Q&A With Master in Teaching Graduate Student On Her Studies & Student Teaching

Madelynn smiles at the camera.

Today we feature Master in Teaching graduate student Madelyn Olszewski from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County) who recently completed her studies. Madelyn pursued her master’s degree immediately following her undergraduate studies. What’s been the defining points of your academic career here, anything at all that stands out to you in particular? Well, my academics, like […]

Discovering My Passion: Taking A New Class Changed My College Experience

Two students playing the piano.

Alaina Lieze, a junior music and advertising double major from Swedesboro, NJ (Gloucester County) shares this first-person perspective on how joining Rowan Choir helped her rediscover her passion for music, improve her academic performance and feel a sense of belonging on campus.

As a freshman transfer student at Rowan University, I was initially unsure about how to get involved on campus. With so many clubs and activities available, I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. However, I decided to take a chance and join the music program. Rowan Concert Choir is open to all majors and is a one-credit course that helps to satisfy the Rowan Core educational requirements for artistic literacy. Many students choose to take Concert Choir three times, so that they earn three credits to finish the Rowan Core requirement – and without any textbooks or tests!

Although I was nervous about auditioning for the choir, I was quickly put at ease by the welcoming and supportive members. Through my participation in the Rowan Choirs, I rediscovered my love for making music. I had enjoyed singing in various choirs in the past, but this experience was different. The choir explored various genres of music and performed pieces with social justice themes, such as songs related to The Black Lives Matter Movement and African American spirituals. Singing with this group allowed me to see the world in a new way, and I was grateful to have found a community of people who shared my passion.

The Rowan University Concert Choir and University Chorus rehearsing in Pfleeger Concert Hall.

Joining the choir also helped me feel a sense of belonging on campus. As a commuter student, it was easy to feel disconnected from the university community. It was also difficult to join a college community a semester late as a transfer student. However, being a part of the Concert Choir gave me a reason to come to campus on weekends and meet new people.

But, the benefits of joining a new ensemble didn’t stop there. As I became more involved in the choir, I noticed improvements in my academic performance. I was more motivated to attend class and complete assignments because I had something to look forward to outside of my coursework.

Pictured: The Rowan University Concert Choir Singing in their final performance of the spring 2023 semester.

Looking back on my college experience so far, joining the Rowan Concert Choir was one of the best decisions I ever made. It allowed me to discover my passion, make meaningful connections, and develop important skills that will serve me well in my future career.

If you’re a current or future college student, I encourage you to take a chance and join a club or activity that interests you. It could be photography, dance, politics, or anything in between. College is the perfect time to explore your interests and find your passion, and joining a club is a great way to start.

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Written by: Alaina Lieze, junior music and advertising double major

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

PRIDE: One Man Finds His Sense of Identity Through the Rowan Community

Kayden crouches next to a large tree.

Today, we feature Kayden Heinz (he/his), a rising junior Writing Arts major. We strive to amplify all student voices, all year-round. To be featured, please contact rowanblog [at] rowan.edu. 

Kayden discusses how Rowan has helped him to find his new sense of identity and community amongst those on campus. He also goes into how we as a campus community could break the current stigmas as well as improve class dynamics here at Rowan University for the LGBTQ+ community to make sure all students who identify as any pronoun, gender or orientation feel welcome and inclusive. 

Tell me how does Pride represent you and your story?

I’m transgender who identifies as a man. So I’ve related and connected with a lot of trans masculine men, especially because I know a lot of the people who I know personally have kind of questioned themselves as far as their sexual orientation as well, to which I relate back to the most in the reflection of my own journey. So that intersected with my question on which gender I preferred to date as well. There’s the transgender and bisexual experience that a lot of people with the same way of identifying all have in common. There are some differences, but at the end of the day Pride and what it stands for and the history behind that word of Pride that all makes us all as a community stand together and relate to each other.

Within some households, some of their children grow up in certain environments to which they are molded to not accept an another way of lifestyle that is out of the norm from what certain parents teaches us. Could you explain to me how the emotional process you experienced within yourself and your environment during the time of when you were still trying to identify who you truly were?  

For me it was very hard to come to terms with my sexuality because on both sides of my family I was the first granddaughter, so my femininity and birth was celebrated. For example whenever I showed up to family gatherings, my family would be like “Oh finally, the girl is here!” So on my end, I was going against what I knew my family was expecting and wanting out of me and just figuring it out. I kind of felt placed into a box, where even when I was still identifying as she/her I personally felt like I did not fit into that box. I was always kind of tomboyish, so I always felt like no matter what I was never what they were expecting.

A portrait of Kayden as he stands in front of a brick wall.

Do you personally feel like the best acceptance is self acceptance and the acceptance within your community? Or having the the acceptance of those around you in your community but also close loved ones? 

I feel like because that box [of gender] was established, stepping out of it almost made me feel like I would be a disappointment to those people closest to me. I felt like I was almost leaving behind who they thought I was due to the fact that was the number one characteristic that they knew about me was my sex and almost stepping out of that was just kind of where I questioned to myself: where do I go from there? As someone who has just recently come out, I’ve learnt to basically take everything one step at a time and I’m not trying to push myself to do everything all at once, and carry out my journey by taking baby steps when it comes to my new sexuality and I genuinely wanna protect my mental health and that’s my main priority as of right now. I think it’s really important to find your community that will support you, because you could only accept and love yourself so much if everyone around you is telling you who you are is wrong. Most queer youth grow up in communities that are telling them that they are wrong, and their sexuality or gender is taboo. So I stress the importance of finding that community who supports you as you go through the tough times of not only figuring out who you are, but also what you are.

Kayden sits on a couch with his reflection showing in a mirror.

What are a few stigmas within your community that you want to share a message about, on campus or within society today?

Transmen could be feminine, and transwomen could be masculine. Makeup and dresses does not make or break what your gender is; it’s what you feel on the inside and not how you present yourself and if you’re not able to present yourself in the way that you want to quite yet then that’s completely okay. There are many resources on campus, but the most important thing is to always have a sense of safety when it comes to disclosing your identity as well, especially if you know if you are in an environment where you know it’s not safe to come out.

How do you personally feel about the LGBTQ+ community here on campus, and do you feel as though you are being seen and heard across all departments here on campus? If not how could they personally do more to make all feel welcomed and accepted?

Before I was a Writing Arts major, I used to be another major in a STEM field. So being able to experience both class dynamics between both majors, I couldn’t help but to notice the difference between the approaches when it comes to the discussions about the LGBTQ+ community. In the classes I previously took, I noticed less of a range of discussion on the topic at hand – it was more of a binary male versus female, to where I found in the writing classes it’s more of a welcoming approach of them genuinely wanting to learn more of what do you identify as, pronouns, and preferred name – which to me is showcasing on how they could make you feel comfortable and heard. There are many clubs and organizations like PRISM, that you could join as well as events being hosted where you could find others within the community. There are also very supporting resources on campus as well like the Wellness Center, for an example for those who identify as transgender there is a group therapy program as well as a therapist who directly works with the group for those who prefer more of a one-on-one session.

