Newark Day 2021

Camila Ventura Martinez

On Thursday, July 8th the Futures in Advancement Interns headed off to Newark (virtually of course!) to meet with the advancement team working within the Rutgers University- Newark campus. As an alumna of Rutgers-Newark, I was especially excited to learn more about the team and their work as well as how they came to be where they are today.  

Our day started off with meeting the ever inspiring and genuine Robin Semple, who is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Development for Strategic Initiatives at Rutgers-Newark. Vice Chancellor Semple shared with us many stories of her professional journey, including her trip to the United Nations Plaza as a young girl which paved a path for the experiences and goals she has accomplished since. Vice Chancellor Semple emphasized her focus on humanity, culture, and global thought as her drive for her extensive work within nonprofit, development, and higher education. She mentioned that she used her values and diverse interests as an advantage to try new things and gave the interns the advice to do the same.

Vice Chancellor Semple also shared other pieces of her role within development including her work with management and prospect development, the opportunity to work on a diverse team and how diversity allows for a multitude of perspectives, as well as the opportunity to be part of other initiatives such as a task force within the Foundation focused on race, philanthropy, and enhancing the participation of alumni of color/communities of color.

Our meeting ended on an inspirational note, with Vice Chancellor Semple sharing with us her guiding poem, Human Family by Maya Angelou, that closed out a very memorable and motivational meeting. Thank you, Vice Chancellor Semple!

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to attend an Early Career Panel hosted by Campaign Coordinator at Rutgers-Newark, Emilie Vocaj Wan Bok Nale, that included Special Project Coordinator, Alexandra Brown, and Development Associate, Nate Nakao as panelists. Our time with Emilie, Alexandra and Nate gave the interns a look into their journeys, their current work, and projects, as well as advice from their own experiences.

Each panelist gave a different and honest perspective of how they came into the world of development that added to the reality of maneuvering through your career. Emilie, Alexandra, and Nate each detailed their own stories of how they found their current positions as well as what they are currently working on.  Their projects were especially interesting to learn more about, as they each had an assortment of projects that highlighted the many different aspects that happen within the field of development including, work with combating food insecurity, scholarship workshops, and memorialization.

Each panelist also offered insight in their experience with professional lessons and gave advice to the interns as they start their careers. The lessons touched upon work life balance, being kind to oneself, and pacing yourself through your responsibilities. Lastly, their advice included to never forget your “why”, to put a focus on visualization and your own values, as well as the advice to never let go of curiosity to always find a way to learn despite the level you are within your career. Their insight was very much appreciated, and we are so thankful for the opportunity to meet them!

Overall, Newark Day left me in very high spirits with a lot to ponder and apply to my own goals. This opportunity, alongside the many opportunities to meet with and discuss with Foundation staff has been incredible so far. As we near the end of our internship, I know the many perspectives we have come to learn of will be takeaways we will continue to use as we progress into our own journeys ahead!

Camila Ventura Martinez is a Futures in Advancement intern with the Rutgers Biomedical & Health Sciences team

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