Governor's School Academic Programs

All students take five academic courses at the Governor's School of Engineering and Technology. Two of these courses will be considered part of our “core” and thus enroll all students in the program. Each student's other 3 courses are chosen from a series of electives in different disciplines. Below, we've listed courses that have been taught in the past. 

Robotics (Core Course) - Our robotics course uses Legos Mindstorms kits and a set of aftermarket sensors (including color cameras) to engage students in team-based competitions. In teams of 4, students build and program their robots to solve challenges. In the past, students used vision recognition and artificial intelligence techniques to first navigate a maze, and then to play "Robot Soccer."

Modern Physics (Core Course) - Our physics course is designed to introduce modern and experimental physics topics to the Governor's School students. The class is designed to be both novel and comprehensible by students whose backgrounds range from no prior physics experience through having completed AP Physics. Topics include special and general relativity, quantum mechanics, particle physics, the Large Hadron Collider, experimental design, and string theory.

Design Experience - Students will choose a class in which they learn basic design techniques in a field, and then use those techniques to create their own engineering design. Our four choices in the past were "Designing a Computer Controlled House", "Computational Techniques for Biomedical Engineering", "Engineering Entrepreneurship", and "Mechanical Engineering in the Developing World."

Laboratory Experience - Students will choose one Lab class, featuring hands-on analysis and testing. In the past, our four classes in this category are "Biomedical Instrumentation and Biological Signals", "The Electrical Engineering Circuits Lab", "Biodiesel - Learning About It, Making Some, and Analyzing It", and "Wonderful and Crazy Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science and Mathematics."

Technical Analysis - This series of elective classes encompasses courses in applied mathematics and computer science/engineering. In the past, scholars chose one of the following course: "Computer Aided Design and Rapid Prototyping an RC Car", "Bridges- Learning About Them, Building Them, and then Destroying Them", "Hacking Social Networks: Security and Privacy on Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr", and "Introduction to Computer Programming for Engineers."

Research Projects

The cornerstone of the Governor's School of Engineering and Technology experience is a small group research and design project, completed under the tutelage of an experienced research mentor from academia or industry. In groups of 3 or 4 students, the Governor's Scholars will investigate and attempt to solve a complex and novel problem. Each group writes a conference-style research paper and presents its results at the Governor’s School Research Symposium in front of an audience of professors, dignitaries, industry members, and invited guests. At the conclusion of the research experience, students should expect to have made significant connections with their research mentors and to have gained scientific maturity.

The project topics vary from year to year, although we aim to have representation from each engineering discipline. Some reserch projects offered in the past are:

  • Brain Control
  • Artificial Intelligence and Reinforcement Learning
  • Automotive Engineering- Designing an Engine Fuel Map
  • Engineering Smart Windows using Arduino
  • Improving Water Sanitation in the Developing World
  • Lighting an African School using Alternative Energy
  • Live Event Audio Engineering
  • Mission to Mars
  • NanoEngineering: Practical Uses of Sol-gel Nanocomposites
  • New Jersey and Urban Wind: Perfect Together?
  • Pharmaceutical Engineering and Drug Manufacturing
  • Quality Engineering
  • Reopening Pandora's Box: Improving Music Recommendation Systems
  • Re-sequencing CYP 2C9 Gene Regions Using Mass Spectrometry
  • Should I Buy or Should I Sell Now?
  • The Bone Project
  • Wii Rehab: Can Nintendo Wiimotes Be Used for Rehabilitating Range of Motion?
  • X-Ray Diffraction of Lipstick and Gunpowder
  • Your Own Audio Amplifier

Site Visits

Each Governor's School student will have the opportunity to visit three local corporations to learn about future career opportunities. The tour destinations change each year. In the past, we have visited Bloomberg, Google, Anheuser Busch, Chanel Inc., Colgate-Palmolive, Hess Corporation, IBM's Wafer Fab, Lockheed Martin, Merck & Co., Microsoft, MTA- Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Picatinny Arsenal, PSE&G Nuclear, Sun Microsystems, and the U.S. Golf Association. 

Guest Speakers

 We are fortunate to bring a number of distinguished guest speakers to Governor's School each summer. These speakers are leaders in either academia or industry, and are excited to share current developments in engineering as well as career advice. Our guest speakers in the past have discussed the following topics:

  • Pursuing Patent Law after your Engineering degree
  • The Engineering behind underwater robots
  • Eco-responsibility, carbon credits
  • The research process, why research is important, how to investigate new ideas
  • iPods, Hearing Aid Engineering
  • Urban entrepreneurship, social responsibility for engineers, startup companies
  • Computational Complexity, the P vs. NP Problem, what is Computer Science
  • Careers in technology beyond programming, technology's impact on humans
  • Resume writing, getting internships and jobs
  • Experiences with science research programs, how to win competitive science fairs
  • Energy policy, how oil is refined, careers in energy
  • Entrepreneurship, cloud computing, women in technology
  • Financial careers for engineers

Enrichment Activities

A number of supplementary activities will reinforce ideas in engineering. “Life Skills Days” will provide exposure to many important skills an engineer needs to know, yet may not have seen before. Each Life Skills Crash-Course provides a 60 minute introduction to a topic without assuming any prior knowledge. Past topics have ranged from using power tools, repairing iPods, soldering, and speed-solving the Rubik's Cube, all the way to salsa dancing!

Our Governor’s School students will also work together to design and run technology outreach programs for disadvantaged local communities. In  the past, we have also partnered with community organizations in Paterson and Newark and ran a very successful series of computer literacy events for middle school students and senior citizens.

Additional activities at Governor’s School include a College Question and Answer session with current students at elite universities, a half-day simulation of the team design process, recreational athletics activities, and a student talent show!  We also schedule additional activities based on admitted students’ expressed interests, so each year’s Governor’s School is customized.

We highly recommend that you look through past students' research papers to get a sense of the Research Project experience. Research papers from our past sessions are available in our electronic research journal.