Honors College Students Win Prestigious Summer Travel and Research Awards

Daniel Pyle, Robert Remuzska, Mary Azer and Haseeb Mughal

Four Rutgers University–Newark Honors College students have been awarded prestigious fellowships and research positions for summer 2019. They’ll be working on projects ranging from social work to infectious diseases to plastics and economic policymaking.

The successful placement of students in summer opportunities is part of a larger push by the Honors College to help them get hands-on experience that will serve them well as they move forward in their careers.



“This is representative of what we’ve been trying to do with our students,” says Professor Brian Murphy, Director of the Honors College. “We’re focused on finding great projects for them, rather than their having to work a minimum-wage job over the summer.”



Mary Azer, a sophomore from Bayonne, NJ, majoring in social work and minoring in political science, will be participating in the Summer 2019 HCOP Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA) Behavioral Health Undergraduate Social Work Fellowship Program with the Mount Sinai Department of Social Work in New York City. The six-week program, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and run through the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, prepares students for Masters of Social Work programs and by helping them explore career choices within a hospital social-work setting. Azer will attend lectures and seminars while getting clinical exposure and mentorship, along with academic advising. 



“I am unbelievably grateful for this new and exciting opportunity,” says Azer. “I am most looking forward to working in a professional setting, doing meaningful work with a diverse clientele, and learning about medical social work directly from medical social workers.”  



Robert Remuzska, a junior from Nutley, NJ, majoring in economics with a minor in mathematics, was awarded the 2019 Association for Equality and Excellence in Education (AEEE) Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Scholarship. He’ll receive the $1,000 prize at AEEE’s Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in May.



Remuzska’s participation in McNair led to his being awarded a summer research position to work with Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics at Yale University, as part of Mobarak’s Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE), which looks at the effects of policy interventions on poverty when delivered at scale. Remuzska will help with a collaboration between Y-RISE and the nonprofit Evidence Action that encourages rural to urban internal migration to counter seasonal poverty in Nepal and India.



“I cannot help but express gratitude to the Ronald E. McNair program and Honors College. Both have helped me identify and pursue tremendous opportunities,” says Remuzska, “opportunities that bring me a step closer to my goal of becoming a scholar of the economic sciences.”



I am unbelievably grateful for this new and exciting opportunity.




Junior Haseeb Mughal, also from Bayonne, NJ, is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. He was awarded a research position at New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), where he’ll be working alongside Joel Freundlich, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience and of Medicine. Freundlich’s lab uses computation, chemistry and biology to develop new tools that contribute to our understanding of infectious diseases and develops novel therapeutic strategies.




“I am looking forward to developing a relationship with and learning from the various people that are part of the lab I will work in,” says Mughal. “It will definitely help me not only gain necessary research experience but teach me what it takes to create my own independent projects in the future.”



Mughal is very grateful to Murphy and the Honors College for helping him find a suitable research lab to work in. He plans on applying to MD/Ph.D. programs before graduating from RU-N.



Daniel Pyle, a junior chemistry major from South River, NJ, who is minoring in psychology, is part of the McNair Program and also will be a summer research fellow at Yale, participating in the Leadership Alliance’s Summer Research–Early Identification Program (SR-EIP). He’ll spend two months focusing on materials chemistry, working with different kinds of plastics and testing their properties along with a group of 7 other students from around the U.S.



“I’m looking forward to this project, since it will test my limits and help me develop my skills as a chemist,” says Pyle. “My McNair advisors showed me this opportunity and guided me through the application process. And my research advisor, Dr. Michal Szostak, was also highly supportive. This would not have been possible without their help.”




Above photo (L-R): Daniel Pyle, Robert Remuzska, Mary Azer and Haseeb Mughal