Myrna Bonin, 63, is a study in positive thinking and perseverance. The senior journalism major, who grew up in the Bronx and Elizabeth, NJ, and is of Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage, will become the first in her family to graduate from college this month.
Bonin’s path to RU-N's Commencement is circuitous and inspiring. She first arrived at RU-N as a freshman in 1977, at age 19, to study journalism (she comes from a family of journalists in Cuba) but soon had to cut her studies short due to “life events.”
She pivoted quickly however, embarking on a two-decade-plus career as a New Jersey Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic, which was inspired by volunteer work she had done at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, now Trinitas, around the corner from where she was raised.
Bonin began her paramedic career at Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ, and worked for St. Barnabas’ paramedic and burn transport units, Dover Hospital’s paramedic unit, and Monmouth Ocean Hospital Service Corporation’s paramedic unit. She also spent 15 years working for Newark EMS, all while raising her son, who is now a college sophomore.
I hope that my journey will show other students contemplating their own educational dreams that it is never too late.
In 2019 Bonin, who now lives in Middletown, NJ, returned to school to complete her associates degree at Brookdale Community College in Liberal Arts, along with a certification in nonprofit management, while working full-time. She then enrolled in the RU-N/Brookdale partnership program to pursue a B.A. in Journalism and Media Studies, with a second concentration in Political Science, as part of University College.
Bonin has made the most of her time at RU-N and became a staff writer for Newance, the online magazine of the RU-N Journalism program, where she penned a piece about former Star-Ledger columnist and RU-N Journalism Instructor Mark DiIonno. She also received the Yolande Rubianes Memorial Award from the Office of Student Services, given to students who distinguish themselves while facing adversity.
While at RU-N Bonin’s life took another unexpected turn: She took a summer class in Legal Philosophy and fell in love with the subject, so much so that she hopes to attend Rutgers Law School to study legal philosophy and constitutional jurisprudence, and eventually become a law professor.
“To say that I love RU-N, everyone who has helped me, and all that my experience has provided is an understatement,” said Bonin. “I hope that my journey will show other students contemplating their own educational dreams that it is never too late.”