PRCC Hall of Fame
Teaching is a career that I still believe requires extensive training to refine one’s teaching style. Believing this, I did not want the first time I stepped in front of a classroom to be my senior year. Luckily, Rutgers University-Newark afforded me, within my first month, the opportunity to hone my future career through a campus program called Project M.O.S.T. Project M.O.S.T, allowed me to go into community middle schools and tutor the students there in the subjects of science and math. This provided me my first real glimpse of life on the other side of the desk, and I wanted more. Through Dean Clayton Walton, Director of the Paul Robeson Campus Center where I worked, I was introduced to a professor on campus, Dr. Powell and he offered me a position as an undergraduate assistant on his eMath project. Working with Dr. Powell, I was introduced to formulating curriculum, and different techniques to guide students through questioning. Rutgers University-Newark’s location afforded me many unique teaching opportunities as well. There was a high school located right across the street from the Campus Center and I would frequently visit, observing lessons and discussing with the students and teachers different ways to teach mathematical concepts. Some students from the high school even joined the Rutgers University-Newark Gaming Club, which encouraged some to make the choice to go to Rutgers in the future. It was during one of my visits to this high school, that some seniors mentioned prom and how fundraising was not going well. When I discussed this with my fellow Rutgers University-Newark Program Board members we decided to throw an event and have all proceeds go toward the high school’s senior prom. A few months later, the Office of Student Life and Leadership provided me with a job tutoring college students through the Americans with Disabilities Act Services, and all of these experiences were offered to me before my senior year. My leadership roles in organizations helped my public speaking immensely, made it easier to command a room and provided me with a comfort when it came to getting ideas across to my students. Due to my advantage of going to Rutgers University-Newark I was able to start gaining teaching experience within my first month on campus, and I have turned this edge into numerous achievements, such as multiple teacher of the month awards, teacher of the year award, and recently I was named one of the top teachers in the district.
“I continue to believe that when it comes to education, what you learn in the classroom is equally as important as what you learn outside of it. Rutgers University-Newark keeps those two factors in perfect balance; this University allows you to be on top of your classes, while also allowing engagement in student activities. This combination makes the question most ask by interviewers, “Where did you find the time to do all of this?” That’s the Rutgers advantage.”
My name is Crystal Navarro and I’m a pRoud alumna of Rutgers University-Newark. I attended the University from fall 2007 through spring 2012 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, a Minor in Mathematics and took extensive coursework in Secondary Education. As a Passaic, NJ native, my first introduction to the campus was by way of the Education Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program during the summer of 2007. Certain that I wanted to go to college further away from home, the program was wholly responsible for convincing me that Rutgers University-Newark was the only place for me, merely 10 miles south of my hometown. Purposed to provide access in part to students who come from low-income homes, had it not been for EOF, I may not have been able to seize a lot of the opportunities college had to offer especially because I come from a Hispanic family who immigrated from the Dominican Republic to the U.S.
During my tenure as an undergraduate, my campus involvement was very extensive. I was a member of the RU-N Women’s Volleyball Team as an Outside Hitter and Middle Blocker. Although the program was always in an unavoidable transition during my seasons as a player (2007-2010), it further reinforced the values instilled during high school athletics of teamwork, perseverance and dedication ,which always spilled over into my personal, spiritual, social and professional life.
In addition, during the spring of 2007 I was selected by the EOF Department to be the next Vice President of the student group, EOF P.R.I.D.E., which had gone inactive several years prior. With the help of the e-board at the time, we were able to not only revive the student group, but also increase its active membership of both EOF students and supporters throughout the campus. As a result, in 2009 we received an award for “Best New Organization” and in 2010 we received an award for successfully hosting “I’M NOT BLACK!“, a panel discussion designed to foster conversation and dispel stereotypes associated with race, nationality, ethnicity, culture and the assumptions and truths associated with each.
Furthermore, in the spring of 2008 I was named the next Editor-in-Chief for the University’s yearbook publication, The Encore that due to unforeseen circumstances was behind schedule. With the help of the amazing editorial team, between the years of 2008-2011, we were able to complete and release the yearbooks for the classes of 2007-11.