Kayden sits for a portrait.

Describe to me your first year experience on campus as a transgender man compared to now – what were your challenges and setbacks and what were the moments in which you thrived. 

When I first started here at Rowan University, I identified myself with a different name and was previously using they/them pronouns and was living as more of non-binary person. I was very overwhelmed with college after doing online school for two years due to the pandemic. I had a bunch of things lined up for myself like working a part time job. Also, at the time, I signed up for the transgender group therapy here at Rowan, to which I personally found to be really helpful because Rowan offered a space for me to really express on how I was truly feeling about my gender that I did not feel necessarily comfortable talking about with who I was living with and also due to the fact that I sort of distanced myself from my previous friend group. So I felt the strong need to find that community that I knew would support me.

If you could give any advice to a student now or any incoming first year student who is currently figuring out their identity of who they are, what would it be and why? 

As much as the thought of this could be absolutely terrifying, you have to start firstly by attending events on campus or even within the Glassboro community. Social media also plays a big part as well, with people speaking about their own experiences. That’s where I personally figured out when I was transgender due to self-questioning my own identity and why I was feeling that way about myself. I also did my own research to help me to finally place a label on why I felt how I felt or questioning who I truly was. As someone who suffers from social anxiety, I kind of felt comfortable seeing other people’s authentic life’s through themselves before I could do the same for me as well. I strongly suggest taking baby steps, before you fully could be loud and proud with your identity for yourself personally as well on campus.

Kayden stands cross armed leaning against a tree.

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Story by: Tatiana Retamar, rising senior journalism major 
Photos by: Valentina Giannattasio, rising junior dance and marketing double major

Compassion Outside the Classroom

Dramatic sunrise at Rowan University.

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

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

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

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

My stepmother was diagnosed with kidney cancer and everything changed.

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

Purple flowers in bloom on campus.

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

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

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

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

Top 14 Must-Have Dorm Essentials for Rowan University First-Year Students: A Parent’s Guide to Starting Strong

As the last beach breezes begin to blow, college move-in creeps up closer and closer. Many students are returning to their own stomping grounds here at Rowan University. However, much of the student body comprises first-year students heading into the unknown as they begin their higher education careers. Outside of books and other stationery, there […]

What Lies Ahead?

Alexa sitting outside of Wilson Hall.

Belle, M. A., Antwi, C. O., Ntim, S. Y., Affum-Osei, E., & Ren, J. (2022). Am I Gonna Get a Job? Graduating Students’ Psychological Capital, Coping Styles, and Employment Anxiety. Journal of Career Development, 49(5), 1122–1136. https://doi.org/10.1177/08948453211020124 Story by:Alexa Delgado, Law & Justice Studies major Edited by: Jordyn Dauter, junior dance & elementary education double […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by Connor Bicknell, senior communication studies major

Building a Future: Kate Karwowski on Rowan’s Construction Management Program [VIDEO]

Kate stands in her work uniform in front of the sign for Churchill Construction Engineers

Kate Karwowski is a graduate student in the construction management program. She is currently working with Churchill Construction Engineers, where she helps supervise construction projects, works with inspectors to ensure they have all the proper equipment and staff, and helps see each project through from inception to completion. She had previously graduated from Rowan in […]

The Life of a Full-Time Student Army National Guard Service Member

Three military students walking and talking outside the Business Hall.

Nicholas Wright, a rising junior advertising major from Mercer County, NJ shares this first-person perspective on his life as a full-time student who is in the Army National Guard.

My name is Nicholas Wright and I am a full time student here at Rowan University. While being a full time student I am also In the Army National Guard. While balancing both can be hard at times you quickly learn to balance your workload and make time for yourself as well. I have been in the National Guard for three years now and as soon as I got done training I enrolled into Rowan.

This transition was easy and probably the best thing I have ever done. I have saved so much money with the Tuition Aid Grant, which is a grant all National Guard service members get here at Rowan for 100% free tuition. This has saved me so much money and the Military Services office here makes everything so much easier. Although I do have to leave from time to time to do my National Guard duties, my professors are very understanding and support my work.

Two military students sitting outside the Business hall talking to each other.

My typical drill week while being a full time student consists of 4 days of class and typically 3-4 drill days. During class days they are both online and in person. In between classes I like to go to the gym, hang out with my friends, and get on top of my studies.

Drill weeks are usually once a month and one of my busier weeks because I like to try and get ahead of my work and finish before I leave for drill. If I can’t get my work done during these weeks my professors are always understanding and give me time to make up assignments when I come back. A drill weekend starts on a Thursday or Friday depending on the month. The day before is prep day. Prep day consists of gear layout, packing, looking at the timeline for the weekend and re-checking my packing. The day of drill is a 3 am wake up, breakfast, a Wawa stop, and about an hour drive to our armory for first formation. From there we will get our gear and weapons and get transported over to Fort Dix. There we do anything from team, squad, or company training. This training can be learning new weapon systems, battle drills and tactics, or going to the range for target practice. I have been a 240 gunner on our plattoons weapon squad for all three years and I love it. I am in the infantry and I have had the opportunity to work with medics, combat engineers, and other MOS’s in our military.

Two military students walking outside with their black backpacks.

Being in the military wasn’t my first choice but it is by far my best. I couldn’t imagine where I would be if I hadn’t gone this route. Not only am I getting my degree for free, going to school close to home, and learning new traits, I have also made so many connections to help set up my future for my dream occupation. I honestly recommend this route for anyone who either doesn’t know what they want to do after college or wants to get a head start on their future.

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Written by: Nicholas Wright, a rising junior advertising major
Story edited by: Valentina Giannattasio, junior dance and marketing double major

Dance & Elementary Education Major Gets Ahead Through Summer Classes

Dramatic lighting on Jordyn's back during a performance.

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

Making the Most of Student Leadership: Admissions Ambassador, President of National Honor Fraternity, and Student Government Association Member Reflects

Mark wears his graduation gown for a close up portrait.

What is your favorite part of the program? My favorite part of the program is the connections that I have made with people. I have made some of my best friends, but also so many connections with the professional staff at Rowan. I know so many people on this campus, and a lot of it […]

How Autism PATH Program & College Compass Supported One Student’s Transition to College

Julie sits in front of Science Hall with yellow flowers in front of her.

