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Can't Keep a Good Mind Down: NJIT Senior To Graduate With Four Degrees

Paul Dupiano

Paul Dupiano, 25, Union High School’s 2005 valedictorian, will be the recipient at NJIT’s May 15, 2012 commencement of not one, but four difficult undergraduate degrees.  They range in subjects from electrical engineering to physics. “It’s taken me seven years to finish because I had to learn more,” he says. This is the first time in NJIT’s history a student has accomplished such a feat. 

A member of the NJIT Albert Dorman Honors College and the only child of long-time Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s pediatric oncology nurse Clarita Carino, Dupiano  leaves NJIT not owing a penny.  “It is with deep gratitude to NJIT, Albert Dorman Honors College, scholarships and part-time work that I graduate like this,” he says. 

No debt has been an important achievement for this son who never wanted to saddle his single mom with costly loans. Although he was class valedictorian, for financial reasons college was initially never going to be part of his future. One day during an interview with his high school principal, Dupiano detailed a plan to enter a technical school. The shocked educator convinced the bright young man to change direction. Albert Dorman Honors College soon came through with enough scholarships for Dupiano to enroll. During his first three years, more money flowed, working long hours at the local CVS as a pharmacy technician.  Eventually NJIT professors learned of this marvelous student’s availability and for the past four years research positions have helped support him.     

Dupiano began college life first as an undecided major, then sashayed into electrical engineering (still his love) to eventually transfer to chemical engineering. Although he liked the latter, he eventually realized that he missed working on amplifiers and other electrical engineering projects, a hobby since childhood. Eventually, he completed both engineering majors, but felt his math acumen was weak.

“A lot of engineering students only take math up to differential equations and then avoid any of the higher level stuff like the plague. But I wanted to know more because I knew understanding math would be helpful in my future.” By the time he finished math, he believed that since completing physics was only a few courses away, why not do it? 

On May 15, 2012, Dupiano will graduate with 289 credits, a 3.6 cum and four separate degrees in mathematics, physics, electrical engineering and chemical engineering. As for next year, he’s eyeing a few opportunities, but he also is considering entering a doctoral program in physics under the mentorship of NJIT’s very popular professor, Andy Gerrard in the department of physics.   

Is his mom proud?  “Well, she is now but since I never told her about all these majors until a year ago, she thought I was failing,” he laughs.