Finding the Perfect Major: Meet Jason Marcus

Science, Technology and Society major Jason Marcus

After high school, Jason Marcus attended Ohio State University, where he studied chemical engineering.  It wasn’t long, though, before he grew disillusioned with Ohio State.  Most of his engineering classes -- huge and impersonal -- were taught by teaching assistants.  And he wanted to switch his major to a field that would teach him how technology influences society. 

So he decided to transfer to NJIT, which had the perfect major for him: Science, Technology and Society (STS).  Now a senior, Jason is excelling as an STS major.  He has a perfect GPA -- a 4.0 -- and was recently elected to the student senate to represent his fellow STS majors.

He also worked a summer internship at EPCOS Inc., a German electronics manufacturer.  He did so well that his superiors asked him to continue working there when the semester started.  He worked at EPCOS for a year and a half, during which time he took on major responsibilities.

In the below interview, Jason talks about that internship, his STS classes and his successful sojourn at NJIT. 

What is it about the STS major that you enjoy?
It’s an amazing major because it combines so many subjects and skills. It teaches you technical skills, such as web design and engineering, but it also teaches you and how to communicate effectively.  And unlike other majors, it gives you a philosophical overview of how technology changes a society, for good or ill.  We study how people not only use technology but how it changes the way people think and behave. That’s invaluable to me, because I want to work in marketing, where you must understand human behavior as well as how to communicate effectively to the public. So I’ve found the perfect major for me. 

Can you talk about your STS classes?
In my STS classes, I get to be really creative. I’m learning, for instance, how to make podcasts, academic wikis as well as how to do research effectively. A research paper that I wrote on measuring human intelligence is actually being submitted for research in the area of advanced grading methods, and a magazine article I wrote about an NJIT professor will be published next semester in the Vector, the student newspaper. So there are truly exciting opportunities in STS to expand in different intellectual directions.

You have a concentration in marketing and you want to combine technology with marketing. Is that right?
Absolutely. My passion for cars really drives me in the direction of Mercedes, BMW, and Toyota, that each has a strong presence here in New Jersey. Attending NJIT, which is on the cutting edge of technology, positions me perfectly for a career in an exciting marketing field, one where I can utilize the many skills I've learned in my STS and marketing classes.

Why did you choose to transfer to NJIT?
I chose to come to NJIT because of its reputation in the field of technology.  Also, in high school I had an electronics teacher who was a huge advocate for NJIT, so it’s always been in the back of my mind. And my family is here in N.J. When I needed a change from Ohio State, I re-evaluated my options and thought NJIT might be a perfect fit for me. Luckily, I was right. I’m a senior and could not be happier.  

You’ve said you prefer NJIT to Ohio State. Why is that?
At Ohio State, I had too many large impersonal classes mostly taught by teaching assistants. NJIT is the opposite. Here, the classes are small, they are taught mostly by full professors and I get a lot of personal attention. I have studied with a majority of the STS professors, and they’ve been great. I also have an adviser who has taken an interest in my being successful here. My professors are scholars who are working on exciting research projects, and the opportunities to build off their experiences are plentiful. Professor Robert Friedman and Professor Norbert Elliot have been especially strong mentors to me.

You also work part time for Verizon Wireless: How do you balance school and work?
I work as a wireless sales consultant for Verizon Wireless and I find my job to be exciting. Verizon is a great place to work, and I enjoy the fast-paced selling atmosphere. This experience will certainly help me when I once again enter the marketing field. They allow me to work around my school schedule, so balancing work and school is pretty easy. I have always had a job, whether it's been cleaning dishes in a cafeteria, working at a library or interning at EPCOS.

You also worked an internship that you enjoyed. Where did you work and what did you do?
I interned for the German electronics manufacturer EPCOS Inc, in Iselin, N.J. (the Metropark).  It started as a summer internship but at the end of summer EPCOS hired me to work there part-time during the year. So altogether I worked there for a year and a half, during which I had three positions. First, I did reporting for their Distribution/EMS Department. Then I handled price quotes for a $29 million customer who manufactures and services Verizon phones and is the largest electronics sub-contractor in the world. I was responsible for coordinating nearly $30 million worth of business – it was amazing.  And last, I was a product marketing assistant for the company’s capacitor group. Overall, the internship was the best experience I could have asked for. During my last week there, the CEO approached me and said, “Jason, after you graduate you’ll always have a job waiting for you if you want one.”

What do you aim to do after you graduate from NJIT?
I have a few options. I might take the CEO up on his offer and work for EPCOS. Or I might work in marketing for an automobile maker, a foreign one.  Ever since I was a boy, I’ve always loved cars, how they are designed and marketed.  I had an incredibly huge collection of road and track magazines.  And now I have marketing experience, so this would be my dream job.  I might get my master’s degree in marketing, possibly at NJIT, before I really start my career.  My ultimate goal is to one day be a CEO or CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for a large corporation. With an STS degree and a marketing degree from a nationally recognized university like NJIT, I think I’ll have a good chance of achieving that goal. 

(By Robert Florida, University Web Services)