My Favorite Class: Professions in Publishing

Exterior shot of 301 High Street.

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

Scott MacLean is a senior Writing Arts major enrolled in the 4+1 dual degree program. He is from Wenonah, NJ (Gloucester County) and transferred from Rowan College of South Jersey.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan? 

Professions in Publishing

What department was the class in? 

Masters in Writing (MAWR)

Who taught the class when you took it? 

Megan Atwood

Scott smiling outside.

Tell us a little about what the class is.

Professions in Publishing looks at the publishing industry as a whole and trade publishing in particular. We went over the various career paths involved in the publishing process, with an emphasis on the editing aspects. We worked to edit manuscripts and learned from many guest speakers who all play a role in the publishing industry.

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

I’ve always been a book lover, and throughout my time at Rowan I’ve learned I’m an excellent peer editor. My goal is to one day work as an editor in the publishing industry, and this class gave me the skills needed to realize that dream!

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

I have never had a class that so closely applies to what I want to do with my future. I am so thankful for the chance to learn from Professor Atwood and the many guest speakers!

Scott holds his diploma at commencement.

What makes this professor great?

Professor Atwood has first-hand knowledge of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. She is truly a wonderful professor who made this class not only informative, but fun too! She is always open to questions and creates a safe environment for classroom discussions. It’s easy to tell she’s invested in our futures and wants us to have all the knowledge we’ll need to be successful writers and editors.

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

For the first time, I feel not only prepared for my future career, but eager to begin! It’s as if some divine force crafted this class to fit my needs perfectly.

What are your professional goals? 

My dream is to become an editor in the publishing industry and to eventually go on to be an author myself.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, public relations and advertising graduate

#PROFPRIDE: Filmmaker Riel Dioquino on “Beyond His Closet”

Riel wears his graduation regalia and squats by a tree.

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.

Why is this a relevant story to share? 

Anyone that’s in the LGBTQ+ community, we hear a lot of stories of people coming out, but little do we hear stories of what happens after. There are a lot of inner demons you still have to work with maybe your whole life you’ve closeted yourself and you’ve hidden your identity for so long. That affects your way of living and you have to find a way to find yourself again.

This goes back to the concept of coming in, which is what Adam talks about [in the documentary]. The concept of coming out is that you tell everyone, your friends and your family that you’re gay or bi, or whoever you are. Coming in is just as important because it means you’re coming into yourself. You’re starting to explore the good and bad sides of yourself and become more comfortable in your own skin. That’s what this whole story of Adam and this documentary focuses on, not just the process of coming out, but going through life afterward and finding yourself again. 

Is there anything else you want viewers to realize or feel after watching the film? 

Coming from my personal struggles, I think from what Adam says at the end to keep going through life and keep moving forward, I think that makes us stronger. 

I just hope anyone that watches this feels the hopefulness and the strength Adam shows. I think Adam is a really strong person, and having that film in mind kind of helped me mentally prepare for my surgery [Riel currently has a broken arm that required surgery]. I feel like we should just appreciate life as it is, not take life too seriously and just continue on regardless of whatever you’re are going through, I think that’s what’s going to make your life the fullest.

Adam, wearing glasses and a black t-shirt, plays the guitar on his porch.

How did you prepare Adam to be your documentary subject? 

I did a pre-interview with Adam before we started shooting for the film. We met up and talked about his life for a few hours that first day. After I knew a little bit about him, I had my questions lined up so that he could talk about: his childhood, his process of coming out, what happened after he came out and then a wrap-up of what he thinks about his life.

How long did it take to film the documentary? 

On all phases of production, it took a whole semester. This film was for my TV Documentary Field Production class. I had Professor Jonathan Olshefski and I chose to do it independently, which was a tough job to carry but it wasn’t too bad. Thankfully, I had Prof. Olshefski to guide me. 

Surprisingly, it took four days to film the documentary. Before and during those film days throughout the semester, I had to find a subject, pre-plan the shoot, plan all the equipment, then commute to get all of the equipment from the RTF room. Once production was done, I edited everything at home. 

Beyond His Closet film cover photo showing Adam playing the guitar while barefoot.

In the future, what kind of films do you want to make? 

I’ve honestly never really thought of that because I’m always thinking about what’s the next job to do. I just graduated and I always get asked, “What’s your plan? Do you have any jobs lined up?” It’s the pressure of “What is next?” or “You have to keep going even though you have no idea where to go” that kind of scares me.

I always thought about maybe doing freelancing or production assistant jobs. Personally, I never thought of making a documentary or a huge film because it’s not usually my thing. But, if anyone asked me to join their project, I would!  

For my Instagram posts, I play around with a lot of lighting and smoke on concepts for my photo/video shoots. Recently, I’ve been wanting to get out of my basement to do more photo/video shoots in nature for a change. The way I work with projects on Instagram or non-jobs is more about expressing myself, what I feel in the moment, and what I need to get out of my chest into visuals. Then I’m onto my next project. 

I used to make a lot of dark, emo, Billie-Eilish-inspired projects where I’m in this dark void, but recently I want to make more projects where I feel free with the use of outside nature. 

Going back to the making of my documentary, it can be hard for filmmakers to create a documentary if you don’t understand the energy of the person. That’s what brings life to it, showing compassion and deep feelings about it. Not just the way people talked in the interview but the way you edit it, the way you shoot b-roll, and how you use lighting. Everything influences how you want to portray this person’s life on screen.

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

Is there anything else you want to share about the film? 

I just thought it was cool how I was able to be comfortable enough to dive deep in this subject of being a part of the LGBTQ+ community and exploring someone’s life through that. I definitely would give credit to my production classes especially my Video Art class because I was able to express myself and be open about being gay through projects where I was given the freedom to make whatever I want. From that, I felt open to doing the documentary on Adam which I am very grateful for.

What’s your message to people during Pride Month or are you keeping anything in mind during Pride Month? I feel like I’m a newbie at being openly gay because this is the first year where I’m actively expressing my identity through projects where I’m able to tell people my struggles with being gay. 

I have social anxiety, I’m very introverted, and I’m Asian. My advice for people is that there’s always going to be a group for you even if you think there’s not. 

Keeping that fire or spark alive is so important. Do what makes you happy. When I grow up, I don’t want to regret not doing the things I wanted to do. I don’t want to have an unfulfilled life when my time comes. Having that mindset helps me move forward and blocks out all the negativity. Letting go of all the tension in your chest and just doing whatever you want helps bring a lot more meaning to your life. I know it won’t be easy but I think it’d be worth the shot if you tried.

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

Passing the Torch: Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts Grads Reflect

Recent graduates from Rowan’s Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts (ECCCA) share their memories, tips and wisdom with future Profs.

Marian smiles and stands in front of the Bunce Hall steps.

“Get involved with clubs like PRSSA and Ad Club because they let you build a community outside of class and you get to practice classroom skills with real clients! Start working internships as soon as possible,” says Marian Suganob, who earned degrees in Public Relations and Advertising.


Caitlyn smiles in front of spring flowers on campus.

“There is just so much room for you to do whatever you want. There are so many possibilities. When I started my Comm. Studies major, I thought I wanted to do interpersonal, organizational; and within the past few months, I realized that I don’t want to do that. But I still have enough skills to go into any other field that I want within communication. So there’s lots of options, and you’re never going to feel like ‘Oh, I picked the wrong thing,’ because you have so many options,” says Caitlyn Halligan, who earned a degree in Communication Studies


Jenna smiles and stands on Bunce Green.

“Take every opportunity you can when it’s right in front of you. It’s definitely going to pay off when you’re applying to jobs,” says Jenna Fischer, who earned a degree in Public Relations.


Zachery smiles in front of Bunce Hall.

“I think one of the most fulfilling things about being a part of the Westby community and being a student studying in the arts is certainly the faculty and the friends you make along the way. It’s a wonderful community. Everyone is very inspiring and always pushes each other for success,” says Zachery Woodward, who earned a degree in Studio Art with a concentration in printmaking.

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Senior Reflects: Student Leader Cam Hadley

Cam smiles outside Bunce Hall.

Cam Hadley, a Public Relations and Advertising major with minors in New Media and Journalism, reflects on her time at Rowan.

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

My favorite memory in class was participating in mock interviews with Professor Rodilico in Portfolio Prep! We got to be the interviewer and interviewees which really helped us get good practice. He gave me questions that he thought would stump me and was so proud I was able to answer them. 

Cam sits on a paver bench on campus.

Could you share your favorite social memory?

My favorite social memory was working Hollybash each year with SUP.  As the Vice President of SUP, I had so much fun being next to the artist who performed and interacting with students throughout the set.

What are your career aspirations?

I am looking to earn my Doctorate in Public Relations and then own a PR agency named JB Communications after my dad. I’d also love to become a professor after I retire because I can’t stop working!  

Cam smiles under a tree on campus.

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

I was able to learn about each aspect of PR and learn how to lead others to success. All of my involvement in SUP, SGA, PRSSA and PRaction helped me realize that you’re always working towards your team’s goal, not just a personal goal.

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

I want to shout out Melissa Ulmer from SUP. She is the best advisor ever and always willing to hear us out! 

Cam smiles under a gazebo on campus.

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

My favorite professor has to be Lou Rodilico, who I had for Advertising Copywriting and Portfolio Preparation. He is one of the funniest and most passionate professors who truly wants us to succeed. 

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

I would say to get involved early and attend as many events as you can! Try to get involved in leadership positions as soon as possible. Climbing up those leadership ranks will lead to personal and professional growth.

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

Photography by:
Joe Gentempo, art graduate

Senior Reflects: Radio/TV/Film Major Joshua Hedum

Josh walking with his cap and gown.

Today we feature senior Radio/Television/Film (RTF) major Joshua Hedum. Joshua was a transfer from Atlantic Cape Community College and is from Cape May, NJ (Cape May County). He shares with us his journey to becoming a RTF major and his club, internship and class experiences. What is it like having a parent who went here? […]

Senior Reflects: Biomedical Art and Visualization Major Emily Higgins

Emily in front of Bunce Hall

Emily Higgins is a senior Biomedical Art and Visualization major, with minors in Art History and Biological Sciences, from Randolph, NJ in Morris County.

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

One of my favorite class experiences was going to the cadaver lab at Cooper Medical School in Camden. I was able to draw from in-person observations, as well as being exposed to a professional medical setting as a freshman. 

Could you please share your favorite social memory?

Some of my favorite memories come from Outdoors Club, like going camping for the first time, to seeing wild horses at Assateague Island, to eventually joining the executive board and helping plan club trips. 

Emily outside in gazebo

What are your career aspirations?

Medical Legal Illustrator.

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

I had several professors over the years offer practical advice for entering the workforce, and professors who went out of their way to help support their students’ professional growth and personal well being. 

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

I would like to say thank you to my parents, my sister Trish, and my partner Danny for their continuous love and support over the past four years. I’d also like to give a big shout out to the friends I have made while at Rowan, including the BMAV crew + co., friends from freshman year D-Pod, and countless others who I hold very near and dear to my heart. 

Emily on Bunce steps

Who is your favorite professor and what class did you take them for? 

My favorite professor was Ron Mathias, who I had for a few classes within my major including Introduction to Figure Anatomy for the Artist and Digital Rendering Techniques. Ron no longer works as a professor here, but keeps in touch with former students and is always available to give us advice about our art and practical advice for our futures as well. 

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

Join some clubs and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Everyone else is just as nervous about making friends as you are, so reach out to others with compassion. You can reinvent yourself into whoever you want to be, and can choose to take a step in the right direction at any point, no matter how many mistakes you have made in the past.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, senior public relations and advertising major

Photos by:
Brian Seay, sophomore sports communication and media major

Alumni Success: Photography Studio Owner Gabi Previtera

Gabi stands in front of the Endless Smiles Photography Sign

Gabi Previtera, alumna and current photographer and business owner, shares her experience at Rowan and her journey starting her own business from the ground up. Gabi graduated from Rowan in winter of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, but her story only starts there.

“I actually started out shooting portraits in a mere 200-square-foot space in my parents’ dining studio!” Gabi reminisces, who now works as a full-time photographer. “As my business started to grow, I knew I’d need to move into a larger studio and now I’m excited to have a much bigger space.” 

Not sure what she wanted to pursue at first, Gabi changed her major while at Rowan. “I originally wanted to be a marine biologist, but I was doodling too much in biology classes and not paying attention at all. I realized I probably shouldn’t pursue this route anymore and maybe go into the art field since I’ve always been an artsy person. I tried that, and of course my parents told me that I need to go into a degree that makes money, so that’s where the graphic design part came in.”

Gabi sitting in a green chair looking out the window.

Gabi started her business, Endless Smiles Photography LLC, after she realized that she wanted to do more than graphic design and expand into working as her own boss. 

“Being a business owner is tough, but is great. You never stop working!” Gabi explains. “I’m a perfectionist so I really like to be able to do what I want, how I want, and on my own schedule.” Some months she has more than 100 shoots while other months are dedicated solely to newborn sessions.

Gabi poses with her hands on her hips.“My proudest moment actually happened early today. I finally reached a big financial goal I thought I’d never make. I did this all on my own. I paid my own bills, got my own clients, built up referrals through word of mouth because of how I treat my clients and the service I offer,” says Gabi.

Gabi believes in investing in education each year because you never stop learning in the field. Whether it be art classes, finding a strong mentor, or getting your first camera and watching videos to learn, education is important.

“For anyone starting out, please don’t go into debt for this. You don’t have to have the best equipment, don’t let others fool you. Pay whatever you can to learn through workshops and practice. Learn what you can, replicate your favorites, and never stop growing.”

Gabi sits in front of newborn photos.

Looking back at her time at Rowan, Gabi reminisces about the lifelong friendships she’s made. “I absolutely love my friends that I made at Rowan. We would all hangout in the art areas together and just make stuff. I keep in touch with them still.”

The biggest advice Gabi shares with creatives is, “Charge your worth, figure out what you want to do and make it happen. Art is a field with careers, so choose the major you want. Don’t just give out photoshoots or give your work out for free — know your worth.”

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, senior public relations and advertising double major

Alumni Success: Ryan Geiger, Creative Media Business Owner and Accomplished Filmmaker

Ryan types at his a work table on his laptop.

Today we speak with Ryan Geiger, who attended Rowan from 2004 to 2008. He was an RTF major and advertising minor. He now owns his own media studio called Pinch located in North Jersey. Ryan also is an independent filmmaker and has won awards in several film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival.

Can you tell us more about where you currently work? 

Ryan Geiger recently opened his own media studio called Pinch. With 15 years of experience in the creative industry, Ryan created a strong network with many creative professionals. Ryan previously worked at Bingley Digital in Connecticut as the Creative Director. Bingley was bought by one of their clients, and the owner of Bingley trusted Ryan with its remaining clients.

He strongly encourages students to forge strong connections as early as possible and opportunities like this can be in their future. 

Ryan remembers his first job immediately after college, proving the power of connections. Through one of his connections, Ryan went to work as an Assistant Director for Center City Film & Video (CCFV) in Philadelphia, which films commercials. Ryan enjoyed the feeling of being on a stage set with actors and how it felt so professional. Ryan shared the news about opening Pinch studio with his network and received a request from CCFV to work with that same client he worked with at CCFV. 

“You never know when someone from your past is going to come to you for more work!”

Starting your own business is way harder than it looks. You see people on Instagram; they sell cookies and go viral because [a] celebrity posts about their [product]. In all life, you [either] get lucky or you work, grind, hustle, and you make a name for yourself.” 

Ryan poses confidently wearing blue plaid.

What does your day-to-day work look like? 

“When you start your own business, a lot of it is me reaching out to previous clients and new clients trying to get work. Then, it’s directing all the current workload. Working with the clients to direct digital ads, web design, a video series, or social media videos. 

It’s navigating when things are due, how things get done, and who needs to work on them. I still have my hand in a lot of it. I was editing up until the minute I took this call. I’m always working on something. We [creatives] are always working, always tormented. We’re always trying to do better things. We are obsessed with looking at what other people are making and learning how they made it. It’s not an easy job.”

Can you tell me about your experience as an undergrad?

“I had a wonderful four years and that was partially due to the fact that I engrossed myself in everything. I dabbled in Rowan Radio (89.7 WGLS-FM) and had a morning radio show. I had a  television show on RTN called The Rowan Update. I shot 22 episodes and it was a spin-off of “The Daily Show,” a comedy show that reports on the news. I was a Student Ambassador and I ended up becoming the Ambassador Coordinator my senior year being the leader of all of the tour guides. I could walk around campus blindfolded! I knew everything about every single building! Landmark was my local watering hole as an undergrad.”

Ryan attends The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival in a suit.

Did you have a favorite class or professor? 

As a freshman, Ryan took a philosophy class and fondly remembers the professor treating every student as an adult. The professor’s honesty, seriousness and curtness left such an impression on Ryan.  

“He was the classic idea of a professor who comes in barreling through the door, yells at everybody, and writes things on the wall. It really opened my eye to philosophy, to the phrasing of sentences, and to the thought process of decision-making.”

Ryan’s favorite professor was Prof. Sheri Chinen Bieson, who wrote a book about film noir called “Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir.” Her contagious passion and giddiness about film made the class more engaging and exciting.

What was one thing about Rowan that was a happy surprise for you? 

“I think the Student University Programmers really did an amazing job in finding a lot of really funny things to do and keeping people engaged. I remember a lot of my fun memories are going to all the comedian shows. They had Bob Saget to Zach Galifianakis. They had a ton of bus trips to go to Philly and to Broadway shows. All the tickets were so cheap! Coming from a guy who grew up in North Jersey, there were a lot of really funny things that I never experienced before. I hope it’s still being funded and that they are still doing awesome stuff because they really did some great programming.”

Ryan sits at his desk at work, typing on his laptop.

What was your journey like after Rowan? 

“My journey after Rowan has been nothing but completely tumultuous, challenging and exciting times. I graduated in 2008, during the collapse of the economy and the housing market crash. It was a real psychological struggle to realize that it wasn’t as simple as I thought it was going to be.” 

Ryan hustled and worked on a few TV shows and movies, but never got the breakthrough he was looking for. He continued to chase his passions in 2009, making his first feature film called “Stealing God’s Money.” It went on to win Best Feature at the Garden State Film Festival

“It was such an encouraging and amazing thing. I was at the awards ceremony and sitting at a table with production companies that spent $100,000 on their film. One guy leaned over and he asked, ‘What was your film budget?’ I said, ‘A thousand bucks. What was yours?’ He said, ‘A hundred thousand.’” 

Ryan continues: “You can do it on a scrappy budget. I made some more movies and that went on to also win film festivals and awards. Most notably, my film ‘Town Red screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. That was a massive moment for me to go there, walk the red carpet, be in the same building as Leonardo DiCaprio (who was showing ‘The Great Gatsby’ that year). I even got an interview on NBC about Town Red. But, the phone doesn’t just ring because you get an interview. You still have to hustle and work hard. I didn’t let that discourage me and I still kept going down the creative direction.”

….

Although Ryan loves Rowan, the journey after was not the easiest. Rowan taught him so many things but most importantly to never give up. As an alumnus, Ryan would like to help current students get involved in more real-world productions. He also hopes to offer his mentorship through the Alumni Association, offering a valuable connection to students now and in the future. 

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, senior public relations and advertising double major

Senior Reflects: Biomedical Art & Visualization Major Hannah Knight

Hannah poses outside.

Today, we speak to graduating senior Hannah Knight. Hannah is a Biomedical Art and Visualization major with minors in Art History and Biology from Shamong, NJ (Burlington County). She transferred from Rowan College of Burlington County and currently lives off campus. She shares more about her experience at Rowan and gives advice to incoming students.

A picture of Hannah taking a selfie while on a hike.

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

Being in and working thoughout the night in Westby Hall, specifically painting in the studio after mourning a death.

Could you share your favorite social memory?

Going to bingo or The Pit for events. Walking down the Boulevard and to the High Street Gallery.

What are your career aspirations?

Help the future of health care and science via biomedical arts.

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

I work with professionals in the field who can give me real-world advice.

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

To Doc for keeping me in high spirits, Ryan Berardi for always understanding, and Amanda Almon for starting BMAV here at Rowan.

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

Nancy Ohana. She teaches figure drawing and constantly reinforced freedom, diligence and the process of art.

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

Take an art class that you’ll actually enjoy, not just the “easy” ones. Go to RAH events because they’re pretty cool most times, and be kind to everyone.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Senior Reflects: Art Education Major Bianca Fusaro

Bianca smiles with the top of Bunce Hall in the background.

Today, we speak to graduating senior Bianca Fusaro. Bianca is an Art Education major from Randolph, NJ (Morris County). She shares more about her favorite times at Rowan and offers some advice to incoming students. 

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

My favorite moment with a faculty member is with Doc Appelson in Printmaking. He made the class fun to be in and I learned so much. Almost everything in printmaking I know because of him. he also helped me become a better teacher by giving me tips and tricks on how to create printmaking lesson for little kids!

Bianca stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Could you please share your favorite social memory?

My favorite memories I have with clubs is every year TRAC, or The Rowan Arts Collective, participated in Homecoming Banner Competition. It was so fun and exciting to complete a banner in a matter of a couple of hours.

What are your career aspirations?

I want to become an elementary art teacher. I love little children, their love to learn and their drive to want to create.

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

The Art Education program is very small here, but that smallness created a family. Everyone in the program helps each other when it comes to teaching, even our senior project, which is presenting at the Art Educators of New Jersey conference. The professors in the program have been art teachers throughout their life. They know what you’re going to go through when you get a job. They want you to succeed and they share stories to help you become the best art teacher you can be.

Bianca smiles inside a gazebo on campus.

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

I want to thank everyone in the Art Education program. These professors helped my classmates and I become who we are today as teachers. We learned from the best, and I hope that I can be an amazing art teacher like they are.

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

Fred Adelson is my favorite professor at Rowan University. I took his Art History classes during my time at Rowan. He is so knowledgable about everything he teaches. He makes art history fun to learn about because he is so energetic and passionate about everything he teaches.

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

Make friends with the people in and outside of your major. Get out there and join clubs that you are interested in. You may make lifelong friends!

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

Photos by:
Brian Seay, Brian Seay, junior sports communication and media major

Senior Reflects: Dyone Payne, PR Major, Reflects on the Joys of College

Dee poses ecstatically in a pink dress and glasses, with her hands up in the air.

Today we speak with Dyone Payne, who will be graduating this May with a degree in Public Relations and two minors in Journalism and Strategic Communication. Dyone is from Glassboro, NJ (Gloucester County) and is part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority. 

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

My favorite class memory was with Dr. Schoenstein during IMC. Every week we would give a presentation about a product or company we created. From start to finish, we created the logos, company brand, position statement, and most importantly the presentation. She actually wanted us to be prepared for the real world. She wanted us to be able to present a brand in a short amount of time. 

Could you share your favorite social memory?

Meet the Greeks is one of my favorites. To see all of the organizations come together, perform, have a good time, and most importantly inform students about who they are. 

What are your career aspirations?

I aspire to work in the marketing and advertising space. I would love to contribute to storytelling, especially in this environment.

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

The EOF program is how I got admitted into Rowan. They have been a major support system to and for me throughout the past four years! Shout out to everyone in that office. 

Dyone poses by a pile of lemons and hanging plants at the Philadelphia Garden Convention, wearing a lovely baby blue dress.

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

Shout out to my advisors and professors, Mr. Morton, Ms. Brucker, Mrs. Mummert, Prof. Farney, and Prof. Rodolico. From beginning to end, all of you have pushed me to grow beyond boundaries, ask questions, and go beyond what is expected of a student, person, and most importantly, a professional. I value each lesson I learned from every one of you.

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

Professor Royek! I believe I took Composition Writing I or II with him my freshman year. Professor Royek taught me so many lessons, but most importantly he taught me to always ask questions, be patient, and learn something from what others have to offer. I’ll never forget he helped me with my paper and as we did the mock interview he taught me how to be conversational rather than sticking to the script. 

I then applied that to my life by always having a plan and if the plan fails, improvise! Want to learn from people. Want to be friendly. And most importantly take your time!!

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

Incoming freshmen, take your time. Whatever you want to do, do it and don’t let anyone stop you! You’ll learn so many things once you just live life outside the classroom. At the end of the day, JUST DO YOU!

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Story by:
Marian Suganob, senior public relations and advertising double major 

Advice from Cannes Festival Award-Winning Filmmaker to Radio/TV/Film Majors

Ryan types on a laptop at a work table in the office.

Today we speak with Ryan Geiger, who attended Rowan from 2004 to 2008. He was a Radio/TV/Film major and Advertising minor. He now owns his own media studio called Pinch located in North Jersey. Ryan also is an independent filmmaker and has won awards in several film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival 

What advice would you give to students about starting their own business? 

Pinch is going really well, but starting a business was so much harder than I thought it would be. When you start small, you wear all of the hats. It can make for a very stressful work environment. You have to juggle all of the balls all at once. If I had $1,000,000 in seed money, I would hire 100 people. You have to think about every single step because there is little room for mistakes.

I was a Creative Director for nine years, and after Bingley was bought out, I finally decided that I did not want to put my career in the hands of somebody else. I know this [field], and I know what I want to do. It just made sense at that moment, with the handful of clients I was trusted with, to start my own marketing studio. Earning those clients was the ultimate push to start building Pinch. Now, I’m making an animated logo for the Yankees and filming commercials for Roadwarez Backpacks, Natural Delights Medjool Dates and Vinglace Wine Chillers. I get to be a director every single day!

Ryan wears a tuxedo to the Cannes Film Festival.

