Hometown: Franklin, New Jersey
Major: Planning and Public Policy
Major Interests: Reading, Working out, Music, Spending time with good people.
Being from Franklin what made you want to attend Rutgers, was it your first choice? What were your other choices/what other schools did you apply to?
Growing up in Franklin had a big part in me deciding on Rutgers. I’ve been around Rutgers all my life. Perhaps the fact that I was introduced to Rutgers at an early age had to do with me wanting to attend. As a kid, my mom and dad used to always take my sister and I to restaurants and sports games. I loved the atmosphere. The University always intrigued me, and it just felt like a good decision to attend the school. That being said, Rutgers was my first choice. I applied to Montclair State and Monmouth, but I only wanted to go to one University, and that was Rutgers.
Your major is Public Policy and Planning, what was your motivation in choosing the major and how do you plan on utilizing it in terms of your career?
I actually stumbled upon my major by chance. I took an anthropology class fall semester of sophomore year, and I met someone who was majoring in Planning and Public Policy. He was one of the best students in the class, and one day I asked him how he knew so much about the material we were studying. He told me his major and that he was in the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. That night I looked up information about the major, and I immediately fell in love with it. I often tell people that I didn’t choose my major, but my major chose me. As for my future career, I want to bring change to the world. I want to redevelop the way we house the poor. Sometimes it seems like people forget about the poor in this country, but I was always raised to try and make a difference and help those who are less fortunate. I want to redevelop public housing and create more efficient and better quality homes for the poor.
You also have a minor in Africana Studies, what attracted you to choose the minor and what is the most rewarding piece of African culture that you’ve learned about so far?
I have always been interested in African American history, but the moment when I knew I wanted to minor in Africana Studies was when I took the course “Black Women in the Political Context” taught by Professor Gayle Tate. Her passion for the subject was contagious, and I found myself wanting to learn more and more about the field. Her teaching methods were amazing, and the way she told stories about her involvement in the civil rights movement were inspiring. The most rewarding piece of African culture that I have learned thus far is the love that I have received from the African community at Rutgers. One of the main pieces of African culture is having love for everybody, and the love that I have received from my friends this year was incredible.
Your personality fits the mold of someone who seriously enjoys helping others out and seeing them flourish. Are there are future careers that you want to take up outside of your collegiate career path?
My future careers change everyday. Some days I want to be a high school principle in a city, and others I want to work for the World Bank. What and who I want to be when I grow up is always changing. However, I know for a fact it is going to deal with helping people.
You’ve expressed your love for Michelle Alexander on numerous occasions, what about her books do you find most interesting? How was experience of meeting her when she came to Rutgers and have you read The New Jim Crow? Thoughts?
Michelle Alexander changed my life forever. I read her book The New Jim Crow before she gave a lecture at Rutgers, but hearing her in person really had an influence on me. I find her so inspiring because she never gives up on people, and she is always fighting for justice. No matter what someone has done in the past, she continues to fight for what is right. Many times I believe that we give up on the poor and less fortunate, but Michelle Alexander continues to bring justice for people that have been abused by our justice system.
Through our many conversations you’ve expressed your love for reading and novels. What are some books you recommend for people for to read? What are some of common themes that you look for in books before you read them?
I enjoy reading fiction, but I have a deep appreciation for non-fiction. I really love to learn about great leaders. I examine their life and try to apply some of their lessons in my own life. There are two themes that I look for in books: “People that fight for freedom and justice” and “People that love to learn.” The passion for knowledge and helping others are two characteristics I want to display in my life. Two books that I recommend are Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, and Manning Marable’s book Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. Two of my all-time favorite reads.
How was your experience earlier this year in the Twese Fashion Show as well as the Twese Date Auction? What prompted you to want to get involved? Even though the crowd reacted pretty well to you, were you nervous or excited?
The Twese Fashion Show was an unbelievable experience. I was really nervous at first to be on stage in front of all those people, but the models that did it last year really helped me out and gave me courage. They showed me proper techniques and gave me advice on what to expect, and I credit their advice to my success. I was so happy I did it, and I urge everyone who is thinking about it next year to just do it. You’ll meet a lot of great people, and have a really memorable time.
The Twese Date Auction was also a crazy experience. Being up there all by yourself listening to people bid on you is exciting but nerve-racking. You don’t know what to expect. But just like the fashion show, I’m glad I did it.
Given that you only have a year left and that your college journey is almost over, what can you honestly say has been the most rewarding experience for you in the academic and social fields? What was your most difficult experience if you care to elaborate?
I don’t know if I can think of a single experience, but the Twese Fashion Show was really rewarding. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I did something that I was nervous about doing. And I got so much back in return. The whole experience was great. Spending time with everyone during practice, listening to African music, the feeling the night before and the day of, and of course the actual fashion show were some of my greatest memories. As for my academic field, I really enjoyed Michelle Alexander’s lecture. As I said before, she is an incredible woman. Just to be in her presence was surreal.
What advice you give to incoming freshman or those struggling to find their path for the future or in life?
Don’t be afraid to grow. I don’t want this to be confused with change, because change is something different. Change is when someone completely transforms into a new person. Growing is adding onto the person you already are. Do not limit yourself from growth. Try new things. Make new friends. Go to places you always wanted to go. Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to be greater than the person you already are. And lastly, with every struggle, keep on getting back up. It’ll only make you stronger.
Lastly, you were featured on the RU Crushes Twitter and Instagram accounts; did you find out who the anonymous poster was?
LOL. One girl has told me, but the other one is still a mystery. I am still waiting for her.