Alumnus Marvin Adames, a municipal judge in Newark is pictured with graduate student JoAnn Brea NCAS’17.


Alumnus Marvin Adames, a municipal judge in Newark, has been counseling students at Rutgers University–Newark for six years. He is pictured with graduate student JoAnn Brea NCAS’17.

Bill Cardoni

When Marvin Adames was a kid growing up in a housing project in Newark, New Jersey, he would sometimes spend the night on his grandmother’s couch instead of walking home to his own apartment after dark. “I’d see cars getting stolen, people shooting. I knew I didn’t need to be out in that,” he says. Adames NLAW’98, now a municipal judge in Newark, credits his mother for  nurturing good judgment at an early age. “She instilled in me that I didn’t need to get involved with people who didn’t have my best interests at heart. She said that I should believe in myself and that I could do great things.” It’s a message Adames is sharing with Rutgers University–Newark students whose backgrounds and ambitions are similar to his own.

Adames doesn’t know how many of these students he has mentored since he started informally offering counsel six years ago. He just knows he wants the number to keep going up. “They call me, they text me. Some of them become good friends. I welcome it,” he says.

In addition to his work with Rutgers–Newark students, Adames has mentored elementary and high school students in Newark for more than 15 years. But it is students who are struggling in college—particularly low-income Hispanic students—whom Adames feels most qualified to help. “My family is Puerto Rican,” he says. “My mother had me at 18, and as a single parent, she raised my sister and me. It was tough times, but she taught us to imagine possibilities. I want other people to see those possibilities, too.”