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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice
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The 2023-2024 RAJU Cohort

The Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community | Office of Undergraduate Intellectual Life (OUIL) 

OUIL Program Coordinators

The Program Coordinators are an integral part of the Office of Undergraduate Intellectual Life. They work closely with the director to coordinate our two main office functions: the RAJU Fellowship and our Student Advisory Board.

Cassandra Vega (SAS & DRC ‘24) is a senior at Rutgers-New Brunswick majoring in Political
Science and double minoring in Latino & Caribbean Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies.
Vega is a co-founder of the Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community (RAJU) and leads the
Student Advisory Board in planning the Racial Justice Summit, the annual tri-campus,
student-led event highlighting racial justice for the broader Rutgers community and
celebrating the accomplishments of the Fellows.

Camila María Belliard is a co-founder of the Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community (RAJU), a feminist, antiracist and decolonial researcher with a background in social anthropology. Her professional experience has centered on marginalized women and black communities in South America and the Caribbean from the perspective of transnational gender and sexuality studies grounded in the social sciences and the humanities.

2023-2024 RAJU Student Advisory Board

Mamadee Keita - Chair of the SAB (RU-Newark)

Mamadee Keita is a senior at Rutgers University Newark majoring in Psychology and a double minor in Social Justice and Women & Gender Studies.

He works as a research assistant at the Social Developmental Lab, focusing much of his work on examining aggressive behaviors directed towards marginalized communities while employing an intersectional lens to comprehensively understand the complexities of these experiences and their profound effects on mental health.

He is looking into graduate programs in clinical psychology and is currently working on his senior honors thesis, tentatively titled An Intersectional Analysis of Perceptions and Experiences with Police.

This is Mamadee's second year on the Student Advisory Board for the ISGRJ.

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Saysha Gonzalez (RU-NB)

Saysha Gonzalez is a senior at Rutgers-New Brunswick, pursuing her degree in Political Science with a concentration in Environmental Studies. At the start of her academic career, she was involved in the Legal Professions Learning Community at Rutgers-Newark and an active member of Jumpstart, a national education organization. 

She later transferred to Rutgers-NB, where her passion for environmental law, policy, and racial justice grew.

As a result, she was selected to be part of the inaugural cohort of the Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community (RAJU). Through RAJU, she completed a social action project that addressed social and political issues found within communities of color through the form of a podcast.

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Rebecca Jolius (RU-NB)

Rebecca Jolius is a junior at Rutgers-New Brunswick, pursuing a degree in Political Science and History with a minor in Spanish. She is a member of the Honors College, serving as a live-in residence mentor to freshmen.

Rebecca prioritizes her commitment to serving the Black community and Rutgers at large through multiple avenues. She works at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, a center dedicated to serving the community of the African diaspora. By planning and executing a multitude of events aimed at the Black community, whether they are based on Black wellness and joy, or serious topics such as politics and mental health, she works to create a safe space for her community.

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Nonny Mbathane (RU-Camden)

Nonny Maphoka Mbathane is an international undergraduate student from Johannesburg, South Africa. Nonny is double majoring in Psychology and Gender Studies, and minoring in Childhood Studies at Rutgers Camden.

She is also a first-generation student, who holds a Diploma in Human Resources Management from Damelin College in South Africa; she is currently pursuing her second qualification. Growing up in a small township, Bekkersdal in the West Rand of Johannesburg, South Africa; Nonny aspired to transcend through her circumstances of poverty and navigating life as a young girl who lost both parents by the age of 7.

Nonny is determined to do work that centers the integrity, self-organized community care and the inherent power of Black and Brown communities.

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Chloe Smith (RU-NB)

Chloe Smith is a senior at Rutgers-New Brunswick majoring in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior with a Sustainability minor. Smith is a 2024 Eagleton Undergraduate Associate earning her certificate in American politics and government, and an ambassador for the School of Environment and Biological Sciences.

As a member of the inaugural cohort of Racial Justice Fellows (RAJU), she completed a social action project dedicated to addressing systemic issues in communities of color through a podcast she co-created. She is also very passionate about environmental justice and wants to make the world better for her community and other marginalized people.

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Racial Justice (RAJU) Fellows, (2023-2024 Cohort)

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Varenya Alvakonda (RU-NB)

Varenya is a double major in Information Technology and Informatics & Public Policy, with a minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Her interests lie in helping GenZ stand up for the conflicts that have been occurring around the world. In the racial justice field, her interest is in the genetic aftermaths of colonialism on women of color as well as the disparity in literacy rates of women of color and non-women of color.