While maintaining the roles of middle blocker, vice president and editor-in-chief, I was simultaneously an active member of Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society, the public relations chair for the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) and the public relations manager for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, of which I was also a Bible Study leader.
During the latter part of my college career, I had the privilege of beginning the chartering process for a chapter of Alpha Nu Omega National Christian Fraternity & Sorority, Inc., which was welcomed into the Inter Fraternity-Sorority Council in the fall of 2010 and subsequently I was inducted as a member during the spring of 2012, prior to graduation.
In summation, my co-curricular activities were honored when I received two awards from the Paul Robeson Campus Center Office of Student Life and Leadership. Specifically, “The Nelitha Wilson-Michael” Award in 2011 for “outstanding achievement, loyalty and support to the mission and goals of the Paul Robeson Campus Center” and the “Paul Robeson Award” in 2012, an award given to the student leader who demonstrated “responsible unselfish use of talent and leadership throughout involvement in campus activities, contributions to the quality of student life, and the greater Newark Community.”
Professionally, during the five years that I was on campus, I maintained a Student Assistant position within the Office of Student Life and Leadership located in the Paul Robeson Campus Center. I worked alongside the Assistant Director of Non-Academic Judicial Affairs/Student Conduct and the First Year Experience while working the office’s frontlines by way of clerical work, customer service, assisting with event planning and execution and much more. It was there that I received exposure to all of the out-of-the-classroom developmental opportunities you read mentioned above. Also, I served as a Mathematics Teaching Assistant (during the summers) and College Algebra tutor (during the semester) for the Academic Foundations Center, which houses the EOF Department. Every summer I would return to assist and directly impact the next generation of students that would attend Rutgers University-Newark by way of the EOF program, which had done so much for me not only during the summer of 2007 but throughout my college career. Many of the department professionals remain members of my personal life today.
Presently, I work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Federal Emergency Response Official/Transportation Security Officer under the Transportation Security Administration at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, NJ. While working the front lines of aviation security, I’ve also gained the positions of Evacuation Drill Coordinator and On-the-Job training mentor to new hires. I’m currently working out of our Administrative Offices in the Payroll Department. In addition, I remain an active member of the Garden State Alumni Chapter of Alpha Nu Omega serving as the chapter historian and Advisor-In-Training to the undergraduate chapters all while holding a Substitute Teacher certificate in the County of Passaic.
Even now, I’ve been able to combine my loves for teaching, training, ministry and more. In conclusion, I am presently pursuing an online course in Intro to Student Affairs in Higher Education. It is because of ALL that Rutgers University-Newark, but ultimately God, were able to provide to and for me during undergrad that I now have an interest in the field and may potentially go back to school and receive my masters in an area that so graciously shaped in part, the person and professional I am today. I left Rutgers University-Newark not just with a degree but a wealth of tangible and intangible experiences alike.
“Ultimately, my major passion and principle goal in this life is to preach and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere that I may go and with anyone I come into contact with, by any means necessary. I am all that I am and have accomplished all that I have thus far only by the saving Grace of God. So regardless of where He takes me next, I’ll know the mission is being accomplished simply by making myself less and making Him more. Rutgers University-Newark served as one of my first mission fields, and for that I’m grateful.”
Veer P. Patel, Political Science, May 2009
Veer P. Patel, Esq. is an attorney practicing in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was a graduate of University College at Rutgers-Newark 2009 majoring in Political Science. Shortly after, Veer attended Rutgers School of Law-Newark and finished his J.D. in 2013.
During his college years, Mr. Patel who entered through the EOF program, was a highly decorated student leader, serving as the University College Student Government President for two years. In this position, Mr. Patel served on the University on the Middle-States Accreditation Committee, University Budget and Finance Committee, Rutgers Newark Honorary Degree Committee, and gave the student commencement speech for the Newark College of Arts and Sciences & University College, Class of 2009.
