As an undergraduate student in Kean University’s Computer Science program, Marvin Andujar was honored multiple times for his academic record and his research initiatives. After graduating from Kean in 2012 with a B.S. degree in Computer Science and a B.A. in Mathematical Sciences, Marvin continued his studies as a Ph.D. student at Clemson University in South Carolina.
Now, Marvin is among a select few students nationwide to win a highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Marvin is the first Kean graduate to win the prestigious honor, which includes a three-year stipend for full-time graduate study while he pursues a Ph.D. in computer science at Clemson. The NSF awarded fellowships to only 98 computer science students nationwide.
“Marvin Andujar represents the best of Kean University,” said Dr. Dawood Farahi, president of Kean University. “We’re immensely proud of him and those who mentored him when he was a student here.”
Since leaving Kean, Marvin has been named an Intel Diversity Scholar and has been working on brain-computer interfaces with Dr. Juan Gilbert, who is Chair of the Human-Centered Computing Division of the School of Computing at Clemson.
Marvin attributes his success to his experience as a Kean undergraduate. “My experience at Kean was outstanding,” he said. “I had the opportunity to serve as President of the Association of Computing Machinery and as Vice President of the 2012 Senior Class. Kean offered me opportunities that helped me become a competitive and successful professional. All my leadership and research experiences helped me expand my network with other Kean students and alumni.”
Marvin said he chose Kean as his university of choice because of Kean’s outreach to schools like Perth Amboy High School, which Marvin attended. “My counselors and teachers recommended Kean to me at the time. I looked into its programs, community, academic culture and Computer Science program. Once my search was complete, I knew I belonged at Kean.”
Did he ever! Under the guidance of Dr. Patricia Morreale and Dr. George Chang, Marvin carried out research on campus for two consecutive summers.
In 2011, Marvin decided to start a research team of women and minorities in computer science under the supervision of Dr. Morreale. Marvin and Dr. Morreale wrote a grant to obtain support for a collaborative research experience from the Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, which they obtained. He became the team leader of the first CREU project at Kean University. During his leadership in this project, he also was selected to present his brain-computer interface research at the headquarters of the National Science Foundation in Virginia.
"Marvin Andujar was a very persistent, hard-working student,” said Dr. Morreale. “He did not have an opportunity to study computing in high school , but once he was introduced to computer science at Kean, he was absorbed by the subject. Marvin's work at Kean prepared him for research, which was an important factor in his success after graduation. The NSF GRF award recognizes Kean University's role in preparing the next generation of talented computer science researchers and scholars for the nation."
Marvin said that Kean’s Computer Science faculty members played a key role in nurturing his interest in the subject. “Professors dedicate their time not just to teach course materials, but to advise their students on making the right choices on their career paths,” he said.
Marvin plans to finish his Ph.D. degree in 2017.