CIVIC VOICES was a community-based audio project developed by George Street Playhouse and Rutgers Collaborative Center for Community-Based Service and Research in 2020. Designed to better understand the unique, diverse voices of communities throughout New Jersey, CIVIC VOICES encourages civic engagement by strengthening community discourse through theatre arts.
Six students from the Rutgers Bonner Leader Program were given microphones to document their work in several community organizations based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Civic Voices: The Audio Diary Podcast Series explores their experience and their unique perspectives on how these organizations create a lasting impact.
Featuring audio documentaries by:
- Doing Good by Sunzida Ahmed
- A Little Lost/Un Poquito Perdida by Maria Guevara Carpio
- The Importance of Nonprofits: Discovering the Impact of Youth Empowerment Services by Samia Khondaker
- The Privilege of Going to College in My City by Rashel Bernal Reyes
- Cooped Up by Andrea Rojas
- The High School Experience by Katherine Taveras
Sunzida Ahmed is a sophomore studying Political Science at Rutgers New Brunswick's School of Arts and Sciences. With aspirations to go to law school after college, she hopes to pursue a future in environmental law or criminal justice reform. On campus, Sunzida is involved with the Rutgers University Mock Trial Association, New Student Orientation and Family Programs, and Residence Life. She has been a Rutgers Bonner Leader for two years and takes pride in tutoring high school students for the Upward Bound Program.
Maria Guevara Carpio is a junior studying Public Health and Business Administration at Rutgers New Brunswick's School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Maria was born and grew up in Peru. During her high school years, she moved to the United States. Maria is involved with the Paul Robeson Leadership Institute and Helyar House. She has been a Bonner Leader for three years serving in a variety of settings, including the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market, the Community Health Promotions Program, and the Bonner Program itself. She is bilingual, loves reading, doing art, and creating content through different mediums.
Samia Khondaker is a sophomore studying Biology and Psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University- New Brunswick. She is from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey and volunteers at local clinics. She hopes to go to medical school and dreams of being a physician. On campus, Samia is an undergraduate research assistant at the Psychology Lab and she is a first-year resident assistant for the upcoming school year. She has been a Rutgers Bonner Leader for two years, serving in Youth Empowerment Services, Girl Scouts, and EMPOWER. During her free time, she loves spending time with friends and trying new food places off-campus.
Rashel Bernal Reyes is a freshman who intends to major in Cell Biology & Neuroscience at Rutgers New Brunswick's School of Arts and Science. She wants to pursue a career as a Pediatric Neurologist. Rashel has grown up in New Brunswick and continues to serve her community. Rashel is an EOF Scholar, Herstorian for the Latin American Womxn Organization and an active member in the Mexcian American Student Association. This was her first year serving as a Bonner leader, first at Upward Bound and most recently at The New Brunswick Public LIbrary.
Andrea Rojas is a rising senior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. She will graduate in 2021, ready to write about current events and use her media skills to shine a light on important topics. Andrea has been a Bonner Leader for three years. She has worked as their social media chair in addition to being a tutor at Youth Empowerment services. Andrea enjoys watching Latinx soap operas and reading books.
Katherine Taveras is a rising sophomore studying Linguistics at Rutgers New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Science. Upon graduating with the Class of 2023, Katherine hopes to teach English abroad in Japan as a part of the JET program before pursuing her masters in Speech Pathology. Katherine is involved in various organizations on campus, such as the Peruvian American Student Association and the Organization of Luso Americans at Rutgers. She is a Douglass Woman as well as a student of the School of Arts and Sciences Honors program. As of May 2020, Katherine will have completed her first year as a Bonner Leader serving at Upward Bound, where she tutors high schoolers. Katherine speaks several languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, and some Japanese. During her free time, she enjoys listening to music, reading, and using her favorite application: Duolingo.
CIVIC VOICES was produced by Jim Jack, Dustin Ballard, Amy Micheal and Claudio Mir
Story Production by Dustin Ballard
Audio Engineering by Ted Crimy
Project support by Catherine Del Castillo
We want to thank our Civic Voices collaborators: Sunzida Ahmed, Maria Guevara Carpio, Samia Khondaker, Rashel Bernal Reyes, Andrea Rojas, Katherine Taveras, and the community partners that participated in this project.
CIVIC VOICES was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this oral history-based documentary project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
The Rutgers Bonner Leader Program, part of Rutgers Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service, is made possible through the generosity of the Bonner Foundation. Rutgers Collaborative Center reports to the Division of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement.