Thank you for attending the Mark Conference, we appreciate you attending the conference and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s conference!

Save the Date: Mark Leadership Conference

Saturday, February 24, 2024

The MARK Conference is America’s largest and most immersive student-run leadership event, hosted by Student Involvement and Leadership, part of Student Centers and Activities. We combine 20+ diverse speakers who have made their “mark” on society, extraordinary storytelling, and unique activities to create an experience that inspires students to act, think creatively, and empower their communities. Follow us at @markconference and stay connected using the hashtag #MyMark.

Ticket Information

Check back for 2024 Mark Conference ticket information!

Tickets are first come, first serve and have sold out every year, so be sure to get your tickets from

IN-PERSON TICKETS: Attendees join us at the Livingston Student Center where they have a full day (9AM-6PM) event with mainstages showcasing a range of speakers and student IGNITE stories along with breakout sessions, energizers, lunch, and giveaways! This is the full, interactive and immersive MARK conference experience. Tickets (valued at $150) are $25 for Rutgers students and $60 for non-Rutgers students and the general public.

The Mark Conference Planning team is dedicated to creating an open environment for all attendees and providing the necessary accommodations to individuals with disabilities and other special needs during the event. If you need any accommodations, please feel free to reach out to us at

Individuals seeking financial assistance to attend the MARK Conference should email with the subject line: Mark Conference Financial Assistance.

Are you a visiting school or a Rutgers organization looking for group tickets? Please email for more information.


Rutgers Students

Current Rutgers Students

Mainstage Sessions
Total 12 Breakout Sessions
Interactive Energizer Sessions


General Admission

Non-Rutgers Students/Staff/Faculty/Public

Mainstage Sessions
Total 12 Breakout Sessions
Interactive Energizer Sessions

Interested in group ticket sales? We offer group ticket packages at $60 for 1-5 tickets,
$55 for 6-11 tickets, and $50 for 12+ tickets for regional institutions and visiting students.

2023 Mainstage Speakers

Jonathan Holloway

President Dr. Jonathan Holloway

Jonathan Holloway, a U.S. historian, took office as the 21st president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, on July 1, 2020. He also serves as a University Professor and Distinguished Professor.

Prior to accepting the presidency of Rutgers, Dr. Holloway was provost of Northwestern University from 2017 to 2020 and a member of the faculty of Yale University from 1999 to 2017.  At Yale, he served as Dean of Yale College and the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies.

President Holloway’s scholarly work specializes in post-emancipation U.S. history with a focus on social and intellectual history.

He is the author of African American History: A Very Short Introduction and The Cause of Freedom: A Concise History of African Americans (Oxford University Press, February 2023 and February 2021, respectively). He also published Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 (2002), and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (2013), both with the University of North Carolina Press. He edited Ralph Bunche’s A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership (New York University Press, 2005) and coedited Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the Twentieth Century (Notre Dame University Press, 2007). He wrote the introduction for the 2015 edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk (Yale University Press), and is working on a new book, A History of Absence: Race and the Making of the Modern World.

Dr. Holloway, who began his academic career at the University of California, San Diego, received a bachelor’s degree with honors in American studies from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in history from Yale University.

He serves on boards of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gates Cambridge Trust, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Universities Research Association, the Institute of International Education, and the Academic Leadership Institute.

Dr. Holloway is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of American Historians. He is a Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations.

He is married to Aisling Colón. They have a daughter, Emerson, and son, Ellison.

Dr Mason American

Dr. Mason Ameri

Mason Ameri is an Associate Professor at Rutgers Business School. His area of expertise includes examining the opportunities and disadvantages people with disabilities face in employment. Dr. Ameri’s work has been profiled by numerous outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, and PBS NewsHour, with three exclusives in The New York Times. He has shared his research findings at distinguished conferences hosted by TED, the NFL, and The World Bank Group. He has also advised the US House of Representatives, US Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board, and US Election Assistance Commission on disability access topics ranging from the gig economy, clean energy jobs, voting accessibility, and unionization. He is the recipient of multiple research, teaching, and service awards, including the Academy of Management Discoveries Best Article Award (2021), Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (2019), and Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Innovations (2020). He is a book author on the topic of remote work. Other published work appears in journals such as Academy of Management Discoveries, MIT Sloan Management Review, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, and ILR Review. He and a team of disability researchers have been awarded over $10 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the US Election Assistance Commission to study disability in connection to assistive technology, voter access, workplace socialization, and vocational rehabilitation.

