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

NJIT Engineering Student Named To USA TODAY’s College Academic Team

An electrical and computer engineering junior at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) was named to the second team of the 19th annual all-USA college academic program sponsored by the publication USA TODAY.  Mohammad Farhan Haider Naqvi, of Kearny, received the honor based upon an application he submitted last fall listing his accomplishments to date.

The award followed an earlier honor:  Last March, Naqvi was named a Goldwater scholar by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program.

Naqvi said the new honor focused on a student’s past rather than present achievements. At first, Naqvi, however, started essays about new, not old projects.  When he finally realized his error, frustration got the best of him and he let the application lay fallow.  Suddenly though as he neared the deadline, he saw his past accomplishments in a new light.  “They were significant and I thought why not compete,” he said.  To his surprise, he won and his confidence returned.

“Life is always teasing you not to pursue a goal,” he philosophized.  “You tell yourself that you can’t do it and that if you do try, you’ll take time away from other things like studies.  However I learned from these competitions, that if you just try, you never know what might happen. God willing, things might also work out for you.”

While at NJIT, Naqvi has worked with physics professor Dale Gary and research professor Carsten Denker to analyze images taken since 1996 at Big Bear Solar Observatory in California.  The images illustrate energy emitted from the Sun.  NJIT has operated and managed Big Bear since 1997. The observatory is one of two, ground-based observatories in the US capable of high-resolution solar observation, supported by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

To better understand climate change, global warming and the human contribution to both, Naqvi searched an electronic archive of daily images of the Sun.  Naqvi was looking for patterns in ultra-violet radiation that might occur in the Sun’s chromosphere.   The chromosphere is located about 1000 miles above the Sun’s visible surface and is one of the star’s four atmospheric layers. Small magnetic fields can easily be identified in the chromosphere, making it an attractive region for scientific inquiry.

The effort proved fruitful. A small portion of the Sun’s visible light spectrum—the chromospheric calcium line—showed much stronger ultra-violet activity, than all the rest of the Sun’s spectrum.

USA TODAY names 20 undergrads to its All-USA College Academic Team. Winners receive national recognition, a trophy and $2,500. These students excel in scholarship and extend their intellectual abilities beyond the classroom to benefit society.  The publication also names the same number of scholars to a second and third team, plus a list of honorable mention winners.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

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.