Feminism and Resistance: Politics, Peril, Power

IRW Undergraduate Learning Community Scholars Fall 2017 and Spring 2018

Fall 2017 Scholars

Mannal Babar

Mannal BabarI am a sophomore studying in the School of Arts and Sciences and part of the Douglass Residential College, triple majoring in History, History-Political Science, and Journalism with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. I am also on a Pre-Law track and plan on attending Law School after graduating. Recently, I became a cabinet member of the Black Lives Matter Chapter here at Rutgers. I am also a spoken word poet with a love for words, and an artist and activist who loves exploring and finding new ways to express myself and further my intellectual growth. I have worked with the Human Rights Campaign in the past. Lastly, starting October 2017, I will be working with the US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan as an intern.

Jillian Cimilluca

Jillian CimillucaI am currently a junior double majoring in Political Science and Sociology. On campus, I’m involved with the Rutgers Yoga and Reiki Club and RU Voting. Off campus, I volunteer as a tutor for elementary school children in New Brunswick through Youth Empowerment Services. I am also involved in the Conversation Tree, a community-based language partnership that facilitates programs for adults to learn a new language at all proficiency levels. I am very passionate about equal access to education. I’m also passionate about House Hunters (both domestic and international), and I firmly believe that fruit does not belong in cake.

Lesley-Ann Contreras

Lesley Ann ContrerasI am a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences, and an Afro-Dominican first-generation queer woman. I am double majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice with a minor in Spanish. I have a passion for activism and have done work with Black Lives Matter, beginning my sophomore year and ending last year as the healing justice chair for Black Lives Matter, Rutgers Chapter. I plan to continue my love for activism and making change by becoming a lawyer and fighting for the rights of black and queer folk.

Lauren Dunbar 

Lauren Dunbar I am currently a junior at Rutgers University in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. It has been my lifelong dream to become a veterinarian so I am currently pursuing a degree in Animal Science and plan to attend veterinary school after college. At Rutgers, I am involved in the Pre-Veterinary Club, the Society of Animal Science, and am a member of the Rutgers Club Gymnastics Team. As an Animal Science major, I have been able to take a lot of cool classes on the farm where I’ve worked with pigs, goats, and baby chicks. I am also a proud member of Douglass Residential College and this is my second semester participating in the IRW Learning Community.

Kai Durant

Kai Durant I am a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, as well as Douglass Residential College, double majoring in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. I am also part of the Douglass Student Recruitment Network and Women’s Center Coalition. I participated in CLASP, Leadership Scholars Program, and Aresty Research. Aside from academics and extra curricular activities, I enjoy traveling, reading, and watching Parks and Recreation. I hope to pursue a career that focuses on social justice and fighting inequality.

Samantha Goldstein

Samantha GoldsteinI am junior majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Linguistics and Cultural Anthropology. I am involved in the Rutgers Anthropology Club and have been a Douglass woman since my freshman year. I enjoy playing quidditch, swimming, and practicing the violin in my spare time. 

Maria Gonzalez-Mendez

Maria Gonzalez MendezI am majoring in Human Resource Management and minoring in Gender and Media Studies. My interests include a good novel, concert, or museum, and photography. Currently, I’m on the eboard of LAWO (Latin American Womyn’s Organization). As a Latin American woman in a predominantly white school, I wanted to show other Latin American women that there is a place for them on campus where they are not alone.

Han Nguyen

Han NguyenI am currently a junior studying Biological Sciences. I moved to America from Vietnam when I was twelve years old. Despite learning a second language, I managed to get through my language barrier and was accepted into Rutgers University. I am a first generation college student and fortunate to be an EOF scholar. I am also part of Kappa Phi Lambda, an Asian interest sorority. Currently, I am a manager at the Asian American Cultural Center, one of the four cultural centers on campus. Aside from this, my favorite things to do are shop, play tennis, and, lastly, explore New York City for food places and to take aesthetic pictures.

Anjali Patil 

Anjali PatilI am a senior Journalism and Media Studies major with a Cinema Studies minor, and am pursuing a career in broadcasting. I am the co-founder and co-President of the Rutgers Documentary Club, and am also a DJ at the Rutgers radio station, 90.3 The Core. For the past two years, I have been a tutor at the Livingston Writing Center where I help students in a variety of writing courses improve their critical thinking and essay writing skills, and I consider it one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Rutgers. I intend to pursue documentary work in broadcasting, and want to combine non-fiction storytelling with artistic elements of fiction to expand the genre, exploring issues concerning the environment, human rights, and mental health.