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Sahar Aziz

Claribel Cortes

Claribel Cortes

Claribel Cortes is an award-winning Business Executive, Advocate, and Community leader with more than two decades of experience in digital media, communications, and community outreach. She has established a track record of accelerating business expansion and community relations by achieving exceptional success in forging executive-level relationships with key industry and community leaders. A visionary, forward-thinking leader, Claribel has a career history of growing new and existing businesses and executing strategic plans to achieve department goals. 

Early in her career, Claribel established herself as an innovative media specialist while working for Fox News. She carried her newly acquired knowledge and experience into her next position with ABC News. She achieved recognition for her work with various documentaries, including Oscar award-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth” and Emmy Award-Winning Film Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke.” 

Her successes in this role led to her promotion to Director of Digital Media & Entertainment for the Associated Press, where she collaborated in launching multilingual international campaigns and became the first Latina Director in the company’s 170-year history. During her tenure, Claribel also co-founded the very first Content Development/Documentary division within AP, which has now established programming with broadcasters such as A&E, National Geographic, and Netflix. 

In November 2017, Claribel was elected to the Board of the North Brunswick Township School District, where she chaired the Community Relations Committee. Claribel has devoted herself to cultivating relationships within the community and has strengthened partnerships between the district’s leaders and school members. 

Claribel’s commitment to advocacy also led her to the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ, where she currently serves as Vice-Chair of the largest Chamber in the State of New Jersey and serves as an advocate and advisor to over 119,000 Businesses that call New Jersey home. 

Ms. Cortes’ mission for public service led her to a role as a Board of Trustee for Middlesex County College and to her appointment and election as the First Latina Councilwoman for the Township of North Brunswick. During her tenure, Ms. Cortes has led various successful community and policy initiatives. 

In early 2021 Governor Phil Murphy appointed Ms. Cortes to fill the unexpired term as Middlesex County Surrogate, and she was confirmed by the Senate on March 25th, 2021. She is the first woman to serve as Surrogate Judge and the first Latina Constitutional officer in Middlesex County’s 217-year history.

Tamecka Dixon

Tamecka Dixon

Tamecka Dixon is a zealous businesswoman, a dedicated entrepreneur, and a former professional basketball player who represented Los Angeles Sparks, Houston Comets, and Indiana Fever. In her WNBA career spanning over 12 seasons, she won two championship rings with Los Angeles Spark in the 2001 and 2002 and represented WNBA All-Star for three consecutive years from 2001 to 2003. Tamecka has also represented the US National Team that went on to win Gold Medal in the 2002 World Championship. She inherited the passion and love for basketball from her father Russell ‘Boo’ Bowers, who instilled in her the attributes of tenacity, determination, and courage, and taught her the skills needed to become a professional athlete. She attained expertise in her art of play under the mentorship of some of the legendary professional athletes including, Marian Washington.

 On the field, Tamecka Dixon was renowned for her deadly combination of outside scoring and strong penetration skills. She represented Los Angeles Sparks for nine seasons, Houston Comets for three seasons, and Indiana Fever for one. Tamecka has also showcased her incredible talents across Europe and played professionally in Italy for six years and in Turkey & Russia for one. She has had the honor to play on the same team as some of the greatest women hoop legends such as Lisa Leslie, Daedra Charles, and Penny Toler. Tamecka is among the elite group of professional basketball players to play in the inaugural season of the WNBA. At the time of her retirement in the year 2009, she was one of only four players left from the WNBA’s inaugural season. 

Translating the incredible passion for excellence and appetite for success into something exceptional, Tamecka Dixon stepped into the realm of entrepreneurship upon her retirement from the professional basketball scene. She has always appreciated the idea of building businesses from grounds up designed to serve the community grow and flourish in extraordinary ways. Tamecka presently owns a Car Rental Business in New Jersey and stepped into this industry back in the year 2011. As a business owner & entrepreneur, she has relished incredible feats of success and was successful in turning over a struggling and underperforming location into a profitable arena within a period of three years. In 2012, Tamecka’s location was awarded The Most Improved Location Award, and in the next two years, it earned several awards for The Top Counter Sales. 