I think like a storyteller, not a marketer that’s focused on the numbers and packing in as much information as possible. I want people to connect with the story we show the people they’re watching and the name of the brand. Part of this has to do with the fact that I am a perfectionist and my love for the craft of making compelling stories gets me up every morning.

Every single day I’m learning something new, whether it’s how to better interact with a client or finding the right conditions to film with a drone. In my last commercial, it happened to be raining that day and the street we wanted to film on had too many wires for flying a drone. I’m problem-solving every day. I really look forward to seeing Pinch continue to grow. I hope one day to make more industry connections and possibly pivot into producing a television show or an animation.

Ryan Geiger directing his independent film, Death By Scrabble.

How did you learn to be your own boss?

All of my bosses over the years have played a role in shaping the professional I am today. Also, knowing what I want to accomplish gives me drive. I want to feel proud at the end of the day, knowing that my clients are happy is what motivates me every day.

What was the most important lesson you learned after you graduated? 

When I was the Creative Director at an animation studio in Brooklyn, we were always recruiting local talent or talent that came from college. It was really important to me to onboard them correctly and prepare them for the real world. This means you’re making creative [meaning creative projects or materials] for clients. You’re not making your own personal little project. In any kind of art, you go from being told by professors to look deep within yourself and create wonderful art. When you start working in the real world, you’re making art for other people. You have to start thinking about that. It’s a hard thing to accept when you step right out of college. It’s really critical that we prepare our oncoming workforce to be ready for the challenges.

When Ryan graduated and became an art director for a magazine called Hometown Quarterly in Cranford, N.J., he made ads for local businesses. He remembers the creative director slashed through his designs because they were not geared for the client’s taste. He quickly learned how to adapt to this expectation in the creative industry. 

What advice would you give to a student today, especially a RTF major?

I could write a book about advice for RTF majors. I was a huge part of the RTF program. I was part of RTN and Rowan Radio. I really tried to take full advantage of everything while I was there. 

If you feel embarrassed to join RTN late, it doesn’t matter. Get in there and make friends. These people are going to be your peers in the future. These people are going to eventually find work. Make friends with everybody in the RTF network. Before you graduate get their email and contact information. Don’t just rely on Facebook. People get off Facebook or become married and change their names. Go around all to all the people that you admire and have done really great stuff. Say, ‘Hey, I want to stay in contact.’

Get behind a camera. Mess with a camera. Go shoot some birds. It doesn’t matter. Write a really short little movie. This is the time to take advantage of the fact that you have all of this free work at your disposal to make movies. Always be creating because you need to walk away with something to show for yourself. All I had was my resume. I thought it was a good one because it had NBC on it. I still had done nothing to show for it. I had no real website. It’s so crucial to showcase some of your work. Post your videos. 

Ryan attends the Cannes Film Festival photo op.

I wish I made more movies in college. I wish I’d kept in contact with a lot of my friends and not just watched what they did on Facebook. I wish I actively kept calling them and picking their brain about how they got out to L.A. Once you go five to 10 years without talking to them, it’s hard to build a relationship back up again. 

You have to think of yourself as your own little business. Even in college, you need to start building a repertoire of work. Nobody goes to art school, just takes a class and says, ‘I’ll start painting when I get my degree.’ You gotta have a gallery of work by the time you graduate.

There are so many options and roles for RTF majors. I was so pigeonholed and determined on directing films. There should be constant filmmaking on campus and pushing students to utilize the bubble that they’re in. You have talent all around you, friends who can help, and scriptwriters [from any background]. Once I graduated, no one could help me anymore with filmmaking.

At the same time, the film wasn’t like it is now with DSLRs and 4K cameras. You can grab your iPhone 12 and you can make a movie. It’s come such a long way since I graduated. You have to get on set and realize that it’s not just about directing. There are 1,000 roles on set.

Who do you hope to work with one day? 

I really hope to work with Apple, Pixar and Nickelodeon one day. I created a script for Nickelodeon in the past, but I’m holding onto it because I hope to line up the right stars and the right budget for this idea. From the film festival circuit, I learned festival judges have to be very selective because almost anybody can make a movie. When recognizable names are attached to a project, they often get more attention than projects without those names. Being a perfectionist, I want to have all of my ducks lined up, and it would be really great for Pinch to be able to financially host those big names one day.

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Story by:
Marian Suganob, senior public relations and advertising double major

Cory Monroe: Graduating Public Relations Major and Mother

Cory sits with her son on the Rowan Proud chair.

Today we speak to Cory Monroe, a graduating Public Relations major and mom from Medford, NJ (Burlington County). Cory transferred to Rowan from Rowan College at Burlington College. Corey is a first-generation college student.  

Cory poses in front of trees on campus.

If you could paint a picture of your time here at Rowan, what would that look like?

It would look like it’s come full circle, I suppose. I graduated from Rowan College at Burlington County and transferred to Rowan University in 2014. I was finishing up one semester and then the next semester would have been my final year at Rowan, but my mom got sick and was hospitalized the week of finals. I couldn’t even finish taking my finals because she was diagnosed with cancer. It was a chaotic time for me. She passed away quickly the next month. It took me a very long time to come back to school. I would say that I just feel like my time at Rowan, though chaotic, has come full circle.

What are some challenges you faced, being a student and a mother?

I would say that I experienced mom guilt sometimes. Sometimes I need to ask my husband, “Hey, I didn’t get everything done that I had to get done. During naptime or bedtime, I need a few hours to study or to write this paper,” and I feel bad. My husband is very supportive. I still feel bad segmenting off that time, even though it’s for the better. It’s for the best that I finish my degree. I would just say time management has become really important, and conquering mom guilt is very important.

Cory poses with her husband and son.

How has Rowan helped you achieve your goals?

I would say that Lori Brucker, the advisor for the Public Relations and Advertising department, has been very helpful. There were a few times I was going to come back to school, but then it just didn’t pan out. I was suffering with some depression prior to having my son, and the people at Rowan were really patient. They didn’t say, “Oh my gosh, this is like your third time talking about coming back to school, get your life together.” They were really patient and believed that I could graduate. Each time that I would come back and ask “Okay, what do I have to do?” and then I didn’t go through with it, they were always just very supportive of me finishing my degree and telling me what I had to do to get there. I appreciated that.

What was your inspiration for coming back to finish your degree?

My son, 100 %. Eventually, when he’s a little older, I want to go back to school for nursing in an accelerated bachelor’s program, and you have to have your bachelor’s degree to be in the program. I want to complete what I started and make my mom proud of me for finishing it, even though it wasn’t easy. 

How do you best balance school, life, and being a mom?

I take advantage of nap time. Luckily, my son still naps. During his nap time, I set a goal of getting something finished, and that’s when I do it. I actually find that I’m more proactive with deadlines now as a mom than I was before. I used to wait until the last minute and say that I don’t have any time, but now I finish assignments two weeks in advance. I try to get things done, so it’s off of my shoulders.

Cory looks on as her husband holds her son in the air.

What advice do you have for other mothers that are thinking about coming back to school or that are already here trying to finish their degree?

I would say that if it makes you happy, come back to school and complete your degree. You’re definitely going to be inspiring your son or daughter. They’ll be able to see that you made sacrifices and that you work towards an end goal that wasn’t easy. They’ll see that as an adult, it’s difficult to come back to school to finish a degree, or begin and finish a degree while having a child.

What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

I love absolutely everything about being a mom right now. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I love being a stay-at-home mom. My son is always happy to see me. As soon as he wakes up in the morning, he’s always so happy to see me. He is just full of like endless love and limitless fun. He’s my heart.

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

Interview by:
Kayla Tucker, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major

Yes, Mama, YOU CAN DO IT!

Alexis holds her son outside on campus.

Alexis Houck is a junior Advertising major and a certificate of undergraduate study (CUGS) in graphic design student from Ocean County, NJ. She shares her first-person perspective, tips and advice for the mom going back to college.  

Two years ago, I was at a dead-end job being paid minimum wage not feeling very fulfilled with my life. I was married, and my husband worked hard to take care of us. I had always thought about going to college, but unfortunately, I could not afford the luxury of it straight out of high school. I also lacked the support, guidance and help to get into one.

Portrait of author Alexis on campus.

Well, that all changed July 2018 when I saw two pink lines and I knew. It was time to go back to school. I understood the challenges I was about to face being a new mom and now a [first year student] in college. Yet, I knew the importance of an education.

The second I saw the positive pregnancy test I knew I wanted, I needed, to do more for my baby. He needed parents who were not too stressed out about money and bills to enjoy life and parenthood. I wanted to make sure we could live comfortably on two incomes not just one. I wanted to make sure my child knew how important an education and hard work is.

I made the right choice to go back to college, and I started that fall. Of course, when my son was born, I took one semester off and then jumped right back into it. I now have my associate degree and am currently working on my bachelor’s in advertising and undergraduate study in graphic design here at Rowan University.

Alexis, her son and husband walk through the Rowan welcome gate.

I could not be prouder of being a Rowan Prof even at 30 years old with a 2-year-old at home. If I can do it so, can you. I hope I can inspire some hope and encourage you to further your education here at Rowan University.

Stop asking how and why? Stop questioning if you could do it because yes, Mama, YOU CAN DO IT!                          

Here are a few tips and advice for the mama starting your college education journey here at Rowan University:

  • Talk to an advisor and be realistic.

This is a big one. You need to be honest, talk about what you want to do. If you are unsure this is where you and your advisor discuss your strengths and what you have a particular interest in. I changed my major three times before I finally found the one I love. Ask your advisor about the courses you need to take and how much time you will need to delegate to your studies. Rowan offers full-time and part-time enrollment. I prefer full-time, but do what you can. Certain degree programs only have day classes; making a schedule that is realistic and works for you and your family is crucial. College and being a parent are hard enough; do not stress yourself out any more than you need to.

  • Financial aid, grants and other scholarships are available!

Financial aid and grants have been super helpful! Make sure to apply in time and get that situated ASAP. Scholarships are available as well. Make sure to do your research so you know you will be prepared and financially stable during your time at Rowan.

Alexis holds her son and poses with her husband on campus.

  • Rowan supports parents with a family-friendly campus!

Rowan has on-campus childcare. It is called the “Early Childhood Demonstration Center,” home of the Little Owls! They are parenting friendly at Rowan — they even have a Lactation Center and Nursing Mothers’ Room available, which is open Monday through Friday, they even provide storage for your milk! 

Rowan is a “family-friendly campus.” Rowan offers resources and events for all students who are parents. Rowan CCAMPIS Program (Child Care Access Means Parents In School), offers free or low-cost tuition for eligible students’ children at the Early Childhood Demonstration Center as well as social and academic services designed just for college student parents. Rowan also has events for student parents who attend the university! Join in! You will meet others going through exactly what you are, and you can really lean on each other.

  • Stay organized and keep your family on a schedule.

Make sure you have an area in your home you can designate to your studies, a nice, quiet and organized place where you can store all your school supplies that is away from any distractions. Due to COVID I know it is tough to find places nearby, luckily Rowan has some great on-campus options including the library. When you are going back to college, you need to pick out a regular time each week to get the work done. I personally make evenings a time to get my work done. I cook dinner and then my husband takes over for bath and bed time while I get my work done. Once you schedule your time for your assignments, treat it like you would a doctor appointment for your child(ren). You and your work are important, too. Let the rest of the family know that you are unavailable at these times.

  • Let your support system help you.

Thankfully, I have an amazing husband and family who support me in my goals and help as much as they can. There will be days when unexpected things happen, I mean, come on, we are parents!!! It’s important to acknowledge that you will need some help to get it all done. Make sure to let your support system help when they can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it takes a village.

Alexis smiles with her son and husband.

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Story by:
Alexis Houck, junior advertising major

Alumni Success: Nah’Ja Washington Shares How Rowan Helped Her Succeed In The Advertising Industry

Rowan arch near Bunce Hall.

What are some of your responsibilities at DDB? I have a lot of different responsibilities. One of them is being aware of different trends and what’s going on in the market and creating a newsletter with my manager to keep her up to date on those things. I also, as the junior strategist, essentially do […]

Beyond the Classroom: Junior Ad Major Madelaine Mayfield and Her Passion for Nonprofits

Madelaine poses against a wall next to a pond.

Today we feature Madelaine Mayfield, a junior Advertising major and recent transfer student from the Rowan College of South Jersey, Cumberland Campus. Madelaine hails from Millville, NJ (Cumberland County) and currently interns for the Bullock Garden Project in Glassboro, NJ.

Madelaine stands in front of the Engineering Pond.

Can you tell us more about the Bullock Garden Project? 

The Bullock Garden Project (BGP) is a nonprofit that aims to empower and educate families to grow their own food. They’re especially focused on helping with food insecurity in marginalized communities as well as informing people about the overall benefits of gardening. 

For one of our many projects, I attended a Zoom meeting about helping schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania [by providing gardening] supplies and showing them how to garden. We have about 10 schools involved in this project including the Glassboro Child Development Center, Tewksbury Elementary and Secaucus High School.

The Rowan grant-funded project consists of free webinars called Get Up and Grow with the founder, Sonya Harris. Attendees can ask her any questions, and Sonya gives them valuable advice. She also will send them supplies! We have kids, grown-ups and college students attending. We usually have about 20 to 25 people attend.

Sonya worked at a school [as a special education teacher] and she made a garden one day at her school. Then, she reached out to a TV show about improving gardens. They came out and helped her. She realized that she wanted to help other schools have the same opportunity. 

A child wears a Rowan shirt while gardening.
Ten schools participate in the Glassboro-based Bullock Garden Project.

How did you come across this position and what motivated you to join?

This job position was posted on ProfLink under Content Creation and Social Media. What motivated me was the fact that it was a nonprofit. I want to use my skills and what I’m learning for a good cause and a greater purpose. I was really excited because I love nonprofits. It motivates me more, knowing that [my work is] for a good cause. I know that if more people join and donate, then it’s helping the future. 

Could you tell us a little bit about other BGP projects?

I came up with the Kind Acts Initiative as BGP’s Christmas campaign, where each member of our staff did at least one kind act. I did another campaign recently, where I share quick environmental facts. Before the pandemic, BGP would go to school and help them with supplies and gardening. 

Madelaine poses in front of a wooded background.

What classroom skills are you practicing in your internship?

The most influential class has been Advertising Copywriting. I practice copywriting in social media posts, captions and graphics. I’ve learned so much about how to get audiences engaged, how to create better content, and how important social media is (especially with BGP). Social media has helped BGP to grow and gain a lot of recognition.

What was the most rewarding part about working with BGP? 

The most rewarding part about working with BGP is the amazing staff who are truly so encouraging, uplifting and want to see me grow. I feel very appreciated, and I know that they all care about me. Also, knowing that I’m doing work for an organization that is changing the world, school by school. They always encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. They’re [supportive] of everything I do. I haven’t had that in any other job in my past. It’s so refreshing. I don’t feel embarrassed or scared in any way when I [share my work].

What skills and knowledge did you develop from working with BGP? 

Definitely communication because I have to do meetings and social media. I know how to communicate my ideas and convince [the team] that it will work. I got my video editing skills from my YouTube channel I started in high school. I’m also really thankful for the graphic design skills I learned from Prof. Nancy Reighn-Garron in Publication Layout & Design. She was so helpful and always went out of her way to help me. I record the Zoom meetings and edit them into an Instagram video. I really like making videos because they are more engaging than photos. 

Madelaine poses against a wall next to water.

What made you decide to switch majors from Radio/TV/Film to Advertising? 

I chose Advertising because I want to help amazing small businesses, nonprofits and other organizations get the recognition they deserve. I love creating content, being creative and engaging with others online. 

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

Get involved, especially with internships, and do as many as you can so that you can gain experience. Figure out what you want to do. Working for BGP, I figured out so many things. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do advertising, but now I know I want to work in social media. Doing it outside of class definitely helps you. You can use the skills that you learned in class, outside of class.

Advertising impacts the world in a way that spreads the word about brands, companies and organizations. Advertising is a huge factor in what the public consumes. As an advertising major, I want to make sure there are positive things being shared for a good cause. 

I would like to bring attention to what matters most. Working for non-profits, I would like to encourage others to help and get involved in some of the global issues.

Check out the Bullock Garden Project at https://www.bullockgardenproject.org/.

View more of Madelaine’s work on 

Instagram: @bullockgarden 

YouTube: Bullock Garden Project, Inc.

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Story by:
Marian Suganob, senior public relations and advertising double major 

Photography by: 
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Meet Transfer Profs: Advertising Major Paul Coppola

Stock image of brightly lit advertising on a wall.
Paul wearing a suit and posing with someone at a wedding.

Meet incoming transfer student Paul Coppola! Paul is an aspiring Advertising major from Riverton, NJ (Burlington County) who transferred from Bucks County Community College. He shares more about what he’s looking to discover at Rowan and offers some advice to other transfers.

Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward at Rowan University?

I’m looking forward to the general experience of going to school that isn’t a community college. The experience to me sounds like an enjoyable one and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Is there anything you’re hoping to discover about yourself at Rowan? Grow a new skill? Try a new interest? Starting a new activity, sport or club?

I’ve recently become interested in writing. I had joined a Philadelphia Eagles blog and honed my skills there but I wish to increase those during my time at Rowan.

Paul wearing a Phillies mask.

What majors are you considering and why?

I will be majoring in Advertising because I enjoy the creative aspect behind it and that world in general just fascinates me.

Did you tour Rowan or attend any virtual events? If so, which ones, and what did you think?

I attended a virtual orientation. I enjoyed the process a lot. They had made it sound like a much easier transition than I had originally thought it was going to be.

Do you have advice for other transfers who haven’t committed to a school yet?

Just breathe. You’ll find the school of your dreams. It may not happen immediately but you’ll get that acceptance letter and feel a sense of relief.

Where are you going to live next year?

Commute from home.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

The environment!

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior, Music Industry major

Meet Transfer Profs: Advertising Major Jess Battistelli

Drone shot of campus.

Meet incoming transfer student and Advertising major Jess Battistelli from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Jess is a transfer from Rowan College of South Jersey and is a first-generation college student. She shares more about what she’s looking forward to at Rowan and what she wants to get involved in on campus.

Jess smiling while taking a selfie.

Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward at Rowan University?

I’m looking forward to getting involved with finding internships and meeting other people in the advertising and marketing industry.

What is one hobby, activity, sport or club that you’re involved in that you’d like to continue at Rowan?

I’m currently in NSLS [National Society of Leadership and Success] and Phi Theta Kappa that I will continue to work hard for and utilize through college!

Is there anything you’re hoping to discover about yourself at Rowan? Grow a new skill? Try a new interest? Starting a new activity, sport or club?

I’m hoping to narrow down the exact job I want in life in the advertising field, since it is so broad. I’d like to gain more information on the topics and take classes that relate to my field in hope to find what interests me most.

What major(s) are you considering and why?

Advertising and possibly a minor in marketing. This field is on the rise especially for social media, and I like the idea of change and different topics and people everyday rather then an office desk.

Jess sitting on a bench while wearing a black dress.

Did you tour Rowan or attend any virtual events? If so, which ones, and what did you think?

Not yet, but I am planning to attend orientation in June!

Do you have advice for other transfers who haven’t committed to a school yet?

Choose what makes you happiest and what is best for you in the long run!

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

I like how involved they are in each field and how they have so many different options for helping decide what is best and the atmosphere of the campus.

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

We are #RowanPROUD to be included on Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s 2021 Transfer Honor Roll, which recognizes select nationwide colleges and universities that foster dynamic pathways for transfer students.

#PROFspective: Public Relations and Advertising Major Madison Sweet

A headshot of Madison Sweet outside on Rowan's campus.

Today, we speak to Public Relations & Advertising double major Madison Sweet! Madison is a transfer student from Raritan Valley Community College and is from Bridgewater, NJ (Somerset County). She shares with us what a typical day at is like for her and how she transitioned into Rowan.

A portrait photo of Madison outside on Rowan's campus.

What is a typical Rowan day for you?

I work at Financial Aid in the mornings and afternoons and then I return home to join my Zoom classes. After that, I cook myself dinner or I will treat myself and order out (sushi always). After my work load is done, I love spending quality time with my friends, my boyfriend, and my Big in my sorority. Some nights, I like to go out to Landmark or Chickie’s & Pete’s for a drink with my friends as well (following COVID procedures, of course).

Could you share with us one moment during your time at Rowan that made you feel inspired or confident that you’re in the right major for you?

The relations that I have built with my professors have made me love my major even more. I am super comfortable with them and love doing my work. The moment I knew I was in the right major was my accomplishment in making the Dean’s List back to back. I struggled with school growing up, and now I have a 3.7 GPA that I am super proud of, it would have not been possible without the Communication Profs.

Could you tell us a little bit about your transition into Rowan as an incoming student? Were you nervous? Excited? Stressed? What people, programs or things helped to make your transition smooth?

I felt all the nerves. Since I was in community college before, I was super eager to start a new chapter of my life away from home to learn who I am as a person on my own. I was super excited to start my classes but worried I wouldn’t make any friends. But Rowan’s students and profs are the nicest people I have ever met. Class was never boring. Joining my sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, also had a huge impact on my social life. Without this org, I wouldn’t have all of the friends that I do, today.

Madison posing with her four friends outside the Engineering building.
Madison hanging out with friends outside the Engineering building.

What are your professional goals?

Currently I am not sure what I want to do for a job after college. I would love to work in the social media field for a big company if possible.

How has Rowan helped to support you with your professional goals?

My profs have always been very supportive toward me, they are very understanding and are always willing to help if you need it, which was very nice and comforting. If I was ever confused they would help me with an assignment if needed. My sorority has always encouraged us to prioritize school work first to make sure that we stayed on top of our grades. My profs and advisor always let us know about potential Internships as well.

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography by: Joe Gentempo, senior art major

Women of Westby [VIDEO]

Art installation in Westby.

Learn more about the Rowan creative collective Women of Westby. 

“Women of Westby looks to create community through uplifting the voices of our creative makers in the effort to bridge the gap of unequal representation for women, people of color and those in the LGBTQIA+ community,” says Noel Waldron. Those who join can “have a safe platform to display their art and build their CV’s in an otherwise competitive market.”

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Video by:
Quintin Stinney, sophomore Radio/TV/Film major

Music by:
Don Dewitt, junior music industry major

Women of Westby on Instagram 

Leadership #PROFspective: Arielle Gedeon, Leader of the People Who Serves from Her Heart

Arielle poses next to a pillar at Bunce Hall.

Today we speak with Arielle Gedeon, a leader at Rowan University. Arielle has served as Student Government Association (SGA) president for two consecutive years. Arielle, a senior Radio/Television/Film (RTF) major, also serves as the president of the Lambda Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She calls Galloway, NJ in Atlantic County, her hometown. In addition to being a first-generation college student, Arielle also made history as the first Black female to become the SGA President.

This story is part of a series spotlighting campus leaders during Women’s History Month.

Arielle poses in front of Bunce Hall.

What is your role in your organization? 

As president of the Student Government Association (SGA), I serve as the face of the student body. I oversee the overall operation of SGA and maintain the accountability of the executive board. SGA serves as the voice for the student body and presents any student concerns to Rowan administrators. SGA works closely with Rowan administrators, providing advocacy and support for students. Every student pays a student government fee, which is allocated to 160+ clubs or organizations on campus to fund their budgets.

What have you learned in your role as a leader?

I have learned that serving people is a privilege. My colleagues tell me I have a “servant’s heart.” It means a lot to me because I truly find joy in serving people. I love helping people because I know what it was like to be in a place where you really need help and someone to advocate for you. Being in SGA and serving as a leader is truly a privilege. I never want to take that for granted.

Arielle sits on the steps of Bunce Hall.

What’s your favorite memory as a leader or at Rowan in general?

I have so many! When I was first elected as SGA president, I was so overcome with emotion because I was elected as the first Black female student body president. When I think about the unfortunate prejudices that Black women face in America, even in the classroom, we have to fight to be [seen] as leaders without being perceived as “bossy.” We can be assertive without being intimidating.

One of my favorite memories was getting the Rowan Wellness Fee passed and working with the Rowan administrators. Mental health is so important. As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety throughout their life, I could finally take advantage of those resources last year. I’m really grateful for everyone who has put in the work to make the Rowan Wellness Fee possible so that students like myself can receive the help they need.

I’m in such a great place in my life by going to therapy and other initiatives offered by the Wellness Center. I know that there is a taboo in talking about it, but I am very open because it has changed my life. I remember working with Scott Woodside, Director for the Wellness Center, who was very open and available to hearing student concerns. Seeing how the student body came together showed how strong the Rowan community is.

Arielle poses on the stairs in front of a brick building with windows.

Who inspires you and why?

My faith is really important to me as a Christian woman. I put that above anything else I do. I let it guide my steps. I find so much peace within it.

What’s the most significant barrier to women today?

Besides the institutional and systemic barriers, your mindset [can be a significant barrier.] We’re going to face a lot of barriers. It’s so easy to step down, to think small, to make ourselves “smaller,” or to make other people comfortable (especially men). I want us to think beyond that. Don’t make yourself smaller. Don’t worry about how you’re being perceived. Don’t worry about being “intimidating” or “bossy.” Don’t let your mindset keep you from achieving something great. It’s so easy to think negatively.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders?

You are nothing without your team. I know it sounds controversial, but it’s true. People, unfortunately, only see how it benefits themselves and say “I’m doing everything.” But it really is a team effort and you need to see beyond yourself. You have to see how other people bring so many great skillsets and ideas to the table. You should encourage your team. Be mindful of your team. It’s not just about you.