Hyejeong Shin 

Hyejeong ShinMy name is pronounced HEY-JUHNG and, although it is a little hard to say, it means blessing of the family, so is worth sticking with. I’m currently a junior majoring in Political Science and Chinese. My major academic interests are language and linguistics, and how they affect human identity and culture. I’m also interested in understanding humanitarian issues in global society. Regarding school activities, I was a secretary at the Global Citizen at Rutgers and was involved with the study abroad global network panel. I can be very quiet, but I do slowly open up and start talking more as I become more comfortable. I engage with people through different ways, mostly through writing or other methods. A fun fact about me is that I love meditation, and I sing when no one is around.

Paige Tetens

Paige Tetens I am a student in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program majoring in Philosophy and Political Science and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies, as well as a proud member of Douglass Residential College. I am very involved in local political organizations, serving as the Political Director for the Rutgers University Democrats in 2016 and, currently, as their Director of Women’s Outreach. I am also the Communications Director for Rutgers for Phil Murphy, and previously worked as an intern on Josh Gottheimer’s 2016 campaign for New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District. In the spring of 2017, I was the recipient of the Kahn Family Scholarship for my academic performance and am currently a 2017-18 Fellow in the Lloyd C. Gardner Program in Leadership & Social Policy.

June Titus

June TitusI am a junior double majoring in History and Women’s and Gender Studies and minoring in Art History. I am interested in the intersections of gender, sexuality, art, and history, and am currently a volunteer with CoLab Arts and the Pride Center of NJ for the TrueSelves Oral History Project, archiving the oral histories of transgender and non-binary people. On campus, I am involved in the Rutgers Art History Student Association and Douglass Friends of UNFPA. This fall, I will be leading tours of Rutgers through my public history internship for the Scarlet and Black Project, presenting the history and experiences of disenfranchised populations at Rutgers. I am passionate about incorporating advocacy/activism within academia, and plan to attend graduate school to become a professor of Women’s History.   

Cristina Torres 

Cristina Torres I am a sophomore double majoring in Economics and Statistics. In the Rutgers community, I am involved in the Rutgers Commuter Student Association, my home away from home, the Department of Leadership and Experiential Learning, and the Rutgers Economics Society. When I’m not studying or involved in campus activities, I usually obsess over food pages on social media, follow my favorite Kpop group on Instagram, plan to attend every single event on campus, or add to my list of books that grows at a rate too fast for me to keep up with. In the future, I hope to participate in undergraduate research and one day work as either a research analyst or continue onto higher education in economics.

Nyuma Waggeh 

Nyuma Waggeh I am a double major in Africana Studies and English at Rutgers University. I am also a recovering alcoholic who enjoys poetry, James Baldwin, working with children, and committing my life to activism. I identify as a queer spiritual being and intersectional black feminist. I believe in radical liberation through education and creative expression. I am an aspiring educator and loves flowers.

Shaniya Wilson-Harper 

Shaniya Wilson Harper I am currently a junior studying Human Resource Management. I have an interest in producing film, taking photography, and playing the piano. After graduating from Rutgers, I hope to intertwine my passion for Culinary Arts with my knowledge of Human Resources. For now, I may not have all the answers as to how I plan to intertwine the two, but what I am certain about is that, one day, I will use my talent to give back to the community. I hope to create programs, especially in underrepresented communities, that allow me to teach people how to cook and bake in order to stir up their creative minds and to keep them off the streets. 

Rachael Young 

Rachael YoungI am a senior majoring in Marine Biology. I love marine life and have done research with both phytoplankton and larger species, such as Black Sea Bass and Spiny Dogfish. This winter, I will travel to Antarctica for three months to complete my George H. Cook senior thesis on Antarctic Zooplankton. Apart from academia, I enjoy playing guitar and playing on the Rutgers Club Field Hockey team. I also am a Leadership Ambassador for the Department of Leadership and Experiential Learning here at Rutgers. Through this position, I get to express my passion for helping others realize their full potential and inspiring them to continually grow and get involved in their communities.

Andrea Zerpa 

Andrea Zerpa I am a senior studying English and Russian literature with a certificate in Creative Writing, and am a proud EOF scholar and Douglass woman who's passionate about intersectional feminism and studying how women are perceived in the arts and humanities. I'm also an editorial fellow at college fashionista. During my time at Rutgers, I've had the opportunity to study abroad in England and service-learn in Peru. In my spare time, I enjoy learning about makeup, going to rock concerts, and hiking.

