Published March 1, 2022
A Message from Antonio D. Tillis
Chancellor, Rutgers University–Camden
The 2021–2022 academic year marked a return to our classrooms and our workspaces after 18 months of mostly virtual interaction. Throughout the pandemic, we have supported each other in ways that define Rutgers University–Camden as a nurturing and inclusive community. That community includes you, our donors, whose steadfast support makes it possible for us to meet the needs of students and the demands of our mission.
Dedicated to student success, Rutgers–Camden delivers unique learning experiences that expand classrooms into the world through our transformative civic engagement initiatives, our dedication to engaging students in original research opportunities (as exemplified by our annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity program), our immersive Learning Abroad program, and much more.
Here are a few examples of how Rutgers–Camden continues to serve our student population and enrich our community.
- The School of Nursing has distinguished itself throughout the pandemic as one of South Jersey’s most critical resources in the fight against COVID-19. School of Nursing students and faculty served more than 70,000 of our neighbors and family members at mass vaccination sites in Blackwood and Camden.
- The School of Business is piloting a peer-mentoring program that pairs a select group of first-year students with sophomores or juniors who will help them adjust to campus life and academics.
- In our Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a new graduate student center has opened at 211 North Fifth Street, providing graduate students with their own much-needed space for learning and relaxing.
- Rutgers Law School in Camden recently welcomed one of the largest and most diverse first-year (1L) classes in recent history. Some of these students will be the first to take the course “Law and Inequality” as it debuts this semester.
As a donor, you help make it all possible. The following report highlights the impact that you and other donors have at Rutgers–Camden. Although space prevents us from discussing every donor-supported fund, program, or research initiative, you can take pride in knowing that you make a difference no matter your area(s) of support. Your support ensures that opportunities, breakthroughs, and success stories like the ones highlighted below are possible at Rutgers–Camden.
I wish you continued good health and safety.
Camden College of Arts and Sciences
Research is an integral part of the Rutgers–Camden experience, and donor support creates opportunities for discovery at Camden College of Arts and Sciences. Every April, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences–Camden Office of the Dean hosts Research Week, which celebrates the research accomplishments of our students.
The week begins with a lecture and luncheon featuring the recipient of the previous year’s Arts and Sciences Faculty Fellowship. Doctoral and master’s students from the Graduate School–Camden participate in a Graduate Research Symposium and a Graduate School Student Paper Competition; the winner gives a keynote address.
At the Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, students share research projects across a range of topics. Recent presentations have included a podcast about immigration, an investigation into fashion and microplastics, and an overview of COVID-19’s effect on Camden’s food system. Students learn about faculty-student research collaborations and campus resources to help them apply to prestigious programs like the Fulbright.
“Attending Rutgers–Camden has made it possible to pursue my dreams of becoming a scientist,” says senior Anthony Sbarra. Sbarra is working on two research projects: mathematical modeling for the spread of COVID-19 and a predictive model for food insecurity in Atlantic City. “Conducting this research is great because it could actually benefit others, which is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he says.
Thanks to continued donor support, students like Sbarra have the opportunity to explore their interests and make meaningful discoveries. This year’s Research Week begins April 11. Please check here for updates and additional information.
Rutgers Law School
Founded in 2012, the Immigrant Justice Clinic at Rutgers Law School is both a course and a student-staffed law office representing members of New Jersey’s immigrant community in humanitarian immigration matters. Clinic students also work to increase awareness of immigrant issues in the state’s criminal justice, child welfare, and domestic violence systems. Donor support for the clinic through the Hoffman Fund ensures that clinic clients have the best possible representation by Rutgers Law students, who work under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
Joanne Gottesman, clinical professor of law and director of the clinic, believes participating in a law clinic provides vital experience to Rutgers Law students. “Unlike most jobs or internships, clinic work is the only opportunity that actually puts students into the driver’s seat,” says Gottesman.
In addition to providing hands-on experience, the clinic makes an impact on the local community through direct client representation and community outreach, says Gottesman. Community outreach has included partnerships with St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral, the Camden Library, and Volunteers of America.
