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

Yesenia sits at a lab table for a portrait.

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

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

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

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

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

A street sign with many different countries on it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charmaine Harris outside with her children

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

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

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

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

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

Exterior shot of James Hall.

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

Breaking Barriers: How Perseverance and Family Found Kayla College Success

Rowan University Law and Justice major Kayla stands outside on campus near Hollybush Mansion.

Meet Kayla Molinaro, a junior Law and Justice major with minors in and Sociology and Psychology from Rockaway, NJ (Morris County). Kayla is a member of the first class of Rowan’s National Honor Society for First Generation College Students, and her sister now joins her studying at Rowan. Kayla shares what it’s like to be […]

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 […]

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

Esteban sits in front of Science Hall.

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

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

Rowan University's Bozorth Hall.

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

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

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

How did you find your friend group here at Rowan?

I found my friends through clubs and organizations.

Are you involved on campus? How so?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your professional goals?

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

Photos courtesy of: 
Spencer Reyes

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

Tiana poses in the garden.

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

Tiana throws her cap in front of the Rowan arch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

#PROFspective: Senior Health and Physical Education Major, Cheerleader Gianna Moyer

Today we feature Gianna Moyer, a senior Health and Physical Education major. Gianna is from Glendora, NJ (Camden County) and a first generation college studentShe discusses her major and goes into detail about her involvement in cheerleading and other extracurriculars around campus.

What inspired you to choose your major?

I am a Health and Physical Education major. That being said, I was inspired to choose this major because I grew up loving sports, dancing and cheerleading. That made me develop a love for exercise. Being a college cheerleader, it has inspired me to have a passion for coaching, which is also a big part of my major.

What is something interesting thing that you’ve learned in a class this semester?

In class this semester, something I personally learned in Teaching Concepts of Secondary PE II is how physical education is taught in three different domains. These domains are Cognitive, Affective and Psychomotor. Teaching in the Cognitive domain is the knowledge the student should know and understand during the when the lesson is being taught. The Affective Domain describes the student’s feelings, perceptions and attitude while teaching. Lastly, teaching in the Psychomotor Domain is how the students are moving or the movement of the body.

Gianna Moyer standing in front of the Rowan Athletics Team House.
Gianna Moyer outside the Rowan Athletics Team House

What does a typical day in the life look like for you?

A typical Wednesday for me consists of waking up around 9 a.m. and going to the gym. I have to go to the gym twice a week for cheerleading, so I get in 20 minutes of cardio and a good amount of weightlifting. Next I come home around 10:30 and eat breakfast, which is normally a breakfast burrito, which is my favorite. Then I shower and get ready to do some school work around noon. Then I do some homework from 12-2 and eat a quick snack after. Then I drive to school around 2:45 to get to my 3:30 class. I then spend 3:30-4:45 in my Clinical Observation class, which is a class that observes teaching. Next I have a 15 minute break and then I go to another class, which is K-12 Health and Physical Education Curriculum and Instruction from 5-6:15. After this class I have about 45 minutes to go grab a snack and then I come back to campus for practice. I then have cheerleading practice from 7:30-9:30 p.m. After practice I am finally able to go home, eat dinner, shower and go to sleep for the night.

Is there a certain club or organization that you are involved with at that makes Rowan feel like home?

A club where I feel at home is Cheerleading. Although Cheerleading is a club sport, my team treats it like we are athletics. We are doing stuff all year long to try and make our team successful such as team bonding, practices, community service, fundraising, cheering basketball games, cheering football games, and lastly competing together.

This club feels like home because of the amount of friendships and experiences I have gained. I am so lucky to be the President and Captain for this season.

Gianna Moyer posing outside Richard Wackar Stadium.

What are some academic clubs, social clubs and extracurriculars that you are involved in?

I am involved with a few different things around campus. I am part of the Cheerleading Club, Health and Physical Education Club, and the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.

Do you hold any jobs on or off-campus?

Off-campus I work at the Scotland Run Golf Club as a snack-shop attendant and a beverage cart girl. 

Gianna Moyer at Richard Wackar Stadium.

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Story by: 
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of Robinson Hall.

What do you like about living on campus?

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of Wilson Hall.

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

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

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

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

Sincere poses on the Prof statue.

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

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of some leafy green plants.

Were you nervous to start at Rowan?

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

Final thoughts?

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

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

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

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

Tiana poses in front of a wooded area.

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

First Year Voices: Fall Edition

Campus beauty autumnal photo.

Today we feature first year Rowan students Destinee Hines, Jake Brandenburg, Abbie Ealer and Sam Skripko — each with a unique sense of style, sharing their experiences and ambitions for the school year.

Destinee posing with a peace sign
Notice Destinee’s TLC shirt? She enjoys listening to 90s music.

“My year’s been good, had a couple ups and downs, but it’s getting better. I went to pop-up shops and I hope to get into more activities on campus. Rowan’s been good to me and I like the people here. I definitely want to get engaged and have more fun.” – Destinee Hines, Radio/Television/Film major from Camden, NJ (Camden County)

Jake poses with his sunglasses
Jake Brandenburg recommended the crossed arm and sunglasses pose.

“My freshman year so far has been unexpected, but I mean how could you expect college life if you never experienced it right? Anyways, I did a couple things like going to Bingo Night. I didn’t get any matches but it was really fun. By the end of this year, I’m looking forward to having a solid group of friends. I do have a few people right now but I want to build more friendships. So far I like it here, I’m having a great time.” – Jake Brandenburg, Management major and first-generation college student from Haddonfield, NJ (Camden County)

Abbie is holding a beanie baby.
Abbie Ealer enjoys bringing Hoot the owl around campus.

“I’m trying to get used to my class schedule and navigating college especially being a commuter; therefore I’m not here often. The most interesting thing is that my best friend from childhood goes here all well, so I get to spend so much more time with her. Since I’m in the honors college, I’m really excited to explore all the opportunities the program offers like the Think Thrive events. I’ll have more time in the spring semester, so I’m looking forward to engaging myself more on campus.” – Abbie Ealer, History major, commuter from Turnersville, NJ (Gloucester County)

Sam" holds" the water tower
Sam Skripko is fluent in Russian.

“I love the campus, although I felt a little down and catching up was challenging because of missing work, but now I’m all caught up. I’m thinking of joining Rowan’s hockey team since I already play the sport and I’m a referee. By the end of my freshman year, I hope to learn more about my major.” – Sam Skripko, Computer Science major from Fair Lawn, NJ (Bergen County). 

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Story by:
Nene Diallo, senior, public relations major

Photos by:
Nick Flagg, senior, theater and advertising major 

Header Photo by: 
Missy Pavorsky, junior advertising major





First Year Voices: Engineering Majors Brayden Bruseo and Kristian DelSignore

Group of first year students in front of Holly Pointe Commons.

Today, we meet two first-year students from the College of Engineering. Civil and Environmental Engineering major Brayden Bruseo calls Rockaway, NJ (Morris County) his hometown. Electrical and Computer Engineering major Kristian DelSignore, a first-generation college student, is from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County). “I’m looking forward to meeting new people, getting used to college life […]

Rowan Global Student, SJICR Grad Coordinator Alondra Martinez on Bringing More Students of Color into Higher Education Spaces

Alondra stands in front of Bunce Hall.

Alondra Martinez’s coursework and on-campus position both align with her passion to see more students like her, from underrepresented backgrounds, “achieve anything they want.” Alondra, a Rowan Global student in the M.A. in Higher Education program, works as a graduate coordinator with the Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution (SJICR) office. Alondra is a first […]

Alumni Success: Byron Bustos Tells It All!

Byron holds a Rowan University flag.

Today we feature Byron Bustos, a 1999 graduate of Rowan’s Political Science program. Originally from North Jersey, Byron details his journey to Rowan, how he joined his fraternity and how it led him down a path he didn’t know he’d be taking.

When did you graduate from Rowan and what clubs, organizations or activities were you a part of?

I graduated from Rowan University in spring of 1999. I graduated as SGA [Student Government Association] President. I was also a resident assistant, and I worked with the Admissions Office as an Ambassador. I was in the United Latino Association, a member of my fraternity Lambda Theta Phi, BOCO which was the Borough of Cultural Organizations, the student activities board, the Political Science Association, Rowan Christian Fellowship, and Greek Council. I’m sure I was involved in other things throughout the years, but that’s what I can remember. 

What have you been up to since graduating from Rowan?

Right from Rowan, I went straight to grad school at Seton Hall University to get my master’s in Public Administration. I got my undergraduate degree in Political Science so I knew I wanted to work in the government but I didn’t know which aspect of it. I was also contemplating becoming a guidance counselor since I got my certification in Secondary Education at Rowan as well. After Seton Hall, I was offered a job in DC with the Office of the Inspector General for postal service. I did 19 years with that agency. This past January, I was promoted to the Director for the General Service Administration of the Office of the Inspector General (GSAOIG) .

Byron holds a Rowan flag while sitting on a flight of stairs.
Byron Bustos

I became the national president for my fraternity. I then became the executive director for my fraternity. I was elected to be the President of the school board in my hometown of Passaic, New Jersey. I’ve been involved with different cultural and political organizations as well. I started the New Jersey Young Professionals Organization. Then I moved to Maryland about five years ago, and I’m just as busy here. I’m currently the president of the Homeowners Association.

I also started the Urbana Latino Festival after feeling like I needed to do something cultural in my community. We just had our fifth celebration recently. Other than that, I got married, had two kids, a dog and a few houses.

Did you always have plans on attending graduate school after college or was it just something that you happened upon?

I didn’t know I was going to be going to grad school until I was a senior and that was exposed to me. Mind you, I was the first person in my family to go to college, so college was all new to me. I didn’t have anyone to show me the ropes.

Senior year, I knew graduation was coming and yet I was uncertain about what I was going to do. I wanted to be a guidance counselor, but back then, it was required that you had to become a teacher first. So I got my certification to teach. But, just like everything else in life, there was a crossroad. An opportunity arose for me to go to Seton Hall. Going to grad school gave me more time to think about what I wanted to do with my life. 

What was it like being a first generation college student? 

In my family, no one went to college. In high school, I didn’t even know if I was going to college. I didn’t have the mindset of: “I’m going to college, I know my next steps, and I’m going to become XYZ.” I just kind of fell into it because I was so involved in high school and exposed to different things. The doors were presented. I just had to walk through them.

The only reason why I went to Rowan was because, back then, Rowan sent buses to North Jersey to communities like mine that would bring high school students down to Rowan to expose us to something that we otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to. We were able to apply right on the spot. Without that, I would have never been exposed to Rowan since the only colleges and universities I knew were the ones around me in North Jersey. 

Were you always super involved as a child?

I always had inklings that I wanted to do things, but it really took off in 8th grade. I found my area of things that I wanted to do, which was community-oriented public service advocacy.  Just trying to inspire people to do things. I did things in high school, but I really blossomed in college. 

Were there any classes you took or professors you met that you felt helped you achieve your success?

I can’t pinpoint to one specific professor, but in my last semester at Rowan I did student teaching. Although I never fully taught a classroom after I left Rowan, I still had my certification in teaching, which helped me when I became elected to the school board. I had perspectives on [questions like:] What are pedagogies? What is it to teach the curriculum? What is it like to go through the training and be able to have students in front of you? Those things were all crucial to know. 

How do you feel being a member of Lambda Theta Phi and the United Latino Association impacted you?

If I didn’t have the United Latino Association while at Rowan, my years would not have been as fruitful or as fulfilling. If I didn’t have Lambda Theta Phi, I don’t know what friends I would have carried on from college. I don’t know what my future would have been like if I wasn’t so involved in my fraternity. I was able to build a great network with both of the organizations. They really shaped a lot of who I am and I helped to shape them as well, so it was a two-way street. I’m glad I had them. 

