My Favorite Class: Puppetry [VIDEO]

Students in Puppetry class work alongside each other in class.

This story is a part of the “My Favorite Class” series.

Meet Grace Fox, a senior English major and Raven Vijayakumar, a sophomore environmental & sustainability studies major. They are sharing memories from their favorite class, Puppetry.

Puppetry (ART 02300) is a studio-based class where students have time to work on creating puppets. This course is a great fit for students who like a hands-on art experience. It gets students thinking creatively about how to design artistic work. 

This course is traditionally taught by Professor Patrick Ahearn. He provides his students with guidance, rather than strict instructions, giving students the opportunity to let their personal artistry flow. He educates his students on which techniques would give them the best results for the puppet they are trying to create. Rather than being an art piece that gets displayed on a wall, puppets can be used by anyone of any age, making it an interactive experience. 

A student working on constructing a puppet in Puppetry Class, held in Westby Hall.

Senior Grace Fox spends a lot of time on the opposite end of creativity, including time spent in writing and directing. Grace does more behind the scenes work for artists. She has found it very exciting to be fabricating her own puppets with Professor Ahearn’s guidance. Grace describes her experience in Puppetry as “real exciting and broadly applicable.”

Through Puppetry, sophomore Raven Vijayakumar realized that they need art in their lives. In high school, Raven was involved in Drama Club, where they worked on creating props for various performances. Raven likes engaging in artistic activities because of how fun they can be, and it gives them an outlet of expression.

“You should take this class because it is super fun, first of all, and because you get the opportunity to do something in a way that is practical.”

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Written by: Jordyn Dauter, junior double major in dance & elementary education

National Book Month: Writing Arts & Journalism Students, Faculty Share Favorite Reads

A female student browses a bookshelf at the bookstore.

The month of October is known as a time centered around witches, pumpkins, and candy of course. However, as werewolves howl at the moon and that first October moon rises, National Book Month also begins! With only 31 days to celebrate Rowan students and faculty weigh on their favorite current and past reads on their […]

Hispanic Heritage Month: A Story of Compassion for Those in Need

A close up portrait of Jeanette smiling, wearing a white collared business shirt.

An adult learner graduating next year with a degree in communication studies, Jeanette Alvarez talks about her upbringing and the ways in which she has learned from it, to give back to her community. Jeanette Alvarez’s story is one of kindness, caring, and generosity, all stemming from her memories of the place she calls home: […]

Promoting a Pastime: Sports Communication & Media Major’s Journey to the Big Leagues

A student standing in front of a Major League Baseball work desk.

Coby O’Brien, a sports communication and media major from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County) who will graduate this fall, details his incredible experience as a social media coordinator for Major League Baseball.

As a sports communication and media major (Called sports CAM), Coby hones interests that span the fields of radio, television, and film (RTF) production, public relations, and advertising. Currently, he works at Major League Baseball (MLB) as a social media coordinator. Describing his day-to-day work experience, Coby says, “What we do is scour the internet and try to create graphics or videos to hype up games, and intrigue people to learn about the players more. It’s a lot of player promotion, but the core of what we do in the social editorial department is watching baseball games and posting highlights.”

In his short time being there, only a few months, he already is very happy and proud of his work. “My proudest accomplishment was I had a couple posts go viral. My first one was a post at the end of spring training, I got over 500,000 likes on that one.”

Coby’s path to success had started at a different school, in a different program. “I still can’t believe it when I think about it. But freshman year, I was like, I’m going to be a doctor of physical therapy. Then I realized I can’t do math. So I was like, I’m going to write about sports. I want to be a broadcaster. And the school I transferred from didn’t have that stuff. So, at the start of my junior year I transferred to Rowan and joined our sports CAM program.” As a transfer student, Coby had to adjust to a new school and a new environment. However, he was able to quickly make friends, join clubs, and make the important connections he needed to be able to advance his career.A student standing in front of a mlb work desk.

Like plenty of successful Profs, Coby attributes just about all of his success and his opportunities to Rowan and the options that the curriculum offered. Additionally, he gives some insight on just how deeply the Rowan connection runs: “Everything I have is because of Rowan. I can’t really say it any other way. Like of course I did the work, but none of my opportunities would even be close to what I have now without them, it feels like I’d have no chance in my career if it wasn’t for Rowan. My first boss at my first internship was a Rowan grad. My second internship was with Rowan Athletics. My third was through Rowan because Rowan has a partnership with Delaware Bluecoats or the G-league team, the Sixers,  and now my boss is a Rowan grad as well. So every step along the way, I was lucky to have Rowan.” This, Coby says, is important to remember when getting involved. You never know when a fellow Prof can help you out in the future, so making connections, as Coby did, is of the utmost importance.

In closing, Coby has a very simple piece of advice for any new Profs coming in who are just starting their Rowan experience and looking to branch out: “Get involved. And then once you have the experience on campus, apply everywhere. For an internship, no place is too small for you. And no place is too big for you. Apply everywhere.”

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Story by Connor Bicknell, senior communication studies major

Alumni Success: 2019 Studio Art Grad and Current Tattoo Artist, Paige Buza [VIDEO]

Rowan University studio art graduate Paige Buza works in her tattoo shop.

Today we feature Paige Buza, a 2019 graduate from Pennsville, NJ (Salem County) who earned her degree in Studio Art. Here, Paige tells us about her journey to becoming a tattoo artist, how her passion for art stemmed, and how Rowan prepared her for her profession. Browse Paige’s work on Instagram or visit her at […]

Next Stop: Becoming a People Person in a Post-COVID World

An Admissions Ambassador gives an outdoor tour of Rowan Campus to prospective students and their families.

Connor Bicknell, a rising senior communication studies major from Piscataway, NJ (Middlesex County) shares this first-person perspective on how being an admissions ambassador helped him step out of his comfort zone after COVID-19.

Connor Bicknell, in a Rowan sweatshirt, sitting and smiling at the camera.

In March 2020, and for the seemingly blurry amount of time after, the world was in a constant state of suspense, fear, and anxiety. The result of lockdowns on our social cognition was apparent, and it was clear that returning to the level of social activity that we once achieved as young students would take some time to regain. Especially for me.

Being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at birth, my people skills were at a significant disadvantage from the get-go, fluctuating greatly over time. That didn’t help when COVID kept me home for months, especially at a significant time like my high school graduation, where I took my diploma from a latex-gloved hand into the passenger seat of my mom’s car. From there, I was now supposed to go to college? Go from living at home for months on end to living on my own in a welcoming but yet still unfamiliar environment? This would be a challenge. However, during the unique experience that was my freshman year, I would see campus tours throughout the day, and after enough times of seeing this, the idea sparked. I was going to take charge of my social anxiety and push it further than it has ever gone. I was going to be an admissions ambassador. I was going to lead campus tours for interested students.

An Admissions Ambassador prospective students and their families outside Rowan University Welcome Center.

By the end of that year, I had successfully interviewed and been hired for the job beginning the next semester. After learning the route, the stops, the information, and of course, incorporating my signature corny jokes, I was ready to be a student leader on campus. Being responsible for relaying information as it relates to academic programs, recreational activities, student life, and more was a pretty daunting task at first, but now, nearly two years later, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I find it almost freeing, in a sense. While I was nervous for the first tour or two, every one after that just got better and better as the information flowed out more naturally. I have enjoyed so much of my time interacting with students and families, who come from all over New Jersey and even the country. And even better, I find that my social anxiety has dwindled.

I am no longer afraid of speaking in public, or showing my more humorous personality to people I am unfamiliar with. I have made many incredible friends and connections working in this program as well, who have all made my Rowan experience infinitely better. The job also brings a lot of unique opportunities, like having the opportunity to work directly with the Office of Admissions and other departments on campus and helping facilitate large events like Open Houses and Accepted Students Day.

Even recently, at our annual Accepted Students Day admissions event, two families approached me and told me that they remembered me giving their tour. That was when it hit me. I have put forth such an impactful and positive effort that I stood out to these families who are in the midst of making one of the biggest decisions of their lives. 

To me, this isn’t just a job on campus. This is a way for me to not only connect with others, but with myself in my own way. It’s like being a friend, business partner, life counselor, and stand-up comedian all at the same time, and it feels just as rewarding as each of those combined. Being an admissions ambassador at Rowan has helped me step out of my comfort zone, and so I hope to reflect that as much as possible in the tours I give, to inspire prospective students to step out of their comfort zones, and inspire them to call Rowan their home. 

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Written by: Connor Bicknell, rising senior communication studies major

Story edited by: Valentina Giannattasio, rising junior dance and marketing double major

Spotlight Welcome on Incoming Transfer Paige Britt

Paige stands in the sun with flowers behind her.

“While I’m really excited to be going to Rowan, my biggest concerns when choosing a school were the financial aspects. It was really important to me that all of my credits transferred and that I could truly afford the school I was going to. Rowan made that happen for me.” Written by Jordyn Dauter, sophomore […]

Bridging the Gap Between the Art and Business Worlds

Isabella smiles in front of the Creatives 230 sign

Today we feature a first-person perspective from Isabella Shainline, a rising senior English Education major, photography minor, and John H. Martinson Honors College student from Pitman, NJ (Gloucester County). Isabella co-founded Business Hall’s Creatives 230, which is an interdisciplinary learning lab for creatives and entrepreneurial students.

Creatives 230 started as a pipe dream. In my Intermediate Photography Class, almost no hands were raised when my professor, Jenny Drumgoole, asked who had spent time in the Business Hall. Westby Hall and the Business Hall are located right next to each other. Since that day, Professor Drumgoole and a handful of students, including myself, have made it a mission to bridge the gap between the art and the business world.

A headshot of Isabella Shainline in a green top with a necklace

On January 7th, 2023, after running a month of test trials behind the scenes, Creatives 230 officially opened their doors to the public. Our space offers photography, graphic design, copy & creative writing, videography, and website design to entrepreneurs in the Rowan community. Our goal is to foster new relationships between creatives and entrepreneurs, because one cannot exist without the other.

Why is this important? To me, Creatives 230 represents the idea that things that are perceived as distinctly different, such as the business world and the art world, can actually exist together beautifully. The running of this space has introduced me to positions in the real world, such as being a content creator, a video script writer, and a creative director. These careers are all things I didn’t have knowledge of beforehand. Working in this space has reminded me that the world is truly my oyster.

Isabella Shainline is sitting at a desk typing on a computer.

More than anything, Creatives 230 is a passionate, inspiring, and loving community. We make it a priority to serve those that we feel we can make the most difference for, and those who we feel a connection too. Our doors are open Monday through Friday in Business Hall Room 230. Stop in, meet the team, and find your people!

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From Political Science Student to Political Operative

Connor talks to two people.

Originally intent on a completely different major, that changed after Connor attended Dr. Lawrence Markowitz’s talk on Russian collusion in American elections. Although he quickly changed majors to political science, he did not want to lose other areas of interest that had been a big part of his life growing up, causing him to pick […]

Co-Founder of Interdisciplinary Learning Lab for Creatives and Entrepreneurs Shares Her Experience

Isabella Shainline posing in a work space.

Today, we hear from Isabella Shainline, a junior English Education major, Photography minor, and John H. Martinson Honors College student from Pitman, NJ (Gloucester County). Isabella co-founded Business Hall’s Creatives 230, which is an interdisciplinary learning lab for creatives and entrepreneurial students. “Last year, my photography professor Jenny Drumgoole and I went over to Business […]

Senior Reflects On How He Found Himself At Rowan

Danny Ryan sits working in front of a microphone at Rowan Radio.

When senior Danny Ryan, a Sports Communication and Media major with concentrations in Sports Journalism and Radio Television & Film Sports Production, with a minor in Marketing, was considering colleges, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do. The Woodbury, NJ (Gloucester County) native shares, “I chose Rowan because of the close proximity to […]

From High School to Showbiz and Back Again: Rowan Alum Janine Edmonds Tells All on Her Career as a Guidance Counselor

Janine poses in front of a mural.

Today we feature Janine Edmonds, a graduate of Rowan University’s class of 2001 with a degree in Radio/Television/Film and a 2006 graduate of Rowan’s M.A. In Counseling Educational Settings program. Here, Edmonds tells us about her path returning to higher education and her experience as a guidance counselor for Oakcrest High School. Did you always […]

Alumni Success: Shaun Pierson ‘19 Talks MFA Candidate at Yale and Personal Photography Projects

Shaun Pierson in front of a mirror with his camera.

Shaun Pierson (he/him) is a Rowan University 2019 graduate who majored in Radio/TV/Film. He currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut, but during his time at Rowan, lived on campus as an RA. His work has been featured at the Midwest Center for Photography, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, the Foley Gallery (NYC), Vogue Italia, […]

#PROFspective: Getting to Know Health and Science Communication Major Sedrick Golden

Sedrick Golden is a junior student here at Rowan University originally from Pleasantville, NJ (Atlantic County). Sedrick is a Health and Science Communication major with a minor in Public Health and Wellness. Sedrick is breaking down barriers as a first-generation college student commuting to Rowan after transferring from Atlantic Cape Community College. On campus, he […]

Beyond the Classroom: How Two Students Blend Art and Science

Naman and Terry are sitting on the stairs of Bunce Hall.

In this edition of Beyond the Classroom, we discuss the founding of the ArtSci Symposium with Terry Nyugen, who recently graduated from the Biomedical Art and Visualization program, and Naman Srivisvatra, who recently graduated from the Biological Sciences program. While at Rowan, Terry was president of the Neurodiversity Club; Rowan Blog featured her in this interview. In our discussion with Terry and Naman, we learn of their ambition to blend the lines between art and science in order to create a more inclusive and understandable message within research exhibits.

What drew you to Biological Sciences? How do you think your program helped you transition to Biomedical Art and Visualization? 

Naman: For me at least, I picked biology mainly because I had an interest in it for such a long time. I mainly picked biology because it serves as an intersection point between a lot of different fields. I was mainly interested in the ecological and environmental side of it. At some point, I had chosen to pursue medicine but at the same time keep the same interest in environmental and ecological sciences.

With the medicinal aspect, there are parts of it that involve a lot of complex molecular biology along with other aspects that deal with organic chemistry and various other “hardcore” sciences. The Biological Sciences major presented the opportunity for me to get both of those things without having to compromise schedule or taking multiple majors.

The reason I ventured into Biomedical Art and Visualization was because of Terry. Terry had introduced me to the program back in our freshman year. I always had an interest in visual arts, so to me it seemed like a perfect fit where I get to practice science while also working in visual arts and communicating science. At the time I had thought this to be such a unique opportunity that I would not get anywhere else. 

How did you two meet? 

Terry: We met each other freshman year and quickly became friends. Naman just so happened to be in a practice room in Wilson Hall, and I just so happened to be getting ready for a concert that day. We started to introduce ourselves and we found out that we were both pre-med students and an untold bond was formed! That’s how we just got to know each other.

I didn’t really have a lot of pre-med friends at the time and I was looking for them. Naman and I got acquainted and we started signing up for classes together. From there our friendship just kept growing as we started involving each other more in each other’s lives. 

Terry is sitting on the ledge of a nearby building with flowers all around her.
Terry Nyugen, of Burlington County, is a recent graduate of the Biomedical Art and Visualization program.

How did you introduce Biomedical Art and Visualization to Naman? 

Naman: The way that I had found out about the program was the day we met when I was in the practice room. I did a lot of musical work as well, I was heavily involved with the Jazz Studies program and Terry was in Classical Piano. The day of that concert I was looking over the program booklet of the concert. In that booklet, it showed all the different names of the students that were involved in the concert as well as the major that they are affiliated with. When I saw Terry’s name and the major next to it, Biomedical Art, I had thought to myself, “I’ve never heard of that, especially at Rowan”. I started to do some research on my own and I found out that it was an entire major. I proceeded to ask Terry about the major and the different types of stuff that are involved with Biomedical Art and Visualization. I found an interest in it and then that following Fall semester I started taking those classes. 

How did you (Terry) and Naman get involved with Biomedical Art and Visualization? 

Terry: In high school I had a lot of different learning issues and curves that I had to overcome. For me, learning visually was a way for me to get the information and ingrain it into my brain. The reason why I specifically chose Biomedical Art was because deep down, I wanted to pursue medicine in high school but I didn’t have stellar performances. I still wanted to stick with science but not commit to it. My strengths were in art and I found ways, especially towards my senior year, to combine the two ideas.

My parents were the ones who found the Biomedical Art and Visualization program. My parents saw my efforts and wanted to find the environment that would put me in the best position to succeed. Even when I took AP Studio Art in high school, my portfolio was based around this idea of combining science and art. It wasn’t until I actually decided to commit to Biomedical Art that I found out it was much broader than I had previously anticipated. It deals with educating and creating different avenues of communication and not just creating beautiful illustrations.

Essentially, I chose Biomedical Art to help teach myself scientific information without outright saying “I go to medical school!” Eventually, once I feel more confident, I’ll say that. I had a love for art but also didn’t want to give up on the rigors of science classes.  

What clubs/projects are you two directly involved in right now? 

Naman: In the past, I was a founder of the American Physician Scientist Association, which was one of the main components of the ArtSci Symposium. Our goal was to help incorporate more vigorous research into medicine. A lot of the time with students that are going through the process of applying to medical school, they really do not have any scientific research experience. It’s not a prerequisite, but it is nice to have.

A lot of my friends, especially during the Covid period, were struggling to find space at labs and weren’t able to get the experience they needed for applying to medical school. And so, I had started working on setting out on an organization on campus that was dedicated towards getting students into research. For a lot of the time, what we figured out what was happening was that it was the students who did not feel comfortable directly reaching out to figures such as research supervisors. With getting into labs, it more than likely comes from word of mouth. It’s direct communication.

Especially since the pandemic hit, research took a huge blow. The pandemic created almost a vacuum, there were students who were actively looking for labs to participate in and you also had students who were leaving; there was no bridge between the two to get students into the labs.

I wanted to create an organization that was dedicated to helping students obtain the research experience that they needed, whether it was for medical school or just if they wanted to pursue science on a deeper level. That was one of the big initiatives that I had here at Rowan. 

Naman is standing profoundly in front of a brick wall with his blazer draped on his shoulder.
Naman Srivastava of Gloucester County, is a recent graduate of the Biological Sciences program.

Naman: Another one was my protein work over at MIT. Although it doesn’t directly involve Rowan, I still did a majority of the work on that here at Rowan as well as using a lot of the skills that I had learned at Rowan as well. What we did was look for new ways to communicate science. In this process called protein solidification, it was becoming more and more popularized by scientists and faculty members at MIT. I took an interest in it immediately.

As someone who has a music and science background, I thought that my perspective would bring an interesting way to communicate molecular biology. What we did was, it was me, Terry and a couple other of my buddies who were actual music majors and we sat down and looked at the different sequences of protein. Proteins are built out of these tiny pieces called amino acids and there are 20 of them total. We were able to categorize all of these different amino acids into musical notes. Each of them correlates to a different note and what we did was string all of the different notes together into a musical composition.

There’s a level of artistic literacy that is needed to get this to work because of the sheer amount of musician skills needed. I will say it was extremely complex mainly because you get a random string of notes and it was our job to make a cohesive composition out of it and make it sound coherent. We did a lot of work on that, the first time we started on it was back in 2020.

That was for the American Society of Microbiology. The society was doing a bit of an art contest. They had expanded the different forms of submissions that they would accept and so my friends and I saw this as our chance. We sat down and wrote up a composition and even filmed a music video for it. We did not win, but we did manage to get into the finalists category; which, I’ll take! After we were done that one, the following year we saw that MIT was hosting a conference that was built around biological communication and new ventures into science. We sat back down and decided to start back from scratch. We went back at it and selected a new protein, solidified it, and got all of the musical data to start writing our piece for submission. We were planning on actually driving up to Boston, but with covid that really put our plans in awry. It was held virtually but it was a really good experience to be able to talk to so many different people from that area and get an idea of their thoughts when it comes to different projects and ideas. I’m planning on going back again this year. Our group really wants to keep our ideas fresh so we’ve been thinking of integrating new ideas with the project like animation or even being able to communicate how our thought process worked. 

Naman and Terry are sternly looking directly into the camera while sitting next to each other.
Terry and Naman cofounded the ArtSci Symposium.

Could you tell us about the initiative, ArtSci, that you two co-founded?

Terry: It started off when we were having lunch outside the student center. I had approached the idea to Naman and said, “What if, and hear me out, we have a symposium where we revolutionize how research posters are presented?” We wanted to figure out a way to change the way in which research posters had been incorporated up to this point because at the time we were learning about having creative outlets for communicating certain things.

With research posters, we wanted to change the foundation of it and have them more focused on communicating the desired message in a more effective manner within the mathematical and graphic design portion of posters. For myself, I remember looking at the examples in classes versus the things that I see in the Science Hall.

I would just wonder what happened if you know, the traditional signs were posted? This mindset was an idea that came up before but it wasn’t as developed as we would have liked it. When I approached Naman with the idea I remember saying, “I really think you can do this.” I knew of Naman’s strengths and I knew that we both had skill sets that would complement each other as well compensate for our own weaknesses. After that lunch we decided to work together from then on. 

