EMS Chief Shares How Students Benefit From Volunteering

Rowan EMS employee sitting at his desk working diligently on a Mac computer

Vernon Howery, chief of Rowan University’s EMS, shares how students benefit from joining his team. Rowan’s EMS handled approximately 800 calls last year and participates in two dozen on-campus events throughout the year — giving student volunteers real-life, practical, hands-on experience that helps them grow as pre-professionals. 

Two EMS team members standing together in from an EMS transport vehicle

“The students are the best part of my job,” Chief Howery says. “Watching them be trained and watching them evolve, and knowing that when they leave here that they’ll be well trained and easily find employment after graduation.” This organization provides real-world experiences, giving students a glimpse into life after college. Previous students who were Rowan EMTs have gone to medical school, pursued nursing and have become physician assistants. This organization provided those students the experiences that better prepared them for various career paths.

EMS employee reviewing medical supplies inside the back of an EMS transport vehicleBy joining Rowan’s EMS team students join one of the nation’s top collegiate units — standing as the only collegiate unit in the nation awarded bronze, silver, and gold awards from NCEMSF (National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation) for the organization’s preparation and readiness. Volunteers stand among peers who are required to maintain GPA standards, but still managed to accumulate a collective total of 16,000 volunteer hours as a group for the year. This organization operates as a family — relying on one another, helping one another, and laughing with one another.

To join the organization students start by submitting an application. Once accepted, within the first year of becoming a member students are expected to gain their EMT certification. This means the student is already in progress or actively pursuing the certification. After gaining this EMS male employee sitting intensely in the driver seat of an EMS transport vehiclecertification a member goes through a six to nine month training program held at the Gloucester County EMT Training Academy paid for by the organization. Chief Howery stated, “In addition to arranging the training at no cost, we have a continual no-cost-training program. So every month, Cooper Hospital, as part of the contract that we have with them, will come to Rowan and hold training classes in various topics we suggest or recommend.”

EMS employee standing proudly in front of an image of a training exercise conducted by RowanTypical scenarios volunteers might find themselves in include medical and injury responses, transport services for medical appointments and prescription drug pick-up, emergency medical transport, community engagement, mental health responses, training and awareness spreading of proper CPR techniques and AED usage, and the installation and maintenance of campus AEDs.

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Story and photography by:
Alexander Belli, graduating senior with dual degrees in public relations and advertising

Passing the Torch: First-Generation Art/Photo Major Gives Advice

Johnathan Puglise smiles at the camera while being surrounded by other recent graduates in their black cap and gowns.

Johnathan Puglise smiles at the camera while being surrounded by other recent graduates in their black cap and gowns.

Johnathan Puglise wears his black glasses as he poses in his black cap and gown for graduation.

“Meet people and spend time with them!” says Johnathan Puglise from Millville, NJ (Cumberland County), a recent art/photo graduate from the College of Communication & Creative Arts. Johnathan, a first-generation student, rented off campus and commuted to Rowan.

To make the most out of the college experience he says you should, “take photography!”

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Story by: Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major 
Photography by: Dean Powers sophomore radio/tv/film major

My Rowan Transfer Story

Amanda standing on the Bunce Green with Bunce Hall behind her

Today, we feature advice from Amanda Kuster – not only is she a Rowan University admissions counselor with the Office of Admissions, but she is also a Rowan alumna herself, having graduated from our Communications Studies program within the College of Communication & Creative Arts. Today she shares her own story, with hopes that it assists you as you navigate choices within higher education. 

I always love telling the story about my educational journey and I thought I would share it with you!

I was a junior in high school when I first started thinking about what Amanda wearing a blue dress standing in front of a wooden backgroundcolleges I wanted to go to. Did I want a big school or small school? Did I want to live in an urban area? Rural? Suburban? I had no idea.

Being a first-generation college student, and the oldest out of my siblings, I was kind of the guinea pig when it came to the college search. I remember my mom and I were sitting at the kitchen table talking about where we should start the search.

We decided to start visiting public state schools in New Jersey. As I am sure you know, there are a bunch of state schools spanning from different sizes and campus locations.

