“I CAN STEM” NJ Inductees 2021


Role Models

New Jersey Inductees

2021 New Jersey Inductees


Lauren Madden

Associate Professor at The College of New Jersey

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Dr. Madden is a science educator who advocates for scientific literacy and the health of our planet through teaching and learning. Dr. Madden currently serves as an Associate Professor at The College of New Jersey.


Naseed Gifted

Principal of Malcolm X Shabazz High School

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Naseed Gifted is an educator, engineer and writer for sci-fi comic book series P.B.Soldier. Gifted is also the founder of Newark’s Comic Book Festival and Animation Film Festival “Khem Comic Fest and Khem Animation Film Festival.” Presently, Naseed Gifted is the principal of Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, NJ.


Kimberly Cook-Chennault

Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Rutgers University

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Kimberly Cook-Chennault’s research interests include design of integrated hybrid energy systems and investigation of the structure-property relationships in ferroelectric, dielectric and piezoelectric materials in the form of thin films and bulk composites for sensing/actuation and energy storage/harvesting applications.


Jason Hoar

Senior Scientist at Merck

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Jason Hoar is a Senior Scientist in Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, & Drug Metabolism (PPDM) with 13 years of research experience at Merck. Jason is also the Global Lead (May 2018 – current) for Merck Rainbow Alliance (MRA), Merck’s LGBTQ+ and Allies Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG). MRA, founded in 1999, is one of ten EBRGs at Merck. Last year, he was inducted into the Class of 2020 BEQ Pride LGBTQ+ Leader Under 40.


Helen Corveleyn

STEM Facilitator at Hopewell Elementary School

Read BioHelen Corveleyn is a STEM Facilitator at Hopewell Elementary School (HES)  with teaching experience in Pre K-8 science education. Her passion is inspiring young people to become planetary stewards who can communicate scientific ideas and promote innovation in science and sustainability. Helen also serves as Director of Gardens at HES which includes both outdoor soil and two types of indoor hydroponic gardens to support the school’s award winning, “Best in New Jersey” Farm-to-School Program. She is the recipient of 2020 Mercer County Teacher of the year and enjoys teaching children in the classroom and teachers pursuing graduate degrees in environmental leadership and conservation education. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching Conservation Biology at Miami University of Ohio which compliments her BS in Environmental Policy from Marist College.  When Helen is not teaching, you can find her travelling through National Parks with her husband Graig and three children, Jonah, Grace and Gabriel, or researching at international conservation hotspots. Her recent adventures include swimming with whale sharks in Baja, Mexico studying orangutans in Borneo, Malaysia and creating a multi-media based conservation campaign to support the Belize Zoo and Maya Forest Corridor.


Eric Ekoue

Superintendent of the New Brunswick Water Utility NBWU

Read BioEric Ekoue is the Superintendent of the New Brunswick Water Utility NBWU. He is a Certified Public Manager. He holds a Public Water Treatment System T4 License and Public Water Distribution System W4. He is serving on the board of examination for the Water and Wastewater license Operator. Eric has fifteen years of experience in treatment, distribution, compliance, and project management. His utility thrives on providing the best water quality to the resident of New Brunswick and surrounding communities. Eric manages a very diverse workforce and champions the licensing of everyone. He enjoys presenting the word of water operators at various schools and facilitating tours of his Plant by students. Eric‘s motto: FLOW (For the Love Of Water) vibrate through his workplace.


Vanashri Nargund-Joshi

Associate Professor at New Jersey City University

Read BioDr. Vanashri Nargund-Joshi is a science educator who promotes STEM learning through her research, teaching and practice. Her scholarship focuses on in-service and pre-service teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge development. She has published in top journals, such as Journal of Research in Science Teaching, International Journal of Science Education to name a few. Dr. Nargund-Joshi has edited a book entitled Science Education in India in 2019. In recent years, her research has been focused on families of young children to address the gap between school and home. To address this issue, in 2019, she established a platform called The Parent Academy. Through this avenue, she collaborates with several family success centers across New Jersey to conduct STEM workshops for families and children. Dr. Nargund-Joshi serves as an Associate Editor for Journal of Science Teacher Education (JSTE). She also serves on the Board of Directors for a national organization called Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE). She is co-lead for Liberty STEM Alliance. Dr. Nargund-Joshi currently serves as an Associate Professor at New Jersey City University (NJCU) in departments of Elementary/Secondary Education & Biology.


