February 19, 2016
The Community Foundation was proud to support the Governor’s STEM Scholars program last year, as part of an effort to retain and support New Jersey students of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) as they enter career pathways.
Earlier this month, the program held its Industry and STEM Conference at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. This conference gave participating students (“the scholars”) a thorough introduction to STEM opportunities in the state’s private sector.
The day began with a presentation by Ryan Blackmore, worldwide director of human resources at Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Blackmore gave an informative and high energy overview on how to network, write a great resume, and make the most of an interview. In particular, he emphasized the importance of taking every opportunity to make a positive impression.
Following Blackmore’s presentation, the scholars had the chance to put his lessons to work in a unique professional setting called STEM Speed Networking. During this session, the scholars circulated around the room meeting with professionals from some of the state’s top STEM companies, including BD, BMS, Celgene, Janssen, PSEG, and South Jersey Industries. Each professional spoke about their own professional journeys and life within their companies. In addition, they all were able to guide interested scholars to potential internship opportunities with their employers.
After a lunch break where the students worked on their STEM research projects, the scholars split into two groups where they toured the innovation laboratories at NJIT. At the first laboratory, the Swarm Labs, they met Dr. Simon Garnier, who spoke to the students about his work studying the mechanisms of swarm intelligence in natural and artificial systems. At the Center for Injury Biomechanics, the scholars got a firsthand look at research into head traumas funded by the Department of Defense.
Feedback from the conference was overwhelmingly positive with many of the scholars enthusing that this was the best event of the year. After seeing their fellow scholars starting internships in the New Jersey State Assembly and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the number of students interested in having a STEM internship experience in New Jersey markedly increased.