Inspiring Students Through Lab-based Learning Experiences
Our well-established core curriculum provides a high-quality, hands-on, laboratory intensive and active learning experience for students in mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology. At NJCSTM our core curriculum is complemented by numerous opportunities for students to participate in authentic research with NJCSTM faculty, peers, faculty collaborators at other universities and industry scientists.
- Through our ground-breaking Research First Initiative (RFI) we encourage Freshman and Sophomore students to participate in real research projects with faculty from across the Kean University community or with external industry partners. These early research experiences provide numerous educational benefits to students, leading to better academic performance, valuable employment experience and sustainable career choices.
- Students at NJCSTM can decide to continue conducting research started under the RFI or participate in Independent Research Projects.
- NJCSTM faculty and students actively participate in Kean University’s Students Partnering with Faculty (SpF) program, which was established campus-wide in 2004. The program has invested over $1.5 million to support research projects involving over 100 faculty and approximately 300 students.
- Kean University’s Annual Undergraduate Research Days is a campus-wide event that provides an excellent venue for students to showcase their research to faculty, students, sponsors and guests.
- Our STEM students have also presented their findings to audiences at Regional Symposia and National Scientific meetings.
- NJCSTM also has an active program to help qualified students obtain internships with external partners.
Research at NJCSTM
THE RESEARCH FIRST INITIATIVE
In 2014 NJCSTM launched the Research First Initiative (RFI) to integrate authentic research experiences into the curriculum and transform the way students are taught STEM. The RFI provides freshman and undergraduate students with the unique opportunity to join a faculty sponsored research team and experience scientific discovery through authentic laboratory research. The program is open to honors students from NJCSTM and the College of Natural and Applied Health Sciences. Participants select a research-stream from areas such as analytical chemistry, astrophysics, bioinformatics, cancer biology, medicinal chemistry, microbiology and wave optics.
Participation in the RFI is flexible, ranging from 1 – 3 semesters or more of hands on authentic laboratory research and integrated coursework. Research teams are typically composed of 6 – 10 students that are mentored by a research faculty member and senior undergraduate or graduate research assistants. Students that complete the RFI, emerge with valuable experience in modern laboratory techniques and the use of state-of-the art instrumentation, and develop a keen understanding of how problem solving and critical thinking are integral to the scientific process. Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree students with more than 3 semesters of RFI experience are encouraged to write either an honor’s paper or Master’s thesis, respectively, and possibly to publish their research.
CENTER FOR DRUG DISCOVERY RESEARCH
NJCSTM established the Center for Drug Discovery Research (CDDR), and is a member of the Academic Drug Discovery Consortium (ADDC), a national network of academic drug discovery centers, to provide students with a national forum to pursue interests in pharmaceutical and biotechnology research. The CDDR provides students with an opportunity to present their research at nationally recognized forum and to network with prospective employers. A number of research projects at NJCSTM, including those under the Research First Initiative and the Groups Summer Scholars Research Program, are focused on discovering drugs to treat human disease.
GROUP SUMMER SCHOLARS RESEARCH PROGRAM
The Group Scholars Summer Research Program (GSSRP) for High School students was established at NJCSTM in 2015 to engage talented junior and senior high school students interested in pursuing a STEM degree the opportunity to experience hands-on research. The GSSRP is a 6 week laboratory research experience based on the Research First Initiative. Participants join a small faculty-sponsored research team focused on an actual scientific problem in areas such as analytical chemistry, astrophysics, bioinformatics, cancer biology, medicinal chemistry, microbiology and wave optics. Students learn the scientific method, how to conduct actual laboratory experiments using current techniques and state-of-the-art instruments and develop their problem solving ability and critical thinking skills via a hands on approach. GSSRP project teams consist of approximately 10 students. The GSSRP helps instill confidence in young students interested in pursuing a STEM education and allows them to identify as scientists through their research accomplishments.
The NJCSTM is housed in a striking, state-of-the-art 133,000 sq. ft. educational facility, with teaching and research laboratories, classrooms, a 320 seat auditorium for workshops, lectures, conferences and other major events, and a 630 person atrium for meeting exhibits, break-out and poster sessions, and social education events.
Modern classroom space includes 25,000 sq. ft. of flex lab teaching space and prep rooms, along with 5 classrooms. Teaching laboratories include 20,000 sq. ft. of fully functioning and equipped laboratories for chemistry, mathematics, computational science, molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology, cell culture and physics.
Faculty research laboratories include 20,000 sq. ft. of wet and computational research labs with lab support and equipment rooms for core chemistry, molecular and cellular biology equipment including NMR, mass spectrometry, high-end analytical instrumentation, molecular biology, cell sorting and microscopy equipment, and super-computer facilities.
NJCSTM is also home to the only 3D Virtual Reality Computer Assisted Visual Enhancement (CAVE) system in the greater NY-NJ metropolitan area. The CAVE system is capable of displaying images and data for both research and teaching purposes. Students working on CAVE projects put to use computer programming skills learned in class and adapt gaming theory and applications to scientific problems.