Public 4-Year Schools

Rutgers Robeson Institute Gives First-Year, First-Generation Rutgers-New Brunswick Students a Boost

Susan Robeson, granddaughter of Paul Robeson, Class of 1919, with students participating in the Paul Robeson Leadership Institute. Photo: Nick Romanenko, Rutgers University

Juan Ariza knew he had the brains and energy to succeed in college; Veronica Smith, an outstanding high school student, always had college in her sights. But as they prepared to enter Rutgers University-New Brunswick, they both felt they needed something more.

“I felt I needed some program that would really prepare me for the college experience,” Ariza said.

For Ariza, Smith, and 21 other incoming first-year students at Rutgers’ flagship campus, the Paul Robeson Leadership Institute is that program.

The program’s namesake, Paul Robeson, was a world-renowned singer, actor and civil rights activist – and perhaps Rutgers’ most famous alum. The third African-American to attend Rutgers College, he distinguished himself as a scholar and All-America football player before graduating in 1919.

Rutgers created the institute in his honor to help students who are the first in their family to attend college and who belong to demographic groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education.

Participants, known as Robeson Scholars, participate in a summer institute, specialized training and leadership workshops, career and post-graduation planning, and intensive research opportunities.

To read more stories about Rutgers, scroll down:

Inspiring the Next Generation of Health Care Innovators
New Physician Assistant Faculty Practice First of Its Kind in Nation
Rutgers Business School Team Wins $1 Million Hult Prize in Social Entrepreneurship
Rutgers-Camden Celebrates Opening of New Nursing and Science Building
Rutgers Law Students Represent Prison Inmates in Civil Rights Cases
Area Students Flock to RU-N for Innovative Summer STEM Program

This summer, Ariza, Smith and the other first-year scholars met three times with Susan Robeson, Paul Robeson’s granddaughter, a documentary filmmaker and activist.

In one wide-ranging discussion with the students about discovering one’s own voice, authenticity, altruism and becoming a global citizen, Robeson asked, “How do you discover your authentic self?” she asked. A student batted the question back to her: “How did you gain authenticity?” the student asked. “I was always curious, and I read voraciously,” Robeson said. “I lived in my grandfather’s library. I wanted to understand the world around me.”

Smith was no stranger to Rutgers, having participated in the Upward Bound program on campus through high school. But the Robeson Institute still held some surprises for her. “I was unaware of the intensity of the actual college experience,” Smith says. “This stuff is real.” Just how real can be gauged by Smith’s research project. She studied the provision of health services to incarcerated women in New Jersey. A political science major, she plans to be a lawyer.

(l. to. r.) Gregg Khodorov, RBS/MBA ’17, RWJMS ’20, and Julia Tartaglia, RWJMS ’20, Co-Presidents of the Biomedical Entrepreneurship Network. Photo: Nick Romanenko, Rutgers University

Inspiring the Next Generation of Health Care Innovators

Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School aims to educate, collaborate and accelerate medical commercial ventures

John Dutton learned his first lesson in entrepreneurship the hard way.

“I had a great idea for a medical product, a patent and a business plan – and still I got scooped,” says Dutton, who was 22 and a researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when he watched another company make good with a variation of his invention.

The following year, as a first-year student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dutton and two classmates, Steven Shterenberg and Matthew Michel, launched Rutgers Biomedical Entrepreneurial Network (BEN). Their goal: to give medical students the tools they need to develop innovative solutions in the clinic and cultivate an entrepreneurial culture at Rutgers.

“I wanted to help educate others interested in getting their ideas to market so they wouldn’t make the same mistakes I did, to give them the best chance of success in solving the problems in the health care arena,” says Dutton, a fourth-year RWJMS student and co-developer of an information-guided patient discharge platform known as Suretify, his second company.

Today BEN, in its fourth year, is going strong. Each month 20 to 30 RWJMS student-members come together for inspirational talks and workshops centered on biomedical and health care innovation and entrepreneurship. Medical students gain hard skills such as how to raise money, enter pitch competitions and network with potential collaborators.