Why did you choose Rowan University to study for your undergraduate degree? The two main reasons why I chose Rowan were that the engineering program seemed very good, but the biggest reason was Rowan’s support. They have an accessibility office on campus, and everyone in that office genuinely cares about the students and was very […]

Meet Some of Rowan’s New Transfer Profs

Pink sunset above the iconic roof of Bunce Hall.

Today we’re excited to feature more incoming transfer Rowan Profs. Ella Haulenbeek will transfer from Rowan College at Burlington County; Tanisha Sharma will transfer in from Stockton University; and Leah DeLuca is joining us from Camden County College. 

Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward to at Rowan University? (Personally, academically, anything!)

Ella Haulenbeek: I’m looking forward to making long lasting friendships and becoming more immersed in my psychology career!

Tanisha Sharma: I am looking forward to seeing what classes I would take, what research I could join and where I could find leadership opportunities.

Leah DeLuca: I am looking forward to meeting and collaborating with other education majors.

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

Ella Haulenbeek: I’m hoping to continue my choir experience after not having participated in it since high school.

Leah DeLuca: I am involved in [honor society] Kappa Delta Pi at Camden County College and would like to continue my work with Rowan’s Kappa Delta Pi.

Lea DeLuca with her family on a dock.
Welcome to Rowan, Leah!

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? Learn a language? Be a part of?

Tanisha Sharma: I would love to further explore my leadership skills, along with my perseverance. The latter because my desired path requires a lot of work and consistency therefore, my academics will greatly test the amount of perseverance that I contain.

Please share an interest, hobby or like that you have! (Gaming, cartoons, your pets, music, painting, working out, etc.)

Ella Haulenbeek: I love gaming, makeup, and shopping!

Tanisha Sharma:  I love listening to music, especially while driving or cleaning.

Leah DeLuca: I enjoy traveling with my husband, kids and Irish doodle pup! We have set out to see every lighthouse along the Eastern Seaboard.

A selfie of Tanisha Sharma next to a body of water.
Welcome to Rowan, Tanisha!

What major are you pursuing and why?

Ella Haulenbeek: I’m pursuing a psychology major so I can provide therapy and counseling services to those who need it.

Tanisha Sharma: I am pursing biochemistry. I am pursuing this because I intent to apply to a medical school (hopefully Cooper Medical School) after my undergraduate and this major will take care of all of my academic prerequisites.

Leah DeLuca: Health and physical education. All children can find joy in healthy and active lifestyles regardless of physical ability. I want to help children find that joy and encourage them to try new activities.

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

Ella Haulenbeek: Don’t feel pressured to go somewhere based off of the opinions of others, go somewhere that’ll make you happy.

Tanisha Sharma: I would recommend to them to see which school best suits their needs regarding housing or being a commuter or regarding the professional field in which they would like to pursue a career.

Leah DeLuca: Transferring from a community college to Rowan was an easy process.

Where are you going to live this upcoming year?

Ella Haulenbeek: On campus

Tanisha Sharma: Not sure

Leah DeLuca: Commute from home

Ella Haulenbeek after graduating.
Welcome to Rowan, Ella!

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked, that encouraged you to commit?

Ella Haulenbeek: My brother went to Rowan and he was treated very well, it seems like a welcoming environment!

Tanisha Sharma: The thing that attracted me to Rowan was its concentration in the medical field. The research that Rowan conducts is huge attraction for me as I would like to pursue plenty of hours in research.

Leah DeLuca: Proximity to my home.

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Story by:

Thomas Ubelhoer, rising junior political science and international studies double major 

Student Athlete Shares Advice on Balance and Planning

Stock image of close up of a runner's feet and hands on the track ready to run.

Marquise Young, a rising senior advertising major from Camden, NJ (Camden County) shares some tips about being a student athlete.

For about 90% of my life I’ve been in school in some kind of way and playing some kind of sports whether it’s for my school or for a club team. I’ve also been told since I was young that “you are a student-athlete” basically meaning that school comes first and my sports secondary, which makes sense because sports don’t last forever and there is a higher chance that a person will get a job for what they are studying in college compared to the low percentage of people that make it to the pro level. But in reality being a student athlete isn’t easy, especially in college! Being a student athlete in college is a big task. You have no choice but to make sure you maintain school and the sport that you are playing … It’s what you signed up for.

To use myself as an example I’ve played a lot of sports growing up from basketball, football, wrestling and track and field. But the sport that I decided to pursue at the college level is track and field. A lot of people may look at track and field and think or assume that it’s not hard or not a lot to have on your plate but in reality as a full time student it can be a lot to handle at times, but me being an experienced student athlete I’m going to give some tips on how I balance being a student athlete and student.

Image of Marquise Young running the 110 hurdles.
Marquise finishes his jump (pink sneakers).

As a student athlete, balancing my academic responsibilities with my athletic commitments can be a difficult task to juggle. However with the right mindset, dedication and approach I’ve been able to manage both for about 5 years now.

First and foremost, time management is key. I’ve learned so many different ways to manage my time throughout different experiences. What I do is try to do my homework weeks ahead of time, which gives me a lot of breathing space for me to either relax or prepare for track practice or even take care of my body by going to the trainers. I also try to visualize my schedule and the amount of time I have to do things which allows me to prepare for the week.

Communication is another important aspect of balancing my roles as a student athlete. I communicate regularly with my coaches and professors to ensure that I am meeting all of my obligations and not falling behind in either area. If I know that I will be missing a class or need to turn in an assignment late due to a track meet or practice, I make sure to let my professor know ahead of time and make arrangements to catch up on any missed work, and to let them know I’m going to be away for a track meet.

Group of students running.

In addition to managing my time and communicating effectively, I prioritize self-care. Being a student athlete can be physically and mentally demanding, so it’s important to take care of myself both on and off the track. This means getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and taking breaks when needed. I also try to find a support system, whether it’s friends, family, or my coach to help manage the stress that comes with being a student athlete.

Lastly, I try to maintain a positive attitude and stay focused on my goals. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged when trying to balance so many responsibilities, but I remind myself why I am doing what I am doing. I also tell myself that I know my dad would want me to stick with my sports and education.

In conclusion, being a student athlete requires a lot of dedication and hard work, but with proper time management, communication, self-care, and a positive attitude, it is possible to balance both roles successfully. It takes discipline and perseverance, but the rewards are well worth it.

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Feature image courtesy of StockSnap on Pixabay

Past Student Government President’s Mom Shares Insight on Transitioning to Parenting a College Student

Paige and her mom walking down Rowan Boulevard.

Today we hear from Lori Bathurst, a Rowan mom from Gloucester County, NJ. Lori’s daughter Paige will enter her senior year this fall as a supply chain and logistics major through the Rohrer College of Business, and holds the distinction of being a past president of Student Government Association (SGA). 