Both in business and life, Tamecka Dixon highly appreciates the idea of building robust relationships and always serves with the highest regard to delivering excellent customer service. After serving the industry for over 10 years, she is ready to move on and accept a new challenge in her career. A sportswoman with an insatiable hunger for success and growth, Tamecka takes pride in striving for excellence in every facet of life and is yearning for an opportunity to put her passion into play and achieve something exceptional. Besides this, she aims to lay the foundation of a platform that helps youth achieve financial literacy and step towards prosperity.

Nipun Mehta

Nipun Mehta

Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, a global community at the intersection of technology, volunteerism and gift-economy. Most recently, ServiceSpace’s pandemic response has showcased the unique beauty of its global ecosystem. Nipun has catalyzed a global social movement of community builders grounded in their localities and rooted in practices for cultivating love, nonviolence, selfless service, and compassion. The ecosystem has reached millions, attracted thousands of volunteers, and mushroomed into numerous community-based service projects as well as inspiring content portals. ServiceSpace harnesses the collective power of networks and our deeper interconnectedness to create a distributed social movement founded on small, local individual acts of kindness, generosity and service that ignite shifts in individual and collective consciousness. Nipun was honored as an “unsung hero of compassion” by the Dalai Lama, not long before former U.S. President Obama appointed him to a council for addressing poverty and inequality in the US. Yet the core of what strikes anyone who meets him is the way his life is an attempt to bring smiles in the world and silence in his heart: “I want to live simply, love purely, and give fearlessly. That’s me.”

Tara Schuster

Tara Schuster

Once best known as the Executive in Charge of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning show, Key & Peele, Tara Schuster turned her struggle with chronic anxiety and depression into a best-selling book and a mission to help others. Her humorous takes on taking charge of one’s mental health—always backed by empowering action steps—have won praise from readers ranging from Wharton professor Adam Grant to Academy Award-winner, Anjelica Huston and best-selling author, Glennon Doyle. InStyle, People Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Goodreads, Buzz Feed, Goop and many others have chosen her debut memoir, Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies as one of the best new books of 2020.

On February 28th 2023, she will release her highly anticipated new book Glow in the F*cking Dark: Simple Practices to Heal Your Soul, from Someone Who Learned the Hard Way — a relatable, easy-to-follow guide to healing your deepest wounds, getting off your “good enough” plateau, and creating the spectacular life that you most desire. Kirkus calls the book “an approachable, exuberant combination of memoir and self-help.”

A veteran entertainment executive, Tara was behind such shows as the Emmy Award-winning @Midnight, Lights Out with David Spade, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the launch of Key & Peele to viral superstardom. By the time she was in her late twenties, Tara had taken her place in the male-dominated world of comedy as Vice President of Talent and Development at Comedy Central. By all appearances, she had mastered being a grown-up. But beneath the veneer of success, she was a “chronically anxious, self-medicating mess” with a painful secret. No one knew that her “minimally parented” road to adulthood had been paved with depression, anxiety and shame. She finally realized that she’d hit rock bottom when she drunk-dialed her therapist. 

Answering her own cry for help, Tara called upon the same talents she had used to launch hit television shows to begin a life-changing journey of self-healing and self-care. For five years, she researched how to both “be her own parent” and nurture her own wounded well-being—creating a 600-page Google Doc of her findings. She also developed a practice of simple, daily rituals that literally transformed her mind, body, relationships.

 As an in-demand speaker, Tara has received invitations from the Fortune 100 and spoken to audiences ranging from Civic Nation to women’s and young professional groups. Bringing a winning combination of humor, vulnerability, and hard-won wisdom to the stage, she does more than inspire and motivate audiences to create lasting change in their lives. She provides easy-to-implement tools to take better care of one’s spirit, mental and physical health, and relationships—as both an individual and member of a workplace team.

Traci Wilkes Smith

Traci Wilkes Smith

Traci Wilkes Smith is a Senior Vice President and Agent in the Talent Representation group at CSE. At CSE, Traci has built a dynamic media talent practice rich with experience, recognition, and diversity, which has expanded the CSE brand beyond its well-known sports franchise.

Traci has established extensive national relationships in the media industry. Traci has worked diligently to help navigate the careers of and secure amazing opportunities for dynamic individuals with passion and creativity. Traci’s keen eye has helped her identify, represent, mentor, and develop hundreds of brilliant on-air and digital journalists and industry professionals. Traci negotiates talent employment contracts and other industry agreements and manages literary and content development processes. An advocate for diversity and inclusion, Traci helped spearhead CHU United, CSE’s Diversity and Inclusion vertical at the agency. 

