Have You Met Rutgers-Newark?

A student of the Joint PhD Program in Urban Systems

July 1, 2013, marked the official day on which Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey legally joined forces to become one public research university. While the union may have enlarged the number of Rutgers students, faculty and buildings in the city of Newark, little else has changed noticeably for Jean Sung, a student of the Joint PhD Program in Urban Systems since 2010.

The Joint PhD Program in Urban Systems affords graduate students the opportunity to examine the complex interrelationships that exist within urban environments. Through its three specializations, urban education policy, urban environment, and urban health, students like Sung research the social, cultural, political, economic, geographic, organizational, and bioenvironmental factors that influence urban populations. The course of study takes place on three campuses in Newark: the Rutgers-Newark Campus, the Rutgers Health Sciences Campus at Newark, and New Jersey Institute of Technology. For the past three years, Sung has attended classes on all three campuses.

“A multi-disciplinary program is essential,” notes Sung, who has a particular interest in the significance of gender differences in urban education. “It’s important to know all aspects of what all students encounter, regardless of gender. That includes their physical and social environments, financial hardships, health concerns, and much, much more.”

Sung aspires to teach and conduct research with a focus on high school students. “I want to be the medium through which their voices are translated into effective and impactful urban education policy.”

Sung received her bachelor’s and master of public administration degrees from New York University. After earning a master of fine arts degree in poetry from Rutgers-Newark in 2010, she enrolled in the Joint PhD Program in Urban Systems. Although traveling from one campus to another may be a bit challenging at times for the Brooklyn resident, Sung is grateful to have the opportunity to become acquainted with faculty on multiple campuses, to branch out to different communities, and to learn from different knowledge bases.