N ED JIT TO C ST CH C EN UD EB IK OM TR EN O UN B EP TS LA G A R T EN JO EP UN EU IN ID YA RS EM A IC ND S
TE W C FI A H D G R IS HT R IO EA RS SE
KNOWLEDGE FOR BETTER BUILDING
MAKING THE SPINAL CORD TALK
E X ECU T I V E SU M M A R Y
A MESSAGE FROM NJIT PRESIDENT JOEL S. BLOOM
CHANGE AND CONTINUITY NJIT Magazine begins publication in 2015 with a “freshened” design, something we’ve done periodically over the years to keep its look visually appealing. But our purpose in producing the magazine has not changed. We are most eager to share news that includes the achievements of our successful alumni, excellent faculty and staff, and outstanding students all working toward the distinction of an NJIT degree, as well as innovative educational programs, advanced scientific research, and economic growth for our state and nation. This visual change and editorial continuity also has a symbolic dimension, one that brings to mind how our university has evolved for well over a century. When NJIT was founded as Newark Technical School in 1881, students trained for careers in industries very different from those that today are the foundation of the economy for New Jersey and the nation. Yet NJIT’s core mission in 2015 is the same as it was then. We are still dedicated to giving our students the knowledge and skills essential for personal success in engineering, design, management, science and technology. In doing so, we are also preparing them to be leaders in advancing progress in fields that now contribute to the well-being of people not only in the City of Newark and New Jersey, but across the country and around the world. And while the focus of research has changed continuously over the decades, the goal is still to expand basic knowledge and improve the quality of life in immediate and practical ways. The first students enrolled at Newark Technical School and the faculty who taught them would undoubtedly be amazed to learn about the science and technology of the 21st century. But they would have no difficulty understanding what motivates their modern counterparts. I am sure they would also be proud to be part of a historic continuum which, as described in this issue, has produced new technologies and techniques for combating disease, helping people who are paralyzed, promoting sustainable building, and even sending the first spacecraft beyond our solar system. We hope you like the new look of NJIT Magazine and welcome your feedback.
NJIT MAGAZINE WINTER 2015
Denise Anderson Assistant Vice President Strategic Communications Christina Crovetto M.S. ’03 Editor Tanya Klein Editorial Assistant Shydale James Contributing Editor Dean L. Maskevich, Tracey L. Regan Contributing Writers Babette Hoyle Production Coordinator Skelton Design Design Editorial Advisory Board Kevin D. Belfield, Reggie J. Caudill, Charles R. Dees Jr., Atam P. Dhawan, Urs P. Gauchat, Moshe Kam, Katia Passerini, Marek E. Rusinkiewicz, Michael K. Smullen 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. Please send letters of comment and requests to reproduce material from the magazine to: NJIT Magazine Office of Strategic Communications University Heights Newark, NJ 07102-1982 firstname.lastname@example.org Joel S. Bloom President Charles R. Dees Jr. Vice President University Advancement Michael K. Smullen Director of Alumni Relations On the web: magazine.njit.edu
Cover illustration by Javier Jaén
NJIT MAGAZINE | WINTER 2015
MAGAZINE WINTER 2015
FEATURES PAGE 1 0
TECH WARRIORS NJIT students are helping to deploy new mobile communications technology for combating disease and improving health in the Dominican Republic and other countries. PAGE 1 4
MAKING THE SPINAL CORD TALK Tapping signals from the spinal cord could allow people who have been paralyzed to control wheelchairs, computers and other devices. PAGE 1 8
KNOWLEDGE FOR BETTER BUILDING 14
NJITâ€™s Center for Building Knowledge is advancing environmental efficiency, resiliency and sustainability for individual structures and entire communities.
DEPARTMENTS 2 A BSTRACTS
NJIT news in brief
7 POINT BY POINT Athletics update
NJIT development news
21 A LUMNI CIRCUIT
Class notes, alumni calendar, and more
33 I N CONCLUSION
Leading-edge achievements by faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of NJIT
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IMAGE COURTESY OF JHU/APL/NASA
A FORCE IS WITH US
The shield, located just below the Van Allen radiation belts – layers of charged protons and electrons held in place by Earth’s magnetic field – prevents those highly energized particles from penetrating below altitudes of 7,200 miles from Earth. “In one region of the belts you detect electrons and in another,
you don’t. It’s like a hard wall,” says Andrew Gerrard, professor of physics and director of NJIT’s Center for Solar Terrestrial Research (CSTR). “Though indications of the barrier had existed in the literature previously, we were the first to show conclusively how strong and how spatially sharp it is.”
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IMAGE COURTESY OF NASA
NJIT instruments aboard NASA’s Van Allen Space Probes traveling through the magnetosphere have detected an invisible force field thousands of miles from Earth that blocks high-energy “killer electrons” emitted by the Sun from damaging orbiting spacecraft and preventing dangerous radiation from reaching the planet’s surface. Gerrard and Louis Lanzerotti, distinguished research professor of physics at the CSTR, co-authored a recent article on the shield in the journal Nature along with a team of scientists from the University of Colorado and UCLA who had also observed it using different instruments. The NJIT scientists noticed the
top: An artist’s rendering of NASA’s Van Allen probes and Earth’s radiation belts. above: Conceptual interpretation of Voyager I’s immense journey.
force field in data collected by an environmental radiation monitor attached to their instruments aboard the twin Van Allen probes as they traveled through the
“Our objective is to offer turnkey solutions to industry, to become a one-stop shop for solving problems.” – Michel Boufadel, director of NJIT’s Center for Natural Resources Development and Protection
radiation belts surrounding Earth to measure their composition and shed new light on a hazardous, little-understood region of the planet’s outermost atmosphere. HONORED FOR LEAVING THE SOLAR SYSTEM Recently, Lanzerotti was honored for his role on the team that created and launched Voyager 1, the first spacecraft to leave the solar system and enter interstellar space. He was recognized with one of NASA’s highest awards, the Silver Achievement Medal.
Voyager 1 reached interstellar space in 2012, about 35 years after blast off at Cape Canaveral. “The two Voyagers launched were designed to reach Jupiter and Saturn, with the hope that at least one might be able to go on to explore Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2 did gather data from all four planets, and it is now also en route to crossing into the interstellar medium,” says Lanzerotti. The Voyager instrument Lanzerotti helped develop while a scientist at Bell Labs measured the density and speed of particles in the solar wind and around the outer planets. Now that Voyager 1 has reached the local interstellar medium, its instruments are making measurements of the interstellar magnetic fields, charged particles, and plasma waves unaffected by the Sun and its solar wind. n
Louis Lanzerotti, interstellar honoree
CONFRONTING REGIONAL WATER PROBLEMS Water experts at NJIT, Drexel University and Rowan University are joining forces to tackle the increasingly complex challenges affecting water resources in the region, from shrinking supplies, to industrial contamination, to climate change. The three universities have agreed to coordinate their resources and expertise in order to respond swiftly and effectively to problems presented by
water utilities, energy companies, environmental firms, and public advocacy groups. Many of these challenges stem from the persistence of industrial contaminants in the sediments of major waterways in the Northeast. “Our objective is to offer turnkey solutions to industry, to become a one-stop shop for solving problems. Contact one of us and we will be able to tell you who the experts are among our faculty, from flooding specialists to public health researchers. We will connect you with the right advisers on the spot,” says Michel Boufadel, the director of NJIT’s Center for Natural Resources Development
and Protection and a founder of the partnership. “There are also water implications for energy policy, as water plays an important part in the production, storage and transportation of energy,” says Moshe Kam, dean of Newark College of Engineering. Kam also points out that water-energy solutions require multidisciplinary approaches that involve experts outside of the realm of science and engineering. Engineers who work on solutions to water-related challenges are likely to collaborate with other engineers, but also with economists, political scientists, sociologists and legal experts, he says. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) concluded by the three schools calls in the near-term for the organization of seminars on water, the joint offering of short courses on water that draw on expertise at the institutions, and the creation of a Web portal to facilitate communication between
faculty and students. The MOU also addresses methods for spurring economic growth through collaboration with industry, and the development of a skilled workforce in water technologies. The universities’ research and technology will be “exportable, with relatively minor adjustments” to other regions of the U.S. and the world, says Boufadel, a specialist in water contamination, who provided technical analyses and remedial strategies in response to the two largest oil spills in U.S. history, the Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez spills. Boufadel adds that researchers’ work with industrial partners will be facilitated by the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), an NJIT corporation created in 2014 to spur innovation and growth in a range of economic sectors by leveraging the resources of industry, government and higher education. n
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Associate Professor Cristian Borcea
MOBILE CONNECTION IN THE CLOUD A team of computer scientists at NJIT has won a multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation to come up with a platform that would allow mobile devices to interact with each other with help from the cloud. The technology they are developing is designed to support collaborative applications in areas such as healthcare, safety and social interaction, potentially benefiting millions of users. The proposed mobile cloud computing platform would not only stimulate the creation of groundbreaking applications, it would also leverage the cloud to expand the processing power, network bandwidth, storage space, and battery life of individual devices. “Our goal is to make smart phones smarter,” says Cristian Borcea, associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Computer Science, who is the grant’s principal investigator. By networking mobile devices, a parent looking for a child lost in a crowd could conduct real-time searches of cell phone photos taken by people in the area, which are tagged with GPS location and time.
The parent could send a query to find the location and time of the photos that include the lost child. To hasten the search and save battery power on individual phones, the image recognition processing would be done in the cloud. With the expansion of sensing power contained in mobile devices, health officials could also use cloud-enabled networking to detect disease outbreaks in real time, allowing them to move quickly and precisely to contain the spread of an epidemic. Over the next three years, Borcea and colleagues from the Department of Computer Science will create a mobile phone avatar, a software surrogate of the phone that would live in the cloud and synchronize with the phone, write a program that permits devices to interact, and figure out ways to improve application functionality and performance in the cloud. Sustainability and reliability are also key concerns as the number of mobile computing devices proliferates. Calling battery capacity “the main limitation of a cell phone,” Borcea notes that programs running in the cloud run faster and use less energy. Additionally, avatars are available at all times, even when their mobile devices are offline because of poor connectivity or simply turned off. n
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HIGHLANDER HACKERS TAKE TOP PRIZE A team of four NJIT students took top honors for their mobile gateway app at the United Athletes Foundation (UAF)-Microsoft Hackathon held in November at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash. The team achieved perfect scores in all three judging categories: innovation, revenue model, and demonstrable functionality. Matthew Cooper ’16, a computer science graduate student; Jackie Patel ’15, a business and information systems major; Nikhil Kaushal ’16, a biology major; and Pitambar Dayal ’16, a biomedical engineering major, shared a $40,000 prize for their app that converts a cellphone into a video transmitter. Teams were required to create a mobile app, including a prototype and business plan. For their demo, the NJIT students installed their app on a cellphone to convert it into the mobile gateway, and then used it to broadcast videos directly to the judges’ cellphones. Healthcare institutions can use this app to broadcast public-service announcements in regions of the world lacking Internet access. “The judges were impressed that students did this live and with no safety net,” says Cesar Bandera, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship in NJIT’s School of Management who has two companies in the NJIT Enterprise Development Center specializing in mobile learning services. Bandera, the team’s faculty advisor, says that the students went beyond conventional consumer apps to develop an enterprise app with societal impact. In August, UAF Chief of Staff James Gaumond reached out to President Joel S. Bloom, inviting NJIT to participate in the Hackathon (participation is by invitation only). Bloom then reached out to Albert Dorman Honors College Dean Katia Passerini and charged her with putting a team together. Due to the Hackathon’s emphasis on entrepreneurship, Passerini contacted Bandera, and they decided to build upon the recent healthcare work by Albert Dorman Honors College students in the Dominican Republic by assembling a team comprised of two of these students (Kaushal and Dayal) as well as two students from other NJIT schools (Cooper and Patel). n See “Tech Warriors” on page 10 for more about innovative mobile communications technology and health in the Dominican Republic.