In 2020, Traci was selected as a Fellow for the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) and is currently serving as a CUP Alumni Fellows Board Co-Chair of Events. She is member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Blood Clot Alliance, where she is dedicated to patient advocacy and raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of blood clots. 

Prior to CSE, Traci worked as a broadcast agent and attorney at WTA in New York. She was also a former law clerk for the Superior Court of New Jersey and worked at the ArentFox law firm. Traci is a graduate of Rutgers College and Rutgers University School of Law in Newark and is a member of the New York and New Jersey state bars.

Traci is thrilled to have recently been invited to The White House for a special screening of TILL in honor of Black History Month, hosted by President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.

Dr Christopher Young

Dr. Christopher Young

Chris is a professor of business ethics in the Department of Management and Global Business and a research fellow at Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership. Prior to Rutgers, Chris taught economics, political economics and business and society courses at Seton Hall University. Chris is a nationally recognized testifying expert and writer in the field of economics, finance, and business ethics. Chris has delivered papers at various academic conferences including but not limited to the American Economic Association Conference, Allied Social Sciences Conference, American Society of Religion Economics and Culture Conference, and the International Studies Association Conference. He has publications in the Journal of Rationality and Society, Journal of Forensic Economics, The Journal of Forensic Accounting Research, the Journal of Law in Society, UC Davis Law Review, and various other journals/magazines. Prior to his experiences in academia, Chris spent about 25 years in executive management working for companies such as Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, and The CIT Group – among others. As a very young man, Christopher served in the United States Army – and he deeply cherishes a of the sacrifices that our military (and their families) provides to this great country.

Chris is releasing his first fiction book in April 2023, Addie’s Ascent, which is a story of a young man’s journey to find what it means to be a superman. After spending many years examining philosophies from Christ, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Jung, Adler, Emerson and others, Chris decided to write a book explaining in a fiction story how he sees people develop into the superman. Much of what Chris will discuss in his talk deals directly with the content of his book.

Monti Washington

Author and
Motivational Speaker

Patrice Banks

Former Auto Airhead and Founder of Girls Auto Clinic

Ms. Iana J. Daniels

US Army Active Duty Major


Kimberly A. Brown

Founder of

Dan Parris & David Peterka

Traveling Documentarians

Clint Smith

Acclaimed Spoken Word Poet
Award-winning Educator

Griffin Matthews & Matt Gould

Creators of Invisible Thread

Stephanie Klemons

Award-Winning Broadway Performer &
Choreographer from Hamilton

Nyle DiMarco

Winner of America’s Next Top Model &
Disability Rights Activist

Lexi & Alyse Scaffidi

Creators of BiteSizedFitness & The Body Confident
VS Fashion Show

Rowaida Abdelaziz

Journalist at Huffpost

Josh Rossi

Commercial Photographer and Viral Philanthropist

Fraidy Reiss

Founder and Executive Director of
Unchained at Last

Tamika D. Mallory

National Co-chair for the Women’s March

Angelo Pinto

Senior Attorney

2023 Ignite Speakers

Jashar Banks

Jashar “Shar” Banks

Major: Psychology 

Fun Fact: I utilize personal experiences to grasp a better understanding of higher and lower emotions and better relate to my clients as I fulfill my aspirations of becoming a developmental psychologist

Reason for Mark: I’d like to share much of the knowledge I’ve acquired through my experiences. I’ve learned the importance of understanding other perspectives through mentors of mine who’ve shared their stories with me. I seek to share that favor with others, hopeful to help them better themselves.

Shari Cunningham

Shari M. Cunningham is a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University – Graduate School of Education. She is a Researcher, Teacher, and Change Agent with over a decade of experience in Higher Education. Born and Raised in Orange, New Jersey, of West Indian descent from Kingston, Jamaica. She serves as a student member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the School of Graduate Studies and works for the Ronald E. McNair Program. She accredits her successes to her family, academic tribe, and pipeline programs like the Educational Opportunity Fund that help her navigate academia and the world. Her research utilized (Racialized) Organizational Theory to examine structural inequalities within higher education. Her dissertation focuses on how the structure of doctoral programs influences the outcomes of Black women’s career trajectory in the Humanities. She is also a research assistant at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice and a contributing author in two chapters of Scarlet and Black Volume II: Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers. The core of her work is embedded in the pursuit of dismantling structural inequalities and shedding light on the brilliance of Black women. She will graduate this spring, May 2023, with a Ph.D. in Higher Education.

