Princeton Magazine Family Edition

Page 17

Acting Governor Kim Guadagno holds a press conference at the State House announcing the Governor’s STEM Scholars Program. (NJ Office of Information Technology)

“I never had a program quite like this one,” he says of the STEM Scholars. “I took all the science and math courses I could in high school. And I interned at a chemical engineering lab one summer. That was good, but nothing quite as organized or as broad as the STEM Scholars program.” Register is mentoring five high school STEM scholars on a project to make wet chemistry solar cells. The team is testing the cells’ output voltage and current to determine which is best. “And then we’ll change a factor of the cell to see how that changes the output,” Register says. Other college mentors in the program come from Rutgers University, Rowan University, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Stevens Institute of Technology. Their high school colleagues are from all over the state. A browse through the group’s biographies on the STEM Scholars website yields an eclectic list of topics of expertise -- humanoid robotics, astronautical engineering, and biomedical engineering, to name just a few. Extra-curricular activities range from volunteering with a local first aid squad to playing clarinet in the New Jersey Senior Youth Orchestra. Like Register, some of the students have already interned with local STEM companies. This gives them a head start on one of the aims of the program. “We want to connect all of the students to an employer or an internship,” says Hodges. “One of the institutions that has been very helpful is Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. They’re taking on four interns, two at the college level and two at the high school level. This is a very important part of the program.” While some large companies such as Exxon, Chevron, and Lockheed Martin have their own STEM programs, others rely on state-run initiatives to develop talent. “STEM is a unique program that has been around for over half a century,” says Hodges. “But there wasn’t any kind of statewide program that really addressed the programs New Jersey has, as a STEM state. Now, that has changed. We’re pairing industry leaders with the best and brightest STEM scholars, and this means a lot for our future.” (top-left) Dr. Narayan Ganesan of Stevens Institute of Technology talks about his career journey. From left to right, the panelists are: Dr. Dave Rotella of Montclair State University; Dr. Ganesan; Dr. Wilma Olson of Rutgers; Dr. Fuat Celik of Rutgers. (top-right) Dr. Kathleen Scotto of Rutgers talks about her work as an oncologist. (bottom-left) One of the nine groups of STEM scholars working on their year-long research project. (bottomright) A group of STEM Scholars poses at the Pharmaceutical Labs at Rutgers University.

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