Every Rutgers student’s path to becoming a Scarlet Knight is just as unique and diverse as the students themselves. Mine began 20 years ago when my family decided to immigrate from Peru to New Jersey. As a six-month year old, I belonged to the very specific type of first-generation immigrant, one that was born to a foreign land but still did most of their growing up in the United States.
Attending and graduating from university was a dream for myself and my family, and Rutgers helped make that dream a reality. I was admitted into the School of Engineering through the Equal Opportunity Fund (EOF), a program that gives economically and educationally disadvantaged students the same opportunity to pursue higher education as other students.
As an EOF student, my admission into the School of Engineering was contingent on completing the Engineers of the Future Summer Institute, a 10-week summer program that gives students a taste of college life by housing them in Barr Hall and attending classes such as Math, Writing, Physics, MATLAB, and Intro to Engineering. My experience in the summer institute prepared me extremely well for the fall semester and, I believe, set me up for all my current success.
By taking college-level courses the summer before my freshman year, I was able to learn how to properly study for more demanding engineering classes. Most importantly, the summer institute eased me into the very new world of college life. As a first-generation student, I was not able to rely on my parents or other family members to guide and prepare for university. This is where EOF helped me so much, giving me a community of other first-generation students where we could learn and develop into successful students.
EOF still helps me through workshops that help me both academically and professionally. Despite being at a slight disadvantage before college, EOF has helped me and many other first-generation students transition into college life and have successful undergraduate careers.