Being the Change

Student Ambassador and 'typical Duke'

by Jan Gillis ('07)

Rachel Rosenburg, Student Ambassador and 'typical Duke'

Rachel Rosenberg ('10) shares her Madison Experience
By Colleen Dixon

From Fall 2010 "Madison" magazine

When Rachel Rosenberg ('10) visited JMU as a high-school student she had already been accepted at the University of Maryland but was considering other options. As a native of Rockville, Md., she thought that UM might be a little too close to home.

The JMU atmosphere was just what Rosenberg was looking for. The campus location, the aesthetics of the buildings and layout, the smaller student population and the attitude of current students were all positive. Members of the psychology department answered many of Rosenberg's questions about the undergraduate program. "I loved the feeling I got at JMU," she says.

Sharing her love for Madison

Rosenberg loved JMU so much, she liked sharing the Madison Experience with prospective students as a Student Ambassador. "Professors aren't just here to fulfill research or just to instruct," she says. "They are here for students, and they make you feel that way." During her sophomore year, one of her psychology professors invited her to share Jewish holidays with his family. The kindness of including a student in a family celebration seems to prove her point. "I love sharing that story," she says. "It demonstrates the quality of our professors."

Rosenberg was also involved in Hillel, a campus group that sponsors cultural, religious and social events based on Jewish traditions. She served as secretary, social programming chair and president, and she juggled all those responsibilities with academics and social events. "There's no trick formula" to managing multiple activities, Rosenberg says. "Priorities are classes, homework and visits to professors. They come before any social events."

A typical Duke

Rosenberg describes herself as a typical Duke despite all her extracurricular activities. "Students love to get involved, to be part of something meaningful. The number of clubs doesn't matter, just the intent of doing something to make a difference."

Psychology professor Arnie Kahn says, "Rachel is the most positive student I ever taught. She is open, nonjudgmental and would stop at nothing to achieve goals to benefit her class or her group."

Campus diversity

As a Student Ambassador, Rosenberg enjoyed talking about campus diversity. "JMU students get to meet people from all walks of life. Diversity is not just skin color, it's a person's background. That shapes more of my experience, who I am, what I know. The part of the country or world that students are from and their religion, race, upbringing and high-school experience are some of the things that contribute to the diversity of JMU's community."

Psychology and exceptional education

The psychology major chose an exceptional education minor because she wants to work with special needs children. After seeing how psychology and special education are related, "I thought it would be a good fit for my interests to do both," she says. "Even though I know I don't want to be in a school setting, it's still a great fit. There is more than academics involved in a school with special needs students."

Rosenberg will pursue a master's in clinical social work at Catholic University or Maryland. "I want to work with families of children with special needs—the structure of the house, the way they live—to help children be successful," she says.

Published: Sunday, August 1, 2010

Last Updated: Monday, February 26, 2018

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