Did you have plans of joining Lambda Theta Phi or was it just something that happened? 

When I was a freshman, my family’s attitude was very much: “No, you’re not joining a fraternity,” which, at the time, I didn’t care much about anyways since I didn’t know much about fraternities. However, my sophomore year is when my perspective started changing and I became more open minded. I went to a meeting, heard about it, learned about it, and did my own research. 

I learned what the members were doing and how they were giving back to the community and what they were doing for the university, which really propelled me to say, “This can be a way for me to do more of what I want to do, which is advocacy, motivation and trying to get others to change things.” What better than joining a cohort of like-minded individuals? 

A young Byron Bustos
Byron at Rowan University

What was it like going from just a member of Lambda Theta Phi to becoming the National President, then the Executive Director? 

It didn’t happen overnight, but I was heavily involved during my undergrad, which propelled me to going to the regional meetings. After that, I would go to the national conferences, which exposed me to the organizations and the leadership, which allowed me to join the alumni board. Getting so involved just propelled me further and further in the organization.

With the fraternity, I wasn’t in favor of a few things and thought things could be improved. So I decided to run for national president to be able to create change from the top down. I didn’t go through the normal process to become the head person, but that’s just the way I am.

Do you feel like fraternities and Greek life in general get a bad rap which deters people from joining?

Definitely. Fraternities and sororities provide more good than what they get credit for. Many times, the media focuses on the incidents that occur rather than the greater benefits that Greek life provides to the campus and the community overall. It’s a disservice to the legacy of those organizations, some that have been here for hundreds of years, to have that legacy erased in a moment. 

How do we get minority students more involved in Greek life and make them aware of the fraternities and sororities that are made for them and by them like Lambda Theta Phi? 

It’s a catch-22 sometimes. I don’t know if the university needs to shove in people’s faces per se but I think it just depends on the student and what the student wants to be involved in. All the university can really do is make sure that these organizations are available. 

Going back to something we discussed earlier, do you care to tell us a little bit more about the Urbana Latino Festival?

When we moved down here to Maryland, we quickly realized that there was a need for a little bit of music and more diverse events. My wife and I decided to put the event together and, within a day, the RSVP was sold out which no one expected. Five years later, we moved it to a different location and had over 600 people attend.

There’s vendors and different food trucks. It just has really blossomed into a beautiful thing. We’ve added more diversity and exposure to what it means to be Latino and everything that comes with it.

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Story By: Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos and video courtesy of:
Byron Bustos

In Case You Missed It: Favorite Classes At Rowan

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

Out-of-State Students’ Returning to Rowan Bucket List

Einstein Bagels storefront in Engineering Hall.

Many out-of-state students are coming to campus for the first time since COVID, while some were able to come to campus last year. Here are some things that out-of-state students are looking forward to when campus opens up a bit more this semester. 

Magdelyn Kelly is a senior Musical Theatre and Theatre Education major from Inwood, West Virginia. Magdelyn transferred to Rowan from Blue Ridge Community College. Magdelyn is a first-generation college student and an off-campus renter. She says she’s most looking forward to seeing all her peers and learning face to face again. When asked if there was someone she hasn’t seen in person since before Covid who she is very much looking forward to seeing on campus this fall, Magdelyn replied, “My voice teacher!” Magdelyn is involved with Campus Players and Rowan Lab Theatre, and she adds that Rowan Lab Theatre will be putting on some great shows this year. Magdelyn can’t wait to take part in Rowan After Hours (RAH) and Student University Programmers (SUP) events again, such as Bingo. She can’t wait to take senior pictures with her friends and hang out on campus on Bunce Green.

People hanging out on Bunce Green, as Magdelyn looks forward to.
Students hanging out on Bunce Green, as Magdelyn looks forward to.

Nick Kreuz, a senior Electrical and Computer Engineering major from Quakertown, Pennsylvania, is looking forward to working back in the labs with other students. Nick says, “I am looking forward most to going back to a campus that feels alive,” and he notes being on campus last year felt less warm and welcoming than it has been in the past. Some campus must-dos for him include activities put on by the Rec Center (where he will work as a Building Manager) and shows returning to the Planetarium. Nick is also looking forward to visiting Einstein’s Bagels in the mornings for coffee.

Nick poses in front of some trees.
Nick Kreuz

Petro Skrypnyk has never been to campus before, and he is excited to see the place he has been studying at for a year. Petro is a senior Computer Science major and commutes from his home in Philadelphia. Before attending Rowan, Petro transferred from Rowan College at Burlington County. Petro wants to get involved with Rowan’s Association for Computing Machinery and the Volleyball team. Petro is excited to earn his bachelor’s degree and meet up with people in between classes.

Philadelphia, where Petro is from.
Petro, of Philadelphia, is looking forward to the on-campus experience this semester.

Samuel Jolade, senior Computing and Informatics major from Deer Park, New York, is excited to come back to the Rowan campus after nearly two years. He can’t wait to get back into Gaming Club and visit the Game Room in the Student Center. Samuel hasn’t seen his friend Max and a few other friends since before COVID, and he is excited to see them. 

Samuel looks forward to hanging out in the game room like these guys are.
Samuel (not pictured) looks forward to hanging out in the Student Center’s Game Room.

Ashleigh Jankowski is a junior Biomedical Engineering major with a Chemistry minor from Catonsville, Maryland. Ashleigh is living off campus this semester. Ashleigh says while “virtual learning was a great way to proceed in learning while continuing to be socially distanced, nothing can replace the friendly, bustling campus atmosphere.” She is looking forward to taking classes that are major specific this year, and because most of them are engineering labs, hopefully having them in person! She is looking forward to Outdoors Club getting started again, as she is hoping to go on a few trips with them this semester. She’s also looking forward to RAH events like Bingo and SUP activities like Outdoor Movie Night. Ashleigh also can’t wait to hang out at Einstein’s Bagels again. 

Ashleigh poses in front of Rowan Hall.
Ashleigh Jankowski

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

Philadelphia photo courtesy of:
Pixabay

Senior Reflects: RTF Major Riel Dioquino on Finding True Friends

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

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

What was your favorite social memory? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out more of Riel’s work at:

Instagram – @rmarc99

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

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Riel Dioquino, radio television film graduate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could you share your favorite social memory?

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

What are your career aspirations?

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

Kassidy poses in front of the Rowan arch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

My Favorite Class: Fundamentals of Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Khrissy inside Engineering building

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

Khrissy Seay is a recent graduate and first-generation college student. While at Rowan, she was a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) major with minors in Geography and Planning. She is from Mays Landing (Atlantic County) and transferred from Atlantic Cape Community College.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan? 

This is not an easy question. I really like my major and narrowing it down to just one is very difficult. However, by a very small margin, Fundamentals of GIS.

What department was the class in? 

Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability (GPS)

Who taught the class when you took it?

Dr. Ashley York

Khrissy standing next to a tree outside on campus.

Tell us a little about what the class is.

Fundamentals is the next step up from the introductory course. This class allows the student a little more freedom to explore new tools and apply them to topics of choice.

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

I bonded with the professor and the students really well. I also worked on one of my favorite mapping projects during my time at Rowan.

What makes this professor great? 

Dr. York is very knowledgeable and she is always willing to help. I told her my idea for the project, and she helped me develop that idea. I also worked with her during my Senior Seminar project (taught by Dr. Meenar) because she is somewhat of an expert in the topic — sea ice/glaciers.

Khrissy inside the Engineering bridge.

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

I learned a lot about myself and the topics that are really important to me. I also felt well prepared for the next class in the sequence – Applications of GIS.

What are your professional goals? 

I have recently secured a job as a GIS Analyst. I also want to pursue a master’s degree in Geography.

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

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major

Meet Transfer Profs: Computer Science Major Gregory Zacharko

Gregory with his brothers and Congressmen Andy Kim.

Today we speak with and welcome to Rowan first-generation college student and new transfer, Gregory Zacharko from Cinnaminson, NJ (Burlington County). Gregory is transferring from Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) with an associate degree in Computer Science. While at Rowan University, he will be continuing as a Computer Science major with the ambition of becoming a software engineer or video game programmer.

Why did you choose to continue your education with Rowan?

It’s close to home, and the partnership Rowan has with RCBC helps me transfer over my credits with no problems and move forward with my education. I also saw a great value at Rowan; the tuition is affordable compared to other four-year universities. Seeing that Rowan’s Computer Science program is a top contender in the nation at a low cost and affordability is my number one priority. Plus, going to Rowan allows me to continue with my NJ STARS II scholarship, as well as any possible EOF scholarships or grants that I may receive. 

Headshot of Gregory

Have you visited the campus? What was your favorite aspect of it?

I haven’t visited the campus yet, but I have talked with someone at RCBC who told me a lot about what Rowan campus has to offer. I’ve heard about the student center and the gym that’s available to Rowan students. I’m most interested in the student lounge, the game room especially because I’m a big gamer. At RCBC, I was a part of the gaming and Super Smash Bros Club and we even held a big tournament for students. I hope that I’ll get a similar experience at Rowan, because that’s where I made a lot of my friends. 

Will you be living on or off-campus? 

I will be commuting. 

Have you set any goals for yourself during your time at Rowan?

To learn more about other people, what they like, to make friends, to get different perspectives, to learn about different cultures so I have a greater understanding of the world around me that I can apply to Software Development, which is what I want to get into post-college. 

Gregory at graduation

How did you become interested in Computer Science?

Back in 2007 when I was about seven years old, I got my first gaming console for Christmas, a Nintendo DS lite. That’s when I realized I wanted to make games and I wanted to make people happy through those games. I wanted to give people similar experiences that I had when playing video games. 

What was your favorite game on your Nintendo DS?

There were two. One, New Super Mario Bros. The other one was FIFA Soccer ‘08. I’m a big sports fan and a big sports gamer so that was one I really wanted and enjoyed. 

Gregory (left) with his brothers at graduation.

Early on, Gregory was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger’s, anxiety and depression. Later on in his life, he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. He survived a family house fire and was also put into Special Education classes up until intermediate school. Through everything he has undergone, Gregory persevered. He worked his way up to taking honors and AP courses in high school and graduated from RCBC with a 4.0 GPA and was elected co-valedictorian of the EOF program’s graduating class along with his brothers. We can’t wait to see Gregory and all he will accomplish this 2021-2022 school year back on campus.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, public relations and advertising graduate 

Photos courtesy of:
Gregory Zacharko

Header photo: Gregory (second from right) and his brothers pose with Congressman Andy Kim at the Zacharko’s graduation from Rowan College at Burlington County.

#PROFspective: JT Kurtz, Inspiring ARD & Genuine Friend

JT stands confidently in front of Bunce Hall.

Today we speak with JT Kurtz, a recent Computer Science graduate from Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County). JT is a first-generation college student and worked as an Assistant Resident Director (ARD) on campus, most recently at 223 Nexus.

How did you like living on campus? 

I loved it! I was a Resident Assistant (RA) in Chestnut Hall last year and Magnolia Hall the year before. It’s a complete 180 from working in traditional living to living in new apartments. I remember as a freshman, those apartments were not even there. 

In your three years of being the go-to person as an RA and ARD, what is your advice for people who are living in dorms?  

My advice is to not be afraid to make connections. Being the RA/ARD, I’m the middle person to connect people with programs or on-campus resources. We’re there for people when they ask, “Hey, what should I do?” Whether they’re stressed out, bored, or if they need help, RAs and ARDs know it all. For anybody — whether you’re new, a transfer, or have been here for two years — RAs and ARDs will always be there for you. We will definitely guide you to somebody that can help you. For me, being in that department, I have met so many of my closest friends who have helped him with making connections (from talking to people in the PR department to the admissions department). 

What does being an RA mean to you? 

