Monday, April 06

Brookdale Newsroom

Student STEM Lounge Opens in MAS

Brookdale students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) now have a new place to hang out, study and meet with their classmates. On March 26, college faculty and administrators cut the ribbon on a new student STEM Lounge, located in MAS 107.

Featuring computers, comfortable furniture, a coffee machine and even a microwave, the new space provides everything a STEM student needs to prep for an exam or relax between classes.

“It’s a great space to come and hang out, but what I really want it to be is a place where we help each other as STEM majors,” said assistant mathematics Professor Anoop Ahluwalia, who helped spearhead the new lounge along with assistant mathematics Professor Susan Monroe.

“When you are a STEM major, studying in a group is the best strategy. Making connections, working with different learners, seeing how they think about a problem versus you: that’s where you really stretch your mind and grow.”


Dr. Richard Fulton and Anoop Ahluwalia celebrate the opening of the new STEM Lounge on March 26.

The lounge, built with the help of volunteers in a previously unused classroom, also serves as a peer tutoring center.

New STEM students seeking help with their coursework can sit down with a rotating staff of upper-level students and go over their issues in a relaxed, informal setting. Quiet study areas will be added in the near future.

“You can come and work with a student who has taken those same courses, done very well and is happy to sit here as a friend and help you,” Ahluwalia said.

The lounge is part of a comprehensive slate of new STEM programming being rolled out this year through a $70,000 grant from NASA and the New Jersey Space Grant Consortium (NJSGC). Earlier this year Ahluwalia and Monroe awarded $5,000 STEM fellowships to four Brookdale students, and Brookdale faculty will be launching outreach programs on campus and in three Monmouth County middle schools in the months ahead.

The grant will also help create an official STEM Club at Brookdale, offering enhanced academic support, peer networking and career development opportunities to students. Brookdale’s Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WEST) Club will be expanded, creating new mentorship opportunities for female students and establishing an annual Women’s Career Night at the college.

Middle school students will also be invited to an annual STEM Day celebration at Brookdale, which will feature career speakers, hands-on activities and displays highlighting the achievements of STEM Club members throughout the year.

The goal, Ahluwalia said, is to encourage students from all walks of life to take advantage of growing opportunities in STEM career fields. At Brookdale, faculty and administrators want to make sure STEM students have the tools to reach their fullest potential.

“This lounge is going to be a great place for students to study and to help each other study,” said Interim Executive Vice President of Educational Services Dr. Richard Fulton, helping to cut the ribbon on the STEM Lounge. “You’ve got a microwave, a coffee pot, and you’ve got each other. What more could you want?”

Following the ceremony, students squared off in a competition to build the largest tower out of dried spaghetti, a marshmallow and a meter of masking tape. The winner walked away with two tickets to the movies.

For more information on STEM programs at Brookdale, call Anoop Ahluwalia at 732-224-1987 or email aahluwalia@brookdalecc.edu.