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 […]

Compassion Outside the Classroom

Dramatic sunrise at Rowan University.

Starr Barker, a rising advertising major from Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County) shares this deeply personal first-person perspective on how a Rowan professor went above and beyond to help her face a challenging time in her life. Due to the subject matter, the editors have chosen to include campus photos instead of people photos in this story. 

A glimpse of Bunce's tower through flowers in bloom.

I transferred to Rowan University last spring. Transferring comes with many challenges, like making new friends, figuring out the campus layout, and connecting with professors. People face many challenges when coming to a new university, and I have had my share of them. Facing these challenges can become overwhelming, and suffocating, and can make you feel isolated. I was lucky enough to have a professor with who I connected with who helped me through the most challenging time of my life.

This semester for me was already challenging enough between six courses, commuting to campus, and changing my major. During the middle of the semester my life took a turn for the worse.

My stepmother was diagnosed with kidney cancer and everything changed.

I had to take on a new role in my household, helping my stepmother and father in any way that I could. This meant going to hospital visits, running errands, taking care of the home, and taking care of the pets. While all this was happening around me, I still had the responsibility of attending my classes and getting all of my work done. During this time I connected with one of my professors. She understood how hard things were becoming at home and in school. My professor understood the seriousness of my situation and understood that some things are more important than attending a lecture. I was able to communicate with her and not feel so isolated in my situation.

Purple flowers in bloom on campus.

Toward the end of March, only weeks after my stepmom’s diagnosis, my stepmother passed away from her cancer. I took a week off from school to try to come to terms with my new life without her. When I came back to classes, that same professor knew by looking at me that I was not okay. Because of the bond we had created during this hard time, I was able to talk to her about my personal life even more. I was able to open up to her and even literally cry in her arms, and she shed tears too. We shared our experiences with situations like these with each other and I found not only one of my favorite professors, but a new friend. Because of her, I didn’t feel so alone. I didn’t feel like the world around me was closing in so much. I was able to talk about my experience and feelings with ease. I am lucky to have a professor like her, one who cares about her students and shows it. 

Through this experience I learned so much about myself, the people around me, what it
means to listen, and how you can be there for someone in any way possible. I learned that
some professors are here for more than just giving us lectures and homework; some actually
care and are here to help us outside of the classroom. I was lucky enough to be placed in her
class and find a professor that goes above and beyond for her students. My professor didn’t
have to reach out, but I’m thankful she did.

Editor note: Our hearts go out to the Barker family. Please know that the Wellness Center is available for Rowan students in need of counseling, which includes grief counseling. Rest in peace, Mrs. Barker. 

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Written by: Starr Barker, rising senior advertising major
Story edited by: Valentina Giannattasio, rising junior dance and marketing double 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

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

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

Stephanie writes in her notebook on a bench on campus.

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

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

Emerson standing in Westby Hall.

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

Emerson posing for a portrait outside under a tree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you find and secure this internship?

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

How does this internship tie in with your major?

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

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

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

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

How will this internship help you achieve your career goals?

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

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

Emerson is working on a project on their computer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skyla holds a Rowan University pennant against a wooded backdrop.

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

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 […]

Beyond the Classroom: Marketing Major, Consulting Firm Intern and Rowan Social Media Student Team Member Zara Capone

Zara poses outside on campus.

Today we speak to Zara Capone, a Marketing major from Flemington, NJ (Hunterdon County). Zara finds value in attaining hands-on experience as a Rowan social media team member and Slalom intern. In the following article, Zara shares experiences within her university studies, internships and advice for incoming marketing majors. 

What is your major and what inspired you to pursue it?

I am a marketing major. I chose a business major because there are many opportunities for full-time jobs after college and you can use the degree in so many different industries. I chose marketing, specifically, because I enjoy the creative aspect of it.

What are your career goals?

As of now, my career goal is to land a job out of college and to continue to build my skills in marketing. I don’t know exactly what industry I want to work in, but I always thought that working in the media and entertainment industry has always seemed exciting to me.

Portrait of Zara outside.

How do you think Rowan has prepared you for achieving these career goals?

Rowan has prepared me well for my career goals. The Rohrer Center for Professional Development has a lot of resources that students can utilize to assist them through their job search such as resume reviews, career fairs, and mock interviews. Rowan also provides students the opportunity for on campus jobs in the field that they’re looking to get into, which is great. 

Why did you choose to study at Rowan?

I chose Rowan because I thought that they had a great business program and I really liked the campus. They also have a lot of opportunities for professional development.

Are you involved in any clubs or organizations?

Yes, I am in Alpha Sigma Alpha, a sorority.

How did you get started on Rowan’s social media team? What are your responsibilities as an intern?

I was hired to be on the social media team in June of 2021. I saw a post on the Rowan University Instagram page saying that they were looking for student workers to join the team, so I applied and got the position. My responsibilities include monitoring Rowan’s social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. During these shifts, I respond to mentions, comments, and messages. I also create weekly content for Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok.

Are you currently involved in any summer internships? If so, what is it and what are your responsibilities?

I am currently working for Slalom, which is a consulting company. I am working as a marketing intern. I work with the marketing team in the New York City office. Right now, I am developing a social media strategy for them and I’m also assisting in the preparation of partner events. The marketing team hosts a lot of events so I’m helping them create the materials that they need.

Zara poses outside on campus.

How are these experiences contributing to your development?

I am gaining a lot of hands-on experience, which is great. Also, having these experiences have allowed me to see what aspects of marketing I’m strong in and enjoy. I am also meeting a lot of new people and building connections, which is really important.

What do you believe is an important trait for those pursuing marketing? Do you have any advice for people who want to go into the field?

Marketing can be broad since there are many different skills that go into marketing. Finding skills that you enjoy or are good at can help you tremendously when figuring out what type of jobs you want. Gaining as much experience as possible throughout college gives you the opportunity to do that. Another piece of advice is making connections and building a network. Having a network is extremely important for people trying to get into the field and can open so many doors for you. 

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Story by:
Jessica Nguyen, elementary education and literacy studies graduate

Photos courtesy of:
Zara Capone

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

Larry holds a notebook outside on an athletic field.

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

How did you discover your internship?

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

Larry leans against a fence inside Wackar Stadium.

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

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

Have you learned anything new in this internship?

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

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

Larry writes in a notebook inside Wackar Stadium.

Has your experience helped you inside and outside of school?

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

Why did you choose Rowan University?

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

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

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

Larry stands at the 50 yard line inside Wackar Stadium.

Can you tell us about your column with The Whit?

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

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

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

What are your future goals and career goals?

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

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

Larry sits near a laptop inside Wackar Stadium.

What is your advice for future students on internships?

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

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

Final thoughts?

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

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

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

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

Beyond the Classroom: Graduate Student Jon Witkowski Puts Data Science Studies to Work in Cooper University Healthcare Internship

Jon stands in front of a chalkboard inside a a classroom on campus.

Today we speak to Jon Witkowski of Ocean County, N.J. on his internship with Cooper University Healthcare. Jon is a Rowan Global student pursuing a master’s degree in Data Science through Rowan’s accelerated CADP 4+1 program. He recently graduated with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. While an undergraduate student, Jon was a member of Rowan’s chapter of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon honor society and worked as a peer tutor

Can you tell us more about data science?

Data science is an interdisciplinary field between computer science and statistics, leveraging technology and utilizing computer science and high-level math to transform data and draw a useful output for informed, analytical decision making.

Jon smiles and stands on a walking path on campus.

What is your day-to-day like at your internship with Cooper University Healthcare?

The first project I was assigned was to make a dashboard for different health systems’ market shares in the general South Jersey region over the past four years. Other departments source the data and hand it to me, and basically, I built a dashboard to whatever their specifications are.

I’ll either be doing something like preparing the data and wrangling it to get it in a state that I want for the databases, or I’ll be trying to figure out how to format my dashboards and what kind of layout to do. Maybe I’ll be thinking about what types of different visualizations I can use. One of the things that we use are interactive, graphical filters. So instead of just having a drop down for selecting things, maybe you format your filter as a bar chart with the labels on it, so you can just click it, and it filters by that.

Getting the data and the results is the easy part. It’s putting it in a way that you can show as much as you can, without it being crowded — that’s really the hard part.

The best part was being able to experiment with new visualizations. I got hands-on experience in the software I had only gone over in class last semester.

Jon sits at a desktop computer station against a blue wall.

One of the more interesting things I’ve done was writing complex table queries that made the data look good, show the visualizations I wanted, and are efficient. An example of that: One of my proudest achievements is we have a map, and it’s colored by zip code. The intensity of the color represents Cooper’s market share in that region. So how many of the inpatient discharges in that region were Cooper’s and a lower volume or market share will be a yellow color, and it’ll get darker red for the higher color. Figuring that out was really fun to try to do.

How did you discover your internship?

It’s very hard to get an internship in the tech field as a college student. You would think it’s easy because it’s such a necessary field. I read online that the unemployment rate in the tech field like computer science and programming is less than 2%, so you’d imagine that many people are getting jobs. I applied for anything I could find, and I happened to get this one.

It actually worked out in the end. The work I do at Cooper is similar to work I did in a class I took last semester, which just happened to turn out to be important to me if I am working in that field, but it really is my favorite class that I ever took at Rowan called Visual Analytics. [The course] involves data visualization and analytics. You’re basically performing analysis on your data and coming out with any results you’re looking for. It’s all about the visualization of set results in an effective way. I really loved it. 

Jon stands inside a stairwell in an academic building.

Will your internship help you inside and outside of your master’s program?

I think so. The internship also focused on the back end of data visualization for you actually get the data. Before you have the data the way you want it for the visualizations, you have to prepare it and model it. My next project is for social determinants of health. I’m on the data modeling part of that. That is definitely not something I have a ton of experience in, so it’s going to be massively valuable during my career.

What advice would you offer to your peers?

To discover an internship, think about what keywords you should put in a job search. Look at LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster Jobs, Zip Recruiter, or anything. Just apply for as many internships as you can, because the more you apply, the more options you have. It might seem really annoying and stressful to be applying for hundreds of internships, but that just gives you more options to choose what you actually want. It will give you a better chance of finding something you like in the long run.

If you don’t know what you want to do in any degree program, I would look at the different course descriptions for the different courses in that major and the topics of the different concentrations. Also, I didn’t get to use LinkedIn Learning until my fifth semester here, but I would absolutely use LinkedIn Learning. If I could just go back to my freshman year, I would have used LinkedIn learning. I would have looked up all the computer science concentrations and started doing independent learning through that. It’s a resource that Rowan provides with countless hours of coursework. It’s incredibly useful. I think everyone should use it, and it’s definitely something that Rowan doesn’t emphasize enough.

How did you choose your majors in Computer Science and Mathematics?

I guess I got lucky with computer science because it’s what I always knew I wanted to do. I can remember as far back as like seven or eight in elementary school. When I was a kid, I wanted to do stuff with computers. Then, I learned what programming was. I just knew that’s what was in store for me.

Jon sits in the Wilson amphitheater.

Math was always my best subject in school. I initially had it as a minor coming in because the computer science degree is most of the math minor. It’s two extra classes to get the minor. Then, I found out there was another minor in the math department called Applied Math. That was three more classes, so I figured, “Why not tack that on?” Then, I found out that the math department had the Bachelor of Arts, which was maybe three or four more classes to tack on. So I figured, “Why not?”

Can you tell us about any faculty who have particularly impacted your college career?

Three professors who stand out most for me are Dr. H. [Dr. Gabriela Hristescu] and Professor [Jack] Myers from the computer science department and Dr. [Charalampos] Papachristou from the math department. I had three different classes with Dr. H, and I was also a learning assistant in one of her classes last semester. She was also one professor in charge of the Computer Science Honor Society, Upsilon Pi Epsilon, which I was a member of for three semesters, and was also on the e-board for. Dr. H has been a very huge part of my entire college career. She wrote me a recommendation for the master’s program.

I had Professor Myers for two classes, and I’m taking another class of his this upcoming fall. He is one of the best people I know. I took his database class back in the spring of 2020. Without that class, I wouldn’t be in data science. I just absolutely loved it. I’ve had a couple of classes in college that I would consider to be my favorites. Database was my first favorite class. I told him I loved the class, and he recommended data science to me. So I looked into it, and I saw that it aligned with what I wanted to do. He also wrote me a recommendation for the data science master’s program. Without either of these professors, I wouldn’t be in the field. 

Dr. Papachristou (or Babis for short) is a statistics professor whom I’ve taken three classes with. It was the first stat class with him that made me decide to concentrate my math degree in statistics, which was instrumental in me choosing to go into data science.

Jon works on his laptop inside a classroom.

What are your career goals or outcomes after having obtained the 4+1 degree?

My department at Cooper was pleased with my work this summer and has asked me to continue working with them part-time during the semester. I was also planning on being an adjunct professor in the computer science department. I think it’d be a great way to give back to the people who helped me get where I am.

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

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

Beyond the Classroom: Business Double Major Bryan Emery Interns for L’Oréal

Today we speak to Bryan Emery, a senior Marketing and Management double major from Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County). He recently spoke with Rowan Blog on his internship with the the Rohrer Center for Professional Development. This summer, Bryan is interning at L’Oréal’s Jersey City and New York City offices. Bryan shares his experiences marketing in the beauty industry.

Can you give me an overview of your role?

I’m interning at L’Oréal. I am a Marketing Operations Intern, and I have a focus on digital. I’m currently working on the It Cosmetics brand. I’m in the eye and brow division of the team, so I work on eyeshadow, and mascara is my big thing.

Bryan smiles at his internship location.

The internship is split into a big project and daily tasks. My big project is mainly optimizing the targeting strategy for one of the 2023 launches, which is very exciting, and then my day-to-day consists of mostly competitive analysis. I also did some holiday-related work with their product display pages and then just a lot of just helping here and there, with other small projects.

My work is a lot of looking at data of what customers are saying, quantifying that, and then reporting that to top management. I never thought that I’d use Excel this much in my life. I’m happy that I took some classes that helped me with Excel.

Bryan sits in the Business Hall lobby stairwell.

The internship is on a hybrid platform. I’m required to be in the office for three days, and then I work from home for two days. IT Cosmetics has a satellite office in Jersey City, but our headquarters is in New York City. For all the intern-specific events, I have to go to the New York office, but I am mainly in Jersey city.

How were you able to get this opportunity?

I applied for the internship on their corporate website. From there was the first round in September, and the second round was in late September, and then I got my offer end of November. It was really quick, which was surprising, but I was also happy to have an offer so early. 

How did Rowan help to prepare you for the internship application process?

All the business events helped me learn to network within my cohort of student interns, but also with professionals. Specifically, at the Rohrer Center for Professional Development, the mock interviews and resume reviews have definitely helped me. Also, I don’t think I would have applied or been in the position to apply to this without the support of the faculty.

Bryan works in Business Hall.

Have any of your experiences at Rowan helped you so far in your internship?

Yes. I work for Rowan’s Rohrer Center for Professional Development, which is at the Rohrer College of Business, and that has been dramatically beneficial. I think it’s helped with presenting myself, but I also did some analytic work for the events that we did. Having prior experience working with excel and just being in the business environment definitely helps with my transition. Specifically, using Microsoft Office in the position was helpful. As students, we use Google or Canvas, so having Microsoft Office definitely helps because I would not have even known how to open an email.

As a marketing major, have any of your classroom experiences helped you in your role?

I’m learning a lot hands-on, but I think some classes built the base knowledge that was needed for me to understand what is happening at my internship. I took a digital marketing class at Rowan. A lot of the assignments that we had in class, such as creating a fake product display page and writing the copy, are tasks I am working on for actual products at a real company. That definitely helped me tremendously, because when people would use certain references, I’d be like, “Oh, like, I know what that means.” I think my Foundations of Analytics course and other marketing courses have allowed me to know what key performance indicators (KPIs) to look for and how to test with them, whether it’s statistically, or just using Excel. I think they definitely helped form a baseline from which I can get more in-depth experience and knowledge with an internship.

Bryan wears a branded L'Oreal t-shirt.

What is one thing you’ve taken away from your internship so far?

I have so many things I’ve taken away, but I think the biggest thing is adapting to new tasks and environments. You have to have some sort of agility when it comes to working in the business field, specifically in marketing. Everything changes so quickly. We students don’t really think of the environment and how, if one consumer stops doing X, Y and Z, how much influence that could have on the total market. I’m finding that it’s important to understand how small impacts can make a big change and how you have to react to them strategically.

How is this internship helping to push you toward your future career goals?

L’Oréal has an MT program, which is a management training program. Essentially, it’s an accelerated one-year duration, where I would transition from MT to assistant manager, depending on how that goes. My end goal is hopefully to get a full-time offer. Down the line, maybe a C-suite level position, Chief Marketing Officer, or maybe I’ll be CEO of my own marketing consulting firm, but I think I am going to stay in the beauty industry for a little longer. Time will tell.

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, senior business management major 
Bryan Emery

Beyond the Classroom: Biomedical Engineering Major Ashleigh Jankowski Interns for Biotech Startup

Today we feature Ashleigh Jankowski, a senior Biomedical Engineering major and Chemistry minor and a Manufacturing Engineer Intern for the startup biotech company Vectech. Ashleigh serves as Service Chair for Society of Women Engineers and President of the Biomedical Engineering Society and is a member of the Food Insecurity Committee and Rowan Unified Sports. Since […]

Beyond the Classroom: Finance Major Annabella Halbruner’s Summer Internship “Everything I Could Have Asked for to Prepare for Future Career”

Annabella is standing in front of the Rohrer College of Business.

Internships provide a glimpse of what to expect out of the specific field one might be interested in as well as providing a hands-on experience that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. For senior Finance major Annabella Halbruner from Cape May, NJ, we discussed her experience so far as an intern at HFM Financial Advising as well as how her direct involvement has shifted her perspective with her career. 

I see that you’re a transfer student, how was your transition from your previous school? 

It was very smooth even though it was during Covid. I transferred after my freshman year ended in 2020. So coming in, there was no one on campus.  Rowan was pretty much all online. But I got a federal work study on campus and that integrated me really well. I was really able to see how many resources Rowan has to offer, which ultimately led me to choosing my major and deciding what I wanted to do.

I chose Rowan because of it not being too far from home, the price being right, and it still being a decent-sized school. When I came into Rowan, I still wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do, but Rowan provided me with a plethora of different opportunities to choose from.

What made you decide to transfer to Rowan? 

I honestly think the student body really affected my choice. I have a close friend who had been going to Rowan for a while, so I had been on campus quite a bit already. The student body is probably my number one reason. Just seeing the diversity and knowing that you can be friends with people that are so different from you is really inspiring. There are so many different opportunities to meet all of these different people that you really just have to give it a chance.

Annabella is leaning on the Business Hall sign and smiling.

What’s been your experience like at Rowan?

I’ve seen that there are a lot of different opportunities. I’ve said this already, but it’s something that I really harp on for Rowan. At Rowan, there’s always going to be something that you’re going to be interested in as long as you open your eyes and look for it. For example, if you take a look there are a lot of adjunct professors that share similar sentiments where they might be totally different things than what they originally majored in for school. There are so many different unique perspectives and stories at Rowan it’s very telling that not everything is what you expect. 

I’m also a part of the Rowan Real Estate Group; that group of students has been great for me. The students have been so helpful with just reaching out and trying to get more people involved on a daily basis. I feel like being a part of that club has really helped me branch out and meet new people. It’s great to hear you’re doing a great job from professors, but getting to hear it from another student is something else entirely.

I’m also a part of the Rowan Equestrian Team. I think that a lot of my confidence has come from that team just because it really is such a supportive group of people. It’s a club sports team, so we’re all competing on a daily basis. It’s not just a group of friends hanging out — we do have our moments of just having a good time, but at the end of the day we always have each other’s back. The sport itself, horseback riding, is also just tough and hard on your heart. You have to accept the days where you’re not doing your best. Eventually though, all of the hard work pays off.  

Annabella is turning her body towards the camera and smiling.

What drew you to finance? 

I transferred into Rowan not really knowing what I wanted to do. Even with that, I still had an idea and knew that the business world would be a good safety net with the many different avenues that it has. In my opinion, I think that business is in every industry in a sense. I started off in pre-business and worked my way from there. I started exploring the different classes that were offered that I would be intrigued in. I started to narrow into Finance because of how interesting it was. I’ve always been good with money, and I thoroughly enjoy math. Accounting was also an option I was thinking of pursuing. For the Finance major you have to take a course called Statistics 2. I had a professor that I had in another class that was great for me and if I was able to take the course with her, Mrs. Catherine Dickinson, I figured it was meant to be. I’m really glad I went through with it.

I’ve been able to attend the Finance and Accounting Expo that happens every fall. I was able to talk to employers to see what the world was like. The department that I’m a part of right now is responsible for helping people achieve their financial goals and find satisfaction in life. I really like helping people, especially with money, because of how many people don’t know what it means to manage wealth.

Why did you select your current internship? 

The final thing that really drew me in was that they had a woman as the head of financial advisors. They also had a bit of a younger crowd; my direct supervisor is only 24 years old. We have two other full time employees who are both 22. Both of them are graduates from Rowan. There is also another intern who came shortly after me who is 20. From there we have a bit of a diverse crowd from 30 to 60 years old. I think that is what drew me in the most; it’s not just going to be people who have been in the industry for 30-40 years and then me. It was definitely a good balance for learning.

Can you describe in detail what your internship entails? 

It’s a smaller company so the day-to-day does change a little bit. A typical day means to come in and catch up with how everyone is doing personally and work wise. For me, I do a lot of the background work for clients so we’ll have a client come in that day for a review meeting and I have to do all of the prep work. So ahead of time, I’ll go through notes from previous meetings to see if there was anything left open and that we should bring up during the meeting. We’ll also see if there are any documents that we need to request ahead of time, so I’ll send an email around a week or two in advance of the meeting. For example, I’ll send an email inquiring about a document that deals with taxes for the year.

All of this prep work is done so that hopefully, if they send all that stuff, I can bring it all to the financial advisor before the meeting to see if there is anything else left to do. We show them how investments are doing and keep them heavily involved through the entirety of the process. We always make sure to ask them if they have any questions or need any help with understanding what is going on, which I really appreciate, it’s a very confusing subject but making sure everyone is on the same page is something you won’t find at most places. 

Annabella is in front of the Rohrer College of Business giving a slight smile at the camera.
Annabella Halbruner is a senior Finance major from Cape May, New Jersey.

I also do a ton of recapping and follow up afterwards. So a lot of the time clients will come in with inquiries like “I’m thinking of buying a house, what is feasible for that?” or even “We just had a kid, do we need life insurance now?” Whatever it may be, I do the research on what they might want to do and then present it to the financial advisor. I then draft up the follow up email and if they approve of it, I can send it out. We also do a lot of retirement funds and 401ks. It deals with answering questions and presenting all of the different options that they have.

With being so heavily involved even as just an intern, it makes me feel extremely excited, and I appreciate the company so much for it. A lot of internships wouldn’t get you facing clients as quickly as mine did. I’ve learned a lot and I think that they do it because you can learn from watching and paying attention in those meetings and doing all the follow ups. You’re going to have a ton of questions mainly because you don’t know everything. 

