Local Impact,
Global Reach

Part 2

Rutgers University–Camden Magazine
A Publication for Alumni, Friends & Supporters
Spring 2023 – Digital Issue

A Message From The Chancellor

Chancellor Tillis

I am proud that the pages of this magazine contain so many stories worth celebrating. Part two of “Local Impact, Global Reach” continues to explore the multitude of ways in which Rutgers–Camden faculty, staff, students, and alumni have embodied excellence in our community and far beyond, making a difference on an international scale. 

Rutgers–Camden’s international initiatives remain front-and-center in this issue of the magazine; our cover story dives into the transformative, interdisciplinary partnership that is taking place between our university and Universidad Nacional de Asunción in Paraguay. This is an incredible story in which two institutions of higher learning, located oceans apart and appearing so different on the surface, dig deeper to discover how much they have to learn from each other.

A story highlighting the stellar work of the Walter Rand Institute, which has fought for South Jersey residents’ rights and quality of life for over two decades, demonstrates just how crucial our faculty is to the continued flourishing of our community. Also featured in this issue is the heartrending story of one faculty member’s determined efforts to evacuate her mother from a war-torn home in Ukraine to and ensure a safe stateside reunion.

Our faculty’s research stands out among the pages of this magazine, from one professor’s efforts to increase on-campus diversity in STEM to another’s ingenious efforts to mitigate the world’s water crisis with an unlikely helper: a small African beetle. Our students and alumni also stand tall, from one woman’s quest to make sure figures of Camden’s African American history are remembered, to another making her presence felt in the halls of power at the Department of Homeland Security.

These stories are the product of an academic year that has seen Rutgers–Camden overcome the adversity of a global pandemic to reach new heights. I continue to stand in awe of the individuals who make our university an unstoppable force in academics, civic engagement, athletics, and so much more. I invite you to join me in celebrating these remarkable people and their stories by reading through the pages of this magazine. I hope you will enjoy getting to know them more deeply and discovering all we have to offer each other.

Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D.
Chancellor of Rutgers University in Camden

A Message From the Publisher

Vice Chancellor Toni Mooney Smith

Enjoy the latest issue of Rutgers University–Camden Magazine: Local Impact, Global Reach Part II. When the Office of Marketing and Communications published the inaugural digital issue of Rutgers University–Camden Magazine, I knew there were many more stories to tell of our university’s success at the local, national, and international levels. Rutgers–Camden faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners contribute so much to our success. It is an honor to share these amazing stories of what they have accomplished thus far. We have added a few new features, including “On Cooper Street” and “Schools Leading the Way” that convey the vibrant atmosphere and unshakeable spirit of our campus!

My team and I are committed to telling these incredible narratives not only in our magazine but also throughout the year. We regularly share research highlights, faculty success stories, and student/alumni achievements at camden.rutgers.edu/news and as part of the Rutgers Today website and email newsletter. Stay tuned for more reporting, topical videos, and other multimedia initiatives spotlighting our faculty’s research and expertise on trending topics, along with the achievements of current and former students.

Additionally, in January 2023, we launched a billboard campaign that continues to elevate the visibility of Rutgers University in Camden across the region. I hope you caught a glimpse of the university’s billboard proudly sitting at the summit of the Ben Franklin Bridge, along with the beautiful, new visual transformation to the Law School bridge, and the pride words that now adorn the Campus Center. Rutgers–Camden also joined in the March Madness of this year’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, running television commercials that were seen by over 1.2 million viewers. I invite you to view the 30-second commercial.

Thank you for your interest in, and support of, Rutgers–Camden. I look forward to sharing more news with you in the weeks and months ahead!

Toni Mooney Smith, MSC
Inaugural Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications

RUC Branding Projects

Together In Excellence

How Rutgers–Camden Has Partnered With Paraguay’s Largest University in Transformative Collaboration

By Dustin Petzold

A Daughter's Love

Reflections on an Escape from Ukraine

By Caroline Brobeil

A Daughter's Love

On Cooper Street

Transforming Problems into Solutions

The Walter Rand Institute’s 20 Years of Influence in South Jersey

By Tom McLaughlin

Mavis Asiedu-Frimpong

Unearthing–and Shaping–Camden History

Dolly Marshall is ensuring that overlooked figures of Camden’s African American history finally have their stories told

By Dustin Petzold

Dolly Marshall

STEM for All

Professor Kwangwon Lee researches ways of increasing interest in, and participation by, underrepresented students in STEM fields

By Leslie Garisto Pfaff

Kwangwon Lee

A Truly Global Kitchen, In The Middle of Campus

The Teaching Kitchen is one of the many innovative ways that Rutgers–Camden is personalizing the student experience

By Tom McLaughlin

Teaching Kitchen
Mavis Asiedu-Frimpong
Dolly Marshall
Kwangwon Lee
Teaching Kitchen

Alumni Success

Life's Challenges Create a Winning Attitude

Rutgers–Camden alumna Ashly Estevez-Perez was recently appointed by President Biden to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

By Maggie Griffin

Ashly Estevez Perez

An Advocate for Access

Alumnus Georgette Castner takes the bench as the youngest confirmed female federal judge

By Caroline Brobeil

Judge Castner
Ashly Estevez Perez
Judge Castner

News You Should Know

Larry Gaines

A Fond Farewell to Larry Gaines

We celebrate and thank Senior Vice Chancellor Larry Gaines for his service to Rutgers University–Camden as he retires from a distinguished 36-year career.

Commencement 2023

Rutgers University in Camden celebrated Commencement 2023 on May 15 through May 17. The University welcomed over 1,700 graduates from its four schools into the ranks of 58,000+ Rutgers–Camden alumni.


Following the presentation of an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree to the Honorable Dana Redd SBC’96, former mayor of Camden, Redd emphasized during her keynote address at the Rutgers University–Camden and Graduate School ceremony that the graduates should continue to pursue excellence.


Congratulations to all of our graduates and go Scarlet Raptors!

Dana Redd Hooding