Thursday, October 01

Brookdale Newsroom

Students Shine at 2018 Achievement Showcase
Five students sit in chairs and pose for a photo.

Dozens of Brookdale’s most involved and accomplished students received some well deserved time in the spotlight April 10 during the 2018 Student Achievement Showcase, held in the Student Life Center in Lincroft.

The program, organized by Brookdale faculty and staff, featured 17 presentations by a variety of student clubs, campus organizations and individuals, including members of the Brookdale Honors Program, the Global Citizenship Project, The Innovation Network (TIN) and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

The showcase began with a series of presentations by Brookdale’s 2017-18 NASA STEM Fellows, who received a $1,500 grant from NASA and the New Jersey Space Grant Consortium last fall to work on year-long research projects in their fields of study. Mathematics major Jordan Grillo; biology major Brianna Valdes; science major Karl Waldron; and electrical engineering major Jon Zukowski each presented the results of their research to a capacity crowd of classmates, faculty and campus mentors.

“It was an amazing experience. I learned so much from my team and my mentor,” said Zukowski, who worked with Rutgers University faculty to develop an autonomous “quadcopter” drone that could fly from point to point and avoid obstacles without human assistance. “Ultimately I want to work in the fields of robotics and mechatronics, specifically in research and development, so this project was very valuable. I learned a lot, and the work will probably go toward my PhD dissertation.”

The showcase also featured a number of interactive panel discussions, including programs hosted by current international students and members of Brookdale’s LGBT+ Club, as well as informational presentations on the state’s ongoing opiate epidemic, Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, oceanic pollution and civic engagement.

A female student shows off blueprints and designs to faculty members in the Student Life Center.

Jessica McFarlane (top) shows off her interior designs during the 2018 Student Achievement Showcase.

Interior design major Jessica McFarlane hosted a public screening of her conceptual designs for retail space at the Bell Works complex in Holmdel, which were presented to Bell Works officials this semester as part of a class project.

She also spoke with visitors about her upcoming internship with Bell Works-based design firm NPZ Style + Decor, which offered her a position after seeing her custom designs.

“Most of our projects in class are theoretical, so I was very excited to have this opportunity to carry out a real world project involving real designers and real-world spaces,” said McFarlane, who graduates from Brookdale this May. “I sort of took it and ran with it. It took me a really long time and a ton of effort to complete, and I’m just so proud of the end result. I couldn’t be happier.”

McFarlane wasn’t the only budding intern featured in the showcase, however. Later in the day, students Joao Pereira Cavalcante and Mayte Javier joined a panel discussion hosted by the Office of Career and Leadership Development to discuss their recent internships with Disney and Monmouth County, respectively.

Visual arts students also held a joint presentation showcasing some of their standout sculptural works from the 2017-18 year, while a team of culinary arts students provided a live cake decorating demonstration. Later, business administration major Emily Abrecht provided a first-hand account of her service learning trip to Ghana, while TIN students provided a comprehensive update on their community-based curriculum, including recent three recent charity events and the upcoming launch of a community garden in Neptune.

For the full list of Student Showcase presentations and participants, click here.

“Every year, I am simply blown away by the quality of the work and the amount of passion we see from students who participate in the Student Achievement Showcase,” said associate language professor Deborah DeBlasio, who hosted this year’s showcase alongside associate speech professor Howard Miller.

“It exemplifies the very best of Brookdale, and I could not be more proud of this year’s participants. If you haven’t had a chance to come see a session, please come visit next year. You won’t regret it.”

Check out more photos of the 2018 Student Achievement Showcase here