NJIT Global Brigades goes to Panama

Written by an anonymous pre-med Honors Scholar
and member of Global Brigades-NJIT


From March 11th through the 18th, members of the NJIT Global Brigades, most of whom are students in the Albert Dorman Honors College, spent their spring break in the cities of San Carlos, Las Lajas, and Las Delicias in Panama.  Under the direction of Hirva Vyas, the president of Global Brigades-NJIT, this brigade of students was able to successfully treat 400 patients, build five latrines, and spend over 160 hours of community service making a difference in the lives of those who cannot afford to have health care.

Hirva started this organization on campus when she was only a sophomore at NJIT.  Since its inception, she has done an amazing job leading the brigade and ensuring that each student has an enlightening experience.  It was through her excellent leadership skills and personable attitude that NJIT and the Honors College name shone above the other universities present in Panama.


Prior to going to Panama, the brigade fundraised over $40,000 in order to successfully send 35 students and one physician on the trip.  This fund also provided medications that were given to members of the local community.  Using the holistic model recommended by Global Brigades, our goal was not only to provide immediate relief but also long term aid.  Setting up a “Charla” (chat in Spanish) station, students got to understand diseases such as Dengue and STDs, and they found ways to inform the community members about these diseases in Spanish.  Preventative education was the priority, as this can help reduce future healthcare needs.

With Hirva’s leadership and passion for healthcare, Global Brigades was able to make a difference in Panama and provide healthcare for Panamanians who otherwise have to travel four or more hours each way to seek medical attention.  As Hirva graduates and pursues her degree in medicine, she leaves behind an organization that has achieved so much in so little time that the next executive board will have to work hard to surpass Hirva’s accomplishments.

Being an NJIT Female Student Athlete

Written by Samantha Bersett
Biomedical Engineering
Albert Dorman Honors College


Anyone who is or has been a student at NJIT knows that you’re in for a difficult but rewarding four years, and my time has definitely been just that.  Being a Biomedical Engineering major in the Albert Dorman Honors College and a student-athlete, I’ve had to learn how to balance all of my work without falling off the wagon.  Unless you are involved in athletics yourself, a lot of people don’t get to see an athlete’s side of college life and how busy it can be.  I am a goalkeeper on the Division I Women’s Soccer Team here at NJIT and I’m here to share with you the life of a female athlete!


A typical daily schedule usually starts at 6:00 a.m. when we wake up for a 6:30 practice.  Once practice ends (around 8:30), some people go straight to class, while those who have time go to a lifting workout for an hour.  At 9:30, practice is over for the day and we all head to breakfast.  After breakfast, some people have 10:00 class while others go back to shower and get ready for classes later in the day.  Any time in between classes is spent showering, eating, squeezing in some homework or study hall, or, if we’re lucky, taking a nap.  When classes are finally over for the day, we begin working on homework.  Depending on how late we have class, that might not start until 9:00 at night.  We spend the night working on homework or relaxing if we don’t have any, and then get to bed so we can wake up and do it all over again.

Study at hotelNeedless to say, our days are pretty jam-packed with activities, but something that is really cool about NJIT and the athletic community here is that they do a lot to help us out when trying to juggle the college coursework as well as our sport.  Freshman year, every student-athlete is required to do 6 hours of study hall each week.  We have to swipe in using our student IDs in the Learning Center so that our hours get logged, and then we swipe out when we are done for the day.  These 6 hours force you to be productive and get your work done, which really helps with teaching us good time management skills to use throughout the rest of college.  We even do study hall when we go out of town!  Depending on if the trip is just for one day or for the whole weekend, we always have some time dedicated to homework.  On shorter trips, we do about one hour of study hall on the bus where the coaches tell us to put our phones away so we can focus on our work.  During longer weekend trips, we usually fit in about two hours each day in the hotel lobby or meeting rooms.  Schoolwork is a priority and coaches always make sure that we’re keeping up with our work which is extremely important, especially during the season.

