Engineering collaboration leads to benefits for Rowan University, Army

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. by Kristen Kushiyama — Quid pro quo. That’s the relationship established by the U.S. Army and Rowan University when it comes to their collaborative research in support of the Army and training America’s future workforce.

The Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command’s communications-electronics center, or RDECOM CERDEC, has established a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, in order to work together to advance Army technologies in the areas of mission command, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance networks and systems.

Ryan Fillman and Metin Ahiskali, CERDEC Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate engineers and Rowan University alumni, spearheaded a collaboration agreement between Rowan in Glassboro, N.J. and CERDEC I2WD here, in which Rowan students take courses, called clinics, in order to gain exposure to practical applications of engineering.

Typically the clinic courses align with master’s students’ and professors’ areas of research. During the course, graduate and undergraduate students test different systems applicable to Army needs and requirements with the help and guidance of professors and fellow graduate students, said Fillman.

By working with the government the university can fulfill its “hunger” for collaboration, said Dr. Shreekanth Mandayam, Rowan University associate provost for research and executive director of the South Jersey Technology Park.

“Rowan University is driven to engage with government and industry in leveraging the R&D capabilities of our faculty and benefitting our students to gain real-world experiences that will enable them to be competitive in the workplace,” said Mandayam, who noted the university also collaborates with other universities, industry members, federal and state agencies, municipalities, local governments, and entrepreneurs.

Many of the technologies students work on are directly applicable to Army programs.

One technology students have had the opportunity to work with since the Spring 2011 semester is the Army’s Remote Monitoring System, a wireless remote sentry monitoring sensor that can be left unattended for years, which sends information over far distances to Soldiers at a base station. Rowan students worked on automated calibration procedures for the RMS.

“The calibration is important in improving the direction finding accuracy of the system,” said Fillman. “Rowan’s research has improved the calibration accuracy as well as automated it.”

Students will continue working on the RMS calibration project during this school year, and a graduate student will do a thesis related to the project, said Fillman.

“The students get real world experience that will be applicable after graduation,” said Fillman.
Working with the students also gives CERDEC the chance to look at “up and comers” for possible jobs, said Mark Farwell, CERDEC I2WD Cyber ISR team lead.

“Not only does this CRADA allow I2WD to collaboratively research areas important to the Army, it also allows us the opportunity to offer these students job opportunities as they become available,” said Farwell.

The Army and university association with research and technology is beneficial not just to the organizations for the purpose of building a stronger U.S. workforce and making advancements, but to the students and faculty as well.

“When students engage with faculty in their research enterprise, they are provided with unique opportunities to expand their work experience and will enable them to compete for jobs, not only with the U.S. Army but elsewhere in government and private industry,” said Mandayam.

The feedback from students has been positive according to Dr. John Schmalzel, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rowan University.

“Students are enthusiastic about having the opportunity to work on this project,” said Schmalzel. “It involves state-of-art tools and methodologies, demonstrates the nature of the type of problems that are important to an important industry, application sector; provides the opportunity to work with engineers whose skill sets closely match theirs; and may provide opportunities for post-graduate employment.”

“This type of agreement provides an opportunity to demonstrate what students can accomplish- often exceeding expectations based on the assumed level of sophistication from junior- and senior-level engineering students,” said Schmalzel.


Rowan marks 20th anniversary of $100 million gift

On June 17, Rowan University will mark the transformational $100 million gift that Burlington County businessman and philanthropist Henry Rowan and his late wife Betty pledged in 1992 to then-Glassboro State College (GSC).

For 20 years, the institution-now known as Rowan University in their honor-has undergone changes few could have imagined two decades ago. When he made the then-unprecedented donation to a public school, Henry Rowan had just one stipulation. The founder, president and CEO of Inductotherm Industries, Inc. and an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Henry Rowan asked that GSC build an engineering college in South Jersey and revitalize engineering education.

Rowan University did that with remarkable success, showing just how outstanding it was from the start, even before it graduated its first engineering class in 2000. The College of Engineering offers its hallmark engineering clinics, providing students with hands-on experiences starting in their freshman year. That approach was unusual at the time the College was founded-programs typically started hands-on work two years later-but it is widely emulated now.

