From Medford to Mars, Rebekah Feinberg is making the universe a better place.
Feinberg is Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC)’s President’s Award winner, an honor she received for her academic achievement and extensive volunteer work. Feinberg logs volunteer hours at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge and Medford Leas, holds a 4.0 GPA and has researched with NASA.
Feinberg dedicated her life to service as a child, when she learned the value of giving back by helping her grandmother during regular visits. She began volunteering at Medford Leas in high school by providing food service and connecting with residents.
“The elders built the foundation for our community, so I wanted to give back to them especially,” she explained.
When Feinberg enrolled at RCBC, she became part of the school’s Service Learning program, which inspired her to begin spending time at Cedar Run. She volunteers at the animal hospital, something she finds particularly fulfilling.
“It’s just really cool being able to give them medication and watch them heal over the course of a few weeks, and then release them back into their wildlife environments,” she said.
Feinberg, who plans to become a cardiovascular surgeon to save lives on Earth, also has experience studying how to sustain life on Mars. During her freshman year, she researched sanitation on the planet in a program with NASA, which led to a chemistry scholarship through RCBC.
“I want to be a doctor, so I was not really into NASA, but I wanted some research involvement, and it has been really cool,” she noted.
Now with an associate’s degree, Feinberg plans to graduate with a bachelor’s from Rowan University and go to medical school. She hopes to work locally at a place like Cooper Hospital.
“Doctors and surgeons do the heavy lifting of lifesaving surgeries, and that’s the whole point for me: to be able to go and save someone’s life with my own hands and my own skills,” Feinberg explained.
RCBC President Michael A. Cioce said he chose Feinberg for the award because she stood out as a “student and leader.”
“Our college is stronger because of students like Rebekah,” he noted.
Feinberg said she wasn’t expecting the award, one of the most prestigious at RCBC. She had been nominated for valedictorian, but wasn’t chosen..
“I like this award much better though,” she said. “The president chose me.”
In her graduation speech, Feinberg told her fellow students to celebrate their achievements in self-discipline and motivation.
“That’s what got us through the pandemic and that’s what is going to get you through life,” she advised.
When the going gets tough and motivation starts to falter, Feinberg said there’s one thing that keeps her going.
“I will be honest, a cup of coffee,” she said with a laugh.