Recently, Mr. Patel had served as Senator Cory Booker’s Correspondence Secretary in City Hall in Newark. There, Mr. Patel operated and managed the correspondence system for the Mayor’s Office, which included oversight of the Mayoral signature. He assisted in drafting and maintaining a uniform political message for the administration. In 2011, he joined Volunteer Lawyers for Justice under its prominent division, Newark Re-Entry Legal Services (ReLeSe). Here, Mr. Patel assisted Essex County residents tackle recidivism rates among ex-offenders who struggle to re-assimilate into local communities post-conviction.
In 2013, Mr. Patel served under the Hon. Sherry Hutchins-Henderson, J.S.C. as a Law Clerk in the Superior Court of New Jersey. There, he assisted the Court in managing motions, appeals, and trials touching upon criminal matters in Essex County.
Mr. Patel’s experiences at Rutgers-Newark have shaped his passion for advocacy. As n solo practitioner in Jersey City, his practice will consist of representing small businesses and families in matters touching upon criminal, immigration and civil litigation.
“When I entered into college, I was unsure of what to expect, but had the ambition to be involved. My freshman year, Rutgers University Newark allowed me into jump into a new world, where students, elected officials, Chancellors and local political leaders were on the other end of the negotiation table, and Deans were your mentors. After graduation and time to reflect, I came to realize that this platform was perfect in preparing me for tough negotiations and serving my clients after law school. I can confidently move forward in my career and conquer my obstacles, knowing that I’ve done this before at Rutgers.”
Selorm Quist, Sociology and Political Science, May 2014
Selorm Quist is a proud Rutgers University-Newark alumna. The 2014 Undergraduate Commencement Speaker and Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society member speaks more than highly of the institution she feels has shaped her “in unimaginable ways.”
A series of courses and co-curricular opportunities afforded to her at Rutgers University-Newark sparked a fervent interest in service and global affairs. Curiosity about human interaction and global politics led her to a major in Sociology with a minor in Political Science.
An out-of-state student, Quist quickly found herself in her element in Newark. She fostered a commitment to the city, working with the Newark Museum, the Newark Public Library, and local charter schools throughout her undergraduate career. She felt an equal commitment to her campus community and became involved in RU-N organizations early on. From September 2010 to December 2011, she sang with the Rutgers University-Newark Chorus. From January 2013 to May 2014 she served as Vice President of TANGLES, a student organization that promotes acceptance of natural beauty and fosters critical conversations on identity. As a member of the Honors College, she and two peers founded LIGHT, an organization providing a platform for presentations and round-table discussions on international politics and social issues.
It was also through the Honors College that Selorm was introduced to the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program, a fellowship for historically underrepresented juniors interested in domestic policy and international relations. As a fellow she completed an intensive seven-week academic and professional development session at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, which strengthened her interest in a career in global affairs and sub-Saharan African development.
Her selection as a participant in the 2013 International Service Learning and Leadership Exchange (ISLLE) cemented this passion. Through the initiative she engaged in challenging, hands-on service projects and cultural exchanges for ten days in Tanzania. Empowered by her experience through ISLLE, she was eager to help make international service a reality for her peers. During her senior year she served as a Student Assistant for the Office of Service Learning and Student Development in the Paul Robeson Campus Center helping to develop these overseas initiatives.
Academically and professionally equipped, Selorm is eager to pursue her career goals. This September she will begin a nine-month fellowship with Bridge International Academies, a sustainable education company that works with economically distressed families in Kenya.
Says Quist, “Above many other things, I credit Rutgers with any successes I’ve had and those I will have in the future. I am eternally indebted to the University and to the city of Newark.”
“Rutgers University-Newark has prepared me academically and professionally in invaluable ways. Under the guidance of brilliant scholars, I learned the fundamentals of human interaction and global politics; having had an opportunity to work with the university and in the city of Newark, I developed a strong professional identity. Now I find myself working in international education, using the valuable lessons I learned at RU-N each and every day.”