Naman: The original idea was something that was proposed a year or two back. We wanted to hold our own research symposium. But at the same time, because we cater to such a broad range of research, we were very self aware and questioned as to how we can make this interesting or something new. The main research symposium that was held on campus had been canceled for the past two years due to Covid, and the person that ran it, Dr. Gregory Hecht, had retired. So there was this vacancy and we saw that kind of as an opportunity to capitalize on.

Naman and Terry pose with campus greenery in the background.

Naman: During our discussions of the research symposium we knew that we wanted to make it unique in some way because a lot of the supervisions that are held on campus are a one-and-done type of ordeal where you make your poster, present and then you’re done. For both Terry and I, we wanted to put some sort of spin on it, something that would help people actually understand the message of what is trying to be conveyed.

If you go to a standard research symposium it has a lot of texts, a lot of diagrams and a lot of graphs. You’ll be standing there and trying to absorb all that information from somebody who’s not from that specific field which only makes it increasingly more difficult in such an arduous environment. If you’re looking at multiple research posters in the same day, that’s a lot of information for anybody to take in; so, we wanted to distill that process down and make it easier for anybody and make it more accessible for people from all backgrounds to understand the work that’s being put forth by the researchers and the artists.

Our rationale for this idea was to pair together scientists and labs with artists and graphic designers so that two to come can come together and sort of create posters and presentations that effectively communicate the type of work that the researchers are doing in a cohesive and synthesized manner. We sat on that idea for a long time. Before we could get to the point where we wanted to be we had to do a lot of pre-planning. Any idea after thinking critically on it is exceptional in theory, but the nuts and bolts of the idea is extremely intensive. For us, we had to think of ideas such as “Where is it going to be held and when is it going to be held? How much is our budget going to be? Where are we going to spend the money? How are we going to spend the money? How can we get other organizations at fault to potentially either help out, either on the artistic or the scientific aspects? What are additional sources of funding? What are other concerns?”

As most Rowan students know, the university is continuing to get larger within the most immediate sense as well as its general presence. We saw this as a potential joining of the Rowan University students and Glassboro community where people of all backgrounds regardless of circumstances can come and appreciate the work that other researchers have done in an accessible manner. For us, we wanted to make it so that anybody can walk in.  Our whole goal was to make it so that even someone as young as a  sixth grader can walk in and understand everything that’s being presented. This is a very unique opportunity for us to get engaged within the local community, specifically Glassboro and the different communities around it.

There was a lot of planning that we did and there were a lot of people that helped us out along the way. The team ended up being close to around 15 people. We had divvied up the work where there were volunteers who were strictly involved with just the planning committee. Thankfully, our head of volunteers, David Lee, did a lot of work in organizing potential volunteers who were there for both setup and teardown. David and his group helped with reaching out to different departments and finding different sorts of researchers, as well as people who can sort of help us out in this heavy endeavor. We did a lot of work in just [getting] the word [out] on our project and letting both communities know that the symposium was happening. 

Naman and Terry are standing on the Bunce Hall stairs.

You previously stated that accessibility is one of your core values. What made you come to this realization that the current standard of art and scientific diagrams are not as accessible as it should be?

Terry: I think one of the core motivators for us that I forgot to mention was this whole thing sort of was born out of the tension that was between health care and politics that sort of arose from the pandemic. With some people, they shared their own opinions such as not wanting to get vaccinated or not wanting to wear masks for several reasons, such as personal values and beliefs. Although people are allowed to think what they wish, there’s also a degree of not really understanding the scientific aspect of why it’s so important to have this certain action be done as a community.

There are some people you won’t be able to convince no matter what, but there are some who are willing to listen, as long as they understand what you’re trying to communicate. There is an abundance of research that’s being done and a lot of times, you don’t hear about it. Because for instance, you either don’t understand the ideas that are being argued or the information just isn’t accessible. For us and ArtSci, we want to sort of have a centralized place where the research was going to be presented in a way that people could easily understand it with no exclusions. 

You two provide an interesting perspective with Biomedical Art, what made you think of incorporating art into your studies? 

Terry: For me, it’s always been about how easily you can communicate things. If you think of an art museum, or even like a location such as the Natural Science Museum, everything that you see there, you’re not going to see paragraphs and paragraphs of texts. Instead, you’re going to see vibrant exhibits, diagrams and models which are all presented to help visually communicate what the researcher is attempting to argue or convey. At these sorts of spots, you’re not going there to read articles on whatever it is that they are presenting, instead it is presented in a physical concept. A lot of these creative disciplines are very linked to the way we think and the way we talk and the way we communicate with each other. If I say the word apple, you’re not going to think of the word apple; you would think of the actual physical object associated with the word.

Things like that are very important. Just in the way that we communicate as people, presenting things in a way that’s like all very technically correct, in terms of, you know, lots of text, lots of figures, diagrams, and statistics, it doesn’t always immediately click in terms of like, what’s actually being presented and it being completely understood. For myself, I’ve had experiences like this happen such as when I was sitting in a lab meeting, and I was being shown tons of graphs and charts. At the time, I was listening to my lab mates discuss the research that they were doing and I zoned out completely. I had no idea what they were talking about, even though everything was written I had retained none of the information. This is something that I face on a day-to-day basis, but with creative disciplines, it delineates from this monistic way of thought.

Naman and Terry are leaning against a railing standing side by side.

How do you feel as if you’re going to adapt and integrate new ideas into the art side? What is the vision like for that right now?

Naman: That’s a great question for our future team. They are very much interested in expanding our original vision. I will say our first plan was a little bit delusional and a little bit naive. We were thoughtful in our planning, but we were overshooting the hell out of it. But I think the new team realizes the mistakes that we made because the people who were on the new team also worked on the old team.

The new team was there to watch which steps we took in order to actualize our original vision. For example, the new team is already aware of hiring more people to help out with communication, because there are plenty of scientists and researchers at the University, but there’s not enough people to actually sit down and communicate the ideas. So being able to have a more diverse group of people to communicate that research to me, is very important. 

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, graduate English education 

Photography by:
Ashley Craven, sports and communication major

First Year Voices: Donovan Cruz Finds Rowan Classes Have “So Much to Offer”

Today, we feature Donovan Cruz, a first-year student from Galloway, NJ (Atlantic County), whose major is currently undecided. He looks forward to becoming more involved as he becomes more settled into this new chapter of life in Glassboro. When asked why he made the choice to change his major from Radio/Television/Film, Donovan explained he had […]

How One First Year Student’s Classes, Friends and New Experiences Gave Her Purpose

Exterior shot of Holly Pointe Commons with yellow and red mums in the foreground.

Like many new college students, I began my freshman year unsure of what to do with myself. I was unsure if I had chosen the right major and was questioning what I could see myself doing after graduation. I decided to start by getting some required classes out of the way and see how things […]

Beyond the Classroom: Rowan Graduate Stephanie Ciecierski Pursues M.A. in Writing and Internship with The Rug Truck

Stephanie writes in her notebook on a bench on campus.

Stephanie Ciecierski (she/her) is a first-generation Rowan University 2016 graduate who majored in English and Subject-Matter Education. She was a transfer student from RCBC in 2013, and then commuted to Rowan from Medford, NJ (Burlington County). Now, after five years of being a high school special education teacher, Ciecierski is pursuing the second year of […]

Beyond the Classroom: Emerson Harman, Graphic Design Intern at Stantec

Emerson standing in Westby Hall.

Today we spoke to Emerson Harman, a junior Biomedical Art and Visualization major with minors in Biology and Technical and Professional Writing, a concentration in Honors, and a certificate of undergraduate study (CUGS) in Paleo-Art and Visualization. They are an on-campus resident from Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Emerson tells us about their internship, how Rowan helped prepare them for the internship, and where they see themselves in a future career.

Emerson posing for a portrait outside under a tree.

Tell me about your internship. What was your day-to-day like?

I interned for the summer at Stantec, an architecture, design, engineering, and environmental science design and consulting firm. The company is based in Canada. The company had 23,000 employees across 23 countries. I was the graphic design intern for the summer, and it was an 8-week program. I worked 40-hour weeks.

I worked on a few different projects both within the Philadelphia office and with interns from across North America. I worked on two projects with two elementary schools in Philadelphia that are getting renovated and added to. One has an existing mural through the MuralArts program of Philadelphia, and I made designs for the new main entrance and cafeteria based on their existing mural. That school is in the very initial design phase and once they get further in with the client, they will present my designs to the client as possible design options for the space. I made designs based on murals that already exist in the other school, as well. On the second to last day of my internship, the people working on this project with me presented my designs to that client, and they actually went forward with my designs, which is pretty exciting.

I did a few smaller graphic projects for different proposals for different projects that people were working on and the intern-wide project. There were 91 interns from across North America on ten teams this summer, and we got paired with an organization in North Carolina that is creating a farmstead summer camp for people with learning disabilities, particularly teens and adults with autism. Five teams worked on each half of the property. As the only graphic design intern, I helped create the presentations and the final booklets that were given to the client and created renderings and animations of the final architectural plans. At the end of the internship, all 10 groups presented our work both internally to the broader Stantec community, and to the client. Throughout this internship, we also had groups and seminars on a variety of topics just for the summer interns, including a counter transition from school to the workplace or innovative technologies and urban planning and climate change adaptation and how they structure sustainability into such a large global company.

Emerson's design on a wall that was approved.
Emerson’s final design that was approved to be used by a Philadelphia elementary school.

Can you tell us a bit about Stantec as a company?

Stantec has many offices that work independently of each other, but sometimes they collaborate. They do architecture, so just like any other architecture firm, they do large and small-scale projects, and then they have design and interior design areas where they work on architectural projects and individual consulting-type projects.

The Philadelphia office where I work didn’t have any environmental scientists, but some offices have environmental scientists that worked with the construction crews or different building projects such as making sure that they’re not getting rid of habitat for endangered species, working near wastewater treatments, or doing anything damaging to the environment. There are many kinds of people working in one company. It’s an all-inclusive firm for these different areas. 

How did you find and secure this internship?

I first applied for Stantec’s Equity and Diversity scholarship last year, without really knowing who Stantec was or what they did. I ended up receiving the scholarship, and from there, they invited me to interview for an internship position. Stantec gives about 22 scholarships and from there they select some interns for the summer. During the interview, I met with the Senior Vice President of Design and Innovation of Stantec, the Director of the Office of the CEO, and one of the Principal Architects of the Philadelphia office, who ended up being my supervisor. I received the internship offer, and after school was out, I moved to Philadelphia for the summer.

How does this internship tie in with your major?

My major isn’t directly correlated with the architecture and design industry, but I found that a lot of the skills transferred into this internship as a graphic design intern. I worked a lot in software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, all design software that I use in my classes. Often having to learn new software in my major helped me with learning AutoDesk, Revit, and Enscape that I used a lot during and needed for the internship. Having an outside look at a lot of the design problems my supervisors gave me brought a unique perspective someone trained in architecture might not have. 

Do you have any mentors at Rowan that helped you with this internship?

There are a lot of professors and faculty on campus that I definitely have close connections with, but the two that come to mind are initially Professor Amanda Almon, who is the head of the Biomedical Art and Visualization department, and Professor Jenny Drumgoole of the Photography department. I know I can go to them with questions I have. They’re helpful and supportive and help me with applications and just creating a professional profile for myself. When I’m applying for these opportunities, they can help me along the way. Professor Almon, and Professor Drumgoole, having people like them push you to develop your skills and encourage you to apply for internships, and find new opportunities that you might have otherwise missed is important. The most important thing you can do is to connect with those professors. They’re the start of your network, and from there they can help you with so much more. 

A screenshot of an interior design rendering
An interior design, created by Emerson.

How will this internship help you achieve your career goals?

I might apply for a master’s program in scientific illustration. Many people in this field wait and do their master’s after some years of experience in the workforce. Ideally, I want to work in infographic design and scientific illustration. I definitely lean more towards the natural science side, rather than the medical side of the biomedical art program, whether that’s working for a museum, a publishing company magazine, like National Geographic or Nature, or something along those lines. 

Through this internship, I gained a ton of new connections, met a lot of amazing people, and learned a lot. I went from living in a small town in Wisconsin to living in Philadelphia, which was a very good experience, and significantly different. Now I know I can feel comfortable living anywhere. I also learned new programs and new techniques that I might not have learned if I hadn’t taken the internship. I also learned how to communicate and talk to new people on all levels. 

Emerson is working on a project on their computer.

Do you have any advice for Rowan students that are looking for internships?

I would first reach out to professors who work in the areas that interest you and see if they know of any campus or external internships they would recommend applying to. Beyond that, look up companies and organizations in your field and see if they advertise internships on their website. If not, it’s worth emailing them to ask! Make sure you have an up-to-date resumé, and just keep applying. It’s discouraging to be turned down, but the more you apply, the more chances you have of being selected.

Now that you have completed this internship, what’s next?

I just received an offer for a nine-month internship (the duration of the school year) with the U.S. Forest Service. I will create illustrations and graphic design for a visual field guide to endangered species and communications about old-growth forests. It’s through the Virtual Student Federal Service program, so it’s a virtual internship.

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, senior communication studies and public relations major

Beyond the Classroom: Writing Arts and English Major Skyla Everwine Interns for Project Little Warriors

Skyla holds a Rowan University pennant against a wooded backdrop.

Senior Rowan Blog contributor and Writing Arts and English major Skyla Everwine shares her experience working as a Grant Writing Intern for Project Little Warriors, a non-profit that practices yoga with kids in underfunded schools. As the spring semester was wrapping up, I decided that I wanted to find a summer internship closer related to […]

Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective: Public Relations Major Justin C. Sabio

A photo of the College of Communication and Creative Arts building on Rowan's campus.

Today, as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective series, we feature Junior Justin C. Sabio (he/him), from Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County). Justin is a first generation college student majoring in Public Relations, having transferred to Rowan University from Rowan College of South Jersey. He tells us about his experience as a Rowan student, his […]

Rowan University Student Discovers New Passion After Finding The Whit [VIDEO]

After discovering our school newspaper, The Whit, Helena Perray ’22 changed her major to Journalism and worked her way up to become co-editor-in-chief her senior year. She credits The Whit for helping her build relationships and her interpersonal communication skills. “The Whit has been an invaluable experience because you’re working with a group of people […]

Meet Transfer Profs: Featuring Students from the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts

Photo of 301 High Street on Rowan's Glassboro campus.

Today we feature two incoming transfer students: Karis Brady (she/her) and Meredith Deferro (she/her) from Gloucester County and Camden County respectively. The two tell us about their majors, why they’re excited to start classes at Rowan, and give advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are […]

Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective: Sports Communication Major Spencer Reyes on Inclusion at Rowan and “Never Losing” His Heritage

Rowan University's Bozorth Hall.

Today, as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective series, we feature senior Spencer Reyes. Spencer is majoring in Sports Communication and Media with a concentration in Radio/TV/Film and minoring in Communication Studies. He is from Old Bridge, NJ (Middlesex County) a first generation college student, and a transfer student from Middlesex College. 

What is your student experience here at Rowan? Do you feel included? Supported? How so? Could you highlight an example or two?

At Rowan I most definitely feel included and supported by my peers. At first it was difficult to mesh in with others because I was a transfer student; however, it became a lot easier when I started to join clubs and organizations and some friends took me under their wings.

How did you find your friend group here at Rowan?

I found my friends through clubs and organizations.

Are you involved on campus? How so?

I’m one of the two sports producers at Rowan Television Network, produce games for Rowan Radio, I am an Admissions Ambassador, an active member of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, I play Club Hockey, and I work for Rowan’s Athletic Communications Department.

Spencer Reyes pointing up at the scoreboard, standing next to an ice hockey rink.
Spencer Reyes pointing up at the scoreboard after working as a studio host personality and graphics operator for the Danbury Hat Tricks, a member of the Federal Prospects Hockey League.

Could you highlight a Rowan classroom or campus experience that was inclusive and made an impact on you?

An experience that was very inclusive to me was when I helped RTN cover WrestleMania last year in the Pit. Prior to the event, I had limited experience on camera and production, but had watched wrestling growing up. Our Special Events Producer at the time taught me how to succeed at each position and the event was super fun, and I was awarded member of the week for my work.

Do you have a role model or mentor here at Rowan? Who are they and how have they supported your growth?

A mentor of mine at Rowan would have to be the Director of the Center for Sports Communication and Social Impact, Neil Hartman. He commended my work in the sports industry prior to transferring to Rowan, and allows for me to contact and meet with him frequently [to talk] about how I can progress my sports career.

What advice would you give to a Hispanic/Latinx high school student considering your major here at Rowan?

I would tell them that you don’t need to feel lonely or excluded as a Hispanic/Latinx student at Rowan, especially in the Sports Communication & Media major. Everybody gets along very well and invites new students with open arms.

Spencer Reyes sits with headphones on, speaking into a microphone.
Spencer Reyes as a studio host and producer of RTN Overtime, the official sports podcast of Rowan Television Network.

What are your professional goals?

My professional goal is to become a professional sports broadcaster for baseball and hockey.

If you are open to it, could you share a little about your Hispanic or Latinx heritage?

I like to think of myself as a Caribbean blend, I’m half-Dominican (from my mom’s side), a quarter Puerto Rican and a quarter Cuban (both from my dad). Although I grew up in an Italian based neighborhood in Central Jersey with pizzerias on every corner, I never lost my heritage. I still eat rice and beans on a daily basis, cook my favorite Spanish foods and desserts, visit Elizabeth and Newark, and even my family in Westchester County in Miami, FL, which I highly recommend visiting if you want some authentic Cuban dishes without leaving the country.

Spencer Reyes listening to earpiece as the on field host for the Trenton Thunder, a member of the MLB Draft League on Halloween Night.
Spencer Reyes as the on field host for the Trenton Thunder, a member of the MLB Draft League on Halloween Night.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

Photos courtesy of: 
Spencer Reyes

Beyond the Classroom: Sports Communication, Journalism Major Larry Diehlman Writes for South Jersey Magazine

Larry holds a notebook outside on an athletic field.

Meet Larry Diehlman, a senior Sports Communication and Media and Journalism double major with a German minor and Esports CUGS. Larry is a commuter student from Gloucester County, NJ and a columnist for The Whit campus newspaper. Here, Larry tells us about his summer internship with South Jersey Magazine and offers advice for future journalists. 

How did you discover your internship?

I actually found it in an email from Professor Kathryn Quigley [chair of the Journalism Department]. She was sending all these emails about internships. I was looking through the emails, and I found the South Jersey Magazine internship. I saw the requirements, and I thought, “Ok, this could be good.” I feel like the work I do there is pretty good. I am so glad I got it. 

Larry leans against a fence inside Wackar Stadium.

What does your day-to-day look like at South Jersey Magazine?

It honestly depends on what the assistant editor of the magazine needs me to do. A lot of times I’m doing events and calendars. Sometimes I go online, and find events or whittle down articles or press releases she gives me, so we can put them in the magazine. Sometimes they’ll give me mini projects to do. Last week, she gave me an assignment. I had to go back and look at all the covers from 2016 to the present of one of our branches. For South Jersey Biz, I had a look back at the covers, and if they had a person or people on them, I had to write who it was and who they were for. We’re avoiding repeats so we can have fresh covers as much as we can. I know Dr. Houshmand was on there a few times. That’s the day-to-day. Projects, events, calendars and whatever they need me to do.

Have you learned anything new in this internship?

Yes. I’ve learned the power of editing, such as trimming down articles, what’s important in a story and what’s maybe not, at least for that excerpt. I’ve learned about using the power of research, looking up events, and seeing what’s relevant and what’s not.

I always work in a timely manner, and I always make sure I hit deadlines, but deadlines are always another great thing to practice. But I’ve learned a lot of good skills so far. I haven’t done too much of being given something to write about and going to write it. But I’ve been honing skills I’ve learned from journalism classes or The Whit. Those are what I’ve learned so far.

Larry writes in a notebook inside Wackar Stadium.

Has your experience helped you inside and outside of school?

I’m trying to learn things outside of the classroom. I got to a point where I feel I get it already in the classroom. I want to actually apply my knowledge to the outside world. With one semester left in college, I can finally take that next step into the real world, not worry about a book assignment due in a week. It feels so liberating to be outside of the classroom.

Why did you choose Rowan University?

Rowan was the first choice I had. It had the major I wanted. I knew some of my friends would be there. It was honestly close by. It was just everything I wanted, and the tuition wasn’t ridiculously expensive. If you go to other colleges, one semester over there might be the same price as two or three semesters at Rowan. All those factors were good. I got accepted to other schools, but I tossed the other two aside. I said, “I’m at Rowan.”

Why did you choose your Sports Communication and Media major, and then your Journalism major?

I’ve always wanted to do something in sports. I came into Rowan with a passion for broadcasting, but I guess over time, I realized maybe I didn’t have the broadcasting voice, so I pushed my way to the writing side. I know COVID took away certain opportunities, and there are only so many spots available, so I decided writing is more my strong suit.

Larry stands at the 50 yard line inside Wackar Stadium.

Can you tell us about your column with The Whit?