We visited five public state schools and each one was SO different. I remember visiting Rowan University and immediately getting a sense of home and belonging there. The campus was a perfect size, the admissions ambassadors were awesome and helpful, the buildings were new but still had that classic university feel. After my tour, I knew I wanted to call Rowan home.

When senior year rolled around, I was very anxious to apply to Rowan. I had already bought some Rowan gear, I was telling my friends and family that is where I wanted to go, and I was running to the mailbox after school every day to see if my acceptance letter was delivered.

One day, I checked the mailbox, and there was a small envelope from Rowan University. I brought it inside, opened it, and started reading.

“We regret to inform you…”

I was devastated. I knew my SAT scores were low, but I was certain that my GPA and extracurricular activities would outweigh my dismal test scores.

Amanda standing next to the Henry Rowan Statue outside Savitz HallNow what? I had already bought a sweatshirt, I told everyone this is where I was going. I felt so embarrassed and just let down.

Even though my mom didn’t go to college, she took it upon herself to know everything she could about the process and different options. After getting that denial letter, I sat down with my parents and we talked about the community college option. I was so bitter and was being so stubborn about my new path. I did not want to go to community college, I felt as if I was better than that. But I didn’t have many other options.

I enrolled at my local community college and I made it a point to excel in all of my classes. Fast forward two years, and I graduated with honors.

Amanda sitting in her cubicle in the Office of AdmissionsNow what? I still knew Rowan was where I wanted to be, despite being denied the first time around. I felt confident in the courses I took at my community college and had a stellar GPA. I told myself that there is no way I could be denied again.

I applied again. And again I patiently waited for my letter to come in the mail. This time, I received a large envelope from Rowan University and when I opened it up and saw the word “congratulations.” At that time in my life, that was by far the best day ever.

I knew Rowan was home for me the second I stepped foot on campus my junior year of high school. I transferred to Rowan after earning my associate’s degree and I decided to pursue a degree in Communication Studies. In my two years at Rowan, I was inducted into two national honor societies, was the president of the Communication Studies club, was the Student Government Association Academic Senator for the College of Communication & Creative Arts, had a great relationship with all my professors, and met my lifelong best friend.

Rowan has truly shaped me into the person I am today and I am so incredibly honored to be representing the school not only as a proud alum, but as an admissions counselor in the undergraduate Admissions Office.

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Photos by:
Camryn Hadley, rising junior public relations and advertising double major

Exploratory Studies Leads to Perfect Match in Public Relations

Shaylin Heller, public relations major at Rowan University, walks past the book store holding her laptop and wearing sunglasses

Shaylin Heller, a rising senior public relations and advertising double major from Frenchtown, NJ (Hunterdon County), has so much passion for what she does, you would never guess she came into her freshman year overwhelmed with the thought of choosing a major. “In high school, what I thought I wanted to study changed every other week!” she says. Through a summer program, she started her freshman experience weeks before the fall semester started. “It was basically a Rowan 101 class, but more intimate because it was over the summer with a smaller group of students, so we were really able to get the know the campus and its programs before anyone else,” she recalls. Shaylin wears a denim jacket and holds her laptop outside of Barnes & Noble.

Initially, Shaylin enrolled as an Exploratory Studies major, unsure of what exactly she wanted to pursue a career in. “The advisors in the program would reach out to me and give advice as I was trying to figure out my major and career goals,” she recalls. Her schedule was created for her through the program’s academic advisors, based on introductory classes that pertained to her general interests. Of the classes chosen for her, including sociology and music, her favorite class by far was Introduction to Public Relations. “I loved that class. My best friend freshman year was a PR major, and I noticed how passionate and driven she was about it. It influenced me to get more involved, because I saw how happy she was in the program,” she says.

One of the assignments in the introductory class was to interview somebody within Public Relations, so Shaylin drove to meet the CEO of the Little Words Project, which she was familiar with through a project with her sorority. She was an ambassador for the company, which allows you to pass on confidence and inspiration by sharing a bracelet with others who may need a reminder of their strength. “Talking to the CEO was inspiring, and it was so interesting to see what her life and career looked like. It made me think, ‘I can really picture myself doing this in the future,’” Shaylin says.

