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  • richardmitnick 10:17 am on June 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , In the hunt for new antibiotics scientists hit pay dirt, Pseudouridimycin (PUM for short), Richard Ebright, Rutgers, The Washington Post, Waksman Institute of Microbiology   

    From Rutgers via The Washington Post: “In the hunt for new antibiotics, scientists hit pay dirt” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    1

    The Washington Post

    June 15, 2017
    Jenna Gallegos

    2
    Soil is full of microbes that produce toxins to kill their neighbors — a great source of antibiotic drugs. (Wendy Galietta/The Washington Post)

    Scientists have discovered a new kind of antibiotic — buried in dirt. Tests in animals show that it is effective against drug-resistant bacteria, and it could lead to desperately needed treatments for deadly antibiotic-resistant infections.

    Almost our entire arsenal of antibiotics was discovered in soil, but scientists haven’t gone digging for drugs in decades. That’s because, “screening microbial extracts from soil is thought to be a tapped-out approach,” said Richard Ebright, a scientist at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers.

    3
    Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers

    Soil has been “over-mined,” agreed Kim Lewis, director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University. But there is still a wealth of useful compounds under foot; we just have to take a closer look.

    The “golden age of antibiotic discovery” began 65 years ago with a simple strategy: Scoop up dirt, grow the soil-dwelling bacteria in the lab, and screen them for useful compounds. Bacteria in the soil compete fiercely for nutrients. To get an advantage, they produce toxins that kill their neighbors. According to Lewis, soil bacteria “fight with each other. We borrow those compounds and use them as medicine.”

    Now scientists at the Waksman Institute — named for Selman Waksman, who developed the soil-screening technique — and colleagues have combined the tried-and-true approach with new technologies to discover a new weapon in our molecular arms race against killer pathogens.

    A study published Thursday in the journal Cell describes a compound called pseudouridimycin (PUM for short) discovered in Italian soil that could be a game changer in bacterial defense.

    Ebright described PUM as the inaugural member of “an entirely new class of antibacterial compounds effective against drug-resistant bacteria.” Lewis, who was not involved with this study, calls PUM’s discovery “very surprising and completely unanticipated.”

    Most antibiotics kill bacteria that are happily multiplying in infected patients. But PUM is predicted to also kill dormant bacteria, such as those that persist in slime layers on our desks and door handles. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme that is required for virtually every function in every organism: polymerase. Polymerase transcribes DNA into molecular messages called RNA. RNA serves as instructions for the construction of all our cellular proteins.

    Ebright specializes in polymerase. He and his team have been searching for more than a decade for compounds like PUM that disrupt polymerase. In the new study, they show that PUM not only inhibits polymerase, but it does so in a surprising way.

    PUM mimics one of the building blocks of RNA. These building blocks fit into polymerase like a lock and key. To evolve resistance, the bacteria would have to change its polymerase just enough to exclude the impostor PUM while still allowing all the right keys to fit. That makes PUM about 10 times less likely to trigger antibiotic resistance than traditional antibiotics.

    In the lab, PUM killed 20 species of bacteria. It is primarily effective against strains that cause strep and staph infections, some of which are resistant to multiple antibiotics. PUM also cured mice infected with a strain of bacteria that causes scarlet fever.

    Importantly, PUM specifically interacts with polymerase in bacteria and not human polymerase. This is surprising, because the polymerase for bacteria and humans is thought to have a very similar shape.

    Compounds that act by impersonating RNA building blocks have been used in the past to treat viruses including HIV and hepatitis C, but scientists didn’t think that was possible for bacteria. Now that we know this approach can also work against bacteria, libraries of polymerase inhibitors that have been used against viruses can be screened as possible antibiotics.

    PUM could move to human clinical trials within three years, and to market within a decade. In the meantime, Waksman’s legacy might again spur a whole new wave of antibiotic discovery. Perhaps most important, said Rolf Muller of the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in an email, the results of this study “show once again that soil bacteria are still one of the best (if not THE best) source for novel antibiotics.”

    Read more:

    The world’s leaders are finally holding a summit on superbugs

    These 12 superbugs pose the greatest threat to human health

    See the full article here .

