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On My Mind: Edison Scholars

By Frank Burke
Chairperson, Computer Science and Information Technology

The Edison Scholars program at Middlesex is funded by the National Science Foundation with the purpose of increasing the number of mathematicians, engineers and technicians in the workforce. Approximately 40 students in technical majors receive $1,500 per semester scholarships to assist with their educational expenses through this program. The scholarships are awarded based on both demonstrated ability and financial need.

The Edison Scholars Program also recognizes the achievements of the scholars and promotes their professional development. An awards ceremony is held each semester to recognize the academic achievements of the scholars. Additionally, professional development activities are conducted for their benefit. Recently, Dr. Fadi Deek, the dean of Arts and Sciences at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) spoke on the information revolution. On another occasion Owen Fizgerald, a Middlesex County College and NJIT engineering technology graduate and former president of the NJIT Chapter of Engineers Without Borders, spoke on providing clean water in Haiti.

He presented an elegant design of a water filter that was built economically using materials local to Haiti. Each year the Edison Scholars program also sponsors a visit to NJIT, where students have an opportunity to tour the campus and meet with advisors and faculty in their majors. Edison Scholars generally continue their education at NJIT or Rutgers after leaving MCC.

I am the project director and I'm assisted by Mirtha Reyes, department assistant, who advertises the scholarship program, takes applications, qualifies the scholars and sets up events. Professor Thom Sabol, chairman of Engineering Technology, and Professors Craig Stickler and Jeff Spector also assist with the operation of the program.