Shaylin walks in front of the entrance to Barnes & Noble. “I always knew I wanted to do something more on the creative side,” Shaylin reflects. “I’m a visual learner and I like talking to people, so I wanted to do something where I’d be in a fast pace environment and constantly meeting new people.” Becoming a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority confirmed her love of public relations, because of their philanthropic work and involvement with nonprofits. “Public relations is at the base of a lot of nonprofits, so getting involved with them really narrowed it down for me, that this is what I want to pursue.”

Flash forward to the end of her junior year, and Shaylin is currently searching for her dream internship, where she can apply everything she has learned the past three years. Her dream is to live in Philadelphia and work in the PR and advertising field. “Sometimes it can be hard to figure out which companies are real and authentic and will help you grow,” she says, “It can get a bit overwhelming, but it’s definitely helped me to come out of my comfort zone and narrow down my ideal job.”

“I loved having the opportunity to explore all the different fields – including ones I hadn’t even heard of before college – and being able to choose what I liked. It was less pressure, because a lot of people have the impression that you have to have a set major before even getting to college, so it reassured me that I didn’t have to know exactly what I was doing right away. Exploratory studies eased the pressure of not having that decision made yet.”

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Story and photography by:
Nicole Cier, rising senior writing arts major

Passing the Torch: Studio Art Grad Gives Advice

Kelsey, in her graduation gown, holding her decorated cap

“The best way I made friends was through my photography course,” says Kelsey Ross, a studio art major within the College of Communication & Creative Arts. Kelsey came to Rowan as a freshman, from Hillsborough, NJ (Somerset County.)

“Advice I would give my high school senior self would be to do your work, and do your best even when your best isn’t good enough,” she says. 

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Story and photography by:
Dean Powers, rising sophomore, radio/TV/film major

Passing the Torch: Political Science Major from Honduras Shares Tips for Success

Edwin, in his cap and gown, stands next to his four family members outside Savitz Hall

“The best way to connect with internships is through email and on-campus job fairs,” says political science graduate Edwin Benavides from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County), who is originally from Honduras. He suggests that incoming students, “take advantage of all assistance programs provided by the University.”

The advice he’d give to high school students is to, “take honors and advanced courses” to get ahead in college, says the College of Humanities & Social Sciences graduate who transferred to Rowan. 

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Passing the Torch: Public Relations and Advertising Grad Gives Advice

Alex, wearing his graduation cap and gown, standing on the Bunce Green.
Alex wearing graduation cap and gown on bunce green

‘”Faculty are very helpful with connecting you to internships and job opportunities.” says Alexander Belli, a dual major public relations and advertising graduate, who was a commuter from Voorhees, NJ (Camden County). 

“The best advice I could give for new students on time management would be to look at your schedule every night and to be prepared,” says Alexander. “The advice I would give to my high school senior self would be don’t be afraid to make mistakes.” 

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Story and photography by : 
Dean Powers, rising sophomore, radio/TV/film major.

Passing the Torch: Studio Art Commuter Gives Advice

Rowan graduate standing outside after commencement

“The best way to make friends in college is to walk in and be the loudest guy in the room,” says CJ Haughey, a studio art transfer student (now graduate!) from Kensington, PA, who commuted to Rowan from an off-campus rental and graduated from the College of Communication & Creative Arts. 

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Story and photography by:
Dean Powers, a sophomore radio/TV/film major

From Exploratory Studies to Entrepreneurial Star

Jo Carter sits next to a Business Hall sign at Rowan University, wearing a pink button down blouse and holding a notebook

Jo Carter, a recently graduated senior from Lindenwold, NJ (Camden County), has always been full of ideas, but when she first transferred from Albright College, she wasn’t quite sure how to bring them to life. “I came to Rowan as an Exploratory Studies major, (within the College of Humanities & Social Sciences) unsure of what I wanted to do after graduation,” she says. “I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be my own boss, which required getting into business. I decided to explore entrepreneurship after looking into the college of business, since that is what I was most interested in. And the rest is history!”

An article Jo came across on Snapchat sparked an epiphany, which would transform the rest of her time at Rowan. “The article discussed the fact that we will run out of fresh water by the year 2050. Here we thought we had an endless supply of water, but we really do not! I wanted to use my creativity to help,” she says.

