75 Things Out-Of-State Students Love About Rowan University

A student wearing a Rowan yellow dress and Rowan brown graduation gown tosses her graduation cap in the air in front of the Rowan University arch sign.

This story is a part of Rowan’s centennial series to celebrate 100 years of Rowan University. Rowan Blog contributor Jordyn Dauter, a junior from Quakertown, PA, double majoring in elementary education and dance, collected these insights from fellow students.  David Martinek, a graduate student in the MS Teaching: Theatre program from Glen Burnie, Maryland:“I like […]

Human Services, Leading & Impacting Lives [VIDEO]

Dimirra working alongside three other children.

Human Service professionals work with diverse populations providing a wide variety of social, personal and health services depending on need. Potential career paths include becoming a case worker, social advocate, welfare service professional, child welfare professional or law enforcement. “The sky is the limit. We need more activists. We need more listening learners. We need […]

From North Jersey, What These Students Love About South Jersey’s Rowan University

Two students peer into a giant telescope in the planetarium.

This story is a part of Rowan’s centennial series to celebrate 100 years of Rowan University. Rowan Blog contributor Jordyn Dauter, a junior from Quakertown, PA, double majoring in elementary education and dance, collected these insights from fellow students. 

There’s a lot of different activities to participate in Rowan. You can always keep yourself busy and meet new people. There are a lot of different ways South Jersey is different from the North. One of the more obvious ways is the sports teams each side represents. In North Jersey, it’s all Giants, Knicks and Devils. In South Jersey, it’s Philly-based sports like the Eagles, Phillies and Flyers. Another way they are different is the population. There are more densely populated towns and cities in North Jersey than South. More people are out and about in places like Hoboken and Newark.” – Nick Carney, senior biomedical engineering major from Flemington, NJ (Hunterdon County)

The commitment shown by teachers toward students. Any student that wants to learn could easily thrive at Rowan University. I enjoy the daily life pace of South Jersey. North Jersey is a lot more on-the-go, and South Jersey is a lot more relaxed.” – Brian Osterlof, senior public relations major from Oakland, NJ (Bergen County)

Brian Osterlof sitting outside at a table.
Brian Osterlof

I love the university and the diversity of things around the campus. One of the two favorite things about campus are the classes and the student-to-teacher ratio. Great opportunity for us students to interact in class and gain connections with our professors. The Student Center is my other favorite place on campus. We get to meet a lot of different people there and it’s a great place to socialize and make friends.” – Aaliyah Owens, junior law & justice major from East Orange, NJ (Essex County)

“Some things I love about Rowan are living in a dorm, being close to my friends, taking interesting classes in my major, small class sizes, and the professors in my major really care about teaching.” – Alianna Bronstein, senior environmental science major from Franklin, New Jersey (Sussex County)

Alianna Bronstein sitting outside, with the Rowan Prof statue in the background.
Alianna Bronstein

“Some of my favorite spots on campus include my freshman dorm Willow Hall. Also, the scholarship I have is the parent plus loan and the PEL grant. My favorite club I’m a part of is rugby, and I love my teammates. My favorite spot is Discovery Hall green and the woods trails behind Engineering Hall!” – Hunter Kupersmith, senior health & exercise Science major from Cresskill, NJ (Bergen County)

I love the opportunities and friendships I’ve been able to obtain through Rowan. There is a chillness and quietness to South Jersey that I love.” – Natalia Peralta, a master’s student in the strategic communication program from Belleville, NJ (Essex County)

Natalia Peralta and John Hunter peer into a giant telescope at the planetarium.

I am forever indebted to Rowan University for the amazing people I’ve met and befriended in my time here. In addition, I’ve been able to work with incredibly intelligent professors that I will soon be able to call colleagues.” – Taylor Bailey, senior vocal music education major from Roxbury, NJ (Morris County)

“Rowan has brought me complete independence and the ability to make my own choices and learn to live with them. I love its proximity to Philadelphia.” – Daniel Myers, senior finance major from Phillipsburg, NJ (Warren County)

I love how the faculty is invested in the future of each of their students and makes themselves available for each student’s individual needs. I also love meeting up with my friends from my program after class at Mexican Mariachi or Chickie’s and Pete’s.” – Rachel Rumsby, a master’s student in the strategic communication program from River Edge, NJ (Bergen County)

Rachel Rumsby outside on Rowan Boulevard
Rachel Rumsby

“I love the feeling of being on campus. The rush of meeting new people daily and having thousands of stories pass you as you walk through halls. I love the relationships Rowan has brought me.” – Juliana Elliffe, senior radio television & film major from Ridgefield Park, NJ (Bergen County)

“My favorite parts about Rowan are the Outdoors Club and the cheesesteaks around campus.” – Richard Russo, senior civil engineering major from Fredon, NJ (Sussex County)

Richard Russo walking outside of the Henry M Rowan College of Engineering
Richard Russo

I love being part of Social Justice, Inclusion & Conflict Resolution (SJICR) as a front desk worker and as a Harley E. Flack Mentor. South Jersey is a little more suburban than North Jersey where there are way more buildings and not much greenery.” – Monica Torres, senior computer science major from Jersey City, NJ (Hudson County)

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Dance Majors Share Their Professional Goals

Two dancers in mid-pose outdoors.

What is your long-term professional dream goal? “Long term I see myself working with a big theater corporation like Lincoln Center, administratively. I want to continue working in DEI work to some capacity. And hopefully working in the dance world as a teacher later down the line.” – Gabrielle Langevine, senior dance major and women […]

How Physics Took Nicholas Kurth to Switzerland To Work With CERN

Nicholas stands outside the science building wearing a lab coat.

A Dive Into the Physics Major at Rowan University With a Graduating Senior Tell us more about your CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) experience. “I knew about this opportunity at CERN for over a year before I applied because when I was applying to LSU to go do research work for them, I saw […]

Going Away to College Close to Home: Deptford Resident Living On Campus

Asiya stands outside on campus on a chilly day.

Rowan Blog contributor and senior writing arts major Asiya Robinson, from Deptford, NJ (Gloucester County), shares a first-person perspective on going away to college close to home. Asiya’s hometown is approximately 20 minutes from Rowan. As a student, Asiya lives on campus, is a member of student clubs, and balances academics with both an on-campus […]

From Florida to NJ: One Student Athlete Shares Tips for Adjusting to College

Emily stands close to a friend outside on the soccer field.

Emily Casale, a senior advertising major from Tampa, Florida shares some tips to help fellow out-of-state student athletes prepare for college.

A portrait of Emily outdoors, wearing an oversized sweater sticking her hands into her jean pockets.

1. Prepare for emotional and physical discomfort:

  • At some point during your college experience you will feel homesick and that is totally normal. The best piece of advice I can give is to get involved and reach out to people if you need help. It’s important to understand that nobody knows you’re struggling unless you tell them. With being on a team you have a big group of people you can lean on for support and it’s almost like automatic friends. However, I do recommend being open minded to meeting new people outside athletics as well. Saying yes to new things can be exciting and you never know what you might discover by doing so.
  • Being in a new environment can also be scary because you don’t know where anything is. Feel free to explore and ask people! The reason I came to Rowan was not only to play soccer but to be close to family. I am extremely fortunate that I have them here if I need anything at all. But that’s just my situation. You might be going to a school just for athletics and might not know anyone at all and that’s okay. Know that in college, everyone is going through the same thing. 
  • Culture shock is also a real thing. But don’t get discouraged; embrace that people grew up different from you and learn to adapt to the area around you.
  • Injuries may happen but you must trust the process. Use your resources like athletic training and rehabilitation.
Emily looks off to the side, arms crossed across her chest, while wearing a soccer uniform on the soccer field.

2. Prepare for new weather:

  • Being from Florida, the weather was a big change when I decided to go to school up north. Winters are grueling and you should invest in some warm gear if you plan on going to school somewhere with the four seasons.
  • Get adjusted to playing your sport in new weather.
Emily captured in mid-kick of a soccer ball on the soccer field.

3. Prepare for balancing school and sport:

  • Balancing your school assignments and practices can be a lot. Staying ahead of your workload is the most important thing.
  • You will be traveling a lot for games. Working on schoolwork during the trip is a good idea to get assignments done and study for upcoming exams.
  • Make sure you are scheduling your classes around practice time and what works best for you. Giving yourself enough time to get from class to practice is also a good idea that way you aren’t feeling rushed or stressed out.
Emily stands casually while resting a soccer ball on her hip, next to an oversized logo of the Rowan mascot, The Prof Whoo RU.

4. Prepare for out of state cost:

  • Know that when you are going out-of-state you need to consider out-of-state costs, such as traveling home to visit or storage costs for your personal belongings over the summer. 

  • Out of state students also tend to pay higher tuition than in-state students, but there are ways to close the gap through scholarships through your university or your local community. 
  • Always be on the lookout for new scholarships and awards you can earn.
  • If you plan on playing Division I or Division II you have the opportunity to get money for playing your sport. However, if you are playing Division III they do not have any athletic scholarships. The only way you can gain them is through academic scholarship. That is why excelling in the classroom is so important.
  • Take into account the cost of living, groceries, and textbooks.
Emily looks downward as she methodically taps a soccer ball in the air with her foot.

5. Prepare for opportunities:

  • When you go to college out of state you are embarking on such an incredible journey. You learn so much about yourself and you learn to appreciate where you are from. There are many opportunities and experiences that you can make.
  • Specifically going to school in New Jersey, there is so much surrounding Rowan. Philly is 30 minutes away and you are also an hour away from the beach and Atlantic City! New York is also not too far away.
  • Studying abroad is also another opportunity that most schools offer.

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Written by: Emily Casale, senior advertising major

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

Biological Sciences Major Shares a Snapshot in Time of Her Days at Rowan

Yesenia sits at a lab table for a portrait.

Originally from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County) first-generation senior biological sciences major Yesenia Flores heads into her final semesters at Rowan, and there’s so much more to come for her. About her major Yesenia shared, “I have always been very curious about the dynamics and mechanisms by which science is able to revolutionize the world and […]

Q&A With a Senior Public Health and Wellness Major & Rowan Choice Student

Theresa Bennett stands outside her internship at Inspira Health Network with their logo behind her.

Public Health & Wellness Major Discusses Her Passion for Public Health & Wellness, her internship and professional goals Senior Theresa Bennett, from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County) joined Rowan through the Rowan Choice program, a partnership with community college RCSJ that allows students to live on Rowan University’s campus while taking 24-30 community college credits, which […]

Men’s Hockey Student Athlete Reflects on Earning Captain

Jared Cohen in the offensive zone reading a play.

Not many have the privilege of playing collegiate sports; fewer have the chance to earn the title of captain. A recent graduate of Rowan’s finance program, Jared Cohen of Wayne, NJ (Passaic County) wore the “C” after holding down the blue line for Rowan’s Men’s Hockey team for three seasons (2019-2020, 2021-2022, 2022-2023). Wearing a letter in two of the three seasons he played, Jared is a student of the game on the ice and in the locker room.

Jared bowing his head for the national anthem.
Jared bows his head for the national anthem before a game

The transition from being captain on a youth team to being a rookie on the next can be challenging. Yet Jared attributes a smooth transition to the team of veteran players around him, “I didn’t really know what to expect coming in but I was fortunate enough to meet some really cool guys my first year, some older guys who really took me under their wing.” His first-year season was about finding his role, allowing himself to take in the personalities of his new teammates before finding the confidence to be vocal with the veteran players on the team. Part of being a great leader was about being a great follower: showing up and doing your job, a concept that he executed on which lead to him becoming an assistant captian his junior year.

Going into his senior year, the obvious goal was to not just make the playoffs or make a run, but to bring home a championship. On an individual level, Jared strove to become the de facto leader on the team. Going into his senior year he was one of three players who was still wearing a letter on his jersey. Wearing the “C” was a responsibility he carried at every level. Wearing it at Rowan was the last step.

Captains come in a variety of forms, some are vocal while some lead by example, but when asked what his teammates would say if asked why he should be captain he had this to say, “I think mainly they’d say I’m smart. I’m not here to be everybody’s best friend as nice as that would be; I’m here to make sure everyone does their job for the team. That’s really what it’s about. I don’t think being the captain should be anyone’s best friend, I think they should have your best interests at heart instead. Sometimes tough love is called for, and other times it’s just a sit-down conversation. But I was always transparent with everyone.”

Jared stepping onto the ice.

Although he’s been a captain at every level, he acknowledges that he still had a lot to learn before wearing the C. When asked about what lessons he picked up on under different captains, he had this to say, “It’s definitely just keeping the team together. I mean it’s hard to get through to everyone. You have a bunch of different types of guys on the team, strong personalities, weak personalities, but it’s my job to blend those together to make it as successful for the team as possible. It’s almost like a chef making a recipe, sometimes you’ve got to do it by feel, so that’s what being a captain requires. Especially on a college team where we’re not going to play pro after this, but everyone still wants to win and have fun doing it.” 

Earning the captaincy was a season-long endeavor, but one that was worth it. Throughout the season Jared positioned himself to be the guy that both his teammates and coaches go to. He says, “I went into the season as the only returning player with a letter so that was really cool. I told  my coaches in the beginning, during training camp, ‘I want the ‘C’, I want to be the guy on this team.’” After handling extreme lows and highs during the season, carrying both extremes with grace and a leader’s stoicism, the coaching staff agreed that it was time to give him the job he earned. Getting the ‘C’ was a special moment, “It was me and two or three other guys with ‘A’s on our jerseys, no one had a “C”. But I kind of knew I was the guy and I acted like it and I think the team reciprocated that. Toward the end of the season, before our playoff run, at a random coaches meeting before practice he gave me the ‘C’. He took my jersey and put it on. It was pretty cool.” Navigating the good and bad of a long season exemplified what being a leader of a team was. 

Jared making a cross ice pass in the offensive zone to his teammate.

When reflecting on the better moments of his collegiate career, several moments stand out. However the memory that sticks out the most is from his freshman year, “All three years I played we won probably 70-75% of our games so I’ve definitely been on three good teams, three years of playing– we lost the COVID year. It was never really about the regular season, we always won a lot more games than we lost but come regionals times the closest we got was my freshman year. I was playing so hurt so I was just a shell of myself, we were on goal away from going to nationals. The way it works is you have to win three games in a row at regionals. We won two my freshman year, went to the third game, we gave it all we could and just fell short a little bit.” The taste of glory and being just shy of the national tournament put a fire in his belly to be better going forward. 

The somber moments of sports drive individuals to elevate their game, when reflecting on the lower moments of his career, games during his senior year stood out, “We had a couple tough games against Penn State and a few others, but we knew we had a good team, we knew our record would be good in the end. So we righted the ship there, we talked about it, we talked about whatever we had to do. Toward the end of the season, when things started to go south, in hindsight it might’ve been past salvageable at that point, it might’ve been that’s what it was. We had two really bad losses, one of them being on senior night. We blew a 2-1 lead, but ended up losing 3-2 in the final minute.” However, instead of sulking, he immediately followed up by watching film to see what went wrong to put a better effort, more effective team on the ice for the next game. His philosophy embodies learning from what you did well during your best games as well as your worst game.

Jared watching a play unforld in the offensive zone.

Many lessons have been learned through watching other leaders, thousands of hours of time on the ice both in game and practicing, but in the classroom as well. Being a finance major helped in a variety of ways. Some of the tools that he refined through projects in class have translated to an on ice setting, “I love to be extroverted and meet new people. I think being a leader has definitely done that. Communicating with so many guys over the years, I learned about their different styles, their likes, their dislikes. Being a finance major, it’s kind of funny, I learned to communicate with a lot of people and how to get stuff done for a team. I think that’s the most important thing I’ve learned– communication.” Embodying the spitting of a leader means drawing from a variety of lessons to apply in unconventional scenarios, something that Jared does very well.

After bleeding brown and gold for his team, after four years his collegiate and education career has come to close. Through his four years in class, 61 games and 41 points, and now a finance degree to his name, Jared Cohen has walked the stage into the professional world. 

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Story by Thomas Ubelhoer, international studies and political science major

My Home Away from Home, The United Latino Association

Student clubs and organizations fair.

Julianna Wells, a junior political science major from Oak Ridge, NJ (Passaic/Morris Counties), shares this first-person perspective on how joining the The United Latino Association at Rowan University helped her rewrite her experience and find a home away from home. In addition to her major, Julianna will earn certificates of undergraduate study (known as CUGS) in Spanish, public policy and public relations and the news. 

Julianna poses for a beautiful portrait in front of the owl statue on campus, with her hair curled, wearing a white shirt and blank pants.

For the entirety of my life prior to attending Rowan University, I lived in a predominantly white town. As a Latina, this experience came with its own challenges. I never saw anyone who shared my own culture, my own language, or even looked like me. Needless to say, it was a very sheltering experience. At times, I even experienced harassment due to my own ethnicity. I would receive anonymous messages telling me I would end up selling drugs and mowing lawns in my future. I was even told to go back over the border. Yet, besides the harassment, all I ever wanted was to feel less alone. So many people value having at least some friendships and connections that share the same culture and backgrounds. With that being the thing I craved all those years, I was looking forward to starting my life on a college campus and meeting a whole new world of people. 

