Grist from the Mill

Highlights from Spring/Summer 2023

New Vice Provost for Research and Innovation

Dr. Edmund “Ed” Synakowski became Stevens’ vice provost for research and innovation last fall. As vice provost, Dr. Synakowski is working in partnership with Stevens’ schools to continue building the university’s thriving research enterprise. Prior to joining Stevens, Dr. Synakowski served as vice president for research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Previously, he was vice president for research and economic development and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Wyoming. As an accomplished researcher in fusion and plasma physics, Dr. Synakowski has published more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles and has received awards for excellence in plasma physics research from Princeton University and the American Physical Society.

Ribbon stating Great Place to Work®. Certified December 2022 to December 2023A Great Place to Work

It’s official! Stevens Institute of Technology is officially a Certified™ Great Place to Work®. This year, 75% of employees said Stevens is a great place to work — 18 points higher than the average U.S. company. Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture, employee experience and leadership behaviors proven to deliver organizational outcomes, employee retention and increased innovation. Great Place to Work Certification™ is recognized worldwide by employees and employers and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognizing outstanding employee experience.

Portrait of Grist KishbaughLevi Kishbaugh ’85 Appointed CEO of Trexel

Levi Kishbaugh ’85 was appointed CEO of plastics processing innovator Trexel, Inc., in January 2023. Kishbaugh joined Trexel, which specializes in microcellular foaming injection molding technology, in 1999. Most recently, he served as vice president of engineering with full responsibility for all technical activities within the company. During his management of design and development activities at Trexel, the company launched several new system designs for fast cycle, packaging applications; for the footwear industry; and for extrusion and accumulator blow molding. Previously, Kishbaugh worked in product and application development at Montell Polyolefins and the Dow Chemical Company.

Portrait of Justin Cross

Cross Named Division III Men’s Soccer Academic All-American of the Year

Last December, College Sports Communicators named Stevens senior Justin Cross its Division III Men’s Soccer Academic All-American of the Year. Cross, a goalkeeper, is just the second student-athlete in school history to earn the prestigious honor, which recognizes athletic and academic success. He joins Stevens Athletic Hall of Famer and, coincidentally, men’s soccer goalkeeper Zach Carr ’11 M.Eng. ’13, who received the award in 2010. In 2022, Cross turned in one of the top statistical seasons in program history, totaling 63 saves across 22 matches, to finish with a 0.44 goals-against average (GAA) and a 0.863 save percentage. In the classroom, Cross has earned a 3.99 cumulative grade-point average as a biomedical engineering major.

Walter Ulrich in a store room with boxes.

Alumnus Honored for Impact on Global Health

Walter Ulrich ’68, president and CEO of Medical Bridges, a nonprofit that distributes much-needed medical supplies and equipment around the world, received the Global Impact Award at the Houston International Trade Development Council’s Global 7 annual awards gala last fall in Houston. U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green presented congressional proclamations to Ulrich and six other honorees. In 2022, Medical Bridges prepared, staged and shipped nearly 200 tons of needed medical supplies and equipment valued at nearly $10 million to 33 countries in crisis and throughout developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Read more about Ulrich and his work in the Fall 2020 issue of The Stevens Indicator.

Three portraitsStudents Named Governor’s STEM Scholars

Created to engage the next generation of research and innovation leaders in the state’s vast STEM economy, the Research & Development Council of New Jersey established the Governor’s STEM Scholars for select high school and college STEM students from across New Jersey. The 2022-2023 cohort of 128 scholars includes three Stevens students (from left to right) — biomedical engineering major Bertila Bruka, Class of ’25; biological sciences major Lilya Eid, Class of ’26; and systems engineering Ph.D. candidate Jack Goldberg — who are serving as research leads, developing projects that advance the work of New Jersey’s research community. Bruka, Eid and Goldberg are guiding a team of high school scholars in implementing their projects and are participating in conferences to explore different aspects of New Jersey’s STEM economy focusing on STEM in government, academia and industry.

Mr. Battista, at center, with Stevens tennis player Olof Persson, left, and Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics and Recreation Russ Rogers.Mr. Battista, at center, with Stevens tennis player Olof Persson, left, and Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics and Recreation Russ Rogers.

Battista $1 Million Gift to UCC Honors His Family

The University Center Complex (UCC) tennis courts have been named the Battista Family Tennis Courts, in recognition of Frank T. Battista ’54 for his support of the UCC with a recent $1 million gift. Battista made the gift in honor of his family. He recalls learning to play tennis at Stevens in the 1950s and went on to have a successful engineering career and enjoy decades of competitive tennis play. “Stevens opened doors for me,” Battista says. “And my family made big sacrifices for me to attend, so I am happy to honor my family’s name at Stevens.” The UCC — a state-of-the-art facility with student residence towers, dining, meeting and recreational spaces — opened in May 2022.