Amyjaelle Belot is a fourth-year student at Rutgers University- Newark preparing to graduate in May 2015 with a bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology and a concentration in Biology. Upon graduation, Ms. Belot plans to attend graduate school and work towards earning a Master’s degree in Student affairs. Through this, she hopes to one day make an impact on the lives of college students by helping them view the world through different lenses.
Ms. Belot grew up in a family with high expectations for her college career. Like most students from a foreign background, Ms. Belot was raised to believe that she could only aspire to be a doctor. Thus, for the majority of her college career, Belot went along with the cultural traditions she grew up with and worked towards becoming a doctor by taking up a major in biology. While doing so, she also fed her passion of learning about other people by taking various courses from the anthropology department. However after her experience in the 2014 Paul Robeson Campus Center International Service Learning and Leadership Experience in India all of that changed. Belot realized where she truly wanted to see herself go in life.
Throughout her time at Rutgers University –Newark, Ms. Belot has immersed herself in various experiences offered throughout the campus. By taking on leadership roles in various student organizations; such as serving as president for the Rutgers Red Cross Corps, Director of Student Health Advocates for Rutgers-Newark Health Services, serving on the e-board for Haitian Association for Students at Rutgers, Project Dental All and as a Resident Assistant for the Office of Housing and resident Life; “I have gained many skills and connections from all these organizations which I will take with me everywhere I go in life” says Belot. It is through these organizations and the addition of her experience as a participant in the 2014 International Service Learning and Leadership Experience in India that Ms. Belot was able to decide to pursue a career in Student Affairs.
“Throughout my time in India I found myself constantly thinking of how important being able to make decisions for one’s self is. In many of the lectures we had, we learned how young women such as myself were not always able to use their voice and make their own choices, this along with my passion for learning about the cultures other than my own has pushed me to step away from the social norm I grew up on and have helped me find that there are more ways to help people than just being a doctor.”
Amir Ismail, Supply Chain Management, December 2014
Amir Ismail is currently a senior at the Rutgers Business School specializing in Accounting and Supply Chain Management and will be graduating in fall of 2014 with 150 credits. Upon graduation, he will solely focus on preparing for the CPA exam—thus building the foundation for his future milestone. In his pursuit of continuous higher education, he plans to work towards a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) after gaining work experience.
Throughout his collegiate career, Amir has made it a mission to immerse himself with the Newark community and by leading organizations such as ALPFA and Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity to its success. He was also a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar and a Fellow for the New Jersey Needs You program. Amir entered Rutgers University through the EOF program as a first-generation college student with the mentality of education and leadership as his paramount goals. He would serve ALPFA organization for three years as Director of Communication and Treasurer. During his tenure, he helped the organization grow from 50 members to over 500 and to receive the Northeast Chapter of the Year. In 2014 he was awarded both the NJ ALPFA Scholarship as well as the National Scholarship.
He served as President of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity Incorporated for two years and led his chapter to host numerous keynote events as well as having an event named as Diversity Program of the Year. He also was a part of the inaugural class of the New Jersey Needs You (NJNY) program. Having been selected from an applicant pool of over 400 first-generation college students to serve in a 2-year career development and leadership-training program, Amir continuously aimed to expand his professional network and obtained a mentor.
Aside from his leadership efforts, Amir has interned with one of the top accounting firm in the world. As an intern, Amir won an intern innovation challenge by submitting a business idea that can benefit the firm and its clients, which competed against over 1000 interns. Having had completed three competitive and highly lucrative internships with the firm, Amir will be starting his career as a Management Consultant in the fall of 2015 in NYC.
Amir’s presence has definitely been felt at Rutgers University Newark having hosted numerous events, featured on websites, orientation videos, and recruitment mediums. In 2012 he was named Mr. Rutgers Homecoming King and was awarded with the student leader Legacy Award in 2014. Furthermore, he was selected to join the Public Administration department at Rutgers to take part in the International Service Learning & Leadership Exchange to Tanzania, East Africa to embrace a different culture and bring his findings back to the University.