Arielle sits on a gazebo.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Honestly, I do not know right now. Even though I’m not 100% certain about where I’ll be in the future, I can put my trust in God’s will and I find so much comfort in that. Even though there’s so much uncertainty about tomorrow, I find so much peace in God’s will and plan for my life.

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Story by:
Marian Suganob, senior public relations and advertising double major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Leadership #PROFspective: Gabrielle Magbalon, President of Rowan Philippine American Coalition

Gabrielle sitting outside.

Today we feature Gabrielle Magbalon, a leader at Rowan University. Gabrielle is a junior Radio/TV/Film major from Lindenwold, NJ (Camden County). She tells us about her time at Rowan and experience being a leader. This story is part of a series spotlighting campus leaders during Women’s History Month.  What is your role in your organization? […]

Leadership #PROFspective: Kalie VanDewater, Editor-in-Chief of the Whit

Kalie sits and smiles outside on campus.

Today we feature Kalie VanDewater, a leader at Rowan University. Kalie is Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of Rowan’s newspaper, The Whit. She is a senior Journalism and Modern Languages and Linguistics double major with a minor in International Studies from Mount Holly, NJ (Burlington County). Kalie is also involved in the Rowan Environmental Action League and ASL Club

This story is part of a series spotlighting campus leaders during Women’s History Month. 

Kalie stands on a walkway on campus.

What is your role in your organization?

As EIC of the Whit, I have a managerial role. I do a lot of coordination with the printer we work with, advertisers, and I usually write the editorial every week, and make sure all the other editors and writers know what they’re doing and answer any questions they might have. 

Kalie also adds that when she first started working for the Whit her sophomore year, the staff was mostly male. In her three years there, she’s seen a trend in more diversity with race, gender and majors. 

Can you briefly describe what your organization does?

We’re basically the independent student newspaper on campus, so that means we are the source of news on campus. We cover events that are happening and general university happenings. We get to dictate what content we put out. We’re student-run, so we don’t have faculty influence aside from our advisor who is there to make sure things are running smoothly. 

Kalie sits and smiles outside on campus.

What have you learned in your role as a leader?

I’ve learned to trust the people that I’m leading with their capabilities. I tend to be very particular about what I want to do. I started last year as our features editor, I would have an image in my head about what I thought an article should turn out like, but I’m not writing the article, someone else is. I had to get used to trusting my staff. It’s been a lot of learning when to step in and when to take a step back and let everyone do their own thing. You can be a leader without having control all the time. 

What’s the most significant barrier to women today?

It’s that we don’t say what we feel. I feel like it’s kind of been internalized to just accept what is happening. It’s that feeling of if I don’t do what everyone else wants, I won’t be accepted. I think because of that, ideas and feelings that are completely valid may not be brought to light. 

Kalie sits at a bistro table on campus.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders?

Be confident in yourself and confident in your abilities. Specifically for leading, be confident in the people that you are leading. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your team. It’s important to know.

Check out Kalie’s work at The Whit here.  

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, senior public relations major and 
Marian Suganob, senior public relations and advertising double major

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major



Leadership #PROFspective: Vanessa Livingstone, President of PRSSA

Vanessa kneeling outside near Bunce.

Today we feature Vanessa Livingstone, a leader at Rowan University. Vanessa is the president of the Anthony J. Fulginiti Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). She is a senior, first-generation college student from Palmyra, NJ (Burlington County) who double majors in Public Relations and Advertising. This story is part of a […]

Leadership #PROFspective: Camryn Hadley, Choosing Her Own Legacy

Camryn kneeling outside near a house and bush.

Today we feature Camryn Hadley, a leader at Rowan University. Camryn is involved with many activities on campus like SUP (Student University Programmers), Student Government Association, PRaction, Residence Life and more. Camryn is a senior from Somerset, NJ (Somerset County) who double majors in Public Relations and Advertising with minors in Journalism and New Media […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Radio/TV/Film Major Paul Romeo

A Rowan student uses a DSLR camera to capture a moment.

Today, we speak to transfer student Paul Romeo! Paul is a Radio/TV/Film major from Cedar Grove, NJ (Essex County) who transferred from Southern New Hampshire University. He shares with us why he chose Rowan and gives advice to out-of-state students.

Paul smiling and posing in front of a stream.

What are your professional goals? And how is Rowan helping to support you in those goals?

My professional goals are to work toward being a filmographer or cinematographer for a major TV or movie production company. Rowan has provided me with resources to work towards this — of course the pandemic has made this difficult and caused many issues in pursuing this.

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

My field impacts the world in many ways, both steering and being steered by culture of the world around us. We are able to provide entertainment and also highlight issues in the world in a way that can not be silenced. We are able to bring light to the darkness and bring forth the newest important things.

What inspired you to choose your major?

Honestly it was just a lot of realizing myself and understanding that I do not enjoy majors that are not creative. The major I had before was a programming major, and I did not succeed in it at all.

As a student from North Jersey, how did you become aware of Rowan University?

I looked at it originally before I decided on my previous university. My friend attended and told me how much he enjoyed it so I decided to give it a try. When I did, I finally fell in love with a campus, for the first time I’ve ever felt at home somewhere.

Paul taking a selfie in the mirror while wearing a Rowan shirt.

How long is your trip/drive “home” to North Jersey?

My drive is about two hours up to home.

What are some of the benefits for you, living this distance from home?

My parents aren’t able to show up when they randomly want to, haha. It’s nice to be able to feel like I have to be there for myself. If I don’t cook, I don’t eat, if I don’t shower, no one is going to tell me to, so it forces me to be more independent.

What are a few interesting or new things (to you) about Rowan’s South Jersey area that you would share with future out-of-state students?

Delsea Drive-In is something that’s really cool! Also just the open space and flatness of South Jersey is so nice compared to North Jersey, biking is great in the area.

What off-campus, local fun places do you recommend students check out?

The food around campus is great, there are so many unique and interesting places to eat at.

Why did you choose to transfer to Rowan University?

It felt right. That’s it, there was a feeling I had that both terrified me and made me feel like it would challenge me to be a new person, and I’d say it’s done a good job at that.

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

We are #RowanPROUD to be included on Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s 2021 Transfer Honor Roll, which recognizes select nationwide colleges and universities that foster dynamic pathways for transfer students.

Faculty PROFile: Adjunct Professor and Esports Manager Gidd Sasser

Stock photo of an Esports competition.

Meet Gidd Sasser, an adjunct professor in the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts with a concentration in Esports. When he’s not teaching, he is the general manager of Simplicity Esports, an organization whose mission is “to increase gamer and fan involvement at a grassroots level.” Learn more about Prof. Sasser, his teaching and his thoughts on the Esports industry.  

A selfie of Gidd wearing a black shirt and grey cardigan.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Laid back. I prefer to teach through conversation and short lectures. Being online only unfortunately takes some of the interaction out of the experience.

Can you share a decision that made a tremendous impact on your career path?

Years ago I took a leap of faith by leaving my IT job to pursue a career full-time in Esports. I am now working in academia and with Simplicity Esports, the first NA publicly-traded gaming company.
 

For those who don’t know, what is Esports and how did you get involved?

It’s a p
rofessional competition held using video games — most commonly seen in the form of organized, competitive, multiplayer, team-based video game events played by professional players (salaried, sponsored, contracted) to crown a single victor. 

A promotional banner of an Esports competition with Gidd.

My first run through college, I studied simulations and development (made video games). After working a bit, I returned to a university. I became involved with the Esports program there, going on to several playoff & undefeated seasons. Followed that with some time coaching for the Detroit Renegades and then moved on to Simplicity/Flamengo and academia.
The rest is history.

What is the most challenging aspect of the Esports field?

I think some would say it’s proving to people that Esports is more than just playing video games. For me, making time for yourself is the challenging part. Chances are, you will work with people across the globe, different time zones, and with very small time windows to get things done. Make that time to unwind, it’s essential.
 

How do you ensure your continued growth as a leader in your field?

The industry changes every single day. I’m a believer of keeping an open mind, learning from the past (coaches, players, traditional sports) and adapting it to push the industry in a positive direction.
Non-stop learning, reading, and then putting newfound information/knowledge into practice. 

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

This is a billion-dollar industry. It’s going nowhere but up.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography provided by:
Gidd Sasser

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

Leadership #PROFspective: Alayna Harrison, VP Of WOCA And Women’s Field Hockey Club

Alayna holding a megaphone.

Today we feature Alayna Harrison, a leader at Rowan University. Alayna is the Vice President of Women of Color Alliance and the Women’s Field Hockey Club. She’s a senior, first-generation college student from Lindenwold, NJ (Camden County). Alayna majors in Writing Arts with a specialization in creative writing and a minor in Elementary Education. She […]

How the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication Will Benefit Rowan Students

Two Rowan students stand in front of 301 High St.

Today we speak to Dr. Julie Haynes, director of the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University. Dr. Haynes is also a professor of Communication Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Dr. Haynes, along with two students who intern at the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts, tell us how the Center will benefit Rowan students.

A portrait of Dr. Julie Haynes, the director of the Center for the Advancement of Women.
Dr. Julie Haynes, director of the Center for the Advancement of Women.

Can you tell me a bit about how the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University came to be?

“The Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University is an affiliate of The Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Florida International University. The Kopenhaver Center was founded in 2012 by Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, who currently serves as its executive director.

“Dr. Kopenhaver graduated from Glassboro State College in 1962 and continues to be active at Rowan. She has been instrumental in several recent initiatives on campus, including The Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for Alumni Engagement in Shpeen Hall as well as the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Career Resource Library in Savitz Hall.

“Dean Sanford Tweedie, the Dean of the Ric Edelman College of Communication of Creative Arts, discussed the possibility of creating an affiliate center for women in communication at Rowan with Dr. Kopenhaver. He approached me about directing it, and I was thrilled. We launched the Center in October. Although our initial plans were to launch in spring 2020, COVID, like in so many areas, presented challenges, so we pivoted to more virtual opportunities in the fall.” 

Can you tell me about the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication?

According to Dr. Julie Haynes, “The mission of the Center is to promote advancements for women, and gender equity overall, in communication industries and academia. We highlight career and internship opportunities for students and provide networking events while serving as a thought leadership center on gender equity in communication for southern New Jersey. We work collaboratively with the Kopenhaver Center to advance these initiatives across our campuses and across the country.”

A Zoom screenshot of "A Level Playing Field: Female Leaders in Sports Communication", a virtual workshop the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication held.
A screenshot on Zoom of “A Level Playing Field: Female Leaders in Sports Communication,” a virtual workshop hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication.

How do you feel that the Center has helped students at Rowan?

“We just launched in October, but I feel that we are already starting to help students at Rowan. We provide students with opportunities to get involved in internships within the Center. I have students working on my social media and website that are students. We also give students opportunities to network with professionals and potentially find internships through our virtual workshops. Our inaugural event was “100 Years of Speaking through the Ballot: Women and Political Communication.” Students were able to hear about women in politics and political communication from E. Michele Ramsey, a professor at Penn State, Berks, and Heather Simmons, a Gloucester County Freeholder and director of University Business Relations at Rowan. We also held a program on Women in Sports Communication as well, with speakers Gail Dent from the NCAA and Marisabel Muñoz from Major League Soccer & Soccer United Marketing.

“In April we’re holding an event on working in museums and public spaces with a communication degree. One of the speakers for that event, Julissa Marenco, is the Chief Marketing Officer at the Smithsonian Institution and a 1997 RadioTV/Film graduate of Rowan. She has also sent me information on how to get a paid internship at the Smithsonian for students. Our goal is to expose students to different speakers from a variety of communication backgrounds and provide them with networking opportunities. In the future, we also plan to have a student club.

“In addition to our events, students have also been able to take advantage of programs offered through the Kopenhaver Center at Florida International University (FIU). We have been excited to collaborate with them on these workshops. For example, the Kopenhaver Center held a virtual workshop on starting your own communication business in January, which featured a southern New Jersey public relations firm owner, Laura Bishop. Bishop currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts and is a member of the Leadership Council for Rowan’s Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication. It has been rewarding and so interesting to work together on creating events, and the feedback from attendees and students has been extremely positive. Once the pandemic is over, I will be able to take selected students to FIU for the Kopenhaver Center’s annual conference as well.”

Jessica poses outside of the 260 Victoria building.
Jessica Newell, an intern for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts

How do students feel about the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication and its benefits and future benefits to students?

According to Jessica Newell, an intern for the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts that works with the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication, “The Center serves as a networking hub for students, scholars, and industry professionals in the various communication-related fields. Our events showcase female leaders and seek to demonstrate how a solid background of communication skills will help you thrive in any path you take. For students, like myself, seeing these female role models inspires me to pursue leadership roles in my own future. I think students also benefit from seeing the breadth of career possibilities in the field of communication, some of which may not be immediately obvious.” Jessica is a junior Communication Studies major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Jessica also minors in Spanish and Women’s and Gender Studies, and holds an Honors Concentration.

“It is so inspiring to see the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University putting gender equity at the forefront of its agenda,” says Sarah McCabe, a junior Public Relations and Advertising double major from Mantua, NJ (Gloucester County) with an Honors Concentration who also interns for the college. 

“As a female Public Relations student at Rowan, I am always looking for ways to create connections with powerful leaders in the field, especially leading women in communication. The new Center offers students just that, with virtual workshops and events featuring different professional communicators each month. I am so glad to see the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts recognizing and empowering women’s voices.” 

Sarah McCabe, one of the interns for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts.
Sarah McCabe, an intern for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts

How has COVID affected your plans for the Center?

“Launching in the midst of COVID has been challenging, but there have been some excellent opportunities created by it and the overall shift in virtual communication. We have been able to have virtual workshops with people from all over the country who might otherwise not be able to visit campus in person. While we certainly can’t wait until we can be together in person, we are excited to be able to provide such excellent opportunities for our students and the entire Rowan community. “

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Story and photo of Jessica by:
Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major

All other photos provided by:
Sarah McCabe, junior public relations and advertising double major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Graphic Designer Jessica Potash

Abstract circles stock photo.

Today we speak to Jessica Potash, a senior transfer student from Kean University majoring in Studio Art with a concentration in Graphic Design and a minor in Art History from Cranford, NJ (Union County).

Studio Art major Jessica poses outside.

What are your professional goals? And how is Rowan helping to support you in those goals?

My goal is to become a graphic designer in New York, and one day I want to become an art director. The faculty in the Rowan Art Department have always been supportive of my goals and they are always ready to help. They have pushed me to develop my creative voice, gain confidence in my work, and experience leadership positions.

The professors at Westby have infinite amounts of industry experience and they give us so many resources in order to succeed. Because of them and the program they created, I feel confident that I will excel after graduation.

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

Design is everywhere. It is the logo on your hoodie, the poster of your favorite movie, it is the website you’re reading this on, and so much more! Graphic design doesn’t just make things pretty, it tells a story and gives visual meaning to abstract ideas. I think the greatest impact I could have in my field would be to have my work directly inspire another person to create.

What inspired you to choose your major?

In high school, I took an intro to graphic design class and I thought it was amazing. I’ve always gravitated towards the arts, but before that, I never knew I could make a career out of it. After I explored some of the endless possibilities a person could do in graphic design, I knew that that was what I wanted to do.

As a student from North Jersey, how did you become aware of Rowan University?

When I was a junior in high school and still college hunting, I visited the Rowan with a family friend who is an alumnus. I ended up going to a different school my first year of college, but I never forgot the vibe of Rowan’s campus. I found myself always comparing that school to the feeling that Rowan had given me on that tour, and I realized it was time to transfer. It was the best decision I could have ever made.

How long is your trip/drive “home” to North Jersey?

My hometown is an hour and a half drive from campus.

Studio Art major Jessica poses indoors.

What are some of the benefits for you, living this distance from home?

The distance from home gives me so much freedom. This will seem cliché, but the distance gave me the freedom to learn more about myself. I was forced out of my comfort zone and I was given the opportunity to try new things like sign up for clubs and leadership roles that I might not have tried if I were in my same hometown environment.

What are a few interesting or new things about Rowan’s South Jersey area that you would share with future students that are not from the area?

I’ve lived in New Jersey, more specifically North Jersey, for my entire life. When I moved to South Jersey for school, I didn’t realize how windy it could get! The first winter I spent at Rowan was the first time I experienced a wind that actually took my breath away. Also, I didn’t realize how many amazing start-up bands are around the Rowan area. There are a lot of opportunities to go to house shows, listen to new music, and meet new people.

What off-campus, local fun places do you recommend students check out?

There is an axe throwing place called Primitive Axe on Delsea Drive and that is so fun! It’s super close to campus so you don’t need to worry if you don’t have a car. Axe throwing is a great Friday night activity to do with a few friends. It’s also great because Samurai sushi is in the same lot so you can get dinner too!

Why did you choose to transfer to Rowan University?

Rowan is one of two universities in the state that offers an accredited BFA program for graphic design. When I met with the department chair of the graphic design program, Jan Conradi, and she talked to me about the program, I was sold. From my first portfolio review, I immediately felt like I had a place here and that the staff cared about my success — I still find this to be true.

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

Photos submitted by:
Jessica Potash, senior studio art major

Header photo by:
Pixabay

We are #RowanPROUD to be included on Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s 2021 Transfer Honor Roll, which recognizes select nationwide colleges and universities that foster dynamic pathways for transfer students.

Black #PROFspective: Junior Sports Communication and Media Major Zai Smith

Outdoor photo of track at football field.

Today we speak to Zai Smith, a junior Sports Communication and Media major with a concentration in Sports Journalism from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County). Zai is a transfer student from Virginia State University and lives on campus.

Thank you to Tatianna Addison, senior communications studies major from Browns Mills, NJ (Burlington County), for this series idea to honor Black students during Black History Month. 

What is your student experience here at Rowan, as a Black student at a Primarily White Institution?

My experience at Rowan as a Black student isn’t bad at all. I didn’t expect certain things that I’ve experienced. I feel supported by my peers and my professors, alongside my advisor.

How did you find your friend group here at Rowan?

My friend group came from the track team.

Zai Smith smiles, wears sunglasses while in front of a door.

How would you describe inclusion? 

In my opinion, it’s kind of seen as “human rights.”

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

Just go hard, reach for the stars, because nobody will get in your way and in your head more than you will.

What are your professional goals?

I want to become a famous writer because I love to write, and I have quite a story to tell. I also want to own my own business.

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

Header photo by:
Anthony Paisley, senior history major

Cinema Workshop Club: Rowan University [VIDEO]

Cinema Workshop president and vice-president with masks inside.

Today we feature Cinema Workshop, a student-run film production club. The club is not just for Radio/Television/Film (RTF) majors but for anyone. We speak to the club’s president Patrick McGowan and vice president Stephen Myers. They speak to us about the club and their experience. “You don’t have to be a film major, even if […]

Lifting Black Creative Voices

Desi smiles outside on campus.

Today we are highlighting Black students who major in creative fields at Rowan University. Each share insight on being a Black student in a major/field where there is not strong representation and tell us where they are headed in their professional careers.

Jabreeah smiling and wearing a grey Rowan sweatshirt with a burnt orange jacket.

“I really didn’t have an insight being a Black student coming from a predominantly white high school; however, when I got to college I was able to express myself about my views. In terms of my professional goals, I want to work behind the scenes in movies.” – Jabreeah Holmes, senior Radio/TV/Film major, Camden, NJ

Check out some of Jabreeah’s work on her YouTube channel.

An artistic photo of Giovanna with a halo over her head.

“Since Black women artists are not predominant in the art field nor get the representation that they deserve, it motivates me to stand out and make work that’s unique or different. Also, to make work that responds to Black issues and beauty. For my professional goals, I’m still debating about that. Right now, I’m considering a career in the museum field like a museum archivist, a curator or a crime scene technician in the forensic/ law and justice field.” – Giovanna Eley, senior Art major with a minor in Law and Justice and CUGS: Forensic Studies, transfer student from Rutgers Camden,  Plainfield, NJ (Union County)

Check out Giovanna’s portfolio here: https://giovannaeley.com

Sabrea posing for a photo on the beach.

“It feels really good to be who I am and be a part of this field that I think is also teaching me more and more of who I am. I was mainly the only Black person in my writing courses, there were maybe one to two more if that. My professional goals are to just write, to be happy in doing so, I hope to maybe get a book published of a selection of pieces I have written! Maybe even submitting a script to a production company!” – Sabrea Bishop of Newark, NJ (Essex County), junior, first-generation college student, Writing Arts (Creative Writing) major, transfer from Albright College, PA 

Check out Sabrea’s work here

Daija posing outside the student center while wearing a furry black coat.

“It gets a bit lonely, especially walking into a class and being able to count the Black students in the room on one hand. But with that it mind, it keeps me determined to make sure other Black creatives feel comfortable enough to be in the room in the first place. I feel as though creative fields aren’t taken as seriously, but people are always enjoying new books and shows and pieces of art. So, I feel as though by being confident in myself in my creative life, I can be an inspiration for others to actually go for their creative craft, instead of pushing it away because of fear. My professional goals are to write movies, books, and possibly television shows for people to enjoy. I also want to create different forms of art like paintings and sculptures and have my work displayed in galleries all over.” – Daija McNeil, junior, first generation college student, Studio Art major with a minor in Creative Writing, Willingboro, NJ (Burlington County)

See Daija’s artwork here.

Read Daija’s written piece, “A Love Letter To Black Women,” here.

Desi sitting outside the student center holding her book.

“It’s definitely difficult, when I come to class I am either the only Black student or it may be me or maybe two others, never more than five. In any field you want to see a model to follow and it’s hard when you have to be your own model. In terms of professional goals, I have so many; however, the one related to this field would be to start my own production company.”  – Desi Jones, junior Radio/TV/Film major, transfer from Camden County College, Camden County, NJ

Check out and purchase Desi’s book “Daily Dose of Desi, A Year of Light, Love, and Inspiration” here

Bryce outside the Campbell library wearing a yellow and black jacket.

“The writing industry is no stranger at all to minorities, but Blacks are rarely highlighted in that field. I think a part of that is due to both the immutable nature of the industry and Blacks being unaware of how much they can benefit from having a career in creative fields. I feel that Black students are the perfect participants for writing arts by the simple fact that we don’t go through the same experiences as everyone (even ourselves) and have a different view on life than most others. While I’m currently a freelance writer for an online publication (Screen Rant), I plan to expand my writing to an even greater professional level with my ultimate goal of working on a TV series or film.” – Bryce Morris, junior Writing Arts major, Trenton, NJ (Mercer County)

Read one of Bryce’s published pieces here

A selfie of Mya.

“I feel like there’s a different type of pressure. I personally feel like I have to be better and focus more in order to do what. One reason I wasn’t interested in doing broadcasting was my hair. I didn’t want to have to wear it straight or certain way to look “professional.” I find it difficult on how to be myself yet also “professional” because the second you might sound rude you have an “attitude” or maybe you talk “too loud” and now you’re considered the loud Black girl with an attitude. For my professional goals, I hope to become a magazine writer, focusing on music!” – Mya Calderon, junior, first-generation college student, Journalism major with a minor in Psychology from Hanley Falls, Minnesota

A selfie of Khadijah.

“For my professional goals, I want to be a freelance concept artist for a video game one day. But I also want to make and direct on my projects and hopefully be financially stable. Some advice for Black high school students going into creative majors: Make sure you build your portfolio and be aware that traditional pieces are a must have when trying to get into the art program. Make sure you bring at least two traditional art pieces for your review! This was a hard pill for me to swallow when I first did an art portfolio review, and I only drew cute anime-inspired chibis. But trust me, your hard work will pay off! Cartoony/semi-realism stuff is okay to add too! If you do digital, I recommend coming in with a time-lapse of your workflow process on a tablet/laptop to show! Also, don’t listen to cynical individuals saying you drawing anime and character art, won’t get you a job. Sure, the market is competitive but there are plenty of art jobs out there looking for different art styles of all sorts! Anime included! Make sure you do your research!” – Khadijah Owens of Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County), junior Art major working toward a dual major in Art Education, transfer from Rowan College at Gloucester County.

Check out some of Khadijah’s work here.  

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior Music Industry major

Photography not submitted by: Jabreeah Holmes, senior Radio/TV/Film major and Joe Gentempo, senior Art major

The Path to Finding My Major: Junior Kayla Tucker

Today’s story is by Kayla Tucker, a junior Public Relations major from Bordentown, NJ (Burlington County). She lives on campus at 220 Rowan Boulevard. Kayla writes about her experience picking a major at Rowan. 

When it was time for me to come to Rowan, I thought I had everything figured out as far as my major was concerned, but boy was I wrong. In my first semester, I started out as a marketing major. It did not take very long for me to figure out that a major pretty heavily based on mathematics was not going to be a good fit for someone like me. So, I began my journey to find my happily ever after. 

Kayla poses at an event.

Something that I feel like most high school students could use help with is finding a major during their search for colleges. At the high school I attended, we had very little assistance when it came to finding a major and or a career path. Most of the heavy lifting fell on the students. This being the case, I started to look for jobs and careers that typically make a lot of money, and at the very least, I knew I wanted to be in the business field. I thought I had found a career that played to my strengths when I had discovered marketing but did not do enough research on the courses required for the degree. 

Kayla poses outside of the student center.

I have always been interested in the creative side of things and struggled with anything numeric. When I got to campus as a marketing major and looked at the classes provided by my advisor, I was hopeful that my semester would go well. I knew taking classes such a micro-economics and other required math courses, I was going to be in for a wild ride. By the end of the semester, I knew that marketing just wasn’t the major for me and switched to exploratory studies. Making that switch was by far one of the best decisions I made my freshman year.