I do a weekly NBA column called “Diehlman at Halftime.” I know it’s pretty popular on the site and in the column section. I talked about a variety of NBA teams, and I know that some of the other columns and articles that people do focus a lot on Philadelphia area sports, but I go through the whole rotation of the NBA. I praise some teams, and I mock teams. Sometimes I go a little harder on others, but I tried to throw some humor in there a lot. But I try to divide it into an introduction and then highlight low light and a random stat. It’s more my commentary, but I have statistics. 

Did your work with this weekly column prepare you for your current internship?

Oh, yeah, definitely. We had to email the editor at South Jersey Magazine or wherever we were applying for a resume cover letter and writing samples. I think I had to submit either three or five. The samples I sent were from my columns. I noticed they were impressed. I think it definitely helped.

What are your future goals and career goals?

Before I started at Rowan, I said, “I want to be a sports broadcaster. I’m going to be the next Monday Night Football guy.” That dream plummeted, realizing that few people get that job, even those with the experience. Some people who actually played the sport don’t even get that job. I decided it would not work. I had to come to the writing side, and I’m like, “Well, I could cover a team, I could cover a league, the NFL and NBA are where I’m at.”

With The Whit, I have some NBA experience already. Now the traveling part, I don’t, but it will give me a starting point to show an employer I can turn things in on a weekly basis. I can also make fresh content, not just saying the same five things over again. That’s my ambition. But Neil Hartman has always told us, “You’re not going to get the ESPN job on day one.”

Larry sits near a laptop inside Wackar Stadium.

What is your advice for future students on internships?

I would say try to get involved as early as you can. There are some opportunities that you can’t get early on. For example, you had to be a sophomore to get this internship. So you might not get certain opportunities as a freshman, but in sophomore year and above, try to get as much experience as you can. If you’re getting emails about internships, don’t just delete them, actually open them and see what they’re about.

When you’re at the internships, just try to soak in as much as you can. Obviously, take nothing for granted. Be on time and do your work. Complain as little as you can. Just try to use everything you can, and maybe apply it back to the classroom. For example, if it’s a summer internship, I’ll take everything I’m learning right now. Then, I’ll go into the fall semester and say, “Okay, this is what I learned” and tie it in with what the professors teach us. Now, I’ll take that, and I’ll reapply it at my next opportunity. Then it’s just this one continuing cycle until you get a full-time job, and you’re working many hours a week. So definitely soak in as much knowledge as you can.

Final thoughts?

I guess it’s been a weird experience going through COVID during college and studying journalism. I was fortunate enough to graduate high school right before COVID, so my high school experience was untouched. In my second semester of college, COVID said, “Here is my time now,” so I had one real semester of college and then everything went south, having those two semesters that we’ll never get back in person. Now that we’ve made a comeback here on campus, it’s been an experience just learning to adapt to this major.

Journalism is certainly a major that was affected by COVID, especially with sports. But always learn how to adapt. No matter what major you’re in, and if you have to adapt and learn quickly, and also pace yourself as well. 

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Edited by:
Rachel Rumsby, senior communication studies and public relations major

Photos by:
Ashley Craven, junior sports communication and media major

Future Students Explore Creative Arts, Career Possibilities at Rowan’s Inaugural Storytellers Camp

Storytellers Camp students receive a tour of Rowan Radio.

What is Storytellers Camp?  Storytellers Camp is a creative media arts camp where students learn how we tell stories in all walks of life.  When we think about storytelling, often we think of a book, but it’s not limited to books. The commercials that you watch that tell a story about a parent and a […]

Summer Session: Painting Campus Landmarks with Art Education Major Brooke Bryant

Brooke talks to professor Alicia Finger while working on a painting in class.

Brooke Bryant (she/her), a senior Art Education major from Cumberland County, guides us through a summer session of an Introduction to Watercolor class with Professor Alicia Finger. Brooke talks to us about why she likes the class, the strengths of Rowan’s Art Education program, and some of the work she’s done in the class. What […]

Beyond the Classroom: Advertising Major Olivia Covington Discusses Her Internship with Global Agency R/GA

Exterior shot of 301 High St.

Olivia Covington (she/her) is a senior Advertising major with minors in Strategic Communication, Professional/Technical Writing, and International Studies and commuter student from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County). Here, Olivia share details she is interning with marketing company R/GA as a remote copywriting intern. Can you tell me about your internship and the responsibilities you have […]

Alumni Success: “What’s Good” with Isaiah Showell ‘15, Multimedia Journalist and Local Storyteller

Isaiah interviews a subject for What's Good.

Isaiah Showell of Atlantic County has hosted and produced more than 100 videos spotlighting the people, places and programs of South Jersey communities for the series “What’s Good,” which he founded in 2017. Isaiah, who graduated with a Journalism degree from the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts, shares his own South Jersey […]

Meet #Rowan2026: Incoming Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts Students

College of Communication & Creative Arts.

Today we feature incoming first year students Samantha Szumloz, Kyle Sheridan, Morgan Van Holtz and Donato Bazemore (he/him). Samantha is from Hamilton Township, NJ (Mercer County) and will be living on campus as a Writing Arts major. Kyle is from Galloway, NJ (Atlantic County) and will be living on campus as a Sports Communication and […]

The Rowan Writing Arts 4+1 Program: Students Share Their Experiences

Eric Uhorchuk holds a stack of Writing Arts materials outside on campus.

The 4+1 BA/MA in Writing Arts program allows students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years. Students Tara Grier, Scott MacLean and Eric Uhorchuk give us great insight into the benefits of the program and why it is helping to support their goals. 

On discovering the program

Scott MacLean, a first-generation college student from Wenonah, NJ (Gloucester County), recently graduated from the program this spring. He originally learned about the program through a professor. “Professor Rachael Shapiro was the first person to tell me about the program. We met when I took Intro to Writing Arts, and I really thrived in her class. At a later time, I ran into her in the hallway, and we chatted about the opportunity. When I looked into the program I saw that they offered classes focused on aspects of the publishing industry as well as internship opportunities. I knew I had to apply!” 

Eric Uhorchuk, a third-year student in the program from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County), found out about the 4+1 program through professors and classmates. What ultimately lead him to apply were “how many career opportunities and internships the program offered.” So far, Eric has seen the benefit of taking the challenge. “I’ve been working on research for my master’s project, and with luck, it’ll be something I can actually publish. With Rowan University’s program specifically, the degrees can help me see what local presses or businesses are looking for employees, and actually allow me to interact with them.”

Tara Grier, in her third year of the program from Newark, Delaware, learned about the opportunity as a first year student. She ultimately chose Rowan University because it was one of the few schools that offered Writing Arts as an actual major. 

Tara Grier outside on campus.
Tara Grier of Delaware has served as Managing Editor for Rowan’s pop culture online magazine Halftone and as an intern for Singularity Press, the university’s publishing start-up.

Benefits of the 4+1 program

Tara explains: “The program is great because it allows you to begin your M.A. degree as an undergrad while still paying undergrad tuition. Not only does it save time and money, but it’s a unique experience that allows you to explore a graduate program as a senior.” She adds, “Taking graduate-level courses was initially very intimidating, but I’ve learned so much from them already and I feel they’ve even given me new skills that have improved my quality of work in my undergraduate courses too. Another benefit is that you get to know more people in the program!” 

Scott is happy about the time and money he is saving while being enrolled in the 4+1 program. “When I was at RCGC I got into the ISP (Internship Scholarship Program), which allowed me to work in Gloucester County Social Services as an intern in exchange for tuition. Since I finished half of my master’s degree while still in my senior year thanks to the 4+1 program, I managed to save a lot of money. It also just saves me time in the long run. Rather than spending two or three years on my master’s, I am only spending one.” 

Eric identifies faculty and classes that have enriched his experience at Rowan University so far. “Megan Atwood’s Writing the YA novel and Genre Fiction classes helped me learn what major mistakes I make while writing and how to best improve them. Heather Lanier’s Writing Creative Nonfiction course helped me understand that my life is important and that I can use writing to express my personal experiences, and her Creative Writing II course gave me the concept for my current MA project. At the same time, Lisa Jahn-Clough’s Writing Stories for Children and Young Adults is helping me understand which audience I’d be most comfortable writing for, and giving me a special environment to work in.

“All of my professors have made a huge impact on how I write, why I want to write, and how I want to grow while doing it.”

Headshot of Eric wearing a Writing Arts T-shirt.
Eric Uhorchuk says he always knew Rowan University would be home. “I’ve been looking at Rowan University for my whole life. It’s close to home, filled with so many amazing people, and I’ve spent many summer camps, school trips, and even dance recitals here. The fact that it offered a Writing Arts program was the icing on the cake.”

Experiences outside the classroom

Along with classes, Tara is involved in extracurricular activities that have made her experience well-rounded and meaningful thus far.

“I have been an intern and volunteer for Singularity Press since Spring of 2020, a start-up self-publishing service that will help authors edit and promote their work, create cover art, and other services when they self-publish, which is launching this semester. I have loved all the work I’ve done for Singularity Press, from social media management to graphic design, administrative tasks, and all of the creative work that goes into it too. Last semester, I also worked as Managing Editor of Halftone, a new pop culture magazine on campus, which was a great experience. As a freshman, I interned for the Writing Arts department, which allowed me to gain skills that have helped me gain other opportunities and internships.” 

Scott has also gotten valuable experiences outside of the classroom.

“I was an intern for Glassworks Magazine, working under Katie Budris in Fall 2021. Through that internship, I was able to gain experience as an editor for a literary magazine! I learned more about social media management, newsletter writing, website development, and how to best represent Glassworks and the Writing Arts program in general. I was responsible for reviewing and voting on submissions for the magazine and participating in packet meetings where we discuss which pieces we’d like to accept. I also was charged with helping the people taking the Editing the Literary Journal class at the time, editing their editorial content that would be going on the website (book reviews, op-eds, and author interviews). I think one of the main reasons I feel confident graduating from Rowan and entering the workforce is because of my time with Glassworks.”

Scott MacLean at graduation
Scott MacLean at his undergraduate graduation. Scott is a recent graduate of the 4+1 program with plans to join the publishing industry in an agent or editor role.

Currently, Scott serves as an intern for the Singularity Press. “Through this internship, I’ve been able to do more social media management. My favorite part of the internship has been the public events. We went to the AWP conference and I was able to represent both Glassworks and Singularity Press. Lastly, I’ve been able to read and evaluate manuscripts for an agent who is associated with the press. All of these experiences have helped me feel better prepared for the future. I’ve come to realize that I am more capable than I once thought I was, and I’ve managed to push myself out of my comfort zone and thrive in new environments.”

Along with the coursework, Eric is also involved in extracurricular activities. “I worked as an intern for Singularity Press when it was first being conceptualized, where I helped organize events and social media posts and helped out with the website. Currently, I’m working as an associate editor at Glassworks, where I read, and vote on submissions, interact with social media, proofread and edit accepted works, create newsletters, as well as participate in events that the publication runs.”

Future goals

In the future, Tara hopes to have her books published. “I’ve been writing a Fantasy novel for several years, and would love to see it published and successful someday. While I was always aware of my passion for storytelling, my experiences at Rowan also helped me discover a passion for helping others tell their stories. This is why I’d like to pursue an editing career as well.” 

Scott’s ultimate goal is to make the world of literature more inclusive and represent people of all identities in his work. “In high school, I read constantly but I rarely ever found gay characters in the genres I loved. Then I stumbled across I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, the first book with a gay character that didn’t involve the character dying/suffering greatly/being gay-bashed. Reading that book made me realize how little representation was present in literature. That has changed a lot these days, but it’s still very hard to find gay characters at the forefront of genre fiction: fantasy, thrillers, etc. and I plan on changing that. Along with this, I would like to either become a literary agent, or an acquiring editor in the publishing industry.” 

Looking ahead, Eric’s dream goal is to be a published author. “I’m also thinking of possibly going into the editing field, specifically for novel writing or becoming a Writing Arts professor at a university, so I can help others grow and hone their craft. I’ve always wanted to teach, so why not teach the thing I love?

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, senior public relations and advertising major

Select photos courtesy of:
Tara Grier (credit: Christian Browne) and Scott MacLean

Passing the Torch: Outgoing RA Loredonna Fiore Reflects On Her Experiences

Loredonna throws her cap up in the air in front of the Rowan arch.

Loredonna Fiore is a recent graduate who majored in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Communication Studies from Elk Township, NJ (Gloucester County).

Loredonna poses with a diploma.

As a Resident Assistant in the Rowan Boulevard Apartments, most recently, Loredonna had an outstanding experience. Loredonna even attributes her closest friendships to being an RA.

“I was a commuter my first year on campus, and it was honestly hard for me to feel like I had like a place on campus. It wasn’t until I got involved and put myself out there that I started making my true friends, and I always say that becoming an RA helped me find my place and home on campus.”

Loredonna’s favorite memory as an RA was always summer training. 

All the RAs from all different areas all have to be in the same room, and it’s a really long process during the summer. My favorite part is always training because we’re all together as a staff, getting closer and bonding. This year, we did a lip-sync battle, and it was just so much fun. That’s definitely a favorite memory of mine,” she says.

Loredonna poses next to a tree.

Looking back, Loredonna says her high school senior self needed advice on friendship.

I would say I would tell my high school self that it’s definitely a matter of quality over quantity when it comes to your friendships. Often, society tells you if you don’t have all these friends and these big girl groups that you’re failing in your friendships. I would give my younger self the advice that true friends really click with you and they know your heart and they know you as a person. It’s ok if that’s only like one or two really true good friends.”

Aside from being an RA, Loredonna was active on campus in other roles. 

I have an elevated leadership role in Resident Life as an Assistant Resident Director. I’m also a Digital Content Contributor for Rowan Blog, so I get to meet many student leaders on campus, interview them and hear their stories.” 

In the fall, Loredonna is pursuing her master’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Georgia. She is also starting a Graduate Assistantship as a Resident Director upon graduation.

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, senior communication studies and public relations double major

Passing the Torch: Theatre Educator Nick Flagg

Nick poses in front of some flowers

Theatre and Advertising graduate Nick Flagg is excited about the next scene of his journey. A commuter student from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County), Nick is going into his second and final year of the Combined Advanced Degree Program (CADP) for the Master of Science in Teaching in Theatre Education

The program is basically an accelerated track where students start grad courses while in undergrad. It’s pretty beneficial because you don’t have to take all the classes at once. You get to dip your toes in the water a little, which is nice. It’s an easy transition,” Nick explains. “Also, it’s super affordable, mainly because the first year is done during undergrad. It’s really exciting. I am doing it with many of my friends too, so I’m not alone. I’m really excited to start student teaching next year.”

Nick poses with a diploma.

Nick is gaining experience over the summer to get a jumpstart on his career. 

“I work right down the road at the Broadway Theatre of Pitman as an actor, and I just got hired as a director for their summer camp. I’ll be directing a kid’s show for 5 to 9-year-olds called Seussical. I’m excited to start and continue teaching around the area. I teach in Millville at the Levoy Theatre, I’ve taught at the Grand Theater in Williamstown, and I’m excited to work some more right down the road at the Broadway Theatre of Pitman.”

After taking a peek into what is in store for his immediate future, Nick reflects on his favorite moment at Rowan.

“Right before COVID shut down the campus, I was involved in Urinetown, the musical, directed by Michael Dean Morgan. The day before the shutdown, we spread the word and got many people in the Tohill Theatre to come to see what we had done, since we wouldn’t get to perform it. We didn’t have all the technical elements yet, or our costumes, but our tech professors still pulled through and did lighting on the spot for a big open dress rehearsal. The run was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced because I’ve never felt so much applause and support in a room. People knew we worked so hard for the show. Hearing that roar of applause from so many supportive people is something I’ll always remember.”

Nick, left, laughs with his friends in their graduation attire under the Rowan arch.
Nick, left, laughs with his friends.

Nick reflects on what advice he would give to himself senior year of high school.

Do what makes you happy and to continue to seek out opportunities that make you happy, and not just opportunities that you think will make you appear a certain way. Do things you think will fulfill you and push you further, even if it’s not what everyone else is doing.”

From his experience at Rowan, Nick gives incoming Profs some advice.

Soak up every opportunity. Be eager to audition for everything, but also be eager to take what you’ve learned here, and implement it in other artistic areas within the community outside of Rowan, and really make sure you take what you learn and apply it as soon as you can. But don’t be afraid to audition. Just always look to be creative. Always think about who you’re making your work for and who’s digesting your work.”

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, senior communication studies and public relations double major

Passing the Torch: How Tiana Howard Made the Most of Her Time at Rowan

Tiana poses in the garden.

Looking back at these past four years, first-generation college student Tiana Howard from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County) is grateful for her time at Rowan.

Tiana throws her cap in front of the Rowan arch.

I want to say that Rowan has shaped not only my four years since I’ve been here, but the rest of my life. I think it was a great experience as a whole,” she says.

Tiana looks back at who she was as a high school senior and advises her to love herself. She ended up as a Communication Studies major with concentrations in honors and rhetorical criticism.

“I felt that coming into Rowan, I had to change who I was and create a personality for myself that was different from who I was. I switched my major five times, trying to fit into what society tells us we’re supposed to do after we graduate. But, I ended up majoring in Communication Studies and finding something that I loved when I was true to myself. So, I would just tell her to love herself and be content with who she is.”

She reflects on the best way she found to make friends. 

“The summer before my freshman year, I met many friends at the Pre-College Institute through the ASCEND program. While at Rowan, I found that meeting friends was easier when I was in a club or at an on-campus activity.”

Tiana shows off her graduation cords and stoles in a garden.

Although she had to say goodbye to her clubs, Tiana enjoyed the festivities that came with it. 

“My favorite moment of being involved on campus is probably at the end of my senior year when every single club or organization that you’re a part of gives out the stoles or cords and you get mini graduation ceremonies. Even though saying goodbye is sad, it’s really great to just be in a community with all the people that you’ve been with for four years. They wish you well for the future.”

Tiana was involved with many clubs and organizations on campus, including being part of Strong Tower Family, president of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Incorporated, and being an Admissions Ambassador

Tiana is looking forward to her internship over the summer with the ASCEND Office as an Interpersonal Counselor. She is hoping to start a dual master’s degree program in social work and public health in the fall.

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, junior communication studies and public relations double major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Men’s Track and Field Student-Athletes on Their Winning 4×400 Relay Season

Athletes celebrate win.

Today we are featuring Jah’mere Beasley, Nana Agyemang, and Amara Conte, three of the four Men’s Track and Field members who secured the national championship title in the 4×400 relay in their indoor season [editor’s note: the team would later finish second in the outdoor national finals]. 

Jah’mere is a junior Sports Communication and Media major from Camden, NJ (Camden County) and ran third leg for the 4×400 relay. Nana is a sophomore Exercise Science major from Parsippany, NJ (Morris County) and ran second leg for the 4×400 relay. Amara is a sophomore Accounting major from Jersey City, NJ (Hudson County) and ran anchor for the 4×400 relay. All three share their stories on leadership, camaraderie, and express how competing in Men’s Track and Field National Championship has shaped their university experience. 

How has your team’s camaraderie propelled you to success? What makes your team different from those around you?

Amara Conte: Our team camaraderie is what makes us a great team, our bond and trust in each other’s ability to perform when it matters most helped us to focus on our own individual part of the relay and perform to the best of our abilities. What makes our team different from other teams is that we are more than a team, we are family, we are brothers, and we always have each other back. Knowing this makes up for our individual flaws and makes us a strong team. 

Nana Agyemang: The team is like one big family. We go through so much pain and suffering at practice that it only makes us stronger and makes us care for each other even more. We keep each other accountable whether that’s making sure we are on time for practice or hitting the correct times for practice we just want to see everyone maximize their full potential. I think the difference from our team to other teams is that we’re really hungry and never satisfied. We always know we can improve on something so when we do good we smile, and celebrate it for the weekend but on Monday it’s back to work like we didn’t so we can always get better and moving forward. 

Going into the race, what emotions were you feeling? Were you guys considered to be an underdog or favored within the 4×400 relay at the meet?

Jah’mere Beasley: Going into the race everyone was laser focused and locked in. I had just taken third place in the 200m, so I brought that energy over to the other guys. We had been ranked #1 in the country all year, and we knew we had the chance to win it all. I would say we were the favorite to win, but there were a lot of other great teams who had solid chances as well.  

Nana Agyemang: I was excited going into the race because of what was at stake. We knew what we had to do and how we were the team to beat from being the National Champion in outdoor so I was thrilled and excited to just get the race underway. We had the #1 time going into nationals but going into finals we were ranked third so most teams probably thought they had us beat because we were running three new people who weren’t on the outdoor national championship (me, Marquise and Jah’mere). In my head it felt like we were the underdogs, but we also knew that we were still the team to beat so we had to go out there and rise up to the occasion. 

Teammates hand off the baton.

What are your team’s biggest strengths? What are your team’s biggest weakness?

Amara Conte: Our team’s biggest strength is the bond we have and our undying love for the sport of Track & Field. Our greatest weakness is that since we have such a diverse group when it comes to individual events, it becomes hard for us to put our all on the relay event, but we somehow make it work and compete at our best when we matter.

How do you prepare for an event like this before race day? 

