This summer (2023), a few weeks after graduating from Wagner College, Kevin Roach attended the Rutgers English Diversity Institute (REDI). The REDI program at the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick is designed for promising students whose diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds may contribute to the scholarly field of English and American literary studies. The program mentors and encourages students towards an academic career. The application process is competitive, and all accepted students are awarded a full scholarship covering travel, room, and board along with a stipend.
Kevin was recommended to the presitigous REDI summer program by his English professors at Wagner. While there, he learned from Rutgers professors and graduate students about what MA and PhD graduate programs are like and how to succeed in them. They visited archives such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and workshopped their own research and writing. After completing the program, Kevin reported back to his Wagner professors that he was impressed by the wide range of interests among his cohort of students -- from aspiring poets and playwrights to African-American studies and digital humanities. He valued his time with a group of intellectually stimulating and academically ambitious people like himself who heralded from many different backgrounds: black, white, Afro-Caribbean, Latinx, Asian. Some were between their junior and senior year of college, and others were recent graduates like himself. It is a wonderful opportunity for anyone considering careers in academia because it demystifies the assumptions one might have about graduate school. The program is not only encouraging and fun but also fosters practical skills.