As an experienced Rowan parent, Lori shares her thoughts and insight to help new Rowan University parents as they navigate the transition from parenting a child at home to parenting a young adult embarking on their college experience. 

Paige sits formally on a rock ledge with pink flowers around her.
Paige, as a pre-first year student, visiting campus.

What are some first year essentials parents should know about what to bring, if their student is living on campus?

As a result of the pandemic, Paige moved on to campus as a sophomore and lived in an apartment her first year. Some items she utilized that were helpful was a foam mattress topper to help make her bed extra comfortable, along with a variety of pillows since dorm beds are beds and sofas depending on the time of the day. I think clever storage containers to help stay organized are extremely helpful. A drying rack for extra space for towels was something she needed once she was used to living on campus. Ikea was a great place for shopping. Target and Amazon were both very useful. If a student is staying in an apartment, it would be wise to start with basic kitchen items before shopping, instead of shopping as if the students will be cooking gourmet meals. Once they are settled in their apartment, they’ll discover if they need additional kitchen items depending on how much they actually cook.

How involved were you in facilitating a relationship between your student and their roommate, if at all? How involved were you in the decorating process?

I was not involved in facilitating identifying a roommate or determining a decorating process. That’s best left to the Rowan student as they discover themself.

Paige and her mom stand on Rowan Blvd.

How did you adjust to an ’empty nest’? How did you manage the emotions of drop off/move in?

Paige has younger twin brothers so we didn’t have to adjust to an ’empty nest’. Rowan was the perfect fit for Paige because she is close to her brothers and us, along with our extended family who all live in Gloucester County. She was able to live on campus and do her college thing, while connecting with her family when there was a special occasion or holiday. Her brothers were freshmen when she was a senior in high school so they experienced Spring 2020 together. She supported them through their high school careers and always made it a point to attend a marching band competition, fall play or spring musical performance, or tennis match at some point during the year to cheer them on like they had cheered her on during high school. As Paige’s parents, we are grateful that Rowan allows her to explore so many different avenues while still being able to easily connect with home when she was able. We also loved that we could attend events on campus when asked because she was nearby.

What is your stance on home visits? Do you limit them, to nudge your student toward making the most of the on campus experience?

We didn’t need to limit them because Paige wasn’t interest in staying at our house for entire weekends when she moved onto campus. She makes the most of her on campus experience by getting involved in a variety of activities so her schedule is always pretty filled outside of her class meetings. I think if my child was leaning toward coming home for entire weekends frequently in the beginning, I would encourage my child to try to commit to staying on campus during the weekends. The way I would do this would be to support them in finding out which activities are sponsored for the weekend. The first way a parent can do this is by encouraging them to check out Rowan After Hours (RAH) which sponsors activities at the Student Center on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 pm-1 am. The activities are student-centered, change daily, and are designed to be no pressure and fun. Your student could invite another student they met in a class, in their dorm, or in a club to go to a RAH event and see how they like it. There are also special events at Wilson Hall, plenty of athletic programs, the Recreation Center, and annual events like Homecoming and Hollybash. These are all good reasons to stay on campus more often during the school year. There are so many ways to get involved and make connections. If a student goes home too often, they might not get to fully experience these events, which will really help them balance their challenging coursework with a the reward of developing relationships with others and getting involved with their community.

Paige stands confidently with her arm on the rail behind Business Hall.

How did you support your student through homesickness?

Our family lives close enough to campus that it was probably hard to imagine our student feeling “homesick.” If that did happen, however, I would probably use some of the following strategies – send encouraging texts at different times during the day, have a set time or times to check in during the week with different formats – maybe a phone call, FaceTime, or Zoom. I would do this a couple times a week if needed, but I would work with my student to set a schedule ahead of time that meets his or her needs. It would be beneficial to not be having check-ins every day, but instead to help them be able to stretch them out. Maybe once a day, if they are struggling at first, and then move to every other day, then to every three days , and so on to help them become more independent. If they are living on Rowan’s campus, approaching their Community Assistant would be a great step because the Community Assistant can share some strategies for coping with homesickness and share some activity ideas to help them get more involved and feel more connected with campus activities. There are a lot of volunteer opportunities on campus and that’s always a great way to meet new people and to do something that helps you feel good and stay busy resulting in less homesickness.

How did you support your student through illness and/or mental health needs?

Teach your child that the Health Center and Counseling Center are their resources that are there to help them. When they are ill, they can visit the Health Center before urgent care or the emergency room depending on the severity of their illness and the hour of the day. The counseling center provides a variety of services and the counselors are interacting with many other students who are experiencing similar challenges. The counselors are specially trained to help them. Students should follow their gut, and reach out for help when that’s needed – to a friend, professor, community assistant, doctor at the health center or counselor at the counseling center, etc. Let them know that you will always be there to support them and that you always hope for open, transparent communication so they don’t have to be afraid of letting you know if they are struggling. Make sure they know about the 988 Crisis & Suicide Hotline that operates nationally. Additionally, there is a pet therapy facility on campus. There are spirituality and religious services available on campus. There are multiple religious affiliations in Glassboro and surrounding towns eager to support Rowan students. No matter the physical illness or mental health need, there are services available. Always reach out when help is needed.

An over the shoulder shot of Paige and her mom.

How do you balance fostering independence vs. safety concerns – aka, do you require check-ins with parents? What’s your stance on Life360?

We don’t have Life360 on our phones. We can track through our phones to see where a phone is, but we recognize it’s possible for young people to disable that feature. We have talked to our daughter via text, phone, or FaceTime a couple times a week throughout her time at Rowan. She also attends special events with us because we live so near to the campus. I personally think it’s healthy to give more freedom and independence to our young people. Thinking back to when we were kids, our parents couldn’t track us, check our grades online, etc. They trusted us to be responsible and tell the truth. For the most part, young people do that. It’s natural that they might be leaving “a small part” out of the story as they grow and mature. Parents know their students best and should follow the students lead to a certain degree. Determine where the happy place is for your relationship between safety and independence. Have the conversations early and often and make sure you are on the same page. Regular, clear communication early and often can help prevent a feeling of being caught off guard later on.

How do you approach spending money – is your student 100% on their own for ‘fun money’? Did you nudge your student to get a job locally or on campus? Did you prepare your student for budgeting?

Our student has a job on campus for spending money. That money is her budget to use for things that she wants or thinks she needs. She has worked really hard obtaining scholarships and works as a community assistant to cover her room and board. My husband and I gave her a car, pay for its insurance, and maintenance. We pay for medical insurance and cover all medical costs. We help toward the cost of travel, some purchases, and some things that are unexpected. When she is with us meals are covered, tickets to events, etc. If she is going out with friends to events, she typically covers those costs herself. Occasionally, I look over her spending to make sure it’s reasonable. She has a savings account and an account for her bank card. It’s good to obtain a credit card in the latter half of college to begin to establish credit.

