Anthony Rivera-Rosario, 2022 Pride Award Honoree: Helping Others Is a Privilege

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Anthony Rivera-RosarioAnthony D. Rivera-Rosario, a 2022 graduate of Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences (SAS), was raised with the value of making a difference by helping others. The Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) of Rutgers University-New Brunswick has honored Rivera-Rosario as one of two recipients of the Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award for 2022.

Rivera-Rosario, of Union City, New Jersey, majored in mathematics at Rutgers, and minored in statistics and philosophy. He is a first-generation Hispanic/Latino college student.

He worked as a research assistant at Rutgers’ Proteomics Biochemical Laboratory throughout his college career. In the lab, he conducted protein synthetic and antibiotic experiments with graduate students, and programmed laboratory inventory and formatting protocols/material safety data sheets using the computer language Python.

He has worked as a financial analyst at Bank of America since June 2022, using his skills in computer programming, process improvement, and financial planning and modeling.

At Rutgers and in Union City, Rivera-Rosario has learned “the satisfaction of seeing how one’s hard work can make a difference in someone’s life” through multiple volunteer opportunities. He coordinated many of these events as an executive board member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.

In his Pride Award essay, Rivera-Rosario highlighted some of these volunteer efforts. They include:

  • Spending the day with special-needs students at the Rutgers Special Friends Day event, making strong connections by playing board games and watching movies together.
  • Volunteering with his family to clean, organize, and plant new flowers at a hospital.
  • Serving meals at food pantries.
  • Building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Creating personalized cards for hospital patients.

“Each member would be assigned a patient and get a quick summary of the patient’s diagnosis and what their interests are,” he said. “After taking a few hours to create the card, we would send them to the hospital to get distributed. In return, the patients would convey their gratitude to us for thinking of them. This is an example that allows me to put reality into perspective, every life is precious, and exchanging words of positivity with one another can make everyone feel cheerful.”

Rivera-Rosario is a graduate of the Academy for Enrichment and Advancement (high school) in Union City, where he organized a Hudson County science fair, orchestrated events inspired by Italian culture, tutored students, and worked closely with the school’s office staff.

While in college, Rivera-Rosario returned to his high school (now known as the José Martí STEM Academy) to mentor students, judge a science fair, and develop an alumni networking platform.

He has earned certificates in peer health education, digital marketing, and Google Analytics. He has been honored by the Hispanic Heritage Fund and the National Society of Leadership and Success, both in 2021.

“Bringing about a change to the world does not necessarily mean doing something universal,” Rivera-Rosario wrote in his award essay. “Even helping out one person can change someone’s well-being for the better. … To this day I am passionate about serving the Rutgers community and the world. I would not be the person I am today without the help of others who came before me, and I wish to impart the same mentality to those I help so that the cycle of helping continues.”

Riki E. Jacobs (1957-2009) was the director of the Hyacinth Foundation, an AIDS support organization, among many roles she fulfilled to assist vulnerable populations. She also was one of LAA’s first Livingston College Distinguished Alumni, honored in 2000.

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Tara Krishna Works to Amplify Voices by Telling Individuals ‘I See You’ and ‘You Matter’; Honored with 2022 Pride Award

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Tara KrishnaTara Krishna, a 2022 graduate of Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and the Rutgers Honors College, was raised with the value of making a difference by helping others.

The Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) of Rutgers University-New Brunswick has honored Krishna as one of two recipients of the Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award for 2022.

Krishna, of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, is a student at Rutgers’ New Jersey Medical School, where she is studying to be a medical doctor specializing in infectious diseases. At SAS, she majored in cell biology and neuroscience, and minored in psychology and in women’s and gender studies.

She has been active in clinical and volunteer work in medicine. These experiences include:

  • Serving as a volunteer emergency medical technician with the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad since 2016.
  • Working as an intern in the infectious diseases department at Eric B. Chandler Health Center in New Brunswick, NJ, servicing patients with HIV.
  • Developing content for an app and a podcast to promote the physical and mental health of mothers, at the Robert Wood Johnson Women’s Health Institute in New Brunswick.

Krishna’s extensive volunteer work includes:

  • Activism with Amnesty International.
  • Serving as an ambassador for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), facilitating skill-building workshops for undergraduate women and non-binary students.
  • Mentoring Honors College students in research, volunteering, clinical, and academic opportunities on- and off-campus.
  • Tutoring students in general chemistry and teaching chemistry lab.
  • Helping refugees learn English.
  • Working to promote cross-cultural competency in collaboration with students and staff at the Honors College.

She has researched sex differences in drug addiction and addiction recovery. She presented her research on Finding Feminism in Addiction Recovery, at the Rutgers Undergraduate Writing Center in 2022. She is a co-author of another study, in preparation, on the mechanisms of biological sex differences in cocaine addiction.

