Category Archives: Awards/Alumni Activity

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Rutgers African American Alumni Alliance (RAAA), Inc. Hall of Fame

The following Livingston College alumni have been inducted into the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance (RAAA), Inc. Hall of Fame:


Aliya S. King
LC’94
Vaughn L. McKoy
LC’90, NLAW’93
Victoria Pratt
LC’94, NLAW’98
Aliya S. King Vaughn L. McKoy Victoria Pratt

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Eshan Kaul, Aspiring Medical Doctor, Co-Founded Tutoring Program for Elementary School Students; Honored with 2019 Livingston Pride Award

Eshan KaulEshan Kaul (SEBS’19), an aspiring medical doctor from Green Brook, New Jersey, has been named as the 2019 recipient of the Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award, given by the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) of Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Kaul earned a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) in May 2019, as an Honors College scholar, with a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Psychology. At the same time, he completed his first year of study at Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), under a seven-year Rutgers-RWJMS BA/MD program. He plans to earn a master’s degree in Public Health at Rutgers, before graduating as a medical doctor in 2022.

While Kaul has excelled in academics at Rutgers, he has also served as a role model for his fellow students and for elementary school students in New Brunswick. In 2016 he was one of the co-founders of Access to Education (A2E), a Rutgers-led tutoring program for pupils in first, second, and third grades at New Brunswick’s Roosevelt Elementary School.

In his award essay, Kaul writes that the odds were stacked against him and his colleagues founding A2E, with officials from Rutgers, the city, and the school district saying that he was too idealistic.

“To our surprise and joy A2E was a smooth success, and we received lots of positive feedback from the kids, teachers, and volunteers alike,” Kaul wrote. “Personally though, I took the most pride in connecting with one of the “troublemaker” students Joshua. He was quite the rascal, but I never did stop laughing when I was around him. By the end of the semester, Joshua would start his homework without being told, could read the descriptions on all his Pokémon cards, and even picked up other people’s trash. That is my pride: by not giving up, Joshua and I were able to become friends, and both of us are better people because of the other.”

The A2E tutoring program is a program of Rutgers’ Youth Empowerment Club (YEC), which partners with the New Brunswick-based nonprofit organization Youth Empowerment Services (YES). YES was founded in 2003 and provides after-school activities, summer camps, and mentoring programs for at-risk youth in New Brunswick. Kaul previously served as YEC’s President, and currently serves on the board of YES.

During his undergraduate career, Kaul traveled to several locations to gain a better understanding of important global issues: food insecurity and educational inequality in Tulsa, Oklahoma; health, well-being, culture and social inclusion in Thailand; and the impact of immigration on education and American society in Boston.

At home, he co-founded a Rutgers group called Knights Table, as a means to improve civil discourse, and helped draft legislation to remove health-risking philosophical and religious exemptions for vaccines in New Jersey.

His medical research includes studying the effects of medical student volunteering on nonprofit organizations, and cancer immunotherapy physiology in T cell receptor cross reactivity using antigenic peptides under Dr. Andy Zloza.

Michael Hill (left) and Eshan Kaul (right)Kaul writes that he has “a lot of Rutgers pride — perhaps a little too much — and I’m not afraid to wear it on my sleeve. For example, I can tell you important dates in Rutgers history and my email signature is ‘In Rutgers Spirit.’ ”

With this Rutgers pride comes a commitment: “When you walk down George Street, you’ll hit the beautifully designed Honors College, the immensely green quad and flower beds of Voorhees Mall, until suddenly you hit the train station, with its ever-present wet walls and crumbly staircases.

“With this in mind, it’s important to remind ourselves of the fact that Rutgers is a land grant institution, and how it is part of our mission to perform public service in support of the needs of the citizens of the state. But I would argue it’s more than that: we are members of the Rutgers community, nay the greater New Brunswick community, and it is our duty to be active citizens who want to support our neighbors as best we can.”

The Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award has been given annually since 1990 by the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) to the Rutgers-New Brunswick graduating senior who most embodies the spirit of Livingston College and its attributes of leadership and social action. Livingston College is a former undergraduate college of Rutgers which was merged into the School of Arts and Sciences in 2007.

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, and also was one of LAA’s first Livingston College Distinguished Alumni, honored in 2000.

Bottom photo: Eshan Kaul (right) talks with NJTV correspondent Michael Hill in 2017, about Kaul’s work with Youth Empowerment Services.

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Seth Dvorin, LC’02, Was Killed in Battle in Iraq; Distinguished Young Alumni Award Named for Him

Seth Jeremy DvorinU.S. Army Lt. Seth Jeremy Dvorin, a 2002 graduate of Livingston College at Rutgers University, was killed in battle near Iskandariyah, Iraq, on Feb. 3, 2004.

An improvised explosive device (IED) killed Dvorin, age 24, while he was conducting counter-IED operations.

In 2004, Rutgers’ Livingston Alumni Association created the Seth Dvorin Distinguished Young Alumni Award in his honor.

Dvorin had been assigned to Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York.

Seth Dvorin and Sue NiedererDvorin’s sister, Rebekah, told The Associated Press that the Army informed her that “Seth’s unit had been ordered to clear the area of the homemade mines and bombs that have killed dozens of troops. … They were in a convoy and saw something in the road. My brother, the hero, told his driver to stop. That’s when the bomb detonated, when they were trying to dismantle it.”