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    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:11 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Rutgers, Stony Corals More Resistant to Climate Change Than Thought   

    From Rutgers: “Stony Corals More Resistant to Climate Change Than Thought, Rutgers Study Finds” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    June 1, 2017
    Todd B. Bates

    1
    Stylophora pistillata, a well-studied stony coral common in the Indo-Pacific. Photo: Kevin Wyman/Rutgers University

    Stony corals may be more resilient to ocean acidification than once thought, according to a Rutgers University study that shows they rely on proteins to help create their rock-hard skeletons.

    “The bottom line is that corals will make rock even under adverse conditions,” said Paul G. Falkowski, a distinguished professor who leads the Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Laboratory at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “They will probably make rock even as the ocean becomes slightly acidic from the burning of fossil fuels.”

    The Rutgers team, including lead author Stanislas Von Euw, a post-doctoral research fellow in Falkowski’s lab, details its findings in a pioneering study published online today in the journal Science. Using a materials science approach, the team tapped several high-tech imaging methods to show that corals use acid-rich proteins to build rock-hard skeletons made of calcium carbonate minerals.

    “What we’re showing is that the decades-old general model for how corals make rock is wrong,” Falkowski said. “This very careful study very precisely shows that corals will secrete proteins, and the proteins are what really forms the mineral and the proteins are very acidic, which will surprise a lot of people.”

    Corals are largely colonial organisms that harbor hundreds to hundreds of thousands of polyps (animals). Reefs built by stony, shallow-water coral species are among the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Thousands of species of fish and other sea life rely on reefs for survival, and thousands of human communities count on reefs for food, protection and jobs, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    But corals face several environmental threats over the long-run: potentially deadly bleaching from global warming and rapid temperature changes; nutrient pollution; the physical destruction of coral reefs; and ocean acidification linked to carbon dioxide emissions, Falkowski said.

    The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning and land use changes, leading to lower pH and greater acidity, according to NOAA. Ocean acidification is reducing levels of calcium carbonate minerals in many areas, which will likely hamper the ability of some organisms to create and maintain their shells.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.
    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:19 am on May 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andres Villegas, , Mental Illness, Rutgers   

    From Rutgers: “His Research Mission: Solving the Mysteries of Mental Illness” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    5.23.17
    John Chadwick

    1

    Andres Villegas grew up in Elizabeth, the son of a single mom who had emigrated from Ecuador.
    He was uncertain about his future, and undecided about college.

    “I felt lost in high school,” Villegas says. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life.”

    But at Rutgers he found his calling in the research labs of scientists breaking new ground in the study and treatment of mental illness. Villegas emerged as a top student in the competitive field of neuroscience, leaving a lasting impression on his professors.

    “Andres is among the brightest undergraduate students that I have encountered in 30 years at Rutgers,” says Sidney Auerbach, a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, who advised Villegas.

    Villegas graduates May 14 from the School of Arts and Sciences, and has been accepted into a prestigious Ph.D program in neurobiology and behavior at Columbia University. He’s committed to working on research aimed at finding new treatments for psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.
    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:36 pm on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Computational modeling to the understanding of psychiatric diseases, , Rutgers, Rutgers-Princeton Center for Computational Cognitive Neuropsychiatry   

    From Rutgers and Princeton: “New Rutgers-Princeton center uses computational models to understand psychiatric conditions” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    Princeton University
    Princeton University

    Feb. 8, 2017 [Just found this, could not pass it up.]
    Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research, Princeton

    A new center is bringing together researchers from Princeton and Rutgers universities to apply computational modeling to the understanding of psychiatric diseases. The Rutgers-Princeton Center for Computational Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, which will open its doors this month, aims to improve the diagnosis of mental disorders, better predict their progression and eventually aid in developing treatments.

    The center fosters collaboration between computational neuroscientists, who develop models of brain activity and cognitive processes, and clinical researchers who work directly with patients. The studies conducted at the center will address disorders ranging from depression, anxiety and schizophrenia to obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse.

    The center, located at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in Piscataway, features a 1,400-square foot facility with rooms for conducting patient intake and testing. It is supported by matching funds from Princeton and Rutgers.

