Public 4-Year Schools

Kean University’s Dr. Dil Ramanathan Named Inspiring Leader in STEM

Dil Ramanathan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics at Kean University, was named a 2017 Inspiring Leader in STEM by INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine.

Dil Ramanathan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics (NJCSTM) at Kean University, was named a 2017 Inspiring Leader in STEM. The award, presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education, honors professionals from underrepresented groups who have made a difference in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“As the most senior female faculty member in the STEM program at Kean, Dr. Ramanathan is continuously trying to pave a path for the future generation of scientists, especially underrepresented female students,” said Keith Bostian, Ph.D., dean of NJCSTM. “Her passion for chemistry and education are the cornerstones of her success and her innate desire to help those who might otherwise be overlooked give her all the motivation she needs to keep overcoming obstacles while breaking barriers in the process. She is an extraordinary role model for young women pursuing a career in STEM.”

An immigrant from Sri Lanka, Ramanathan has faced many obstacles in her life. At a young age, she had high aspirations to contribute to educating young minds in the areas of science and technology. However, the lack of opportunities for women in Sri Lanka made it very difficult for her to pursue her dream. When she arrived in the United States in 1983, she dealt with financial hardships, the pressures of balancing family and work, and the widely accepted belief in her culture that a woman’s place is at home.

To read more stories about Kean, scroll down:

Kean University Awarded $1.1 Million Federal Grant to Diversify STEM Education
Kean University Pacts Create Path for County College Grads to Earn Their Bachelor’s Degrees

“I overcome life’s obstacles through hard work, perseverance, a strong belief in the U.S. educational system, and the support of my family,” said Ramanathan, who teaches analytical chemistry and chromatographic/mass spectrometric methods at Kean. “I am fortunate to be part of a team of faculty members at NJCSTM who have been working to transform the way science and mathematics are taught, by enabling students to join faculty-directed research initiatives and learn through laboratory research experiences as early as their freshman year of college. It is incredibly rewarding to conduct research alongside aspiring scientists as they turn their curiosities into careers.”

Inspiring Leaders in STEM Award recipients were nominated by a colleague and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on their efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research and successful programs and initiatives.

“We know many of those working in STEM fields, especially those from underrepresented groups, are not always recognized for their success, dedication, and mentorship to others,” says Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the many professionals who are inspirations to their colleagues, their community, and to young people who may be interested in a future career in STEM. We are proud to honor these leaders as role models to all.”

Through NJCSTM’s Research First Initiative and Group Summer Scholars Research Program, Ramanathan leads immersive team-focused research initiatives which enable undergraduate and high school students to develop a true appreciation of the scientific research process while contributing firsthand to the acquisition of new scientific knowledge. As a faculty member, she has also mentored more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students in the past decade at Kean, and in 2012, received the University’s Faculty Research Mentor of the Year Award.

Ramanathan has also received the Foundation Faculty Research Award, Untenured Faculty Research Initiative Award, Students Partnering with Faculty Award, Presidential Grant, and the New Research Initiatives Grant. In 2014, the New Jersey General Assembly recognized Ramanathan for her community leadership, exemplary volunteerism, and professional achievements in the field of biotechnology.

For more information about Kean’s New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics, please visit, or call 908-737-7205.

Kean University Awarded $1.1 Million Federal Grant to Diversify STEM Education

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Kean University a 5-year, $1,161,275 grant under the federal Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement program. The McNair Scholars program at Kean will prepare underrepresented students for graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Kean is one of only 185 colleges and universities nationwide with a McNair program.

The McNair Scholars program at Kean will provide 30 students with research opportunities, faculty mentors, specialized workshops, counseling, learning communities and tutoring to encourage and support their goal of attending graduate school for master’s and doctoral degrees. Kicking off with a six-week summer program in 2018, the McNair Scholars program will also include a three-week residential component and ongoing support and academic opportunities throughout the school year.

“STEM graduates are in high demand, so it is imperative that we, as educators, work to increase enrollment and retention in STEM majors, improve undergraduate science education and support underrepresented STEM students,” said George Chang, Ph.D., dean of Kean’s College of Natural, Applied and Health Sciences who will oversee the program. “With the generous support of the federal McNair grant, Kean University is able to provide three critical components to help retain our McNair Scholars: early research experiences, active learning through high-impact experiences and participation in supportive STEM learning communities.”

Designated as one of the top five diverse universities in the country by DiversityInc., Kean is the third-largest institution of higher education in New Jersey. The McNair Scholars program will focus on recruiting minority students from the University’s Union and Kean Ocean campuses. To be eligible, students must be entering their sophomore year and be on track with their major requirements; demonstrate low-income and first-generation status and/or be a member of a minority group; possess a 3.0 or higher grade-point average; submit a completed application and written statement of interest in pursuing a doctoral degree; and commit to graduate from the program. Although the primary focus of the McNair Program is STEM studies, interested students across all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

McNair Scholars will be required to take the highest level of courses offered at Kean University in science and mathematics. In addition, students will have use of the state-of-the-art laboratories in Kean’s New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics, alongside world-class faculty research mentors. Students will also have access to Kean’s 1040-core supercomputer and CAVE™, an immersive 3-D virtual reality environment, both funded by the National Science Foundation.

