frshly meals ranges from Rs 59-159 in Indian currency (approximately $1-$2.50). ChamyVelumani has introduced Frshly in three cities in India: Bengaluru, Chennai and Secunderabad. Each market features different cuisine. “The idea is to serve the brands from the cities in which we operate,” n jit.e du

ChamyVelumani noted. “Frshly is an ecosystem for multiple restaurants to get on board and reach out to new customers. Even though Frshly is an aggregation platform, the brands that participate are curated based on the market demand.” FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The Frshly journey, from “back of the napkin” concept sketches to the first customer making a selection, took ChamyVelumani two-and-a-half years to complete. He faced some challenges along the way, particularly with building the interface between the ordering app, the dispenser and the enterprise resource planning system. “With Frshly, every single thing had to be developed from scratch,” he said. “There were a lot of dependencies. We are talking about an entire ecosystem here, including hardware.” Fortunately, pitching Frshly to the Indian Railways Network and airport authorities proved much easier. Indian Railways had been searching for an innovation in the food and beverage space and Frshly fit the bill. A successful pilot in Chennai Central Railway Station followed and since then Frshly has opened two more stores in India, with a third and possibly more poised to launch this year. FIRST-GEN ENTREPRENEUR

“First” is certainly a recurring theme of the Frshly story. The business is a first of its kind and the first commercial venture for ChamyVelumani, who is the first in his family to become an entrepreneur. All in all, he said, it “has been a great ride so far.” Before returning to his home country to start Frshly, he worked in the manufacturing industry in the U.S. for 11 years in a variety of engineering roles at 3M Purification Inc. (formerly CUNO Incorporated). And just before joining 3M, he earned his M.S. in manufacturing

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systems engineering at NJIT; he also holds an MBA in global enterprise management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “I was working in India as a mechanical engineer for about two years, mostly doing 2-D drafting and 3-D modeling. I became bored of that work and I didn’t think those jobs were paving the way for me to achieve my future dreams. I wanted to get a broader exposure to manufacturing and through my friends I heard about the manufacturing systems engineering course that was offered at NJIT,” offered ChamyVelumani, who arrived at the university in 2000. “Overall, the course work was an eye opener. I particularly enjoyed my design-for- manufacturing classes with [Professor Sanchoy] Das.” FEEDBACK AND FUTURE


o further improve service, ChamyVelumani and his Frshly staff — about 60 people including store owners — are fielding recommendations for new cuisines and meal quantities from customers, who on the whole have appreciated the convenience of getting their favorite food brands at the touch of a button. Looking ahead, Frshly is expanding its operations into Singapore this March and also working to set up stand-alone dispensers for several large food brands. ChamyVelumani’s vision for his company includes moves into other Asia Pacific countries, the Middle East and ultimately North America. He encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to dream big and work hard and credits his NJIT education with helping shape him into who he is today. “My master’s program put an entire business sense of things in my head,” he reflected. “I always say this: ‘It is not the subjects that we study, but it is the application that makes the difference.’ NJIT helped me with learning the application.” For more information on Frshly, visit n Julie Jacobs is a staff writer/editor in the Office of Strategic Communications at NJIT. NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017



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Teaching English to the World: LUIS CLEMENT ’77


he day he set foot at NJIT, Luis Clement ’77 knew that life was going to be different. He arrived in the United States from Colombia in 1971 and enrolled at Essex County College, where he played soccer and was the team’s highest scorer. He transferred to NJIT in 1975 and made his presence known immediately on the soccer field as a “fast and tricky” forward, according to coach, J. Malcolm Simon. While at NJIT, Clement shared two years of “unforgettable happenings” with a group of players from all over the world. “We had a dream team,” he recalled. “Hernan ‘Chico’ Borja, a former U.S. National Soccer Team member and a member of the NJIT Athletics Hall of Fame, was our fellow player. I lived my best two years of life at NJIT.” After earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology, Clement worked

