Research & Innovation

Stevens Students Named 2022-2023 Governor’s STEM Scholars

Research & Development Council of New Jersey chooses three Stevens students to lead research projects

Created to engage the next generation of research and innovation leaders in the state’s vast STEM economy at an early age, 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 — 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.

Throughout the academic year, Bruka, Eid and Goldberg will guide a team of high school scholars in implementing their projects and participate in conferences to explore different aspects of New Jersey’s STEM economy focusing on STEM in government, academia and industry.

“It's an honor to be chosen to represent New Jersey as a STEM researcher, and I feel appreciated and supported as an immigrant and a woman in STEM,” says Bruka, whose project, “Non-invasive Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Systems to Restore Neural Function,” will translate live-subject EEG data into robotic arm commands. “Alongside myocardial regeneration and stem cell repair, brain-computer interface is a field I'd like to explore further as I continue my academic career.”

Eid also chose a research project that aligns closely with her studies.

“When it came to choosing a topic for our project, I wanted to take the pharmaceutical/medical route, especially given my focus on biological sciences,” she says.Eid’s team will analyze public sentiment of Ivermectin as a therapeutic for COVID-19 treatment.

Goldberg will lead “an exploration of socially responsive Smart Cities,” which explores the perceptions of smart city technology within immigrant communities and develops interventions for adoption of this technology. “By applying human-systems engineering concepts to the development of smart city technology, I believe that we can create systems that work better, especially among vulnerable communities that may be less trusting of this technology,” says Goldberg.

Stevens will also host this year’s STEM Scholars graduation ceremony on April 29.

The Governor’s STEM Scholars is a public-private partnership between the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, the Office of the Governor, the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education and public and private research institutions based in New Jersey. Eighty-four percent of the Scholars identify as a Person of Color; 30% with a racial identity underrepresented in STEM fields, specifically Black, Latinx or Indigenous. Sixty-four percent of the 2022 class are female and 36% male. Eighteen percent of the Scholars are or will be first-generation college students.