Maureen Sturgeon, a non-traditional, adult student who is on her second career, may be the most industrious student to graduate May 17, 2007, from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).
Sturgeon, 43, of Franklin Park, will graduate with an almost-perfect grade point average, while holding down a full-time job – as the engineering inspector for Franklin Township. Sturgeon also has managed, while attending classes full-time, to sit on the Franklin Township Planning Board, play softball regularly and take three graduate classes. If that is not enough, she is a full-time mother and single parent to her eight-year-old daughter Emily.
Plus, she’s a top student. Newark College of Engineering (NCE) at NJIT recently named Sturgeon, outstanding engineering technology senior based on her achievements. Sturgeon has received five scholarships and is a member of the Society of Women Engineers. She is a member of the New Jersey Association for Floodplain Management and is a FEMA-certified first responder. She also teaches home repairs to women.
(ATTENTION EDITORS: To interview Sturgeon at the graduation starting at 9 a.m., Continental Airlines Arena, call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436.)
Sturgeon, who grew up in Warren and is a graduate of Watchung Hills High School, was not always at the top of her class. “I was a horrible student,” she recalled. “No one, back then, thought I’d amount to much. I didn’t have the right motivation.”
Everything changed, though, when her daughter was born. Sturgeon was unhappily working in the service department of a car dealership and realized she wanted to make more of her life. “I wanted my daughter to be proud of me,” she said. Coincidentally, she also lost the service job. “The time seemed right to return to school,” she said. She enrolled at Union County College to study engineering technology.
To Sturgeon’s surprise, she was not only academically able to excel, but she enjoyed learning. Later, the transfer to NJIT was easy, thanks to agreements between the institutions. It is now no surprise that this late bloomer will graduate as a top student.
For now, Sturgeon’s life is complete -- if a tad hectic. Sturgeon would like to continue working for Franklin Township and expand her duties to include the areas of capital projects and design. She is also contemplating a teaching career, which, in her words, “is a great way to give back what was given to me.” Sturgeon also hopes that by example, she can teach her daughter the importance of determination and schooling.