Student Profile: Eugene Geis
You can teach a physicist quantitative analysis but you can’t keep him away from New Jersey.
Dr. Eugene Geis returned to New Jersey to work as a teacher, coach, and advisor at John P. Stevens Public High School in Edison, New Jersey after obtaining his first doctorate in Experimental Nuclear Physics at Arizona State University. For five years Eugene taught physics and chemistry to freshman and seniors, managed a national champion Model UN team, tutored and mentored disadvantaged students, led several research teams of 20+ honor students, and helped coach a wresting team from worst county record to district place winner in four years.
During this time Eugene witnessed the growth of big data and became genuinely concerned about the future of public education due to the poor interpretations of educational data. This led him to pursue a second doctorate in Education Statics and Measurement at Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) as a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellow under Dr. Jimmy de la Torre.
Eugene’s dissertation is a continuation of Dr. Gregory Camilli’s work on an Item Response Theory (IRT) algorithm that is meant to detect multidimensionality in assessment. Through his work, Eugene is hoping to demonstrate that there are numerous dimensions that can be measured through an assessment and interpretations made on a single dimension may be faulty.
“I guess I’ve always been interested in education since I interpret the educational process as intentional development into a better, more complete human being,” notes Eugene. “I used to think it was possible to know the answer to every question. Now I think the more you know, the harder it is to properly answer any question.”
Eugene is involved in several organizations at Rutgers University to gain policy experience. He is currently the President of the GSE’s Student Affairs Committee (GSAC), Interim Secretary of Rutgers Graduate Student Association (GSA), and a member of the Rutgers University Senate.
GSAC offers programing for the entire GSE community including meet and greets, end of semester socials, coffee hours, and lectures. GSAC also supports GSE students’ participation in international, national, regional, and state professional conferences and panels. As President of GSAC, Eugene hopes to build a stronger community and facilitate communication between everyone at the GSE. Through fostering a supportive environment, Eugene believes members of the GSE have the capability to develop interdisciplinary big-picture solutions for many of problems facing education today.
“I hope that people start learning the language and utility of methods that are being practiced throughout the GSE,” says Eugene. “My biggest wish is that members of the GSE share their knowledgeable perspectives with each other.”
Eugene is serving as the Interim Secretary of GSA until February 2015. GSA advocates graduate student concerns to the broader university community and provides fiscal support for over 50 recognizedgraduate student organizations with diverse interests including academic, social, and cultural. Eugene was the only GSA executive committee member on American soil during the past two months, making him responsible for everything from interviewing and hiring staff, approving funding allocations, and facilitating council meetings, to supervising the entire spring funding allocations process.
The Rutgers Senate is the only advisory and legislate body that represents the entire community of faculty, students, staff, administrators, and alumni to the Rutgers’ president and boards. As the GSE student representative in the Senate, Eugene intends to keep the strategic vision for the University abreast, sharing his voice for sustainability and transparency. Eugene is also involved in the Budget and Finance Committee, allowing him to work closely with the committee Chair to analyze year-to-year trends of Rutgers’ Annual Budget.
When Eugene isn’t attending a committee meeting, researching IRT, or hosting an event, he enjoys playing theguitar, singing, working out, practicing martial arts, meditating, writing, reading, and enjoying the company of his wife, Christine Festa, Senior Sales Manager at Aptar.