“Stigmatization’s power to harm well-being is highly underestimated, yet meeting unique people with different life experiences defined outside a one-dimensional label ‘underserved’ informed my ability to interact as an ally. I am happy to also educate others outside the realm of healthcare on HIV, too,” Krishna wrote in her Pride Award essay. “Witnessing the stigmatization of substance abuse and gender identity affect patient quality of life and recovery efficiency, I resolved to investigate addiction humanely.”

“Teaching conversational English to refugees of war in the Middle East, I realized I was still affected by implicit biases, and had a lot to learn from my own students. I had been avoiding possible traumas to ensure a safe environment for my Syrian students facing vast disruptions to their education. Yet, I was attempting to speak for my students without consulting their perspectives beforehand,” she wrote.

Her students opened up, she said, when she stopped teaching English through discussions of food but instead talked about the real issues of stereotypes and personal bias. “My students who lived vastly different lives than I — some fled Syria, and some sought master’s degrees, while others pursued dreams in the arts — taught me a lot about this clear need to learn from one another.”

“Aligning oneself with a community is an honor when you truly learn from your neighbor; it is a service done to genuinely forge connections to improve lives, amplify voices, and recognize an individual by giving them the grace to simply say ‘I see you’ when institutions do not.”

One of Krishna’s “proudest achievements” at Rutgers was her work within the True Inclusion program at Rutgers’ Honors College.

“… I soon learned how many underrepresented students within my Honors College community felt their voices went unheard; I also learned more about microaggressions and traumas that other marginalized identities faced,” she wrote. “I constantly educated myself on microaggressions while pitching to executive deans every other week about the importance of requiring cultural competency within each school to better promote hundreds of self-aware, culturally competent young professionals. This encourages the recognition of inequities to promote student engagement in overlooked communities and beyond. Unlike my activism and direct aid in underfunded school systems aiding a handful, saying ‘You matter’ when institutions forgo doing so, here I actively changed structures to ensure the institution itself listened to all who needed it.”

Riki E. Jacobs (1957-2009) was the director of the Hyacinth Foundation, an AIDS support organization, among many roles she fulfilled to assist vulnerable populations. She also was one of LAA’s first Livingston College Distinguished Alumni, honored in 2000.

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‘Rutgers at the Races’ at Monmouth Park (2022)

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Rutgers at the Races was a fun day at Monmouth Park on June 26, 2022.

The event was sponsored by University College Rutgers New Brunswick Alumni Association (UCRNBAA) and Livingston Alumni Association (LAA).

It included a buffet lunch served on the clubhouse patio terrace. There was a private betting booth, and the location was perfect for trackside viewing.

UCRNBAA and LAA sponsored a race, and Monmouth Park provided the photo collage shown on this page, with representatives from the Rutgers Business School Alumni Association (RBSAA), Rutgers Alumni Association (RAA), UCRNBAA, and LAA.

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Executive Board and Council

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2022-2023 term (July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023)

Officers

  • President: Jeffrey Armus
  • Vice Presidents: Rosemary Agrista, Marty Siederer, Stephen Yanick
  • Secretary: Iris Martinez-Campbell
  • Treasurer: Maria Mattera

LAA Executive Council: Rosemary Agrista, Jeffrey Armus, Joe Capo, Jason Goldstein, Lucille Lo Sapio, Iris Martinez-Campbell, Maria Mattera, Brenda Noble, Debra O’Neal, Eric Schwarz, Marty Siederer, Stephen Yanick.

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2021-22 Executive Board and Council

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2021-2022 term (July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022)

Officers

  • President: Jeffrey Armus
  • Vice Presidents: Rosemary Agrista, Marty Siederer, Stephen Yanick
  • Secretary: Iris Martinez-Campbell
  • Treasurer: Maria Mattera

LAA Executive Council: Rosemary Agrista, Jeffrey Armus, Joe Capo, Jason Goldstein, Lucille Lo Sapio, Iris Martinez-Campbell, Maria Mattera, Brenda Noble, Debra O’Neal, Eric Schwarz, Marty Siederer, Stephen Yanick.

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Livingston College Time Capsule

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Livingston College created a time capsule on the occasion of its 30th anniversary in 1999-2000, and closed the capsule on April 18, 2000. The capsule is on a shelf in the double-height Great Hall of Tillett Hall on Livingston Campus.

The time capsule project and its contents were described in an article in the Livingston Alumni Association’s newsletter of summer 2000 by Ruby Keise of the Rutgers News Service, as reprinted below. The time capsule is to be opened in 2029, the 60th anniversary of the opening of Livingston College.


Celebrating 30 Years
By Ruby Keise, Rutgers News Service

Faculty, staff and students at Livingston College wrapped up the celebration of the college’s 30th anniversary on April 18, by filling and closing a time capsule during a ceremony in The Great Hall in Tillett.