Around the time she discovered the article, Jo was part of a class called New Ventures Development, where students expand on an idea for a potential startup business or product, and experience the process of bringing it to life. “In that class, I came up with the concept of a personal filtration system within a water bottle, called RefresH2O,” Jo says. “Wherever you are – hiking, spending time outdoors – you can scoop up water from a nearby body of water, and it will be filtered fresh. This will alleviate our plastic usage, and make us wiser about how we source our water.” Another class, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, helped Jo finalize the marketing plan and details for her product, including the target market and purpose. “I wanted to make a product that even a three year old could use. Everyone needs clean water — it’s a human right, but not everyone is lucky enough to have that,” she explains.

Jo notes her professors as the most impactful people in this stage of her life. “For a little bit, I became discouraged because not everything about my idea was perfect. That held me back a lot — the thought that I had to have everything completely set before putting it out there,” she reflects. She is grateful to have had class with Professor Kimble Byrd right before his retirement. “He was such an inspiration for the three or four semesters I had him. He kept us on our toes in class, and saw the fire in my belly and told me to keep my passion going, keep that drive, do what needs to be done, and just go for it.” Jo’s professors asked the tough questions she had tried to avoid in the past, and helped her stay on the track to success.

Her future plans include owning her own environmentally sustainable holdings or manufacturing company, and possibly even attending graduate school for a degree in engineering management, to continue to grow. She advises freshmen coming into the field to not let the idea of ‘perfection’ interfere with your goals. “‘Good’ is good enough; just get your name and idea out in the world and continue to work on your idea as you progress,” she says. “And keep track of your commitments! Juggling school work, being on the track team and my internship, senior year has been the most challenging year yet, but planning it all out and prioritizing made it a lot better.”

For now, Jo continues to accrue meaningful experience in the entrepreneurial field, working as an intern for the Office of Technology Commercialization at the tech park. “If a faculty member or student has research and the beginnings of a new venture or product that they are interested in marketing, we help them patent it, market it, or possibly license their technology,” she explains. As an intern for the office, Jo helps to build the content for the website and market the services the office has to offer.

“Now that I am familiar with the office and how it runs, I know that I can come here with my future projects and they will help me. I have a vision, I have a plan, and now my goal is to find similar people who can help me bring this to life. My mind just never shuts off with all these different ideas, and the entrepreneurship program here has really helped me put everything on paper. ”

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Story and photo by: Nicole Cier, junior writing arts major

Passing the Torch: Music Industry, First-Generation Student Gives Advice

Three Rowan graduates standing together outside Robinson Hall

“The best way to connect with internships and job opportunities was through the Rowan Music Group and speaking to your professors,” says first-generation college student Emilio Del Hierro, an international student from Ecuador and a recent music industry graduate from the College of Performing Arts. Emilio rented an off-campus apartment and commuted to Rowan. 

To manage your time effectively, make sure to “write everything down and keep an agenda!” 

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Story by:
Chad Wittman, rising senior journalism major

Photography by:
DeanPowers, rising sophomore radio/TV/film major

Passing the Torch: Radio/TV/Film Grad Gives Advice

Radio/Tv/Film graduate poses in his black cap and gown.

The best way to make friends is by joining “clubs in your major,” says Taylor Forte, a Radio/TV/Film graduate from Brick Township, NJ (Ocean County), who rents off campus and commutes to Rowan. Taylor celebrated his graduation a the College of Communication & Creative Arts ceremony. 

To make the most out of the college experience he says you should “never take yourself too seriously.” It’s also about “quality friends over quantity.”

Graduate Taylor Forte poses in his black cap and gown.

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Story by: Iridian Gonzalez, rising junior journalism major 
Photos by: Dean Powers, rising sophomore radio/TV/film major

Passing the Torch: Engineering Major Shares His Tips

To connect with internships and job opportunities, “attend the Career Fair on campus” through the Office of Career Advancement, says Philadelphia resident and first-generation college graduate Cornelius Middleton, who earned a master’s degree in engineering management through the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering. Cornelius served as a graduate coordinator in Mimosa Hall while earning his graduate degree. 

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Story and photography by:
Dean Powers, rising sophomore radio/TV/film major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Alanah Gorczynski

Young female student wearing light clothing with flowers in the background

Meet transfer student Alanah Gorczynski, a rising senior communication studies major within the College of Communication & Creative Arts, from Stratford, NJ (Camden County). Alanah transferred to Rowan University from Penn State during her freshmen year.

