Scholar of the Week

James Ramos      
Rutgers University

James Ramos, recipient of the 2016 HENAAC Scholarship sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton in the amount of $1,250.00, is currently a sophomore pursuing a degree in computer science at Rutgers University. A dedicated and driven student, James has proven that he can surpass the stereotype of a failing Camden city student by exceeding all expectations and actively maintaining a flawless 4.0 GPA from his first year of college.

While working to prepare himself for success in engineering, James sought to become a well-rounded individual by getting involved with civic engagement and service opportunities, thus shaping what he aspires to succeed. As a member of the Civic Scholars at Rutgers Camden, James has further developed his passion for mathematics. He has mentored youth while learning programming design and structural engineering by participating in a fabrication laboratory within his former high school. As a Civic Scholar, James is required to complete 300 service hours with the objective of being civically engaged within the city of Camden. As such he taught 6th grade math enrichment for the TeenSHARP College Access program, and also instructing students in an afterschool Fab Lab at Leap Academy. With TeenSHARP, James works closely with high-achieving youth of color with advanced mathematics and tutoring them with work they may struggle on, while also providing strong mentorship to get the kids thinking about college success. With Fab Lab, James teaches kids how to do 3-D printing, introducing them to coding, and how to design and manage web programs and applications.

Beyond Civic Scholars, James is also recognized as part of the inaugural cohort of the Rutgers-Camden Student Leadership Institute, where he has the opportunity to earn a scholarship to participate in leadership training and professional development. Additionally, James is enrolled in the TRiO student support program for first generation students, where he has achieved great esteem as a leader in the group. Embracing both economic and educational challenges has kept James motivated to seek opportunities that not only support the financial aspects of higher education, but compel him to serve as a positive role model for other students.

James seeks to model motivation, passion and perseverance, to embody each of the characteristics as an example to his community, especially for those who feel that higher education is outside their reality. As a Latino student of Puerto Rican descent, James aspires to use his computer engineering education to reinvest in Camden so that he can one day help other students have dynamic learning experiences and use their background as motivation, rather than a hindrance. James believes that “education is truly the most valuable weapon in the fight to reshape failing communities like Camden.”

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