    “We can learn a lot about how the brain controls behaviors when we create computational models of how life events affect brain circuits, and how these circuits change over time. This center will allow us to bring this knowledge into the patient setting,” said Yael Niv, who co-directs the new center and is an associate professor of psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.

    “We still lack an understanding of the biological basis of many of the symptoms of psychiatric disorders, and computational approaches can help us start to close that gap,” said Steven Silverstein, co-director of the center with Niv. Silverstein is the director of the Division of Schizophrenia Research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, and a professor of psychiatry at the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

    Over the last decade or so, neuroscientists have turned to computational modeling to help them understand how brain activity gives rise to behaviors. For example, researchers can build a computer model that represents how two areas of the brain communicate to generate behavior, and then block that communication to see what happens to the behavior.

    The researchers can then test the model’s predictions by comparing them to the real-life behavior of human volunteers. At present, most of these tests are done with community members or students. The new center will enable researchers to test models of disorders like depression and bipolar disorder in individuals living with those conditions.

    One goal of the research is to better understand the brain’s circuitry and what goes awry in mental disorders — how brain regions are connected, what is the role of each brain area, and how disruptions in brain circuitry can give rise to symptoms.

    “With computational models, you can quickly find out which of your hypotheses about how the brain works are likely to be true, and which are unlikely to be true,” said Silverstein. “This can accelerate scientific progress by maximizing the chances that follow-up experiments with people will lead to useful results, and avoiding long and expensive studies that are unlikely to succeed.”

    Models can also help improve diagnosis, Niv said. “Models allow us to describe behaviors in a precise, quantitative way,” Niv said. “For example, we can quantify the extent to which getting an unexpected reward affects your mood, and how this differs between patients and healthy control. This allows us to start to think about diagnosing psychiatric disorders in a more definitive way, with tools that are more like a blood test rather than a self-report of symptoms.”

    As the models improve, and researchers gain confidence that computational models accurately represent human conditions, it should be possible to use the models to develop new treatments, Silverstein said. “You can ask, what happens to behavior if I add a treatment effect to the model, and this can help us understand what might happen in patients.”

    Rutgers has one of the country’s largest academically affiliated mental health care systems, serving over 12,500 people each year. Princeton is a leading institution in the field of computational neuroscience. Also participating are collaborators at the Max Planck-UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here.

    Princeton University Campus

    About Princeton: Overview

    Princeton University is a vibrant community of scholarship and learning that stands in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations. Chartered in 1746, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the United States. Princeton is an independent, coeducational, nondenominational institution that provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering.

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.
    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

    rutgers-campus

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 12:31 pm on May 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dianne Barba, , Nursing, Rutgers,   

    From Rutgers: Women in STEM – “Major Surgery Prompted Graduate to Become a Nurse” Dianne Barba 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    May 4, 2017
    Carla Cantor

    1
    Though her dream is to work in a neonatal intensive care unit, Dianne Barba will be happy with whatever the future holds. Photo: William Noel

    Dianne Barba changed her career trajectory after an operation to remove brain tumor.

    Dianne Barba’s decision to become a nurse came upon her, suddenly, a little more than two years ago as she lay in a hospital bed the day after undergoing brain surgery.

    She had just gotten word that the tumor removed from the frontal lobe of her brain, as doctors had suspected, was benign.

    “The machines whirring, the pace of the hospital, the nursed who cared for me, I loved everything. I was in a lot of pain, but I also felt happy, because I didn’t have cancer, and I realized in that moment I would become a nurse,” said Barba, 27, who will earn her B.S. degree this month from Rutgers’ School of Nursing, her second undergraduate degree.

    Until that experience, Barba had no desire to enter the nursing profession. “My mother is a nurse, and my sister is a nurse in the Navy,” she said. “But I was never interested. I just didn’t think it was for me.” She majored in early childhood and special education at the University of Scranton and, after graduating in 2011, taught at several preschools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

    On April 2, 2015, after fighting an excruciating headache all day, at home in Elmwood Park that night she had a seizure. “One minute I was on the couch playing on my iPhone. The next, I was in the ER,” said Barba. With her parents by her side and her boyfriend RJ holding her hand, she heard the doctor’s terrifying words: “There’s a mass in your brain.”