What have you taken away so far from your experience as a financial advisor intern?

The biggest thing is that you’re always going to be learning. You do not know everything and you will not know everything. It’s ok to say that to a client; they appreciate honesty more than you would expect. For example, “I’m not 100% sure off the top of my head, I know a couple of things but let me do a bit more research before I give you a final answer”. It’s completely appropriate and not even just for clients, to your bosses or anyone. It’s okay to be wrong or admit that you don’t know everything but still have the motivation to do the necessary research. HFM (HFM Financial Advising) is such an empathetic and understanding company, and I’m so grateful that I’m in an environment like this. 

Annabella has her head down and studiously writing.

How do you think this internship will help you prepare for your future career? 

I think it’s absolutely everything that I could have asked for to prepare for my future career. I do want to go into financial advising, so I plan on taking the CFP exam after graduation. There are a couple of courses I want to take for it as well but Rowan doesn’t necessarily have it. At HFM, there are three or four advisors that have already passed it and gone through it, so I’m really relishing the idea of picking their brains about it. Getting the knowledge that I’ve learned while doing the career so far has been great.

What words of advice would you give to another student looking for an internship and the expectations that come along with it? 

My biggest advice for coming into an internship is to not only be on ProfJobs, Indeed or LinkedIn. You can actually go around locally and make phone calls to smaller businesses that you’d be interested in learning about. You can still pick their brain even if an internship doesn’t fall through. You’re allowed to ask questions from people about their career and take advice that might resonate with you. Networking is an essential part of any career in my opinion, but sometimes you have to get off the beaten path of applying.

Annabella is leaning on the railing at the Rohrer College of Business,

Being proactive with your search and creating the opportunity is such a big thing with internships. A lot of the time these companies don’t even realize how big of a help having an intern on the team does. Once you’re starting, my biggest advice is to have a notebook and digest everything that is going around you. You might think you’ll remember what’s going on at the moment, but everything is complicated. Write down everything now because it’ll help separate you from others.

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, graduate English education major 

Photography by:
Ashley Craven, sports communication and media major

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

Exterior shot of 301 High St.

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

Beyond the Classroom: Sarah Forsman, Achieving the Impossible

Sarah smiles with green shrubs in the background.

Sarah Forsman, a Marketing and Psychology student from Gloucester County, is an advocate for those who have Alpha-Mannosidosis and Craniosynostosis. Her experience with the following conditions have provided Sarah with a renewed perspective — one that influences her outreach and prospective goals. In today’s article, Sarah discusses her story, her involvement across organizations, and her use of writing as a platform to champion others. 

Why did you choose to study marketing and psychology?

I came to Rowan after I went to Rowan College of South Jersey. I got my associate degree in business administration, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I chose marketing because it’s versatile.

When I entered my senior year, I realized that I didn’t like marketing, but I had all of these credits. I prayed and thought about it until I came to the conclusion of psychology. This is something that I am interested in learning more about and potentially doing in the future because it has helped me. I chose psychology so if I potentially got a master’s in this area, I would have all the core classes.

What internship are you involved in and what are some responsibilities in this position?

Currently, I am interning for Craniofacial Connection. They are a brand new organization. I’ve been in the craniofacial world for some time now because I was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis and I had surgery when I was a year and a half. The person that I am interning for, she worked for the children’s hospital when I had my surgery. She was starting this new organization and she needed help with marketing. Right now, we’re focusing on starting social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We are also working to develop a newsletter as well as updating her website. 

Sarah stands and smiles at her home.

Can you share your story about Alpha-Mannosidosis and Craniosynostosis?

I was born with Alpha-Mannosidosis. It’s a rare genetic disease that affects every single cell in the body. My body was missing one enzyme and that was the alpha-mannosidase enzyme. By missing that enzyme, it really affects every single part of the body. It affects my bones, brain, and muscles. If you think of something, it’s probably most likely affected by this rare disease. I’ve had a lot of challenges when I was younger. I had moderate hearing loss so I had hearing aids. My muscles were very weak so I had trouble walking. I had ataxia or balance issues. I had a lot of cognitive issues and processing issues. I also have issues with my memory so I don’t remember anything from when I was younger. Even things that were two or three years ago are hard for me to remember, so I always say that I have a blank slate for everything!

With Alpha-Mannosidosis, I do have a treatment option, but it’s not technically a cure. I had a bone marrow transplant when I was four and a half. Transplants are very risky because of the chemo drugs that are used. The surgery really helped my life because if I didn’t have that bone marrow transplant, I would be here in a wheelchair, barely communicating, and having so many issues because it is a degenerative disease.

What are some of the challenges that followed after your bone marrow transplant?

I don’t really have a lot of challenges that were from the actual transplant. We’ve watched a lot of the different aspects that it can affect, and everything is looking pretty good right now. The bone marrow transplant stops the disease from progressing at that stage so anything that happened is thought to have stopped where it was. I still have challenges with my memory, cognitive issues, and brain issues in general. I have a lot of good muscles now and after the bone marrow transplant my hearing came back. I don’t have hearing aids now, which is super cool!

The biggest thing is probably my brain because it really affects everyday life. My life doesn’t look the same as a typical person that is my age because of what I’m experiencing with my brain challenges. That means I don’t have a job, I don’t drive, I go to school part-time, and I’m doing neurofeedback therapy three times a week. My schedule looks a lot different, but I’m always just trying to remind myself to stay in the moment and be ok with where I am because of the things that I’ve gone through.

Sarah sits and smiles at her home.

How do you advocate for others who may be experiencing similar challenges?

I’m involved with a lot of different things because I don’t have a job, so it can help me be in all of these different areas. A lot of what I do, I do on social media. Parents who have kids that are being diagnosed with Alpha-Mannosidosis are reaching out to me because they see that I have Alpha-Mannosidosis on my social media pages. It’s so cool because they’re reaching out to me and we’re getting on a Zoom call to talk. We’re connecting with families that are across the world like Brazil and Serbia. The one girl that we connected with recently had a bone marrow transplant to stop the disease from progressing. A lot of my advocating happens on social media because there’s not that many people that have this rare disease alone in the United States.

As a board member of International Society for Mannosidosis and Related Diseases (ISMRD), what is the mission of the organization and your responsibilities?

ISMRD is the International Society for Mannosidosis and Related Diseases. It’s a family support for all of the different rare diseases that are within this organization. We’re researching a lot because we work with scientists who are looking for cures for these nine glycoprotein rare diseases. We’re on a mission to really try and get the patients connected with the scientists, doctors, and similar networks. I have been on the board for a little under a year. I am working on sending emails to the family to update them on things that are happening within the organization or any opportunities that are happening in the rare disease world. I am also going to be helping them with their social media presence on Instagram because they don’t have Instagram. The board is made up of parents of these kids who have these rare diseases, so there’s not many younger people on the board.

How do you use your interest in writing as an outlet and a platform for your goals?

I absolutely love writing! It’s funny because when I was in elementary school, I always wanted to be a writer one day. My mom told me to go for it, even though I had challenges in the writing classes because that was one of the challenges I had with what I was born with. Writing was not my strong suit whatsoever, so I love that I am able to write and share my journey. I write in a way that feels like I’m talking to you and that’s really what I want it to be like. I want to have a conversation with someone because we live in a world that is so fast-paced and no one is sitting down and having a conversation about what they are going through or what is happening in their life. I just want to help to inspire people, even if it’s just one person that reads my blog. I just want to share some hope, joy, and peace in their life.

Sarah stands and smiles at her home.

What is the idea behind the title of your blog, Achieve the Impossible Today?

I am a Christian, and in the Bible it says in Mark 10:27 by Jesus: “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” I grew up Catholic, but I stopped going to church. I knew God when I was younger, but it wasn’t like I know him now. In the past four years of knowing God and diving into my relationship with Jesus, he’s just shown me that anything is possible. The whole thing is I just want to share stories of doing the impossible because everything that I’m doing today is considered impossible.

Who do you hope to reach with your blog?

Anyone — I would love for anyone who’s going through a hard season to read my blog and find that hope that they will get through this. It’s also for parents who are just finding out that their kid has Alpha-Mannosidosis because there’s not much out there. I just want to raise awareness of the disease.

What are your goals for the blog and your future?

The main theme that I wish to go after is just to inspire people in whatever it may be that I’m doing.

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Story by:
Jessica Nguyen, elementary education and literacy studies graduate

Photos by:
Harley Sarmiento, senior sports communication and media major

Passing the Torch: Passionate First-Generation College Student Shirley Celi-Landeo

A proud first-generation college student from Newark, NJ (Essex County), Shirley Celi-Landeo is an Anthropology and Modern Language and Linguistics double major. She has concentrations in medical and forensic anthropology, and concentrations in Spanish, German, and Arabic. Shirley is minoring in Latin American Studies and has three certificates of undergraduate studies in Spanish, German, and Forensic Studies.

Shirley poses in a garden.

Shirley looks back at how she made friends on campus.

“I made friends in the Educational Opportunity Fund through the Pre-College Institute and through all the clubs that I’m involved in, especially in Greek life. I just became a sister in the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated. With that involvement, I was able to make more bonds on-campus, make more friends, and do a lot more.”

Shirley advises her high school self to take risks.

“Don’t be scared. Take risks, even if it seems kind of cringey and scary, especially coming into a PWI and not having the family support. Do whatever is offered to gain the opportunity to gain the experience. I’m grateful for coming to school across the state.”

Shirley poses outside of Bunce Hall.

A mentor in the Dr. Harley E. Flack mentorship program, Shirley reminisces about her favorite moments being a mentor. 

“My partner and I had to create an event or program for our mentees using a resource on campus. We paired up with the Flying First Task Force because a lot of our mentees are first-generation students. We were able to show them the resources on campus not only to them but open to the public. I was able to really get to know my partner as well as like getting to know my mentee a little more. I also developed a really good relationship with my supervisor.”

Shirley hopes to use her platform as a college graduate to help pave the way for others in her community and family.

I am a minority coming from the city of Newark where the stereotype is that you don’t graduate high school, let alone go to college and graduate college and go to grad school. I am not only the very first college graduate in my family, but I have younger siblings. My goddaughter looks up to me. The babies from my church from back home, I’ll be able to help them navigate when it comes to their time for college.”

Shirley poses in front of the Rowan arch.

Shirley advises current and incoming students to find what they love on-campus, join Greek life, and more.

“Greek life has been a huge thing in my life, and I just became a sister last semester. Also, don’t be scared when you change your major like 20 times like I did. I don’t regret any moments of changing my major. Don’t be scared, do what you gotta do. If you’re the first, be the first and pave the way for your family. Take the risk, and inspire more people.”

In the fall, Shirley will finish up her degree while applying to Rowan’s M.A. in Diversity and Inclusion program. Shirley hopes to go to law school in the future. 

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Q and A with Award-Winning Athletic Training Graduate Student Samantha Santos

Samantha stretches out an athlete's arm in the training room.

Today we feature Samantha Santos, a recent Rowan Global graduate of the M.S. in Athletic Training program. Samantha won the 2022 Athletic Training Medallion Award for her commitment to her major and passion for the athletic training field. She talks about her experience as an athletic training major, her experiences with her professors, and how working in the Rowan University Athletic Training Program has prepared her for her future endeavors.

How would you generally describe the athletic training major?
The easiest way to describe athletic training is that we are the sports medicine professionals who assist athletes in injury rehabilitation. We all specialize in the prevention and emergency care — we do a lot of paperwork — but we are the guys you see on the sideline of a football game. I feel like that’s the most of the easiest way to put it.

Samantha Santos going through medical bag in athletic training room.
Samantha Santos going through medical bag in the athletic training room.

Can you talk about what you do on a day-to-day basis?
When people think about athletic training, they instantly think of taping ankles or a specific body part before players attend a practice or play in games. We do tape ankles, and we tape a lot of everything, honestly, but what we do is way more than that.

Athletes come in to see us, and they may tell us that they don’t feel great today, and I don’t feel that well. We come in and assess their symptoms for general medical concerns like sicknesses or allergies for a doctor to then come and officially diagnose. There are also moments where players come in, and it’s related to their mental well-being. Sometimes we have to sit down and have a conversation with them. We want athletes to know that we are here for them in other ways other than just rehabbing their hamstring or ankle. The field setup and game coverage are the best part of the job and why I was drawn to the profession; but honestly, I think my favorite part of it is seeing an athlete that got hurt and went to rehab with your return to play and get back out on the field.

Why did you choose to major in athletic training? What made the field stand out to you?
I first got interested in athletic training in high school. We didn’t have an athletic trainer at my high school because I went to a small private school. So when I found out about the profession, I was like, wait a second…this seems like something that would fit me perfectly.

I love how the role athletic trainers play in the lives of the athletes they work with is continuous. I like to be there every step of the way. It’s not a job where I’m in an office all day. With this job, we are involved with initial symptoms and injury prevention and recovery, return to play, and the mental and physical components of being a player who came back from injury. I remember my junior year here when I started my clinical assignment; on my first day in the facility, I worked with women’s basketball and men’s and women’s swimming and diving and helped out with football because they were beginning preseason. I remember thinking that there were so many football players, and it was overwhelming.

I am not going to sugarcoat it, you do get thrown into the fire, but it was the best way to learn and be comfortable in this field.

Samantha Santos using an ultrasound machine on a baseball player's arm for active physical therapy.
Samantha Santos using an ultrasound machine on a baseball player’s arm for active physical therapy.

How was being an athletic trainer major different post-Covid-19 lockdown? After returning from lockdown, how do you handle the fast-paced, athletic training environment?
It is crazy how much has changed over the years. The other day, I was talking to Colleen, the head athletic trainer, about how we had to do temperature checks on every athlete and person who walked into the training room. We had to set scheduled time slots for teams and athletes to come into the training room to eliminate many people being in all at once. It is controlled chaos in the athletic training room. We would continuously keep up with patients via email and online too.

In Spring 2021, I was at Delsea High School, and when I was there, there were still some Covid-19 protocols and enforcements to follow, like wearing masks. But as time went on, it started to feel more and more normal. This past fall, it was the first time I thought we were genuinely seeing normalcy in the training rooms. We still were encouraged to wear masks; however, athletics in high school and college had no more restrictions. The most significant adjustment was definitely from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021. I saw a substantial change in regulations and accessibility from Spring 2021 to Fall 2021 and even Spring 2022.

Samantha Santos in athletic training room adjusting an athlete's shoe.
Samantha Santos in athletic training room adjusting an athlete’s shoe.

What is the best part of pursuing this major at Rowan?
The hands-on experience is the best part of the program. We learn so much in this program in and out of the classroom. For example, in my sophomore year here at Rowan, we learned so much anatomy about injuries, pathologies, rehabilitation, case patterns, how to reach a diagnosis, and so much more. I remember feeling like my brain was overloaded because we had obtained so much information. I was overwhelmed the summer before my first clinical because I was thinking, how will I apply everything I learned into actual practice on patients and athletes? But obtaining this clinical experience while being a student was unique and an excellent opportunity for learning and applying knowledge in real-life settings.

As previously stated, I have completed hours with Rowan University Women’s Basketball, Swim and Dive, Football, and Baseball teams which made my experience special. The opportunities that we get as athletic training majors regarding working with athletes in high schools are also fantastic for obtaining experience in the field. I got to work and complete hours at Woodstown and Delsea Regional High Schools.

Samantha Santos stretching out a baseball player's shoulder.
Samantha Santos stretching out a baseball player’s shoulder.

Can you talk about how working with professors and professionals like Head Athletic Trainer Colleen Grugan and Assistant Athletic Trainers Chris Pantellere and Steve Schultz have helped prepare you for your future endeavors?

Our professors are great. I worked with Dr. Sterner, Dr. Mann, and Dr. Pledger. My professors impacted my academic, professional, and even personal life in so many different ways. Classes were never easy. We were always learning a lot of material, and it became very overwhelming at times, and I was constantly studying. I had worked over 1,600 clinical hours, and I probably put equally the same amount of time just into studying. The work was non-stop, and it felt at the time that it was never going to end. But it always ended up being worth it. Thankfully, I did well in my classes, and it truly helped me clinically to be able to practice what I have learned. My professors made it easy because if I needed help, all I had to do was ask. My professors would go over anything ranging from quizzes, exams, material taught in class, and more.

I have had the same experience working with Head Athletic Trainer Colleen Grugan and Assistant Athletic Trainers Chris Pantellere and Steve Schultz. I have never hesitated to ask them questions on anything I was unsure of or wanted more guidance on. In my first semester, Chris was my preceptor. It was just one of those things where you are just thrown into the fire.

I remember it being the third week in August that we started, and we were covering the men’s soccer tournament. There was an emergency, and my partner and I just had to do what we were taught to do, and Chris was coaching us through it. We handled the situation exactly how we were taught to handle it in class; however, Chris guided us the whole time and really established for me that we are never alone. It was nice having Chris there because we calmly handled the situation quickly and efficiently. Colleen is so easy to talk to and one of my favorite people to work with. She taught two of my lab classes, and I instantly remember thinking that Colleen was a boss and an excellent person to be mentored by. She is knowledgeable, loves teaching, and truly wants us to learn from experience. Colleen, Chris and Steve all put us in situations where we are forced to figure it out, and I have learned to love expanding my knowledge within the field this way.

Colleen Grugan, Head Athletic Trainer (left), assisting Samantha Santos (right) with using an ultrasound machine on an athlete's hamstring.
Colleen Grugan, Head Athletic Trainer (left), assisting Samantha Santos (right) with using an ultrasound machine on an athlete’s hamstring.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing the athletic training major at Rowan?
Stay on top of studying because it is easy to fall behind in this field. Go to the library for an hour or two every day to familiarize yourself with the material. I felt like I lived in the library most of college because I was always studying or trying to obtain new material in a quiet space. It is essential to find people in your classes with whom you work well. These people can be great study partners and can help with collaborating ideas.

Can you sum up your experience at Rowan? Why was Rowan the best fit for you?
Rowan was my first and kind of only choice, to be honest with you, when I was in my college search. I was in a community college. I went there for two years and got my associate in Biomedical Science. I remember looking up athletic training programs one day, and I saw that Rowan had a top program, and I grew up in Vineland, so it was convenient for me. I knew coming into it that it would be difficult, but I knew that if I wanted to be successful, this was the route that I had to take. So when I started, I didn’t realize that it would be as difficult as it was, but I genuinely feel that I am now ready for work post-graduation and am confident that I will be fine.

But Rowan was definitely my number one choice for that reason, and I just knew that I just felt right, and it was so close to home, and then the program itself resonated with me. So Rowan was the right fit for me; there was no question about that.

Close-up of Samantha Santos using an ultrasound machine on a baseball player's arm for active physical therapy.
Close-up of Samantha Santos using an ultrasound machine on a baseball player’s arm for active physical therapy.

What are your plans post-graduation?
So as far as the job hunt goes, I have seen plenty of jobs up in North Jersey, which is fine. However, I don’t think I could do more than an hour commute, and I can’t move just yet, so I’m going to try to say more in the South Jersey area.

I would love to work in the college atmosphere. However, my dream job would be to work as a trainer in professional baseball. Right now, I am going to search for jobs in college or high school. I want my first job to be a huge learning experience to continue to build and grow. So I’m kind of open to whatever opportunities I find.

Rowan is excellent because you form these connections with professors and fellow students, and sometimes they know people that are hiring or are good referrals for job applications. I feel like people are always helping each other in some capacity, and it is nice.

Samantha Santos stretching out a Rowan baseball player's arm.
Samantha Santos stretching out a Rowan baseball player’s arm.

See our video with Samantha here.

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Story By: 
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

Alumni Success: Catherine Chambers ‘16, Where My Music Education Degree Has Taken Me

Catherine smiles and poses inside an academic building on campus.

What made you choose Rowan? What made you choose music? When I first started exploring colleges as a senior in high school, I really wanted to move far away from New Jersey and find my own way. I was set on not going to a state school, but I humored my mother and decided to […]

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

Athletes celebrate win.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teammates hand off the baton.

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

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

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

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

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

Beasley runs one leg of the race.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conte runs one leg of the race.

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

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

Read our earlier interview with Jah’mere here.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major 

Photos courtesy of: 
David Dermer/Rowan Athletics

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

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

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

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

Mic Worthy is sitting at a desk with his laptop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, freshman dance and marketing major

Beyond the Classroom: Bryan Emery, Intern for Rowan’s Rohrer Center for Professional Development

Bryan poses in front of Business Hall.

Today we speak to Bryan Emery, a junior Marketing and Management double major from Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County). Bryan is an Event Management and Marketing Intern with Rowan’s Rohrer Center for Professional Development. Read on as he tells us about his majors and what he’s learning from his internship experience. Why did you decide to […]

Beyond the Classroom: How Dawn Lombardi Gave a Senior Cat a Forever Home

Close up shot of Reginald the cat wearing a bowtie.

Dawn Lombardi, a double major in Nutrition and Business Management, shares her experience of working with Rowan’s Office of Accessibility Services to give her new cat his forever home. 

Dawn was juggling her responsibilities as a resident assistant and student all by herself. This year, she decided she was ready for a companion that she could take care of. “I felt like I had a lot of love to give and wanted to direct my energy into something good,” she says. “That’s why I adopted Reggie.”

Dawn and cat
Dawn with Reginald

Reginald, Dawn’s cat, is a 12-year-old senior adoptee from Homeward Bound Animal shelter.

“I wanted to adopt a senior cat because they are often overlooked by other families,” Dawn explains. “Usually, people who adopt want a young animal, so senior pets have trouble finding their forever home. I wanted an older cat so I could make its older years the best it’s ever had.” 

Before adopting Reginald, Dawn had to go through a thorough ESA (emotional support animal) approval process.

“I looked up the Rowan ESA policy, saw that I qualified, filled out the necessary paperwork, and turned it into the Academic Success Center [now called the Office of Accessibility Services]. The people were very helpful. I worked closely with [staff members] during my process, and [they were] awesome.” 

John Woodruff, director of the Office of Accessibility Services, talks about this process in a bit more detail.

“There is an online registration form on our website that students must complete. They are then responsible for working with their healthcare provider to fill out a three-page application form to request an accommodation for an ESA. A dog, cat, lizard, or rabbit are all animals that can be an ESA. After the application is complete, our office shares a link with the student that connects them to a portal where they can upload any documentation necessary (a formal diagnosis, an emergency contact for the desired animal, the breed/name of the animal, etc.),” he says. 

Now that he is approved, Reginald is living lavishly in Dawn’s Rowan Boulevard Apartment. “I think the Rowan Boulevard Apartments are really suitable for an ESA. My apartment is a great size and has multiple rooms that he can walk around in.”

Reggie- Dawn's cat

Aside from being adorable, Reginald has helped Dawn become a better student. “Reggie wakes me up for breakfast in the morning, so it helps me to get out of bed and get my day started nice and early. With him, I have a reason to get up and be productive,” she says.

Reginald has helped Dawn in more ways than one.

