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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Educational Opportunity Program At NJIT Honored By Two National Groups: Two EOP Staff Members Cited For Excellence In Recruiting, Training And Graduating Minority Engineers

Laurence Howell, the executive director of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has been named minority-engineering program director of the year by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).


Separately, Carlomagno Ontaneda, the assistant director of the EOP, has been named educator of the year by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).


Howell, of Wayne, was cited by NSBE for being a “major contributor to NJIT’s consistently high ranking in graduating African American and Hispanic engineers.” Ontaneda, of Livingston, was cited by SHPE for “promoting Hispanic education in the engineering, science and math disciplines.” 


Howell was pleased with both awards.


“It’s the first time two staff members from an engineering development program, both from the same university, have been recognized in the same year by these two national societies,” said Howell. “It shows that the EOP at NJIT is not only a success but a national leader in higher education.”


Howell will receive NSBE’s premier honor, the Golden Torch Award, during the group’s March 18 gala event in Dallas, Texas. Ontaneda recently received his award at a SHPE banquet in Chicago, Ill. 


EOP is a state and university funded program that offers academic, financial, career and counselling support to underrepresented students. EOP supports students who are typically unprepared by their high schools to contend with a rigorous engineering school such as NJIT. Howell supervises an EOP staff of 10 workers whose job it is to recruit, educate and graduate these students.  With an annual budget of $2.3 million, Howell has increased the number of incoming EOP freshman at NJIT to 150 out of a total enrollment of 5,500.


Under Howell’s leadership, NJIT has distinguished itself in the national rankings of colleges that graduate minority engineers. According to the magazine Black Issues In Higher Education, NJIT ranks 15 in the nation for awarding bachelor degrees in engineering to African Americans, and 11 nationally for awarding bachelor degrees in engineering to Hispanics.


In recognizing Ontaneda, SHPE cited him for vigorously promoting higher education to Latinos. In the February issue of SHPE Magazine, an article described Ontandea as a “champion of recruitment and retention who has developed the formula for student’s success.”

Ontaneda, a native of Ecuador who has dedicated his life to helping Latinos overcome obstacles to technical higher education, said he considers his job a blessing since it affords him the personal satisfaction of helping students who otherwise might not have made it to college.


“This award from SHPE is a great honor to me,” said Ontaneda. “It verifies that what we are doing here in EOP - helping educate students who might have been left behind - is of great national importance.”


Ontaneda holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial administration from NJIT. Howell holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology/psychology and a master’s degree in counselling and administration, both from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN.


The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Los Angeles, CA, is a non-profit group of professional engineers and student chapters whose mission is to serve as role models in the Hispanic community.  The National Society of Black Engineers, based in Alexandria, VA, is a non-profit group whose mission is to increase the number of black engineers.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.