“Our primary goal is to educate medical students on how to be health care disruptors,” says BEN’s 2017 co-president Gregg Khodorov, who received his MBA at Rutgers and interned at Pfizer before beginning medical school at RWJMS in 2016. “Medical students today recognize that times are changing and that innovation is the key to making a difference on a grand scale in health care, especially in this new era of digital medicine.”

Last year, Khodorov and BEN’s 2017 co-president Julia Tartaglia hosted an inaugural BEN Health Innovation Summit, which drew an audience of 130 attendees – not only physicians and medical students, but participants from Rutgers Business School, Rutgers’ Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and, Rutgers’ School of Engineering, as well as industry leaders in the community.

The summit, scheduled this year in February at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, also serves as a networking event for all health care stakeholders in the greater New Jersey area.

“As medical students, we have little contact with engineers, programs and industry professionals with whom we could work to innovate within health care. The BEN summit serves to not only inspire the next generation of physician entrepreneurs, but to also break down industry silos by facilitating interactions among physicians, technologists, engineers and businesspeople,” says Tartaglia, who, while at Harvard College, founded the Scientista Foundation, a national organization that empowers pre-professional women in STEM.

One of BEN’s noteworthy successes is its collaboration with Robert Wood Johnson Medical School faculty and Rutgers School of Engineering to create a Distinction Program in Medical Innovation and Entrepreneurship (DiMIE). The program, launched in 2016, is a distinction track in which students at RWJMS develop their ideas with the goal of maturing an innovation toward commercialization by the end of their fourth year.

Entering its second year with 14 students, the four-year program begins with exposure to BEN seminars and, in year two, students partner with clinicians to develop their ideas toward commercialization. By year four, they are expected to create a formal business plan; file a patent; and submit grant proposals for seed funding.

“At the heart of the program is the coming together of diverse perspectives and expertise,” says Susan Engelhardt, executive director of Rutgers’ Department of Biomedical Engineering’s Center for Innovative Ventures of Emerging Technologies (CIVET), who co-directs the program. “Students bring fresh ideas to patient care and clinical mentors champion the innovation’s integration into the clinical environment.”

Engelhardt, along with DiMIE’s clinical co-founder Tomer Davidov, associate professor of surgery at RWJMS, help facilitate partnerships with other Rutgers entities, such as the intellectual property law clinic at Rutgers Law School, which assists students with the patenting process, and Rutgers Business School and School of Engineering, which provide support in developing business plans and prototypes.

“Interest and enthusiasm across the university is palpable, but why wouldn’t it be? These students are creative, motivated and help us toward closing gaps in patient care,” Davidov says.

Current DiMIE student innovations run the gamut from applications, such as Suretify’s enhanced discharge process, to systems that detect bioterrorism-induced outbreaks of medical conditions, to medical devices that administer targeted oncology therapeutics.

Dutton, who was one of first to pursue the DiMIE distinction in his third year at RWJMS, already won seed funding and has a patent for the Suretify web platform, which via an online survey connects patients with community resources, such as transportation, case managers, medication and food assistance programs, once they leave the hospital. He and his business partners, Shirin Poustchi, a third-year RWJMS student, and Ryan Neff, a third-year MD/PhD student at the Icahn School of Medicine, are seeking capital funding and partners to do beta testing.

“It’s been a long and incredibly valuable process, and now it’s time to see whether we want to sell the portal to a larger entity or develop it ourselves,” says Dutton, who plans to go into general surgery. “We’ve taken the product pretty far – and Rutgers’ BEN and DiMIE programs have played a big part in helping us to avoid the pitfalls and stay on track.”

New Physician Assistant Faculty Practice First of Its Kind in Nation

The Rutgers School of Health Professions’ faculty practice model for physician assistants will improve patient care and clinical education

Rutgers School of Health Professions is improving care for patients in Newark through a new physician assistant faculty practice – the first of its kind in the nation.

In partnership with Rutgers’ New Jersey Medical School, the Rutgers Physician Assistant Program launched its faculty practice at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in November 2016, and over the past year has hired four of its anticipated five physician assistants to work with faculty surgeons from the medical school’s departments of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery.