Jah’mere Beasley: The day before a big race like this I try to stay off my feet as much as possible. I always make sure I eat a great dinner and snack the evening before. I take an ice bath and hot shower to help my legs feel rested. I roll out and stretch really well before bed. I always try to make sure I get 7-8 hours of sleep before a big race day. 

Nana Agyemang: How I prepare for meet day is I usually wake up and instantly play some gospel music because I am a big believer in God so when I wake up I just wanna praise him. Then I go head and brush my teeth and shower and I usually have talks with myself to get my mind right because you are only as strong as your mind. Then I made my breakfast which is usually brown sugar oatmeal, eggs, a water and a granola bar. When I hop on the bus I do a little meditation to get my full body right. Then as we head on the bus approaching to the meet I’ll switch my playlist, attitude, and focus to a more serious tone and lock in on the task ahead.

Beasley runs one leg of the race.

How do you prepare for an event like this on race day? Do you have any race day traditions, meals, or specific actions you swear by? 

Amara Conte: Once we get to the track on the day of the meet, I do my usual warm up while listening to my pre-made playlist that I have prepared just for track meet to help me stay focused and locked in. I don’t eat much on meet days because I run fast on an empty stomach. 

How does winning the [indoor] national championship for the 4×400 meter relay shape your experience at Rowan? How are your track experience in general shaped your college experience? 

Amara Conte: Winning the national championship in 4×400 meter twice now has made my experience at Rowan more pleasurable and has enhanced my experience in ways that I could only imagine. My track experience in general has taught me many life skills, for example: time management, networking, and discipline. Due to my experience as a track athlete, I’ve grown in more ways than I can possibly fathom and with more years these skills and experience will only sharpen and improve before I enter the real world. 

Jah’mere Beasley: Winning the national championship in the 4×400 has made my time here that much more special. This is one of the closest teams I have ever been a part of, and winning that national title brought everyone closer together. Having a brotherhood like this is unmatched. I always cherish the moments I have on the track and that national title is something I will always remember. Those moments always motivate me to get faster and better than I was before. My track experience has shaped my college experience in a big way. Track has helped me make lots of new friends here at Rowan. Most of the the friends I have made are people that play other sports. Track is helping me stay focused in the classroom as well. It motivates to keep my grades up and give max effort with each assignment. 

Nana Agyemang: It’s been cool seeing my friends repost it, having teachers come up and congratulate me has been a great feeling. It’s just made my Rowan experience better and more enjoyable. Track had taught me valuable lessons like when things don’t go your way you can either come back the next day and try again or quit. It has also taught me that life will get hard, like workouts, but if you keep going there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It might look dark while you’re going through but sooner or later you will reach the end of the tunnel and be happy you did. We have had plenty of workouts that we feel like we aren’t gonna make it but we just gotta keep going and you gotta tell yourself your stronger than that you think.  

Conte runs one leg of the race.

Do you participate in both winter and spring track? What are the biggest disparities between the two? What the biggest challenges between the two different seasons? 

Jah’mere Beasley: I run both winter and spring track. The biggest disparity between the two are the size of the tracks. The winter track is 200m and the spring track is 400m. During the 4×400 in winter track, each person runs two laps, as compared to spring track where each person runs 1 lap. Events like the 4×100 and javelin are only during spring track. The biggest challenge is running on the indoor tracks. The lanes are smaller and the turns are tighter. It take a lot of getting used to during the season. 

Read our earlier interview with Jah’mere here.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major 

Photos courtesy of: 
David Dermer/Rowan Athletics

Mic Worthy: Earning a M.A. in Writing While Inspiring Students

Mic Worthy, a Rowan Global student in the M.A. in Writing program, delves into his master’s experience and his love for teaching college students the craft of writing. 

After working in the television industry for a few years, Mic decided to come back to Rowan University to pursue his master’s degree in Writing.

“After I graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Radio/Television/Film, I got a job hosting and editing for public access television with a community college TV studio. After doing that for a bit, I got my teaching certificate and started substituting. I decided to come back to school because I wanted to make writing a career,” Mic explains. 

Mic Worthy is sitting at a desk with his laptop.

Now, Mic is on the road to doing just that.

“I chose Rowan University because it was local and still had an abundance of opportunities,” he says. “My advisor Ron Block recommended me for the Teaching Experience Program.” 

The Teaching Experience Program (TEP) allows students in the M.A. in Writing program to teach as adjunct professors in either College Composition I or College Composition II classes.

“Now, I teach College Composition I, things are working out pretty well for me.” 

“As soon as I came into the department, everyone was so supportive and helpful. I previously taught at a community college and I worked with a lot of students that didn’t know how to write an outline or structure a paper, so I needed to adjust my expectations being at a four-year university. Now, I feel like I am in a place where I can really help my students grow and succeed as writers and as people. I want them to know they aren’t just an ID number; they are human beings who matter,” Mic says.

Along with his teaching experience, Mic has enjoyed being challenged in his classes.

In the Writing program, Core II really made me a better writer. Professor Drew Kopp and I spent a lot of time on Zoom working together on improving my writing. Having that commitment from a professor really meant a lot to me.” 

Mic Worthy is standing in front of a wall with his hands crossed.

Now that his career as a graduate student is coming to an end, Mic looks ahead to his future with high hopes.

“My dream is to write for television, film, video games and even web series programming. I pitch story ideas to my students, and they absolutely love them. I would also love to continue teaching. I want to show students that writing is a powerful tool and a form of creative expression.” 

As a final word, Mic says: “I was always told to never let any grass grow under my feet. Stay busy. Keep moving forward. Do what you’re supposed to do. Get yourself squared away. Have humility; be humble. Remain teachable. Go out there every day with a winning attitude, and most importantly, aspire to make yourself a better person.”

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, senior public relations and advertising major

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, freshman dance and marketing major

#PROFspective: Noor Baig and Her Journey in Graphic Design

Noor and a classmate review film.

In our conversation with Noor Baig, a junior commuter from Cherry Hill (Camden County), we learn of her own career path in graphic design. Noor shares insights on her Studio Art major and details some of the expectations in the various classes offered. 

Why did you pick Rowan? 

For the most part, I had picked Rowan because it was nearby and commuting is really important for me since I have an older parent. Besides that, as an art major, I had gone through their website and viewed student work which was definitely super interesting for me, along with the fact that Jan, the (now retired) head of Rowan’s Graphic Design department was emailing me through high school during my application and interview process and was incredibly helpful, friendly and personable. I had really felt that Rowan would give me the best chance to become a better student and artist.

What aspects here at Rowan made you know that this was the place you wanted to be?

Rowan was super welcoming from the start as I had met and communicated with multiple professors before my acceptance. The professors really accepted me and believed in my potential to become a better artist. I was able to build a really great rapport with a lot of my professors as well which makes the learning environment super friendly and helps to build a great community within the studio.

When I started attending classes, which usually for any studio courses are relatively small with 10-20 people maximum, I noticed how the professors are really open to learning about your artistic processes. The professors don’t just talk at you and expect you to just work, they really pull the best out of you and try to inspire you. 

Noor is reaching for an item to help with her developing some film.

What have been your favorite moments so far on campus?

There are so many cool things to go and explore on campus. You’re coming out of high school, you’re a kid who was probably driven around everywhere and everything is really close by. With coming to Rowan and everything being so big you kind of realize you’re on your own now. I think that having that realization was cool but I think a lot of my favorite moments were the smaller ones. When you build up such a rapport with your professors and peers the class becomes more personable. You look forward to going to these different classes every week.

Seeing people of similar interests and working together with them builds inspiration within the class. The camaraderie that I had with my classmates is something that I always look back fondly on. It’s really nice to have such a community and have it reinforced with everyone involved.

Noor and a classmate review photo negatives.

What drew you to Studio Art?

Since I was young, most likely 11 or 12, I’ve been infatuated with art. Even now at home I have art in every room in my house, it’s kind of like an impromptu art gallery from the art that I’ve collected over the years. When I was in high school around my junior or senior year I had some friends who were also getting into the art scene, probably because they had a couple other art friends and we were all influencing one another. I had a couple of friends ask me if I would be interested in buying some of my art or set up commissions for creating art. I started to get into it. I’ve always been passionate about little details like fonts or calligraphy so I started getting routine commissions that dealt with painting or cards. I would advertise locally to my friends and teachers. Selling art was definitely a big thing for me.

Before, I hadn’t even thought I was going to go to college because of finances and other reasons. But selling art and seeing how art brings people together and its impact was a huge game changer for myself. I started to realize how much I liked it; the entire process of creating something with other people. It just made me want to continue doing more and more. I had found out more about graphic design and what Rowan had to offer. I started to realize that this possibility was within my reach and it inspired me to keep going.

However, art is always a hard thing. There’s always anxiety with job security but with graphic design, an applied art, it relieves that tension. Finding out about the opportunities that graphic design could give me and my own personal passions with the process of creating and discussing art pushed me forward to major in Studio Arts. The major is so welcoming. I knew that if I went to art school and had professors that were experienced enough, I would learn more efficiently than I would if I tried to manage it all by myself. Getting my degree would diversify my own abilities and make me better prepared to meet the goals I set out for myself. 

Since the beginning, I always had my foot in every door that I could. I never really stuck directly to one thing. As cool as that was to experience, it prevents you from sticking onto one path. You have half-finished and half-learned skills. By going to college, it gave me the goal that I could run without having to stray from that path. Even that goal, the way that Rowan structures studio art, it’s very generalized, it forces you to try a little bit of everything. I feel a lot more confident in different things in comparison to before.

Noor is standing in a doorway cupping a camera.
Noor, a sophomore commuter from Cherry Hill, (Camden County) has recently developed an interest in photography from a class she took this spring semester.

How do you view your major making a difference for others? 

I think that art is so critical to culture, especially across time. People left different marks thousands of years ago that let us know so much now. I think that art is a hallmark of specific cultures, communities and people. The art that you make as an artist ultimately defines you. Your own art allows for others to try and peer into the type of vision that you have, what you see or are attempting to see, it marks you and defines you. By being an artist, specifically a graphic designer, I’ve always had this desire to help people out the best way I can. With graphic design, a lot of it has to do with solving problems. We solve visual problems and we help to express different ideas. We push ideas forward and help to conceptualize it and bring people together. Art as a whole is very communal, it bridges different gaps and illustrates solutions.

What classes have left the biggest impression on you? 

There’s one class that comes to mind. There’s an Expressive Drawing class with Dr. Appelson, we affectionately call him Doc, it’s like an art bootcamp. Usually, you take it in the spring semester of your freshman year and it’s quite a class. Dr. Appleson has you do a lot of work every single week and he’s teaching you so much as well. It’s stressful in the moment but you realize that it’s never just busy work. Everything that is assigned has you trying or learning something new. Dr. Appleson expects you to put your best foot forward.

It’s tough, but you learn so much in the class. I really came into myself surrounding my style and everything. Funny enough, Doc has this saying where it’s one thing to see what’s on the paper or canvas, but it’s another when trying to figure out what’s going on in an artist’s head while you’re making the drawing. Doc is helping us to connect the art with the artist. While he’s tough in the class, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s the unofficial mascot for Westby Hall. He always gave me so much great advice in the class and I made a lot of great work for my portfolio. It’s hard, but it’s so worth it for developing your skill set.

Noor is preparing some film.

What are some of the different expectations in your classes? 

Graphic design especially is really big on expectations. Specifically, the way that the curriculum is structured and organized. Eventually the last thing that you do in Graphic Design is called Portfolio. This is a class where you work together with students and plan the group exhibit. Every senior who is in the Art major has to have their own exhibit but in graphic design it’s more of a collective.

Everything that you do in graphic design is about organizing yourself and building up your final portfolio. The portfolio is super important for artists because it shows exactly what you’re bringing to the table. You’re showing yourself to your employer. Everything that is in it shows how diverse you’ve become since you’ve started, it shows packaging, typography, infographics, publications and things of that matter. It’s super organized and every little thing almost builds off of one another. 

Out of all the classes you’ve taken so far with your major, what’s worked the best for you in learning the material? 

I take a lot of studio classes, it’s more of a work time to try and explore everything. I love a good studio class; it’s super relaxing. I get into a very specific type of energy and just start powering through. It’s very liberating. Of course, professors are around for guidance if you ever need anything but I like to just keep going. Because of my own work ethic, I do have that sense of responsibility when it comes to assignments. So just being able to be on my own and knowing I have someone in my corner is super reassuring. I’m also a big fan of group critiques because of how everyone gets to voice their opinions. You get a lot of different perspectives that you may have not seen. There’s different ways of conducting critiquing but I think that working in a group and getting that extra feedback helps even my own outlook.

Noor is holding her camera and is looking off.

Are there any professors that you’ve had that stood out to you? Why?

I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to build such a rapport with a lot of my professors that it’s kind of hard to pick just one out. They all have their own unique outlook which reflects in the class. I really appreciate a lot of my professors who create such a cohesive work environment. Everyone is so respectful of one another and keeps it all so casual. For example, I had a class called Color Theory with Professor Alicia Finger and everybody was in such deep contact with each other. Prof. Finger is a great communicator and it resonated with the class. It’s casual, but such a friendly work environment. As for teaching style, again Prof. Finger was great. We were able to talk out some of the different theories in class. Being in college, there’s a lot of freedom to come into yourself and discover one’s own interests. The professors understand this in the art sector and allow us to try and explore our own self. With my professors’ help I was able to commit to myself and find my own style.

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, Graduate Education Major

Enlighten, Engage, Entertain: The Mission of M.A. in Writing Graduate Leo Kirschner

Leo stands inside Rowan Radio offices.

Leo Kirschner is a champion of radio and sound. On air, he serves as assistant manager of the award-winning Rowan Radio station. On campus, he teaches for the department of Radio/TV/Film. He incorporated sound theory into a capstone project for his master’s degree in writing through Rowan Global. Read on to learn more about Leo’s research and graduate school journey.

Write the book that you want to read. A book to help others like you. 

That was the goal of Leo Kirshner as he set out to complete his capstone project to earn his M.A. in Writing, but that was easier said than done.

A lover of all things fantasy, the goal would have been easier to complete if books like “Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter” were available to choose. Though, as much as we love to dream that schools like Hogwarts or places like Middle Earth exist, they are only works of fiction. For Leo’s assignment, he needed to choose a work of nonfiction that aligned with his research interests of radio broadcasting as well as his mission statement: Enlighten, Engage and Entertain. 

Long before he was given this daunting task (and before Henry Rowan made his generous donation), Leo Kirshner was another student at Glassboro State College wondering what his next steps in life would be. While working to receive his undergraduate degree, Leo developed an interest in Radio and Television Broadcasting that he would pursue as a career after graduating. 

“I was working professionally in commercial broadcasting,” he shares. “I was writing and creating content, focusing on journalism and covering local stories for the news or for radio. I also worked as an advertising copywriter for car commercials, restaurants, and other stuff along those lines. Along with that, I did voiceover work for different commercials as well as producing.” 

He continued down this career path for the next 20 years before an opportunity to work at his alma mater would arise.

“My professor, Frank Hogan, who ran WGLS, was retiring, and they were bringing in a new team and wanted to know if I was interested in helping the department. I really wanted to give back to the community that helped me find success in my career.” 

Leo helps guides a student at Rowan Radio
Rowan Radio airs 24 hours a day with a broadcast signal that covers all of South Jersey as well as areas of Philadelphia and Delaware. It’s Leo’s pride and joy!

Leo would give back to the Rowan community by helping to run the Rowan Radio station and, though he enjoyed it, wanted to further lend a helping hand by diving into the world of academia. Since the school didn’t offer a master’s program in his initial career path, Leo decided to apply for the M.A. in Writing program through Rowan Global, something that greatly interested him. He was accepted based in large part on his portfolio filled with radio advertising, professional writing and creative writing that he writes on the side. 

“I started the program in the fall of 2016 and took it one semester at a time,” he says. “It’s like all other programs. You have your prerequisites, your core classes, your seminars and your electives. It was all in person prior to COVID. They were the double session classes, usually from 6:30 until 9:15. There were two semesters where I taught my broadcasting class from 3:30 to 6:15 and the grad program was the same day starting at 6:30. I was working full time, 40 hours a week in my job plus teaching, plus being a family man.” 

Managing it all wasn’t a simple task. During this time period, Leo experienced a health scare that made him step away from the program for almost a year and tried to make up for it by taking two classes a semester, something he describes as “the hardest thing I ever did.” 

In one semester between the two classes, Leo had completed 57 writing projects that he had done in the span of 16 weeks while simultaneously working 40 hours a week at Rowan, running the radio station and teaching his course on broadcasting. Not to mention, he still had a family to take care of and support.

“It probably would have been easier if I was younger or didn’t have as much responsibility, but I wanted to do the best just to see if I could do it, you know, and yeah, thankfully, I did.”

Leo on the air at the Rowan Radio Station
Did you know Rowan Radio first aired in 1964? Rowan Radio studios are currently located in the College of Communications and Creative Arts and Leo, seen here with Station Manager Derek Jones (left), is always nearby to lend a helping hand.

Despite all of this hardship, Leo’s greatest test would come in the form of the capstone project, the final project/thesis requirement for completion of the program. “It’s essentially the first or second draft of your proposed book that you’re going to eventually publish.”

For his capstone project, Leo would decide to write a nonfiction piece centered around the concept of acousmatics in the style of a textbook mixed with a memoir. Acousmatics can be defined as the influence that sounds have over people. It’s the podcast you listen to on your drive home or the music you play while you workout. How does it make you feel? What does it inspire you to think? 

Acousmatics comes to us from the Greek philosopher Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras), known for his favorite high school math equation as well as teaching his students behind a partition so that he was not visible. His students only heard his voice. It is this method of teaching that was the basis for Leo’s work. 

“You listen to the DJ,” Leo explains, “You listen to the commercial to my car, because it’s this worldly voice that makes you think it’s the voice of God, an otherworldly being trying to educate you, to inspire you. The goal of you being on the air is to engage, enlighten and entertain.”

Leo lending a helping hand to a student at Rowan Radio.
Much like Leo said, teaching is more than just sitting down with a textbook. It’s doing everything in your power to enlighten, engage and entertain your student.

Leo presented his project to his peers and professors at a week-long symposium held by the department. Students present their projects in a fashion similar to TED Talks with presentations lasting anywhere between 20-45 minutes. Due to the pandemic, Leo’s class was regulated to presenting their findings via Zoom, but the presentation wasn’t any less impactful. 

According to Leo, it was actually, “More fun!”

As for the project itself, it still remains unfinished. 

“The book is not done,” he shares. “I think I’m only halfway through it, I had my outline. But the project is going to be at least 30,000 words.”

As for who he hopes readers will be, the answer is obvious. It is those he hopes to enlighten, engage and entertain the most: his students.

[Learning and research] doesn’t have to be you sitting with a 500-page textbook,” he says, “It’s just you taking in an experience and learning from it.”

And we couldn’t agree more! For any student hoping go follow the same path as Leo and pursue their MA with the Rowan family, he offers the following words of wisdom:

“What I would tell any prospective M.A. student is that getting a master’s degree is everything you’d expect and nothing you’d expect. Yes, it’s going to take hard work. Yes, it’s going to be stressful. Yes, it’s going to give you self-doubt. But it also will offer you unique opportunities and perhaps change the direction of your life.”

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Story By: 
Bianca Gray, English graduate

Bridging The Gap In Health Literacy Through Graphic Design [VIDEO]

Terry uses graphic design software in a computer lab.

Rowan’s Biomedical Art and Visualization (BMAV) major is one of a select few programs of its kind offered nationwide. As a biomedical artist, you will apply your knowledge of art, medicine, science and technology to create educational illustrations, animations and interactive media for specific audiences.

“BMAV is a program that is geared towards students who are artistic but also have an affinity for the sciences,” says senior Terry Nguyen. “We take scientific data or any sort of data and interpret it visually.”

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#PROFspective: Life Behind the Camera with Sports Communication and Media Major Ashley Craven

Ashley holds a DSLR camera with a long lens inside Business Hall.

In this edition of #PROFspective we learn of junior Sports Communication and Media major Ashley Craven. Ashley is a transfer student from Camden County College who commutes from Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County). Showing great tenacity, Ashley is a single mother rising up to achieve her degree. Recently, Ashley was hired for Rowan Blog and exhibits a passion for photography. In this dialogue, we learn of Ashley’s own journey through academia as well as an inside look at her unique Rowan experience.

What drew you to your major? 

Being an athlete, I wanted a job in the sports industry. I was actually going to nursing school and when I got in, I realized it wasn’t for me; so, sports came to mind.

I recently discovered my passion for photography. I thought of connecting the two. Now, I am taking on more cinematography and production assignments for the Rowan Blog. It just feels right.

Ashley works on a laptop with her camera at her side inside Business Hall.

How does your field impact the world? What impact would you like to have on the world in your field?

Combining photography and cinematography is like conveying a story in silence, which I think is pretty powerful. It allows athletes to showcase their talents and emotions. Whether they’re winning a championship or so forth, I really want to emphasize the talents of other athletes. It is a form of storytelling, so those who weren’t at these events can see bit by bit.

On the professional side, I want to get a job with the NFL or WWE. I’d feel a big sense of accomplishment if I got to do that because I would see my photos being out there around the world. I want to be an asset to a company and provide them with quality pictures to benefit them as well. It’s cool to think that photos are one of the only ways you can actually look back at the past. 

