Alumni Profiles, Giving Back

An Empowering Community

Catalina Guzman, Class of 2019 Rutgers University–Newark

Catalina GuzmanCatalina Guzman was uncertain where she wanted to go to college. Many universities had what she was looking for—strong academics, scholarship opportunities, and options for an honors-level experience. But when she came to Rutgers UniversityNewark, she found much more than that. She discovered an empowering community where people celebrate diversity, faculty and staff exhibit compassion, and support is abundant. This spring, she will graduate with a degree in biology and math.

What do you enjoy about Rutgers–Newark?
As a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) student, I’ve had access to graduate degree preparation, academic advising, study abroad, and so much more. As a first-generation college student, I found inspiration to pursue my passion for medical research in the LSAMP community. This experience has brought me so much joy and knowledge during my time at Rutgers–Newark.

What are you involved with on campus?
Because of generous Rutgers donors, I have been able to take part in hands-on research in labs across campus. Undergraduate research experiences are irreplaceable confidence boosters for aspiring Ph.D. students. I have worked shoulder to shoulder with talented faculty and researchers, all while gaining the experience I need for the next step in my journey. I am also a member of the Rutgers–Newark Honors College, where I have participated in community-building activities like preparing meals for underserved Newark residents and mentoring local community college students.

What are your postgraduation plans?
I’m applying for the National Institutes of Health Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program. I hope to use this program to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience and become a research professor. In the future, I would love to support students the way Rutgers–Newark faculty and alumni have supported me.

What is the Rutgers advantage?
Rutgers–Newark offers endless opportunity. I am so grateful for the atmosphere that creates an environment for educational and professional growth. This is possible because of donors. When you give back to the university, you create and foster a sense of community that allows students to believe in themselves.

Why are you Scarlet Forever?
During my time at Rutgers–Newark, I have experienced nothing but inclusion, encouragement, and strong community ties. Earning a degree can be intimidating. It was easy at times to doubt my abilities and downplay my accomplishments. Generous donors, faculty, and peers encouraged me to see this through to graduation. I am excited to establish my path and a career over the next few years. Once I do, I look forward to giving back to the community that gave me so much.