Rutgers‒Camden and City of Camden Forge Partnership to Launch New Experiential Learning Initiative
Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis and City of Camden Mayor Victor G. Carstarphen sign MOU cementing agreement for Chancellor’s Mayoral Internship Program
May 16, 2022
Rutgers University–Camden students now have the rare opportunity to work alongside Camden civic leaders, thanks to a unique partnership forged between the university and the City of Camden.
More than 100 people gathered on May 12 in Roosevelt Park Plaza, only steps away from Camden City Hall, as Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis and City of Camden Mayor Victor G. Carstarphen signed a memorandum of understanding officially launching the Chancellor’s Mayoral Internship Program. The first six participating Rutgers–Camden students were also recognized.
“That’s what Rutgers, as an anchor institution, does. We partner with our city so that we all benefit by working together. Our new internship program is the natural next step in that conversation, and I am looking forward to many others.” – Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis
Chancellor Tillis said the “real excitement” of this experiential learning initiative will come as these six students spend the summer working closely with the mayor’s team to learn firsthand how civic leadership operates.
“Our students will be introduced to the many possibilities that accompany a career in public service,” Tillis said. “And they will bring their own knowledge, as Rutgers students, to the internships, applying their skills to help advance the key government functions that are essential to the life of our great city.”
Mayor Carstarphen noted that Rutgers–Camden has been a “longtime anchor institution and strong community partner in Camden,” and commended Chancellor Tillis for his leadership and foresight to build upon that strong partnership.
“The city is excited to be working even closer with Rutgers–Camden on this initiative, as I feel this is the start of good things to come,” Carstarphen said.
The Chancellor’s Mayoral Internship Program is a signature item in Chancellor Tillis’ “15 in 5” strategic initiative, an ambitious agenda that aligns with the core mission and values of Rutgers–Camden as an urban research institution dedicated to excellence and community.
The five-year partnership between Rutgers‒Camden and the City of Camden will give at least five students per year the opportunity to work alongside civic leaders. These students will gain service-learning experience, participate in community outreach, and build professional networks for potential careers in public service. Beginning with the first cohort in June, participating Rutgers–Camden students will serve eight-week internships in a variety of areas depending on their interests, skills, and experience.
The first group of Rutgers–Camden students in the Chancellor's Mayoral Internship Program consists of:
- Elaysel Germán, a Ph.D. student in childhood studies, who will work in the Office of the Municipal Clerk
- Bailey Gunner, a law student, who will provide legal assistance and support in the Law Department
- Larodge Johnson, a double major in marketing and photography, who will assist with marketing and graphic design in the Office of the Mayor
- Dolly Marshall, a double major in Africana Studies and history, who will assist with community outreach and special projects in the Office of the Mayor
- Tasjane' Taylor, a health sciences major, who will work in economic development in the Department of Development and Planning
- David Wintrode, a law student, who will provide legal assistance and support in the Law Department
“The Chancellor’s Mayoral Internship Program will be a tremendous opportunity for interns to get a better understanding of the daily function of municipal government,” Carstarphen said. “It is also a great chance for Rutgers students to play an active role in our community. The city and Rutgers are in alignment, and we aim to offer enhanced programming to residents, ultimately improving quality of life citywide.”
The first group of Rutgers–Camden students in the Mayoral Internship Program consists of, from left, David Wintrode, a law student; Bailey Gunner, a law student; Tasjane' Taylor, a health sciences major; Dolly Marshall, a double major in Africana Studies and history; Elaysel Germán, a Ph.D. student in childhood studies; and Larodge Johnson, a double major in marketing and photography.
Germán said that, as a Camden resident herself, she knows firsthand what collaboration has done for the people of Camden. She sees the Chancellor’s Mayoral Internship Program as an important bridge-building initiative that will allow for “boundary-breaking social and intellectual engagement between the city and Rutgers.”
“It represents an experiment in bridging theory and practice, finding projects that serve all parties and combining service with academic development,” Germán said. “Most importantly, we are coming together to learn from each other and to build strong ties to the city that has given us a home. Though not every student here has grown up in Camden, this city has become everyone’s home and it is our duty to cooperate, participate, and care for it.”
Chancellor Tillis applauded the Chancellor’s Mayoral Internship Program for its potential to be “transformative” for Rutgers–Camden students and of great value to the City of Camden.
“That’s what Rutgers, as an anchor institution, does,” Tillis said. “We partner with our city so that we all benefit by working together. Our new internship program is the natural next step in that conversation, and I am looking forward to many others.”