Talented High School Juniors and Seniors Experience Stevens

9/12/2011

The Stevens Summer pre-college programs are a tremendous asset to high school students wanting to gain experience in a particular field in a college atmosphere and with peers from around the world. 

Students are immersed in specialized, hands-on programs at an internationally recognized university.  They gain a unique perspective on a particular field of study, insider knowledge about the life of professionals in the field through corporate visits, and project-based learning as they work in teams to accomplish project goals.

Students also have the opportunity to experience campus life and to take advantage of New York City directly across the Hudson River from the Stevens campus. 

Stevens’ summer programs are led by a group of scholars devoted to the highest standards of research and teaching.  The instructors create a rich academic experience drawing on the wealth of educational resources at Stevens and in the New York metropolitan area.

“The Stevens Summer has a long history of success with programs such as Exploring Career Options in Engineering and Science (ECOES), where bright high school students from all over the world converge to get a taste of engineering, science, and college life. The program has been around for more than thirty years, and every year I watch in amazement as the students not only develop their engineering, science and design skills, but life-long friendships,” says Maia Hadidi, Events and Summer Programs Coordinator for Stevens’ Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

This is Hadidi’s fourth year running ECOES.  She shares her excitement about expanding the summer program offerings to provide the same great experience for students interested in careers in business, multimedia production, and the music industry.

“The unique aspect of the Stevens summer programs is that the experience extends past the classroom and lab into the actual industry and world around them,” explains Hadidi.  “The Stevens Summer students truly benefit from our enviable location in Hoboken and proximity to not only New York City, but many manufacturing and production facilities right here in New Jersey.”

Between ECOES, the Multimedia Production Intensive, and the Business Intensive, high school students from all over the United States and seven countries arrived in Hoboken eager to learn and explore what Stevens has to offer.

ECOES is a two-week residential program targeted to students with an interest in engineering and science.  The 2011 program was very successful with 190 students participating in the two sessions offered.

Program highlights include a series of dynamic, hands-on laboratory projects taught by Stevens faculty and staff, which include more than 11 fields of concentration.  Participation in one of four research projects throughout the session gave students the opportunity to further explore a specific topic of interest. 

Students also made visits to local companies including BAE Systems, Johnson & Johnson IT, Stryker, and Kreisler Manufacturing where they were able to meet professional scientists and engineers.  On weekends, they took part in fun-filled activities in NYC.

 I honestly felt like all of us came from different corners of the world for two weeks to make history.  ECOES was that fun. We all became friends quickly. Honestly, my favorite parts were the interactions between participants there. We all had different ways of thinking and varied interests and hobbies,” said rising senior, Joseph Miles.  

“The class I learned the most from was Nanotechnology, particularly the reduction in the size of electronics and the new hydrophobic materials that are being developed.  Biomedical engineering was also interesting to me, and how it is employed to repair humans’ broken bodies,” he added.

Another rising senior, Keara Saud, shared the enthusiasm, “ECOES was such a great experience for me on both a social and academic level. I went into camp expecting to gain a better understanding of engineering and left with not only that, but also amazing friends I can't imagine my life without. I don't think I can choose any one thing that I liked most because it was all so great! I got to learn about all different types of engineering and because of ECOES, I now think I'm going to major in chemical engineering and look more into nanotechnology. Overall, ECOES was awesome, and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Also successful, the Multimedia Production Intensive was a one-week residential program where participants learned the ins and outs of recording music and video. Students worked independently and with their fellow students to create a soundtrack and video production for an up and coming band called “The Fave,” a high energy and melodic rock & roll band from Hoboken. 

With the help of Stevens faculty, Robert Harari and Brian Moriarty, students learned theory and hands-on aspects of audio and visual production and how to produce a music video to demonstrate their recently acquired knowledge.  They also had the amazing opportunity to record in Water Music Records – studio of choice for the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Beyoncé, Allman Brothers Band, and Shakira.

High school student Cara Realmuto said, “In the beginning, I expected it to be a lot of studying and writing.  Little did I know it was going to be very hands-on.  It was great to start a project from the very beginning and put it all together for a finished product with professionals helping you along the way.”

