STEM Education Programs Prepare Future Leaders for Technology-Driven Careers

STEM Education Programs Prepare Future Leaders for Technology-Driven Careers

ACCORDING TO THE U.S Department of Commerce, jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields are pre­dicted to increase 17 percent by 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth in non-STEM-related occupations. For this rea­son, COMMERCE asked the presidents of New Jersey’s top colleges and univer­sities to discuss their STEM programs and how they are preparing future leaders for technology-driven careers.

Berkeley College

By Michael J. Smith, President

Today, every student and graduate must be familiar with technology changing at an acceler­ated pace. Berkeley College’s mission of empowering students to achieve life­long success in dynamic careers gives our graduates a distinct competitive advan­tage. Students are taught by faculty experienced in academia, as well as in the workplace. Assignments are work­force-related. In the School of Health Studies’ Licensed Practical Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, laboratories simulate the real-life work­ing environment. Physicians and other medical professionals comprise the fac­ulty who oversee lab assignments relat­ed to anatomy and physiology, pharma­cology and so forth. The Larry L. Luing School of Business®, integrates business management courses into the curricu­lum in majors such as Information Technology Management in Database Management or Web Design, so stu­dents become familiar with real-world employer demands.

County College of Morris

By Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, President

During the past academic year, County College of Morris (CCM) trained more than 5,000 individuals through our Workforce Development programs. As part of those efforts, we held roundtable ses­sions with businesses to address the need for skilled professionals. Addition-ally, we have launched a $2.25 million campaign to provide the facilities to prepare students to excel in our technol­ogy-driven world. Through that cam­paign, we will be constructing an Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Center and Healthcare Simulation Center, featuring state-of-the-art equip­ment. Also, in the area of STEM, we are expanding our Cyber Security programs to meet the demand for employees and an educated public. Plus, we provide hundreds of students each year with internships and practical learning oppor­tunities, while our Women Who Dare program serves to encourage young women to enter STEM.

Drew University

By Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger, President

Our STEM students have the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with former industry scientists such as Dr. William Campbell, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine, and faculty researchers— both during the academic year and fulltime over the summer. They work closely with mentors to publish in peer-reviewed journals before they graduate and to win awards from organizations such as Yale University, the Goldwater Foundation and the National Science Foundation. These experiences result in Drew STEM students achieving presti­gious positions at employers such as Google, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin and Pfizer, as well as leading graduate schools, including Stanford, Columbia, Princeton and Cornell.

Eastwick College

By Tom Eastwick, President

Eastwick College has been providing training in information technology and electronics for more than 50 years, so we’re especially proactive in keeping our curriculum current in an industry that can experience major technological shifts in the span of just a year or two. In our latest efforts to enhance our STEM studies and provide our graduates with an advan­tage in the job market, we have integrated a number of new and upcoming technologies to our computer elec­tronics certificate and associate degree paths of study, including wireless, mobile and fiber optics. The associate degree also features Comp TIA certification in Network+ and Security+, two areas that have become critical for the safe and efficient exchange of data and information within the modern workplace.

Fairleigh Dickinson University

By Dr. Christopher Capuano, President

Our strategic plan places strong emphasis on student outcomes and career prepared­ness—especially to students in STEM-relat­ed fields. We want to help them stand out among their peers by preparing them with leadership opportunities and solid work and internship experience. Specifically, for jobs in the tech industry, we’ve recently renovated spaces into specialized laboratories, including a soils lab, an advanced manufacturing lab, a materials-testing lab, a fluids and HVAC lab, an electrical wiring lab, a 3-D printing lab, an electronics lab, a green energy lab and a digital arts studio. We added a Mechanical Engineering degree for undergraduates and a Cybersecurity and Information Assurance degree for graduate stu­dents. Our School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences con­tinues to expand. Our Master of Public Health program was approved by the New Jersey Presidents’ Council.

Felician University

By Dr. Anne Prisco, President

The best competitive advantage we can offer our students is to first provide an education that includes and reflects the level of technology seen in the workplace today. From our state-of-the-art nursing simulation center, to our trading room in the School of Business, to our Cyber-security lab, students receive an education infused with the latest technologies. The second advantage of Felician is that we support our students in their academic careers through opportunities such as scholar­ships, internships, experiential learning, and research projects with faculty. The outcomes of this are graduates who are consistently sought after in their respec­tive fields, because they possess the entrepreneurial thinking and technolog­ical skills required in today’s workforce.

Kean University

By Dr. Dawood Farahi, President

Kean University STEM programs are designed to give students a competitive advantage in this technology-driven job market. Our New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics provides a unique program structured around multi-disciplinary core studies in mathe­matics, biology, chemistry and physics. It is integrated with hands-on, authentic research experiences under the guidance of a mentor from freshman year until graduation. This approach provides our students with a strong foundation in sci­ence and technology, command of technical application, and deep re-search experience that makes them highly attractive to prospective employ­ers and graduate programs. Kean pre­pares our graduates to be responsive and productive in our dynamic, chang­ing landscape. Successful career place­ment is one of the hallmarks of our STEM-related programs.

