September 14, 2017

Choose New Jersey, Inc.

Keeping Our Best & Brightest Students in New Jersey

Smart Students Choose NJ Logo

This summer, 30 high achieving students from Newark and Camden that chose to pursue their academic studies at colleges and universities in-state embarked on their first internships through the Smart Students Choose New Jersey program. 

Supported by Choose New Jersey and forward -thinking business, education and community leaders, the program was created to keep our best and brightest students in New Jersey for their college and professional careers.

Read what some of our Smart Students and their supervisors had to say about their experiences this summer. As you’ll see, it was a win/win for the students and the organizations that participated in the internship program.

Building Our Future Workforce

  • “Support for New Jersey schools, colleges and the industries that call the state home continues to be important to PSEG. This program gives our brightest and most motivated students a career path with some of the state’s most influential companies. We are proud to be part of a program that likely will keep these students here and contributing to the workforce that gives New Jersey one of its most important competitive advantages.”
    Ralph LaRossa, President & Chief Operating Officer
    PSEG Power and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Choose New Jersey

Brianna Amos

Internship: PSE&G
Department: Payment Assistance Outreach
High School: Newark Prep Charter School
College: Rutgers Newark

Brianna Amos, a student at Rutgers Newark, interned in the Payment Assistance Outreach department of PSE&G. She also has been active in PSEG intern activities, including attending tours and volunteer/service days at the local soup kitchen.

  • “Brianna has been a great help this summer and we are looking forward to her coming back after school starts.  She was a pleasure to work with and truly a great ambassador for the PSE&G Intern program.”
    Claire Bartolomeo, Payment Assistance Outreach Supervisor
  • “As a staff intern for PSE&G’s Payment Assistance Outreach department, my main assignment consisted of completing port lists.  I feel I have sharpened my skills and become relatively familiar with PSE&G’s SAP system.  I have also had the privilege to meet various people from other departments, see how their departments function, and how they relate to what I do and the company overall.  I enjoyed learning about the other branches of the company and how it related to my specific position.”
    Brianna Amos

Katherine Penafiel

Internship: PSE&G
Department: Human Resources
High School: Technology High School, Newark
College: Kean University
Major: Psychology

Katherine Penafiel, a psychology major at Kean University, interned in PSE&G’s Human Resources department in Corporate Health and Safety. She too has been active in PSEG intern activities, Including attending tours and volunteer/service days at the local soup kitchen.

  • “Katherine was a great addition to Corporate Health and Safety. Her diverse people skills allowed her to fit right in and immediately become a productive member of the team. She eagerly accepted every assignment and asked for the next.”
    Karen Noe, PSEG Manager of Corporate Health and Safety
  • "My summer internship at PSE&G was my first ever job, where not only I gained valuable skills and knowledge, but also I learned about the values of one of the leading utility companies in the State.”
    Katherine Penafiel

Abraham Marquez

Department: Newark Penn Station Kiosk
High School: Newark Prep Charter School
College: New Jersey City University

Abraham Marquez interned at the at the company’s kiosk at Newark Penn Station. He also had the opportunity to visit the company’s headquarters in Cranford. He was invited to continue working as a part-time team member this fall while continuing his studies at New Jersey City University.

  • "Abraham is a really bright kid with an exciting future ahead of him. We feel lucky to have been a part of his career exploration. His curious intelligence, empathy, and adaptability served him well throughout the summer. We're really excited to have him continue as a part-time team member for the fall. I know our guests are too!"
    The team at
  • "I've learned how to manage money, keep track of storage, make the workplace look good, and manage my time effectively within the store. I remember Nicolette telling me that the people who work at are just one big family; she wasn't wrong"
    Abraham Marquez

Aniya Clark

Internship: Brand Enchanting Media
High School: Camden Catholic High School
College: Montclair State University
Major: Business

Aniya Clark, a business major at Montclair State University, learned about entrepreneurship and honed her social media marketing skills interning for Brand Enchanting Media, a boutique media company in the new Camden Waterfront Labs co-working space.