By making that change, I was able to take the proper time to work on completing my Rowan Core classes, all while taking additional classes that piqued my interest, which lead to me finding public relations. Rowan has so many different majors out there to explore for students to find what fits them best. For me, it was public relations. After declaring PR as my new major, I began to see myself flourish academically and even socially. 

Kayla poses in a dress.

The best advice that I have to offer incoming students or even students who have declared a major that they feel unsure about is to major in exploratory studies. Coming to college is scary enough and then having the additional pressure to pick a major that will one day lead to your career is heavy stuff. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to find your perfect fit for a major because taking your time might be what leads you to your happily ever after.

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Story and photos provided by:
Kayla Tucker, junior public relations major

Earning a Master’s in Strategic Communication Through a 4+1 Program

Today, we’ll hear from Maridel Tineo and David Rodriguez, who will earn their undergraduate and master’s degrees in five years and ultimately save money through Rowan’s 4+1 program in Strategic Communication. 

Maridel Tineo is a senior from Camden, NJ (Camden County) who will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations and Advertising this spring. Maridel is a first-generation college student and part of Rowan’s EOF program. She found out about the 4+1 program last year in her Public Opinion class. Her professor, Dr. Bokyung Kim, serves as the advisor to the program and encouraged Maridel to apply.

“After she introduced the program to the class, I applied for it because I always wanted to get my master’s degree. It was always just a thought, but when I got the opportunity and information, I had to do something about it,” she explains.

She was accepted into the program in her second semester of junior year. 

Portrait of Maridel Tineo.
Maridel Tineo

Maridel ultimately decided to choose the program because the classes are closely related to what she was already majoring in (Public Relations and Advertising), she liked the coursework and she will save money by shaving a year off of her studies. 

This program does have its unique challenges, though. Maridel shared that the coursework is accelerated and very fast-paced. “The professors definitely hold you to a higher standard. There are great expectations in this 4+1 track because it’s so calculated to make sure you’re able to finish in the five years,” she says.

A class that stuck out to her was a graduate-level Strategic Communication course with Professor Alison Novak. “[Dr. Novak] made the course engaging even though it was online,” Maridel says. “A lot of things that we covered were so interesting to me. My favorite topic was starting my own [fictional] business from the ground up and learning what goes into doing it. Even though it was challenging, it made me realize how interested I was in what we were learning about.” 

Maridel’s end goal is to start a nonprofit organization to give back to her community in the future and take what she has learned in her coursework to make it happen.

David Rodriguez, a senior and first-generation college student from Clayton, NJ (Gloucester County), will graduate with his bachelor’s degree in Public Relations this spring. David also heard about the path to a fast-tracked master’s degree through a class with Dr. Kim. He ended up choosing the program because it was a cost-effective option to achieve a long-term goal he’s always had. “I never thought I would get my master’s degree from Rowan, but I like the professors here a lot and I’m saving money,” he says.

David was accepted into the program in summer 2020 and began his experience the following fall semester.  

David Rodriguez stands in front of a garage door.
David Rodriguez

This program does come with its challenges, though. “The professors in graduate classes expect more. I’ve had the same professors in undergrad classes and graduate classes, and you can tell the difference,” he says.

When asked about an influential professor, David shared his experience about his Graduate Strategic Writing 1 class with Professor John Moscatelli. “He’s a tough grader but made me a better writer. I find myself using the rules and tricks he required in my other classes,” he says.

David’s end goal is to end up in the public relations sports or fashion worlds because it ties what he’s interested in with what he’s learned from his time at Rowan. 

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Jennifer McGraw, Finding a Fit in Public Relations

Jennifer sits at a table at a bookstore.

Today we speak to junior Public Relations major Jennifer McGraw, who has a minor in Sports Communication and Media and an Honors Concentration. From Deepwater, NJ (Salem County), Jennifer is a transfer student from Salem Community College. She is a commuter student and a first-generation college student, and is involved with the Honors Murder Mysteries, the student newspaper The Whit, and she is the Honor’s College’s senator.

Jennifer poses with the Eagles mascot.

What inspired you to choose your major?

When I was transferring I originally wasn’t thinking about public relations at all or any kind of writing major, I was thinking of music production or the music business major. But that fell through because there was a portfolio that I had to submit for the application, and my portfolio wasn’t as strong as I thought the program would prefer. I wanted to major in something that I could fall back on that was still relatively similar to what I wanted to get into. But I found that as I started to try the public relations classes and the public relations major, I learned that I really liked it. I found something that I want to get into and was more passionate about than I did with the music business major. 

Has there been a faculty or staff member that’s helped you to connect what the next step is for your career?

The first person that comes to mind is Dr. Kristen diNovi. She is the Assistant Dean of the Honors College and she’s helped me branch out and gain as much experience as I can on campus that could be transferable into my career path. She has been a huge help.

Jennifer poses indoors.

What was your transition to Rowan like?

My transition happened in the middle of the pandemic. It was a little rough, but not on Rowan’s part. Rowan did everything they could to help make the transition smooth, especially under the current circumstances. Luckily, I have taken school trips to see the campus before so I didn’t not necessarily not know the campus. In the last few months of the process, I didn’t really have a whole lot of help with the transition into Rowan. So it was a lot of me finding out things and having to communicate with the different departments at Rowan. And it’s kind of challenging, but once the flow of things started, and everything gets started. Basically,  I found it was a lot easier. 

Why did you choose Rowan?

I wanted to pick a college that was close, and given the pandemic, I wanted to go to a school where something where I could commute and still feel safe. Also, for financial reasons, I wanted to choose someplace cheaper. It’s a perfect distance from Philadelphia and New York and all the major cities. So if I ever wanted to get an internship, the location is perfect.

Jennifer poses at a book signing at a book store.

How would you tell a fellow student interested in your major that they’re choosing a worthwhile field?

Public Relations is broad in a good way. It gives you an overview of the different career paths you can go into. There are so many different fields you can go into. Public Relations is a major where you can pick a minor or concentration and make it fit into what field you want to go into specifically. Also, if you like writing, the major is a perfect fit. 

Are there any times that you doubted that you were in the right major for you?

I would say that in the very beginning, I doubted my major. After all, I first picked it because I just wanted to get a degree and then move on, which is kind of terrible to think. I didn’t really have any interest in a minor or concentration, but after I got into writing, and got into the different things that Rowan has to offer, I realized that public relations is a good major for me. Like I said at the very beginning, I was kind of doubtful because I didn’t know if I would really like this, but I wound up liking it. 

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

Photos provided by:
Jennifer McGraw, junior public relations major

Beyond the Classroom: PR/Advertising Double Major Steven Saxon on How Volunteerism Ties into His Major

Steven poses outside by the Rec Center at Rowan.

Today we speak to senior Public Relations and Advertising double major and avid volunteer Steven Saxon. Steven is living off-campus in Glassboro, but he is from Haworth, NJ (Bergen County). 

Steven poses in front of the Rowan Prof Owl statue.

What got you interested in your intended field?

As a kid, both my parents were involved in business, particularly public relations. My dad was a PR representative, and my mom was an account manager. I saw that both of my parents dealt with people for their job, a lot. There was a lot of person-to-person interaction, not a lot of sitting behind a desk, and, more specifically, when you have interactions like that in the working world, it opens up a lot more opportunities than behind a desk.

I believe that the most praise you can get for doing desk work is doing an outstanding job. When you’re talking to someone, there’s so many different ways and things that can open up in a conversation that just help you, benefit you, or interest you, that don’t even relate to business. I want to do exactly what my dad does.

How did you get into volunteering?

Every single person, if you are given free time, you have to stay productive. It’s just kind of innate as humans. You can’t wake up every day and sit in your living room and look for a new TV show or just scroll through social media. It’ll bring you into a hole, and then by the time it’s time to be productive again whether you got your job or school, it becomes three times as hard now that you’re so used to doing nothing.

During school … I’m the Vice President of Public Relations for Sigma Alpha Lambda, which is the Leadership Honor Society. I’m in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). I’m very involved at school when it is in session. So when it’s not in session, I know sometimes people look for a job, but I’m not looking at the money at the moment; I’m looking to build my resume my connections, things like that. I could get a job and I have in the past for like three months over a break. But I think there are a lot more substantial things I could do than make some money over there because I mean money’s not really a huge issue for me right now, as long as I focus on my academics. 

Steven poses outside at Rowan.

How does your volunteer work tie in with your majors?

Volunteer work ties in with my majors for multiple reasons. First, by getting to meet these people and beginning the volunteer process, I get to know them and establish a relationship with them. After that, I can talk to them in the future and maybe get a recommendation, a new volunteering opportunity or job offers from them. Also, my major has helped me because I know that communication and public relations is key. For my current volunteer position at The Kitchen of Hope, I was applying and I was told that people call to see if they can volunteer there all the time, and I think that my knowledge of communication helped me get the position, and she didn’t even know too much about me. I’m sure she got an a three-minute phone call with everyone else, I got a five-minute phone call with her, and I finally landed the volunteer opportunity. 

How did you find these volunteer opportunities?

For my volunteer position when I worked with Veterans of Foreign Wars, I looked up “social service,” and that is what led me to them. I also volunteered with Claws, a cat adoption and rescue center, and I got that opportunity by calling them. I was told to email them, so I communicated with them through email. I made sure to present myself as someone who loves animals. I secured my current position at Kitchen of Hope by talking with the people that work there for a few weeks. 

Steven poses on a bench.

What has been the most meaningful experience that you’ve had while volunteering?

While I was volunteering with Veterans of Foreign Wars, I was assigned different veterans to work with and help them with their duties. The veterans ran a restaurant and worked in an office. One of the guys I was assigned to was Sherman. Sherman was a quiet guy. I like to talk when things get awkward, and I talked to Sherman often. He loved it when I came in to volunteer, and I noticed that he became more comfortable with me. He went from mumbling orders at me to telling me stories about his time in the military.

What knowledge or skills have you developed through this opportunity that you will take with you for future endeavors?

I have learned to be more tolerant. I have also been exposed to different types of people and I met a lot of people I would not have met otherwise.

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Black #PROFspective: Senior Art Major Ugonna Ugorji

Ugonna poses on the sidewalk in front of Westby Hall.

Today we speak to Ugonna Ugorji, a senior Art major and commuter from Willingboro, NJ (Burlington County). Ugonna is a transfer student from Mercer County Community College.

Thank you to Tatianna Addison, senior communications studies major from Browns Mills, NJ (Burlington County), for this series idea to honor Black students during Black History Month. 

Ugonna poses in front of a brick wall.

What is your student experience here at Rowan like, as a Black student at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution)?

My experience at this school has been pretty exciting. You may say that Rowan is a “PWI,” but in my opinion, it has just the right amount of diversity in an institution. Being a Black art major and having a series of professors left and right, they have all pushed me to be the best that I can and to hone my “still developing” artistic talents.

How did you find your friend group here at Rowan?

Well, I’ve interacted with people who have the same or even similar interests I have.

Ugonna holds up two of his drawings.

Are you involved with Black Rowan?

I’m not that involved with Black Rowan unfortunately, but I would love to do more!

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

I would say being a part of the Expressive Drawing class that is run by Dr. Appelson. That man wants all his students to be the best at what they can do, and he will not hesitate to harshly critique your work. Instead of [letting] that make me feel insecure about my art, it made me realize that everyone has their own way of expressing themselves. Some may not like what you do or understand it, but that shouldn’t stop you from being you.

Ugonna holds up a piece of his art work.

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

If you’re an aspiring artist like myself and if you take Expressive Drawing with Dr. Appelson, don’t take it personally if he roasts certain assignments of yours. He knows you can do better, [you] just gotta push yourself.

What are your professional goals?

My professional goals are to become a full-fledged graphic designer/game designer. At my last institution, my major was Game Design, so I learned a few things here and there. I was disappointed when Rowan didn’t have a Game Design major so I initially went into Computer Science, thinking it was the same thing. I quickly changed my major to Art for the second semester. I feel I have a knack for character designs, in my own style, of course, so I can combine my graphic arts skills and create video game characters. That’ll be pretty cool.

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

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Senior Writing Arts Major Marissa Stanko

A stack of books and an open notepad with a pen.

Today we feature Marissa Stanko, a senior Writing Arts major with a dual concentration in Creative Writing and Publishing and Writing for the Public, from Quinton, NJ (Salem County). Marissa is a transfer student from Salem Community College, a commuter student, and a first-generation college student. 

Marissa poses outside.

What is your inspiration?

I’ve always been a creative person. I’ve always been somebody who makes up stories in my head, from the time that I was a kid playing with my toys, up to now. And I, I take a lot of inspiration from books that I enjoy reading as well as kind of intertwining it with my own experiences with people, a lot of what I do is often character-based. So I kind of draw that from different people that I’ve met and experienced.

How would you tell a fellow student interested in your major that they’re choosing a worthwhile field?

Rowan’s Writing Arts is a very unique degree program. It’s a very unique field. It’s the only degree labeled writing arts in the United States, I believe. And the way it’s set up is really great because each student can basically customize the major to what they want to do, they can add as many concentrations or as few as they want so that they can get a lot of experience in different areas of writing. And writing itself is a very basic skill that can also become a very complex skill, the more you develop it. So it has applications and a lot of different areas. So it’s a really great unique and very rounded major.

Marissa poses in front of a dark background.

Could you share with us one moment that made you feel inspired or confident that you’re in the right field for you?

Absolutely. I can definitely pinpoint one moment when I was in my first creative writing class, creative writing one, and I workshopped my very first short story. Everyone just gave me so much positive feedback so that workshop was when I realized “Hey, I can write and I can do it well and people will enjoy what I write.”

Can you tell us a bit about your transition from community college to Rowan? 

I completed my associate degree at my community college in 2019, and I applied to Rowan in February of 2019 when the fall applications opened. Transitioning to Rowan was really great. Rowan was great about the whole process. I was able to follow through with my application and see what I needed to submit. I got some scholarships coming in, which was really helpful for me in covering my tuition. And Rowan has 20,000 students overall. So I thought, “Oh my goodness, it’s going to be such a big place,” but in reality, the classes themselves are about the same size as they were at my community college, and I was able to form a community and feel more at home.

Marissa poses against a pink background.

Are there any professors that you feel especially helped you get where you are today?

I have a lot of professors that have helped me in the department. I love all of my professors. But definitely, the two professors that have been most influential for me are Professor Keri Mikulski, who was the professor of the creative writing class that made me realize how much I love writing, and Professor Amanda Haruch, who was my internship mentor. Professor Mikulski is a wonderful writer in her own right and she’s somebody who not only encourages you to realize that you can write if you keep working on it, she pushes you to go beyond what you already know. The way Professor Mikulski teaches is not so much a focus on grades as so much, how much you try and how much you can improve by the end of the semester. So what I learned from her is to tap into the ways that I write and to develop and to learn how I can better myself as a writer and to practice more and to try new things, even though they’re scary. 

Why Rowan?

Well, I chose Rowan for multiple reasons. One, it’s local and tuition is less expensive, and I hate traveling, so I wanted to go to a college that was close. I didn’t want to move halfway across the country. And I also ended up choosing Rowan specifically, out of my local colleges, because they had the Writing Arts program. I had a teacher at my community college who attended the Writing Arts program as well, and she recommended it to me.

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

Photos provided by:
Marissa Stanko, senior writing arts major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pixabay

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Advertising Major Chase Campbell

Advertisements in the city at night.

Today we feature senior Advertising major Chase Campbell. Chase also has minors in Communication Studies and Strategic Communication. He is from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County) and transferred from LaSalle University. The American Advertising Federation (AAF) recently inducted Chase as one of 2021’s Top 50 Most Promising Multicultural Students, one of the industry’s premier diversity, […]

Alumni Success: NJ to London, Beatrice Carey

Beatrice smiles with her head tilted slightly back.

Beatrice Carey, a class of 2013 Art major graduate, shares how Rowan University catapulted her international travel experience.  Beatrice’s journey at Rowan began from advice she received from an influential high school teacher of hers. Beatrice’s sister also attended Rowan, so she decided that it would be a good fit.  Beatrice came through the Educational […]

Beyond the Classroom: Ad Major Discusses Discord Recognition

Joseph poses next to some trees.

Today we speak to senior Advertising major and Marketing minor Joseph Laggy. Joseph is a first-generation college student from Marlton, NJ (Burlington County). He is a commuter student who graduated this semester.

Joseph poses by Business Hall.

Since 2018 I have been partnered with Discord, which is a platform dedicated to gaming communities. Through that, I have developed some of the largest online gaming communities dedicated to some of the world’s most popular video games. It is one of the most fun things I have ever done in my life. I have gotten recognition from Microsoft, and so many of the communities on there I have participated in. There’s just so much you can do through helping them grow their numbers. I have a website in development right now for people all over the world. The website is for Nintendo oriented discussion. Xbox’s social media manager will come in and hang out with us and a lot of the influential figures from Xbox’s marketing team come and hang out with us. I love all video games, every console, every game I’m just obsessed. It’s a lot of fun to be able to do stuff like that.  

I knew that I wanted to do something in marketing and advertising since I was about 14. I always had the ability to connect with people through social media, and I’ve always developed social media accounts throughout many platforms. I always developed them to have a lot of followers and to make an impact. However, I retired that a bit to focus solely on Discord and Reddit now. But that is only because those have been the most beneficial and fruitful. I would say every month or so there is a new game developer reaching out to me to promote their game and its so much fun to be able to do that not just with in house marketers, but with public relations agencies all across the world, just to have them reach out to me is so cool. My major has helped me with those things because it really shows you how to connect with people and target your audience, and how to make an impact. 

My advice for anyone who wants to get into the field would be that before one chooses a major like advertising and marketing, need to know where they want to work in the industry. You can pursue that, and there are a million routes you can take, but by specializing in a specific area, you will put yourself much further. Me in particular, while I was doing everything with Discord, I interned in healthcare. I didn’t particularly think I would work with newborn babies, I knew nothing about that. But I learned quickly, and I wanted to feel out everything, but people in this major definitely need to decide what they want to do in the future, and more importantly, think about what they themselves like. You enter the marketing field, and you’re doing marketing for something you aren’t interested in, it’s not gonna be a fun job because you won’t know how to sell it or interact with people if you don’t know much about it or care about it.

Joseph Laggy stands for a portrait while wearing a blue collared shirt and a black mask for covid. There are a few industries that I wouldn’t mind working in, but I already have had some game developers reach out to me, which is so cool to know that you play these games as a child, and 10 years later they recognize you on the internet. I never thought that would happen, but, that’s a testament that you can do anything. Don’t underestimate the power of social media. And a lot of these companies are online and looking at places like Reddit and Discord that help develop communities. They are looking at these places to say “this is what these people think”. Platforms are up and coming and all of these companies are looking to get involved. It’s easy for students to start getting involved with that, and next thing you know some of Microsoft’s most influential people are talking to you. It’s so cool what you can do. I have been doing this since 2017, and it has been very fruitful. 

Joseph poses by some trees.

Rowan has taught me through its marketing courses how to connect companies with their customers. Rowan has also shown me how fast things can change in just a short amount of time— and how I, businesses, and others can adapt to these changes. Over these past few years as I have developed communities with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, I have been able to understand people on a deeper, more personal level, which is important— and Rowan has taught me how to do just that.

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Aspiring Super Bowl Advertiser Kaela Moore

Kaela standing outside.

Today we feature Kaela Moore, a sophomore double majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and minoring in sociology from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County). She attended Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) for one year then Rowan College of Southern New Jersey (RCSJ) for one year through Rowan Choice before transferring to Rowan University. What do […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Communication Studies Major Sarah Marshall

Sarah sitting outside on a stone.

Today we feature junior Sarah Marshall who majors in Communication Studies. Sarah is from Atco, NJ (Camden County) and this past fall was her first semester at Rowan. She is involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the student-led firm PRaction. Why Rowan? My mother was a graduate of Rowan and […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Public Relations, Advertising Double Major Alana Walker

Alana standing outside.

Today we speak to senior Alana Walker who double majors in Public Relations and Advertising. Alana is from Browns Mills, NJ (Burlington County) and transferred from Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC.) She is involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the student-run firm PRaction, and Women of Color Collective (WOCA). Why […]

Beyond the Classroom: Events and Publications Intern Jessica Newell

Jessica outside.

Today we feature junior Communication Studies major and Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts events and publications intern Jessica Newell. Jessica also minors in Spanish and Women and Gender Studies, and holds an Honors Concentration. She is from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County) and lives on campus at 230 Victoria. Through my internship I am […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Writing Arts & Spanish Major Helaina Parejo

Helaina sitting on a bench outside.

Today we feature sophomore Helaina Parejo who double majors in Writing Arts and Spanish. Helaina is from Barrington, NJ (Camden County) and transferred from Ursinus College the spring semester of her freshman year. She has an internship with the Writing Arts department and is a part of the Writing Arts Club. Why did you choose […]

11 Art Majors Share Artists Who Inspire Them

Studio art major's artwork.

Some are famous; others, just under the radar. Today, 11 Art majors from Rowan’s Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts reveal artists whom they admire — perhaps they will inspire you!

Lotta Nieminen, submitted by Marysa Naiduk.
Lotta Nieminen

Marysa Naiduk is a senior, first-generation college student with a specialization in Graphic Design who transferred from Ocean County Community College. She appreciates the graphic design and modern unique style of artist Lotta Nieminen. “Through her work, Nieminen does an exceptional job of bringing visual identities to life. If you have any interest in art, Nieminen’s work is certainly worth checking out!”

Paul Rand Exhibit (credit: Catherine Cronin via Creative Commons).
Paul Rand

Artist Paul Rand is a favorite of Micah Husk, a senior with a specialization in Graphic Design and transfer from Camden County College. “As a chief of design, he made a difference to convert the publicizing industry by emphasizing the significance of realistic plans and visuals over composing. He created logos for huge companies, now recognizable ones, such as ABC, IBM and UPS. Paul Rand succeeded in changing the American commerce scene through his work. When it comes to style and vision, Paul Rand is certainly a master at it.”

Joe Gentempo wears a design by Justin "Fvller" Fuller.
Joe Gentempo wears a design by Justin “Fvller” Fuller.

Joe Gentempo, a senior from Monmouth County, NJ, Brookdale Community College transfer and first-generation college student, values the work of artist Justin “Fvller” Fuller. “He’s one of the most hardworking artists I’ve seen, always making stuff all around the clock. I have a few of the pieces of clothing he’s made and it’s all hand painted. I think a lot more people need to know about him and see what he’s creating,” Joe explains.

Maya Barton's art.
Maya Barton

Jessica Hedum (featured in this video), a Cape May County, NJ senior and Atlantic Cape Community College transfer, recognizes artist Maya Barton. “Maya is a truly talented person. She does everything from screen printing her own etchings, lino cuts and t-shirts for the Women of Westby to any graphic design work. She has created business cards, websites, flyers and more! Maya is a wonderful artist that produces beautiful work in a timely manner with flawless digital layouts and designs.”

Giovanna Eley's work.
Giovanna Eley

Giovanna Eley, a senior, Law and Justice Studies minor and Rutgers transfer from Union County, NJ, shares her own work. “The artist is me and this is part of the work I’ve done at Rowan University and my art and talent have grown so much since studying here. So, I want to share my art with others.” 

Paula Scher (credit: Ben Terrett via Creative Commons).
Paula Scher

Senior Jana Jackstis, a Rowan College of South Jersey transfer student from Gloucester County, NJ, admires artist Paula Scher. “Paula Scher is one of the most influential graphic designers alive. She’s created so much recognizable stuff, like the Microsoft Windows 8 logo and the Citi logo, for example. She was also one of the first female principals at Pentagram, one of the biggest design firms in the world.”

Mucha (credit: Sofi via Creative Commons).
Alphonse Mucha

Senior Abigail MacNeill of Cumberland County, NJ, who transferred from  Rowan College of South Jersey, and also majors in French, values artist Alphonse Mucha. “He had a revolutionary treatment of subject matter and style that defined art nouveau as a movement and ushered Paris into the golden age of poster art.”

Meg Lemieur.
Meg Lemieur

Melissa Powell, a senior, from Mt. Laurel, NJ (Burlington County), Camden County Community College transfer and first-generation college student, respects artist Meg Lemieur. “Meg Lemieur creates beautiful illustrations that carry powerful messages. I always look forward to what she will represent next.”

Friday Kahlo (credit: Steven Zucker via Creative Commons).
Frida Kahlo

Kaitlyn Davis, a Gloucester County, NJ senior and transfer student from Winthrop University who specializes in graphic design, admires artist Frida Kahlo. “I believe Kahlo to be the definition of perseverance. She is an inspiration and through her pain she created many beautiful paintings.”

Hayao Miyazaki (credit: Domenica Vescio via Creative Commons).
Hayao Miyazaki

Senior Chelsea Herrmann, of Gloucester County, NJ appreciates artist Hayao Miyazaki. “He is a mastermind of storytelling through his art of these movies. He incorporates traditional art with animated art and his stories are so beautiful.”

Keith Haring (credit: Heinz Bunse via Creative Commons).
Keith Haring

Charlotte Steinman, junior, Art major, Washington Township/Gloucester County, Rowan College South Jersey transfer, admires artist Keith Haring. She explains: “Keith Haring was an influential pop artist in the 80’s that started out drawing graffiti in New York City subways and grew in popularity until he became an influential public figure. His work commented on relevant social and political themes like homosexuality and AIDS. Not only is his art beautiful and striking, it also conveys important messages.”

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Story by:
Max M. Morgan, senior radio/television/film major

From NY to NJ: Melissa Luna

Melissa standing outside.

