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

Quintessential NJIT Student, Jersey City's Daisy Gallegos, Hispanic Scholar

“My dad was never afraid that I would fall into a bad crowd because he knew that he raised a smart young lady."

In many ways, Daisy Gallegos, of Jersey City, represents the quintessential NJIT student.  Although born in this country, she is the daughter of immigrant parents who barely spoke a word of English when they arrived on these shores. Before five, her parents were using her as an English language interpreter so they could pay utility bills. By 18, Gallegos had graduated with honors from a struggling inner city high school. She never let the challenges of urban life bring her down, but rather believed that education would enable her to become all she dreamed.  

Tomorrow night, some of that positive thinking will pay off as Gallegos, an NJIT track star and senior majoring in information technology at the College of Computing Sciences, will stand tall and proud as she is honored for her dedicated work as president of the NJIT student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Her parents and loved ones will no doubt be in the audience cheering and weeping. 

Gallegos’ smile will grow even wider when she graduates May 4, 2011 from the NJIT Educational Opportunity Program and again on May 16, 2011, from NJIT at the Prudential Center at 9 a.m.  (ATTENTION MEDIA:  Don’t miss any of these emotional events. To interview Gallegos and learn more about Hispanic student life and programs at NJIT, call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436)  

But tomorrow night, the SHPE gala annual dinner in Newark will be an occasion to be savored on its own. North Carolina State University (NCSU) College of Engineering Dean Louis Martin-Vega will be the keynote speaker. Honors will also be awarded to Newark College of Engineering (NCE) Dean Sunil Saigal, an advocate and advisor to the club.  For more information about attending the dinner, contact Carlomagno Ontaneda, (973) 495-8322 or ontaneda@njit.edu.

Following commencement, Gallegos plans to obtain a master’s degree at NJIT.  To give you a taste of who Gallegos is, read more from her student biography.

“This school (Dickinson High in Jersey City) has a negative reputation, but I was accepted in a special magnet program called Academy of Information Technology. During high school, I took courses within this major; my other courses were all honors.

“My dad was never afraid that I would fall into a bad crowd because he knew that he raised a smart young lady. My freshman year I joined swim team and this was the start of my transformation. After my first season, I focused on doing extremely well in school and taking part in all the clubs, for the ultimate goal of getting into a good college.

“Four years later, on our Exit Day Celebration, the day before graduation, my name was called multiple times to the stage to receive various awards. At one point, I was embarrassed to keep going up. I was in the top ten students of the graduates out of 600, a recognized athlete, an honor student, had many friends, and was going to attend my top choice college in the fall—NJIT. 

“High school was great.”

Louis Martin-Vega arrived in 2006 at NCSU. Prior to that, he spent five years as dean of engineering at University of Southern Florida, Tampa. He has served at the National Science Foundation (NSF) including acting head of its engineering directorate and director of NSF’s Division of Design, Manufacture and Industrial Innovation. He has served as chairman of the department of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering at Lehigh University, Lockheed Professor in the College of Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology and held tenured positions at University of Florida and University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez.

He is the author or co-author of more than 100 journal articles, book chapters and more. He received his BS in industrial engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, an MS in operations research from New York University and ME and PhD in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Florida.

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.