Celebrating the 2016 EOP Graduates

Thunderous applause and cheers from parents, faculty and guests greeted the 84 graduates of the 2016 Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Summer Academic Enrichment Program, as they filed into the Jim Wise Theatre in Kupfrian Hall for the program’s closing ceremony. The ceremony followed five weeks of academic and personal development for the EOP students to prepare them for the rigors of college. The students will enter NJIT this September as freshman.

A convivial atmosphere pervaded the auditorium as NJIT and EOP faculty addressed the enthusiastic crowd. In the event’s opening remarks, EOP Associate Director Kim Akhtab, affectionately referred to as “Mama,” told the students, “What we have in interacting with one another is amazing… You have an extended family here at EOP.”

EOP Executive Director Tony Howell revealed that the 2016 class ranks scholastically in the top five among the past 20 that he has led. “Now begins the real test of your ability,” he stressed to the students.

“Everything is earned and this summer you learned what I mean,” he added, referring to the fruits of their hard work.

Instructors providing the summer program’s curriculum—Humanities, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Architecture and Math—handed out special awards from their respective areas to recognize the students with the highest GPAs. All the graduates then came up on stage one by one to state their name and receive their certificates of completion.

A highlight of the ceremony, garnering much laughter and applause, was a slide presentation documenting the summer at EOP. Howell joked that the presentation was created so that when the students visit NJIT in the years to come, “we can see what you really looked like!” 

Student Paola Bodano, who will major in architecture, commented, “EOP challenged me and I’m thankful for that. Now I’m fully prepared for the semester.”

“EOP is a rigorous but great program that has made me more confident in my chosen career path,” said Lawson Nzegwu, who will study mechanical engineering.

For more than four decades, EOP at NJIT has recruited first-time full-time freshmen and transfer students, who are underrepresented in STEM fields and who may be educationally and economically challenged, for an opportunity to succeed in higher education. Visit njit.edu/eop for more information.