    During a four-hour operation at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson, a surgical team removed a “benign mature teratoma” – the size of a lemon – which she was later told may have been growing slowly in her brain from birth.

    Barba came home to a grueling recovery. “I didn’t get out of bed for a month. It was hard to walk, to feed myself. I was dizzy, and my head hurt,” she recalled. But during that period she had enough strength to begin investigating nursing schools, and was particularly excited about the Second Degree Baccalaureate Program at Rutgers’ School of Nursing, which one of the nurses in the hospital had told her about.

    Deciding to give up teaching, she applied to the Rutgers program in May and that summer enrolled in prerequisite courses in microbiology, chemistry and nutrition online and at Bergen Community College. In November, she found out she’d gotten in.

    “I was so excited to be accepted at Rutgers, and by the time I started school in January, I felt totally normal,” Barba said.

    Through the 14-month program, she’s gained hands-on skills in clinical rotations at hospitals in New Brunswick, Edison, Perth Amboy and Old Bridge. She’s worked on medical-surgical floors, in pediatrics, the psychiatric ward, the intensive care unit and the mother-baby unit, which is her favorite.

    “I love babies and taking care of new mothers. It’s such an amazing time in their lives and I feel honored being able to share it with them,” Barba said.

    She also has made great friends. The program is intimate, with a graduating class of about 70. “Each of us is coming to nursing from a different place – psychology, finance, biology, education – and the students are from so many ethnic backgrounds, said Barba, who emigrated with her family from the Philippines to New Jersey as a toddler.

    Since March, she’s been working per diem as a nursing assistant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Along with looking forward to graduation, she is busy studying for her NCLEX- RN exam (National Council Licensure Examination), which will allow her to practice as a registered nurse.

    And though her dream is to work in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), she’ll be happy with whatever the future holds, which sometime during the next two years will include a wedding.

    In December, RJ proposed at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

    “I feel pretty lucky,” Barba says. “When you get sick, it gives the people around you the chance to show how much they love you. My family has been so supportive, and RJ, too, is amazing. What we went through together is a good test for a marriage.”

    See the full article here.

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.
    As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:39 am on May 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lithium, , Rutgers, Traumatic Brain Injuries May be Helped with Drug Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder   

    From Rutgers: “Traumatic Brain Injuries May be Helped with Drug Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    May 8, 2017
    Robin Lally

    Rutgers research indicates lithium may prevent brain cell damage.

    A drug used to treat bipolar disorder and other forms of depression may help to preserve brain function and prevent nerve cells from dying in people with a traumatic brain injury, according to a new Rutgers University study.

    In research published in Scientific Reports on May 8, Rutgers scientists discovered that lithium – used as a mood stabilizer and to treat depression and bipolar disorder – and rapamycin, a treatment for some forms of cancer, protected nerve cells in the brain and stopped the chemical glutamate from sending signals to other cells and creating further brain cell damage.

    “Many medications now used for those suffering with traumatic brain injury focus on treating the symptoms and stopping the pain instead of protecting any further damage from occurring,” said lead author Bonnie Firestein, professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “We wanted to find a drug that could protect the cells and keep them from dying.”

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States with an estimated 1.7 people sustaining a TBI annually. About 30 percent of all deaths due to injury are due, in part, to a TBI.

    The symptoms of a TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, personality changes and depression, as well as vision and hearing problems. The CDC reports that every day 153 people in the U.S. die from injuries that include a TBI. Children and older adults are at the highest risk, according to the CDC.

    When a TBI occurs, Firestein said, a violent blow to the head can result in the release of abnormally high concentrations of glutamate, which under normal circumstances is an important chemical for learning and memory. But an overproduction of glutamate, she said, causes toxicity which leads to cell damage and death.

    In the Rutgers research, scientists discovered that when these two FDA-approved medications were added to damaged cell cultures in the laboratory, the glutamate was not able to send messages between nerve cells. This stopped cell damage and death, Firestein said.

