Gift Establishes Cognitive Neurology Professorship
The Rutgers University Board of Governors has approved the creation of the Daniel Schneider, M.D. Endowed Early Career Professorship in Cognitive Neurology. Made possible by a generous gift of $750,000 from Schneider’s estate, which is directed by his mother, Penny Moreno, the gift will go toward retaining and recruiting early career scholars in the field of cognitive neurology. The professorship honors the legacy and life’s work of Moreno’s son, Daniel, who began his career in the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s Department of Neurology.
Schneider served as an assistant and then associate professor in the departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, establishing himself as an outstanding educator, a trusted adviser, and a caring clinician. He won numerous teaching awards and served as director of several neurology clinics.
“I wanted to give back in his name and to support the department that supported him so much,” Moreno says. “I don’t want him forgotten. He was too young. He had too much potential.”
Even when he became ill with pancreatic cancer in 2019, Schneider continued teaching, learning, and caring for more than a year, meeting with patients via telehealth appointments, a practice he continued until the month before his death in February 2021. At the time of his passing at age 46, he was director of Rutgers’ clinics for deep brain stimulation, behavioral neurology, and functional neurologic disorders.
Schneider was fascinated with the human mind from an early age and studied psychology in college. During his medical training at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he became interested in movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. That interest spawned a unique six-year medical residency for Schneider, who spent three years in neurology and three in psychiatry, before completing his fellowship at Columbia University.
“Many movement disorders have overlapping neurological, cognitive, and psychiatric manifestations, and broad training endowed him with the skills to have a holistic approach to patients with neurodegenerative diseases,” says Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, chair of the Department of Neurology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “His loss was as impactful to us as to his family.”
Read a story about Schneider that ran on the Rutgers Foundation web site in April 2022.
Scholarship Awarded in Honor of Federal Judge’s Slain Son
Rutgers Law School student Starr Vega was named the first recipient of the Daniel Anderl Memorial Scholarship, created in honor of Judge Esther Salas’s son, who was murdered by a disgruntled attorney at their home in 2020.
Anderl was 20 years old and planned for a career as an attorney when he was shot and killed. His father, Mark, was wounded in the attack. The scholarship created in his memory provides a $5,500 award to a Rutgers Law student. “Out of this senseless tragedy, we see light and we see this ability for students to go on and get an education in memory of my son,” Salas said in an episode of the Rutgers Law School’s podcast, Power of Attorney. “Daniel’s senseless murder made sense of his life because Daniel lived every day like it was his last day. He enjoyed life.”
In the podcast, Salas, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers College in 1991 and a juris doctorate from Rutgers Law School in Newark in 1994, talks about overcoming roadblocks to the bench, her only son’s murder, the scholarship in his name, and the law she fought for to protect judges.
Vega, a third-year law student who earned a bachelor’s degree from the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Science in New Brunswick in 2019, is a senior notes and comments editor for the Rutgers University Law Review. She also served as a student liaison to the New Jersey Association of the Federal Bar and a Minority Student Program Teaching Fellow. In addition, she’s worked as a summer associate at Riker Danzig and Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi law firms.
Salas presented Vega with a “Love is Light” necklace in her court chambers last month after she was named the scholarship recipient.
The scholarship award will alternate each year between Rutgers Law campuses. A Camden student will receive the award next year. Funded on an endowed basis, the scholarship will assist generations of students.
The endowment is made possible by many New Jersey lawyer cosponsoring associations and their members: Rutgers Law School–Newark Alumni Association, American College of Trial Lawyers-New Jersey State Committee, The Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey, New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, WIN: Women in IP Network, Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, and the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court of N.J.
Three other fully endowed scholarships have been established at Anderl’s former grammar and high schools in New Jersey and at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he finished his sophomore year at the time of his death.
Salas became the first Hispanic magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court in New Jersey in 2006. In 2011, she was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed to her current position as U.S. District Court Judge for the District of New Jersey.