student presenting at Casabona Competition

Fall 2022 Competition

The Mario M. Casabona Future Scientists Program encourages students to recognize the importance of oral communication skills and the ability to discuss the results of scholarship effectively with various audiences and at all levels. The Program motivates, trains and rewards students for the preparation and delivery of effective communication of scientific research to the general public and non-science professionals. Such presentation and communication skills provide students with the capacity to be distinctly competitive and successful in their subsequent educational and career paths. Students/Mentors will be selected from each department to compete.

On November 16 2022 from 2:00 – 5:30 pm in CELS, and streamed for online viewing, students will present five minute, five slide presentations judged by our panel of professionals for awards. Students are presenting their research in both a poster session and five-minute oral presentations.



First Place Second Place Third Place Best Mentor Audience Favorite
$2000 $1500 $1000 $1500 $500
Emily Cepin Madeline Lucas Michael Giarratana Dr. Ying Cui Citlaly Hernandez & Madeline Lucas

Student Participants

  • EGCG from Green Tea Inhibits Carbonic Anhydrase: Possible Explanation for Anti-Cancer Properties

    • Madeline Lucas, Molecular Biology Major
    • Mentored by Biology Professors Dr. Elena Petroff and Dr. Vladislav Snitsarev
    • Award – Second Place & Audience Favorite
  • Killing Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Shutting Down its Tryptophan Production

  • A Framework for Evaluating Security and Usability of Parental Controls in Steaming Services
  • Accelerated chemical weathering following the end-Permian mass extinction: Implications for future carbon capture

  • Mathematical Modeling of Student Learning Networks
  • Modeling Black Holes Collisions – The Sound of the Universe



Mario Casabona

Mr. Mario Casabona

Mario is an entrepreneur and active angel investor. In 2012, he founded TechLaunch, committed to identifying and nurturing early stage tech ventures by mentoring, coaching, and providing access to resources and capital. To date, TechLaunch has supported over 100 tech companies and mentored over 200 aspiring entrepreneurs. In 2006, he founded Casabona Ventures, investing in over 30 seed and early stage companies. In 1982, he founded Electro-Radiation Inc., which was acquired by Honeywell International in 2004.

Mario received the Small Business Administration National Tibbett’s Award for his contributions in technology, and was listed as one of the top five most influential persons in New Jersey technology by The Star-Ledger. He was twice recognized by the New Jersey Technology Council, (now TechUnited:NJ) first as the recipient of their Financier of the Year Award and subsequently their Legend of Technology Award. He is Chairman Emeritus of Jumpstart NJ Angel Network and Chairman Emeritus of the R&D Council of New Jersey. He also enjoys serving on the Boards of various for-profit and non-for-profit organizations. Mario is an electrical engineer and holds twelve national and international patents in the field of satellite-based navigation and communications.


Albert Baker

Mr. Albert Baker

Corporate Director Innovation, Life Sciences, and Tech Transfer
Hackensack Meridian Health

Albert Baker is the Corporate Director of Hackensack Meridian Health’s Life Sciences and Innovation sector. He has been driving innovation system-wide and building an investment portfolio. Al has been working with Hackensack Meridian Health for the past 7 years. He has worked and lived in Europe for several years, as well as Silicon Valley. He attended the University of Iowa graduate program in Physics. Prior to Hackensack Meridian Health, Al has worked on the cutting edge of building Wi-Fi technology and markets for international companies like Phillips BV, where he spearheaded investment and strategic deals with several startup companies based in the United States. He has also, been involved in the creation of internet of things market and med-tech start-ups with successful exits. In his current role at Hackensack Meridian Health, he is building a leading-edge investment portfolio that builds clinical value for the health system and improves HMH ability to deliver care to patients. Investments that directly contribute value to HMH by extending the reach of patient care beyond the walls, enable the reduction of hospital borne diseases, and enhance cutting edge research into combating antibiotic resistant diseases with phage therapies through our Center of Discovery and Innovation.

Michael Mancuso

Mr. Michael Mancuso, FCAS, MAAA, ’09

Senior Actuary
AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc.

Mr. Michael Mancuso is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He has a wide array of actuarial experience, having started his career in the pensions field where he performed valuations of defined benefits and defined contributions plans. He transitioned into the specialty insurance field where he was responsible for the pricing and reserving of travel (re)insurance, and then ultimately found his niche within the property and casualty insurance industry. In his current role at AEGIS, a leading mutual insurance company for the energy industry, Michael manages the portfolio of reserve liabilities, leads the actuarial financial reporting function, and serves as the actuarial director for enterprise integration of analytic processes. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Montclair State University, Michael has discovered a passion for volunteerism and has been actively involved in supporting his alma mater as a frequent panelist for the CSAM Professional Development Series for Students. Additionally, Michael volunteers on a number of committees within the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), including serving as the University Liaison to Montclair State University to support the academic advisement of actuarial students. He is also a member of the CAS Examination Committee, and is a mentor for the CAS Student Central Summer Program. He continues to identify ways to support and foster students and recent graduates who are pursuing paths in actuarial science.

Dawn Soufleris

Dawn Soufleris PhD

Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life
Montclair State University

Dr. Soufleris is the Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life (SDCL). This division hosts a variety of engagement and support offices for students at the University, including Residence Life, Center for Student Involvement (club, organizations and Greek Life), Social Justice and Diversity, Intercollegiate Athletics, Campus Recreation, Counseling and Psychological Services, the University Health Center, Student Conduct, and MSU’s University Police Department and Emergency Services. As a first generation college student, Dr. Soufleris is keenly aware of the need for students to feel supported and engaged while in college, and how important it is for all students to feel a sense of belonging. Dr. Soufleris holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Buffalo and has spent over 30 years in the field of higher education, with a focus on college student development. Her areas of interest and research include Title IX, student development theory and the transition to college life, first generation students, crisis management and the impact of student engagement on retention.


Wayne Tamarelli

A. Wayne Tamarelli, PhD, MBA

AWT Private Investments

Wayne Tamarelli is a bi-coastal angel financier of early stage technology businesses in greater New Jersey and San Francisco Bay areas. CEO, entrepreneur, private company owner, and public company officer, his experience includes general management, entrepreneurship, ventures, M&A, R&D, advanced materials, electronics, environmental protection, specialty chemicals, energy conservation, education, health care, technology transfer, and other business, scientific and policy areas. Dr. Tamarelli is founding chairman of Jumpstart New Jersey Angel Network and a member of the Band of Angels in Silicon Valley. In 1983 he purchased Dock Resins Corporation in a leveraged buyout and successfully grew its revenues and profits as Chairman, CEO and sole owner. In 1997 he sold the company at significant gain and remained CEO until 2000 when he became Chairman Emeritus. He was employed by Engelhard Corporation from 1970 to 1983 (Senior Vice President), and previously by Exxon Corporation. Dr. Tamarelli served as a captain in the U.S. Army and as a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University. He has BS, MS, and PhD degrees in engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and an MBA in marketing and international business from New York University.


Poster Session (CELS Atrium)
Welcome, Opening Remarks, and Introductions
Dean Lora Billings
Student Presentations (CELS 120)
Moderator, Associate Dean Scott Kight
Awards Ceremony & Closing Remarks
Mario M. Casabona and Lora Billings