Spring 2014 Colloquium Series



January 29, 2014
2:30—4:30 p.m.
Jim Wise Theatre (Kuprian Hall)







Black Mozart

A Special Presentation


Join Harvard University graduate, record producer, singer-songwriter Ryan Leslie for a private screening of his documentary Black Mozart, an in-depth look at an independent artist’s ability to tour 30 cities across Europe without a record label or manager. Following the screening, Mr. Leslie will host a conversation with the audience regarding the ins and outs of today’s media industry. He will discuss how to utilize social media and technology at its full capacity to be directly connected to his fans. All attendees will get a chance to meet and greet Ryan Leslie.

The Colloquium is part of the Celebrating Black History Month and is co-sponsored by the Student Campus Center, the Technology and Society Forum, and by the Albert Dorman Honors College.




February 19, 2014
3:00—4:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom





Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble



The Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble will bring an exuberant performance to the NJIT campus during the first week of Black History Month. Their presentation will also reflect the purpose that Robert and Wanda Dickerson had in founding the ensemble some 30 years ago — to ground urban youth in the great artistic traditions of Africa as an avenue to fostering respect for their cultural heritage, for themselves as individuals, and for people of every background.


Co-directed by the Dickersons’ eldest son, Jamal, and his wife, Ronsha, the Camden-based group has grown over the past three decades to be one of the largest in the United States performing traditional African songs, music and dance. The group engages members of their home city and other communities to give sensationally energetic performances across America and in other countries. Much wider audiences have enjoyed their talents on television.


The Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble has been cited by scholars and historians for exceptional authenticity, reflective of having been taught by distinguished musicians and dancers from many parts of Africa. In their performances, they draw on the artistic richness of Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and other African nations. On February 5, members of the ensemble will also give brief cultural introductions to each part of the program.


The artists of the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble have been international cultural ambassadors as well. In 2010, the group was selected to represent the United States at the World African Arts Cultural Festival, an event for which performers from over 80 countries gathered in Dakar, Senegal. 


The colloquium is an event celebrating Black History Month  and is co-sponsored by the NJIT Technology and Society Forum, Albert Dorman Honors College, NJIT Educational Opportunity Program, NJIT Campus Center Diversity Programs, Sigma Xi.



March 6, 2014
7:00 p.m.
Jim Wise Theatre (Kupfrian Hall)








Honors Theater Night (I)

Bat Boy: The Musical


Story & Book by  Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming


Music & Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe

Directed by Michael Kerley



Bat Boy: The Musical is based on a story that was published in The Weekly World News on  June 23, 1992. The Weekly World News was a tabloid that often published patently fabricated stories which purported to be based on fact.  It went out of business in 2007, but still exists as a website.


The musical comedy/horror show is an adaptation of that story. It is about a half-boy, half-bat creature who is discovered in a cave near Hope Falls, West Virginia. The local sheriff does not known what to do with this strange Bat Boy, so he brings him to the home of Dr. Parker, the town veterinarian, where he is eventually accepted as a member of the family and taught to act like a "normal" boy by the veterinarian's wife, Meredith, and teenage daughter, Shelley. Bat Boy is happy with his new life, but when he naively tries to fit in with the narrow-minded people of Hope Falls, they turn against him, egged on by the machinations of Dr. Parker himself, who secretly despises Bat Boy. Shelley and Bat Boy have fallen in love in the meantime and so they run away together to escape the ignorant townsfolk and have a blissful coupling in the woods, but their happiness is shattered when Meredith Parker arrives and reveals a secret. Soon the entire town arrives and hears the shocking story of Bat Boy's unholy origin.


The musical got rave reviews. Here’s an example from our local newspaper, the Star Ledger:

  • Composed with smarts, staged with savvy and performed with gusto, BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL is a winner. You'd be batty to miss it.


This is certainly going to be a most enjoyable evening.



March 7, 2014
11:30 am—1:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom A



Global Leadership and Careers within the United Nation

Michael Emery


Michael Emery is currently the Director for the Division for Human Resources at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York.

Michael has served for more than 23 years with the United Nations and other international organizations and NGOs in New York, Geneva, West Africa, the Balkans and East Timor. Prior to joining UNFPA, Michael was the Director of Human Resources at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva, after holding the position of Chief of Recruitment at UNDP, New York (2006-10). He served with the UN in various roles between 2000-2005 including as Chief of Peacekeeping’s Career Development Unit (2003-05), Chief of the International Staff Unit (2002-03) and Chief, Language and Training Unit (2000-02) based in East Timor. He also was Chief of the Training Management Unit, UNPROFOR/UN in the former Yugoslavia between1994 - 1996. Michael holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Development and Training and a Bachelor of Education.