“I was looking for that home-feeling. A place where I can get to know the professors I’m learning from and recognize the faces I’m passing every day. When I came to Rowan, during my first class I realized right away that this is where I belong. I feel like Rowan is a close family – everyone knows each other, everyone fits in with each other, and everyone is just really friendly.”

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Story and photography by:
Alexander Belli, senior public relations and advertising major

Passing the Torch: Political Science Grad Gives Advice

Brianna and her four family members standing in a group
Brianna in her graduation gown holding up her decorated cap that says "wherever life plants you, bloom with grace"

“Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things!” says Brianna Donahue, a political science and first-generation college graduate from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County).

“If I could go back and give myself any advice it would be to not pick a school for anyone but myself. I was too busy focusing on fitting the image that I didn’t realize I wasn’t ready to go eight hours from home,” says Brianna.

“Transferring to Rowan allowed me to grow and succeed in ways I never imagined. I’ve studied abroad in Europe, held local, state, and federal internships, and met some of my best friends.”

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Passing the Torch: International Student Gives Advice

Ahmad Kindawi stands with his family at Rowan University graduation

Ahmad Kindawi jots notes after graduation with family looking on holding a bouquet of flowers at Rowan University“Participating in social activities is the best way to make friends,” says Ahmad Kindawi, a first-generation college student (now graduate!) from Syria, who rents a house off-campus, within walking distance of campus. Ahmad graduated with a master’s degree in history from the College of Humanities & Social Sciences

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First Year Voices: Dean Powers

Dean Powers taking a photo on the bridge outside of Wilson Hall at Rowan University.

When you wake up in the morning, what are you most looking forward to that day? “I look forward to my photography class, taking photos or making art in some way.”

Were you nervous starting at Rowan? How did you overcome it? “Yeah, I was definitely nervous but then I kind of just stopped stressing about it.”

What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a college? “It matters more what you do at your college than what college you choose.”

Dean Powers, Radio/TV/Film major, who commutes from Mantua, New Jersey (Gloucester County).

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Story and photography by: Alyssa Bauer, junior public relations major

Passing the Torch: Law & Justice Transfer Shares Her Tips

Ciera standing outside in her graduation gown holding a boquet of flowers
Cieani in her graduation gown holding flowers in her hand.

“The best way to make friends is through social media,” says first-generation college student, now law and justice graduate Cieani Copes, who commuted from Camden, NJ (Camden County.) 

To make the most out of the college experience she says you need to “be social and get involved.”

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Passing the Torch: Grad Says “Just Do It”

Allyson stands in her cap and gown on the Bunce Green
Allyson in her cap and gown standing on the Bunce Green.

“The best way to make friends is to ask for help and reach out to others,” says public relations graduate Allyson McDonough of Spring Lake Heights, NJ (Monmouth County.)

As a first-generation college student and commuter who rents off campus, she shares her best advice to, “Go straight to Rowan and put yourself out there. Stop being scared and just do it.”

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Passing the Torch: Transfer Student Grad Gives Advice

Eduarda in her graduation gown sitting on a pink wooden chair
Eduarda in her cap and gown sitting on a pink chair

Eduarda Moura, a law and justice graduate from Delran, NJ (Burlington County), shares how she made the most out of her college students as a first-generation transfer student.

“Definitely don’t waste time. Time flies my four years hit me before I could realize it. Now, off to grad school!” 

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Passing the Torch: Law & Justice Grad Gives Advice

Christian stands with two friends, wearing his graduation gown from Rowan University

“On campus I’ve worked with Tutoring, Housing, and as a Public Safety intern. Networking is everything!” says law and justice graduate Christian Grund, from Verona, NJ (Essex County.) He says that having a job while going to school makes college more fun and manageable.

His best advice to freshmen on time management is, “Do it early or suffer later. Don’t procrastinate – just do it!” 