at Weston Instruments as a quality control engineer from 1978 to 1979, returning to Colombia when his father passed away. “It was very difficult to live far from my family,” he said. Once back in Colombia, Clement worked for 10 years as a sales field engineer for three different companies: a Swiss-Colombian firm named Walter Rothlisberger selling electric power measuring devices; Baxter Labs as a quality control engineer, and Microcom Corporation, a computer company. He followed this up by working in Italy doing marketing research for a local branch of Goodyear, the car-service products company. After three months, he returned to Colombia and opened a sales office in Bogota for the same company. Two years later, he teamed up with former NJIT soccer teammate Alfonso Cardenas ’80 in a water- and waste-treatment venture.

Cardenas served as project director for design and construction of the local wastewater treatment plant. In 2002, Clement embarked on a career change as a technical translator and English instructor at Icesi and Autonoma, both universities in Cali, Colombia. At the same time, he launched a startup in electronic waste with his brother, a chemical engineer. However, he decided that his true passion was teaching, and in 2008 founded a private language school, World English Language Center. Clement’s school now has 150 students and he is moving forward with his dream of developing a school specializing in conversational English and English for specific purposes. He still keeps in touch with his former soccer coach.“Malcolm Simon was like my father,” he said. “I named my son after him.” What is his lasting impression of NJIT? “I dream of my school every time I have the chance to dream,” Clement said. “I love it to my bones, probably because there I met my best friends ever.” n

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Ask about our Corporate Training Partnership today! Contact CPE at: 973-596-3061 • •


From Industrial Engineer to Career Coach: CARLA G. JONES ’94


arla G. Jones ’94 did not always envision herself in the careercoaching profession per se, but as an NJIT student she was continually involved in activities where she was helping someone or improving something. And looking back on her decision to study industrial engineering, she even chose a major closely connected to working with people to improve systems or processes. Originally from Newark and now based in Maryland, Jones most recently managed a career-coaching program for a nonprofit organization in the DC metro area and currently teaches career planning as an adjunct professor at a local university. Her new book, I S.E.E. Me, is a collection of stories, quotes and poems on topics such as consistency, persistence, procrastination and letting go of fear that can help to inspire those facing doubt, fear or obstacles. “From working professionals, to graduating high school or college students, to those in between jobs, this book is a great pick-me-up for anyone who loses or needs motivation to accomplish their goals,” Jones explained. “S.E.E. is an acronym for ‘Strength, Empower and Encourage,’ which is what readers will gain from reading this book. My motivation for writing it comes from working with so many people who get discouraged while working on their goals and need additional reminders from time to time — myself included. The book serves as a portable companion to remind you to keep moving forward, one step at a time.”

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Jones said that her NJIT degree provided her with the opportunity to build a solid foundation that can be applied to many different professions — including career coaching. “As a career coach, when I tell people that I have an engineering degree, the first thing they say is, ‘I would have never guessed that.’ As you can imagine, career coaching is very different from engineering. People tend to view engineers as very methodical, and seeing things as either black or white. In career coaching, there is a lot of ‘gray.’ The answers aren’t always obvious, or may not make perfect sense.” According to Jones, the critical thinking, analytical skills, systems-development and process-improvement strategies she learned at NJIT helped to build her foundation as a coach. “It is because of this foundation that I am able to combine ‘head’ and ‘heart’ into my practice as a career coach,” she said. As an NJIT student, Jones opted to stay on campus and lived in Redwood, Cypress and Oak Residence Halls. During those years, she also was a residence adviser (RA) at Cypress and Oak Halls. “Although the classes were tough, I was able to take advantage of several other programs and activities on campus — becoming a peer counselor and RA, being a note-taker for students with disabilities, being involved in the Educational Opportunity Program, National Society for Black Engineers, and the Black Association of Student Engineers, and participating