“Our students are doing translational research that will have a direct impact on their fellow citizens. This is engineering that will affect the lives of people with chronic limitations.” — Richard Foulds, associate professor of biomedical engineering
FOCUSED ON REHABILITATION In an impressive showing for a single university, NJIT students recently presented eight separate research papers at the annual conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the largest biomedical engineering conference in the world. Their research included novel approaches to exoskeleton design and technology to assess the grasping capability of people recovering from strokes, among other areas. “Eight papers across three labs is a very strong showing. What our students also made clear is that their work is on par with the very best work presented at that meeting,” says Richard Foulds, associate professor of biomedical engineering, who also attended the conference in Chicago. Kiran Karunakaran, a Ph.D. candidate working with Foulds, presented a new approach to controlling exoskeletons, wearable robots used by people who have lost movement in their limbs. Rather than preprogramming the device to walk, she
has proposed basing its stride – the length and height of steps – on hand or finger movements. Altogether, six Ph.D. students, two post-doctoral researchers who recently earned degrees at NJIT, and three faculty members attended the conference. Much of the NJIT research presented there, including devices to measure joint mobility, grasping function, and muscle control, among others, focused on improving the quality of life for people with sensory and motor impairments resulting from disease or accidents. Helping people improve their lives is at the heart of NJIT’s research, Foulds says. “Our students are doing translational research that will have a direct impact on their fellow citizens. This is engineering that will affect the lives of people with chronic limitations, that is designed to either restore them or accommodate their disabilities to help them lead meaningful lives.” n Ph.D. candidate Kiran Karunakaran was among the NJIT students presenting work at IEEE’s annual conference on engineering in medicine and biology.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Yeheskel Bar-Ness
Distinguished Professor Somenath Mitra
OVERSEERS HONOR PIONEERING RESEARCH
very substantial contributions to basic knowledge in their areas of expertise, and their work has influenced the quality of daily life in significant and positive ways,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom in opening remarks at the awards ceremony. He called Bar-Ness and Mitra “representative of a commitment to pioneering research shared by every NJIT faculty member.” Bar-Ness is the founder of The Elisha Yegal Bar-Ness Center for Wireless Communications and Signal Processing Research at NJIT, which has long been at the forefront of wireless technology. Since it was established in 1985, the Center has contributed key technological advances in communications, including a set of algorithms that facilitate code division multiple access, a digital cellphone technology that eliminates interference caused by high cellphone usage. Bar-Ness and his colleagues have developed breakthrough technologies for industry, including a technology known as multiple input/multiple output, which uses antenna arrays to increase the bit rate of wireless communications.
At NJIT’s seventh annual celebration of research excellence in October, NJIT’s Board of Overseers honored two eminent NJIT faculty members, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Yeheskel Bar-Ness and Distinguished Professor Somenath Mitra, for foundational contributions to their respective fields of wireless communications and nanotechnology. Bar-Ness received the 2014 Excellence in Research Lifetime Achievement Award for his groundbreaking work in electrical and computer engineering. Mitra was awarded the Overseers Excellence in Research Prize for his pioneering work in chemistry and environmental science. “The two individuals we recognize today are not only distinguished among their colleagues at NJIT. They are held in high esteem nationally and internationally by all of their peers. Each has made
[continued on page 6]
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In other critical work, he led a collaborative project with Samsung to improve the capability of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), a certification mark for products that pass conformance tests established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Mitra has achieved global prominence for his work in several areas, including nanotechnology trace measurement and diverse applications ranging from solarcell technology to seawater desalination. His work in real-time trace measurement plays a central role in environmental monitoring. He has, for example, developed a variety of air-monitoring techniques for parts-per-billion-level measurements in ambient air and industrial emissions. Mitra’s recent work with microwave-induced carbon-nanotube purification and functionalization has wide-ranging applications in areas from polymer composites to thin films and nanoelectronics. A related development for which he received significant recognition was the development of solar cells using carbon-nanotube composites. The resulting solar cells can be painted on flexible substrates, even by using an inkjet process. In order to ensure that increasingly ubiquitous carbon nanotubes do not themselves pose a threat to the environment, Mitra has been granted $2.5 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, to better understand their impact and the safety of their design. n
END NOTES Ali Akansu, professor in the
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, delivered the plenary talk “Eigen Subspaces: From Eigenfaces to Eigen Portfolios in Finance” at the 80th anniversary celebration of the Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in Turkey. Recently, NJIT and ITU launched an undergraduate dual diploma program in electrical engineering (NJIT) and electronics and communications engineering (ITU). Gabrielle Esperdy, associate
professor of architecture, is a new featured columnist for Places, a leading journal of contemporary architecture, landscaping and urbanism. Places publishes essays, criticism, photography and narrative journalism, as well as peerreviewed scholarship. Timothy Franklin, associate
vice president for business and economic development at NJIT, has been inducted into the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship, an organization whose mission is to improve the physical, social, civic and economic wellbeing of communities by advancing scholarship based on collaborative discovery by communities and their partners in higher education. Glenn Goldman, founding director of the School of Art + Design, has been named one of the nation’s “most admired educators” by DesignIntelligence. Each year, DesignIntelligence honors excellence in education and education administration by naming 30 exemplary professionals in the fields
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of architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture. The 2015 class of education role models was selected by DesignIntelligence staff with input from thousands of design professionals, academic department heads, and students. Lou Kondic, professor of mathematical sciences at NJIT, recently organized the Pan-American Study Institute’s workshop “Frontiers in Particulate Media: From Fundamentals to Applications” in La Plata, Argentina. This advanced study workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Latinoamerican Center for Physics, Argentinian funding agencies and YPF, a local oil company. Alison Lefkovitz, assistant professor of history, recently wrote a key introductory essay for the newly launched Child Custody Project website (www.childcustodyproject.org). The site explores child custody issues nationwide within a broad historical and legal context with the goal of providing an impartial, interdisciplinary resource for scholars, practitioners and the public at large. Bernadette Longo, associate
professor in the Department of Humanities, has been elected to the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Professional Communication Society. Longo’s election was announced at IEEE ProCom, held at Carnegie Mellon University, where she gave the closing plenary talk “From Disciplinary
Grounding to Interdisciplinary Understanding.” Longo is a senior member of IEEE. Siva Nadimpalli, assistant profes-
sor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, was invited to give a seminar on the mechanics of energy storage materials at the Materials Science Engineering Department at Drexel University. She presented “Role of Mechanics in the Design of Durable Lithium-Ion Batteries,” which discussed how battery electrodes are subjected to mechanical stresses and what effect the stresses have on electrochemical processes. Daphne Soares, assistant profes-
sor of biological sciences, is the recipient of a WINGS WorldQuest Women of Discovery Award. Established in 2003 by Milbry Polk and Leila Hadley Luce, the award honors achievement by women who combine scientific and geographical exploration. Soares was recognized for her investigation of the neurophysiological evolution of fish that have evolved to survive without eyes in subterranean environments, research that takes her to various remote locations in Asia and South America. Mengchu Zhou, distinguished
professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently delivered a keynote speech, “Internet of Things: Architectural Evolution and Applications,” at the IEEE International Conference on Control, Decision and Information Technologies in Metz, France.
POINT BY POINT
THE LATEST NEWS ABOUT NJIT SPORTS:
“We were the center of the basketball universe for a short time, and that time keeps getting extended a little as we continue to win.” – Athletics Director Lenny Kaplan
MAKING HISTORY ON THE COURT
PHOTO: ANDREW WEBER PHOTOGRAPHY
On December 6, 2014, the Highlanders stunned the University of Michigan Wolverines in a contest that NJIT won 72-70 – setting off a tsunami of publicity for NJIT that crested in thousands of media outlets in the U.S. and other countries. Commenting on the Highlanders’ victory, Athletics Director Lenny Kaplan says, “The win will go down as one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history. As a university, we continually say we are one of the best-kept secrets – well, I can say millions more know about us now. It definitely helped put the word out there about NJIT. “Our websites – both njit.edu, and njithighlanders.com – spiked with activity during and after the game with people wondering who we were. Social media exploded as well, with our Facebook and Twitter mentions. On Twitter, we were ‘trending’ for hours after the game. “We were the center of the basketball universe for a short time, and that time keeps getting extended a little as we continue to win, and people find our story fascinating. The NJIT brand has been highlighted on some of the country’s biggest media stages, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and The Washington Post. But our name has not only been put in front of an adult audience. We have been front and center with the high school students who follow college sports on ESPN, sportsillusrated.com and many social media sites. “I am very proud of our guys. They have been close a few times in games like the one with Michigan, and to finally win one is an unbelievable feeling. We could not be happier for the players, Coach Jim Engles, and his staff. It shows you that the good guys do win one once in a while.” n
Junior guard Ky Howard scored 17 points in NJIT’s upset win over Michigan.
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Learn more and contribute at njit.edu/giving
A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION In November, on the milestone 20th anniversary of Celebration, three distinguished individuals were recognized for achievements that benefit New Jersey and the nation, along with an organization notable for its contributions to NJIT’s mission. The university’s annual black-tie fundraiser, Celebration was once again held at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, N.J. Proceeds from Celebration support endowed scholarships for students at NJIT. Over the past two decades, many of NJIT’s most generous supporters have gathered annually for the event, which has raised more than $4.3 million in scholarship endowment funds. Celebration 2014 featured a “Roaring Twenties” theme and a special performance by Bernadette Peters, with Marvin Laird, music director. Robert Medina, senior vice president and East District director of T.Y. Lin International, chaired the Executive Dinner Committee for 2014 and was the evening’s master of ceremonies. Medina is a 1975 graduate of NJIT, and serves on the university’s Board of Overseers. “This degree of concern for the current generation of NJIT students and those who will follow is very meaningful for me,” said Medina. “As someone whose own college education was made possible by a scholarship, I have always been mindful of how important such support is for outstanding young men and women who would otherwise encounter a daunting financial barrier on the path toward their educational goals.”
The Honorable Thomas H. Kean received the University Medal for Lifetime Achievement. Kean served as governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990, and was the president of Drew University from 1990 to 2005. He also served for 10 years in the New Jersey Assembly, holding the positions of majority leader, minority leader, and speaker. As governor, Kean served on the President’s Education Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Education Commission of the States and the National Governors Association Task Force on Teaching. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from NJIT in 1983. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush called upon Kean to head the commission convened to recommend reforms in intelligence and other areas that could prevent such terrorist attacks in the future. In introducing one of New Jersey’s most dedicated public servants, NJIT President Joel S. Bloom said, “This call to national service at a very difficult time in our country’s history clearly attests
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Bringing together a group of NJIT’s most generous supporters in November, Celebration was sold out for the second year in a row.
to the character and reputation of the individual we honor with the University Medal for Lifetime Achievement.” The President’s Medal for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, who recently embarked on his 11th term as the representative for the state’s 11th Congressional District. A member of the Frelinghuysen family represented the people of New Jersey at the Continental Congress in 1779. Members of later generations have served in the New Jersey state legislature, and as the state’s attorney general. The Frelinghuysen family has also served the country at the national level in the State Department and in the Senate and House of Representatives. Today, Rodney Frelinghuysen is chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Through his work on the committee, he has become a highly respected voice on foreign, military and intelligence affairs and has made numerous trips to
Afghanistan and the Middle East to assess the situation from the personal perspective of New Jerseyans who are serving the nation in those troubled parts of the world. Paul Eng-Wong ’75, ’80 received the Edward F. Weston Medal for Professional Achievement, which is presented to alumni in recognition of outstanding personal, professional and civic accomplishments, and commitment to the development of the university. Eng-Wong, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Newark College of Engineering, is a principal in the Newark office of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, a firm providing multidisciplinary planning, design, engineering and consulting services for some of the nation’s most complex infrastructure and development initiatives. In 2009, Eng-Wong was presented with the NJIT Alumni Achievement Award for his acknowledged entrepreneurial leadership in the field of
“As someone whose own college education was made possible by a scholarship, I have always been mindful of how important such support is for outstanding young men and women.”
