Class of 2013

They advocate for educational equity and immigration reform. They have survived anerysms and strokes. They transferred from abroad, transitioned from various career trajectories, and empower others by sharing their personal experiences. The Class of 2013 – undergraduate and graduate students whose diverse passions include the humanities, sciences, arts and athletics – has exhibited determination and outstanding leadership on campus and beyond.

One student engages the next generation of Hispanic women in STEM; another organizes fundraisers for childhood leukemia patients. Several returned to the university after many years, including Robert Schiller, who will finally walk in the commencement ceremony four decades after a stroke kept him from accepting his degree. After graduation, they will study at prestigious institutions and pursue their passions with nonprofit organizations, corporations and thinktanks.

These students are exemplars of this diverse and engaging academic community and embody the qualities Rutgers seeks to develop in its students. We celebrate their academic and personal achievements and look forward to the bright futures ahead.

Nancy Andia Top corporations came courting when Nancy Andia received her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Rutgers. The nurturing she received through the Society of Hispanic Engineers led her to join Johnson & Johnson to test new applications on cell phones, tablets and other platforms for the company's employees.

Alen ArnautovicAlen Arnautovic was nine years old when his parents brought him and his sisters to the U.S. from war-torn Bosnia. He has gained immense respect and appreciation for the rule of law in his adopted country, particularly its peaceful transitions of power.

Gwen BaxleyGwen Baxley's research projects have examined a number of educational policy issues, from the influence of charter schools on English language learners to inequities in public education funding. She will pursue her doctorate in education policy at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Tony Guenewald In his varied career, one thing has been consistent about Tony Gruenewald. He is a river through which language flows, frequently changing its course and his own. The copywriter, tech guru and poet returned to his alma mater to receive a master's degree in library science.

Wislande Guillaume Little did Wislande Guillaume know that months after a life-threatening aneurysm, she would conduct research in Haiti, become a peer counselor and a Leadership Scholar with the Institute for Women's Leadership, and be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Qi (Cathy) GuoQi (Cathy) Guo arrived at Rutgers in 2009 from China with a rudimentary ability to speak English. Within two years of transferring from Beijing, the future diplomat had landed internships with NBC News and the National Academy of Public Administration.

Mark HansenMark Hansen had his doubts about going to college - he was a creative thinker with a flair for finding alternative paths. Rutgers allowed the honors student to explore visual arts, cultural anthropology and political science. His career in architecture will strengthen communities and contribute to civic life.

Andrea Huerta The daughter of Mexican parents who emigrated to New Jersey two years before she was born, Andrea Huerta hopes to parlay her experiences at Rutgers' Eagleton Institute into a career in public service - mayor of New Brunswick, perhaps.

Brittany LapidusBrittany Lapidus's journey to a roster spot with Rutgers' NCAA Division I women's basketball program is a testament to her lifelong devotion to the program. Her path - from ball girl and summer camper to team manager and, finally, guard for the Scarlet Knights - has been taken by few, if any.

Judith McCarthy After nearly two decades as a book editor, Judith McCarthy started to question her future in the industry when digital technology - e-books, Amazon, Kindles - began transforming the publishing landscape. So the mother of three made a life-changing decision. She applied to law school.

Connor Montferrat As a childhood cancer survivor, Connor Montferrat understands life is fleeting and refuses to be typecast in his career. The chair of the New Jersey College Republicans crafted dual majors in criminal justice and political science to prepare for a career in politics.

James OswaldLegally blind former police officer James Oswald begins a new chapter with Teach for America in New York City after graduating cum laude from Rutgers with a bachelor's degree in history. The 55-year-old employs various tools to overcome his disability, including a home aide and a scanner that reads print aloud.

Robert SchillerRobert Schiller knows something about second chances. His plans to attend his graduation ceremony in 1973 unraveled when he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Four decades later, Schiller will participate in Rutgers' Commencement activities.

Contact: Amber E. Hopkins-Jenkins, (732) 932-7084, ext. 601, aehopkinsjenkins@ur.rutgers.edu.