Alumna Imbolo Mbue struck it big recently when her debut novel, Behold the Dreamers (Random House, 2016), won the prestigious 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award. The novel tells the story of a couple from Limbe, Cameroon (the hometown of Mbue DC’01), who is making a new life in New York City just as the Great Recession upends the economy in 2008 and threatens to tear them apart. In the telling, Behold the Dreamers provides an exploration of marriage, class, and race in the United States as it reveals the illusion of the American Dream. “This idea that hard work will always be materially rewarded—I don’t believe it’s true in America or in life in general,” Mbue says. “So, why should I support the existence of such a concept? That’s why I am thankful to Rutgers, because it gave me a great foundation in questioning the world and seeing America’s complexities.” — Carla Cantor