Spring 2018 Scholars

Rebecca Ambrosino

Rebecca Ambrosino photo I am a Psychology major and Women’s and Gender Studies minor planning to graduate in 2018. I really enjoy taking courses related to child psychology and hope to have a career that incorporates both child psychology and women’s and gender studies. In my spare time I enjoy doing anything related to food. I have always had a passion for cooking and baking and can be found in the kitchen whenever I have the time. I am so incredibly honored and excited to be part of the IRW’s 2018 Learning Community and to apply my academic background to real life experience.

Jensen Benko

Jensen Benko photoI am currently a junior graduating in May 2019. I am majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and minoring in Political Science. On campus I am involved with the Rutgers chapter of She’s the First which helps raise money to fund girls’ education globally. My academic interests include studying queer theory, the effects of gender and identity on politics, and how language shapes the way we live. Outside of school I enjoy reading memoirs, (poorly) singing along to show tunes, and exploring bookstores.

Lee Chang

Lee Chang photoI am a senior majoring in Physics and minoring in Computer Science. This is my second semester of a one-year exchange program from Taiwan. I am interested in photography, playing percussion, traveling, and reading. During my time at Rutgers, I have met a variety of people who grew up in different backgrounds and have their own identities. I enjoy observing cultural difference and comparing people with those in my home country.

Kai Durant 

Kai Durant I am a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, as well as a member of Douglass Residential College, double majoring in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. I am also part of the Douglass Student Recruitment Network and Women’s Center Coalition. I participated in CLASP, Leadership Scholars Program, and Aresty Research. Aside from academics and extra-curricular activities, I enjoy traveling, reading, and watching Parks and Recreation. I hope to pursue a career that focuses on social justice and fighting inequality.

Renatta Fordyce

Renatta Fordyce photo I am a junior majoring in Comparative Literature: Colonial and Postcolonial Studies and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. In my native country, Guyana, I worked as a News Reporter for The Stabroek Newspaper and volunteered with the Guyana Human Rights Association’s Rights of the Child (ROC) organization. While with ROC, I was actively involved with the “Eradicate the Hate” campaign that sought to mend the country’s political divide during electoral seasons. At present, my research interests and activism are focused on Black and Brown domesticity, the ways migrant female bodies are defined by race, citizenship, and workspace, and the Anti-Man aesthetic/queer Guyana as borderland.

Henessa Gumiran

Henessa Gumiran photo am a child of immigrants and a first-generation graduating Asian American womxn studying Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics. I shoulder the burden of Orientalism, marked as a foreigner in a country where my melanin level is the determinant of how high the ceiling is. I’ve been involved in community organizing around issues of global and domestic poverty, racial justice, and promotion of solidarity among peoples of the Global South. In my research, I want to symbolically shatter the bamboo ceiling and disrupt the antiquated discourse of the “model minority” by addressing political complacency, colorism, and postcolonial generational trauma, among other considerations, through a sociopolitical and economic feminist lens.

Jennifer Helminski 

Jennifer Helminski photoI am a nontraditional senior Geography major and Religion minor. I came back to school in Fall 2014 as a Mason Gross visual arts student with the intent to transfer and study astrophysics. While at Rutgers I have worked as a writing tutor, geography tutor, and at the Rutgers Climate Institute where I co-authored a research paper for the USDA on climate change and agriculture. Prior to coming back to school, I worked mostly with animals as a zookeeper, dolphin caretaker/trainer, veterinary assistant, and on farms. Outside of school I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking, drawing and painting, rollerskating, and meditation. After graduation I would like to continue my education, but I'm not sure yet what to pursue and plan to spend a year in service to a non-profit organization working to make our world a better place.

Lily Kwak

Lily Kwak photoI am a sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as a member of Douglass Residential College and the Honors College. As a student double majoring in Women's and Gender Studies and Biological Sciences, I have the unique opportunity to delve into both fields of study that inspire me on a daily basis. Taking a variety of classes in both the sciences and humanities has allowed me to discover new complexities in the natural world and to improve my understanding of people and their relationships. I am also a teaching intern for General Chemistry courses, I tutor elementary school kids in New Brunswick with the Youth Empowerment Club, and I volunteer at a local hospital. In my free time, I make vocal and guitar YouTube cover videos of my favorite K-pop songs.