Dvorin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice from Livingston College in 2002. Born in Freehold, New Jersey, he grew up in East Brunswick and South Brunswick, New Jersey. He graduated from South Brunswick High School, where he played football and baseball.

Dvorin traveled extensively, including to Europe and Israel. He loved animals and cars, especially Mustangs, and was an excellent cook. He had lived in Evans Mills, New York, at the time of his death.

Seth and Kelly DvorinDvorin was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star for valor. He was buried in Marlboro Memorial Cemetery, Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Surviving Dvorin were his wife, Kelly Harris Dvorin, whom he married on August 26, 2003, five days before leaving for Iraq; his mother, Sue Niederer, and her husband Greg; his father, Richard Dvorin, and his companion Ellen Sutton; his sister, Rebekah Dvorin, and her then-fiance, Walter Gruszka; his stepbrother, Joshua Dvorin; his paternal grandmother, Ruth Dvorin; his maternal grandfather, Jacob Sapir; and his uncles Gary Sapir and Howard Dvorin. 

Dvorin’s mother, Sue Niederer, has protested the Bush Administration for the US involvement in Iraq, and criticized Donald J. Trump for his insensitivity to Gold Star families who have lost family members in battle.

As of 2018 she continues to speak on behalf of the GI Go Fund, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans find employment and secure education and health care benefits, and provides assistance to low-income and homeless veterans, according to a May 26, 2018, article from My Central Jersey. Friends of Dvorin founded the GI Go Fund in 2006.

Seth Dvorin’s father, Richard Dvorin, a U.S. Air Force veteran, worked through his grief by volunteering for a phone hotline for veterans and their families.

Richard Dvorin also served as Past Commander for the Lt. Seth Dvorin Jewish War Veterans Post #972 in Marlboro, New Jersey, renamed for his son in 2004. Richard Dvorin died in 2013.

Photos: Seth Dvorin; Dvorin with his mother, Sue Niederer; Dvorin with his wife, Kelly Dvorin.

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Pride Award Winner Lucy Blevins (SAS’18) Will Pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs and Social Work, with a Focus on Prison Reform

Lucy Blevins and Jeffrey Armus
Lucy Blevins with Jeffrey Armus, Chairman of the Pride Award Committee and Vice President of the LAA. Photo by Qiumei Wang, Rutgers Business School Alumni Association.

Lucy Anne Blevins (SAS’18), an aspiring social worker from Maplewood, New Jersey, has been named as the 2018 recipient of the Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award, given by the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) of Rutgers University.

Blevins will graduate from Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences (New Brunswick) in May 2018. Starting in summer 2018 she will pursue a dual master’s degree in Public Affairs and Social Work, with a focus on prison reform policy, at the University of Texas at Austin.

In her award application essay, Blevins noted that social work ties together several of the courses she took in other subjects at Rutgers.

“Through these classes, I realized that there was a theme to all my papers and projects: in psychology, I was interested in the effect of oppression on the soul; in art history, I focused on representations of struggle and creativity as an antidote to depression; in sociology, I was drawn to inequalities based on race and gender; and my favorite writing class explored non-western feminist authors throughout history.

“This seeming patchwork seemed something of a mess, until I took my first course in social work. Then they all fit together. I immediately saw that what I wanted was an education that would allow me to advocate for social justice, equal treatment, humane conditions, and basic human rights for all. I began to seek out opportunities that would allow me to have an impact on the community around me.”

Blevins is a member of Omega Phi Alpha, the national service sorority. During her college career she has undertaken several community service initiatives, including: serving in local soup kitchens; advocating for mental health awareness on campus and global women’s rights initiatives; and participating in the Rutgers Dance Marathon to raise funds for and to build meaningful relationships with the families of children who have cancer and blood disorders.

Lucy Blevins with family
Lucy Blevins, center, with her mother, Juliette Blevins, and her sister, Rebecca Blevins. Photo by Qiumei Wang, Rutgers Business School Alumni Association.

In her junior and senior years of college, Blevins has served along with several other Rutgers students as a tutor for inmates at New Jersey’s Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility, as part of their work with the Petey Greene Program.

Blevins has tutored the inmates in math, science, history, and writing. “More important than any educational skill that I have, I am able to help the inmates by listening to their thoughts and concerns as well as simply providing empowerment in the form of re-validation,” she wrote in her Pride Award essay. “I have faith in the students that I tutor and believe that they are capable beyond their own ability to see. While they may be physically incarcerated, their minds and spirits are free and flourish with attention and compassion. … One memory that always makes me smile is of working with a student and explaining to him how to read a Punnett square. ‘This comes up on every GED practice exam, and I never understood it. Now I get it. Thank you, Lucy.’ “

During her undergraduate career, Blevins earned several academic scholarships, and affiliated with the Douglass Residential College, a women’s college within Rutgers.

The Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award has been given annually since 1990 by the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) to the Rutgers-New Brunswick graduating senior who most embodies the spirit of Livingston College and its attributes of leadership and social action. Livingston College is a former undergraduate college of Rutgers which was merged into the School of Arts and Sciences in 2007.

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, and also was one of LAA’s first Livingston College Distinguished Alumni, honored in 2000.

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