New BOLD Center Prepares Douglass Students for Success in the Workplace


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The BOLD Center at Rutgers Douglass Residential College is helping students find the job of their dreams while making sure they can enjoy their success when it happens.

Since opening this fall, the center has brought together existing career and leadership programs with a new wellness initiative to help students cope with the challenges they may encounter along their job path.

In addition to cover letter and resume writing help, a leadership retreat, externship program and career conference, the center has launched a new Friday morning “coffee and chat” that has covered topics including mindfulness and happiness. Discussions about meditation and emotional intelligence – which includes the ability to navigate conflict – are being considered for the spring.

“We want students to get and succeed in the job of their dreams,’’ said Leslie Danehy, an assistant dean and director of the BOLD Center, which stands for Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development.

“But you can get going in your career and get so stressed out that it’s hard to appreciate having that job,’’ she said.

Celese Lindsey, a sophomore business major from Franklin Township in Gloucester County, visited the BOLD Center for help with her resume, sought out advice to prepare for a job interview via Skype and has attended the Friday morning coffee and chat.

“It’s really an open and welcoming environment,’’ Lindsey said. “It’s like you are talking to a friend who wants you to do well. They know who you are, they know your strengths and weaknesses so they know how to help you.’’

The BOLD Center, which has a mission to “position Douglass students for excellence in work and life” added wellness programs this semester after hearing about the need from students. The center works to address issues unique to women in the workplace that have been identified through research including the gender wage gap and barriers to leadership.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Tips for the Holidays


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Family caregivers and people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are at risk for increased stress during the holidays.

The holidays can be an especially challenging time for family caregivers of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. To help families navigate holiday visits, Rutgers Today spoke with Mary Catherine Lundquist, program director of Care2Caregivers, a peer counseling helpline (800-424-2494) for caregivers of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease operated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

How should families approach traditional holiday gatherings?

Lundquist: If you have a family member with memory loss, the best thing you can do is adjust your expectations. There are so many changes and challenges with Alzheimer’s disease that the key to success at the holidays is being flexible and creative.

Adult children who have one parent with dementia and the other as the caregiver should consider what is in the best interest of each parent when planning events. For example, while children might long to visit their parents with their families on one special day for the sake of tradition, that might be the last thing the caregiver desires. Mom might have been up all night caring for Dad and the house might be disorderly because she is too busy to clean.

Structure and routine are important for a person with dementia. If there is any change – like attending a gathering at another home – he or she could be out of sorts for the next few days, adding stress to the caregiver. Sometimes, it’s best for the loved one to stay at home and receive visits of 30 minutes or less from a small number of guests stretched out over a period of days. Keep the number of guests to a minimum; sometimes even having two extra people in the room can be too much stimulation.

How can caregivers prepare traveling family members for the changes in their loved one?

Lundquist: Talk with your out-of-town family beforehand and let them know that their loved one may be different than last year so they are not shocked by changes. Be specific. Say, for example, ‘He’s not talking a lot’ or ‘She may ask the same questions over and over again’ or ‘He may not know who you are.’ Discuss some behaviors they might witness, such as walking around the house, needing assistance in using the bathroom or being messy when eating.

Read more here.

Rutgers supercomputer dawns new age of technological advancement


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PISCATAWAY — Legend has it that centuries ago, King Arthur expelled the powerful sword Excalibur from a stone and anvil, making him ruler of Great Britain.

Around 1,500 years after the apocryphal tale, Rutgers University unveiled its equivalent to the ancient sword — the most powerful supercomputer in the state, dubbed Caliburn, which literally means Excalibur.

“We see how we can bring these resources together and researchers together to break down more traditional values that exist due to the multidisciplinary research that’s needed to really advance in science today,” Manish Parashar, distinguished professor of computer science at Rutgers, said at an event at the Piscataway campus on Thursday.

“We’re looking forward to doing that and using Caliburn as a resource across wide fields in New Jersey to be able to advance all aspects of science, engineering, medicine, business, entrepreneurship.”

Read more here.

Studying for Exams? There’s an App for That


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Dan Nguyen and Gerard D’Onofrio (MD/MBA candidates, 2018) didn’t matriculate at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) with the intention of becoming tech entrepreneurs. But thanks to the school’s Distinction Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and their own hard work, that’s what’s happened. Their app, Testable, which offers medical students a social, competitive way to study for exams, rolled out on the iOS platform this past spring.

“The idea for Testable actually came from our experiences as medical students,” Nguyen says. “Trying to learn all this information in a short period of time forces you to get creative with your study habits. One of the most effective ways for me to review is in groups with my friends. We ask each other questions because we’ve found that being able to explain the correct answers to each other reinforces the material.”

Nguyen and D’Onofrio first discussed creating a study app in February 2015, when they were preparing for their Step 1 exam. “Like any good medical students, Dan and I were studying, going over the review books, and answering questions,” explains D’Onofrio. “We developed a study method where we would throw questions at each other, and quickly recognized that there was a game-like quality to it.”

The two wanted their app to recreate the social atmosphere of studying with friends. “By making it competitive,” Nguyen says, “and allowing students to go head-to-head against other students, and answer real test-like questions, the app not only gives you practice, it also forces you to study actively.” But a funny thing happened on the way to the App Store: med school got in the way. They became so busy that the app was put on the back burner for a few months.

In early 2016, Nguyen and D’Onofrio hired a software developer and Testable was born. Students use the app to challenge each other to games of five multiple-choice questions. “If I challenge you,” D’Onofrio explains, “then we each complete our five questions on our own time. When we’ve both finished, we see who did better. The score, and the winner, is determined first on accuracy and then on time.”