Today we speak to Melissa Luna, a junior, out-of-state student from Queens, NY majoring in Radio, Television and Film with a Journalism minor. Melissa transferred from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is involved in Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM. What are some fun off-campus things to do within 20 minutes of Rowan on […]

Beyond the Classroom: Martin Gonzalez on His Role with Rowan Television Network

Martin Gonzalez sits by trees on campus.

Today we speak with senior Radio/TV/Film (RTF) major Martin Gonzalez. Martin works on numerous broadcasting projects at Rowan through the Rowan Television Network (RTN). 

Senior Martin Gonzalez is a key contributor for two of Rowan Television Network’s programs titled “On the Couch” and “Rowan Roulette.” Martin is in the Radio Television and Film major and a part of Rowan University’s Cinema Workshop

“On the Couch” is a daytime talk show that covers a range of topics from current world issues, to pop culture and fashion. They also always interview someone who is in some way involved on Rowan’s campus. “Rowan Roulette” is a game show that always has a new weekly theme. Both of these shows can be found on Rowan Television Network’s YouTube channel. 

Martin was asked about his individual involvement in RTN with which he responded, “I am the floor manager/camera guy.” As a camera operator, he stated he is tasked to “frame up all the shots, make sure everything is perfect and make sure the frame is perfect medium shots of the host.” 

Martin Gonzalez sits at a table in front of Wilson Hall wearing a navy blue sweatshirt.

As a floor manager of these two shows, Martin’s responsibilities can vary. He said sometimes his job is “clear the floor” while other times it includes preparing everyone for mic checks. It’s up to him to try to control the general vibe of the production so sometimes he has to do tedious work, such as telling subjects which camera to look at. When talking about these parts of his duties Martin added, “That’s also really fun, and I’m learning as I go as well.”

Although COVID-19 is still a very real concern for everyone, RTN is still safely functioning in-person. Martin actually started off the semester as a remote student and then said that after a while he started to get “the fear of missing out.” At a certain point Martin decided it was time to go back to campus safely in his mask and rejoin his RTN coworkers so that he could get back to doing what he’s passionate about.

Even though he had an initial concern about being exposed to the virus, Martin stated that he felt like “Rowan is doing a really great job right now” of allowing people to work in person in the safest way possible. He explained, “Everybody is distanced and we’re just constantly cleaning and disinfecting.”

Martin smiles standing in front of Wilson Hall while wearing a navy blue sweatshirt.

Rowan’s RTF major offers professional level broadcasting equipment to the student run organization, RTN. This makes it an exceptional opportunity to gain experience for students with career aspirations in broadcasting. This value does not go unappreciated to Martin. When explaining his decision to come back to campus this semester he said, “I just really like to be there and get in hands on and actually feel the equipment underneath my fingers. That’s the best part about it.” 

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Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

Photos by: 
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Studio Art Major Seeks to Inspire Through Inclusive Art [VIDEO]

Jess Hedum working on a sensory art painting.

Jessica Hedum, a senior Studio Art major from Cape May, NJ (Cape May County), aims to change the world and make an impact through her social justice work.

What inspired you to choose your major?
I have been interested in the arts all of my life. I was active in all art and music classes offered from elementary school to high school. In high school I fell completely in love with painting and I’ve never looked back. I knew I wanted to be an artist but deciding on what I wanted to do with my skills all depended on the education I chose to define my skills in college. I toured Westby Hall before transferring from community college, where I achieved my associate degree in studio art and when I walked in the painting studio, I knew it was meant to be my second home.

How does your field impact the world?
Artists are necessary in every way possible! Every visual depiction offered, design, creative outlet to explore is provided and created by an artist. I personally have a concentration in oil painting, specializing in murals and large-scale paintings. I see my art ranging from museum galleries to public spaces to bring peace, serenity and color to mundane topics and locations.

What impact would you like to have through your creations?
I would love to have an impact through my social justice work. Creating installations around topics that need to be a conversation and hopefully leading to some change of mind. My paintings themselves have 3D sensory elements to them, created for those that have mental illnesses or fall on the spectrum and find feeling a painting more soothing and connecting rather than just viewing a piece. I aim to create a body of work behind emotions and caring for others, overall, I feel that an art movement of sensory paintings can become huge and impactful.

Tell us about one club, organization or group of friends that make you feel like Rowan is home.
I dedicate myself growth and positive experience at Rowan to my Westby family that gave me a second home with open arms. The professors and faculty that check in on me and support my art to the fellow artists I work all night creating with. There is no better support system for artists than within Westby Hall.

Due to all the positive energy and kindness I have received in my time at Rowan University I have dedicated my learnings and passion to founding The Women of Westby. The Women of Westby is an art activist group that highlights women of history, tackles social justice issues through interactive installations and supports RU art students and alumni by showcasing and selling handmade work. Everything we do as a collective group is focused on supporting aspiring artists and speaking up for what is right. The Women of Westby is a movement created around acceptance and love of all. I hope for one day to see the movement grow towards being a staple at the university as a whole and giving the art department the recognition, it deserves.

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Story and video by:
Joshua Hedum, junior Radio/TV/Film major

Best Advertisements of 2020, According to Ad Majors

2020 spelled out in papers.

Today we feature senior advertising majors from Rowan. They tell us what they think the best advertisements of 2020 are.

Melanie poses in front of a white bakground.

Melanie Gross Melanie, a senior advertising major with a strategic communications minor from Marlboro, NJ (Monmouth County), says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the Burger King-“Bullying Jr.” advertisement. She says, “In this Burger King ad, a complex idea is expressed. Burger King stages a social experiment where a “High School Jr.” is bullied in one of their Los Angeles area restaurants. It depicts overseers who do not do a thing are then served a “bullied” Whopper Jr. This sandwich is squashed and mangled. Some 95% report their mangled sandwiches to management. They are then asked if they would have intervened had they seen an employee “bully” their burger. Their collective response is “yes”. The focus then shifts to the 12% of customers who stood up for the High School Jr. We hear their words of encouragement which console the High School Jr. This spot shows that inspiring ads can be crafted out of social experiments and possibly make a change to take action when we see unkind acts.” 

Doug poses outdoors.

Doug Weinstein Doug, a senior advertising and public relations double major from Cranford, NJ (Union County), is a transfer student from Union County College and a first-generation college student. He says “the most impactful ad of 2020 so far for me has been from BMW. The video ad release took creativity to another level that BMW as a brand has not expressed in the past. The new 2 series is introduced into a new genre of consumers as “option two,” a BMW that is different from the competitors in an expressive and bold way as the better option. BMW brought a new type of advertising technique that focuses more on the new genre of consumers, rather than the BMW itself. The company is changing drastically for the better, becoming more aware of their consumer demographics and lifestyles. BMW is bold in this ad with video movement, colors, sounds and tells a story of who consumers are and why this is the car for them.

Caitlyn poses at a restaurant.

Caitlyn Dickinson Caitlyn, a senior advertising and public relations double major from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County), is a transfer student from Ocean County College and a first-generation college student. She says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the “Loretta” – Google Super Bowl advertisement. She says, “Loretta is the perfect example for an emotional appeal, which for me is why I find it to be so memorable. It’s effective, it’s compelling, and overall heartwarming.” 

Alana poses outdoors.

Alana Walker Alana, a senior advertising and public relations double major from Browns Mills, NJ (Burlington County), is a transfer student from Rowan College at Burlington County. She also says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the “Loretta” – Google Super Bowl advertisement. She says, “This advertisement came out in the beginning of this year. I feel like it’s important for the times because the older generation is learning to adapt to the new technology created. This particular advertisement shows how it can be beneficial for them but also is heartfelt. They layout and execution of the ad gives you something to relate to.” 

Matthew poses with a "Rowan Alumni Welcome" sign.

Matthew Isaacs Matthew, a senior advertising major from East Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County), is a transfer student from Georgian Court University. He says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the The “Cardboard Fan” by Bud Light advertisement. He says, “It’s so memorable and unique. When do you ever see a cardboard cutout come to life? Especially when it can’t enjoy it’s favorite beverage while watching football. It’s weird without the crazy energetic fans you’re used to seeing on TV. I appreciate what the producers did here. They made something out of nothing, literally. During a depressing time like this, why not have a little fun with those cutouts?” 

Jenna poses against a brown background.

Jenna Greenlee Jenna, a senior advertising and public relations double major from Wilmington, Delaware, is a transfer student from Temple University. She says that Beats by Dr. Dre had a beautiful ad called “You Love Black Culture, But Do You Love Me” that was so impactful and great especially with the BLM movement in America right now. She says, “It makes it the best because a lot of companies have posted its support of the BLM movement, but Beats by Dr. Dre was started by a black man which is so inspiring. It has a star studded cast of popular African American figures but doesn’t harp on WHO they are, but rather just them being Black people in general. It’s artfully done, simple and impactful.” 

Kristin poses in front of sun flowers on a swing.

Kristin Jennings Kristin, a senior advertising and public relations double major with a CUGS in PR in the News, from Woodbury Heights, NJ (Gloucester County), is a transfer student from West Chester University. She says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the Match.com – Match Made in Hell advertisement. She says, “This ad combines a common interest of wanting to connect with others with comedy in a funny yet charming commercial. The commercial also features an exclusive recording of Taylor Swift’s Love Story which drew in her fans as well.”

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

Header photo courtesy of:
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#PROFspective: Senior Biomedical Art and Visualization Major Amanda Rosa

Amanda sits in front of Science Hall.

Amanda Rosa, a senior Biomedical Art and Visualization major and Dance/Biology minor from Freehold, NJ (Monmouth County), sums up her Rowan experience. 

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

On my busiest days, I juggle at least three classes, rehearsal or practice with my ballroom partner, sorority obligations with Theta Phi Alpha and looking for my future job! 

Amanda stands by a tree on campus.

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

I did have a moment of uncertainty with my first two majors, and then I switched to my current major, which is Biomedical Art and Visualization. This major is challenging, and sometimes I questioned if I was good enough to finish and continue it. I got through it by talking to my teachers, asking them what they thought and going to them for continual guidance.

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

I chose Rowan because it was close to home and I needed a place where I could drive home if needed. It was just far enough away that I could stay on campus, but close enough at home was in striking distance. I really felt at home at Rowan during my sophomore year when I found my current major because not many schools offer it.

Tell us about your transition into college and how you pushed through any challenges. 

My transition into college wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. In high school, I was in a college-prep program where we took many AP classes. The humanities program at Howell night prepared me well for college. My biggest challenge was finding the right major for me. It took two tries but eventually, after a lot of research, I found the right one.

What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a college?

Come in open-minded. I was positive that I wanted to go to school out of state, but I’m glad I gave Rowan University the chance. Think about what’s gonna be best for you, and your family. Now I’m lucky enough to have my brother joining the Rowan family in the spring. You may not always end up going to the college that was your first choice but don’t worry: you’ll find the good in wherever you end up.

Amanda sitting on a red chair and table set.

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

Photography by:
Quintin Stinney, sophomore radio television and film major  

5 Things I’ve Learned as a Radio/Television/Film Major

Today we spotlight Max M. Morgan, a senior Radio/Television/Film (RTF) major from Marlton, NJ. Max reflects on 5 game-changing skills he’s developed while at Rowan University.

Max wears a Rowan t-shirt and holds a yellow guitar.
Author Max M. Morgan
  1. How to write a script.

As a senior looking back, the screenwriting courses really stood out to me, and helped me develop an initial method to approach any type of production and maximize the value. Also, the in-class discussions and critiques helped me fine-tune my vision and develop new perspectives, which instilled in me the importance of listening to other voices.   

  1. How to capture any subject on camera.

Another course of great importance to me was Film Production, in which learning the process of how professional video production works is invaluable. I had no idea how much is involved before I enrolled at Rowan, like the different types of camera lenses, how to stylize an image to give a certain look and feel, color correcting, and the different types of microphones. All of this enabled me to showcase my work and add to my personal portfolio. 

RTF students film outside Bozorth Hall.
RTF students film outside Bozorth Hall (spring 2018).

  1. How to edit/score a production.

Any one of these software programs are really intimidating to a first-time user, but with Rowan’s access to free Adobe Creative Cloud programs for students, it gives hands-on experience with today’s cutting-edge technology. The most common software programs I’ve mastered here are Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop and Logic Pro X. 

A RTF student edits video.
A RTF student edits video.
  1. How to create custom graphics in Photoshop.

Intro to New Media and Foundations of Media are courses that have given me useful experience in Photoshop, creating unique graphics, lower thirds, etc., in a very easy-to-understand, digestible way. Photoshop is an invaluable tool in my arsenal; being able to turn average photos into amazing ones, extracting precise elements from an image, being able to piece together and make something new and exciting!                    

  1. How to develop a voice.

Podcasting and Media Performance Techniques classes have really helped me develop my voice and communication skills that translate in everyday life, and have given me the confidence I wish I had years ago. The voice is the most practical thing I’ve developed here at Rowan, and I am using what I have learned everyday already.  

Author Max wears a Rowan shirt and holds a yellow guitar.

I feel that Rowan has helped me grow so much, not only in my field, but as a young adult, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a Prof!! Furthermore, I’d like to give a shout-out to some extraordinary instructors who shared their own talents and experiences to enrich my own learning. Thank you!

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Story and author photos by:
Max M. Morgan, senior Radio/Television/Film major











#PROFspective: Studio Art Major Hannah Spronz

Hannah standing outside

Today we feature Hannah Spronz, a senior Studio Art major from Belvidere, NJ (Warren County). Hannah is president of The Rowan Arts Collective and a part of Rowan After Hours (RAH). On your busiest day, what personal, academic, non-academic and social responsibilities are you juggling? When I’m super busy, I’m probably balancing classes with my […]

9 Radio/TV/Film Majors Share How Their Major Supports Their Professional Goals

Today, we speak with 9 Radio/TV/Film (RTF) majors on how their major will advance their future careers. 

Lauren smiling and posing for a photo.

“This major supports my professional goals because it helps me succeed in my field and prepared me for when I go into the professional scene.” – Lauren Kilroy, senior, transfer, RTF major from Cinnaminson, NJ (Burlington County)

Jabreeah posing for a selfie.

“It teaches me all about the behind the scenes work in movies.” – Jabreeah Holmes, senior, RTF major from Camden, NJ (Camden County)

Emily smiling and posing for a selfie.

“It supports my professional goals because I already know hands-down I want to be a part of the television industry. I’ve already started floating possible job ideas in my head once I graduate Rowan. I am also taking a minor in advertising just in case I want to apply my RTF skills in a more commercial type of way. The fact is there are so many job opportunities with this major it’s still hard to know which one you will wind up taking once you graduate!” – Emily Sayles, sophomore, RTF major, Advertising minor from Somerdale, NJ (Camden County)

Jerry posing for a picture while wearing sunglasses.

“It teaches me a lot about the industry and how to get my foot in the door.” – Jerry Libert, junior, transfer, first-generation college student, RTF major and Creative Writing minor from Beachwood, NJ (Ocean County)

Corey posing for a selfie.

“It teaches me about the process of making films, television, and radio which allows me to see what things I like about each. It gives me access to equipment I can use to make my own projects.” – Corey Peoples, senior, transfer from RCGC, RTF major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County)

Julia smiling and posing for a selfie in front of a world map.

“This major teaches me the skills I will need to get into the industry. By educating us on Radio, Tv, and Film, we are able to get our foot in the door easier because we have so many skill sets.” – Julia Faupel, junior, transfer, RTF major, Theatre minor from Collingswood, NJ (Camden County)

Ally smiling and hugging an orange cat.

“It helps me to get into NASCAR or the NFL to pursue the career I want.” –  Ally Bruce, freshman, RTF major from Woolwich Twp., NJ (Gloucester County)

Gary smiling for a photo while wearing headphones.

“I learn from a lot of people who i respect and are professionals in my desired fields.” – Gary Erdelyi, senior, first-generation college student, RTF and Journalism major from Brick, NJ (Ocean County)

A picture of a flyer of a production written by Joe.

“I want to be a screenwriter, and the classes have helped me learn more about the craft while Cinema Workshop has given me real life experience in writing for the screen.” – Joe Pidgeon, junior, transfer, RTF major and Creative Writing minor from Swedesboro, NJ (Gloucester County)

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Beyond the Classroom: Biomedical Art and Visualization Major Emerson Harman on Starting Queer Voices Project

Emerson wears a rainbow mask outside.

Today’s “Beyond the Classroom” features Emerson Harman, a freshman who has already joined numerous on-campus organizations. They also launched the “Queer Voices” Project, aimed at spreading awareness and showing the presence of the LGBTQIA+ community at Rowan.

Emerson poses outside on campus.

Freshman Wisconsin native Emerson Harman has not hesitated to get involved on campus in this first couple of months of the semester. They’ve already joined Rowan’s Wind Ensemble, the Biology Club, the Biomedical Art and Visualization club and PRISM. Being part of all these organizations already is a huge head start for a freshman, and the crazy part is that none of these is even Emerson’s most impressive accomplishment at Rowan so far. 

Emerson started “Queer Voices,” which involves interviewing (and photographing) Rowan faculty and students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and uploading the content to the Queer Voices website. Emerson meets with students, faculty and alumni to ask various questions relating to Rowan’s LGBTQIA+ community and other related topics. 

Emerson stands outside, looks to the side on campus.

Emerson says the “whole goal of [the project] is to raise awareness and presence of the LGBT community on campus.” 

Emerson is hoping that word of mouth will help grow Queer Voices into something bigger. It is only November, and they already have content on the website from seven faculty members, nine students and two alumni. 

“It started off with just faculty … and then it grew, and other students heard about it and were like, ‘Hey, can I get involved too?’” Emerson explains.

With the current state of the pandemic and social distancing still being enforced, it is not an easy time to make new friends in a new place. When Emerson was asked about how difficult this is, they did not act like it was a huge issue. 

“I think there has been a lot of good programming from the university itself for new freshmen. Even though most things are virtual, I’ve still been able to meet a lot of people both in my dorm and in classes,” Emerson says.

Emerson wears a mask on campus.

Emerson decided to go to Rowan all the way from Wisconsin because of their major. Emerson is a Biomedical Art and Visualization major, which is only offered at three schools in the country, Rowan being one of them. It is likely that the atmosphere and culture in Glassboro is much different than that of Dodgeville, Wisconsin, but Emerson has seemingly adjusted quickly. 

“It feels like a small university but at the same time it’s obviously not. It’s really close to a lot of major cities too which is nice,” Emerson says.

Click here to visit Queer Voices. 

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Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

Photography by:
Quintin Stinney, sophomore radio/TV/film major

4 Communications Studies Majors Share One Cool Thing They’ve Learned From Their Major

Exterior shot of the Victoria ECCA building.

From curriculum to content, four Communication Studies majors reveal what they really like about this program.

Nadine posing and smiling for a picture.

“I think the coolest thing about the Communication Studies major is our ability to customize our experiences and tailor it to our specific interests through the addition of other majors, minors and CUGS. There’s a lot of really valuable free elective space, so we are granted the opportunity to branch out, try different things, and further our studies in different areas if we so choose. Students should take full advantage of this, and try something new or declare some other majors, minors, CUGS, etc., in order to really make the most of their time at Rowan University and make themselves stand out!” – Nadine El Maalem, junior, first-generation college student, Communication Studies major, with minors in International Studies and Arabic, French CUGS, from Monmouth County

Lexi posing for a selfie.

“One cool thing about my major is the conversation-based classes. I’ve found myself engaged 100% of the class time. I have also learned much more in my major courses than in Rowan Core courses because of the way our professors structure them.” – Lexi Robinson, Junior, Communications major, Bellmawr, NJ (Camden County)

Jonathan smiling for a photo.

“One cool thing that I learned this major is the different types of communication from interpersonal, mediated, and face-to-face. Learning these concepts helped me to be a better speaker and effective communicator.” – Jonathan DeRose, senior Communications Studies major from Marlton, NJ (Burlington County)

A picture of Tatianna's two dogs.

“In a way communications reminds me of psychology, but instead of learning about why people are the way they are you learn about how they react to things you say/do. In return you are able to create better relationships with others.” – Tatianna Addison, senior, transfer student from Rowan College of Burlington County, Communications Studies major from Pemberton, NJ (Burlington County)

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

How Remote Students Are Staying Involved On Campus: PR Major Jenna Fischer

Student's home desk.

Today, we speak to Jenna Fischer, a senior Public Relations major with a Strategic Communications minor who transferred from Middlesex County College. Jenna is studying remotely from her home in East Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County) in light of COVID-19. She tells us more about how she’s staying involved on campus while living at home.

Jenna sitting on her bed in her dorm room.

“I chose Rowan because I saw that [the school] had a lot of opportunities to grow within my major. They were one of the few colleges in the state that had my major and had other options to go along with it,” says PR major Jenna Fischer, who initially chose Rowan because she knew a degree at Rowan would help her get her foot in the door with a job before she graduates.

At Middlesex County College, Jenna initially didn’t know what major would be the right one for her. She decided to talk to her advisor and everything suddenly came together. 

“I needed to talk to someone about picking classes, and I didn’t know what to pick. She told me, ‘Well, you seem like you would be good in public relations.’ I didn’t even know what that was! She started explaining it more, and I realized that it would be a good fit for me. So, I looked into it some more and ended up falling in love with it,” she explains. 

Jenna’s senior year has been a little different than the rest of her years at Rowan because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She admits there have been some challenges with taking online courses and staying at home in East Brunswick, NJ. 

“Honestly, one of the most challenging parts is I feel like I have a lot more work! I also have been going a little stir-crazy. I’m a very introverted person so I like being home … but this is a new level!” 

However, even though she’s off-campus, Jenna is still staying hopeful and active on-campus through her e-board position as Communications Director with Rowan’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. She had her doubts about being able to work with the club remotely, but she found that she still enjoys her work with the club.

Jenna's computer screen displays the PRSSA website.

“I was kind of worried because I was thinking what am I going to do because I’m not on campus but it was a lot easier than I thought,” Jenna says. “I’m always reaching out to the advisors of the club to just make sure I’m on the right track of things.”

Jenna also shares that her club meetings give her a sense of community even when she’s away. She says PRSSA has been very accommodating and she feels more connected to everyone on campus. 

“Our e-board meetings definitely keep me informed with what’s going on. Everyone’s also super understanding. We did do an in-person picnic, but we also had a virtual option so I think its beneficial for a club to incorporate both options. I actually did end up going to campus because I was itching to go! Get involved in some kind of club because that’s the main reason why I’m in contact with everyone on campus. Everyone in the club are mainly my friends on campus too.”

When asked about the pros and cons of staying remote this semester, Jenna says:

“The main reason why I didn’t want to come back to campus was because I was scared that I was going to catch something and bring it back home. I also didn’t feel the need to be back on campus if I was doing my classes online. So I feel a little safer being home. A con for me would be that I don’t get to see my friends in person very much. One way I do try to stay involved is that I FaceTime them a lot, which I highly recommend everyone do!  I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone but it’s good to be able to talk and see your friends that way.”

Jenna's at home school desk.
Jenna’s “at home” school desk set up

Quarantine hasn’t been all bad for Jenna. She even found an internship opportunity within her field!

“I was so ready to give up on applying because I wouldn’t hear back or I wouldn’t get them. I was getting so frustrated because a lot of my friends were still getting internships! So, I was scrolling through social media and this one company I was kind of eyeing put out a post saying ‘Hey we’re going to have summer interns.’

“So I applied immediately and ended up getting it! It was so much fun and all-remote. I was a social media marketing intern. I was skeptical about it at first because I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the same experience. It was so fun!”

Jenna shares a piece of advice for those struggling to connect with Rowan’s campus while being remote.

“Definitely reach out to professors if you want to get involved in any kind of club. I know professors who are also advisors who will usually plug in clubs at the end of class. PRSSA is looking for general members! It’s not scary, we have a speaker of the week talk to the club and you can participate if you want! I really do think it’s helpful. Just participating in any kind of Zoom club or event — I really recommend!”

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos courtesy of:
Jenna Fischer

#PROFspective: English and Writing Arts Double Major Destiny Hall

Destiny Hall standing a fall forest.

Today we feature Destiny Hall, a first-generation college student and senior double majoring in Writing Arts and English with specializations in Shakespeare Studies and Creative Writing. She also has a minor in Women and Gender studies and is from Gloucester City, NJ (Camden County). Destiny shares her thoughts on her major, feminism and her future. Why did […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Studio Art Major Christine Stewart

Christine standing outside in front of trees in a blue shirt.

Today we welcome Christine Stewart, a transfer student from Cumberland County College. They are a junior majoring in Studio Art with a specialization in Graphic Design from Pennsauken, NJ (Camden County). They are also involved in Prism, Queer People of Color (QPOC), and Women of Westby. What wakes you up in the morning? Being able […]

3 Sports Communication and Media Majors Share Why They Became Interested in Their Major

Center field at Wackar Stadium.

“This major combined my two biggest passions: sports and cameras. I’ve always been a huge sports fan, and I’ve always known I wanted to work in sports. During high school I knew I wanted to work around cameras doing photo/videography. So, when I found out about Sports CAM at Rowan, it was the perfect match.” […]

9 Biomedical Art & Visualization Majors Tell Us Why Their Major Excites Them

Biomedical Art and Visualization student draws for a project.

From new mediums to emerging technologies, 9 Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts students in the Biomedical Art & Visualization program share why they are passionate about their major. 

Isaiah holding a dog in the middle of a flower field.

“Learning new techniques and nuances of drawing and illustration that I was entirely unaware of prior. That and the steady and consistent addition of new mediums to explore and develop skills with.” – Isaiah Reese, senior, first-generation college student, Biomedical Art and Visualization major with a Biology minor from Newton, NJ (Sussex County)

Rose sitting at a table filled with Rowan souvenirs.