    Further research needs to be done, she said, in animals and humans to determine if these drugs could help prevent brain damage and nerve cell death in humans after a traumatic brain injury.

    “The most common traumatic brain injury that people deal with every day is concussion which affects thousands of children each year,” said Firestein. “Concussions are often hard to diagnose in children because they are not as vocal, which is why it is critical to find drugs that work to prevent long-term damage.”

    The Rutgers research was funded by a three-year grant from the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research. The commission is funded, in part, by traffic tickets for moving violations like speeding, using a cell phone or driving without a license, and provides $1 to the fund from every ticket issued.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:06 pm on May 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: How Rutgers supports the New Jersey economy, President Barchi, Rutgers   

    From Rutgers President Barchi: How Rutgers benefits the New Jersey Economy 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    3
    Rutgers President Barchi

    Members of the Rutgers Alumni Community:

    As you know, Rutgers plays a crucial role in New Jersey, the state that more than 280,000 of our graduates call home. We teach 69,000 students and provide continuing education to approximately 50,000 women and men a year. Our research yields discoveries that improve the quality of life. We deliver health care to tens of thousands of New Jerseyans. Our service benefits small businesses, farmers, families, schools, and local governments in every county.

    But as a new analysis by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy demonstrates, Rutgers—the state’s third-largest non-government employer—is also a job creator and an economic engine. The combined impact of our operations each year supports nearly 58,000 jobs statewide and generates $5.2 billion in economic activity in New Jersey. Adding to those totals, our construction activities over the past five years have supported nearly 12,000 short-term jobs and generated another $1.2 billion in economic activity.

    I’m glad to add that we are a smart investment, too: for every dollar state government provides to Rutgers, we return nearly 7 dollars to the New Jersey economy.

    To see how much we benefit New Jersey, I invite you to read Rutgers Grows the Garden State, a report that highlights the key findings of the Bloustein School analysis.

    The University is sending the document to policy makers in Trenton and business leaders across the state, but I also welcome you to use this information to help advocate for Rutgers throughout the year. Visit http://economicimpact.rutgers.edu to access the report, the full analysis, and a related video.

    As alumni, you have contributed to the story we have to tell about Rutgers. I hope you share my pride in all your alma mater is doing to make life better here in the Garden State and far beyond.

    Sincerely,

    Robert Barchi

    2

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:13 am on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rutgers, Rutgers Students Advocate on Capitol Hill for Financial Aid   

    From Rutgers: “Rutgers Students Advocate on Capitol Hill for Financial Aid” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    April 27, 2017
    Dory Devlin

    1
    Rutgers students from New Brunswick, Newark and Camden meet with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, about the need for continued funding of federal aid programs.

    Students from New Brunswick, Newark and Camden urge lawmakers to avoid cuts to federal funding for education grants.

    As Congress weighs budget proposals that would significantly cut student aid and other discretionary spending, 15 students from Rutgers in Newark, New Brunswick and Camden urged federal legislators to maintain the current level of student aid funding.

    The students traveled on Tuesday to Washington, D.C., where they headed to all 14 New Jersey congressional delegation offices to put a human face to the need for continued funding of federal aid programs.

    Prosper Delle, at Rutgers University-Newark sophomore, shared with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, that without the Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants he receives, he would have to take on more debt to earn his degree.

    “These grants help make it possible for me to go to college,” said Delle, a public administration major who immigrated to the United States from Ghana.

    Rutgers students benefit from a variety of federal aid programs totaling $400 million, including Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work-Study, and Perkins Loans and Direct Loans.

    More than 17,000 students – one third of Rutgers undergraduates – receive Pell Grants, which provide $75 million toward their educational costs.

    Joe Clark, a sophomore communication major at Rutgers-New Brunswick, stressed that the students are not asking for more funding, but to maintain current levels. He asked a receptive Sen. Robert Menendez that he and other legislators support the appropriated base of $4,860 for the Pell Grant, which would allow the scheduled increase in the maximum award to $5,935 in fiscal year 2018.

    The students also encouraged representatives to restore year-round Pell Grants to give students the opportunity to graduate sooner by taking courses in summer and winter sessions.