Among the items in the capsule are photographs of students dating back to the 1970s; an old term bill from 1969 indicating a tuition of $280 for the semester (Spring ‘00 tuition was $2,381); old student ID cards; and a 1973 recording by the Liberated Gospel Choir, a Livingston student group. The choir, which has continued to grow throughout the years, sang two selections for the capsule-closing ceremony.

Several personal items left by students were added to the capsule during the ceremony. Students also left messages written on archival-quality, acid-free postcards that were made available by the Time Capsule Committee, headed by students Michelle Massie, Melissa Carpini and Marcella DiBenedetto [Editor’s Note: pictured above].

“When Livingston opened its doors in 1969 with some 800 students, the university very much needed the social and intellectual jolt that Livingston was to supply,” stated Martin Gliserman, an associate professor of English and an early faculty member at Livingston, who was among the speakers at the ceremony. There have been great changes at Livingston over the years, he reflected, both in the physical plant — in the beginning there was “one elevator on campus that my 90-year-old father could beat any day” — and in academics.

Programs such as urban studies, Africana studies, anthropology, Puerto Rican studies, computer science, marketing, and women’s studies originated at Livingston and have all now been integrated into the
general university curriculum.

The closed capsule will be housed on a specially built shelf on the wall of The Great Hall. It will be opened in 30 years when the college celebrates its 60th anniversary.

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Janelle L. Taliaferro Founded Black Business Association at Rutgers; Honored with 2021 Livingston Pride Award

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Janelle L. TaliaferroJanelle L. Taliaferro, a 2021 graduate of Rutgers Business School, has worked to amplify Black voices at the university and to educate students on hunger awareness. The Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) of Rutgers University-New Brunswick has honored Taliaferro as one of two recipients of the Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award for 2021.

Taliaferro, from Lake Wylie, South Carolina, majored in supply chain management and marketing science, with a concentration in global business. As a student, she affiliated with both the Honors College and the Douglass Women’s College at Rutgers in New Brunswick.

Establishing the Black Business Association (BBA) is Taliaferro’s proudest accomplishment as a Rutgers student. “Having a platform for minority students to share their ideas, discuss their plights, and continuously learn in every academic area, is a necessity in education,” she said. “It is specifically important when preparing for a career in corporate America or entrepreneurship. … BBA is the only student organization on Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus catering to Black students interested in business careers, and the first in many years.”

In her work with the Rutgers chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Taliaferro helped to organize the first rally against racism and for Black solidarity in four years on campus, demanding equal treatment across all student demographics

Taliaferro also served as co-president of Student -Organized Rutgers Against Hunger (SO RAH), working with local farms, food banks, and soup kitchens, to feed the community and to educate students on food insecurity. In her Pride Award application, Taliaferro noted that 30 percent of college students are food insecure.

For 18 months, Taliaferro served as a career prep fellow in the Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) program, traveling to Dallas and Minneapolis in 2019, before the pandemic hit. 

“At each of our conferences we had the ability to demonstrate our analytical skills through case studies, our leadership through small and large group roundtables, and most importantly, become a family while having representatives from the top companies in the world interacting and leading our sessions,” she said. “The deeper meaning, I see, behind supporting and fueling students of color is building up an army full of diversity of thought. Throughout my time in MLT, I was the only fellow on behalf of Rutgers New Brunswick in my cohort.”

As a student, Taliaferro completed internships at GlaxoSmithKline, Corning Inc., and United Parcel Service. Some of her non-business interests include being a “world traveler (17+ countries traveled), avid concert goer, and passionate New York City foodie.”

Since August 2021 Taliaferro has worked as an associate product manager at Visa Inc. in the San Francisco area. 

“I have always been passionate about creating healthy communities throughout my life and college career, championing inclusion efforts, and giving back,” she wrote in her Pride Award essay. “I would love to bring my activism efforts into corporate America to leverage the social responsibility of large institutions.”

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Amanda Wells, 2021 Pride Award Honoree: Social Change Starts With Your Community and Neighbors

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Amanda WellsAmanda Wells, a 2021 graduate of Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences, believes that individual action is a critical form of social change. The Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) of Rutgers University-New Brunswick has honored Wells as one of two recipients of the Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award for 2021.

Wells, of Willoughby, Ohio, is earning her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate so that she can more effectively mentor and communicate with English as a second language (ESL) speakers. Since graduation, she has been teaching English classes to refugees as an Americorps member with the International Rescue Committee of Atlanta. She plans to attend law school starting in fall 2022, studying immigration and child law.

“My experiences with community service, whether I have been a person in need or a person able to help, have become cornerstones of my development and have created a deep desire to enact social change within me,” she wrote in her Pride Award essay. “My career interests are a reflection of this, and I am excited to continue to repay my community and to extend social change throughout my education, career, and personal life.”

