Ansly is a apartment assistant for Henderson Apartments on Douglass Campus. A junior from Perth Amboy, N.J., she is majoring in communication and human resource management with a minor in Spanish.

On being a first-generation student…

I am part of the America Needs You Fellowship. It is a fellowship for first generation, low income students. It’s a program that you matches up with a mentor in your perspective field. Being a first generation [college] student means a lot to me. Since the fourth grade I wanted to go to college. I remember a reporter coming to our class and her confidence was something I really wanted. At times it is a lot of pressure, but I have younger siblings that want to follow in my footsteps. They sometimes get discouraged about going to college but I want to show them that we can do this and push forward. I feel most first generation low income students are discouraged when applying to school because they don’t know about the resources that are out there. My freshman year I had to find these resources out by myself. As a resident assistant (RA), I love sharing resources that can help out my residents.

On the America Needs You Fellowship…

On campus I am part of EOF which is the Educational Opportunity Fund. It is a program for first-generation low income [college] students. They sent out an email about the fellowship. The application process was a little grueling. It involved writing five essays, obtaining recommendations, and an interview. At first friends were discouraging me and I didn’t want to do it. I changed my mind and actually got in. The fellowship started off with different workshops, where we got to know each other, the mentors, and the staff. The workshops included advice on financial literacy, interviews, and more. We were then paired with a mentor which we meet every other week. The fellowship works really well. I now reach out to other Douglass women and offer the fellowship to them.

On decision to become a apartment assistant….

My RA during my freshman year inspired me to become an RA; she’s the reason why I’m here today. She created a bond amongst our floor and made it a community; a family. I still talk to a lot of them today. She was always nice but she made sure rules were followed. She was only a sophomore when I was a freshman, so I saw how much of a leader she became and felt I could do the same.

On approach to being an AA…

Being a RA has definitely matched my expectations. It’s a new level of commitment and responsibility. For example, on move in day there’s so much work a RA needs to do that most residents don’t realize. There’s are so many logistics involved, from training to getting ready for students, and even putting up bulletin boards. RAs put in a lot of time. Before we even meet the residents we already care about them. We prepare the little things to make the community better before they come through the doors. We always think about the residents and their best interests even before we know them.

I love being leader and having people look up to me. My approach on being a RA is to inspire other individuals. I want my residents, community and people around me to be able to say that, ‘Ansly helped me, gave me confidence, helped me find this resource, overall I want them to say that Ansly was able to help in one shape or form’.

On Douglass Residential College…

At first I felt weird living on campus [with all women], but ended up loving it. I became a Red Pine Ambassador, Peer Academic Leader, and I also joined the Douglass Student Recruitment Network. Being on Douglass, it was a community that makes you feel empowered as a woman. It helped me take the term feminism further from the views of society and come to towards with my own views on feminism. I can’t walk through Douglass without seeing someone I know. It’s a community where everybody from the faculty and staff to the deans know who you are. That’s why I love Douglass.

On life after Rutgers…

My plan is to apply to the Rutgers’ School of Communication five-year masters program.In the future I want to do beauty based marketing and work with beauty brands.

I’m Dominican and beauty in our culture is really important. I am really passionate about the idea of beauty. I have naturally curly hair that, at first, I always straightened. When I came to college I randomly went to a natural hair meeting, where people talked about why they wore their hair natural and how they were influenced from their family and culture. It was something I definitely related to.

It made me question why I was straightening my hair. First of all, it’s so much work and I’m really doing this because that’s what society wants. So, I decided three years ago to go natural. It was the best decision I ever made. Over time, I researched how big of an impact the marketing of beauty has on women today. Often times, its men making decisions on marketing campaigns about how women should look. I feel there’s a major disconnect there. Why are men telling me how to look? Why are men preaching on the perspective of women? I feel there’s a disconnect with beauty brands and their marketing.

In the 21st century women now have the power to reclaim their identity, especially with marketing towards the younger generation. I want to be able to make dynamic ad campaigns that women can live by; with women telling their own stories. Right now, I feel like current campaigns focus too much on celebrities with glam and glitz and not real people.

I want to build a beauty blog to talk about all my ideas of women reclaiming their identities. I want to give women a platform to speak about how they want to be represented in media.