Past, Present, Future: Reflections From the NJIT Class of 2018

Written by: Tracey Regan,
Chosen to represent their respective schools, Sumit Rawat, Dylan Renaud, Ester Calderon, Julia Garcia, Rehma Asghar and Brianna Bohn (from left to right) with NJIT President Joel Bloom (middle) at Commencement.
"I know everyone in my major...I got to know my professors, too. I’ll miss that the most.”

Meet the 2018 Gonfalon Carriers


Julia Garcia

Julia Garcia

Gonfalon: Martin Tuchman School of Management (MTSM)

Major: Finance

Hometown: Madrid, Spain

Next up: Moving to Salt Lake City, Utah to work as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs

Garcia, a former member of Spain’s national fencing team, chose NJIT in part for its Division 1 program, but quickly found her stride in NJIT’s emerging investment community.

“I’ve always been obsessed with stocks. I was reading the financial pages by 10 or 11, which my parents thought was so odd! When I got here, I was ready to take action. What’s been amazing is how student ideas are listened to. My sophomore year, I talked to Billy McDermott (Director of Development for MTSM) about starting an investment club to coincide with the opening of the Ray Cassetta Financial Analysis Laboratory – and we did it. Starting next fall, students will have a $20,000 fund to invest. Besides honing leadership and communication skills, it’s been really interesting to see it all from the perspective of a start-up.”

Dylan Reynaud

Dylan Renaud

Gonfalon: Albert Dorman Honors College (ADHC)

Major: Applied Physics and Mathematics

Hometown: Mount Laurel

Next up: Pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he will work with researchers from a broad array of disciplines to develop novel systems that require a physicist’s fundamental grasp of material properties

Initially uncertain about his academic plans, Renaud became captivated by research while at a highly interdisciplinary graduate university in Okinawa, Japan during the summer after his freshman year. While there, sponsored by the National Science Foundation's International Research Experiences for Undergraduates NanoJapan program, he investigated low-dimensional materials with extraordinary optical and electronic properties.

“My goal was to spend the summer abroad, so I searched for opportunities and found this program which sent me to the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology to be a research intern. It turned out to be a life-changing experience. I discovered what research really entailed through the independence I was granted – sometimes that led to stupid mistakes or trying slightly illogical experiments, but in turn I learned firsthand how and why things worked. It was so exciting that we would often stay until 1 or 2 in the morning and even sleep in the lab on occasion. At Harvard, I’ll be working with low-dimensional materials that could give rise to new compact devices and technologies.”

Ester Calderon

Ester Calderon

Gonfalon: College of Science and Liberal Arts (CSLA)

Major: Mathematics

Hometown: Linden

Next up: Teaching mathematics at a New Jersey secondary school, and possibly pursuing a master’s degree

As a Future Ready Schools ambassador, a hat maker extraordinaire in the Knit n’ Crochet club, where she knit for the needy, and a fan of the partial differential equation, Calderon threw herself into campus life. Her plan is to call upon all of her experiences to inspire students to love math as she does.

“One of the courses that really inspired me was Fundamentals of Environmental Science. It was a mixture of biology, chemistry, physics and math, and it taught something a lot of people never know: how math is used in the world. It’s not all about repetition and equations! As I get ready to teach, I’m planning to find ways my students will find relatable, to show how math is applied. And not just through environmental science – if you like History and English, I’m sure I can find ways. On the business side, I got very good at networking at NJIT, and I’m hoping to invite people from different companies into my classroom to show how they apply math. This should also make it interesting.”

Brianna Bohn

Brianna Bohn

Gonfalon: Newark College of Engineering (NCE)

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hometown: Edison

Next up: Moving to Charlottesville, Virginia to work as an engineer at Merck & Co.

Bohn was chosen by her department as the outstanding senior at NCE’s 2018 Salute to Engineering Excellence not only for her academic achievements, but for her contributions to the success of so many others – as a resident assistant and peer mentor on campus and as a volunteer at a camp for children with special needs and on behalf of homeless people in Newark. She created a relationship between Stryker, the medical technology giant, and NJIT's senior capstone program that will continue for the foreseeable future.These interactions clearly inspire her.

“The classes I’ve taken all taught me something that I’ll take with me, the labs in particular. We do a lot of labs in my major and there is so much genuine interaction with professors in these classes and lots of teamwork. Students learn to work really well with each other. I know everyone in my major and have worked with almost everyone. I got to know my professors, too. I’ll miss that the most.” 


Sumit Rawat

Gonfalon: Ying Wu College of Computing (YWCC)

Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Jersey City

Next up: Continuing his master’s degree program in Software Engineering at NJIT, which he started this year.

Before moving to Delhi, Rawat spent his early years in a tiny village in Uttarakhand, India, in the foothills of the mountains, where there were no roads, cars, indoor classrooms – or computers.

“Every subject has its beauty. I’ve always been interested in technology, computers in particular. What I find most fascinating is the idea of creating something that never existed before – developing software that makes something happen. For my capstone project, we built an app designed to match people with blood donors in the region as well as nearby blood banks. With a Google Front-End Web Developer Scholarship, I spent time focusing on the “look” of a website, which is also important. People are enthralled by software that does their work for them; however, I like to go a step further and create such software to tailor to their needs.”


Rehma  Asghar

Gonfalon: College of Architecture and Design (CoAD)

Major: Architecture 

Hometown: Lawrenceville 

Next up: Working as an intern at the New York architecture firm Perkins Eastman, where she is currently employed, while pursuing a master’s degree in Architecture at NJIT

Asghar started college as an economics and information technology major at Rutgers University, preparing for a career in finance, until she realized one day that “it wasn’t quite for me.”

“It sounds lofty, but I’ve always been struck by the impact architecture has on so many aspects of society: economics, psychology, sociology. Ideally, I’d like to find a way to apply it toward urban design, integrating my economics background, to make sustainable systems for communities, such as efficient, cost-effective housing. I’m also really interested in the psychology of spaces, in how people feel and react to their surroundings. So far at Perkins Eastman, I’ve mostly focused on higher education projects, in countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Working in this area has allowed me to explore the potential for the humanizing of architectural spaces to elicit more effective educational environments that encourage students’ desire to work and study.”