  • “In her short time with us, Aniya has become a valuable resource and contributor to Brand Enchanting Media's business. I don't think I've had the pleasure of working with an intern that was so efficient with completing assignments and task oriented at such a young age. Aniya is bright, thoughtful, creative and proactive and I'm personally excited to see how career takes off post graduation as she will be a talented young mind entering the business world.”
    Nichelle Pace, President/Principal
    Brand Enchanting Media
  • “My Summer 2017 Internship Experience is one I will definitely remember. Working with Ms. Nichelle Pace was an honor, because I was able to learn and see what it will be like when I begin working in the business marketing field. I also gained more creativity skills during this internship that will stay with me throughout my career. I would like to thank Ms. Nichelle Pace and Choose New Jersey for this amazing opportunity, and I look forward to the many doors that will now open for me because of it."
    Aniya Clark

Preparing Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders

  • “Access to a highly-educated, skilled workforce is critical to business and New Jersey’s economic growth. It’s important to give our most valuable resource, our future leaders and innovators, an opportunity to begin their professional careers in New Jersey so we can build the workforce of tomorrow.”
    Vince Maione, Region President
    Atlantic City Electric and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Choose New Jersey

Angel Espinal

Internship: Atlantic City Electric
Department: Design Engineering
High SchooL: Urban Promise Academy
College: Rowan University
Major: Engineering

Angel Espinal, an engineering major at Rowan University, interned at the Glassboro office of Atlantic City Electric. Working with a small team of engineers, he had the opportunity to acquire formal training in GIS mapping and the company’s design system.

  • “Angel does a really nice job in assisting our engineers and field technicians with numerous tasks including locating deteriorated utility poles, identifying streetlights in need of repair, reporting any issues with critical infrastructure and tracking information through our mapping and work management systems. Angel excels in assisting our team in identifying preventative maintenance issues and with post-storm assessment duties which ultimately provides our customers with more reliable service. We greatly appreciate the work Angel did for us during his internship this summer.”
    Mike Drabczy, Manager of Design Engineering
    Atlantic City Electric
  • “My internship with Atlantic City Electric is a little different than what I anticipated. I learned so much and performed more hands-on work than I expected and it’s helped me learn a lot about the electric utility business. My supervisor and everyone here is so supportive. I feel like I am part of the team. This internship has truly been an eye-opening experience for me. Electrical engineering is what I’m most interested in and through the internship I now know this may be a career path I want to pursue.”
    Angel Espinal

Briana Martinez

Internship: Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Department: QC Lab
High School: Saint Vincent’s Academy, Newark
College: Kean University
Major: Biotech

Briana Martinez, a biotech major at Kean University, spent her summer at the QC lab at Ferring Pharmaceuticals. In addition to learning about industry best practices, Briana worked on a number of projects, including data trending projects at which she excelled.

  • “We were very happy to have Briana as an intern at Ferring. She learned many aspects of QC lab testing and did a great job helping us with data trending projects. She had the opportunity to experience how we prioritize daily tasks and adjust or multitask based on priorities. She presented herself well and asked questions to understand QC processes and learn best practices. It was a very positive experience for us all.”
    Pratish Patel, QC Manager
    Ferring Pharmaceuticals
  • “Interning at Ferring Pharmaceuticals provided a great benefit to familiarizing myself with the atmosphere and culture of a pharmaceutical company.  I enjoyed getting to know the other employees and interns at Ferring, and gaining useful advice and information from my colleagues and superiors.”
    Briana Martinez

Gloria Rodriguez

Internship: Menssana Research, New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) at NJIT
High School: West Caldwell Technical High School
College: Essex County College
Major: Life Sciences

Gloria Rodriguez, an intern at Menssana Research at NJII, worked on a clinical study project with the local clinical research staff and a collaborator in Mexico. Her ability to speak fluent Spanish gave her the ability to work with the company’s Mexico sites. She was invited to continue to work with Menssana.

  • “Gloria Rodriguez works very well with our team members, and with the staff at the clinical site where she recruits patients into our study.  She has proven herself to be multi-talented, and able to work both with people, and with laboratory instruments.  Her bilingual skills have also proven to be a great asset when working with our Mexican collaborators.  We are very happy to have Gloria working with us.  Her friendly, calm and intelligent demeanor allow her to relate well whether she is working with us in the lab, or in the clinic with staff and patients.  We are grateful to Choose NJ and to NJIT for helping us to hire her for the term of the internship, and hopefully, beyond.”
    Renee Cataneo, Laboratory Director
    Menssana Research at New Jersey Innovation Institute
  • “For the past weeks I have been on a journey full of new learning and exciting experiences as an intern in Menssana Research. From the staff at Menssana Research I have learned that in the real world communication and team work are very essential in getting things done. I will like to show my appreciation, to Dr. Phillips, Ms. Cataneo, and Ms. Pathak for giving the opportunity to work with them, the Mexican collaborators and with patients in the Breast Cancer Center at Saint Michael's Hospital collecting breath samples and collecting the air in the breath link equipment. Overall, my experience collecting breath samples at Saint Michael's Hospital was phenomenal because it fulfilled my heart to see the extraordinary care that nurses provided their patients with. I am beyond thankful to the staff from Menssana Research and Smart Students Choose NJ for their hard work and support."
    Gloria Rodriguez
  • “STEM education develops critical thinkers that can develop the new innovations, products and services that are the foundation of our global economy.  According to the US Commerce Department, growth in STEM occupations is almost twice that of non STEM occupations.  The Choose NJ Internship program gives students the opportunity to try out careers with NJ employers and explore potential jobs.  One of the reasons an entrepreneurial company such as Menssana locates at the Enterprise Development Center at NJIT is to gain access to student talent and linkages to various state incentive programs.  Collaborating with Choose NJ is an example of the partnerships that are a key component part of the overall NJ STEM and entrepreneurial eco-system.”
    Judith Sheft, Associate Vice President Technology & Enterprise Development
    New Jersey Innovation Institute