Paige sits on Bunce Hall's marble steps.

What is your stance on grades – do you ask your student to show you their grades, or do you log into their Canvas yourself for updates? Why does your approach work for you?

We verbally check in with our student about grades a couple times a semester. She usually shows her grades to us after semesters, but we haven’t always been formal about that step. We have never logged onto Canvas ourselves to check her grades. Again, when I was a student at Rowan, our grades came in the mail. I would open the envelope and share my grades with my parents because I was proud of my hard work not because I had to. My parents gave me a thousand dollars toward college, but other than that I paid for my college education by working throughout the four years and choosing to commute. I never could have done it by myself if my parents didn’t allow me to live at home rent free and help me out if I had an emergency with an unexpected cost. Our goal for our children is that they will do the right thing due to their internal motivation, not fully as a result of their external motivation centered on me.

What conversations did you have around safety and socializing before your student started college?

We have talked about our hopes and expectations surrounding drugs and alcohol. We discuss sexual relationships and safety on campus. Sadly, gun violence prevention and response is a conversation that parents have to have with their young person. Students should review the safety resources with their community assistants and ask additional questions when they have them. Parents can sign up for a texting service to let you know if a safety or security concern has occurred on campus. Mental health discussions should also be part of the conversations you have this summer before arriving on campus. If your child responds that they are fine and don’t need the information when you bring it up this summer, tell them it’s okay, you still want to talk because it might be something they remember in the future when they need some help and might be a conversation they can refer back to when they are trying to help another person.

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Veterinary Innovation Gives Fortunato the Goat a New Lease on Life [VIDEO]

Fortunato on a work table getting measurements done with a student and vet tech with a Studio 231 sign in the background.

An interdisciplinary, collaborative space, Studio 231 within the School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship helps to bring the best ideas to life – including, this time, giving a new lease on life to a baby goat who was unable to walk.

The story of Fortunato the goat highlights the ingenuity – not to mention the impact – of leveraging this student-led and student-run experiential learning lab and makerspace within the Rowan community. A hub for collaboration, ideation, rapid prototyping and research, the newly created Schreiber School of Veterinary Medicine partnered with Studio 231 to create working legs for this Nigerian Dwarf goat with septic arthritis in his hind feet, which caused him to lose the feet. 

Dr. Matthew Edson, founding dean of the veterinary school, had previously toured Studio 231 and knew that this resource would be valuable for their work, opening up the possibility of printing 3D models for the vet school.

Fortunato’s owners were told he should be euthanized. Dr. Edson had a different recommendation. 

With an email entitled “Goat Legs” Dr. Edson reached out to the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering, asking to partner with Studio 231 to create new working legs for Fortunato. That email found its way to Addison Deckert, a sophomore mechanical engineer major from Gannett Park, MD, and Vincent Gallo, a junior mechanical engineering major from Cinnaminson, NJ, who then worked on the project. 

Fortunato getting measurements with vet tech and Addison done.

Even with a team put together and the drive to create a perfect model, a series of obstacles remained in the way. How would they build legs that would expand as Fortunato grew? How could Addison and Vincent, who rarely worked the same shifts, best collaborate? Which approach, which idea, was the right one to pursue?

The emotional attachment to Fortunato, the intensity of working toward saving a life, and working with a deadline certainly brought out the best in all involved. Several questions needed to be answered for success to be achieved. Vincent shed some light on some of them, “What should we keep in mind? What part of the leg should we try and stay away from? So that’s not like a big pressure point when the goat is walking; how much support does it really need?”

The shape of Fortunato’s body created an interesting challenge that needed to be addressed. Addison revealed, “One of the hardest things we had with designing was figuring out how to keep the boot on because sometimes just like a friction fit and wrapping it real tight isn’t the best solution. And he actually has a tendon running along the upper part of his leg, so we couldn’t attach anything to it. So we went through a lot of different designs.”

Another element of the challenge the project posed was what materials could and could not be used, as they had to be animal friendly. After looking at several different options that combine plastic and 3D printing materials, they opted for TPU, a material that would hold up in the sun, in water, and still remain comfortable for Fortunato. 

After switching the material for the laces to a thinner material, Fortunato was ready to test out the design. Because his leg hindered him from going outside, he was hesitant to touch the world outside, but on a beautiful day, dreams came true. Fortunato came to life running around and hopping on his new prosthetic – the design worked.

The joy for the team was moving, even though Vincent missed the moment due to having to take a test; Addison had this to say about the moment, “Actually being able to see a prototype that I made on Fortunato and working and actually giving him something he didn’t have before is indescribable.” The collaboration not only saved a life but opened the door on saving more down the line. Both students and the rest of the team were showered with praise from the new dean, “We couldn’t be happier with the whole team that worked on this. We came in the first day to a back of a goat’s leg drawn on the board. They had researched the anatomy. They had already come up with a couple of different models that they planned to use. They were really well prepared, but I think they were also able to be creative and entrepreneurial in their approach and adjust to the challenges and come up with a really nice finished project.”

Addison taking notes.

In terms of what comes next, different answers were given. The success of creating a prosthetic certainly opens up opportunities for students to work with the new school, Dean Edson says, “This is the sort of project that we want to do. We want to think outside of the box, involve other departments, other agencies, and all come together to solve problems like this for the betterment of both animal health and human health. And again, this was a perfect example of how we want to do that.”

This project certainly captured the mind of Addison and what she thought was possible, even expressing an interest in working ducks for similar projects in the future. Accomplishing the ability to help aid an animal to walk extends the reality of what is deemed achievable and with students such as Vincent and Addison leading the way in innovation, no project is too big to dream about at Rowan. 

None of this would have been possible without not only Dean Edson, Vincent and Addison but several professors, faculty, and others who helped guide the project along. Working as a team to achieve a goal for something greater than an individual’s ambition helps kindle the wonder in students. This is summed up through Addison, ““It was really amazing and it makes me really want to do engineering because sometimes you doubt it after doing 15 hours of homework and three all-nighters and failing a test and all those types of things, it really makes you doubt. But do I want to actually design something new and build something that actually helps people? Yes. I think Rowan’s really trying to push that mindset.”

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Story by:

Thomas Ubelhoer, sophomore political science and international studies double major 

From Seeds to 75 Pounds of Donated Produce to the On Campus Food Pantry, Introducing the Community Garden

Mariana the garden chair stands with two volunteers.

When you see a garden bursting with beautiful flowers and fresh produce, many stand to admire and indulge in the product. However, while eating these foods, commonly you don’t see the face that nourished these plants before they came into your possession. Mariana Cardenas is one of the faces behind the seeds. A master’s student […]

Master In Public Policy: What Students Can Expect and Look Forward To

Professor Zundl listening to a student.

