Feature Stories

NCE Names Outstanding Students

During NCE's annual Salute to Engineering Excellence, the college named its outstanding students of the year.

Each year, the Newark College of Engineering gives awards to outstanding engineering students. NCE, the largest and best engineering school in New Jersey, is extemely proud of these students, all of whom have made major accomplishments at NCE. They are the future of engineering, and here they are:

William H. Pennock III

William Pennock IIICivil and Environmental Engineering: Outstanding Senior and NCE Outstanding Senior

William is receiving two of NCE’s highest honors. He’s the Outstanding Senior in his major – civil and environmental engineering – and he’s also NCE’s Outstanding Senior of the Year.

Academically he’s ranked first in his senior class. He has accumulated an outstanding academic record – he has a 4.0 GPA.

But perhaps more importantly, his professors describe him as a humble and well-mannered student of high moral integrity – one who wants to dedicate his life to serving others.

At NJIT, William has managed to balance academics with major volunteer work. He is the former president of Engineers Without Borders, the student group that has designed bio-filters which help Haitians get clean drinking water. He also worked as a community development intern in Quito, Ecuador, where he helped improve the city’s water systems.

He also did research at NJIT that helped improve bridge safety in the state. Along with his professors, he did a project for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, where he modeled what is known as bridge scouring – the way a bridge’s foundation settles over time. That project helped the state understand which bridges need repair and attention.

He plans to do graduate work in environmental engineering, with a focus on water quality.  He then wants to work on clean water projects in developing countries. He received a full scholarship to pursue an MS/Ph.D. in Cornell University's School of  Environmental Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Processes.He plans to do research related to Cornell's AguaClara program, in which students design clean water solutions for communities in developing countries. 

Margaret ChristianMargaret Christian

Biomedical Engineering: Madame Mau Outstanding Female Engineering Award

Margaret is an Albert Dorman Honors College student majoring in biomedical engineering; she has a perfect GPA of 4.0.  Besides being an exemplary student, she is an inspiring leader on campus. She is a pre-med representative with the BME Ambassadors Program; serves as president of NJIT’s Innovation Acceleration Club; is a member of the NJIT fencing team and tutors in the chemistry department's learning center.

She also conducts research in NJIT’s stem cell research lab. Formerly, Margaret’s extra-curricular activities included volunteering at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where she shadowed a cardiothoracic surgeon; she also volunteered for the Montville Township First Aid Squad.

She has won awards for her research, including the Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge and the Capital One Bank Cross Campus Challenge. Margaret’s research talents are illustrated in her student team’s design of a product that will dramatically reduce the time it takes to repair heart valves. That project was awarded a provisional patent by NJIT.

Margaret is applying to medical school for the fall of 2014. She will also enroll in a dual MD/MPH (master’s of public health) degree program. She hopes to eventually work as cardiologist and do research in tissue engineering. 

Yazdan Majdi

Yazdan MajdiCivil and Environmental Engineering: NCE Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Yazdan, this year’s Outstanding Graduate Student, has demonstrated outstanding performance in research, teaching and service to the CEE Department as well as to NJIT. He has a 4.0 GPA and is also an exceptional researcher.

He is completing his PhD thesis work under the supervision of Professor C.T. Thomas Hsu and will soon defend his thesis. He is writing two technical papers that he’ll submit to the Journal of Structural Engineering.  

As a teaching assistant, Yazdan has received excellent evaluations from both professors and students.  He is highly committed to his teaching duties as evidenced by a positive response of his students. After graduation, he'll work as a structural engineer for WSP Cantor Seinuk, an international firm that specializes in tall building design.

Dung Le-UlshDung Le-Ulsh

Biomedical Engineering: Outstanding Senior

Dung is majoring in biomedical engineering with a concentration in tissue engineering. Her GPA is 3.93. Her professors describe her as bright, conscientious, self-confident and articulate.  She is also generous with her time and volunteering efforts. As a member of the Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, she tutors students in biomedical engineering courses. She also assists Professor Bruno Mantilla with his course, Measurement Lab for Physiological Systems. She has also collaborated on three capstone team projects.

Over the years, Dung has dedicated herself to humane efforts such as assisting in providing potable water for under-developed nations. She received the People’s Choice Award for best poster at NJEN 2013 and has made the dean’s list every semester. 

After graduation, she plans to take a delayed honeymoon with her husband, who she met at NJIT. The two will travel to her homeland: Vietnam. After that, she hopes to come back to NJIT for her master’s degree and eventually a doctorate so that she can become a university professor.