“I love that I’m getting a great education in the sciences and methods of educating others, while also still be held to the esteem of a studio artist. Though I’m not a studio art major, I’ve still been taught all of the same skills you would expect a studio art major to have. This way I can make beautiful anatomical and scientific drawings as well as traditional fine art.” – Rose Price, senior, first-generation college student and Biomedical Art Visualization major with a minor in Biology, Sicklerville NJ (Gloucester County)

Terry posing in a portrait photo.

“The BMAV program is much more diverse than you would expect. Students are able to choose their topic of choice to research and to build their portfolio. There might be a student who enjoys studying scientific processes next to you and another student who likes exploring prosthetics on your other side. A student sitting across from you might like studying animals and another likes examining medical conditions. I am never bored in class because there is always something interesting to learn and do. Everyday is exciting and worthwhile.” – Terry Nguyen, junior, majors in Biomedical Art and Visualization and Music, Pre-medical minor from Moorestown, NJ (Burlington County)

Mariele smiling outside wearing a drawstring backpack.

“The atmosphere in our major is what excites me most. We are a small family, so we support each other. We all have our different interests and learn from each other as well.” – Mariele Ford, junior Biomedical Art Visualization major with a minor in Biology, Brigantine, NJ (Atlantic County)

Hannah holding a her associate degree diploma.

The future of my possibilities [is] in the arts.” – Hannah Knight, senior, transfer, first-generation college student and Biomedical Art and Visualization major with a minor in Art History and an associate degree in Biology from Medford, NJ (Burlington County)

Sofia sitting and smiling wearing glasses and earphones.

“The thing that excites me the most about my major is the ability to portray what I want while it’s still very informational and well-researched. Creating infographics about animals or plants is definitely what captivates me the most. But not only that, but the ability to also use newer technologies such as 3D modeling and even a chance to experiment with VR excite me to no end!” – Sofia Monaco, junior Biomedical Art and Visualization, CUGS in Game Media Design from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County)

Diana posing for a selfie wearing glasses and a pink sweatshirt.

“All the possible choices I will have for jobs in the near future and the fact that you build your own way.” – Diana Lahr, sophomore, first-generation college student and Biomedical Art and Visualization major from Elmer, NJ (Salem County)

Harley sitting outside and smiling.

“I am excited to learn more about the anatomy of humans as well as plants and animals along with how to properly illustrate and explain them. I am also excited to be able to communicate these aspects of life with others.” – Harley Modestowicz, sophomore Biomedical Art and Visualization major, Franklinville, NJ (Gloucester County)

Veronica posing and smiling on a stair case.

“What excites me most about Biomedical Art is how much I realize I’m being prepared for my future. I feel as if all my classes are geared toward strengthening my talents as an artist and creating artwork just as I would when dealing with clients in the future.” – Veronica Cava, junior Biomedical Art and Visualization major, Marlton, NJ (Burlington County)

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Beyond The Classroom: Musical Theatre, RTF Double Major Shows Support For the Filipinx Community by Organizing a Talent Showcase For Charity

Stock image of a microphone
Faith sitting and posing on the edge of a fountain.

Today, we speak to Faith Lynn Diccion, a junior Musical Theatre and Radio/ TV/ Film double major from Egg Harbor Township, NJ (Atlantic County). She currently lives on campus in the Rowan Boulevard Apartments. She tells us more about her work this past summer with the nonprofit organization EmbraceRace and how she put together a Filipinx talent showcase for charity.

First, how did you find Rowan?

I found Rowan after being scouted at the NJ Thespian Festival by one of the theatre professors my senior year of high school. I had never really thought about Rowan as a theatre school, but I was instantly captivated by the faculty and campus. So, I was eager to come and audition at the school.

Why did you choose your major?

Growing up, I loved participating in theatre productions and singing. I just found it natural to pursue what I loved as a kid in college. Watching Disney movies when I was younger also left a big impression on me and gave me a push toward a career in performance and art creation.

What is EmbraceRace? How did you get involved?

EmbraceRace is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to parents, teachers and all in order to help raise children in a community based on acceptance, understanding and equity. From March 2016-2020, EmbraceRace has published 170+ articles from many storytellers, 34 Talking Kids & Race webinars with over 9K registrants per session, 30K+ email subscribers and 90K+ Facebook fans, and partnerships with well-known organizations such as The American Psychological Association and The Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I happened to stumble upon EmbraceRace’s website while researching for organizations to donate to for my final project with the DIAL National Fellowship with Metro Arts Nashville under Americans for the Arts.

At the time, I was brainstorming ideas for what causes I was most interested in supporting. In light of the surge in BLM protests and rallies, I wanted to show my support as well. Also, the slogan for EmbraceRace is “Raising a Brave Generation.” It really resonated within me and further strengthened my resolve to donate.

I organized this showcase to show support not only for my Filipinx community and heritage, but also for the BLM movement that paved the way for all of the following minorities to come to America.

How did you go about finding the talent for the showcase?

Finding the talent was super fun. All I had to do was reach out to my network of friends and acquaintances to see who would be interested in participating, and it all just happened to work out somehow. Some of the talents I know very well, and some of them I had never even met before. Still, we are all connected to each other. So it was really uplifting to be able to reach out to these wonderful performers and ask them to share their talents for a special cause.

A social media flyer for the Filipinx Talent Showcase.
Featured performers from the Sa Bahay (“At Home”) musical showcase.

What was a typical day like working with EmbraceRace?

Because this was an individual project under my Fellowship, I did not work exclusively with EmbraceRace to accomplish this. When the fundraising timeframe ends, I will personally send the money raised as a one-time donation on the EmbraceRace website. As of [early September], our goal of $500 has been met. But because we are still accepting donations, we are still receiving donations and have exceeded our goal by a substantial amount.

Any advice to students looking to get involved with EmbraceRace or advice in general?

Browsing their official website is a great place to start. They even have volunteer opportunities available for people looking for more active roles in the organization. Also, their donation button has options to either donate as an individual or set-up up a fundraiser. The individual donation option fit the best with my showcase’s structure, so I opted out of creating a fundraiser directly though the organization. All in all, EmbraceRace is a wonderful nonprofit with useful resources and a great community open to discussion, so I highly recommend checking them out!

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos provided by:
Faith Lynn Diccion, musical theatre and RTF double major

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

Sophomore Reflects: Musical Theatre and Public Relations Double Major Erica Gerold

Erica sitting with friends on the Bunce Steps

Meet sophomore Erica Gerold, a Musical Theatre and Public Relations double major from Philadelphia. She’s also an on-campus resident who resided in Magnolia Hall this past year. Erica tells us more about what she enjoyed most about her first year at Rowan and shares advice for future freshmen.

Erica sitting with friends on the Bunce Hall steps.
Erica sitting with her roommates (from left to right: Mattie Millet, Hannah Kittrell, Erica Gerold and Emilia Weiss).

What did you most enjoy your freshman year at Rowan?Erica taking a selfie.

Something I enjoyed most here at Rowan were the amount of on-campus artistic opportunities I was able to have as a freshman! This past year I have been in directing scenes, written/done voiceover work at the art exhibit, “The Sister Chapel,” performed in our annual Holiday Celebration, “The Vagina Monologues,” devised cabaret “(di$) conn3cT*d” and “Urinetown: The Musical.” I have made amazing friends through our college and learned so much through its chances to create. I truly do not think I would be happier anywhere else.

Could you share with us one happy moment you had with friends, professors or other members of the Rowan community that made you realize Rowan felt like “home”?

Among many things I am beyond grateful to have been involved in this school year, the first that made me feel at home was rehearsing “(di$) conn3cT*d.” I was cast within my first month of moving to college when unfamiliarity was around every corner. Right away not only were the cast/creative team eager to hear the ideas of us freshmen, they were eager to make us feel welcome. I became so close with the people involved with that production, including my new best friend Elliot Colahan. The support the people of Rowan (my profs and classmates alike) have for us is nothing like I have seen anywhere else. Especially as a freshman, their care for me and the rest of my peers filled me with motivation and happiness. They make me feel lucky to be a part of this community.

Erica alongside the cast of a production called The Vagina Monologues.
Erica alongside the cast of The Vagina Monologues (directed by Robin Purtell and Chelsea Sharp, 2020).

What advice do you have for future freshmen looking at colleges right now?

Shadow! Leading up to College Decision Day, I actually had my mind set on committing to a different school. Once your choices are narrowed down, seeing a day in the life of your options really puts things into perspective. Once I shadowed my now dear friend Marisa Pelikan, the decision could not have been clearer that Rowan was the right fit for me (note: If you cannot shadow due to COVID-19, research schools to the best of your online abilities. Also, do not be afraid to reach out to their current students/profs!).

What are you most looking forward to next year at Rowan?

I am most looking forward to honing my skills as a double major! I currently combine my passions of PR and theatre as a member of the social media team for RUTD, a publicity officer for our Lab Theatre organization and the creator/writer for my school blog highlighting the Rowan University Department of Theatre & Dance, RUTDInsider. All of that being said, Public Relations students typically do not start taking major-based classes until their sophomore year. This fall I will be taking three of those classes and I am super excited to put all forthcoming knowledge into my current projects. I will be the first to admit learning/creating in the upcoming school year will be difficult due to the coronavirus, but I hope to push forward in making it happen any way I can.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos provided by:
Erica Gerold

Beyond the Classroom: Katelyn Rapp’s PR, Foreign Language Skills Help Her Give Back to Her Community

Torch image in the lobby of Campbell Library.

Today, we feature Public Relations major and senior Katelyn Rapp, a commuter from Pennsville, NJ (Salem County) and first-generation college student. Katelyn recently started interning for the nonprofit organization Miracle for Mateo. She’s also on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using her Spanish translation skills, Katelyn helps out her area’s testing site. Here, she tells us a little more about her experiences and how she’s helping her community.

Katelyn poses in her scrubs with a sign that says "A Hero Lives Here".

Tell us more about your public relations internship.Katelyn sitting at her dining table doing work for Miracle for Mateo on her computer.

I am currently working with Miracle for Mateo, a nonprofit that I have been familiar with since they started up 10 years ago. I actually got involved with them during this past semester because I was doing a couple PR and nonprofit related classwork.

Miracle for Mateo provides financial support for families with dependent children who: have complex congenital heart disease or life-threatening illness and are struggling through a lengthy hospitalization, waiting for an organ transplant, or living at home on hospice care.

I realized during a rhetorical analysis of their website that it was quite outdated and gave the impression that they were no longer a functioning NPO. I knew one of the board members personally, and I reached out to her to see if she would be open to some changes.

Before COVID started, I went to her house and we talked about all the changes needed. After some approval from the board I was able to rewrite all the body copy for the website, choose updated photos, recreate some graphics with InDesign and now we are about two weeks away from the new website going live!

Was there any Rowan affiliation?

As far as I know there is no affiliation with Rowan, but I actually think it could be a great idea to create some type of affiliation. They have some small projects that impact people on a great scale (of course I may be a bit biased). Can tab collections and food drives that benefit the families who are by their child’s side in the hospital are two of their longest-running projects that require a bit less ‘in person work’ but make a huge difference for the organization and their families.

How did you find the opportunity?

I found the opportunity by reaching out to one of the board members I knew personally. I grew up with her kids, and seeing if the organization would consider letting me help. In my ADV/PR Writing course I had to choose an organization to ‘write for’ throughout the semester, and I thought it would be a personal challenge to write for a NPO since all of my internship experience is in oil refineries and transportation. I also decided to analyze their website in my Writing for the NonProfit class since I was already writing a pretend backgrounder and had so much information on the organization. I found the website was outdated and generally needed some work, and although I know I am nowhere near an expert, I thought I might be able to help. 

How did you get involved in your county’s COVID-19 response?

My mom works for the Salem County Department of Health, and so naturally when COVID hit, she and her coworkers became the response team for my county. Soon enough, my county opened up a COVID testing site, and it became apparent that my county’s Hispanic population was getting hit harder than others. My mom and her coworkers had become contact tracers/COVID test site nurses and were trying to speak what little Spanish they could to communicate. I wrote up a little speech for my mom to use when she called someone to speak with them about results or the test site and they only spoke Spanish. When she came home, she told me the whole department was using it! She also told me that her boss was interested in seeing if I would volunteer at the test site as a translator. The next week I did my fit test, and the day after I went to the test site.

Tell us more about your skills as a translator and how that’s helped in your county’s COVID response.Katelyn posing outside wearing scrubs and holding a healthcare heroes sign alongside her two cats.

My skills as a translator allowed me to check in patients at the drive-up clinic, give them instructions on what to expect in the barns (testing area/hot zone), and if they had not signed up for testing before that day give them information on how and where to be screened before coming to the test site for a COVID test. I was also able to help the nurses/contact tracers by writing up some helpful Spanish phrases and a small script, which would allow them to explain who they were and that they would call back with a translator.

What are you looking forward to this semester or in the future?

I think I am looking forward to the same things as most students now, I would love to see a safe return to campus to continue my classes. This upcoming semester I am also starting the 4+1 (CAPD Program) Public Relations/Strategic Communication program, so I will start working towards my master’s while finishing my bachelor’s. Personally, I am really looking forward to traveling internationally again. I was planning on a couple of trips this year, but unfortunately traveling isn’t an option right now.”

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos provided by:
Katelyn Rapp

Advice From An RA

Exterior drone photo of Chestnut Hall.

Meet Loredonna Fiore, junior Public Relations and Advertising double major with a minor in Communication Studies from Elk Township, NJ (Gloucester County). Loredonna was a Resident Assistant (RA) for Chestnut Hall this past year until COVID-19 shut down campus. She looks forward to being the Assistant Resident Director (ARD) of Mimosa Hall in the fall and shares how RA’s help students comfortably transition into college life.

Loredonna poses with a Rowan RA.
Loredonna (left) with a fellow Rowan RA.

New room, new roommate, new classes, new life! These are the paramount changes that people living on Rowan’s campus undergo when transitioning through college.

To help with life in a residence hall, your resident assistant can be a major resource for you.

To begin, resident assistants are required to host at least 5 events that residents can attend on various campus locations. The first event type is a community builder. Community building programs happen within the residence hall and are meant to unify the members of a floor/residence hall as a whole. Whether it is a gaming tournament, a self-care night, or a DIY craft party, community builders are designed to be social and fun for members of the hall.

The other event type is the Campus Community Connection programs. These programs are made in an effort to unify the students with the greater Rowan community by exposing them to Rowan-run activities or resources around campus. These include meditation classes, career fairs or even a 10,000 bingo night. 

Loredonna with other Rowan RA's.Along with programming, resident assistants are available for the students they serve on a deeper level. Once a semester, resident assistants conduct a one-on-one meeting with students. During these meetings, students will be able to discuss academics, involvement, the environment in the residence halls, overall emotional/mental health, and any other concerns the student may have. Resident assistants have a list of resources available to help direct students not only during one-on-one meetings, but at any point throughout the semester as well. 

Community meetings will also be hosted throughout the year to stimulate an ongoing conversation among residents to ensure their health, happiness, and safety. During these meetings, there will be discussions about residence hall policy, fun happenings around Rowan (programs, athletic events, live shows), and different suggestions about how students can live in harmony in a residence hall. 

Your resident assistant is basically a built-in support system and friend that Rowan gives each student. They are trained for weeks in the summer to effectively handle all different situations and to advocate for the needs of all residents. During move-in week, stop by to see your RA and begin to develop a relationship with them. As an RA, I can promise they will be delighted to meet you and get to know you throughout the school year. 

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, junior public relations and advertising double major

Rowan Commuters: Kayla Santiago [VIDEO]

Welcome to our new “Rowan Commuter” series, where we take an inside look at the lives and experiences of Rowan University commuters and how their overall college experience is without living on campus.

In this video, Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts double-major Kayla Santiago talks about how she balances a busy schedule with being a commuter student here at Rowan. 

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Video by:
Tom Copsetta, radio/TV/film graduate

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Writing Arts Major Makenzie Forrest

Exterior shot of 260 Victoria

Meet Makenzie Forrest, a Writing Arts major from Collingswood, New Jersey (Camden County). She will be graduating with the Rowan class of 2023.

What are a few things you are looking forward to next year at Rowan?

I’m looking forward to having small classes (a big plus), living on campus, and going to events/being in clubs.

How or why did you choose your major?

I chose Writing Arts because I love writing.

Why did you choose a university that is close to home?

It’s more familiar to me. I’ve been visiting Rowan’s campus for homecoming with my family every year since I was 5. It’s also only 20 minutes from my house.

What is one activity, club, sport or hobby that you did in high school that you’d like to continue with at Rowan?

Makenzie Forrest: future transferBeing part of a writing organization (the college I’m transferring from didn’t have one, but my high school did!).

Why Rowan?

To me, Rowan can still offer the full college experience, while many other schools are stripping away everything besides classes. Rowan has character. People are friendly, and there are things to do on campus. It’s more than just a few hundred acres or buildings. The people make it what it is.

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Public Relations and Advertising Double Major Olivia Clinkscale Shares Her Perspective on the Black Lives Matter Movement

Today we feature Olivia Clinkscale, a Public Relations and Advertising double major with a minor in Sports Communication and Media from Galloway, NJ (Atlantic County). Olivia is an on-campus resident. 

What is the most amazing or interesting thing you’ve learned in your major this year?

The most interesting thing I’ve learned in public relations and advertising is that it branches out in so many different ways. I learned that PR can be media relations, government relations, investor relations, and used in crisis communication. Basically, the skills that I use in everyday life. Also learning what type of impact advertisements have on people and how the world perceives something has been interesting.

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

I would share that in the public relations/advertising field you will learn about all different things. It’s not just about PR, because this connects with plenty of other majors. You will learn about how to define the story and then make the story compelling to a broader audience. Learning along the way life skills that are useful not just for public relations.

Olivia poses for a selfie.

How have you gotten involved at Rowan? How has your involvement impacted your Rowan experience?

Being a volleyball player here at Rowan has really gotten me involved on campus. It has ultimately given me an outlet and a break from the stresses of schoolwork. Volleyball also keeps me active and keeps me informed on other activities Rowan provides. This involvement in sports has definitely made my time here at Rowan more enjoyable!    

What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean to you?

The Black Lives Matter movement is people stepping up and fighting against racial injustice. People are waking up and seeing problems that need to be fixed, such as police reform and systemic racism. 

Have you attended any Black Lives Matter rallies, protests or vigils?

I attended one in Egg Harbor Township. It was more of a rally, but there was also a protest. The rally was filled with people citing poems, stating facts and speaking about what we are fighting for. The rally was organized by four moms. There were also some little boys that spoke. I am also planning to go to the one in Glassboro on Juneteenth. 

Do you think that the demonstrations are effective?

Yes, I think the recent demonstrations are effective. There are bigger audiences than before, so they cannot be ignored. We have support from all around the world, which helps a lot. 

Olivia poses in her volleyball uniform.

What do you think that Rowan can do to better serve the BLM movement?

Rowan should educate everyone. There should be more of a class to inform students. We have Africana Studies, but … [W]e should have a course that reflects the fact that racism is still an issue today.

Is there anything you want your fellow Rowan students to know?

It all starts with our generation. We need to educate ourselves in order to educate our children and their children and also the people around us. We need to do better so that the world can change. 

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

Photos courtesy of:
Olivia Clinkscale
Unsplash

#Rowan2020 Instagram Contest Winner Megan Miller

Megan poses in front of the Rec Center in her graduation cap and gown.

Today we feature #Rowan2020 Instagram contest winner Megan Miller. Megan is a recent graduate with a bachelor of fine arts in Biomedical Art and Visualization from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County). Megan lived on campus during her freshman and sophomore years and lived off-campus during her junior and senior years. 

Please tell us about your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes? 

My favorite experience in a class was my Surgical Illustration class. Being able to go into surgery and stand right next to the doctor was incredible, especially being able to see what happens during a surgery first-hand.

Megan wears a Rowan shirt outdoors

What was your favorite or most meaningful personal moment at Rowan? 

My favorite personal moment from Rowan was being on the Rowan University Swim Team and winning our fourth straight NJAC title and third straight Metropolitan Conference Championship!

How did being a student-athlete enhance your Rowan experience?

Being a student-athlete was the best decision I could have ever made when coming to Rowan. It took up a lot of time and was a lot of hard work, but all the amazing memories and friends that were made along the way made it all worth it. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Rowan Athletics just feels like a giant family, and I can’t wait to come back and continue to support them as an alum!

Megan poses in her graduation cap and gown.

What are your career aspirations and how did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with those aspirations? 

I aspire to be a medical illustrator. Being a medical illustrator will allow me to see and experience things I would never have the opportunity of seeing while being able to draw. I’ve always found the medical world very interesting but loved drawing and wanted to go to school for it. I was lucky enough to find out that Rowan has the Biomedical Art and Visualization program, which combines the medical world with drawing. 

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

I would like to shout of my parents for always being my # 1 supporters. I also want to thank my friends, I wouldn’t have been able to make it through the past four years without them!

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

Behind the Scenes with #Rowan2020 Contest Winner Edgar Aquino Huerta, Creator of the Viral Graduation Video

Meet recent graduate and #Rowan2020 Social Media contest winner, Edgar Aquino HuertaEdgar, from Bridgeton, NJ (Cumberland County), earned a bachelor’s degree in Radio/TV/Film. His virtual commencement video became a viral sensation and caught the attention of national media outlets. Read more about Edgar and his plans after Rowan. 

Edgar Aquino Huerta wants to be famous for creating videos and films, but he never expected popularity to come so soon.

His 15-second video has racked up over 600,000 views on TikTok, over 34,000 views on Instagram, and over 3,500 views on Facebook.

Edgar working inside Lucas Greenhouse, where he shot the viral graduation video

Edgar’s video features him celebrating his graduation at the farm where he works. In it, he watches Rowan’s “virtual commencement,” and then walks down the center aisle of a greenhouse as his coworkers applaud. This is set to the tune of Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood,” a song that makes Edgar think of the Golden Age of Hollywood — fitting, since he dreams of making it big as a screenwriter and director.

When Rowan announced a social media contest, Edgar started brainstorming. The best five posts from graduating Profs would win $100 Target gift cards, and Edgar thought that “sounded good.” At first, he struggled to come up with an original idea. Then, his boss made a joke about holding commencement at the farm.

Edgar ran with that idea and drew up storyboards. He says, “Although my video was 15 seconds, I still wanted to use my skills to make it cinematic.” He learned a lot as a Radio/TV/Film major at Rowan, and wanted to make the best contest entry possible.

Edgar says that two of his coworkers, Maria and Jose, were especially important to the video’s production. Maria helped organize everyone by telling the other workers where to stand. Jose assumed the role of cameraman — despite having never used an iPhone before! Edgar taught him on the fly and was impressed with how quickly Jose caught on.

At first, Edgar says his coworkers didn’t understand the video they were making. He says, “It wasn’t until they saw the final picture that they understood the purpose of the video.” That said, they were always enthusiastic to help celebrate his achievement. And later on, some coworkers “even made their kids download TikTok so they could show their families.”

Edgar in the greenhouse in the graduation filmEdgar also received support from his mother, who has been in Mexico for the past 10 years. She got “sentimental because she couldn’t be with [him] during that little ceremony.” The image on Edgar’s cap is actually a picture he drew of his mother. He included that as a way to recognize all she’s done for him over the years.

Edgar’s video got very popular overnight, and only got more buzz from there. He says, “The next morning, I noticed the video was going viral.” His phone was going off constantly with notifications. It wasn’t before long that news stations caught wind of the sensation. He has now been featured on several platforms, including Good Morning America, Un Nuevo Dia (Telemundo), and Despierta America (Univision). Edgar says, “I was making headlines for one week straight, and getting to talk to people I never thought I would meet.” He was even contacted about a few work opportunities in Los Angeles.

Edgar in a scene from the viral graduation videoEdgar attributes the video’s viral success to a couple different factors. For one, it was uploaded at just the right time. With the COVID-19 pandemic ruining gatherings of all kinds, these are unprecedented times. Edgar’s uniquely safe way of celebrating acts as a much-needed ray of hope. Edgar says, “I turned a bad situation into something great.” Additionally, the video encourages pride in underappreciated workers. Greenhouses are places of hard manual labor, but Edgar chose to celebrate its beauty instead. Edgar says, “I was aiming at inspiring my community into being proud of where they come from, and to never feel ashamed of our own people.”

In the future, Edgar plans to move to Los Angeles and write screenplays. He credits Rowan’s Professor Keir Politz with helping him decide to pursue this path. Edgar wants to expose his “audience to these worlds that are being ignored.” For now, Edgar and his friends are working on projects to show appreciation for farm workers in their community. They do this though organizing caravans and collecting donations to meet the workers’ needs. Edgar wants everyone to know that farm workers are essential.

You can hear about Edgar’s immigration story in this audio documentary from Rowan Radio.

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Story by: 
Adam Clark, senior radio/television/film major

#Rowan2020 Instagram Contest Winner Enzo Ronchi

Enzo stands against a brick building on campus
Enzo in his cap and gown sitting on a chair outside a house. He is holding a dog who is wearing a matching cap and gown.

Meet recent graduate and #Rowan2020 Instagram Contest winner, Enzo Ronchi! Enzo graduated with a degree in Public Relations and is originally from Ventnor, NJ (Atlantic County). He transferred from Atlantic Cape Community College and has spent the past two years at Rowan University. He reflects on the past two years of his Rowan University journey!

Tell us about your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes.