Dyana Guzman

Dyana Guzman

Hey y’all my name is Dyana Guzman I am first generation EOF Latinx women studying Linguistics and minoring in Psychology. I am currently a senior with hopes of becoming a Speech Pathologist or Vocal Coach for those who want to become musically trained vocalist. I am the assistant choir director for Liberated Gospel and work at a civic engagement program called Bonner who assist and connects the Rutgers student body with the city of New Brunswick. Coming into college with a “learn in the process” mindset, not the best educational background, and having to experience new trials every step I took, brought me to this moment in my college career. Truly putting a new name to RU Screw. I’m here finishing something my parents and siblings could not do, to prove to myself and to those who are in my same shoes,high school or college, that you are well placed, you are well prepared, you can finish, and you do deserve to be here.

Fizza Naqvi

Fizza Naqvi

Fizza Naqvi is a senior majoring in biochemistry. After graduation, she plans to continue her education while working in the pharmaceutical industry and aims to contribute to cancer research. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, going to the beach, and listening to music. She is a Pakistani immigrant who moved to the United States with her family 12 years ago. Having seen the educational inequality due to individuals’ socioeconomic status in Pakistan, she fully realizes how privileged we all are to have access to quality academic resources in this country. She has always felt a sense of responsibility to make the most of every opportunity for her academic and professional growth, while learning to not be too hard on herself. She hopes that her journey can inspire others to overcome perfectionism, fear of failure, lean into new experiences, and uncover their most authentic selves.

Mario S Pasquel

Mario S Pasquel

Mario S Pasquel is a senior majoring in Political Science and double minoring in Philosophy and Latino and Caribbean Studies. His journey began in Hudson and Essex County, where he was surrounded not only by those from diverse cultural upbringings but diversity in thought and character. Originally starting off in the Health Sciences, Mario knew that there were too many academic hurdles, to overcome and knew within his soul that being a First Generation Latin American Student, and graduating was going to be a difficult feat. Mario will be talking about the struggles of being a First Generation Student and living within an inner-city and finding his purpose through community leadership and community engagement. Mario hopes to pursue a career in community outreach and fighting for communal equity.

Herrin Oum Fontenette

Herrin Oum Fontenette
My Spoken Mark

Herrin Oum Fontenette is a current sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences and The Douglass Women’s College, majoring in history and minoring in public policy on the pre-law track. She is a proud poet and spoken word artist from Jersey City, New Jersey, whose pieces highlight the beauty, pain, and histories of Black femininity, Black American history, and inter-diasporic culture with a central theme of unity and resistance against a country made to work against Blackness.

Femi Folarin

Femi Folarin

Femi Folarin is a first-generation Nigerian-American senior from Williamstown, New Jersey. She is currently studying Exercise Science in the pursuit of a career in Healthcare where she is drawn toward tackling barriers to health and physical activity in minority communities. During her time at Rutgers she has been a part of Resident Hall Association as an Advocacy Liaison, Captain of the Club Field Hockey team, Student Leader in Exercise is Medicine. She also actively volunteers with the Rutgers Athletics Sports Nutrition department and participates in Embrace Kids foundation events. Additionally, she is a Rutgers ambassador on Rutgers-NB Tiktok and Instagram.

Outside of campus involvement she is heavily involved in the social media marketing space, creating content for large companies as well her own TikTok accounts, in doing so actively trying to fight against inequality that Black creators and influencers face on social platforms. Furthermore she does freelance work as a Social Media Strategist and UGC Creator to help popular brands and small entrepreneurs and creative individuals create content that sparks joy for their audience. As hobbies she is currently learning 3 languages (Spanish, Yoruba and Korean) and creates fine and visual arts.

