Class of 2013: Lives Shaped by Liberal Arts and Sciences
Written By John Chadwick | SAS Senior Writer
The School of Arts and Sciences Class of 2013 totals 4,355 students, including 1,331 graduating with honors and 44 with 4.0s. 1,159 students are graduating with double majors; 29 with triple majors. Students in SAS combine majors and minors across the disciplines, studying Economics and Chinese; Genetics and English; or Math, Linguistics, and Philosophy. In the stories below, students of diverse background, talents, and interests recall the personal and intellectual growth they experienced at SAS, and how they found their unique path here.
Gwen Baxley was a high school student in a Jersey City charter school when she first discovered the messy reality of public school funding, and the scarcity of resources that some districts face on a daily basis.
At Rutgers, Baxley studied psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences, conducting extensive research on inequities in the public school system.
Now she plans to make that issue the central focus of her career. "I decided I wanted to focus on the root causes of those problems," she said. Read the story
Emily Buginsky and Tamr Atieh
These two chemistry majors knew that their stints in a bold new undergraduate teaching assistant program would look good on their resumes. But they never realized how much the experience would shape their post-graduate plans. Over the last year, Emily Buginsky and Tamr B. Atieh have shepherded dozens of students through the rigors of chemistry lab. At the same time, the experience helped them learn about themselves and prepare for their future.
The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
started the teaching assistant program several years ago, seeking to offer its highest-achieving students more responsibility, and provide an extra layer of instructional support for the mostly first and second year students taking the lab. Although the actual course is taught by a professor, the teaching assistants handle much of the work, delivering pre-lab lectures, answering students’ questions, and generally supervising each session. “They are in charge – and it’s a fabulous thing,” Professor John Brennan said. “Graduate schools love to see that students are trained as teaching assistants, and medical schools happen to like the fact that they’re totally reliable and dependable.”
Connor Montferrat's academic pursuits were shaped by his experience as a childhood cancer patient. The Hightstown native was diagnosed with leukemia when he was four. He underwent chemotherapy as well as excruciatingly painful spinal taps. The cancer went into remission when Montferrat was seven.
Years later, when he arrived in New Brunswick as a Rutgers first-year student, he saw the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the Cancer Institute where years earlier he had been a patient. “I just thought to myself: ‘I have to do something,’’’ he said. “And then I knew that my calling was in public service and civic engagement.” Read the story
Mark Hansen's academic interests followed multiple directions, drawing intriguing connections between humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and fine arts. He’ll graduate with degrees in American Studies and Visual Arts. But he has also studied cultural anthropology, Middle Eastern studies and political science.
Hansen describes his eclectic academic record as a response to a complex world facing complicated problems. It’s also a testament to the enduring appeal of the liberal arts and sciences.
"I felt it was better to have an understanding of many disciplines," Hansen said. Read the story.