One of my favorite moments during my time at Rowan was with a faculty member was taking Ad Copywriting with Professor Rodolico. We had to do various PowerPoint presentations, and he makes every student feel very comfortable and confident during a presentation and gives great constructive criticism. I took this class fall 2019. I also really enjoyed my experience in Intro to PR with Cristin Farney! She made me feel super at home when I first transferred here. That was during fall 2018.

What was your favorite or most meaningful personal moment at Rowan?

My most meaningful and personal moments were performing at Rowan Alt Music’s and 4333 Collective shows with my band Transfer Post. Ever since quarantine started, the one thing I miss the most is playing and attending live music shows go any kind.

What are your career aspirations, and how did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with those aspirations?

I think my career aspirations lie within PR/social media in the music industry. That would be my ideal career after college. But working with any form of social media marketing management would be great! I can say almost all of my classes I took between 2018 and 2020 really shaped me and gave me the resources to make myself a better student of PR. This past semester, I interned at 4333 Collective as its social media marketing manager, and I had an amazing experience doing that.

Shout outs:

My family, my friends, The Hamilton House, 4333, Rowan Alt, Jersey Mike’s Italian Subs, Transfer Post, RowanBlog, RoBo, Wilson Hall Studio 1, Pizza Hut, 301 High Street, Rowan PRSSAPRaction, Rodolico, Farney, Schoenstein, Novak, Fitzgerald.

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Junior Major Moments: Professional Development Opportunities on Campus

Group photo of Chase (center) receiving a scholarship.

Today we feature Chase Campbell, an advertising major with minors in communication studies and strategic communication. Chase is a transfer student from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County). Before COVID-19 shut down campus he lived in Magnolia Hall, where he was also a resident assistant.

What is your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes? Headshot of Chase.

My favorite moment with a faculty member was when Professor Rodolico had me visit his office to discuss a scholarship opportunity. He kept pushing me to apply and I doubted that I’d even get considered. I applied for the scholarship, got the interview, and ended up being the first-ever recipient of the Philly Ad Club’s “George Beach Trailblazer Scholarship Award,” which recognizes African American students who are blazing their own trails and upholding the legacy of advertising legend, George Beach. I’ll always be grateful for the support he has given me and for helping me realize my true potential. He has made such a positive impact on my experience at Rowan University.

What is the most amazing or interesting ​thing you’ve learned in your major this year?Group Advertising Club photo.

The most interesting thing I’ve learned is how fun putting together an integrated marketing communication plan can be. Professor Schoenstein not only teaches us the fundamentals, but incorporates creativity in all of the stages. She also emphasizes the importance of detail when it comes to presenting. Small details like those are interesting to learn because once you’ve mastered the art of persuasion, it’s easy to sell an audience.

What pre-professional experiences are helping to support your growth?

I am currently the president of the Advertising Club, vice president and co-founder of the Men of Color Alliance (MOCA), and I am also a resident Group photo of the Men Of Color Alliance Club. assistant. I do have an advertising internship and I am a part of the final talent pool for the T. Howard Foundation. This organization gives college students professional work experience with major media, technology and advertising companies.

I continue to read up on how to enhance my knowledge on the field and attend career advancement events when I can. Getting involved with organizations and events like these, you have the opportunity to network, plan events, improve existing skills and learn new ones in the process.

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A Senior’s Look Inside the Radio/TV/Film Major: Graphics and Production

Inside one of the RTF studios

Today’s story is from Mark Baugh, a senior radio/TV/film major isolating from his off-campus house in Gloucester County, NJ. Mark has a specific interest in graphics and production. 

Have you ever been watching a movie or a TV show and thought to yourself, “How did they just do that?” Or have you been driving down the highway listening to your favorite music and wondered how they make this all work?

A part of the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts, the Radio, TV & Film program (RTF) gives students opportunities to get hands-on learning for things such as TV production, screenwriting and sports radio.

When I first came to Rowan, RTF was not my choice of major. I came in freshman year as a Journalism major because of my interest in sports writing. As my sophomore year began creeping closer and closer, instead of writing about sports, I wanted to know how sports television was created. So I switched majors (which is now becoming more and more common, nothing is wrong with that).

Over the next three years, I learned about the history of TV — from the very beginnings in the early 1930s, through the boom of the television in the 40s and 50s, up to the modern era that we are in today. I got hands-on experience with television cameras, professional lighting and the behind-the-scenes technology of a control room.

I learned how to write a show episode-to-episode and how to create motion graphics and on-screen static graphics for things such as a newscast, which goes along hand-in-hand with my previous graphic design experience, and how to piece together a show clip-by-clip. 

A RTF major filming an event

Students in the RTF major work as groups to create something amazing full-length newscasts, short films, documentaries, podcasts, radio shows and many more in-class and extra-curricular activities throughout their college careers. 

A cameraman films an athletic event

But classes are not the only time that students can work with this equipment and create something special; there are plenty of clubs and opportunities within the major.

Organizations such as Rowan Television Network, Cinema Workshop and Rowan Radio Station give Rowan students a chance to get extra work with the equipment and technology outside of class.

Rowan Television Network creates content for the local Rowan TV station and shoots school-wide events such as sports and guest speakers. Cinema Workshop gives students the freedom to create their own films larger than the ones that they create in class. Rowan Radio Station is fully run by students. WGLS-FM, which airs 24 hours a day on channel 89.7, is home to all types of music like rap, rock and oldies. Students are also able to broadcast on sporting events for Rowan’s athletic teams.

There have been many students who are a part of these organizations who have earned external internships and other opportunities at places such as NFL Films and the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” 

RTF and Journalism double major Victoria Todorova interned for the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
RTF and Journalism double major Victoria Todorova interned for the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

If you have any interest or wonder about the world of entertainment, or want to get a taste of how productions run behind the scenes, then RTF may be the place for you. There are plenty of opportunities for students to grow, making them the best that they can be. 

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Beyond The Classroom: an “Enchanted” PR and Marketing Internship

Stock photo of an outdoor wedding ceremony

Enchanted Celebrations logoToday’s story is from Devon Graf, a senior communications studies major self-distancing from her house in Camden County, NJ. Devon joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Enchanted Celebrations was cut short prematurely due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

I had absolutely no idea where or what I wanted to do for an internship. Luckily, I found Enchanted Celebrations. This company is a photo and video wedding service located in West Creek, NJ. My main focus when applying to this internship was that I noticed I would be doing a lot of public relations and marketing work — perfect for me! I am a Communication Studies major with an Advertising minor. Enchanted Celebrations photo of bride and groom holding hands on a dock with water behind them.

I went full throttle into this internship, I was able to provide my team with innovative ideas and complete all of the tasks that I was given. One thing I take out of this internship is that I became super successful in multi-tasking, stepping out of my comfort zone, and handling each task I was given with a positive attitude. Not only was the work I was given super fun and exciting, but my team members were absolutely incredible! I didn’t go one day not having a great time in the office. 

All semester, I completed various projects relating to event planning and marketing within the wedding industry. For marketing, I contribute to daily blog posts that were shared with numerous clients and marketed across various social media platforms and wedding publications. I became proficient in using their system called CRM, SEO, and various forms of social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hootsuite, etc. In addition to this, I also got to assist the events team in coordinating event logistics and prepping for weekend staff and weddings! Enchanted Celebrations photo of a bride cutting wedding cake.

Below are some of the amazing works of photography I have worked with. Enchanted Celebrations has a numerous amount of extremely talented photographers and videographers. 

Enchanted Celebrations photo of a bride and groom dancing.

I found this internship through Indeed.com! Indeed is a website agency for job positions. I recommend creating an account if you are looking for your next position somewhere! I was at a standpoint at one moment in time and was clueless where to even start searching. I simply filtered out internship positions near my area and selected public relations and communication fields. Next thing I knew, I had an interview!

I got to show my skill set and gained a whole new one. I was able to be creative and show my passion for public relations and marketing all while learning and being in a wonderful environment.

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Story by:
Devon Graf, senior communication studies major

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Senior Reflects: PR Grad Jasmine Dennis Shares Her Favorite Rowan Memories

Exterior shot of Holly Pointe Commons, where Jasmine Dennis was a resident assistant

Today we feature Jasmine Dennis, a 2020 graduate who earned her degree in Public Relations with minors in Communication Studies and Strategic Communication. Jasmine is from Sayreville, NJ (Middlesex County), and lived on campus all four years.

The experiences and memories I’ve made at Rowan will last a lifetime. To begin a new life in an unknown place felt overwhelming at first, but looking back now I’m truly grateful I attended an amazing university that helped me to evolve as a person. Rowan became my home away from home.

I want to thank my parents and sister because they’ve been an incredible support through this whole process. Next, thank you to all of my friends for the endless support and memories. Lastly, thank you to everyone else who’s supported me along the way, it means the world.

Exterior shot of public relations major Jasmine Dennis

I’m proud to say I have achieved many of my goals in a such a short period of time here. To name a few, my junior year I was selected for the Resident Assistant position at Holly Pointe Commons. Later in my junior year, I was awarded the Silver Certification Leadership award. My favorite part about being in a leadership position was serving as a role model and helping others.

Next, the fall of my senior year, I attended the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference trip to San Diego, California with the Rowan PRSSA chapter. This was my first real business trip, and I made great connections, gaining helpful insight about the real world. By the end of the fall of my senior year I was sworn into Rowan’s PRSSA chapter. Finally, in the fall of my senior year, I landed two on-campus jobs and completed an internship at a PR firm located in Marlton, NJ.

Exterior shot of Jasmine Dennis at home.

I loved being active at Rowan, and it was truly the best thing I could have done. Each opportunity built on and prepared me for the next one. Rowan helped me to step outside my comfort zone and gain exposure to a large variety of rewarding experiences.

One of my favorite things about Rowan was its ability to provide what feels like an endless number of social events. Rowan goes above and beyond to offer a variety of opportunities and engaging, hands-on activities.

Thank you, Rowan, for an incredible journey. I’m looking forward to the next chapter that awaits. Congrats to all of the class of 2020, and best of luck to everyone! The world is yours.

Group photo of Jasmine Dennis with her family.

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Senior Reflects: Multi-Talented Artist, New Grad Leann Carlson

Meet Leann Carlson, a recent graduate, studio art major and art history minor from Vineland, New Jersey (Cumberland County) who commuted during her time as a student here at Rowan University. Rowan Blog featured Leann after her semester abroad on a prestigious art scholarship

Leann Carlson at an artist's exhibition

Please tell us about your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes. My favorite memories in the classroom were when the printmaking students would have Dusk ’til Dawn every semester. It’s one night where we students stay in the building from 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. and make art/prepare for finals. We take a big group picture at midnight and I always had a great time participating in it. 

What was your favorite or most meaningful personal moment at Rowan? The most meaningful moment to me during my time in college was the opening reception night of my senior thesis exhibition. I spent the entire day setting up for it and so many of my friends, family and faculty members came out to support me. It made me feel really loved and I’ll honestly never forget it. 

Leann working on a screen printing in the studio at Westby Hall on campus.

What are your career aspirations and how did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with those aspirations? I love being an artist so much, and there’s so many different things that I want to do throughout the course of my life with it. One thing, in particular, is that I’d like to work for a museum and become a curator. I realized this through my job at the Rowan University Art Gallery, where I got to work behind the scenes and learn the ins and outs of how a gallery operates.

Leann Carlson inside the Rowan Art Gallery

Do you want to give a thank you shout out to your family, friends, advisors or mentors? I’d really like to thank all of my close friends, my dad, sister, my aunt Leslie, my uncle Dewey and my Grandmom. I also want to thank my bosses at the Gallery, Mary and Jillian, my advisor and print professor, Dave Vaccaro, and my professors, Doc Appelson, Dr. Adelson, Adam Gustavson, Amanda Almon, and children’s book author, DyAnne DiSalvo!  I feel so blessed and loved. You have all had such a positive impact on my life as an artist and as a person in general. Thank you so much for everything! 

Leann with fellow students inside Westby Hall

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Senior Reflects: Studio Art Major Carlo Martines

The Rowan University Art Gallery

Today we feature Carlo Martines, a Studio Art graduating senior from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County). Carlo transferred to Rowan from Chestnut Hill College, and before social distancing, he commuted to campus. 

Could you please share your favorite social memory? My favorite socialPortrait of Carlo. memory was becoming acquainted with all peers from Cross Country/Track and Field. Another funny one (before I was even officially a Prof) was going to a summer party/kick-back and asking an AEPhi girl if she was in DPhiE. My buddy, who had brought me to this social event, thought it was hysterical.

Could you please share your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes? My favorite moment with a faculty member was answering a handful of questions correctly in a row for a final review for Macro-economics. I wasn’t sure why I was so strong in that class but I received a B and that was my best mark all semester.

Carlo poses for a selfie.What advice would you give to incoming freshmen or transfers about making the most out of their college experience while choosing a university close to home? Stay grounded by doing your best academically. Social life will come no matter what. But if you are doing poorly in class it will affect all aspects of your life as a Prof.

Do you want to give a thank you shout out to your family, friends, advisors or mentors? Shout-out to André Baldarrago, Paulo Nascimento, Kenny Stetser, Joe Paolini, Jan Conradi, Herr Schmidt, Joe Finoochiaro, Eric Dubois, Coach Dimit, Nick Neville, Jenna Pumphrey, Tyler Kline, Adam Lovitz, Rowan Club Soccer, Stephen Kümmer, Michael Schillo, David Vaccaro, Joey Baldarrago, and Zach Bruno, as well as my family, all of my professors from my time at Rowan, and all Profs involved with extra-curricular activities. 

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Senior Reflects: Radio/TV/Film Major Nicolas Matteo

Nicolas and other students at a film festival

Today we feature Nicolas Matteo, a senior Radio, Television & Film major from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County). Nicolas transferred to Rowan from Rowan College at Gloucester County (now RCSJ), and commuted to campus prior to temporary shutdowns in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He is a first-generation college student.

Could you share your favorite moment or experience in one of your classes?A self portrait of radio/TV/film major Nicolas.

My favorite moment was getting my hands on the Black Magic 4k cameras in my Film Production 2 class.

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen or transfers about making the most out of their college experience while choosing a university close to home?

Join and participate in the Cinema Workshop. I haven’t been able to, but I hear it’s totally worth it.

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

I want to thank my parents, my sister Sophia, my beautiful girlfriend Destiny, and my brother-from-another-mother Jeremy, for sticking by me and helping me along the path of greatness.

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Senior Reflects: Sports Communication Major Austin Michael Jones Graduates with Pro Team Aspirations

Exterior shot of owl statue on Rowan's campus

Today we feature Austin Michael Jones, a Sports Communication and Media major from Franklinville, NJ (Gloucester County). This first-generation senior, who transferred from Rowan College of New Jersey, lives off campus. Austin shares his future plans and favorite Rowan moments, including meeting a basketball Hall of Famer.

Exterior shot of Austin Michael Jones on Rowan Boulevard with the Rowan Shuttle behind himTell us about your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes?

My favorite moment with a faculty moment was going to Atlanta, Georgia for the NCAA Inclusion Forum with Professor Yannick Kluch. Rowan students Thomas Cardona, Kayla Santiago and Alexandra Brooks also attended the event. We got to learn and make connections with fellow professor and students who are devoted to make a cultural change about diversity.

What was your favorite or most meaningful personal moment at Rowan?

When I got to meet basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. He gave us students such great advice about life and the obstacles he had to overcome. The coolest thing was I was literally sitting next to Barkley.

What are your career aspirations?  How did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with those aspirations?

My career aspiration is to work front office with an NFL or NBA team. The Pizza with the Pros helped me because I got to make some connections that have been able to help me with my future career. Also, speaking with Yannick Kluch and Neil Hartman have allowed me search for positions that best fit me.

Austin Michael Jones (in center) celebrates his graduation with members of his familyDo you want to give a thank you shout out to your family, friends, advisors or mentors?

I want to give thanks to my family, friends and all the faculty members that have helped me through my educational path. I also want to say thank you to my late mother who has been watching above me. Lastly, thank you Rowan University for being part of my life.

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Senior Reflects: My Most Interesting Classes at Rowan

A stock image of a laptop and a notebook with pens

Today’s story is from Devon Graf, a senior communications studies major self-distancing from her house in Camden County, NJ. Devon joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Enchanted Celebrations was cut short prematurely due to COVID-19 affecting business.

Coming to an ending of my college experience, I get to reflect on the little things and the big things. From the amazing memories I have had at Rowan University I reflect a lot on my friends, as well as my professors and peers.

One of my favorite classes I have taken as a Communication Studies major is Integrated Communication Marketing. Although I would have to say a number of my classes became my “most” interesting one, as each course brought me different knowledge within my field.Communication studies major Devon Graf studying outside Holly Pointe Commons

My coursework at Rowan provided me with an excellent foundation and allowed me to put my skill sets into practice. Courses such as Participatory Media helped my skills in social media strategy. I helped to kickstart The Daily Challenge Social Media Campaign through regular posts and interact with users on multiple platforms, analysis of analytics and observing marketing trends. This provided great insight into the likes and dislikes of college students.

Communication Studies major Devon Graf working on her Daily Challenge Class Project.
A peer and I posing for our class project for Communication Studies, we had to create our own social media platform!

My Integrated Marketing Communication class allowed me to create a product and marketing plan for a specialized portable solar charger. The last course I will highlight is Public Relations of Law and Ethics. Upon learning about the theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in its relevance to marketing, I was able to understand and tend to my client’s needs on a higher level during my internship at Enchanted Celebrations in West Creek, NJ.

I believe a college course is what you make of it. Sometimes we students have to take courses we don’t want to, or we don’t think we need, but those courses can pay off. Trust me. Down the line, you might actually refer to something you learned in Art Appreciation or American Government. Not all majors need to stick with one specific course load. Broaden your knowledge! Take each course you are signed up for with a positive attitude.

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Story and photography by:
Devon Graf, senior communication studies major

Brand Management, My Favorite Class at Rowan

Julia McAleavey- my favorite class at Rowan

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

Today’s story features Julia McAleavey, a senior from Monmouth County, NJ, graduating with a bachelor’s in advertising. Julia transferred to Rowan her sophomore year, from Eastern University in Pennsylvania. 

During my time at Rowan, I have taken a lot of really incredible classes. These include classes within the Department of Public Relations and Advertising as well as general education classes.

My favorite class I ever took, however, was a graduate course called Brand Management.

Last year, during my spring semester advising appointment, I was told that I was eligible for a program called Senior Privilege. I learned that I had enough credits to take six credits of graduate courses as a senior. I hadn’t thought to much about graduate school, but figured this would be a great chance to find out if it is a good fit for me.

I had a few options to choose from within the program, but I chose Brand Management because I am someone who could talk about brands for hours and not be bored. Being that this was my first-ever graduate course, I was very nervous at first. It did help, however, that I already knew the professor from previous courses. The course was taught by Dr. Kristine Johnson, a well-known and loved professor in the Public Relations and Advertising department. Additionally, there were a couple other students who were still undergrads, which also made the situation more comforting. 

Graduate courses aren’t too different from undergrad, but there are a few distinctions that I really liked. The classes are smaller, so it’s easier to build relationships with peers. They are also much more discussion based. Every week, we sat in a circle so we can easily talk about brands and other topics. One discussion I remember having was when we compared and contrasted Sprite and Mountain Dew as if they were people. As I stated before, I could talk about brands forever and not get bored, so I loved activities like these. 

301 High St. building shot from aboveBrand Management also consisted of several projects and presentations, both group and individual. We did individual presentations on brands in the news, which kept us up to date on what was going on with different brands. We also did a ‘my brand’ presentation, where the presenter presented themselves as their own brand. I liked this one a lot because it showed that people are their own brand, that brands have personality, and it helped my classmates and I get to know each other.

For the group projects, we did a full brand audit and a case study. My favorite project, however, was one where we worked with real clients. Two men who owned a gym wanted help to get more people to join their gym, so we pitched ideas to them that they could use. Helping out actual projects made the project seem more worthwhile and rewarding. 

As a whole, Brand Management was an amazing class and a perfect fit for me. I would recommend it to any ECCCA major who qualifies for Senior Privilege.

As far as Senior Privilege goes in general, even if grad school isn’t in your final plan, try the program if you’re eligible. It’s a great way to find out if you’d like to try grad school in the future, and you might really enjoy the experience like I did. 

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Meet #Rowan2024: Film Major Ambbar Marrero

Stock photo of film unrolling against a white background.

Today we feature Ambbar Marrero, an incoming freshman from Cumberland County, NJ, who will live on campus. Ambbar will major in Radio/TV/Film (RTF.)

Why Rowan?
Why not Rowan. I did research and I applied to a handful of universities but this one in particular has an amazing Radio/TV/Film program, to add to that a beautiful campus, and it’s also conveniently close to home.

What are a few things you’re looking forward to next year at Rowan?
I am looking forward to living on my own for the first time and being fully independent, looking forward to meet new people, and to know more about my major.

Ambbar stands in front of the Washington monument.

Why did you choose your major?
I chose my major because film has always played a big part in my life, I want to make an impact on the world through the art of film.

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5 Benefits of Going to College Close to Home

A welcome home mat to signify the importance of staying close to home

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home! While many people like Dorothy want to venture off to a place far away, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. There are a lot of benefits of staying close to home for college. I’ve learned this myself […]

Gaining Professional Skills Through On-Campus Experience

Field at Wackar Stadium

One of the biggest decisions that a student has to make when they come to college is what path they wish to take career wise. The classes and the extra curricular activities that students can join on Rowan’s campus can help boost them towards the overall goal of starting a career. 

The University offers countless amounts of clubs and internship opportunities that span across all majors and interests a student may have.

These organizations give students the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge for the fields that they might want to go into such as the Advertising Club, Writing Arts Club, and the Athletic Training Club. As we all know experience can mean everything when it comes to the end of your college career and the job search begins. 

This year I was given the opportunity to be an intern for Rowan University’s Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact. My job entailed with making graphics and promotional material for our social media pages and editing the website for the center. The center is a part of the Sports Communication major and the newly named Ric Edelman College of Communications & Creative Arts

A graphic of upcoming events that Mark produced during his internship

Internships through the school can be very rewarding to students. I gained experience in an office setting working with a team of students and university faculty. For someone working in graphic design such as myself, having to stick within the guidelines of an institution such as Rowan University gave me an experience I never had before. I never had to follow the rules of a company while designing; this would have been something I would learn the hard way if it wasn’t for the experience I gained through the internship. 

A graphic of an upcoming event that Mark produced during his internship

Though most of the internships at Rowan are not paid like a job on campus would be, a student can recieve class credits. This helped me make sure that each semester I had enough credits to reach the graduating goal of 120 credits while gaining extra knowledge outside of class time. 

Students listen to a professional in sports communication during a Pizza with the Pros event

Internships and club experiences can be very valuable to students. They can give students unforgettable memories for their college experience and give them something to pad their impressive resumes for the future. My internship is something I am very thankful for and every student should take the chance to experience it for themselves. You never know what it might give you in return.    

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Story and photos by:
Mark Baugh, senior radio/tv/film major

Growing up in Glassboro: Why I Chose Rowan

Today’s story is from Maria Mancini, a senior public relations major self-distancing from her house in Glassboro, NJ (Gloucester County). Maria joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Nexus Properties was cut short prematurely due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

For many of you, Glassboro, NJ is just a town where Rowan University is located; but for me, it’s home and has been my entire life. I went through Glassboro’s public schools, played sports here and graduated from Glassboro High School. I lived here as Glassboro transitioned from a small town to a big college destination. So if I have been here my whole life, why would I want to stay here for college, too? 

Here are three main reasons why I chose Rowan University.  

1. Family is Here

Author Maria Mancini (far right) with her siblings

I grew up in a very big Italian family.  I have two older sisters and a younger brother, 15+ older cousins, many aunts and uncles. Growing up, my Nonna would watch my siblings, my cousins and me while our parents went to work. As we got older, we were only there after school. Being able to grow up with all my cousins and siblings around created a bond with my family that is truly irreplaceable. I do everything with my family. We cook together, play sports together and pretty much everything else together. When the opportunity came to go to college, I honestly didn’t think twice about leaving my family. I knew that I belonged right here in Glassboro where I could stay close to them. 

2. Financially Smart 

Piggy bank to represent saving money

Picking Rowan meant I got to live at home, eat my mom’s food and not pay any bills. I wanted to go to college after high school, but I didn’t want to be in debt. Rowan University is reasonably priced per semester, and not having to live on campus or needing a meal plan made that price go down even more. Choosing Rowan also meant that I would be able to find a job and work part time. Rowan was the choice for me because I was able to save money while also making money.  

3. Opportunities 

Drone view of Rowan's Glassboro campus

Because I grew up in Glassboro, I have seen the progression of Rowan University. I have watched as Rowan started to take over Glassboro. I could see that Rowan was growing and not at a slow pace. I watched as houses in my neighborhood turned into rentals for college students. I watched as buildings started to go up all over Glassboro and on Rowan’s campus. For me, this only meant one thing — opportunities. I could see that Rowan was turning into a highly recognizable university. I would research Rowan and see all of their programs and degrees that they had to offer. I saw all the awards Rowan was getting. I knew that if I went to Rowan, I would succeed, not only academically, but also after college. Rowan University was an opportunity for me to further my education with amazing professors and staff along to help me. 

I might have lived in Glassboro my entire life, but choosing Rowan University was a no brainer for me. I don’t miss out on any moments with my family, I get to graduate college debt free and I am given endless opportunities. If you live in Glassboro, or even in the surrounding towns, go to Rowan University. You won’t regret it.