 Mark Insights

2023 Emcees

Allison Smith

Allison Smith is a senior from South Brunswick, New Jersey at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, majoring in criminal justice with minors in public policy, political science, and psychology. Allison is a second‐generation Douglass woman and a third-generation Rutgers student. She is also a member and peer advisor for the Criminal Justice Honors Society, Alpha Phi Sigma, and a two‐time School of Arts and Sciences Academic Excellence Scholarship Recipient. Allison had the incredible opportunity to teach her own accredited college course on Community Activism and Civic Engagement as a First Year Interest Group Seminar instructor. As part of the Rutgers Summer Service Internship Initiative, she completed an internship at the Office of Congressman Frank Pallone. She has also worked within other Eagleton programs as a Darien Civic Engagement Intern and RUVoting volunteer through the Center for Youth Political Participation. 

Allison is currently serving as the Student Body President for Rutgers University‐New Brunswick. She is also a Co‐President for the Rutgers Voorhees Choir and a Student Office Manager for the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. Allison has served as a member of President Holloway’s Student Advisory Committee for the past two years and has become a member of Vice Chancellor Salvador Mena’s Student Advisory Committee this year. Some of her previous leadership roles include serving as the Sexual Violence Education Committee Chair for the Rutgers University Student Assembly and working as an Orientation Leader for the Rutgers University‐New Brunswick campus. Upon graduation, Allison hopes to work within the judicial system or social services to put her passion for advocacy to use on her mission for lasting, systemic change.

Lara Fougnies

Lara Fougnies is a fourth-year honors student attending Rutgers University-New Brunswick majoring in public health with minors in public policy and health & society, with concentrations in health policy, global health, and health disparities. Her passion lies at the intersection of health, medicine, and public policy, believing more health professionals are needed in policy and political discourse to address complex health challenges and promote equitable health outcomes. During her time at Rutgers, Lara has been involved in health advocacy work, including honorary membership in Eta Sigma Gamma, employment as a peer mental health educator, appointed membership in the Rutgers Global Health Institute Council, health policy research intern at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, global AIDs research intern at the Rutgers Institute for Health, and moderator of a COVID-19 vaccine round table with the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy. 

Currently, Lara serves as the Student Body Vice President at Rutgers University‐New Brunswick, where she continues campaigning for health. Her most extensive project, to take place in April, is an asthma screening, advocacy, and education event in partnership with the American Lung Association to connect the Rutgers and local community to raise awareness about the impact of asthma on lives while providing free screening and educational resources. She serves as the only student representative on the Rutgers ScarletWell Task Force and as a member of President Holloway’s Student Advisory Committee. She is a leader at the Rutgers School of Social Work, employed as a program coordinator for a SAMHSA-funded project that connects minority men living with HIV/AIDS and co-occurring disorders with peer-recovery coaching to facilitate their recovery. Additionally, Lara is completing her honors thesis on American concerns regarding overturning Roe v. Wade by sociodemographic characteristics and local abortion laws. Her research focuses on how political pressures interact with gender identity, income, race, age, and healthcare status to influence the public’s knowledge and approval of abortion rights in the nation. After graduation, she plans to continue her education in health and policy to improve population health at the national level. She hopes to serve in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, combining her passion for public service, public policy, and medicine to improve the health of Americans.

2023 Mark Captains: Planning Team

Jassica Kumari

Jassica Kumari

Hello everyone! My name is Jassica Kumari, and I am currently a senior majoring in marketing at the Rutgers Business School. I’ve always had an interest in video production and telling stories. I currently work for NBCU as a media archivist and a Universal Pictures ambassador. I hope to continue working for NBCU and transition into a marketing role. I’ve always had a creative side to myself and would love to continue making videos and creating art aside from my career. Working with the Mark Conference as an Energizers Captain has allowed me to do this. Being on the SWAT team for energizers last year helped show me the impact a conference like this can have, and I knew I had to return to leave my mark this year.

Rut Mehta

Rut Mehta

Mark Conference Intern
Rut Mehta is a sophomore double majoring in BAIT and Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics. He is the Mark Conference Undergraduate Intern, responsible for overseeing the Mark Captains and SWAT team. Currently working at NASA, he is extremely passionate about futuristic technologies, solving real-world problems, design thinking, and entrepreneurship. His hobbies are photography, table tennis, calisthenics, and chess.

Francis Joshua Oconer

Francis Joshua Oconer

I am a senior at Rutgers New Brunswick majoring in Biology. I am currently a co-captain for the MARK conference energizers. I am looking forward to bring the energy and intensity to the MARK conference!