Read more here.

Rutgers Faculty Member Honored by National Academy of Inventors


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Richard E. Riman, distinguished professor of materials science and engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers-New Brunswick, has been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

The academy announced its 2016 fellows today (December 13), including more than 94 presidents and senior leaders of research universities, as well as 28 Nobel Laureates.

“Professor Riman’s research in materials science has resulted in two promising start-up companies and has real potential for positively impacting numerous industries,” said Christopher J. Molloy, senior vice president for research and economic development at Rutgers. “Forward-thinking science like this is important for our economic future and we are pleased that Professor Riman is receiving such a prestigious national recognition.”

Read more here.

Neuromotor Problems at the Core of Autism, Study Says


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Rutgers neuroscientists have established that problems controlling bodily movements are at the core of autism spectrum disorders and that the use of psychotropic medications to treat autism in children often makes such neuromotor problems worse.

The findings, published recently in Nature Scientific Reports, are contrary to the conventional medical understanding of autism – that it is a mental illness and that neuromotor problems, while often occurring at the same time as autism, are not at its biological core.

“For the first time, we can demonstrate unambiguously that motor issues are core issues that need to be included in the diagnosis criteria for autism,” says Elizabeth Torres, an associate professor of psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences and co-author of the study. Her co-author, Kristina Denisova, a former Rutgers graduate student in psychology, is now an assistant clinical research professor at Columbia University.

Elizabeth Torres, associate professor of psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences and co-author of the study.

According to Torres, psychotropic drugs are routinely prescribed for children on the autism spectrum, even though they’re designed for adults. “Our findings underline the need for clinical trials to determine the effects of these medications on the children’s neuromotor development,” she says. “Doctors should think twice about prescribing such medications for children and parents should insist that they think twice.”

Torres used a new algorithm invented at Rutgers, part of a Statistical Platform for Individualized Behavior Analysis (SPIBA), to analyze the data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of 1,048 people, aged 6 to 50, including people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and examined the motor patterns as a function of psychotropic medication intake. The resting state fMRI data came from two publicly available databases that Denisova processed to obtain the participants’ involuntary head motions as they tried to lie still in the magnet.

Read more here.

Encouraging Young Latina Women to Blaze Their Own Trails


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As a 20-something Latin woman who frequently travels abroad, and often alone, alumna Victoria Gonzalez sees herself as a cultural trailblazer. And as a travel writer and photographer who blogs about her journeys, Gonzalez encourages other young Latin women to blaze their own trails.

“I definitely got some pushback from my parents,” Gonzalez recalls of her early solo travels. “Being a Latina in the USA, a person of a different background, of a different story, it’s important to break expectations of what people think – of what kind of people we are, I guess. We’re also Americans, in so many ways.”

Gonzalez, who graduated in 2011, first traveled overseas by herself during her senior year at Rutgers, when she visited a classmate who was studying for a semester in Paris. Gonzalez had just turned 21. Paris enchanted. She was hooked. “That did it for me,” she says. “I knew I wanted to make travel a huge part of my life.”

And so she has. In the ensuing five years, her wanderlust has known few boundaries. From her home in Hackensack, New Jersey, Gonzalez has traveled throughout Europe and Central and South America, to Japan and Spain and Italy, to 30 countries in all, including Sweden – twice. “I have an obsession with Abba,” she confides.

Gonzalez finances her sojourns on the cheap. She works part time for a local party business and does freelance TV and video production in New York City. She travels in off-seasons, books flights at odd (and less costly) hours, avoids checking bags and finds free places to stay at

On her blog, Open Air Pursuit, Gonzalez highlights her travels to historic sites and national parks. She also contributes to Travel Latina, a website featuring female travel writers from the Latin American and Caribbean diaspora. (Her family hails from Colombia.) Earlier this year the National Park Foundation named Gonzalez one of eight minority travel writers and photographers chosen to embark on guided tours of national parks and historic sites around San Francisco as part of Find Your Park Expedition.

Read more here.

Rutgers Creates Clement A. Price Chair in Public History and the Humanities


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On Dec. 6, the Rutgers University Board of Governors approved the creation of the Clement A. Price Chair in Public History and the Humanities. The chair is named in honor of the late Clement A. Price, a Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor and beloved history scholar at Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) who passed away in November 2014. A $2 million challenge grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional donations totaling $1 million from corporations, foundations, alumni, and numerous other individuals endowed the chair to honor the legacy and life’s work of Price.

In addition to being an RU-N professor, mentor, and advisor for more than 40 years, Price served as the founding director of the Rutgers Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience (IECME), which RU-N renamed posthumously the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience. Since its inception, IECME has become a model of public scholarship and engagement, sponsoring numerous programs and research initiatives that foster broad public discussion on the arts and culture, urban life and development, diversity and race relations, education, and history at the local, national, and international levels.

Read more here.

Rutgers financial whizzes beat Ivy League teams to win championship


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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Standing in the boardroom where top economists chart the nation’s financial future, a team of Rutgers University students beat out competition from Princeton and Dartmouth Thursday to win one of the nation’s most prestigious economic competitions.

The Rutgers team, made up of five undergraduates from the New Brunswick campus, were crowned the winners of the 13th annual College Fed Challenge, a national competition about the U.S. economy and monetary policymaking.

The Rutgers competitors gave a 15-minute presentation analyzing economic and financial conditions, then answered questions from top federal officials at the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C.
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