• Part of their lives

    My work as the Student and Community Affairs Coordinator with Rutgers Future Scholars-Newark began in December 2011. Prior to joining the RFS team, I taught high school for three years in Los Angeles, CA as a part of the Teach For America program, followed by two years teaching in Newark. My experience in the classroom forever changed my views on education, and furthered my commitment to social justice and educational equity.
    With RFS, I now am able to expand my reach and work with inspiring students throughout the city of Newark, and their dedication and perseverance continue to both motivate and humble me. As a Coordinator, I have the opportunity to not only to personally play an advisory and mentorship role in our Scholar’s lives, but to also mobilize others in the collegiate community to do the same. The relationships our Scholars are able to form with our office staff, college mentors and instructors/professors is an integral (and my favorite) piece of the program. The best part of my day comes when a Scholar stops by the office to say hi, share some news, or seek advice. One of our Scholars, Nijay Henry, is a frequent fixture in our office. Always smiling, she keeps us updated on her academic progress (particularly her growing success in Math class), her anticipation of the SAT, and other “life news” she wants to share.  I truly enjoy taking part her and our other Scholars’ educational, social, and emotional growth, and to watch them become advocates for themselves as well as within their community.

     

    I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a stable, motivating force in our Scholar’s lives, and I look forward to seeing what they continue to accomplish!

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  • Why Focus on Evaluation?

    My role as a researcher provides me great opportunities - observing Rutgers Future Scholars (RFS) across three campuses, interfacing with Scholars and program partners, and working closely with the RFS team. I also have a responsibility to advocate for the benefit of research and evaluation in the pre-college field – one that often doesn’t have “extra” resources to dedicate to research. So, why focus on program evaluation and what’s the benefit of building it into your program?
    As we have learned with RFS, infusing research into your program has tremendous benefits. First, it tells the story about what your program is accomplishing. Whether analyzing interviews, administering a satisfaction survey, or comparing control and experimental groups, evaluation data can be used to strengthen your case to potential partners, funders, and supporters about your program’s value. For example, RFS is proud of its “100% retention” stat; in districts where high school dropout rates are of concern, 100% of all Scholars (and there are nearly 1,000 of them) are still enrolled in school and on the path toward graduation. Coupled with additional outcome data and information about the program, RFS has used this statistic to raise over 3 million dollars. Many funders will tell you that a program being data-informed is a huge benefit and something that can set the program apart from others.
    Second, data from program evaluation can be an invaluable tool to help refine your program. End of year surveys can give you information about what went well and what didn’t as you design the following year’s program, and systematically tracking something like SAT performance can help you determine whether your SAT-Prep class actually increased scores. For even more bang for your buck, collecting “real time” data can be used to make mid-course (as opposed to end of year) corrections. RFS has implemented this strategy: collecting grades by marking period (rather than waiting for final grades) allows RFS staff to provide resources such as tutoring to Scholars mid year -- before it is too late to improve their grades.
    It is not always easy to design and execute a program evaluation, and all programs and their researchers face challenges along the road. But, if you think of program data as a trusted advisor raising tough questions, giving you ideas about how to potentially tweak your program, and being a cheerleader helping you garner support for your hard work, it can be a huge asset with a return that far outweighs the investment.

     

    Thanks for reading. Next time: What are outcomes?

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  • Whats Going To Work...Teamwork.

    As our summer curriculum was coming to an end we had the privilege of visiting the Princeton Blairstown Center, which was a memory I would never forget. I grew closer to my fellow peers and I made more friends along the way. The activities I encountered along the trip challenged me to whole other levels I would never expect to achieve. When it came to activities such as wall repelling I would of never imagined doing it ever in my life but I did! As we were preparing to wall repel putting our harnesses on I was so nervous to the point where I was going to chicken out at last minute. But with the support of my friends on my side I managed to do it, plus i was the first to go because I felt comfortable enough to go knowing I had people who motivated me along my side. The interaction and motivation of my fellow scholars was the highlight of my trip. As one we worked together to be successful, which was the part that hit me the most when we had to say our goodbyes until next summer. Now in the next 5 years I can look back at all the fun times I had with my fellow scholars. Can't wait to see what's around the corner for next summer where more memories will be made and new challenges await.

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  • Hello World, Meet Shakeerah.

    Hello, my name is Shakeerah, and I am a Rutgers Future Scholar. I am one part of hundreds scholars in New Jersey, but, I am participating with the scholars on the Newark campus. This summer the ’17 scholars continued on another year of the summer institute of the pre-college program (mentoring, tutoring, and programming). I may be a Rutgers Future Scholar but I am also a regular high school student. When I don’t have to attend the program I don’t just sit at home and stay on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE, I have other activities I participate in such as track & field which I enjoy very much. I feel as though I am a very involved student and scholar, I volunteer and raise my hand to anything that I think would benefit me and others. "Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world." I am saying that to say this, students who read this do not have to be like me but they should strive to reach the success that me and the other scholars have reached. Like the saying goes, "Shoot for the moon even if you miss you land amongst the stars". You don’t have to follow others but take in the consideration to follow the steps we took and become a great person like we hope to be. I am a 14 yrs. old sophomore, during the beginning of the school year I will grow older but, I am the first in my family to have a scholarship opportunity. The success received in that is great but I am striving to pursue even greater. I mentor and look after young children that I know are bright and have a glorious future. This program is a great opportunity to help increase the number of low-income academically promising students who attend college. Yes I do have a low income, but I have achieved great success with that small disadvantage. I am a Rutgers Future Scholar from the Newark community and I am proud to say that I hope that students all over world read this blog and strive to achieve what other scholars and I have achieved.

