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Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Jersey Center for Science, Technology, and Mathematics celebrates 10th Anniversary at Kean University

Written by Suburban News

Kean University's New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics (NJCSTM) celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 24, during Kean's Homecoming Weekend. Approximately 30 alumni came together at Kean's state-of-the-art STEM Building on Morris Avenue in Union to honor a program that trains exceptional educators and research professionals, supports and advances scientific and technological innovation, and prepares scientist-physicians to pursue the study of medicine in New Jersey.

"Since our founding 10 years ago, we have seen 93 percent of the students in our program go on to complete their degrees and start careers in science, math, and education," said Keith Bostian, Ph.D., NJCSTM dean. "The mentoring and relationship-building that happens between our faculty and our students is largely responsible for this."

Two recent NJCSTM initiatives are serving to encourage more students—particularly those from underprepared communities—to pursue STEM education at the university level. The Group Summer Scholars Research Program is a pre-college program at NJCSTM offering a hands-on, immersive research experience for talented New Jersey high school students interested in pursuing education in a STEM field. And the Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship is a life sciences incubator designed to foster collaboration between entrepreneurs, industry scientists, business leaders, and STEM students and faculty.

Several of the returning alumni spoke at the 10th anniversary celebration about their satisfaction with their NJCSTM education and how it translated into professional success. Adam Moskowitz '09 '10, who majored in biology in NJCSTM's five-year combined bachelor's/master's program, is currently a science teacher at the Union County Magnet High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

"I felt that NJCSTM prepared me very well for the job I'm doing now," he said. "As a student, I was part of a small, close group of people in my program, and I'm glad to be able to see some of them back here today." Moskowitz is currently pursuing a post-master's certification in Educational Administration at Kean's Nathan Weiss Graduate College.

Kayla Lott '11 '12, another graduate of the five-year combined bachelor's/master's program, is a middle-school mathematics teacher in Iselin, New Jersey. Lott remembered the shock of receiving a failing grade on one of her first tests in chemistry—a test she thought she had aced—and realizing how challenging the NJCSTM program was going to be.

"Many times after that, I wanted to quit, but each time I decided that I couldn't give up, I had to keep pushing through," she said. "And I made it in the end, because I worked hard, but also because I received so much support and encouragement from the faculty and administrators."

Judy April, NJCSTM coordinator of recruitment and student services, concluded by congratulating the NJCSTM alumni and encouraging those who are educators to recommend the program to their own students.

"You are the best product of Kean University and the best commercial we have," she said. "Keep doing the great things all of you are doing."

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