NJIT Junior Wins a National Fellowship for Community Service

Kevin Ly has won a national fellowship for his dedicated community service and his leadership skills at NJIT.

Kevin Ly, a junior majoring in biology, has won a Pearson Prize National Fellowship for demonstrating leadership in community service.

Ly was one of 20 college students from across the nation -- other winners are from Harvard, Stanford and Cornell -- to win the coveted fellowship, which includes a $10,000 award. Pearson, an education publishing company, will also offer Ly guidance and resources to foster his work in community service.

In that regard, Ly will attend the upcoming Pearson Student Leadership Summit in New York City, where he’ll meet the other 2012 National Fellows. Together, and with help from Pearson, the Fellows will plan their next steps as community leaders. 

“It feels really good to win this fellowship,” said Ly, a student in the Albert Dorman Honors College. “It validates that what I’m doing to help NJIT is worthwhile and motivates me to keep working.”

Ly’s has done a lot of work to help NJIT. And some of his work has merged his interest in medicine – he plans to attend medical school – with socially conscious entrepreneurship. He belongs, for instance, to an Interdisciplinary Design Studio team that’s developing a glucose monitor device for diabetics. The device clips onto a diabetic’s ear and uses infrared light to measure his or her glucose levels. Current glucose monitors require diabetics to puncture their skin. But Ly’s device is painless and bloodless, offering millions of diabetics a non-invasive way to monitor their glucose levels.

Last year, Ly took first place in the Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge, a student entrepreneur contest, for developing the glucose monitor. He won a scholarship that allows him to work this summer at the Enterprise Development Center, NJIT’s business incubator, where he is designing the glucose monitor. 

Ly has also organized two TEDx conferences at NJIT. The first, held in the winter of 2011, featured a series discussing entrepreneurship and innovation. Those talks were so successful that NJIT hosted a second TEDx, conference, whose theme was environmental sustainability. He’s now organizing a third TEDx event at NJIT.

Ly’s also done a good deal of community service for the Dorman Honors College. He works as a student ambassador for the college and speaks to prospective students at open houses, helping to recruit some of the brightest students in the nation.  He also mentors incoming Honors College freshmen, and has worked as teacher’s assistant for an honor’s freshmen seminar, a class that helps acclimate students to the Honors College and to NJIT. 

Ly has written a story about leadership and multi-perspective learning for the Daily Record. And NJBiz, a business publication, featured Ly in a story about socially conscious student entrepreneurs.

“I like to bring people together and share ideas that will have a positive impact on society,” says Ly. “After medical school, I’d like to have start a medical business dedicated to creating devices that will help people get better and live longer. NJIT is giving me the chance to get started on that now. It’s a great opportunity and delight to serve others.”

By Robert Florida