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in a co-op opportunity through the Career Services office. I was grateful and humbled to have received the Peter Small Scholarship Award for Service during my time at NJIT. These experiences were both academically and socially enriching.” Her most memorable moment as an NJIT student was walking across the stage to receive her degree at commencement. “You see, I had lost my dad during my second year at NJIT and I was devastated. My mom passed away when I was much younger, so he had basically raised me. We were very close. I was on probation a couple of semesters following his death and almost flunked out. But through the support of family, friends and NJIT’s Counseling Center, I was able to get back on solid footing and complete my degree. So, in that moment of receiving my degree I was proudly walking across that stage for both me and my dad.” In the year immediately following graduation, Jones worked as an industrial engineer for United Parcel Service. In that role, she was responsible for projecting volume, monitoring package routes and reporting operating results. The second year into this job, she returned to school to pursue an MBA at Rutgers University. What is her lasting impression of NJIT? “It is the place that helped to develop the foundation upon which I stand today. From the classes, to the staff, to longlasting friendships that were made, it is a place that I will never forget.” To learn more about I S.E.E. Me, Carla, or how to purchase copies, please visit: Copies are also available directly at Authorhouse, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. n NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017


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1970’s ’78 MARC GIETTER

(Chemical Engineering, M.S. in Management ’81) recently received the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award. He began his federal career in 1981 as an industrial engineer with the Tactical Shelters Branch of the U.S. Army CommunicationsElectronics Command (CECOM) when it was located at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. His career highlights include earning the U.S. Army Materiel Command Weapon Systems Manager of the Quarter Award in 1991. He was also part of the team that won the AMC Integrated Product Team of the Year Award in 2002. Gietter culminated his federal career as an electronics engineer with the CERDEC Command, Power and Integration Directorate. He officially retired Jan. 3 with more than 35 years of government service.


’81, ’83 BRYAN HALL (B.S. in Industrial Administration, M.S. in Engineering Management) has joined Optelian, an optical networking solution provider, as senior vice president of sales. In his new role, Hall will lead worldwide sales and business development. ’81 CHETLUR RAGAVAN

(M.S. in Computer and Information Science) has been named a board member of the Council for Economic Education (CEE), a leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. that focuses on the economic and financial education of K-12 students. Ragavan serves as executive vice president and chief risk officer for Voya Financial. He is responsible for overseeing the enterprise-wide and business-level risk monitoring and management program for the organization.


(Architecture) joined Hudson Meridian Construction Group, LLC as president/






chief operating officer. As chief operating officer at Hudson Meridian, Monte oversees the ongoing operations and procedures of the firm setting comprehensive goals for performance and growth. ’86 MYRON PETRUCH

(Chemical Engineering) has been named the 15th recipient of the Anthony Mauriello Man of the Year award by The Metro New York Printing Ink Association (MNYPIA). Petruch is the president of Sun Chemical Performance Pigments and an executive officer of DIC Corporation. He joined Sun Chemical in 2008 as president of its Performance Pigments division. He has also been named chairman of Sun China in 2011, president of Sun Chemical’s Electronic Materials division in 2013, and an executive officer of DIC Corporation, Sun Chemical’s parent company, in 2017. ’87 ANTHONY DEL VESCOVO (Civil Engineering) has joined The Walsh Group, a 119-year-old family-owned company providing design, build, finance, operation and activation services, as East Coast tunnel leader. Del Vescovo will be responsible for overseeing the firm’s tunnel and underground construction operations on the East Coast, as well as helping to expand the company’s presence in the New York market. Del Vescovo brings over 30 years of experience to Walsh, having had prominent roles in major tunneling projects in New York, including New York City Water Tunnel, East Side Access, #7 Line Subway and the Second Avenue Subway. ’87 JIM GAZZALE

(Construction Engineering Technology, M.S. in Civil Engineering ’94) has been promoted to associate at Dewberry, a privately held professional services firm. Gazzale is assistant department head for the geotechnical division and has more than 35 years of experience in public- and private-sector projects. His experience includes the determination of appropriate methods and procedures for subsurface

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investigations, soil and rock testing, slope stability, foundation design and analysis and construction engineering. ’89, ’93 FORTUNE MHLANGA

(M.S. in Computer and Information Sciences, Ph.D.), dean of Lipscomb University’s College of Computing and Technology, has been awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program. A native of Zimbabwe, Mhlanga will travel to Nigeria to work with Ebonyi State University on capacity building in the areas of algorithms and theory of computation.


