Bergen STEM Director Has Winning Formula

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College STEM Program Director Luis De Abreu has earned statewide recognition as a leader in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

The June 2022 “I CAN STEM” New Jersey STEM Role Model award, presented by the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network, acknowledges De Abreu’s efforts to develop academic, cocurricular and extra-curricular activities for STEM students through tutoring, supplemental instruction, academic, advising, financial literacy and research opportunities. The pathways network has helped connect New Jersey’s STEM stakeholders from education, industry and government since 2014.

“Getting this recognition validates that the work done at the college under the STEM umbrella is exemplary and worth replicating,” he said. “We have become agents of change for STEM initiatives at the county, state, national, and even, international level.”

De Abreu, of Hackensack, has managed various grants at Bergen supporting STEM goals and objectives to provide underrepresented students with more opportunities to pursue technical degrees. He has created partnerships with other colleges, universities, businesses and industry partners in developing a STEM Student Scholars Program to train students for immediate employment after graduating from the College.

Most recently, De Abreu, alongside professor Joseph Sivo, Ph.D., helped mentor a group of students that participated and won first place in the 2022 national Community College Innovation Challenge sponsored by the National Science Foundation and American Association of Community Colleges. Selected from more than 40 submissions and 12 finalists, the Bergen team topped the competition with “ScanCan: The Intelligent Recycling Bin,” a waste receptacle that rejects items unsuitable for recycling. Students worked on the ScanCan prototype in the College’s multidisciplinary STEM Student Research Center - the nation’s only one of its kind at a community college. De Abreu helped manage the development, construction and financing of the facility.

“We have been fortunate to receive multiple awards and recognition, but the movement keeps going, now stronger and faster than ever,” he said.

De Abreu serves as the co-chair of the Economic Recovery Committee at Bergen, an effort spearheaded by President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., to find ways to place Bergen at the center of economic development efforts.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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