Unique Joint Public/Private Partnership Will Establish a Student STEM Leadership Program for the Research Industry in New Jersey
Trenton, NJ – Continuing the Christie Administration’s commitment to innovation, academic excellence, and support for New Jersey’s brightest students, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno today announced the establishment of the Governor’s STEM Scholars, a program in partnership with the Research and Development Council of New Jersey to pair industry leaders with the state’s most talented high school and college students in STEM subject matter – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The new program will serve as a mentoring program for New Jersey’s best and brightest STEM scholars in collaboration with the leading research companies in the state. Acting Governor Guadagno was joined by Kim Case,Executive Director of the Research & Development (R&D) Council of New Jersey; Anthony Cicatiello, President of the R&D Council; Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Chris Cerf; and Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks for the announcement.
“One way to keep the best and brightest students in New Jersey is to introduce them to the research community at an early age, particular in these key disciplines to strengthen these highly-educated, high-paying industries for our state,” said Acting Governor Guadagno. “The U.S. Department of Commerce predicts that STEM occupations will grow by 17% from now until 2018, compared to 9.8% growth for non-STEM occupations. This program is a major step forward in ensuring that the young people who demonstrate a talent in this area of STEM education are encouraged with real world experience by the industry.” The R&D Council, in consultation with the Department of Education and the Secretary of Higher Education, will select the students in high school and college, who will then be designated a Governor’s STEM Scholar. The Scholars will participate in a series of seminars that will introduce them to the various research organizations that are located here in New Jersey, and give them the opportunity to speak with key research executives who have made STEM a major part of their life. Program costs will be supported fully by the R&D Council and are estimated to be $1.25 million over a five- year period.
“Every company in the R&D Council has a program that focuses on STEM education, and many of them are national in scope,” stated R&D Council Chairman Ian Shankland, VP & CTO at Honeywell Performance Materials & Technologies in Morris Township. “We felt that we could do something special here in New Jersey, because we have so many research facilities and the personnel to encourage and mentor these young people in this field. We are thrilled to be a part of this program and we believe it is unique among the STEM programs in the country.”
The R&D Council will oversee the content of the quarterly conferences, in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Secretary of Higher Education. “Preparing our students for college and careers is the primary mission of the Department of Education. By establishing partnerships like the STEM Scholars program, we can help facilitate connections between our students and the fields that will form the basis of our future economy,” said Commissioner Cerf. “We are excited to support the program and hope that it will inspire many more students to consider STEM-related career paths. We hope these scholars will then return to laboratories and research companies here in New Jersey with the skills and innovative spirit for which this state is so well known."
“Introducing college students to research organizations and STEM professionals will provide rewarding career opportunities – and keep our most talented students here in New Jersey. This mentoring program will build a cadre of exceptional, world-class STEM leaders for our State – now and in the future,” said Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks.