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Karoline Gonzalez Sanchez at the Rutgers-Newark Honors Living Learning Community

Faces & Voices of Rutgers: Karoline Gonzalez Sanchez

During his first year at Rutgers, President Jonathan Holloway often lamented that one of his greatest frustrations was how COVID kept him from meeting students in person.

This summer, he jumped at the opportunity for some old-fashioned facetime with a handful of Rutgers’ 51,000 undergraduates. Rutgers—Newark senior Karoline Gonzalez Sanchez has the distinction of not only being the 16th undergrad at the university to shake Holloway’s hand but the first student to interview the president in our Faces & Voices series. 

A native of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez moved with her family to Newark in search of a better education and employment opportunities. In her interview, she shares how she found her purpose close to home at Rutgers-Newark’s Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC), where she is majoring in journalism, media studies and social justice. 

Calling her time at HLLC the greatest experience of her academic career, Sanchez opens up about why she feels “truly seen” in the program where faculty are on a first-name basis with their students and her cohort feels like a family. An activist and storyteller, she asks Holloway about his experience as the university’s first Black president, and he shares with her the pride and pressure that come with that distinction.