Haidy Oliveira

Education Outreach Coordinator at Naval Air

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At the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst (NAWCADL), Haidy’s focus is on the coordination and execution of all Education Outreach, coordination of Capstone Projects with universities and colleges, coordination and execution of NJ Regional Sea Perch program, coordination and participation around National Defense Education Program initiatives, and promoting interaction and inclusion by working with their Diversity Advisory Teams to foster inclusion and diversity to reach a more diverse group of students.


Kristin DeLorenzo

Elementary Math Specialist in Flemington-Raritan School District

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Kristin DeLorenzo has been teaching in New Jersey for 21 years. She supports students and teachers in her role of elementary math specialist in the Flemington-Raritan School District, where she strives to inspire young mathematicians to notice and wonder about the math around them. Through her work with Experience Math! and the Summer STEM Experience programs, Kristin immerses students in engaging activities in STEM. Kristin has recently been focused on helping teachers bring technology into math classes through applications like Desmos. Kristin is a passionate advocate for high quality mathematics instruction for all students. She is a recent alumna of the NJ STEM Innovation Fellowship, is a NJ Ambassador and curriculum reviewer for edreports.org, and is a frequent presenter at local, state, and regional education conferences.


Helena Mello

PhD Candidate at Rutgers University

Read BioHelena Mello is a Brazilian science researcher at Rutgers University, where she is pursuing her PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences. She went to Rutgers as an undergraduate exchange student for one year, and decided to come back to New Jersey for her doctoral program. In the lab, Helena is investigating how a virus can cause cancer in infected patients, and hopes to shed light into virus-host interactions. Besides her research, Helena advocates for science outreach and career awareness for STEM graduates. She has served as a mentor with the New York Academy of Sciences, and has worked as Senior Editor and Writer for a student-led career development blog. In Brazil, Helena has taught English and Biology classes to prepare low-income students for the university entrance exam. After defending her doctoral dissertation, Helena plans to work as a science communicator.


Jeffrey Stokes

Senior Director-Development at PSEG

Read BioJeffrey Stokes began his journey as a nuclear reactor operator in the United States Navy, joining upon his graduation from high school. He served six years before transitioning to civilian life. As a veteran, he began a career in commercial power generation, working for 12 years at General Electric (GE) before his work for PSEG. Through hard work, dedication and the achievement of my bachelor’s degree, he earned increasing positions of responsibility within both organizations, currently holding the position of Senior Director of Power Generation at PSEG.


Marcos Navas

CEO of Hands On Coding

Read BioMarcos Navas has been an active member in the makered community and edtech space for many years. In addition to being a speaker and presenter, he is an ambassador and champion for an array of companies and organizations such as Dremel, Ultimaker, Pi-Top and Osmo. Being an advocate of student voice, Marcos is one of the original Flipgrid Ambassadors and a TED Ed Innovative Educator helping spread student TED Talks via TED Clubs. Within the coding and STEM space, he is one of the original Raspberry Pi Certified Educators in the US and one of the original founders of Hands on Coding, LLC. Marcos most recently completed his Fellowship with IDEO Teachers Guild making him one of 10 educational experts in Design Thinking. He is the founder of EdcampUrban, which is free professional development for urban educators, for teachers, by teachers. Most recently he has teamed up with the Princeton Hive and is leading their Design and Coding hives, as they continue to promote and offer 21st Century Skills to a global community.


New Jersey Inductees

The I CAN STEM New Jersey Inductees are selected through a nomination process which is reviewed by the NJSPN’s ​New Jersey STEM Strategic Advisory Board​. The NJSPN is no longer accepting nominations for the 2021 New Jersey inductees. 

By including role models right in our State, students will have the opportunity to meet or hear from them in real life and learn about the various STEM industries that are right here in New Jersey.