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

New Jersey High School Students Graduate from NJIT's STEP Program Where They Learn that Science Is Fun

Nearly 150 students from high schools throughout northern and central New Jersey received graduation certificates on April 26 for successfully completing the semester-long Science Technology Enrichment Program (STEP) at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

STEP was designed by NJIT with the sponsorship of Berger Group Holdings, a global engineering and development firm headquartered in Morristown, to encourage high school students’ appreciation of science and technology with particular emphasis on participation by women and minority students. The program immerses high schools students in project-based STEM classes that emphasize hands-on skills and intellectual inquiry, and are constructed to be both rigorous and fun. Participants are not required, for example, to turn in homework or take exams.

“Our professors are passionate about teaching students who are just as passionate about learning,” says Narain Gehani, the program's founding director and a professor in NJIT’s College of Computing Sciences. “These courses are also designed to be fun. What we do is engage students in exciting projects with real-world applications.”

This past semester, the courses offered  included Website development; Chemistry for the Inquisitive Mind; Roadmap to Computing (Programming + Problem Solving); Survivors: Building the Company of the Future, a class that requires students to form project teams to solve real-world problems using innovative Android/ IPhone apps. The semester-long, non-credit courses are offered to high school students free of charge on Saturday mornings on the NJIT campus.

Sixty students enrolled in the Survivors course, which teaches team-based problem solving skills and provides mentorship and training by subject matter experts. Relevant program areas include Android/IPhone apps programming skills, advanced web development, film making, business analysis, marketing strategies, and art & design using technology. This past semester, five teams of students in Survivors worked on different aspects of a smart phone app project suggested to them by a professional from a health care organization.

“The students worked collaboratively and were enthusiastic, focused, and successful,” noted Osama Eljabiri, senior university lecturer in the College of Computing Sciences, who runs the course.

Keith Williams, Junilda Spirollari, and Bhavani Balasubramanian, all university lecturers, taught Introduction to Website Development, Roadmap to Computing, and Fun With Chemistry, respectively.

“I was pleased to represent the Louis Berger Group at Saturday’s STEP graduation and to see so many young students excited to expand their interests in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Robert Nardi, senior vice president of the Berger Group. “From my conversations with parents and students that day it was clear that participating in the STEP program is having a profound positive effect on students’ plans for attending college, considering math, science and engineering as majors, and for including NJIT among their schools of choice.“

Sponsor Berger Group Holdings has been supporting NJIT for many years. The Louis Berger International Scholar Award, named after the firm’s founder, was established in 1997 through an endowment by the Berger family to provide financial support for students pursuing graduate education in fields consistent with the firm’s worldwide activities. On November 5, 2013, the Berger Group was named 2013 Outstanding Corporate Partner at NJIT’s Celebration, the university’s annual black-tie fundraiser. High school students interested in learning more about STEP should visit the STEP website: http://cs.njit.edu/STEP.

About Berger Group Holdings, Inc.

Berger Group Holdings, Inc., a top 20 Engineering News-Record firm headquartered in Morristown, N.J., with offices in Washington, D.C., and a number of other cities within the United States and worldwide, is a multidisciplinary architecture, engineering, planning and environmental consulting firm. With more than 6,000 architects, planners, engineers, construction and program managers, economists and environmental scientists, the Berger Group has worked on hundreds of thousands of miles of highway, thousands of miles of railroad and bridges as well as numerous airfields, seaports, buildings, dams, water supply systems and other infrastructure across the United States and in more than 140 countries. By utilizing its vast global capabilities and local responsiveness, the Berger Group is dedicated to providing solutions for a better world.

About NJIT

NJIT, New Jersey’s science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 127 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Annual Guide to America’s Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.

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.