Student Highlights



2010-11 Undergraduate Voorhees Fellows Announced

Undergraduate Voorhees Fellows
Don Sutton, Rachel Swanson, Weis Baher,
Diana Won, Briavel Holcomb

In May the school announced the selection of the second group of Rutgers undergraduates to be awarded the Ralph W. Voorhees Fellowships in Public Service. Established at the Bloustein School in 2009 through a $500,000 endowment from Scott Voorhees and Susan Voorhees Hunt to honor their uncle, Ralph Voorhees, for his long-standing commitment to community public service, the fellowships are designed to help Rutgers undergraduates with financial needs to take advantage of the university’s service-learning opportunities, engage with Rutgers’ community partners, and to connect their education with the experience of participating in local community life.

Each year, the Voorhees Fellowship selects four undergraduate students from a competitive applicant pool from any major at Rutgers-New Brunswick who are dedicated to public service. Fellows receive $5000 ($2500 in each semester of the next academic year) so they may undertake credit-bearing internships with non-profit or government organizations in areas such as community development and planning, community-based education, housing and public transportation, public health and public policy. Fellows meet several times a semester with former New Jersey Governor James Florio to discuss their experience and they will make a presentation on their experience at the end of the fellowship year in a public forum.

The 2010-2011 recipients are:

Weis Baher (’11) of Paramus, N.J., is an English and Economics major. At Rutgers he is a Resident Assistant and has been a research assistant at the Aresty Center working on a project documenting the Kwakwaka’wakw Native Americans. Baher has worked as a group leader for high school age international visitors leading tours in New York. He hopes to intern with the International Rescue Committee helping refugees to negotiate immigration and settle in communities. Baher’s family is originally from Afghanistan and he is fluent in Farsi.

Natasha Ramsey (’11) of New Brunswick, N.J. is majoring in Public Health. She graduated from the New Brunswick Health Sciences and Technology High School and has been the recipient of several scholarships including the James Dickinson Carr and Edward J. Bloustein Scholars. Ramsey has been active in various community programs including Diamonds, a mentoring program for girls at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens; the Paul Robeson Special Interest Section (a living community at Rutgers); and Project L/EARN – a competitive summer health research program. She is a member of the Black Student Union and the Eta Sigma Gamma Public Health Honor Society and hopes eventually to create a non-profit organization to serve women of color.

Rachel Swanson (’11), of Marlboro, N.J., is majoring in Biochemistry and Public Health. She is Vice President of the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children and has volunteered in both Costa Rica and Nicaragua as well as being a tutor at Elijah’s Promise. Among her aliases are Bubbles the Clown and the Mad Scientist, guises in which she has served children in local hospitals and taught science in New Brunswick Elementary and Middle Schools. For her internship she hopes to expand a program in the local schools that seeks to help children deal constructively with the hardship in their lives.

Diana Won (’11) of Closter, N.J., is majoring in Planning and Public Policy. She serves as the President of the Campus Coalition Against Trafficking and is a member of several other service organizations on campus. In the spring of 2009 Won interned at La Casa de Don Pedro in Newark where she worked on housing and foreclosure issues. She then went to Buenos Aires, Argentina where she volunteered with children in a shantytown. Won also interned at Habitat for Humanity and helped with Hurricane Katrina relief. She is conversational in both Spanish and Korean, and belongs to a traditional Korean dance group. Won is hoping to work with a CDC in Brooklyn for her Voorhees Fellowship.


Graduate Berger Fellows Selected

Through a special graduate internship/fellowship program created in cooperation with The Louis Berger Group, Inc., Bloustein School Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) and/or Master of Public Policy (MPP) students are considered for a comprehensive fellowship award and earn internship credit while taking on a professional experience internship at an international or national site of one of the leading planning and engineering consulting organizations in the country.

Following their selection as Fellows and at the conclusion of their first year of study, the MCRP and MPP students embark upon a full-time summer internship assigned to one of the Louis Berger Group’s projects which are carried out from over 80 locations around the world. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees for the second year of study, and may include an internship with the Berger Group within the region during the academic year as well.




Graduate Studio Recipient of NJPO Award

The Fall 2009 Graduate Studio “West Cape May Sustainability,” was chosen to receive a 2010 New Jersey Planning Officials “Achievement in Planning” award. The award was presented at the annual NJPO Achievement in Planning Awards Banquet on Friday, April 23. The faculty advisors for the studio were Susan Gruel, Fred Heyer and Lyna Wiggins. The students in the studio were Sarah Colins, Christa Dilalo, Kate Lawrence, Katherine Otto, Nicole Perez, Christopher Plasencia, Deborah Schulze, Matt Seckler, and Matt Ward. The studio was featured in an article in the Cape May Herald in December 2009.


Donnelly Authors New Book

MPAP student Chris Donnelly has authored the book Baseball's Greatest Series: Yankees, Mariners, and the 1995 Matchup That Changed History, published by Rutgers University Press. Book copies can be ordered through the Rutgers University Press website and through many other sources, including, Barnes & Noble, or Borders.


Nsababera Highlighted on Rutgers Today

Recent public health undergraduate Judyth Nsababera was highlighted earlier this year on the Rutgers Today website. In 2005, Judyth founded the nonprofit organization Project Hope for Africa to help young Africans affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and began to recruit volunteers and contributions of money and clothing.


MPP Yellin Wins Democratic Primary for Town Council in Berkeley Heights, NJ

MPP candidate Stephen Yellin, a lifelong resident of Berkeley Heights, NJ and a graduate of Governor Livingston High School and Drew University, recently won the Democratic primary for Town Council in Berkeley Heights, NJ. Yellin has been active in local politics since age 13; in 2007 he was elected to the Union County Democratic Committee to represen the local Berkeley Heights district and presently serves as the secretary of the Berkeley Heights Democratic Municipal Committee. The local election will be held in November.


Kwan Hui Chosen to Participate in 2010 Eno Leadership Development Conference

Kwan Hui, MCRP/MPA candidate, was recently chosen to participate in the Eno Leadership Development Conference, sponsored by the Eno Transportation Foundation. The Leadership Development Conference provides participants with a first-hand look at how transportation policy is developed and implemented. Fellows are given the opportunity to meet government officials, leaders of associations, and members of Congress and their staff and see how the nation's transportation policies are debated, shaped, formed, and ultimately adopted and applied.


DeRose Assists with Princeton University TDM Plan; Presented NJ Smart Workplace Award

Princeton University's Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program was recently presented a NJ Smart Workplace Award by the State of New Jersey. TheNJ Smart Workplaces designation is presented to employers who have worked to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality with work-site based employee commuting options. MCRP candidate Andrea DeRose, Princeton's TDM manager, was instrumental in the creation of the University's TDM program. The goals and strategies for implementation of the program can be found on Princeton's website.


Final Report of Policy Practicum Published by NJ Commission on Higher Education

The final report of a Bloustein School policy practicum, The Assessment of the Disengaged Adults Returning to College Program (will open a PDF) has been published by the NJ Commission on Higher Education and can now be found their website. Participants in the project included recent Master in Public Policy graduates Jason Toedter, Laura Montas, Shannon O’Hare, and William Gayle. The group was advised by Professor Carl Van Horn.