Strengthening Our Communities

Ashly Estevez-Perez

Internship: Campbell Soup Foundation
Department: Community Affairs
High School: Camden Academy Charter High School
College: Rutgers Camden
Major: Political Science & Sociology

Ashly Estevez-Perez, a political science/sociology major at Rutgers Camden, tapped into her passion for her community at the Campbell Soup Foundation. Ashly spent her internship working in the Healthy Communities Program, where she was involved in the Corner Store initiative, Youth Program and promoting its Healthy Communities program in the Camden City school system.

  • “It has been a benefit to our community affairs team having Ashly’s participation this summer. As a Camden native, Ashly has added great insights about the community in which we operate, providing guidance to our Healthy Communities Youth Advisory Board and her own experience has helped to inform our food access strategy.”
    Kim Fortunato, Director, Community Affairs/President, Campbell Soup Foundation
    Campbell Soup Foundation
  • “Ashly brought a great sense of energy and enthusiasm to our University Program. She was valuable to our community affairs team from the start. Ashly built strong lasting relationships through affinity network events.”
    Etana Pizzo, University Programs & Talent Pipeline Lead
    Campbell Soup Foundation
  • “I am grateful for the opportunity Campbell gave me - not only was I able to develop great communication and analytical skills in my role, I also learned how to utilize my culture and experiences to my advantage due to Campbell’s close ties to helping the City of Camden!”
    Ashly Estevez-Perez

Erick Correa

Internship: New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)
High School: Arts High School, Newark
College: Rutgers University

Erick Correa interned at NJPAC working in variety of departments, including Volunteer Services, Human Resources, Membership, Marketing and Arts Education, which gave him the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and events this summer.

  • “Erick Correa has been a delight to work with this summer. He has shown that he can be responsible for his performance and NJPAC property while working with and without an immediate supervisor and formed positive relationships with fellow volunteers and staff members. Erick has been a valuable asset this summer in a variety of roles and departments; Office of Volunteer Services, Human Resources, Membership, Marketing and Arts Education.”
    Ginny Bowers Coleman, Volunteer Director
  • "Working so intimately with NJPAC will be a bittersweet experience. The great part includes the amazing staff and volunteers who went out of their way to welcome me, making me feel right at home. The hard part will be leaving. Needless to say, I was lucky to work with individuals that advocate for such positive intellectual and experiential growth."
    Erick Correa

Grace Burga

Internship: Newark Downtown District
Department: Marketing and Business Strategies
High School: Science Park High School, Newark
College: Rutgers New Brunswick
Major: Psychology

Grace Burga, a psychology major at Rutgers, is making her community of Newark stronger through her internship in the Marketing and Business Strategies department of Newark Downtown District. She had the opportunity to work on several projects to benefit the business district.

  • "Grace was a wonderful addition to our Marketing Team over the summer. She took on creating a health fair for downtown Newark that would benefit both employees and residents.  She was proactive and innovative in her approach to outreach and planning and took very little supervision. The whole office was sad to see her leave at the end of the summer."
    Noelle Frieson, Director of Marketing and Business Strategies
    Newark Downtown District
  • "Reliability means being able to count on someone if you have questions or there's something you don't know. The NDD taught me to appreciate all the little things it takes to get stuff done for the betterment of the district. Everyone, regardless of position, has to be reliable. Otherwise, projects fall through. I learned the importance of teamwork and communication in a work setting. In order to get big projects done everyone on the team is always involved in each other’s project, and willing to lend a hand.”
    Grace Burga

what can choose New Jersey do for you?

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Catherine Scangarella Senior Vice President,
Development & Life Sciences

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Becky Bond Roitzsch Governance & Program

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