Networking with Alumni

Written by Anmol Mittal
Senior, Biology

Anmol Photo

On Saturday, January 30th, students of the Albert Dorman Honors College and NJIT alumni gathered at Hotel Indigo in Newark, NJ to enjoy the Rooftop Terrace and network.  Students ranged from Freshman to 5th year students, with majors ranging from Biology and Electrical Engineering to Architecture and Interior Design.  The alumni ranged from recent graduates of the Honors College to alums who have been in the industry for 15 to 20 years.  Along with the delicious hors d’oeuvres and beverages, the conversations that cooked up on the terrace were just as good.

The idea for a networking event at a rooftop terrace came to me as I was discussing with an alumnus, Siddharth Bala (TIAA-CREF), ways to increase networking in the Honors College and he told me about an event that he had gone to in NYC.  I began looking at different places in NYC and saw a rooftop terrace and thought it was the best place to hold an event like this.  We sent out an interest survey to see if the students preferred the event in New Jersey or New York, and after their responses, we chose Hotel Indigo as our venue.

The goal of the networking event was to be able to talk to a variety of alumni and be able to understand their life at NJIT, both the successes and the failures, and how all these experiences shaped their future path.  The alumni that were invited were specifically selected for their success in their respective fields, such as Angelo Russomano (’02 Architecture) who has been featured on Restaurant Impossible.

The event was a great success, and the reviews that we heard from all the alumni and students were very encouraging.  Students thought that this event was very helpful to understand the benefits that NJIT provided and hear the truth from those that successfully took advantage of all the opportunities that the university has to offer.  The feedback the students received on the job hunting and interview process from alumni was appreciated, especially the focus on the importance of connections which helped emphasize the benefits of attending events such as this one.  Senior Biology major Hirva Vyas reported that she “enjoyed it because [she] was not only able to interact with the alumni but also the staff of the ADHC in an environment outside of school.”  To add to this, Junior Electrical Engineering major Aditya Rawal “was amazed by the atmosphere that the rooftop terrace had.  [He] enjoyed the beautiful view from a building that was actually built by an NJIT alumnus!”  Overall, the event was very successful and hopefully it is only the start of an era of new and creative off-campus networking events!

Mentoring the Next Generation in STEM

Written by Joshua Abraham
Albert Dorman Honors College

The STEM disciplines are a set of skills that are increasingly being sought by future employers.  While talking to a few teachers at local public schools, I discovered that students were not properly aware of or interested in STEM.  So Cynthia Ahmed, Kenneth Ly, Aditya Rawal, and I, along with the Center for Leadership and Professional Development, recently started a STEM mentoring program with a local Newark elementary school.  Every week, around a dozen Honors College mentors go to the Camden Elementary School to help students with their math and science homework as well as to introduce them to STEM, college, and careers.

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This week was the mentoring program’s first week.  Initially, all the mentors individually met with the students, and then some of the students gave the mentors a tour of the school.  Anmol Mittal, a senior at the Honors College and an EMT, gave a short presentation on health-related careers, biology, and STEM.  He brought some tools to help make the presentation engaging and fun.  The students at Camden School had a great time because the mentors were able to demonstrate how the math and science they learn in school can be applied to various careers and to solve various challenges that occur every day.  One of the students told a mentor that she “now realized that fractions and division are much more than numbers.”  After watching Anmol’s presentation, a student who previously was not interested in becoming a doctor was inspired to enter the healthcare field by becoming an EMT in the future.

Mentors

As the mentoring program continues to progress, we plan to bring more fun and engaging presentations about careers in the STEM field from other Honors College students.  This program could not have been a success without the hard work of Ms. Feghhi and our partners at After-School All-Stars Newark.  We are always looking for NJIT students to become mentors and either help tutor or give presentations to these elementary school students.

If you’re interested in being a mentor, please e-mail Ms. Feghhi and fill out this form.

Community Service at the Greater Newark Conservancy

Written by Jay Curry
Albert Dorman Honors College

The mission of the Greater Newark Conservancy (GNC) is to improve the quality of life in Newark’s urban communities.  They do this through community gardens and environmental education programs for young children.  In mid-November of 2015, I volunteered at the one-acre urban farm at 138 Court Street.  There are many vacant and unmaintained lots in Newark, and GNC has taken advantage of these large areas of free space by turning them into urban farms.

