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Stevens: President Farvardin Honored by R&D Council of N.J. as Educator of the Year

The Edison Patent Awards at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. 11/3/16 Photo by John O’Boyle

Edison Patent Awards at Liberty Science Center,  Jersey City. Photo: John O’Boyle

The Research & Development Council of New Jersey honored Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin as Educator of the Year during the 37th Edison Patent Awards Ceremony and Reception at the Liberty Science Center.

During President Farvardin’s five-year tenure, Stevens has won top prize at the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, risen dramatically in U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s top universities, and been ranked as high as #3 in the U.S. for return on investment.

For more stories about Stevens, scroll down:

ABS Engineering Center Dedication Ceremony at Stevens
From Hoboken to Hungary: Stevens Music Students Record Virtually with Budapest Film Orchestra

The R&D Council also honored Nokia Bell Labs President and Nokia Corporate Chief Technology Officer Dr. Marcus Weldon and former New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Caren Franzini for their unique contributions to research and development, business and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.

Additional winners were recognized for innovative patent work spanning 11 R&D categories, including agriculture, biotechnology, defense, drug delivery technology, enabling technology, energy, industrial process, industrial product, medical device, medical technology and telecommunications.


Stevens - ABS Engineering Center

Stevens Provost Christophe Pierre; ABS Executive VP Ken Richardson; former ABS Chairman Robert Somerville; ABS CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki; Stevens President Nariman Farvardin; ABS VP Cathy Mann; ABS Senior VP Howard Fireman; ABS Senior VP John Ryder.

ABS Engineering Center Dedication Ceremony at Stevens

ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki addressed attendees at the dedication ceremony for the new ABS Engineering Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, encouraging students to use these facilities to work toward solving industry challenges.

“The ABS Engineering Center provides an environment both for learning the various engineering disciplines and for looking ahead toward new technologies that could transform the marine industry,” Wiernicki said. “Over the years, ABS and Stevens have been aligned with a mutual purpose of fostering learning and advancing innovation for the next generation of leaders. As a global technology leader, ABS is committed to supporting research that enhances safety in the marine and offshore environments. We are excited to see the donation we made several years ago come to life today, and about what the future holds for the ABS Engineering Center and Stevens.”

Stevens President Nariman Farvardin discussed the strong, historic relationship between Stevens and ABS during the launch ceremony, describing it as a “multi-dimensional partnership that goes well beyond this magnificent new facility.”

“I am both proud and honored to offer my sincere appreciation on behalf of the entire Stevens community — particularly current and future generations of students and faculty — to ABS for their tremendous generosity and vision in advancing education and research through the ABS Engineering Center,” Farvardin said.

That relationship has grown to encompass ABS scholarship support for Stevens undergraduate and graduate students, an internship and cooperative education program for Stevens students, participation in the annual Stevens Career Fair, and research collaborations, including a major new joint research effort in maritime cybersecurity. As part of its mission to promote the security of life, property and the natural environment, ABS commits resources on an annual basis, partnering with universities and collaborating with organizations on research and development projects.

“The ABS Engineering Center will provide Stevens with modern facilities for design, testing, collaboration and innovation,” said Stevens Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Christophe Pierre, noting that the Center would ensure that the university’s faculty researchers and students will continue to have an impact on solving maritime challenges.

The main floor and atrium of the Center’s three floors will incorporate five laboratory spaces:

  • A Systems Integration Laboratory utilized by Stevens senior project teams
  • A Fluids Laboratory utilized by civil, environmental and naval engineering students to study core fluid dynamics
  • A Structural and Building Materials Laboratory, including a furnace and test cell for testing specimens under load at temperatures up to 1,600 C°
  • A Robust Field Autonomy Laboratory that will enable research on underwater robots, among other projects
  • A Naval Engineering Laboratory where maritime industry challenges such as energy efficiency, short sea shipping, the development of autonomous vehicles and the design and control of small ships will be studied and addressed

A second floor will feature 13 faculty offices and workstations for up to 16 graduate students, while the third floor will include a 28-seat space for seminars, colloquia and project presentations as well as adjacent space for meetings and social interaction.

From Hoboken to Hungary: Stevens Music Students Record Virtually with Budapest Film Orchestra

Within the Music and Technology program at Stevens Institute of Technology, students can take many different paths, using technology as their art to realize their individual creative goals.

Every year, there is a contingent of students in the program who are composers and typically complete their senior thesis with a large orchestral work that highlights their skills as both musicians and technicians.

Brian Voyer, who will graduate this spring with a M.E. in Computer Engineering in addition to completing a dual bachelor’s degree in Music and Technology and Electrical Engineering last spring, intends on pursuing graduate study in music composition ideally at The Juilliard School. Mikkel Christensen, a senior Music and Technology major, hopes to attend graduate school for music composition as well. The two future composers ran into a road block as they began to prepare for this next step.

“Usually part of a graduate school portfolio is a live recording of a live orchestra performing the student’s piece,” said Andy Brick, director of the Music and Technology program in the College of Arts and Letters. Brick is the resident composer on campus, and students interested in composing tend to gravitate towards him for their senior thesis.

“In a traditional music conservatory school, the students would be able to utilize the campus’s student orchestra, but at Stevens we needed to find a creative work-around for Brian and Mikkel to record their pieces.”

Brick explained that hiring an orchestra can be an incredibly costly experience, with most orchestras charging around $100 per hour per player. For a student needing to record for three hours with an 80-person orchestra, along with hiring a technical staff, the price tag could climb upwards of $30,000.

But for Voyer and Christensen, the option to record their scores using performance software wasn’t cutting it either. “Even with the technology we have on campus, a digital recreation of the same piece that I’ve spent hours working on can only come so close to the real thing,” Christensen said.

Because of Brick’s industry connections around the world, he thought of an interesting cost-saving solution: the Budapest Film Orchestra, whom Brick has worked extensively with, could record Voyer and Christensen’s orchestral portfolio pieces at a fraction of the cost they would incur in the U.S.

“Not only was it a more affordable option for them, but the concept of being a musician in Eastern and Central Europe is really different than it is here,” Brick said. “People are engaged in the activity of being a musician in a different way than we are here, so I thought it would be important for these students to get this multicultural perspective on musicianship.”

However, getting Voyer and Christensen all the way over to Budapest during the semester posed as a problem. Since neither of the students could make the travel, they employed a software called Source-Connect, where they could monitor Brick and the Budapest Film Orchestra playing their pieces in real time high-definition audio and video. The feed went straight into the CAL Music Studio, giving Voyer and Christensen the ability to directly talk back to Brick and the orchestra.

“I had no reservations about the technology,” said Christensen. “Initially I had assumed that I would be handing off my score to Professor Brick and he would work with a group of musicians and conductor that he trusted, so I trusted them. But, being able to hear and see them in real time and offer live feedback due to Source-Connect was fantastic. Despite being over four thousand miles away from the studio, it felt as if I was in the control room.”

Brick has been recording internationally for around 30 years but this experience, let alone it being virtually remote, was brand new for Voyer and Christensen. From finishing the score to the actual recording session was a large and detailed undertaking.

“I was a bit concerned with the remote monitoring system,” Voyer admitted. “But we did a test run and heard the audio fine, and I trusted Professor Brick to advise me on what he thought was necessary to get a good recording. It was nerve-wracking to have so many musicians playing my music, but exhilarating as well.”

Brick said both he and the Budapest Film Orchestra are looking forward to recording like this again, with the orchestra putting a great emphasis on their anticipation to work with more promising young composers like Voyer and Christensen.