Breaking the Mold: First-Generation Cameroonian-American Earns Three Degrees

Andin Ncho with her College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals (CUPRAP) Diversity Scholarship award

Andin Ncho CCAS’20, center, with her mother, Alma, at right, and sister, Eyah, at the CUPRAP scholarship awards luncheon in March. Photo by Dan Z. Photography.

By Sam Starnes

When Andin Ncho was only 10 years old, she didn’t simply watch children’s television—she made up shows and wrote her own scripts.

“I wanted to be a screenwriter at an early age,” says the Sicklerville, N.J., resident. “As a first-generation Cameroonian-American, I hope that I inspire others to pursue a writing career, especially in journalism and communications.”

This spring, she moves closer to that goal as she graduates from Rutgers University–Camden with degrees in digital studies, English, and global studies.

“I know that in the African culture it is customary for students to become STEM majors and lawyers,” says Ncho. “My decision to break the mold is due to the unconditional support of my mother, Alma Ncho. She has instilled in me that God would lead me to where I needed to be.”

A 2016 graduate of Winslow Township High School, Ncho’s love for reading and writing led her to Camden County College, where she earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts in 2018 and started at Rutgers–Camden that fall.

During her two years as a student in the Rutgers–Camden Honors College, she managed to fulfill requirements of three majors and become a visible leader on campus: she sang in the Rutgers–Camden Gospel Choir, served as an editor for the student newspaper, wrote for Rutgers–Camden Magazine, volunteered in campus theatrical productions, and worked in the university’s Digital Studies Center.

Driven by a love for learning that fueled her energy for an intense schedule of studying and extracurricular participation, Ncho is glad her adviser steered her to the triple major. “Even though I missed out on some free electives that I really wanted to take and I had a very limited social life outside of school, it helped me diversify my portfolio and my college experience,” she says.

Ncho’s impressive resume led to her selection for the College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals (CUPRAP) Diversity Scholarship in March 2020. The scholarship, which comes with a $2,500 award, is given by the organization with members representing more than 100 higher education institutions to support students from diverse backgrounds who want to work in communications.

Jim Brown, an associate professor of English and director of the Rutgers–Camden Digital Studies Center, worked closely with Ncho on a number of projects, which included Ncho leading presentations to middle school students on the art exhibit known as “Digital Trash” that explored the issue of technology and waste.

“Throughout all of her work, Andin showed her savvy with a range of communication tools as well as a careful attention to how to communicate ideas to specific audiences,” Brown says. “She is a creative thinker and an excellent communicator.”

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