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123 New Jersey STEM Students Graduate from Governor’s STEM Scholars

Students Complete Year-Long STEM Program 

funded by State of New Jersey, Bristol Myers Squibb, Comcast, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, Panasonic, PSEG Foundation, Spencer Savings Bank, Stryker, and Verizon


On Saturday, May 11, 2024, 123 New Jersey high school and college students graduated from the Governor’s STEM Scholars, a year-long program of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey that provides a 360° view of New Jersey’s STEM economy through conferences, lab tours, and a research project.


During the commencement ceremony and conference held at Kean University, each Scholar was honored for their efforts in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a diploma signed by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and a Joint Legislative Resolution sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Tully (LD-38), Deputy Majority Leader and Chair of the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee.


The graduating Scholars heard from esteemed speakers including Assemblyman Tully and Stephanie Otis, PharmD CHC, Vice President of US Medical Affairs at Ferring Pharmaceuticals based in Parsippany.

During Commencement, Scholars presented year-long research projects led by undergraduate and graduate-level Scholars that address community-based research questions. The research team led by Cooper Medical School of Rowan University student Anika Pruthi on Unearthing the Hidden Threat: Heavy Metal Pollution and Community Challenges in Hudson County, NJ was awarded an Excellence in Research Award. Team members included Suchit Basineni, Aden Falk, Carolyn He, Annika Raj, and Ishir Rao.  All research projects can be viewed at www.govstemscholars.com/showcase.

“The Governor’s STEM Scholars provides high school and college students with an inside look into New Jersey’s vast STEM economy,” said Alise Roderer, Director of the Governor’s STEM Scholars. “Over the past year, these 123 exceptional Scholars have learned about career opportunities at R&D organizations throughout the state, developed 21st century skills to support their transitions into college and career, and created a research project with community-changing potential. We are proud of their achievements within the program and are looking forward to watching as they become our state’s next generation of innovators.” 



The Governor’s STEM Scholars is a public-private partnership between the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, the Office of the Governor, the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, and New Jersey’s public and private research higher education institutions. 


Throughout the academic year, Scholars participated in four conferences to explore different aspects of New Jersey’s STEM economy focusing on STEM in government, academia, and industry. During the 2023-2024 programmatic year, these conferences were held at the Rutgers School of Engineering, Princeton University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Kean University. Additionally, Scholars toured New Jersey STEM facilities and laboratories and engaged with STEM leaders at the United Airlines hub at Newark International Airport, Bristol Myers Squibb, Stryker Corporation, PSEG’s Salem and Hope Creek Generating Stations, and Kenvue.


The 2023-2024 Governor’s STEM Scholars graduates are (*denotes college-level Scholar):


Atlantic County

Alexander Savov

Aaron Simpson

Isabela Simpson*


Bergen County 

Alexandra Bruno

Liliana Hopkins*

Cinthia Hussein*

Claire Jiang

Dennise Munyao,

Alfardi Nuruzzaman

Kevin Ozkuyumcu

Lindsey Samuel

Riyashi Varia


Burlington County 

Michael Domenech

Adam Freedman

Ashley Kim

Nidhi Mandrekar


Camden County 

Aden Falk

Alexander Kang

Jiwoo Lee

Praise Sodimu


Cape May County 

Justen Wen


Cumberland County 

Yeheira Acosta

Brianna Mosley


Essex County 

Cristina Altamirano*

Julissa Beltrán

Kailan Campbell

Noor EL-Hawwat*

Andrés Jaquez Cruz

Alisson Lopez Donado*

Pari Narang

Ashley Noboa

Jerrick Romero

Kaelynn Ross

Nennin Toure


Gloucester County 

Elizabeth Justin


Hudson County 

Fatima Abella* 

Krystinna Arevalo

Michelle Ayala

Hazel Bonilla

Valerie Duran

Carolyn Eloy

Isabella Fernandes-Santinho

Mircea Florescu*

Hector Gonzalez*

Raifah Kader

Axel Perez

Marisa Syed* 

Raunak Verma

Madison Walia-Peters

Morgan Walia-Peters


Hunterdon County 

Malorie Brown

Sofia Colella

Ian Grenda

Neeraj Venna


Mercer County 

Matthew Abad

Tionna Dunn

Anvita Kulkarni

Muhammad Mir*

Shirin Sood


Middlesex County 

Nishi Agrawal

Sarvesh Anand

Kerat Bangar*

Animesh Borad*

Pooja Challi

Lawrence He

Shelby Hilarczyk

Shreyaah Iyer

Sonal Lakhani

Aidan Ogborn

Chelsea Panton

Misha Patel

Anika Pruthi*

Reeti Rout

Zashaan Tahaqqum Shaik

Ved Shenoy

Pranav Tripathi*

Mia Velasco

Akhil Vemuri

Amber Verma

Yash Verma


Monmouth County 

Suchit Basineni

Madeline Hunt

Marlene Krueger

Madison MacKenzie

Jacob Normand*

Annika Raj

Hayden Schechter

Shravani Vedagiri




Morris County 

Myra Almeida

Isha Bhatia

Akintunde Fasoro

Carolyn He

Keira Lee

Daniel Leykin

Arata Nakano

Khushi Prajapati

Ishir Rao

Lithra Sankari


Ocean County 

Katherine Estevanell

Anita Lemus Rivera


Passaic County 

Seidy Castillo

Kenny Frias

Cesar Ramirez

Disha Rana

Alexander Relovsky


Somerset County 

Kayrine Calderon

Jenny Gao

Kaelyn Johnson

Charlotte Liu

Lola López-Spencer

Oluwaniademi Ogundana

Shubham Sharma

Jennifer Tian

Vamsikrishna Vaidyula


Sussex County 

Alexandra MacMullin


Union County 

Mina Basaly*

Robert Bress

Jolie Estevao

Omolola Falana

Emily Hickey

Lily Liu

Janeli Tenecota-Villa


Warren County 

Angelina Lin

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