New Faculty Voices

Across the university, Rutgers professors teach and conduct research, thinking beyond disciplinary boundaries. Standing at the top of their fields, they care deeply about the undergraduate and graduate students they teach, mentor, and advise.

This year 161 faculty joined the Rutgers community across Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, and Rutgers Biomedical Health Science bringing diversity, vision, extensive scholarship, and wide-ranging real-world experience to the classroom. 

Meet some of them in our latest Rutgers Today series.

Andrew Abeyta Seeks to Understand Human Behavior in a Social Context
Andrew Abeyta focuses his research on two psychological needs he views as fundamental to human functioning: the need to belong and the need for meaning in life. (Camden College of Arts and Sciences, Camden)

Zahra Ali Explores the Lives of Iraqi Women
Zahra Ali became involved in politics while growing up in France in the midst of two historical milestones – the mobilization against the Iraq war in 2003 and the banning of the Islamic head scarf a year later. (Newark College of Arts and Sciences, Newark)

Saladin Ambar Researches Presidency, Governorship and Race in America
Politics has always inspired Saladin Ambar. At 13, he took the subway from Queens to the Bronx to listen to historian John Henrik Clarke talk about African history. The lecture, and others that followed, made Ambar, raised by his white, Italian-American mother, feel connected to his African-American heritage. (Eagleton Institute of Politics, New Brunswick)

A Health Care Prescription for the Next Administration

Rahshida Atkins Works Toward Alleviating Depression in Disadvantaged Mothers
Rahshida Atkins remembers the hardships her mother endured while successfully raising five children in Newark and Rahway. But hers is not the only mother Rahshida Atkins watched overcome socioeconomic challenges while singlehandedly bringing up her family. (School of Nursing, Camden)

Steven R. Brant Sheds Light on the Genetics of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Whether he is sailboat racing on the Chesapeake Bay or researching genetic causes for inflammatory bowel disease, Steven R. Brant values one quality above all others: a strong team. (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences)

A Love of Skiing Led Jean-Francois Daneault to Research in Movement Disorders
Jean-Francois Daneault is working to find a marker in the brain that would identify people at risk for Parkinson’s disease. His goal:  to develop a screening test, “like a mammogram, that catches the disease as early as possible so that we can then develop ways to stop it.” (School of Health Professions, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences)

Closing New Jersey’s Educational Divide Requires New Approaches to Testing, School Choice and Funding

Rachel Godsil Investigates the Dynamics of Discrimination
Rachel Godsil grew up attending civil rights marches with her parents in the late 1960s and 1970s in Milwaukee. After seeing a trial firsthand in middle school, she decided she could best contribute to social justice work by becoming a lawyer. (Rutgers Law School, Newark)

Trinidad Rico Seeks to Define the Emerging Field of Cultural Heritage Studies
Trinidad Rico is interested in how communities make decisions about what to preserve, and not preserve, to create a cultural heritage that defines them to the world. (School of Arts and Sciences, New Brunswick)

Angelo Soto Centeno Researches Caribbean Bats and Their Fossilized Ancestors
As a kid growing up in Puerto Rico, Angelo Soto Centeno was always outdoors, catching lizards and snakes, exploring caves and trying to determine just how the world worked. (Newark College of Arts and Sciences, Newark)
All Eyes on the Garden State

Alvaro Toledo Is on a Mission to Determine How Lyme Disease Grows
As a child living in Spain, Alvaro Toledo spent hours watching the French cartoon, Once Upon a Time ... Life, in which the human body was portrayed as a big city, red blood cells were the good guys and viruses and bacteria were the enemy. (School  of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick)

With Brighter Job Forecast, New Jersey Can Shift to Wages, Training and Investment

Pamela Valera Combats Cancer Health Disparities in Prison Populations
For Pamela Valera, public health is very personal. She honors the memory of her sister, who died at 23 from a rare disease after struggling to get care, by committing her life to addressing health disparities among those unable to advocate for themselves. (School of Public Health, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences)

Adnan Zulfiqar Dissects Complex, Emotionally Charged Issues in Islamic and Criminal Law
A practicing Muslim, Adnan Zulfiqar explores questions surrounding jihad and revolution through a legal lens. Born in Virginia to Pakistani immigrants, his childhood was bookended by years-long stints in Africa – where his father, a World Bank executive, purposefully took transfers to broaden his children’s perspectives. (Rutgers Law School, Camden)