“When I feel overwhelmed with school or anything really, he comes and sits next to me. Just having him there gives me so much comfort. I joke and say that he is an ESA to everyone, too. My friends or residents that come and pay him a visit love him. He makes everyone’s day better.” 

Reginald relaxes at his new home.

“I am really grateful Rowan gives us the option to have an ESA. It makes me feel very supported and valued as a student who is juggling a lot.”

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

Photos courtesy of:
Dawn Lombardi 

The Perspective and Path of International Student, Sarah Atai

Sarah is smiling at the camera while being outside.

With today’s feature, we highlight Sarah Atai, an international student from Uganda studying at the Rohrer College of Business. Sarah is in the works of completing her certificate of graduate study (COGS) for the business school and has aspirations of pursuing her MBA in the fall semester. In this discussion, we learn of Sarah’s non-profit work in her native country of Uganda, which formed her decision as to why she selected Rowan, as well as what the College of Business means to her.

I understand that with you being an international student you must have had a wide variety of choices as to where to spend your higher education, what aspects here at Rowan helped you make your decision?

So I originally wanted to do my MBA, but while I was looking at all the different schools of course there’s so many factors that hindered my going there, but I liked the fact that Rowan had this particular business certificate and according to them just from just reading the website they clearly put it out there that the certificate would give you an insight on the MBA/MS would entail. I think to me that is what I was looking for because as much as I wanted to enroll for the MBA, I was quite hesitant as to what I wanted to focus and major in. So I thought this would give me time to play around and grab a hold of myself to understand and make sure of what I really wanted to do. So, I thought the certificate would be the best alternative at the moment and that is why I enrolled. From the time I enrolled I was very grateful for the decision because of how great the professors have been and how informative the classes are.

Sarah is sitting down and smiling directly at the camera.

When did you realize that you had an interest in business?

It was after working with the ministry that I got to fully realize that I think my passion for business is something that I can use later and to actually help out with non-profits. That is what pushed me to go back to school again because I really wanted to help out different ministries. I wanted to go out and be a part of the solution instead of waiting for it to come.

In what ways has the College of Business prepared you for the next step in your professional career?

Just sitting through the classes has really opened up my mind into the actual business world. I like the way that all of the classes that I’ve attended relate to the day-to-day world, like the actual career path. Of course there’s a point in time where we learn of the different elements of business but compared to learning and gaining some of the knowledge and relating that to current events, it has helped me realize and fully understand as to where business is actually made. I chose to opt for the certificate because I didn’t want to get into the MBA and get frustrated. But I think the certificate was the best blend for me to get the confidence to get the actual MBA.

Sarah, with the sun at her back, is smiling at the camera.

How was your experience with your non-profit in Uganda? 

So the ministry that I used to work for, the Children Alive Ministry, is a non-profit and it is a part of one of the communities in Uganda. We work with children and run school programs. The afterschool model was based off of one of the organizations in the United States called Avenue Promise from somewhere here in New Jersey. We borrowed that model and tried to edit and integrate it into our own culture and see how it could fit for the community that we work in. Just choosing to work with these children was great to see how happy they were just going to school. We wanted to empower the parents through us looking after the children and have them create their own small businesses while we are giving their children different avenues of opportunity.

What is your fondest memory here at Rowan?

My fondest memory I would say would be my time that I have spent here with the business state programs. So the past semester the department had held different networking opportunities for the college of business. I think I would say that I loved each and everyone of them that I got to attend or had the opportunity to attend. I mean it’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to attend all due to the schedule or if something came up but I would say that I loved each and every networking event even when it was online. I appreciated talking to the different analysts or the guest speakers that came who spoke of their wisdom and experiences.

For me, it is something that I could never have and was more than I could have asked for. Especially the people that were brought in for the panels; these were people who had really done so well with their lives as far as careers are concerned and just getting to hear from them was great. I would say that to me, it has been the most memorable just attending all of the different events and getting more wisdom and insight into what I really want to do. Hopefully, if I continue the MBA I hope to learn from the different people that are involved.

Sarah is standing behind a wall with an intricate design.

What words could you offer to other international students that are thinking of choosing Rowan for their higher education?

I would say if anybody was confused and did not know what to do, I think that if they gave Rowan the chance that they would never regret it. Rowan has a great support system. I’ve looked at the different organizations and clubs and haven’t had the opportunity to look at them all but looked at the different websites and was amazed at all of the information and how they reached out. I’ll say that Rowan has great resources, the professors are very supportive and willing to work with individuals regardless of their situation.

In my experience, my professors have been extremely open with communication and how they reached out to find an understanding of my perspective. From the very first class I loved how the professors had stressed how communicative and willing they were to help or listen to me. To me, this handling of these highly accomplished people to just talk and share insight to help us students move forward is something that I had not experienced before. The different resources and all the stuff to understand who and what you are is always available. It just depends on yourself to take the keys and start up the ignition and give Rowan a chance.

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, English education major

Photography by:
Valentina Giannattasio, dance and marketing double major 

#PROFspective: Senior Theatre Major Kayla Bowe

Today we highlight Kayla Bowe, a senior Theatre major from Swedesboro, NJ (Gloucester County). Kayla is also minoring in Psychology, has concentrations in Acting and Pre-Teaching, and has a certificate of undergraduate study (CUGS) in Shakespeare Studies. She discusses her major and goes into detail about her involvement in several clubs around campus.

Why did you choose to study Theatre? 

I went to a technical high school, and you pick a concentration. I chose theatre. Even though I was passionate about theatre, I was unsure of what major I wanted to pursue in college. I talked to my theatre teacher and she told me I could teach and study English. She explained I could be a theatre educator. This instantly sparked my interest. She then informed me on the colleges that had programs that fit both of those interests of mine. My professor went to Rowan and expressed that Rowan would also be a great school for my interests. 

Is that why you came to Rowan?

Yes and no. When I looked in the colleges with 4+1 programs, I learned that  Rowan was one of the very few schools that offers theatre education. But I was originally committed to another university. The summer before my first semester of college in June, the university reached out to me and said they had no more housing. They expressed that I needed to commute or find off campus housing. I instantly started panicking and I called Rowan’s Office of Admissions. I explained my situation and how I could not attend the university I intended to; I asked if I could enroll to Rowan since I was already accepted into the university. Admissions said yes, and within that short timeframe I was enrolled as a Rowan student.  

And I was so thankful and kind of blessed that that happened because I think I’m way happier here than I would have been at the other university.

Kayla Bowe poses inside Tohill Theatre.
Kayla Bowe

What’s your favorite moment or happiest memory here? 

I have had the privilege of being in a lot of very fun shows here. I was in a show called “Failure: A Love Story.” From this experience I got to like being a professional swimmer and swim on a rolling stool. This was the first time I had the opportunity to be something so abstract and surrealistic. It was one of my favorite roles to this day. The show was also a student-run production directed by Maddie Roberts. It was a super awesome experience. 

What’s your typical day like at Rowan?

I am a TA for one of the theatre professors in their Intro to Performance course. So I usually go to that in the morning and assist Melanie Stewart. During this I help lead theatre games. I also am a federal work study student. So sometimes I work in the associate dean’s office in the College of Performing Arts or I work in the box office of Pfleeger Hall. Finally, I go to either On Camera Acting with Michael Dean Morgan, or I do Shakespeare I with Dr. Falck (which is one of my favorite classes I’ve taken here.)

Kayla Bowe in Tohill Theatre in Bunce Hall.

What is your favorite class?

I loved all my psychology courses, which was I chose to minor in psychology. But having a CUGS in Shakespeare was the best decision I ever made mainly because of Dr. Falck. I believe she is an amazing educator and simply a genius in the theatre world. She’s so smart when it comes to like dissecting Shakespeare pieces, and the dramaturgy behind them. I learned so much just by having a CUGS in Shakespeare.

What’s your favorite Shakespeare piece? 

That’s tough. I’ve discovered so many new ones I’ve come to love. I found a new appreciation for “Othello,” despite the controversy behind it. For those who don’t know Othello, it’s about a Black man who was a head general and he ended up marrying a white woman. Throughout the show he’s just slandered and heavily criticized, and because of this he ends up going crazy. But I think now with production of Othello, it’s about reclaiming the Black point of view of Othello and making it personable, real, and not just some blackface character that would have been done hundreds of years ago.

On a lighter note, I enjoy the comedy show titled “Twelfth Night.”

Kayla Bowe posing in Tohill Theatre in Bunce Hall.

Is there anything you want to mention or highlight about your time here at Rowan? 

The most important thing, I think, for me, was just getting involved because I couldn’t imagine what my years of college would have been like if I wasn’t involved in all the clubs that I’m in and the programs I’ve done. These extracurriculars take up all of my time and without them my college lifestyle would be very uneventful. I am part of a lot.

I’m president of Campus Players, which is a theatre-based organization. Within this we do workshops and a senior showcase for the senior theatre students. And we also do the banquet of theatre and dance artists, which is basically just an end of year celebration for theatre students and the professors. I’m also vice president of Alpha Psi Omega, which is the theatre honor society on campus. Anybody can be a part of it, you don’t have to be a theatre major, you just have to have a year of experience of theatre. And that’s always fun. 

And I also am a part of the Chamberlain Student Center Advisory Board, which they started during COVID. It’s interesting to hear what all the other colleges are doing and their opinions on the changes that are trying to be made in the student center and within student life on campus.

Final thoughts?

You don’t have to be in the theatre department to be involved in what we do. Our mainstage season is open to anybody. Our student-run Lab Theatre productions are also open to anyone. Any student can also take theatre classes. If you want to be involved just reach out, we’re friendly. We don’t bite!

Kayla Bowe smiling.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Related posts:

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Pride Month: Hearing Their Voice, Emily Ward

Emily Ward smiles outside on campus.

Today we feature Emily Ward (she/they), a freshman from Mullica Hill, NJ. Emily is majoring in Physics and has a minor in astronomy. Emily discusses how their involvement in PRISM supports them while being a Rowan student and their journey through recognizing and being open about their identity. Story by:  Natalie DePersia, junior public relations […]

Samantha Midili and Bianca Jeremiah: Two Women Leaders in a Male-dominated Industry

Samantha and Bianca ride their bikes outside the Rowan Tech Park area.

Samantha Midili, a senior Mechanical Engineering major from Ocean City, NJ (Cape May County), and Bianca Jeremiah, a junior Mechanical Engineering major with minors in Physics and Music from Bridgewater, NJ (Somerset County), share their experiences as women in the Society of Automotive Engineers Club at Rowan University. 

Samantha and Bianca are not just women in STEM: they are leaders and trailblazers in the engineering field.

Both are on the e-board of the Society of Automotive Engineers club on campus. Bianca describes the club as “an opportunity to not only do research and create designs but actually manufacture cars and bring those designs to life.”

She adds, “We get the opportunity to compete in an annual global competition. There are different areas of competition that your car can get judged on: the acceleration test, suspension test, maneuverability, endurance, and a business component that delves into the cost of building the car. This year, the competition is in Rochester NY, so we will have the opportunity to compete against other colleges in the area.”

Society of Automotive Engineers club photo
The Society of Automotive Engineers Club at a recent event.

Samantha, the leader of the Baja competition team, talks about her first experience when joining the club. “When I walked in, there was only me and one other girl in the room. It was intimidating and I felt out of place at first, but I stuck with it and I started driving cars. I am so glad I did because now I actually feel like I belong and that there’s a space for me here at Rowan. I can do something I love and feel empowered that I am one of few women that do it.” 

Bianca had a similar experience. “I joined the club as a freshman because I knew other people in the program recommended it. I remember my first project was to build a trebuchet for a pumpkin-chucking competition. After that, I was hooked. I started working on cars and began learning about machining, problem-solving and the importance of working with a team. The club has taught me how to work in intense situations and how to learn/think on the spot.” 

Bianca Jeremiah posing in front of car
Bianca Jeremiah

The Society of Automotive Engineers Club has given Samantha and Bianca the opportunity to learn in the classroom and then apply it. Samantha says, “Rowan is so unique because the program is so hands-on. In many other schools, you don’t get past conceptualizing a design or reading about it in a textbook. Here, you almost always get to create the design and make it come to life by manufacturing it.” 

Samantha Midili driving car
Samantha Midili

Bianca shares the same sentiment.

“Being a mechanical engineer means designing to manufacture. At Rowan, you get to go through the entire process of research, design, and implementation; just like in the industry. It is so interesting to get to execute every angle from start to finish and actually create something,” she says.

Although it may be difficult at times, both Samantha and Bianca are happy and proud to be leaders in a male-dominated industry. Samantha says, “My teammates respect me, look out for me, and have my back. We have a great sense of camaraderie, and we are always together. I really feel like we all come together as a team, regardless of our differences, because we just want to build a winning car.”

“I feel fortunate to be a part of a community where I feel accepted regardless of my identity,” Bianca says. “Sometimes I might be the only girl in my classes and that is overwhelming, but I always try and tell myself that if I made it here, I belong here. I want to be that inspiration for other women in the program, too. I want to know they are accepted and belong. Creating that space and opportunity for everyone is important to me.”

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

From TikTok Dreams to Reality: A Summer to Remember in Lake Powell, Arizona

Sofia DiCastelnuovo, a senior Biological Sciences major with a minor in Sustainability Science, shares how she went from scrolling on TikTok in New Jersey to spending a full summer in Lake Powell, Arizona. 

If you are looking for a sign to travel: this story is for you. Sofia DiCastelnuovo is a transfer student from another four-year university that was not the right fit for her. She declared a Biological Sciences major right away because she knew she loved science and the environment. She came to Rowan for the opportunity for a fresh start and guidance on how to combine her passion with a career. 

Zion National Park, Utah - Angel’s Landing Hike
Zion National Park, Utah – Angel’s Landing Hike

Unfortunately, Sofia did not get a traditional experience her first semester here as everyone was sent home due to Covid-19.

“After getting sent home and having time to really think about things, I was feeling really stuck in place. Covid made me realize that I wanted to strive to do more in the future. I really started thinking about what my next steps were after quarantine and how I could combine my passion with my coursework,” Sofia says.

Like many of us, Sofia spent a lot of time on TikTok during isolation. Her “For You” page wasn’t filled with viral dances or whipped coffee recipes, though. She realized that her algorithm was sending her a sign she needed to receive. 

“I was scrolling scrolling on TikTok and saw all of these travel videos of people at national parks or these beautiful remote locations. I found this website called ‘Coolworks’ through those videos, which is a database that displays seasonal work opportunities in all different places around the country,” Sofia explains.

Arches national park
Arches National Park, Utah

This got Sofia thinking: maybe traveling and seeing new places could give her clarity on what she wanted to do in the future as a career. She says, “I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my biology major, but I thought traveling would allow me to immerse myself in a different environment while also learning new things.” 

Rather than dreaming about traveling or working in a new place, Sofia started taking the steps to do it. “I started applying everywhere. I had no place in mind, I just cast my net wide and hoped for the best,” she says.

Luckily for Sofia, a company from Lake Powell, Arizona called her within a few weeks for a phone interview. They offered Sofia a position at the end of that phone call.

Sofia at Zion National Park.
Sofia at Zion National Park

“I never thought I’d go to the desert of all places. It was completely out of my comfort zone, so I took some time to think about it, but ultimately accepted the offer a few days later.”

Sofia accepted a position at Wahweap Rental Marina, where she helped visitors rent houseboats, kayaks, jet skis and other small boats on Lake Powell. 

“I worked as a rental agent in the office, which was my first time doing anything like that,” she says. “I got to meet different people traveling from all over the world every single day. They provided employees with housing where we could cook, eat, and even exercise at the fitness center. Any time we weren’t working was our time to explore.”

Lake Powell
Lake Powell, Utah

“I got to visit five national parks, but Zion National Park was my favorite. It was beautiful. I hiked Angels Landing and the Narrows, which were places on my bucket list from TikTok. It was cool to hike places that I had only ever seen through a phone screen. The videos didn’t do them justice.” 

Sofia came back to New Jersey at summer’s end with a new mindset. “The trip made me realize everyone has their own path. I always questioned what my future held and put so much pressure on myself. I met so many people doing seasonal work (high schoolers, college students, retired people etc.) who were doing the exact same thing as me. Not only am I able to put this valuable experience on my resume, I was able to learn a lesson I really needed to: it’s ok to figure it out as you go.”

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

Photos courtesy of:
Sofia DiCastelnuovo, senior biological sciences major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pixabay

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Beyond The Classroom: Entrepreneurship Major, Owner of Showtime Sneaker Boutiques, Christian Giannola

Today we feature Entrepreneurship major Christian Giannola. Christian, a senior, transferred freshman year from Monmouth University to increase his knowledge in business and entrepreneurship to assist him in running his full-time sneaker boutique business. Christian shares information on Showtime Sneaker Boutique and its two locations, how he started this business, and how Rowan helped him […]

Rowan Fencing Club [VIDEO]

Two people fencing in full equipment.

Open to all skill levels, Fencing Club offers instruction for all three weapons: foil, épée and sabre, with two experienced coaches in the sport. Neither equipment nor prior knowledge about fencing is needed to join.

Learn more about student organizations at Rowan here.

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Video by:
John Hunter, junior Radio/TV/Film major
Brian Seay, junior sports communication and media major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pexels

How I Found My Place at Rowan University

College of communication and creative arts building.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story and photos by:
Matthew DuBas, sophomore advertising major

 

DEI Spring 2022 Book Study Recommendations

Stock image of a person's hands holding a hardcover book.

Monika Williams Shealey, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), Professor of Special Education and Senior Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, shares details on Rowan’s community-wide book study initiative with essential reads as we celebrate Black History Month.  The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) launched in 2019 with a listening tour which included […]

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

Sunset horizon shot in Morocco.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos provided by:
Nadine El Maalem

Student Leader Lauren Repmann on Biomedical Engineering Major, 3D Printing Club Success

Lauren sits on a bench next to a white, sphere sculpture.

Today we speak to Lauren Repmann, a senior Biomedical Engineering major with a minor in Chemistry. Lauren is an on-campus resident from Laurence Harbor, NJ (Middlesex County). She is the 3D Printing Club founder and co-president, president of the Women in Engineering Club, and a student mentor for the Engineering Learning Community. Lauren works off campus at Tranquility Path Investment Advisors as an Administrative Assistant, and on campus at the Office of Admissions as an Admissions Ambassador.

Lauren poses in the woods.

What inspired you to choose your major?

My mom works as an engineer at AT&T, and I always knew that I wanted to follow in her footsteps. When it came time for me to choose my college major, I wanted to pursue a field that combined engineering with medicine, and Biomedical Engineering was the perfect choice.

As I look back on this decision, I see that there are so many other benefits of choosing Biomedical Engineering that I wasn’t aware of. I’ve developed a genuine understanding of how to approach problems and sticky situations from a logical perspective, and this skill will be useful for all aspects of my life. I’ve also gained confidence in my technical abilities, so much so that I founded a 3D Printing Club at Rowan University.

Most importantly, I’ve recognized the importance of using engineering to set an example for younger female generations. Engineering is known to be a male-dominated field, and reaching out to elementary, middle and high school girls about a potential career in engineering can help to reduce this stigma.

Lauren poses in front of a fountain.

Tell us something interesting thing that you’ve learned in a class this semester.

It’s my last semester as a Rowan student, and I wanted to take a fun class to celebrate! I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures, so I chose to enroll in Honors Digital Photography with Jenny Drumgoole. The coolest thing I’ve learned so far is how to take long-exposure photos. This type of photography is great for taking night-time photos because the camera shutter stays open for a long period of time to record the light. Even if the area where the photo is being taken seems dark, the long exposure photography style will allow light to creep in from peripheral areas. I’ve made lots of awesome photos with this technique, and I’ll definitely continue to use this skill after this course.

Lauren poses in a clearing.

Take us through one typical Rowan day for you.

My typical day at Rowan starts at Engineering Hall. I serve as the co-president of Rowan’s 3D Printing Club, so I’m always in the 3D printing lab to make sure everything is running smoothly. While I’m in the lab, I usually make finishing touches on my homework assignments and get ready for my classes. After about two hours in the lab, I leave for my 11 a.m. classes. My biomedical engineering course load this semester is very heavy, but I’m thankful to have my friends who always want to collaborate on homework and assignments! I usually spend some time with them after my classes are over at 2 pm.

After that, I run back to Engineering Hall to make progress on my engineering clinic project. I work in Dr. Staehle’s Systems Biology and Neuroregeneration laboratory, and my project focuses on assessing the toxicity of exogenous chemicals, including DEHP and BP-3, on planarian flatworms. After catching up on my experiments, I run down the hall to one of the engineering clinic classrooms to teach my Engineering Learning Community seminar. I currently have 18 freshmen engineering students as my mentees, and we have done lots of fun and productive activities together. My favorite has been the icebreaker bingo tournament. It really helped me to get to know my mentees! Once my seminar ends at 5 p.m/, I run down to the first floor of Engineering Hall to close the 3D Printing Lab, then my day is over! Finally getting back to my apartment after each long day is rewarding! I change into my comfy clothes, eat dinner and ice cream, call my parents, do some homework, then start all over again the next day!

Tell us about one club, organization or group of friends that makes you feel like Rowan is home.

Whenever I step foot in Rowan’s 3D Printing Lab at Engineering Hall, I feel like Rowan is home. When I was a sophomore, I became very interested in 3D printing. The ability to take an idea and turn it into an object that I could hold intrigued me. I taught myself how to use OnShape, a popular CAD software, and I produced lots of cool models that I wanted to 3D print! When I approach one of Rowan’s 3D printing labs to ask about printing my models, I was told that the printers are primarily used for academic purposes. I knew I was not the only student who wanted to print personal models, and I also knew that Rowan University’s 3D printing lab had the resources to offer a personal printing service.

With that knowledge, I worked with a friend to draft a 3D printing plan to present to the technicians at the Engineering Hall 3D printing lab. The technicians were completely on board with our idea, and we then began the club petitioning process through the Student Government Association. On October 12, 2020, we officially became a Rowan club, and in January 2021, we received funding to purchase filament and supplies.

Since then, Rowan’s 3D Printing Club has grown at an exponential rate. We have 75 members who consistently attend our meetings and events, and we even won Rowan’s Outstanding Student Organization Award for the Spring 2021 semester. I’ve always felt that home is a feeling that you have the power to create. Through this club, I’ve not only created the feeling of home for myself, but also for all the other Rowan students who want to become more engaged in 3D printing. There is a genuine sense of community and passion that one can sense immediately upon walking into the room during one of our general meetings or workshops, and that is my Rowan “home” feeling that I will cherish for my entire life.

See Lauren and learn more about the 3D Printing Club in this video. 

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major 

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Inside the M.S. in Biomedical Engineering Program with Rowan Global Student Brennen Covely

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

Calysta Laurente’s European Study Abroad Experience

Today we speak with Calysta Laurente, a junior Management and Marketing major who is also minoring in International Studies. Calysta took the fall 2021 semester abroad to Europe. She discusses her experiences abroad and reflects upon her time studying in France and visiting different countries.

What made you decide to study abroad? Was it always your intention to study abroad?

