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Governor’s STEM Scholars Program holds first symposium of academic year

The Governor’s STEM Scholars Program held its first symposium of the academic year on Sept. 28 hosted by Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

The program is a public-private partnership among the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, the Governor’s Office, the New Jersey Department of Education, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, and Fortune 500 companies. It is designed to immerse the top STEM talent in grades 10 through the doctoral level in New Jersey’s vast STEM economy and bolster the state’s education and career pipeline.

Its goal is to introduce the these students to education and career opportunities in government. The class of 2020 contains 95 scholars who were chosen by the Governor’s STEM Scholars advisory board.

Governor’s STEM Scholars Director Rebecca Lubot delivered welcoming remarks, explaining the history of the organization. She welcomed Research & Development Council of New Jersey President Anthony Cicatiello, who introduced Larry O’Connell, vice president of Global Technical Leadership and Global TechLine at IBM Global Markets and chairman of the R&D Council.

O’Connell reflected on future challenges for scholars.

The program included a conversation between Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16, and Donald Sebastian, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Innovation Institute.

Lubot moderated a panel on STEM in government, featuring Christopher Cox, acting director in the office of STEM in the New Jersey Department of Education; Shahram Dabiri, technology manager CCDCAC STEM Education Program Office, Picatinny Arsenal; Michael Geraghty, chief information security officer, State of New Jersey; and Tanya Nalesnik, Officer (Ret.), U.S. Coast Guard.

An alumnus, Ricardo Garcia, spoke about how he originally lived in Pennsylvania and decided to stay in New Jersey because of opportunities in STEM revealed to him by the Governor’s STEM Scholars.


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