Donor support helps cover fees incurred by representing clinic clients. “If the clinic needs to hire a forensics expert, obtain a psychological evaluation for a client, order a transcript, or have a deposition, those are the things that cost money, and our clients don’t have the money,” says Gottesman.
“Working with our clients has a huge impact on our students, hearing what they have experienced,” Gottesman says. “Whether it was things they experienced in their home countries, things they experienced on their journey here, or in their lives here, they are stories of amazing strength and resilience.”
Across the nation, food insecurity has posed a significant barrier to student success. Nearly half of all college students worry about where they will find their next meal. Donor support for the Raptor Pantry offers all Rutgers–Camden students the assistance they need to stay focused on their studies.
Since 2017, the Raptor Pantry has served students facing food insecurity. Students can visit the pantry any time they need extra help. The Raptor Pantry stocks its shelves with groceries and toiletries thanks to donor support, food drives, student organization efforts, and special initiatives like the Raptors vs. Raiders Food Drive Challenge. This friendly competition between the pantries in Camden and Newark is meant to raise awareness about food insecurity and put a dent in student hunger.
Due to remote learning during the 2020–2021 academic year, visits to the Raptor Pantry declined. But that decrease did not reflect a decrease in need. As students returned to campus in fall 2021, visits steadily increased. As a result, the Raptor Pantry will continue to rely on donor support to keep students from missing meals.
School of Nursing–Camden
The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the role of nurses in our society—and the ever-increasing demand for them. The School of Nursing is training the next generation of nursing leaders, like Miriam Anukah.
After receiving her first degree from Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Anukah decided to continue her studies at Rutgers–Camden. “I wanted to take on a profession that gave me a sense of fulfillment,” she says. She was inspired by her mother, who has been a nurse for more than 20 years and recently obtained her doctorate in nursing practice. “Seeing her persevere and commit to her patients as a nurse was admirable and gave me the confirmation that I was making the right choice in picking this profession.”
Anukah is interested in progressive and intensive care. “There’s a sense of satisfaction knowing I brought a person back to good health, in whatever way I could. Full dedication to patients is required when working in this field, and regardless of what specialty a nurse commits to, providing care to those in need will always be a top priority.” Anukah is preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination and hopes to gain experience by working in a hospital setting. Afterward, she would like to transition to travel nursing to experience different health care settings and broaden her knowledge of the field.
Anukah appreciates the support donors provide the school. “In one way or another,” she says, “you have impacted many nursing students, including me.”
School of Business–Camden
Thanks to donor support, our students can set themselves apart from their peers through access to opportunities that provide personal and professional growth, like those offered through the Student Engagement, Empowerment, and Development (SEED) Office.
SEED is an innovative resource that strives to organize and expose our students to educational and experiential events and activities that prepare them for both success in college as well as a successful transition to the career of their choice. SEED affords business students the opportunity to learn more about themselves, the importance of planning and goal setting, their career interests, and various industries and occupations. All students will engage with the SEED team within their first year at RSBC, whether they are first-year or transfer students.
“The SEED Office is RSBC’s nucleus for student experiential learning activities. Our focus is on meaningful student engagement, critical skills development and relationship-building, which fosters confidence and enthusiasm to prepare them for leadership, successful post-graduation employment, and impactful life pursuits,” says Natalie Cox, SEED Officer for Internships. “We leverage co-curricular opportunities to transform and empower students as future business professionals, change-makers, ethical leaders, and empathetic advocates to add value for themselves, their communities, and prospective employers.”
On average, 600 students are enrolled in one of the professional skills and development courses each year. These are designed to prepare students to be career-ready – focusing on building their professionalism and work ethic while developing a greater self-awareness and growth mindset towards managing and preparing for their future careers. This fall, SEED kicked-off a peer mentorship pilot where a small cohort of experienced students offered strategies to mitigate academic and personal challenges for student mentees. Recruitment for additional mentors and mentees is ongoing.
For more information on SEED, please visit https://sec.camden.rutgers.edu/.