NCAS is proud to be home to some of the most dynamic and diverse students in the country.
In our Seniors 2018 series, we profile a handful of our outstanding graduating seniors and
wish them the very best as they bid farewell to Rutgers University–Newark and move forward
on the next stage of their journey.
Hometown: Elizabeth, NJ
Major: Political Science
Isaac Jiménez graduates this spring with impressive academic and extracurricular credentials: As a member of RU-N’s Honors College, he'll leave RU-N with a degree in Political Science, while serving on the campus’ First Year Leadership Council and as a student rep for the Political Science department.
His sophomore year, he worked for a political consulting firm in his hometown of Elizabeth, NJ, as a social media consultant on local and statewide races, including Ras Baraka’s campaign for mayor of Newark.
But for Jiménez, in all seriousness, it’s about the comedy.
The only child of Cuban and Puerto Rican parents and the first in his family to attend college, Jiménez has spent the majority of his time outside class producing events around campus and leading the RU-N/NJIT comedy group Improv Technicians.
“I started in local politics, but the more I thought of it, and what I wanted to do in the world, I thought, 'Wow, this is one big joke,’” says Jiménez, “Then when it became clear what politics was beginning to look like in 2016, I said, ‘Let me go into comedy now!’”
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to engage students on this campus after 5pm, when most commuters go home.
In Jimenez’s mind, politics and comedy are definitely intertwined. His political science studies prepared him perfectly for being curious and engaged in the world and media. They also woke him to the importance of social justice.
For the last couple of years, Jiménez has spent two nights a week at the Magnet Theater, in New York City, studying improv and sketch comedy and performing in shows, including "Diversity Jam," which features diverse performers, those with disabilities, LGBT comedians, and more.
On campus, he has led the Improv Technicians for the last three years, whose lineup has grown to include once-a-month comedy shows, improv workshops for comedians and lay folks, an online sketch-comedy channel, and comedy-show tours throughout the Northeast.
Jiménez has also excelled as a producer while at RU-N.
During junior year, he served as marketing executive and head of comedy for RU-N’s Program Board, the org behind many student-run cultural/artistic events on campus. In that dual role, he was lead producer on the 2016 homecoming weekend comedy show starring Pete Davidson of SNL, created and produced a “Tinder Live” dating show, and produced the spring 2017 Lil’ Uzi Vert concert at the Golden Dome.
This semester, he produced the one-man comedy show “Asian Gracefully,” starring NYC comedian Woody Fu, which ran at Bradley Hall Theater in early April. And just a few weeks ago, he and his Improv Technicians crew put on the fifth-annual Newark Improv Festival, a two-day event that brought dozens of improv groups from around the country and Canada to perform in Newark. The festival also included four improv comedy workshops, one of which Jiménez taught.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about how to engage students on this campus after 5pm, when most commuters go home,” says Jiménez. “I love creating fun, positive experiences for other students. And campus is a safe space to run with an interesting or original idea. If you fail, you just learn from it and do better next time. That’s what college is all about.”
In addition, Jiménez has found time to perform in Rutgers/NJIT Theatre Program productions, playing lead or supporting roles in Bat Boy the Musical, Avenue Q, Hamlet, Woyzeck, and Jesus Christ Superstar.
After graduating, he'll stay in the area and likely work a day job at a creative agency using his skills as a copywriter and web designer, while continuing to study and perform at the Magnet Theater and perhaps start his own sketch-comedy video channel.
"I enjoy articulating my voice through comedy, satire and writing, and bringing people together and addressing social-justice issues through these art forms,” says Jiménez. “And Rutgers-Newark, in all its diversity, has been a great place to find that intersection.”