While it is standard for medical schools to hire full-time clinical physicians who practice in hospitals and work with students doing clinical clerkships, Rutgers is the only school in the nation to apply this model to physician assistants. The physician assistants serve in the operating room, perform consultations in the Emergency Department and see patients in the New Jersey Medical School offices and affiliated surgical centers. “This allows patients to be seen quicker and improve continuity of care,” says Ryan White, the physician assistant program assistant director of clinical education and practice.

The concept originated about two years ago when New Jersey Medical School faculty approached the program for assistance in expanding its practice at Newark Beth Israel and wished to add more physician assistants.

In addition to improving efficiencies in serving patients, the model also allows for guaranteed clinical placement for students. “Historically, it has been a challenge to secure rotation spots for students since our preceptors worked on a volunteer basis. They already have difficult jobs and it’s hard for them to take on a student without compensation,” says White. “Hiring faculty members whose primary responsibilities are clinical allows us to apply their teaching responsibilities to the role of preceptor.”

University Physician Associates provides administrative and billing support for the faculty practice; a portion of the revenue generated is applied back to the academic program. “This revenue stream is unique as well,” says White. “Physician assistant programs are traditionally funded through tuition dollars, grants and other sources, not clinical enterprise. If faculty members practice clinically it is either as a side job or at a university clinical operation, in which case the revenue goes to the university, not the program. Our model allows the clinical faculty to feed the program’s educational mission.”

The faculty practice is the latest innovation for Rutgers Physician Assistant Program, which is ranked seventh in the country and first on the East Coast in The Journal of Physician Assistant Education.

Students will be placed in rotations starting later this year or by early 2018. The program is expected to expand to other specialties where preceptors are needed, such as primary care.

Rutgers Business School Team Wins $1 Million Hult Prize in Social Entrepreneurship

Fueled by a passion to make a difference in the lives of refugees in South Asia, the team embarked on a marathon quest to build a transportation business from scratch.

A team representing Rutgers Business School won the $1 million Hult Prize for social entrepreneurship on Sept. 16, capping off 11 months of entrepreneurial effort with a polished, convincing pitch about the ability of its rickshaw transportation business to improve the lives of refugees overseas.

Student Gia Farooqi, new graduates Hasan Usmani and Moneeb Mian, and alumna Hanaa Lakhani created the Roshni Rides startup as a way of answering the 2017 Hult Prize Challenge of developing a business capable of restoring the dignity of one million refugees by 2022. The company uses a pre-loaded transaction card, encourages ride-sharing and employs existing rickshaw drivers.

Their ability to persuasively pitch the idea to the Hult judges enabled them to beat out finalist teams from five other schools: Harvard University’s Kennedy School, the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, the University of Waterloo, the University of Calgary and York University.

Former President Bill Clinton, who announced the winning team, said that along with optimizing rickshaws to provide reliable transportation for refugees, Roshni Rides modeled their card transaction system after the New York City subway’s MetroCard. The team’s business idea, he said, advocates ride-sharing, keeping prices down – and fixed. “It will have a big impact,” he said.

The team plans to use the prize money to continue building Roshni Rides and to explore the possibility of using rickshaws powered by electricity rather than natural gas. Listen to the team’s winning pitch at the Hult Prize Final.

When Clinton announced Roshni Rides as the winner from a stage on a roof-top patio, it set off a roar of cheers. Hear it here.

Lei Lei, dean of Rutgers Business School, described the team’s win as “a great accomplishment and a reflection of the values that continue to elevate the Rutgers Business School brand.”

“We are thrilled by their performance, and we will continue to cheer them on as they build Roshni Rides into a global venture,” she said.

From the start, the theme of the Hult Prize Challenge inspired and motivated the team, all of whom are Americans of Pakistani ancestry. “We are the sons and daughters of immigrants and refugees,” Farooqi said after the team won the regional competition in March. “This is very personal for us.”

The team made history with its win at the Hult regionals, becoming the first team from Rutgers to become a finalist in the competition – widely regarded as the Nobel Prize for students. The five finalists beat out 50,000 participants from more than 100 countries.

Alok Baveja, a supply chain professor who advised the team, said “the Hult Prize honor is an unequivocal recognition of this team’s undying conviction that great ideas have an elegance in their simplicity, achieve scalable societal good and make good business sense, all at once.”