Studying abroad was something that I knew I wanted to do even before I chose Rowan as my university. I love to travel and it is something I hope to continue to do for a very long time. I grew up in a family that also loves to travel, always going on summer vacations and long roadtrips. Growing up traveling to different places and learning about different cultures was always something that I loved to do.

Although I was a little indecisive of where I wanted to go because I had so many great options, I chose Paris, France. This is because I knew I wanted to be in Europe and I also have close family that live in Paris. This way, I was more comfortable going abroad knowing that I had family close by which I was especially thankful for when it came to the transition from America to France. 

Picture of Calysta in front of the Eiffel Tower at night.
Calysta in front of the Eiffel Tower at night.

What program are you a part of: provider programs, exchange programs or faculty-led programs? 

The program that I chose through Rowan is the American Institute of Foreign Studies (AIFS), an exchange student program. My study abroad advisor actually helped me choose my program since Rowan offers so many. She suggested AIFS because she had a really good experience abroad with the program when she had gone. 

Calysta (left) with friend (Naomi) swimming during a boat tour from the Amalfi Coast to Capri in southern Italy.
Calysta (left) with friend (Naomi) swimming during a boat tour from the Amalfi coast to Capri in southern Italy.

How has studying abroad been beneficial to you and the major you are studying? 

One of the factors that I was worried about when choosing to study abroad was if I was still going to graduate on time. Thankfully, through AIFS I had gotten to choose the university I wanted to apply to when coming to France.

This fall I attended The American Business School of Paris. This is an international university located right in the heart of Paris. Choosing this school was very beneficial for me because I was able to take all the business courses I needed to stay on track to graduate. Also, all of my classes were in English, so there was no language barrier. Lastly, because it is an international university, most students were exchange students for the semester and came from all over the world which made the social aspect really fun because I had the chance to meet so many great people. 

Can you talk about the different places you have visited while being abroad? Have you stayed in France the entire time or have you traveled elsewhere?

While living in Europe it was fairly easy to travel to different countries. I was lucky enough to have traveled to Switzerland, Italy, England, Portugal and the Netherlands. I have also traveled to other cities within France. Thankfully, it was easy to travel within Europe; but unfortunately with Covid, the restrictions were different in each country.

Planning a trip, I had to go through researching the different restriction rules for that specific country beforehand. But going through that process was always worth it for the visit. Each country I was able to see I loved. Getting to learn about the culture in each country was an unforgettable experience for me. 

A picture of Calysta (left) with friend (Nadia) in front of Musée à Versailles in France.
Calysta (left) with friend (Nadia) in front of Musée à Versailles in France.

What has been your favorite part of studying abroad? 

I love everything about what I had gotten to experience studying abroad. But what I loved the most about traveling is definitely the people I have met. I am so thankful that with my housing situation I was able to live with two other American students that I had gotten so close with in such a short period of time. Through the AIFS program, I was able to be a part of a close knit group of students from all over the U.S. whom I am lucky enough to call some of my best friends.

Going to the American Business School, I had the opportunity to meet students from all over the world, which was really fascinating to me. Even just the little conversations I had with people during class, hostel stays in different countries, and walking down the streets of France had made such a big impact on my experience abroad.

I am just so grateful to be able to say that I have friends who live in so many different countries around the world. 

Was it hard to adjust to being abroad? Was it difficult to be in a different country where a different language was spoken? 

Personally, it is not very often when I get homesick. At home, I live on campus and during the summers I work alot down the shore, not seeing my family too often. One of the biggest adjustments was living in my homestay. It was really nerve-racking not only knowing that I was moving  into someone else’s home, but also not knowing my roommates beforehand.

I was completely blind about my living situation until that first day I arrived in France. My homestay family was an older French couple who spoke almost no English so it was very difficult to communicate with them most of the time. I had come to France knowing no French at all and not even having the comfort of your native language was hard to adjust to at first. Although, I was able to get through it. Even though it was hard to communicate with my homestay family, I always did my best. I have been taking a French course as well as studying the language on my own time and those little conversations I had shared with them and I know made them happy. 

Picture Calysta took of the Louvre Museum.
A photo by Calysta of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Can you talk about where you stayed while abroad and take us through a typical day in your life abroad?

While abroad, I stayed with a host family – an older French couple with two other roommates who were also 20-year-old American girls (one from South Carolina and the other from Texas). My typical school day started with my first class at 8:30 a.m. Although I either had one or two classes a day, the school day was fairly long because the classes were three hours long. I would wake up around 7 a.m. to get ready for class and give myself time to get to the Metro because public transportation is the most convenient way to get around Paris.

In between classes depending on how long my break was that day, I would grab food with friends (or alone), trying different cafes and different food places where I can get a quick meal for (hopefully) a reasonable price. I also enjoyed cafes to just socialize with friends or get work done. After my school day, I would take the Metro back home and if I was not having dinner with my host family, or going out with friends, I would be cooking my own meal at home.

What advice would you give to students preparing to go abroad? Is there anything you wish you knew before you left? 

The best advice I would give students who are preparing to go abroad would be to step out of your comfort zone and to say yes to doing things you may not be so comfortable with. Obviously, don’t say yes to things you absolutely don’t want to do. But try being social and participate in as much as possible because you are only going to get what you put into the experience abroad.

Be the first person to start a conversation with someone you may not know, ask questions, try new food, visit as many places as you can — because the time you have abroad goes by so so fast. You are there to complete your courses, but a big part of the education abroad is being independent and figuring things out on your own.

Something that I wish I knew before I left was how to pack. There were so many times where I felt that I didn’t have the right clothing for certain situations. Make sure to do research on what the weather will be like for the time you are abroad and how the people who live there may dress. I definitely under-packed for my trip. 

Picture Calysta took of people sitting outside of a Cafe facing the Seine, a 777-kilometre-long river that flows through northern France.
A photo by Calysta took of a cafe facing the Seine.

How has studying abroad impacted your educational experience? What has the experience taught you that you may not have been able to learn from staying at Rowan University in the states? 

I learned so much while living abroad. It was such a great learning experience for not only my field of study, but I was also able to learn so much about myself as well. I was able to learn so much about different cultures and what life is like for those who live in different countries. I felt so connected with so many people I met and it is crazy to think that you live a similar life to someone who lives on the other side of the world. I learned what it really means to be American, and through conversations with others learned their point of view of America which was very interesting. Everything that I have learned about different cultures, religions, and the history of our country and the world, really came to life when I was abroad which was such a surreal experience for me. 

I always considered myself to be very independent but living on my own in a foreign country, knowing no one, not even the language was such a drastic change for me and there were times where I really had to depend on myself. At Rowan I am constantly surrounded by so many people. Going from living in a house off campus with so many of my closest friends, and my campus being such a short drive away from home — moving to France was quite the change. These are the kinds of things I may not have been able to learn from staying at Rowan. 

What is your overall impression on this experience? What was the most challenging part of being abroad? What was the most rewarding part? Any other emotions?

My overall experience of choosing to go abroad was one that I will cherish forever. I am so thankful for my family encouraging me to go to France, Rowan for helping me with the process, and AIFS for making me feel so comfortable abroad.

Personally, the most challenging part going abroad for me was physically leaving to go to France. I had such a good summer with my family and friends, and by the time the fall semester came around and it was almost time for me to leave, I was having many second thoughts about my decision to leave for the semester. I really enjoy Rowan and watching all my best friends get ready for the semester made me scared that I would miss out. There were definitely hard days abroad where I had felt alone and missed friends and family but that was inevitable. 

The most rewarding part about being abroad was the fact that I made the decision to come to France alone. Not knowing anyone coming abroad had really forced me to step out of my comfort zone and really get to know myself and those who I had met. I’m lucky enough that I was even getting this experience with the pandemic. It’s rewarding knowing that I am coming back to the U.S. open minded, with a new view on life, and have learned so much about our world. 

Calysta (left) with friend (Naomi) during a tour of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii in Campania, Italy.
Calysta (left) with friend (Naomi) during a tour of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii in Campania, Italy.

What were some culture shocks you experienced while being a student abroad?

There were many culture shocks I was unprepared for when I came abroad. Most of it had to do with the eating culture in France. To start, the portion sizes are way smaller in France than in America. My eating habits definitely changed abroad — I had found myself eating little portions throughout the day rather than huge meals. Another culture shock having to do with food is the eating times. I learned that in most parts of Europe, restaurants will tend to close during the day, around 3-7 p.m. and then re-open up for dinner, around 8 p.m (everything closed on Sundays). This is because the French people tend to follow a set schedule for when it is time for lunch/dinner. This was difficult at times for my friends and I, especially after long hours of class and found almost nothing to be open. There are other culture shocks I have experienced, but situations with food are what I found to be some of the biggest transitions, especially coming from America. 

Is there anything else you would like to add or discuss for the article?

If you have the chance to go abroad for a semester, do it!!!! It seriously changed my life!! Especially with the effect Covid had on my mental health, I realized how much I needed these past 3 ½ months. Going abroad completely alone was one of the bravest things I have ever done and the fear of traveling alone shouldn’t be a reason for a person not to go. I am so thankful for Rowan’s Study Abroad department, AIFS, my supportive family and friends, all of the beautiful places I had experienced, and the amazing people I had met throughout my journey. 

Calysta in front of the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben in London, England.
Calysta in front of the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben in London, England.

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Story by: 
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos provided by:
Calysta Laurente

Header Photo courtesy of:
Pexels

Related posts:

Studying Abroad in Japan: The Best Decision I Have Ever Made

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

Rowan Abroad: Rana Sarwatejas Shares His Experience Studying in Great Britain!

Volunteering with the Glassboro Food Bank

Just a stone’s throw away from Rowan University sits the Samaritan Center, a shining pillar of light in the community. Rowan Blog contributor Bianca Gray shares: “As a Rowan student, many of us are volunteering in many different places around the state, but maybe we should take the time to learn more about how we can volunteer our time to the community we all call home.”

The Samaritan Center, also known as the Glassboro Food Bank, is a nonprofit organization located on 123A East High Street. For years, they have been dedicated to providing food and clothes for the low income residents of Glassboro, and Rowan students are starting to get involved in a major way. The Samaritan Center is happy to accept help and donations from any Rowan student looking to make a difference; here are some ways that you can get involved. 

Inside the Glassboro Food Bank, shelves stocked with cans and bags stuffed with food
A look inside the Samaritan Center

Volunteering is a must for any Rowan student. It’s a great way to get involved around the community and help a good cause at the same time. Students looking to volunteer with the organization could be given a couple of different tasks. They could help with distributing and packaging food, organizing food and clothing within the center, or help to maintain the center’s garden. Senior Writing Arts and Marketing major Melanie Kosick volunteered with the organization during the fall Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. 

“We mainly just packaged bags with cranberry sauce, stuffing mix and other Thanksgiving foods for families, handing out a turkey and a gallon of milk with each bag,” Melanie tells us. “Honestly, I really enjoyed the entire experience. Not only did I enjoy working with the staff, but it was a nice way to give back for the holidays.” 

Ingres Simpson stocking the shelves of the Glassboro Food bank
Ingres restocking the shelves!

Melanie’s not the only Prof lending a helping hand though. The organization’s president, Ingres Simpson, is an adjunct professor at Rowan in the Elementary Education program. Simpson first joined the organization back into 2014 after retiring from her previous job as a Supervisor of Instruction at a local public school. She works alongside other retirees to help achieve the Samaritan Center’s primary goal: providing food and clothing to Glassboro residents in need. 

“I am totally committed to our work at the Samaritan Center,” Simpson shares. “It is especially rewarding to be able to help people within my community who struggle to feed themselves and their families.” 

Along with helping those in need feed their families, the Samaritan Center also provides clothing through their Clothing Closet. The clothing is priced anywhere from 25 cents to $3.00. As stated earlier, volunteers could be asked to help organize the clothing, but for those who don’t have the time to spare and would still like to give back, the organization is always accepting clothing donations. 

The Samaritan Center's Clothing Closet
The Clothing Closet

The Samaritan Center is open from Monday – Thursday from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. On Mondays and Wednesdays, volunteers may help with distributing government-issued food to families and individuals who meet the federal guidelines for low income status. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Center provides gently used clothing for men, women, and children, which is especially necessary this time of year.

Anyone interested in working with the Samaritan Center should visit the Center’s website where they can not only express their interest in volunteering with the organization but donate anything they have to offer. 

A picture of the Samaritan Center
The Samaritan Center is located at 123A East High Street in Glassboro.

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Story By:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos By:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey Lea Donaghy on Advocacy and Education [VIDEO]

Lea sits with her partner at a table in her wheelchair.

Congratulations to Lea Donaghy, named Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2022 by the nonprofit Ms. Wheelchair America. “It allows me to advocate for my state, talk about my experience and things that I think we need to really improve upon in the disabled community,” says Lea. Her platform will be to provide better resources for college students coming into college with a disability.

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Rowan Abroad: Rana Sarwatejas Shares His Experience Studying in Great Britain!

Public art display of city names on campus.

Rana Sarwatejas is a senior Biochemistry major here at Rowan University. Today, he tells us what his experience has been like studying abroad at the University of Birmingham in the U.K.

Would you mind introducing yourself? 

My name is Rana. I’m a senior Biochemistry major at Rowan University but I’m currently studying abroad at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. I’m originally from Nepal. That’s where Mount Everest is for anyone wondering. I went to an English Boarding school in India so when I learned English I learned British English, which is why I have this wonderful British accent. I decided to go to America for my undergraduate degree, which is how I ended up at Rowan. 

What was it like when you first came to Rowan? 

It was a little intimidating. I was a young Nepalese boy who had never been to America before and didn’t really know anything about it. Everything was quite the opposite. I had a bit of a cultural shock but, after a month, I loved every bit of it [being in America]. I made amazing friends. I got to travel. I’m a huge travelholic by the way. I also met my friends from the University of Birmingham at Rowan University when they were completing their study abroad program. 

Rana looking out over the hillside
Rana looks out over the hillside in deep thought.

Why did you choose to study abroad in England at the University of Birmingham?

I always wanted to study abroad, especially in the U.K. Like I said before, I did study at an English boarding school but it was in India. Still, there was a large British influence over me. However, I never got to experience British culture fully and I had in my head for a long time that I would. I’m probably going to do my master’s degree here in England so studying abroad here was just a way of testing the water. I get to learn what the education system is like, how the professors are, and how the universities function. I also needed to answer the question of whether or not it would be too much of a culture shock.

On top of all of this, I met someone during my sophomore year named Dan who came from the University of Birmingham to Rowan for his study abroad program. I also met another study abroad student that year named Laura who was from Germany. With them, I traveled everywhere around the country; Miami, Orlando, Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Vegas, L.A., everywhere! I really enjoyed it and we formed a very tight bond. They showed me all of the things that study abroad had to offer. Studying abroad isn’t just something to put on your resume. It’s a way to make memories.

How did you adapt to your new school and environment? 

It was quite easy because I already studied in a similar environment previously at the boarding school. The only difference was how the country itself worked. I had to get registered with a general practitioner, which was something I wasn’t familiar with previously. I had to learn about the payment system. Rather than paying per semester, you have to pay per week for your accommodations. They really don’t have meal plans at the university unless it’s a particular accommodation. Stuff like that was completely new. 

Rana looks out at the shore, the sun beaming down in the background
Rana stands proud atop a rocky shore.

How did you go about making friends?

One bad thing that happened to me were some issues with my visa. I wasn’t able to come over as early as I would have liked and I missed the orientation. Luckily, I bonded very quickly with my flatmates and they already had friends of their own of whom they would often invite over so I was able to befriend them as well.

Attending classes also helped me to meet new people. There’s weekly international nights that they have here and I’ve gone out and met different people there too. While at Rowan, I worked with RAH [Rowan After Hours], as I’m a total nightowl, and working with them helped me to improve my communication skills. That job forces you to socialize and that helped me to go on and make friends at Birmingham. 

How have classes been?

My classes have been quite fun. I’ve already completed a lot of my course requirements so I had the ability to choose from different classes outside of my major. I’m taking American Literature right now and you’re probably wondering: Why are you taking American literature when you’re in Britain? Well, I had to take a literature course as a graduation requirement but any type of literature is new for me as I’m a biochemistry student. They’ve been teaching me about “The Great Gatsby,” which is something I never bother to read before coming here. I’m taking political science, a course called Debates in World Politics. It really encapsulates everything that is happening in the world, what’s happened in the past, and how that’s all affecting the government systems in different countries. I love political science, so that course has just been going great.  

What would you say to students who are interested in studying abroad at some point during their academic journey? 

Studying abroad can be intimidating when you think about it for the first time but the amount of knowledge that you gain from traveling is just extraordinary.

I’ve been traveling since I was a kid. Like I said earlier, I was sent to a boarding school in another country when I was just 10 years old. I’ve got a good grasp about how much traveling can teach you. If you really want to learn about life, academic knowledge is one thing, but collecting and garnering life experiences actually makes who you are. That’s why I can’t recommend studying abroad more. It’s so amazing!

Rana poses for a picture in a busy market place.
Rana poses for a candid headshot in a crowded marketplace.

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Story by:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos provided by: 
Rana Sarwatejas, senior biochemistry major

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

Nick Flagg as Buddy the Elf in Elf the Musical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Production Photos by:
Valerie Neuber

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

Genesis Roman, Management Information Systems Major and Intern for Arizona IT Firm

View from above a Business Hall room.

Today we feature Genesis Roman, a senior Management Information Systems major from Jersey City, NJ (Hudson County). Genesis also has a Certificate of Undergraduate Studies (CUGS) in Cyber Security and has previously worked on campus for Classroom Support. She discusses her experiences with her major and details her recent internship for Insight Enterprises Incorporated, based in Arizona.

Why did you choose Rowan to study Management Information Systems?

My English teacher in high school told us to broaden our horizons and to further our education in a different area than our home town. I personally believe staying in your hometown for college limits your perspective on life. There is so much more to see and learn outside of your comfort zone, so I wanted to go somewhere not too far from home but far enough to where I could learn in a new environment and meet new people.

Rowan put me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. 

Genesis Roman.
Genesis Roman

Why did you choose to study Management Information Systems? 

I have always been very fascinated with technology. I have had so many experiences growing up that made me realize this major was something I would be very interested in. For instance, when I was younger, I had a PlayStation 2 and I completely broke it down just to put it all back together. Also, when Tumblr came out,  I was so interested in coding my personal page so I could customize it to my own liking. This is how I started learning HTML and coding.

In the grand scheme of things, I really enjoy how challenging it is to fix things, and I also enjoy helping others. Management Information Systems is a major that combines both of these passions of mine.

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

I am still trying to figure out what my dream profession is. This is a big reason why I decided to apply and take on the internship opportunity at Insight Enterprises. Currently, I am interning for Insight Enterprises and doing something completely different compared to the responsibilities I had for this company in the summer. From my experience in the past few months, I think I am developing a great interest in being a Solutions Architect. I really enjoy supporting clients and deciphering what the best solutions are for them and their particular needs. 

Exterior shot of Business Hall.

How did you seek out the internship opportunity for Insight Enterprises?

One day I received an email from Professor Jennifer Nicholson regarding the internship, sent out to all MIS majors; the position was described as a Systems and Database Administrator. At the time, I was unsure of what this position entailed; however, I thought it was a great opportunity to try something new and to branch out from New Jersey. When I applied for this position I was applying to relocate to Tempe, Arizona. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the internship was switched to a remote position, however, I hope I can one day see the Insight Enterprises Headquarters in person and potentially relocate there for an in-person position.

What were the commitments and responsibilities of this internship? 

This position was a 10-week internship where I worked eight hours everyday starting at 7 a.m. Insight Enterprises is a technology company that provides smart and innovative solutions for their clients. Within the company, I worked within the Cloud and Data Center Transformation branch during the past summer. This is where I worked on several different projects a week and collaborated with several different teams. This got confusing at times, but it taught me how to be good at multitasking and productive in a busy work environment.

The company also provided workshops for us interns where we learned how to transition from college education to being able to utilize our skills everyday in the workplace. This experience mentally prepared me for the tasks I would face as an intern.

Exterior shot of Business Hall.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced as an Insight Enterprises intern? 

One of the biggest challenges I faced was being able to stay mentally focused while working remotely. It was difficult at times to try and be in work mode when I am surrounded by my family and in my household environment. I found it was also difficult at times to not only learn all this new information as an intern, but know how to solve problems and utilize the skills I learned while working remotely. I quickly realized that it is easy to be hard on yourself when your fellow employers have more experience than you; however, with time and consistency, you will not only learn so much but be able to apply your new knowledge to your work.

What have you learned from being an intern for Insight Enterprises?

This internship has led me to believe that this is a profession that I want to be working in. I also learned how to successfully work from home and in a remote environment. Sophomore year of college I would continuously tell my friends that I wanted a remote job because of my aspirations to travel and work simultaneously. Now, I am halfway there and already have a feel of what working remotely is like.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

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

Philadelphia skyline.

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

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

Why did you choose to study Studio Art?

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

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

How did you first get interested in art? 

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

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

I really like sculpture, graphite and oil painting. 

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite part of producing art?

I really enjoy the process of producing art. 

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

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

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

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

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

Why did you choose Rowan to study Studio Art?

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

Why did you choose to study Studio Art?

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

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

How did you first get interested in art? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite part of producing art?

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

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

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

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

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos provided by:
Taylor Brown and Abby Leitinger

Related posts:

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

Music Industry Major Pharaoh Freer’s Big Break

Pharaoh sits on a bench near James Hall.

Today we feature Pharaoh Freer, a sophomore Music Industry major from Jamesburg, NJ (Middlesex County). Over the summer, Pharaoh had the opportunity to work on a movie set as an extra! Pharaoh shares his experience on set with us and how it has impacted his life. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Pharaoh Freer, and I’m a sophomore Music Industry major. I went to a school in Philly before I came to Rowan. Before going there I didn’t really know what I was doing when it came to school. That school was my chance to show myself and others that I can do school. Prior to that, I didn’t really think I would end up at Rowan. I’m still living in the “Wow, I’m really here!” Other than that, I’m an artist and a rapper. My goal for right now is to make my mark on Rowan.

Pharoah smiles in front of Wilson Hall.

You were recently in a movie! What was the experience like for you?

My aunt works for Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta. Somebody she knew was a movie director and he let her know that they needed a few extras. My parents flew me out the next week. It was so fast. The movie was filmed at my aunt’s house. You had to see it! Her house is so big and modern, which is why they asked to film there.

I get there and all the movie stuff is set up: microphones, cameras, all of it. I’m just thinking, “Wow, this is really a movie.” All the stuff behind the scenes was almost like a movie itself.

The scene they needed me for was a church scene. I had to wear certain attire and I needed a haircut. But I was doing more than just my scene. I was helping the director, I was taking COVID temperatures, and doing other stuff like that. It was super crazy!

Pharaoh walks on a path near James Hall.

Would you ever do something like that again?

I definitely would! I’m already a musician. Music, acting, fashion, all of that comes hand in hand. After my experience in Atlanta, all I thought about when I got back to New Jersey was, “I want to make a movie! I need to direct my own movie!” I’m the type of person where if I see something and I feel like I can accomplish it then I want to do it! 

