For the 139 students who completed the Educational Opportunity Program’s (EOP) 2017 Summer Academic Enrichment Program, the closing ceremony Aug. 2 in Kupfrian Hall’s Jim Wise Theater represented more than just a celebration of achievement. It marked the official beginning of their college career at NJIT.

In their remarks to the crowd, which also included proud parents and family members, EOP Executive Director Tony Howell, EOP Associate Director Kim Akhtab and Dean of Students Marybeth Boger all emphasized the students’ success and endurance. Additionally, they emphasized the ongoing support of NJIT staff and faculty “who expect great things” from this incoming EOP class.

“It is always a pleasure to welcome new students to NJIT,” said Howell, noting that the applicant pool of nearly 3,500 students was very competitive. “That means you were persistent [in securing a place at NJIT].”

The 2017 class is EOP’s third largest. The mandatory summer program helps acclimate students to campus and college life, while providing them with a foundation of friendship and fun.

“In other schools, I’m not going to get the same experience. Who wouldn’t want a head start?” commented Liandra Gutierrez, who will study mechanical engineering. Added Devan Patel, a computer science major, “You miss some vacation, but EOP is worth it because you’ll feel much more prepared in the fall. I feel very connected to the students and staff.”

EOP recruits first-time full-time freshmen and transfer students who are underrepresented in STEM fields and who may be educationally and economically challenged. For more information, visit njit.edu/eop.