Rowan University recently launched a new Master in Public Policy program. Professor Elaine Zundl is one of the professors involved in creating the program and shares with us what students can expect. 

How did you become involved with the creation of this program?

My colleagues, including Dr. Lawrence Markowitz, Dr. Katharine Javian, and Dr. Danielle Gougon, worked on the program before I arrived on the scene, spending, probably, two years, maybe more, putting together the curriculum. I think there were many other people at Rowan who supported the development of this program and realized that this was a degree we needed but didn’t have. It’s an innovative program because it is relevant for students who are in environmental science or engineering or other social science majors like sociology. The program is useful to anyone who’s interested in how their work in another discipline can be important for influencing policy development and government stakeholders. Public policy crosses a lot of different domains. That’s the reasoning behind the program.

Faculty from political science, economics, and public policy, as well as members of the New Jersey public policy community lead the courses and discussions. 

Professor Zundl laughing at something said in class.
Professor Zundl leads discussion in a Master in Public Policy course.

What goals should students set for themselves coming into this program?

Prospective students should have a sense of the policy area on which they would like to focus. They may change their mind over the course of the program but a strong interest in policy and policymaking is key.

When thinking about using a political science degree, many people jump immediately to the idea of law school. What alternative career paths does a Master in Public Policy (MPP) offer?

There are a lot of jobs in the policy world that don’t require you to go to law school. If there’s an issue you are passionate about, you might find yourself being the executive director of a nonprofit, being a policy analyst at a think tank, or working for a lobbyist who’s passionate about changing policy for an organization you care about. Recently our department hosted a panel event with stakeholders who are advocating for making the cannabis industry in New Jersey more equitable. That’s something that anyone could get involved with: writing briefs, influencing how that policy unfolds, organizing community groups. Careers in policy are more diverse than most people realize.  Students tend to think, “Well. I’ll work at a government agency or I’ll go to law school,” but there are so many organizations that need someone who understands policy.

Adult learner works from her home office, looking seriously at the camera.

What is the importance of being able to understand the nuances of public policy?

The average person might have taken a college course in government or might remember back to high school when they learned how a bill becomes a law and the checks and balances of our government. But in reality, there are a lot of other things you have to consider when you are trying to change policy or create programs for the public. We call that the policy process. If you really want to be successful, if you want your vision for changing the world to get attention, you need an advanced understanding of how issues get onto the agenda and implemented. We cover research techniques for understanding the impact of a policy, we cover how certain issues end up in front of the public or on the government agenda for a particular session.

What should students entering the program look forward to?

The best part of being in an MPP program is that there are a lot of seminar courses where you get to learn by discussing issues with your peers. In the public policy classroom, it’s not just political science folks, it’s people who study economics, it’s people who are from sociology or diversity & inclusion or work in education. So, discussing one issue or the significance of one policy becomes very exciting because there are so many different viewpoints that you hear and that allows us to learn collaboratively. I think that’s one of the most exciting things about graduate school overall. The students have formed a very tight cohort and they are comfortable reaching out to each other. Most of our students are working professionals with a mix of incoming students who have recently completed their undergraduate degree. They have families or they have other things going on in their lives, but we are a tight community. We all reach out to each other to check in with each other and support each other.

Adult learners dressed in business clothes cross a bridge on campus as they walk together.

Are there opportunities that will be open to students at the master’s level that may not be available at the undergrad level? If so, what are they?

Internships and research opportunities for MPP students are separate from those offered at the undergraduate level. Typically, these opportunities require students to have more advanced skills than would be expected of undergraduate students. We work with employers and think tanks and legislators to cultivate internship experiences for our masters’ students. Students might also have a chance to work on a faculty member’s ongoing research project. There are also professional development opportunities for students. We hosted the New Jersey Political Science Association Conference at Rowan in Spring 2023 and some of our students attended the membership meeting.

What differences should students be aware of when jumping from an undergrad political science program, or something similar, to a Master of Public Policy?

I would say the most important thing to realize is that undergraduate studies are more directed and closely supervised. You are given assignments and prompts by faculty members, you have smaller assignments and you check in more often with your professor. When you are doing graduate level work, you participate in discussions at seminars and choose the topics for your projects, and you need to take more responsibility for asking for help and checking in with your professor. Sometimes students struggle with that transition, about being more self-directed because it can be a little intimidating. It’s not that we won’t be here to support students; faculty are always helpful, but ultimately you get from the program what you bring to it. You are expected to know what kind of policies you want to study and your faculty member works as a facilitator, in that sense, to help guide you.

One thing that I love about Rowan is that students can take MPP courses in their senior year using “senior privilege.” If students are not sure about a public policy degree or graduate school, this program is a great way to find out. If someone told me I could take a graduate course as a senior and pay undergraduate tuition and get a taste of graduate level work, I would have done it. Even if you decide to go on to do something else, you understand what to expect– it demystifies the whole experience for students. I want to break down barriers for students who might not think of themselves as graduate students.

What can students do to prepare themselves for a more rigorous curriculum?

You can always reach out to faculty who teach the courses and ask to see the syllabus or ask to meet with them to discuss the class to see whether the program will meet your goals. I think that’s an excellent first step. A lot of folks come to me and say, “Should I do an MPP? I don’t like what I’m doing now, and this seems interesting.” I try to emphasize that getting a graduate degree is a big commitment, it’s a lot of work. You should be pretty sure that this is something you want to pursue for at least the next 5-10 years. If you don’t have a sense of the policy area or issues you want to focus on, it might make more sense for you to take a few courses in the program before you commit. If students are not ready to enroll in the MPP, our department offers a Certificate of Graduate Study in Public Policy.

There are two ways you can enroll in the MPP program. The first is the CADP, the Combined Advanced Degree Program. That’s where if you’re currently an undergrad at Rowan, you can enroll in this program and take 12 credits in the MPP program while you’re still an undergrad and save money because you’re not paying graduate tuition for those 12 credits. Or you go the traditional route, where you finish your bachelor’s first and then enroll in the MPP program.

Is there anything else you want to highlight for people to know about the program?

There are many ways to get in touch with us and learn about the program. The best way for people to find out more about the MPP, learn about our current students, and stay up to date on our events, is to follow our Linkedin page. I personally host Master of Public Policy info sessions throughout the year for prospective students. Many of the info sessions are held over Zoom but we tend to have one or two in person as well.

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Story by:

Thomas Ubelhoer, rising junior political science and international studies double major

Building a Community: Raymond Wos Jr’s Undergraduate Experience

Raymond standing in front of Bunce Hall with the pride lights shining onto the building in the distance behind him.