Did you go to the premiere? 

Yes! There were two premieres. One in Atlanta that I went to see and a premiere in Michigan. There weren’t a ton of people but enough people to show that the director really had a lot of support. It’s not a crazy big movie, but seeing the community really come out in support made me want to move to Atlanta. 

Pharaoh looks ahead near James and Wilson Halls.

Tell us a little bit about “Broken Covenant: The Movie.” 

I’ll sum it up in a nutshell. It’s basically all about family, love and trust. I’m telling you, the movie is crazy! 

Has the experience made you want to get more involved in the film industry?

I want to do it all! One thing about me is I try to do everything I set my mind to. I want to do movies, music, fashion, everything! After my first experience in Atlanta I told myself, “The next time I come out here to do a movie, I’m going to have a bigger role.” I’ve always loved acting and I’ve started to take becoming an actor more seriously along with my music. 

Read Pharoah’s first-person take on the lessons he’s learned on his journey to becoming a Rowan Prof here

Pharaoh sits and smiles with Wilson Hall in the background.

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Story By:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos By:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major 

Beyond the Classroom: Senior Business Major Kevin Baker’s Internship with Ohio-Based Company The DiJulius Group

Kevin poses outside Business Hall.

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Cyreelle Cruz, RIPPAC Member and Scholarship Recipient, Shares Her Story

Exterior shot of the top of Bunce Hall.

Rowan Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship (RIPPAC) member and recent scholarship recipient Cyreelle Cruz, a junior History major from Camden County, shares how the connections she has made with Rowan faculty have taken her to the next level. 

What got you interested in your major?

Since I was a freshman in high school, I was always really good at history. Everyone else dreaded history classes, but I always felt cool knowing I did well in the classes. Since I had a really good AP history test score, I was able to bypass a college course.

I started as a Computer Science major because that’s what I thought I wanted to do, but when it came down to it, I decided to change it to something I knew I loved and I was good at.

How did you find out about the RIPPAC internship scholarships? [editor’s note: these scholarships help offset the costs of taking on an unpaid internship]

I was lucky enough to have Professor Dworkin in class, who happens to be the head of RIPPAC. He talked non-stop in the class about the scholarship and how to apply for it. I was hesitant at first because I work two jobs and didn’t know if I could take on another commitment. But after hearing about all of the benefits of the opportunity, I started to ask myself, “What if this would be more beneficial to my future than working two jobs?”

After thinking about it for a while, I decided to apply for the James P. Fox Memorial Fund. 

Cyreelle sitting while looking at her phone.

Describe your internship and the work you do.

I intern with the Addiego, Natale and Eckel campaign for State Senate and Assembly. The people are really great and I never feel overwhelmed or pressured with the workload. We do a lot of event research and will even start to attend events in the future. We are in the process of recruiting more members and making lots of phone calls. It’s been an awesome experience so far!

What is your advice for other students who want to apply for internships?

I would say it’s so important to utilize the connections with professors. I don’t know how I would have done it without the guidance and encouragement from Professor Dworkin. I remember I would try to find internships/jobs on Indeed and other external websites, but it would never work out. But your professors are there to help you and get you the opportunities you want, so don’t be afraid to ask for that help.

A selfie of Cyreelle

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

Header photo by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Other photos courtesy of:
Cyreelle Cruz

Studying Abroad in Japan: The Best Decision I Have Ever Made

Dominique attending an event in Japan.

Meet Dominique DiGiacomo, a Rowan Global student pursuing her master’s in education. She graduated from Rowan with her bachelor’s in English last spring. Dominique had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Japan during her fall semester of junior year.

I lived in the city of Machida, a suburban area located just 45 minutes outside of center city Tokyo. My typical days abroad consisted of a delicious breakfast (either homemade or from a convenience store), classes anywhere from 9am-5pm (three completely taught in Japanese and two in English), a workout at the on-campus gym, study sessions with my friends, and a night out in the city with my friends! My time abroad helped me to realize that I was indeed in the right major.

Dominique and two friends overseas in Japan.

As an international student at JF Oberlin University I had the opportunity to apply for a job at their Brown Bag Cafe, an area in which Japanese students could go in order to learn and practice English. It was there that I confirmed my love for teaching English as a second language, loving every moment as I had the opportunity to talk to my Japanese classmates and help them break down the language barrier. This opportunity confirmed for me that I was on the right path and that my future dream of teaching English in Japan could become a reality. 

Rowan has set me up for my professional goal of teaching English abroad by giving me the experience of student teaching and education classes that have helped me to study to become a better teacher. My experience abroad has helped me to work toward my goal of teaching abroad, especially since I received the opportunity while I was there to teach English to non-native speakers. I am hoping that my combination of skills I have learned from Rowan as well as abroad will help me in my endeavors to get a job teaching English abroad in Japan. 

Dominique and her friends in front of a futuristic statue in Japan.

My time in Japan is one that I will cherish in my memories for years to come. Studying abroad in Japan was such an amazing experience and despite my slight nerves of living all on my own in a country half way across the world, I absolutely loved every moment I was there and am already counting down the days until I can hopefully return. The transition I had from going to college in Japan instead of America was honestly seamless, the only difficulty being adjusting to the time difference which was something my body eventually just got used to.

Besides my three years of study beforehand of the Japanese language and my experience traveling there once before, I still had some nerves when it came to studying abroad on my own so the on-site staff were super helpful during my transition. There was staff at the airport to pick us up and bring us to our housing, staff constantly on duty throughout the building to help us with anything we needed, and staff throughout campus helping to direct us when we were lost or confused.

Studying abroad in Japan was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it opened up so many doors for me both academically and professionally. I encourage anyone who is interested in studying abroad to take the leap and go for it! It will be an amazing experience that you will never forget! 

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Photos courtesy of:
Dominique DiGiacomo

Beyond the Classroom: Legislative Intern, Scholarship Winner Nick Feldman

Nick smiles, stands in front of Bunce Hall.

Today we feature Nick Feldman, a junior Political Science major with Certificates of Undergraduate Study (CUGS) in Public Policy and Russian. An on-campus resident from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County), Nick transferred to Rowan from Rosemont College. He works as a photographer for Rowan Athletics and as a Multimedia Editor for The Whit. Nick interned at NJ State Assemblywoman Patricia Lampitt’s office (District 6) and NJ State Assemblyman William Spearman (District 5), and is one of eight recipients of the Dr. Bruce Caswell Scholars Fund. 

Nick poses on the side of Bunce Hall.

Could you share some backstory about yourself?

When I first came to Rowan, in Fall 2020, we were in the middle of the pandemic. I went to campus reluctantly. At first, I thought there wouldn’t be a lot of opportunities, but as I got involved, I realized that there were. I’m really, really excited about this semester. I know there’s going to be so many more opportunities. 

What got you interested in political science?

I’ve always liked history. At Rosemont College, the college I transferred from, my major was history education. I was studying to be a high school history teacher. However, I’ve always been very interested in politics.

During the 2020 election, I obsessed over the campaigns, the candidates, the policies, everything. So, I thought it was a logical choice to switch my major over to the political science, which is something that I’ve always really liked. I have always thought about how I can make a difference in the world. Well, if I major in Political Science, and I’m able to intern with the people who represent me, I get to know the ins and outs of the process. Then, hopefully, when I graduate college and go into the professional world, I can make a positive impact on the world. Therefore, it was a natural choice. 

Nick holds a DSLR camera in front of Bunce Hall.

How did you find out about the Caswell Scholarship?

I received an email from the Rowan Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship (RIPPAC) about the Caswell Scholarship and other scholarships. The scholarship was enticing. I worked on two unpaid political internships this summer. I thought I might as well just apply for any of the scholarships in the email, in order to cover my expenses. I ended up getting the Caswell Scholarship, which is huge. The Caswell Scholarship helped with even just gas money to get from my house to the internships. 

Can you tell me about your two internships?

One of my internships was with Assemblywoman Patricia Lampitt, an assemblywoman in the sixth legislative district, where I live. This internship was remote, and more policy and analysis focused. I was given bills as long as 20 pages, and I read through them and categorized where money was being spent. While some people might find this kind of work boring, I found it fun.

My other internship was in the fifth legislative district office in Woodbury with Assemblyman William Spearman. My internship with Assemblyman Spearman was in person. I enjoyed being in person and getting to talk with my co-workers face to face and learning from their experiences. Most of my responsibilities were focused on constituent services, such as answering the phone, transferring calls, and entering callers into our call system. Our call system keeps track of the reason for their call, so we can keep track of their concerns and their contact information. Unfortunately, many people are calling about unemployment, but we were able to track that and help them. I really liked this internship. 

Nick poses in front of a tree.

What are some policies that you worked on specifically?

Many of the policies I worked on at my internship with Assemblywoman Lampitt were K-12 education based, since the Assemblywoman is the Chair of the New Jersey General Assembly Committee on Education. Something I worked on was keeping track of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, which is the state agency for rebuilding and upgrading our schools and public school system. One project was looking through their massive portfolio and seeing where their money is being spent, and what it is being spent on.

Also, the Assemblywoman did a lot of work regarding childhood poverty. I remember she had me looking at legislative proposals that worked to diminish the effects of childhood poverty in our state. New Jersey, unfortunately, has a high cost of living, so the cost to live here is a lot more than the federal guidelines say it should cost to live. Unfortunately, there are many people in New Jersey who are technically in poverty, but to the federal government, they are not, because the federal government’s guidelines are so low. So she’s working to see if there are any remedies to that so that people who need help can actually get instead of being frozen out of the system.

How has the Caswell Scholarship impacted you?

To be chosen for the Caswell Scholarship felt like validation of everything that I’ve been trying to achieve over these last few years. I hold it in the same regard as making Dean’s list. The scholarship feels like affirmation of those times where I’ve had trouble. I have ADHD, so I have had a really hard time with organization and whatnot. Getting these two internships was a huge moment for me, because it was wonderful to be out in the outside world working. It required great organizational skills so that I could have two different positions. The scholarship made me feel like all the work that I’ve been putting in has come to fruition. Feeling recognized makes me feel really good, not just about what I’ve achieved, but about myself. It makes me feel that even though I have this thing that makes me different and is pretty difficult sometimes with daily tasks, I can accomplish what I want to accomplish.

Nick poses in front of a tree and the American flag.

Could you describe your professional goals?

I really, really want to be in [Washington] DC. DC is the place to be, but I would really love to be on a staff in the federal government, so that I can work on laws and legislation. State and local governments are important, but the federal government is a whole different animal. I would love to be down there, not only working, but continuing to advocate for the causes that I believe in, progressive education policy and progressive health care policies. Then who knows. Maybe one day, I would love to run for office, but that would be in the future. 

What advice do you have for other students seeking political science college internships? 

I would say don’t be scared and don’t be intimidated. That’s how I felt applying for a lot of these internships. I got rejected by a couple and that got me down; but overall, I was fine in the long run. Don’t get intimidated by the process. It might seem intimidating that someone who’s part of a staff is going to interview you for an internship. However, once you get in contact with these people, you’ll realize that they’re normal people just like you. The staff wants to hire somebody who works hard. They want to bring somebody in who’s affable, who will not be a negative presence in the office. They want somebody who’s going to be a hard worker and will do what is needed to help. If I had to do the process over again, that’s exactly what I would try to emphasize.

Also, don’t be afraid to work at the state and local level. The federal government is cool and all. However, if you think about it, your local government takes care of daily things such as sewage. Your state government provides unemployment. So don’t knock working in the state or local government. It’s very important.

Nick stands on the side of Bunce Hall.

Final thoughts?

I really wish that I had come to Rowan from the start. I love my experiences here, the people I’ve met, and just how welcoming the entire campus has been. I went to a smaller school to start out. There were probably 300 people at my previous school. I like that Rowan is bigger and feels more like a university. One of the best decisions of my life was transferring to Rowan. 

I am also thankful for Dr. Dworkin and the entire RIPPAC team. When I first came to Rowan, I didn’t think there was anything for me to do. I got these emails from Dr. Dworkin saying, if you’re interested in Political Science, come on, come out. I thought, “I’ll just go, I have nothing better to do.” It was a brilliant decision for me to get involved with RIPPAC and get involved on campus.

RIPPAC’s been great. They made me feel welcome. They have improved not only my professional development, but they’re also teaching me. Besides just the ins and outs of policy and legislation, they also have been having these great leadership seminars too. They’ve also been an extremely big help for me, and they’ve helped me grow not just in terms of my experience and what I can do, but also in terms of who I am. They’ve been a positive influence.

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

Photos by:
Nick Flagg, senior theatre and advertising major

Beyond the Classroom: On the Campaign Trail with Political Science Major Stephen Scheuren

Stephen with candidates and volunteers from the campaign.

Today we feature Stephen Scheuren of Marlton, NJ (Burlington County). Stephen has served in the Army National Guard for nearly six years as a Signal Support Systems Specialist and was on active duty in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria. He transferred to Rowan University in spring 2021 from Rowan College at Burlington County. A Political Science major, Stephen works as an intern on a state senate and assembly campaign in Atlantic County’s second legislative district. He earned a Rick Rosenberg, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, which offsets the costs to take an unpaid internship. Here, Stephen describes his internship experience and his plans for the future. 

Have you had time to join any clubs on campus?

I’m very involved in RIPPAC (Rowan Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship). I’ve gone to almost every event they’ve scheduled with Dr. [Benjamin] Dworkin. I also joined the Pre-Law Society so I’ve been going to their events as well, and Phi Alpha Delta with their LSAT studying. It’s a law fraternity [for] people who want to go to law school and people who are in law school. I would like to look at what other clubs are at Rowan, but I think due to COVID, you couldn’t really do that.

How did you find out about RIPPAC? 

Exactly how, why and where I’m at is because of Dr. Dworkin. ­­­I was talking to him, and he asked me, “What do you want to do in life?” I said, “I want to be a prosecutor.” He was asking me why. And then he started giving me advice: “Okay, here’s what you need to do. You need to do an internship now. You have three semesters left, go now. Now, now, now.” And he said, “Join my class, New Jersey Politics.” And I did, I took his class, took his advice and this is where I’m at, because of Dr. Dworkin, and so I attribute it to him, and RIPPAC is why I’m at where I’m at. RIPPAC is a very successful organization. It’s young, and it’s really hit the ground running.

Stephen (left) with Assemblyman Jon Brambick.
Stephen (left) with New Jersey Assemblyman Jon Bramnick.

What got you interested in political science?

I just honestly like the functions of government, and not only that, along the lines of foreign policy and domestic issues as well. The justice system is something that especially interests me. And partly economics and international relations, it’s kind of a mix of everything that interests me. I guess one word to sum it up is just government. Just government. 

How did you find out about the Rosenberg Memorial Scholarship? 

Yes, same answer through Dr. Dworkin, because I’m conservative. I’m interning with the Republican Party out of Atlantic City and their ticket. Well, Atlantic County, second legislative district. He told me, “You should apply for this, you should definitely apply for this.” And because I was new at Rowan, I couldn’t apply to it right away. And so the semester was over, because I had to have the generated GPA. And Dr. Dworkin would say, “Did you apply yet, did you apply yet?” I just finally did, because my GPA came in. And I was shocked when I received that … it was one of the first scholarships I got. It was great, I was very happy about it. 

Tell me about your internship. 

Stephen had originally interned for another campaign; but when the candidate resigned, the campaign manager connected him with his current campaign under a new manager named Brett Barbin.

I started doing the same thing for him, opposition research, public things, and then I started working more directly with him and the candidates. And I would go with Brett as an aide for Brett when he was aiding the candidates who are Don Guardian, Claire Swift and Vince Polistina.

And so, as more time went on, I was more direct with the candidates. And because my intention with going and interning here, I specifically sought the second legislative district because they looked like they had the highest chance of winning for a Republican nomination.

We had specific lists for people we’d reach out to to volunteer, and I would contact those people as well. And honestly, whatever Brett asked me, I was just jumping on. I wasn’t a volunteer, I was more of an intern because I was working with the candidates themselves. 

Whenever I’m at Rowan, and I’m still a representative of that campaign. Anywhere I go, I am a representative of that campaign. We’re still campaigning; I mean, my car is literally filled with literature for the campaign.

You’re right in the thick of it. There is no coffee grabbing for you for sure.

Yeah, actually, it’s funny you say that, because when we were door knocking, it was over 90 degrees. And so what I did was, I said to myself, alright, it’s going to be insanely hot. So what I did was I put in my backpack, like, six large tallboy waters. And then I put ice packs in between them. And I would walk around, I would just say to the candidate, “Don,” and I would just turn around, and he would [go to] my bag and just pull out a water, he would he would say to me, “Steve, you’re moving up in the world. You got water all ready for us.” And then I would have the candidates running over to my bag and just grabbing water out of my bag.

Stephen (at right) has water bottles and campaign materials at the ready while door knocking with the candidates.
Stephen (at right) has water bottles and campaign materials at the ready while door knocking with the candidates.

It would help get us through the day. Because when we were at the end, I mean, everyone was just, it was like we were in a rainstorm. We were all soaked. It was great because you kind of learn when you’re door knocking with them, you get the experience of how they’re trying to get someone to come to our side and vote. 

How has the Rosenberg Scholarship impacted your internship experience?

It impacted it significantly. I won the Rosenberg Scholarship and [was] very happy about it. But I was able to get the opportunity to introduce Assembly Minority Leader, Jon Bramnick, for the Republican Party, at RIPPAC’s political intern summit MAPIS [Mid-Atlantic Political Intern Summit]. And that helped me talk about the campaign from a public aspect and be a representative of the campaign for and talk to Jon Bramnick.

With the Rosenberg Scholarship it gave me more recognition and solidified that I’m a representative here in Atlantic County and outside of Atlantic County, because of the speech I was able to give and deliver with introducing Assemblyman Bramnick.

Stephen (at right) introduces Assemblyman Bramnick at the Mid-Atlantic Political Intern Summit.
Stephen (at right) introduces Assemblyman Bramnick at the Mid-Atlantic Political Intern Summit.

What are your professional goals?

This year that’s passing and next year are just all structured around going to law school.

And for anyone that wants to go to law school, I would highly recommend they have at least one campaign trail. Even if you don’t politically identify with anyone, just go with someone. I mean, it is technically a form of public service, in my opinion; I mean, you’re helping people having governments. It’s about following Dr. Dworkin’s advice and get your internships in; that way, I have a better law school resume. Same thing with the Army National Guard, helps me with my law school resume.

And well, doing prosecution, because that’s the one area I want to practice. And if I fall out of prosecution, I will look into whatever I would like to do for private practice.

What advice do you have for other students seeking out college internships, specifically, political science internships?

This is going to be kind of specific, it depends on where you want your career to be. So you kind of have to tailor it. I tailored mine. And, again, Dr. Dworkin helped me tailor it. I tailored mine to law school, and to help me have someone look at my resume and go, I want to interview him.

I would go through RIPPAC, and you can always ask Dr. Dworkin because he is a New Jersey guru on how the state works. And that’s how I went. But once you get in there, it’s a whole different ballgame. You’ve got to be reliable. I live an hour away from where the offices for our campaign and where we’re campaigning, but I’m always there. Whenever they asked me. Always there ready to go.

And I would say flexible would be another good word. But also, I think you should get a an idea, if you’re a Political Science major, where you want to work. You should really have that in your mind. And that will help you tailor to what internships you’re looking for. It’s kind of like a two-step process: tailor it and then just always say yes to what they need every single time.

Stephen (second from left) at a event for the state senate and assembly campaign he's representing in a political science internship.
Stephen (second from left) at a event for the state senate and assembly campaign he’s representing in a political science internship.

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Photos courtesy of:
Stephen Scheuren

Beyond the Classroom: Nutrition Major Keyanna Meade on Her Community-Based Research

Keyanna sits on the steps by Engineering pond.

Today we feature Keyanna Meade, a senior Nutrition major and transfer student from Burlington Township, NJ (Burlington County). She is part of the Minority Association of Premedical Students MAPS and will be president of Helping Our People Excel through Wellness (H.O.P.E. through Wellness) this year. Keyanna shares her experience as a nutrition research assistant under the direction of Dr. Nicole Vaughn.

Why did you choose Rowan to study your major?

I chose Rowan because it was kind of close to home. After also hearing about all the great programs they had for my major, I decided Rowan was the best place to transfer to prepare me for my future endeavors.

Keyanna Meade.
Keyanna Meade

What does everyday life at Rowan look like for you? Can you walk us through a day in your shoes?

My schedule looked pretty similar day to day. I would often start my day by going to work, and then I would come to campus. When coming to campus I would attend class and then typically I would head to the gym. After leaving campus I would usually head home and cook myself something to eat. My day usually ends with completing homework and relaxing.

How did you start your research process? Why did you decide to start research in the nutrition field?

I have always been interested in being part of research and studies that were more community based rather than just conducting research out of a lab. By being a nutrition major, I’ve learned it is important to be educated on topics like, why individuals are food insecure and why certain diseases are more prevalent in certain communities … to name a few.  

I was thrilled to find when I was looking on the Rowan Announcer that Dr. Vaughn was looking for a research assistant. I sent over my resume and applied for the position, and that’s how this all started.

Keyanna laughing by Engineering pond.

Can you talk about what you are researching and why? 

This summer I worked on a project that basically created a food system flow chart of all the nutritional programs provided in New Jersey. I was a part of the summer undergraduate research program (SURP), and my day-to-day consisted of a lot of researching, interviewing directors of programs, participants and stakeholders, and I was even part of the funding process.

For the flowchart we used something called Lucidchart. Our chart basically starts off with the Farm Bill, then the USDA, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and then the bottom of the flow chart is where it reaches the county level and the consumers.

This whole flow chart creation process took about 10 weeks, and we are currently still editing it and sending it over to stakeholders to approve the accuracy.

Can you describe the research methods you have used in the past or are currently using?

One of our data methods is qualitative. We also conduct a lot of interviews for the community-based research we conduct.

Portrait of Keyanna Meade.

What research skills have you acquired during your academic and/or research career?

Throughout this process my communication, critical thinking, writing and leadership skills have definitely improved.

What have you learned so far in your research process?

I have learned a lot through this experience. Specifically, I have learned how important it is to help out in your community and ways that you can give back because a lot of individuals are hungry, starving, homeless … and they are unaware of the programs available to them, so I think it is very important to not only give back to your community, but to spread knowledge on the programs available.

This whole process led me to wanting to get my master’s in Public Health. I want to help more on a community base and a whole population rather than just one individual at a time.

Keyanna Meade in front of Prof Statue.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industries major

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#PROFspective: Nutrition and Exercise Science Major Caroline Lippincott

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From Teacher to Student: Career Change Brings Nutrition and Exercise Science Major Kerry Perez to Rowan

Lexi Jubin Shares Her Experience as an Intern with Spencer’s and Spirit Halloween

Lexi sits on a campus bench and looks over her shoulder.

