Princeton residents bash Governor Christie

By Kieona Buchanan and Katie Marciniak
Rolling Fork, MS and Chicago, IL

Residents of Princeton say they dislike their governor both as the state’s leader and for his role in the current presidential election. Chris Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump, they believe, is merely a political move to win a cabinet spot after his term is up in 2017.

Devon Davis, a 24-year-old Princeton resident, said he recalls Christie’s budget cuts resulting in a decline in field trip opportunities when he was in high school. So Christie’s decision to work alongside Trump, Davis said, “doesn’t surprise me. They’re for themselves.”  Continue reading

With re-election looming, Princeton mayor reflects on first term

By Allison Scharmann
Southwick, MA

Liz Lempert, mayor of Princeton, N.J., is the kind of politician who chooses her words carefully. She’s coming to the end of her first term and four years filled with controversial battles including gentrification, wage theft, infrastructure, and other issues that reflect the town’s changing demographics.

A former journalist, Lempert jumped into politics with Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and served as Princeton Township Deputy Mayor for four years. Since being elected mayor in 2012, she’s governed a town that’s experienced growing tension amid urban development and gentrification, especially in neighborhoods consisting largely of people of color.  Continue reading

The Princeton Summer Journal – 2016 Masthead

The following students and staff participated in SJP 2016:


Skye An
Anterrica Brady
Kieona Buchanan
Jamal Burns
Aracely Chavez
Berenice Davila
Taylor Fetty
Anahi Figueroa
Jadelyn Flores Sierra
Miriam Garcia
Kasandra Gonzalez
Maria Gonzalez
Hector Gutierrez
Kay-Ann Henry
Meherina Khan
Amy Kim
Amanda Koym
Jesus Lino
Angela Loyola
Katie Marciniak
Trapetas McGill
Elia Morelos
Katherine Okumu
Luis Ortiz
Breonna Reese
Tommie Robinson
Talaya Robinson-Dancy
Mirna Rodriguez
Angel Santana
Sarah Santiago
Allison Scharmann
Alexess Sosa
Ashley Standafer
Aisha Tahir
Yahaira Torres Ledesma
Xuan Truong
Michael Williams

Program Staff

Founder & Executive Director
Richard Just ’01

Marin Cogan
Amanda Cormier SJP ’07
Eliza Gray
Tonya Riley SJP ’10
Amanda Rinderle ’08
Brian Rokus ’99
Chanakya Sethi ’07
Tasnim Shamma ’11 SJP ’06
Katie Zavadski SJP ’08
Simon Van Zuylen-Wood

Program Associates
Caroline Lippman ’19
Mim Ra Aslaoui ’18

Adrian Alvarez GS ’04
Kina Carney SJP ’13
Shemaiah Clarke SJP ’13
Andie Coller
Imani Ford ’18 SJP ’13
Megan Greenwell
Liz Gonzalez SJP ’11
Mariya Ilyas SJP ’08
Stanley Kay
Suzy Khimm
Franklin Lee SJP ’10
Lyne Lucien SJP ’08
Mike Mishak
Rebecca Nelson
Ashley Powers
Lorena Aviles Trujillo SJP ’12

Steven Uccio: red candidate in a blue state

By Mirna Rodriguez and Xuan Truong
Mission, TX and Springfield, MA

The carnival played out in the distance underneath last Saturday afternoon’s baking sun. The sunlight perfectly lit up a sign that read Middlesex County. Laughter and screams rang out from the twisting rides, drowning out a man’s demure voice as he stood in a field. Face clean shaven and hair neatly cut, he looked down at his pin, the sun blaring against the name: Steven Uccio.

Behind him were two other men in bright red shirts with large, bolded letters saying “Uccio For Congress: It’s Our Time.” Beyond the three were a crowd of young journalists, with pink umbrellas and notebooks on their laps, awaiting his answers. Continue reading

Princetonians discuss Christie and Trump

By Ashley Standafer and Xuan Truong
Hyden, KY and Springfield, MA

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a polarizing politician who inspired both outright anger and respect among those interviewed on a recent Saturday night in Princeton, N.J.

“He’s a bully and it shows who he really is as a person,” said Robert Delanty, 47. He believes that Christie “sold himself out on the Trump endorsement,” referring to the governor’s support of the Republican presidential candidate.   Continue reading

Calmness and continuity: the story of Princeton mayor Liz Lempert

By Jamal Burns
St. Louis, MO

Liz Lempert sits in a beige conference room in Princeton’s municipal complex. The room is utterly silent, besides the faint hum of central air conditioning. But the calmness of the room belies persistent tension in the Princeton community, whether about the environment, the cost of housing, or racial prejudices on Princeton University’s campus.

Lempert, 46, is the first mayor of the newly consolidated Princeton Township. But she hasn’t always been in politics. She started her unconventional journey in journalism, as an editor for the Stanford Daily, and later, as a graduate student at Boston University. “I thought I was going to go into print [journalism] because you gravitate to what comes easy to you, and I always loved writing,” she said. Continue reading

First-generation Princeton students speak out

By Anahi Figueroa and Jesus Lino
Commerce City, CO and Los Angeles, CA

At the country’s most selective colleges, all first year students commence their college experience in the same way. Armed with over-packed suitcases, they stroll through a manicured lawn passing a medieval Harry Potter-style library to arrive at their empty dorm. After sliding their freshly minted I.D’s, they open the door to new faces with differing backgrounds. They all arrive to the room in the same fashion, yet the subtext of their past experiences shapes their new ones. Whether you’re the daughter of a farmer or the son of a Wall Street shark, your upbringing shapes how you navigate in a new environment. For first-generation and low-income students at Princeton University, their backgrounds can present unique obstacles for maneuvering their education, especially without support from family or the administration.

While administrators believe that Princeton University is doing a marvelous job in assisting first-generation students, some students say that a lot of work still needs to be done. Continue reading