Justice Baskin is looking forward to teaching social studies to high school students so they can be encouraged to become productive citizens. It is the reason he switched his major to history when he was a sophomore. “I want to educate inner-city people about the need to vote,” says Baskin, who received his Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education and social studies on May 19 from Caldwell University. Baskin, who grew up in Jersey City, believes it is imperative for young people from urban environments to become leaders. It is the reason he wants teenagers to see more African-American men as educators in their classrooms and why eventually he would like to become a school principal.
Baskin was recognized for his own leadership skills during Caldwell University’s honors convocation. He received the “C” Pin, awarded to an individual in his class who portrays the qualities of an exemplary Caldwell University student, and he took second place in the Golden Eagle Award for Excellence in American History.
Caldwell University was a part of his life from a young age. His father is an alumna, and Baskin remembers fondly coming to campus with his dad. The pleasantness of the staff, faculty, and students is something unique, stemming from the Catholic Dominican foundation, says Baskin.
Looking back at his college career, Baskin is proud of pushing forward conversations and initiatives on diversity and inclusion and of taking part in the Educational Opportunity Fund. He says the staff and other students in the program were there for him “every step of the way.”
Baskin was a member of the track and cross-country teams and a founding member of the dance team. He worked through college as a Caldwell resident life assistant in the dorms and at Fordham in the Bronx at night in merchandising and design for a campus store.
Energetic with excellent communication skills, Baskin says he also learned “to be quiet” during his college years. He knows there is a gift in listening that is linked with leadership. Listening helped him learn, he says. “It helped me in family and in work.”
As he leaves Caldwell, Baskin takes other life lessons with him. He has learned to be more open-minded and that “it is okay to make mistakes and bounce back and keep going.” He has become more resilient too, although he says with a smile that he already knew that—“I learned it in Jersey City.” He is grateful to his Caldwell professors, “every single one of them,” and is excited to begin a career that will allow him to help young people engage and to become productive citizens. It is imperative, he believes, for a healthy society. “The students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.”