Lexi Jubin, a Management and Marketing major with a Certificate of Undergraduate Study in Entrepreneurial and Independent Media, spent her summer learning the ins and outs of e-commerce with national retailers Spencer’s and Spirit Halloween. Here, she shares her experience and how she interned through a pandemic. 

What are your responsibilities as an intern with Spencer’s? 

As the e-commerce intern with Spencer’s and Spirit Halloween, I did a lot of pulling data and work on different spreadsheets. In the e-commerce marketing department, I learned about paid search, SEO, affiliate marketing, and even worked closely with individuals in merchandising, copywriting and email marketing. I reported directly to the Senior Manager of E-commerce and got to know many people in the department very fondly. 

When I first started, two full-time positions were vacant, so I got to have a hand in some of what those positions usually take care of, as well as gain so much brand-new insight and growth for the department during my internship experience as two new awesome individuals joined the team. Regarding my day by day, my mornings usually started off with a paid search report pulling from different analytics platforms. This was something I was super excited to learn about because I never would have thought I enjoyed paid search and going through the data that came with it so much and the only way to know was to try it.

Selfie of Lexi in the car

For the SEO side of things, I also did a weekly data pull for our dashboard, which was super cool to learn as well. When I wasn’t pulling numbers for our regular reports, I created a new format for tracking information on our current and new affiliates, and did some individual products and data pulls for specific ideas or problems we had to solve. I attended regular meetings each week, going over different data and getting a feel for the company, as well as going through training for all different facets of e-comm.

Overall, I was completely immersed in the department. My supervisor, Greg, was absolutely amazing at teaching me piece by piece how to do different things. He ran through different platforms with me, taught me how he did the analysis for different daily reports, and was super patient when I didn’t know something. The paid search and SEO managers, which were brought on during my internship, were also so patient, helpful and kind when I had questions. Not only did I have my own responsibilities and tasks day by day, but the people I worked with really took the time to teach me and leave me with some valuable knowledge.

Lexi at color run

Do you feel like Rowan prepared you for the work you’re doing with the company?

Rowan definitely prepared me in every way they could for this type of work. I think the part of my coursework that helped me the most were the classes that were required for my certificate of undergraduate study in Entrepreneurial and Independent Media. Two classes in particular “Entrepreneurial Media” and “Media Metrics and Analytics” were probably the closest to what I was doing. For my marketing degree, my statistics-based courses also definitely played a role. I did a lot with conversion rates, impressions and other different KPI’s [key performance indicators], so it was important that I knew what they were when I started the internship, and I definitely wouldn’t have without these classes. While Rowan killed it at teaching me the concepts, I learned so much from the hands-on work that I got to do with the company.

Talk about your experience working during COVID.

My internship was sort of hybrid, though the office was technically not fully open during my time there. The first time I got to go to the office was to pick up my company-issued laptop. From there, I generally worked from home most days and went in about once a week. Though I wasn’t there a lot, I really loved the vibe and look of the corporate office, so it was exciting when I did get the chance to go in. I also had the opportunity to help our team out at one of the Spirit stores before it opened, which was insanely exciting, as well as a nice opportunity to meet some of my coworkers in person. 

Though I didn’t get to see everyone in person all the time, I still was welcomed to the team with open arms. We had plenty of virtual and in-person meetings, so I still got to meet everyone. Greg also scheduled some time for me to come into the office specifically so I could meet the team, and he was intentional about introducing me to people so I felt like I was included in things. Additionally, when all of the interns first started, we did some meet and greets with everyone in our department.

Outside of normal tech problems you would see anywhere, I felt like Spencer’s did a great job of dealing with the circumstances they were presented with for their internship program, and it was still a super rewarding experience.

Lexi standing outside

What was your favorite part about being on the Spencer’s team?

My favorite part about working for Spencer’s was honestly every single meeting I got to attend, especially the in person ones. We did some small team meetings, a few “Fun Fridays,” individual meetings, and even some department wide. I loved the team I worked with so much, and those meetings were so helpful for me to learn about the company, my job, what I wanted to do with my life, and about so many people I admire. Those meetings allowed me to see the human side of a larger company, and really feel secure in the path I was taking with my career.

The content we were dealing with was stimulating and exciting, but also challenging in all of the right ways. I grew so passionate about the company and the work I was doing over the summer, and gained so much confidence in myself. While I always really loved Spencer’s and Spirit Halloween, the internship experience started out mainly as something to help me gain experience; but the day-to-day work, meetings, and absolutely amazing individuals left me with a career defining experience I’ll never forget.

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Select photos courtesy of:
Lexi Jubin

Beyond the Classroom: Kevin McCarthy and His Time with SGA

Kevin smiles wearing a gray Rowan t-shirt with Bunce Hall in the distance.

Today we speak with Kevin P. McCarthy, a recent graduate from Cranford, NJ (Union County) with degrees in Political Science and Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management. He was an RA (Resident Assistant) for three years in Holly Pointe, Chestnut Hall and Triad Apartments. Kevin was also heavily involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) as well as Rowan EMS.

How did you get involved with SGA? 

At the federal work-study career fair, SGA had a table looking for student workers. They hired me but I also had an offer from IRT doing something that was a little bit more in [tune with] my major. But, I decided to go with SGA. I ran for the senator-at-large position. It was a mid-semester election. I served one semester as the senator-at-large. Then I ran for vice president of government relations. I’ve been there for three years. 

What have you gotten out of being part of SGA personally and professionally? 

I helped pass the Student Wellness Fee my sophomore year. It was introduced as a $50 fee and it wasn’t well-discussed in e-board, so it failed miserably at the Senate. 

We had our CFO at the time rally against it. It lost by 125 to 10. I spent the rest of the year working with Arielle Gedeon, who [later became] President. At the time, she was the Recording Secretary. I worked with her and a couple of other e-board members in order to get the fee reshuffled and changed. Eventually, we put it up during the series 2 elections for a $30 fee to support Rowan EMS and the Wellness Center in hiring more counselors and physical health providers as well as providing free medications and other free [items] for students. During the series 1 elections, it tied exactly at 250 to 250. So, we put it in front of the Senate. Arielle and I talked for 45 minutes, then we were discussing and debating the bill.

Kevin and Leah sit on the marble steps of Bunce Hall wearing Rowan t-shirts and glasses.

It provided so many critical things like vehicle replacement for Rowan EMS. People spoke out against the Wellness Center charging per visit [preventing students from reaching out for help]. They were planning on charging Insurance in charging a copay. I have good insurance; my mom works for a hospital up north. However, it is one of those in-network kinds where if [the treatment] was connected to the hospital it cost $5, but if it’s not connected in any way it cost $100. So a Wellness Center bill for me would cost over $100. I really advocated for the bill and eventually, it passed. 

I also did a couple other things in SGA. I attended the Conference on Student Government Associations in Texas. We actually went right before the pandemic, like March 10. A week later, we were sent home. I went with the Dean of Students, the next SGA Vice President Sarah McClure, the current AVP of Facilities & Operations Liam Cutri-French, and one senator. We thought Covid was not going to be a real thing and would be over in two weeks. But here we are now! 

From that, I got the inspiration to start the New Jersey Conference of Student Government Associations NJSGA. We had the first one in 2019 around Thanksgiving. 

We had it in the Business Hall. Rutgers New Brunswick and TCNJ came as well as William (Bill) Moen, who’s actually a Rowan alumnus and a current assemblyman from Camden County. He came to do the keynote speech. We took a little hiatus, but last weekend we hosted the second conference of NJSGA. Rutgers New Brunswick, Rutgers Newark, TCNJ, Ramapo, and Drew attended as well. We [aim to] raise fruitful discussion about supporting students and how SGAs should operate.

Kevin stands confidently in front of Bunce Hall.

Luckily, Rowan does really great with shared governance. For example, Arielle has a meeting with President Houshmand every month. The AVP of Academic Affairs meets monthly with the Provost. The AVP of Student Affairs meets with advisor Kevin Koett. We really have very involved faculty that want to know what the students want.

It’s super important to get involved with SGA. We always have openings for our Class Senators and Academic Senators. Every class has four senators, there are four at-large Senators, and every single college has its own Senator. 

With everything that you’ve experienced, what has been your most to use what is 

Definitely “Rowan Well,”  just having the mental health resources available to students is a really big thing. Obviously, it’s taken a long time to see that change, but there were at least two counselors hired, there are more resources available, and they got rid of a waitlist.

After the Rowan Well bill passed, they expanded counseling services to include Victoria St. and in different academic buildings. Rowan EMS also got a new truck. I think they get $3 out of the $30 every semester from every undergraduate student. It really helps a lot. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your SGA experience? 

Applications are open for Senator positions. We have every position open except for the College of Science & Math. If you go on ProfLink and look into forms, you can find them. Applications close in September which allows people going through any incoming student orientation to get involved.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

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

Jade and Jovani Reyes on All Access with the Profs

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

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

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

Could you share with us your responsibilities there?

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

Jade at Lincoln Financial Field.

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

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

What got you interested in sports communications?

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

Jade with NFL Alumni Association sign.

What is your ambition for the future?

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

Do you feel Rowan prepared you for your work experiences? 

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos courtesy of:
Jade Iannace

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

Beyond the Classroom: Rowan Global Wellness and Lifestyle Management Major Discovers Passion for Research

Jenna stands by the entrance sign for the Williamstown Organic Community Garden.

Meet Jenna Bottiglieri, who graduated from Rowan with a degree in Exercise Science and is now pursuing her master’s degree in Wellness and Lifestyle Management through Rowan GlobalLearn more about Jenna and how her work with two health research and grant programs helped her zero in on her career goals.

Seeing a new installation of wheelchair-accessible raised beds for the first time while visiting the Williamstown Organic Community Garden, Jenna Bottiglieri witnessed part of her research come to fruition. 

Jenna, a student in the M.A. in Wellness and Lifestyle Management program, serves as project coordinator for Inclusive Healthy Communities, a grant-funded initiative that works with South Jersey towns on projects that make spaces more welcoming for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Jenna talks with the Borgersen family by the raised garden beds.
Jenna (second from right) checks out one of the new, accessible raised beds in the Williamstown Organic Community Garden with the Borgersen family, clients whom she worked with from both Rowan’s Get FIT program and the Inclusive Healthy Communities project. Standing, from left: Kim and Brenda. Seated, from left: Charlotte and Nathan.

She also coordinates the Shop Fresh Foods Rx program, a research study combining nutrition outreach and education for South Jersey residents who are pre-diabetic and food insecure. 

Jenna’s work on these research projects has altered her academic career trajectory; she now wants to pursue another advanced degree in public health policy either at the master’s or doctoral level.

“I think that it’s so interesting being involved in research. And that’s definitely something I would like to continue, in my next degree, and after that, and actually, in my career … continuing some kind of research,” Jenna says. 

A chance discussion set Jenna on a continued path at Rowan in graduate studies and sparked her passion for health research. As an undergraduate Exercise Science major, Jenna headed into her last two semesters unsure of where to go next. One of the highlights of her college career had been volunteering and then working for Get FIT, a Rowan fitness and nutrition program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

She describes the program as “fitness oriented but also very socially oriented.” Rowan students and volunteer staff work one-on-one with each client. “They’re able to exercise together, they talk together. And it’s really just a great program for everyone,” she says.

Jenna at the Williamstown Organic Community Garden.
“I definitely see myself leading a nonprofit organization or working for a state Department of Health,” Jenna says.

Jenna worked all the way up to program coordinator for Get FIT, run by Dr. Leslie Spencer, professor of Health Promotion and Wellness Management. She and Jenna were to conduct a study on the social impact of Get FIT on clients and caregivers before the Covid-19 pandemic paused both their research and the in-person client sessions. At the height of the pandemic, Jenna then organized a virtual Get FIT program

When Jenna shared her uncertainty about her future with Dr. Spencer, the professor suggested Jenna look into the Wellness and Lifestyle Management master’s program through Rowan Global. Here, Jenna says she could expand her health and wellness knowledge beyond the anatomy and kinesiology-based training she received as an undergraduate. She also appreciated the online format that allows her to craft a flexible schedule around her research.

“That was really helpful, because I wasn’t really ready for that commitment of going back onto campus right after I graduated. So this ended up being perfect from not only just the criteria that I’m learning in the curriculum, but also the structure of the courses definitely just aligned with my schedule,” Jenna says.  

She now works with Dr. Spencer on the Inclusive Healthy Communities project, a grant from the Division of Disability Services, NJ Department of Human Services. Jenna explains the university’s work has three main components. A Rowan team, working with master gardeners, has partnered with seven area community gardens, reviewing each and making changes such as reducing sensory stimuli, adding Braille and images to signage and designing paths and beds that are more accessible. 

Jenna poses with the Borgersen family, Backyard Gardens LLC and the Sustainable Monroe Township.
Jenna (fourth from left) with the Borgersen family, Patrick McDevitt of Sustainable Monroe Township (center) and Alex Seidel and Brian Pearsall (standing, left) of Backyard Gardens, LLC, who designed and built the garden’s accessible raised beds.

Jenna says the second and third parts of the project include a collaboration with five area group homes; the Rowan team has subcontracted area master gardeners to build garden spaces and organized cooking classes for its residents. 

“The goal is to hopefully use what they grow in the garden,” Jenna adds.

Her work with Dr. Nicole Vaughn, assistant professor of Community Health, on the Shop Fresh Foods Rx program analyzes data collected throughout a four-month period with 20 participants, whom Jenna recruited throughout South Jersey. Participants receive groceries and dietician-created recipes, then attend sessions on food, fitness, nutrition and managing stress. For the last four weeks of the program, Jenna says participants will shop for their own healthy groceries using the skills they learned from the program. 

“The goal is to see if this lifestyle change will prevent their onset of type 2 diabetes,” she explains. 

Jenna speaks highly of her faculty, recalling: “My friend Brianna … we work together in Dr. Vaughn’s lab, and we met working together on Shop Fresh Foods Rx. We had been discussing a topic like nutrition knowledge and social media, because we go on social media, [and] there’s so many things that are just not true. And we actually ended up presenting this to two professors in our department (Dr. Dara LoBuono and Dr. Dylan Klein). 

Jenna chats with the Borgersen family.

“And they were extremely happy to hear us out there even though it sounded very ambitious, they were all very supportive. The professors are so helpful at Rowan, they really want you to succeed and get involved within the research.”

She adds, “I just wish other students would get involved in research because it really is a really great experience, especially at Rowan. There’s so many opportunities.”

See Jenna’s work with the Inclusive Gardens project in this video: 

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Related posts:

Rowan Global Student Makes History as First to Earn Diversity and Inclusion Certificate of Graduate Study

Inside the M.S. in Biomedical Engineering Program with Rowan Global Student Brennen Covely

Rowan Global Student Shay Williams: Earning a Master’s in Diversity and Inclusion

Beyond the Classroom: Senior Jocelyn Reuben Selected as State Finalist for 2021 Miss New Jersey Pageant

Jocelyn sits and smiles in front of a wooded area of campus.

Today we feature Jocelyn Reuben, a transfer student from Burlington Township majoring in Athletic Training with a minor in Spanish. Rowan Blog previously featured Jocelyn focusing on her involvement around campus and her academic experience. Now we feature Jocelyn as she discusses her recent selection as a State finalist for the 2021 Miss New Jersey pageant. 

What made you interested in pageants? How did you get started?

“This is my first ever pageant. What made me do it … it sounds so funny saying it out loud but I just kept seeing these ads on my phone come up about these pageants and how they are looking for people to compete … It’s still a mystery to me today how these ads ended up on my feeds considering that I have never searched anything about pageants. The main reason on why I wanted to do this because I am always looking for ways to push myself out of my comfort zone, to expand my leadership skills, and to meet new people.”

Jocelyn standing on steps.

What do you think your favorite part about competing in pageants will be?

“I think my favorite part of the pageant will be the interview because I simply love talking. Because of leadership roles I have held in high school and even at Rowan, my public speaking skills have flourished over time. I like to think of confidence as a muscle; the more you work at it … the better you are going to have it and the better you will be able to utilize it at any moment.”

Do you need a talent portion in your pageants? What does your talent portion include?

“Unfortunately, this one does not include a talent portion. If there was a talent portion I would probably perform a monologue because in my spare time I write my own pieces. Fun fact: the longest monologue I have ever written took about 10-12 minutes to perform.”

Jocelyn smiling outside.

What is a misconception about competing in pageants?

“I would say that pageant girls are dumb or that the competition is all about physical appearances. In order to prepare for this pageant, I have been researching past contestants for all different types of pageants and based on what I have been studying from past winners — Miss Teen USA, state title winners, and even Miss Universe — when you look at these people’s credentials and accomplishments … these individuals are super intelligent, very philanthropic and truly inspiring.”

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to compete in pageants or to try something new but is too scared to get out of their comfort zone?

“My advice has to be one of my favorite quotes. The quote is by Childish Gambino. He says, ‘If it makes you nervous, you are doing it right.’

“You know I figured out along the way that growth is uncomfortable and that is normal, and in order to grow you need to experience growing pains.”

How can Rowan students and fellow supporters follow your journey in the 2021 Miss New Jersey pageant in July?

Information is available on the website at https://missnewjerseyusa.com/pageant-information/

Jocelyn laughing up close.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Beyond the Classroom: Idea Challenge Winner, Steminist Squad Founder Talia Tomarchio

The Steminist Squad leader and volunteers pose in front of Business Hall.

Today we speak to Talia Tomarchio, a recent graduate with a degree in computer science, a minor in neuroscience and an honors concentration. Talia is a transfer student from Rowan College at Burlington County and a first-generation college student. Talia founded the Steminist Squad, an online community for women in STEM industries. Her business won first place at both Rowan’s 2020 Idea Challenge and the 2021 Rohrer New Venture Competition and was a semi-finalist in KPMG’s Ideation Challenge. 

Talia poses on the bridge behind Wilson Hall.

What kinds of career-related opportunities have you had beyond the classroom? 

I performed research with Dr. Anthony Breitzman (from the Dept. of Computer Science) this semester on analyzing Myers–Briggs personality types through Twitter tweets. I was planning on getting an internship last summer, which would be my first summer at Rowan. I applied for research for undergraduates (REUS) through the National Science Foundation, but because of COVID-19, all the opportunities I applied to got canceled. I reached out to Dr. Breitzman, and he allowed me to do research with him! We started our research over the summer, and we continued it through the fall. I also founded an online community for girls in STEM called Steminist Squad. 

Can you tell me more about the community? 

It started out as an online chat server on Discord where girls can talk about their major, post internships they found, share resources and help each other with homework. It has now grown into a professional development resource and supportive community of like-minded individuals. We also have an inspirational social media presence and a podcast that is coming soon. 

The Steminist Squad walks to Business Hall.

How did you come up with Steminist Squad? 

After coronavirus broke out and closed campus last spring, I was taking a few courses in the summer and realized the impact that online learning had on me as a student. I felt disconnected and missed the campus environment, and I’m sure that I wasn’t alone. That feeling inspired me to create a community to connect women from different colleges and communities, and that was the start of the journey to what is now Steminist Squad! 

What was your experience like entering the Squad in idea challenges and competitions? 

It boosted my confidence by practicing my pitch so many times! I met so many new people and learned a lot from the mentors and teachers. I also gained valuable insight on how to pivot the business direction to reach more women and help them. 

What knowledge or skills have you developed through The Idea Challenge and New Venture Competition that you will take with you for future endeavors? 

There are a few major takeaways that I learned from these experiences. I learned the basics of entrepreneurship, like business models, customer discovery and financials. I developed teamwork skills by leading a team of volunteers for two semesters, and my presentation skills have [dramatically] improved. 

The Steminist Squad sits in Business Hall.

Has there been anyone from Rowan that helped you start and keep this community going?

Jessica Vankawala, a junior Biomedical Engineering major in a PreMed program with Cooper Medical School, and Kayleigh Ostberg, a junior Bioinformatics major, have been essential volunteers from the Bantivoglio Honors College. Kadie Davis, a Biomedical Engineering major with a Chemistry minor, also volunteered in the Spring 2021 semester. 

Tapan Soni, once my cybersecurity teaching assistant and now a professional cybersecurity analyst, is an active and vital member of our online server. With the support of Dr. Kristen diNovi and Dr. Susana Santos [featured here], and guidance from Dr. Eric Liguroi [featured here] and Brandon Graham [featured here], I was able to transform this from an idea to reality. 

How do you feel you are helping others with the Steminist Squad? 

Being a first-generation student, I often think about the other girls who don’t have the support or confidence in themselves to be successful in school or in life. So, I feel like a part of me understands what they are going through and wants to give them a way to feel included and supported. If it doesn’t get any bigger than this and I end up helping one girl gain confidence in what she is capable of, I will be happy. 

The Steminist Squad sits in front of Business Hall.
Talia (second from left) with Squad members Jessica Vankawala, Kayleigh Ostberg and Kadie Davis.

What are your future plans for the Steminist Squad, now that you have graduated?

I am planning on taking this summer to grow Steminist Squad. I was accepted into the Rowan Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Accelerator program, also known as StartupRU, where I will further develop my startup with the help of mentors and resources. I hope to have a fully functioning model by the end of the summer so I can start recruiting more Squad members for next semester!

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, junior communication studies and public relations double major, and Talia Tomarchio, computer science graduate

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

Header photo:
Talia (second from left) with Steminist Squad members Jessica Vankawala, Kayleigh Ostberg and Kadie Davis

Beyond the Classroom: Fiona Hughes, CFO for SGA [VIDEO]

Exterior shot of Chamberlain Student Center.

As Chief Financial Officer for Rowan’s Student Government Association, Finance major Fiona Hughes oversees all finances, monitoring all clubs and resolving any issues that may arise.

“I’ve learned a lot more with my position in SGA, relating to my major, than I would have if I were just … attending classes,” she says.

“I think my role in SGA has helped me learn how to be a better leader as a woman in a male-dominated field.”

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Video by:
Joshua Hedum, radio/TV/film graduate

Beyond the Classroom: Cultural Clubs and Landing Internships with JT Kurtz

JT leans against a tree on Bunce green, wearing a Rowan sweater with hands in his pockets.

Today we speak with JT Kurtz, a first-generation college student from Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County). JT will be graduating this year with a degree in Computer Science and currently works as an ARD (Assistant Resident Director) on campus. He is also active in RUPAC (the Rowan University Philippine American Coalition) and is a Human Factors Researcher for the Psychology department. 

What clubs have you been a part of? 

I am part of the Rowan University Philippine American Coalition (RUPAC – the Filipino club). I am half-Filipino and half-Italian! 

I’m also a Human Factors Researcher for the Psychology department. Human Factors looks at processes (not just technical, anything with how a team operates or any technologies they work with). We try to find the most efficient way to make it better or redesign it so that it’s much easier for everyone.

When I was in the Honors College, my Comp II professor (Professor Flocco) was the coordinator for the Honors B.L.A.S.T. Mentor Program. I told her about my passion for computer science. I really like taking something, being innovative or redesigning it, and making sure it’s the best for someone to visually see and understand. That’s considered User Interface or User Experience Design (UI or UED). That segued into “Oh, she knows somebody at UPenn. Speak with them and see what opportunities you can get from there.” So, I went all the way to Philly, had a 30-minute conversation and that person was like “Hey, I know somebody that’s here at Rowan.” I came back and had an interview with my advisor, Dr. Tremoulet. She is fantastic without a doubt. She said “I’m going to bring you on board with my team. So I’ve been in her lab for about a year and a half now. We actually just published one of her researches. It was super awesome.”