Along with my involvement with MARK, I was previously the Chancellor for the SEBS honors fraternity Alpha Zeta. Apart from Rutgers, I am heavily involved in community service. I am the Director of Programs at a local nonprofit called Save the Children of the Developing World where we assist children in third world countries. I also volunteer at Hoboken as an EMT.

Amanda Osborne

Amanda Osborne

Amanda is a junior at Rutgers University. She is the Transformation of Space captain for 2023. She is pursuing a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts and an English degree tracking into the Graduate School of Education’s 5-Year Ed.M. Dance Education program. Amanda loves being involved with various organizations on campus and assisting with Rutgers Community Arts Classes. She is a proud Douglass woman, and you can find her on the weekends enjoying performances at theater venus downtown!

Raj Palany

Raj Palany

Hi! My name is Raj. I am a sophomore at Rutgers Business School. My major is Business Analytics & IT and my minor is Data Science. I am the Co-Captain for Transformation of Space for this year’s Mark Conference. A fun fact about me is that I speak 5 languages.

Divon Pender

Divon Pender

Divon Pender is a senior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, majoring in Human Resource Management with a minor in Business Administration. Before transferring to Rutgers, he graduated from Middlesex College with the highest honors attaining his Associate of Science in Business Administration. At Middlesex, he was inducted into the Upsilon Gamma chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, where he also served as a Philanthropy Chair. At Rutgers University, he joined several organizations, including the Scarlet Council, the Tri-Alpha First Generation Honors Society, the Mark Conference, the Rutgers University Programming Association, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, Thrive Student Support Services (SSS), and the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program. Outside of his campus involvement, Divon continues to dedicate his service to his community. He was elected to the Board of Education in 2021 in his hometown of South Plainfield, NJ. He serves as the Young Adults Chair of the Metuchen-Edison Area Branch NAACP. He mentors high school students with the Lena Harris Foundation. Divon maintains environmental cleanliness at his family’s various Adopt-A-Spot locations in his hometown under the New Jersey Clean Communities program. He annually volunteers as a youth leader at his church’s Vacation Bible School: Cedarcroft Bible Chapel, while serving as a guest preacher at several churches across New Jersey. Divon is an Eagle Scout recipient, and he accredits all of his success to his family, for it was them who got him started in a life of service at a young age.

Nidhi Salian

Nidhi Salian

Nidhi Salian is a senior in the Honors College, double majoring in Cognitive Science and Economics, with a minor in Computer Science. She loves learning about technology and is interested in exploring how user experience research, human-computer interaction, and tech policy can be used to design solutions for social, economic, and environmental issues. Since coming to Rutgers, she has actively been involved in several clubs and organizations on campus, like Blueprint, Ethitech, Critical AI, RUAB, and the MARK Conference. Outside of class, Nidhi loves to spend her free time hiking/biking, singing carpool karaoke (badly), and exploring new shows or movies on Netflix!

Caitlin Uriarte

Caitlin Uriarte

My name is Caitlin Uriarte. I am currently a Graduate School at the Rutgers School of Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. A fun fact about me is that I am an influencer under @cu.behindthescenes. I am a lifestyle influencer and love highlighting fun activities anywhere I go, but especially in NYC. I hope to one day incorporate Public Health and Communication possibly Health Communication campaigns with an influencer twist. I was an ignite speaker last year and spoke about how I tried to find my identity after graduating in 2019 and getting my first real job in the real world.  I would like to leave my mark on Rutgers and the world by showing the grit I had over the years from Undergraduate years to Graduate years. There will be trials and tribulations but when you keep going it shows true character and authenticity and you will find yourself along the way. If there is a will there is a way!


Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb S.T.E.A.M. Women’s Empowerment Initiatives

Rutgers Recreation

If you are interested in partnering with the 2023 Mark Leadership Conference as a sponsor, email for more information.


The 2023 conference will take place at:

Livingston Student Center
84 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway NJ 08854

If you are a visitor who needs to park (and do not have a Rutgers permit), we have reserved lots 105, 112, Green & Yellow near the Livingston Student Center (LSC), for the event.

Non-Rutgers attendees and speakers can park in this lot on the day of the conference without a permit. Please note, current Rutgers students must park in their permitted lot. View the weekend bus schedule here.

Contact Us

This conference is an initiative of Student Centers and ActivitiesStudent Involvement and Leadership team, in the division of Student Affairs. Contact the Student Involvement and Leadership at (848) 932-4093,