In my eyes, the RA position isn’t so much about following the rules. I know a lot of people tend to put a label on RAs as “rule-enforcers” but that’s not the case. We’re here to make sure you’re safe and that you’re having a good time at the same time. There are rules made for a reason, not just to ruin the fun. We understand that we’re in a college atmosphere. We empathize with a lot of people.

JT leans against a tree reminiscing on Bunce Green.

The way we shift that empathy is by encouraging them and saying, “Hey, here’s a safer, smarter alternative way to approach something.” Whether that’s academics, [social life] or mental health. For example, if somebody’s stressed out they may not go to class. I’ll go to them and say, “Let’s get to the root of this and make a plan of action and then turn it around.” Rather than just saying, “Hey go over here” [and leave them to figure it alone]. We try to connect with them at a deeper level. We have rules, but we have them for a reason, making sure that everyone is having fun and staying safe at the same time. 

What are some of your favorite memories from being an RA? 

Some of my favorite memories (prior to Covid) are the times I’ve been able to hang out with all of my staff members. Whether it’s just getting food, pinging ideas off each other, or just doing homework, or duty nights and handling incidents. The big theme of this experience was that you’re never alone. Even in a virtual setting, we still managed to find ways to really be connected. Sometimes we would just hop on a Zoom call and have a conversation.

What is the difference between being an RA and an ARD? 

Now, I’m like a team captain of the RAs. I had to figure out how to keep my staff engaged and doing their responsibilities. At the same time, I’m recognizing that my staff are still people at heart and still need to balance their lives. My thing is music, I made a Spotify playlist that everyone can contribute to and everyone loves it. They can see all of their diverse backgrounds. There are so many stories I can go on about being an RA.

I’ve met so many influential people, from my supervisors to staff members and my residents. My residents last year always went to me, even for the most random things. At the same time, my residents had no problem referring themselves and their friends to me. I’m there for them.

JT poses on Bunce Hall green in a Rowan sweater.

How do you handle that responsibility as a fellow undergraduate student? 

I handle the responsibility of taking care of fellow students through time management, balancing classes, time for myself, and time for others. The department has so many people you can lean on, your staff or supervisors. If you don’t know what to do or if you need more time on something, communication is absolutely a pinnacle skill for this kind of role because that will help you succeed.

How did you become an RA? 

In my first year, I lived in Holly Pointe. My RA at the time, Mitch McDaniels, who graduated last year, was a fantastic person. He was really engaged with the residents. He kept it down to earth. He didn’t come off as a policy enforcer but we all respected him. He inspired me.

I had personal roommate issues (I roomed with my best friend). Mitch managed to smooth it out and now my best friend and I are still best friends. From that moment, I knew that [being an RA] was a leadership position. If I could help one person a day, that makes it so worth it.

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Story by:
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

My Favorite Class: Integrated Marketing Communication

Caitlyn stands near a gazebo on campus.

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

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

Caitlyn outside of Bunce Hall.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan?

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

What department was the class in?

Advertising

Who taught the class when you took it?

Professor Rodolico

Tell us a little about what the class is

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

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

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

Caitlyn smiles and stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

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

What makes this professor great?

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

Caitlyn stands near Bunce Green on campus.

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

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

What are your professional goals?

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

Photos:
Joe Gentempo, art graduate

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

Riel wears his graduation regalia and squats by a tree.

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

Why is this a relevant story to share? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you prepare Adam to be your documentary subject? 

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

How long did it take to film the documentary? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out more of Riel’s work at:

Instagram – @rmarc99

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

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Riel Dioquino, radio television film graduate

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

My Favorite Class: Instrumental Conducting 2

Rowan music performance in Wilson Hall.

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

Abby Bernhardt is a first-generation college student and a recent graduate with a degree in Instrumental Music Education from Egg Harbor City (Atlantic County). Her favorite class was Instrumental Conducting 2 in the Music department taught by Dr. Joe Higgins.  

Abby standing with French horn in hands.

Tell us a little about what the class is.

This class is a continuation of Conducting 1, and in this class you learn skills regarding how to conduct a band. We also focused a lot on things to do to make us better educators, and how to select repertoire that represents wide groups of people.

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

I loved this class because it made me realize what I want to do with my future. I learned so many things that I had been waiting for since high school, and I plan on using all of them in my career.

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

Dr. Higgins is a wonderful teacher and role model, and I am so grateful to have been able to have had this time spent learning from him.

Abby smiling with French horn in front of Christmas tree.

What makes this professor great? 

Dr. Higgins not only is an amazing educator himself, but he is very good at teaching others how to be their own type of great teacher also. He also is always around for a chat or some advice.

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

This class helped me solidify that I want to be a music teacher. I was always excited to go to class and learn new things that will help me immensely in my future. This class also gave me a lot of motivation to do well in school.

What are your professional goals? 

I plan on being a music teacher for a bit and then getting my master’s and going into administration as an arts administrator or vice principal. This way I will be able to support my students in the classroom and then help to support them from above, and hopefully help others to see the importance of arts education.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, public relations and advertising graduate

Meet Transfer Profs: Taylor Loiacono

Exterior mockup of Business Hall.

Today we feature incoming transfer and first-generation college student Taylor Loiacono from Camden County College. Taylor will be commuting from Cherry Hill, NJ and studying Marketing. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward at Rowan University? Being back in a classroom! What is one hobby, activity, sport or […]

Meet Transfer Profs: Biology Major Stephanie Berdugo-Hernandez

Today we feature incoming transfer and first-generation college student Stephanie Berdugo-Hernandez from Rowan College at Burlington County. Stephanie will be commuting from Eastampton, NJ (Burlington County) and studying Biological Sciences. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward at Rowan University? I am looking forward to continuing my education […]

Meet #Rowan2025: Exploratory Studies Major Maria Celeste Lopez Vasquez

Photo of Science Hall and flowers in the foreground.

Today we feature incoming first year and first-generation college student Maria Celeste Lopez Vasquez. Maria will major in Exploratory Studies and commute from Camden, NJ (Camden County). Maria attended Camden Academy Charter High School. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward in college? In college, I’m looking forward […]

Senior Reflects: Anderson Chumpitaz on Mentorship and His Rowan Legacy

Anderson posing near a tree outside wearing a blue suit.

Today we feature first-generation college student Anderson Chumpitaz, who will graduate this summer. Anderson majors in Health Promotion and Wellness Management and is from Newark, NJ (Essex County). He gives advice and tells us about his involvement on campus. Do you have any advice for people who are moving to campus for the first time […]

4 Out-Of-State First Year Students Share Why They Chose Rowan

Today we speak with four out-of-state first year students about why they chose a university further from home and their experiences here at Rowan. Abby Riley, a first-generation student and Exercise Science major from Elkton, Maryland, shares the value of attending an out-of-state university. Abby says, “I considered and chose an out-of-state university because I […]

Meet #Rowan2025: Writing Arts Major, Author Vaniece Washington

Today we feature incoming first year and first-generation college student Vaniece Washington from Woodlynne, NJ (Camden County). Vaniece will be studying Writing Arts and commuting from home. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward in college? Meeting people with my same interests. What is one hobby, activity, sport […]

Cory Monroe: Graduating Public Relations Major and Mother

Cory sits with her son on the Rowan Proud chair.

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

Cory poses in front of trees on campus.

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

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

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

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

Cory poses with her husband and son.

How has Rowan helped you achieve your goals?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

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

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

Interview by:
Kayla Tucker, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major

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

Meet Transfer Profs: Liberal Studies Major Erin Finter

Photo of future Prof Erin taken outdoors.

Meet incoming transfer student and first-generation college student Erin Finter! Erin is an aspiring Liberal Studies major from Medford, NJ (Burlington County) who transferred from Rowan College at Burlington County. She shares more about what she’s looking forward to at Rowan University and she gives advice to other transfer students.

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

New professors!

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

I’m currently the VP of the criminal justice club … I’d love the chance to continue that!

What majors are you considering and why?

I’ve chosen liberal studies with a focus in law.

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

The 3+1 info event. It was well put together and full of great information!

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

Figure out what you want to do after graduating and pick a school bed equipped to help you achieve it!

Where are you going to live next year?

Renting off campus!

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Music Majors Share Music to Listen to While Studying

Photo of a student studying.

Need some tunes to help you study for finals? Here are some recommendations from upperclassmen music majors.

The "Spiegel im Spiegel" by Arvo Part album cover.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

“It’s one of my favorite minimalist pieces. It repeats over and over, so it’s good to listen to when you’re trying to focus. I love how delicate it sounds; it reminds me of a lullaby. A couple years ago, I was reading a book called ‘The Rest Is Noise’ by Alex Ross. Pärt was mentioned in it, so I wanted to dive into his music more,” says senior Kimmy Speers, a Music Education: Instrumental major from Morristown, NJ (Morris County).

The "3am Talk" by Icemann album cover.

3Am Talk – Icemann

“Chill vibe. I created the song myself,” says first-generation junior Justin Nunez, a Music Industry major with a concentration in Technology and a transfer from Kean University from Jackson, NJ (Ocean County).

Lisa holding a clarinet outside by the Rowan Hall pond.

Nocturnes (all 21) – Chopin

“It is very calming and relaxing. Chopin is very popular in the classical music world, and played very often by pianists,” says senior Lisa Harkisheimer, a Music Education Instrumental major from Sicklerville, NJ (Gloucester County).

Melissa wearing a Rowan sweatshirt while walking on the beach.

Etude No.2 – Phillip Glass

“Phillip Glass is a minimalist artist. His songs are thought provoking and stimulating to the ear. I studied minimalist artists in my theory course a year ago and found the compositions of Phillip Glass. I use his Playlist on Spotify to focus when I’m studying and thought it might help other students,” say junior Melissa Breslin of Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County), a Music Education Instrumental major and transfer student from Rowan College at Gloucester County. 

Liz sitting on a bench.

Rêverie – Claude Debussy (or really anything by Debussy)

“It relaxes me without putting me to sleep. I discovered the song by researching romantic composers on my own and also hearing his music in my music classes,” says senior Liz Cicali, a Music Education major with a specialization in instrumental music from Absecon, NJ (Atlantic County).

Sunshine holding a guitar while smiling outside.

 The Brain Dance – Animals as Leaders

“This will stimulate your mind and senses in every way. You will be awakened to learn and receptive to new information. I discovered the song at a concert,” says senior Sunshine Jones, a Music Education Vocal Major and Classical Guitar minor from Sewell, NJ (Gloucester County).

The "Viberations" by Iman Omari album cover.

L.A. Vibes – Iman Omari 

“Iman Omari is the king of chill and loops. He’s a producer that makes dream like beats. He can chop any song up and claim it as his own. A lot of his music doesn’t contain words, he has a beat tape that has nothing but loops and it really helps me study. Hearing the beats allow me to read, think and focus on my tasks. I’m able to listen to music and concentrate, that’s all I need in this world. Music and focus,” says first-generation college junior Phinesse Scott, a Music Industry major and transfer student from Rowan College at Burlington County

Phinesse adds: “I discovered Iman Omari through YouTube. You can really go down a never-ending hole on YouTube. I typically like to search for beats on there and I came across one of his old tracks and it was at that moment I became a fan and looked for every song I could find that he made.”

The "We the Kings" album cover.

Check Yes Juliet – We The Kings

“It’s a good song and catchy but by studying to this song it helps you to think back to what you read right before an exam if you listen to it again. It’s a popular pop rock song similar to artists I listen to,” says first-generation college junior Amanda Uretsky, a Music Industry major with a concentration in Technology and Business from Lumberton, NJ (Burlington County).

Emileigh smiling for a photo.

Imagine Paris – Daniel Paterok

“I find this song very relaxing, which I believe is important when doing homework or studying. Plus, I find the melody really pretty and catchy. I found this song on a public Spotify playlist that I sometimes listen to when I study,” says junior Emileigh Zane, a Music Industry major with a Business concentration who transferred from Rowan College of South Jersey and is from Penns Grove, NJ (Salem County).

