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Paul Robeson Centennial Scholars

Thalia Castro
Thesis Title: In Vitro Study of the Effects of Ethanol on the Myelination of Human Schwann Cells Using a Suspended Wire Model
Thesis Department: Biology Department
Student Major: Biological Sciences
Student Minor: Spanish
Hometown: East Brunswick
What does it mean to be a Paul Robeson Scholar, especially in this Centennial year of his graduation?: Being a minority in STEM there was a sense of imposter syndrome. As a freshman entering the honors college I initially didn't feel like I belonged. It took a lot of work but I'm here now, I've made it and I'm graduating as a Paul Robeson Scholar. My name is being recognized alongside a man who made history 100 years ago as the accomplished class valedictorian of 1919. As the first African American to graduate from Rutgers, I imagine Robeson felt similar feelings but was able to excel nonetheless.


View more Class of 2019 Paul Robeson Scholars

The designation Paul Robeson Scholar is conferred upon School of Arts and Sciences students who have successfully defended a departmental or interdisciplinary senior thesis, as Paul Robeson himself did in 1919. An extraordinary student and Class of 1919 Valedictorian, Paul Robeson went on to become one of Rutgers University’s most distinguished alumni—as a renowned scholar, orator, performer, and human rights advocate. In honor of his legacy and achievements in the face of adversity, the School is proud to honor him each year as these Rutgers graduates follow in his footsteps.


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