United Latino Association board members with Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students board members & Pre-Law Society board members.
Julianna (back row, third from left) with United Latino Association board members and Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students board members & Pre-Law Society board members.

Once I finally left my hometown and came to the Rowan University campus, I was determined to rewrite my experience. It was at the student organization fair where I met my home. The United Latino Association caught my eye as it was the only Latine organization I saw as I combed through the rows of tables. I wrote my name and email on their sign-up sheet immediately. From there, I attended a handful of events and made the decision to run for their electoral board.

Julianna and a friend look at each other candidly in the Student Center with lights behind them.

As a result, I was the new treasurer for the last academic year and couldn’t have been more grateful for that opportunity. Throughout the year, the friends I made in this organization were no longer just friends, but family. From meeting those who share the same cultural background, to learning how to dance to Latin music better, to even bettering my own second language, my life on campus and in general had been forever changed. Due to how sheltered I felt in high school, I didn’t have too many friends but this was no longer the case at ULA. For every event I attended, I felt l a bit closer to home. 

Julianna stands with a friend in front of the iconic owl statue on campus, with yellow balloons by her side and a classic "first day of school" blackboard with chalkboard for the date September 5, 2023.

What’s more is that with being on the board, I was able to help this organization grow and prosper, myself included. I saw our family go from just 30 members to around 160 members. I think my favorite memory with all of the members was when we all came together for a dance night to learn salsa, bachata, cumbia, and other dances that people wanted to share. I have loved my time being a part of this organization and board so much that I decided to run for president for the upcoming academic year, and I won! The shy, alone Latina I once was prior to university was now a figment of my imagination. It has been practically mind-boggling to reflect on the difference between my experience from high school to my experience at Rowan University all because I was able to join just one organization. Needless to say, ULA has become my home away from home. 

ULA Valentine’s Day Speed Friending Event.
ULA at last Valentine’s Day speed friending event.

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Written by: Julianna Wells, junior political science major

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

Community College to a 4 Year University

Three students walking around Rowan College of South Jersey campus.

Kaleigh Bonitatibus, a senior communication studies major from Washington Township (Gloucester County) shares this first-person perspective on their experience transitioning from Rowan College of South Jersey to Rowan University.

Graduating in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic not only ruined the best part of my senior year but also affected my college decision. I dreamed of going away for all four years to live the “college experience.” However, due to the persistent stay-at-home mandate, I knew it was pointless to leave the state for school if my first year was bound to be all on Zoom anyway. I put away my fantasy of going to a university and decide to begin my higher education at the community college RCSJ. It was more affordable and realistic during the pandemic. However, I always knew that I wanted to transfer to a four-year university to pursue my bachelor’s degree. Rowan University was affordable, close to home, and the easiest to transfer credits to because RCSJ is affiliated with Rowan.

Two students sitting outside the Rowan College of South Jersey entrance.

Transitioning from a community college to a university can be challenging. I was nervous about entering a larger campus, navigating my way to different classes, and meeting new people. Nonetheless, my time at Rowan University has been very successful.

One of the things that helped me with my transition was attending Rowan’s Transfer Student Orientation. It provided me with all the information I needed to know about the university. This especially eased my anxiety about getting around campus and the location of all the different academic buildings.

Another thing that helped me adjust to university was my proximity to campus. Rowan is only a 15 minute drive from my home, so I commute to campus. However, being so close to home means a lot of my high school friends attend Rowan. My friend Spencer, who I went to all of grade school and high school with, also attends Rowan and lives in an off-campus home. Spencer has been a big part of me meeting new people at school because he invited me to several social events where I was able to meet so many more people and even gain some valuable friendships. Joining clubs has also eased my adjustment to Rowan. Currently, I am on the Commission of Community Standards. Being a part of this commission allows me to solve issues that clubs are having and help them grow.

Two students talking in front of a Rowan College of South Jersey flag.

Academically, the transition was challenging but manageable. The courses at Rowan are more rigorous than those at RCSJ, but as I have always prioritized my education I found that I was able to keep up with the workload. Most of my courses at RCSJ were online, and adjusting to in-person classes was slightly taxing since I had to further manage and adjust my work schedule so it could fit in with classes.

Overall, my experience transitioning from RCSJ to Rowan University a was positive one. If you’re considering transferring to a four-year university, my advice would be to attend transfer orientation, get involved on campus, and utilize the resources available to you. It can be anxiety-filling at first, but eventually, it will be worth it and you’ll enjoy your experience at Rowan.

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Written by Kaleigh Bonitatibus, a communication studies major

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

Finding My Home Away from Home at Rowan University Through the Student Organization Fair

Students walking around the Rowan clubs fair event featuring different clubs and organizations on campus.

Nicholas Wright, a junior health science communication and communication studies double major, from Gloucester County, NJ shares this first-person perspective on how he found a home away from home on Rowan campus.

As a freshman at Rowan University, I was nervous about the transition from high school to college. I had heard stories from friends and family members about how difficult it can be to adjust to a new environment, but I was determined to make the most of my college experience.

One of my biggest concerns was finding my place on campus. I wanted to get involved in activities and clubs, but I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, during my first week at Rowan, I stumbled upon the student activities fair.

The student activities fair is an event where all the clubs and organizations on campus set up tables to showcase their group and recruit new members. I was amazed at the variety of groups available, from academic clubs to sports teams to service organizations. As I walked around the fair, I was struck by the passion and enthusiasm of the students involved in each group.

A Rowan student walking around the Student Activities fair event featuring different clubs and organizations.

After talking to a few club representatives, I decided to join the International Student Association. As an international student myself, I was excited to meet other students who shared my background and interests. Joining the club was one of the best decisions I made during my freshman year. I was able to make friends, learn about different cultures, and participate in fun events and activities throughout the year.

In addition to the International Student Association, I also joined the Rowan Ambassadors program. The Rowan Ambassadors serve as official hosts and representatives of the university at events such as open houses and campus tours. Through the program, I was able to develop my leadership skills, meet other students who were passionate about representing Rowan, and gain valuable experience in event planning and public speaking.

Aside from the clubs and activities, I also found a sense of community through my professors and academic advisors. Whenever I needed guidance or support, they were always there to offer their expertise and advice. They helped me navigate the transition to college and provided me with the resources and support I needed to succeed in my classes.

Looking back on my freshman year, I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that Rowan University has provided me with. From joining clubs to building relationships with professors, I have found a home away from home on this campus. If you’re a future college student or parent, I encourage you to explore all that Rowan has to offer. It may seem daunting at first, but with an open mind and a willingness to try new things, you can find your place on this campus too.

Read this story for another perspective of the student organization fair from upperclassmen involved on campus. 

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Written by: Nicholas Wright, junior health science communication and communication studies double major

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

My First Day At Rowan University, Move In

Magnolia Hall during the fall with blooming trees.

Lucy Marks, a sophomore public relations major from Voorhees, NJ (Camden County) shares this first-person perspective on their move-in day as a first-year student last year. Welcome back, Profs, we hope you’re kicking off the year great!

Before I got myself settled at Rowan, I had been nothing but excited for months. From the moment I got my acceptance letter to the second I made the commitment deposit, I only had enthusiasm for the future. It was not until the night before my move in day where I found myself afraid of the unknown. The realization hit that I would be closing off an amazing year and taking a step toward unfamiliar things and more responsibilities. The fear that I would be starting the path to being on my own terrified me.

The morning of, there was no worry on my mind since I was too focused on instructing my brother and dad of where I wanted each of my duffle bags. I had six heavily packed bags that included all of my clothing and necessities. Everything was organized and labeled because I did not want to add another thing on the list of things that were stressing me out. Once everything was packed, My parents and brother made our way to campus in separate cars.

Rowan students moving their stuff during the move in day.

Parking was simple; we were instructed to empty the car while I went ahead and received the key. Getting settled was the difficult part because everything had to be dragged up three flights of stairs in ninety degree weather and I had to decide where everything should go. At that moment I had not been feeling anything besides, hot, sweaty, and out of breath. Once everything finally made its way in the dorm room that seemed so far away and unfamiliar, my parents helped me organize. Fortunately one of my good friends was also going to Rowan so she came and helped as well. It made me feel less alone and stable. All of the decoration and organization was fun in the way where it was the time of personalization and brought some comfort. However, the feeling that had been eating at me was the suspense of when my parents would leave.

Residential hall dorm with  blue decorations and 2 beds.

It was not until they stood in front of me as I sat on my bed looking at them inch closer to the door when everything I was holding in came to the surface. The knowledge that they were going to leave me alone in a new place felt surreal. I had never imagined I would have to face the feelings of being left behind.
Basically, it came out of nowhere and so did my tears. I felt so strange when they were gone. I did not know what to do with myself and kept asking myself what was supposed to happen. The day was excruciatingly long and ended with my floormates and I talking about the weird feeling we had while sitting in that hot lounge alone; just us. The most common description of this feeling was that it was like being dropped off at summer camp, except your parents were not coming back and there were no adults
telling you what to do. I never thought that feeling would go away. September felt like it was three months long and the rest flew by. I just finished my first year at Rowan University and this once unfamiliar place now feels like my home.

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Studying Abroad in Colombia as a First-Generation and Transfer Student

A street sign with many different countries on it.

Bonnie Williams, a senior international studies major from Downe Township, NJ (Cumberland County) shares her personal experience with us about the study abroad program she is participating in.

As a first-generation, transfer student, Bonnie is proud that she is about to be the first Williams (of her direct family) to receive her bachelor’s degree, and possibly continue her education to aim for a graduate degree. She shares that her family has seen how hard she works for school and they’ve never underestimated her efforts. Although she occasionally has feelings of guilt because she recognizes that her parents didn’t have the opportunity to earn a college degree, she knows that they work hard to support her and that they are beyond proud of her. 

Bonnie standing in front of a brick wall (James Hall).

This semester, Bonnie is studying abroad in Colombia, with the goal of gaining volunteering and service experience. She’s looking forward to learning more about the culture and environment of Barranquilla, Colombia, specifically its people, music, food, everyday life, and the university- “Universidad del Norte”. After spending a few weeks there she is already in love with Colombia’s culture. Bonnie stated that “being there feels like living a different life than [she] could ever have imagined for [herself], and that it has made [her] feel an array of emotions, from excitement, scared, homesick, but most of all it has felt like a nonstop adventure that [she] is thoroughly enjoying.”

Bonnie’s long-term professional dream goal is to become a professor in Spain and/or Latin America. She has always admired other countries, their cultures, and their people. Bonnie mentioned that her main inspiration for pursuing an international studies degree was because of a cultural geography course she took at Camden County College, where she analyzed various countries, cultures, traditions, religions, etc. Bonnie said that this course “opened [her] eyes to the varieties of the world’s different cultures and sparked [her] passion for learning about the world and its many different people”. Bonnie believes that earning her degree at Rowan will allow her to broaden her knowledge of the world’s people by studying different countries, cultures, etc. She supports the idea that her degree “will open the door to expanding [her] degree or starting [her] professional journey right after graduation.”

Bonnie holding two flags in her hands (Dominican Republic and Colombia).

Bonnie is proud of her courage and the experience she has gained so far. If Bonnie has one piece of advice for transfer students, it’s “if you’re interested in studying abroad, do it! Apply for scholarships, grants, and believe in yourself! All of your hard work will pay off, and you will find answers to yourself that you never even knew you had when you put yourself out there and challenge yourself to live in another part of the world.” 

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Written by: Valentina Giannattasio, junior dance and marketing double major

Dance & Elementary Education Major Gets Ahead Through Summer Classes

Dramatic lighting on Jordyn's back during a performance.

I started my Human Exceptionality (Course: SPED 08130) course a few days after finals ended for the spring 2023 semester, and I have loved every second of taking this course. Human Exceptionality is centered around disability within education, specifically, undoing the concept of ableism inside of the education system. Each reading, lecture video, assignment, & […]

Spotlight Welcome on Incoming Transfer Paige Britt

Paige stands in the sun with flowers behind her.

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

Bridging the Gap Between the Art and Business Worlds

Isabella smiles in front of the Creatives 230 sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#PROFspective: First-Year Student Talks Exploratory Studies & Accepted Students Day

Close up of a smiling Kayla.

What is Exploratory Studies? “Exploratory studies means that you do not have a set major; you’re exploring what you want to do. You have the opportunity to take classes that you are interested in. I took a Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management course because it caught my interest. From there, if I decide that this […]

#PROFspective: Student Leader Arianna Granda Talks Clubs, Music Education & Faith

Arianna Granda lays on the grass with musical scores surrounding her.

Today we feature Arianna Granda from Morris County, NJ. She is a rising senior studying Music Education with a vocal concentration and pursuing a CUGS in Jazz Performance. She currently serves as the president of both Rowan’s NAfME (National Association for Music Education) chapter and Profecy A Cappella group, as well as a leader of […]

Mechanical Engineering Major Shares Juggling Academics and Being a Student-Athlete

Rowan mechanical engineering student Abby smiles in front of her engineering equipment in the lab.

Today we feature graduating senior mechanical engineering major and student-athlete Abby Hainsworth from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Abby shares her experience while being an engineering major and a member of Rowan’s Field Hockey Team and how she navigates academic workload with her involvement in collegiate athletics.

What is mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineering is problem-solving different things in the world that have to do with moving parts. Within this field, you learn the science, math, and physics behind the way things work, and then you work to design new things or upkeep things that have already been designed to help keep the world going.

Why did you get an interest in mechanical engineering?

I chose mechanical engineering because it is such a broad field. You could really go into so many different professions with a background in mechanical engineering. Moreover, I have always been passionate about aerospace or sustainable energy, which are two areas that I knew mechanical engineering would help me get into as I progress into my professional career. I also knew it would be a secure field to go into.

I originally was a civil engineering major. As time progressed, I realized my sophomore year that I was more interested in mechanical engineering because it focused on moving things versus static things. 

Was there something specific whenever you were growing up that sparked your interest?

I was always interested in math and science. Outer space was the number one thing that sparked my interest. I was always interested in documentaries on TV, looking up at the stars, or just the possibility of working for NASA one day. That combination of things really inspired me.

Can you discuss the educational process? What is the major like when you first come in as a first-year up until your senior year?

In the first year, you usually go hands-on. We have a first-year and sophomore engineering clinic in which you combine with other engineering majors at Rowan and go through hands-on projects. Within these, students are creating different things, learning how to 3D print and 3D model, and learning how to use machines to manufacture things. In your first year as a mechanical engineering major, you take Intro to Mechanical Design, so you learn all the machines; you even build a mechanical clock in which you learn how to pick up a block and move it to a set position.

During sophomore year, you move more into more specific mechanical engineering courses. For example, you start taking your thermodynamics courses and Statics and Dynamics, which are more physics-based courses.

Junior and senior year, you switch to the junior and senior clinic, which are project-based courses where you pick something you’re interested in, whether in your field or another field of engineering.

You get to do a student-led project and something you are passionate about, which is a great experience. You learn a lot of hands-on things; about areas that you might not be more familiar with, and those skills transfer once you graduate.

I’m taking Internal Combustion Engines now as an elective, which I’ve always been interested in and wanted to learn more about. There is a lot of room to learn what you want to learn.

Abby Hainesworth headshot.

What does Internal Combustion Engines focus on?

Internal combustion engine is what really drives your car or anything that is moving nowadays. In the class we learn about the design of the engine, the fuel that goes in the engine, all the different components of your car that help make your car run and work.

Then, we get to research an engine at the end of it and give them back a report about what the engine is and applications of what we’ve learned in a car or something that we are interested in ourselves.

Throughout your career, what courses really stuck out to you in which you gained the most knowledge from?

I gained a lot of knowledge from my mechanical design course. This course really taught us about different ways to design linkages and moving mechanisms, but it also went into a Manufacturing and Measurement Techniques class where I was able to design a scale from scratch.

I had to learn Arduino to code a little controller and then build a kitchen scale that actually was able to measure something; I was even able to change the units on it. This course gave me a lot of experience that went into my junior and senior courses.

Additionally, I would say a lot of the physics courses. I’ve always been passionate about physics and what I do on a daily basis is primarily all physics. So I would say that statics, dynamics, thermodynamics are my most enjoyable classes.

Can you talk more about the faculty and how they help you get better in your field?

The faculty here are very supportive; they really want to see students succeed. I have reached out to my professors about classwork, I’ve gone to office hours where they work through my homework with me or talk with me about exams, but I’ve also reached out to them for personal things.

When it comes to career advice, looking for my job or an internship, or advice on how to even navigate the field after graduation, I’ve reached out to a lot of professors here and they are so willing to help students. They’re truly passionate about our successes. 

One of my biggest pieces of advice to other students is not to be afraid to talk to professors because that’s what they’re here for.

As you wrap up your final semester, what is it that you want to do?

I want to go into sustainable energy or clean energy. I am currently looking into going into nuclear power. However, even if I am not in nuclear power in the future, I want to do something clean for the earth.