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major 

Header photo courtesy of:
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Meet Transfer Profs: Human Services & Psychology Major NyEsha Cintron

An outdoor photo of a branded chair on campus.
A selfie of NyEsha in a botanical garden.

Meet incoming transfer student NyEsha Cintron. NyEsha is a first-generation Human Services and Psychology major from Maple Shade, NJ (Burlington County) who transferred from Rowan College of Burlington County. She shares how she ended up at Rowan and what she’s looking forward to!

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

I am looking forward to meeting new people, the ability to foster lasting relationships and grow in experience with my area of study. I am excited to see how school will impact my life as well as how I will impact the lives of others.

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

I’d like to get involved in the Human Services Club or a language club.

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

I will be taking a Spanish class, and I’d like to see my knowledge increase in this language to speak it fluently.

What majors are you considering and why?

I am a Human Services and Psychology major through and through. I love learning how to better understand people in efforts to better serve them. These majors are very organic to how I am wired, and I feel that I can be my best by furthering my education in these areas of studies.

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

I haven’t had the time to do so, but am awaiting orientation for transfer students, can’t wait!

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

Do it and get started!

Where are you going to live next year?

Commute from home.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

I like that Rowan participated with community colleges to ensure continuity of learning to a accredited university.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Meet Transfer Profs: Advertising Major Jess Battistelli

Drone shot of campus.

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

Jess smiling while taking a selfie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What major(s) are you considering and why?

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

Jess sitting on a bench while wearing a black dress.

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

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

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

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

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

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

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

#PROFspective: Victoria Collinsworth And Esports At Rowan

Victoria standing outside near some branches.

Today we feature Victoria Collinsworth, a first-generation sophomore who studies Chemical Engineering. Vic is from Mantua, NJ (Gloucester County). How did your love of video games start?  When I was younger, my brother used to play on his Gameboy a lot, and I would watch. As we grew up, I started loving games more and […]

#PROFspective: Junior Marketing Major Jake Mayer

Jake poses in a wooded area.

Today we speak to Jake Mayer, a junior Marketing major with a Management Information Systems minor. Jake is a first-generation student from Stratford, NJ (Camden County), and a Resident Assistant. Jake is co-president of Rowan Club Baseball and a member of both the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Rowan Economics Society.

Jake poses in front of Business Hall.

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

On my busiest day, I would be balancing my schoolwork, being a Resident Assistant (RA) and the responsibilities that come with that, having two other jobs at Trifecta Therapeutics and Pro Image Sports, while also going on a daily Zoom call with my family members at night.

What are your professional goals?

My short-term professional goals are to apply and get accepted as a second-year Resident Assistant (RA) or Assistant Resident Director (ARD) for the 2021-22 school year, as well as get an internship for the summer to hopefully turn that experience into a career. My long-term professional goals are to graduate from Rowan University and get a job in the marketing, business world to begin my career.

How are you involved on campus?

On-campus, I am a Resident Assistant (RA) in 230 Victoria, the co-president of Rowan University’s club baseball team, and a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA). Being involved in these allow me to be involved and network with fellow Profs of different majors, ages and backgrounds. The most supportive of my future goals is AMA, where I interact with fellow marketing majors and network with marketing professionals. Hopefully, by interacting with fellow marketing majors and networking with professionals, I will make connections that will help me get into my future career field.

Jake poses in a wooded area on campus.

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

I felt really inspired in my Entrepreneurship class during the final project of the class when my groupmates were looking towards me to lead the project in the marketing aspects. It was a fictional company and product idea that we came up with and I put a lot of effort into the project and we got an A. It may not sound like a lot, but leading this project in the marketing aspect of our project really inspired me and made me feel confident about my chosen major.

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

One professor who I really enjoy talking to and one who makes me feel supported in my goals is Dr. Michael Milovich, professor of MIS. He is extremely supportive of students’ goals and guiding them to reach them in realistic ways. In his lectures and discussions, he always relates class material to the real world and how we can use tips and tricks that he provides to us to succeed in future situations that we will all experience, such as a job interview or how to move up the ladder of a company. I love him as a professor and would highly recommend that any student take his class if they have the chance.

What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a major, campus involvement, or choosing a college/university?

If I were in high school, I would tell myself to choose a major that I really enjoy and can envision myself working in for the rest of my adult life. As far as finding the perfect college or university, do more research and look around at other schools. Choosing the right place is important so that there isn’t the chance of transferring and going back to square one.

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

Photos by:
Jabreeah Holmes, senior radio/TV/film major

Senior Jerico Mellet’s Favorite Class: Molecular Biophysics

Jericho smiles, stands outside of Rowan Boulevard.

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

Today we speak to Jerico Mellet, a senior Biomedical Engineering major with CUGS in Training and Development and Management and Leadership. Jerico is a first-generation college student and off-campus renter from Gloucester County. He tells us about a course that left a lasting impression with him. 

Jerico poses outside in front of a brick wall.

What is your favorite class?

My favorite class is Biophysics [now called Molecular Biophysics], which was taught by Dr. Nathaniel Nucci. The course is offered by the Physics Department.

Tell us a little about what the class is.

The class studied biological processes using Gibb’s Free Energy Equation. The equation includes entropy and enthalpy, and entropy is the part where probability comes into play. For instance, the reason our DNA gets read/copied properly is that the probability of the protein going forward and copying correctly is higher than it going backward and copying incorrectly.

The content of the class was very fascinating to me, and the way that Dr. Nucci taught the course was very effective. He didn’t spoonfeed us information; it was a lot like teaching us how to fish instead so we can independently make the discoveries and solutions.

That class was the first class that got me really interested and excited about science because before I’ve been studying math on its own like calculus, or studying biology on its own. 

There was always some overlap, but the Biophysics (now it’s called Molecular Biophysics) class really connected the fields and put everything into a new perspective for me. We covered a lot of information, but not so much that it was overwhelming. He kept everything at an understandable pace.

Jerico wears sunglasses, poses next to a bare tree on a snow-covered campus.

Share with us a few details on why this class was interesting.

The class put what I knew about biology in mathematical/probabilistic terms, which changed the way I view science, biology and math.

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

It pushed me beyond my comfort zone, and how he led the class toward understanding the concepts was empowering because he wouldn’t just give us the answers, but sometimes asked us questions to have us revisit what we thought we knew. 

Jerico smiles, poses next to a tree outside on a snow-covered campus.

What makes this professor great?

He gave us the tools to figure out the questions. He’d walk around checking in on everyone, always made himself available, and was encouraging.

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

It helped me see connections between different fields of science, biology and math. As I take further classes, I grow curious about other connections such as harmony in music and how harmonious movement could be energy efficient.

What are your professional goals?

Since I was born in Peru and speak Spanish, I want to go back and start a company there to provide healthy jobs for people and that would benefit the country as a whole, and eventually bring that to other countries around the world.

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

Meet #Rowan2025: Isaiah Hymans Strives To Improve Instrumental Skills

Sheet music in a book.

Meet incoming first year student Isaiah Hymans. Isaiah is a first-generation college student who will commute from Egg Harbor (Atlantic County, NJ) and currently attends Cedar Creek High School. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward in college? I am looking forward to having the ability to teach […]

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

Arielle poses next to a pillar at Bunce Hall.

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

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

Arielle poses in front of Bunce Hall.

What is your role in your organization? 

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

What have you learned in your role as a leader?

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

Arielle sits on the steps of Bunce Hall.

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

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

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

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

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

Who inspires you and why?

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

What’s the most significant barrier to women today?

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

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

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

Arielle sits on a gazebo.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

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

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Leadership #PROFspective: Photography Club President Jill Taylor

Jill poses with three cameras next to a fountain.

Today we speak to Jill Taylor, president of the Photography Club. Jill is a junior Biological Sciences major with a concentration in Environmental Sciences and minors in Environmental Engineering and Chemistry. Jill is a first-generation college student and commutes to campus from Fortescue, NJ (Cumberland County).

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

Jill poses next to a fountain at the Engineering Pond on campus.

What is your role in your organization? Briefly describe what your organization does. 

I am the president and founding member of Rowan’s Photography Club, which you can join by joining our Discord. You can also find us on Instagram @rowanphotoclub. I do a little bit of everything. I do a lot of the planning and delegating between Eboard members, general members and SGA, taking notes and planning future things, trying to see what the club can do in the future. The biggest thing I do is trying to encourage people to join or participate in the club.

Photography is so universal and is for everyone. We want to cultivate the photography and model and visual arts type of scene at Rowan because there is such an interest. We didn’t want to limit the club to just photographers, we also wanted to include models and graphic designers. At general meetings, we view and vote on photos submitted for the themed photography contests we have each week. Whoever won the previous contest picks the theme for the next contest. Sometimes we critique the photos and tell the photographers what they might do better next time. We have also been trying to integrate Kahoot and Jeopardy into our meetings so that our members can learn more about photography.

We have many beginners in our club, and we try to teach them as much as we can, help them figure out what they want to do and also be as inclusive as possible. One day, we will be able to all practice photography together. 

What have you learned in your role as a leader?

I have learned that assuming responsibility is not always what you think it is. We have this idea of what a leader should be, which is someone who is in charge and tells us what to do dominantly. I think leadership requires a different approach, where you say what has to be done, but also are more flexible and empathetic, especially to be an outstanding leader that someone should look up to. I’ve seen too many more male people in positions of power with no emotional aspect of leadership and have toxic masculinity and sexism. Empathy is the most important thing, you can have all the power in the world if you don’t care about the people around you, it’s not worth it. 

Jill adjusts her camera settings.

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

Starting the Photography Club and finding people who are just as passionate as I am is a great memory. There are people who trust me, even though I think I don’t know what I’m doing. The vibe is totally different.

Who inspires you and why? 

I draw a lot of inspiration from many people and a lot of literature, but if I had to pick one person, it would be Barbara Dunkelman. She is a social media personality actor and model who pushes for empathy and a deeper understanding of each other and being a better person. She gives advice, and none of it is too serious. She discusses very serious topics, but she can throw in a terrible dad joke or keep it lighthearted. 

Jill looks off into the distance while sitting on Bunce Hall's steps.

What’s the most significant barrier to women today? 

I think it’s the idea of what a woman should be. Women are often expected to be very effeminate and nurturing, and we can empower them until it comes to taking charge and having leadership roles. The characterization of women is very one-dimensional, especially in media and day-to-day conversations.

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

I think you should be as compromising as you can until there is a topic where you don’t think you can yield and don’t be as open and as forthcoming with new ideas and advice from others. If there is something you refuse to budge on, don’t. Don’t put up with it. If it’s your belief, dig your heels into the ground and stand up for what you believe in, unless it has the potential to hurt other people. Hold up your boundaries, but also don’t be so closed off where you are hindering your own ideas. 

Jill takes a photo in the woods.

As long as people are not waiting for the next person to just do something and they just do something themselves. Don’t put something off when you can do it and take charge, which is a scary leap of faith and a big jump. But if it’s something you want, just take it. 

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Story by:
Marian Suganob, senior public relations and advertising double major and Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies, and public relations double major

Photography by: 
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

 

Leadership #PROFspective: Eliya Bravo, Inspiring Community Action and Change

Bravo speaking into a horn.

Today we feature first-generation college student Eliya Bravo, a leader at Rowan University. Bravo is the founder and president of the Women of Color Alliance and vice president for both the Students For Caribbean Awareness and Rowan Universities Club Swim Team. Bravo is also the public relations rep for the United Latinos Association and a […]

Leadership #PROFspective: Shivani Shah, Cofounder Of South Asian Students Association (SASA)

Shivani sits in an academic building on campus.