Rising senior Raymond Wos Jr. (he/him/his) from Gloucester County, NJ, is a subject-matter history major and double minor in both international studies and political science, and he’s also heavily involved with the inner workings of campus as a leader of change. Today he will share with us his personal journey and contributions to the University community. 

At what point did you become comfortable with your sexuality and disability both with yourself and expressing it to other people?

For my disability, I was diagnosed at the age of 6 and then that was with my Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Then I came out as bisexual, being comfortable with it and couldn’t hold it in to myself around my second year in community college so I was probably 18 or 19 years old at the time. I was thinking I feel comfortable with myself and realizing that I needed to be comfortable with these identities regardless and there’s nothing wrong or imperfect about me, it’s just that I know I am the best version I can possibly be and I can be proud of my identities without any criticism or any backlash from these issues.

What has Rowan done to make you feel accepted as part of the LGBQTIA+ community on campus and what gave you the courage to give back to the Rowan community?

As an individual, realizing how much empowerment and power I have on this campus, I realized as someone who’s a part of it but also realizing there’s so many more identities that need to be represented through SGA (Student Government Association) and many other facets I’m involved with. It’s just shown the amount this institution will give, but there’s always room for improvement regardless. However, there’s times where I’m in these roles to make change and I was able to help create legislation throughout the year. One of them, this past spring, I had written a piece of a resolution for transgender rights, acknowledgement, and more condensed stuff on our campus through the wellness center and many other facets of the community. With everything that’s happened within the trans community today outside of Rowan, it just shows that we need to pay more attention to these issues. Since we are not really, this is the first to take a course of action that I’ve done with PRISM and so forth to make this thing happen and it did pass. We’re now working together collaboratively with several offices in particular. Right now at the moment, with the Wellness Center we’re making sure they have fantastic resources for our trans community on this campus. 

What drew you to get involved with Rowan’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and can you share what you have accomplished in your role as AVP?

My time in the role as Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I have completed a lot during my time. I’ve written at least 3 to 4 different resolutions that’s helped many facets of the Disabled community, mental health, and LGBTQIA+ community this past year and made sure there was an emphasis on the importance that these communities need to be represented on this campus and making sure of it. I’ve helped write responses to things that have happened within our community through the backlash that’s happened at Holly Point and even on Twitter where people posted derogatory terms. My well known accomplishment that I’m really proud of is getting a Rowan Announcer created for Judy Heumann, who’s an internationally recognized Disability Rights advocate and leader throughout this nation. She recently passed in March and I got that settled by writing articles and blogs that were published in the campus newspaper, The Whit and DEI blog about it so there’s a lot of work I’ve gotten done.

There are a lot of accomplishments that have happened throughout the academic year. However, I’ve also attended a lot of cultural events, I’ve worked with The BSU (Black Student Union) and NAACP to try and support the local community around me within these facets, within the Division of DEI. But most importantly I do work in the office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution office with Tara Ferrucci and Dominique Pierson who are in charge of the facilities over there. They’re absolutely amazing people. Just gaining more knowledge for their office and working collaboratively with them, even super close with them. Besides that I’m involved within the facet of the Division of DEI, I’m involved in 8 committees they have on campus related to DEI. I’m so embedded into it I understand where the Division is leading to but also how I can help them and give the student perspective as much as possible. I’m proud that I’m able to give that and have faculty, staff, students, and many other supporters understand what I do and how much I care from the student body perspective and how much change I want to see, but also for future generations to realize it’s a lot to consider. But it needed to be done for us. 

Raymond smiles big relaxing in a yellow chair at night with Bunce Hall behind him.

What moments at Rowan gave you the confidence to up such a large role in representing the LGBQTIA+ community?

The reason why is because it’s not for me personally, it’s not represented as a big facet that I was hoping for. Since I had my predecessor, Alex Butler, they were a part of the LGBTQIA+ community as well. I felt a motivation– a very high interest in making a change, but also being a part of a community and realizing I do have a voice as well as seeing the facets of the community, realizing as a person in the community and as an ally, there are so many problems and issues that are not being mentioned in and out of our institution and how we’re going to fix them. I realized I can make a change, not just within the LGBTQIA+ community, but so many other communities that I am not a part of but also within my own disabled identities as well because I feel like they’re left out of the conversation. In addition, neurodiversity is a part of it as well that is missing in these conversations. I just don’t see these issues through my queer and disabled perspective. All these lenses of identities have different facets and need to be represented on campus. The role has gotten bigger and the perception of it has gotten bigger and people may not realize it. 

What challenges have you had to navigate through your time here as an undergraduate student here that other students might not have had to?

For me personally, I have navigated here at Rowan through different challenges. I was a transfer and commuter student here on this campus and it was a very different environment. I transferred the semester that COVID happened and I was here probably two and half to three months in person then COVID hit, then schools shutdown, spring break was two weeks that got extended. From there I learned online and everything else. We went to a universal design type of platform like Zoom and WebEx and learning that way was very different in the beginning, but now it’s a tool that utilizes a lot more than I was expecting to use– I’m grateful I was able to use it. But it’s always been a challenge, also being a student who doesn’t share a lot sometimes. Also, now becoming more comfortable and being empowered, I was able to represent myself on this campus being a transfer from a community college and a commuter. The other facets of my identity I represent on this campus, I have decided to make myself a powerful voice and I think a lot of people have seen that within the last year and a half through every facet of this University.

Are there certain goals that you have set out to achieve whether it’s spreading acceptance or reforming previously held views at the university level that you have achieved?

Some of the things that I personally have achieved during my time here, I can definitely tell you one of my goals is intersectionality which is something that is so important in realizing that we do have a sense of community. It’s also that we need to realize our individuality and we do have a sense of purpose, but also we’re able to have different identities but can relate to each other through this intersectionality. We realize we can share the same experiences but some of us might have it easier than others as expected. I think that’s a philosophy the position needs to have and realize, yes, I can be a person who is a cis white man that is bisexual and disabled and realize I face challenges within two identities, but being a cis white man isn’t a challenge because there’s so many benefits I get from society. But the other identities that I can’t because of how things are structured and how things are happening in our society.

Another one was mental health within DEI. I have passed a legislation resolution to get mental health resources to our campus student website, Canvas, hopefully that’s being implemented soon. Another legislation resolution that I’ve passed again that I have mentioned previously was the transgender awareness legislation and getting the Wellness Center to be more accepting and being open and having it be more accessible.

Another thing I was trying to hit upon was writing opinion pieces and stuff like that within other communities like BIPOC, Neurodiversity, within Disabled, within LGBTQIA+ and I felt like we have gotten there by expanding with our Rowan DEI blog which is absolutely amazing. I highly encourage everyone to check it out, it’s very nice.

