Today, we speak with Raysa Ortiz Minaya, a junior psychology major who is a Camden campus student. Raysa will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.
Name Raysa Ortiz Minaya
Minors: Sociology and Spanish
Hometown and County: Camden, NJ (Camden County)
Academic or Social Clubs: RU CASA (Rowan University Camden Alliance of Student Activities)
Job on campus: Currently working at Rowan Camden as a computer lab monitor and as a mentor in the Upward Bound program, which is a pre-college program that services English as a Second Language Learners from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden.
Tell us about your transition into college and how you pushed through any challenges. Coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States has not been easy. I never thought I was going to get this far in life. I never thought I was going to college until I was a student in the Upward Bound program and learned about the EOF program, referred to today as ASCEND (Achieving Success Through Collaboration, Engagement and Determination).
After I graduated high school, I applied to Rowan but was not accepted the first time because my ACT scores were very low and I still needed to improve my writing and English language skills. Upward Bound staff recommended me to the IELP (Intensive English Language Program) at Rowan in Camden. I was enrolled for two semesters and worked on improving my English. After the IELP program, I applied to ASCEND for the second time and was accepted. I had the opportunity to go to Camden County College but I always wanted to attend Rowan. I was terrified about this new opportunity but at the same time I was excited to start a new journey. I worked hard to pass the summer program and become an ASCEND student. In the ASCEND program, I have learned from great classmates and counselors that today I consider a family. Through the ASCEND program I learn about how to manage my time, how to study, where I can seek help academically and personally. I have been successful as a student and have maintained a 3.3 GPA and it has been because the ASCEND program has been my guide.
On your busiest day, what academic, non-academic and social responsibilities are you juggling? Other than housework and homework, I also work as a nursing aid, a lab monitor and mentor for Upward Bound, the secretary of the RU CASA and am training to become the president next fall.
Did you ever have a moment of uncertainty within your major? How did you get through the challenge? I changed my major four times. First, I started with a major in early education to elementary education, then to sociology and finally psychology. It was hard to know what I actually liked, where I would see myself 5 years from now, and who I am really. It took time and courage but that was the purpose and unique of being a student. My counselor, Dr. Mateo, helped me through this process with her wise advice and encouragement I was able to find what I want to do in the future.
What services/programs/organizations are most meaningful to you? RU CASA because when I was a freshman all my classes were at Rowan Camden. I was able to engage and network with other students. Also, many people perceive Camden as an unsafe city, however it is a city with vision, a support system and a future. Rowan Camden is where everything started for me and RU CASA has been part of my personal growth. RU CASA is family, an organization where everyone gets together, attends events, shares their experiences and transitions to college … where they come from and how their life has changed since they’ve been at Rowan like I did.
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Story and photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, junior public relations major