— Robert Medina, senior vice president and East District director of T.Y. Lin International
transportation engineering, and his continuing service to both the engineering profession and to the greater Newark community. He has also generously given back to his alma mater. In a tribute to his mother, he has endowed the Norma Eng-Wong Memorial Scholarship to provide financial assistance for civil engineering majors aspiring to join him as professional colleagues. Torcon, Inc., recognized with the Outstanding Corporate Partner Award, is one of the nation’s leading construction-management and general-contracting firms. Headquartered in Red Bank, Torcon has had a special relationship with NJIT for nearly five decades. The construction of a major addition to the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Building in 1969 was a Torcon project, and the firm is present on campus in 2015 as construction manager for the ongoing renovation of the Central King Building. Presently, some two dozen NJIT alumni are employed at Torcon, working on projects that span facilities for education, energy, healthcare, scientific research and transportation, as well as residential and commercial developments. Torcon is also partnering with NJIT in the recently established New Jersey Innovation Institute, to support the institute’s work of spurring economic growth in New Jersey by leveraging the resources of industry, government and higher education. n
far left: Robert Medina ’75, master of ceremonies for Celebration 2014.
left: NJIT President Joel S. Bloom with Paul Eng-Wong, who was awarded the Edward F. Weston Medal for Professional Achievement.
Former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean (left) and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen were honored for their long and distinguished service to New Jersey and the nation. Frelinghuysen received the President’s Medal for Lifetime Achievement and Kean the University Medal for Lifetime Achievement.
left: Student speaker Anthony San Filippo ’15 represented the many talented young men and women who benefit from the scholarship assistance made possible by supporters such as those who have gathered for the past 20 years at Celebration. An Albert Dorman honors scholar, San Filippo is a biomedical engineering major with a minor in applied mathematics. above:
The University Medal for Lifetime Achievement has been presented only twice since it was inaugurated in 1998 to honor NJIT President Saul K. Fenster. Today president emeritus, Fenster congratulated Former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean on his receiving the University Medal at Celebration 2014.
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TECH WARRIORS FIGHT DISEASE
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NJIT STUDENTS JOIN EDC ENTREPRENEURS TO COMBAT CHIKUNGUNYA AND EBOLA EPIDEMICS Technology is a powerful tool in the hands of enterprising humanitarians. A tech-savvy team of NJIT students and faculty is helping fight the spread of a mosquito-borne virus in the Dominican Republic with mobile technology that delivers vital information about preventive care and disease management via cell phones to residents in rural regions that lack basic health services such as doctors, clinics and medications. The mobile health campaign was developed over the course of three trips to the Caribbean nation since 2012, in close consultation with Dominican public-health officials and medical workers. The messages will be broadcast to as many as 500,000 residents in a region of the country where the disease, chikungunya, presents a growing threat.
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Anna Jezewska ’16, a math major from Wallington, returned in the fall from the city of San Juan where she and two other NJIT students worked with Dominican collaborators on videos instructing villagers how to avoid contracting the viral disease by drinking clean water and eliminating mosquito breeding conditions, among other tactics. Chikungunya infections cause fever and severe joint pain that can be long-lasting, and are potentially fatal. LEARNING LOCAL EXPRESSIONS AND UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES “I’m not a biology major and so the opportunity to make an impact on public health was extremely unique and appealing to me, something I knew I could not pass up,” says Jezewska, an Albert Dorman Honors College student who added that the experience also taught her important lessons about project management – “Try to lay out your work plan pretty perfectly!” – and, surprisingly, risk taking. “It’s important to connect with the right people, but it’s not always clear who they are, and so you have to reach out and start talking to people. You never know who is going to help.” She also learned a fundamental principle that informs strategy across the business 1 2
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spectrum, from start-ups, to large public companies, to non-profits: know your audience. “We discovered that the Spanish we hear in the U.S. is different from what’s spoken colloquially in the Dominican Republic,” she recounts. “Working with native speakers, we were able to tailor the messages for local audiences.” The project is a partnership between Albert Dorman Honors College, the School of Management, and Cell Podium, an e-learning start-up housed at NJIT’s Enterprise Development Center that has devised methods for relaying healthcare and training multimedia through mobile technology. Paul Dine, then assistant dean for student programs at the Honors College, identified the need for public health services on a 2012 humanitarian-service trip to the country with several of his students and contacted Cesar Bandera, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the School of Management and one of Cell Podium’s founders, when he returned. HIGH-TECH SOLUTIONS IN LOW-TECH LOCALES “We noticed on that first trip that in the rural areas there were no doctors or clinics – no medical care at all. I knew about Cell Podium’s m-Health work and wondered if that were a
Kevin Chen ’16 (left), Pitambar Dayal ’16, and Nikhil Kaushal ’16 visited rural health clinics in the Dominican Republic as part of the mobile communications health project.
service we could offer,” Dine recounted, calling the Dominican project “an opportunity for students to learn transcultural skills hands on.” The company’s technology is a broadcasting system that delivers multimedia information and training to cell phones via multimedia messaging (MMS) regardless of the carrier or model of the phone, and without requiring access to the Internet or apps. The deployment of this system will enable video intercommunication between patients and healthcare workers. “The technology is pretty unique. Our web application communicates through the Internet, bypassing the need for interoperability between telephone carriers,” says Matthew Cooper, a computer science graduate student at NJIT from Mountain Lakes who has worked at Cell Podium for the past two years. He traveled to the country in August with Dine, Jezewska and Marvin Castellon ’14, a biomedical engineering major from Union City and graduate of the Honors College. “My role was to aid in the technical aspects of creating cell-phone ready video and to perform a demonstration of Cell Podium’s
“THE PILOT PROJECT EVOLVED INTO A NATION-WIDE EFFORT THAT MAY INVOLVE AS MANY AS 500,000 DOMINICANS.” — Cesar Bandera, assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the School of Management
technology while we were there. We succeeded, sending one of the videos we developed to 25 local recipients,” Cooper notes. In 2013, Dine and Bandera received a $10,000 grant from the International Foundation, a global development organization, to travel to the Dominican Republic to conduct a small pilot project involving a few dozen participants and a small clinic. The project has grown considerably since then. In July, Bandera and three Honors College students – Nikhil Kaushal ’16, a biology major from Montgomery Township, Kevin Chen ’16, a biology major from Wayne, and Pitambar Dayal ’16, a biomedical engineering major from Allentown, Pa. – met with their Dominican clinical and public health partners, including Hector Guerrero, M.D., director of the Ministry of Public Health for the region of the country hardest hit by the chikungunya epidemic. “At that dinner, the pilot evolved into a nation-wide project that may involve as many as 500,000 Dominicans,” Bandera says, noting that the health ministry will make the patients’ health records available so the team can assess the effectiveness of the communications technology by tracking clinic visits and patient records. Upgrades to the MMS technology to cover the larger audience are supported by a $1 million grant Bandera and Cell Podium received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Bandera and NJIT students are working on proposals for additional funding from the CDC as well as from the National Institutes
of Health. They are also planning a return trip to the Dominican Republic to set up a system with real-time capability for evaluating the effect that the mobile video broadcasts actually have on public health and health practices, based on the patient data to which they’ve been given access. TAKING THE FIGHT TO AFRICA Going forward, the team plans to expand their effort to countries that include Senegal and Sierra Leone, where officials learned about the Dominican Republic project on a trip to the U.S. Khadija Sesay, director of the Sierra Leone Open Government Initiative, a communications agency reporting directly to President Ernest Bai Koroma, visited NJIT in September to discuss the deployment of MMS in her country to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus and to clear up misinformation
People in the Dominican Republic and other countries can be connected to vital health information through the innovative communications technology developed at NJIT.
about the epidemic that has led to ethnic violence in other nations. At the request of Senegalese Minister of Health Madame Dr. Awa Marie Coll Seck, Bandera and his team have designed a mobile health system for her country. Although Senegal has been cleared with respect to the Ebola epidemic, their health ministry wants to use cell phones as an early warning system that the public can use to report suspected cases. Bandera notes of these developments, “By collaborating with agencies in different countries, students learn to work in diverse political and social environments.” n Author: Tracey L. Regan is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer. NJIT MAGAZINE | WINTER 201 5
MAKING THE SPINAL CORD TALK
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A BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER DECODES THOUGHTS ALONG THE BRAINâ€™S OPEN ROAD Think of the brain as Manhattan at rush hour, with cars and buses aggressively shifting lanes on clogged avenues, horns blaring. At any given moment, a hundred billion neurons are talking to each other along thousands of separate pathways. The spinal cord, which transports neural commands to the extremities, is a more leisurely ride on the interstate with fewer lights and exits.
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ESUT SAHIN, A BIOMEDICAL ENGINEER DEVELOPING WAYS TO HARNESS BRAIN SIGNALS TO CONTROL PROSTHETIC DEVICES, HAS SPENT MUCH OF HIS CAREER EXPLORING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM’S QUIETER ROADWAYS. A PIONEER IN THE FIELD OF NEURAL ENGINEERING, WHICH COMBINES ELECTRONICS, HIGH-POWERED COMPUTING AND NEUROSCIENCE, HE IS DEVELOPING DEVICES TO CAPTURE “INTENTION” FROM THE SPINAL CORD. “In the brain, there are so many cells spread over the cerebral cortex that it’s difficult to trace a particular intention as it jumps from neuron to neuron. With so much happening simultaneously, it takes a massive computer to decode these messages,” Sahin says. “But it’s possible to record the same signals from the spinal cord where it’s less noisy.” In 2011, Sahin, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, was awarded a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the possibility of developing an electronic interface between the spinal cord and a computer that will allow quadriplegics, many of them young people paralyzed in sports or traffic accidents, live a more independent life. “This is a unique project no one else is pursuing,” notes Sahin, who describes his research as an alternative to the brain-computer interface, a link between the brain and a computer. The command signals he is decoding from the spinal cord would control wheelchairs, computers and other electronic devices. In recent animal studies, he and his colleagues
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have been able to not only capture brain signals from the cervical spinal cord, but to show their correlation to limb movements. “There are a lot of signals and our job is to figure out which ones control particular motions. So far, we have identified the descending signals in the spinal cord that control a rat’s forelimb as it pushes a lever. The next step is to identify the signals for more complicated movements,” he says. In popular culture, these capabilities took on monstrous form in the character of Dr. Octopus, the villainous scientist in SpiderMan who attaches powerful tentacles to his spinal cord in order to wreak destruction on the world. “We were working on essentially the same idea before the movie came out!” Sahin laughs. “But the reality is micron-size electrodes attached to the cervical spinal cord.” The force behind these emerging capabilities is the new and powerful relationship between engineering and neuroscience.