“True to their name, these young Rutgers entrepreneurs are bringing the light (Roshni) of new hope and optimism to millions of displaced refugees globally through an accessible, affordable and reliable rickshaw transportation system,” Baveja said.

None of the students were following a direct path into social entrepreneurism. Farooqi is currently finishing her senior year of classes at Rutgers Business School-New Brunswick. Lakhani, Mian and Usmani graduated from Rutgers Business School-New Brunswick. Lakhani and Usmani studied supply chain management as students. And Farooqi combined her studies in supply chain with political science and gender studies. Mian double majored in supply chain and business analytics and information technology.

The team’s win at the regionals also set off an intense and challenging quest that included a crowd-funding campaign to raise $30,000, a six-week pilot of their transportation business in Pakistan and an eight-week immersion at a Hult-run startup accelerator. It was a marathon, requiring a disciplined juggling of classes and commitments – two team members were on the verge of graduating with full-time jobs waiting for them – and one was already working full-time in New York City. “We were moving at 1,000 miles an hour,” Usmani said.

“We were building a company from scratch,” Farooqi said. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and we all learned our potential is limitless.”

Beverly Aisenbrey, a 1982 Rutgers MBA graduate who sits on the dean’s board of advisers, said she was immediately excited by the team’s drive and ambition. During the crowdfunding campaign, she supported Roshni Rides. “This amazing team epitomizes the characteristics of so many of our students,” she said. “They are truly resilient, resourceful and reliable. The entire board of advisers is proud of them and this incredible accomplishment.”

By late spring, the four, who became friends at Rutgers, had transformed from a team of student case competition champions to a group of entrepreneurs who felt a sense of responsibility for building a business fueled by the investments of family, college professors and a community of proud Muslim friends and relatives.

“At different stages we faced different situations,” Mian said. “The solution was always the same, trust the team.”

One of the more vexing situations came during the accelerator program when the team was faced with the decision to drop the solar component from its business plan. “Solar was innovative. It would be disruptive, but we would have to spend a lot of capital to make it work,” Mian said, “and that capital could be better utilized if the mission is to help refugees.”

After a lot of deliberation, the team pivoted. The decision served as a lesson in being entrepreneurial. “It’s not about how many mistakes you make. It’s about not being afraid of the advice,” Farooqi said. “You have to learn and keep going.”

Days before the final competition, the team talked about how the Hult competition had given them a taste for entrepreneurship. Lakhani said her ability to make such an impact on people wasn’t the same in a corporate job. Farooqi agreed. “What the Hult Prize does is put a lot of power in the hands of people who want to do good work,” she said.

Martin Markowitz, senior associate dean of the undergraduate program at Rutgers Business School-New Brunswick, described the team as “bright, inspired and caring.”

“They competed successfully on the global stage, and we are extremely proud of them,” he said.

When Hult Prize CEO Ahmad Ashkar introduced Roshni Rides at the final competition, he remarked on the team’s commitment and resilience. “I knew they were a team that could go the distance,” he said.

Daria Torres, a managing partner at Walls Torres Group and adviser to the team, was similarly struck by the group. “The Roshni Rides team has personified excellence and grace throughout the entirety of the Hult Prize competition,” she said. “I have personally witnessed their resolve, resilience and resourcefulness at every stage of the process.”

“The entire Rutgers community,” she said, “should be inspired by their amazing journey.”

Rutgers-Camden Celebrates Opening of New Nursing and Science Building

Strengthening Rutgers University–Camden’s role as a regional leader in health care and the sciences, the 107,000-square-foot Nursing and Science Building, located at Fifth and Federal Sts. in Camden, has opened.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Sept. 25, officially dedicating the $62.5-million world-class teaching and research facility, which allows Rutgers–Camden to expand its ability to prepare a new generation of science and nursing leaders for New Jersey and the region.

Watch the video on YouTube

“This is a transformative moment for Camden,” Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon told more than 200 guests in attendance. “This building represents Rutgers’ first bold step in forging an ‘eds and meds’ corridor that moves us closer toward our vision of a city where innovation in health care and bioscience commands the imagination of the world.”

