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January 31, 2020
Meet Our Rutgers University – Newark Students
by Marisa Lunde

As an environmental and educational nonprofit, we believe it’s important to involve youth in the development of their community. That’s why we partnered with Rutgers University – Newark through the Off-Campus Community Service Program (OCCSP) to provide two Federal Work Study (FWS) opportunities for college students. This program enables us to better serve the Newark community while preparing students for the future.

The OCCSP was a perfect fit for our Urban Farming and Education programs (specifically for maintaining the Hawthorne Avenue Farm and for assisting with the Lead-Safe Early Care (LSEC) program). At the Hawthorne Avenue Farm, our FWS student Ely works with Karen and Mark on small construction and painting projects. She also offers expertise as a graphic design student to create promotional materials for programs like Plot It Fresh, LSEC, and the farm itself.

Elida Abreu — Graphic Design Student

"My name is Elida Abreu and I am an up-and-coming artist from Newark, New Jersey. From the moment that I first gravitated towards art in my life, it has offered me a multitude of different learning experiences and that is why it has turned into my passion. Illustration and my attention to detail have become a major part of my artistic designing skills. My career goals in the future are focused on strengthening my skill set, helping the community, and continue evolving as a graphic designer. My artistic passion drives me to create, explore, and interpret new ways of expressing myself through art and life.  

"I recently earned my Associate's Degree in New Media Technology from Essex County College and am currently studying graphic design at Rutgers University – Newark. Thankfully my enrollment at Rutgers granted me the opportunity to take part in a service-learning project at the Hawthorne Avenue Farm and Greater Newark Conservancy. I am beyond grateful because this experience has turned into the most fulfilling one in which I have been involved during my career path."

We also have the pleasure to work with Jereece, an undergrad biology student with a passion for the environment. He has been assisting our education department with everything from Family Fun in the Kitchen to the LSEC program.

Jereece Brown — Biology Student

"My name is Jereece Brown.  I was born on the Island of Jamaica.  My earliest recollection involves learning and an ambition to learn; my parents noticed my academic prowess at a very tender age, and they began to heavily invest in it.  As I got older, I realized that I have a natural passion for Biology. As an adolescent, I was active in the 4H club where I participated in pig-rearing and rabbit-rearing, among other activities.  I also won a national award in Seed Bedding and Preparation, where I was featured in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper being embraced by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for my accomplishment.  I created a 1.5-acre farm in my backyard and sold various produce that I harvested. The most popular items were callaloo, bok choy, tomatoes, sweet peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, and lettuce.

"Since the fall of 2019, I have been attending Rutgers University – Newark, where I am pursuing an undergraduate degree in Biology (Environmental and Evolutionary Science).  I recently have had the privilege to pursue my work study at Greater Newark Conservancy. I began by volunteering with the Family Fun in the Kitchen Program, and now am assisting with the ongoing Lead-Safe Early Care program. Through this program, Conservancy Educator Megan, fellow Rutgers student Aaliyah and I go to pre-K schools throughout Newark to interact with and inform the population about the dangers of lead.  This experience has been very fulfilling for me because I had the opportunity to lead an informative presentation on the dangers of lead at the Judith Diggs pre-K site. I was fearful that I would not do well at first, but under the aegis of our leader Megan, I was able to execute the presentation, and the reception from the students proved that they learned and had fun from our presentations.

"In the future, I would like to become a professor of Biology and an Environmentalist because I am aware of the state of our world, and the need to educate all its citizens on how to preserve the ecosystem.  There are many interventions to be made in order to reduce pollution, expand renewable energy, desist from the practice of deforestation and so much more. The onus is mine and many others like me who are willing to think differently, and work together to change the state of our present environment for the best."

It is an immense pleasure to work with these bright and hardworking students!

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