“The term neural engineering did not exist until the mid-1990s. Until then, most engineers typically didn’t learn much about the life sciences,” Sahin notes. “But an understanding of biology is now integral to what we do. The field is highly interdisciplinary, with lots of room for contributions by engineers with respect to neuro-prosthetic devices, neural tissue engineering, among other innovations.” NJIT’s graduate program in biomedical engineering is run jointly by NJIT and Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, which gives engineering students access to medical laboratories and other medical school resources at Rutgers. The field is also driven by significant recent advances in electronics and computing, including ever-faster microprocessing speeds and a vast expansion in computer memory. “In order to work, neuroprosthetic devices need computing power to extract brain signals and process them in real time,” Sahin says. It is these connections that drew Sinan Gok, a Turkish Ph.D. student, to Sahin’s lab. “I’m an electrical and computer engineer who came to NJIT to work with devices and circuits, to apply my knowledge of electronics to biomedical engineering,” recounts Gok, who described his introduction to biology as “like watching a gripping documentary and realizing that I could actually have an impact on human life.” Gok looks closely at the relationship between spinal cord signals and the electrical activity of skeletal muscles. “The body has its own electrical currents in the form of charged ions and we can both record these biological currents and stimulate them with electrical devices. I’m trying to understand on a physiological level how the brain controls motion – how it sends commands and how the muscles react,” he says. “One of the interesting questions is how the brain plots movement. Is it directional – a signal that tells the arm to move from point A to point B – or does the brain order limbs to move in one direction at a certain speed for a certain amount of time?”
“THE MANY DIFFERENT NEUROPROSTHETIC DEVICES NOW BEING DEVELOPED OFFER A REAL CHANCE OF RESTORING CRITICAL LIFE FUNCTIONS.” — Associate Professor Mesut Sahin
He adds, “It’s exciting to feel I’m at the beginning of a new era in neural engineering.” Sahin’s lab, in collaboration with Sergei Adamovich and Richard Foulds, associate professors of biomedical engineering, is also interested in the way the spinal cord “thinks” in reorganizing brain signals to adapt to the body’s position. “What sort of calculations does the spinal cord make depending on where the arm is, for example, and the amount of force it would take to move it? This context-dependent relationship between the brain and the muscles and the role of the spinal cord in this equation is one of the long-sought answers in neuroscience,” he says.
Sahin got his start in biomedical engineering by studying sleep apnea, a condition caused when the muscles of the windpipe lose tone and collapse, obstructing breathing and, as a result, preventing deep sleep. He initially thought to develop methods to stimulate the airway muscles with electrodes and remove the obstructions by stiffening the muscles, but doubted peoples’ willingness to have electrodes implanted. While he has switched to research on the central nervous system, he continues to explore alternative methods to treat obstructive sleep apnea, a severe disorder that affects up to six percent of the population worldwide. “The many different neuroprosthetic devices now being developed offer a real chance of restoring critical life functions, from the ability
Ph.D. candidate Sinan Gok (left) and Associate Professor Mesut Sahin are asking critical spinal-cord questions.
to comb your hair unaided and sip from a coffee cup, to the opportunity to type your own novel and surf the Internet,” Sahin says. “The computational tools to translate brain signals exist already. Our next step is to create electrodes that can survive in the harsh biological environment of the central nervous system.” n Author: Tracey L. Regan is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer. BIOMEDICAL.NJIT.EDU
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KNOWLEDGE FOR BETTER BUILDING FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS, THE CENTER FOR BUILDING KNOWLEDGE (CBK) AT NJIT has carried out the mission of improving the built environment through research, technical assistance and training. Operating under the auspices of the College of Architecture and Design, the CBKâ€™s professional staff has focused on generating practical results that provide tangible benefits to individuals and the communities in which they live and work.
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It’s a mission guided for over a decade by Executive Director Deane Evans, who came to NJIT from the American Institute of Architects, where he was vice president for research. Funding for the CBK’s projects has come from various sources in the public and private sectors, including utilities, corporations, and state and federal government agencies. The CBK’s scope of activities has evolved to encompass affordable housing design, supportive environments for special-needs populations, commercial and institutional buildings, high-performance educational environments, and even historic preservation. Today, there is increasing emphasis on meeting the pressing challenges of sustainable and resilient building.
THE SUPERMARKET CONNECTION The expertise that the CBK brings to the sustainability arena focuses on developing practical approaches to improving building performance and then providing online tools for attaining the goals that are set. One example is the CBK’s work with supermarkets. Evans explains that supermarkets are prime candidates for improvement because they use substantial amounts of electricity and refrigerants at numerous sites owned by a relatively small number of parent corporations. “Appropriate upgrades endorsed at the top corporate level can make a major difference nationally,” he says. Working first for local utility PSE&G and then for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CBK staff created a suite of evidencebased online tools to help supermarkets reduce energy and water consumption, and improve the way they manage their use of refrigerants. A similar approach led to the first national online training program for building commissioning, the process of fine-tuning a new building so that it operates at peak efficiency from day one. “We began working one-on-one with clients to meet their specific needs and then packaged the expertise needed in toolkits that interested groups could use on their own,” Evans says. With support from the U.S. Department of Energy, use of the toolkits is being promoted by the Building Commissioning Association. [continued on page 20]
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“WE UNDERSTAND SUSTAINABILITY AND RESILIENCY, AND HOW BUILDINGS ARE SOLD AND TRADED. WE UNDERSTAND THE ECONOMICS, WHAT’S POSSIBLE AND WHAT’S NOT POSSIBLE IN THE MARKETPLACE.” — Deane Evans, Executive Director, Center for Building Knowledge
BENCHMARKING TO CUT COSTS
A COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE
Recently, the CBK and the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI) launched an initiative that can cut costs for energy and water wasted due to building inefficiencies. It’s the Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking®, an interactive online training and certificate program for professionals who track the energy and water consumed by buildings. On average, buildings waste 30 percent of the energy they consume, so there is substantial opportunity to be smarter in the use of energy and to save money for owners and tenants. An important first step in identifying inefficiencies is to benchmark a building to understand how its performance compares to other similar buildings. The new program – described in greater detail at benchmarkingcertificate.org – educates users through a no-cost training component about how to collect accurate energy and water benchmarking data and use the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR™ Portfolio Manager® tool in the benchmarking process. For a fee, the program also certifies participants who successfully complete the training and an exam. Although benchmarking can lead to significant savings for property owners, Evans notes that it involves a significant change in business as usual for building owners, who require transparent and credible data to make decisions. Although benchmarking can provide such data, the people who run the calculations need to be proficient to guarantee actionable, economically meaningful results. “It’s really essential to establish a baseline for proficiency, for the municipal employees or contractors responsible for evaluating buildings. Otherwise, you run the risk of generating incorrect results – as happened in New York with some 25 percent of initial ratings. This could set acceptance of the program back by several years,” Evans says. The CBK’s training and certificate program – developed in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the U.S. EPA and the CBEI – guarantees the level of proficiency needed by anyone who intends to benchmark a building.
Superstorm Sandy and more recent extreme weather events have put resiliency “on the radar” for an increasing number of individuals and municipalities. “After Sandy, a lot of people realized that trees and water aren’t always our friends. There is a greater sense of vulnerability,” Evans says. In response, the CBK and the NJIT Center for Resilient Design directed by Thomas Dallessio have taken the lead on a proposal to the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish a national Community Resilience Center of Excellence at NJIT. In advocating for such a group, the CBK and Dallessio’s center drew on diverse expertise readily available at the university, in areas that include computer modeling, statistical analysis, city planning, transportation, and structural design and engineering. The initiative promotes a comprehensive approach to resiliency which, in addition to individual structures, takes into account “lifeline systems” such as power transmission and distribution, water supplies and wastewater management, and transportation. The goal is to give communities inclusive strategies for improving the survivability of infrastructure threatened by natural disasters and recovering as quickly as possible from damage that does occur – recovery that incorporates improvements and does not just revert to the pre-disaster status quo. Climate change is also figuring into the infrastructure equation. “There’s increasing data that more regions of the country will experience the same nuisance flooding that we already see in parts of Florida and elsewhere. It’s not catastrophic, but it is expensive. Also, when there’s a bigger event, the flooding will be that much worse,” Evans says. Understandably, the economics of resiliency and sustainability will be a significant factor in determining the degree to which municipalities upgrade their infrastructure, as it is for building owners in the private sector. The challenge, then, will be for municipalities as well as private property owners to decide how much to spend in response, and how soon to make the investment.
While the CBK is working to develop an essential bigger picture for resilient and sustainable design, a great deal can be done incrementally in the near future to implement positive change and demonstrate the value of that change. “We can help people use what they might already be doing to their homes and buildings in a way that increases resilience and sustainability at an acceptable cost,” Evans explains. For example, as a recent CBK research study concluded, relatively minor changes in the way buildings are re-sided can have a significant effect on energy consumption. Each year, some 10,000 structures are re-sided in New Jersey alone. If each of these jobs were done with energy efficiency in mind, the impact on individual buildings as well as on the state’s energy consumption could be substantial. Looking ahead, Evans advocates applying the same thinking to resilience, taking advantage of what home and commercial building owners typically do with respect to maintenance and upgrades to turn these activities into opportunities to improve resilience as well as energy efficiency. “People simply don’t have the money to radically upgrade the sustainability and resilience of their buildings all at once. But they may be able to improve performance over time if they undertake normal upkeep with a new understanding of how to get more resilience bang for their bucks.” Evans and his colleagues at the CBK are prepared to contribute in every area where innovative, practical strategies can translate into better building. “We understand how buildings go together, and what they should do for people. We understand sustainability and resiliency, and how buildings are sold and traded. We understand the economics, what’s possible and what’s not possible in the marketplace.” n There will be more about work at NJIT to improve the built environment and promote economic development in future issues. Author: Dean L. Maskevich is an NJIT Magazine contributing writer. DESIGN.NJIT.EDU/RESOURCES/ BUILDING-KNOWLEDGE.PHP CENTERFORRESILIENTDESIGN.ORG DESIGN.NJIT.EDU
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ALUMNI CIRCUIT NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY— THERE’S AN ALUMNI STORY BEHIND THE NAME
Joseph M. Anderson ’25
as marvels of technological innovation. The breadth of Anderson’s expertise led to his managing large engineering staffs and overseeing all aspects of constructing and commissioning major chemical production plants and other facilities. He became a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), Land Surveyor (LS) and a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
2015 marks 40 years since Newark College of Engineering was renamed New Jersey Institute of Technology, a change creatively suggested by 1925 graduate Joseph M. Anderson. NJIT Magazine would like to thank his son, David, for letting us know the details of Joseph’s role in the renaming and of his father’s many professional accomplishments. David’s older brother, John, graduated from NCE in 1958. YEARS OF CHANGE
The 1970s were years of transformative change at Newark College of Engineering. A growing student body had expanding educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels in new classrooms and laboratories. NCE’s administration, led by President William Hazell, Jr., felt that the name of the school should clearly communicate this dynamic evolution. After much discussion, it was decided to solicit the broadest possible range of suggestions for a new name. Alumni were invited to participate in a contest that could give an NCE graduate the honor of renaming their alma mater. The winning suggestion came from Joseph M. Anderson, who received his degree with the Class of 1925 in mechanical engineering. All at NCE agreed that the name Anderson had suggested – New Jersey Institute of Technology – cogently emphasized the increasing scope of educational and research initiatives at a preeminent New Jersey university. The Board of Trustees approved the transition to the new name in September 1974, and Newark College of
Engineering officially became New Jersey Institute of Technology on January 1, 1975. Anderson received the personal congratulations of President Hazell with an honorarium of $50 for his thoughtful and very appropriate suggestion. The son of Scottish immigrants, Anderson was born and raised in Newark and began studying for his engineering degree at the institution still known as Newark Technical School. He attended class five nights a week while working during the day. He was able to attend class full-time for his last year, allowing him to complete his degree in 1925 at the school by then awarding diplomas bearing the name Newark College of Technology. In 1930, Newark College of Technology was renamed Newark College of Engineering. The academically prominent and memorable instructors who shared their knowledge with Anderson included Dr. Charles A. Colton, a nationally known educator and the first director of Newark Technical School. He was a prime mover in the founding of the school in 1881 when its first students were welcomed. Colton was still a presence on campus when Anderson
enrolled as a student. Anderson was among a select group of students to receive their bachelor’s degree from Newark College of Technology not long after the State Board of Education recommended that Newark Technical School be given the authority to grant degrees under the new name. It was in 1923, just two years before he graduated, that the college awarded its first degrees – three in chemical engineering, three in electrical engineering, and four in mechanical engineering. THE PATH FORWARD
After graduation, Anderson gained broad professional experience in positions of increasing responsibility. He became an expert in the processes of manufacturing a wide range of products at companies such as Chemical Construction Corporation, United Color and Pigment Company and DuPont. He was at the forefront of introducing many of the materials that improved daily life in the 20th century, including plastics that were hailed
SERVICE TO THE NATION
Anderson was working as head of engineering for Barber Asphalt in Perth Amboy, N.J., when the company’s business was disrupted by the start of World War II. Attacks on shipping by German submarines along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. had interrupted supplies of crude oil and gasoline vital for industry and the nation’s war effort. Through an industry contact, Anderson was called to a highlevel position with M.W. Kellogg, a major engineering firm known worldwide for designing and building refineries and petrochemical plants. He was assigned to project management for a Cities Service Oil Company project in Lake Charles, La., employing some 1,500 engineers and designers. He supervised the work on many of the process units at the facility, which was comprised of more than 15 separate units, each virtually a complete refinery in itself. [continued on page 22]
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SHARE YOUR NEWS, PHOTOS, MEMORIES Do you have news about your career, your family, an avocation? Share it in a class note for NJIT Magazine. We’re also interested in photos that show the NJIT campus and students in years past. You can send scanned photos as jpeg files to the editor, Christina Crovetto (email@example.com), or prints to the Alumni Relations Office at the address below. We’ll take good care of your photos and return them promptly after scanning – we promise. Would you like to share a memory of your NJIT experience that you think might interest the readers of NJIT Magazine? Don’t hesitate to send a paragraph, or several, to the editor as well. And be sure to let us know if you have a new address. For class notes: On the Web, use the form at www.njit.edu/
alumni/classnotes; by e-mail, send news with graduation year(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Via U.S. mail to: Alumni Relations, New Jersey Institute of
Technology, Eberhardt Hall NJIT Alumni Center, Room 218, 323 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Newark, NJ 07102-1982
Association with M. W. Kellogg led to an even more critical assignment – on the top-secret “Project X” in Oak Ridge, Tenn., that was part of the Manhattan Project. This was the monumental scientific and engineering effort that produced the two atomic bombs which ended the war in the Pacific when they were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anderson was a project coordinator and area engineer for the production of enriched weapons-grade uranium by gaseous-diffusion processing of uranium hexafluoride. Referred to as “hex” in the nuclear industry, UF6 is a compound used in the uranium-enrichment process that produces fuel for nuclear reactors as well as weapons. Periodically traveling to M. W. Kellogg headquarters in New York City, Anderson had meetings with Lieutenant General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, and his staff on the progress at Oak Ridge. After the war, he received a plaque signed by Secretary of War Henry Stimson, a commemorative pin, and signed letters from superiors expressing appreciation for his service.
