Rider University’s science departments inducted two notable alumni into the Science Stairway of Fame on June 9 during Reunion Weekend activities on the Lawrenceville campus.
Meaghan Haugh

L-R: 2012 Science Stairway of Fame Honorees Douglas Sturgis ’83 and Dr. Judith Neubauer ’72

Rider University’s science departments inducted two notable alumni into the Science Stairway of Fame on June 9 during Reunion Weekend activities on the Lawrenceville campus. The 2012 honorees are Dr. Judith Neubauer ’72 and Douglas Sturgis ’83.

The Science Stairway of Fame, located in the research wing of the Science and Technology Center, honors individuals who were exemplary students and have achieved significant professional success in their chosen careers following graduation. The honorees are also loyal and generous supporters of Rider’s science programs.

Dr. Laura Hyatt, associate dean for science, introduced the honored guests and their families who gathered with current and former faculty and staff members during an afternoon reception.

“These alums represent the best of what Rider University, specifically, a Rider science education offers. They worked closely with our faculty, excelled as students, and become accomplished citizens of the broader world. Since leaving Rider, they have built amazing and successful careers in basic medical research and geosciences,” Hyatt said. “Today’s honorees provide important and varied role models for our students who will walk past their plaques each day.” 

Dr. Patricia Mosto, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences, echoed Hyatt’s sentiments.

“Judith’s and Doug’s careers exemplify the importance of Rider’s commitment to integrative, lifelong learning,” Mosto said. “In our classrooms and labs, we teach our students to make purposeful connections among coursework elements and beyond, to the world of work.”

Dr. Jonathan Yavelow, professor of Biology, recognized Neubauer. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Rider, Neubauer obtained a doctorate from Rutgers University in 1981. She is currently a professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the associate vice president for Research Regulatory Affairs for the University. Her many public leadership roles include chairing the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Sleep and Respiratory Neurobiology Assembly, the ATS Research Advocacy Committee, and the American Physiological Society program committee.

Throughout her academic career, Neubauer has been engaged in research on the neurobiology of respiratory control, particularly as it relates to Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Her work has focused on understanding how hypoxia modulates the central respiratory and sympathetic pattern generators at the integrative, as well as cellular and molecular level.

Neubauer said she was honored to receive the award and it was a true affirmation of Rider’s commitment to its students’ success.

“What I learned here served as a foundation — a very good foundation for me to further my career,” Neubauer said. “Thank you all.”

Dr. Joseph Nadeau, dean emeritus of the CLAES, and professor emeritus of Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, recognized Sturgis, who received a degree in Geology from Rider. He also holds a master’s degree in Geology from Bowling Green State University. With expertise in subsurface exploration using 4D seismic interpretation technology, Sturgis has parlayed his Rider education into a successful international career in geosciences management. During the majority of his career at ExxonMobil, he has served as a geoscientist, production technical advisor and exploration supervisor in Europe, North Africa and Malaysia. He currently lives in Houston where he works as a geosciences advisor, providing expert guidance to exploration teams in Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Chad.

Sturgis recalled the Geosciences professors’ commitment to bring out the best in their students.

“I’m honored to be presented with this award,” Sturgis said. “I’m grateful for the outstanding education I received at Rider.”

Following the ceremony, the guests gathered for a dedication of the Dr. Richard Beach Classroom/Laboratory upstairs in Room 206. The project was generously and collaboratively funded by Board of Trustees member Dr. Eli Mordechai ’90, Sherute Construction, and alumni and friends who contributed to the Science Initiatives Fund, which includes leadership gifts from Rider trustees Dr. E. Bruce DiDonato ’76 and Gary Nath ’66.

“This beautiful, newly renovated classroom sets the stage for more than 100 students a year to learn hands-on about biochemistry, genetics, immunology, and microbiology,” President Mordechai Rozanski said. “Its design makes it possible for faculty to move smoothly back and forth between lecture and laboratory, helping students quickly make connections between theory and practice.”