What better way to cap off a college career than with an award from your chancellor? Ten ambitious 2016 graduates achieved just that when Rutgers–New Brunswick chancellor Richard Edwards distributed the first Chancellor’s Student Leadership Awards on May 3, 2016.
All of the recipients are not only dedicated to academic success, but to positive civic change, both locally and globally. Honors program student Jeremy Yeaton (SAS ’16), was nominated by a thesis and research advisor, and was “surprised and honored to be recognized” for his work in founding a languages club, Rutgers Lingua, and his continued research and teaching activities in languages and linguistics.
“Foreign languages have always been fascinating to me,” Yeaton said. “There are so many more benefits to learning a foreign language than just being able to converse with a different population, so I tried to encourage my fellow students to study languages to make themselves more culturally aware global citizens as well as participate in a rewarding and stimulating learning experience.”
After graduation, Yeaton says he will teach English in Bulgaria thanks to a Fulbright award.
Allen Chung (SAS ’16) is currently pursuing Peace Corps service opportunities in youth development and education, but he won the award for his role in the Rutgers Toastmasters International, a group that exists among an international network of over 300,000 members in 130 countries and provides public speaking and leadership training to student members.
“I held two club officer roles—vice president of education and club president,” Chung said. “I was one of the pivotal members of Rutgers Toastmasters International who have contributed to the club’s enormous comeback.”
That “enormous comeback” was hard-earned, he said, coming off the heels of a six-month suspension from World Headquarters. With Chung’s help, the club bounced back and even earned a coveted award, among other achievements.
“In addition, as the club president, I increased club membership growth by a record breaking 300 percent and sponsored 20 new, dual, or reinstated club members,” Chung said.
Ismelka Gomez (SAS ’16) aspires to be a U.S. ambassador, and her international influence was felt across various projects across Rutgers. The 2016 graduate was a study abroad Global Ambassador, conducted a social action research project on domestic violence among undocumented women and built support networks for victims, and even created info sessions on the D.R.E.A.M. act for New Brunswick high school students.
“I was speechless to have heard that I earned such a high achievement. It was the first time Rutgers has ever done this type of award ceremony. I felt very lucky to have been a part of it,” Gomez said. “It was very exciting to be standing next to many students who have made a difference not only on campus, but also in New Brunswick.”
For more information on the awards, visit the 2016 Award Winners page.