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Exploratory Studies Student Finds His Passion: Political Science

Jason, wearing a Rising Rowan shirt, standing outside Bunce Hall

Rising junior political science major Jason Brooks, from Monroe Township, NJ (Middlesex County) shares his journey with us on how Rowan’s exploratory studies major helped to connect him with the right major for him: political science. The on-campus resident, who recently wrapped up his sophomore year, lived in one of our newest residence halls on Rowan Boulevard, 114 Victoria. 

I always knew when I was visiting other schools that Rowan was the place I ultimately wanted to call home. When I was accepted to Rowan, I came in as an Exploratory Studies student, and was wrestling between becoming a student in the Rohrer College of Business or becoming a political science major within the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. I always had a knack for politics, but was unsure if that was what I wanted to make my living off of it.

After discussions with my advisor, and attending workshops for both Jason, wearing a Rowan Rising shirt, standing in front of a flagprograms, courtesy of the Exploratory Studies program, I decided to pursue a political science degree. In addition to declaring my major, I also applied for the honors program, and was accepted into that program. As a political science student at Rowan, I have accomplished so much in my two years here. I was selected to be a member of the Student Alumni Association where I have engaged with proud Profs from all generations. From there, I was awarded a job in the admissions office as an Admissions Ambassador, giving campus tours to prospective students.

I have also gotten involved with student government, and this past fall I was elected as a Senator At Large, and was recently elected as Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs for the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, Rowan has afforded me the opportunity to work in the political field as well. I have been fortunate enough to hold two internships during our last summer recess and the fall semester respectively.

I am also looking forward to starting my new internship this summer in the New Jersey State House. These internships would have not been possible without the help of the great faculty I have been surrounded with here at Rowan. Specifically, I would not be where I’m at without the help of Dr. Ben Dworkin and his program with the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship (RIPPAC).

Overall, Rowan has afforded me with so many opportunities to expand my network and professional experiences. In the future, I am planning on using my Rowan degree to make an impact on our government and political landscape. But for now, I am looking forward to what the rest of my Rowan experience has in store!

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Passing the Torch: History Grads Share Insight

history grads pose with professor, wearing graduation gowns at Rowan University

“I’m really proud of you,” were Professor Glenn McDorman’s parting words to two of his graduates. “Please reach out if you need anything.”

Graduating with degrees in history and humanities, Cory Gibson (right) from Wall, NJ (Monmouth County) says that the best advice he would give his high school senior self about how to make the most out of college is, “Take advantage of all of the opportunities.” His friend, history major Jeff Fitzpatrick (left), a commuter from Marlton, NJ (Burlington County) agrees, adding, “Just try your best.” Jeff found that the best way to make friends on campus was through classes. 

history grads pose with professor after graduation at Rowan University

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Passing the Torch: Commuter Grad’s Advice to New Students

Cheyenne wears her graduation gown, posing with Rowan University diploma holder in front of owl statue

Cheyenne stands in front of owl statue at Rowan University, wearing an open graduation gown and holding a brown diploma holderCommuter and first-generation college student (now graduate!) Cheyenne Rickabaugh of Cape May, NJ (Cape May County) says the best way to make friends at college is, “Show up to things! Talk in class! Not during lecture, though.” She also says that the best way to get the most out of your college experience is to, “Just get out there and do things! Have fun.” Congrats, Cheyenne, on earning your geography degree from the School of Earth & Environment!

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Computer Science Major Kick-Starts her Career with Co-Op Experience

Monica Mahon, a rising senior from Mays Landing, NJ (Atlantic County), is one of the lucky kind of students who knew what she wanted to study before even coming to college. “I took a computer science class in high school and had a really great teacher that introduced me to it. It was something I really liked and could see myself doing,” she says, in regards to her Rowan career in the computer science major.

During her first computer science course on campus, Monica learned the ins and outs of the industry, as well as coding and communication skills that she would use later on. Her first professor in the field, Professor Chia Chien, “has been a huge help throughout my college experience. She really encouraged me and opened my eyes to great opportunities.” Professor Chien even introduced her to her current resume-builder, as a co-op worker for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). Through the AFMS (ASRC Federal Mission Solutions) program with the Rowan computer science department, students can partake in a real-life work environment and contribute to meaningful projects that improve their skills.  “The program allows students to immerse themselves in a real job, full time, with the option to take classes part time, at night or online,” Monica explains. “You partner with industry companies and really learn how they function and how your knowledge can contribute.”