JT smiles and points at the camera on Bunce green.

Tell me more about RUPAC!

I’ve been a part of that since my sophomore year. I went out my freshman year to the Org Fair, that was always an awesome opportunity. My friend and I went to high school together. He’s been in it since freshman year and was like “Hey, you should check it out.” I met some really great people and being part of that org has helped me start my DJ career because they always needed a DJ for any of their on-campus events. And from there, I was able to build my network because RUPAC is affiliated with major regional and national Filipino conferences [all under the organization called “Filipino International Networking Dialogue” (FIND) spanning colleges from Massachusetts down to Florida]. 

I believe it was last year, prior to COVID, I went to TCNJ. They hosted a big conference called “Dialogue” where all of these other Filipino organizations come together. They talk about what it’s like to be Asian American and how we can better our communities from all different kinds of perspectives. It was really cool, it’s always fun! You play games, share stories, and then you make new friends. With that, I was actually able to segue into being the DJ for their regional formal dance (hosting students from 7 out of the 8 regions in FIND). With RUPAC, it’s been really great to be on campus. I know they’re still working their best now even with the pandemic. 

JT stands in front of the Rowan University archway near Bunce Hall.

Are you part of any other clubs? 

I feel like I always do too much (everyone always describes me like that). Aside from that, nothing else on campus. I have my off-campus internship as a software developer for General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT).

Where are they located? 

They have a lot of different branches and offices. They’re a government contracting agency, similar to Lockheed Martin. I interned with them over the summer and I will continue interning with them throughout the school year. Thankfully, I just accepted a full-time job with them. 

When do you start working for them full-time? 

I believe I start with them in June. I have to smooth things out, fill out some paperwork with the manager. I’m super excited. The game plan from there is to work with them and hopefully, I would like to pursue my master’s in Computer Science. 

How did you find that internship? 

Every year since freshman year, I went to the Career Fair and that’s how I found GDIT. 

JT leans against a tree, looking solemnly across Bunce green.

Do you have any thoughts on what’s happening with Asian hate? 

We definitely live in a world where there’s hatred all throughout. It’s a shame that there are different groups that are being targeted. I think a lot of people try to work together to make things better. I know recently we had a march around campus [protesting Asian hate]. I encourage any group that has [been targeted] to come together and speak on how we can make our society better. We can acknowledge that things are happening in our world that is definitely wrong. At the same time, we need to work together and come up with solutions to prevent that from happening. 

Have you ever experienced any Asian hate on campus? 

Personally no, that’s actually an interesting topic now. I think about how when you walk around campus and how people can tell if you’re of a certain race. I don’t think that’s fair because you don’t fully know their background. You probably didn’t know I was Filipino because I don’t portray the common characteristics of a Filipino. I think that contributes to why I don’t experience much of that perspective. At the same time, I can still resonate with my friends, my family, and my culture. I’m sure there are other people in that same situation. Maybe they don’t contribute to the hate but they don’t understand it. I will definitely support this movement as much as possible with as much as I can. 

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Beyond the Classroom: Tanvi Koduru, 3D Confectionery CEO

Tanvi Koduru is a senior Entrepreneurship major and hails from Somerset, NJ. She founded the Rowan Period Movement organization on campus and also leads the Rowan Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). Period Movement aims to bring free and easily-accessible period products to all students in need on campus. Tanvi began her own business, 3D Confectionery, her […]

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

Madelaine poses against a wall next to a pond.

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

Madelaine stands in front of the Engineering Pond.

Can you tell us more about the Bullock Garden Project? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madelaine poses in front of a wooded background.

What classroom skills are you practicing in your internship?

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

What was the most rewarding part about working with BGP? 

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

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

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

Madelaine poses against a wall next to water.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View more of Madelaine’s work on 

Instagram: @bullockgarden 

YouTube: Bullock Garden Project, Inc.

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

Photography by: 
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Beyond The Classroom: Business Major Joe Sansone Secures Virtual Internship

Joe Sansone stands outside the entrance to Business Hall.

Joe Sansone, a senior Business Management and Marketing double major from Monmouth County, shares his experience at his virtual internship with Clearbridge Branding Agency and how he manages his busy schedule. 

Joe Sansone leans against a railing outside of Business Hall.

Do you feel that Rowan provided you with the necessary skills and education to help secure your internship?

I feel like with business majors there is an emphasis on networking and marketing yourself and your resume and just putting yourself out there. We do a lot of group projects so I think that prepares you, too. Communicating with other people who are different from you and working together, I definitely felt prepared with my education. 

How did you secure your internship?

I had a pretty tough time finding an internship, so I was applying to a bunch of different ones. Even though I’m not a Communications major, they have a match program for internships [through Profs Jobs], so I talked to someone in the Communications department and they set me up on this interview with [Clearbridge] and I ended up getting it. 

Joe Sansone reads a book inside Business Hall.


What do you love the most about your internship? 

I like how they are very flexible around my schedule. I think they’re very respectful to me in the way they communicate with me. My boss is very attentive, polite and respectful yet still laid back and casual at the same time. 

How did you become interested in business?

Going into college I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I thought about doing social science, law and justice, or emergency preparedness but I kind of thought about what I was good at. I think for my life and in high school I loved being involved in the school through different clubs and I noticed I liked the leadership position in these clubs. I think Business Management is similar to that. 

Is there anyone in your industry that you admire or inspire you?

A lot of my professors have been sources of inspiration for me. They have been industry professionals and bring a lot of experience and examples into the classroom. I think going into college everyone told me, “Oh, your professors are going to be so hard on you, you can’t do what you did in high school.” I think it’s the complete opposite. I think that there’s a level of respect that they have for us and we have for them. I’m motivated and excited to learn because of how nice they are and how informative they are to us. 

Joe Sansone stands outside the entrance to Business Hall.

What do you think is the most important to skill to have in your industry?

Willingness to learn. You can’t go into it thinking that you’re going to know everything, going into it open to challenge yourself and willing to be wrong and learning from that is really important. 

How do you handle your time in and out of the classroom?

I just write things down and cross them off as I go. I have a really good memory too, I just know what I need to do in my head. It’s a lot of discipline between my time here. I think every year prepares you for the next. It’s being able to know that I don’t always need to hangout with my friends if I have something to get done but I also can let an assignment wait a little and go out and get my mind off things too. It’s just being responsible and having an end goal in sight. 

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, senior public relations major

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major

Beyond the Classroom: Woman in Business, Management and Marketing Major Lexi Jubin

Lexi standing in a wooded area near Rowan Hall on campus.

Junior Lexi Jubin from Monroe Township in Middlesex County, NJ shares her experience about being a woman in business. She is a Management and Marketing major with a certificate of undergraduate study in Entrepreneurial and Independent Media.

Lexi Jubin’s calendar is filled with office hours, events and leadership meetings. Her extracurricular involvement is extensive, as she is a Resident Assistant in Mimosa Hall, the Marketing Director of Student University Programmers (SUP), a part of the American Marketing Association, the Society for Advancement of Management, and has an outside internship at Soccer Therapy NYC. It’s safe to say that Lexi is taking advantage of the opportunities provided at Rowan. 

Lexi outside on campus.

When Lexi was asked about her experience being a woman in a predominantly male field, she shared her honest feedback. “Most of my classes have male students, so the women are usually outnumbered. I definitely notice a difference when we are in virtual breakout rooms. I feel like sometimes I have to stand my ground and talk over people, but I always make sure my voice is heard. That’s one of the reasons I am so involved; I try to let my knowledge and experience speak for itself so I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”

Lexi stands in front of the entrance to Business Hall.

Lexi talks fondly about one of her favorite professors, Dr. Guner, who is the head of the marketing department at Rowan. “Dr. Guner is an example of another strong woman in business. She can easily hold the attention of the class because she’s so outspoken and interesting and carries herself so well. She is such a role model for me. 

As you could’ve probably guessed, Lexi has some big goals after graduation. “My ultimate goal is to work in marketing for national aquariums or to have my own small businesses. I would also love to help other small businesses compete by doing their digital marketing for them,” Lexi says.

She adds that Rowan has given her the tools to achieve those goals. “My experiences as a student employee have helped me so much. I’ve learned communication skills, flexibility, time management, and most importantly: confidence. Given the opportunity to head the marketing for Student University Programmers (SUP) shows me I have the ability to lead a team as well as demonstrate marketing practices.”

Her coursework has also given her some great opportunities. “In the Rohrer College of Business, we are required to attend networking events. This allows me to expand my connections and gives me a chance to update my LinkedIn profile.” 

Lexi stands on the steps in the Business Hall lobby.

Lexi shares some powerful advice to other women who want to enter the field of business. She says “you deserve respect, you deserve to be heard, and you deserve to be there.” 

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

Beyond the Classroom: Senior Emergency Medical Technician Maribeth Novsak

Maribeth stands in front of an EMT vehicle.

Maribeth Novsak, a senior Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management major from Cape May Courthouse, NJ (Cape May County), talks about her experience as an EMT with Rowan’s Emergency Medical Services squad. Maribeth shared her #PROFspective with Rowan Blog in an earlier post; read that story here

What got you interested in becoming an EMT?

Growing up, my dad was a law enforcement officer and I watched him throughout his career. He actually got an injury in the line of duty. Through that whole experience, I saw how much he appreciated the help of the EMTs who responded. This really inspired me to want to be in public service. I always wanted to be in the medical field as well, so when I found out Rowan had an EMS squad, I took a shot and applied. I ended up getting hired and they paid for me to go to EMT school. 

Maribeth in front of a Rowan EMS vehicle.

Was there an influential person who has helped you throughout your experience as an EMT?

Chief Vern is really here for all of us. At some point, he has given us all advice along the way. There have also been a few upperclassmen who have moved on and graduated but were so helpful, too. Rowan EMS is a family and once you’re in, we all look out for each other. 

What has been the most meaningful experience you’ve had at your position so far?

In this job, you are really seeing students on their worst day. It’s meaningful to try to make them laugh or smile and try to make the situation even a little better for them.

Maribeth at the EMS station.

What is your favorite accomplishment as an EMT thus far?

In June 2019, one of the crews I was working with was rewarded with a life-saving award from the New Jersey College and University Public Safety Association for a call we responded to in February 2019. We had a life-threatening call and had no advanced life-support available, but the actions we took were able to keep the patient out of critical care and the patient was discharged from the emergency room just a few hours later. In that moment we thought it was just another crazy call and had no idea we would be recognized. When we got that email that we were invited to an award ceremony to be recognized for our work, it was a really great accomplishment. 

Maribeth in uniform on campus.

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

I have definitely developed great communication skills and have learned to communicate with different types of people. This job has also taught me to have empathy, time management. Another big skill is time management, we’re all balancing a 15-credit course load plus putting in a ton of hours to EMS each week.

Maribeth plans on working as a full-time EMT in Wildwood Crest after graduating from Rowan in hopes to get a position in the Emergency Management department there. 

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

Photography by: Joe Gentempo, senior art major

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

Steven poses outside by the Rec Center at Rowan.

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

Steven poses in front of the Rowan Prof Owl statue.

What got you interested in your intended field?

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

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

How did you get into volunteering?

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

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

Steven poses outside at Rowan.

How does your volunteer work tie in with your majors?

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

How did you find these volunteer opportunities?

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

Steven poses on a bench.

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Student Leadership with Volunteerism: Fresh For All [VIDEO]

A stock image of peaches, basil and tomatoes.

Rowan University students share their volunteer and leadership experience with Fresh For All, an on-campus initiative partnership with Philabundance that brings free, fresh fruits and vegetables to campus every week. Video by:Adam Clark, senior Radio/TV/Film major Music by:Louis Testa III, music composition and jazz studies Thank you to New Jersey Digest for recognizing Rowan Blog […]

Beyond the Classroom: Ad Major Discusses Discord Recognition

Joseph poses next to some trees.

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

Joseph poses by Business Hall.

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

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

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

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

Joseph poses by some trees.

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

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

Beyond The Classroom: Senior Liam Cutri-French On Engineering Opportunities

Liam sitting outside on the Engineering steps.

Today we feature Liam Cutri-French, a senior Civil and Environmental major with an Honors concentration. Liam is from Glen Gardner, NJ (Hunterdon County). He is the local project lead for Engineers Without Borders, a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the Engineering Honors Society. He also stays active on […]

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

Martin Gonzalez sits by trees on campus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

Photos by: 
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Beyond the Classroom: Meet Africana Studies Club President Nafisat Olapade

Nafisat Olapade sitting on a cement bench in front of a large brick building.

Today we feature Nafisat Olapade, president of the Africana Studies Club. She’s a Biological Sciences and Psychology double major and a first-generation college student. Here, she tells us more about the club and her leadership role in this campus organization. 

Nafisat Olapade poses on a black metal bench in front of some trees.

Can you tell me about the Africana Studies Club?

Africana Studies Club is here to promote a higher level of consciousness for students when it comes to whatever path they decide to choose after Rowan. It’s important to emphasize Africana Studies as a major or a minor. It’s important to battle racial disparities in its forefront in whatever career you decide to get into. 

Nafisat Olapade poses in an orange shirt in front of bushes and a parking lot.

Is the Africana Studies Club involved in any events?

We have events that are planned, currently this year we plan on doing volunteering programs. We’re partnering with NJAC, which is the New Jersey Abolitionist Collective; they work with the communities that are less funded and have less opportunities. They are also really big on advocating for the rights of inmates. We plan on doing a volunteering outreach programs with them.

What do you hope to get out of the Africana Studies Club for yourself?

Africana Studies itself allows me to learn more about how I can use whatever position I gain in the future to help people in communities that need help. It allows me to be aware of the disparities and just the structural racism that is in a lot of different fields in the world and how I can do my part from where I stand. 

Nafisat Olapade poses in an orange shirt in front of a rocky wall.

Does the Africana Studies Club have a different meaning this year with the Black Lives Matter movement?

I think right now we have a lot of people who care, and that’s something great to hold onto. I feel like this momentum is great for our club and it’s great for also gaining members. People need to translate their caring and social media activism into things that are tangible in real life. I think this momentum that we currently have could be used in the club and having people just gain awareness in what racism means in day-to-day life. 

What is your favorite thing about the Africana Studies Club?

I really like that I’m friends with my e-board members, some of them are my roommates actually. I like the passion behind a lot of the members in the club and I like that I get to leave something at Rowan before I move on. 

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Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

Beyond the Classroom: Fresh For All Coordinator William Hendrixson Reflects on Giving Back

Will sits among pine trees on campus.

Today we speak with William Hendrixson, a fifth-year senior from Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County) who is currently on track to complete a dual major in Management Information Systems and Computing and Informatics. He also has a leadership role with the volunteer program Fresh For All. Learn more about William and his strong passion for helping the community.

Will stands in front of tree and ornamental grass on campus.

William Hendrixson is the top coordinator in charge of Fresh For All, a food distribution program on campus with the goal of getting fresh produce to the campus and surrounding communities. 

Will explains: “Fresh For All is a program where we work with a couple of different organizations to get fresh vegetables, fruit and sometimes dairy, to students and local community members who need it.” 

The program is set up every Friday from 10-11 a.m. in parking lot D by the Engineering building. The food comes from an outside organization called Philabundance, which goes out to farmer’s markets and grocery stores seeking donations. 

When asked who is eligible for free food, he says anyone at all. “You don’t need ID, you don’t need proof of need, or anything. We distribute every Friday, year round,” he adds.

According to Will, Fresh for All serves on average 150 families a week.

“Our highest is around 170,” he says.

In terms of the ratio of students to families, he explains, “It’s definitely more families. More from the local communities. I would say it can be up to about a quarter students, but the majority is definitely locals [who] need it.”

Will sits on a stone in front of trees on campus.

Will works with the Office of Volunteerism at Rowan, which put him in charge of the Fresh for All program. He says his individual responsibility on Fridays during distribution is to “make sure the event goes smoothly.” 

Fresh For All has given William the opportunity to to go out and help people. Even though it has nothing to do with his majors or career, he still just enjoys the feeling of putting a smile on someone’s face. 

When asked if this was something that he sees in his future, William responds: “Not necessarily as a career, because as I mentioned I’m kind of more from a tech background. But I want to be successful enough where I can give back to the community.” 

Will stands in front of textured wall on campus.

Will’s favorite thing about Fresh For All is the genuine difference that it makes. He says, “You can kind of see on people’s faces that it really helps and that’s definitely it, just knowing that you’re making a difference in someone’s week.”

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Story and photography by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

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

Emerson wears a rainbow mask outside.

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

Emerson poses outside on campus.

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

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

Emerson stands outside, looks to the side on campus.

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

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

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

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

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

Emerson wears a mask on campus.

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

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

Click here to visit Queer Voices. 

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Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

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

Beyond the Classroom: Generation Action’s Rowan Chapter President, Alexis Thompson

Lex stands outside on campus.

Today we feature Alexis Thompson, who goes by Lex, from Lawnside, NJ (Camden County). They are a senior, first-generation college student and Psychology major with a minor in Africana Studies and a focus on reproductive justice. Lex transferred to Rowan from Hampton University in Spring of 2018. Lex tells us about Generation Action, what their […]

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

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

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

First, how did you find Rowan?

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

Why did you choose your major?

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

What is EmbraceRace? How did you get involved?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was a typical day like working with EmbraceRace?

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

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

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

Header photo courtesy of:
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Rowan Student Leaders Alexa Bassano, Sydney Ramos and JT Kurtz Share Their Insights

Read firsthand accounts from three Rowan students who talk about the benefits of their on-campus leadership positions. 

First up is Alexa Bassano, a junior Biological Science major from Brick Township, NJ (Monmouth County). Alexa is a Resident Assistant at Mimosa Hall, a member of Rowan Emergency Medical Services and the Director of Collegiate Alumnae Engagement of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority. She explains: “Each role has benefited me in a different way. Now more than ever, people are thanking me for my service with EMS. As an RA, my residents tell me how much they appreciate me referring them to resources or just showing them where a building is. To me, those little things are just me doing my job, but that gratification reminds me I am a part of something bigger. Being involved and helping people just makes me so happy, whether it comes with a ‘thank you’ or not.”    

Lexi in front of library columns
Lexi Bassano

Next, Sydney Ramos is a junior Human Services major from East Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County). When talking about her role as a student leader, she shared her experience from the very beginning. “Overall, I have to thank Res Life for making me the leader I am today. As a freshman, I really kept to myself and didn’t explore what options were out there for me. But as soon as I found RLUH, I knew I was where I needed to be: in a family atmosphere with amazing people I really respect.” Sydney is a Resident Assistant at Mimosa Hall and a new member of the United Latinos Association

Sydney on bridge
Sydney Ramos

JT Kurtz, a senior Computer Science major from Egg Harbor Township, NJ (Atlantic County), is also heavily involved on campus. He is the Assistant Resident Director of Nexus Properties, a learning assistant for the Computer Science department, a researcher in the Psychology department, and a member of the Filipino Club. “In all of my roles, I want to be a valuable resource for the people around me,” he says. “I want to push people to be the best they can be and get them to success. By coming up with innovative ways to work and help others, I get to learn and grow every day.”

JT with tree in the back
JT Kurtz

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

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

Torch image in the lobby of Campbell Library.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was there any Rowan affiliation?

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

How did you find the opportunity?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos provided by:
Katelyn Rapp

Beyond the Classroom: Up in the Air with Mechanical Engineering Major and Pilot Jay Petersen

Jay posing next to a small private plane.

Today, we speak to Jay Petersen, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major from Edison, NJ (Middlesex County). Jay is an on-campus resident and a fourth-generation college student! Jay tells us more about himself, his major and when he’s not in the classroom, his passion for flying.

How did you find Rowan?

My parents had me work with college counselors my Junior year of high school and they really encouraged me to focus on a school that matches my personality and interests. I had the chance to attend Purdue but being born and raised in NJ, I’m very rooted here. Rowan also felt more like home. The campus wasn’t overwhelming, the staff was incredibly nice and welcoming.  It was an experience that made me feel very comfortable. I didn’t experience that same attention and sincereness from the other big schools.  At Rowan I’m not just a number but I’m a member of a community — especially with the honors program I’m in!

Why did you choose your major?

Ever since I was young I knew I wanted to be an engineer like my dad. It’s all I’ve been around my whole life and his work motivated me to explore this option further. I contemplated a focus in medicine but in the end, engineering just aligned more to my interests.

How did you come to find your interest in flying? Did anyone push you in the right direction?

It all really started with a test flight that my parents gifted me for my 17th birthday but aeronautics has always fascinated me. Whether it’s figuring out how they put a plane together or actually getting it in the air, the whole process is intriguing. Who knows, I may end up using my degree to get into that field long term, but flying just seemed like a natural skill to obtain. Something about knowing you’re in control of this machine and figuring out how to get yourself off the ground is amazing. 

Mechanical engineering major Jay flying a plane over New York City.

Do you fly over campus often?

Yes, I try to fly by about once a month. I also try to do as many cross-country flights as possible. That’s when you fly from one airport to another that is at least 75 miles away. This gives me practice in my communications with air traffic control for neighboring commercial airports.  The further you can fly in one trip, the more confident you feel.

A picture of Rowan's campus taken from Jay's plane.
Jay captured this aerial view of Rowan’s Glassboro campus.

What’s the best part about becoming a pilot?

It’s a sense of accomplishment and the freedom to go wherever I want without the Jersey traffic! Knowing I can achieve this and pass a six-hour FAA exam makes me feel like I can do much more in life. Sky’s the limit! (pun intended).

Any advice to students or those looking into getting a private pilot license or learning to fly?

Find the right school. Having an instructor that is committed to you and your goal is very important. Also make sure you are going to be able to invest the time and money. I was very fortunate to have my parents support me financially and mentally so that really did help me get through it. It’s not easy to balance this goal with school so try to do it in your summer months.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos provided by:
Jay Petersen, sophomore mechanical engineering major

Beyond the Classroom: Music Education Major Mike Massaro Directs Two Local High School Bands

stock image of a trumpet player against a red background

Meet Mike Massaro, a recent Music Education graduate and commuter from Swedesboro, NJ (Gloucester County). He had the great opportunity to take his musical skills outside of the classroom and was able to direct the jazz band and marching band at a local high school. He tells us more about his experience and his passion for music education.

Four years ago, every single person I knew was telling me, “All of the opportunities and resources are there, you just have to choose to use them.” Genuinely, it probably took me until my 7th semester to truly understand what that meant. However, I had been surfing the opportunities of Rowan University since the first day I stepped on the campus.

Music Education is considered a double major at RU — music and education. Because of this, my program involves being a student of both the College of Performing Arts and College of Education (two degrees, two commencement ceremonies, etc).

The most amazing aspect of this has been being able to learn from and collaborate with my student colleagues and the incomparable faculty from both colleges. Being around other people who want to see you learn is what truly can put your college education to the next level.