Today we feature Shivani Shah, a leader at Rowan University. Shivani is cofounder of South Asian Students Association (SASA) and currently serves as its copresident. Shivani is a junior, first-generation college student from Egg Harbor Township, NJ (Atlantic County). She majors in Biochemistry and has a minor in Psychology. This story is part of a […]

Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity, Inc.’s Community Service Efforts

Chris Acevedo poses in a wooded, snowy area.

Today we speak to Chris Acevedo, president of Rowan’s Omicron Chapter of the Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. Chris is a sophomore Management Information Systems major from Winslow, NJ (Camden County). Chris lives off-campus and is a first-generation college student. Chris is also a student veteran. Chris tells us about Lambda Theta Phi’s community service work they have done recently.

Chris poses inside Business Hall.

Can you tell me about the community service Lambda Theta Phi is doing?

Since Rowan is located in Glassboro, we like to focus a lot of our community service on either Camden or Atlantic City, because those cities need help. There are many people who need help in those cities, and we want to help as many people as we can. We collaborate with other chapters such as the chapters at Rutgers – Camden, Temple and Stockton. S

Some of the community services we have done include feeding and giving away items to homeless people in Philadelphia, Camden, and Atlantic City. Sometimes we do smaller engagements such as clean-ups of towns and people’s backyards, but we try to do big events serving 150 families or more. We try to help as many people as we can. Recently we have held four community outreach events. Near Thanksgiving, we gave away Thanksgiving baskets that consisted of items such as turkey, cornbread, cranberry sauce, and other traditional Thanksgiving foods. We were able to drive food to some families as well.

Near the holidays, we had a holiday-themed event that helped around 300 families. We had a brother dress up as Santa Claus and we gave away toys donated by the Heart of Camden and Total Turf, as well as hats, coats, and gloves. We did a similar event in January, handing out hats, coats, gloves, scarves, and toys. We have also done an event where we walked around Walter Rand in Camden, giving away hand warmers, gloves, and other winter items. 

Chris and some of his brothers from other South Jersey and Pennsylvania chapters pose at a community service event they put on together.
Chris (second from left) and some of his brothers from other South Jersey and Pennsylvania chapters pose at a community service event they put on together.

Why is the Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity so focused on community service?

The root of our organization is based on service. Our principles and ideals emphasize catering to the communities that many of us come from. As we progress in our endeavors as individuals and as a collective, we always aim to uplift the very community that has raised us.

What would you say the benefits of being involved in Greek life are? 

Greek life advances networking. There are many reasons that people pursue Greek life; i.e. a sense of family/belonging, making friends. But the biggest positive is networking. You meet people from all walks of life and all different ages. Sometimes you’re able to meet people who have similar interests and can offer guidance, or you can meet someone that’s gone down a different path and offers different perspectives on life. Whatever your reason for joining a Greek organization, you are always going to meet someone new. 

Chris poses outdoors in a snowy, wooded area.

What else does the Lambda Theta Phi Fraternity focus on besides community service?

Lambda Theta Phi is big on community service but it isn’t our only task. We are big on the connection / social aspect. We enjoy the presence of our brothers making a lot of bonding events, whether it’s our chapter here at Rowan or any other schools. Connecting with other Greek organizations makes your networking bigger and more relationships that last forever.

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

Community service photo submitted by:
Chris Acevedo, sophomore management information systems major

7 History Majors Share How Their Degree Supports Their Professional Goals

Raymond standing outside.

“This major supports my professional goal of being a teacher and continuing to give back to my community and my country. I am excited to see where my dual major takes me,” says junior Frank Gurcsik, a History and Education major from Gloucester County. “My major has been helping me to prepare and become an educator […]

Leadership #PROFspective: Vanessa Livingstone, President of PRSSA

Vanessa kneeling outside near Bunce.

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

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

Alayna holding a megaphone.

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Future History Teacher Kaan Aktas

Exterior shot of walkway by Bunce Hall.

Today we speak with Kaan Aktas, a senior transfer student from Bergen Community College who majors in History and Subject Matter Education. Kaan, a remote student from Fairview, NJ (Bergen County), is a first-generation college student.

Kaan poses in front of some greenery.

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

My professional goals are to be the instructor of a history classroom. Rowan, especially my advisor, has done a great job in setting me up for my goals by creating benchmarks for my classes and exams where I can keep track of and complete.

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

My field impacts the world by educating the future. I strongly believe that our students are the future of not just our country, but the future of the world. The work and effort you put into a classroom can completely benefit and alter the student’s way of learning for the future.

What inspired you to choose your major?

My passion for history has always been present. Since elementary and middle school I would find the subject interesting. History isn’t just about memorizing dates and people, but how those dates and people have impacted our current society and so forth.

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

I became aware of Rowan by doing some online research of the top best colleges in New Jersey. I initially fell in love with Rowan while on a tour of the school. The scenery is beautiful, and class sizes are perfectly arranged.

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

My trip “home” to North jersey is approximately an hour and a half.

Kaan poses in front of some colored lights.

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

The benefit of living far from home is the college experience you could not have gotten anywhere else. Also, the friendships I have built and experiences I have had are one of a kind.

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

In every corner, there are lots of spots to eat on campus! The wide variety of food, not just located inside of the dining hall, gives students lots of choices for some grub!

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

Some attractions just off campus include many parks where you can take a stroll, or even study!

Why did you choose to transfer to Rowan University?

I transferred to Rowan University because of many factors. The professors are truly great! They work with you with your classes. Class sizes were also an important factor in why I chose to enroll. Unlike other universities in New Jersey, you are not put into a big lecture hall with a hundred other students where the professor has a lot more to manage.

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

Photos submitted by:
Kaan Aktas, senior history and subject matter education double major

Header photo by:
Anthony Raisley, senior history major

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Senior Computing and Informatics Major Abraham Reyes

Abraham poses in front of Science Hall.

Today we speak to Abraham Reyes, a senior, first-generation college student who transferred from Rowan College at Burlington County. Abraham majors in Computing and Informatics, minors in Business Administration and has a CUGS in Management Information Systems Certification. He is a commuter student from Camden, NJ (Camden County).

Abraham sits on a wall by the Student Center.

What is a typical Rowan day for you?

My typical Rowan day, since classes became primarily virtual, starts with breakfast and checking emails and the early news. I sign into my classes, which are all on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and start my day. After morning classes are through, I usually drive to the Rowan campus to grab lunch.

Being on campus is like a second home for me and I miss the environment, so I treat myself twice a week by driving to campus for lunch. I was fortunate enough to have my 2020 summer internship at Lockheed Martin extended through the entire fall semester, so I work virtually from my home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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

At Rowan, I decided to major in Computing & Informatics, as well as minor in Business Administration. When I took Applied Database Technologies with Professor Arafat Qureshi during my first semester at Rowan, I immediately wanted to know more about coding, the organization and analysis of large quantities of data, and how it all applied to the business world. As I continued to take additional classes in my major, I felt confident that Computing & Informatics was the right major for me, and it definitely opened the door for me to my internship.

Abraham poses in front of Science Hall.

Could you tell us a little bit about your transition into Rowan as an incoming student?

I began my college career at Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC). I knew I wanted to transfer to Rowan University because I wanted to explore a larger campus environment and join the Rowan University community. RCBC has a wonderful partnership with Rowan University, with many opportunities, and the transition from RCBC to Rowan was pretty smooth. I was really nervous and excited to transition from community college to a four-year college. It took me a while to get used to the larger campus, but now I’m very comfortable there and the Glassboro campus is like a second home to me.

What are your professional goals?

My professional goal is to land a full-time position at Lockheed Martin since I’ve been so happy with my ongoing internship, and I now better understand all the opportunities available for someone with a Computing & Informatics degree. I hope to work in the future with good, talented people to solve complex real-world problems.

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

Rowan University has helped me so much with almost everything. My advisors were very supportive and gave me the best recommendations for choosing classes. All my professors have challenged me and helped prepare me for the unexpected in the workforce.

The Office of Career Advancement at Rowan has also helped me so much with networking, mock interviews and tips on nailing an interview. I feel like I made the best decision to attend Rowan University and call this school a second home. I’m currently working at Lockheed Martin as a Data Analysis/Project Management intern supporting the Global Supply Chain Competitive Intelligence Team. My internship has been extended four times, and I will now be transitioning to new tasks that will assist in developing additional skillsets. I would not be where I am today without the education and support I have received from Rowan University and many members of the faculty and staff.

I have enjoyed so many of my classes, such as Management Information Systems with Dr. Berrin Guner, and Organizational Behavior with Dr. Richard Jonsen. I would like to give a special “thank you” to Professor Bridget Temme-Soifer for helping me with Statistical Analysis and giving me the tools to see how data works in the real world. 

I also want to give a special “thank you” to Chiara, my Academic Success Advisor from the Academic Success Center, for helping me so much throughout my college experience. Finally, I’d like to thank my mother for always believing in me and for all the sacrifices she made over the years to help me become the person I am today. Overall, I feel that I made the best decision in choosing my major and minor, so now I feel confident about my future.

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

Photos by:
Jabreeah Holmes, senior radio, television and film major

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

Meet #Rowan2025: Political Science Major and Future Congressman Vincent Giasullo

Photo of a building on Rowan's campus.

Meet #Rowan2025 incoming freshman Vincent Giasullo! Vincent is an incoming freshman and first-generation college student, Political Science major from Old Bridge, NJ (Middlesex County). He shares why he chose Rowan and where he wants his degree to take him after he graduates.

Vincent looking at and holding a purple flower.

Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward to in college?

I am looking forward to new experiences in my life and participating in on-campus activities that are relevant to my major.

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

I plan to expand my knowledge about politics and life in general.

What majors are you considering and why?

I am going to major in Political Science because I want to know what policies were made that were a result of all the good and bad things that are going on in the world and what I can do to fix them by running to be a member of Congress.

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

I did tour Rowan, and I thought it was excellent. I felt like I had a special connection with my tour guide because we are both in the same major and I could have conversations with her that I could not have in high school.

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

When you look at a school, look at the following things: The environment of the area, the cost of the school and how much the school has to offer concerning the major that you want to go into.

Where are you going to live next year?

On campus!

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

The environment of the school and how some parts of the school are in some parts city-like and in others suburb-like. For example, I had gotten the view of all of the dining areas and stops at Rowan, and the environment was comparable to an urban area in my opinion.

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

7 Economics Majors Share Their Professional Goals

Photo of a one dollar bill.

Seven students in the Economics program share with us how they’re dreaming big and where their major will take them in their professional goals.

Carolyn smiles in a wooded area.
Carolyn Cover

“My long-term professional dream goal is to be able to apply my knowledge of economics and business alongside my personal interests to find a career path best fitting for me,” says junior Carolyn Cover, a Rowan College at Burlington County transfer student and Economics major pursuing a minor in Business Administration from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County).

Headshot of Ryan Brubeck against a neutral background.
Ryan Brubeck

“In the short term, I plan to finish independent research essays on different Blockchain topics, which I can disperse through online platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium. Additionally, I am learning programming languages to supplement my education from university classes. Within the next two years, I will be working for an internship or entry-level job in addition to helping grow the Rowan Blockchain Club,” says junior Ryan Brubeck, an Economics major with a Mathematics minor from Westwood, NJ (Bergen County).

Dayne pets animals outside with clouds in the background.
Dayne Costa

Dayne Costa plans to go to graduate school and become a professor or a dean in the future. “I will use my economics degree to help teach others the wonders of economics,” he says. Dayne, from Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County), also holds a Certificate of Undergraduate Studies in Public Policy and is a transfer from West Virginia University.

Portrait of Rachel Ricci with a plant in the background.
Rachel Ricci

“My short-term goal is to find a great entry-level job after I graduate that opens the door for promotions and growth,” says junior Rachel Ricci, an Economics major with a minor in Business Administration and Rowan College of South Jersey transfer student from Millville, NJ (Cumberland County).