I have a job lined up after graduation at the PSEG Nuclear Power Plant in Salem, NJ. I am looking into working there, probably in mechanical systems engineering. In my role, I will be helping upkeep the mechanical systems in the group. Many of the pumps, valves, and different parts help the plant work; our job is to ensure that they are running correctly to power New Jersey.

Abby Hainesworth utilizing equipment in mechanical engineering lab.
Abby Hainesworth utilizing equipment in mechanical engineering lab.

How did you find out about the job? Were there other jobs that you were looking out to?

I am still seeing what else is out there, but I basically had two internships there over the summer. One internship went from my sophomore year to my junior year. Then, I returned from my junior to senior year; I found the internship independently.

Many resources at Rowan help students find internships. With internship opportunities, there are multiple career fairs here at Rowan. I know PSEG has come to the career fairs before, so although I found it on my own, I have also attended these professional development things that Rowan to help me better my resume and assist me in networking.

Do you have a dream job? Is so, what is it?

My dream job is to work for NASA and aerospace. It has always been something that I have been interested in and passionate about ever since I was a little kid. So that is hopefully what I can do one day.

What was the what was the most difficult thing about being in this major?

The most challenging thing about being a mechanical engineering major and a student-athlete was balancing their individual requirements. A lot is asked of you as a student regarding your classes, homework, and exams. Additionally, the athletics requirements are like a part-time job with the amount of practice I have, games, and extra team commitments. Sometimes it can be challenging to do your classwork and still perform on the field.

How was being a mechanical engineering major during Covid-19?

Mechanical engineering during COVID was definitely difficult, but it was not impossible. Everything switched online, so I was learning Zoom from my bedroom, but it was okay. Many of our hands-on projects shifted to creating something on the computer, but I could still learn successfully.

Some professors did projects where you could pick them up and work on them at home. We also did things where if we were to do it at home, we would be given the supplies for it. Usually, we found ways to do it in our house with our own supplies.

Rowan mechanical engineering student Abby sits in an engineering lab surrounded by equipment.

As we transition to talk about your involvement with athletics, can you share the position you play as a member of the Rowan Field Hockey Team?

I am a goalie on the Rowan Field Hockey Team.

When did you become a goalie?

I was a little late to the game. I joined field hockey during my junior year of high school. I initially was playing a different sport, and when I joined the team, they also needed a new goalie. Something in my gut told me I should try it and could be good at it.

When I put on the pads and started making saves, I realized I wanted to be a goalie and did not want to be a field player.

What sport did you play before?

I originally played volleyball when I was in high school. I also played soccer when I was younger. Those sports were the perfect combination for me to be a goalie because I knew how to dive from volleyball, and I knew how to kick from soccer.

Can you talk about what the Elite 90 Award is? 

The Elite 90 Award is awarded to the student-athlete at the national championship with the highest GPA. It is called Elite 90 because there are 90 national championships across Division III athletics. One Elite 90 Award is given to one student at each school for each sport.

Abby Hainesworth standing behind the Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.
Abby Hainesworth standing behind the Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.

You won the Elite 90 Award back-to-back seasons. Can you share what this recognition means to you?

Winning the Elite 90 award back to back is an amazing feeling. I was not expecting to win it in my junior year when we went to the national championship in Connecticut. We had just gotten to the field to do our practice, and the NCAA commissioners came on the field and gave me the award in front of my whole team.

I remember being estatic and shocked; I did not see it coming. Senior year, I put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to win it again if we got back there. This past year we had a banquet with all Final Four teams, and they gave me the award in front of all the teams.

It was just a fantastic feeling to be there and receive recognition for what I have been doing on the field and in the classroom. To be there with my teammates to celebrate it was very special.

So one of the more difficult majors that you can pack on top of their starter every day for field hockey. How do you balance out life?

Balancing athletics and academics is challenging. It comes down to a lot of time management and looking at your schedule and knowing when you have class when you have practices or games, and when you can get your homework done between them. So a lot of it comes down to being very self-motivated.

Another critical key is finding a way to self-motivate and stick to a schedule. For example, I look at my week before my week starts and see when I am busy and my workload, then plan what I will do at the beginning of the week.

When you say you are going to do your homework and give yourself a rest when you say you are going to give yourself a rest, it is really easy to get burnt out and overwork yourself. However, you have to find a way to balance schoolwork, your other life, and other responsibilities and preserve your mental health.
There are resources, coaches, teammates, and classmates to support you through it; building a support system is very important as well.

What are the most memorable moments from your athletic career?

The most memorable moment of my career was winning the NJAC championship in my junior year against Kean in overtime. In my first year, we did not win; in my sophomore year, we did not have a season due to COVID. So, that was the first championship I had won with the team. It was such a surreal feeling; I remember when Rice scored, and everyone just ran on the field. The celebration was just an amazing feeling. Thankfully we were able to do it again during my senior year. However, the first time was just a surreal feeling.

Another great memory was making it to the Final Four back-to-back seasons. A lot of other teams do not get to experience that, and to reach that level and be one of the top four teams in the country, was really special. We truly put in the work for it and deserved it; I am so lucky to have had that experience with my teammates.

What did you learn by being part of a team?

Being on a team made me a better person throughout my four years here. I came into college, and I was really shy; I was afraid to speak to others and afraid to be judged. Being placed on a team with such supportive other athletes helped me develop into who I am today because they taught me that I should be myself and then I will be accepted.

No matter what is happening in my life, I can contact them for help. They motivate me on and off the field to be the best person I can be. I am eternally thankful for this experience and the relationships that I have made. I would not be who I am today without athletics or my teammates, my coaches, athletic trainers, and the whole support system I have been given here; I am so thankful for it.

Close-up of equipment Abby uses in mechanical engineering.
Close-up of equipment Abby uses in mechanical engineering.

Why did you decide to come to Rowan University?

I decided to come to Rowan because of our excellent engineering program here. In addition, I like the fact that the class sizes are small. Most class sizes only have about 20 students, and I knew I could not learn at a university where I was in a lecture-style classroom. If I was in a hall with about 100 other students, I knew that that learning experience would not be for me.

Furthermore, to be at Rowan and have relationships with my professors and to be able to speak to them, go to office hours, and utilize their resources is special. It helps me learn rather than just being another number because of that. At Rowan, you are not another number. Every student is valued and has the opportunity to cultivate relations with their professors.

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Story by: Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

From Political Science Student to Political Operative

Connor talks to two people.

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

From Salem Community College to Rowan University: Meet Transfer Prof Charmaine Harris

Charmaine Harris outside with her children

At Salem Community College, Charmaine was on the Dean’s List every semester, and has plans to continue to strive for that goal. She is excited to continue her education and gain more insight to share with her peers and family. To stay involved around campus, Charmaine has an interest in the Educational Opportunity Fund Club, […]

#PROFspective: How Devon Coulter Overcomes Adversity Living with an Invisible Disability

Devon Coulter posing by the trees near Bunce Hall

Would you mind sharing your experience with your disability? “I have a rare invisible disability called Idiopathic Hypersomnia. The best way I can describe it to someone is that it’s a sister to Narcolepsy. It is an unknown origin, so they don’t know what causes it, and I tend to sleep for really long periods […]

Meet Jenna Grace: the Triple Major Making a Difference in Environmental Conservation

Jenna Grace is posing inside of the Scotland Run Nature Center, wearing a gray sweater, looking into a tank

“It’s just like the normal workload. All three of my majors are in the same department, so the classes overlap quite a bit. They all kind of blend together in the way that we talk about, like how humans are affecting the planet and ways that we can solve that.” What got you into studying […]

Graduate Student Sarah Salazar Shares Advice For Future Engineering Majors

Sarah working in an engineering lab.

Today we feature graduate student Sarah Salazar from Galloway, NJ (Atlantic County), who earned her Rowan bachelor’s in chemical engineering and is continuing her time with a master’s in chemical engineering. She shares her advice for incoming engineering students. Learn more about Sarah’s research.

A portrait of Sarah in an engineering lab.How did you discover that engineering was right for you?

So in high school I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew that I loved all my science classes, loved my math classes, and both were things that I was actually really good at. So I kind of just took that and did some quick research and saw chemical engineering and I said to myself, “Okay, I’m gonna roll with this and see what comes out of this. If I don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world, I could always switch out of my major.’” That’s how I fell into this program. 

Choosing engineering was a rollercoaster of emotion – but not in a negative way. At first, it was very overwhelming. I couldn’t help but think, ‘why did I choose this major? Why do I want to study this much?’ 

During orientation one of my major fears about being an engineer was that I wouldn’t have any social life. I confidently said to myself that I’m choosing this major, but I’m freaking out too because I’m scared that I’m not going to have any friends or not going to have any time to go out and experience college life. 

This many years in, I can say I was completely wrong. I honestly knew that from even the first day that I got here. What really made the experience amazing is the people in our engineering community. 

When I finished my bachelor’s here, I didn’t have to choose Rowan for my graduate program. I had actually applied to a couple different places, but I really wanted to stay in a lab that I was familiar with and continue learning from the graduate students and from my advisors. Dr. Joe Stanzione advised me with a few options, but I ended up choosing here because that’s where I felt most comfortable and I ultimately was excited to continue my education here.

A wide shot of Holly Pointe Commons.Where did you live on campus?

I started off in the Engineering Learning Community (ELC) as a first-year student in Holly Pointe Commons. I lived in this pod section that was only engineers. This is where I had met a few of my best friends who I still hang out with today. It’s nice because your program also starts off with first-year and sophomore engineering clinic. In those classes there would be so many familiar faces because we’d all see each other frequently in Holly Pointe.

By junior year I was in only engineering classes and I became really close with my graduating class. This tight knit group of about 50 or so people would always just be hanging out and studying together – because we were in this together. I would say that’s what really got me through the entire education. We’re putting in so many hours a week studying for exams and doing homework together. The camaraderie, being genuinely good friends, making each other laugh during tough times, made this program so worthwhile. 

Sarah working in the engineering lab.Are you involved in any clubs?

I was involved in Engineers Without Borders, which was my favorite club that serves local and international communities. I would go to all the meetings and ended up getting positions on the executive board. The cool thing about Engineers Without Borders is that it’s a nonprofit club and because of that, any student from any discipline can join – not just engineers. There are a lot of mechanical engineers, civil engineers, chemical engineers, biomedical engineers, so it’s helpful to have variety so each person can put their knowledge together to come up with simple solutions.

When I was involved, we had this one project for a Camden community garden that ran sustainably. There was a modified bike that pumped water throughout the garden if you rode it. So small things like that are rewarding because you are helping out these local communities, and it’s something to put on your resume.

There are a lot of good opportunities. I even attended my first conference. The group went across the country to San Francisco to network with other students who, too, are in Engineering Without Borders. So I would definitely recommend the club for personal and professional development.

Any last advice?

The biggest piece of advice I have is to get involved and maintain a work-life balance. Before, I was really scared to go into engineering because I was nervous about not getting the college experience. But honestly, everybody’s scared going into college. It’s such a big change being on your own! Not having your parents there to cook and give you the support they have given you all your life is initially really intimidating. Find your space. For me, being in the engineering community really helped with that. Creating my own family and support system at Rowan got me through the hard times and ultimately gave me the best experience I could ask for. 

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

Isabella Shainline posing in a work space.

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

From Bulldog to Prof: How John Maldonado Found His New Home Across The Street

Dramatically colored sunset over the Rowan athletic field where John played football.

From across the street to across the goal line, John Maldonado’s journey from Glassboro High School to Rowan University proves that a great college experience might be in one’s own backyard. “I definitely think that Glassboro High School students overlook Rowan just because it’s across the street,” says John, but his own Rowan experience has proven otherwise. A recent graduate of Rowan University, John earned his bachelor’s degree in finance within the Rohrer College of Business. As a student-athlete he played wide receiver on the football team for all four years of his college career, where he received prestigious accolades such as being named to the All-NJAC First Team Offense in both 2021 and 2022. He has also been honored for his work in the classroom, and was named to both the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team and the PhillySIDA Academic All-Area Team during his career. Rowan football player John Maldonado poses for a portrait wearing a practice football jersey and holding a football.

Born and raised in Glassboro, along with his two older brothers, John was always a talented athlete. A three-sport athlete at Glassboro High School, playing football, basketball, and baseball, he found success in all three sports, winning multiple Glassboro Bulldog awards. He was even named to the All-Conference first team for football. Like most three-sport athletes who want to continue at the next level, choosing that one sport you love can be tough. “I originally thought I was going to be a college baseball player, you know baseball was bigger than football in high school for me, but it turned out to be football.”

Rowan football player John Maldonado in action during a game, running with the football against another university.
Photo courtesy of Nick Feldman

Picking a sport to continue throughout college would end up guiding John in his decision to attend Rowan University. Like most seniors out of high school, it’s tough to know exactly what you want to do with life at that point. As John faced the pivotal moment of choosing where to continue his football career, Rowan stood out to him. “I wasn’t 100% ready I guess to move an hour or two away and live on my own so I was like if I’m going to go to an NJAC school or D3 to play football, why not just stay right here.”

John recognized there is a less-than-great perception among Glassboro High students about attending Rowan. Despite the proximity of Rowan to Glassboro High School, John believes that many students disregard the university as a potential option, failing to realize the abundance of opportunities and resources it has to offer.

Rowan football player John Maldonado catches a touchdown pass while being blocked.
Photo courtesy of Nick Feldman

Reflecting on his time at Rowan, John is filled with gratitude for the endless opportunities and resources that helped shape his college experience. “My best advice would be to use the resources,” he emphasizes, “because there’s a ton. There’s a million different things going on at one time with a bunch of people that are trying to help you.” John’s academic advisors played a crucial role in his success off the field. Student-athletes sometimes need additional supports to balance their academic responsibilities with their athletic goals, to maintain their work-life balance and their academic performance. With the support of his academic advisors, John was able to stay on track and ultimately decide on a major in finance after entering as an undecided major (exploratory studies)

John continued his studies at Rowan, now pursuing a master’s in finance, while he simultaneously trains in hopes of making a professional football career a reality. John’s story is a testament to the university’s ability to offer a one of a kind college experience, even for those who already live in Glassboro.Rowan football player John Maldonado poses for a portrait wearing a practice football jersey and holding a football.

He recognizes the challenges that lie ahead of him. “The windows are short with this type of stuff, trying next-level football.” With the resources and opportunities available at Rowan, John is poised to make the most of every opportunity, both on and off the field.

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Story by:
Sean Humphrey, senior public relations major

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, sophomore dance and marketing double major

From Jersey City to Future Jersey Teacher, Jonathan Dale Shares What Fuels Him

Jonathan is sitting in a chair looking off in the distance.

In this edition of #PROFspective, we discuss with Jonathan Dale, an elementary education major, his intrinsic desire to go into education as well as the different motivations that have fueled him to go into the schooling system. Jonathan, a sophomore from Jersey City, NJ (Hudson County) also serves as marketing coordinator for Rowan After Hours (RAH).

So what was high school like for you in Jersey City?

I’m a product of the Jersey City public school system and I’m proud to be able to say that. There’s about seven public high schools in Jersey City. Where I went to school it was specifically for performing arts. Even though students were separated based on what they wanted to do, everyone still knew everyone. 

As a Black man, how often did you see teachers like yourself? 

All four years of high school; I can’t really complain. I think I only had one or two teachers that I couldn’t relate myself to. I think that because of that, it was one of the reasons as to why I knew that teaching was something that I could do. With me seeing other people being able to put themselves in such a position it helped me envision myself in the same spot. I was able to pick up so many different teacher mentors from my school experience. I think every year I had a teacher who was Hispanic, Black or even international, such as from India. My school did a pretty good job at making sure I could see myself as a teacher. 

Jonathan is standing in front of James Hall with his arms crossed.

How has your time been here so far at Rowan?

My experience has been good. I think now I’m getting more of the behind the scenes view. As I’m working through the school now I feel as if it’s become a lot better because of the friendships I’ve started to create with people. I’ve only been here a year, but I really do feel the appreciation and support here. I was just telling my coworkers about this, but just the other day it was my birthday and I had around 20 people text me and tell me “happy birthday!” I can’t remember how we met but just knowing that connection is there feels so gratifying. 

For yourself, you’re in the process of becoming a future educator.  What do you think is necessary for someone who’s thinking about going into the education field?

I think that at a certain point,  you feel like it’s something that you know you can accomplish. You have those understandings where you can kind of sit back and reflect on things like “I’m actually inspiring other people, what else can I do?” Of course, there are a plethora of different things that you can go into within the education field like becoming a counselor. I was fortunate enough to have teachers who were minorities, it helped me see myself in a similar career and know I’m not alone. I know that there are situations where a lot of people don’t have that same experience. However, I also think this brings out a great opportunity. You might not see people like yourself in school, if that’s the case do it yourself. Make a name for yourself. Instead of waiting for something to happen, start the next big trend of your city and start trailblazing different paths for young people. 

Jonathan is in James Hall sitting in a chair.

How did you come into RAH (Rowan After Hours)? How did that type of dynamic come to be?