Wells’ family struggled to keep the lights on and put food on the table when she was growing up. Family, friends, and food banks were key resources to help the family get by. Neighbors provided child care to Wells and her siblings and a place to “camp out” when they lost their home heating.

Wells has enacted individual change as a volunteer with Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America (FORA). Within FORA, she tutored a recently arrived 15-year-old refugee student to improve his literacy and English communication skills, including slang that he can use with his friends. 

“My childhood community was a critical cornerstone of my identity, and it was often the way that my family managed to make it through our day,” Wells said. “Because of these experiences, I believe that social change extends past formal roles and organizations, and is critically shaped by the way that we interact with our community and neighbors on a daily basis. … Small, direct change is often overlooked, but because I have witnessed its resonant effects in my own life, I will always think of individual contact as one of the most critical forms of social change.”

“(The student) and I often bond over our younger sisters, and I have found that he is particularly good at remembering new vocabulary words that he can use to tease her. Our work together has been incredibly valuable to me, as I have been able to watch him grow directly as a student. I see him every day, and every day I notice as he grows more comfortable speaking in English, confident in communicating with his friends, and willing to share his thoughts with me.”

In March 2020, when much of society shut down, Wells joined the Cleveland (Ohio) Pandemic Response as a lead coordinating volunteer and a founding member. “As a mutual-aid organization, we worked to respond to direct economic and legal hardships in the Cleveland area by connecting community members in need with community members available to help. … I am particularly proud of our ability to respond to the educational needs of low-income families with young children, as we provided over 100 laptops to families in need. We also helped to connect these families to books, learning kits, and free childcare for essential workers unable to be at home during the day.”

Wells majored in English, Spanish, and Political Science as a Rutgers student. 

As an intern in Cusco, Peru, with the National Office of the Public Prosecutor (Ministerio Público Fiscalía de la Nación), she assisted full-time governmental workers to understand barriers to education for adolescents, visiting schools and homes to talk with students and parents.

“I believe that a person within a community will always know the best ways to aid that community, and my work in Cusco responded directly to the needs of local people,” she said. “This form of community involvement was critical, as it taught me how to support other communities as they drive their own social changes in accordance with their experiences.”

At Rutgers, Wells was a lead tutor with the Plangere Writing Center for three years. Whild students were home during the pandemic, Wells found herself helping her peers not only with writing, but in coping with isolation, adapting to online courses, and living at home. 

She also served as president of the Rutgers Veg Society, a group for vegan, vegetarian, and veg-curious students. The Veg Society has advocated for expanded food options in Rutgers dining halls as well as more accessible food labels for students with allergies and dietary needs. While students were home, the Veg Society held online parties, cooking nights, and trivia games, and encouraged students to share vegan statistics in their hometowns. The Veg Society is compiling a cookbook to benefit the Happy Animal Sanctuary in Howell, New Jersey.

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Resources

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Rutgers University Alumni Association celebrates 10 years in 2018Update your information with Rutgers University Alumni Relations, so you continue to receive the LAA’s newsletters and other communications from Alumni Relations. (Since it’s your alumni record, LAA can’t correct the information directly.)

Everything can be updated online at Ralumni.com/update. You may also send your details to RUAlumni@ruf.rutgers.edu or call 1-848-932-7490.

Need to contact LAA? We’ve got several ways to do so.

Additional resources:

Note: Livingstone College (note the “e” at the end of “Livingstone”) in Salisbury, North Carolina, is not, and never has been, affiliated with Rutgers University or Rutgers’ former Livingston College in New Jersey. For information on graduates of the college in North Carolina, contact the Livingstone College Alumni Affairs Office.

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Scarlet and Black Marker Confronts Legacy of William Livingston and His Family

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A plaque installed in 2021 on the Livingston campus confronts the legacy of William Livingston, namesake of the campus and the former Livingston College, and his family, as people who enslaved other human beings.

The two-sided marker has been placed on a prominent walkway on campus, between the Lynton North and South Towers residence halls and the Livingston Student Center.

The plaque reads:

“Livingston Campus (site of former Livingston College) was named after William Livingston, the first governor of the state of New Jersey, whose family made a fortune trafficking human beings in the transatlantic slave trade. The campus opened in 1969 as an experimental, social-justice oriented campus at the site of Camp Kilmer, a World War II-era military camp. The Livingston family collectively enslaved hundreds of people and Williams’ brothers, Philip and Robert, two of Rutgers’ founding trustees, bought and sold hundreds more. When William Livingston moved to New Jersey, he enslaved at least two people, a woman named Bell and her son Lambert. Though he later advocated for gradual abolition, he continued to represent the legal interests of his slave-trading family’s wealth throughout his career. This marker honors Bell, Lambert, and the other women, men, and children enslaved and sold by the Livingston family.”

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Preserving the History. Advancing the Legacy.