MORE FULFILLING YEARS
Anderson, PE, LS and AIA member, in later years was the engineer for several communities at the New Jersey Shore near Toms River. Reflective of his continuing interest in education, he won a seat on the Toms River Board of Education and was elected its vice president. Always a generous supporter of his alma mater, Anderson passed away in 1986. His broad expertise in engineering and related areas contributed to economic progress in the 20th century and to the defense of the nation at a critical time in our country’s history. His legacy also includes the name of the great university that he was so proud to attend.
RAMOND RECEIVES TOP PHYSICS PRIZE Pierre Ramond, who completed his bachelor’s in electrical engineering in 1965 at Newark College of Engineering, has received the 2015 Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics for his work on supersymmetry and superstring theory. Ramond, who went on to
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earn his Ph.D. at Syracuse University, is director of the Institute for Fundamental Theory at the University of Florida. Ramond did postdoctoral work at the National Accelerator Laboratory, now the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. There he wrote the 7th theory publication to come out of Fermilab. Published in 1971, “Dual Theory for Free Fermions” formed the basis of supersymmetry and superstring theory. He continued his work at Yale, where he was an instructor and assistant professor. A fellow of the American Physical Society, Ramond has received numerous other awards, among them the Oskar Klein Medal from the Swedish Royal Academy. His seminal papers and books on mathematical physics include Field Theory, Journeys Beyond the Standard Model, and Group Theory. One of the top awards in the field, the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics was established in 1959 by the Heineman Foundation for Research, Educational, Charitable, and Scientific Purposes, Inc. to recognize outstanding publications in the field of mathematical physics. The Heineman Foundation was started by Dannie Heineman, an engineer and business executive who greatly admired the accomplishments of physicists and astrophysicists. The prize, an award of $10,000, is administered jointly by the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics.
ALUMNI PROFILES STEPHEN DEPALMA ’72
Board of Trustees Chairman… Engaged with NJIT’s Future Stephen DePalma graduated from Newark College of Engineering in 1972 with a bachelor’s in civil engineering, and the years since graduation have been highlighted by both professional success and service to the NJIT community. As an engineer, he helped to transform a small New Jersey-based company that had about a dozen employees into a firm with over 1200 staff members, more than 25 offices across the country, and a diverse portfolio of major infrastructure projects. In parallel, over the decades, DePalma also has maintained a connection with NJIT through his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, and service on the university’s Board of Overseers and Board of Trustees. Today, DePalma is a partner in charting the future of NJIT as chairman of the Board of Trustees. SEEING THE RESULTS
DePalma, who grew up in Weehawken, N.J., says that he always wanted to be an engineer. The reasons he gives for enrolling at NCE still hold true for the current generation of NJIT students, “an outstanding, affordable education.” Although DePalma first came to campus as a mechanical engineering major, he discovered that he was more inclined toward civil engineering. It was an affinity confirmed when fellow 1972 alumnus and lifetime business partner, Ted Cassera, helped him get part-time work on a surveying crew.
“Make decisions and commit to goals, but don’t be afraid to change direction if a decision doesn’t work out.” — Stephen DePalma ’72
left: Stephen DePalma speaking at Convocation in 2013. above: DePalma and NJIT President Joel S. Bloom at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that formally opened Warren Street Village in September 2013.
“I really enjoyed the surveying job, and the more I learned about civil engineering the more it appealed to me as a practical and hands-on field,” DePalma says. “You can see the results of what civil engineers do around us every day. From turning on the water faucet at home to driving on any road or crossing any bridge, we’re benefitting from what civil engineers help to build.” Concentrating on his studies after changing majors in his junior year, DePalma worked hard to get in all the courses he needed to graduate in four years. Yet, his academic determination was complemented by enthusiastic involvement with student government and membership in Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. DePalma relates that even at a young age engaging with the broader NJIT community, including serving as a member of the Student Senate, was very important to him. Since NJIT was still largely a commuter school when he attended,
joining a fraternity offered the only opportunity to live on campus and become even more active in the life of the university. A strong advocate of how membership in a fraternity or sorority can enhance the NJIT experience, DePalma says that being a Pi Kappa Phi brother has had enduring significance for him. “As a student, NCE gave me an exceptional technical education. Engagement with my fraternity expanded my education in other important ways. It helped me develop leadership and communication skills with a great group of people, many of whom continue to be close friends.” DePalma’s participation in Pi Kappa Phi included serving as an undergraduate chapter officer and a student representative at the national level on the fraternity’s main governing board. Maintaining a close tie with Pi Kappa Phi after graduation, he served as national president from 1989 to
1992. It was especially gratifying for him to take part in the 2013 dedication of the housing for NJIT’s Greek organizations built as part of Warren Street Village – the realization of a vision he had urged for many years. MAKING A DEAL
DePalma recounts that the path leading to the post of chairman of the board and CEO at the engineering firm Schoor DePalma, from which he retired in 2007, began with an introduction to Howard Schoor facilitated by an NCE alumnus and Pi Kappa Phi brother. The founder of what was then a small land-development and municipal-services firm, Schoor asked DePalma “where he saw himself in five years.” DePalma answered that he wanted to have his Professional Engineer’s license and to be in Schoor’s position – at the head of his own competing company. Schoor offered the young engineer a deal. If DePalma did obtain his Professional Engineer’s license
and proved that he could become a formidable competitor, Schoor would make him a partner rather than face another rival in the marketplace. “I took on the challenge,” DePalma says. The first recent college graduate the firm had ever hired, DePalma did become a Professional Engineer, licensed in New Jersey, Florida and Delaware. He also demonstrated to Schoor capabilities that clearly merited a partnership, as DePalma helped grow the business to offer a comprehensive spectrum of civil engineering services to clients in the public and private sectors. A CLOSER NJIT CONNECTION
DePalma stayed informed about developments at his alma mater and was inclined to give back as the firm recruited NJIT graduates and established several undergraduate scholarships. He felt that the organizational perspective he had gained at the executive level with Schoor
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DePalma and Pi Kappa Phi could be of value in the evolution of the educational and social experience of the young men and women who choose to study at NJIT. In the late 1980’s, the opportunity for a closer NJIT connection came DePalma’s way through his friendship with actively engaged civil engineering alumnus Edward Cruz ’63, who recommended him for membership on the Board of Overseers to then President Saul K. Fenster. DePalma accepted Fenster’s invitation to become an overseer and served on that board for some 15 years. In this capacity, he helped to oversee the Foundation at NJIT and to bring the professional experiences he had gained since graduation to the discussion of how the university can best serve its student body, prospective employers and society in general. CHARTING THE VISION
Named a trustee in 2003 and elected chairman in 2012, DePalma is continuing this engagement on the board that has special legal responsibility for governance in consultation with the university’s administration. When asked about the significance of the work entrusted to NJIT’s overseers and trustees, he answers succinctly: “It’s critically important to watch over NJIT’s investments and to help drive constructive change.” Chairman DePalma is a strong advocate of “advancing academics and faculty, promoting interdisciplinary research, and improving student and campus life.” DePalma is confident that “these investments will continue to enhance and promote NJIT as a preeminent worldclass technological university.” DePalma elaborates that the importance of both boards is
rooted in the responsibility to make recommendations about the future direction of NJIT based on very conscientiously soliciting input from all of the university’s constituents: administration, faculty, government leaders, staff, students, alumni, donors and concerned friends of the university. “As an overseer and trustee, I have been privileged to work with very caring individuals who know that we must make recommendations and decisions based on diversity of views, by considering the widest possible range of relevant information.” These efforts, he adds, are all focused on advancing NJIT’s mission of making it possible for highly talented young people to realize their educational aspirations at an acceptable cost, and increasing the university’s research presence at the frontiers of science and technology. As for some personal advice for current students and young graduates, DePalma says, “Make decisions and commit to goals, but don’t be afraid to change direction if a decision doesn’t work out.” It’s advice that echoes his own experience, from starting as a mechanical engineering major and then deciding on the course that took him to becoming a civil engineer, a top industry executive, and chairman of the Board of Trustees. Reflecting on his long-held views, DePalma advises students to be involved on campus in more than academics, and to think seriously about how they can give back to NJIT after graduation. “There are many opportunities for engagement and involvement. The NJIT tent is very big and everyone is welcome.”