I have a funny story about that. A while ago I was on the phone with my mom and remembered asking her for money. I still remember, my mom had told me “You need to find a job.” When she had told me that I remember I had looked down and I had an immediate response. I replied back to her and said “I think this is our lucky day”, the floor tiles were advertising for Rowan After Hours. It was probably one of the best moments that could have happened to me. I’ve made so many meaningful connections with RAH and it’s really helped me develop as a person and leader as the marketing coordinator. 

What drew you towards elementary education?

Going back to high school, I was a part of a mentorship program. They have students from my school go to other diverse schools around the area. I remember doing that my freshman year of high school. Another thing about Jersey City is that the school system is not that good. To put it lightly, we do have our rough places. But I remember going to one of the roughest schools in the district, at least in terms of trouble and behavior with students. I would go there and teach these students about different aspects that mean a lot to myself, such as bullying. You know, I’ve had family members that were personally affected by bullying and I would tell the students of the different experiences that go on. For the students, I think they knew I wasn’t just coming up with some generic story, they knew that I was being sincerely genuine. Because of my work with that, I think that was the beginning of when people, specifically kids that I talked to from before, would start coming up to me and telling me how my interactions had mattered to them. Kids come up to me all the time with things like “Jon, I remember you. Do you remember coming to my school? You taught me about bullying, drugs etc.” There’s something about that, I believe it to be the most gratifying part of imparting knowledge on people. Teachers will always say that they’re in it for the long run. With elementary education, I think this is the part of kids’ lives where they’re starting to make choices for themselves and you can really make a difference for them. 

What do you think of the lack of male teachers in the education field? 

At first, it was a bit shocking to me. I remember specifically last semester where I was one of the only guys in my class. I had thought it was a bit odd and I do feel as if there could be more males in the field. For most people, their male teachers are usually centered on physical education; but it doesn’t have to be like that. I just think that really constraining yourself into one field that you might not feel passionate about really isn’t the most optimal way to try and live your life. I’m actually apart of a project which is solely focused on increasing male practitioners and classroom teachers. It’s a program centered around men of color and enrolled students where they are paired off with a mentor. It’s not just like a very usual conversation with your mentor, it’s always extremely deep and eloquent in terms of context. Personally, I talk to my mentor just about every week. We discuss the different ways that we ourselves can improve ourselves and our mentors also help different parts of the education process that isn’t necessarily discussed enough; like finding clinical practices, data, networking with different school districts. I do believe that men are moving in the right direction and we’re starting to see more diversity in the field. 

Jonathan is looking off in the distance wearing a Rowan hat.

What drew you to Rowan? 

It’s such a funny thing. When it comes to me and my mom, almost everything that we do could be a coincidence. Covid had occurred during my junior year and I recall being with my mom and looking at all of the different college shows. At the time, virtual tours were especially big just because of how no one could get to any of the campuses. I remember doing research with her and something had caught my eye. I had known barely anything about the school but I was extremely perplexed over it. I remember seeing Rowan and asking myself how I never had heard of this university before. It was hitting all of my check marks at the time. In Jersey? Two hours away? I was extremely interested and was ready to sit through those three-hour virtual campus tours. I was mulling over a few other options like Moorehouse but after I had got to around the three-hour mark with the video, I was sold on the dream.

What attributes of Rowan made you know that was going to be your spot? 

One of the most important aspects that I was looking for with colleges was the emphasis on location and traveling. Knock on wood, but if anything were to happen, I think one of the biggest things that I need is the security of knowing I’m not too far from my family. When I was looking at different colleges the ones that I was really interested in unfortunately were in different states or many hours away. During this process of figuring out where I wanted home to be the next four years I figured that I had wanted to stay home in New Jersey. There’s something about it; I know that it’s somewhere I can build a life in and be successful for years after college. 

In regards to my parents, I didn’t want to make things difficult for them. Of course, I don’t want them to drive two hours to see me, but I think that it’s far enough and also close enough. If I ever get that feeling where I want to go and see my mom I’m fortunate enough to be able to get in my car and still do so. It’s really reassuring knowing I have that security. 

How do you envision yourself as a teacher? We talked about how you’ve been able to connect with all these kids. How do you envision yourself as a teacher? What do you hope to accomplish once you do become an educator? 

I always envisioned myself being that teacher where students could come to and know that everything is going to be okay. I want to be the teacher where I can hear things like “Mr. Dale I’m having a bad day. Can I stay in your room?” I want to create and cultivate a safe space for my students where they know they can come and see and we can come up with a solution together. That’s always been one of the biggest aspects of my life. I think that all my values are increasing for the hope that kids can get taught irregardless of what’s going on. I’m a teacher. It genuinely makes me really happy just to say things like that.

Jonathan is standing and smiling with his arms crossed.

How did your family react when you told them of your plans of pursuing education?

It’s funny because I feel like I was often told “your mom’s a teacher, therefore you want to be a teacher.” When we actually sat down and started discussing my future we had been going over a bunch of different career paths that might interest me, but never actually had a solidified route. I remember her saying “we have to figure out something you like.” I think that at the time we both knew that we couldn’t envision myself really enjoying anything outside of education. For my mother, she was just really happy that I had a sense of direction. I still remember when I had first told her that I wanted to go into education, she had just looked at me rather plainly and said “Yeah, it’s something that I thought you would do.” Mothers really do know best. 

Jonathan is smiling with his arms crossed.

What do you hope your lasting legacy will be as an educator? 

I want to be a contributor; I wouldn’t say change because change comes with time, but I want to improve the system as a whole. When I say I want to improve my school system, I want it to be specific. I want there to be more people of color in my position. I want the students to be able to envision themselves in the field and not feel disoriented. How can I make the students more comfortable? How can I improve the system? It’s these types of questions that I ask myself that fuel my mindset toward education. 

What words could you give to somebody who’s on the fence with majoring in education? What could you say to get them on board? 

Just go for it. Take advantage of all the resources and opportunities that your school provides. If you can go back and reflect on your own high school experience and still be able to name five teachers that had an impact on you, take a second and try to envision yourself in the same circumstances. Could I do something like that for someone else? It takes a lot of introspection and self awareness; this isn’t the field that you’re going in just for the money it’s a lot that you’re undergoing. If it’s something that you know you feel passionate about, I do think that education has a place for everybody. 

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Story by Lucas Taylor, Graduate English Education 









Beyond the Classroom: Accounting Major Jade Kenny on Her Internship with Subaru

Jade stands in front of a tree, smiling.

Why was Rowan right for you? Jade explains when she was applying to Rowan, her original path drew her to elementary education. For Jade, choosing Rowan was the best of both worlds since it allowed her to study what she believed to be her passion at the time while respecting her parents’ wishes for her […]

Humans of Rowan: Finding Her Place in Wrestling, Volunteerism & Student Leadership

Sapjah can be seen at Bunce Hall throwing a fist into the air.

With a sneak peek originally on @HumansofRowan on Instagram, today we learn more about Psychology major Sapjah Zapotitla of Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County). Sapjah is involved on campus as the president of the Sociology and Anthropology Club and a member of intramural wrestling on campus.

What’s your Rowan experience been like as the first woman to join the Wrestling Club? 

It was a bit intimidating at first because of how there was no other females there. There’s men there, but it’s very different from how it was in high school. From my experience in high school, there was a lot more variety in the people that would come to practices in terms of size. 

But with the club, it’s like stepping into a jungle. I was really excited when I first started. I was exhilarated to just try my best and show all of the members that I can prove myself and show that I’m a lot stronger than people expect; because, I am pretty small. It’s been so far so good. In high school, it was a bit more of a hostile environment because I was a girl, but with here at the club, I felt welcomed and accepted. They knew that I wanted to come to the Wrestling Club to have fun. 

Sapjah is wearing a red dress standing next to a tree with her hands on her hips outside of Bunce Hal..

What’s your history with wrestling? 

This is a funny story. I used to be very shy and didn’t really think much of myself. But going into high school my freshman year, I knew I wanted to try something new. So I asked people what sports were available at Cherry Hill East. My peers would go on to say all of the generic different sports that might be offered, but they had also mentioned wrestling.

When I had asked about the sport they went on and said, “Yeah, but that’s only for boys.” At that moment I realized I wanted to go out and try out for that sport. 

I was still really shy for the first few months, but after a while I started to speak up and converse with more people. During my time in high school I had even tried to start the girls’ wrestling team. I knew that even if I didn’t have a place I was ready to go out and make one for myself and others who might be interested in similar things. I want to be the change. I want people to know that they’re being welcomed, especially females in a male-dominated sport. It’s been a really fun experience, to say the least. 

How was that transition like going from high school to Rowan? 

At first, I was just so grateful. It’s an environment that I didn’t know existed. That kind of environment where they’re like “you belong.” It has been amazing to find that here. 

Sapjah is standing in front of Bunce flexing her arms.

How’s your experience been so far here at Rowan? 

I was super nervous getting into Rowan because of financial issues. I’m a first-generation student, and I didn’t have role models to follow suit. I had to figure everything out by myself and I’ll be honest, I felt that pressure.

But, I was determined. If I was going to go to college, I was going to do it the way that I wanted to do it.

I’m currently taking 18 credits, which is six courses. My first two weeks into Rowan I became the president of the Sociology and Anthropology Club. I’ve even gone on to get interviews for future positions as well as getting a job here on campus at the Student Success Center as a secretary. It’s been pretty enthralling! 

What’s it like being the president of the Sociology and Anthropology Club? 

For myself, I’ve always been the type of person who likes to jump in and seize opportunities. For example, like being the first girl wrestler. I just want to be there and participate and do what I can to better myself.

With the Rowan Sociology and Anthropology Club, it was in the process of being rebuilt. When I first got there, no one was showing up. I came up with solutions, working with social media to attempt to recruit new members. I’m all for trying. 

Sapjah is standing in front of Bunce and staring into the distance.

Are there any other clubs that you’re involved in? 

I’m also a part of “Get Fit” here at Rowan. I’m a volunteer there. Last semester I volunteered around 20 hours, and I absolutely loved it. I felt like I belonged there, just helping people with disabilities work out helps me just as much as it helps them. I’m now technically a session manager for Get Fit. 

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

#PROFspective: A Closer Look At PULLA Tracker and its Founder Siena Rampulla

Rowan University Psychology major Siena stands underneath the art installation Time Sweeps by Discovery Hall.

Siena Rampulla is a senior student here at Rowan University, originally from Holmdel, NJ (Monmouth County). Siena is a Psychology major, with an honors concentration and a minor in Journalism.  When asked to share more about her major, Siena explained she originally planned to go on the pre-med track, which was a long-term dream of […]

Second-Generation Rowan Engineering Student Lives Her Legacy

Abigail Cassino sits in a daffodil patch.

September 1996: long before Abigail Cassino was even a thought in her parents’ minds, the foundation was laid for her future legacy. Her parents, Theresa (Gouker) and Chris, met as first-year students at Rowan, part of the first engineering class. Theresa lived in Evergreen Hall; Chris in Mimosa Hall. They met, fell in love, studied alongside one another and graduated with degrees in chemical engineering (Theresa) and civil engineering (Chris). 

September 2023: Abigail stepped on campus as a first-year student majoring in mechanical engineering, embarking on her legacy as only the second Rowan University second-generation engineering student.

Neither she, nor her parents, knew of Abigail’s unique distinction at that time. Abigail Cassino leans against a wall with a reflection of herself bouncing off the wall.

Almost one year ago, Abigail and her parents first toured Rowan, visiting from their home in Maryland. Her parents were wowed by the changes, namely the presence of Rowan Boulevard and the second engineering building, Rowan Hall. Neither existed when they graduated in 2000.

Rowan University was the clear choice for Abigail. “When we toured the engineering building my parents saw several professors they still knew, and the professors still remembered them. They said ‘see that’s what you get here, professors who actually know you for you and who care about your success.'”

Theresa and Abigail Cassino smile in front of a #RowanPROUD sign at Homecoming.
Abigail (right) and her mom, Theresa, being #RowanPROUD at Homecoming.

Though Abigail did not originally set out to major in engineering, having a mom who is your best friend – and also a Ph.D. chemical engineer – has a way of influencing you. “My mom is the one who started it all,” Abigail says. “She is my greatest role model. She is the one who said to give it a shot and apply. And I really do like it.”

Over Abigail’s childhood, she witnessed her parents’ careers grow and blossom from their Rowan roots. The family moved as Theresa and Chris pursued new opportunities. “It was hugely influential,” says Abigail. “I saw them go through tough times, and good times, and how to roll with those changes.”Abigail Cassino sniffs a daffodil in a field.

Being a woman studying in a field heavily dominated by men, Abigail understands it can be challenging for women starting out in STEM. “Women bring something to the table. We have a lot to say,” says Abigail. “Honestly, having more women in this environment makes it a little less intimidating. We really have to work to make our voices heard, which takes effort considering you’re outnumbered.” 

Abigail found that Rowan’s commitment to diversity and inclusion was also evident outside of the classroom. “There are a lot of groups centered around underrepresented groups in STEM,” she says. “I am in the Society of Women Engineers. It’s a good opportunity to talk with other people in the field and learn from them.” 

Abigail has found resources on campus that have helped her succeed. “My advisor in engineering has been amazing,” she says. “As well as being in the engineering learning community [in Holly Pointe Commons.] The engineering department in general is really good with providing resources if you’re having trouble with mental health or school. There is a really big support network here.”Abigail Cassino casually leans on stair railing while smiling.

As she wraps up her first year, Abigail is eager about what’s to come. This semester she joined her mother’s sorority, Theta Phi Alpha, continuing her Rowan legacy in a non-academic fashion. “There’s so much I am excited for,” she says. “I would like to study abroad and I’m really looking forward to my new position as co-sponsorship coordinator with Rowan After Hours (RAH).”

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Story by: Sean Humphrey, senior public relations major
Adeline McDonald

Photos by: Valentina Giannattasio

Lila Dasi Reflects on Her First Year (So Far) as a Biomedical Engineering Major

Lila Dasi posing outside of Bunce Hall at Rowan University

What is your favorite part about attending Rowan University? I think the campus is really pretty and offers a lot of great spaces to sit and relax. I also like that Rowan has a lot of different organizations and clubs on campus for students to be involved in, and to find their community. What inspired […]

#PROFspective: A Closer Look at Music Education and Jazz with Jovan Rivera

Rowan University student Jovan Rivera posing inside of Wilson Hall with a saxophone sitting in front of a piano.

Today, we are hearing from Jovan Rivera, a junior Music Education and Jazz Performance major and transfer student from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County). Could you share a few on-campus activities, clubs, sports, or events that you’ve attended so far? What was your favorite, and why? I am a part of the Photography Club, Esports Club, […]

#PROFspective: How Senior Jasmine Hull is Working Toward a Better Future in Healthcare

Rowan University Public Health and Wellness major Jasmine stands outside Rowan's Business Hall.

Today we feature senior Public Health and Wellness major Jasmine Hull (she/her) from Mercer County, NJ. Jasmine is living on-campus after transferring to Rowan from Stockton and is a first-generation college student. Here, she gives us some insights into her major and favorite experiences at Rowan. Why did you choose Rowan? Larger sum of transfer […]

Rowan University Biological Sciences Major Mia Shute Shares Her Aspirations for the Future

Rowan University Biological Sciences major Mia Shute writes on a whiteboard in the lab.

Today we feature sophomore commuter-student Mia Shute from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County). Mia is working towards her bachelor of science degree in Biological Sciences, as well as an Honors Concentration within the John H. Martinson Honors College. Mia is here to tell us about her college experience and aspirations within the Biological Science field. […]

#PROFspective: Student Leader Fadi Khan Says “This is Only the Beginning”

Biological Sciences major Fadi Khan wears sunglasses against a nighttime sky at Holly Pointe Commons.

Today we feature student leader Fadi Khan (he/him) of Pleasantville, NJ (Atlantic County). Fadi is a senior Biological Sciences major and lives on campus in Holly Pointe Commons, where he is also a Community Assistant. A first-generation college student, Fadi shares with us his perspectives on life, his major, and getting the most out of […]

First Year Voices: A Conversation with Molecular & Cellular Biology Major Laynie Sheppard

Laynie Sheppard is posing inside of Discovery Hall, wearing a white Rowan University t-shirt.

What are some ways you’ve made friends this year? “I’ve made a ton of new friends through my experience in Cru, as well as in my classes. Being there has taught me to be more outgoing.” What is one thing about Rowan that you liked and that encouraged you to enroll? “I loved how small […]

Rowan Engineering Major Benjamin Busler Achieves Dream of Interning for NASA [VIDEO]

Electrical and Computer Engineering major Benjamin Busler is representing Rowan University this semester as a Pathways Intern with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Benjamin, a junior from Somerset County, is among a select group of students nationwide in NASA’s Pathways program, which offers internships and a direct avenue to future employment with the […]

First Year Voices: Finding My Place at Rowan University as a Music Education Major [VIDEO]

Aaliyah sits in Robinson green.

Today, we introduce you to Aaliyah Jenkins of Mercer County, NJ. Aaliyah, a first-year student, studies Music Education and lives on campus. Could you share a few on-campus activities, clubs, sports or events that you’ve attended so far? What was your favorite, and why? There are many on-campus activities to do. This is because of […]

#PROFspective: What Health Means for Senior Adrianna Blake

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major Adrianna is standing out front of the PROF logo in her basketball gear.