(Civil Engineering) has been hired as the new director of community development for Hopewell Township. In this role, Kataryniak will also serve as the township’s zoning officer, planning board secretary and stormwater program coordinator. Kataryniak previously worked for Edison Township as its engineer and director of engineering and planning. ’91 GREGORY KELLY

(Civil Engineering) president and CEO of the U.S. and Latin America region of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, has received the 2017 Foundation Award from the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation (BWAF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to “advancing the knowledge and recognition of women’s contributions to architecture.” The award is given annually to “a transformational firm for influencing and expanding opportunities for the careers of women in the building industry.” ’91 RAJENDRA NAVALURKAR

(M.S. in Civil Engineering, Ph.D. ’96) has joined the engineering services firm Parsons as vice president and program director for complex bridge and tunnel design. Navalurkar has more than 24 years of design and infrastructure management experience, with a focus n j i t .e du

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on major bridge projects. He has worked extensively with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, New York City Department of Transportation and New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Navalurkar also has more than 22 years of teaching experience. Navalurkar, an adjunct professor at NJIT, teaches a variety of structural engineering graduate and undergraduate courses, including stability of structures, fracture mechanics, earthquake engineering, steel design (load resistance factor design) and pre-stressed concrete design. ’93 KERRI TYERMAN

(Civil Engineering, M.S. in Transportation Engineering ’95) joined HNTB Corporation as the transportation department manager working in the firm’s New Jersey operations. Tyerman also serves as client service team leader and participates in key sales initiatives. She has more than 22 years of experience as a project manager for highway and public transportation projects, including work with the New Jersey Department of Transportation providing congestion relief, safety and interchange improvements. Her background also includes work with New Jersey Transit such as early stage engineering support for the new Hudson River tunnel projects, also known as the Gateway program. ’94 SCOTT BLEEKER

(Civil Engineering) has been promoted to associate at professional services firm, Dewberry. With more than 25 years of experience in the surveying industry, Bleeker’s expertise includes land, boundary and topographic surveys, geodetic control networks, robotic total stations, land development, site planning and engineering, stormwater and grading design, drainage construction and local and state permit processes. Bleeker has worked on numerous surveying projects throughout New Jersey, including the Garden State Parkway Interchange 163 improvements, the Rebuild by Design Hudson River

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2000’s project and master services agreements for Public Service Electric and Gas Company, Norfolk Southern and Conrail. ’94 RAJA MAHARAJH

(Industrial Engineering) has been elected to the board of directors of Pro Bono Partnership, a provider of free transactional legal services to nonprofits. Maharajh serves as vice president and general counsel at Pratt & Whitney, where he leads the legal services team and has overall responsibility for the company’s legal matters as well as responsibility for contracts, corporate ethics, government compliance and government security.


(M.Arch, M.S. in Management) has joined architecture firm LS3P as a project architect. Alicandri has15 years of experience in planning, design and project management. ’97 JUDITH DONNELLY

(M.Arch.) principal owner of Donnelly Architecture, LLC, has been elected as the 2017 first vice president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ). Donnelly, who has been an active member of AIA-NJ for over a decade, previously served as the organization’s second vice president and secretary. She has also been a member of several AIA-NJ committees and has had numerous leadership roles at the Newark and Suburban Architects local section, including 2010 president.