    While getting to college is key, being able to afford everyday expenses often makes the difference for whether students stay and complete their degrees, said Ini Ross, a junior social work major at Rutgers-New Brunswick, noting work-study grants help fill that financial need for 3,000 Rutgers students.

    “Work-study is a lifeline,” Ross said, adding students gain valuable work and community experience through the program. “If it weren’t for the Federal Work-Study program, many students wouldn’t be able to maintain their academic schedules. Work-study allows students to not have to choose between textbooks and other essentials.”

    The students advocated for Congress to maintain funding of $990 million for work-study grants – which average $1,600 to 675,000 U.S. students – in fiscal year 2018.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:56 am on April 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Failure is Okay, Rutgers, SAS Honors Program Blog   

    From Rutgers: “What I Learned in Boating School is… Failure is Okay” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    SAS Honors Program Blog

    April 27, 2017
    Nida Saeed

    For many of you, college is the highlight of your lives. It may be better than high school, and you know, you probably discovered yourself here. Or are on the path of discovering yourself here. (I’m the latter).

    As I look back at my college career, I’m proud of myself. I had no qualms that I would graduate when I first started, but things got a little hairy as I went further in. No worries, though! If there’s one thing college has taught me, it’s that if you persevere and sometimes, hang on for dear life, you’ll make it through.

    Honestly, I didn’t realize that sometimes all you have to really do is just hold on, y’know, like that new Louis Tomlinson and Steve Aoki song. Anyway.

    Finals are coming up, and a lot of you may be worried about where you stand. I’m telling you, really telling you, to stop worrying. I know this is easier said than done, but in the bigger scheme of things, these exams are a blip in your life. Your GPA is a blip in your life. This time is a literal blip in your life!

    If you find yourself worrying, do this: take a deep breath, and think about the length your life will be, based on probability and averages. Think about what happens if you pass, and what happens if you fail. The most realistic effect: your GPA falls a little, your parents are upset, etc. etc.

    Okay, fine, but you’re not dead, right? You still have the brains to solve any problem that comes at you in the future? Yes, it makes life a little harder if you don’t do as well. But I’m also trying to say that the future isn’t impossible if you fail. Everything has a solution. And failing is sometimes okay.

    Failure puts things into perspective. We feel that we can’t fail, as if we won’t be able to handle it. But we are a lot more resilient than that. I think we’ve forgotten that.

    So I just wanted to remind you all that failing is okay sometimes. It means you tried something, and it didn’t work. It might give you insight as to how you function as a person. It certainly gave me that insight. I realized I had to be myself and stop doing things the way everyone else did them.

    So yeah, I love college (this is a very recent understanding, trust me) because I failed a lot. A LOT. And at first, I was ashamed of how much I’ve failed. But I’m not worried anymore. Those failures were just a blip in my career; they’re so small, just like the amount of time that I’ve spent at Rutgers.

    So it’s okay to fail if you do.

    But.

    I’m not giving you the go-ahead to party instead of studying for your finals.

    If you have the ability to change your circumstances, like studying as hard as you can just to pass a class, then do it. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but if you can do it, then do it.

    Failure shouldn’t be used as an excuse; it’s another tool in your arsenal. And college should help you build an arsenal of strategies to overcome problems with brilliant solutions. It did this for me.

    College was wild. I hope it’s wild for all of you too.

    And here is where I leave you all.

    It was a pleasure writing for you and giving you all advice. I hope it’s helped the lot of you, even a little. As I graduate and just move to another pasture, I know I’ll be ruminating over the lessons I’ve learned here. And I hope I’ve made some lessons at Rutgers easier to learn.

    And now, I bid you adieu.

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society for non-tradional students.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:58 am on April 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Rutgers, Rutgers Senior Who Started College Midlife Poised To Graduate With Three Majors, Sten Knutsen   

    From Rutgers: “Rutgers Senior Who Started College Midlife Poised To Graduate With Three Majors” 

    Rutgers University
    Rutgers University

    April 24, 2017
    Lisa Intrabartola

    Sten Knutsen, 47, is grateful he traded his full-time job to become a full-time student and ‘figure things out’.