Ashley sits and holds her knees on a bench inside Business Hall.

Describe for us an experience you’ve shared with a Rowan professor in which you felt like you were working with a visionary in your field. 

I have Neil Hartman to thank, without a doubt. I even kept in close contact with him even when I was still at Camden County College. It took me a year and a half to come here, and I still keep in touch with him. He has just been so influential. Neil Hartman provides all the students networking opportunities, keeps up to date with upcoming events and job fairs. He definitely wants me to succeed because he saw how passionate I was. He even reached out to ask me to do a lacrosse tournament just because he knew I was willing to do anything to succeed in the world of photography. He is definitely great with guidance and he is going to be the one I thank at my graduation speech.

What’s your fondest moment here at Rowan that involves your major?

The best would have to be when Brianna McCay, who is involved in The Whit, asked me to photograph the Brian Dawkins interview. Because of her, I was able to take some awesome photos of an icon. Two of my pictures made it into the newspaper, and I realized that I wanted to keep doing it.

I think photographing with the newspaper and seeing my photos published for the first time was one of the greatest moments. That was just an opening door to my future success. It’s still a new hobby of mine but it’s already got me here.

Ashley is smiling with her two kids around her.

Any words you want to give to someone interested in your major?

Really, when you talk about the sports industry it’s all about who you know. You have to network, you have to promote yourself, you have to preserve. Every no will lead to a better yes. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything, it is the preview to life’s coming attractions.” That really resonates with me. What you put out into the universe is what’s going to attract to you.

How would you describe your academic journey so far? 

So I absolutely love school now. I actually did not complete high school. Then, about eight years later, it kind of just came to me that I wanted to go back to school again. I wanted to better my life my kids and for myself, so I got my GED. I have worked relentlessly ever since. I wanted to get the degree, and I’ve just been so motivated.

With my kids, it’s hard to get work done but I’ve always believed in self discipline and I think it’s huge. So I set up times where I wake up at five or six in the morning when they’re still sleeping just to get an assignment done. Or I’ll even get them to bed by 9:30 and stay up until midnight to do my work. It’s very challenging for sure.

Because of them and how I want to better myself as an individual, it encourages me to stay on top of my assignments, get things done and get good grades. I value that, especially from someone who originally hated school.

Ashley stands with her hand on her hip inside Business Hall.

Is there any specific club or organization that has helped welcome you here at Rowan? 

Pizza with the Pros, there you feel the togetherness. It’s just awesome the people that you get to meet. Everyone just wants to help — whether it’s a student, a professional in the industry or in my case, Neil Hartman. Those events are all about networking and hearing perspectives of people in the industry. The all give great advice. Those events really just make me feel welcomed and supported. 

What has been the biggest challenge in transitioning to Rowan? 

Learning where all of the buildings are located! I just think being new is the most challenging. Other than that, everything has been pretty easy to navigate, especially with Canvas. 

Any final words you would like to give? 

You’re never too old, and it’s never too late. Prioritize what’s most important to you and put self-discipline first. I’m huge on being mindful. I would also suggest writing everything down. It’s really important to write down all your thoughts and ideas just to reflect on them after. Don’t forget to date them as well!

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, senior English education major

Photography by:
Valentina Giannattasio, first year dance and marketing double major

#PROFspective: Senior Communications Studies Major, Sorority President Kate Palozzola

Kate leans against a brick wall and stares off in a different direction.

What inspired you to choose your major? I chose to be a Communication Studies major at Rowan University considering this field of study is an intersection of various social sciences, flexible in the creative process, and because of my passion for reading and writing. I came into Rowan as a Psychology major, which I also […]

Black #PROFspective: Radio/TV/Film and Journalism Dual Major Kariyah Bennett

Today we feature Kariyah Bennett, a Radio/Television/Film and Journalism double major. Kariyah is from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County) and is a senior graduating this spring. Kariyah spends her free time as a member of Rowan Radio and the Rowan Television Network. She also works at the Rowan Recreation Center. Kariyah shares her experience as […]

A Q&A with Terry Nguyen, Co-President of Rowan’s Neurodiversity Club

Terry stands outside near the Wilson Hall amphitheatre.

What brought you to the Biomedical Art and Visualization program? A little background information about myself would be that I always loved art. But I also really valued the importance of scientific endeavors, and just general scientific literacy. I wanted something that could combine the two of them. But … I didn’t want to fully […]

How I Found My Place at Rowan University

College of communication and creative arts building.

Today’s Rowan Blog guest contributor, Burlington County’s Matthew DuBas, reminds us that students don’t always stay in their first college major — and that’s ok! Matthew, a sophomore advertising major and photography enthusiast, shares his story as well as some of his own campus images. 

I started in the spring as a confused first-year student at Rowan University, wanting to go into the sales field, but not knowing where I belonged in the grand scheme of things.

I began my adventure as a marketing major; however, I quickly realized that marketing wasn’t the program I expected it to be. I wanted to be more on the creative side of the sales experience. After experimenting in a technology-based major, I landed where I am now, as an advertising major.

So far, the advertising program at Rowan has been far more beneficial to me personally. Learning about ways to inform target publics about new products, learning about public relations practices, and working on assignments about things I enjoy are just a few of the ways the advertising program has assisted me in my projected career path.

Snowy path by Rowan Townhouses at night.
Rowan University Townhouses in winter at night. Photo taken and edited by Matt DuBas.

I also went into my college career not thinking about what I wanted to sell, only that I wanted to sell. Through some personal exploring, I discovered a love for craft beer, and my new career goal is to become a sales representative for a microbrewery. When I tell my professors this, they encourage me to do my assignments on things related to this field, whether that’s writing a marketing plan for a local brewery, discussing how Budweiser has switched to sustainable practices,  or discussing a public relations strategy with a brewery owner.

As a student who struggles with ADHD, working on assignments that interest me makes my college career that much easier, as I find it easier to stay focused on my studies.

While I walked into Rowan without knowing a thing about my future, my professors have assisted me with furthering my education and my career path. I applied to Rowan due to its proximity to home; however even if I were farther, I wouldn’t reconsider my decision!

A Rowan walkway at sunset.
A view of the sunset from the Rowan University Campbell Library. Photo by fellow student Peter De Celie, edited by Matt DuBas.

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Story and photos by:
Matthew DuBas, sophomore advertising major

 

We’re Not in Glassboro Anymore: Nadine El Maalem Shares Her Study Abroad Experience in Morocco

Sunset horizon shot in Morocco.

Nadine El Maalem, a senior Communication Studies major with minors in Arabic Studies and International Studies, is far away from our Glassboro campus. As a Global Ambassador at International Studies Abroad, Nadine is embarking on a non-traditional experience by studying abroad in Morocco.

Nadine learned about the opportunity to study abroad during her Rowan 101 class, a course offered to first year students that highlights a wide range of information on the Rowan experience.

Nadine was inspired to learn more about the program and found a perfect fit: an Arabic program in Morocco. “I thought this would be an amazing opportunity to connect with my own culture. I did the paperwork, and the next semester I was on a plane. That was in 2019. Now it’s 2021, and I’m doing the program a second time because it’s just that good,” she says.

Nadine and a former professor
Nadine and her former Intermediate Arabic professor, Dr. Zakaryae Arsalane, in Meknes, Morocco

Now, Nadine is in Morocco doing an academic and service learning program. This entails four traditional classes and 90 hours of service learning at an organization for class credit. Nadine works at Association Al Amal for her service learning course. “The organization is dedicated to helping women complete/continue their education by teaching them computer literacy skills, offering embroidery courses to make traditional Moroccan clothing, and cooking courses. The organization also partners with local schools to teach students ages 5-16 English,” she explains.

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Nadine is getting a much different experience abroad. “I live with a host family and two other student roommates. My host mom is the best. She makes us Moroccan and French food daily. I really feel like I can connect with the culture because I’m totally immersed in it,” she says.

That’s one of the reasons Nadine wanted to go to Morocco again. “I love interacting with the locals and other students. I’m an extrovert, so I find myself chatting with the person who works at the local shops that is selling me cookies. Studying abroad is such a great piece to tack on your resume and is such an amazing experience; “it’s a win-win.” 

Fes, Morocco, posing in front of the doors of the King's Fes palace.
Nadine and her classmates in Fes, Morocco, posing in front of the doors of the King’s Fes palace

Back at Rowan, Nadine is a student ambassador with Rowan’s Education Abroad Office. There, she works with the Education Abroad Advisor, Laura Kahler, as well as other student ambassadors at Rowan to promote the different education abroad opportunities available to Rowan students, as well as to provide one-on-one advising, application help, and information about scholarships and funding for study abroad.

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, senior public relations and advertising major

Photos provided by:
Nadine El Maalem

First Year Voices: Radio/Television/Film Major Sincere Silvera

Sincere poses on the stairs in the back of Bunce Hall.

Today we talk to first-year student and on-campus resident Sincere Silvera. Sincere is a Radio/Television/Film (RTF) major from East Orange, NJ (Essex County). Sincere is a first-generation and EOF student. 

Sincere poses in front of Robinson Hall.

What do you like about living on campus?

Well, I live in a single room. It’s pretty good, you know, I can just do whatever I want in my room. I don’t have to ask permission for nothing, nothing like that. I don’t have to ask somebody, “Can I have a person over?” I can have somebody over whenever I want.

How are you enjoying your classes so far? Are you taking RTF classes or just general education classes?

I am [taking RTF classes]. One is Foundations and Media and that one you explore the technological side of it, like this is what a camera angle is, this is what a shot is, this is what a frame is, this is the science behind audio waves and you know, frequencies and stuff. And then I have [Applied Media Aesthetics: Sight, Sound And Story] and you know, all that good jazz. So it’s like, how do these things create emotion? How does this camera angle make you feel and things of that nature? So I’m loving that and then all the rest of the classes, they cute, you know, I’m just trying to get through. 

Sincere poses in front of Wilson Hall.

What about what expectations did you have for Rowan before you got here?

Well, that’s a good question. I expected it to be a social environment where I could meet new people and have lots of different conversations, conversations I probably never would have thought I would ever have. I expected to make connections and learn some things as it relates to what I want to do moving forward with my life.

Have you been able to be social and meet new people? 

I definitely have. There are many opportunities, especially on ProfLink, where you find out the different events going on like karaoke — so you know Imma show up to the karaoke, I’m gonna show out. Cooking classes, movie nights, different little interesting things. 

Sincere poses on the Prof statue.

What was your favorite event that you’ve been to so far?

I’m gonna say karaoke [Prof’s Spotlight] because I really enjoyed myself. I had a really good time at karaoke. I could express myself on a stage and show my little performance side a little bit. That was good. I’m not just in the audience. I’m gonna be on the stage with a microphone over my mouth going off. I last did Nicki Minaj’s “The Night is Still Young.” It was an amazing experience. 

Was there an experience or a moment at Rowan that made you feel like this is home?

I actually want to say no, but in a good way. Because at home … there’s not as many fun things and events or opportunities to do things like that. And here there is. So I’d like to say that this is very different from home, and I’m having a lot more fun here.

Sincere poses in front of some leafy green plants.

Were you nervous to start at Rowan?

Yes. I could say there were nerves in certain areas. I wasn’t nervous, like, in the sense of, “Oh, I’m like, so scared to like, you know, go out there. I’m not going to do nothing.” That wasn’t me. I was like, “Ok, I’m excited.” I turned any nerves into excitement if there were any nerves. So I was more excited than anything else. But if I was nervous about anything, I probably was a little nervous about whether I chose the right major for what I want to do with my future, because that’s like, what’s most important to me?

Final thoughts?

Even though I feel like it might be easy as a freshman, or a first-generation student or whatever, just going into college and experiencing that whole like situation with so many people, the events, the organizations, the clubs and everything might throw a person off. I think that at the end of the day, even though you do want to experience and you do want to have fun, and I’m all about it, at the same time, I think it’s important to manage that. Yes, I can be a very social person. I can have friends and things of that nature. But I cannot let that take over my life. I cannot be thinking about that 24/7. I have to also keep in mind my passion, what I want to do, the type of education that I want, as an individual. So sometimes, you know, not everybody’s gonna like you so you don’t want to think about, “Oh, what friends am I gonna make? How am I gonna make them?” every day. Sometimes it’s like, “ok, maybe I don’t need any friends.” Maybe I’m gonna just go to this event and sit down because I want to be there, or maybe I’m going to get up on the stage not because I want to impress people, but because I want to get on stage and express myself and have a good time. I feel like that if there’s anything that I want to say about being a first-year student, it’d be that.

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Edited by:
Rachel Rumsby, junior communication studies and public relations double major

Interview and photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major 

#PROFspective: Junior Advertising Major Missy Pavorsky

Missy works on her laptop computer.

Today we feature Missy Pavorsky, a junior Advertising major from Voorhees, NJ (Camden County). Missy is a photographer for Rowan Blog and speaks with us today about why she chose her major, her on-campus activities and more!

What made you choose your major?

I was originally an RTF major because I love movies, but going into the spring semester of my freshman year, it just wasn’t for me. My roommate said I should try advertising, so I did and I’ve been enjoying the program ever since.

Are you in any clubs? 

I work for Rowan’s enrollment management and marketing as a digital content contributor with a specialization in photography. I work with writers to take pictures of students, staff as well as campus. 

What’s your favorite thing to do around campus?

I love going to the basketball games. My roommates and I have a tradition where we go to every home game that we can.

Missy poses for a portrait against a white backdrop.

Do you have any hobbies or something that you like to do in your spare time?

I like doing editorial style photography such as freelance and fashion. I also love taking photos of my friends.

What type of music do you like to listen to?

I like most 80s style music, like Earth Wind and Fire, also K-pop, I like it mainly for its uniqueness and high production value. Also, my favorite band is Bombay Bicycle Club.

What’s your favorite memory while you’ve been a student here?

The basketball games with my old roommate, but mainly this whole semester, I’m no longer stuck in my house which has been a huge plus. Also, I get to spend time with my wonderful current roommates.

Missy poses for a photo as she sits in her dorm working on her laptop
Missy smiles for the camera, taking a break from her schoolwork!

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Story and photos by:
Jack Maisonneuve, senior communications major

A Day in the Life of Communication Studies Major, Admissions Ambassador Coordinator Tiana Howard

Tiana poses in front of a wooded area.

Today we speak to Tiana Howard, a senior Communication Studies major with concentrations in Rhetorical Criticism and Honors. A first-generation college student from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County), Tiana is president of her sorority, Mu Sigma Upsilon, and a member of Rowan’s EOF program. Tiana works as an Ambassador Coordinator for Rowan Admissions, and she also […]

#PROFspective: Senior Communications Studies Major Jack Maisonneuve

Jack works on his laptop computer.

Today we feature Jack Maisonneuve, a senior Communications Studies major from Asbury Park, NJ (Monmouth County). Jack is a photographer for Rowan Blog and speaks with us today about his love for photography and his experience within his major.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose my major because I figured it would be broad enough where I could continue pursuing my photography career, while also exploring other aspects that I found interesting that Rowan had to offer.

Tell us about one moment that made you feel like Rowan was the right fit for you.

When I joined my club that I’ve been a part of for four years now (Rowan Alternative), it made me find crowds that I enjoyed being with, as well as help me find some of my lifelong friends.

Did you ever have a moment of uncertainty within your major? How did you get through the challenge?

I was uncertain that communications would be for me, and well actually I’m still pretty uncertain of it. But communications helped me find that I’m interested in aspects of research and communications in itself, and that’s what made me stick with it.

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

Moving out! No, but getting to experience the professional world and finding my career.

Are you involved in any clubs/organizations on or off campus?

I’m involved in Rowan Alternative as well as being a founding consultant for Rowan Photo Club.

Jack playing the drums in his room.

How did you get into photography?

One of the classes I took here during my sophomore year! I had [Prof.] Jenny Drumgoole … for photos, and she inspired me to want to become a photographer.

If you could have a photoshoot with someone famous, who would it be and why?

Henry Rollins from Black Flag. He’s my number one hero; I aspire to be like him when I grow up. I think he’s a very worldly person, and he has a lot of interesting things to say.

Who or what inspires you to create? 

What inspires me to create and shoot are the people I get to work with, and my surroundings.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself working for a music magazine company of some sort, and getting to do what I love most, which is concert photography.

Jack smiling in front of a gray background.

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Story and photos by:
Missy Pavorsky, junior advertising major

Student by Day, “Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins” by Night

Nick Flagg as Buddy the Elf in Elf the Musical.

Nick Flagg is a senior double major studying both Advertising and Theatre, concentrating in Theatre Education, Acting/Directing and Musical Theatre. After his undergraduate graduation in the spring of 2022, he will continue as a Rowan CADP student working toward a Master of Science degree in Theatre Education. Nick will be certified to teach K-12 theatre in May 2023. In addition to being a student, he looks to engage his surrounding communities as a working actor, director and teaching artist with several theatre companies across South Jersey.

Balancing work and class as a college student is never something that comes easy. But really, when does anything rewarding come easy?

I find that the way to make it all happen is by staying focused on the positive. I adopted this mindset my sophomore year in Acting I, taught by Michael Dean Morgan. He encouraged us to approach scene work with the intention of progressing what we want to happen next. He said we should look to build off of our scene partners and work with them, never against them.

After a while, I started to realize how this should translate to everyday life when we consider how we will achieve our goals and fulfill our passions. Good theatre will always be a collaborative art, just like a life should always be a communal experience. In short, life is best spent with others. This has stuck with me, and the ideals of “togetherness” felt very present during my time working on a holiday show such as Elf the Musical.

Nick as Buddy the Elf in a performance of Elf the Musical.

I have done quite a few productions while enrolled as a student at Rowan, both on the mainstage and with outside theatre companies. Getting to play Buddy in Elf the Musical has been like no other process. It took the most commitment, but has been one of the most rewarding experiences.

The production took place at The Levoy Theatre in Millville, NJ, where they have one of the most beautiful spaces. On a whim, I went to audition for this company that I have never worked with before. It was not too nerve-wracking, because I was with some fellow Profs 𑁋 Lauren Coffey and Natalie Donisi. At callbacks, the three of us found ourselves finding other Rowan students, including Kerry O’Connor and Ben Helbert. Next thing you know, the five of us were all cast in the show together, taking turns on who would drive the carpool, and bringing all that we learned in class to the process. With the intention to work positively, it was also easy to take on this show with so many friends by my side.

In addition to the already established friendships, it was a pleasure to leave with so many new bonds and connections for future projects. There is nothing like getting to do a show with friends, who then become family, let alone a Christmas show during the beginning of the holiday season.

A collage of Nick with castmates, including fellow Rowan students and Admissions Ambassadors, performing in Elf the Musical.
In the bottom right picture from left to right is Ben Helbert (Sophomore Theatre & Dance major), Natalie Donisi (Senior Theatre & Psychology major; CADP/MST Theatre Ed. student), Nick Flagg (Senior Theatre & Advertising major; CADP/MST Theatre Ed. student), Lauren Coffey (Junior History & Education major), and Kerry O’Connor (Freshman Theatre major, Dance minor). Top right picture features the cast and crew. From left to right in the left picture is Nick Flagg as Buddy the Elf, Darryl Thompson as Santa Claus, and Natalie Donisi as Mrs. Claus.

The production ran Nov. 12-21, and all but two shows completely sold out for a theater with almost 800 seats.

When you walked in, you were met with a lobby decked out in holiday decor, featuring trees, lights, hot cocoa and holiday beverages, and even some snow. Typically, a cast’s headshots are featured on a board, but our marketing team brilliantly decided to showcase our headshots in Christmas ball ornaments on a decorated tree. The Christmas spirit was present from the moment you stepped into the building, and surely stayed with you long after.

Nick as Buddy the Elf in a performance of Elf the Musical.

The Mezzanine lobby was where my now good friend Darryl Thompson and I went after the show for a Santa and Buddy meet and greet with many kids … and many adults believe it or not! I loved hearing the crowd’s enjoyment during the show, but nothing beats seeing each kid come up to meet us with excitement.

Christmas never reigned as the top holiday for me … I mean aren’t most theatre people Halloween fanatics? But this year was different. I specifically remember so many sweet kids coming up. Darryl would ask them, “What would you like for Christmas?” and some would say things like “For my family to have a good Christmas” or “To be with my family.” It was incredible to see so many people were so moved by our show and full of the holiday spirit, even at such a young age. I was thankful to see so many friends and family came, along with some of my coworkers in Admissions and my incredible boss Cristin.

Nick as Buddy the Elf sings a solo during a performance of Elf the Musical.

Elf the Musical was a popular choice for so many theater companies this season. In South Jersey, there were at least three productions all going on at the same time. I bring this up because it has been nothing but nonstop support from everyone involved in these productions. We would all send our broken leg wishes on social media, along with wishing a happy opening or closing show to one another. It is important for that mentality to exist in a business like theatre that can get so competitive.

