Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholar Spotlight: Chioma Eze

By Tom McLaughlin

Since its inception in fall 2011, the Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholars program has partnered with more than forty organizations in the university’s host city, with Civic Scholars – committing 300 hours of community service in an academic year – contributing to projects and initiatives ranging from community building, healthcare, volunteer recruitment, homeless outreach, youth program enrichment, college access, and urban environmental justice.

On May 21, nine Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholars will be the first from this fast-growing and indispensable cadre of volunteers to graduate from Rutgers–Camden – including four from the original cohort: Amy Mallon, Shaili Patel, Angelica Shaw, and Russell Tichian.

In a series of portraits, these exemplary humanitarians share their invaluable experiences and lessons learned, and offer words of advice for others interested in taking this personal pledge of service.

Chioma Eze
Major: Health Science

Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Born and raised in Sicklerville, Chioma currently resides in Blackwood
High School: Paul VI High School, Haddonfield

chioma-copyInspiration to Serve

I have been proactive in community-service work since around the age of 11, participating in various service activities, such as being an altar server for my local church, assisting at fall festivals, and volunteering at Jake’s Place in Cherry Hill.

Quite unlike other Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholars, I didn’t hear about the great endeavors that this program offers until late in my academic career. But better late than never, right? I became a Civic Scholar entering my senior year and it has, nonetheless, been a worthwhile journey.

Primary Roles

I have primarily been teaching 8th Grade math at TeenSHARP. I also serve in the Ignite program and, with the help of Rutgers–Camden’s Office of Civic Engagement, I have continued to hone my advocacy and leadership skills.

I wanted to do something different, so I recently organized the “Faculty, Staff, and Student of Color Look-Up Conference” on campus. The event aimed to give students a chance to meet ambitious role models. With the help of other Civic Scholars and leaders on campus, it was a success.

Growing from New Experiences

I was exposed to a different environment than what I’m used to. I learned how to interact and react to kids that find different ways to express themselves. Within each experience, you can learn about yourself. I grew personally and learned more about my weaknesses and strengths.

Long-Term Benefits

I will continue to apply myself in leadership positions and to engage in areas where my talents can be sharpened. These experiences have spanned my horizon and expanded my belief that, though we are all different, we all possess the same basic foundation to survive and thrive. All we need is love and, with that, follows understanding.

Flexibility

What I love about the Rutgers–Camden Civic Scholars program is the flexibility that is given to the admitted students. I hadn’t previously received this much help and flexibility in a program to grow, make mistakes, and learn about myself. I see the program as not only improving, but creating, the leaders of tomorrow by connecting Rutgers–Camden and the wider community.

Posted in: Community Outreach

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