Michael Emery, a seasoned leader within the UN System, will share with you information on:

  • What it means to be a leader within a constantly changing, complex and challenging environment,
  • The skills and expectations required of leaders within the United Nations,
  • What are the types of jobs and other opportunities are available throughout the UN system and why this is relevant to you,
  • What you should do now to develop your strengths and capacities if you are interested in a career with international organizations,
  • How to approach career planning holistically,
  • The critical career elements that have to be simultaneously addressed in order to maximize your chances at being successful.

The Colloquium is co-sponsored by Albert Dorman Honors College, NJIT Center for Leadership and Professional Development (CLPD), NJIT Career Development Services, NJIT Technology and Society Forum Committee and Murray Center for Women in Technology.



March 12, 2014
2:30—4:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom A







From Alumnus to Engineer to Juror to Lawyer to Judge.

Judge Sohail Mohammed


Judge Mohammed received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering cum laude from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and then worked full-time as an electrical engineer while earning his law degree at Seton Hall University Law School. At Seton Hall, he served as the founder and President of the Seton Hall Law School Science and Technology Law Society.


Since July 2011, the Honorable Sohail Mohammed, J.S.C., has been a Superior Court Judge, Family Part, Passaic County, New Jersey. Prior to that he worked as a defense attorney concentrating on immigration law.


Judge Mohammed has served as a Trustee of the Passaic County Bar Association, as an executive Board member of New Jersey State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, as Chair of the Passaic County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division, and as a Trustee and Vice President of Legal Affairs of the FBI’s Citizens’ Academy. He also served as a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committees on Attorney Fee Arbitration and Attorney Ethics. For over ten years, as part of the annual Law Day celebration at the Passaic County Courthouse, he has run the New Citizens’ Swearing-in Program.


In 1997, Judge Mohammed received the New Jersey State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Professional Achievement Award and in 2005 he received a Distinguished Service Award from the Superior Court of New Jersey for promoting cultural understanding.  He is the recipient of numerous citations from, among others, the New Jersey State Senate, the New Jersey State General Assembly and City of Clifton.


Judge Mohammed has taught courses at the New Jersey Judicial College, Family Division Conference, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE), Judiciary Institute for Staff Attorneys (JISA) and has given numerous lectures on immigration law, family law, diversity and motor vehicle laws. He is also a former Adjunct Professor of Medical Law and Ethics. He has made numerous appearances on national and international television and has provided diversity training to judges, court personnel, prosecutors and thousands of members of the law enforcement community. He was named one of the 101 most influential people in the state by New Jersey Monthly magazine in 2009 and as a New Jersey “Super Lawyer” for five consecutive years, beginning in 2006.


As an alumnus of NJIT, Judge Mohammed has offered honors students the exceptional opportunity of attending his court proceedings as observers and then discussing with him what they had learned from this experience. This last summer he also had two honors students working for him as judicial interns.  This Colloquium offers a wonderful opportunity to benefit from his wide experience and rather unusual career and  from his advice about the approach to your studies and the need for cultural understanding.


This colloquium is sponsored by the Law Technology and Culture


March 17, 2014






An Inside Look at Prudential Center, Home of the NJ Devils  ─  From Drawing Board to Finished Arena


Prudential Center is the cornerstone in the revitalization and renaissance of downtown Newark. In addition to the arena, Newark intends to add scores of condominiums, restaurants, themed bars, and mixed retail establishments. Prudential Center is recognized as one of the finest arenas in the country and is New Jersey’s home for hockey, college basketball, indoor soccer, concerts, family shows and special events. A public/private partnership between the City of Newark and Devils Arena Entertainment made the $375 million Prudential Center a reality that is changing the face of downtown Newark and making it a destination location for sports and live entertainment in the region. The Prudential Center hosts the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall Men’s Basketball, MISL’s New Jersey Ironmen indoor soccer team, concerts, family shows, and NJIT events like Commencement as well as other professional, collegiate and amateur sporting events.


The Study Tour agenda includes:


  • Tour of the facility with a focus on the architecture, construction, amenities, and technology.


  • Discussion of the business plan – capital, facility and operational expenditures, and revenue.