Governor Murphy, seen with Stevens President Farvardin, visited campus last summer.Governor Murphy, seen with Stevens President Farvardin, visited campus last summer.

Governor Murphy Will Keynote 2023 Commencement

Philip D. Murphy, two-term governor of New Jersey and chair of the National Governors Association, will deliver the address at Stevens’ 2023 Commencement ceremony on May 24 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Approximately 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students will earn credentials this year from Stevens during this academic year, the largest graduating class to date in Stevens’ 153-year history. “At Stevens, we are in lockstep with the governor’s efforts to expand the innovation economy in New Jersey, to reverse the ‘brain drain’ that exports talented students out of state for college and careers and to improve mental health and wellness, especially among young populations,” said Stevens President Nariman Farvardin. “It is a distinct honor that our graduates, poised to begin a new chapter in their lives, will hear a keynote address from a leader who has distinguished himself in the state, national and international arenas.”

Two students play keyboard together

CAL’s New Name

This spring, Stevens announced that the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) will be renamed the Stevens School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) as of July 1, 2023. This new name more accurately captures the breadth of research and learning taking place among the school’s faculty and students while representing its current role as Stevens’ hub for technology-driven programs in music, the visual arts, the social sciences and the humanities. HASS (pronounced “hoss”) better reflects the school’s stature as one of four coequal units of Stevens’ academic enterprise and clarifies its mission, educational offerings and areas of inquiry for potential students and academic peers. Many faculty, staff, students, alumni and administrative leaders participated in the process of re-examining the school’s identity and selecting a name, which helped ensure an inclusive selection process and a broad foundation of support.

Watch Dean Kelland Thomas announce the exciting change.

Stevens seal on gateway entrance to campus

Class of 2022 Reports Stellar Outcomes

When it comes to the value of a Stevens degree, the proof is in the numbers. According to Stevens’ Undergraduate Class of 2022 Career Outcomes Report, with a knowledge rate of 88.7%, 97.3% of graduates achieved their desired outcome within six months of graduation with an average starting salary of $84,700, an increase of more than $9,000 from 2021. While the tech industry faces personnel cuts, Stevens’ computer science graduates have a desired outcomes rate of 97% with an average starting salary of $106,300. Graduates joined top companies such as: Cigna, Disney Streaming, General Dynamics, Google, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, L3Harris Technologies, Merck and Raytheon Technologies.

Read the full report.

Female Stevens students gather for a bagel breakfastIntroducing Girls to Engineering

How long does it take to build an airplane? How do you solve big problems? These are just some of the questions that curious young minds from the President Barack Obama Community School in Jersey City, New Jersey, asked during Stevens’ 8th Annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering! Day. The event took place in the school’s auditorium in February and was attended by more than 70 girls grades 5-8. Introduce a Girl to Engineering! Day is part of a nationwide initiative to encourage girls to pursue engineering careers, with the ultimate aim of closing the gender gap in engineering. Nearly half of the U.S. workforce is made up of women. Yet, according to U.S. Census data, only 27% of workers in STEM fields are women. Attending from Stevens were mechanical engineering professors Maxine Fontaine, who organized the event; Shima Hajimirza; Zahra Pournorouz; and Annie Xian Zhang; and a group of Stevens students.

Media Highlights

Justine Hervé, an assistant professor at the School of Business at Stevens, spoke with The Wall Street Journal about the rise of “quiet quitting” among younger workers in an article, “Labor Market Mystery: Where Are the Older Gen Z Workers?” published on November 13, 2022.

Alex Wellerstein, associate professor at Stevens’ College of Arts and Letters, commented on the “long overdue” reversal of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s security clearance revocation in a New York Times article, “J. Robert Oppenheimer Cleared of ‘Black Mark’ After 68 Years,” published on December 16, 2022.

Marouane Temimi, an associate professor in Stevens’ Department of Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering, discussed the challenges of managing stormwater runoff in drought conditions in a Los Angeles Times article, “L.A. lets rain flow into the Pacific Ocean, wasting a vital resource. Can we do better?” published on January 6, 2023.

George Calhoun, teaching professor, director of the quantitative finance program and director of the Hanlon Financial Systems Center at Stevens, spoke to U.S. News & World Report about the spread of highly-charged economic opinions among everyday people in an article, Economic Projection? Confusion,published on March 3, 2023.

Forbes interviewed Edmund Synakowski, Stevens’ vice provost for research and innovation, about his past work on fusion energy and the technology’s potential to change the world for an article, “We’ve Brought The Process That Drives The Stars…To Earth,” published on February 1, 2023.

 Read more media highlights and news from Stevens.