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Elisa Charters with husband Brian and children Lucian and Remy
ELISA A. CHARTERS ’92, ’93
Advocate for Opportunity “Passionate” is the word that Elisa Charters uses to characterize her commitment to greater economic opportunities for women and minorities, and to the welfare of children. Her challenges to the status quo for the sake of positive change have garnered wide recognition since she completed a master’s in environmental science at NJIT, including appointment by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to the governing board of the state’s Health Care Facilities Financing Authority. In the years since receiving her master’s, Charters has also held key positions with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She made her way to safety from the 21st floor of World Trade Center Tower 1 on September 11, 2001, and subsequently assisted with the massive rebuilding effort. The path to significant achievement took Charters from Lacordaire
Academy in Upper Montclair to enrollment as a chemical engineering major at NJIT through the university’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which she credits for opening many doors in life for students such as herself. For Charters, the opportunities that the program presented included becoming a member of the Society of Women Engineers and a founding sister of the NJIT chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. The first in her family to earn a college degree, Charters says that attending an all-female secondary school helped to give her the confidence to pursue a STEM career, and to do so at a university where the student body was predominantly male. Charters adds that her daughter attends the all-girls Kent Place School, which offers comprehensive programs balancing the sciences, ethics and diversity that she is sure will foster the same confidence for gender leadership for every student at the school.
A NEW DIRECTION
Charters also had the confidence to reevaluate her academic direction in her junior year. “I had an ‘Aha’ moment and realized that the program I was pursuing was not the best fit for me, that I wanted to study in an area which was more personally meaningful.” She found that meaning in the Science, Technology and Society (STS) program with its focus on the larger social and ethical context of environmental science. Then, after completing an STS bachelor’s in 1992, she went on to her environmental science master’s, offered under the auspices of the Chemical Engineering Department. Participation in athletics throughout her undergraduate years at NJIT was another aspect of college that Charters says was very valuable. She competed on the tennis, basketball and softball teams, and was captain of the “unofficial” team fielded by the Ski Club, which did meet in contests with regional schools such as Princeton and Lehigh. She says that these experiences strengthened her awareness of the importance of team effort and cooperative work, awareness that would serve her well in later life. In 1993, Charters recounts, an opportunity to interview at the Port Authority came “out of the blue” after she had filed her qualifications with NJIT’s Office of Career Development Services. Her association with the Port Authority, spanning some 13 years, began with responsibility for the environmental aspects of capital projects, specifically projects involving tunnels, bridges and terminals. This work encompassed environmental audits, permitting, and safe
disposal of hazardous waste. The competence that Charters demonstrated led to a special invitation – to apply for the Port Authority’s very competitive Management Associates Program. Of 600 candidates, she was one of seven finalists chosen for this high-profile career track. Adding graduate credentials in real estate and finance to her resume as well, Charters had major roles in policy analysis, strategic planning, and management of waterfront properties representing an estimated $3.5 billion in public and private investment. In reflecting on her success at the Port Authority, Charters cites the importance of the mentoring she received from other women who were high-ranking executives at the agency. They included Sandra McCullough, Lillian Borrone, Cherri Nanninga and Peggy Zoch, whose daughter, NJIT alumna Jennifer Van Blarcom ’91, was a founding Delta Phi Epsilon sister with Charters. REBUILDING AFTER SEPTEMBER 11
But Charters also arrived at another decision point in her life while working for the Port Authority. She had married in 1995, and with two small children at home decided that she wanted to step back from the demands of her position with the agency for a time. After a year, she returned to work with a promotion. It was not long before the tragic events of September 11. Charters speaks movingly of how the Port Authority’s close-knit professional community was impacted on that day, which she survived, unlike more than 80 colleagues and
“What is right, what ultimately benefits people of every background, must take precedence over partisan politics. Diversity has to be understood, valued and embraced, absent of bias.” — Elisa A. Charters ’92, ’93
friends. And in her estimation, she emphasizes, only the Port Authority could marshal the human and material resources to rebuild better and stronger than before. The colleagues who have risen to this challenge, she adds, include many NJIT graduates. “I have the highest regard for all the public servants who work at the Port Authority, who give their all, she says.” For her part, Charters served as manager of site acquisitions and operations for the reconstruction effort. With redevelopment of the World Trade Center site well under way, Charters found herself again evaluating her course in life. Her husband, Brian, a 1993 NJIT graduate with a master’s in civil engineering, had entered the financial world and was well-established in a career with JPMorgan Chase. Her children were growing up and she sought a different professional and personal balance. Finding that balance after the Port Authority entailed starting a company that imported children’s apparel from South America. Although the recent economic downturn led to winding down the company’s operations, her comprehensive business expertise resulted in requests for assistance from other start-ups, especially women- and minority-owned businesses. Charters now provides such assistance through her own consulting practice. And she
gives back to NJIT by sharing her business insights on the School of Management’s Board of Visitors. DEFINING VOLUNTEER COMMITMENTS
In assessing her way forward, Charters also made a commitment to volunteer social engagement that she says, without reservation, is a defining passion in her life. Not that such engagement was unfamiliar to her previously. While at the Port Authority, Charters represented the agency on NJIT’s EOP advisory committee. She also was voted president of the agency’s Hispanic Society and became an advocate for the professional advancement of talented Latinas and Latinos. It was a delicate balance, she admits, to challenge management on behalf of a minority group while seeking to advance in the same managerial structure. Subsequent to the Port Authority, Charters entered the arena of social activism through the Junior League of Montclair-Newark, which named her Volunteer of the Year in 2010. This recognition reflected service with organizations that include the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey (LLANJ), the Essex County Planning Board, and the Minority and Women Business Development Advisory Council, to which she was appointed by Former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.
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Charters is an engaged supporter of the Family Search and Connect (FSC) initiative of CASA for Children of Essex County (casaessex.org). Children in the foster care system would fare even better if they could grow up in the home of a loving, responsible family member who would welcome the child, she says. Specially trained FSC staff and volunteers closely reexamine case files for family information that may have been overlooked and use the Internet and other resources with the goal of contacting a related adult who may even consider adoption. Charters strongly maintains that more must be done regarding the disparity of opportunity that still confronts women and minorities. To this end, as chair of the LLANJ Appointments Committee, she has challenged the positions of political candidates seeking the group’s endorsement. “The governance of key public institutions and agencies needs to reflect the true demographics of our state, including the presence of qualified Latinas and Latinos.” On behalf of the LLANJ, Charters advocated implementation of the Statewide Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion endorsed by Governor Christie prior to his re-election, and she led a coalition representing the state’s Latino community that successfully promoted the appointment of Martin Perez to the Rutgers Board of Governors. Charters says that taking on such a leadership role requires tactful determination – a role in which what she learned as a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs has been quite helpful. Working with the National Coalition of Latino Officers, she is
applying her diplomatic acumen as an advocate for the appointment of Julio Morejon, Esq., as Hudson County Prosecutor and Maria Teresa Feliciano to the Civil Service Commission. Recently, Charters has started two organizations to further inclusion: Latina Surge (latinasurge.org) and Surge the Brown-out (surgethebrownout.org). Latina Surge will recognize employers for practical implementation of measures leading to the promotion of women and Latinas within executive management and to positions on governing boards. Surge the Brown-out will encourage appointed and elected public officials to be proactive in addressing representation of Latinos on judiciary commissions, and state and municipal agencies and boards. What is right, what ultimately benefits people of every background, must take precedence over partisan politics, Charters asserts. “Diversity has to be understood, valued and embraced, absent of bias.” The commitments that are her focus today, Charters says, affirm what she gained as an EOP student at NJIT, where the problem-solving skills she developed “radiated far beyond math and science” as equally essential for social improvement. “I will always pay forward the opportunity given to me to make a difference.”
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Attending elementary school in Germany was among the life experiences that Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Vitali Mostovoj shared with the cadets of AFROTC Detachment 490.
VITALI MOSTOVOJ ’65
Protecting the Nation and Nature Retired from eventful service as a U.S. Air Force officer, Vitali Mostovoj is today an energetic champion of forest preservation and environmental protection living in Ventura County, Calif. It’s a setting very far from where he was born, in the former Soviet Union, and in a very turbulent time, during World War II. Mostovoj credits the U.S. Army with helping his family leave Soviet-controlled territory at the end of hostilities and relocate to a free part of Germany, where he attended elementary school for several years. Further good fortune followed when Mostovoj, his parents and an older brother were able to immigrate to the United States under the Displaced Persons Act during the administration of President Harry Truman, and with sponsorship by the Society of Friends. It was a narrow window
of opportunity, as the Displaced Persons Act was in effect for only a few years, from 1948 to 1952. NEW JERSEY AND NCE
The Friends helped Mostovoj and his family settle in New Jersey, and he says that they formed lifelong relationships with members of the humanitarian Quaker group. Mostovoj grew up in Passaic and was inspired by his father to become an engineer. Mostovoj’s father had been a mechanical engineer in Europe, but was unable to pursue this profession in the family’s adoptive country. As with so many prospective students over the years, Mostovoj found the financial accessibility and educational quality of Newark College of Engineering to be a very attractive combination. Enrolling and studying electrical engineering with the help of a New Jersey State Scholarship, he also joined the college’s Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFROTC) detachment. “I felt that I wanted to give something back to the country
“We protected this country from harm abroad during our active service, and it is just as appropriate to be concerned about protecting our nation’s natural environment in our later years.” — Vitali Mostovoj ’65 that had benefitted my family so greatly, although I really didn’t intend to make the Air Force my career,” Mostovoj says of his decision to become an AFROTC cadet. “I thought that I would fulfill my four-year service obligation after graduation and then go on to a civilian career.” The 1960s saw Mostovoj begin to chart a very different course in life. TO GERMANY AND INTO SPACE
After receiving his bachelor’s and a commission as a second lieutenant in 1965, Mostovoj reported for duty at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany, where he took on his first responsibilities as a communications engineering officer. The Soviet Union and the United States and our allies were very much in Cold War contention, and the resulting assignments that came to Mostovoj were increasingly interesting. “Each of my jobs was more interesting than the one before it. I was at the forefront of technological innovation and the unfolding of critical world events, and I found that I really liked the Air Force. I couldn’t think of a better, more interesting career in civilian life that would be open to me.” Mostovoj contributed his technical skills to successfully retrieving images acquired by the first generation of military reconnaissance satellites. The pictures were on film ejected from orbit in capsules that were snared in midair as they descended to Earth. Later, as technology advanced, image acquisition and return became entirely digital. Working on military satellite programs for some 13 years, Mostovoj remained at the leading-
edge of communications technology and contended with challenges such as systems survivability. While stationed at the Air Force Satellite Test Center in California, he was responsible for some of the most complex circuits in the world linking satellite communications centers as distant from each other as Greenland and the Indian Ocean. For example, he recalls, “We had to figure out what could be done to maintain communications when a Soviet fishing boat cut the undersea cable to Thule in the Arctic just before the open water froze over.” The next phase of Mostovoj’s Air Force career took him to Belgium, to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), where he was responsible for the design and implementation of all communications systems for the new SHAPE war command center. Being in the military had definite advantages with respect to this assignment, Mostovoj recounts. When research failed to yield published data on how various types of cable would withstand a bombing attack, Mostovoj had an experimental solution – he was able to call on the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct live bombing tests. Incidentally, Mostovoj adds, the knowledge he gained in his NCE courses in civil and mechanical engineering, as well as electrical engineering, was put to good use during the tests. RETURNING TO THE SOVIET UNION
Mostovoj capped his 25-year Air Force career before retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel by returning to the country where he was born. He returned as an
emissary of the effort to wind down the Cold War and reduce the threat posed by the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons. As an Inspection Team Chief with the On-site Inspection Agency, he led teams of U.S. weapons inspectors to monitor Soviet compliance with the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Every aspect of the experience was positive, Mostovoj says. The U.S. personnel were greeted as respected colleagues engaged in a mission critically important not only for America and the Soviet Union, but also for millions of people in other countries. Working closely with the U.S. teams, Mostovoj relates, the Soviet technical experts assigned to the task competently complied with all relevant provisions of the armsreduction agreement. In retirement, Mostovoj’s advocacy for wilderness preservation is rooted in a lifelong affinity for the natural world. Camping and enjoying nature are fond childhood memories, and activities he and his family shared whenever possible throughout his military career. In addition to working with the California Wilderness Coalition, he speaks out on vital conservation issues with the Vet Voice Foundation. “We protected this country from harm abroad during our active service, and it is just as appropriate to be concerned about protecting our nation’s natural environment in our later years,” he says. Mostovoj is also a concerned voice for veterans. In association with Veterans United for Truth, he has helped call attention to pressing needs in areas such as better assessment and treatment of traumatic brain injury – a signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
RETURNING TO CAMPUS
In 1969, Mostovoj returned to campus as a member of the Air Force Systems Command Junior Officers Speakers Bureau to address the cadets about his experiences as a young lieutenant recently embarked on a military career. In the fall of 2014, he once again visited the campus, where much had changed over more than four decades. Meeting with the men and women of NJIT’s AFROTC Detachment 490, Mostovoj shared the story of his life and fulfilling Air Force career. As in 1969, he enthusiastically endorsed the choice he had made as a result of the professional opportunities the Air Force had given him to be a technological innovator and participant in major world events of the 20th century. When asked to reflect on highlights of his NCE experience, Mostovoj cited the excellence of the technical education he had received. But equally important, he added, were required courses that encouraged students to become more broadly educated in the social sciences and the humanities. Mostovoj, who earned a master’s in international relations while in the Air Force, emphasizes the importance of such educational breadth for students at NJIT today. “Become scientifically and technically proficient, but also acquire the broader knowledge and understanding essential for becoming responsible citizens.” n
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CLASS NOTES 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 NJIT Magazine contributing writer Dean Maskevich at email@example.com.