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Grace Asare (RU-Camden)

Grace is a political science major and statistics minor at Rutgers Camden. She is interested in increasing the representation of racial minorities in political and career-related leadership. As an intern for a legislative campaign, she speaks with constituents about election awareness and candidate policy initiatives. She hopes to represent people at a greater level one day and display my passion of advocating for economic and social change for racial minorities through policy and law.

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Anika Chopra (RU-NB)

Anika is a junior majoring in Criminal Justice and Political Science with minors in Psychology and South Asian Studies at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Being raised in India as an American-born woman, her experiences in activism closely follow advocating for the South Asian community, who often go unnoticed in the spectrum of Racial Justice due to the “privileges,” of being a model minority. She is passionate about legislation and policy reform in immigration law and the American Dream.

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Imani Cooper (RU-Camden)

Imani Cooper is pursuing a double major in accounting and management at Rutgers-Camden.
Through the Rutgers Ignite program, she works as an afterschool tutor at Dudley in the Camden
school district. Imani has made it her mission to show that being from Camden does not define
you but is a part of your story. She aims to create community initiatives that provide equal
educational rights to instill courage in the youth of Camden to disprove negative connotations
placed on the city

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Herrin Oum Fontenette (RU-NB)

Herrin is currently a junior at Rutgers New-Brunswick, majoring in history (pre law with a black studies concentration) and public policy. On campus Herrin is a DEI leader, Black women centered organization vice president, on campus spoke word artist and student involvement leader whose racial justice work primarily focuses on the uplifting of black womens'/peoples voices and experiences through poetry.

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Jilary Guaman Calle (RU-Newark)

Jilary is a double major in Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies with a concentration in the Honors College and a minor in Social Justice through the HLLC. A junior at Rutgers-Newark, they are committed to space building for women and gender-queer folks within academia. Jilary’s racial justice work interests include protecting and acknowledging im/migrant rights, especially with Queer, racialized communities

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Cass Guinto (RU-Newark)

Cass is a junior at Rutgers–Newark studying English and Urban Education. As a first-generation queer Filipina/x American, she deeply values her roots and aims to incorporate them into her advocacy work. Through this fellowship, Cass hopes to illuminate the rich tapestry of Filipino/a/x American history and art in order to foster more honest, empowering, and decolonize narratives for her community.

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Samira Lari (RU-Camden)

Samira is a senior at Rutgers-Camden pursuing an English major and a Psychology minor. Her interest in racial justice work truly began by seeing how her different identities as a Black, Muslim, woman could interact with one another, how that affected the way people react to her, and the way she moves throughout the world. She would like to explore the topic of environmental racism and how that can affect Black and Brown communities as well as our Black and Brown youth.

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Maria Loo (Rutgers-Newark)

Maria is a Pre-Law student majoring in English and minoring in Political Science at Rutgers-Newark. Their passions for racial justice include seeking justice for victims of police brutality and racial profiling. They are interested in collaborating with minority students across all three campuses and voicing racial justice concerns within the university institution

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Azinwi Numfor (RU-NB)

Azinwi is a sophomore pursuing majors in Public Policy and Political Science at Rutgers-New Brunswick. As a member of the Paul Robeson Living Learning Community, Azinwi is deeply understands the history and significance of the African Diaspora, recognizing its relevance in contemporary society. With a deep-seated passion for addressing education inequality, she actively engages in initiatives aimed at reforming educational disparities and she hopes for equitable access to education for all marginalized communities

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Corey Saunders (Rutgers-Newark)

Corey Saunders is a Freshman at Rutgers-Newark, pursuing a degree in Political Science and
minoring in Social Justice. Corey is a HLLC scholar, and is dedicated to pursuing a career in public office, with the main goal of helping people. Corey also plans to continue pushing the envelope when it comes to social justice and racial justice. He lives by the idea that our society can not simply be not racist, we must be actively anti-racist.

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Freideliz Perez (RU-Camden)

Freideliz is a senior at Rutgers-Camden. She is pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Global Studies with a minor in Gender Studies. She is passionate about underserved communities
and intersectionality within racial justice. Her dedication has seen her volunteer for various
projects, both in South Africa and her hometown, reflecting her strong commitment to social