Monmouth University

By Dr. Grey J. Dimenna, President

Monmouth University recently completed an 18-month, $40 million renovation of our Edison Science Building. The project embodies our commitment toward STEM education, especially because our general education requirements bring all students into the building for at least four classes during their undergraduate career. A critical component was $5 mil­lion in state funding through New Jersey’s Building Our Future Act and Capital Improvement Fund. In June we significantly expanded our marine sci­ence capabilities with the acquisition of the 49-foot R/V Nauvoo, providing a major boost for hands-on research for our faculty, students and regional partners. We have also entered into an agreement with the Borough of Rumson to construct a $7 million Marine and Environmental Field Station on the Navesink River, where faculty will collab­orate on STEM programming for K-12 students.

Montclair State University

By Dr. Susan A. Cole, President

We support experiential learning opportunities in more than 90 science-related majors, minors and concentrations, and students benefit from research and training experiences with modern instrumenta­tion and technology for entry into the STEM workforce. The NSF-funded STEM PIONEERS program provides a year of discovery as well as mentoring and aca­demic support for first-generation col­lege students interested in science careers. The PSEG Institute for Sustain-ability Studies provides students real-world internships with New Jersey busi­nesses, municipalities and community groups to solve sustainability problems through its Green Teams program. New opportunities for students continueto expand in new fields, such as Cyber-security and Data Science, and the School of Nursing has increased its offerings to include a Master of Science in Nursing graduate program and a four-year Bachelor of Science degree.

New Jersey Institute of Technology

By Dr. Joel Bloom, President

Technology is both the foundation of our global economy and the catalyst for its growth, across all business sectors. NJIT is one of only 32 polytechnic universities in the nation, so we specialize in preparing students in the STEM disciplines to thrive professionally. We maintain close relations with industry-leading corpora­tions in order to assure that our gradu­ates have the skills employers seek. As a result, our graduates are in great demand. They average nearly three job offers prior to graduation and starting salaries nearly 20 percent higher than the national average. This has made NJIT #1 in the United States for student upward economic mobility and among the top 2 percent for student return on investment.

Ocean County College

By Dr. Jon H. Larson, President

Said the late English theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking: “We live in a bewildering world.” But science—this discipline of reason and of romance—lights our way. At Ocean County College, we strive to promote research and experimenta­tion in the sciences, technology, engi­neering and mathematics. In that vein, OCC has devised a multi-faceted STEM Center for our campus in Toms River. The facility will involve learners in interactive instructional activities and in laboratories equipped with cutting- edge instrumentation, and it will seam­lessly merge resources to grow the STEM student pipeline, deliver engaging educational opportunities and create a network of resources for exist­ing businesses and startups. Through local partnerships, and the enrichment of our degree programs, we endeavor to encourage students of all ages to consider a STEM career.

Ramapo College of New Jersey

By Dr. Peter P. Mercer, President

Ramapo College, like many of its peer institutions, has made substantial investments in the STEM disciplines. We have excellent facilities and faculty and many of our graduates go on to outstanding professional and graduate schools. However, we also encourage avoidance of the American obsession with STEM education. Leaving aside the question of whether a “tech­nology-driven career” might be as arid as it sounds, I subscribe to the views expressed by Fareed Zakaria in a Washington Post article dated March 26, 2015: “A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross-fertilization. Yes, sci­ence and technology are crucial compo­nents of this education, but so are English and philosophy.”

Thomas Edison State University

By Dr. Merodie Hancock, President

Many of our programs meet the needs of those seeking, or already immersed in, careers where opportunity is fueled by technology-related skills and leadership acumen. Our School of Applied Science and Technology’s offerings encompass associ­ate to master’s degree programs in information technology, engineering technology, data management, cyberse­curity, aviation and health technology. Our W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing’s programs are a cornerstone for nurses seeking flexible pre-licensure through doctorate degree program options that enrich their careers and position them to lead healthcare transformation. Our School of Business and Management has developed career-focused undergradu­ate and master’s programs in account­ing, data analytics, finance and health­care management. Across all our areas of study, students can leverage their STEM-related career skills by earning equivalent academic credits for their professional licenses, certifications and military training.

Union County College

By Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin, President

We are continually evalu­ating programs of study and course offerings to best meet the needs of the STEM job market. Faculty utilize experiential learning as well as project-based learning across the STEM disciplines to help students better understand career opportunities. Union students in the engineering and archi­tecture programs have access to soft­ware such as MATLab and 3D printers to help them build their design portfolios. Our students in the STEM programs have access to research leaders through specialized seminar talks and the opportunity for networking and mentorship. Additionally, our students are exposed to graduate programs and the career opportunities that follow. This past year, Union launched a new program in cyber forensics, which is a rapidly growing STEM field with a need for qualified professionals.

William Paterson University

By Dr. Richard J. Helldobler, President

Our degree programs include biology, biotechnology, chemistry, environmental science, computer science, computer infor­mation technology, mathematics, sustainability, materi­als chemistry and actuarial sciences. Our programs focus on opportunities for students to conduct research direct­ly with faculty, often leading to conference presenta­tions and publication in peer-reviewed journals. We are increasing the enrollment of underrepresented minori­ties in STEM programs through our leading role in the National Science Foundation-funded Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Our active Women in Science and Engineering Program, with sup­port from Becton Dickinson, encourages talented women to explore science careers and develop leader­ship skills. Our close connections with alumni and friends at STEM-related companies and on our College of Science and Health Advisory Board help us realign curriculum to industry needs and provide STEM-specific career development networking programs.

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