I’m going to be very real here: more than likely, you will graduate. You will get the paper. At the end of the day, many will earn that paper, but the paper isn’t what matters in the end. It’s the education that went INTO the paper. What can YOU do to make what is very likely to be your most enriching 4+ years of education as educational as possible for YOU?

As an educator, my belief on this is very firm and was inspired by one of our CPA adjunct professors, Mr. Gerry DeLoach. The passion for what it is that you are teaching is what will drive you forward as an educator. Your knowledge and ability in your specific subject or field is what makes you tick. It is so important to keep that flare to learn alive. What you do in your field sets your ability for what you can do as a teacher. How tall will you let that ceiling be?

Mike Massaro playing trumpet with a high school band on the bleachers.

Here’s a short story. I was offered a very rare opportunity to direct a marching band and jazz band at a local school, Woodstown High School, while still completing my undergrad. By my sophomore year I was directing the jazz band, and junior year I was directing the marching band. It was a dream come true come early — teaching real students.

The program showed success very quickly. One of my beliefs when it comes to teaching is that the best way to learn how to teach is to teach. I wanted to do as much as I could for this school’s music program. It seemed like every day I was at Rowan, speaking to my professors about teaching strategies, learning more about music, and sharing and listening to stories; then in the evening, I would go put it all into practice when I taught for real. One of my biggest focuses through my undergrad was on making this program grow, because I knew that the more I was able to learn as a musician and a teacher, the more I would be able to teach these students. I think it is very important as a teacher to learn from your students, as they can teach us far more than we can teach them. I certainly learned so much from them.

Rowan let me learn from these students.

If it wasn’t for the education that I received every day, the conversations and performing experiences that I had, I would have never had anything fresh to offer my students. I’ve had professors come out to Woodstown on their own time to give clinics to the bands and watch me teach. What the faculty has to offer is truly unmatched. Rowan is a growing school that still has a small school feel where it matters the most — in the classroom.

The professors here care for you and want to watch YOU learn. We don’t have massive educational lectures. We have conversations about the real world and how you can make it better. In my teaching, I can directly categorize aspects of individual professors that have molded so many aspects of my musicianship and teaching.

Mike Massaro sitting with a trumpet

Thanks for making it to the bottom of my text blob. I have one more blurb. My trumpet professor, Dr. Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, once said, “You can’t change the whole world at once, but you can start by changing your corner of it.” Dr. AW’s belief about education is one that should resonate with all of us. Educators are at the center of any community. The educators teach the students, the students graduate, the students get jobs, contribute to our workforce, grow the economy — the students become the doctors, entertainers, designers, chefs, researchers who allow our community to grow. It all starts at the educator.

The educators are the students. The students are the educators. Be the best one you can be and take the opportunity. We are profs. Eruditio spes mundi — education, hope of the world.

If I knew my last time riding back from the student center on my skateboard holding my box of hot pulled pork with a piece of cornbread and a cup of red Gatorade would be my last time, I probably would have done it again. Remember that when you get nervous, it’s because you care.

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Beyond the Classroom: Future Teacher’s Clinical Practice Radically Changes Due to COVID-19

Stock image of a teacher's bookshelf

Today’s “Beyond the Classroom” features Tabitha Dougherty, a recent Rowan graduate. She majored in both elementary education and liberal studies to learn more about her “other passions of history and geography.” From Gloucester City, NJ (Camden County), Tabitha transferred from Camden County College after a career change to enter into the teaching profession. In her words, she shares how the pandemic altered her student teaching year — called a clinical practice — and how she plans to grow from the experience.

Tabitha stands with other teacher candidates dressed in costumes for Read Across America.
Tabitha Dougherty (far right) at the school where she was a teacher candidate right before COVID-19 forced the school to close and move to remote learning.

I began my journey in education about five years ago. I worked at a call center as a team leader that managed a group of about seven. I realized how much I enjoyed the teaching aspect of this position and made the decision to leave my career behind to further my education into teaching.

Each education class I took connected me with field work. The first few semesters were observations of various schools, where I saw how teachers of differing backgrounds worked within the schools and their classrooms. 

Student teachers now participate in a year-long clinical practice. This entails two full days a week in semester one and five full days a week during semester two. In both semesters, it is the teacher candidate’s responsibility to fully immerse themselves in the classroom environment by getting to know the cooperating teacher, the students, the daily routine and what it is really like to be a teacher. If you begin this year long teaching practice in the fall, you get the added benefit of having the same students all year long. 

This is the part of the program where you really begin to find out if this is your calling, and for me it is where I discovered that the passion I have to become a teacher is much deeper than I could have ever imagined. My passion is seeing all students succeed and finding different ways in which you can change things around to ensure that every single child gets the same opportunity.

Clinical practice is not easy, nor for the faint of heart, but it is the most rewarding thing I have ever been a part of, and it’s what solidified for me that I made the right career choice. It is my forever choice.

Sadly, my clinical practice was cut short due to the current pandemic. As of [mid-March], I have not been at the school I was assigned and have only been able to see the students through Zoom twice. I was able to create a video of myself reading a story using an interactive program on the Portal by Facebook called Story Time. My cooperating teacher shared this video with the students through their parents’ email.

The current situation really opened my eyes to the lack of technology that some school districts have. The school district I am in did not have a plan set in place for online learning and provided each student with a 10-day paper packet in the hopes it would only be a two-week shutdown. 

Stock image of a girl working on a school paper

We now know it has gone on longer than two weeks, and now some students, those with technology at home, are being directed to websites to complete activities that coincide with the standards of their grade level. Since not all students have access to a laptop, computer, or tablet, the district cannot require that all students participate in online learning. This is where the students are getting the short end of the stick and where teachers will be very busy, to put it mildly, next year.

I am hoping that students will come through this stronger than ever and ready to learn, but more importantly, I am hopeful that school districts are looking into a curriculum that is heavier in the use of technology and providing that technology to each student for online learning in the event something like this happens again.

What I take away from this is, I will be making sure that all of my lessons will be available for students online not only in the event of an emergency, but for them to review at home when needed. Not only is the use of technology important for situations such as our current pandemic, but it is the way of the future and plays to multiple levels of intelligence depending on the programs used. 

I have never been more motivated to be a teacher and look forward to working in a new era of learning.

Exterior shot of James Hall, home of the College of Education
James Hall, home of Rowan’s College of Education

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Photos courtesy of:
Tabitha Dougherty, Pexels, Unsplash

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

Stock photo of an outdoor wedding ceremony

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

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

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

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

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

Enchanted Celebrations photo of a bride and groom dancing.

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

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

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Story by:
Devon Graf, senior communication studies major

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

Junior Communication Studies Major: How I’m Gaining Lifelong Skills at Rowan

Christian walks with a group of students down Rowan Boulevard

Today we feature junior Communication Studies major and Journalism minor Christian A. Browne, who commutes to Rowan from Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County) and is originally from Philadelphia. Christian transferred to Rowan from Camden County College. Going to Rowan has been one of the best experiences of my life. Through the university newspaper The Whit, Rowan […]

The Perks of Completing Multiple Internships

Nicole with employees and mentors at FitGrid, one of the organizations she interned for

Starting your first internship can be stressful. I was so nervous on the first day of my first internship! But after long summers and semesters at various companies, I learned to embrace the once-in-a-lifetime role of being an intern and make the most of every experience I was lucky to have.

Here are some of the benefits I’ve discovered while juggling multiple internships throughout college.

  • It’ll help you narrow down your career choice

Internships are like a test-drive for your potential career. With each new role as an intern comes an opportunity to learn something you didn’t already know about your field. Your responsibilities and tasks will differ with each internship, and experiencing a little bit of everything will help you determine what you enjoy doing (and maybe what you don’t like doing, which is also helpful). When I started my first one, I wasn’t sure if it would be the perfect fit for what I wanted to do.

a stack of skincare products from the brand Sabon NYC, next to a coffee mug and slices of lime on a pile of magazines.
At my first internship with Sabon NYC, I got to expand my product photography skills, which was something I never expected to do, but ended up enjoying!

The next summer, I began another internship and learned that this one was more my speed. Noting the similarities and differences between each opportunity made me realize what was important to me in a future job. No two internships are the same, and getting a taste of what life is like at different companies will help you focus on what you are looking for in a future career.

  • The more experience, the better

Employers like to see a range of experience showcased on your resume. Having a handful of internships to talk about will not only show them that you are a hard worker, but it will portray how well-rounded you are. Every company operates in its own way, and showing how you adapted to each new atmosphere is a chance to impress. Having at least some background knowledge in different software, strategies and skills that you’ve learned at each internship shows how flexible you are as a worker. This experience can qualify you for more opportunities in the future and make you feel more prepared to enter a new professional environment. For example, one company I interned for used a certain software to schedule their posts, while the next company used a different one. I was able to put both softwares on my resume, which diversifies my skills.

  • You can make mistakes and learn from them
the Brooklyn bridge against a clear blue sky, with cars and school buses lined up on the streets below.
Another perk of internships: you get to see new places you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to. My last internship was in NYC, and I made time to visit Brooklyn after the day was over!

The best advice I’ve received as an intern? You’re allowed to make mistakes — in fact, it’s almost expected of you. Your bosses know that you aren’t an expert in your field yet, and that’s why you’re here to learn as much as you can. Don’t panic if your work isn’t perfect; instead, ask about how you can improve it next time. Take advantage of the proximity you have to professionals in your field, and ask to be a part of any projects that interest you. Internships are a lot less structured than salaried jobs, and you’re allowed to be hands-on in different areas of the company that you want to learn more about. Even just observing others or asking questions can open the door to new knowledge or skills that can help you in the future.

  • You’ll gain confidence

It can be intimidating to start at a new workplace, especially as an intern. But remember that you were hired for a reason, and your employer sees potential in you! Building up your portfolio and playing a role in new projects is invaluable experience that makes you all the more appealing as a job candidate. At first, I felt embarrassed about being the youngest, least experienced person in the room. But I quickly learned how empowering it can be to learn how a company operates before graduating college! Overcoming the challenges that your work may present, and learning to interact in a professional manner, are skills that benefit you in any role. Plus, you can carry the skills you’ve acquired to new opportunities and feel a lot more prepared to handle any challenges that come your way.

Nicole sits among her coworkers, lined up side by side in two rows behind a table.
I was lucky to learn from so many of my talented mentors at my third internship with a company called FitGrid.
  • It can open doors for new experiences

If you hit it off with your colleagues or supervisors, stay in contact with them! They can endorse you for skills on LinkedIn, write you recommendation letters and serve as references for your next internship or job applications. At my internship this past summer, my boss worked one-on-one with me a lot, and we still keep in touch. When the company needs some extra help, she’s presented me with several freelance opportunities that look great on my resume and provide some extra cash on the side. You never know when the connections you make at your internship will come in handy to help you navigate your future career.

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Story by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Journalism Student Reduces the Negative Stigma of the Word “Homelessness” Through Her Blog

drone shot of Philadelphia skyline

“It’s important not to judge someone before listening to them,” says Lauren Purnell, a first-generation college senior majoring in journalism and minoring in new media from Florence, NJ (Burlington County).

Lauren used her passion for storytelling and giving a voice to the voiceless to create a blog called Naming the Homeless, where her mission is about reducing “the stigma and the negative connotations attached to the word homelessness,” by interviewing homeless individuals to share their stories.

Rowan student Lauren Purnell interviews a subject for her blog on the homeless

Lauren’s effort has led her to gain lots of support from her community, fundraising more than $1,000. Today, Lauren will share with us why she started the blog and what she has learned through the process of interviewing homeless individuals.

The idea of creating the Naming the Homeless blog came to Lauren when her Intro to Journalistic Writing professor at Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) explained to her class the importance in having outside work experience.

“I took that into heart and said, ‘OK, let me do a blog.’ I didn’t really know what to write about and … I didn’t want to write about myself. I was thinking about different issues that were important to me, and one of them is homelessness,” she says. 

Lauren chose to venture to Philadelphia to find people to interview (Philadelphia has become a city with one of the highest poverty ratings in the nation). Each time Lauren went she took a couple of care packages that she put together with the help of her mother (who has supported Lauren from the very beginning) going with her to Philly each week.

The first time Lauren went to Philly, it took her a while to build up the courage to ask someone for an interview. “It’s kind of uncomfortable at first because you are just asking these searching questions. You never know what they are going to say and that is the best part, because you don’t know what they are going to tell you,” she says.

Rowan student Lauren Purnell interviews a subject for her blog on the homeless

Lauren recalls one of the sweetest moments she has encountered:

“I had done my interview already for the day, but we passed an older lady and I asked her if she wanted a sandwich. She looked at me and my mom and was like ‘Thank you so much, I was having such a rough day, and this was a sign that I needed. Everything will be okay; this is my kids up in heaven telling me that it’s going to be alright and thank you so much, it really means a lot to me.”

In the beginning, Lauren made care packages that were paid out of her pocket, but as her blog grew and more people knew about her project, she started getting support and recognition. Lauren was interviewed by Fox 29 — “that got a lot of attention and I ended up having a GoFundMe, the biggest donation I got was from an organization who gave $250. Each of my care packages are like $20 so that really helped make an impact.”

Burlington County Times, Lauren’s hometown newspaper, interviewed her and gave her an internship opportunity over the summer. South Jersey Magazine did a feature of her as well. Lauren also won two awards. “At RCBC I got an award for journalism and I also got their Civility Award,” she says.

Lauren’s blog currently has over 1,200 subscriptions and over 500 likes on the Naming the Homeless Facebook page. “When I first started it, I was just doing it for personal reasons and then it took off. It was really because of my community [because] without their support I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

“Every time I leave an interview, I just want to take them home. You obviously want to see them again, but you really hope you don’t see them again because if you run into them again it means that they are probably in the same situation when you first saw them.”

Rowan student Lauren Purnell interviews a subject for her blog on the homeless

After graduating, Lauren would like to continue writing community stories and continue giving a voice to the voiceless and working her way up to investigative reporting.

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Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major 

Photos courtesy of:
Lauren Purnell/Naming the Homeless

Pandemic Profs: Clinical Internship Teaching Spanish Remotely

Rosalba standing with her cooperating teacher.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Maria Rosalba Trejo-Mendiola, a student in the master of science in teaching program. She is isolating from her home in Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County.)

Portrait of Rosalba in woods, standing against a tree.My name is Maria Rosalba Trejo-Mendiola. I was born in Querétaro, Mexico. I moved to the United States at the age of 11. At an early age, I discovered my biggest passion in life was helping others. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to work with people. Of all the possible careers that I could have pursued, I fell in love with the one profession that makes all other professions possible: teaching. I attended Cumberland County College, now known as  Rowan College of South Jersey, where I completed my associate degree in Liberal Arts. I then transferred to Rowan University where I completed my bachelor’s in Spanish. Then, I started working as a Career Placement Developer for Pathstone, a non-profit organization.

Currently, I am earning my master of science in teaching and completing a full-year clinical internship as a Spanish teacher at Vineland High School. My student teaching experience has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I have learned many strategies that I plan on incorporating in my own future Spanish classroom. From my professors, I have learned that to serve all students, it is very important to implement a Universal Design for Learning and that developing meaningful lesson plans goes a long way.

Yellow shoes customized with the word Ms. Trejo.
I love these custom shoes that will help me to kick off my teaching career!

My classes at Rowan University have allowed me to go into my field placement and put into practice what I have learned in class. This year, as part of World Language’s methods sequence: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment I: World Languages and Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment II: World Languages,  I learned about High Leverage Teaching Practices (HLTP) for World Languages (Glisan & Donato, 2017). One of the biggest takeaways from these classes was learning about these practices and being able to incorporate it into my lessons. This also allowed me to learn about my own strengths and weaknesses. Rosabla in mid-jump, wearing a Rowan sweatshirt, in front of Bunce Hall.

From my classmates, I have learned that it is very important to be supportive of each other; to give each other feedback and to be willing to share ideas. From my Cooperating Teacher, Sra. DeJesús, I have learned that it is important to develop  positive relationships with the students. I have also learned different methods of teaching. One of my favorites methods of teaching is learning centers. Through Sra. DeJesus, I have become a strong believer that learning centers offer students the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. If learning centers are well-designed, students will be able to walk away with valuable information. I am very thankful that my cooperating teacher has been very supportive throughout this learning experience. Sra. DeJesús allowed me to be involved in the classroom since day one of my field experience, allowing me to have as much practice as possible. I have developed strong bonds with the students, confirming for me that I have chosen the correct field to pursue a career in, teaching. From my field supervisor, I have learned about lesson planning. I have learned to reflect on what worked well and what can use improvement.

Rosalba stands with her cooperating teacher holding a book.
My cooperating teacher, Sra. DeJesús (left) and me.

I am very thankful to everyone that has helped me grow as a professional in one capacity or another. I also want to thank my family for always supporting my daughter and myself, throughout this learning process.

As far as my remote work, the transition has been really smooth. My cooperating teacher has been using Google classroom  for a long time now. We have been collaborating together to teach remotely. We have incorporated Zoom meetings and Google meets on  a weekly basis. Other technological applications that have been useful are Quizlet, Kahoot, and FlipGrid. Through this transition we have been maintaining communication with students and parents.

Rosalba stands in her graduation gown holding her daughter, with Bunce Hall in the background.
My daughter and I at my undergraduate graduation ceremony.

We understand that the transition is not easy for students, therefore we continue to be available to support our students. I am currently working part time from home with Pathstone, completing my field hours at Vineland High School via virtual communications, and spending quality and instructional time with my four year old, Suheily Carrasco.

Although it can be challenging at times, I love what I do. I learned that in this profession it is very important to love what you do and the rest comes with hard work and determination. In May 2020, I will complete my master’s of science of teaching. Although I never imagined that my last year of graduate school would be the one that forced us to practice social distancing to protect us from the spread of COVID-19, I want to remain focused and positive that it will end soon.

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Rowan at Home: Glassboro Native Builds Sports Career in Her “Own Backyard”

Kayla smiles and stands in front of Wackar Stadium

Welcome to Rowan at Home, our new series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story features sophomore Kayla Santiago, and was captured by senior Nicole Cier, writing arts, before quarantine. 

Sophomore Kayla Santiago, of Glassboro, NJ (Gloucester County), had never considered applying to Rowan, though it was just a five-minute drive from home — “it’s practically in my backyard, and I didn’t want to commute.” She feared she would miss out on the typical college experience of living in a dorm, but soon discovered that Rowan was the perfect missing puzzle piece in the search for her future career. 

Kayla stands in front of the Prof statue by the Rowan University team house.“I originally didn’t even apply until the day of the [application] deadline, and then I found out about the Sports Communication and Media (Sports CAM) major, and realized it was perfect for me,” she reflects. “It brought me back to the passion I’ve had for sports since my childhood, when my dad would take me to the Phillies batting practice and I’d be chanting players’ names at three years old.”

Taking on the Sports CAM and Journalism majors, with a minor in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Kayla dove into the world of Rowan athletics. She asked her advisor for advice on getting involved in the major as a freshman and found her place with Rowan Television Network right away as a football sideline reporter. 

“RTN allowed me to get experience right away. I mentioned that I was interested in sideline reporting, and they needed a sideline reporter that weekend for football and asked if I could do it,” she says. “I had never done it in my life, and it was a really great learning experience to just be thrown into it right away and have to figure it all out.”

Kayla commentates on a Rowan Athletics game.The following year was a whirlwind of experience, as Kayla found more ways to get involved with sports communications and strengthen her resume. She jumped into play-by-play, color commentating and sideline reporting for Rowan Athletics, as a TV broadcaster. She even broadcasted the first football game of the fall 2019 season against Widener by herself! “We usually don’t [broadcast without a partner], but we were first getting into a groove for the season and figuring out our roles. It was definitely difficult, but it was cool to have that pressure and experience to get me started,” Kayla recalls.

Since her first year as a Prof, Kayla has expanded her athletic commentating experience to include football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey and more! Broadcasting allows her to study team rosters, examine player records and statistics and interview coaches — tasks that allow her to implement the journalism skills she learns from her second major. Kayla even made Rowan Athletics history as the first female play-by-play commentator for football and basketball on TV!

Kayla holds a microphone up for basketball coach Demetrius Poles during a sideline interview.
Kayla interviews head coach of the Rowan Women’s Basketball Team, Demetrius Poles.

“It’s not just about being a sports broadcaster; it’s also about making relationships with the coaches and players. You develop a gain of trust, and they want to give you good answers [to your interview questions] and tell you what’s going on as much as they can,” she says.

“For me, [Sports CAM] is more than just being a fan. I want to keep growing my knowledge and passion about sports and see where it can take me. Now, my whole course load is sports, and how could I not love that? It’s exactly what I wanted to do.”

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

Pandemic Profs: Serving as the First Mental Health Chair for My Sorority

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Elizabeth Madden, a junior isolating in her house in Monmouth County, NJ. Elizabeth is an early childhood education major with a focus on literacy studies. She who normally lives off campus during the school year, in a house with her sorority sisters.

A close up of Elizabeth Madden.When I heard that my sorority was creating a new position called mental health chair, I knew immediately that it was something I would like to be a part of. The executive board created this position to really highlight the importance of mental health in college and promoting resources that are available to us currently and beyond our college experience to ensure that we get the most of those.

Personally I wanted this position because I have struggled myself with mental health and have seen those around me struggle and get lost in the “college world” and wanted to help them out while also navigating the same struggles together. My goals for this new position are to raise awareness on campus and within our own sisterhood to help everyone get more informed on mental health and to stop some of the stigma that comes along with those words.

Elizabeth (on right) holds wooden painted Greek letters with a friend, the Greek letters fro Sigma Delta Tau.
We painted these letters for our sorority, Sigma Delta Tau.

Some of the activities I had planned were unfortunately not able to happen due to the coronavirus outbreak. I had wanted my sorority to get involved with the Out of the Darkness walk on campus through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I have gone to this walk since I was a freshman at Rowan, and noticed that Greek life was not heavily involved and thought that should change. I planned to host tables and fundraising events for this and also have our chapter go to the walk.

Self care isn't selfish sign.Next I planned to hold peer support groups in which I planned to schedule a library room before our chapter meeting and just hold an open one hour space where my sisters could come and talk about stressors in their life or their current anxieties they were having. I thought this would be a good idea because talking it out sometimes helps and makes you realize you’re not alone and a lot of people surrounding you are having these same feelings as you. This would give hope and an outlet.

I also planned to host a speaker, my mom, who is in the mental health field. She was going to come talk to the chapter and inform us on mental health and some of her healthy coping mechanisms she uses and teaches to her clients.

Lastly I was going to give away once a month or so, a mental health basket. In this basket was going to be coloring books and pens, an essential oil diffuser, stress putty and just simple de-stressors that can help calm them and refocus them in a time of uncertainty.

I hope that I can implement these next semester and come up with even more ideas on how to help my chapter and even the campus. 

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Related posts:

Managing Your Stress in an Ever-Changing Environment

Prioritizing Wellness Days

Julia’s Corner: Taking Advantage of On-Campus Resources