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Scholars Learn About Private Sector Careers at STEM in Industry Conference


On Saturday, March 2, 2024, the 2024 class of Governor’s STEM Scholars gathered at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for the STEM in Industry Conference to learn from a diverse group of industry professionals regarding careers in the private sector. 


The Conference provided the Scholars with a solid grounding of STEM opportunities in private industry across New Jersey. As a location with more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the world, if the Scholars were going to pick a place to pursue a career in STEM, New Jersey is where it is at.


Provost John Pelesko, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at NJIT speaks to the Scholars.

Provost John Pelesko, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at NJIT, kicked off the day’s event sharing information regarding academic and research opportunities at NJIT. 


Entrepreneurial Success in STEM

Brittany Hofferber answers a Scholar question, seated next to Dr. Chang Yaramothu and Mahako Etta during the STEM in Entrepreneurship panel.

Scholars spent the morning learning about opportunities in entrepreneurship and STEM. First, Mahako Etta, from the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology led a panel of experts and start-up leaders including Brittany Hofferber, Chief Executive Officer of Next

Michael Johnson of NJII provides keynote remarks to the Scholars.

Breath; Yidian Liu, Chief Executive Officer of PolyGone; and Chang Yaramothu, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Oculomotor Technologies discussing how to go from ideation to market on STEM products. The President of the New Jersey Innovation Institute Michael Johnson, Ph.D. provided keynote remarks, sharing how he has developed life-changing life science technologies. Mark Yackanich, Partner of Better Future Labs, capped off the morning sharing how they are training high school and college students as entrepreneurial leaders.  






STEM Speed Networking After lunch, Scholars connected with numerous industry professionals to learn about the professionals’ career paths, research, and personal motivations through the fan-favorite STEM Speed Networking event. 


Scholars met with James D. Adams, P.E. of K.S. Engineers, P.C.; Angela Arroyo of Fiserv; Raman Bahulekar, Ph.D. of Avantor; Andy Bergeron of Fiserv; Mahako Etta, of the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology; Sapna Katiyar of Audible; Susan Knox, Ph.D. of Kenvue; Long Pan, Ph.D. of Colgate-Palmolive; Abhishek Ramchandran of Siemens; Jose Rivas of Spencer Savings Bank; Sujal Shah, Pharm.D. of Novo Nordisk; John Thomas Szilagyi, Ph.D., DABT of Bristol Myers Squibb; Brianna Torres of Spencer Savings Bank; Daya Verma, Ph.D. of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Andy Wan of Audible; and Mark Yackanich of Better Future Labs.


Scholars ended the conference with a tour of NJIT’s Makerspace, the largest Makerspace in New Jersey, which uses cutting-edge industrial technology.

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