As part of the Division of Student Affairs’ initiative for Diversity and Inclusion, we at I Am Rutgers have started the #RUIDProject to highlight the many diverse identities, experiences, and reflections of the Rutgers student body. Students featured in this project share how they choose to identify themselves and how Rutgers either helps them express their identity or has helped shape their identity. If you would like to be featured in this project, share a picture of yourself and how you choose to identify using the hashtag #RUIDProject on Instagram or contact us via email.
When I was 7 my family moved to Franklin Township, NJ for one reason: Rutgers. I live approximately 5.3 miles from campus. I have a 12 minute commute — 8 minutes if there’s no traffic on Easton Ave and I’m running late for class. I’ve seen Rutgers and New Brunswick transform over the past 14 years and have come to love the wealth of history and character that dwells within the 5.7 mile city. Don’t let the numbers fool you, I hate math and peaked after memorizing my 11 times tables. Growing up, I spent most of my time reading and drawing, which later developed into my love for writing, design and photography. My passion for creativity has only grown stronger since starting at Rutgers, when I decided to major in Journalism & Media Studies, with minors in Visual Arts, DCIM and Spanish.
My interest in journalism brought me to 26 Mine Street, The Daily Targum office, which would become my home for the next two and half years. Seeing my name in ink every week was satisfying, but what I really loved was getting to know new people and sharing their stories. Before I knew it I was a freshman sitting in the Managing Editor’s chair, editing articles, laying out pages and selecting photos until 2AM. Working 40+ hours a week at the paper while juggling a full course load was not easy, but the skills I gained and the friendships I made in that office were worth it. Without the experience I gained at the paper, I would never have landed my internships at Stella McCartney, HGTV Magazine and CafeMedia.
As a woman of Colombian and Puerto Rican descent, I really found my voice when I started working at Vivala, a lifestyle website for millennial Latinas. Writing about feminist and Latino issues gave me a sense of fulfillment and advocacy. I felt like I was giving back to my community and really understanding what my culture and Latina identity meant as an adult. I also got to meet and work with a lot of inspiring Latinos who were doing awesome and important things, which was great because in America you don’t really see a lot of that showcased in the mainstream media. Fortunately, growing up I had a lot of support from my family, I was always surrounded by hardworking, intelligent and loving men and women who did everything they could to set me up for success. I actively acknowledge these privileges and opportunities, so I feel a sense of responsibility to give back to my community and make a difference, even if it’s only on a small scale. Everyone can do their part for social justice, even if it’s just staying informed, promoting tolerance, or through bystander intervention.
I currently work at the Rutgers Department of Leadership & Experiential Learning as a Social Media Intern, and I also work as a Social Media Marketing Intern for BloomsByTheBox.com. I’m a bit of a workaholic, I got my first job when I was 14 and haven’t stopped since. After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in media as a content creator, and one day as a creative director. Career aspirations aside, I hope to one day fulfill my travel bucket list, learn how to surf, and find the best breakfast in New York. But for now, I’ll make the most of my time left at Rutgers, and savor the bacon, egg, and cheeses from Easton Grill Express Bagel that have gotten me through the last 4 years at this very special university that I’ve come to call home.
Photography by Bhavna Bhatia
Danielle is a recent Rutgers graduate who majored in Journalism & Media Studies in the School of Communication and Information.