Amir has demonstrated the capacity for strong academic abilities, having executive positions for several organizations and maintaining competitive internships. Amir enjoys learning about different business cultures because it improves his cultural dexterity and his experience to connect with business professionals around the globe. As the first of his family to graduate high school and ultimately graduate college, achieving greatness has become his paramount goal. Once solidifying a rewarding career, he plans to fully provide his family a stress free prosperous life.
“With a passionate and a promising platform to build my foundation as my family’s first generation college student, I came to Rutgers University Newark to make a difference in my life through education. As a graduating senior I am able to walk out changed within and outside my family, campus, community and was even able to make a difference in Tanzania, Africa during my service learning trip. I can safely walk out of Rutgers University Newark after having testing my character in times of adversity and understanding how being a leader required me to postpone immediate pleasures for long-term values”
My name is Leanna Truong, I am currently a graduating senior at Rutgers University-Newark with a major in Journalism and a minor in video production. I am an out of state student who transferred from San Diego, California as an independent student, and I began at Rutgers University Newark my sophomore year. Every since I came to Rutgers, I loved the campus. I lived on campus in the Talbott Apartments my first year and never wanted to leave. My favorite thing about Rutgers University Newark is that it is such a close-knit community and that I know for a fact I can call it my second home.
As an undecided student who did not know what to expect of the years to come, I started to get involved the first week of school. I began as a work-study student in the Fall of 2011 at the Paul Robeson Campus Center in the Office of Student Life and Leadership. Every year after that when I had to reapply for federal work study and I knew the Office of Student Life and Leadership was where I wanted to stay and grow. The office’s atmosphere was very welcoming since day one and as time went on. I grew a relationship within the Paul Robeson Campus Center staff and students around the campus that I now call my own family. During that time, I applied and received a job opportunity in the Office of Housing and Residence Life as a Mail Clerk, working in Woodward Hall.
The Office of Housing and Residence Life has a different atmosphere than the Office of Student Life and Leadership, but in a great way. Each department has its own family oriented work culture that kept everyone so close and involved with the campus. If it weren’t for both departments, I don’t think I would have grown as much on a professional level. Working in two departments that have such a huge impact on the student experience was the best decision I made during my time at Rutgers.
In Spring 2012, I took an interest for Omega Phi Chi Sorority, Incorporated and became a part of a sisterhood that I never knew existed. Omega Phi Chi stood as a professional organization that captured my eye, and I looked up to members of the organization. I wanted to carry myself with confidence, grace, and professionalism just as they did. The best feeling is knowing that no matter where you are in your life, you have the sisters to support you throughout your journey.
After all of the hard work and dedication and growing tremendously on a personal and professional level, I was asked to become a Student Assistant for the Office of Student Life and Leadership and an Assistant Area Director for the Office of Housing and Residence Life in the Fall of 2013. Furthermore, I was taking on internships in New York City with Heart Corporation and moved onto a summer internship with Proctor and Gamble, J.Crew, MontBlanc and Belvedere.
It is now my last year at Rutgers University-Newark and I am still the Assistant Area Director for Talbott Apartments and the current student assistant and social media intern for the Office of Student Life and Leadership. Looking back, I would say I didn’t have the confidence or the skills to do what I do now. Three years later, I have the complete confidence and drive to reach my goal of working in public relations with a focus on entertainment and fashion. From now, until the day I graduate, I can say I had the best time attending Rutgers University- Newark! The skills I gained here gave me the confidence to know that by the time I graduate I can apply with confidence with my experience and opportunities that have come my way and I am eternally grateful. The amount of campus-wide events and programs that built memories in the happy ambiance and meeting new people changed who I am. The memories I share with the faculty, staff and peers on a professional level and even on a social level are what I cherish the most. The friends I have made here are the friends I know I will never lose contact with. These are the friends who made my undergraduate years meaningful. As I prepare to become more of an adult and finally realizing who and where I want to be, by the time I graduate. Rutgers University Newark will always be my second home.