Title: Associate Professor
Department: Engineering Technologies and Engineering Science
In 2009 after 14 years in corporate engineering, Jefferson Cartano felt it was time for a change. He asked himself, “Is it better to create one solution to one problem or to train engineers to create many solutions?” From developing cell phone technology at a leading mobile corporation, Cartano made the transition to become an educator first joining County College of Morris as an adjunct professor and then reaching the rank of associate professor in the Engineering Technologies and Engineering Science department.
When he began his higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, he was not sure if he wanted to major in engineering or medicine. He chose electrical and biomedical engineering. As an undergraduate, he also had the fortunate experience of helping with a special project, which was programming for the trending technology of the 1990s – an email system for the college.
After Penn, he enrolled at Stanford University and earned his M.S. in management science. He is now a Ph.D. candidate in engineering communication at the University of the Philippines, taking courses online and on-campus during the summer semester.
One of the things Cartano enjoys most is engineering communication which is both the ability to use engineering to communicate and the way in which communication is used to explain engineering. The ability to communicate engineering effectively is how he is able to remove the intimidation that surrounds the field to make it accessible to students.
His role as an educator has been fulfilling and transformative, he says. “Fulfillment used to mean intellectual property and profitability. Now it comes from the transformation of a student from solely a user of technology into a hands-on maker of technology by having him or her decide on engineering, physics or mathematics as a career.”
He believes that it through teaching that he is able affect lives and, by extension, society. “It’s no longer about money, it’s about how we can responsibly move forward in society,” says Cartano. “It’s through academia, not through the corporate world, that I can touch more lives and I can motivate and empower the next generation of solution makers.”
He believes that any student who is logical, pays attention to detail and is highly disciplined can be an engineer and that engineering is not solely based on mathematical prowess.
His teaching style is self-described as a dialogue free of judgment in which he strives to give each student every opportunity to consider joining the discipline. “I work hard for my students and, in response, they work hard for me, which means they will also work hard for society,” he says.