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Story by:
Maria Mancini, senior public relations major

The Perks of Completing Multiple Internships

Nicole with employees and mentors at FitGrid, one of the organizations she interned for

Starting your first internship can be stressful. I was so nervous on the first day of my first internship! But after long summers and semesters at various companies, I learned to embrace the once-in-a-lifetime role of being an intern and make the most of every experience I was lucky to have.

Here are some of the benefits I’ve discovered while juggling multiple internships throughout college.

  • It’ll help you narrow down your career choice

Internships are like a test-drive for your potential career. With each new role as an intern comes an opportunity to learn something you didn’t already know about your field. Your responsibilities and tasks will differ with each internship, and experiencing a little bit of everything will help you determine what you enjoy doing (and maybe what you don’t like doing, which is also helpful). When I started my first one, I wasn’t sure if it would be the perfect fit for what I wanted to do.

a stack of skincare products from the brand Sabon NYC, next to a coffee mug and slices of lime on a pile of magazines.
At my first internship with Sabon NYC, I got to expand my product photography skills, which was something I never expected to do, but ended up enjoying!

The next summer, I began another internship and learned that this one was more my speed. Noting the similarities and differences between each opportunity made me realize what was important to me in a future job. No two internships are the same, and getting a taste of what life is like at different companies will help you focus on what you are looking for in a future career.

  • The more experience, the better

Employers like to see a range of experience showcased on your resume. Having a handful of internships to talk about will not only show them that you are a hard worker, but it will portray how well-rounded you are. Every company operates in its own way, and showing how you adapted to each new atmosphere is a chance to impress. Having at least some background knowledge in different software, strategies and skills that you’ve learned at each internship shows how flexible you are as a worker. This experience can qualify you for more opportunities in the future and make you feel more prepared to enter a new professional environment. For example, one company I interned for used a certain software to schedule their posts, while the next company used a different one. I was able to put both softwares on my resume, which diversifies my skills.

  • You can make mistakes and learn from them
the Brooklyn bridge against a clear blue sky, with cars and school buses lined up on the streets below.
Another perk of internships: you get to see new places you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to. My last internship was in NYC, and I made time to visit Brooklyn after the day was over!

The best advice I’ve received as an intern? You’re allowed to make mistakes — in fact, it’s almost expected of you. Your bosses know that you aren’t an expert in your field yet, and that’s why you’re here to learn as much as you can. Don’t panic if your work isn’t perfect; instead, ask about how you can improve it next time. Take advantage of the proximity you have to professionals in your field, and ask to be a part of any projects that interest you. Internships are a lot less structured than salaried jobs, and you’re allowed to be hands-on in different areas of the company that you want to learn more about. Even just observing others or asking questions can open the door to new knowledge or skills that can help you in the future.

  • You’ll gain confidence

It can be intimidating to start at a new workplace, especially as an intern. But remember that you were hired for a reason, and your employer sees potential in you! Building up your portfolio and playing a role in new projects is invaluable experience that makes you all the more appealing as a job candidate. At first, I felt embarrassed about being the youngest, least experienced person in the room. But I quickly learned how empowering it can be to learn how a company operates before graduating college! Overcoming the challenges that your work may present, and learning to interact in a professional manner, are skills that benefit you in any role. Plus, you can carry the skills you’ve acquired to new opportunities and feel a lot more prepared to handle any challenges that come your way.

Nicole sits among her coworkers, lined up side by side in two rows behind a table.
I was lucky to learn from so many of my talented mentors at my third internship with a company called FitGrid.
  • It can open doors for new experiences

If you hit it off with your colleagues or supervisors, stay in contact with them! They can endorse you for skills on LinkedIn, write you recommendation letters and serve as references for your next internship or job applications. At my internship this past summer, my boss worked one-on-one with me a lot, and we still keep in touch. When the company needs some extra help, she’s presented me with several freelance opportunities that look great on my resume and provide some extra cash on the side. You never know when the connections you make at your internship will come in handy to help you navigate your future career.

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Story by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Pandemic Profs: Working at a Pizza Place in Bergen County During COVID-19

Bags at pizzeria lined up on a counter ready for pick up.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Jess Squilanti, a sophomore advertising major who is spending the rest of her semester at home in Riverdale, NJ. (Bergen County.) While on campus, Jess lived in 114 Victoria.

Jess stands for a portrait, wearing a black top and ripped jeans.I live in Bergen County which has become the most populated area in NJ with the COVID-19 virus in a very short amount of time. Personally, my town has about 40 cases and that keeps increasing every single day. It is crazy but life still needs to go on, so I started doing what I would be doing while I’m home normally: working.

I have two jobs; one I acquired this past summer at TJ Maxx, which is currently closed due to the virus, and the other a job I’ve had since high school at a local pizza place. The restaurant and pizza parlor, Della Cucina in Hillsdale, NJ, is still open for takeout and delivery, with the restaurant side closed. I enjoy working there and have made relationships with all my coworkers that make it not even feel like work. 

Storefront of pizza place.Since the virus has started to spread more rapidly, a state curfew has been issued and lockdown put in place, altering our hours. Now, we need to be very cautious; I am always washing my hands when leaving to take a delivery or even after a customer comes in to pick up food.

We get new customers every day which is great, and we are also doing things to help the community. We are preparing meals such as our special family dinner deal for people who cannot leave the house to even go to the grocery store because they are at risk. A minister from our local church has helped us with delivering these to families, and even to hospitals in our area. It’s been really nice to be involved in something that is helping my community during this insane time period.

Since this is a time that local businesses may not be not be doing well, last week at work I took public relations and advertising photography of the dinners packed up and sitting on the counter in the pizza area for my boss to upload to the website to promote business.

Row of square pizzas coming out of the oven.My experience recently at Della Cucina has also opened my eyes to how serious and scary this is right now, from seeing people come in with gloves and masks on to doing no-contact deliveries and curbside pickup. It has changed everything as far as how we do things at the pizza place.

It is obviously crazy to be living in this situation, but working at my job and getting this experience is making me grow as a person. I’m always looking at it in a positive light. 

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Journalism Student Reduces the Negative Stigma of the Word “Homelessness” Through Her Blog

drone shot of Philadelphia skyline

“It’s important not to judge someone before listening to them,” says Lauren Purnell, a first-generation college senior majoring in journalism and minoring in new media from Florence, NJ (Burlington County).

Lauren used her passion for storytelling and giving a voice to the voiceless to create a blog called Naming the Homeless, where her mission is about reducing “the stigma and the negative connotations attached to the word homelessness,” by interviewing homeless individuals to share their stories.

Rowan student Lauren Purnell interviews a subject for her blog on the homeless

Lauren’s effort has led her to gain lots of support from her community, fundraising more than $1,000. Today, Lauren will share with us why she started the blog and what she has learned through the process of interviewing homeless individuals.

The idea of creating the Naming the Homeless blog came to Lauren when her Intro to Journalistic Writing professor at Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) explained to her class the importance in having outside work experience.

“I took that into heart and said, ‘OK, let me do a blog.’ I didn’t really know what to write about and … I didn’t want to write about myself. I was thinking about different issues that were important to me, and one of them is homelessness,” she says. 

Lauren chose to venture to Philadelphia to find people to interview (Philadelphia has become a city with one of the highest poverty ratings in the nation). Each time Lauren went she took a couple of care packages that she put together with the help of her mother (who has supported Lauren from the very beginning) going with her to Philly each week.

The first time Lauren went to Philly, it took her a while to build up the courage to ask someone for an interview. “It’s kind of uncomfortable at first because you are just asking these searching questions. You never know what they are going to say and that is the best part, because you don’t know what they are going to tell you,” she says.

Rowan student Lauren Purnell interviews a subject for her blog on the homeless

Lauren recalls one of the sweetest moments she has encountered:

“I had done my interview already for the day, but we passed an older lady and I asked her if she wanted a sandwich. She looked at me and my mom and was like ‘Thank you so much, I was having such a rough day, and this was a sign that I needed. Everything will be okay; this is my kids up in heaven telling me that it’s going to be alright and thank you so much, it really means a lot to me.”

In the beginning, Lauren made care packages that were paid out of her pocket, but as her blog grew and more people knew about her project, she started getting support and recognition. Lauren was interviewed by Fox 29 — “that got a lot of attention and I ended up having a GoFundMe, the biggest donation I got was from an organization who gave $250. Each of my care packages are like $20 so that really helped make an impact.”

Burlington County Times, Lauren’s hometown newspaper, interviewed her and gave her an internship opportunity over the summer. South Jersey Magazine did a feature of her as well. Lauren also won two awards. “At RCBC I got an award for journalism and I also got their Civility Award,” she says.

Lauren’s blog currently has over 1,200 subscriptions and over 500 likes on the Naming the Homeless Facebook page. “When I first started it, I was just doing it for personal reasons and then it took off. It was really because of my community [because] without their support I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

“Every time I leave an interview, I just want to take them home. You obviously want to see them again, but you really hope you don’t see them again because if you run into them again it means that they are probably in the same situation when you first saw them.”

Rowan student Lauren Purnell interviews a subject for her blog on the homeless

After graduating, Lauren would like to continue writing community stories and continue giving a voice to the voiceless and working her way up to investigative reporting.

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Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major 

Photos courtesy of:
Lauren Purnell/Naming the Homeless

Pandemic Profs: Keeping My Skills Sharp

Stock image of a laptop at a home work station.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Mark Baugh, a senior radio/TV/film major isolating from his off-campus house in Gloucester County, NJ. Mark has a specific interest in graphics and production. 

Being a Radio, TV, Film student I heard a lot of different worries through the halls the week leading up to spring break. “How will we be able to use the equipment?” “Will we just not learn how to use anything?”  Instead of doing nothing while seemingly locked in my house, I am taking this time to spread my wings a bit and open up my creative skills to other elements of art and creation through creative projects. 

My girlfriend Julia Lewis, a junior marketing major from Washington Township, NJ was looking for a way to make money on the side while she was taking a full slate of classes. One of her hobbies is “thrifting” where she buys trendy clothing from thrift stores and makes slight changes to them. She took this hobby and made it into a business by selling these clothes on social media platforms such as Instagram (@juliascloset). 

Orange, gray and white logo for Julia's closet, featuring a palm tree against a brick background. I thought helping Julia would be a nice project for me to keep my skills sharp even while classes are online. After talking to Julia she said that she wanted a new logo for her page and graphics for when she is running a giveaway or when new clothes are going to be posted. Being a big fan of the beach and spending most of her time down the shore that was the theme that she was going for. We were able to sit down and pick out a color scheme and typography that she believed fit her the best. It was a win-win for both of us. She got some new content for her page and I had the opportunity to try new things that I have never tried before on some of my projects. 

Orange, gray and white sales logo for Julia's closet, featuring a palm tree against a brick background, saying New clothes TONIGHT.

I think that this is something that everyone should try to take advantage of, whether creative or not. Try to find yourself a project along the lines of your major or try something that you have never tried before. It is a good way to keep your brain active during this time where everything seems repetitive and boring. You never know you might find yourself a new hobby or a skill where you can excel.

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Story and Designs by: Mark Baugh, Radio, TV, Film (RTF) major

Studio Art Major Helps Heal with Sensory Paintings

Jessica wears a yellow shirt while holding a paintbrush to her canvas, a nature painting of koi fish.

Jessica Hedum, a senior studio art major from Cape May, NJ (Cape May County), has always been fascinated with art.

In high school, Jessica spent most of her time in the art studio, learning the fundamentals of painting and developing her love for it. Her teacher was a mentor, opening her eyes to many careers in art and ultimately, suggesting she look into art therapy based on her experience and values.

When her dad and sister — both Rowan alumni — recommended she transfer to the art program at Rowan after community college, she took their suggestion to heart. “I checked out Rutgers and Temple too, but everything seemed big and overwhelming, and nothing really felt like home to me,” she says. “But I walked into the painting studio [in Westby Hall at Rowan] and just felt at ease. That was the moment when I thought, ‘Okay, I want to keep this family tradition going.’”

Jessica leans over a canvas with lily pads, holding a paintbrush with a paint pallette in front of her. Based on a suggestion from her high school art teacher and mentor, Jessica is working toward a career as an art therapist at a nearby hospital or cancer center. “[Art therapy is] really important for me to pursue. My sister had cancer, so it’s something that definitely hits home for me. And the possibility of working with little kids or anyone on the spectrum is something that’s so rewarding for everyone,” she says. “Art doesn’t have to be perfect; it doesn’t have to come out like you expected it to. Just the act of physically [making art] is so much more impactful than people might realize.”

Jessica reflects these values of helping people through art in her own work, too. A mixture of glass beads and modeling paste, applied to the canvas, dries hard and allows her to sculpt shapes onto the flat surface of her paintings. Her paintings contain 3D sensory details that viewers can touch, and she invites them to do so, because of the soothing effects of feeling the different textures in her art.

Jessica with her series of textured paintings hanging in Westby Hall, inspired by her hometown of Cape May, NJ.

“I started doing this because I heard how successful and engaging the Please Touch Museum is in Philadelphia. Giving people a sensory experience is my goal. Especially for people that have learning disabilities or are on the spectrum, they have something to feel and touch that engages and connects them with the painting more. As a child, you are always yelled at in museums “Do not touch the art!” but my pieces invite children to explore and feel the art. Physically feeling the art can be very appealing to those that struggle to understand art; maybe they do not grasp the concept of the visual but they are pleased by the experience they get from running their fingers along the shape. It’s kind of like Braille for the blind, but in shapes for recognizing the texture and objects in paintings for children or adults that may struggle to understand fine art concepts and subject matter.”

When it comes to dealing with the personal hardships and mental health challenges that many college students face in some form, Jessica turns to art for healing and relief. “I’ve just been painting through it and believing in art therapy. Even just physically getting out of bed, and being in the [art] building and absorbing the environment helps. It’s been a dramatic shift in my life, but I feel like my artwork speaks for it in a way.”

“It’s a really powerful thing, to be able to touch people through art, with PTSD, Alzheimers or anyone on the spectrum. It’s really a premise to how art has helped me through a lot of personal struggles,” Jessica explains. “Whenever anything was going on that gave me trouble, I found so much peace and relief in painting, so that’s where I started to really get involved with art therapy. I just want to help people through art the same way it’s helped me.”

Jessica wears a Women of Westby t-shirt and stands with her peers in Westby Hall, as they prepare an installation.
Jessica and her peers recently set up an installation in Westby Hall to call attention to underrepresented artists and women (from the @womenofwestby Instagram).

Jessica expresses her love for art on her Instagram page through behind-the-scenes looks at her painting process and personal captions about her adventures in Westby. “A lot of people like when I post art videos of me physically painting. It’s very therapeutic and I’m just trying to imitate that calming feeling you see in YouTube videos where people play with sand or cut soap. I feel like recording myself painting gives people a more personal look into the layering process of painting with oils.”

She also runs Women of Westby with her colleagues in the art building, to draw attention to underrepresented artists. To learn more about Women of Westby, and how you can get involved, follow @WomenOfWestby. Everyone of all genders and majors is welcome!

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Story and photos by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Rowan Women in Leadership: Arielle Gedeon

Arielle sitting in the Student Government Association office.

Along with being Student Government Association (SGA) president, Arielle Gedeon is a junior Radio/TV/Film (RTF) major with double minors in political science and new media. The Galloway, NJ (Atlantic County) native lives on campus and, in addition to her role as SGA president, serves as president of the Lambda Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha […]

Degree in 3 Success Story: Amanda Devers, Radio/Television/Film

Amanda wears a Rowan shirt and sits on the ground smiling in front of a Rowan logo on the ground.

“Rowan was always in the back of my mind, since my mom went here for her undergrad and master’s,” says senior radio/television/film major Amanda Devers, from Gibbstown, NJ (Gloucester County). “We drove through campus all the time, so I was able to see it from a younger age.”

Amanda discovered at GCIT (Gloucester County Institute of Technology) vocational high school that she enjoyed working with film and audio, and kept that in mind as she began her college application process. She kept RTF in mind as she considered the universities she wanted to apply to, and discovered that Rowan met her needs. 

Amanda writes at a desk with a microphone and audio mixing equipment at the Rowan radio station.
Amanda on the job as operations manager at the Rowan Radio station, WGLS-FM.

“Rowan has a quality RTF program, and going [here] would allow me to mix that closeness to home with my passion for RTF,” she reflects.

Amanda’s acceptance letter to Rowan came with an option to participate in the Degree in 3 program, and RTF was one of the majors offered. “I talked it over with my parents, and we decided [Degree in 3] was a great idea. I wouldn’t have to pay for tuition, room and board, or dining for a whole additional year. I’d be saving a lot of money, and I could even live on campus,” she says, as a current resident of the Whitney Center apartments

Upon entering campus as a freshman, Amanda was interested right away in becoming a part of Rowan’s radio station, WGLS-FM.

“I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t get involved immediately, so I could have the longest time to be [at the radio station] throughout college,” she recalls, “this time last year, i applied to be operations manager, the highest position for students, and I got it! 

My responsibilities included helping the station manager and faculty-run Rowan Radio. It was such a professional environment, and I was surrounded by a lot of cool people who really love what they do. Rowan Radio was like my second dorm.”

Amanda and her friend, Alex, hold up their nametags at an event.
Amanda and Alex, her co-operations manager at Rowan Radio, at a radio event.

Amanda, who has a minor in audio recording and an honors concentration, knew that an accelerated program such as Degree in 3 would be challenging, but she felt that the workload was worth the money and time she’d save in the long run.

“For the program, we’re encouraged to take six classes per semester, instead of the typical five for traditional four-year students. As the years went on, I got a job and became more involved with the radio station, and had to learn to balance everything in my life,” she says. “Time management was definitely something I struggled with during my busiest semesters, but support from friends and my parents helped get me through the challenges.”

To stay organized, Amanda started keeping a bullet journal her freshman year, where she wrote to-do lists to prioritize and keep track of her assignments. 

“Being an RTF major, I had a lot of hands-on projects to do, so it helped to block off steps of each project for one day at a time. I would do a certain step one day, and another step the next. I looked at each part of the process as a separate task, instead of looking at the whole picture, to help me feel less overwhelmed.”

Amanda, wearing glasses, holds up the Rowan Radio Operations ManualAs Amanda wraps up her last year at Rowan, she recommends the Degree in 3 program for those who are interested. “It definitely has shaped the way I view my workload,” she says. “My whole mentality has changed when it comes to work, and I’m able to balance a lot of tasks and manage my time better. I feel like I work harder now and when it comes to my workload, I don’t have the same mindset anymore.”

And as for her future career plans? “I would like to continue work in RTF, especially radio and broadcasting. I’ve learned this past year that I like to manage people and projects, and would like a similar position at a radio station. I feel like I’m well-prepared for that now.”

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Story by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Photos submitted by:
Amanda Devers, senior RTF major

Rowan at Home: Glimpse into Biomedical Arts & Visualization with Emily Higgins [VIDEO]

Emily carving a clay skull in a classroom.
https://youtu.be/PWxhg_Ohegg

Welcome to Rowan at Home, our new series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story features Emily Higgins, a junior isolating in her house in Morris County, NJ. Emily is a Biomedical Art and Visualization major who normally spends a lot of time in Westby Hall, which is her home away from home at Rowan University. 

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Video by: Peter Planamente, senior journalism major
Dean Powers, sophomore radio/TV/film major
Music by: Tommy Bell, junior music industry major

Pandemic Profs: How to Take Better Photos as a College Student

Nicole stands in front of a magnolia tree with a camera.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Nicole Cier, a senior isolating in her house in Middlesex County, NJ. Nicole is a writing arts major who normally lives in Rowan Boulevard Apartments during the school year. Find Nicole’s photos for Rowan Blog here

As college students, we are experiencing what most people reflect on as some of the best years of their lives. We have unlimited opportunities, live close to our friends, and find unique ways to have fun. The memories we make during these four (or so) years of our lives can last a lifetime — but why not take photos, just in case we forget? Whether you want to post these photos on social media, store them in an album, or hang them on your dorm room wall, here are some tips to up your photography game. 

Make the most of natural light

Nicole stands in front of a magnolia tree with a camera.Most of us don’t have the money as college students to invest in a fancy camera, but we can make the most of our phone cameras with a few lighting tricks. Natural light is going to be our best friend, so try to shoot during the day time when you can use minimal overhead lighting. Fluorescent lights usually don’t work well with photos, and can distort the exposure (brightness) or colors in your photos. Avoid shooting in direct sunlight, especially if there is a person in the shot, so they don’t have to squint. Typically, overcast or cloudier days are best, as they prevent overexposure of your image and distracting sun flares or glares. Wherever your light is coming from, it should illuminate the subject in your photo so that they stick out from the background. Have your subject face the light source, as opposed to having their back to the light, so they are clearly visible.

Jelani leans against a fence, hands in his pockets, with bikes next to him.
This photo of my Rowan Blog colleague, Jelani, is one of my favorite photos that I’ve taken and makes good use of natural light.

Consider your composition

To take the best photo, pay attention to your surroundings! The composition of a photo pertains to how the subject(s) in your image are arranged in relation to other objects nearby and the background. One of the biggest mistakes people make in photography is not noticing distractions in the background that could take away from their photo. Make sure that things such as telephone poles and trees are not “poking out of” your subject’s head in the photo, and make sure to remove any objects you don’t want in the frame. Sometimes even people in the background can distract from the main subject.

a hand holding a yellow phone case, with the camera app opened on the phone
The subject is in the middle of the frame, following the Rule of Thirds.

Use lines & symmetry as a guide

The Rule of Thirds is another important aspect to keep in mind while taking photos (here is a short YouTube clip explaining the Rule of Thirds). It ensures that your photo’s composition is “balanced,” so the viewer’s eye knows exactly where to look, and so your focal point — the part of the photo you want to draw attention to — is the star of the show. Symmetry and leading lines make your photo easier on the eyes, and pave a simple path for the eye to follow to the focal point. Turning on the gridlines in your phone or camera’s settings makes using leading lines and symmetry in your pictures much easier.

Shoot with intention

One of the biggest mistakes people make in photography is not thinking about what they want the photo to express. Take into consideration what your goal is for each photo, and strive to capture that. For example, if you want to portray someone as powerful or important, shoot them from a low angle, with your camera pointed slightly up towards them. If you want to take an “artsy” portrait of your friend, consider props or a particular scenery that will set the tone you have in mind. Having an idea of what you want a photo to look like, before you even take it, will help you get the best picture possible!

The final image.

And as with any art form, don’t be afraid to try new techniques! Experiment with different lighting and composition options, and compare your photos. Looking at two photos side by side, that have the same subject matter but were shot differently, can teach you a lot about photography. Take as many photos as you can and find what style you like the most. Each photographer has a unique style in their pictures, and there is no “wrong” way to do it. Make the most of your college memories and preserve them, too, by snapping the best photos you can.

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

Rowan at Home: Glassboro Native Builds Sports Career in Her “Own Backyard”

Kayla smiles and stands in front of Wackar Stadium

Welcome to Rowan at Home, our new series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story features sophomore Kayla Santiago, and was captured by senior Nicole Cier, writing arts, before quarantine. 

Sophomore Kayla Santiago, of Glassboro, NJ (Gloucester County), had never considered applying to Rowan, though it was just a five-minute drive from home — “it’s practically in my backyard, and I didn’t want to commute.” She feared she would miss out on the typical college experience of living in a dorm, but soon discovered that Rowan was the perfect missing puzzle piece in the search for her future career. 

Kayla stands in front of the Prof statue by the Rowan University team house.“I originally didn’t even apply until the day of the [application] deadline, and then I found out about the Sports Communication and Media (Sports CAM) major, and realized it was perfect for me,” she reflects. “It brought me back to the passion I’ve had for sports since my childhood, when my dad would take me to the Phillies batting practice and I’d be chanting players’ names at three years old.”

Taking on the Sports CAM and Journalism majors, with a minor in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Kayla dove into the world of Rowan athletics. She asked her advisor for advice on getting involved in the major as a freshman and found her place with Rowan Television Network right away as a football sideline reporter. 

“RTN allowed me to get experience right away. I mentioned that I was interested in sideline reporting, and they needed a sideline reporter that weekend for football and asked if I could do it,” she says. “I had never done it in my life, and it was a really great learning experience to just be thrown into it right away and have to figure it all out.”

Kayla commentates on a Rowan Athletics game.The following year was a whirlwind of experience, as Kayla found more ways to get involved with sports communications and strengthen her resume. She jumped into play-by-play, color commentating and sideline reporting for Rowan Athletics, as a TV broadcaster. She even broadcasted the first football game of the fall 2019 season against Widener by herself! “We usually don’t [broadcast without a partner], but we were first getting into a groove for the season and figuring out our roles. It was definitely difficult, but it was cool to have that pressure and experience to get me started,” Kayla recalls.

Since her first year as a Prof, Kayla has expanded her athletic commentating experience to include football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and more! Broadcasting allows her to study team rosters, examine player records and statistics and interview coaches — tasks that allow her to implement the journalism skills she learns from her second major. Kayla even made Rowan Athletics history as the first female play-by-play commentator for football and basketball on TV!

Kayla holds a microphone up for basketball coach Demetrius Poles during a sideline interview.
Kayla interviews head coach of the Rowan Women’s Basketball Team, Demetrius Poles.

“It’s not just about being a sports broadcaster; it’s also about making relationships with the coaches and players. You develop a gain of trust, and they want to give you good answers [to your interview questions] and tell you what’s going on as much as they can,” she says.

“For me, [Sports CAM] is more than just being a fan. I want to keep growing my knowledge and passion about sports and see where it can take me. Now, my whole course load is sports, and how could I not love that? It’s exactly what I wanted to do.”

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