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  • Dig A Little Deeper

    Day to day we walk through life thinking that everything is about us, for lack of better words. A teacher once told me, "There is more to life then what goes on in (insert your town here)". During this past week in the summer program, the future scholars have been set in the path to start appreciating life on a larger scale including nature and animals. I feel like we can’t continue as a young generation unaware of the things that are going on around us good or bad. This is because in order to make something better or fix something that is bad, we have to know what exactly those things are. A key term that is being instilled in our heads right now is "sustainability" which is basically the ability to sustain something but in this case our environment. No one is perfect and I can honestly say I’ve littered before and did things that weren’t necessarily good for the environment but we have to change.

    That’s a fact and we have to go beyond what the naked eye can see and dig a little deeper and find out what exactly is going on. So ladies and gents that is my challenge to you, dig a little deeper, find out more, and share what you find. The future is in our hands.

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  • Sizzlin' Summer

    Finally the moment we've been waiting for after these endless months we've endured. Time to take out the sunscreen and head to the shore! This is the best chance to relax from our stressful lives and improve on the things we need to improve on for the incoming school year. Yeah it could be annoying the fact that school is interfering with our free time, but this is the best time to take advantage of it as much as possible without the pressure of deadlines. Even though this might not have any importance to you at all, but to enjoy the summer to the fullest, doesn't mean we should slack off. By taking your school work into more consideration and to put effort can make a big change over the years. Not only will you do better in school when it comes to your grades in tests and report cards but as well in the long run. Now you can get into the habit of working more to your potential and do it for the rest of your life when it comes to life situations. Having a positive mentality and the drive to do even better then you've ever done before is what kids need these days. So now is the time to take our summer projects out and start making magic!

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  • There's More To Life Than Facebook...

    Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Bryana B. and I am a Rutgers Future Scholar. Please excuse me for my bluntness but I’m personally tired of our youth not doing anything. Yes, granted it is summer and a time to relax but that isn’t a good enough reason to be lazy. Next week in New Brunswick the Rutgers Future Scholars Class of '17 are embarking on a three-week summer program which yes does require learning. Knowing that the world looks down on us, should make us want to reassure them that we aren’t as meaningless as they may think. If we want to make a difference in this world, sitting at home on Facebook isn’t exactly going to help us. I will be honest I’m not perfect and I find myself being lazy at times but we have to at least realize that mistake. For all who are reading this, look at the Future Scholars taking a stand and making a difference for not only themselves but the generations to come. And no we don’t do it by ourselves; we are surrounded by great people who are with us every step of the way. So listen up, this is your new challenge. Surround yourselves with good positive people so that when the lows of life come your way, you don’t stay down forever and continue on your path of success.

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  • No Dream is too BIG!

    Day by day I wonder to myself where I'm going to be ten years from now.  What will college be like? Will I ever become successful in hard times such as this, as employment rates are going down? But I can say one thing, I'm not the only one who worries about their future and what's lurking for them around the corner. As someone once said "No dreamer is ever too small; no dream is ever too big." Through the ups and downs in our school careers we face many obstacles that are thrown at us such as hard exams and the cramming of assignments. But these are the fundamentals that build up the foundation of our ability to work under pressure and prepares us for reality. No one said life was easy but we as youth with aspiring futures should work to the best of our abilities to succeed, which will pay off in the end. "The satisfaction of knowing you accomplished something that was challenging at first is one of the greatest feelings you can ever have, and being able to sustain this ability of not giving up over frustration is one of the greatest gifts you can get."  We are the future as our generation's workforce is progressing with new technology and higher standards of education!    

     

    My name is Christian A. and I am a proud Rutgers Future Scholar. Take this journey with me as we develop into successful individuals.

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  • Midterms

    One word MIDTERMS! The word freshman have been dreading for the past week. It's a test that marinates in our heads and will never leave us no matter how hard we try to forget about it. On top of that the pressure it puts on us to do good for our high-school transcripts. Hopefully I'll do well no doubt about it, just got to study a week before hand, I don't worry much about these exams until the day it arrives! Report cards are around the corner to, I've been keeping up my grades, which is a surprise because I was doing terrible in math having an average of 50% but i managed to get my grades up in the past four weeks to an 85% =] getting an 97/100 on my last exam. I can pretty much say that this was my first A on any Algebra exam I ever taken so why not celebrate. Being an honors student is difficult, their is so much work piled up on us and their is high expectations for us to do good. In addition, I know people tend to tell me that studying and putting hard work does pay off at the end and it really does me being the ignorant one for not listening. I went to tutoring once and I felt so uncomfortable,  me being the shy one it was torture so I decided to teach myself.I use to never study for math thinking I will do fine but when I saw how terrible I was doing, it was a wake up call. But luckily i did manage to get my grade up and that's all that matters is to get good grades...

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  • Perseverance

    All I have ever wanted is to be successful. From high school, drama, and problems with relationships it seems impossible to achieve. That's the most exciting thing of it all though, being able to overcome, not giving up and saying "I did it" when I finally do reach my goal. Michael Bolton wrote a song entitled “Go the distance.” A few lyrics from the song is simply this “I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance. I will find my way, if I can be strong. I know every mile, will be worth my while. When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong.” So every time I fail an exam or get in a fight with my best friend, I know it’s a test and it is contributing to my success. I know I can do whatever I want and I believe in the youth of today. We will be someone. We are the future. Although my life is like a rollercoaster just like most other young people, I still go on and so do they. My name is Bryana and I am a Rutgers Future Scholar. Take a ride with me and you might be surprised at what you learn.

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