Future leaders, innovators & entrepreneurs spread their wings at NJIT's honors college
The Renard scholars are working in IT, biomedical engineering, biology and computers
By Margo Mallar
'My scholarship is more than just money," says Lindsey Chin, a senior majoring in IT at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT, Newark, NJ). "It means that someone really wants me to do this other than my parents!"
Without her scholarship Erica Feldman, who just completed her BSIT, wouldn't have been able to live on campus. "I've been in study groups that didn't break up until three in the morning. You can't do that if you're a commuter!"
That time on campus was well spent; she averaged a 3.75 GPA over her four years at NJIT, and did a summer internship at AT&T.
Chin and Feldman are two of the five recipients of Renard Communications scholarships for students in the Albert Dorman Honors College, part of NJIT, a public scientific and technological research university offering ninety-two undergrad and graduate degree programs on a handsome city campus.
The Renard Scholarships
Roberta Renard, publisher of Diversity/Careers magazine (Springfield, NJ), endowed the scholarships in 2002 in recognition of NJIT's commitment to educating inner city, minority and women students, especially in technical fields like engineering, architecture and IT. "That commitment is also a reflection of the mission of Renard Communications," she notes.
The scholarships are awarded to women or minority students selected by Dr Joel Bloom, dean of the Dorman Honors College. At Dorman, some 650 select students are offered research opportunities, leadership development and work on current scientific and social issues in addition to their regular technical curriculum. The mission of the honors college is to nurture a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs by offering a well-rounded education that includes emphasis on social consciousness and community service.
Renard Scholar Christie Schulz: biomedical engineering
Christie Schulz is a biomedical engineering major. She excelled at the Academy for Mathematics, Science and Engineering, a magnet high school in Rockaway, NJ, and was the only girl in her graduating class. In school she won science fair awards, and in her senior year she mentored younger students as part of an independent study.
Medicine and human rights are passions for Schulz. In high school she interned in the emergency room at the Hackettstown, NJ Regional Medical Center. She worked with staff, visited various departments and even helped with EKG tests on patients. "I only needed 100 hours for the internship but ended up doing closer to 180 because I really enjoy working in the hospital," she says. This past summer she volunteered at the Hunterdon Medical Center (Flemington, NJ), and continued the advocacy for the Sudanese region that she began while at the Academy.
Schulz doubts that she would have been able to attend NJIT without the scholarship; she knows her studies and volunteering would suffer without it. "I want to practice medicine in third-world countries," she says. "This scholarship allows me to concentrate on my studies and on volunteering."
Renard Scholar Lydia Eaves: deep into computers
NJIT junior Lydia Eaves moved to Bordentown, NJ from London, England when she was twelve. Fascinated by computers since the age of seven, Eaves sought computer training wherever she could find it. In addition to the offerings at her regional high school she attended computer camps and earned a spot as a camp counselor.
"The school system in England is very different," she says. "There's a lot more pressure earlier to choose your career path. Given that I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do, it's good that I came to the U.S.!"
Eaves' indecision is not with her major, which is certainly computers, but with her concentration. "I'm still deciding between Web applications and multimedia."
She was accepted to Drexel, American University and the Rochester Institute of Technology as well as NJIT. "The scholarship was the deciding factor," she says. She lives on campus and is website chair for the Student Activity Council and the National Residence Hall Honorary.
Renard Scholar Jackleen Samuel: biology and physical therapy
Jackleen Samuel is a biology student. She graduated from high school a year early and was among the first to be accepted into NJIT's new physical therapy program. Now she's in her final year, on track to graduate next May.
Joining her on the podium will be her older sister Merna, a ChE student. "We're two of five children," she discloses. "Our parents came to the U.S. from Egypt and my sister and I are first-generation college students. I wouldn't have been able to go to school without the scholarship."
Samuel credits Dr David Kristol, a dean at the honors college, and her biology advisor Karen Roach with giving her the boost she needed to get where she is now, headed for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to work for a doctorate in physical therapy.
Samuel spent the summer interning at the Verizon Health and Wellness Center (Orangeburg, NY). In her last year of studies she's working with both the biology and the Coptic societies at the school. "In Egypt only nine percent of the population is Coptic, and of the nine percent not many women attend college, so I'm very grateful for the opportunities I've had," she notes.
Renard Scholar Erica Feldman: woman in technology
Erica Feldman's high school years were a study in multitasking. She maintained high grades, took the AP Java exam and did a two-year program to get the Cisco certification. "Classes were after school, twice a week from six to ten, plus I had a job. It was crazy! My scholarship certainly helped during college."
This summer she took a masters class in addition to an internship at AT&T. With the internship concluded she returned to campus for the fall semester, planning to get full-time work after that.
Lindsey Chin wants to be a teacher
In high school Lindsey Chin took a programming class on a whim: she was one of two girls in a class of twenty. The ratios haven't changed much in her college classes, but Chin feels very much supported by her male NJIT colleagues. She's deeply involved with Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity, and this year she's a resident advisor in a freshman dorm.
Chin's IT concentration is in videogame design, but she plans to go on for her MS and teach computers at an inner-city school. "I really want to be a teacher," she says.
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