Being a part of moments such as these are reminders of the true meaning of the holidays, and how much care we should all show to one another. The holidays are not always happy for everyone, but actions such as these are what carry us through. Getting to bring the holiday spirit to so many people in such an iconic role was something I will always cherish. I loved getting to hear the roaring applause for my cast after each hilarious bit and touching moment on stage. Community, especially in theatre, has been so important to me, and this experience only enhanced that. And if working in communities full of this hope and respect is how I get to spend the rest of my life, I am in. And getting paid for it isn’t so bad either. 

Nick makes a surprised expression as Buddy the Elf in a performance of Elf the Musical.

Next up you can find me working on Matilda the Musical, where I will be playing Michael Wormwood at The Broadway Theatre of Pitman from Jan. 14 – Feb. 6. Very soon after, I will be teaching acting classes and assistant directing a production of Evita at my home theater, The Grand Theatre: Home of the Road Company. 

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Joyous Kwanzaa, a Blessed Yule and a Happy New Year!  

The cast of Elf the Musical wave goodbye to Santa Claus.

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Production Photos by:
Valerie Neuber

Story by:
Nick Flagg, senior theatre and advertising double major 

Air Force Veteran, Strategic Communication M.A. Student Alex Walpole on His Road to Rowan

Alex stands on one of the pathways along Rowan Boulevard.

Today we feature Alex Walpole of Burlington County, a student in the M.A. in Strategic Communication program through Rowan Global. Alex, a retired Air Force officer, shares his military transition from active to civilian life, his goals and challenges as a Strategic Communication student and the unconventional way in which he discovered Rowan. It was […]

Sports CaM Major, Navy Reservist and Mother Harley Sarmiento Shares Her Story

Today we feature Harley Sarmiento, a junior Sports Communication and Media major with a concentration in Sports Journalism from Gibbstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Harley is a member of the Navy Reserve and mother to her 1-year-old son. Harley goes into detail on her experience within the military and as a transfer student at Rowan.

Why did you choose to study Sports Communication and Media?

I was an athlete growing up. During high school I competed in two different varsity sports and then I managed a varsity sport in the winter. Because of this, I always had a personal connection to sports. My family was also heavily involved in our sports programs back in my home town. Once I started journalism in the military, I decided I wanted to pursue it on the sports side while working on the civilian side. 

Harley Sarmiento smiles near a tree-lined path on campus.
Harley Sarmiento

Why did you choose Rowan to study Sports Communication and Media?

I am a transfer student from University of California San Diego. I was stationed there for four years, and I just moved back to New Jersey in May.

Once I moved back to New Jersey and I was looking at schools, I found that Rowan was the best fit for me location wise and in regards to my academic goals. 

How has Rowan supported you in being a mother, active in the navy and being a student?

This fall semester is my first semester here at Rowan. The professors that I have had this semester have been extremely supportive. I have been taking both online and in person classes this semester and the professors have really been flexible with my schedule. For the most part, I have had really good relationships with all my professors to where if something comes up with my son, they were super easy to communicate with and understand that being a mother comes first.

At my previous university, I did not have the support, understanding or flexibility from my professors. Rowan has been extremely helpful, especially during my first semester here as a transfer student. 

Harley holds up her son Easton in front of autumn foliage.
Harley with her son, Easton

Can you talk a little bit about why you joined the Navy? What was your motivation to join?

My grandfather and my uncle were both in the Navy. Because of this, I always heard about the military growing up. The year before I joined the Navy, my cousin, who was my best friend throughout my childhood, joined the Marine Corps. My cousin seemed to have a very positive experience and  this led me to deciding to join the Navy. I also did not want to give my parents the burden of paying for college. After weighing my options, I decided to join the Navy, travel the world for a time period, and then come back and finish my degree. 

Can you talk a little bit about where you have been deployed to and your experience on duty? What is the longest time you have been away from home? Are you going to be deployed anytime soon?

When you are active in the Navy, you know a timeframe of when you will be deployed. For instance, I knew a couple months ahead that I was going to be deployed because they are scheduled. However, now that I am on the reserve side, I kind of get to pick and choose if I want to go or if I want to stay home — unless something huge happens and they need me to go serve. My current title is Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class, Surface Warfare/Air Warfare. 

When I was on the active side, I deployed to many different places. In 2018, I deployed for 10.5 months on the USNS Mercy. This was a hospital humanitarian ship where we provided medical care for many different countries. Some of the countries that I have been to were Japan, Indonesia, Guam, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and some smaller islands owned by the bigger countries mentioned. I was a photographer journalist, so my job was basically to document everything we did for these countries while on these deployments. 

Harley walking with her son on a walking path along Rowan Boulevard.

Do you plan on having a future professional career in Sports Communication and Media or do you hope to stay involved with the naval academy and/or military in some way?

My goal overall is to eventually separate from the Navy to pursue a more civilian career in Sports Communications. As much as I loved the military, it was not heavily family oriented. I want to see my son grow up and be available to attend all his events, and this is unlikely while being active in the Navy. 

How do you manage to balance your education with your involvement in the Navy while also being a mother? 

Coming back to New Jersey and my hometown has been extremely beneficial for my son and my family. My parents still live locally, my cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings all chip in and help, [my] boyfriend’s family helps, and everyone in my circle is willing to help whenever we need anything. I am really lucky that I have such a big support system. 

Harley reading to her son at Rowan Barnes and Noble.

What is your favorite part of being a mother?

I think providing my child with everything I ever wanted is one of my favorite parts of being a mother. For instance, my son just turned 1 year old in August, and we took him to Disney with my family for his birthday. I think seeing his excitement everyday is so rewarding. The little things that make him happy like the Christmas tree and the lights are so rewarding. It is like I get to see the world through a kid’s eyes again. 

What are your goals after you graduate?

I am hoping that it works out that I can be a stay-at-home mom for a little bit since my boyfriend has a stable job [who is in the Army]. Once my son starts school, I plan on hopefully working for a local newspaper and cover the high school sports of the area. My boyfriend is 28 and I am 23 and we enjoy attending and watching the sporting events locally, so I think it would be interesting to cover those events for a newspaper. 

Harley smiling while sitting on a bench on campus.

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Studio Art Majors Taylor Brown and Abby Leitinger Featured in Philadelphia Art Show

Philadelphia skyline.

Today we feature Taylor Brown and Abby Leitinger, two Studio Art majors who recently displayed their work in the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia. We interviewed Taylor and Abby on their experiences as young artists at the show and on how they developed their interests in creating art. 

Taylor Brown, junior Studio Art major from Perry Hill, Maryland

Why did you choose to study Studio Art?

In high school I went to a magnet school in Maryland, which is a high school completely dedicated to the arts. They have classes focused on dance, acting, and the arts like painting. While I was at school there I focused on art so I developed a passion for creating artwork throughout those four years. Studio art was a great option for me because I did not fully know what I wanted to do, and studio art gives room for exploring your interests through a variety of classes. 

Taylor Brown's setup at the art show.
Taylor Brown’s display at the 2021 Rittenhouse Art Show.

How did you first get interested in art? 

In middle school I felt like I started excelling in art. I overall genuinely enjoyed attending art class and it was something I looked forward to on a daily basis. This is when I decided to go to high school at the magnet school and focus on art throughout my high school career. 

What mediums do you like to work with when producing your art?

I really like sculpture, graphite and oil painting. 

Taylor Brown's 22 x 30 inch graphite drawing of a lion.
Taylor Brown’s 22 x 30 inch graphite drawing of a lion.

Do you follow any themes when producing your art? Do you like to paint or illustrate landscapes? People? Still life? 

I like to create a mixture of everything. I love working with different mediums and get my inspiration from anywhere. Instead of thinking about creating art as a project or as “work,” I like to think I am creating something because I enjoy the process. My pieces are never the same, and it makes the process very interesting for me.

How did you find out about the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia? How did you get involved? 

I basically received an email in my student email sent to all art majors explaining there was an art show if I was interested. I immediately thought it could be a cool experience, so I made an application and submitted some art work. I then received an email that I was accepted and that’s how it all started!

What is your favorite part of producing art?

I really enjoy the process of producing art. 

Taylor Brown's 14 x 14 in canvas oil painting of a plant.
Taylor Brown’s 14 x 14 inch canvas oil painting of a plant sold at the art show.

How was your experience as an artist featured in the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia? Will you continue to seek out art shows in the future?

It was such an amazing experience. I got to speak to other artists where they gave me feedback on how I could grow and what I could work on. It was the first time I had my artwork in a show where attendees could buy my work. I sold six pieces and I think it is so cool how someone has my artwork in their house somewhere. I will definitely seek out future art show opportunities. 

Taylor Brown's 22 x 30 inch canvas oil painting of a car.
Taylor Brown’s 22 x 30 inch canvas oil painting of a car sold at the art show.

Abby Leitinger, sophomore Studio Art major from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County)

Why did you choose Rowan to study Studio Art?

I toured a bunch of schools junior year of high school. Rowan was actually the last school I toured because I did not have serious intentions of going there. I ended up touring Rowan because it was local and I have friends that went there. It wasn’t until I went on my tour that I realized Rowan was where I needed to be. My tour guide happened to be a Biomedical Art and Visualization Major, which I thought was very interesting. But Rowan was one the only school that thoroughly discussed art on my tour. I felt instantly that art was important and prominent on campus. 

Why did you choose to study Studio Art?

My advisor placed me in this major. I was informed that this major was a basic art major that would let me explore my options. I picked this major so I could eventually find what I love to do and select a concentration that best fits that.

Abby Leitinger in her booth, engaging with a few customers inquiring about commissions at the Rittenhouse Art Show.
Abby Leitinger engaging with a few customers inquiring about commissions at the Rittenhouse Art Show.

How did you first get interested in art? 

From a young age I was always interested in art. I was constantly drawing and I always had a box of Crayola crayons at an easy reach. I never thought of majoring in art until senior year of high school. I always thought I had to pursue art as a pastime on the side. My art teacher was the person that encouraged me to pursue art. She simply cared so much about art. She was the first person that looked at my art and then decided to put it in an art contest. She told me art is everywhere and I can be involved in so many different professions while being an artist. 

What mediums do you like to work with when producing your art?

I really like to use pen and ink. However, I do like to explore different mediums and I find myself using watercolor, acrylic, and charcoal as well. 

Abby Leitinger's Great Dane", a pen and ink drawing part of her pets series.
Abby Leitinger’s “Great Dane,” a pen and ink drawing, part of her pets series.

Do you follow any themes when producing your art? Do you like to paint or illustrate landscapes? People? Still life?

I am an exploratory artist. I love trying different things and alternating between different subjects. I think I would get bored if I only created the same types of pieces. I like to keep ideas fresh.

How did you find out about the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia? How did you get involved? 

I received an email that I believe was distributed to all art majors. I am extremely grateful that I saw this email because this led me to this amazing experience. This is another reason of why I believe Rowan was the place I was meant to be — because of opportunities like this that are offered through Rowan. 

I ended up submitting a portfolio for this process, which was looked over and judged. I later got notification that I was approved for the spot. 

Abby Leitinger's "Cranes", a white colored pencil drawing on black paper.
Abby Leitinger’s “Cranes,” a white colored pencil drawing on black paper.

What is your favorite part of producing art?

I love looking at the final result. I can be a perfectionist at times, so when I get to the final process of looking at what I accomplished and thoroughly enjoying it, it is really rewarding.

How was your experience as an artist featured in the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia? Will you continue to seek out Art Shows in the future?

It was stressful leading up to the show because of the constant preparation. I had to price my pieces out which was shockingly challenging. When I actually got to the show and got to just sit and observe, I began to relax and appreciate the moment. I ended up selling a lot of pieces which is more than I could have asked for. It is really cool to think about a person having my artwork in their house right now. 

Abby Leitinger's booth at the Rittenhouse Art Show featuring her boyfriend and his little brother.
Abby Leitinger’s booth at the Rittenhouse Art Show featuring her boyfriend and his little brother.

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos provided by:
Taylor Brown and Abby Leitinger

Related posts:

Inside the Studio Art Major and Apprenticeship Program with Hannah Healy

Beyond the Classroom: How Two Students Blend Art and Science

Alumni Success: Felicia Brown Talks Career, Future Goals and Her M.A. in Arts Administration

Making Friends, Supporting Charity

Gabby and her classmates walking past 301 High Street.

Today we introduce guest blogger Gabby Lang, a sophomore public relations major from Cranford, NJ (Union County.) Gabby learned from home as a first-year student and now, as a sophomore, shares her story of how she branched out to make friends this year. Gabby shares this post to encourage the Rowan community to come out for the Cystic Fibrosis walk Wednesday, November 10, at Bunce Green from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

A Rowan University Public Relations Major Poses for a Headshot.I can 100% say that adapting to college was one of the biggest adjustments I have ever had. A new environment, new people, and new everything. I can admit that at first it was very difficult to make new friends and acquaintances, and like everyone else I wanted the “college life” everyone talked about. 

I learned that the cliche advice to join new clubs really was the best advice given to me. If a club appeals to you, jump at the opportunity. I joined PRaction, a student-run public relations firm, to get hands-on experience in my field.

I was scared to join at first because I did not know much about PR and am only a sophomore, however it seemed interesting.  I decided to give it a try, and I was assigned to work on our annual cystic fibrosis fundraising event. 

We host the event in memory of Rowan University student Colette W. Bleistine, who sadly passed away from cystic fibrosis in 2012. Her parents created the Colette W. Bleistine Paying It Forward Foundation, and we donate the money we raise to this foundation. 

3 students standing in front of the CCCA building.

This year, our goal is to raise $590 through a community walk around campus. We welcome our #RowanPROUD family, community neighbors, and those who support finding a cure for cystic fibrosis to join us on Wednesday, November 10 at 5 p.m. at the Bunce Green for the one hour walk. 

Three Rowan Students outside 301 High Street.PRaction placed me with students who had similar interests, and because of this I connected with people I would have never otherwise met. This is the first time that I’ve collaborated in a large group for a professional project. Every group member is delegated a role and it makes you realize you’re a part of something and that your work has purpose and impact. 

This experience is so beneficial because I am able to network, gain valuable experience, and help plan an event that will benefit those living with cystic fibrosis. Planning this event has brought so much more passion to my interest in public relations.

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Strengthen Your Writing with Strategic Communication [VIDEO]

Shot of Owl Statue.

Brandon West, a Rowan Global student pursuing his master’s degree in Strategic Communication, shares his thoughts on the program.  “No matter what field you want to go into, whether it’s public relations, sports communication or being a teacher, this program is applicable to pretty much any career,” he says.

Transfer to Transformed: Five Students Share

Exterior shot of a walkway near Wilson Hall.

Rowan Blog celebrates National Transfer Student Week and partners with the Office of Student Success Programs in spotlighting five students who have found their new college home at Rowan University. Victoria (Tore) Butler, Elementary Education and Literacy Studies major who transferred from The University of Scranton in fall 2019 Why did you select to transfer […]

Transfer Story: La’Tonia Carnegie [VIDEO]

Exterior shot of 301 High St. and Art Gallery entrance.

Originally from Jamaica, La’Tonia Carnegie transferred to Rowan to pursue a career in public relations. “Because of Rowan, I just launched my business,” La’Tonia says. “Rowan definitely elevated and gave me that push I needed to pursue my career.”

La’Tonia is just one of the thousands of students who choose to transfer to Rowan each year.

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Video by:
Max Morgan, Radio/TV/Film graduate

Alumni Success: How Strategic Communication Grad Nadya Ramos Inspires Us All!

Rowan University has a network of alumni thriving in many different fields and professions all around the world. Today, we got a chance to sit down with one of these successful individuals — Nadya Ramos, a 2020 graduate of Rowan Global’s Strategic Communication program.

A young girl sits atop a green chair in her kitchen, her feet dangling off the edge. She’s too young to understand anything it says, and the adults around her are getting more entertainment watching her than she gets out of reading it, but there she sits day after day trying to make sense of the words on the page. There’s something special about that little girl even though she doesn’t know yet. Something unique that’ll come to inspire many other women and girls. 

This young girl went from pretending to read newspapers to becoming a wife, mother and the CEO of her own small business.

Rowan alumna Nadya Ramos is the founder of Modern Millennial Mom, a blog to express her own reality and experience being a mother in the modern age as well as a businesswoman and has grown to allow her to create content for others. Modern Millennial Mom has allowed her to reach many other women who are experiencing being mothers in this modern age while simultaneously juggling the whirlwind of this world around them. 

An Atlantic City native, Nadya currently lives in Arizona working as content creator, marketing consultant, business owner and full-time mom creating content for companies like Walmart and Office Depot, but life wasn’t always like that for her. When asked about her past, Nadya shared not only her experience being a first generation young Hispanic girl but also explained the multifaceted layers of the word “first.”

She explains: “I was the first person to get a bachelor’s degree, I was the first person to get a master’s degree, the first to start a business. All of these opportunities and ‘firsts’ come with a lot of struggles and challenges. I didn’t have someone to go to in my family to say I needed help or to even ask. It’s a double-edge sword. You dream bigger when you’re the first, but with it comes many challenges.” 

Many who can’t relate to the experience of being the first would then ask, “How do you do it?” If Nadya were to respond with the advice given to her by her mother it would be: “Work hard and go to school,” a mantra many of us may know from our own parents. But Nadya felt as though there was more to life than just working hard, going to school and building enough to get by stating: “When my mom came to this country, a single mother of five children, it was all about survival. For me, I wanted to build more than just enough to get by.”  

Nadya did face her own set of obstacles and challenges, but instead of treating them like adversaries, she used them as stepping stones to get to where she is today. For starters, Nadya had initially had plans of attending Rowan for her undergraduate degree but was not accepted. Taking the setback in stride, she chose to instead go to school locally working as a blackjack dealer on nights and weekends as well as interning for $10 an hour (and sometimes for free) to put herself through school.

She would eventually enroll into Rowan’s graduate program for Strategic Communication and, while would receive her degree in August 2020, there still came numerous setbacks. 

Nadya strikes a pose in front of brick wall

“It took me longer than expected,” she explains. “I got married in the process. I had a baby. I moved. I took a break from work and was a stay-at-home mom for some months. But, looking back now, I can see that everything happens for a reason, and I understand now why it took me longer than expected. I actually ended up writing my master’s thesis after influencer marketing blew up, and so I was able to switch my topic and write about something I was really passionate about after initially choosing something I wasn’t all that interested in. Now, I do this for a living. I work with many influencers. I do brand collaborations. I do influencer marketing campaigns. And now I myself get to work with other brands doing those collaborations.” 

On the launch of her own small business, Modern Millennial Mom, Nadya lets us know that it didn’t just fall in her lap and was the result of yet another setback: “I launched my marketing consulting business because I was let go from my job last year. There were things about the workforce that didn’t align with my goals now that I’m a mom with a family to raise. I wanted more freedom. More flexibility. I just didn’t want uncertainty. I want to regain control of my life. Be the CEO of my life. Now, I teach other women how to gain the confidence to market themselves and their business better.”

As a woman of color in a field that is predominantly not filled with faces that look like hers, Nadya has had to deal with her share of misogynoir. For those unaware of what misogynoir is, it is defined as the culmination of racism and misogyny, and it’s something that many women of color are all too familiar with. Nadya was very candid about her experience with misogynoir, holding no punches. 

“I’ve definitely experienced misogynoir,” she shares. “I didn’t know how real it was until it was me who was experiencing it. I came home one day and sat in the kitchen talking to my husband and mother-in-law about how this is not something that’s in my head. You know how people say, ‘Maybe that’s just in your head’ or ‘Maybe you’re overthinking it.’ Well, when it’s you on the receiving end, it’s hard to justify it or explain to yourself what just happened.

“Not very long ago, in my last job in the field, I experienced, myself and other women, microaggressions in the workplace. Other women and I started to notice a lot patterns that just didn’t make sense and it felt very targeted. It just didn’t make sense and it felt very targeted. I feel it’s important to give voices to women who own businesses and women of color so they can get out there and create more opportunities. But it’s also important to provide these same women with the resources to be able to do so.” 

Close up on Nadya in front of wall

One of the ways Nadya helps to provide these resources is through her series, Growth Through Conversation. The show, which started out as a Facebook Live series, has now expanded to pre-recorded conversations that are posted to YouTube. Nadya describes the show as: “A conversation you might have with somebody in your living room or at a networking event.” 

When asked about how it feels to be able to use her platform to elevate the voices of women, specifically Latina women, Nadya gave an answer this writer wasn’t quite expecting. While she took the time to praise the women who have been able to achieve great success in their field, she reflected more admirably on the women who are still working day in and day out to achieve their end goals. 

“So we read these books,” she starts, “about how this person made it or how that person made it and they’re inspiring, but the thing about that is that we’re looking at somebody who is already on the other side. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it’s a different point of view when you’re looking back. You can say now: ‘I made this mistake but thank God I did because it led me to X, Y or Z.’ And, while there is value in that, I think I find myself more inspired by other women who I either know personally or who I have connected with that are just living life.”

It can be easy for a person dealing with multiple responsibilities to sometimes lose track of them all and just feel beyond overwhelmed. In order to prevent this feeling, Nadya understands that in order to be her best self to everyone around her, she needs to take time for herself, by herself.

