Governor’s STEM Scholars Application Now Available!

Bolstering New Jersey’s STEM education and career pipeline in response to the Governor’s policy priority of stemming outmigration, 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 and develops New Jersey’s next STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) thought leaders.

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

This program is for students registered for school in New Jersey who are pursuing studies in the fields of STEM, have a 3.5 G.P.A. or higher, and can show a demonstrated interest in STEM.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate leadership qualities either through participation in school programs or community activities. Leadership does not have to pertain to STEM, although this type of leadership would be helpful to a candidate.

If selected, the student will be required to attend four annual Governor’s STEM Scholars symposiums. These symposiums introduce the scholars to STEM opportunities in industry, academia, and government. Highlights of the program also include field trips, such as to Celgene’s facilities in Summit, NJ.

The scholars are required to complete a research project during the 2020-2021 academic year. The Governors STEM Scholars mentors undergraduate and graduate scholars who, in turn, mentor teams of high school students on these 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.

Having graduated more than 350 scholars and now in its sixth year, the Governor’s STEM Scholars has grown 22 percent over last year alone. It has put an emphasis on diversity and inclusion and is currently 60 percent female. The director of the program, a majority of the Advisory Board, and many of the keynote speakers are female. This year, twenty of the twenty-one New Jersey counties are represented. One goal for the 2020-2021 class is to have all counties represented.

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