  • Why the Devils’ organization chose Newark and how they envision the Devils’ future and its impact on the greater Newark community.



March 19, 2014






Study Tour of FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, Atlantic City, NJ


The FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center is the nation’s premier aviation research and development, and test and evaluation facility. The Technical Center serves as the national scientific test base for the FAA. Programs at the Technical Center include testing and evaluation in air traffic control, communications, navigation, airports, aircraft safety, and security. They also include long-range development of innovative aviation systems and concepts, development of new air traffic control equipment and software, and modification of existing systems and procedures. The Technical Center not only serves as a cornerstone for aviation advancements, but is also a key focal point for Homeland Security. You can learn more about the Technical Center at the following link:  http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ang/offices/tc/...


Here are a few comments by students who have taken part in previous Study Tours:


  • “I think the Tour was excellent and have no suggestions on how to improve it.  The people there were very nice and very welcoming.  No matter how many questions we had, they were always helpful and genuinely wanted us to enjoy ourselves.”


  • “I was surprised how much I learned on this Tour.”


  • “The experience in a nutshell was one of a kind.”


  • “I actually never knew the Government did so much work to protect the citizens of the U.S.  It was very reassuring as well as informative.”


  • “The Study Tour gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to personally experience what it is like to work with new and cutting-edge technology."


  • “Even though my future career plans are related to medicine, I found viewing the lab testing equipment used by the FAA exciting.”


  • “After the tour of the FAA, I became aware that the government not only conducts research but is a pioneer in some of its research.  I am definitely considering a career doing research for the government upon graduation.”




March 21, 2014







A Behind-the-Scences Study Tour of

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)


The State of New Jersey decided to build a world-class performing arts center in 1986.  The committee charged with the planning chose Newark over other cities in the State because of the density of the population in the areas surrounding it, its proximity to New York City, the extensive highway and rail access to the site and the spurt of revitalization it would bring  the city.  The site chosen for the Center was also superb:  just across the street from the historic Military Park and only a block away from the Passaic River – and we might add here within easy walking distance of the NJIT campus.


$187 million and 11 years later, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center opened in 1997. It is the sixth largest performing arts center in the United States, as well as the home of the Grammy-Award winning New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.  Dubbed “New Jersey’s Town Square”, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists – to name just a few: Yo-Yo Ma, Julian Lloyd Webber, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Vienna Boys Choir. At a more recent event, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston’s ex-husband, sang at NJPAC on the evening of the same day of her funeral in Newark, Saturday, February 18, 2012. Like the Prudential Center – where we also have an annual Study Tour – NJPAC has played a catalytic role in returning nightlife and economic activity to New Jersey’s largest urban community.


A major component of NJPAC’s multi-faceted mission is to develop into a world-class cultural complex not just showcasing the best artists or national and international acclaim, but also with a declared educational focus:  through its extensive Arts Education program, it is also shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts.


Since opening its doors in 1997, NJPAC has attracted over six million visitors (more than one million of them children) and continues to work hard on nurturing meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. [For more information, visit www.njpac.com]


We will be privileged on our Study Tour not just to learn what NJPAC is all about, but also to view its acclaimed architecture while also getting an insider’s view of its facilities and its advanced behind-the-scenes technology.



March 24, 2014
Time: TBD
Eberhardt 112






Women in Science and Technology

Rane Johnson-Stempson


Rane Johnson-Stempson is the Microsoft Education and Scholarly Communication Principal Research Director, where she engages with academics worldwide and identifies high-impact areas for research investigations. She is currently working on projects that use technology to transform how we learn about history and how we eradicate human trafficking.

Rane is also the lead for growing, attracting and retaining women in research, science and engineering. She is actively working with NCWIT , Anita Borg, CRA-W, ACM-W, IEEE-W and researchers on how to grow the pipeline of women in research, science and engineering. She has been selected to lead several Whitehouse committees to support human trafficking and technology inclusion.  Previously, as the WW Director of Education Strategy she was responsible for multi-stakeholder partnerships, Cisco-Intel-Microsoft Alliance, World Economic Forum- Global Education Initiative, Fast Track Initiative-Private Constituency and helping our local teams around the world use the power of technology as an accelerator to transform education to meet local government priorities to drive economic and workforce development in the 21st century.

