An education to develop as a person and a professional
Stephania Gonzalez Mena
Rhoda Lowden Plune Scholarship
Class of 2020 (B.A.) 2021 (M.A)
Major(s) and Minor:
● RU B.A. Dual Major: Political Science and Economics
○ RU Certificate: Global Economics
● RU Accelerated M.A: Political Science - UN and Global Policy
○ Human Rights, International Law, Conflict Resolution, and Counter-terrorism.
How did you decide on your major?
I have been interested in politics and economics since childhood—particularly the impact that it has on our society. When people would run away from politics, policy, the law, I would run towards it—to know it, understand it, and ultimately to change it.
What is it about your chosen field that appeals to you?
The knowledge, challenges, and opportunities.
What are your plans following graduation?
My plans ultimately involve law school; but, following the U.N. M.A. program, I would like to take some time off (a year or two) to both replenish my strengths and save up to pay for law school.
What are your dreams and aspirations?
Ultimately, I would love to work at the ICJ (International Court of Justice) or ICC (International Criminal Court); but, in order to get there, I have to take those opportunities that both place me on that path whilst allowing me to grow professionally.
What challenges or barriers did you feel were between you and your goals?
Like any other career path there exist barriers, both in the professional and the personal realm; but, I am up for a challenge.
How did this scholarship transform your educational experience? What did this scholarship make possible?
I almost had to leave my education uncompleted. This scholarship has allowed me to continue on the path towards my goals.
What was it like the moment you found out you had the scholarship?
What did that mean to you?
At that moment it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders … now, all that I have to do is to focus on my academics so that I can get into the law school of my dreams.
What does that allow you to do that you wouldn’t have been able to do?
Throughout my stay at Rutgers, I found myself juggling four jobs at once—granted, some of them cycled throughout the year which allowed me to do two or three at a time. I thought that I could handle them all but it became incredibly difficult to adequately tackle my academics, jobs, outside organizations, family, friends etc. There came a time that I only slept between 3 - 4.5 hours a night … so much so, that I came to believe it was a normal thing to do. It’s wasn’t. I can now focus on achieving my goals in a healthy way.
What would you like to say to the donor?
Thank you. Nothing about my life has ever been certain. I have never been able to escape the burdens that have followed me since my childhood; but, your donation has managed to shed some of that weight off.
What has Rutgers made possible for you?
Rutgers has given me the opportunity to get an education in order to develop myself as both a person and a soon-to-be professional—All the while making life-long friends and amazing mentors.
What is your favorite thing about Rutgers?
The faculty… without their support and encouragement, I don’t know if I could have ever gotten this far. Whenever I thought about giving up, they were always there to propel me back up.