“When I immigrated to the United States five years ago, I didn’t know what to expect,” shared Karoline Gonzalez, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic with her family when she was 13 years old. “I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming, friendly, and beautiful Newark was and still is,” said Gonzalez, a junior in the Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC) at Rutgers University–Newark. An alumna of Essex County College (ECC) with an associate degree in liberal arts, Gonzalez is pursuing a major in journalism and a minor in social justice at Rutgers-Newark.
Gonzalez has resided in Newark for the past five years. She attended Barringer High School her freshman year and transferred to and graduated from Technology High School. While in high school, Gonzalez sang in the school choir, serving as a part and section leader; participated in the Photography Club, earning the role of school sports photographer; and joined the National Honor Society, helping to organize a group of fellow students to attend the 2018 Women’s March in New York City. At ECC, Gonzalez continued to excel academically, ultimately accepting an invitation to join its National Honor Society.
“Attending ECC has got to be one of the best decisions I have ever made,” reflects Gonzalez. “For had I not started there, I would not be at Rutgers-Newark now.” When considering her post-secondary educational options, Gonzalez acknowledged that she was fixated on “great name” schools.
Just like the city of Newark, Rutgers-Newark is surprisingly welcoming. It feels like family to me.
“I could have applied to those ‘great name’ schools I was so obsessed with back in high school. Admittedly, I was naive, but I know things now that I didn’t know then. Among them, it was clear that Rutgers-Newark, with its diverse student body, successful alumni, supportive staff, great academic departments, and an even greater journalism program, was the place for me. Moreover, when I heard about the HLLC, I knew I had to get in and indeed, that is where I am now!”
A writer and bibliophile, in addition to becoming a journalist, Gonzalez ultimately aspires to work in the book publishing industry. “I hope to work alongside other publishers and authors to continue to diversify the literary world and amplify the voices of the unheard.” She also would like to study photography and one day marry her passion for books, writing, and photography into a book of poetry and photography.
Until then, Gonzalez remains excited about what the future at Rutgers-Newark has in store for her. “Just like the city of Newark, Rutgers-Newark is surprisingly welcoming. It feels like family to me. I know I’ll be able to make great contributions here because I feel accepted and safe. At Rutgers-Newark, I know my voice is being heard. Moreover, I know the HLLC will provide me with the skills, tools, and resources I need to give back to the Newark community. I’m grateful to have this experience.”