  • U.S. News & World Report consistently places the College among the top 25 undergraduate engineering schools in the country (bachelor’s/master’s category), and several of its programs have ranked in the top 10 in their field; Chemical Engineering, for instance, has been ranked in second or third place nationally for multiple years.
  • Professors frequently lead national and international organizations, committees and subcommittees in their areas of specialty.
  • Students regularly work on projects for NASA, the U.S. Navy, state offices and Fortune 500 companies, among hundreds of organizations.

The Rowan gift did much more for the institution, however, than create a College of Engineering. It paved the way for broader initiatives, spurred other individuals and companies to donate to the school and continually attracted more and more competitive students into programs in more than a half-dozen colleges that comprise the University. At the time it was made, the Rowan gift was the largest gift ever given to a public school. “Mr. and Mrs. Rowan’s gift was unheard of at the time and caused quite a stir in academic and philanthropic circles,” said Rowan President Dr. Ali A. Houshmand, who came to the University as provost more than a decade after the gift was made. “To say we were-and are-simply grateful would be an understatement and do a disservice to the Rowan family’s generosity. Their pledge to this school has transformed it. Yes, it enabled us to start an engineering school. And that school enabled more collaborations, greater funding and indeed I believe led us to co-founding Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, among many other initiatives in the last two decades.” Highlights at the University since 1992 include:

  • The institution attained university status and added colleges. As of July 1, Rowan will comprise nine colleges: Business, Communication & Creative Arts, Education, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, Performing Arts, Science & Mathematics, Graduate & Continuing Education and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
  • Rowan has enhanced and expanded numerous programs, including the honors program endowed by Thomas N. Bantivoglio.
  • Rowan has partnered with the Borough of Glassboro and SORA Holdings on the $300 million, mixed-use Rowan Boulevard project.
  • Rowan will open Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) in collaboration with Cooper Health System this summer. CMSRU is the first new four-year medical school in New Jersey in three decades and the first ever in South Jersey.
  • The University will open a School of Biomedical Sciences this summer. Nearly 22,000 new donors have invested in Rowan University, supporting scholarships, facilities, academic programs and more. Those donors include:
    • The William G. Rohrer Charitable Foundation (more than $12 million for the College of Business, including scholarships and the University’s first endowed chair)
    • Keith and Shirley Campbell ($1.5 million for the library)
    • Lawrence and Rita Salva ($1.18 million in scholarship support for the medical school and the College of Communication)
    • Ric and Jean Edelman (more than $1 million for the planetarium in Science Hall)
    • Ann (Buffy) Campbell ($1 million to the College of Business for an endowed chair)
    • Frank DiCicco ($1 million for scholarships for math students)
    • Thomas N. Bantivoglio ($1 million for the honors program)
    • Samuel H. Jones ($1 million for the South Jersey Technology Park at Rowan University)
    • Douglas Zee (land gift valued at $1 million)
    • The Charles & Lucille King Family Foundation, Inc. ($1 million to the College of Communication for an endowed chair)
    • The Rowan Family Foundation (additional funds to support special programs in engineering, scholarships and the fine and performing arts)

Virginia Smith, daughter of Henry and Betty Rowan, Group vice president of Inductotherm Group and a member of the Rowan University Board of Trustees, said recently, “My father is not only pleased with the investment he and his family have made in this school but has also found it rewarding to see the profound difference this gift has made throughout the entire institution. The University has undergone an amazing transformation over the last 20 years, providing an extraordinary impact on students, faculty and staff, indeed, on the entire region of Glassboro and southern New Jersey.”

Rowan University will mark the 20th anniversary of the Rowan gift in the fall with a formal ceremony.

Entrepreneurs Forum of Southern New Jersey hosts angel panel discussion

Rowan University and the Entrepreneurs Forum of Southern New Jersey (EFSNJ) on Friday, May 18, will host their first Angel Investor Panel Discussion at The South Jersey Technology Park, 107 Gilbreth Parkway Mullica Hill, N.J. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m., and the forum begins at 8 a.m.

Traditional angel fairs allow entrepreneurs to “pitch” their idea to a host of angel investors. However, based on feedback from EFSNJ members, the organizations decided to reverse the experience by allowing entrepreneurs to sit in the audience and pose questions to a panel of well-known and reputable angel investors.

