Jennifer Dios' journey to Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) began at Science Park High School in Newark, when a teacher advised her to apply for the Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC) at RU-N.
“In high school I was very unsure of where I wanted to go. I always knew about Rutgers-Newark and once I ended up applying, it just felt right,” Dios stated.
Dios, a first-generation college student, entered RU-N as a business student but quickly realized that business was not for her. Dios, who was already a graduate of Girls Who Code, a 7 week program that aims to close the gender gap in tech by teaching women about data structures, algorithms, robotics, web development, and mobile app development, along with learning different coding languages, decided to change her major to computer science with a double minor in social justice and mathematics.
She was also part of the Garden State - Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GS-LSAMP) program, a statewide alliance headquartered at RU-N which provides participating students with opportunities and resources to ensure student success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) majors, as well as holistic educational experiences to effectively explore and succeed in STEM majors and careers.
There’s so much you can do with data, such as working to impact the government or implement policy reform. Eventually, I want to make a global impact on society.
The diversity of Dios’ passions extended well outside the classroom. As a student, Dios co-founded the Honors Living-Learning Community Student Council. The council’s goal is to act as advocate for the HLLC student body as well as provide leadership development opportunities and service projects. She also served as its treasurer for nearly three years.
During Dios’s tenure at Rutgers-Newark, she joined the joint Rutgers-NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) Theater Program and participated in several shows. Dios said, “I am very invested into the arts. To me, it's such a big platform to really get a message across. My first show here was In the Heights. The strong Latino representation in the play made it such an honor for me to be a part of it.”
Dios also grew to love traveling. The scholarships and summer internship opportunities Dios received while at RU-N enabled her to travel to Spain, Iceland, and South Africa, among other places. “Scholarships and experiential learning gave me the opportunity to travel. Those experiences really expanded my mind and made me realize that there is so much more out there, so much to work on, and most importantly so much to change!” Dios exclaimed.
Dios wants her future to revolve around helping to create change. Upon receiving her bachelor's degree from the School of Arts and Sciences-Newark (SASN), Dios accepted a full-time offer as an analyst for Deloitte’s Government and Public Services. She will begin the next chapter of her life and career in Sacramento, California, but plans to return to school to further explore her interest in data science.
“In general, a lot of people who go into computer science usually follow a traditional path into web development, but because I have so much love for social justice, I always thought there was so much power in data,” shared Dios. “There’s so much you can do with data, such as working to impact the government or implement policy reform. Eventually, I want to make a global impact on society.”
Dios is an example of how the strong community at Rutgers-Newark helps push students to reach their desired goals. A Newark native with proud Latino roots, Dios is thankful for this community, which is largely responsible for her evolving into the role model and mentor she is today.
“What a lot of people don't know about Rutgers-Newark is that you will definitely be really supported. What I remember the most is the people. The support and dedication from the staff and my peers were very inspiring and kept me moving forward. That's something I really loved about Rutgers-Newark that I will take with me for the rest of my life,” Dios said.