In this edition of #PROFspective, we learn of the the viewpoint of senior Health and Physical 
Education major
Adrianna Blake of Bayonne, NJ (Hudson County). In our conversation with Adrianna, we discuss with her as to how her unique Rowan experience led the way for her discovering what her future in physical education means. 

What goes into being a Health and Physical Education major here?

Being a Health and Physical Education major means a lot to a lot of different people. For myself, I went into the major more so thinking of the health aspect. I grew up to be a really intuitive eater. I’m one of the people that you’ll see in the grocery store looking at the back label making sure there’s no gums or corn fructose syrup. I want to implement more longevity, taking especial care as to what individuals are putting into their body and noticing the difference in their everyday life.

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major jots down notes inside a gym.

Health and physical education is essentially teaching students to build healthy and sustainable life habits. Whether that be through nutrition, your mental and physical health or as I stated earlier, creating healthy life habits, it’s our duty as future educators to remind these kids to make sure they implement all of these different lifestyle habits into their life. 

How did you come into Rowan?

When I first came into Rowan I was actually a Law and Justice major. I was obsessed with “Criminal Minds” in high school and I had envisioned myself as this FBI/detective character. Eventually, I figured out what kind of work that entailed and that I would have to take it home with me. I figured it would be too much for me to handle. So, I looked into the education field.

I’ve been playing sports all my life and I figured health and physical education would be the right fit for me. It was a mix of trial and tribulation. I had originally gone in as early elementary from, from what I believe was Kindergarten to grade two or three. Elementary ed was from grade three to five and I remember realizing that I didn’t want to be put into this box where I’m stuck teaching only a specific age or grade level for the rest of my life. With physical education, which is K-12 certification, it gives me more leeway to test the waters and broaden my own perspective. 

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major Adrianna can be seen helping a student out with stretching.

What is your coursework like being a physical education major?

I had actually just come back from Concepts of Creative Dance and HPE. I had taught a lesson where I was this tree going through all of the four seasons. It’s a lot of creativity and adding your own originality to the lessons that you’re teaching. In my opinion, it takes a lot of planning and formatting and can be a bit on the tedious side. But overall, I feel that the concepts that we want to get across can best be accomplished through the energy that you, as the educator, bring to the class. You can have a stellar lesson plan and meet all the criteria on paper, but if you show up to class and have low energy or just not familiarize yourself with the students, they’re not going to be as responsive to the material as they’ll just be reading it off like a piece of paper. 

What is your involvement on campus like? Are there any specific clubs or organizations that you’re a part of? 

So I’m part of the HP club and this semester I’ve been volunteering to do “Get Fit.” It’s an established program where people with disabilities come with whomever, such as their parents or guardians, and get assistance with weight training.

For many people with disabilities, they do not receive a well-rounded physical education. However, with “Get Fit” we create a safe environment. It’s easier to feel comfortable in a room where you’re able to relate and empathize with other people, especially more so when you have a support system and people that want to see you succeed. Our participants give us progress worksheets that we fill out every week so we can see their progress. 

What sport(s) were you involved with when you were in high school? How did this inspire you to later become a physical education major? 

Another reason I had thought physical education was a good choice for myself was because of my athletic background. In high school, I was a triathlete, I was involved with soccer, basketball and threw shot put and discus in track and field. On the latter, I had thought it was almost crazy that I was involved with throwing. I had started my sophomore year and I ended up being exceptional at it. For myself, I had really gotten so proficient in throwing through technique and not just the raw physical aspect of it. All of my background in sports had given me inspiration to go into the physical and health education major. I’ve had so many great figures in my life that eventually I want to be on the coaching side of things. 

I had actually come into Rowan to play basketball my first year. Unfortunately, four days into my second year I had torn my ACL around four days before the season had started. Health and physical education really had played a part in changing my perspective as a whole. I understand why there is a stigma with the major and how it can be perceived as being solely focused on sports, but it is so much more than that. And obviously, physical activity helps with longevity and putting you in a better mood, enhancing all these great things. But you want to make sure that you’re also working on your mental health and being mindful of what you consume and put into your body as well. 

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major Adrianna can be seen on the basketball court with friends smiling inside Esby Gym.

How has tearing your ACL affected your going into the health and physical education field? 

I would say it has. Tearing my ACL was more so of a mental injury more than anything. I was kind of down for a bit. I wasn’t able to do the normal things that I’ve been doing since I was six years old when I had first started participating in sports. It was definitely hard on me. I feel like health and physical education was that kind of linkage and gave me solace as to where I am now. I know my own limitations now physically but I also am aware of the other side of things. I can always coach and help other young students and athletes play the sport that I love. 

Where are you originally from and how has your transition been from there to Rowan? 

I’m originally from North Jersey. I grew up in Bayonne. For myself, the camaraderie has been extremely beneficial for myself since I’ve been on campus. The best comparison that I could give for it is that it’s been almost like a natural instinct where I knew that Glassboro was going to be home for a few years. I feel like it was far away from home but not too far. I’ve still had my dad be able to come down and visit me down here. When I first arrived I do think there was a bit of a culture shock. I always knew North Jersey and South were super different but I remember just picking up on all of the different lingos when I first moved. The transition was still adaptable and now I can see myself staying down here for a few more years. 

What do your future plans look like outside of college in the field of education? 

For myself, there is still a bit of uncertainty. I don’t know if I’m going straight into a district and teaching after I graduate. But I do see myself coaching. I feel like I can bring about a very interesting perspective and would love to implement that into either coaching or physical education.

When I was growing up, my dad was a boxer and he actually won the Golden Glove a couple of times in New Jersey. My mom was a yoga instructor so I always felt as if it was natural for me to be as active as I am. What’s interesting to me nowadays is children who are struggling with mental health and how prevalent of an issue it’s becoming. You know, in this day and age there are so many different curveballs that are constantly being thrown at teachers such as social media, it makes it difficult to remain flexible. 

During my clinical experience there was one particular teacher, Michelle Thornton, who had stood out to me. Thornton had the students work on their mindfulness and had a class dedicated to meditation in substitute for a physical activity in their PE class. I had sat in on one of those classes and I was blown away. In one of the times I was observing she told me this story of this room that was originally a storage room and how the school had renovated it just for her. This room was heavily decorated and seemed so warm and welcoming; there were multiple different tapestries arrayed on the walls alongside string lights and different yoga mats. Thornton’s teaching method was incredible to me, she would talk with the students for 40 minutes just reminding and reassuring them that they were okay and that the classroom was a safe space for them to get anything that they wanted off of their chest. I think in my field, I want to implement something similar, whether that be a yoga class instead of a volleyball lesson or a mindfulness class instead of something. 

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major Adrianna can be seen at "Get Fit" and is coaching another person how to use a machine.

Can you discuss with us the importance of mental health in connection with physical health? 

With physical activity, it boosts your endorphins and stimulations you; but, that’s not everything that occurs. Mental health is something that we forget to exercise and work on. As a society, I feel like we’ve grown as its become more of a goal that we want to reach to be happy by working on that part of ourselves. For myself, this is especially important for my own set of values. The professors here at Rowan do a great job at implementing health and wellness just as much as the physical education aspect. 

With your ACL injury, you stated that it became more of a mind injury, how were you able to heal yourself mentally and continue to keep moving forward? 

Going back to my personal injury, it was a big blow. Something that had helped me a lot was journaling how I felt every day and keeping track of the progress throughout the injury. It’s an extensive recovery lengthening around over nine months. Even after the recovery process you can still feel some aches and groans from the area. No matter how much I tried to focus on the physical aspect and get back to playing sports, I knew that I couldn’t rush the process. The mental block was especially draining. I had to face the fact that I might not be able to go back to playing sports.

Because of my experience, I want to remind students that if you ever go through such an endeavor, whether it be injury or anything else, I want to remind them that it’s good to have grit and have that drive to get back but to also be able to take a step back and let your thoughts settle about what had just happened. It’s important to recognize these type of thoughts, recognizing trauma is a huge task in itself, especially at a young age, students may not think of that possibility of not being able to play a sport again. 

Of course, it may seem a bit outlandish to someone who has never played sports, but I can understand why someone may think it a bit extreme. However, to that person, whether that’s a student or athlete, these types of injuries are prone to causing trauma and be detrimental to their life. Right now I’m learning more about these trauma-based injuries and as a teacher, we have to be aware of the signs of it. Noticing patterns of lack of effort, attendance, and depression, lets you as an educator put that hand out to help students going through bleak times. 

What’s an interesting aspect about physical education that you didn’t know until you took a course on it?

I’ve talked about nutrition a lot so far but something that was really eye-opening to me was school lunches. I want to be that voice to persuade the school or district that I’ll be at and let them know how processed students’ lunches are. 

I also remember in high school that the football team that we had was the only team that had taken weight training seriously. In connection with my own injury, I tore my ACL and the doctor’s and people involved all had thought that it was my hamstring that had torn because it was so weak. Naturally, women have weaker hamstrings than men. Women are more quad dominant while men are more hamstring dominant, which is why you may see more ACL injuries in women. When I tore my ACL they had wrapped it up and I was even able to go to a Halloween attraction that night. I had surmised that everything was fine but when I woke up the next morning, my knee was the size of my thigh. From that point I knew something awful had happened.

This was also a great learning point for myself. Throughout that process of physical therapy and the read to recovery, a lot of emphasis was placed on growing the muscles around the knee such as the hamstrings, quads and glutes. Growing up, I had no idea that was even a thing. I hadn’t got involved with weight training until I came to Rowan my first year where it was mandatory for the basketball team to have 5 a.m. lifts. I can reflect on that now and think of how bizarre it was to have something so important such as weight training and have it neglected. You have the usual sports that are heavily involved with weight lifting such as the wrestling and football team but it goes beyond that. Women should also be doing the same thing to ensure maintenance of the body as well as prevent injury. 

See our video with Adrianna here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

How Lanasia Melvins is Making the Most of Her First Year as a Marketing Major

Lanasia stands outside the Rohrer College of Business building.

Meet Lanasia Melvins, a first-year student in the Marketing program within the Rohrer College of Business. Lanasia is an on-campus resident from Camden County, NJ.  Could you share a few on-campus activities, clubs, sports or events that you’ve attended so far? What was your favorite, and why? I’ve attended Meet the Greeks, Rohrer Fest, and […]

#PROFspective: Civil Engineering Student and Clubs Enthusiast Kayla King

In this edition of #PROFspective, we learn more of Kayla King of Burlington County. Kayla is currently a senior and majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering and in this excerpt we learn more of how Rowan provided opportunities to further her career as well as enriched her experience as a college student. 

What is civil engineering?

Civil engineering, to me, is the ability to design, build and construct all types of bridges, buildings, any type of infrastructure. Civil engineering also deals with maintaining all of that aforementioned infrastructure When you’re on a job site you’ll see that it’s not just all the construction workers that you see building things. It’s also all the design teams, consulting teams, the land surveying teams, there’s a bunch that goes into all of the different infrastructure that we see today.

Rowan University Civil Engineering major Kayla works on a project inside the concrete lab in Engineering Hall.

What made you choose engineering and more specifically civil engineering?

I’ve always known that I wanted to be an engineer; my father was actually in the construction industry growing up. My father was an ironworker, to put it into perspective, those are people that you see climbing all the high rises, putting up all that steel. Later in his career he switched into becoming an operating engineer with Local 825. I’ve always had a background in construction, which has influenced my decision, but I’ve also always loved math and science.

I was always a problem solver, I love to answer questions and come up with solutions with intricate questions or challenges. I’ve also really enjoyed engineering diving, that is something that I’ve learned all the way back in eighth grade. I would say that  because of my upbringing and just familiarity in the construction industry I’ve gotten some inner niche details within the industry. So I’ve just kind of always known that I wanted to do civil engineering.

What goes into civil engineer diving? 

They’re basically commercial divers, they do not have typical scuba equipment but you do have something similar to the whole helmet. There are a lot of intricate differences such as how you don’t have the air tank on your back it’s fed into a line to you. Throughout the dive, you have a tagline throughout. With civil engineer divers, these people are the ones that kind of will go in anything that has water. They’re certified to be able to go underground, and they end up taking special care into noticing how things are down below and then report that information to the people up above. That’s how they’re able to do underwater inspections on timber piles on bridges or foundations. So it’s really nice. It’s an interesting thing that a lot of people don’t know about.

Civil engineering major Kayla (left) and another student work on a project in the concrete lab in Engineering Hall.

What made you choose Rowan initially?

Rowan is close to home, but not too close. I’ve also been very fortunate to get a lot of scholarships to go here. Rowan has an incredible engineering program. In my opinion, it’s got to the point where you cannot even argue that it isn’t. I believe we’re 15th in the nation for the last year for our civil engineering program. So I’m very proud to consider myself to soon be a Rowan graduate.

Describe your experience here.

So I’ve been involved in everything since the start of my freshman year. I have been a Chamberlain Student Center building manager and before I did that I had a position working at the Information Service Desk.

Outside of work-related aspects, I’ve been involved in the Wrestling Club, which is something a lot of people wouldn’t think of. I had met a friend freshman year and we became really close. I kind of pinned him in his freshman dorm room and I’ve been going to the club ever since.

I’ve also been involved in various other clubs throughout my time on campus. I am ASCE president and have been for the past two years. Before getting that position, I was the senator of the club. I’m also involved with women’s engineering. I used to hold the workshop chair position as well as the senate chair position for that club as well.

What does ASCE stand for, and what does it represent? 

ASCE is the American Society of Civil Engineers and it is a worldwide organization. The ASCE national has different student chapter branches where we are able to compete in various different competitions with other regions of schools. So for example, we are hosting the ASCE Region One metropolitan symposium from April 21 to the 23rd this upcoming year. There is a lot of excitement around it because of how so many different students can get involved in it. The competition has a bunch of different challenges and tasks such as making things like concrete canoes with surveying competitions. It’s a whole bunch of things to help facilitate fun and learning at the same time.

Could you provide some insight on what went into Women in Engineering? 

WE (Women in Engineering) was definitely a club that I enjoyed being a part of. I wasn’t as involved as I have been in comparison with ASCE just because ASCE is more directly geared towards my major, so I decided to give more time towards that. But WE was definitely a great thing because it was under the I triple E which is the electrical engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering major club. And I just like WE slightly better than SWE (Society of Women Engineers) throughout my time here because I feel like the individuals that WE had were more personable while SWE was definitely more professional. So it kind of depends upon what you were looking for at the time. In my case,I decided to go the latter route because I wanted to make more friends. They also had really good baked ziti at the time. 

Profile picture of Rowan University Civil engineering major Kayla.

What is it like being a woman in the engineering field? How would you say your experience has been so far?

I love being a woman in STEM. I like the fact that I’m constantly expected to do less, because then I always do more and there’s always an element of surprise. I’ve grown accustomed to hearing things such as “What the heck? Where’d this come from?” I like to be able to prove myself and my worth.

So, talk to me about your most influential professor here.

So the most influential professor for me would definitely be Dr. Douglas Cleary. He’s a great teacher. You get an introduction to him in your freshman or sophomore year. Dr. Cleary has courses where you deal with statistics, which is a really fundamental civil civil engineering course. Right from the start, you definitely understand that he’s a professor who’s looking out for your best interest. As time went on, I got more involved with ASCE and I spent more time with Dr. Cleary and I definitely can say he is one of the best professors here.

The camera is panned in and zoomed in on what Kayla is working on.

What are some of the clubs that you’ve been involved with like? 

I’ve been a part of a  slew of different clubs. One of the ones that I’ve been involved in throughout my time here is ASCE, WE and SWE, but there are a million other different ones like Tau Beta Pi, which is an honor-based introductory society. For Tau Beta Pi, it’s invitation only, which is really cool. I’ve also been a part of the Rowan Environmental Action League, which is something where if kids are interested in the environmentally friendly side of civil engineering, it’s definitely a way to give back to the community and participate in a lot of campus cleanups.

We also have EWB, which is Engineers Without Borders, which is a club where a lot of the students can have opportunities to go out of the country and be able to work on small different tasks to help the communities there. Another club is 3D PC. So this one’s not technically engineering-based, but it is something to keep an eye on, because a lot of civil engineers might have some like niche interests. So say if they want to build something themselves, 3D PC allows you to print your own personal designs. You also have NSBE, which is the National Society of Black Engineers, or SAME which is the Society of American Engineers.

When you’re here at Rowan in my opinion I think you should try and give every club that you might be interested in the chance. In my experience, a lot of my peers were doing the same thing and it gives you the chance to separate yourself from others, they’re gonna be the things that get your name out there.

Being a part of different clubs and associations is gonna be the way that professors know you. And professors obviously have had their own life, their own network. So it’s really important to make sure that you are involved in the clubs, because it’ll set you apart from everyone else.

Kayla (pictured in center) and a group of her classmates are listening to the directions of a professor.

What are your goals for the future?

