Student Projects Leave Impact on Community
Galloway, N.J. – Four students were awarded fall 2021 Board of Trustees Fellowship for Distinguished Students awards at the December board meeting. Each of them completed their projects during the spring 2022 semester. The following is a look back at what each student accomplished:
In April 2022, the senior Mathematics major with a minor in Africana studies organized the Osprey Excellence Experience, an event targeting students of color to raise their awareness of resources available on- and off-campus that will impact their career readiness. Alicia recruited a team of 34 students of color that met weekly to brainstorm ideas and facilitate the event.
“This was a big passion of mine to increase diversity and inclusion on campus after struggling to find my place on campus and find a group that I could call my own among people who look like me,” Jenkins said at the event. “As a math major, there are not a lot of people that look like me. So, it was very much a struggle. I really wanted to implement an event that would help students early in their careers to see that they have a sense of community at Stockton.”
More than 75 students and 35 professionals attended the event, which was held at Stockton’s Atlantic City campus. The professionals offered valuable career advice for students and suggested steps they should take after graduation, while the students took advantage of the event to network.
“I hope that this is just the beginning of the Osprey Excellence Experience, that it grows and continues even after I graduate to bring more diversity and inclusion among students of color. We need a place to belong, feel encouraged and be empowered. I hope that this event did that,” Jenkins said.
The senior Psychology major worked with the Future Leaders Program of the Salvation Army to directly address, through education, the cyclical nature of discrimination and poverty in Atlantic City.
“I wanted to start this program to learn, and to create an honestly student-centered program focused on the youth and their wishes,” Data said. “Too often, programs and funding are thrown at youth using outdated models of teaching. So, I worked at the Stockton Center of Community Engagement and Service Learning to connect the youth in a meaningful way to their communities, encourage empowerment, and lasting systems of support.”
Data said that she also connected with other community groups including Avanzar, the Noyes Art Garage, Atlantic City Institute of Technology and Stockton Engelberg Scholarship Cohort’s literacy program.
“These programs and the funding used to purchase enrichment supplies and activities had an amazing impact, introducing Salvation Army staff to new learning possibilities, like dissections and engineering, as well as allowing more freedom and interest toward schooling through activities like clay models and classroom banners,” she said.
And while she was working with urban, low-income youth, Data said her ultimate goal is to have a network of community organizers to serve all youth programs – both in and out of school.
Anna Maria DiPhillipo
The recent graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science created an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device that was installed at the Imagination Station Playground in Galloway Township. The bilingual board she created will assist children who are nonverbal or who need assistance with speaking communicate better with others as they play.
“I grew up with a non-verbal sister, who has a disorder called Rett Syndrome. This disability has taken away her ability to speak, and I have seen the struggles my sister faces due to this. Despite my sister's condition, she is the happiest person I know. I'm inspired by the resiliency of individuals who face such adversity.”
DiPhillipo hopes her board provides children who may feel left out or different with a tool to feel more included. She also hopes it will bring awareness to AAC and communication disorders in general.
“Many children and parents who visit this park will see a communication board for the very first time and that, to me, is a win,” she said.
The recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science researched and created a website featuring profiles of 26 businesses in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties that were started by Holocaust survivors. The project, titled “Holocaust-Survivor Owned Businesses in South Jersey,” was created for the Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at Stockton.
Many of the Holocaust survivors started with egg farming and later, after egg prices declined, reinvented themselves to open other types of businesses in the area, including restaurants, hotels and real estate development. Quinn was able to identify 134 businesses started by Holocaust survivors and of that group put together profiles of 26 of them. The profiles are hosted on the Holocaust Center’s website.
“Our ultimate goal would be to have profiles on each of the (134) businesses in the database,” Quinn said. “This initial launch is just a taste. … The best thing we could do is publish these online because it allows us to show a lot of information.”