The U.S. Department of Education grant will cover approximately 47 percent of the total cost of the program. To supplement the costs associated with running the McNair Scholars program, Kean University will cover $262,248 annually.

“The McNair Scholars Program is a prime example of Kean University’s commitment to investing in the success of each and every one of our students and shows the federal government’s confidence in Kean to nurture future STEM professionals,” said Kean President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D. “We expect our McNair Scholars to reach their academic and professional goals and use what they have learned and experienced to become leaders in their chosen fields.”

Kean University President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., (seated, second from right) and Middlesex County College President Joann La Perla-Morales, Ed.D., (seated, second from left) surrounded by members of the school’s admissions and enrollment management teams as they signed a Joint Admissions Agreement on Tuesday, September 26, providing MCC students admission to one of a growing list of approved degree programs at Kean upon completion of their associate degree.

Kean University Pacts Create Path for County College Grads to Earn Their Bachelor’s Degrees

Kean University recently signed Joint Admissions Agreements with Middlesex County College (MCC) and Union County College (Union) that provide students with a seamless route to earn a bachelor’s degree from Kean University––without wasting time or money taking credits that don’t transfer. Students who successfully earn their associate degree at the county colleges are granted full admission as a junior to one of a growing list of approved degree programs at Kean University.

“Students who enroll in these Joint Admissions Programs will start experiencing a Kean University education from the start of freshman year, gaining access to Kean’s world-class programs, faculty, facilities and services, as well as invitations to special campus programs and events,” said Kean President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D.

Union County College sends more graduates to Kean University than any other community college. Nineteen percent of Kean’s transfer students started their education at Union.

Surrounded by Union County College students, members of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and administrators from Union County College and Kean University, Union County College President Margaret M. McMenamin, Ed.D, and Kean University President Dawood Farahi, Ph.D., (seated, center) sign a Joint Admissions Agreement on Wednesday, October 18, giving Union graduates a seamless path to a Kean bachelor’s degree.

“Our goal is that every single program possible will be linked, so students can come to Union County College, know that they are taking the right classes and be admitted simultaneously to Kean University as juniors,” said Union President Margaret M. McMenamin, Ed.D. “The cost of a college education is a national discussion. Now, students can stay in Union County, get a world-class education at Union County College and Kean University and pay less than $40,000 for four years of college. We are making a difference for every student and every resident in this county.”

The following academic programs have been approved as part of the articulation agreement with Union County College:

● B.S. Chemistry-American Chemical Society
● B.A. Criminal Justice
● B.A. Early Childhood P-3
● B.A. Elementary Education K-6
● B.A. Elementary Education K-6 and 5-8
● B.A. History
● B.A. Theatre

Similarly, for the last five years, more than 200 MCC students have transferred to Kean each year, accounting for up to 15 percent of the University’s transfer admissions population.

“Middlesex County College is already one of the biggest senders of students to Kean because we know that Kean takes great care of our students,” said Middlesex County College President Joann LaPerla-Morales, Ed.D. “We are very pleased to continue our work with Kean.”

Clear and easy-to-follow advisement and transfer of credits from MCC to Kean have been established for the following undergraduate degree programs:

● B.A. Biology
● B.A. Psychology
● B.S. Accounting
● B.S. Management – General Business
● B.S. Management – Supply Chain
● B.S. Management – Entrepreneurship

Additional programs at both Union and MCC are expected to be added to the articulations agreements, opening the door to a world-class Kean University education to even more community college graduates.

“Kean is at the forefront of community college partnership and innovation in New Jersey, and we’re not done yet,” Farahi said.

Kean University was named to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Excellence in Community College Transfer Honor Roll for the past two years. Kean is one of only 65 colleges and universities in the nation to receive the distinction. The PTK Transfer Honor Roll recognizes four-year colleges and universities for their institutional partnerships and collaboration with community colleges; support for transfer students; and transfer innovations.

Kean Ocean, the University’s unique partnership with Ocean County College where students can earn a Kean bachelor’s degree on the college’s Toms River campus, celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. Kean also has articulation agreements with Essex County College, Hudson County Community College and Raritan Valley Community College. Additional agreements are being developed with County College of Morris, Passaic County Community College, and Sussex County Community College.

“At Kean, students come first, and we are committed to leveling the playing field for all students,” said Farahi. “These joint admissions agreements send a message to community college students that Kean will work with you to help you reach your potential and achieve your educational goals.”