• Jayanne Pierre

Jayanne Pierre, member of the undergraduate class of 2021, has a unique and inspiring story. A Cell Biology and Neuroscience major, she will be matriculating into Columbia University Dental School in the Fall of 2021. A nontraditional student, Jayanne dropped out of high school in 2012 to return to Dominica and support her family when her mother fell ill. Despite being labeled a high school dropout, she returned to America three years later in 2015 to take her GED and study for her SATs, determined to continue pursuing her ambitions to become a health professional.

When deciding between colleges, Jayanne looked for two things: support and community. She found herself hesitant when visiting Rutgers, and wondered whether she’d find community in a school so large. But when she attended the ODASIS open house and met Dr. Khan, her worries melted away. “He was charismatic, he was boisterous, and he immediately connected to us as a fellow Caribbean.” Jayanne found the program and its dedication to creating a supportive network for underrepresented minorities interested in health sciences heartwarming.

“I knew I wanted to be successful but I didn’t really know how, which is where ODASIS came in,” said Jayanne. “As a nontraditional student, they gave me resources that I would otherwise not have been able to have.” Jayanne was able to attend recitations for Biology, Chemistry and Physics, in addition to a DAT preparatory course. She scored in the 90th percentile of the entire nation in her DATs. And as a way to give back to the community that had given her so much support throughout her journey, Jayanne became an instructor for the DAT prep course.“As an immigrant with limited resources, the opportunities that are here have played such a huge role in my success. It’s given me the opportunity to achieve my dream –going to Columbia for dental school, and also becoming a Dean’s Scholar for Columbia, something I didn’t even think was a possibility.” The culmination of her unique journey is a testament to both Jayanne’s unwavering perseverance despite the many obstacles she’s had to face, and to the supportive ODASIS network that served as a second family to her during her time at Rutgers.

Source: Sukanya Puthur, ODASIS undergraduate staff writer