I would love to end up becoming an engineer diver. If that falls through I’d also be open to the idea of becoming a construction project manager, I don’t necessarily have a direct path right now. I’m in a place where I have a great amount of internship experience. I’ve done an excellent amount of work during my time at Rowan. So it’s kind of just kind of where life takes me so far.

What impact do you wish to have on the world?

I would love to be the “know it all” answer for everyone. That’s what I kind of did at Rowan, just being involved in everything. That’s what I really like to do is just being a leader and  being able to help anyone, no matter what it is. Even if I don’t know the answer, I would love to find out and help you with that. So that’s why I’ve always enjoyed being a part of all the clubs because of all the different mentoring opportunities that they include, there is definitely a great way to foster more relationships, and therefore more networking opportunities for a better job in the future.

What’s one piece of advice you would give an incoming freshman?

I would say don’t give up and keep your head high. You know yourself best. So if it is something that you want to do in regards to a club, Greek life, or if it’s something that you’re not sure about and you say you want a friend to go with, that’s ok. You don’t need a friend. Do it by yourself. You have the confidence. 

See our video with Kayla here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English Education graduate student

How Law and Justice Major Keshawn Porter Stepped out of His Comfort Zone

Rowan University Law and Justice major Keshawn Porter stands in front of the Rowan arch.

Today we feature Keshawn Porter, a Law and Justice major from Essex County, who shares how joining on-campus clubs and organizations changed his Rowan experience for the better. Could you tell us a few on-campus activities, clubs, sports or events that you’ve attended? What was your favorite, and why? I am part of the Black […]

#PROFspective: Senior Lauren Cooper Says “Opportunities for Molecular and Cellular Biology Majors are Endless”

Rowan University Molecular and Cellular Biology major Lauren conducts research inside Discovery Hall.

Lauren Cooper is a senior here at Rowan University, from Sussex County, NJ. Lauren is majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) along with her minors in pre-medical and chemistry.  Why did you choose Rowan? I chose Rowan because it felt like home when I stepped on campus. I loved the size of the school, […]

Connecting with Kids: An Elementary Education and Literacy Studies Student’s Story

Rowan College of Education student Isabella stands next to the Reading Clinic room inside James Hall.

Today we feature Isabella Muchler, a junior in Rowan University’s College of Education. Isabella, a dual major in Elementary Education and Literacy Studies, hails from Franklinville, NJ (Gloucester County). She enrolled as a transfer student, having attended Rowan College of South Jersey at Gloucester. Could you share a few on-campus activities, clubs, or pre-professional activities […]

#PROFspective: An Introduction to Tammy Nguyen, Leadership and Social Innovation Major

Rowan Leadership and Social Innovation major Tammy stands in front of James Hall.

Today we feature Tammy Nguyen, a junior in Rowan University’s College of Education. Tammy, of Camden County, NJ, majors in Leadership and Social Innovation and is also pursuing a Certificate of Undergraduate Study (CUGS) in Access, Success, & Equity for Educational Innovation. Please share an “aha!” moment you’ve had within your major that made you […]

First Year Voices: Carmine Petronglo on Finding Community in Classes and Activities

Mechanical Engineering major Carmine works on his laptop inside Engineering Hall.

Meet Carmine Petronglo, a first-year Mechanical Engineering major and member of the Martinson Honors College who commutes to campus from Gloucester County, NJ. I am a member of the Honors College. I attend a weekly Honors BLAST group meeting with sophomore mentors in the Honors College. I went to the Honors priority registration breakfast and […]

Paving Her Own Path: Breanna Kiger’s Experience as a First-Generation Student

Exterior shot of James Hall.

Today, we introduce you to first-year student Breanna Kiger, who hails from Cape May County, NJ and majors in Elementary Education. Breanna is not only the first of her family to attend college, she is a first-generation high school graduate as well. She shares her first impressions of the campus community in her first year […]

Beyond The Classroom: Senior Supply Chain and Logistics Major Alivia DiNorscio’s Internship with Cape Resorts

An image of Congress Hall where Alivia interned.

Today we feature senior Alivia DiNorscio (she/her) from Bridgewater, NJ (Somerset County). Alivia is an on-campus resident and first-generation college student majoring in Supply Chain and Logistics, having transferred to Rowan University from Raritan Valley Community College. She discusses the major with us here along with the internship she recently completed with Cape Resorts in […]

The Power of Connecting with Others: Miral Rawy’s Story

Biomedical Engineering major Miral walks down Rowan Boulevard with two friends.

Today we feature first-year student Miral Rawy, a Biomedical Engineering major who commutes to campus from Burlington County, NJ. Could you share a few on-campus activities, clubs, sports or events that you’ve attended so far? What was your favorite, and why? I have attended some RAHs [Rowan After Hours], which were a lot of fun, […]

All About Accounting with Senior Jacob Rodriguez

Jacob reads from a laptop, seated in Business Hall.

Today we feature Jacob Rodriguez, a senior Accounting major from Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County). Jacob is a first-generation college student who transferred here from Rowan College of South Jersey in Gloucester County. We featured Jacob in a previous story as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective series, which you can read here. Could you […]

#PROFspective: Liberal Studies, Languages and Law with Junior Alexzia Lyons

Today we feature Alexzia Lyons, a junior Liberal Studies major. Alexzia is from Durham, North Carolina and previously went to North Carolina Central University, where she dual enrolled as a high school and college student. She discusses how she decided to come to Rowan, her experiences and involvement around campus, and advice to other students […]

Exploring the Community and Environmental Planning Major with Senior Jon Hansel

Jon smiles outside in on Glassboro Town Square.

Today we feature senior Jonathan Hansel (he/him) from Burlington County. Jon is majoring in Community and Environmental Planning and pursuing a master’s in Urban and Regional Planning through Rowan’s 4+1 program. Here, he discusses the importance of planning, his personal aspirations, and the opportunities he’s found in the program. Could you tell us a little […]

Beyond the Classroom: How 3+1 Student Rebekah Feinberg Is Pursuing Both Medicine And Law

Rebekah is working on a desktop computer at Rowan College of Burlington County.

Today we speak with Rebekah Feinberg, a senior who is a part of the 3+1 program with Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC), majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Law and Justice. We discuss her dedication as a student as well as her new role on the 3+1 team, assuming the position of Alumni Trustee on the Board of Trustees for the NJ County Colleges Council, and becoming project manager for the upcoming RCBC Science Slam.

What inspired you to pursue both Biological Sciences and Law and Justice?

In high school, I knew I wanted to go into medicine. Going into college, I knew I wanted my major to be something in the sciences, whether it was Biology or Chemistry. Typically with a traditional pathway, your major is Biological Sciences. So, that’s why I’m in the major I’m in right now. 

I had declared my minor this year for Law. It was because last year, during a domestic violence event at RCBC that I spoke at, I actually met with Burlington County’s Prosecutor’s office, and they offered me an internship. I declined it because I had other things going on, but that really sparked my interest in Law and understanding how exactly Law and medicine are connected through healthcare policies, medical malpractice. So that’s why I have my minor — I figured it would definitely help me once I’m in a hospital to really give my patients more of a well-rounded form of care because I will be knowledgeable in a field that [they may not be] expecting.

Are you currently involved in any work or volunteer opportunities regarding your fields of interest?

Currently, I’m starting a 3+1 position. I will be working in the 3+1 offices at RCBC, and it will be the 3+1 Rowan team who is stationed at RCBC. I will be the office assistant and advisor to some of the students, mostly pre-medical. My duties are mainly to assist the advisors and the staff in the offices, whether that’s through certain projects or being passed down students that they feel I could give advice to.

Also, I am assuming the position of Alumni Trustee on the NJCC (New Jersey County Colleges Council). That was a peer nomination by the Director of Marketing from RCBC, Greg Volpe. He peer nominated me since I was Alumni Trustee on RCBC’s Board of Trustees and I had fulfilled my term for the year. So, in that position, it’s voluntary and I can continue to advocate for the betterment of the student body at a state level instead of at a county level. We bring up student concerns from our campuses as well as discuss financial budgeting issues, such as more grant funding for research or for incoming freshmen. It’s more of, how can we help our students get an education if for some reason they’re financially not stable enough to?

I currently just assumed the position of project manager for the Science Slam, which is run by the RCBC STEM department. I am working directly with the associate dean of STEM — her name is Dr. Tiffani Worthy, and together we are recreating the essence of the Science Slam that RCBC has now done for the past three years. This event used to be marketed towards elementary/middle school kids to get them interested in the sciences and show them that, regardless of your gender, your race or your ethnicity, you can pursue a career in science, and it’s fun.

This year Dr. Worthy and I are looking to market a broader community, so we’re not only going to involve elementary school and middle school, we’re going to include high school students as well as our own college students. It’s going to be a very big event. We’re going to have experiments for the kids, advising will be there, 3+1 will be there, and it’s going to be a very market-friendly event to promote not only science, but for pursuing either RCBC or Rowan. It will probably be some time in early April.

Rebekah sits on a bench on the campus of RCBC.

How has the Rowan 3+1 program shaped your experience both as a student and now as a member of the advising team?

As a student, going into the program I had absolutely no idea what it was. I found out about the program by sitting on one of the park benches that had 3+1 advertised on it, which is really ironic. But, going into the program, it has opened up so many doors and opportunities to not only advance my undergraduate career but also propel me into a successful post-grad career, whether that’s through connections or through the experiences I was able to gain. The entire program has just made me a better student in my opinion. If I was not a part of the program I don’t think I would have excelled to the extent I have. 

Through this program, I was able to stay on with Service-Learning Scholars, which is a volunteering program at RCBC. I was able to stay with them for three years instead of two, which also allowed me to implement a Little Free Library on our campus. I was able to work at our food pantry 2 ½ years, I was able to just do a lot for long periods of times that I just wouldn’t have been able to do if I stayed there for only two years. Since I haven’t started the office position yet, I can’t really say how it’s going to shape me, but I can predict that it’s going to be very satisfying helping my peers in that role.

Rebekah on computer at Rowan College of Burlington County.

What inspired you to join the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey County Colleges Council? 

After completing my term with RCBC’s Board of Trustees as Alumni Trustee, it was a year term, and coming out of it I really enjoyed seeing how the policies of the college are not only implemented but created, and how exactly that impacts the students. I thought it was really important to maintain having my voice at that level as a student perspective. So, I didn’t even know it was a thing, and then when I was peer nominated and informed of it, I immediately took the position just because now I’m volunteering at a state level to advocate for the students, and I will always advocate for the betterment of the students.

I’m not that type of person where if I see something that’s wrong or can be done better I just look the other way — I want to fix it and really just try to make everything inclusive and equal. I want to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity and are equally heard. 

Do you have any plans to continue your education? If so, what are they?

Yes, I do have plans to continue my education. Currently, I am going through the application process for medical schools. I applied to both M.D. schools and D.O. schools — M.D. is allopathic and D.O. is osteopathic, there are two pathways of medicine. So, I am currently going through the process, which is primary application, secondary application, interviews and then acceptances. Of course, within those points of contact you can get rejected.

I essentially would like to be a cardiovascular surgeon, which is why pursuing medical school is necessary. If I don’t get into medical school this cycle, I plan to then pursue a master’s program in the interim year between now and having to reapply. The master’s program I will be pursuing will most likely be a highly specialized one, whether that’s medical anatomy or medical physiology. Something that will showcase that I am dedicated to medicine. 

In medical school, if I get in, I will be pursuing a dual degree program. So it’s either going to be M.D. or D.O. for the medical degree, then I am also looking at getting an MPH, an MBA, or a JD. So, for the MPH (Master of Public Health,) that will help me because as you age in the medical field, there will come a point in your career where you can’t perform surgeries because your dexterity and visual acuity declines. So in order to save myself in the future so I can still work in a hospital, the MPH will allow me to assume an administrative position. If I pursue the joint MBA, it will help me if I want to open up my own practice, because there’s a business side to that. The JD is actually a law degree, so I would be a doctor and a lawyer, but I would probably specialize in medical malpractice so it is still connected to healthcare. I just haven’t decide which one I actually want to pursue yet.

Front of Votta Pavilion on the campus of Rowan College of Burlington County.

How has your experience with Rowan shaped where you are now and what you wish to pursue? 

My experience with Rowan through the 3+1 program has shaped me to be a student who strives to do more than the bare minimum. I’m consistently trying to go above and beyond to not only meet the basic requirements, but to exceed past those and just really develop myself and my career. RCBC and Rowan University have given me the opportunity and the support to do so.

I plan to become a surgeon so having that level of support at the position I’m in right now as an undergraduate is something I appreciate, because some people don’t have that support.

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Story by:
Marlee Neumann, radio/TV/film major

Photos by:
Francesca Chiabella, Marketing intern at RCBC

First Year Voices: Jeszenee Turner of Denver, Colorado on Finding Your People

Jeszenee Turner sits smiling in Discovery Hall.

Today we feature first-year student and Theatre Arts-Acting major Jeszenee Turner (she/her) from Denver, Colorado. Here she shares with us some advice for incoming first-year students as well as what inspired her to attend Rowan University. Could you share a few on-campus activities, clubs, sports or events that you’ve attended so far? What was your […]

Alumni Success: Joseph Albanese and Where Computer Science Can Take You

Joseph Albanese of Gloucester County, NJ is a 2021 Rowan University alumnus who majored in Computer Science. Joseph works for the company Freefly Systems as a software engineer for the organization’s Alta X drone technology. Whether that be through dealing with maintenance on the front and backend of coding on drones, Joseph Albanese is a diligent worker and proud graduate of the Rowan College of Science and Mathematics.

What is computer science?

Computer science is the study of computers and software. Rowan’s program particularly focuses on the software end of things. There’s a lot of different subcategories that you can get into within the major such as artificial intelligence and robotics, which also has a focus on low level code running on boards. You could also get into applications programming where you’re running codes on applications that you use everyday such as social media.

There are a lot of other categories within this encompassing field that all relate to computers and the software that runs them.

Joseph Albanese wears an Alta X t-shirt.
Rowan University alumnus Joseph Albanese

What are the different avenues like within the field?

Computer science is used in just about everything you can think of now. For instance, your car has a small computer that controls the electronics like the air-to-fuel ratio and a ton of other little things that you don’t even think about in your day-to-day life. Your phone runs an entire operating system that has computer programs running on it. You can go into fields like robotics or drones where you’re focusing on those low-level bits and manage flight dynamics.

You could also go into more high-level things such as writing the software that you use to interact with other pieces of software or devices. You could go into cloud programming or web development where you develop a net of servers and develop all of the different actions that the servers are performing. There’s a huge breadth of things that you can do with computer science in general.

What are some positions that you can find in computer science?

You can be an embedded software engineer where you’re specifically focusing on the development of software that runs on boards. You can think about dominos, where you’re taking these pins that have input and output signals and you have to do an operation in between. You take the input and do some form of an operation between sending out outputs.

With robotics there’s a huge application for that. You can work in an automotive field, you can work with developing cameras that even you guys [editor’s note: our camera crew] are using right now. You could also be a web developer, which has two different subsections with the frontend and backend of things.

For the frontend of things, you can work on the user interface and how buttons appear on the screen and how the user is going to interact and act with that sort of thing. On the backend, you’re managing how data is transmitted from a user, how it’s stored, as well as the operations that you perform on it. There’s a lot of different avenues that you can go about doing.

A lot of what I did at Rowan was lower level application development. I focused quite a bit on writing Linux applications at Rowan University like what was in my capstone classes. Our senior project had us contracted by ASRC to build an application that they were going to use. 

Joe is diligently working on his laptop while his drone is right next to him.

What was the coolest application that you developed at Rowan?

The two coolest things that I did at Rowan were that ASRC project where we wrote a messaging system to send text messages back and forth between servers. The coolest thing about that was that it was decentralized. There was no central server keeping track of the messages, the messages would go directly from one computer to another computer and only to the user that was supposed to be receiving it. If any of the other computers had gone down you could still communicate with all the other ones. If you brought it back up it would automatically be joined back up into the network and communicate again.

Another cool project that I did at Rowan was building a Spotify recommendation website. If you connect to the website or link your own Spotify account with our website it would give you the option to like songs. The website would then take all of the different characteristics of the songs that you had selected such as the keys, the speed of the song, the different notes that would play, and it would compile all that together to craft a playlist for the specific user.

What do you enjoy the most about the field?

There’s a huge variety in what you can do. There’s a lot of interesting jobs that you can get in computer science but I would say that the thing that I like the most about computer science and engineering in general is getting problems and solving them. I get a lot of satisfaction from it. When I get a problem that I have no idea how to approach, getting to know about it and cracking the code and figuring out what I need to do is fun.

Joe is working with a partner and has a drone flying.

What is Freefly Systems?

Freefly Systems is a company that started out doing cinema drones and other robotics. We build cameras, but I primarily focus on the Alta X, which is our large heavy lift drone that is used in many different movies. We’re also getting into the industrial space with land surveying. We’re also looking into breaking into drone delivery. We sell this drone to different companies that are already doing really cool things with their own equipment or provide different services for them.