First, the latest news from Mal – In my last column, I wrote about the Sigma Pi brothers who became Golden Highlanders at the 2014 Alumni Reunion, with 50 years having passed since they started their careers after NJIT. I did not have room for all of them, so here are the rest of the stories. Peter A. Abruzzese worked for Lockheed as an electronics engineer from 1964 to 1969. After earning his J.D. degree from Seton Hall University in 1970, Peter changed careers to become a patent counsel at RCA for five years before moving to ITT as intellectual property counsel until 1999. During his ITT tenure, he was appointed department manager and vice president of ITT companies that included Sheraton, Caesars Palace, Westin and Madison Square Garden. Since 1999, Peter has worked as chairman of the Intellectual Property Department for Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, focusing primarily on counseling, litigation, and prosecution related to patents, trademarks, copyrights, technology, software, e-commerce, and other intellectual rights and licensing. In 2003 he received an Alumni Achievement Award. Peter lives in Summit, N.J., with his wife, Andrea.
Ben Auletta has an interesting academic history. After his freshman year at NCE in 1958, he received an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. He spent the first three years at the academy’s campus in Denver and, when the academy moved to Colorado Springs, he was part of the first graduating class from that campus. While serving his commitment in the Air Force Reserves, he returned to NCE, where he earned his B.S. in industrial engineering in 1964. Ben worked in technical sales for ENJAY, as a plant engineer with Mobile Chemical Co., as an industrial engineer with the Interchemical Co., and as stores supervisor with National Starch. Along the way he earned an MBA at Rutgers, and for 40 years he has been a self-employed accountant and certified financial planner. Ben lives in Bound Brook, N.J., with his wife, Carole, and celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary and 50th NCE reunion in the same year. Don Burtis was a varsity fencer at NCE for four years. He earned an MBA from Seton Hall University in 1974. Following 11 years with General Electric and 12 years with Credex International and Baitinger Electric, he completed
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his professional career working 26 years at Turtle & Hughes, a family-owned independent electrical distributor with annual sales of $500 million. At Turtle & Hughes, Don developed a department selling power transformers, switchgear and unit substations. He was manager of a team that grew in size from three to twenty members and in sales to $58 million upon his retirement in 2013. In 1978, on the advice of a close friend and business associate, he became part owner of two pistachio nut farms in the San Joaquin Valley, Calif. Don and his wife, Daryl, live in Wayside, N.J. James C. Esposito, a member of the NCE soccer team, says he was blessed with two great careers, first with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and then at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In 1969, after working at Allis Chalmers in Wis., Jim applied to the FBI, was accepted and assigned to the Bureau’s Detroit office. While there, he attended the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University and received his J.D. in 1977. In Detroit, Jim handled organized-crime cases, including the disappearance of the infamous Jimmy Hoffa. Jim was later appointed special agent in charge at the Newark, N.J. office, where he retired after 25 years of service. Jim’s second career was as senior vice president for security at the NYSE. In his 10 years there, he was responsible for physical and fire safety, and internal investigations. His greatest challenge was supervising the protection of all NYSE employees during the 9/11 attack. Jim lives with his wife, Mary Ellen, in Point Pleasant, N.J. Jack Glaser received his Air Force ROTC commission at graduation and served for four years,
leaving with the rank of captain. He spent three years at Kingsley AFB in Klamath Falls, Ore., where he was responsible for the maintenance and repair of all base facilities. His final year was served in Thailand, with responsibility for the construction of a new base. After leaving the Air Force, Jack joined PSEG and spent a 37-year career in the Natural Gas Department as district engineer, district manager, labor relations manager, division operations manager, and planning and design manager. Jack lives in Kinnelon, N.J., with his wife, Sally. Currently chairman of the Kinnelon Board of Health, his volunteer activities have included being a scoutmaster and soccer and tennis coach for Special Olympics athletes in regional and state competitions. Paul Palmarozza, aka “Henry Higgins,” and his wife, Judica, traveled “across the pond” from their home in London, England for the reunion. Paul played four years of baseball and was captain of the team in his senior year. He earned an MBA at Drexel University in 1968 and a Diploma in Educational Studies from Oxford University in 1981. Paul spent 16 years (eight in Philadelphia, eight in Brussels, Belgium) for Control Data Corp. In Philadelphia, he became sales manager, and in Brussels was European manager for computer services and then general manager of the computer-based-training business unit. Paul then moved out on his own as a self-employed consultant and founded Intellegis Plc, which specializes in e-learning products and services. He is currently a partner in Principled Business, a company that sells drama-based ethics training products and services.
Paul is co-author of From Principles to Profit, a book about the application of philosophy to business. He writes that his careerlong dedication to integrating philosophy with business began when he took philosophy electives at NCE and Rutgers-Newark. This early interest has been reinforced over the years by courses he has taken and the organizations he has joined. He tutors students and heads a group of business people dedicated to applying philosophic principles that embrace justice, fairness and service in business. He fervently believes that unless business reverts back to these principles, it will not regain the trust it once had. Paul says that the culmination of his efforts is the formation of the charity, If I Can, which he recently launched. For more information about the new organization, visit ificanapp.com, and to learn more about Paul’s efforts to promote values in business and schools, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Richard Tower retired from the Air Force with the rank of captain. Following his military service, he went to work for Northeastern Utilities and its operating companies, retiring after 32 years as vice president of operations for Connecticut Light and Power. Dick and his wife, Kathleen, are now snow birds who spend the winter at their home in Naples, Fla. and the rest of their year at their home in Simsbury, Conn. Also attending the reunion was Phil Magaletta M.S. ’68. While not a member of Sigma Pi at NCE, Phil was a good friend of some of the brothers and was visiting at their tables. Talking with him, I learned that he was the uncle of
Phil Mascari, a Rutgers alumnus and staff member at the YMCA camp that I directed during the summer. His nephew was a U.S. Army fighter pilot and, sadly, was killed in action during the Vietnam War. Phil has had a 50plus year career in research and engineering with ExxonMobil. He retired in 2002 and joined Becht Engineering as a control-system project advisor. Most of his projects for Becht were as a consultant for Exxon in locations that included Japan and Sicily. Phil and his wife, Judy, live in Basking Ridge, N.J. While visiting family in New Jersey, Nick Spiridakis ’69 and his wife, Helen, came to NJIT for the first time since his graduation. It was my pleasure to give them the grand tour, after which we enjoyed dinner at the Warren Street Café followed by an exciting soccer game won by NJIT over LIU. Originally a civil engineering major, Nick switched to chemical engineering after his sophomore year, which resulted in his graduating in five years. He was active in the Central High School tutoring program, played JV soccer, and was on two intramural basketball championship teams. After graduation Nick worked for five years as a research engineer for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he also coached youth soccer. After receiving a master’s at the University of Colorado, Nick began a 30-year career with Chevron in Richmond, Calif. His first responsibilities were in process engineering, manufacturing, and quality control for the Ag Chem Division. He moved to environmental engineering and was appointed technical team manager for water and waste
technology. Also a member of the company’s oil-spill-response team, Nick worked with the EPA on development and implementation of regulations for hazardous air emissions. This led to seven years of part-time employment with Brown & Caldwell, advising clients and conducting compliance audits for chemical plants and oil refineries. Now retired, Nick and Helen live in Sebastopol, Calif. He keeps active with recreational activities that include swimming, usually meeting his goal of 25 miles per month.
Paul Dreyer and Skip Wilkins in Ephesus, Turkey
Efran Sergio Borja ’77
When Efrain Sergio Borja ’77 retired and moved to Blaine,
Richard D. “Skip” Wilkins ’64
and Paul Dreyer ’64 and their wives, Camille and Marilyn, recently traveled to Turkey on vacation. The trip began in Istanbul and ended cruising on the Aegean Sea near Bodrum. A highlight of their vacation was a visit to Ephesus and the incredible ruins in the ancient city dating back to the ninth century B.C. The accompanying photograph shows Skip and Paul seated in the second-century theater in Ephesus discussing how to add a basketball court so that Len Kaplan and Jim Engles, NJIT athletics director and basketball coach, can schedule an NJIT basketball game in Ephesus next year.
Wash., this past summer, I knew it would not be long before he got involved in local soccer activities. He proved me prophetic, as he is now a USSA licensed soccer official and volunteer assistant coach of the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams at Blaine High School. Wearing his official’s uniform in the photo, Efrain is demonstrating his technique of flashing a pink card. After one year of officiating, he will be qualified to flash yellow and red cards. Basketball, soccer and other alumni enjoyed a relaxing day of scramble golf followed by lunch and reminiscing at the annual “hands and feet” golf outing
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hosted by Bob Welgos ’62 at the Newton Golf Club. The winning team was the incredible soccer foursome of Norm Loney ’77, William A. “Bill” Morris ’82, Arvind Tikku ’85 and myself.
Special prize winners were Roy Knutsen ’62 for closest to the pin, and Andy Hippolit ’90 for longest drive. Other alumni attending were Paul Dreyer, Roger Edwards ’63, Ben Gazdowicz ’67, Rich Schroeder ’66, Pete Szabados ’61 and Skip Wilkins.
Pete brought his son, Joe, and two guests. The outing, which was held in August, will return to its usual fall date in 2015, hosted by Roy at the Lake Mohawk Country Club. I regret ending this column on a sad note, but I share the news that Ed Monahan ’58, professor emeritus of civil engineering, died in October after a long illness. Ed believed it was important to get to know his students outside the classroom and served as volunteer coach of the NCE swimming and diving team. He also enjoyed participating in recreational activities and was a member of the faculty/ staff intramural teams in flag football, softball, volleyball and basketball, where he amazed his opponents with his archaic twohand set shot from half court. Ed was also famous for his Pocono Bash, where he hosted faculty and staff at an annual winter weekend of poker and fun at his hideaway in Lake Naomi, Pa. Not one to keep idle after retirement, Ed was well known for regaling audiences as a story teller at nursing homes and churches. Keep the news coming to email@example.com.
