The Albert Dorman Colloquium Series

Honors Colloquium Series

Professor Martina Decker speaking at TEDxNJIT

Staying informed about all aspects of the world around you beyond your professional interests is an essential component of leadership.

The Albert Dorman Colloquium Series focuses on the interface between Science, Technology and Society. Colloquia normally meet during university common hours 8-12 times each semester. They feature talks by - and conversations with - industry, academic, and government leaders on a wide range of topics. Field trips to corporate, scientific, cultural, and community organizations are also included. In addition, some important campus political and cultural events are co-sponsored by the Honors College and regarded as part of the Colloquium Series.

Honors students must attend at least 2 colloquia each semester and are strongly encouraged to attend more than the required amount. Please click on the colloquia titles below for more details.  

You are welcome to review past colloquia topics and speakers here.

Fall 2018 Colloquia

The following events have been scheduled for the Fall 2018 semester. More events are being scheduled; please check back regularly to see the full list.

Friday, September 21
11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.
Campus Center Atrium

An Entrepreneur’s Story of Success, Failure and Perseverance

by NJIT Alumnus Ken Colao, BS CE ‘77

Co-Founder, President, and CEO, CNY Group

Ken Colao is a recognized leader and entrepreneur in the construction industry, with more than 33 years of experience as a principal and founder of several major construction firms. During his career, he has completed more than $4.7 billion worth of building construction, both domestically and internationally.

Mr. Colao is an engineer and holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark College of Engineering), where he serves on the Board of Advisors for the College of Architecture and Design. He also currently serves as a member of the World Presidents’ Organization YPO-WPO Big Apple and Metro chapter, and has previously served on the Governor’s Business Council and the Board of Directors of the Newark Regional Business Partnership. He recently won the EY Entrepreneur of The Year 2017 Award for the New York Region, in the Real Estate, Construction and Hospitality category. EY’s global program recognizes individuals who excel in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Mr. Colao and his team at CNY Group manage an innovative, forward-thinking building company that has led the way for “open shop” construction of large-scale projects, and specializes in repurposing/reconstruction of existing properties. CNY is currently managing over $1.2 billion in projects in New York City.

Clients include Durst Organization, BlackRock, Property Group Partners, Berkely, Witkoff, Reading International, William Macklowe, Goldman Sachs, and Rose Associates. Of note is the new Central Park Marriott, which is the tallest stand-alone hotel in the Western Hemisphere. Other current notable projects in construction include 20 Times Square; conversion of the Woolworth Tower; 21 East 12; Tammany Hall in Union Square; and Crossing at Jamaica Station.

Engineering News-Record (ENR) named CNY Group as Contractor of the Year for 2017. CNY also earned an Award of Merit under the office category in ENR-NY’s 2017 Best Projects Competition for its recently completed LEED Silver office and retail project, 860 Washington Street, in New York’s historic Meatpacking District.

Mr. Colao’s role at CNY is that of a thought leader, and he brings discipline and an approach to problem solving that fulfill the objectives of clients and designers. His mission is to create value, challenge the norm and lead the delivery of CNY’s proven best practices and expertise in the business of construction and development.

Prior to the formation of CNY, Ken was a founding partner of York Hunter Companies, a New York City-based construction management firm that completed more than $2.4 billion of construction throughout the United States during its 18-year history. York Hunter provided services to many Fortune 500 companies, cultural institutions, government agencies, and prominent real estate developers throughout the country. Ken’s early career included posts as a resident engineer on civil and infrastructure projects. Later joining Morse Diesel (Amec) as a project superintendent/project manager and subsequently Lehrer McGovern (Lend Lease), he advanced from being Lehrer McGovern’s first employee to eventually becoming a principal-in-charge in London.

Click here for photo gallery.
Wednesday, October 3
2:30 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
IDS Classrooms


Virtual Silicon Valley 

Maria Karim '05H (Topcon, formerly Intel), Salman Naqvi '10H (Apple), Phong Pham '10H (Tesla), Maria Karim '05 (Topcon), Jason Pena (Google), and Arun Sitararun (SAP)

Tuesday, October 9
6 P.M.
Conference room, ADHC 2nd floor

MoMA Presents: Architecture in Yugoslavia (study tour)

Dr. Burcak Ozludil

This talk introduces the MoMA exhibition “Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980” before visiting it on Friday, October 12 with Honors College. Dr. Ozludil will discuss the main themes of the exhibition and the underlying meta-narratives that portrays this geography as being in-between “the capitalist West and the socialist East.”