Geidy Mendez 

Geidy Mendez photo sI am a School of Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College student graduating in 2019, and a double major in Political Science and Latino & Caribbean Studies. I am a 2017 intern and work-study student for the Center for American Women and Politics and actively involved in various organizations on campus such as the Latin American Women Organization, G.O.Y.A. (Galvanizing and Organizing Youth Activism), and First Generation Student Union. In addition, I am the Class of 2019 Representative for the Douglass Governing Council. I have interned at El Centro Hispano Americano where I worked on domestic abuse cases for undocumented individuals ensuring they are heard no matter their immigration status. I hope to earn a JD in Immigration Law and continue advocating for immigration rights.

Timothy O’Donnell

Timothy ODonnell photo croppedI am currently a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Political Science with a minor in History. On campus, I serve as President of Golden Key International Honour Society. My current research interests include the development of inclusive space(s) in relation to monuments and waymarkers, as well as the political implications of public history methods. I spend my free time reading Latin American fiction and going to basement shows in Brooklyn.

Anjali Patil 

Anjali PatilI am a senior Journalism and Media Studies major with a Cinema Studies minor, and am pursuing a career in broadcasting. I am the co-founder and co-President of the Rutgers Documentary Club, and am also a DJ at the Rutgers radio station, 90.3 The Core. For the past two years, I have been a tutor at the Livingston Writing Center where I help students in a variety of writing courses improve their critical thinking and essay writing skills, and I consider it one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Rutgers. I intend to pursue documentary work in broadcasting, and want to combine non-fiction storytelling with artistic elements of fiction to expand the genre, exploring issues concerning the environment, human rights, and mental health.

Barbara Shi 

Barbara Shi photoI am currently a first-year student in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, and a member of Douglass Residential College, double majoring in History and Women’s and Gender Studies, and minoring in Public Health. Around campus, I am a DJ for 90.3 The Core, a volunteer with the Women’s Center Coalition, and an Assistant Director for Rutgers Model Congress. I have also been a reporter for the hyperlocal newspaper, New Brunswick Today, for the past year. In my free time, I love to read, listen to music, and collect stickers. I hope to help provide much-needed educational resources for immigrant populations, specifically women and minorities, in navigating American health care services and naturalization.

Jyotsana Thapa

Jyotsana Thapa photo cropped I am currently a sophomore majoring in Biological Sciences. I am a first-generation college student and part of EOF and Douglass Residential College. My future goals are to become a doctor and to help those who are disadvantaged and lack resources. Currently, I am a secretary for the Rutgers University Nepali Student Association where our goals are to share our Nepali culture with others in the community. Most of my free time is spent volunteering at the hospital. I also enjoy playing tennis. In the future, I would love to travel all around the world.

June Titus

June TitusI am a junior double majoring in History and Women’s and Gender Studies and minoring in Art History. I am interested in the intersections of gender, sexuality, art, and history, and am currently a volunteer with CoLab Arts and the Pride Center of NJ for the TrueSelves Oral History Project, archiving the oral histories of transgender and non-binary people. On campus, I am involved in the Rutgers Art History Student Association and Douglass Friends of UNFPA. This fall, I will be leading tours of Rutgers through my public history internship for the Scarlet and Black Project, presenting the history and experiences of disenfranchised populations at Rutgers. I am passionate about incorporating advocacy/activism within academia, and plan to attend graduate school to become a professor of Women’s History.   

Shaniya Wilson-Harper 

ShaNiya Wilson Harper photo cropped I am currently a junior studying Human Resource Management. The reason I decided to major in human resources is because, while I enjoy the management aspect of it, I hope to one day change how people of color and women are treated within the workplace. I realize that the world we live in can be terrifying, especially with everything that has been recently going on. This is why I am attempting to become the change that I wish to see. I am currently a part of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance, which allows me to advocate for anyone who has been or are victims of sexual assault or harassment. I am also a part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an organization that helps families dealing with mental illness, as well as Embrace Kids who support children with cancer or any other life-threatening disease. I am a strong believer that I was placed on this planet for a reason. Until I find that reason, I plan to touch and inspire the lives of everyone who crosses my path.

Gali Zaborowski

Gali Zaborowski photoI am a sophomore in the Honors College studying Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies. On campus, I am involved at the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance as a SCREAM Theater performer, student advocate, and undergraduate intern for the Spring 2018 semester. Through VPVA, my studies, and involvement in psychology research, I have developed a passion for working with interpersonal violence survivors and other trauma-affected populations. As a First-Year Scholar in the Institute for Women’s Leadership Scholars Program and an Institute for Research on Women Learning Community Scholar, I am excited to learn more about feminist activism and how to make an impact on the Rutgers and greater community!

Missing: Komal Naqvi

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