Stefani Kocevska

The Governor’s STEM Scholars Program helped me grow not only as a researcher but also as a leader. Throughout the year, I would always leave the conference inspired by a speech or intrigued by someone’s research experience, and this made me work harder and further explore my own projects.

Stefani Kocevska (’16) is currently a senior at New Jersey Institute of Technology pursuing a degree in chemical engineering. Stefani’s team studied the efficiency of using non-thermal plasma in destroying ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbon molecules. The project has direct applications to environmental engineering and has inspired her to further explore the kinetics behind the destruction mechanisms. In addition, Stefani was selected for an internship in pharmaceutical development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she is currently studying the effects of mixing on crystallization and particle agglomeration.

Matthew Purri

The New Jersey Governor STEM Scholars program has given me leadership skills, confidence, and experiences that will help me successfully navigate the STEM field and for that, I am truly grateful.

Matthew Purri (’15) is currently a junior at Rutgers University pursuing a degree in electrical and computer engineering. As a STEM Scholar, Matthew led his team in designing and building a drone that used video to target mosquito nests with pesticides. The project’s subject of mosquito population control inspired him to start his own company and pursue patents for his work. Through the program, Matthew was selected for an internship working alongside world-renowned scientists at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he gained hands-on experience with plasma speakers.

Rajaamatangi Pillai

I enjoyed meeting and getting to know other STEM Scholars from different areas in New Jersey who shared similar interests. This program has opened so many doors to new opportunities!

Rajaamatangi Pillai (’15) is a rising senior at High Technology High School who plans to explore engineering or technology further upon college. Prior to the program, she was only looking at colleges outside of New Jersey, but after having visited colleges within New Jersey through the STEM conferences and learning about the wonderful research opportunities in New Jersey, and is now considering applying to in-state colleges. Raji said “The four conferences gave me more insight into the biomedical engineering and pharmaceutical research opportunities available in New Jersey.” Through the STEM program, she gained an internship in biomedical engineering under Dr. Tara Alvarezat the Vision and Neural Engineering Laboratory at NJIT. There, she worked on CAD designs, video-gaming for vision therapy, and learned how to analyze eye movement data.

Kelly Szaniawski

I was able to make valuable contacts with people in the industries I’d like to explore. The STEM program was an invaluable experience, and I would do it again if I could.

Kelly Szaniawski (’15) was accepted for the program’s inaugural year asa senior at Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science. Kelly’s research project was on acid reflux, which tested the efficiency of common brands of antacid tablets/ liquids in neutralizing acid.