Portrait of Amir Ross against a gray backdrop.
Amir Ross

“In the long term, I would like to be a Certified Accountant and professional farmer,” says senior Amir Ross, an Economics and Accounting major and Rowan College at Burlington County and transfer student from Palmyra, NJ (Burlington County).

Nick Scheurer wears a Rowan sweatshirt outside with woods in the background.
Nick Scheurer

“My dream is to be financially stable while still being able to challenge myself and grow in my field as my career advances. I want to feel secure but never stuck, bored or uninspired,” says first-generation senior Nick Scheurer, an Economics major with a minor in Business Administration and Certificate of Undergraduate Studies in Management Information Systems from Flemington, NJ (Hunterdon County).

Tamora smiles outside with an academic building in the background.
Tamora Hill

A transfer from Cumberland County College, senior Tamora Hill wants to work with personal finance, activism work, global economics and inequality. A first-generation college student and commuter, Tamora plans to attend graduate school. Her long-term goal is to start an economics firm and children’s book series.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Black History Facts All Students Should Know

"Black History Month" written in colorful letters.

Today we speak to Rowan students from three different colleges who share insight on key moments in Black history and suggest books and movies to learn more. 

“Black History Month originally began as Negro History Week, created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. It only became Black History Month in 1976 when President Gerald Ford called for the public to ‘seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.’ The month of February also coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.” 

Gregory Williams, a freshman Dance major from South River, NJ (Middlesex County) is a resident on campus at Magnolia Hall. Gregory says he learned about Black history mostly through social media and his own research online. He recommends students read “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi or view the movies “Selma,” “13th” and “Harriet” to educate themselves about Black history. 

Gregory poses outside the student center in a Rowan sweatshirt.
Gregory Williams

“Jack Johnson became the first African American to be a world heavyweight champion.”

Latiesha Small, a freshman Biological Sciences and Mathematics double major from Matawan, NJ (Monmouth County), is a resident on campus at Evergreen Hall. Latiesha says she learned about Black history from her family. 

Latiesha poses at a table.
Latiesha Small

“Before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, there was a young girl named Claudette Colvin who refused first.”

Jamar Green, a junior Law & Justice Studies major with an Africana Studies minor, is from Linden, NJ (Union County). Jamar transferred to Rowan from Union County College and is a resident on campus at 230 Victoria. He is a first-generation college student. Jamar says he learned about Black history by researching. “I was always told by my grandfather if you want to know your history you have to learn it for yourself, so I read articles, books and watched videos, documentaries and movies.” A book that he recommends for students to educate themselves about Black history is “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass.

Jamar Green sits and smiles, wearing a red vest.
Jamar Green

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

Photo of Latiesha provided by:
Latiesha Small, freshman biological Sciences and mathematics double major

Photo of Jamar provided by:
Jamar Green, junior law and justice studies major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pixabay

Black #PROFspective: Junior Law and Justice Studies and Africana Studies Double Major Jamar Green

Drone shot view of Campbell Library and Savitz Hall.

Today we speak with Jamar Green, a junior double major in Law and Justice Studies and Africana Studies from Linden, NJ (Union County). Jamar, who transferred to Rowan from Union County College, is a first-generation college student. Jamar lives on-campus at 230 Victoria.

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

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

I feel that going to a PWI will better benefit me. The experience I have had so far at Rowan had been on the positive side. I do feel included at Rowan. In both of my majors, I feel like they support Black students well.

Jamar Green sits and smiles, wearing a red vest.

How did you find your friend group here at Rowan?

The way I found my friend group at Rowan was by joining clubs and a transfer group chat when I first attended.

Are you involved with Black Rowan?

Yes, I am. I am on the executive board for the African Student Association and the NAACP chapter.

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

Be ready to work hard and don’t give up no matter what anyone says. It’s not a field they want to see us in, but a field they’re going to need us in if they want to see change.

What are your professional goals?

I want to become a criminal defense attorney.

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Sociology Major LaDaysha White

LaDaysha standing outside near a bridge.

Today we feature LaDaysha White, a first-generation senior Sociology major from Florence, NJ (Burlington County). She also has a Certificate of Undergraduate study in Public Policy. LaDaysha is a transfer student from Ramapo College of New Jersey, and she tells us about her Rowan experience. Tell us a little bit about your favorite class at […]

Lifting Black Creative Voices

Desi smiles outside on campus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sabrea posing for a photo on the beach.

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

Check out Sabrea’s work here

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

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

See Daija’s artwork here.

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

Desi sitting outside the student center holding her book.

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

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

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

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

Read one of Bryce’s published pieces here

A selfie of Mya.

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

A selfie of Khadijah.

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

Check out some of Khadijah’s work here.  

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior Music Industry major

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Marketing Major Harmanjot Kahlon

Harmanjot standing outside of Business Hall.

Today we feature first-generation college senior Harmanjot Kahlon, a Marketing major from Florence, NJ (Burlington County). Harmanjot is a transfer student from Rowan College at Burlington County. She tells us about her time here at Rowan. Tell us a little bit about your favorite class at Rowan so far. My favorite class at Rowan was […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Jordan Jiosi

Jordan sitting at a table in Wilson with a window behind him.

Today we feature first-generation college student Jordan Jiosi from Medford Lakes, NJ (Burlington County). Jordan is a double major in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) and Mathematics (Statistics) and is in a Combined Advanced Degree Program for an MS in Computer Science. Jordan is a transfer from Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) and tells us […]

#PROFspective: Accounting Major David Nicolas

David stands outside of Savitz.

Today we feature first-generation college senior David Nicolas, an Accounting major from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County). David is a part of the Accounting Society and NABA – National Association of Black Acountants. What are your career aspirations? One of my aspirations is to get my Series 6 license. I am in the process of doing that […]

Madison Hayes Shares Insight On Being A GIS And ESS Major

Madison sitting near a lake.

Today we feature senior Madison Hayes, a Geographical Information Systems and Environmental and Sustainability Studies major with a minor in planning. Madison is a first-generation college student from Hopewell, New Jersey (Mercer County) who transferred from Lebanon Valley College. How did you become interested in this major? After transferring home to be a commuter I […]

Black STEM Majors Share Advice for Black High School Students Interested in STEM

Ylanda sits outside campus near Campbell Library.

Today, we’re highlighting Black STEM majors as they share some advice on where to start when looking into STEM.

Ylanda wearing a Rowan shirt and posing outside the Campbell Library.

“Attend as many events as you can to meet new people that has the same interests as you and to also carry out with your interests,” says Ylanda Souffrant, a sophomore, first-generation college student and Math Education major from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County)

Josephine wearing a lab coat and posing in the Science building.

“It’s alright if you know you’re interested in STEM, but you don’t know what you want to do with it in life. Carefully choose the school/program you join because that is how you will position yourself and expose yourself to experiences and individuals that will guide you along your journey,” says Josephine Babatunde, a senior Biochemistry major and transfer student from Union County College (Union County, NJ).

Dévon sitting and posing for a photo while wearing a dotted dress shirt and blue dress pants.

“One major key of advice I would give for high school STEM students is to not give up. I know this sounds a bit cliché, but you’re going to run into many obstacles and people who try to hold you down or stop your progress, but you can’t let nothing stand in your way. The road is going to be rough and tough but like my family always used to preach to me, ‘If someone already did it, you can too,'” says DéVon Malloy, a junior, first-generation college student and Biomedical Engineering major from Hillside, NJ (Union County)

Briana sitting and posing on the fountain stature outside Campbell Library.

“Hold your head up high! The courses may seem rigorous and tedious, but you are more than capable. You are just as competitive as anyone else around you; don’t give up! Ask for help if you need it, take advantage of programs that cater to your major whether it is directly or indirectly correlated with the unrepresented, be sure to make connections any chance you get, and try to get some some volunteer experience in the field if possible.” — Briana Davy, junior, first-generation college student and Biological Sciences major (planning on receiving a CUGS in Spanish), Honors Concentration, transfer from RCSJ Cumberland, Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County)

Akil leaning against the bridge and smiling outside Engineering Hall.

“Start early. Time flies really fast and you never know what the next day will bring you. Get involved in programs, especially offered by the schools you go to, because it not only looks fantastic on your resumé but also the skills and knowledge you acquire from it goes a long way. Get involved early too, don’t be afraid of clubs and participating, and don’t be afraid to reach out to people in college now and ask questions.” — Akil DeBruhl, junior Biological Sciences major with a minor in Psychology, South Orange, NJ (Essex County)

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior Music Industry major

Photography by: Stephanie Batista, sophomore Music Industry major and Joe Gentempo, Senior Art major

International Studies Majors: My Professional Goals

Today we speak with five International Studies majors. They tell us about their short- and long-term goals, how Rowan has prepared them for their field and how it all relates to their goals and dreams. “After graduation in the spring, I plan to go to law school. My long-term professional dream goal is to have […]

#PROFspective: Jazz Studies Major Luis Ozoria

Luis standing outside of WiIlson hall with his trumpet.

Today we feature first-generation college student Luis Ozoria, a senior Jazz studies major from Galloway (Atlantic County).  Luis has been a part of the jazz band, wind ensemble, some time in the orchestra, small jazz ensembles, Rowan brass band and the choir. Why did you choose your major? I always knew I wanted to go […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Senior Writing Arts Major Marissa Stanko

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

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

Marissa poses outside.

What is your inspiration?

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

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

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

Marissa poses in front of a dark background.

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

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

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

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

Marissa poses against a pink background.

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

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

Why Rowan?

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

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

Photos provided by:
Marissa Stanko, senior writing arts major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pixabay

#PROFSpective: Civil and Environmental Engineering Major Muhammad Akhtar

Muhammad standing in front of a pond.

Today we feature first-generation college student Muhammad Akhtar, a senior Civil and Environmental Engineering major. Muhammad is involved in the Rowan American Society of Civil Engineers (Mentorship Chair), Rowan Muslim Student Association (Secretary), Rowan Racquetball (Active Member) and outside of school works as a Structural Engineering intern at HNTB and is a Big Brother with […]

7 Dance Majors Share How Their Degree Supports Their Dreams and Goals

Photo of dancer Grace Koller in an upward split.

Shoot for the stars. Seven Dance majors share how they’re dreaming big and how their degree is going to get them there. 

Grace dancing in a dance studio.
Grace Koller

“Being in a B.A. dance program gives me the opportunity to expand and customize my dance major. While I am taking dance classes weekly, I also have the opportunity to grow in my passion for business through my entrepreneurship minor. Some days I am in the dance studio all day working on my technique, and other days I am in the business building learning how to run my own business and how to create product prototypes in the lab. This degree supports my short term and long term goals by giving me the confidence to dance professionally and the knowledge to run my own business!” says first-generation college student Grace Koller, senior, Dance major with a Entrepreneurship minor from Pitman, NJ (Gloucester County).

Gregory outside the student center wearing a Rowan sweatshirt.
Gregory Williams

“Having a degree in dance would help me expand my ideas so that I can become a more well-rounded dancer. I like to keep in mind the things that I am taught so that everything can intertwine with each other creating depth in my ideas,” says freshman Gregory Williams, a Dance major with an Entrepreneurship minor from South River, NJ (Middlesex County).

Katie dancing in a show.
Katie Fasbach

“As someone who has been dancing my entire life up until this point, there is no way I couldn’t include dance in my future – near or far. Through my dance degree, I will be able to accomplish all that I plan to because I have learned the necessary skills to go beyond in the real world of dance,” says senior Katie Fasbach, a Dance major from Monroe Township, NJ (Middlesex County).

Brooke posing for a picture on a railing while wearing a yellow skirt with a lake in the background.
Brooke Foster

“A dance degree is the first step to reaching my goals of getting my master’s in dance.” says senior Brooke Foster, a Dance and Exercise Science double major from Burlington, NJ (Burlington County).

