My work in higher education began in 2006, with a commitment to how universities can partner in substantive and productive ways with their communities and prepare their students for a life of civic engagement. I decided to pursue the PhD in Public Affairs at Rutgers University Camden because of the program’s emphasis in community development and the Rutgers commitment to engagement with Camden city. I feel like this program meets at the intersection of my passions for community-engaged social justice and my intellectual interests.
We have a true community of scholars in our program, studying and writing with my colleagues are among my favorite experiences in the program. Student, faculty, and guest research presentations and seminars offer ample opportunity for intellectual development. As a result of the program’s coursework, I strengthened my skills in analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, and developed better understanding of the processes that influence community change efforts from market-based and alternative perspectives. I am confident in my ability to produce scholarly work—grounded in strong research design and guided by a clear theoretical framework—because I have published articles both on my own and with faculty mentors during my time in this program. I am grateful for all of the opportunities and professional development this program offers me.