(M.S. in Environmental Engineering) has been elected treasurer of the Federation of Indian Association, Tristate area (FIA). Bhatia worked for Oracle Global Health, Pfizer, Merck and Glaxo Smith-Klein before going into business for himself. ’98 CHRISTINA SEO

(Biomedical Engineering) was recently selected as Top Doctor of the Year for 2017 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). Seo, a colon and




rectal surgeon for Barash-White M.D., PA, has over 12 years of professional experience in the health care industry. In 2014 she was chosen as VIP Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, Top Female Executive, selected as an Elite Worldwide Professional and Professional of the Year in Healthcare by Worldwide Branding. In 2015 she was named Best Colon and Rectal Surgeon in Englewood, NJ. In 2016 she had a chapter dedicated to her in “Top 101 Industry Expert Publication.” ’99 KIM VIERHEILIG

(Architecture, M.S. in Management ’00) has been elected 2017 second vice president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ). Vierheilig serves as vice president and marketing director at LAN Associates, an architectural and engineering firm that focuses on educational facilities. Vierheilig also serves as the current Women in Architecture Chair for AIA-NJ and was a past president and current trustee of the Architect’s League of Northern New Jersey.



(Computer and Information Science) has been named principal with the Intellectual Property (IP) Litigation Group at Fish & Richardson. Mukherji’s focus is on trial and appellate litigation, representing high technology companies in cases involving cellular telephone systems, internet technologies and cardiac defibrillators. ’02 JEFFREY INGERSON

(Architecture) has joined DMR Architects as project architect. Ingerson gained his nearly 15 years of experience at firms in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, working on residential, corporate interiors, retail and fitness and wellness center projects. In his new role, he is supporting the firm’s growing residential pipeline of more than 600 units at projects across northern New Jersey. NJIT MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2017


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(Chemical Engineering) has been elected partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. Forst, who is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, is a trial lawyer that represents clients across a wide range of complex commercial matters, including intellectual property, energy and class action litigation and international arbitration. ’04 KEITH LUDWIG

(Surveying Engineering Technology) has been promoted to associate at Dewberry, a privately held professional services firm. Ludwig, the operations manager for the surveying department at the firm, has more than 30 years of surveying experience, including boundary and property line analysis, aerial control networks, geographic information system mapping and static global positioning systems. ’06 DAVID ASFOUR

(Architecture) was promoted to vice president in CallisonRTKL’s New York retail practice group, where he works on managing luxury and specialty retail projects. His project experience also includes workplace and residential architecture. As an account manager for several prestigious global retail brands, Asfour manages design teams and is instrumental in helping the firm attract new clients. ’09 PAULA A. GUTIERREZ

(Biology) recently received the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Early Careerist Award. The Early Careerist Award recognizes ACHE affiliates who have significantly contributed toward the advancement of healthcare management excellence. Gutierrez, transplant coordinator at NJ Sharing Network, works with families of organ and tissue donors, assembles clinical teams for surgery and facilitates the allocation of these organs for transplant. Gutierrez, who is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, has been active in the New Jersey Chapter since 2010 and 34




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was appointed to the board of ACHENJ in 2016 where she currently serves as the First Member at Large. In this role, Gutierrez oversees the scholarship committee and aspires to continue ACHE’s program “Wishes Come True,” an initiative that involves ACHE members approaching child life areas of hospitals and health care settings and encouraging them to nominate a child who will have a wish granted.

named one of 10 2017 New Faces of Civil Engineering by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Elgammal, an associate civil engineer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was recently appointed to be an agreement project manager for the civil engineering department, coordinating smoothness testing for 22 miles of runway baselines. He has worked on the rehabilitation of runways at Newark Liberty International Airport as both a design engineer and a construction inspector.