Playing a sport requires a lot of travel.  Especially now that we are in the Atlantic Sun Conference, we play a lot of our games down south.  Road trips are always so much fun with the team!  It gives us all time to bond on the bus or plane ride and explore new places we may have never been!  Usually when we go away for a weekend trip, we always try to plan a day or night where we do something as a team (other than play soccer).  For instance, we went to South Carolina one year and we spent a day exploring downtown Charleston.  When we went to Florida this past season, we got to go to the beach for a day and spend some time with family members who made the trip down as well.  It’s always fun to spend time off the field together and take our minds off of schoolwork and soccer.


Being a student-athlete is definitely challenging, but it is also an awesome experience.  While it can be stressful and super busy at times, it’s so rewarding getting to play the game you love with teammates that become some of your best friends!

He Named Me Malala Film Screening and Discussion

Written by Girl Up Co-Founders Jenan Abu-Hakmeh and Anna Vallejo
An ADHC Sponsored Colloquium

NJIT’s newest club, Girl Up, hosted its very fist colloquium event on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.  About fifty people gathered at 6 o’clock in the evening in the Campus Center Ballroom to watch He Named Me Malala, a film about the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and her struggle to advocate for girls’ education.

Team with Poster

Before being brutally shot in the head – an event that catapulted Malala into international headlines – she was already an activist blogger, outspoken and well-spoken.  In the documentary, it is apparent that she shares these traits with her father, but even more so, that she parallels the person he named her after: Malalai of Maiwand, an Afghan folk hero who picked up a flag and shouted words of bravery to the Afghan Army despite their losing situation against the British troops.  Malalai, too, was shot but, unlike Malala, lost her life.

After becoming the face of the movement for girls’ rights to education, Malala now lives in Britain, unable to return to her home district Swat due to Taliban death threats.  Her interactions with her family and brothers, while playful and refreshingly normal, belie the fact that this young women regularly speaks candidly, smartly, and boldly about her beliefs to anyone, whether it is to the President of Nigeria or a room full of world leaders on the United Nations floor.  Her uncompromising and unwilling nature all speak to the sheer importance of girls’ rights and empowerment and the importance of attaining an education in general.

Girls Speak

After watching the film, the members of the Girl Up club of NJIT facilitated a discussion that explored the various themes seen throughout the film.  The discussion question that received the most interesting responses was the final question.  As seen in the film, when Malala was lying in her hospital bed in a coma, her father thought that she would blame him for not stopping her, for not keeping her out of harm’s way.  So we asked the audience: Would you let your daughter attend school if you knew about the danger of her being attacked?  Why or why not?

Audience SideThe audience had mixed feelings about this.  Our first response was from a mother who boldly stated, “We should not let fear control our lives.  We live in fear everyday, for example when our children leave the house, start driving, and go to school meanwhile accidents and attacks are prevalent.  We cannot let the fear control our lives; we have to do the best we can to cope with everyday threats and continue to grow past these obstacles.”  One female undergraduate student added to this, “If I did not send my daughter to school, what message would I be sending my children if I showed them to sit in fear?”

On the other hand, one male undergraduate student had a very different take on the subject.  He presented the idea of homeschooling instead of letting his daughter go out when it is highly unsafe for her to do so.  He suggested that he would homeschool his daughter from elementary to high school, then send her abroad to a safe country for university and bring her back after she had been educated.  Another male student agreed with this viewpoint, adding, “As her protector, I am responsible for keeping her out of harm’s way, even if that means she cannot go to school.  As her father, I am responsible for her and making sure that she is safe.”  After this response, we heard another male student agree with the idea of being his daughter’s protector; however, he would choose to send her to school.  Overall, we had an insightful discussion of varied responses to a very difficult question.

I urge you to take a moment, right now, to think about how you feel about this.  Would you let your daughter attend school if you knew about the danger of her being attacked?

The film screening and discussion of He Named Me Malala is the first of many events Girl Up hopes to host on campus.  Girl Up is a UN Foundation organization that aims to unite girls to change the world.  Advocacy, fundraising, and awareness-based, Girl Up’s main concerns deal with the issues that girls, especially those in underprivileged and underdeveloped areas, face everyday.  Whether this means lobbying for laws banning child marriages, raising funds for school supplies, or raising awareness in your local community, Girl Up is a club that is trying to make a difference.  Girl Up stands with Malala in advocating for the rights of girls to receive an education and strives to empower girls and help them use their voices for good, just like Malala.