Generally, Freefly develops drones, cameras and gimbals. Companies that specialize in filming these triple A movies would look into our company and our Alta X to put their camera and equipment together. They use our platform to carry out their tasks. There’s so many different types of markets with drones. There are people who want small drones for shows, but generally for our type of customer, payload and weight capacity is one of our highest concerns. The openness of the platform and the ability to integrate whatever you want with it allows you to take care of whatever you need at the highest level.

What are your responsibilities like at Freefly?

I am a software engineer for the Alta X Team here. Generally, I take care of multiple different tasks ranging from the programming of the boards inside the drones to managing how the different boards communicate with one another as well as writing scripts to do qualitative insurance. I’ve done some work with changing some of the different codes that provide the front end to control the drone.

There’s a whole wide range of tasks that I do as a software engineer. Rowan University definitely provided me with a lot of basic tools that I now need to understand general programming concepts and how to write quality code. From there I was able to leverage those skills and learn how to apply it to drone technology.

Joseph smiles as he programs the Alta X drone for flight.

Are there any opportunities for Rowan students and alumni at Freefly?

Here at Freefly we’re constantly looking for new talent. If you’re an alumni or just recently graduated, you should definitely apply as we’re always looking for new software engineers. If you’re a current student, we’d love to have you as an intern and show you the ropes of what drone software engineering is like.

What is the best piece of advice that every computer science student should live by?

I would say that the best thing that I had heard when I was in school was to not just focus on your course work and making it the only thing that you’re doing. If you have side projects and things that you’re working outside of what you’re being taught, not only does it reinforce things that you’re learning but it also shows that you’re passionate about what you’re doing while applying for jobs. It gives you a leg up in experience but also having something to show what you’re doing.

If you apply what you learn outside of the academic environment and take it one step further, you start to push the boundaries of what you learn in class. You’ll have a much easier time transitioning into an actual workplace. While school provides a great foundation and a bit of depth to things, going outside and like I said earlier, pushing it that one step further, will really help you get a leg up on things.

See our video with Joseph here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

Beyond the Classroom: Marketing Major Josh Echandia Talks Sales Internship with CobbleStone Software

Today we speak with Josh Echandia, a senior Marketing major from West Creek, NJ (Ocean County). Josh switched from an Education major to Marketing at the end of his sophomore year. Within the last semester, Josh worked as a Marketing Intern for CobbleStone Software, a contract management software company. He also works full-time as a sales representative for Best Buy. He discusses his decision to switch majors, his internship experience and how working in the field cultivated a love of marketing and sales. 

Why did you choose Rowan to study Marketing?  

I originally came to Rowan to be an Education major focusing on the Math Education route. That just ended up not working out for me because I did not really enjoy it. After about a year, I switched to Physical Education and then after another semester, I switched to Marketing. I had already been working at Best Buy for a couple years prior to going to Rowan, so I was already in the sales field a little bit; I thought marketing would be a good fit. I loved Rowan as a whole, so I didn’t really care what my major was. As long as I was still a student here, I knew I was going to be happy. 

What are your future plans and what is your dream job for working as a marketing major?

After gaining some experience in the business field, I discovered that I really liked the sales aspect of things. Whether that is business-to-business or business-to-consumer sales, I would love to try at all. I’m really not set on one specific job title or position. 

Marketing is a big part of sales. Within the field, you must be able to advertise what you’re selling and target what market you’re striving for. That all plays a massive role in the sales world. I know that I want to incorporate what I’ve learned in marketing and couple it with sales.

Josh Echandia.
Josh Echandia

How did you seek out the internship opportunity for Cobblestone Software? 

I went to networking events at Rowan. They were so cool. I loved talking to all the different companies there and learning about the various opportunities you could have. The first internship that I actually applied for was CobbleStone Software. They stood out to me because they were in the technology field. So I decided to apply, and it worked out well.

What did you learn from interning at CobbleStone Software? Can you talk about the pros and cons for working hybrid?

I’ve been working full-time on top of being a student since I got into college, but going from regular retail work to an internship was a change of pace. Working for CobbleStone Software made me slow down and think about applying what I’ve learned in class to what I’m doing in a real-life professional setting.

Being in a hybrid setting helped because when I started the internship, I was in the office three days a week, and on two of those days, I had class right after work. So I felt like I was always running from work to class. Once I adjusted to the hybrid setting, it made my life much easier because I could work from home comfortably. I already had a desktop setup, so it just worked out perfectly.

After transitioning to a hybrid schedule, I was able to get to class on time, and I was able to eat in between. I was truly able to structure my day around my work and school obligations.

What was your role at this internship, and what did you do on a daily basis? 

As a sales and marketing intern, we were responsible for making pre-calls for our sales advisors. Essentially, we were calling to see if they were interested or open to the market for the software we provided, just contract management, sorting contracts and auto-billing contracts. We were trying to sell our service and our software to other companies.

It was very interesting. And there were a lot of companies that I never would’ve thought they were working with, like [a local grocery story chain], for example. So it was interesting to see how real-life applications work in these settings.

What were some of your biggest challenges that you faced as a Cobblestone Software?

CobbleStone Software was very helpful in the whole process of becoming an intern and going through my day-to-day. My biggest struggle was adjusting to an office setting rather than making in-person sales connections.

Because I’m very personable, I think one of my most significant assets includes communicating with people in person. So being over the phone was a little challenging to get used to. Beyond that, everything was easy to adapt to, and CobbleStone made it very easy to adjust. So I would say the biggest struggle for me was just the change of pace and change of setting.

What was your biggest takeaway from Cobblestone Software? What was the best thing you think you’ve learned that you will be able to utilize in your future endeavors?

This response is more general, but internships teach you what real-life business is about and whether you want to be in specific fields or not. Without being so broad, I realized that CobbleStone taught me about employee engagement and employee appreciation.

Our software is not an easy thing to learn. And it was tough for a lot of us when we first onboarded to pick it up. However, the leadership team and all the people above us made the transition much more manageable. And through that, they gave us a lot of employee appreciation and were extremely curious about taking feedback from us. They made it apparent that we were at the forefront of many of their decisions. It made me feel appreciated and heard.

Do you have any advice for sticking out during the application and interview process of applying for internships?

One thing that I never really paid attention to until I started my junior year was the resources that Rowan offers their students. Especially within the College of Business, there are so many resources for you to be successful, and the only way to get those resources to the full extent is to apply yourself to them. Make sure you attend networking events, even if it’s not a class requirement, because you may find your next potential boss. Networking is key.

You may find some of the best friends through these networking events, too. It is essential to take advantage of what the school is providing you. Not only is it making the most of your tuition cost, but it’s also making the most out of your experience. Being engaged with your professors and being involved with the clubs associated with your major are ways to make the most out of your college experience and prepare you for your future.

Josh smiles whiles walking down a stairwell inside Business Hall.

How has your experience working at Best Buy and being active at Rowan in various social and athletic clubs helped prepare you and develop your skills for your professional endeavors?

My experiences within Best Buy and the social and athletic clubs at Rowan all help me develop skills and qualities that will only benefit me in my professional life. For example, being the President of the Wrestling Club opened my eyes to being a leader in general. With Best Buy, I was in management; this gave me a little bit of retail management experience.

Being the president of a club kind of opens you up to many different things, like the structure of leadership, balancing tasks, and even time management. For example, I have to delegate to my e-board certain things that must be done within the club. Everything I have learned from my job at Best Buy and my experiences made available by Rowan can efficiently be utilized in my future.

Did you experience any unexpected parts associated with your major? 

So I started to piece together many connections between education and marketing. It was kind of weird because when I went into marketing, I went in with a sales-person mindset. And for me, education was just another form of selling; instead of selling products and services, it is like you are selling information.

I didn’t know how much depth and development there was in marketing — targeting different markets and being able to adapt to various market changes like that. So I never really thought about it. And that was not only interesting for me to see, it [showed] how I wanted to learn through marketing and what I could do with it afterward.

Josh sits holding two business textbooks and smiling inside Business Hall.

What was your favorite part of your major so far? 

Honestly, my favorite part was being able to learn and now utilize Canva. Canva is an application like an Instagram editor or a video editor, and it is pretty cool to make custom logos through. It’s pretty much a design portfolio that you can use online. And we were taught to use it for different projects and assignments and marketing principles, and it is a tool I have been using ever since I started learning about it. I utilize it for the Wrestling Club, my accounts and professionally. 

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

Photos by: 
Ashley Craven, junior radio/TV/film major

Beyond the Classroom: How Two Students Blend Art and Science

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you two meet? 

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

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

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

How did you introduce Biomedical Art and Visualization to Naman? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naman and Terry pose with campus greenery in the background.

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

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

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

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

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

Naman and Terry are standing on the Bunce Hall stairs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, graduate English education 

Photography by:
Ashley Craven, sports and communication major

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

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

How Rowan University’s Accelerated MBA/MSF Program Fits One Student’s Fast-Paced Life

MBA/MSF accelerated student Kristin Carlson works with another student inside Business Hall.

Rowan University’s Rohrer College of Business offers an MBA/MS in Finance accelerated program that grants two graduate degrees in less time at a lower cost. That pathway appealed to Kristin Carlson, whose time is limited with raising and homeschooling four children. It may also place her closer to her own long-term career goals. Read on […]

Getting to Know the Molecular & Cellular Biology Major with Lauren Staman

Lauren Staman, a senior Molecular & Cellular Biology major, speaks with us about the field, her experience conducting research at Rowan University, and tips for students looking into the major. Can you describe molecular and cellular biology? It’s basically a field of biology that’s very specialized yet interdisciplinary. It deals with the inner workings of […]

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

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

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

Rowan Alumnus and Band Director Mike Massaro on Music Education

Music education alumnus Mike Massaro plays the trumpet wearing a red polo shirt.

Today we feature a Q and A with 2020 Rowan Music Education graduate Mike Massaro, the middle school band director at Kingsway Regional Middle School and coach for the Rowan Youth Jazz Orchestra. Music is a passion of Mike’s, and it all started for him at an early age. He talks about the journey he has been on with the art, his teaching position and the importance of learning music.

Where did your passion for music stem from?

I can think back through my life of how I got progressively more involved with music, but it all started back when I was a little kid. When my grandmother would be driving me in her car, I’d be in the backseat. And she put in this cassette tape. The first track on it was “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, and I would sing along in the back and I’d hum along.

I always knew that I liked music a lot. As I got older, eventually I joined band when I was in elementary school, got in the jazz band when I was in middle school.

But it was really when I got into the high school jazz band and my high school band director believed in me a lot, that I knew that this was something that I wanted to spend a life in.

What was the exact moment that you were like, this is what I want to do for my life?

The moment that I realized I wanted to go into music was actually the moment that music had gotten taken away from me. When I was a sophomore in high school, I always used to come right home from school, and I’d go up to my room and I’d practice trumpet right away.

One time that winter break, I was hanging out with a bunch of my friends and we were just being silly sophomores in high school, throwing stuff around the basement. I got hit in the face by a toy and my lip busted, which is not good for trumpet players. I couldn’t play trumpet for about a month or two. So, I would come home and in that time where I previously used to practice, I would just go up and sit, and just keep an icepack on my face, and not do anything. And it was boring. It wasn’t fun, it was depressing.

I realized, if this is what my life is without music, why would I go into anything but music?

Mike is sitting down and looking off to the left.
Mike Massaro (above) wrote a piece for Rowan Blog while a student; read that here.

Why did you choose Rowan for music?

There were a lot of factors that went into me choosing Rowan for music, but ultimately what it came down to was the professors that I knew I would be studying under, and the individual attention that I knew I’d be receiving.

I can tell, looking at Rowan, that every single professor truly cares about every single student that is involved in their program. Through my time learning with all these professors, I was able to get to know them all so personally, and so closely. Looking at myself now as a teacher, I’m able to look at anything I do and pick apart almost sort of where I got that from, which professor kind of instilled that in me and how it’s grown ever since that.

You knew that you wanted to continue with music, but when did you decide that you wanted to teach it?

So for me, I realized I wanted to go into music in a very finite moment. However, realizing that I wanted to teach music was more of a progressive thing.

It was probably around my junior year in high school, I had gotten a lot more opportunities to teach other students. I was running sectionals, I was just getting to work with a lot of younger students, and I started to really like that feeling of knowing that somebody was getting better at music because of something that I was able to share with them.

I started to fall in love with that feeling so much. I realized it was really what was keeping me going. It was my big spark in life and I knew that I wanted to live with that for the rest of my life.

Mike is sitting in a tree playing the saxophone.

Can you talk a little bit more about the relationships that you have with the students and the inspiration that their growth brings?

Sure. I believe in all of my students, I believe any one of them can truly achieve what they want to, especially in music. I can look at all of them and see so much of my past self and see so much of my past friends from when I was in their shoes. But I can also see so much new in all of them. There’s so many new ideas that they all bring to the table, so many new things that they want to try, and new things that they’re able to accomplish.

Every student is at a different level. I don’t expect all of my students to achieve the same things. We all start at different levels and we all end at different levels. But ultimately, what my relationship with my students is based off of is progress, and seeing that we’re all able to grow together at the same time.

Music education seems to be one of the first programs that always gets cut. Why do you believe music education is vital to help students build on their skill set?

To anybody that’s asking why music should be in schools, why is music education important? I ask the question, what would your life be without music? it’s something that surrounds us everywhere that we go. We’re in the car, we’re in the store, we go to concerts, we can hear these birds around me right now. Any sound can be considered music.

I think establishing a relationship with that art is one of the most important things that any young student can experience, because it truly exposes them to the world that is around them in a more personal and connected way than, in my opinion, any other field that is out there.

Mike is sitting and looking off to the right with a slight smile.

Can you kind of talk about how music can additionally teach kids math and language?

I definitely believe that music is a universal language. It encompasses so many of the other fundamental skills that we see. Math, rhythms are all math. Everyday pitches are all math, and in that same realm of math, it’s all science. Everything that we do is based around physics, It’s all based around acoustics.

In terms of language arts, English, literature and any other language you could possibly dream of, everything that we do is storytelling. It’s all based and structured around the same types of forms that we see in literature and stories. And, I mean if we’re talking history music has such a diverse and extensive and beautiful history throughout all of mankind. It truly does bring every single subject into play all at once, and you can take moments to isolate down and work with those specific subjects.

A side profile picture of Mike sitting and talking.

Whenever it comes to like the band, the orchestra, the jazz band, everybody has to be on the same page or the music fails. How is each individual person important, no matter if they’re the first chair with a big solo, or they’re the last chair?

Ultimately, our job as musicians in an ensemble has to pay respect to the original work that was written, that was composed. That composer wrote that work for a very specific purpose, for a very specific reason. Every single member of our team matters when it comes to making sure that reason can come to life. Whether it’s some situation where there’s one student on a part, like there is in a jazz ensemble, or there’s many students on a part, like there is in a wind ensemble. Every student matters, because again, we’re trying to pay respect to these words.

Ultimately, the melody doesn’t mean anything without the harmony. The harmony doesn’t mean anything without the melody. The drumbeat doesn’t mean anything without the melody and the harmony. It takes every single student to really create the story that we are trying to tell in there. And if you look at an activity like marching band, there’s nowhere to hide on the field. Every single student has a role. There is no bench, all of our students are on 100% of the time.

As a music education teacher, how do you keep everybody engaged evenly?

When it comes to keeping all of the students in the room engaged all the time, I’m constantly asking myself what their skill set is in three different perspectives. I’m looking at the individual skill sets, the skill sets of their sections. Like the trumpets, the alto sax is the percussion section, and then the skill set of the full ensemble.

I think the hardest part about being a band director is finding the balance between managing those three skill sets increasing all at once. ‘m constantly asking myself, is this challenge enough for this student? Is it too much? I want to push the bar for everybody individually, just how I can at the right pace.

The same goes for their sections, they grow together through their sections and ultimately ensemble goes together. So, I’m constantly listening and assessing their growth on those three levels. 

Mike is smiling and holding his saxophone.

What do you feel is the importance of having somebody to guide the students? What was the importance for you to have professors that show you the way and sparks your love for music?

I tell my students all the time, the most important thing that I could ever teach them is how to teach themselves. I always want to be there to give them the material that they need when they are ready for it. And when they are ready to take those next steps, I will push them to do it. But ultimately, I’m not the one playing the instruments. That’s them. I’m not the one sitting in the group playing that is that is them.

I want to constantly be giving them the skills that they need to take any inspiration in any musical knowledge that they can, and use it to make themselves be the best version of themselves that they can.

You touched on this earlier, but could you dive deeper on the overall experience that you’ve got with your professors and how they’ve shaped you as a musician?

One of the most important interactions that I had with a professor when I was at Rowan, was with one of my professors who was actually a middle school band director at a local middle school. This was the day that I realized I wanted to teach middle school.

I went out there on one of my practicums, which was through the ED major, and I saw what he was doing with his students and the level that they were performing. I was completely unaware that middle schoolers can perform at that level. That was the moment where I said, I want to be able to do this.

I was able to talk with this professor for a while afterwards and he talked to me about being a musician, being a teacher, and how important it is to teach to my own musicianship. Everything that I learned in my ensembles, at Rowan, whether it was in jazz band with Denis [DiBlasio], wind ensemble with Dr. Higgins, or my trumpet lessons with with Brian [Appleby-Wineberg], no matter what it was that I learned, these were all things that built my musicianship up.