(MBA in Management of Technology) has been named one of Atlantic City Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40. Uniacke is the vice president of the Southern branch at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and has been with the organization for nearly 16 years. In 2010 Uniacke was a fellow of LeadNJ and served as co-chair of the recruitment and selection committee last year. ’11 SYED HAQ

(MBA in Business Administration) has been named a senior engineering manager in the New York City office of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering and professional services organization. In his new position, Haq is responsible for providing project management and technical expertise for major tunneling and infrastructure projects. ’11 MELISSA SALSANO

(Civil Engineering) has joined the national construction law firm Peckar & Abramson, P.C. (P&A) as associate. Salsano focuses her practice on construction litigation, complex commercial litigation and securities litigation. Before joining P&A, Salsano was an associate with Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti, LLP. She is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey. ’12 MUHAMMAD ELGAMMAL

(Information Systems) has joined Guidepost Solutions, a global leader in compliance, investigations and security and technology consulting, as senior program manager in the Chicago office for its Security and Technology Consulting group. Lobozzo is a consultant in cyber, physical and technical security design and will support the firm’s continued physical and cyber security growth in the Chicago region. He previously served as director of technical solutions with Radiflow, a cyber security solutions firm, and is an expert in North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection compliance standards.


(M.S. in Civil Engineering) group manager in the Site Development Department of T&M Associates, has been named an award recipient in the Top 20 Under 40 program sponsored by ENRNew York. The award is given to up-andcoming leaders in the construction and design industries. Thomas joined T&M in 2012 and has headed several key projects with regional significance, such as West Windsor’s Carnegie Center Office Park. Thomas is also the first professional in New Jersey to obtain the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® AP in Neighborhood Development certification, currently one of just 10 New Jersey professionals with this certification. n

(Civil Engineering, M.S. ’15) has been n j i t .e du

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ew Jersey Institute of Technology conferred more than 2,300 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the 101st commencement ceremony May 16 at the Prudential Center in Newark — the largest graduating class in the university’s history. Rochelle Hendricks, New Jersey’s first Secretary of Higher Education, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and delivered the commencement address in which she encouraged graduates to “dream big” and to “pay it forward” by becoming involved in the community. “I confess that I am expecting great things from you and for you,” she said.


“We are all meant to shine, and I am confident that the NJIT experience releases you from your fears.” The university also awarded honorary degrees to J. Robert Hillier, architect, principal and co-founder of Studio Hillier, and Philip L. Rinaldi, founder of Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and an honorary Doctor of Science, respectively. NJIT President Joel S. Bloom urged the graduates to embrace the opportunity to follow alumni who throughout the


Irving Reingold ’42, ’48

Warren Reysen ’42 Rudolph Rinderer ’43 Adolf Attermann ’50 Murray Sklar ’50, ’59 Joseph Cummins ’55 Robert Klein ’59 John R. Schwind ’59 Joseph Begasse ’60, ’75 David W. H. Roth Jr. ’61, ’85 Bruce Conley ’62 James Liaci ’62 William Lewis ’63 n jit .e du

Left: From left: Class Crier Dorothy Chau ‘17, NJIT President Joel S. Bloom, and Student Speaker Michael Bebawy ‘17. Above: Steven B. Saperstein ’84, chief operating officer of PGIM Fixed Income and a member of the NJIT Board of Overseers, and NJIT President Joel S. Bloom presented the award for “most senior alumnus” to Herman Blackman ’38, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday.

Leroy Schellhardt ’63 Robert Zwack ’64 Clifford Johnson ’65 John W. Mansfield ’66 Jack Garrett ’68 John Novellino ’69 John Renavitz Jr. ’71 Douglas Spencer ’73 David Ward ’74, ’91 Ralph Confessore ’75 Leopoldo Mansueto Jr. ’76, ’07 Timothy Doyle ’77 Howard Wingard ’78

