When Daniel Boston, of Pittsgrove Township, a budding computer scientist and top academic award winner, walks at NJIT’s upcoming May 17, 2008 commencement in the Prudential Center, he may ponder more than his near-perfect grade point averages or a $62,000 scholarship for ongoing doctoral studies at NJIT.
Boston’s college journey didn’t begin with such lofty ideas. Rather, his primary goal, like so many New Jersey high school grads, was not simply to do well, but leave New Jersey for a small, distant out-of-state college. For him, the move was to Ohio.
“After a year, though, this small out-of-state college made no sense,” he said. “Here I was driving 10 hours to visit family and friends. The education cost double what NJIT costs and the student body wasn’t nearly as diverse.”
ATTENTION EDITORS: To interview Boston either at or prior to graduation, contact Sheryl Weinstein at 973-596-3436.
So, Boston started hunting around for comparable programs. To his delight, he found that a transfer to NJIT solved his problems: He’d be only two hours from home, money would be saved and the unexpected bonus would be a school constantly rated in the top ten in the nation for diversity by US News and World Report.
“The diversity has been awesome. I’ve met the most incredible people,” he said. Even better, he’s been able to continue playing his piano and violin with an on-campus chamber music group. Plus, he’s rediscovered a love of writing and reporting for the campus newspaper. Academically the university has been as good if not better than what he was exposed to in Ohio.
And as he looks at the future he is thrilled to upon graduating, become a doctoral candidate in computing sciences and the first recipient of NJIT’s Gary Thomas Fellowship Award. The award will carry a $62,000 stipend paid out over a four-year period to cover tuition, room and board.
Boston will remain in the same department in NJIT’s College of Computing Sciences as he pursues his doctoral degree that will eventually allow him to apply adaptive programming skills towards the creation and improvement of internet software, simulation or algorithmic environments. To do that he’ll use artificial intelligence techniques or learning code and advanced algorithms to develop computer software to meet the needs of clients.
And he is thrilled to remain working with his undergraduate mentor Cristian Borcea, PhD, an assistant professor in the computing science department. Boston will continue helping Borcea on a segment of a campus-wide project, known as Smart-Campus, which is researching better ways to use mobile devices in daily life.
The recently-established Thomas Scholarship honors the late Gary Thomas who served as vice president for academic affairs from 1980 to 1990 at NJIT as well as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs until 1998. During his service, Thomas led the development of the university’s academic and research programs resulting in significant growth in research expenditures to over $40 million. Provost Thomas advocated for the growth of graduate education programs in order to support the university’s research effort. A doubling of doctoral awards was achieved during his tenure. As a tribute to Thomas’ leadership for graduate education and research growth, the university has established this graduate fellowship program.