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Author Archives: David Pavlak

Students still MUSE despite coronavirus challenges

Students still MUSE despite coronavirus challenges

For more than a decade, TCNJ’s Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience (MUSE) has given students an invaluable opportunity to conduct research alongside members of the faculty. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic and limited on-campus engagement this year, the program was a success with 70 students collaborating with 40 faculty members on 46 projects. The college held a virtual showcase on September 15 to celebrate their work.

During the celebration, students shared a variety of posters, audio recordings, and YouTube videos about topics ranging from redesigning coding education to the effects after school programs have on academic and social-emotional health. Highlights of the projects and presentations are archived on the MUSE 2020 website.

Curt Elderkin, director of faculty-student scholarly and creative collaborative activity, was pleased with how faculty and students were able to overcome obstacles and have a productive summer.

“The consensus among the faculty mentors was that the summer was strong,” he says. “The students were given the tools they needed to conduct their research, had regular assignments to satisfy, and learned more about their work through investigation or reading. The students also worked in conjunction with their mentors through Zoom, though nothing beats the traditional face-to-face model.”

This summer was senior Eliana Gargiulo’s first experience with MUSE. Working alongside Thendral Prabu ’22 and Assistant Professor Josh Fishburn, the trio took advantage of the quiet time away from campus to focus on their research.

“Overall, I was really happy with the experience,” says Gargiulo, an interactive multimedia major. “I never had an opportunity to do something like this before, and working with Thendral and Professor Fishburn was a pleasure. Professor Fishburn did a lot to keep the experience as fulfilling and focused as possible. Ultimately, we managed to finish writing a chapter of a creative coding textbook thanks to our research and I’m very proud of the result.”

The presentations, historically done in person, remained a point of pride for all involved in the summer program, even with the virtual format, Elderkin says.

“Even with the program being reshuffled because of the coronavirus, our students and their mentors were able to produce insightful work that is a testament to their education at TCNJ. When the students present their projects to their peers, faculty, and staff, it is a proud day,” he says.

— David Pavlak

Lars Wendt ’87 makes some noise with Princeton Symphony Orchestra — PrincetonInfo

Lars Wendt ’87 makes some noise with Princeton Symphony Orchestra — PrincetonInfo

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is using a small presentation to make a big statement on Thursday, September 24, when the PSO Brass Quintet performs at Morven Museum & Garden. The quintet featuring Jerry Bryant, trumpet; Tom Cook, trumpet; Jonathan Clark, horn; Lars Wendt ’87, trombone; and Jonathan Fowler, tuba, will perform music styles ranging from Renaissance to Broadway. Continue Reading

Geoff Baker ’17 throws Thailand’s plastic problem to his students, and they deliver

Geoff Baker ’17 throws Thailand’s plastic problem to his students, and they deliver

On April 4, 2018, student activists with Grin Green International, a social enterprise founded by Geoff Baker ’17, marched through Bangkok’s busiest streets accompanied by a bag monster. Composed of 750 plastic bags, roughly the amount an average Thai uses every three months, the marchers used their creation to raise awareness about Thailand’s growing single-use… Continue Reading

Industry Insiders webinar series a hit with TCNJ community

Industry Insiders webinar series a hit with TCNJ community

Exploring different ways to connect with the TCNJ community during the height of a global health pandemic, the Office of Alumni Engagement is launching the sequel to the immensely successful spring Industry Insiders webinar series on September 16. “The Industry Insiders webinars have been a great example of how the TCNJ community comes together to… Continue Reading

Helping educators plan for the unknown

Helping educators plan for the unknown

Elementary, secondary, and higher education professionals are working tirelessly to design and implement safe and effective hybrid and remote learning modalities to satisfy all types of learners. In New Jersey, the Department of Education’s plan to resume education, titled, “The Road Back,” tasks school administrators with satisfying a number of objectives under the plan’s four… Continue Reading

Trenton’s Puerto Rican history captured with a collaborative research project

Trenton’s Puerto Rican history captured with a collaborative research project

Despite a less than hospitable welcome and tasked with overcoming racism in the 1950s, Trenton’s first Latinx members established successful business, education, and public service opportunities in the city that still stand today. The stories of these pioneering residents were recently captured in a cross-disciplinary research project involving students and faculty from the School of… Continue Reading

This mechanical engineering alumnus is taking the public’s temperature amid the coronavirus

This mechanical engineering alumnus is taking the public’s temperature amid the coronavirus

As states begin to relax their quarantine guidelines, more people will be venturing back to work, enjoying public outings, and eventually, returning to school. With the risk of a second wave of the coronavirus a possibility, having the ability to quickly detect if someone is sick is crucial to stopping a local outbreak. Using a… Continue Reading

Welcome Class of 2020!

Welcome Class of 2020!

On behalf of The College of New Jersey’s 90,000 alumni, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the TCNJ Alumni Association. As you transition to your post-graduation endeavors, you are joining a distinguished network of leaders who excel in many different professions and industries around the globe. Wherever you go, there is likely a… Continue Reading

Alyssa Silva ’20 gets a commencement surprise while serving her country during COVID-19

Alyssa Silva ’20 gets a commencement surprise while serving her country during COVID-19

When Alyssa Silva enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard in March 2018, she took an oath to protect and serve her country above all else. That promise came with the understanding that there would be personal sacrifices — including potentially missing her college graduation. But this is a happy story. Silva ’20, a specialist… Continue Reading

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