She says: “Through therapy, I learned that I can’t be my best self if I don’t take care of myself. I see self care as building time into your day to get out and move. For me, I go on power walks and listen to a podcast or a DIY video about a new skill that I want to learn and master. I listen to that when I first start my walk but then, on the way back, I unplug. I take out the headphones and allow myself to rest. I allow my mind to rest. Overconsumption is very overwhelming to someone like me. I battled with anxiety and depression so I have to build in these moments where I can unplug.” 

From the little girl reading the newspaper to the accomplished woman she is today, Nadya doesn’t serve as an inspiration to us because she’s a woman who can juggle it all and has just achieved so much. Nadya is an inspiration because she showed strength and persistence in the face of adversity and has never backed down when it arises. 

“That’s who I’ve always been,” Nadya smiles happily as reflects back on the rollercoaster ride life has been. “It took me too long to realize I was special and I am special! And so are you! And so is the person reading this. And if I can say anything to that little girl in that chair, reading that newspaper, I would say: Thank you for being you!” 

Nadya and her son Noah together and happy

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Story By: 
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos courtesy of:
Nadya Ramos

In Case You Missed It: Favorite Classes At Rowan

Tell us a little about what the class is. IMC goes over all the parts to an integrated marketing communications plan, such as advertising, public relations, direct marketing, digital/internet marketing, sales promotion and personal selling. You really get to work a lot of different muscles within the communications industry. Is there anything else that made […]

What It’s Like to Take a 10-Year Sabbatical from School: Brandon Torres

Brandon holding the Dominican Republic flag in front of Bunce hall.

Today, Brandon Torres gives us a first-person perspective on his journey leading up to how he ended up taking a 10-year sabbatical from school and becoming a Rowan student. Brandon is a senior Public Relations and Advertising major. Just like many of you, I aspired to be a great student at one time or another. […]

The Sculpture of Discovery Hall: Studio Art Students Leave an Everlasting Handprint at Rowan with the Installation of Time Sweeps

Exterior shot of Discovery Hall.

The introduction of Discovery Hall sees the entrance of a new public art sculpture on Rowan’s campus. Today, we speak to two students who took part in its installation.

This summer, two Studio Art majors — senior Liz Kenlan and recent graduate Jon-Erik Hem — were offered the chance to leave an everlasting mark on Rowan’s campus through the installation of Time Sweeps. 

Discovery Hall will be open to the school’s general population for the 2021-22 academic school year. With the new building being described as a way for the university to expand in the STEM disciplines, Jon describes the Time Sweeps sculpture as: “The bond between man made and nature.” 

Time Sweeps just after its completion captured by the DSC Staff
Time Sweeps just after its completion (credit: Digital Scholarship Center)

Time Sweeps, located in the East Garden Courtyard at Discovery Hall, is an entirely stone sculpture of winding serpent-like unnatural shapes formed out of individually-placed rocks and stones. 

Prior to its unveiling, I was able to sit down with Liz and Jon to discuss not only the installation of Time Sweeps but their experience in helping to bring it to life as well as letting me know what art means to Rowan.

Liz and Jon were both recipients of a paid internship that allowed them to work with Thea Alvin. Alvin is a stonemason and the designer of Time Sweeps. 

“I learned so much from her, all about wall making and building,” says Jon. When asked about working besides Alvin, he adds, “It’s awesome to see someone working hard from the minute they get in to the minute they leave.” 

Jon-Erik Hem stands besides Discovery Hall
Jon-Erik Hem stands besides Discovery Hall

Liz agrees with the sentiments about the sculpture’s designer, stating: “From the first time I heard her speak as a guest visiting my Public Art class I got this feeling that lingered with me the rest of the day that things were good and I was alive with artistic inspiration. I sincerely related to her character, motivations, means to make her work, and the connection between herself and the communities she worked in.”

Alvin was not the only person that Jon and Liz got to work with. According to them, they worked with two other students chosen to work on the sculpture from the Geology department as well as a number of professional stonemasons. 

“We were immediately hands on with it,” Liz remembers about her first day on the job. “I thought we’d be getting these simple intern jobs but on the first day it was, ‘Oh no, go and start placing the foundation for the wall’ and we were just like what? We got to do the actual work that the masons were doing. I was shoveling gravel and carrying holders. The thing I did the most was smashing boulders. It was actually very therapeutic.” 

Liz Kenlan sits atop Time Sweeps with Whitney Hall in the distance behind her
Liz Kenlan sits atop Time Sweeps

Jon also spoke on the installation process and similar love of smashing things: “I’ve done a lot of construction work. I’m all about three-dimensional thinking and I’m all about swinging hammers and breaking stuff.”

The sculpture isn’t just a beautiful work of stone. As the name suggests, it’s also an interactive teller of time. There’s a spot under the arch that allows for a person to view the winter and summer solstice, adding an almost magical element to not only Discovery Hall but Rowan as a whole.

Though Jon and Liz remember the summer fondly, Jon spoke candidly about the representation of Rowan’s Art department and the community as a whole. 

“More can be done to represent the Art Department here at Rowan,” Jon speaks openly. “They have good faculty, but oftentimes, it feels like many universities want a lot from their art students without giving them respect in return.”

Time Sweeps serves as not the physical embodiment of the hard work and dedication of Jon, Liz, Thea and all those who worked on it but as the tenacity of artists at Rowan as a whole. 

“They want us to put paintings in the Business building or for us to do something for the medical building in Camden,” Jon told me as our discussion came to a close. “Everyone needs artists.”

Group of students and faculty under the stone archway of Time Sweeps
Liz (top left) with several of the Times Sweeps installers, including Thea Alvin (second from bottom)

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Story By:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos By:
RJ Wentzell, senior exercise science major and the 
Digital Scholarship Center

#PROFspective: Public Relations Major, Strategic Communication Minor Kayla Tucker

Today we speak with Kayla Tucker, a senior Public Relations major with a  Strategic Communications minor and a concentration in Public Relations in the News. Kayla, from Burlington County, is the Vice President of the Black Cultural League and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. 

Have you always wanted to study your major? At what point in time did you realize the major you decided to pursue was the one most adequate for your future goals?

“When I came to Rowan my original major was Marketing. I quickly realized that marketing did not align with my strongest assets. After deciphering my strengths, knowing I love writing, public speaking and everything involving communications; and knowing that Rowan’s Public Relations program is nationally ranked, I realized Public Relations was the major I wanted to study.”

Kayla Tucker standing and smiling in front of Bunce Hall.
Kayla Tucker

What is your dream profession?

“Working in an in-house public relations firm.”

How has Rowan prepared you for your future? What professors have impacted you the most as a student at Rowan?

“Ms. Cristin Kastner Farney is a professor that immediately stands out to me. I had her as a professor in Intro to PR and I truly enjoyed everything that class offered me. That class taught me interviewing skills and just the basics of PR and she presented all material in an amusing yet educational way. Cristin was also super helpful in terms of career development and assisting me in finding available internships.”

Kayla Tucker smiling up close.

What is the Black Cultural League?

“The goal of this club is to have conversations and discussions on issues concerning African-American studies outside of of the classroom.”

What advice would you give to your first-year self?

“My best advice would be to get involved early. Rowan offers countless amounts of club ranging from sports clubs, community and service clubs, clubs that promote diversity and inclusion, and many more. Getting involved around campus led me to meeting so many amazing different people.”

Kayla Tucker smiling in front of Gazebo.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

“I like to cook, listen to music, and spend time with family and friends. This year I also started a small business on campus named K. Kooks where I make and sell food to students.”

What makes you unique from others?

“Probably the fact that I love public speaking. I know many people that dread giving speeches or speaking in public, but I love everything about speaking in front of large audiences. It honestly is a big contributor to why I chose public relations as my major.”

Kayla Tucker smiling on Bunce Green.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Interesting Clubs To Check Out At Rowan University

Students check out a club on campus.

Rowan University has countless of clubs ranging from staying active clubs, diversity/inclusion clubs, major-specific clubs, residential assistant clubs and more. Rowan Blog contributors each share a club on campus that students should check out!

Club Fair Outside Student Center.
Annual Club Fair Outside Student Center

Outdoors Club

The Outdoors Club is all about exploring the wilderness and connecting with nature. The club takes multiple trips throughout the year to go hiking, kayaking, camping and more. Trips are really cheap and can be free or cost $5-10. 

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/outdoors

– Reshaun Timmons, senior Marketing major

Get FIT Club

The Get FIT Club is a great way to volunteer and help an underserved population. If you like staying fit and helping others, this is the club for you. In this club you act as personal trainers for local individuals with special needs. 

– RJ Wentzell, senior Exercise Science major

Student University Programmers (SUP)

Help brainstorm campus events, help advertise and work events. Meets the first Wednesday of every month at 9:15 p.m, usually in the Student Center. There are various committees that plan certain events and help with [planning] events. Committees include special events, live events, charitable events, technical services, off-campus events, cinema and marketing. You can meet new people, make friends, and build camaraderie while volunteering and having fun. Their signature programs you can help with and enjoy are Hollybash, Movie Nights, Food Truck Festival, Battle of the Bands and more!

Student University Programmers – ProfLink (campuslabs.com)

– Rachel Rumsby, junior Communication Studies and Public Relations major

Student University Programmer.
Student University Programmers staff member

Women of Color Collective 

Held every other Tuesday of the semester, the Women of Color Collective (often abbreviated as WOCC) serves as a safe space for Rowan’s women of color to openly and honestly discuss their feelings and experiences. It’s sponsored by SJICR and is held in Hawthorn Hall.

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/123

– Bianca Gray, senior English major

Athletic Training Club

This club delves into everything related to the athletic training field. Whether you are an Athletic Training major or just simply interested in the field/major, this club teaches members about rehab, responsibilities as an athletic trainer and rehabilitation for athletes. This club is also useful for athletes looking to develop a deeper understanding of personal recovery. 

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/atc

– Natalie DePersia, junior Public Relations major

Residential Learning University Housing (RLUH) 

RLUH is an organization catered to residential life on campus. To be a part of RLUH, you can apply to be a Resident Assistant, or RA. RAs are responsible for programming to residents, helping them through their transition from high school to college and connecting students to campus resources. Some major perks of being an RA are the amazing transferable skills learned and free room and board. 

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/rluh

– Loredonna Fiore, senior Public Relations and Advertising major

Resident Assistant.
Resident Assistant

PRSSA  

The Public Relations Students Society of America is an organization for students pursuing careers in the communication field. The club provides networking opportunities as well as special events such as virtually meeting with PR practitioners, participating in Organ Donor Day and even picnics. Meetings are held bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. 

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/rowanprssa

– Nene Diallo, senior Public Relations major

RU Puppet Artists (RUPA) 

RUPA was founded in Fall 2020 by TJ Jacobs to cultivate the art of puppetry at Rowan University and beyond through sustainable and accessible practices. We are an experiential and collaborative organization dedicated to the puppetry and artistic growth of our community using proven educational techniques. Members can expect to learn not by sitting in the classroom or in virtual meetings, but by actually creating artistic experiences for their communities.

Contact: RUPUPPETARTISTS@gmail.com

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/rupa

– Nick Flagg, senior Theatre and Advertising major

Rowan Photography Club 

Rowan Photo Club is a great place for ANYONE interested in art, photography, modeling and more. We host meetings with fun games and activities. We have photo contests and the winner gets featured on our instagram. We plan to have in person photo walks and photography meets. The club is a fun environment with cool people. 

Follow us on instagram! @RowanPhotoClub

– Stephanie Batista, junior Music Industry major

Student holds a DSLR camera in front of Wilson Hall.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Behind the Camera with Recent Radio/TV/Film Grad Adam Clark

Today we feature December 2020 graduate Adam Clark. Adam graduated with a degree in Radio/Television/Film. He also commuted from Bridgeton, NJ (Cumberland County). He tells us about his work since graduation and his upcoming plans. What have you been up to? Before I graduated I started working on this film that continued long after I […]

#PROFspective: Brian Seay, Double Major and Rowan Admissions Twitch Streamer

Headshot of Brian Seay against a black backdrop.

Today we feature Brian Seay, a double major in Radio/Television/Film and Sports Communication and Media from Cumberland County. Brian also has a certificate in undergrad study (CUGS) in Esports. We interview Brian as he touches upon his involvement with the Rowan Admissions Twitch streaming account through his job as a Digital Content Contributor for Rowan’s Marketing and Enrollment Management team. 

Why did you decide to get a certificate in undergrad study (CUGS) in Esports?

“I love video games. My friends and I play very frequently, and during quarantine I got interested in competitive 2k (basketball video game). When I was looking at my Sports Communication and Media major and the credits I needed for it, I came across the CUGS for Esports. I quickly realized that obtaining a CUGS in Esports was only one more course in addition to all my courses I have already taken for my major in Sports Communication and Media, so I thought why not?”

What is Twitch?

“Twitch is simply just a place where you can stream something live — it does not necessarily have to be video games. It started off as ‘Justin TV’ where this guy named Justin just basically streamed his everyday life on this website that he created. It has now turned into a place where content creators can stream videos; Twitch is primarily used for videogames but can be used for anything.” 

Headshot of Brian Seay.
Brian Seay

What do you do for Rowan as a content contributor?

“My primary task is to create videos and to help Rowan’s Marketing team to draw students in. One of the projects we did a few weeks ago was that we went in a filmed some of the residence halls so we can create a video on all the different resident and housing options Rowan offers. These videos are our most popular because they appeal to a big population of students, while club videos and certain sport videos are geared to a smaller target audience.”

What do you do to prepare for each Twitch stream?

“Setting up for my streams takes a decent amount of time. I stream on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. so I usually start setting up at 5 p.m. This allows me enough time to make sure all my equipment and software is running smoothly before I go live. Set up consists of sound checks, microphone checks, controller checks and more.”

Brian Seay playing a video game.
Brian Seay playing a video game

How does your CUGS in Esports help with your job for Rowan as a Twitch streamer?

“As I stated previously, I only needed one class to obtain a CUGS in Esports because of all the classes I have already taken for my major in Sports Communication and Media. With that being said, my Intro to Esports class not only equipped me with a lot of knowledge on Esports but made me very interested in playing Esports.”

What is your favorite part of streaming on Twitch?

“As stated previously, I just love video games, so this job is honestly not looked at as work for me. I am doing something I enjoy, and it makes my streaming sessions go by so quickly.”

Brian Seay.
Brian Seay

What is your favorite Esport game to play for Rowan Twitch?

“First off, it is important to note that I have to play games that are educationally appropriate. However, I like to play games that are popular in Esport streaming. Therefore, I enjoy playing Rocket League as it is a very popular Esport game.”

What is your favorite game to play on your free time?

“I have to say, my favorite game of all time has to be Minecraft. I am very creative and I love how the game caters to what your needs are. I think it is so cool how you can spend weeks and months on a world and you create your own environment and atmosphere and I think it is really cool how you can truly make it your own.”

Brian Seay's game controller.
Brian Seay’s game controller

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Brian Seay

Senior Reflects: RTF Major Riel Dioquino on Finding True Friends

Riel makes a funny face while sitting in the Bozorth Hall Auditorium.

Today we speak with Riel Marc Dioquino (he/him) who recently graduated with a degree in Radio/Television/Film (RTF) and a concentration in Production. Riel hails from Burlington Township and is a first-generation college student. He also participated in Cinema Workshop and earned recognition for this short documentary, Beyond His Closet, in the Edelman College of Communications & Creative Arts Student Showcase. Beyond His Closet follows Adam Kowalski in his journey after coming out. Riel also earned recognition for his narrative film, Lost & Found, at the 7th Annual RTF Media Festival.

What was your favorite social memory? 

I did a photoshoot the other week with my Ate [meaning older sister in Tagalog] Rizza on the [Glassboro] campus. I was feeling very nostalgic because walking around there for the last time reminded me of my first year at Rowan. In my first semester, I was only friends with Kyle Foor and Sam LaFlamme. It was just the three of us at the time because we knew each other from RCBC (Rowan College of Burlington County) and we transferred at the same time.  

In between classes, we had 3-hour long breaks before he had to go to our next class together. We would hang out by this big tree on Bunce Green. Kyle and I would climb in the tree and just chill there while Sam sat in the huge yellow Rowan beach chair next to us.  

I don’t mean to sound all emo but it was just nice and cool because it kind of hit me that, “Wow, I have friends.” Back in high school, I had one best friend Vishali Patel who I’m still very close to today. I had, still have, really bad social anxiety and I thought I would never have friends, especially going into college. I never really had that experience of, “I’m going to go hang out or get an iced coffee with my friends before class.” I think that’s what makes the best of my college experience. Once I allowed myself to let people in my life and be myself, I was able to find people that I can truly be comfortable with.

Riel sits contently in the lawn of Bunce Hall while wearing a graduation cap and gown.

Who was your favorite professor and what class did you take with them?  

I love Jenny Drumgoole! I had her for Video Art. It was one of the first classes where I was able to express myself and do whatever I wanted for all of my projects. She’s very unfiltered and open about anything. She pushes us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable because it helps a lot with discovering our self-identity. It’s more about exploring the possibilities of how you can express yourself. I think she helped me and my classmates with that.

Usually, when we have classes, I don’t talk to a lot of people because of my social anxiety. Jenny helped me to let loose in the projects that I wanted to make and share them with the class. They were very accepting of me. Jenny Drumgoole is an amazing person overall.

Riel looks contemplatively into the golden sunset with his hand on his face.

Do you want to give a thank-you shout-out to your family, friends, advisors or mentors?

Shout out to Sam LaFlamme, my best friend, because we’ve been through a lot together these last few years. I met her sophomore year of college at RCBC through a documentary class where we had to produce the film together. Our group won a few awards and had screenings in a few film festivals such as New York, Florida, Australia and more. We got closer because we happened to share classes every semester until my senior year.  We then worked at this internship together later that year and transferred to Rowan at the same time! We talked about everything in our lives the closer we got and that was that. I always say I couldn’t imagine going through college without her because we’ve gone through so much together.

Riel stands on the lawn of Business Hall while wearing graduation regalia.

What advice would you give to incoming first year students and transfers about making the most out of their college experience? 

Coming from my experience, it sounds very simple, but don’t be too scared. This applies to everything that your anxiety tells you to be anxious about. You can’t control anything that you can’t control. Everything is going to be ok. Everything will fall into place as long as you follow your gut feeling on how you want your future to look. My mindset was that I’m just there to take my classes and get my college degree. Then I can start my life and do whatever I want after. 

Yes, you can start planning for the long term, but also take care of yourself mentally and physically because it’s going to be a wild ride for the next four years. 

Also having your friends and your family close will help you through it mentally and physically. Keeping that drive and motivation in your gut aflame will help push you to be whatever you want to be in the future. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water and take care of yourself because some people like me would forget to do the most simplest yet important thing in the world!

Check out more of Riel’s work at:

Instagram – @rmarc99

Portfolio Website – https://rieldioquino.myportfolio.com/work

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Riel Dioquino, radio television film graduate

#PROFspective: A Chat with Public Relations Major Nene Diallo

Nene smiles in front of a tree on campus.

Today we feature senior Nene Diallo, a Public Relations student with a minor in International Relations who is originally from Guinea, West Africa but currently resides in Sicklerville, New Jersey (Camden County). Nene discusses with us the perks of her major and plans for her future after graduating. 

Why did you choose your major? 

I love interacting with different people, and that is basically the public relations major. I feel like I can learn alot about different mindsets and ideas. I like the environment. It’s creative and not a one-track thing. There are a lot of opportunities in the field and various paths for interaction. This is also why I added on the International Relations minor. I get to interact with different people who are outside of my country and culture. 

Nene leans against a part of Science Hall.

Why did you choose Rowan? 

Well, Rowan’s close to home. My guidance counselor actually recommended it to me. Most of my teachers from high school graduated from Rowan and they told me how good the school was so I said, “Ok, I’ll give it a try.” Plus, its location allows me to easily go to school and work at the same time. 

On your busiest day, what academic, non-academic and social responsibilities are you juggling?

So I’m usually doing schoolwork, going to work, and/or doing chores around the house. I wake up around 9 a.m., eat breakfast and clean up the house before heading off to school. I have work around 3 p.m. and my shifts can last either six to eight hours and I’m on my feet the majority of the time. Then I have to find a time between work and school to figure out when to do my homework, but I usually end up doing it when I get home from work around midnight. Then, I go to sleep and wake up to do the same thing over again. 

Nene stands on the bridge by the student center.

Did you ever have a moment of uncertainty within your major? How did you get through the challenge?

I once got this assignment from this professor that was super frustrating. I usually don’t like not completing my schoolwork but when I’m frustrated I sometimes give up on it. There was a 10-page essay that needed to be done that required citations from the course textbook, but I forgot to buy the textbook. I was debating whether or not I should complete the assignment. I really care about my grade but I was so frustrated, which caused me to wait until the last minute to complete the assignment even though it was given a month before. I still didn’t have the book to do the citation after putting off buying it to the point of forgetting about it entirely. I wasn’t sure what to do. But, eventually, I decided anything was better than a zero, did the assignment, and ended up with a C. That was like the final project of the class and worth most points. Getting a lower grade on it dropped my grade from an A to a C. It was really bad, but I got through it. 

Nene sitting at outdoor table on campus.

What’s something people wouldn’t expect to know about you?