university’s history have established a legacy of making significant contributions that improve the quality of life for people around the globe. “By virtue of earning a degree from NJIT, you have demonstrated the capacity to make significant contributions to your communities and to society as a whole,” he said. “In your chosen fields and professions, endeavor to create and innovate in ways that enhance the greater good, not simply the profit margin.” A highlight of the ceremony included the presentation of the award for “most senior alumnus” to Herman Blackman, Class of 1938, who had recently celebrated his 100th birthday. In another first, Sina Nassim, who received his bachelor’s degree in biology, proposed to his girlfriend, Zainoishi, on the arena’s Jumbotron moments before the ceremony concluded. “Judging by her gesture, I think she said ‘yes,’” said NJIT Provost and Senior Executive Vice President Fadi P. Deek. n

Thomas Bonner ’79 William Fennimore ’80 Robert Bower ’81 Joseph Daniel Milora ’81, ’84 George Urbanneck ’86, ’90 Edward Kruger ’87 Karen Pereira ’87 Ntjatji Gosebo ’88 Nancy Meadows ’90 Daniel McMillan ’91 Barbara Kagan Littman ’94 Edward Harmon ’96 Jason Lafortune ’11 Gregory Gilhooly ’15






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Microtubules — the skeletal material in eukaryotic cells — that appear to store energy at their outer edges.



little-understood biological property that appears to allow cell components to store energy on their outer edges is the possible key to developing a new class of materials and devices to collect, store and manage energy for a variety of applications, a team of researchers at NJIT and Yeshiva University has proposed. In a paper published in Nature Communications, “Dynamical Majorana edge modes in a broad class of topological mechanical systems,” the researchers report the discovery of a large class of materials with such capabilities. “Remarkably, we believe these properties may be present in many materials composed of dimers, a chemical structure in which two similar masses are linked to one another through a rigid, nearly unstretchable bond. Dimers make up the building blocks of many cellular components and so it appears that storing energy in this way is a strategy that a variety of cells use on a daily basis in many living organisms,” notes Camelia Prodan, associate professor of physics at NJIT and an author of the paper. “This research could be used to explain cell behavior that is not yet fully understood,” she adds.

The paper stems from research funded by a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation awarded last year to Prodan and her collaborator, Emil Prodan, professor of physics at Yeshiva University, to research the role of topological phonon edges in the functioning of microtubules — the skeletal material in eukaryotic cells. Phonon edges are quanta of sound or vibrational energy confined to the edge or surface of a material. The Prodans are particularly interested in how microtubules store energy at their edge that is not propagated in their cylinder-shaped bodies. Majorana edge modes are the equivalent of a type of subatomic particle — Majorana fermions — that appear in some types of superconductors. They are the energetic vibrations that appear at the edge of a material that cannot be destroyed by the environment or by the material breaking. The team is exploring the potential to engineer new materials with novel physical properties based on topological phonon edge modes. “Ultimately, we would like to create materials that mimic this property — the ability to restrict energy to an edge — to enhance earthquake resistance in buildings or the protection of bullet proof

vests, for example,” Camelia Prodan says. “We also think this property may be the key to a new generation of anti-cancer agents, because of the role topological phonons may play in cell division. Microtubules must fall apart before a cell can divide. Chemotherapy currently works by preventing cells from dividing, but recurrent cancers find a way to weaken these defenses.” Working with nanotechnology experts at NJIT, Reginald Farrow, research professor of physics, and Alokik Kanwal, assistant research professor, they hope to provide the first experimental verification of the key role that these topological phonons play in many fundamental cellular processes, including cell division and movement. In addition, based on the results of their study of microtubules and topological phonon edge modes, the research team will seek to predict and fabricate a new class of materials called topological phononic crystals, with applications ranging from energy-efficient solar cells, to sound deadening and amplification, to insulation. Kanwal, Kyle Dobiszewski ’09, Ph.D. ’13, associate director of research initiatives for Albert Dorman Honors College, and John Palmieri ’17, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, are co-authors of the article. n Author: Tracey L. Regan is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer.


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