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Department of State

New Jersey-Israel Commission

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State

The New Jersey - Israel Commission and Choose New Jersey Celebrate the Winners of the Jewish National Fund-USA Faculty Fellowship Program

Faculty Fellowship Program links scholars from diverse backgrounds with Israeli counterparts at major institutions


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CONTACT: Carly Wronko, 609-297-2189,

(Tel Aviv, Israel) – Choose New Jersey along with New Jersey-Israel Commission (NJIC) and Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF) celebrated the winners of the JNF Summer 2020 Faculty Fellowship Program. The Faculty Fellowship Program awarded 11 professors from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Rowan University and Rutgers University.

“The JNF Academic Fellowship program is a vital academic exchange for New Jersey,” said Jose Lozano, President & CEO, Choose New Jersey. “This collaboration between our universities and Israel allows New Jersey to continue to enhance our talented, well-educated workforce, making our state an even more attractive destination for investment. I want to extend our congratulations to all the winners and thank JNF for this opportunity.”

The Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel is a competitive academic fellowship that invites full-time university and college faculty members to apply to participate in an all-expenses-paid academic trip to Israel. The goal of the program is to link scholars from diverse backgrounds with their Israeli counterparts to initiate exchanges and grow collaborations. This program, founded by Media Watch International and supported by a lead gift from the JNF Boruchin Center, is facilitated by JNF. The Faculty Fellowship program is open to exclusively full-time university professors.

Recipients of the 2020 Summer New Jersey Faculty Fellowship include:

  • Professor Smitesh Bakrania, Mechanical Engineering, Rowan Engineering
  • Professor Yong Chen, Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Rowan University
  • Professor Gennady Gor, Chemical and Materials Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Professor Rongfang Liu, Transportation Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Professor Richard Ludescher, Food Science, Rutgers University
  • Professor Yusuf Mehta, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rowan University
  • Professor Saikat Pal, Biomedical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Professor Jill Perry, STEM Education, Rowan University
  • Professor Charles Schutte, Environmental Science, Rowan University
  • Professor Frank Shih, Computer Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Professor Ming Taylor, Accounting, New Jersey Institute of Technology

“Today is a wonderful example of the importance of strengthening the relationship that exists between New Jersey and Israel,” said Andrew Gross, Executive Director, New Jersey-Israel Commission, New Jersey Department of State. “I thank the JNF for their assistance in making it possible for these accomplished New Jersey professors to visit their counterparts in Israel and enhance collaboration.”

“I’m delighted to be here in Israel with the New Jersey-Israel Commission as we look to broaden and deepen academic engagement between faculty members from New Jersey and Israel,” said Dr. Robert Benedon, Board Member, Southern New Jersey JNF. “New Jersey and Israel lead the world in innovation, education and academic excellence, and this program enables leading university faculty members to share their knowledge and experiences with each other while appreciating how JNF is supporting the land and people of Israel.”

JNF is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.

“NJIT is honored to have five professors selected as fellows. Over the years our faculty have developed wonderful partnerships with our sister institutions in Israel and this program will pave the way to enduring institutional relationships,” said Donald Sebastian, Senior Vice President of Technology & Business Development, NJIT and President, New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII).

“Rowan University faculty is renowned for its diversity and global collaboration,” said Beena Sukumaran, Rowan University’s Vice President of Research. “These fellowships are a wonderful opportunity for our professors to deepen their understanding of Israeli challenges and insights, as well as to create new partnerships.”

“Rick Ludescher is a top researcher at the school of environment and biological sciences. We’re proud to have his contributions recognized by the JNF,” said David Kimball, Senior Vice President, Research & Economic Development, Rutgers University.

To learn more about the universities and professors taking part in the 2020 Winter Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel or from prior years’, or to register for future programs, visit or contact Rene Reinhard at 212.879.9305 ext. 235 or Eileen Wedeen at 212-439-7855.

About Choose New Jersey
Choose New Jersey is a privately funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit economic development organization. Our mission is to stimulate job creation and attract capital investment to New Jersey. We market New Jersey both domestically and internationally as the best place to grow your business in the United States. Our knowledgeable, experienced staff, supported by a network of State agencies and private partners, provide free, confidential assistance to guide companies in establishing operations here. By harnessing the power of business, labor, academic and government leaders, we enable growth across all sectors of our State’s economy. We aspire to build a stronger and more prosperous New Jersey for all. For more information, visit

About Jewish National Fund (JNF)
Unparalleled in the Jewish philanthropic world, Jewish National Fund-USA’s strategic vision has been, and always will be, to ensure a strong, secure, and prosperous future for the land and people of Israel. Everything we do -- every project, initiative, and campaign we take on – is integral to our vision of building and connecting to our land. We plant trees, build houses and parks, source water solutions, buy fire trucks, and improve the lives of people with special needs. We boost tourism, support Aliyah, promote Zionist education and engagement, build medical centers and trauma centers, fund agricultural and culinary research, and run an American semester abroad high school in Israel. We do all these things because each project, each program, each partnership, is consistent with our strategic vision – population growth in the north and south, connecting the next generation to Israel, infrastructure development, ecology, forestation, heritage preservation, and more -- all for the land and people of Israel. Jewish National Fund: We are unique, we are strategic, we are visionary, and we have been that way since 1901. Join us.



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