Guest Blogger, Rebecca C. Lubot, Director of Governor’s STEM Scholars Program, Research & Development Council of New Jersey, provides information about Governor’s STEM Scholars, a program that identifies high-achieving STEM scholars in grades 10 through the doctoral level and develops them into New Jersey’s next STEM thought leaders. Scholars are eligible to apply for the 2020-2021 class via the program’s website through June 20, 2020.

Bolstering the state’s STEM education and career pipeline, the Governor’s STEM Scholars is a public-private partnership among the Research & Development Council, Governor’s Office, Department of Education, Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, higher education institutions, and private industries that identifies high-achieving STEM scholars in grades 10 through the doctoral level and develops them into New Jersey’s next STEM thought leaders. 

The Governor’s STEM Scholars mentors undergraduate and graduate scholars who, in turn, mentor teams of high school students on year-long research projects. A sample of the projects being completed at different research institutions across the State this year include: 

  • “Cube Satellite Test Bench” – by making an open facility to quickly test CubeSats of all kinds, the Governor’s STEM Scholars program and the Space Technology Association of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey will enable New Jersey colleges and research universities to become leaders in the growing space research industry.
  • “Investigating the Efficiency of CX-5461 Cancer Drug on Mutated C-kit1 Sequences Using Nanopore Technology” – Mutation on Ckit1 gene has been observed in several types of malignancy, notably: leukemia, melanoma, and gastrointestinal tumors. This research project utilizes nanotechnology to examine how point mutations on Ckit1 gene break the DNA structural integrity and consequently reduce the efficacy of the cancer drug.

Projects are judged by a panel of experts from academia, industry, and government for “Best Research Project” and a “STEM Civics Award.” The latter award is earned by the team that makes the biggest impact promoting STEM in New Jersey, by making a difference either increasing student or citizen access to STEM, improving educational outcomes, and/or by generally acting as exemplary STEM citizens in New Jersey.

Additional highlights of the program include field trips, such as to Celgene’s facilities in Summit, NJ, and symposiums introducing the scholars to STEM opportunities in industry, academia, and governmentThe program has put an emphasis on diversity and inclusion and is 60 percent female this year. The director of the program, a majority of the Advisory Board, and many of the keynote speakers are female. Twenty of the twenty-one New Jersey counties are represented and one goal for the 2020-2021 class is to have all counties represented.

Scholars enrolled in grades 10 through the doctoral level are eligible to apply for the 2020-2021 class. Applications are available via the program’s website now through June 20, 2020.

Rebecca C. Lubot

Director Governor’s STEM Scholars Program, Research & Development Council of New Jersey

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