In the program’s second year, Monica is already making a major positive impact. She works with a software development company through the Department of Defense, to maintain ongoing company projects, and develop software solutions for the Navy. And while this may sound overwhelming for a college student, she explains that the ASRC pairs each new student employee with a mentor that is experienced and willing to guide their mentee through the experience, and help troubleshoot any challenge that may arise.

Monica and two friends smile as they look on at the computer, where Monica is working on HTML coding.
Monica receives advice from her classmates on a Comp Sci project.

“Being quickly introduced to this opportunity and having work assigned to me right away, I learned how to work closely with other employees. They didn’t treat me like an intern,” Monica says. “Learning the workflow of an office environment and seeing the whole process in my specific field – from writing to testing to identifying software issues and engineering solutions, and building the final product – it’s helpful to be part of it and really see how it all works.”

Monica’s on-campus experience has helped her tremendously when it comes to being knowledgeable and prepared for this important role. “Rowan’s computer science program prepares you to work full-time. I felt like I could handle the job going into it, because we learned how to use different operating systems and programming skills right off the bat. Working efficiently in a team is something that is really emphasized here.” As a learning assistant within the department, she works alongside her professors, addressing student questions during class and tackling any issues they may need help with. She notes that having to communicate concepts to students has translated directly to her AFMS experience, where she must communicate her ideas to colleagues.

Monica and her friends stand outside of Robinson Hall, petting a dog.
Monica makes a friend outside of Robinson Hall!

 “For me, choosing computer science as a major was a risk,” Monica says, “I was intimidated at first to enroll knowing that I would feel like a minority as a woman in the STEM industry, but I found a bunch of great friends that really support me and make me feel part of the community. Being a woman in STEM here has felt empowering, instead of limiting.”

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Photo by: Nicole Cier, rising senior writing arts major

Aspiring Counselor Started As Exploratory Studies Major

Autumn sits on a bench outside of Savitz Hall at Rowan University

Sophomore Autumn Vilches-Cruz, who commutes from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County), shares her insight with prospective students every day in her role as an Admissions Ambassador who gives tours of campus. Today she shares one snippet of insight, as a former exploratory studies major (commonly known as an undeclared or undecided major.)

Autumn stands in front of Savitz Hall at Rowan University, with her hands clasped in front of her.Coming in as an exploratory studies major really helped me to solidify what I wanted to do as a career.

When I was a freshman, my Rowan 101 seminar required me to attend at least two information sessions about different majors provided at Rowan. I have always had a fascination with people and why we do the things that we do, and think the things that we think. I came in knowing that psychology was the major for me, and once I was finally declared a psychology major, I could not have been happier!

I’m aspiring to become a counselor, and I’m actually thinking about working at Rowan’s Wellness Center when I’m done with my schooling.

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Pete’s Home Away From Home: Flying First Program [VIDEO]

Pete leans against the railing of the walkway to the front of the business building.

Pete Giancaspro, a graduating senior finance major from Brooklyn, New York, feels most at home within the Flying First program for first generation college students.


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Video by: Nicole Cier, junior writing arts major
Music by: Louis Testa, sophomore music composition major

Faculty PROFile: Dr. Mahbubur Meenar

Dr. Meenar and students sitting outside analyzing rocks and grass

Meet Dr. Mahbubur Meenar, Assistant Professor of Planning in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability & the Director of Community Planning and Visualization Lab at Rowan University. Dr. Meenar has a multi-disciplinary background in architecture (B.Arch.), urban planning (MUP), and geography (PhD). 

portrait of Dr. Meenar outside of Wilson Hall

What is your area of expertise?

My academic training comes from multiple disciplines. I studied architecture and practiced for a short period of time before I decided to get a masters degree in urban and regional planning and finally a PhD in geography and urban studies. Currently I am an assistant professor in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability within the School of Earth and Environment. I teach courses connected to three of our majors: Community and Environmental Planning, GIS, and Geography. If I had to pick a specific area of expertise, it would be environmental planning.

I am interested in the intersection of natural and built environments and how it overlaps with the social environment. My current research projects are focused on brownfield redevelopment, green stormwater infrastructure, civic engagement, geo-spatial technology and visualization, and community food systems. My research lab website offers more information: https://www.planviz.org/

Share with us one aspect of student engagement that you enjoy most, and why?