Ultimately, as a teacher, I’m constantly teaching to what I know. As a musician, I’m constantly pulling from those experiences. So, how did my experiences at Rowan shape myself as a teacher? They built my musicianship. They made me who I was, as a musician. They exposed me to so many different situations and types of music and opportunities, that I was able to take all these things, and now share them with my students who can now evolve on them themselves, teaching to my musicianship.

Another shot of Mike playing the saxophone in the same location.

What is the importance of being able to teach music for grades K-12?

Like I said earlier, music is universal. I think in music, having experience teaching every single grade level can only be beneficial for you. One of the time periods of my most intense growth was during my student teaching, when I was actually teaching kindergarten. I taught K through five general music and it was so much fun. I learned so much more about the teaching process in that time period, through working with kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders. Seeing how they received information and seeing how important structure was.

Music is cool in the fact that from the time we’re young, when we first experience it, and we’re in our music classes in kindergarten, second grade, and all that stuff, we’re working on what is essentially the same set of fundamentals from then all the way up to the professional level. The only thing that changes is the amount of it that we’re able to receive. And of course, yes, concepts become more and more advanced as you get older, but I perceive that as the amount of information that we’re able to receive. Being able to teach at the younger levels and at the older levels is incredibly beneficial, because seeing how people learn and how they receive this information really helps establish what comes next.

Mike is smiling while holding his saxophone

What is your role in youth jazz? How did you get involved?

I am the coach for the Rowan Youth Jazz Orchestra. This is a brand new program that is being offered through the Rowan Community Music School, to middle school and high school aged students. I got involved through this shortly after I graduated, I got a call from my former student teaching supervisor who had become the head of the Rowan Community Music School, the director of the school. She called me asking if I would want to hop on board with this new group. I said, Absolutely. We did a semester through Zoom and then we just finished our first full year of in person ensemble rehearsals and performances this year. It’s so fun being able to work alongside Skip Spratt, who is just an absolute amazing educator and musician overall, learning so much from it. I’m glad that I’m able to learn and teach these things at the same time.

How do you find a balance between your teaching and your musicianship?

Finding the balance between the teacher side of things, and the musician side of things can be very difficult at times. But again, I always do everything I can to not compromise the music and exchange for the things that come on the teacher side of things such as, the procedures, the logistics, the discipline.

I make sure that my students know my expectations as early and as upfront as possible, so that we can get right into the music as quickly and as efficiently as we possibly can. The more that side of things is running, the easier it can be for all of us to just experience what we want to get out of the music that is in front of us.

Mike is sitting and looking off right.

We know that middle schoolers obviously have a shorter attention span. How do you kind of deal with the different environment of middle school compared to college, where you are just coming from?

In college, the music that we’re performing and practicing and playing is consistently at the highest level that is available. In middle school, for most of the students, that is their first time really getting to experience music in this capacity. I often have to take a step back a lot of times and remind myself that it is the first time for the students going through this and that they can’t be expected to know all of these high-level concepts, or even sometimes, just know what to do in any given situation.

That is my job as an educator, to teach them what to do in these situations. So for me, I have to go back to square one and ask myself if I was in their chair, what would the next thing I would need to accomplish be? And then from there, I step into teacher mode and say, how can I help these students accomplish this next step?

Being there for their sort of first interaction with music, have you had that opportunity where you see a spark for the love of music in a student’s eyes? If you have what does that feel like?

Yeah. So for most schools, our pay days on the 15th, and the 30th. That’s cool and all, but for me, the real pay day is when students have those moments of those big realizations. Those, oh that’s it type of moments when they really get something and it’s clear that it locks in, and they actually understand it. That is my pay day. That is when I really understand and that’s when I really feel the reward of what I’m working for. When the students get to experience and when they take that next step, and when they really love what they’re doing. 

Mike is leaning on a tree while smiling and holding his saxophone to his chest.

How do you describe Rowan for someone to come here to further their music education?

The beautiful thing about majoring in Music Education at Rowan is that you’re going to be constantly surrounded by professors who care about you. Like I was talking about earlier, every single professor that I had believed in me and was patient with me through my learning process, and gave me the tools that I needed to figure it out and to succeed on my own. I had such a different college experience than a lot of my friends. We were all looking for different things. But whatever it was that we were looking for, our professors were able to help us achieve that and find that and live that.

So for any student that is looking into Rowan, no matter what it is that you want to accomplish with your time in college, these professors in this department is there for you to make sure that can happen.

Watch our video feature of Mike here:

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Story by:
Jada Johnson, political science major

Photography by:
Brian Seay, senior sports communication and media, radio/TV/film major

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

Stephanie writes in her notebook on a bench on campus.

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

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

Emerson standing in Westby Hall.

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

Emerson posing for a portrait outside under a tree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you find and secure this internship?

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

How does this internship tie in with your major?

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

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

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

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

How will this internship help you achieve your career goals?

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

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

Emerson is working on a project on their computer.

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

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

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

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

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

Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective: Law & Justice, Psychology Double Major Katerine A. on Not Hiding Her “Personality, Culture or Heritage”

Top of Bunce Hall with a blue sky background.

Today, as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective series, we feature Junior Katerine A. (she/her) from Bronx County, New York. Katerine is double majoring in Law & Justice Studies and Psychology. She discusses her Rowan experience, staying true to herself, and gives advice to future students. What is your student experience here at Rowan? […]

What Hispanic Heritage Month Means for Jeremy Arias

Jeremy is sporting a sweatshirt with his fraternity letters on it and is sitting down in some greenery with his arms spread open.

From Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is not only a celebration, but is also a time of recognition for the many people in the United States and beyond. In our conversation with Jeremy Arias, a junior majoring in Finance from North Bergen, NJ, we learned more of his own unique Rowan experience. In our dialogue with Jeremy we learned more of his leadership qualities as the president of a fraternity on campus (Alpha Phi Delta) as well as what his own Hispanic heritage means for himself. 

What aspects here at Rowan motivated your decision to spend your higher education here? 

The main thing was the environment. All my life I had been going to school with people I know. For example, the same kids I went to elementary school with were also in my high school. I think that’s why most people choose colleges that are so far away.

In my case, I transferred all the way from Indiana. I wanted to be away from home and meet new people. I think that going to Rowan, I was still home in New Jersey but I was still far enough from home where I could be around new people instead of surrounding myself with people I already knew. I still got the best of both worlds here at Rowan University.

Jeremy Arias is leaning against the Rowan Barnes and Noble with his fraternity letters on him.

What was the transition like transferring into Rowan? 

I can definitely say it was a decently difficult transition. When I transferred I did end up missing the spring orientation. At this time, Covid was especially prevalent too so I was put into the transfer floor of Holly Pointe on the 7th floor. There was nobody living there except for my one neighbor. I didn’t even have a roommate, I was living in a double room by myself. Even when I went to all the programs like RAH (Rowan After Hours), they would have bingo or other activities but it was still all online so you really couldn’t meet people in the usual way. It was hard to get in touch with people because of everything being online, but it was an experience nonetheless.

Why did you choose to major in Finance? 

The reason that I wanted to get into finance was because I grew up in a town that was across the water from New York. You see a city like that and you see how it’s run all by money, like Wall Street for example. It’s a big corporate town, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of something bigger like that one day. I wanted to be one of those people that have the distinction, the titles and of course, the wealth as well.

I feel like part of the reason that I wanted to be a part of an environment like that was because I’ve always wanted to be a part of a higher purpose. I’ve always wanted to be in places of greater importance and opportunity.

Jeremy can be seen hanging around the boulevard talking with friends.

What have you enjoyed the most about Rowan so far? 

What I’ve enjoyed the most about Rowan has to be the community. It’s not a big school but it feels so big because of the people. For me, it doesn’t matter how large or small a school is as long as the people there are large in personality or attitude. You always feel at home. There’s so many different people out there and they make the world larger than it is. Between the school programs and the boulevards and all the other opportunities that Rowan has to offer, it definitely is a close knit community.

The people here are larger than life itself. They want to involve you so much within the community. Even though you might feel isolated at times, you’ll always find a home in the community. 

Could you tell us a bit more about your Fraternity? 

I’m currently in the fraternity Alpha Phi Delta, which is an Italian heritage fraternity that was founded on Nov. 5, 1914. We chartered here at Rowan University in the 1970s. We were deactivated and then reinstated in 2017. While we may be one of the few fraternities that have been here for so long, we’re still building. As of now, we’re five years strong and excited for the future.

Even though we might not have as many brothers as other fraternities on campus there’s a beauty in it. All of the brothers are so close knit and really know each other. It’s just like a big family.

I definitely think it’s been quite a ride; I came in knowing nothing and then you come out and become a brother and you know everything about everyone. It’s like a circle of life. You have to learn everything about the brothers but eventually they become your best friends. As a new person comes in, you almost feel old. You were in the same spot as them only a few years ago. You become almost like the old wise guy. On another note, rush Alpha Phi Delta. 

Jeremy is holding up a soccer jersey and smiling at the camera.

How did you come into your leadership position within your fraternity? 

During elections, there were a couple of us running but I think that most people felt the most confident in me and my vision for the future. I ended up winning by only one vote but I had all the confidence in the world in myself that I had a shot at it but I understand why people were skeptical. I had just recently become a brother but I had a plan with how I wanted to steer the fraternity. A lot of the guys who had been in the fraternity at the time were involved during Covid, we were just getting out of it and there were certain things that unfortunately couldn’t work anymore.

But I knew the direction that I wanted to take everyone. I won the election by one vote and told everyone of my plans and really won them all over. I was one of the youngest presidents in the fraternity’s history. There’s definitely a learning curve and there is a much needed adjustment period. You think the whole presidency thing is all fun and dandy but there are so many different responsibilities. People depend on you. It’s still fun, but it was an awakening. I knew I wanted to be president. I wanted to shoot for the top. It’s everything I wanted out of it.

Jeremy is throwing peace signs and smiling at the camera.

How has your experience as President of your fraternity changed your framework of mind? 

I definitely feel like my leadership has steered the fraternity in the right way internally. There is a lot more work to be done, especially in the upcoming semester, but there’s a lot of things that we’re all really excited about.

My leadership is built upon a lot of values that I really believe in. I think that with hard work it gives you a sense of satisfaction. You work hard and when the job gets done you can sit down, reflect and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

What motivated you to take up a leadership position in your fraternity? 

My mentor in the fraternity was the previous president of the fraternity. I saw all the work that he had done and all the leadership qualities that he exhibited. At one point, he told me that he had “picked me because he thought that I was worthy of this.” It resonated with me. I always want to be a part of a higher purpose and that was my calling. It was great for my confidence and I knew I had people who knew that I had potential.

Could you tell us a bit about your hispanic heritage?

My mother is Venezulean, she grew up in Caracas. My dad is Colombian, he was born in Bogota. He moved with my Aunt and Uncle to Venezuela where he eventually met my mother. Together from there they made their way to the United States.

Jeremy is holding up a book and pointing to his families home country of Venezuela.

How has your family incorporated aspects of your hispanic heritage into your life? 

In every aspect of my life. The language, the values, the prevalence of family. Of course, especially the food as well. I’m a huge fan. I think everything really when it comes down to ethics and values. I attribute a lot of my drive and hard work to that type of upbringing. Everything they taught me was all I’ve ever known my entire life.

What does being Hispanic mean to you? 

To me, it means being a part and representing an ethnicity that is filled with culture and life. There are so many colorful things that go with being Hispanic, the culture especially. My parents came here with nothing and worked for everything that they have. It’s kind of a representation for the entirety of the Hispanic culture. Some of us have come from nothing. A lot of work, so hard for everything that we have.

That’s the Hispanic way. It’s a hardworking and yet such a loving, family-oriented community.

How do you involve your Hispanic heritage into your daily life? 

I think that I involve it in every way possible. For example, every morning I make a Hispanic breakfast. When I’m in class, I’m working as hard as I can so that eventually I can go home and show my parents, “Look at my grades, this is all for you guys.” The way that I’m around people, I treat them all like family. I love being around people, it’s amazing what happens when you treat people the way that you want to be treated.

Jeremy can be seen in the Rowan Barnes and Noble holding up books that discuss about different countries flags.

What are your favorite parts about your Hispanic heritage? 

It has to be the food, the language and the people. What I love the most about the Hispanic culture is that there is no such thing as one “Hispanic.” Even with dialect as well, Colombian Spanish isn’t the same as Venezuelan Spanish or even Ecuadorian, Dominican and Puerto Rican. They are all so different but at the end of the day there is one root for it all. There’s still enough similarities where you can understand what the other person is attempting to convey. We’re all so different but we’re also all the same.

How has your heritage influenced your identity as a person? 

I think that the part of my Hispanic heritage that has influenced my identity the most is probably the family aspects. It’s such a loving community, like I said earlier, I’m a people person, I treat everyone like family. That’s just how I am. The discipline and the hard work has ingrained itself into me. In my opinion, every Hispanic has had that ambition and drive at one point in their life. I feel like that’s something that makes up my identity. I’m always striving for better because I always want more out of life. I want that not just out of me, but also everyone around me.

I gotta say though, the Hispanic food has definitely made up a large portion of my identity. It’s my favorite! Lastly, I think the idea of always making someone proud has made up a huge chunk of my own self. With my parents, they continue to work hard and give me everything that I have to help me in life. They still are guiding me down this path for as much as they can. I just want to be in a position of success where I can say “Hey Mom and Dad, I did this for you and I hope you’re proud of me.”

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, Rowan Global student in Graduate English Education program

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

    Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective: History and International Studies Double Major Kyle I.

    Rowan arch with a cloudy blue background.

    Today, as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective series, we feature Senior Kyle I. (he/him) from Woodlynne, NJ (Camden County). Kyle is double majoring in History and International Studies, having transferred to Rowan University from Camden County College. He discusses his experience at Rowan, professional aspirations, and gives advice to future students. What is […]

    Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective: Senior Biological Sciences Major Esteban Nieto on a “New Community” at Rowan

    Esteban sits in front of Science Hall.

    Why did you decide to attend Rowan University? I wanted something different, something far from home. A new community, you know? Getting out of my comfort zone. What has your experience as a student been like? It’s been pretty good, honestly. Overall, I do enjoy it here. It’s very different. What attracted you to the […]

    Beyond the Classroom: Jack Campanella Takes Club Leadership, Engineering Skills to Internship with Robotics Company

    ECE major Jack Campanella sits with robots from the Rowan club from which he is president.

    Today we feature Jack Campanella, a senior Electrical and Computer Engineering major with a minor in Computer Science and a concentration in Honors. Jack is a lab assistant and peer tutor, and he also serves as president of Rowan’s Robotics and Automation Society (RAS). He hails from Monmouth County, NJ. Here, Jack shares more details […]

    Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective: Law & Justice Major Kathleen has “Dreamed Big”

    Close up of the top of Bunce Hall with a blue sky in the background.

    Today, as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective series, we feature senior Kathleen (she/her) from Perth Amboy, NJ (Middlesex County). Kathleen is majoring in Law & Justice Studies, having transferred to Rowan University from Rowan College of South Jersey. She discusses her experience at Rowan, professional aspirations, and gives advice to future students. What […]

    Meet Transfer Profs: College of Education Student Emilie Pretto

    A photo of Rowan University's education building, James Hall.

    Today we feature incoming transfer student Emilie Pretto (she/her) from Ocean County. Emilie tells us about her major, why she’s excited to start classes at Rowan, and gives advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward to at Rowan University? I’m looking forward to […]

    Meet Transfer Profs: Marleigh Davis from the School of Nursing and Health Professions

    A photo of James Hall behind flowers and an art installation.

    Today we feature incoming transfer student Marleigh Davis (she/her) from Gloucester County. Marleigh tells us about majoring in Nutrition, gives advice to future transfer students, and discusses why she chose to attend Rowan University. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward to at Rowan University? I am looking […]

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

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

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

    Meet Transfer Profs: College of Science and Mathematics Students Dante and Daniel

    An image of Rowan's Science Hall.

    Today we feature incoming transfer students Dante P. (they/them) and Daniel from Gloucester County and Cumberland County, respectively. Both give insights into their majors, why they’re excited to start classes at Rowan, and give advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward to at […]

    Meet Transfer Profs: Welcoming Students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences

    Bunce Hall on Rowan's Glassboro Campus behind some foliage.

    Today we feature incoming transfer students April Casey (she/her), an English major from Gloucester County and Emma Rodriguez (she/her), an Anthropology major from Ocean County. The two tell us about their majors, why they’re excited to start classes at Rowan, and give advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us […]

    Meet Transfer Profs: 3 Marketing Majors from the Rohrer College of Business

    An aerial photo of Rowan's business building.

    Today we feature Marketing majors and transfer students Grace Massengale (she/her), Halle Lemanowicz (she/her), and Irany Cano from Gloucester County, Camden County, and Cumberland County respectively. The three tell us about their majors, why they’re excited to start classes at Rowan, and give advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with […]