According to Stephen Kozachyn, director of Outreach for Rowan University’s Rohrer College of Business and manager of the Rohrer College of Business Incubator, “Entrepreneurs typically seek funding and have questions concerning funding their venture. This seminar will give them then the opportunity to ask questions and then network with the investors afterwards.”

The EFSNJ holds a program every third Friday of the month to offer entrepreneurs knowledge to help them succeed. “We provide a tremendous amount of resources to help entrepreneurs increase the chance of success,” said Kozachyn.

The May 18 event is $20 and includes breakfast. Register in advance online

For more information and directions, visit the EFSNJ website at or contact Kozachyn at 856-256-4126.

Student entrepreneur takes $5,000 in Rowan Business Plan Competition

Ryan Ritchie, a junior social science/humanities major from West Deptford, took top honors — and a $5,000 prize — in the recent 6th Annual Rohrer Business Plan Competition at Rowan University.

The Business Plan Competition encourages the pursuit of entrepreneurial ventures and provides a forum in which students can present their ideas and win cash prizes to bring their dreams to fruition.

Ritchie won the competition over four other finalists for his Spider Gauge, a device that will inflate multiple truck tires without requiring supervision. Using a series of devices, a mechanic can regulate the tire pressures automatically.

More than 50 individuals/teams entered the yearlong Business Plan Competition — think a modified Shark Tank — which culminated in presentations by the finalists in front of a panel of judges (Linda Rohrer, president of Rohrer & Sayers Real Estate; Gerald Shreiber, president and CEO of J&J Snack Foods; Scott Kintzing, market president of Cornerstone Bank; and George Loesch, vice president of Campbell Soup Company).

Second place and $2,500 went to Alex Wooley, a senior entrepreneurship major from Sewell, for Scratch Indoor Golf Facility, which features five state-of-the-art golf simulators in a fun, relaxed sports entertainment environment that is not impacted by weather or lighting.

Ron Kohri came in third, with a $1,000 prize, for Kohri Sports LLC, designed to provide sports fans and analysts with the opportunity to evaluate the future performance of professional sports teams derived by their performance on fthe ield and free market principles. Kohri is an MBA student from Williamstown.

The two honorable mention winners, who earned $500, were Jason Hojnowski, a senior management major from Stratford, for DIY Garage, which provides the equipment and space for do-it-yourself car mechanics to perform simple maintenance and complete overhauls, and Jessica Zarandona, a senior entrepreneurship major from Randolph, for Build-A-Mattress, which allows for complete customization of mattress materials and foams for each individual.

Rowan University forms new school for biomedical studies

Students who hope to enter various health care professions or focus on specific types of technology studies will have a new option in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Rowan University.

The formation of the School, which will open July 1, is one of the highlights of major changes in the structuring of academic programs at the Glassboro-based institution that the Rowan Board of Trustees recently approved.

The University also is separating the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences into two Colleges (Science & Mathematics and Humanities & Social Sciences) and shifting select programs from some of Rowan’s existing academic colleges into more relevant Colleges.

As of July 1, Rowan will offer colleges of Business, Communication & Creative Arts, Education, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, Performing Arts, and Science & Mathematics. Rowan also includes the College of Graduate & Continuing Education and this summer will welcome the first class into Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, created in collaboration with Cooper University Hospital.

The School of Biomedical Sciences will operate in conjunction with the colleges of Science & Mathematics and Engineering. The dean of Sciences & Mathematics, Dr. Parviz Ansari, will head the school, and professors from his college and Engineering will be part of the faculty.

The School of Biomedical Sciences will address growing needs in the region for programs that will prepare students for careers in health care-related fields, from pharmacy to biomedical engineering.

“As we look to leverage the opportunities the medical school provides, we anticipate growth in health science-related programs,” said Dr. James Newell, interim provost. Two programs are now under consideration by the University Senate: biomedical engineering and translational biomedical sciences.

Newell said the new School will provide many options for students that also will benefit the public at large, including preparation for medical school and graduate studies in pharmacy, physical therapy and occupational therapy, among other fields.

“We anticipate significant research collaborations among faulty and students in the new school and faculty, staff and physicians at the medical school and Cooper,” Newell said. “Students will now have options in South Jersey in rapidly growing employment areas that have never before been available to them. This school will contribute toward developing the educated workforce that businesses need if they are going to relocate to South Jersey.”