To obtain colloquium credit, students must attend both the presentation on Tuesday, October 9 and the study tour at MoMA on Friday, October 12.

Wednesday, October 10
2:30 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
IDS room 1

Engineering Better Medicines

by Dr. Vivek Kumar

Engineering better medicines is a new way of introducing the important skills for future STEM careers. If you wanted to make a device, invent a drug, or anything in-between – this colloquium will teach you some of the basics, some of ideas you need to focus on; and develop a path to translate your technologies. 

Vivek Kumar received his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University in 2006, and doctorate degree in biomedical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2011. His expertise is in the area of tissue engineering, drug development and delivery, and specific research interests are in the area of inflammation modulation and angiogenesis, especially in understanding the role of small growth factor or cytokine mimics’ ability to signal biological processes. He is the co-author of over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, over 2 dozen abstracts, co-inventor on over a half dozen patents/applications, and serial entrepreneur (2 startups to-date). Dr. Kumar has served at the New Jersey Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering with courtesy appointments in the Chemical Engineering department and the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. In addition to teaching a graduate class in Biomedical Translation and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Kumar teaches Advanced Biomaterials to budding Undergraduate Tissue Engineers. Dr. Kumar strives to encourage research involvement in undergraduate pedagogy, developed holistic and well-rounded bioengineers, capable of interacting, adapting and contributing to the rapidly changing research arena. From biomaterials design, drug discovery to drug delivery – research in the KumarLab ( aims at translating technologies in startups ( towards treating a wide array of pathologies. 

Wednesday, October 17
2:30 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Ballroom A

Innovation through a Collaborative Product Development Process, Lessons Learned from 22 years of Consumer Electronics Startups

by Hans Hartman, '80

Hans has a proven track record in product development, supply chain management, sales operations and information technology executive management. His 38 years of experience include fifteen at Hewlett-Packard and numerous successful early-stage high technology companies. Most recently he was Chief Operating Office for Oculus, a Facebook company and Fitbit where he was responsible for product design, supply chain operations and customer support. As employee 17 at Fitbit, Hans grew the business from a few Million in sales to a $1.8 Billion public company (NYSE: FIT).  While at Fitbit, he launched and scaled eleven market leading products.  His previous positions include COO of Skyline Solar, VP of Operations and Engineering at Element Labs (acquired by Barco), VP of Operations at OQO, Dash Navigation (acquired by RIM), ConvergeNet (acquired by Dell) and JetFax (NASDAQ: JTFX). He holds a MS in Engineering, Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford University and BS in Electrical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Hans currently advises Molekule, Unumotors and Apollo Neuroscience.

Wednesday, October 24
2:30 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Ballroom A

NJIT Technology and Society Forum

City Resilience: Structural Health Monitoring and Big Data Modeling of Transportation

by Hani Nassif, professor at Rutgers University; and Kaan Ozbay, professor at New York University

In the face of both natural and man-made threat to city infrastructure, greater pushes have been made toward the planning and design of “resilient cities” — cities positioned to protect and enhance urban life through development of components necessary to respond to terrorism, earthquakes, coastal flooding, solar flares, as well as infrastructure adoption of sustainable energy.

In their upcoming NJIT Technology and Society Forum presentation, two experts who have collaborated for the last 15 years on the topic of city resilience — Hani Nassif, professor at Rutgers University, and Kaan Ozbay, professor at New York University (NYU) — will discuss strategies for strengthening the connectivity between critical components of a resilient city’s infrastructure. The discussion highlights two major areas
of city resilience, structural health monitoring and big data modeling of transportation. Nassif, director of the New Jersey Bridge Resource Program at Rutgers, investigates structural health monitoring (SHM), with emphasis on bridges and the application of weigh-in-motion (WIM) technology for monitoring trucks and their socio-economic impact on the transportation infrastructure system. He is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), and past Chair of ACI Committee 444-Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Instrumentation. Dr. Nassif has more than 100 publications on the topic of SHM. Kaan Ozbay, professor of Civil and Urban Engineering, works within the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP). His research in transportation, which received the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, includes development of simulation models of large scale complex transportation systems, and advanced technology and sensing applications for Intelligent Transportation Systems. He has published 375 refereed papers in scholarly journals and conference proceedings.

