Vincent Andre Keeton
Doctorate in Urban Systems
Hometown: Austin, Texas
The big picture: I applied to the Ph.D. programs in both criminal justice and urban education and we formulated a joint course of study. Because of my experience [as a district attorney in the Bronx], I was interested in not only urban education, but in the way that urban education impacts criminality.
The right move: Rutgers was an ideal choice for me. It is at the forefront of research in some of the things in which I am most interested. Dr. Alan Sadovnik, my doctoral committee chair, has been a great mentor.
Real-life laboratory: I am interested in education reform. I am a practical researcher. Abstract theory doesn’t interest me so much. I prefer a substantive political exchange with stakeholders.
Leading the charge: Although I am not interested in running for office, it has occurred to me to be an advocate, to lobby for wholesale educational reforms.
Master of Fine Arts in Painting
Mason Gross School of the Arts
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Connecting the dots: While I was at Southern Methodist University, [Mason Gross associate professor] Hanneline Røgeberg was a visiting artist. She blew my mind, the way she talked about art. Before that, I hadn’t considered art school on the East Coast. Before that, I had smaller goals.
Living her art: I was in El Paso in the ’90s when women started disappearing just across the border in Mexico. Young, dark-haired women. I remember thinking, “It could be me.” My paintings are a memorial to those women.
Helping hands: Because my money ran out in September, I thought that I would have to leave school. The dean of students, Casey Coakley, and the head of my department, Diane Neumaier, did everything possible to help me find ways to finish the year.
If you can make it there: My installation is part of a curated show at the White Box [Gallery in Soho]. A handful of us want to move into the city and get studio space, and I would also love to continue to teach.
Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Hometown: Bridgewater, New Jersey
Brave new world: From Rutgers I’ve gotten a broader view of the world. I’ve learned here how to problem solve. I really feel as if I could do anything.
Eye of the beholder: I draw. I paint. I sculpt. I take things and arrange them in a way that’s pleasing to me. In landscape architecture you use the environment as your medium. It’s like making the entire world my canvas.
Back to the garden: Between my sophomore and junior years, I won a scholarship to attend an international symposium on Japanese gardens in Tokyo, with [assistant professor of landscape architecture] Seiko Goto. I was struck by how Japanese gardens inspire introspection. They seem to encourage both relaxation and excitement in a most enjoyable way. I sat in the famous Zen dry-rock-garden Ryoan-ji for an hour and a half in peaceful meditation.
Fighting the good fight: I am weighing my options, toying with the idea of AmeriCorps, or trying to hook up with a nonprofit or [nongovernmental organization]. I think that graduate school is in my future, but I would like to get some professional experience first.
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with minors in European Studies and German
Camden College of Arts and Sciences
Hometown: Mickleton, New Jersey
Talk the talk: In my junior year, I started a student group to visit children in the hospital. The next semester, I sat down with my parents to discuss turning the group into a 501(c)(3). We incorporated Miracles Global in 2009.
Sowing the seeds: My heart and soul are in Camden. I spent my childhood there and my mother attended Rutgers–Camden. My mother would take us on walks around the city and we would meet homeless people, people in all kinds of circumstances, and my mom would say, “Just because people live in these predicaments, doesn’t make them bad people.”
Women’s work: My honors thesis was “The Value of Women in the Developing World.” The experience of researching and writing it has given me some serious perspective on how women live in poor countries.
The business of compassion: I plan to attend a top business school with an international focus to help bring my organization’s global vision to fruition. Need spreads far beyond our borders. Ultimately, I would like to work in both the nonprofit and for-profit realm. This will allow me to exercise my chops in a variety of ways while not losing sight of what matters in life.
Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences
Newark College of Arts and Sciences
Hometown: Edison, New Jersey
Strike up the band: The summer before I started at Rutgers, I went to the Marching Scarlet Knights band camp. I spent six challenging but inspiring days learning the music and drills. It’s an exhilarating feeling to earn your Rutgers band shirt on the last night of camp.
All that jazz: Rutgers jazz has opened up so many opportunities for me. Thanks to Rutgers networking, I’ve had the chance to play jazz trumpet at local venues and major jazz clubs. I’ve shared the stage with musicians who are really jazz legends.
Course of action: I’ve had the flexibility to make my education into exactly what I wanted, and I’ve been able to finish my degree in three years without sacrificing the element of surprise. I completed my premed curriculum and still found myself in classes I never thought I’d take, such as “Science Fiction, Technology, and Society,” and “History of Sparta.”
A spoonful of medicine: I have multiple acceptances to medical schools and will be matriculating in fall 2010.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Hometown: Highland Park, New Jersey
On a whim: I discovered the Rutgers Institute for Women’s Leadership Scholars Certificate Program at the end of my sophomore year by a chance encounter with an IWL alumna. My involvement in the program has been one of the most significant experiences I have had at Rutgers. At the IWL, I found an incredible community of inspiring women and formed friendships that will last long after I graduate.
Democracy in action: As part of a Caravan for Democracy [a college outreach program of the Jewish National Fund] fellowship, I organized an Israeli film and speaker series through Rutgers Hillel. What I enjoyed most about the program was the way it attracted students from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
Telling tales: For my IWL certificate in Women’s Leadership for Social Change, I worked in a team of five students to make a documentary film called Transforming Lives. Each student interviewed a remarkable woman leader and prepared a short film that was later compiled into a larger piece. My film, Taking Flight, profiles the Harlem-based artist, activist, and children's book author Faith Ringgold.
Traveling shoes: Before applying to graduate school, I hope to work in the nonprofit sector. I’m also very eager to spend time traveling around Latin America or India and pursuing my interests in photography, oral history, and sustainable development.