Supported by funds from the higher education bond referendum passed by New Jersey voters in November 2012, the burgeoning education and medical corridor in Camden will connect the city’s University District – which includes the Rutgers–Camden campus – with the neighborhood populated by Cooper University Hospital, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research, and the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

Rutgers University President Robert Barchi lauded the extraordinary “two-way street” that has enabled Rutgers and the city of Camden to thrive. He poignantly noted that the Nursing and Science Building is located within view of Camden City Hall, where – on the side of the building – the words of Walt Whitman are etched: “In a dream, I saw a city invincible.”

“No surprise that these words are looking out at Rutgers–Camden, and that Rutgers–Camden sees these words every day,” said Barchi. “It’s the two of us working together that is making that dream a reality.”

Camden Mayor Dana Redd echoed the sentiment, lauding Rutgers–Camden’s pioneering spirit and praising the university as a leading partner in the city’s transformation.

“This facility is yet another Rutgers symbol of excellence and pride that will be used for many decades to come,” said Redd, a 1996 graduate of the Rutgers School of Business–Camden.

The Nursing and Science Building now serves as the primary research and teaching facility for Rutgers–Camden students and faculty in the areas of the sciences and physics at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Brooke Trigiani, a junior nursing student and vice president of the Student Nurses Association at Rutgers–Camden, applauded the new facility as a place for nursing and science students to develop not only their skills and expertise, but a sense of community with one another.

“We now have the opportunity to better build relationships with one another as students and to create a support structure that will last well beyond college,” said Trigiani. “This new building is more than just space for more classrooms; it is a resource to develop future nursing and scientific leaders in our community.”

More than 1,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs will benefit each year from the facility’s array of cutting-edge computer labs, classrooms, conference rooms, lecture halls, student work and study stations, and faculty and administrative offices.

“Developments such as this building are what make Rutgers–Camden students passionate about coming to school, learning new things, and being more engaged,” said Daniel Miranda, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, resident assistant, athlete, and student leader at Rutgers–Camden. “I am personally looking forward to this year and seeing how the new Nursing and Science Building becomes a new hub for students to learn and grow.”

Among the many innovative features of the new building, Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden students thrive with “hands-on” instruction via two nursing lab stations: the Simulation Lab and the Basic Clinical Competencies Lab. Together, these labs comprise 9,160 square feet that provide students with realistic hospital, outpatient, and home care settings to refine their skills and develop “muscle memory” in a variety of challenging environments.

Students and faculty are also defining new concepts in physics through the use of laser technology in the Physics Laser Materials Lab. This new lab space incorporates significant equipment that has been funded by National Science Foundation awards to Rutgers University–Camden and supports a wide range of physics research studies.

Rutgers Law Students Represent Prison Inmates in Civil Rights Cases

Some Rutgers Law School students are receiving actual legal work experience by representing pro se litigants through a federal court system pilot program.

Students enrolled in the course “Civil Rights Practicum,” offered at the Camden campus, are handling cases that involve state and federal prisoners who sue in federal court for alleged civil rights violations. The cases include allegations of excessive force by prison guards as well as violation of First Amendment rights.

I think it’s very important to have clinical experiential learning,” says Lou Moffa, an adjunct professor in the Law School and the course instructor. “They’ll get lots of good training.”

A federal court litigator and civil rights attorney, Moffa is a partner at Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads in the firm’s Cherry Hill office.

An adjunct professor at Rutgers Law since 2006, Moffa currently handles prisoner cases on a pro bono basis in federal court in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey receives approximately one thousand new cases annually involving prisoner treatment and prison conditions. Under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, prisoners in state prisons have the right to sue in federal court to seek relief for alleged violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute. In an effort to improve access to counsel for prisoners seeking relief and alleviate the strain on judicial resources, the Civil Rights Practicum was developed as a pilot program with an initial grant from the federal court system. Moffa and the Rutgers Law students will be appointed as pro bono counsel in a select number of cases for the limited purpose of trying to settle those cases.

Moffa’s students are able to represent the inmates under the New Jersey student practice rule, which allows students to practice law as a fully licensed attorney if they’re enrolled in an accredited law school and are supervised by a licensed attorney.

“I will give the students as much as they can handle just as I would with my associates,” says Moffa. “If they can handle more, and the cases are pretty straightforward, we can take on more.”