Katlin Davis

Katlin DavisOtto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering: Outstanding Senior

Katlin majors in chemical engineering with a minor in environmental studies and sustainability. She has a near-perfect GPA of 3.969 and she’s made the dean’s list every semester. She also works as a chemistry and mathematics tutor.

She has many awards, including the 2010 Paul F. Beatin; the 2011 McGowan; the 2011 ExxonMobil Corporation Award and the Anna & Johan Spatz Memorial Awards; all of them are chemical engineering merit awards.  Katlin has shown a keen interest in research as evidenced by her summer project at the University of North Texas, where she used sonic resonance to test the strength of materials as a function of temperature. She is a member of the NJIT chapter of AIChE, Phi Eta Sigma National Honors Society and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society. 

She plans to pursue a graduate degree and her long-term goal is to work in the petrochemical industry and develop alternative fuels and clean energy technology.

Keith DavisKeith Davis

Engineering Technology: Outstanding Senior

Keith didn’t enroll at NJIT right after high school.  Rather, he worked for 12 years as a machine operator and asbestos supervisor. 

It wasn’t a great job but he worked on demolitions and rehabilitations of buildings, which spurred his interest in engineering and construction.  He worked for a company that specialized in tile and mastic removal. He helped the company with planning, logistics and scheduling and that got him also interested in construction management.

So after 12 years of working, he returned to school to study those fields. He enrolled first at Middlesex County College where he graduated with high honors. He then transferred to NJIT and majored in construction engineering technology. 

Like many students who come to NJIT with work experience, Keith has a strong work ethic. A month before his first semester at NJIT, for instance, his wife had a baby.  He had to help with his child while taking a full course load. He also took a full-time internship working for a general contractor. He had to juggle work, school and family life. Nonetheless, he maintained a GPA of 3.95.

He also got involved on campus. He was a member of the Student Society of Construction Contractors and competed in the 2012 Associated Schools of Construction Regional Estimating Competition.  After he graduates, he’d like to work for a construction management firm.

Anthony F. Moussa

Anthony MoussaElectrical and Computer Engineering: Outstanding Senior

Anthony has maintained a 3.8 cumulative GPA and in many semesters had obtained a perfect 4.0 GPA. Also, as treasurer for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch, he was responsible for managing the organization's large cash balance and organizing workshops and study sessions.

During his sophomore year, Anthony volunteered to be a math tutor. He was so good at it that he soon became a recitation instructor – a credit to his poise in the classroom and his ability to transfer his knowledge to others.

He has completed two internships: one as a U.S. Naval Air Engineer intern with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and another with PSE&G, where he worked as a systems control engineer intern. He excelled in both, obtaining full-time job offers from both the DOD and PSE&G. His internship at PSE&G was so successful they the company asked extended his internship into the fall semester.

He also volunteered for many groups. He worked countless hours volunteering through Eta Kappa Nu and Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Societies. His volunteer work with the Coptic Society earned praise from Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker, who said the society was helping to build a better Newark. After he graduates he plans to work as an electrical engineer who “gives back to society by eventually designing technology that will reshape our world," he says.

Jonathan DaudelinJonathan A. Daudelin

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering: Outstanding Senior

At age 13, Jonathan led a robotics team that won first place at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival. In high school, a writer asked him to co-author a book about robotics. He agreed and their book became a bestseller on Amazon.com.  Jonathan later co-authored three more books on robotics.

As a senior in high school he scored 1,500 (math and verbal) on the SATs, which earned him a scholarship to the Albert Dorman Honors College, where he’s now a senior majoring in mechanical engineering.  He’s never gotten less than an A; he has a 4.0 GPA.  On one of his math common exams he scored so high that his professor said it was the highest score he’d ever seen at NJIT. He also excels on the NJIT men’s track team.  He also did a summer internship at iRobot, one of the nation’s leading robotic companies. 

Jonathan is one of 10 children, all of whom were home-schooled.  His older brother, David, just graduated from NJIT with a 4.0. His younger brother, Isaac, is a sophomore at NJIT with a 4.0. And another brother, Tim, started at NJIT this year.

He was recently awarded a full scholarship plus a stipend to attend Cornell University, where in the fall he’ll start on a doctorate in mechanical engineering. 

“My brothers and I really enjoy NJIT,” says Jonathan, “since it offers a variety of opportunities, both academically and socially. It’s also prepared me well for a career in robotics.” 

(By Robert Florida)