I try to engage students using various methods suitable for different courses. I incorporate my professional planning experience in my classes as much as possible. The assignments for my “Community Planning and Site Design” course, for example, are based on real world projects—either a small part of a big research project or a replica of a mid-size project. These projects have real life clients (e.g., nonprofit organizations, local municipalities). Students visit project locations (e.g., Glassboro, Camden), meet clients or community partners, and complete site observations. They utilize that experience in class and engage in a design charrette—one of my favorite student engagement activities. 

Dr. Meenar pointing to a camera outside with students

I create a replica of real-world design charrettes in class where students work in groups, with the help of a lot of prompts (e.g., maps, tracing papers, drawing supplies, cutouts of design ideas). Students brainstorm, debate on ideas and visions, and finally develop a design proposal. They present their group proposals in front of the class and students vote for the best proposal. We end the class with a group discussion reflecting on the process and outcomes.           

Dr. Meenar talking to students outside on the rocks near Wilson Hall

What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline or research focus?

Urban and regional planning professionals need to have intensive education and training specific to the profession, but they cannot and should not create plans on their own. In the real world they need to work together with policy makers, media representatives, and relevant professionals (e.g., architects, engineers, GIS analysts, landscape architects, public health professionals) depending on the type of plan/project. More importantly, planners must work closely with the community organizations, residents, businesses, and other stakeholders living or working in the community. They need to actively and meaningfully engage the stakeholders in the plan development process. It is not the professionals but the locals who have a greater understanding of their community’s strengths and shortcomings. We need to listen to their stories and visions in the beginning stage of any project in order to make a meaningful connection to the whole project.

Dr. Meenar and students outside on a class trip looking up into the sky

Do you have a favorite Rowan memory?

It is difficult to pick just one because I have a collection of fond memories in my (almost) three years at Rowan. The success of our students—either in the classroom or in the professional field—define us in many ways. I have sweet memories attached to several class projects and students’ professional achievements.

I try to keep in touch with my students even after their graduation as the GPS department’s small size allows for meaningful connections between our students and staff to take place. In addition, I really enjoyed some field trips and community events that I organized with the help of my students. I am looking forward to make more memories here at Rowan.

Dr. Meenar pointing to a map inside a classroom with students and map on the board

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Photography by:
Vanessa Vause, senior public relations and theatre major

Roommates Reflect: Enzo Ronchi & Adam Goskowsky [VIDEO]

two roommates inside playing chess

Meet roommates Enzo Ronchi, junior public relations major from Ventnor, NJ (Atlantic County) and Adam Goskowsky, sophomore advertising major from Brick, NJ (Ocean County.) Get a look into the Rowan Boulevard Apartments …


Video by: Bianca Torres, sophomore music industry major & Edris Forde, junior radio, TV, film major
Music by: Bianca Torres, sophomore music industry major

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(Weekly) Daily Dish – Hard Boiled Eggs

Having hard-boiled eggs prepped in the fridge allows me to eat during my busy days. It’s easy to make once you get the hang of it and great to throw on avocado toast, on top of a salad or seasoned with salt & pepper. Shout-out to my mom for coaching me over the phone throughout this one … twice.


  1. Eggs
  2. Ice cubes


  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Place 5-6 eggs in medium pot. Cover eggs with cold water. Bring to a boil. 
    Six eggs boiling in water.
  3. When water starts to boil, set a timer for 5 minutes. Turn off stove and place eggs in ice water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Crack and peel eggs.Boiled egg being dropped in ice water.
  4. Enjoy now or store for later!
    Hard boiled eggs in container.

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Story and photography by: Alyssa Bauer, junior public relations major

Prof Style: Michael Buck

Michael outside with pretty pink flowers behind him at Rowan
Michael outside in nature in front of bikes and pretty tree

“One time a friend said my style is ‘athleisure’ (athletic leisure). I am ready to go to a movement class at any time.”

Michael Buck, sophomore theatre major (acting/directing & musical theatre track), from Red Bank (Monmouth County), NJ.

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Story and photography by:
Vanessa Vause, senior public relations and theatre major