Students will have the opportunity to go to prisons where their clients are housed to meet with them to discuss their cases and to confer with their prisoner clients by telephone.

In the course, students attend weekly seminars to learn about civil rights law and civil rights litigation and have supervision meetings with Moffa to discuss all aspects of assigned cases. The students manage a client, from dealing with an initial interview with the client about the case, reviewing client claims and related documents, explaining the legal process and rights to clients, attending court hearings, and negotiating with opposing counsel. The students will represent the clients at a settlement conference to try to resolve their cases. If a case is resolved, students will draft the settlement agreement.

After the pilot program ends this fall, the court will decide whether the program will be funded again.

“The most important thing for the federal courts is to see that this works,” says Moffa. “Can we get these cases resolved? Can it move cases off our docket in a practical way?”

Area Students Flock to RU-N for Innovative Summer STEM Program

Twenty-four high school students from the Greater Newark Area got a chance to dive deep into STEM fields this summer as part of an innovative program called Science in Your City, run by Rutgers University–Newark and Jersey City’s Liberty Science Center.

The new outreach program, called t-STEM, brought rising high school seniors from Newark and Jersey City to RU-N for four weeks in July and early August. The goal: to expose students to various STEM fields and teaching, to facilitate collaboration and hands-on problem-solving, and to raise awareness of issues affecting the community and help the kids develop research projects addressing some of those problems.

“The idea is to connect STEM, teaching and community. At the end of the day, we want the kids to see themselves as college-bound and as STEM practitioners and educators,” says Dominique Smart, Program Coordinator for the Garden State-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at RU-N, who created t-STEM with colleagues from RU-N’s Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP) and Liberty Science Center.

To that end, Smart and her staff had the students meet with faculty from RU-N’s Physics, Math, and Earth and Environmental Sciences departments. They spent two hours per day on STEM-related classroom activities, and took field trips to a coding center in Totowa, N.J., an astronomy lab at NJIT, the Newark Museum, the Liberty Science Center, and various community gardens in Newark.

They also heard from guest presenters, including administrators from RU-N’s Honors Living and Learning Center, a representative from the New Jersey Supreme court, and an education panel consisting of teachers from Newark and East Orange, N.J.

And they collaborated on capstone research projects, which required them to break into small groups and identify a pressing issue facing the Newark community. They then reached out to local organizations and residents to get input, created partnerships with relevant community groups, and put forth proposals to solve the issue in question.

Ikechukwu Onyema, a chemistry teacher at East Orange Campus High School, in East Orange, N.J., was brought on by Smart and UTEP Coordinator Ivette Rosario to develop the program’s innovative curriculum and field trips, and serve as Lead STEM Instructor.

He was supported by six current RU-N students and recent graduates who served as t-STEM faculty mentors, chaperoning field trips, facilitating classroom activities, and helping the kids with their research projects.

“This was an amazing opportunity to be a part of an innovative program affecting kids from the Greater Newark Area and their community,” says Onyema. “The students were outstanding, and their projects, which we called Action Research Proposals, were very inspiring.”

For those proposals, the students tackled substantial topics such as nutritional awareness, green transportation, local renewable energy and education. They presented their projects at a t-STEM showcase on the final day of the four-week program.

The t-STEM program, now in its second year, was funded by a Next Generation Learning Challenges grant secured by UTEP, along with help from the City of Newark’s Summer Youth Employment Program, and Garden State LSAMP.

The program began as a one-week pilot last summer, expanding into a monthlong curriculum that Smart says better addresses student needs.

“We got a lot of valuable feedback after last year’s pilot, which helped us put together a much stronger program this summer,” says Smart. “We’ll keep developing it and engage more partners, because it’s a one-of-a-kind experience for these kids.”

Smart and her staff also will keep in touch with the kids throughout the coming school year, holding seminars on college admissions and financial aid and running STEM-related field trips to maintain the students’ interest.

Not that she has to. Interest in t-STEM is growing. The program, which was open to rising high school seniors, drew 65 applicants this year, a third of whom were too young to be eligible.

“Parents and kids are knocking at the door to be part of this innovative curriculum,” says Smart. “We want to keep the momentum going.”