Published May 4, 2020
Ezekiel Medina, an alumnus of the Rutgers Future Scholars program, will graduate in May with degrees in Latino and Caribbean studies from the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and in public health from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. He hopes to work in health policy and health justice. “I aspire to find innovative ways to achieve health equity in the United States,” Ezekiel says. But first, he will be an English teaching assistant in Argentina for the U.S. Fulbright Scholars program right after he graduates.
Each year, the Rutgers Future Scholars (RFS) program offers 200 first-generation, low-income, academically promising middle school students from five New Jersey cities the opportunity for a college education through university programming, support, and mentoring. Students who successfully complete the five-year program and who apply and are accepted to Rutgers receive full tuition funding through scholarships and federal grants.
Ezekiel appreciates the program’s effect on his achievements as a Rutgers student. “As an RFS alumnus, I created a powerful network of scholars within and outside of my hometown of New Brunswick,” Ezekiel says. “Having that network and family is valuable to success in college and I felt secure at school. My most memorable experience was having the opportunity to give back to the RFS program as a lead ambassador and co-instructor for the Saturday Academy. It is so impactful to see the work of educational equity.”
Accessibility and equity in education are important to Ezekiel. “Accessibility to college for disenfranchised groups is one of the best ways to create inclusive, diverse, and innovative spaces,” he says. “The diversity of experiences creates fertile ground for innovative ideas to all the world’s challenges. Continuing this work is imperative for making Rutgers competitive, inclusive, and impactful in the global sphere. Rutgers should continue to support cultural centers, ethnic studies departments, and other student resources for its diverse student body. The work is important for inclusion and making students feel heard and represented in academia.”
Ezekiel is also a member of the Honors College at Rutgers–New Brunswick, where he worked as the civic responsibility mentor in residence, and he was named to the Cap and Skull Class of 2020. He also served as treasurer for the Rutgers Unión Estudiantil Puertorriqueña, a student organization that strives to develop and strengthen the social, cultural, and political consciousness of Puerto Rican issues throughout Rutgers and the community at large. In his free time, he likes to dance, go hiking, and learn about culture and language.
Ezekiel is grateful to all who have supported Rutgers Future Scholars with their philanthropy. “There are no words to describe how grateful I am for all of the support you have given to the RFS program,” he says. “Your support is changing lives and giving students with grit the chance to show the world their endless potential. Your support helps level the playing field and continue the fight for educational equity.”