Abby holding a trophy from a dance competition.
Abby Lamb

“My dance degree supports my dreams and goals because I needed to be fully experienced and educated in dance to be able to continue and educate others. A dance degree shows my eligibility to teach dance in schools and show future members of my studio that I have a very good understanding,” says junior Abby Lamb a Dance and Business Management double major from Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County).

Lesleigh posing for a picture on train tracks.
Lesleigh Emanuel

“Pursuing my dance degree has allowed me to study with so many amazing different professors and learn different techniques to broaden my horizons. I also study so many different styles of dance that I have become a more well rounded dancer,” says first-generation college student, freshman Lesleigh Emanuel a Dance major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County).

Gabrielle smiling on a cobblestone street.

“A dance degree will help me gain a possible dance company job after I graduate. Also, this degree allows freedom to possibly do other things such as, teaching or choreographing,” says freshman Gabrielle Langevine, a Dance major from Piscataway, NJ (Middlesex County).

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Story by: Bianca Torres, Senior, Music Industry major

#PROFspective: Geology Major James Milward

James standing outside.

Today we feature James Milward, a junior Geology major with minors in Geographic Information Science and Geography from Pitman, NJ (Gloucester County). James is a first-generation college student and has a passion for climate change. Has there been a club or group that made you feel like Rowan was home? My freshman year I played […]

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

One Great Thing About Living Away (Even During a Pandemic)

Sunset at Rowan with stark red sky against black silouette of buildings and trees.

“The atmosphere. Your mind is in the school mindset. It would be harder to do homework in your room, because at home your mind thinks you’re at home and resting. But being here you see the buildings, the professors, the students and you still think it’s school first and relax later,” says Jaylen Shanklin, a sophomore […]

4 Mathematics Education Majors Share Insight About Their Major

Backlit image of woman writing on a white board.

Today, we speak to four students pursuing masters’ degrees in STEM education about one thing they wish they knew about their major or something that was better than expected. 

Reese posing for a portrait photo.

“Teaching is a profession that requires passion. I warn future education majors to really make sure they are passionate about teaching and will love what they do. There are things we do not consider in the future before making the decision to be a teacher. For one, we do not have full control of what we teach and how we teach it. There are very specific restrictions and each school has different expectations.  You must have the ability to save money. The final year of your education will consist of you being a full time teacher without any compensation. It will be a lot of hard work but you will learn to appreciate it as time goes by,” says senior Reese Hart a Mathematics and Education major, transfer from Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ), from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County)

Tiffany posing for a selfie.

“The staff associated with my education degree have by far been the best, most personable, helpful and considerate people in all of my college career!” says first-generation college senior Tiffany Burke with a B.A. in Mathematics with an M.A. in Education and a minor in Psychology, transfer from Rowan College of Gloucester County (now RCSJ) from Buena, NJ (Cumberland County) 

Stephanie posing for a selfie.

“I love how open all the supervisors are with all of us graduates. They go out of their way to help us succeed and treat us all like a large family. If any questions or concerns are had they are answered immediately by the many supervisors in this field,” says senior Stephanie Gomez with a B.A. in Mathematics, working toward M.A. in STEM Education form Laurence Harbor, NJ (Middlesex County)

Michael posing with a trail sign while hiking.

“I would tell people starting this out to save up some money. You’ll need it come clinical year,” says senior Michael Garber Mathematics, transfer from Camden County College (now RCSJ) from Camden County, NJ

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Story by: Bianca Torres, Senior, Music Industry major

5 Geology Majors Share Their Short-Term Professional Goals

Kelsey and her friend talking about a fossil.

We spoke to five Geology majors about their short-term professional goals and plans.

A portrait photo of Kelsey.

“I am currently working on applying for summer internships. The internships I am looking into are research-based and field-based, but all revolve around Paleontology. I am set to graduate with my BA in Geology in the fall of 2021, and will be off to the graduate school I finally decide on in the fall of 2022.” – junior Kelsey Barker, a Geology major working toward a Certificate in Paleontology Foundations and transfer student from Rowan College of South Jersey (Gloucester Campus) from Hackettstown, NJ (Warren County)

Justin wearing a Jurassic Park t-shirt.

“In the short term, I would like to get into the Ph.D. program for Paleontology.” – junior Justin Vieira, a Geology major from Beachwood, NJ (Ocean County)

Mallory sitting and wearing a brown coat.

“I think this major at Rowan is really helpful in achieving my goals and will play such a huge role. We’re such a small major and we’re able to really be on good terms and close with all of our professors, which ends up leading us to great opportunities through their connections in the career field!” – first-generation college junior Mallory Osmun, a Geology major and transfer from Rowan College at Burlington County whose hometown is Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County)

A selfie of Cooper.

“My short-term goal is finishing my research project I’m doing for Rowan. I’m using mass spectrometry to figure out if 2 bone beds in Wyoming are the same. I’m looking at turtle, Hadrosaur, and Triceratops bones.” – sophomore Cooper Caputo, a Geology major with a concentration in Paleontology from Washington, DC

Zachary smiling and wearing tan outdoors gear.

“Currently, I’m only taking classes on Geology and, soon, Paleontology. Before the summer I plan on looking for internships that might help me. I am a member of the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society. I do have two family friends who are retired paleontologists whose advice I’ve taken.” – junior Zachary Armstrong, a Geology major with a concentration in Paleontology from Sewell, NJ (Gloucester County)

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

How to Adapt To Being Away From Home: Advice From Sophomore Jordan Perkins

Jordan poses outside.

Today’s story is written by sophomore Advertising major Jordan Perkins. Jordan is from Mount Olive, NJ (Morris County), and lives on campus at 114 Victoria Street. Jordan is a first-generation college student.

August is coming to an end and it hits you that you are moving away from home in just a couple of days. You are worried about all the possibilities, being alone, not knowing where to go and how to feel comfortable away from home. Although you may think you are the only one feeling this way, just know you aren’t because so is everyone else whether they say it or not! Below I will be listing 5 important tips to help you adjust to the college lifestyle and to help get rid of homesickness.

Jordan poses, sitting in front of a building.

Know Your Resources

It is important to learn and have an understanding of the resources around you. Rowan University offers a Wellness Center on campus where you can go online and easily make an appointment. If a student is dealing with any sort of mental health issues, Rowan has counselors on hand ready to talk to you when you need it. A library, computer rooms, study rooms, lounges, and tutoring are also available all year round to help you stay on top of your work.

Explore Campus

One easy way to become comfortable with where you are living is to understand and know everything around you. Taking a walk around campus, signing up for events, reaching out to your dorm neighbors, and connecting with your professors are great ways to help you feel more at home while being away. Rowan offers many clubs and activities all year around campus and either joining a club or attending activities allows you to personally connect with campus.

Jordan poses outside.


Stay On Top of Work

Getting into the hang of a study routine and making sure you lineup your responsibilities are very important.  Although there is the idea that college is all about going out, parties, and staying out all night, there are times you need to give that up to study for a test. Many students struggle with managing their time and finding the time in their day to sit down and complete homework but you should make a set schedule for when you need to do so. It is the student’s own responsibility to figure out what they need to prioritize. Finding a quiet place, such as the library, or setting up a homework group can help you a ton with adjusting to the college environment.

Take Care of Yourself

While making sure all your work is completed and handed in, it’s also important to make sure you make time to take care of yourself. Balance is very important when coming into college since stress and work can become overwhelming so take some time to sit back and recharge or even meet up with some friends. Rowan University has many sports games so on a Friday night if you need to get out of your same old boring room, maybe think about attending a football game with a group of people!

Jordan poses in front of a building.

Make Friends and Stay in Touch

Creating new friendships can be hard when you are pushed into an unknown setting. You are not sure how to find people, how to form a bond, or how to even come about starting a conversation. What helps the most is joining a club because you automatically meet new people right off the bat. Another way is knocking on your dorm neighbors’ door and getting to know them. Every freshman around you is feeling the same way about making friends so everyone you talk to will be more than happy to get your number, text you and hang out with you throughout the week. Creating these friendships helps keep your mind off the fact that you are far from home and away from the people you grew up with, and the relationships you form in college are super important and make campus feel like home. Remember to also keep in touch and update your friends and family back in your home town but keep in mind it’s best if you don’t make frequent trips home and stay on campus for one to two months straight before you decide to take a trip home.

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Story by:
Jordan Perkins, sophomore advertising major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Jazz Bass And Classical Cello Major Rafael Alvarez From Tampa, FL

Raphael standing playing bass.

Today we speak with first generation college student, Rafael Alvarez, who is a transfer from Raritan Valley Community College. Rafael is a senior double major in Jazz Bass performance and Classical Cello. He is originally from Tampa, FL. Why did you transfer to Rowan? There were just a lot of opportunities and my brother went […]

3 Mechanical Engineering Majors Share How Their Major Supports Their Professional Goals

Photo of someone writing on paper.

Today, we hear from three Mechanical Engineering majors on how their major is getting them ready for their professional goals.

Caroline drinking from a mug that says "engineer" and then provides the definition.

“I’d love for my career to improve the relationship between humanity and the planet, and have an impact on the way and efficiency with which we carry out our daily lives.” – Caroline Thistle, Senior, Mechanical Engineering major with an honors concentration, Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County)

Nicholas posing for a portrait photo of himself while wearing a suit.

“My major helps tremendously with what I want to go into after I graduate. I want to be an aerospace engineer. It has been a goal of mine for a few years now. Getting a degree in mechanical engineering will bring me closer to my goal since mechanical and aerospace engineering can go hand-in-hand.” – Nicholas Mastropolo, Senior, First-generation college student, Mechanical Engineering major with a minor in Mathematics, Transfer from RCSJ, Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County)

A portrait photo of Lia.

“My professional goal is to work at Stryker Corp. I have learned that one of my goals in life is for my work to have a positive impact on others. One way for a mechanical engineer to have a positive impact is through designing medical devices. And Stryker’s philosophies and goals completely align with my own.” – Lia Mahoney, Senior, Mechanical Engineering major, Pequannock, NJ (Morris County)

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior, music industry major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Future Chemistry Teacher Trevor Jones

Trevor outside.

Today we feature Trevor Jones, a senior first generation college student majoring in chemistry education. Trevor transferred his junior year and is from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County). He is a resident assistant at the Nexus apartments and is involved with various clubs such as rugby, Men of Color Alliance (MOCA) and Student Organization for Caribbean […]

11 Art Majors Share Artists Who Inspire Them

Studio art major's artwork.

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

Lotta Nieminen, submitted by Marysa Naiduk.
Lotta Nieminen

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

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

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

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

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

Maya Barton's art.
Maya Barton

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

Giovanna Eley's work.
Giovanna Eley

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

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

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

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

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

Meg Lemieur.
Meg Lemieur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Economics Majors Share What They Wish They Knew About Their Major

Economics major Sarah stands outside

“Economics is a social science which is focused on governments, individuals, companies, the environment, and every factor which affects each of these. Economics is not similar to a business or finance major and students will receive a broad education about the world rather than a specific education to prepare one to trade stocks or such.” […]

7 Biomedical Engineering Majors Share One Cool Thing About Their Major

Biomedical engineering student in the lab.

Application, research and … a games competition? Upperclassmen from Rowan’s Biomedical Engineering program share what they’ve discovered in their major.

Lauren sitting outside on campus.

“The coolest thing about Rowan’s biomedical engineering department is the annual BMES [Biomedical Engineering Society] Games Competition! This outdoor sports competition is hosted annually during the fall semester, and it gives students and professors the ability to bond outside of the classroom.” – Lauren Repmann, junior, Biomedical Engineering with a Chemistry minor, Laurence Harbor, NJ (Middlesex County)

AJ studying on his laptop in a study room.