After 10 years at Microsoft, Rane has held a variety of positions. She started as an Public Sector Global Account Manager, Server and Tools Core Infrastructure Field Liaison, CEE Regional Core Infrastructure Product Manager, and CEE Regional Leader responsible for developing and supporting the mission in helping all IT Professional and IT Managers in CEE to reach their full potential.

Rane is very passionate about education and technology with sixteen years of experience. She has served as the Executive Director of California Skills USA-VICA, IT Project Manager for Guidant Corporation, Middle School Math and Science Teacher and IT Director for the San Francisco Unified School District. She has sat in the boards of top Education non-profits and on legislative committees and task forces. She has currently been selected to serve of four Whitehouse committees from the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Rane is a graduate of Bucknell University with a BS Mechanical Engineering, BA Economics/Finance, and George Fox University with an Executive MBA in Transformational Leadership. She currently serves on the advisory board for the University of Washington iSchool, WEPAN, Bucknell Engineering Excellence Program and ACM-W.

Rane spends a lot of her free time and energy focused on working with young women and students of color to help them reach their full potential in careers in Science, Technology and Engineering. In her free time, she loves the outdoors, outdoor sports, spending time with her puppy, traveling, playing with tech gadgets and working with students.  Her research interests lie in technology implications in reaching education for all, technology and the interplay of public-private partnerships in solving our greatest social problems and technology innovations required to engage student learning.


NCWIT =  National Center for Women and Information Technology

Anita Borg = she is the founder of the Anita Borg Institute. The heart of  ABI’s mission is Women in Technology.

CRA-W = Computer Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, Increasing the number of women in Computer Science & Engineering

AAUW = American Association of University Women (has been in the filed of empowering women since 1881!)

ACM-W = Association for Computing Machinery (advancing computing as a secure profession.  ACM-W supports, celebrates and advocates women in computing.

IEEE-WIE = Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Women In Engineering – promotes the cause of women engineers and scientists.



April 2, 2014
2:30—4:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom A




Women in Technology: Misfit or Match Made in Heaven?

Ann Kirschner


Ann Kirschner is University Dean of Macaulay Honors College of The City University of New York. Macaulay serves 2,000 undergraduates and emphasizes global citizenship, innovation, and high achievement.  Since its creation in 2001, Macaulay has become a leader in public higher education; the College’s young alumni include Rhodes Scholars as well as rapidly advancing scientists, scholars, and artists around the world.


Her career spans an unusual range of experiences and organizations.  As an entrepreneur in media and technology, she has led start-up teams that shifted business models and technologies. She headed new franchise development at Group W Cable during its largest period of expansion, and introduced the first forays into digital content delivery (REQUEST teletext), and won the industry’s ACE marketing award. As head of marketing and communications for PRIMETIME 24, she and her co-founders were early pioneers in the home satellite dish business and were the principal movers behind Congressional passage of the 1988 Home Satellite Viewer Act.  She launched NFL SUNDAY TICKET for the National Football League and created NFL.COM, the first sports league on the Internet, and the first to introduce play-by-play, e-commerce, multi-language audio, and video highlights.  A pioneer in online education, she founded FATHOM, a for-profit education venture in partnership with Columbia University, London School of Economics, and other leading institutions. 


Ann Kirschner is a distinguished author and keynote speaker on education policy and strategy, careers, and digital media. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Foxnews.com, and other publications. Her first book, Sala’s Gift, (2006), tells the story of her mother’s wartime rescue of letters from Nazi labor camps, and has been published in German, Polish, Italian, French, Czech, and Chinese. The letters are in the permanent collection of The New York Public Library and are the subject of an international traveling exhibit, a theatrical play by Arlene Hutton, and a forthcoming documentary film by Murray Nossel. Her second book, Lady at the OK Corral: the True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp, was recently published by HarperCollins.


She was named one of New York Magazine’s “Millennium New Yorkers” and honored as a distinguished graduate of Princeton University and University of Buffalo. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Apollo Group, Public Agenda, the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, the Jewish Women’s Archive, and Advisory Councils for Princeton, the University of Virginia, and the Center for Jewish History.    


She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she earned a PhD in English and was honored as a Whiting Fellow in the Humanities. She received a BA in English from University of Buffalo and an MA in English from University of Virginia. Ann Kirschner lives in New York with her husband, Dr. Harold Weinberg, and is the mother of three grown children.



April 4, 2014
12:00—5:00 p.m.
Campus Center Ballroom B



Exploring our Place in the Universe

A Voyage with Aram Friedman