Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s proven to be a great asset to Julie McEldoon, a freshman at Livingston High. Her inquisitiveness, plus intelligence, hard work, and perseverance has paid off.
After participating in NJIT’s summer FEMME program, Julie is this year’s recipient of the LJ LaBeur Memorial Scholarship at the NJIT Center for Pre-College Programs.
Her interest in science began when she was 4 and the family was living in California. Julie’s mother, Wendy Lan, is a chemist who works on developing bioanalytical instrumentation. Wendy took Julie to work at Biomolecular Technologies, where she “was immediately fascinated with the various parts used to build the machines, from screws and nuts to lights and tubing."
Since then she has always wanted to build things, and constantly asks for "spare parts" if we have them,” her mother said.
After the family moved to Livingston in 2004, Julie’s interest in “how things work” continued. In fifth grade, she wanted to be a space engineer and work for NASA or be a game designer.
According to Ken Zushma, a technology teacher at Heritage Middle School, Julie had tremendous success there as part of the program. She participated in the National Engineers Week Future City Design Challenge, as well as the Technology Student Association and the Thomas Edison Invention Challenge, winning high honors in each. Meanwhile, Wendy says Zushma inspired Julie and allowed her talents to bloom.
In her spare time, Julie still collects recycled electronics, tears them apart, and tries to build something new from them. Prior to this year, she was a nationally ranked foil fencer. She also likes to read and play games.
Winning the LaBeur Scholarship grants Julie full tuition next year to return to NJIT and study chemistry.