Nassif, director of the New Jersey Bridge Resource Program at Rutgers, investigates structural health monitoring (SHM), with emphasis on bridges and the application of weigh-in-motion (WIM) technology for monitoring trucks and their socio-economic impact on the transportation infrastructure system. He is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), and past Chair of ACI Committee 444-Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Instrumentation. He has published 230 refereed papers in scholarly journals and conference proceedings.  

 Albert Dorman Honors College; John A. Reif, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Otto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering; Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science; and Sigma Xi NJIT Chapter

Thursday, October 25
7:00 P.M.
Bradley Hall Theatre, Rutgers-Newark

The Mother F**ker With a Hat 

This Stephen Adly Guirgis comedy challenges the life choices of a recovering addict as he tries to figure out whose hat is in his girlfriend's living room. WARNING: This production contains mature language. 

Co-sponsored by Rutgers-NJIT Theater Arts Program

Wednesday, October 31
2:30 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Campus Center Atrium

Current Topics in Bioethics: Transplant, Physician Assistant Dying, Treating Aging

by Prof. Arthur Caplan, Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine

Topics include:

The ethics of novel forms of transplantation—face, limbs and the uterus
Physician assisted death — where have we been and where are we going?
Shouldn’t we treat Aging as a Disease?

Co-sponsored by the College of Science and Liberal Arts

Friday, November 2
11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M
Campus Center Atrium

How (and Why) to Think Like a Data Scientist 

by Lisa Burton, PhD., Executive Director, HearstLab

You interact with data science every day. Social media platforms use data science to determine what to show in your feed. Sports organizations use data science to inform player recruitment and in-game strategy. Credit card companies use data science to detect fraudulent activity.

In this talk, we’ll discuss what “data science” means and what it can do for you. We’ll walk through what happens when things go wrong – when models mislead us or results offend us -- and why it’s usually the fault of humans, rather than a computer. You’ll learn why having experiences and skills outside of data science are as important as those within it, and how building a model is like building a product. We’ll review how startup founders get funded with their data and how to get want you want by making the case with data.

Lisa Burton, is the Executive Director of HearstLab, a greenhouse for early-stage, women-led startups that innovate across media, data and technology. Based at Hearst Tower in NYC, HearstLab provides each selected startup with investment and access to an abundance of resources and subject matter expertise as well as leaders and mentors.

Lisa holds a Ph.D. and master's degree (S.M.) from MIT and B.S. from Duke, all in Mechanical Engineering. She previously founded AdMass, a data science startup that leverages social media data to help brands understand their customers online. Lisa also built and led data science teams at multiple startups in Austin and has consulted for several companies in industries ranging from healthcare to entertainment to advertising.

Friday, November 9
Time: 8:30 A.M. - 9:30 A.M.
Campus Center Atrium


Board of Visitors Roundtable

Wednesday, November 14
Time: 2:30 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Meeting location: ADHC lobby, first floor at 2:15 (tour ends at 3:30)

Downtown Newark Walking Tour

Students will take a walk to Express Newark and visit the Kevin Blythe Sampson. Students will learn about Sampson's work as well as the role Express Newark and the Hahnes Building have played in jump-starting Downtown redevelopment. The tour is led by Miriam Ascarelli, Humanities lecturer.

Wednesday, November 28
Time: 9:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Ballroom A

Research Center Showcase & Pres. Forum

In order to receive colloquim credit, students must attend the lecture portion (time TBD).

Friday, November 30
11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M
IDS Room 1

Vatsal Shah, Ph.D, PE, PP

Associate & Senior Project Engineer, Mott MacDonald

Adjunct Professor, John A. Reif Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, NJIT

The Professional Engineer: Ethical Challenges and Civic Duty in a Fast-Paced Modern World 

Theranos- Silicon Valley’s revolutionary blood testing startup; Flint, Michigan- the face of America’s aging infrastructure; and Volkswagen Auto Group- diesel technology gone bad. What do these three seemingly-different topics share in common?   Engineers from all disciplines- biomedical, mechanical, and civil, for these examples, stand behind the innovations for the underlying technology and infrastructure that improve our society. Each contribution reinforces the public trust in our profession, but recent issues and loosening of regulations makes it easier to miss the line which separates a degreed graduate and a Professional Engineer.  This colloquium will discuss what it means to be an engineer in the 21st Century- from ethics, to professional licensure, and the practical takeaways from 10 years of lessons learned from an NJIT Albert Dorman Honors College and NCE Grad.

Wednesday, December 12
2:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Campus Center Atrium

Wind and String Ensemble

NJIT Music Initiative that features 80 wind musicians and 25 string musicians.