Patrick Natale (Civil Eng.), M.S. ’75 (Engineering Mgmt.) has joined Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) as vice president – business strategies. He will support HMM’s marketing and business development initiatives, and the firm’s employee recruitment and retention programs. Natale brings more than four decades of engineering, management and business experience to HMM. He was executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers from 2002 to 2014 and served in the same role at the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). Before NSPE, he held numerous top-level management positions with Public Service Electric and Gas Company of New Jersey. In 2013, he received an outstanding alumnus award at NJIT’s annual Salute to Engineering Excellence.
Michael H. Armm (Civil Eng.),
Satish Menon (Mechanical Eng.),
M.S. ’84 (Civil Eng.) writes that he is now with Facebook as data center site selection manager, living in Culpeper, Va., but working out of the Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.
M.S. ’85 (Computer Science) is senior vice president and chief technology officer at Shutterfly, Inc. Most recently in the course of his career, he was chief executive officer of the technology incubator UV Labs and chief technology officer of University Ventures.
1974 Paul Menichelli (Electrical Eng.),
an intelligent-transportationsystems (ITS) engineer with the professional-services firm Dewberry, received an award for his professional accomplishments at the 2014 annual meeting of the Intelligent Transportation Society of New Jersey. He was recognized for the advancement and integration of ITS technologies, particularly those that improve surface-transportation efficiency, safety and mobility throughout the state.
1978 John McMahon (Electrical Eng.) is
a member of the board of directors of Yottaa, Inc. He will contribute 25-plus years of senior-level management experience to helping the company meet the growing demand for its automated application-optimization solutions.
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Jonathan Drogin (Electrical Eng.) writes that he is retiring after 24 years with Chevron Corporation. For the first 19 years, he was a project engineer at the Richmond, Calif., refinery. He spent the next five years at the world’s 7th largest oil field as rated by daily production, working as existing field facilities lead project manager in Tengiz, Kazakhstan. Jeffrey Milanaik (Mechanical
Eng.) is helping Chicago-based Bridge Development Partners, L.L.C. to expand along the East Coast at its new office in Parsippany, N.J. It is the third office for Bridge Development, a privately owned firm founded in 2000 that develops and acquires industrial and office real estate. Joining Milanaik as a principal to head the new office is another NJIT alumnus, John Porcek ’84 (Civil Eng.)
1981 August (Gus) F. Manz Jr. (Elec-
trical Eng.) has left Wyndham Worldwide and is now at Cushman & Wakefield as a facilities sourcing manager supporting more than 15,000 Verizon facilities in the northeastern U.S. He is responsible for sourcing interior building services such as fire protection, elevator maintenance, janitorial services, preventative maintenance for uninterruptible power supplies, and electrical switchgear maintenance for a wide range of Verizon administrative buildings, central offices, garage work centers, call centers and data centers in N.J., N.Y., Pa. and all of New England.
John Porcek (Civil Eng.) has joined alumnus Jeffrey Milanaik ’80 (Mechanical Eng.) as a principal with Bridge Development Partners, L.L.C. to head a new office in Parsippany, N.J. The Chicago-based, privately owned firm, which was founded in 2000, develops and acquires industrial and office real estate, and is expanding along the East Coast.
1987 Andrew Schueller PE, CFM (Civil
Eng.), M.S. ’91 (Civil Eng.) is the assistant Transportation Department manager at the New York City office of Dewberry, professionalservices consultants in architecture, engineering and management. He is responsible for managing transportation projects, mentoring junior staff, and overseeing business opportunities in the New York area for both private- and public-sector clients. Schueller has more than 26 years of engineering and construction experience related to transportation and infrastructure.
1988 Edward Stojakovic (Electri-
cal Eng.) is heading the User Experience team at FCB as a vice president and director of planning. With more than 140 years of communications experience, FCB has 150 offices in 90 countries, with over 8,000 employees.
William “Bill” Wilson (Computer Science), a partner in the law firm of Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass, is the co-author of a book entitled New Jersey Insurance Coverage Litigation – 2015: A Practitioner’s Guide, which has been published by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, a Division of the New Jersey State Bar Association. He is also the author of NJInsuranceBlog.com
1989 Donald P. Dinella M.S. (Computer
and Information Science), attorney, is now a member of the Intellectual Property Group at Wolff and Samson PC in West Orange, N.J. His extensive experience includes patent prosecution across a broad range of technological fields, patent portfolio management, licensing, IP commercialization and strategy, and transactional services. F. Eduardo Villalobos M.S. (Civil
Eng.) is a supervising engineer at the Houston Office of Parsons Brinckerhoff. He is supporting the office’s structural department, with responsibility for planning, management, and development and design of bridges, highways, railway viaducts and pedestrian structures.
1991 Joseph M. Sheairs Sr. M.S. (Computer and Information Science) has been appointed executive director of the Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park (ARTP) by the board of Trustees of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. A graduate of West Point, his background includes over 35 years of experience in aviation, engineering, technology and business. Previously, he served as interim executive director and then deputy executive director of the Next Generation Aviation and Technology Park, a precursor of the Stockton ARTP.
1994 Sean McMenamin (Mechanical Eng.) is the recently appointed director of environmental systems at Nationwide Boiler Inc. Previously vice president of environmental systems at Peerless Manufacturing Company, he signs on at Nationwide Boiler with an extensive background in selective catalytic reduction systems, air pollution control, and utility steam generators.
1995 Evie Sproviero M.S. (Electri-
cal Eng.) has been named senior supervising engineer by Parsons Brinckerhoff, based at the firm’s Newark, N.J., office. She is responsible for planning and designing power stations and equipment in support of power, transportation infrastructure and transit projects. Sproviero has more than 24 years of experience in electrical engineering design, procurement, construction and management.
1997 Judith Brown M.S. (Manage-
ment) has been appointed vice president of human resources for ShoreGroup, a managed-services company that helps clients align IT operations with their strategic goals. Brown has held the position of human resources manager at the company since 2007.
2001 Manuel Pereiras (Architecture) has been named one of New Jersey’s most accomplished young professionals by NJBIZ magazine. He owns Pereiras Architects Ubiquitous, based in Union City, whose diverse portfolio encompasses multi-family residential buildings, early childhood education facilities, medical offices, restaurants and churches. In placing the Albert
Dorman Honors College alumnus on its notable Forty Under 40 list, NJBIZ praised Pereiras for his civic achievements, among them “serving with professional, community and academic organizations, including the Academy of Architectural and Contemporary Themes in Hudson County and the Union City Urban Enterprise Zone.”
2002 Moses K. Mingle M.S. (Electrical Eng.) has received a Louis Dellamonica Award presented by the U.S. Army’s Material Command. Mingle is employed by the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Center (CERDEC), where he is a branch chief for the Electronic Warfare Systems Ground Branch in CERDEC’s Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate. The award recognizes his work in the design, development, testing, evaluation, fielding and support of radio-frequency countermeasure sensors and systems for defeating improvised explosive devices. Christopher O’Hara PE (Electri-
cal Eng.) is an associate at TLC Engineering for Architecture, Inc., where he is an electrical-project engineer in TLC’s Healthcare Operating Group, based in Orlando, Fla. TLC has been ranked by Engineering News Record as one of the largest consulting engineering firms in the South.
Harold Weinberg ’40 John K. Kaufman ’50 Louis G. Boch ’51, ’60 Glenn R. Hershey ’52 Eric F. Ruzicka ’54 Louise F. Davis ’56, ’61 William P. Doran Jr. ’57 Arthur G. Angrisani ’58 Donald W. Smith ’59 Glenn E. Marihugh ’61 Patricia L. Minnella ’61 Thomas Charles McNulty Sr. ’66 Robert Hoyer ’69 Casimir Sikorski ’69 Richard W. Dudley ’71 Robert Bruce Rager ’72 Louis R. Thibault ’74 Roger Manner ’75 Daniel D. Berlinrut ’77, ’78, ’80 Stephen R. Napolitano ’80, ’88 Paul Bernstein ’84 Michael Salek ’89
Col. Thomas Perison M.S. (Engineering Mgmt.) has assumed command of the U.S. Army’s Joint Maneuver Training Center at Camp Grayling in Mich. Perison’s service includes a deployment in 2005 to Tikrit, Iraq, as the chief of operations for the 42nd Infantry Division and a 2007 deployment to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, as a counter improvised explosive device officer.
2011 George Smidhum Jr. (Civil Eng.)
has joined Pennsylvania American Water as field operations supervisor for the company’s Yardley and Norristown area water systems. His responsibilities include overseeing the Yardley system’s field operations and managing meter reading and customer service for the Norristown system.
2013 S. Vincent Grasso M.S. (Informa-
Akin Adewole M.S. (Information
Systems) brings more than 20 years of experience to his most recent position as a sales engineer at Verrex. Founded in 1947, Verrex designs, integrates, services and supports video conferencing and other advanced AV/IT technologies for the global business community.
tion Systems) is the chief medical information officer for ADM Tronics, Unlimited, Inc. Grasso is a surgeon, software architect, information specialist and business strategist who has been providing professional services in the international healthcare marketplace for more than 20 years.
NJIT MAGAZINE | WINTER 2015
ALUMNI CALENDAR S AV E T H E D AT E !
ALUMNI WEEKEND 2015 Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17
Alumni Weekend has activities that will appeal to every NJIT grad. Come back to campus for Five-Year Anniversary reunions as well as non-anniversary class, college, department and fraternity/sorority events. Reconnect with NJIT and fellow alumni over a weekend featuring receptions, dinners, college and department presentations, exhibits, and the annual presentation of Alumni Achievement Awards by the Alumni Association.
NJIT’s Corporate Clubs provide valuable networking opportunities for alumni in the workplace while also assisting NJIT students and faculty. Current Corporate Clubs include Hatch Mott MacDonald, PSE&G, Schering-Plough, Turner Construction and United Parcel Service. For more information:
NJIT Regional Clubs are planning events across the country. For more information:
YOUNG ALUMNI CLUB The Young Alumni Club organizes social, networking, and educational events for alumni and their families. For more information: njit.edu/alumni/clubs
For the most current information about Alumni Association activities, visit njit.edu/alumni. Join us on Facebook and LinkedIn too. Go to njit.edu/alumni/community.
IT ALL HAPPENED AT THE ZOO In December, the Young Alumni Club and the Atlantic Federal Credit Union co-sponsored a Zoo Lights Holiday Party at Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, N.J. The family-friendly event was an opportunity to interact with many of the zoo’s residents – both real-life and illuminated.
NJIT MAGAZINE | WINTER 2015
Winning entry by Everett Aldrich
PICTURES OF HEALTH
The students at NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design were recently challenged by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to creatively interpret the theme “Journey to Health.” In response, more than 50 submitted work to a panel of judges representing Horizon and NJIT, as well as the architectural firms BCH Healthcare Architects and HOK. The winning entries – by digital design students Everett Aldrich, Adriana Eteson and Kevin Ratigan; interior design student Angelica McKenzie; and industrial design student and honorable mention honoree Fabio Castellanos – have been displayed at Horizon’s Newark headquarters. Each winner received an honorarium of $1000 plus the cost of materials. Honorable mention garnered a $500 honorarium plus materials cost.
The competition was coordinated at NJIT by David Brothers with support from Jose Alcala and Augustus Wendell, members of the School of Art+Design faculty. Glenn Goldman, director of the School of Art + Design, said in commenting on the talent demonstrated, “One way artists and designers traditionally distinguish themselves early in their careers is to enter competitions and have exhibitions. The fact that 11 of our entries were selected as finalists and we had four winners and an honorable mention gives these students recognition that can distinguish them from peers, colleagues and competitors.” design.njit.edu art.njit.edu
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B.A. IN DIGITAL DESIGN AT NJIT SCHOOL OF ART + DESIGN STUDY AT A COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
LEARN MORE AT ART.NJIT.EDU UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS NEWARK, N.J. 07102 NJIT.EDU ART: ZACHARY HUMBERT