“One cool thing about my major is that there are different tracks you can follow as a BME to help guide what upper-level BME classes to take. But at the same time, the Rowan BME department understands that everyone is different and has different goals. If none of those tracks lines up with what you what you’re looking to do as a career, the advising staff at Rowan is always flexible in helping you figure out what the right path is for you.” – AJ Pingol, senior, Biomedical Engineering major (Pre-Med), Sewell, NJ (Gloucester County)

Hannah posing for a selfie.

“All of the microbiology and how it interacts with medicines and implants. You tend to only think of things on the big scale, so I thought it was interesting to learn how things work on the cellular level. It has definitely made me more curious, and I have started reading how medications work on the cellular level every time I learn about a new one.” – Hannah Doyle, Biomedical Engineering major, senior, Seaford, Delaware

Gatha smiling for a picture while wearing a Rowan Proud shirt.

“Biomedical Engineering has so much to offer including applications in tissue engineering, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, pharmaceutical engineering and therapeutic delivery, orthopedic engineering, and bio mechanics.” – Gatha Adhikari, senior, Biomedical Engineering major, first-generation college student, Begnastal, Nepal

Brandon posing for a picture while wearing his Rowan University PROS shirt.

“One cool thing is that we normally have a very small graduating class. Since there are so few of us, the faculty and staff develop a great personal relationship with each and every student.” – Brandon Hickson, junior, Biomedical Engineering major, Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County)

Katie sitting on a bench with foliage in the background.

“One cool thing I’ve learned is how ears transduce sound. I was actually reading the wrong chapter in the textbook for a homework assignment and I was confused because we had been working on the muscular system and I wasn’t sure what hearing had to do with that but it was so interesting I finished the whole section. I definitely recommend doing some research about it because it is super complicated but really interesting.” – Katie Driscoll, junior, Biomedical Engineering major with minors in Chemistry, History, and Arabic and concentrations in Honors College and Global Health, Durango, Colorado

Danny posing with a friend in the rec center.

“That research can come from anyone, including undergrads.” – Danny Tepper (seen at left), senior, Biomedical Engineering major, transfer from Atlantic Cape Community College, Glassboro, NJ (Gloucester County)

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Brighter Days Ahead: What Rowan Students Are Looking Forward to with Longer Days

Tree branch covered with snow.

We ask Rowan students what they’re looking forward to after the Winter Solstice!

“I’m looking forward to my bedroom having natural light longer into the day as I find myself more productive with my curtains open and having the sun illuminate my room.” – Tommy Bell, senior, Music Industry major, Brigantine, NJ (Atlantic County)

Keianna taking a selfie.

“I look forward to spending my longer days working and getting in tune with myself. There will include many self-care days, which I highly recommend everyone do. I also plan on spending my days with family and friends that are close to me. This year has been a roller coaster but what I have learned was to appreciate and spend time with the people you love the most, tomorrow is not promised.” Keianna Williams, sophomore, Law & Justice & Political Science major, first-generation college student, Essex County, NJ

Ashley smiling and posing for a picture wearing a pink sweater.

“With longer days ahead, I am looking forward to having more sunlight. It not only means spring is slowly approaching, but it also symbolizes a new beginning and offers a strand of hope. As we gain a little bit of sun each day, surely the levels of productivity and positivity will also increase.” Ashley Chan, sophomore, Communication Studies major, West Windsor, NJ (Mercer County)

Sheridan smiling for a selfie.

“I am looking forward to longer days so I can be more productive and be outside more. Longer days means it is starting to be warmer out, which is my favorite time of the year. ” – Sheridan Kapuscinski, senior, Elementary Education and Liberal Studies dual major, Andover, NJ (Sussex County)

Angelica sitting on the giant chair on Rowans Bunce field while wearing a yellow shirt to match.

“What I’m looking forward to with longer days ahead is being able to take a break from school and relaxing with family and friends. This fall semester has been very difficult and stressful, even more so with the pandemic, so it’s nice to be able to take time for myself and focus on bettering my mental health. I’m excited for the holidays that are coming up and being able to spend quality time with my family. I’m looking forward to sleeping in and having my schedule open to doing anything I want.” – Angelica Petroche, sophomore, Advertising major with a Strategic Communication minor, Maplewood, NJ (Essex County)

“I look forward to being around family and friends who support me and push to succeed at my highest potential. ” – Keshawn Porter, sophomore, Law and Justice major with a Psychology minor, first generation college student, Newark, NJ (Essex County)

Teresa posing for a portrait shot outside the Engineering building.

“I’m looking forward to catching up on some sleep and spending more time with my family.” Teresa Sroczynski, sophomore, Civil Engineering, Bel Air, MD

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Shop Local? Shop Rowan Grad

Rowan Boulevard and the Glassblower statue.

Shop Rowan Grad this winter! Today we feature Rowan alumni who have started their own businesses. Wider Awake Alumna Courtney Stevenson graduated from Rowan in 2008 with a B.A. in Printmaking & Illustration. She and her husband Justin, also a Rowan alum, own a printmaking company called Wider Awake. https://www.widerawake.com/ | Instagram @widerawakeprint “I learned […]

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 

#PROFspective: Computing and Informatics Major Niyati Patel

Niyati standing outside.

Today we feature Niyati Patel, a junior Computing and Informatics major with a Computer Science minor and concentration in Data Analysis. Niyati is a first-generation college student from Burlington, NJ (Burlington County). She is also involved with Beta Alpha Psi honor society. What inspired you to choose your major? “I have an interest in technologies, […]

My First Semester as a Transfer: The Adjustment

Today we feature Stephanie Batista, a sophomore Music Industry major from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County). Stephanie is a first-generation college student who transferred from Ramapo College of New Jersey this semester. She is a digital content contributor for Rowan Blog and is passionate about photography. Why did you choose Rowan? I chose Rowan because […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Double Major International Student Elona Noka

Elena photographed outside campus wearing a blue blazer.

Today we feature first-generation college student Elona Noka from Albania studying Economics and Political Science. Elona is a senior who transferred from Tirana University in Albania. She is a part of Women in Business and Phi Sigma Pi. She currently commutes from Deptford, NJ (Gloucester County). What wakes you up in the morning? What wakes […]

5 Early Childhood Education Majors Share How Their Major Interests Them

College of Education student Cheyenne holds a pennant on campus.

Today, five Early Childhood Education majors tell us why their passion lies in teaching and why their major interests them!

Jordyn posing for a picture in front of a scenic waterfall.

“I’ve always wanted to major in special education. My cousin has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of ASD. I began working in a special services school district and realized how much I loved doing what I do. Once I fully made my commitment, I transferred to Rowan.” – Jordyn Briner, senior, Early Childhood Education major, Psychology minor, transfer from RCBC, Burlington Twp., NJ (Burlington County)

Cheyenne holding a Rowan flag outside on Rowan's campus.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I began working in a daycare center and felt like I was in the right place. It was then that I wanted to learn more about this field.” – Cheyenne Smith, senior, Early Childhood Education major with a Africana Studies and American Studies dual minor, transfer from Camden County College, Somerdale, NJ (Camden County)

Alicia posing for a selfie.

“I’ve always been interested in early childhood education!” – Alicia Bramble, junior, first-generation college student, Early Childhood Education major, transfer from Camden County College, Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County)

Tyra sitting on a yellow bench on Rowans campus.

“For my whole life, I have been surrounded by early childhood education from my mother. After babysitting and looking after my neighbors and friends, I fell in love with helping children learn.” – Tyra McCombs, sophomore, Early Childhood Education and Liberal Studies major, Swedesboro, NJ (Gloucester County)

Grace posing for a photo outside Robinson Hall.

“I have known I wanted to be a teacher since I was very little. I would always play ‘teacher’ in my basement and would write on the walls as if it was a classroom.” – Grace Badillo, senior, Early Childhood Education and Literacy Studies major, Orangeburg, NY (Rockland County)

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos not submitted by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

9 Elementary Education Majors Share What Excites Them About Their Major

Elementary education student poses outside on campus.

Just what excites Rowan’s Elementary Education majors about their program? Today, 9 majors from five counties reveal their answers for Rowan Blog. 

Sandra posing with her graduation cap that says "Ms.Dominguez".

“The thing that excites me the most about my 2 CUGS is being able to create a welcoming and supportive environment for my students. It makes me happy to know that I will be able to value their culture and language in a way that they might have not experienced before. I also enjoy teaching others about the value of emergent bilinguals and how to better support them in all types of settings.” – Sandra Dominguez, senior, Elementary Education major with dual majors in English & Writing Arts, CUGS in Bilingual Education and ESL, Transfer from RCBC, Willingboro, NJ (Burlington County)

TJ sitting on a bench outside on campus.

“What excites me most is being able to go back and teach in my hometown in Camden.” – TJ Jones, senior, Elementary Education and Liberal Studies Major and Writing Arts and American Studies minor, transfer from Camden County College, Camden, NJ (Camden County)

Sara sitting with her family on the steps of Bunce Hall.

“Being able to inspire others to reach their goals, just as I have. I am a first-generation student who was considered an “at risk” student. My parents were immigrants from Mexico who had no education and worked as field workers trying to survive and support their family of ten. I was an emergent bilingual learner and struggled with my academics and had no support at home. School was challenging for me, and I now know how to help other students who share the same background as I did. I want to support them in their journey in school and help them set high goals and achieve them.” – Sara Giron, senior, first-generation, transfer from Cumberland County College, Elementary Education and Literacy Studies major, Bilingual CUGS, Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County)

Tyler sitting outside Wilson Hall.

“Field Experience. There is nothing I love more than being in a classroom and working with students. It is a great change of scenery from a typical college class and I get to learn directly from my experiences.” – Tyler Davis, senior, First-generation, Elementary Education major with a minor in American Studies, Marlton, NJ (Burlington County)

Catherine posing for a picture on a boat dock.

“I love feeling like I have all of the knowledge to support and understand the people I am surrounded by. This CUGS program gives me the tools to actually be able to support future emergent bilingual students with real, substantial tools and suggestions instead of just basic “support” that doesn’t always help as much as it could be.” – Catherine Klinger, sophomore, Elementary Education and Literacy Studies major, Moorestown, NJ (Camden County)

Michael posing for a photo outside on campus.

“I’m excited to take courses pertaining to instruction, specifically, my choice of CUGS, which is ESL education. To gain the knowledge to teach ESL students excites me!” – Michael Keser, junior, first-generation, Elementary Education major, transfer from RCSJ at Cumberland Campus, Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County)

Cameron posing for a photo outside on campus.

“The idea of meeting both students and their families and being one of the biggest factors in the beginning stages of their lives. There are many challenges that are presented to kids during the course of their educational careers, but for some, it is more diverse and harder than others. Some have special needs and special experiences in which they can bring valuable perspective to the table. I was one of the kids. I have Auditory Processing Disorder, so I know the ins and outs of both the 504 and IEP experiences. I know where especially these kids are, and their challenges that both they and their parents may be still trying to explore together. I have been in their shoes, and I can easily relate to them and derive strategies that can work for everyone.” – Cameron Dubrow, senior, first-generation, transfer from Camden County College, Elementary Education and Writing Arts major from Voorhees, NJ (Camden County)

Ashley posing for a photo outside on campus.

“The incredible sense of community! I formed a Rowan family of preservice teachers once I completed my general education courses and moved into core classes. We’ve been able to lean on each other through coursework, Praxis test prep, and the student teaching process. Education is truly a major that will make you feel at home.” – Ashley Mosley, junior, Elementary Education and Literacy Studies (Salem County)

Cait posing for a photo at the Sugar Factory restaurant.

“I’m most excited about being able to teach and also helping kids grow.” – Cait Braun, Sophomore, Elementary Inclusive Education with a minor in Psychology, Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County)

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography, if not provided, taken by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major