    1
    Sten Knutsen, 47, is about to graduate from Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences with three majors – in linguistics, computer science and cognitive science.
    Photo: Nick Romanenko.

    Sten Knutsen remembers being wowed by Rutgers University during a high school field trip he took in the late ’80s.

    “In one of the engineering buildings on a tour of Busch Campus, they showed us this piece of tile from the space shuttle that was glowing red in the middle, and it was just the coolest thing,” he said.

    The math whiz was filled with curiosity about out how things worked. But his fascination with electrical and mechanical engineering ended up taking a backseat to his faith. Raised a Jehovah’s Witness, Knutsen followed the advice of church elders and skipped college to pursue a personal ministry.

    Nearly 30 years later, Knutsen, 47, is about to graduate from Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences with three majors – in linguistics, computer science and cognitive science.

    “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” said the Long Valley resident of his circuitous route to college. “My whole life the mechanisms were in place to prevent this from happening. But I broke out of it and made it happen. It’s an accomplishment that is meaningful.”

    For years Knutsen was content with the answers his religion offered to his many questions. He spread his church’s message door-to-door, worked as an operator for Bell Atlantic – now Verizon Communications – married a fellow church member and helped raise her two children.

    But as he approached 40, Knutsen became increasingly interested in questions raised by science – especially in the field of cognitive science – questions that his religious teachings did not cover. Soon it felt like his reliable job with good benefits was an albatross, and his decision to forgo higher education was a mistake.

    “I thought ‘I’m still not that old. I’ve got to get my butt in school,’” he said. “I probably always was this person, but I pushed it down for a long time.”

    Knutsen investigated his company’s tuition assistance plan and transferred from his North Jersey office to South Plainfield so he could be close to the New Brunswick campus. In the fall of 2011, he enrolled in his first class: “Expository Writing.”

    He worked by day, studied at night. Then Hurricane Sandy hit. With downed phone cables crisscrossing the state, it was all hands on deck at Verizon. Knutsen’s days started at 4 a.m. and didn’t end until 10 p.m., a schedule that almost kept him from class. But a flexible employer allowed him to make it to classes while working an otherwise full shift repairing fiber optics seven days a week. That stressful experience solidified what was most important to him: becoming a full-time student.

    “I figured if I could do that, I’m not sure what I can’t do,” he said.

    So in 2013 Knutsen left his steady job to focus on linguistics full time at the behest of his linguistics professor Jane Grimshaw who told him he was an outstanding student and up for the challenges that would come with a decision of this magnitude.

    “I was afraid that if he didn’t seize this opportunity he would always regret it, and if he felt that way too it was entirely reasonable for him to turn his life upside down and start studying full time,” said Grimshaw. “I run into Sten regularly at lectures and other events and I often ask him if he has any regrets. The answers range from ‘none’ to ‘never’ ‘no’ and ‘nope’.”

    Unlike his peers who are half his age, Knutsen said he doesn’t experience the same pressure or fear of failure as a student because this is his second act and an unplanned one at that. That unfettered approach allows Knutsen, who is defending his senior thesis in human language processing, to revel in the research process.

    “Designing the experiment, getting data from participants, trying to analyze it,” he said. “When you’re done, hopefully you’re going to know one more detail that no one ever knew before.”

    As his thirst for knowledge grew so did his fields of study. Knutsen added computer science as a major in 2014, followed by cognitive science. Soon he’ll have all three undergraduate degrees in hand. So how does he plan to use them?

    “At this point I have no goal other than going to graduate school and doing cool things I never thought possible,” said Knutsen, who has been accepted to Rutgers’ doctoral program in cognitive psychology and hopes to remain in academia. “My motivation wasn’t getting a job. It was figuring stuff out. The cool thing about cognitive science is it’s a relatively new field and there is a lot of stuff to figure out.”

    See the full article here .

    Follow Rutgers Research here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    rutgers-campus

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

    Rutgers smaller
    Please give us back our original beautiful seal which the University stole away from us.

    As a ’67 graduate of University College, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

    Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society for non-tradional students.

     
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