Maria Alba of Cranford, who graduated from Rutgers University’s School of Arts and Sciences in May 2017, has been honored for her work to help prevent campus sexual assault and to promote bystander intervention. The Livingston Alumni Association at Rutgers has presented the 2017 Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award to Alba as the Rutgers-New Brunswick graduating senior who most embodies the spirit of Livingston College and its attributes of leadership and social action.
Alba, an aspiring clinical psychologist, will continue her studies in fall 2017 at Rutgers’ Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology.
The summer before Alba entered college, a friend confided in her that she had been the victim of sexual and domestic violence. This drew Alba to Rutgers’ SCREAM Theater, a violence prevention program. SCREAM Theater travels throughout New Jersey and the United States to educate people about sexual and domestic/dating violence through improv theater. “I wanted to fight for justice for her, and for every other individual whose voice has not been heard,” Alba wrote in her essay for the award.
“The message was clear: If you see something wrong, say or do something. Be a positive, active bystander no matter how big or small your intervention.”
“I believe a successful leader knows when to lead and when to listen,” she said. “I have carried this lesson with me throughout my life as an activist, student leader, and an aspiring clinical psychologist.”
The Riki Jacobs Livingston Pride Award has been given annually since 1990 by the Livingston Alumni Association (LAA). Livingston College is a former undergraduate college of Rutgers which was merged into the School of Arts and Sciences in 2007. Riki E. Jacobs (1957-2009) was the director of the Hyacinth Foundation, an AIDS support organization, among many roles she fulfilled to assist vulnerable populations. For more information visit www.livingstonalumni.org.