GNC Garden

The directions stated that the garden was located behind a mansion and I noticed the huge Krueger-Scott Mansion as soon as I reached the street.  There were two other students from NJIT, Matt and Paul, who also volunteered.  Once we were all there, we were greeted by Jacob Kim, Director of Community Gardening at GNC.  He was a very down-to-earth type of guy and young, too.  He gave us a tour of the farm by showing us the greenhouses, the chicken coop, and the beds of soil containing various types of fruits and vegetables for the Newark community.  There were blueberry bushes, broccoli plants, garlic roots, spinach, and kale; basically, everything someone could find in a produce aisle, except you know everything was all natural and contained no pesticides or artificial chemicals, as Jacob explained.  After the tour, we also met Justin Allen, the Director of Urban Agriculture, and Darius Johnson, an urban farmer and also a student studying at Essex County College.  All three were very friendly and happy to see us there.

Our first task was to help prepare a bed of soil for the garlic.  We loosened up the soil and planted over 100 garlic sprouts in the ground.  Next, we went behind the chicken coop and cleaned out all the weeds.  It took some serious pulling to excavate some of the weeds that looked like miniature trees!  Afterwards, we used wheelbarrows to pour wood chips onto the soil and prepared that area for planting.  Then we took the wheelbarrows and brought them back to the soil beds near where we planted the garlic.  The long aisles of soil covered about half of the farm and we covered them with wood chips.  At this point, the urban farm was ready to start growing produce and start feeding the nearby community.  We finished in the afternoon and the three GNC representatives thanked us for our service.

The Greater Newark Conservancy produced over 15,000 pounds of food last growing season, and they need help from Newark residents and from organizations like NJIT, Rutgers, and Essex County College to make their goals a reality.  If you’re looking to volunteer and help out the Newark Community, try giving 138 Court Street a visit.

Social Media Celebrity?

Written by Casey Harrigan
Albert Dorman Honors College

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Photo courtesy of projecteve.com: http://www.projecteve.com/5-great-free-social-media-tools/

Social media platforms including YouTube, Instagram, and Vine utilize mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive and easily accessible environments through which individuals and communities can connect, create, and share.  The astronomical amount of attention that has been generated by social media in recent years is actively creating a revolutionary new landscape of communication.

Not only is social media altering the way in which individuals communicate, it is also redefining what it means to be a “celebrity.”  Now, more than ever, fame is accessible.  In recent years, society has witnessed social media catapult a large number of ordinary individuals, including Tyler Oakley, Jay Alvarrez, and Marcus Johns, to levels of fame and fortune they had never before imagined.

Social media is widespread and far-reaching.  One can release a single hilarious photograph, create an entire account dedicated to a pet, or post a series of inspiring videos about his or her life, and subsequently change the world.

The immense influence that is carried by social media provides a way for talented people who long to operate outside the system to find success.  Fame seekers now have the tools necessary to be their own engines; they have the platform that is required to build their own stage.

Artists, comedians, actors, and actresses from all corners of the globe are reaching millions of individuals every day, every hour, and perhaps even every minute using nothing more than their cell phones.  Social media is so influential that it has become a lucrative career for many individuals.

Giving Back and Helping Others

Written by Alexander Thomas
Albert Dorman Honors College

Community service is a great way to give back to the community and help others. One great experience I had involving community service was when I went to Kentucky a few summers ago on a trip called Red Bird Mission. The mission site was located in Beverly, Kentucky. The mission had groups come down from different states and repair people’s houses. These homes are located in three of the top five poorest counties in the United States.

AThomas Service1While down there, I was part of a group that was assigned to repair a roof. At first, it just seemed like another trip where we would complete the task we were given and then that would be the end of it. But the trip was nothing like what I expected. I thought the whole ride down that the trip would benefit the homeowners and not really benefit me, but I was wrong. The trip taught me a lot about who I am and what’s important in life.

The trip taught me not only how to repair a roof but also what really matters in life. One important lesson I learned is not everything is about me. That phrase had an important meaning during my trip and my life after the trip. I learned to be selfless and realized that what was important was the fact that we were making a positive impact on someone’s life. We were helping a family have one less thing to worry about and another reason to be happy and thankful.

AThomas Service2Once we were finished repairing the roof, instead of saying our goodbyes to the homeowners, we asked them what else we could do for them.  It was a simple request but to the homeowners it meant a lot. They were grateful for our willingness to improve the quality of their life. I still remember their facial expressions like it was yesterday. They had the biggest smiles on their faces when they heard our request. Their expressions were what made the trip worthwhile. It’s when everyone in the group realized that community service isn’t about making our image better or making ourselves feel better about ourselves, it’s about doing the right thing and improving someone’s life. When you worry about other people besides yourself, you’re often happier and appreciate things more.