I’m not gonna lie, despite being a Public Relations major I can also be anti-social. Just because I enjoy interacting with different people doesn’t mean I want to do it 24/7. I have a social battery. I’m pretty sure a lot of people do. It’s like I can talk to people for a certain amount of time and genuinely enjoy it, but then I want to go home and just be in my room. 

What would you share with a future student interested in your major? 

I would definitely say  to seek help especially from your professor and upperclassmen. Doing that really helped me and allowed me to get different opportunities at Rowan that I wouldn’t have known anything about.  Asking questions can lead you somewhere that you didn’t know you needed to go. Nobody’s perfect. We’re humans. Sometimes, we need help from other people in our field. Don’t feel like you need to figure things out on your own. Also, get involved in different clubs and activities. Like I said, I’m a pretty busy person, but I still find the time to be involved on campus. It helps you make connections. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself as someone who is in the Public Relations field … like coordinator or manager. I can start out small. That’s perfectly fine with me, but I definitely see myself being a part of an organization that is a comfortable environment to work in that I’m hopefully happy to work in. I see myself financially stable and surrounded with lots of love and happiness. I know it’s not going to be a fairytale and that there’ll be problems and issues, but I hope that I’ll be able to face any challenge that is thrown at me. 

Nene stands behind the back of Science Hall.

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Story by:
Bianca Gray, English major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Senior Reflects: Recent Writing Arts Graduate Kassidy Tirelli Heads to Law School

Kassidy stands in front of Bunce Hall with her cap and gown.

Today we speak to Kassidy Tirelli, a recent Writing Arts graduate with concentrations in Creative Writing and Publishing and Writing for the Public. Kassidy is a first-generation student from Pittsgrove, NJ (Salem County). 

Kassidy poses with her graduation cap in front of some trees.

Could you share your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes?

My favorite experience in one of my classes was in a Self-Publishing course I took during the Fall of 2019 with Professor Jason Luther. He’s the coolest professor ever. One of our assignments was to create a zine, which we then produced and sold at the Collingswood Book Festival! It was such an awesome experience!

Could you share your favorite social memory?

My favorite social memories were Hollybash and RoGlow during my freshman year! The Chamberlain Student Center and Campus Activities put on both programs. 

What are your career aspirations?

I will start school at Rutgers Law School this fall. I hope to work as a family law attorney after graduating from law school, particularly in the realm of divorce and custody disputes.

Kassidy poses in front of the Rowan arch.

Do you want to give a thank-you shout-out to your family, friends, advisors, or mentors?

Absolutely! I can’t thank my parents enough for everything they’ve done for me not just in the last four years, but throughout my life. Their support absolutely made it possible for me to earn my degree!

Who is your favorite professor? What class did you take them for? Why is this person your favorite? 

My favorite professor was Professor Jade Jones. I took her for Creative Writing I. She’s my favorite because she was one of the kindest and most supportive people I’ve ever met. She was also such an incredible professor and truly went above and beyond for her students!

Kassidy poses with her cap and gown in front of Bunce Hall.

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen or transfers about making the most out of their college experience?

The advice I would offer is that it’s absolutely fine and probably even normal to not know what you want to do after graduation when you start college. I changed my major three times during my freshman year before finding something that I loved. Other than that, just enjoy your college experience and get involved in everything you can. It really goes by incredibly fast, and you’ll be graduating before you know it!

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, junior communication studies and public relations double major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Alumni Success: Sena Pottackal Launches PR Career, Seeks to “Improve Inclusion Within the Consumer Experience”

Campbell Library from the grass

Today we feature Sena Pottackal, a 2015 Rowan graduate who has persevered through personal adversity. Sena majored in Public Relations and minored in Advertising and Communications Studies while at Rowan. She participated in activities such as PRSSA and PRaction and was a member of several societies, including Lambda Pi Eta and Delta Alpha Pi

Do you mind talking about when and how you lost your sight and what that transition involved for you?

I became legally blind when I was 15 due to a genetic disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. The disease is progressive, and I lose vision every few months. Over the years I had to learn how to use assistive technology, such as a screen reader, which has enabled me to complete school work and work professionally. 

Sena Pottackal on Red Carpet at 2019 NYWICI Matrix Awards.
Sena Pottackal on the red carpet for the 2019 NYWICI Matrix Awards, where she received its IPG scholarship and internship at Weber Shandwick.

Why did you choose to study Public Relations at Rowan? 

I went to community college for undergrad. During my time there I took basically every communications course they had to offer. Public Relations resonated with me the most because it gave me great opportunity to pursue my passions in writing and business while utilizing my analytical skills. When I was looking to transfer to a four-year school, my teacher who taught my Public Relations course recommended Rowan. 

Sena Pottackal before 2020 Virtual Graduate Convocation where she was a student speaker.
Sena Pottackal before her 2020 virtual graduate convocation, where she was a student speaker.

How do you believe Rowan has prepared you for your future professions and endeavors?

Rowan has given me the skills to be successful in Public Relations and in particular, writing. Professor John Moscatelli was my Advanced Public Relations Writing teacher, and he really helped me to develop my writing skills and confidence in my writing. 

How did you and how do you continue to persevere through adversity?  What advice would you give to other individuals trying to seek a job while having a disability?

Something that was helpful for me was having mentors. Networking makes a huge difference. I was unable to get an internship while at Rowan, which inspired me to pursue grad school. Fortunately, I was involved with NY Women in Communications and I went to their annual student conference and I found out they have a scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students. Then I proceeded to win the NY Women’s in Communication Scholarship, which is how I broke into the industry. This scholarship also came with an internship to work at one of the IPG agencies. If I did not network and try to be part of different clubs, I would not have found out about many internship and job opportunities.

Sena Pottackal
Sena Pottackal speaking at 2019 Public Relations Council Critical Issues of the Modern Workforce Forum at Carnegie Hall.

How did you manage to balance academics, social responsibilities with clubs, and your involvement with your community? Do you have tips for students who may be struggling with creating a balance?

Outlining when meetings were and when assignments were due was important for me to stay on task and up to date with my work. I also had to be honest with myself and the people I was working with about my time constraints. Professor Cristin Kastner Farney was very helpful. She taught me in Journalistic Writing. There was a book I needed for my advertising and account planning class. The book was not available through any platform that offered accessible textbooks. So she scheduled an hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week to read me the textbook so I could take the class. Teachers like Professor Cristin Kastner Farney got me through because they invested in my future.

2018 Bronx Zoo trip with NYU PRCC classmates.
Sena Pottackal (second from right) on a 2018 Bronx Zoo trip with NYU Public Relations and Corporate Communications (PRCC) classmates.

What lessons have you learned from your disability?

Everyone is different. We all have our own struggles, and this disability taught me to approach people with compassion. You never know what someone can be dealing with, and I can attest to the fact that some days can be harder than others. Being kind and compassionate can go a long way.

What were your initial visions for pursuing a career in public relations? Do you believe you are working in and/or toward your dream job?

When I graduated from Rowan, I was truly just looking for any job in communications. Back then I was aware that employment for people with disabilities was very low. After graduating Rowan I attended a blind training session while taking a year off. This is where I realized that by practicing PR, I could do more than just write. I could use this field to promote awareness about the capabilities of the disabled community and to overall improve inclusion within the consumer experience and the workforce. 

Sena Pottackal on NYU 2018 SPS Spring Cruise with colleagues from NYU SPS Community Service Committee.
Sena Pottackal (in middle) on NYU 2018 SPS Spring Cruise with colleagues from NYU SPS Community Service Committee.

What is your role/what do you do as working as a Junior Associate at Current Global?

Right now I am presenting research that my company just did about the lived experience of consuming content as a person with a disability. So I have been presenting that research in webinars. I also have helped write accessible communications guidelines.

What is your life motto that keeps you striving for more?

Be kind to yourself and give yourself the time and the room to grow into the person you were meant to be.

Sena Pottackal and partner in Jamaica for Sena's 30th birthday in June 2019.
Sena Pottackal and partner Karl Hogans in Jamaica for Sena’s 30th birthday in June 2019.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Sena Pottackal

Related posts:

Cory Monroe: Graduating Public Relations Major and Mother

#PROFspective: A Chat with Public Relations Major Nene Diallo

Public Relations Major Lands Full-Time Job After Internship

#PROFspective: Natalie DePersia, Public Relations Major and Lacrosse Athlete

Natalie poses on the bridge in front of Mimosa Hall.

Today, we feature junior Natalie DePersia, a Public Relations major with minors in Psychology and Sports Communication and Media. Natalie shares her experience at Rowan as a student and lacrosse athlete.

Do you live on campus, or do you commute? 

“I live off campus in a house across from the football field.”

What are some likes and dislikes of your major?

“I was originally a Communication Studies major, but it was too broad for me. I enjoy writing because it forces me to come out of my shell. Since I just started in this field, I don’t have any dislikes yet.”

Natalie poses next to some greenery.

How is your experience at Rowan so far?

“All of my professors, especially Professor Cristin Kastner Farney, Professor Sherry Hicks and my coaches are genuinely caring and are very helpful. As a student-athlete, I started off as a defender even though I wanted to be a midfielder. Because of Covid, I could not play from September to February. Eventually, I progressed my way back to playing lacrosse, but it’s been inconsistent and challenging. I hope to start back up in fall 2021. Overall, I have had a good experience at Rowan so far.”

Why Rowan?

“I first looked into Rowan because my brother attended the school as a basketball athlete. I live pretty close, which makes it convenient as well. In my junior year of high school, I played lacrosse and wanted to play it at Rowan. Everything Rowan offered was convenient. I ended up liking the school after visiting.”

Do you have a job? 

“I’m a server at PJ Whelihan’s in Medford, and so far the job’s been cool.”

What do you like to do for fun? 

“I enjoy hanging out with friends, spending time with my dog, playing lacrosse and working out. I also like writing and singing my own songs, just not in front of people.”

Natalie sits in a gazebo near Bunce Hall.

What is one interesting fact about yourself?

“I have a twin brother, but we don’t share the same birthdays. I was born at midnight and he was born the hour before. I also have two older twin brothers.”

What is your dream job?

“My dream job is to travel, meet people, hear and write their stories.”

Do you have any life advice for Rowan students?

“You are capable of more than you think you are. Challenge yourself.”

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Story by: Nene Diallo, senior public relations major

Photography by: Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major, and Reshaun Timmons, senior business major

                               

#PROFspective: Theatre and Advertising Major Nick Flagg

Nick sits in a director's chair on Bunce Green.

Today, we speak to Theatre & Advertising double major Nick Flagg from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Nick has a concentration in Theatre Ed, Acting/Directing & Musical Theatre, and will graduate next spring. He shares with us why he heavily enjoys studying his majors and the endless opportunities Rowan has offered and equipped him with.  Why […]

#PROFspective: Sports Communication and Media Major, Track and Field Success Jah’Mere Beasley

Jah'Mere sits in front of the Rowan Athletics Owl statue.

What is your dream profession? Where do you see yourself after graduating in 2023? If the opportunity presents itself for me to continue my athletic career, then that would be a dream come true. However, if I end up getting the chance to work as a sports broadcaster for a decent company, then that would […]

Alumni Success: Michael A. Wilson Jr., Marketing Operations Specialist for SHI International Corp.

Side angle shot of the Rowan welcome arch.

What have you learned by working as a Marketing Operations Specialist for SHI International Corp.? What were your initial visions for pursuing an undergrad in Public Relations and then a graduate degree in Data Marketing Communications? I would say SHI has been my saving grace. I have been at this company since I have graduated […]

Beyond The Classroom: RTF and Sports CAM Double Major Jade Iannace on Interning for Disney and The Philadelphia Eagles

Jade and Jovani Reyes on All Access with the Profs

Jade Iannace is a senior Radio/Television/Film and Sports Communication and Media double major. She’s from Washington Township (Gloucester County) and transferred to Rowan her second semester freshman year. Jade has packed her college experience with memorable internship opportunities in sports and entertainment, including the Philadelphia Eagles, NFL Alumni Association, The Delaware Blue Coats and the Disney College Program.

How did you hear about your internship with the Philadelphia Eagles?

I actually had a friend from high school who worked there as a videographer. He had told me about them needing an intern for PR and he was able to get me an interview. I was actually one of the youngest interns there, I got that when I was a freshman and I was there for two seasons.

Could you share with us your responsibilities there?

I was logging and editing a lot of their game pictures and going through the archives of their older images and videos. 

Jade at Lincoln Financial Field.

Out of all your internship experiences, which one has been your favorite?

The sports ones I’ve had have been really cool, but I did do the Disney College Program, which I thought was amazing. It ended early because of COVID, but the two months I was there was probably one of the coolest experiences. It was my first time living so far from home. I was living in Florida by myself, but I got to meet people from all over the world, which was awesome. Working for a big company like that was unreal. 

What got you interested in sports communications?

I picked up my sports communication major my junior year. My internship with the Eagles is what pushed me to pick up that major. I was always leaning toward the film side of my major like film production and directing, but once I saw live production of sports, I thought it was amazing. I also play sports and enjoy sports myself, so I thought it would be a really cool mix of two things I love.

Jade with NFL Alumni Association sign.

What is your ambition for the future?

I love traveling. I think being with a sports team or a company like that would give me a really good chance to not only pursue videography, but give me the chance to travel, see the country, and meet new people. That’s my main goal right now. I would love to produce, director, or be on camera, so I don’t have a set job in mind just yet. 

Do you feel Rowan prepared you for your work experiences? 

Definitely. Joining Rowan Television Network (RTN) was one of the best decisions I could make, along with pursuing the RTF and Sports CAM programs. RTN definitely prepares people with real life experience. I do “All Access with the Profs,” which is a sports talk show at Rowan. We also film events throughout Rowan, like this past year we filmed commencement, which was really big for us.

And also the professors are so awesome. Neil Hartman is one of the heads of Sports CAM, and he is so willing to help everyone get internships and make those connections, which is really helpful. I know a lot of other schools don’t really have professors and classes that will prepare you as much as Rowan does. 

Jade and Chelsea Valcourt film on campus.
Jade (left) and colleague Chelsea Valcourt film on campus.

What advice do you have for other students looking for internships during college?

Get involved. Obviously getting a degree is super important, but especially in this field I think making connections is one of the most important things. If you don’t have connections it’s going to be hard to get your foot in the door somewhere. Even through RTN you make connections with other students, which is important because you never know who you’ll be working with in the future. Definitely get involved, join as many clubs as possible to make as many connections as you can.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos courtesy of:
Jade Iannace

Header photo:
Jade (right) and Jovani Reyes host a Rowan Television Network episode of “All Access with the Profs”

My Favorite Class: Integrated Marketing Communication

Caitlyn stands near a gazebo on campus.

This story is a part of the “My Favorite Class” series.

Today we feature Caitlyn Dickinson, a recent Public Relations and Advertising graduate from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County). Caitlyn is a first-generation college student and transfer student.

Caitlyn outside of Bunce Hall.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan?

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

What department was the class in?

Advertising

Who taught the class when you took it?

Professor Rodolico

Tell us a little about what the class is

IMC goes over all the parts to an integrated marketing communications plan, such as advertising, public relations, direct marketing, digital/internet marketing, sales promotion and personal selling. You really get to work a lot of different muscles within the communications industry.

Share with us a few details on why this class was interesting or special to you.

In this class, I was put into a group where we were tasked to create an IMC plan for a sustainable company. We created a situational analysis including a competitive analysis, SWOT analysis and storytelling summary. We wrote objectives and strategies for our plan, and we also wrote up a creative brief regarding our vision for the campaign based on research which would be used when making the creatives for the campaign. We featured billboards, print ads, a radio script, social media posts, app icon design, email blasts, interstitials and a news release.

Caitlyn smiles and stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

This class was so impactful because it allowed me to use the knowledge I have learned from previous classes and put it all together in one IMC plan. I learned how to write news releases from Basic PR Writing, how to write radio scripts and create print ads from Ad Copywriting, and use basic design elements I learned from Publication Layout and Design.

What makes this professor great?

Professor Rodolico is one the best professors within the advertising department. He presents information in a way that’s easy for students to grasp and understand and also in a way that’s interesting. He grabs your attention with humor and creates an environment within the physical classroom and over Zoom that is comfortable. You’re never afraid to ask questions or speak up and comment on something. Since I’d had him for Ad Copywriting, I tried to take as many classes with him as I could.

Caitlyn stands near Bunce Green on campus.

How did this class help to support your academic or personal growth, or your professional goals?

This class exposes you to a lot of different aspects within the communications industry. You leave the class at the end of the semester with a strong grounding of each part of an IMC plan. A lot of what was covered in the class was review and the opportunity to put what you’ve learned to the test. While some material I learned was brand new that I was able to try out and add to my knowledge.

What are your professional goals?

Rowan has offered me so much knowledge about my industry that I feel like I have so many options with what I could get into post-graduation. Being an advertising and public relations double major, I’ve learned a lot and have done a lot of work in both respective fields that allows me to choose where I want to take my degree. I’d like to end up in either content creation or event planning. I like to be creative and use my skills in a way I find exciting and fun. 

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

Photos:
Joe Gentempo, art graduate

Senior Reflects: Public Relations and Advertising Double Major Marian Suganob

Marian poses in front of a bush with her graduation regalia.

Today we speak to recent graduate Marian Suganob, a Public Relations and Advertising double major with a minor in theatre. Marian, a first-generation college student from Mantua, NJ (Gloucester County), lived on campus all four years of her college career.

Marian poses next to the Rowan University sign.

Could you share your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes?

I didn’t come to Rowan as a theater minor. I took Intro to Acting to fill a Rowan Core requirement. The adjunct professor that was teaching the course, Professor Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez, saw that I had a creative mind. She could see that the major that I had declared at the time wasn’t the right one for me. She recommended I sign up to be a theatre major or minor. That experience really helped me feel welcome at Rowan. She didn’t just treat me like I was one of the thousands of students that she taught. She saw me and made the effort to talk to me during class and after class. That was definitely one class that made me feel I was at the right school.

Could you share your favorite social memory?

A lot of my memories come from my time with the Rowan University Philippine American Coalition (RUPAC), the Filipino club on campus, and also being an RA.

I’m a bit of an introvert, so I’m not always hanging out with people, but the only way I could survive being an RA and also do well in school was by sticking together with the other RAs. Often, the other RAs and I would study together, while we were on duty we’d study from 8 p.m. until around 2 a.m. It was really fun. We also bonded over having crazy experiences being RAs. 

When I joined RUPAC my freshman year, I felt welcome at Rowan. We performed a play that was run, created, written and directed by students. It was an adaptation of Mulan. I got to play the lead role, and that was really, really fun. It broke me out of my shell and I met a lot of friends because of it. The experience was great for me. 

Marian stands on a big yellow chair that says #Rowan2021.

What are your career aspirations?

Right now I would like to find what I am passionate about. However, I would really like to go into advertising one day. 

How did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with your professional growth or career aspirations?

Being at Rowan helped me build my work ethic. Rowan has also helped me explore my career aspirations by letting me ask questions and be curious. The people at Rowan helped me open my mind to more creative fields. All of my relatives are in some part of the medical field, so nobody in my family has ever gone into the creative field. Rowan supported me in my exploration to find my career aspirations. 

Do you want to give a thank-you shout-out to your family, friends, advisors or mentors?

Thank you to RUPAC for giving me a home on-campus. Thank you to my professors and advisors for helping me grow and helping me enjoy my education, even though it was challenging. Thank you to the Office of Events and Conferences for the many professional opportunities they have given me. The Office of Events and Conferences led me to my current job at the Rowan Blog. Thank you to those who created and passed the Student Health fee my sophomore year. You saved my life and countless others. Please continue to advocate for these issues and fight for change. Thank you to my boyfriend for being my study partner and my best friend. Thank you to my parents for supporting me throughout college. 

Marian's decorated graduation cap, as seen from above.

Who is your favorite professor? What class did you take them for? And why is this person your favorite?

I loved taking Public Opinion with Dr. Novak, and I also really enjoyed taking PR Practicum with Professor Shoenstein.

Public Opinion helped me understand why PR and Advertising are so important. It’s not just about promoting a business or promoting your own efforts. Your work helps create social change. PR and advertising are grounded in actual psychology. Also, understanding your audience is really powerful. 

In PR Practicum, I was able to practice my skills in social media and graphic creation. I mostly used those skills for clubs on the side, or for myself, but to practice with a team and a professor for a good cause was really fun.

What advice would you give to incoming first-year students or transfer students about making the most out of their college experience?

Try to find a balance between exploring your career aspirations and keeping mentally healthy. I wish I had done more internships and explored more, but it was good for my mental health to limit myself to one per year.

Marian poses in her graduation regalia.

Is there anything else you would like to look back on and reflect on regarding your time at Rowan?

College helped me grow as a person, especially in public speaking. At the beginning of college, I absolutely hated public speaking. I never wanted to volunteer, I never thought I was good at it. But after the countless presentations I have given for classes, and papers I have had to write, I am a better communicator. I would have never thought that I’d actually like presenting and that I would want to present with my team at the end of my senior year. Thank you, Rowan, for helping me become better and changing me. 

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, rising junior communication studies and public relations double major

Photography by:
Joe Gentempo, art graduate