The program gave students a chance to look at the arts from a totally different perspective with a twist of technical background.  Students were split up into two groups – audio and video – where they spent an intensive week immersed in their work.  The pressure was on as they had only a number of days to pull off the music video and make it a success.   Students had a remarkable opportunity to interact with “The Fave” with the pressure to promote their fresh sound in the best possible way while maintaining their unique flavor.  Without a doubt, the students discovered the meaning of meeting a deadline in the business.

The audio team recorded the band’s number live in the Water Music Recording Studio.  They spent a total of 30 hours working on the material in only three and a half days!  Students learned everything from studio etiquette, interpersonal relationships, signal flow, mic-technology, and how a successful band interacts with each other in and out of the recording studio.

The video team was in charge of setting up lights and equipment, while also filming all day.  They used the video footage they took for the film they would produce by the end of the week. Students used the Media Arts Center lab as well as the green screen room at Stevens to complete the project.

At the end of the week, both the audio and visual team put their work together to create the final product.  Robert Harari raved that the students achieved an incredible amount of work within such a short period of time:  “We have a track that could go on [local rock radio station] Q104.3 tomorrow!”

A rising senior, George Kusserow, talked about how they had a lot to take in after their lecture on the first day.  “Now I know so much, and I can point you in the right direction with whatever you need.  Our professors made it very easy to work with them and gave us the right amount of motivation to get the task done.”

Another high school student, Austin Hein, says, “I had such a blast with the Multimedia Program and really did learn a lot.  When my parents came to pick me up, I told them that this program was the best week of my summer so far.  My only complaint is it was only one week! I really enjoyed my time in the program, and right now Stevens is at the top of my college list being that I loved the professors, all of the knowledge they had to offer, and the amazing campus.”

Last but not least, the Stevens Summer Business Intensive program gave students an opportunity to develop fundamental business and technical skills while exploring interests in business law, finance, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship.  Classes were taught by full-time Stevens faculty who are accomplished academics and leaders in their respective industries, from former CEOs to technological inventors.   With the city so close to campus, students visited the New York Stock Exchange to take their classroom learning to the next level.

David Chao says, “I had a wonderful experience during the Business Intensive program.  This program truly strengthened my interest in business – and in applying to Stevens.  Of all of the summer programs I have attended, it was by far the best one.  It was hard to believe it is the very first one of its kind.”

David added, “Not only did I establish new and wonderful friendships, but I also obtained valuable knowledge regarding the many fields of business.  More importantly, I was able to apply what I learned through the group project.  The visit to the NYSE was insightful and exciting.  Also, this program gave me an opportunity to interact with numerous Stevens professors who I felt were excellent.”

Another high school student, Stephen Rienzi, said, “While I hoped to begin to learn about the different elements of a business curriculum, I didn't expect it to be as interactive as it was. This made it more valuable and enjoyable.  I really learned a lot not only from the subjects presented, but from the group project and the feedback we were given.”

As per tradition, Stevens hosted a river cruise for the students involved in the summer programs.  It is an opportunity to bring all of the students, staff, and faculty together for a night of fun. Students see the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg bridges and even stop for ten minutes by the Statue of Liberty for pictures.  It is not only a great experience to see the Big Apple from the Hudson, but also a chance for all of the program participants to cross paths and talk about what they’ve learned while creating new friendships.

Resident Assistant and counselor Abhay Sampath, commented, “It felt really nice to share our experiences with the next batch of engineers.  Not only is it a great opportunity for us as counselors and RAs to gather some management experience, it's a great learning experience for the high school students as well. Some of them seemed unsure in terms of what field they wanted to enter, but I hope these programs helped clarify some of those questions or at least give them guidance in terms of where to find answers.”

After experiencing firsthand what Stevens is like both academically and socially, the high school students got a taste of what life as a college student is like and what they could expect when applying to their prospective schools.  The summer programs on campus continue to be the highlight of the summer for students from all over the world.