A new goal that I was about to start on this campus and it might transition to our next AVP of DEI will be creating a Disability Student Union. From all the conversations and what I’ve been seeing, the empowerment from other communities being seen on campus has been absolutely empowering. It gave power to those who had a voice and gave it and became a force that was not to be reckoned with and being able to make an important change on this campus. But now, since seeing that having an organization called a Disability Student Union in the near future will be a huge benefit to this institution to make change. I think that is something we should look forward to and hopefully will be seeing in the near future. Those are some of my initiatives but there are many more besides that.

Are there specific moments that stand out to you that show the growth within the community at Rowan?

Seeing people becoming more of a family and realizing we’re coming and growing as individuals, but also as people within our society. Also within our clubs and organizations a lot of them are becoming more closely knit and trying to work on my collaboration ideas and working together– it’s a start. Plus we’ve been out of the pandemic and been fully back into school, full fledged with all these activities and everything else for about a year or two now. We’re still rebuilding that stage up again. I think we’ll need a few more years to do it, but I think the communities, the sense of belonging, and what we’re trying to bring to Rowan, seeing the potential next year is gonna be really good. We’re going in the right direction.

Are you satisfied with the changes you’ve helped create at Rowan and what would you like the next crop of students to do to carry on your work here?

For the legacy I left is definitely having empathy for others, but also having empathy that happened on this campus where we need to have a shared responsibility to care for one another and also empower each other. To give each other the power to make change and evolve as a whole and work collaboratively with SGA, with all these various organizations to really make change and challenge the administration to do better, but also to make them more knowledgeable on issues that we’re facing at this time. For the next crop of students, I want them to realize that empathy will go far and wide, showing kindness to others will take a great deal of responsibility for these roles and of these executives for what we’re trying to do for the future. Students should realize just overall empathy, love, and kindness will always take you far in what you do in these careers.

Can you talk about your next steps after you graduate?

After I graduate I want to become a high school history teacher, somewhere locally or somewhere within the state of New Jersey to work with students in history. To show them what the potential of history is, but also destigmatizing history, showing there is so much more potential in history, what is undiscovered, and showing what we learn in the classroom is not always true. We have to challenge what writers have perceived and what has been written by the victors. We need to do better and realize there’s other historical information out there, many more historians have better writing and so forth like that. In the near future, after I’m done teaching for a few years, I want to come back to Rowan and do a double master’s of arts program in Special Education and the Diversity and Inclusion program as well. Having those two facets of programs combined together and working on it, I will have the potential to grow as a self-advocate, an advocate, and an activist, and something bigger within the state or locally. That’s my goal for the future.

After your experience with Rowan, after your experience with community college, how has your education experience impacted how you will teach?

What I have learned during my time here and my time at community college is that if you have something you have your mind to and you put it to it and as someone who’s going into a teaching career, you’re gonna be able to have the same determination and the same energy you want to bring into the classroom. You want to make an impact on these students to be engaged and learn the material you’re teaching them, but go beyond that and have more of a special interest in topics in history. But even more, realizing the importance of having humanities and history in our society to still exist. Where today it’s falling apart in some of the different states, we’re losing humanities, music, and sports throughout public education. We need to refocus our energy throughout the nation to make sure we bring back humanities and I want people to realize they’re equally as important as the STEM fields.

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Written by Thomas Ubelhoer, rising junior political science and international studies double major

Welcoming Two Raritan Valley Community College Transfer Students

Freshmen students tour the outside of Holly Pointe Commons residence hall.

Meet our newest transfer Profs Shannon Russo and Angelina Zeppieri. Both Shannon and Angelina recently graduated from Raritan Valley Community College and will begin at Rowan University this fall. 

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

Shannon Russo: I am looking forward to being on my own for the first time in my life.

Angelina Zeppieri: At Rowan University I’m looking forward to applying for internships and dipping my feet into the international business world.

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

Shannon Russo: Softball is a sport I would like to continue. It can be for the university team or the club team. I just want to play.

Angelina stands in front of farm animals wearing a black gown.
Angelina Zeppieri

Is there anything you’re hoping to discover about yourself at Rowan? 

Shannon Russo: I am hoping to expand my social skills and make more out of my social life.

Please share an interest, hobby or like that you have!

Shannon Russo: I play softball and I love to paint. 

Angelina Zeppieri: I love painting in my free time, playing on my Nintendo Switch, and hanging out with my boyfriend and friends.

What major are you pursuing and why?

Shannon Russo: History Education because I love History and I like kids. Plus all of my favorite teachers were my history teachers.

Angelina Zeppieri: I’m majoring in International Business so one day I can work abroad in a successful company, while also learning about the culture of the country I’m in.

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

Shannon Russo: You will know that you are at the right college when you feel excited to go to that college. Don’t stress yourself out over the fact that you have to choose. The choice can be fairly easy.

Angelina Zeppieri: Some advice I have for other transfer students who haven’t committed to a school yet is to find a school which is the right fit for you, academically and socially. Commit to somewhere that you know you’ll thrive there, and work on completing your goals.

Shannon Russo poses with her hand on her hip, in front of a water sunset.
Shannon Russo

Where are you going to live this upcoming year?

Shannon Russo: On campus.

Angelina Zeppieri: On campus.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked, that encouraged you to commit?

Shannon Russo: The social aspect around the campus. There is always something to do.

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Story by:

Thomas Ubelhoer, rising junior political science and international studies double major 

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

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

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

Impact of Growing Up in Mumbai on Desire to Major in Environmental Science

Kriish poses for an outdoor portrait in front of a tree while wearing a bright orange shirt.

Can you describe the environmental science program? “There are both environmental studies and environmental science majors. What is unique about the environmental science program is that we are able to understand the underlying science behind the environment, while combining biology, geology, and other components. We use this technology to better map, restore, assess, and understand […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by: Connor Bicknell, rising senior communication studies major

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

Spotlight Welcome on Incoming Transfer Paige Britt

Paige stands in the sun with flowers behind her.

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

Bridging the Gap Between the Art and Business Worlds

Isabella smiles in front of the Creatives 230 sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Close up of a smiling Kayla.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is mechanical engineering?

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

Why did you get an interest in mechanical engineering?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abby Hainesworth headshot.

What does Internal Combustion Engines focus on?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am a goalie on the Rowan Field Hockey Team.

When did you become a goalie?

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

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

What sport did you play before?

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

Can you talk about what the Elite 90 Award is? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the most memorable moments from your athletic career?

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

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

What did you learn by being part of a team?

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

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

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

Why did you decide to come to Rowan University?

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

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

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Story by: Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

From Political Science Student to Political Operative

Connor talks to two people.

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

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

Charmaine Harris outside with her children

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

Caffeine Consumption in College Students

Suzie is standing in a pavilion and smiling at the camera.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Wellness Center This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanUWellness on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Caffeine seems to have become an inseparable part of being a college student. The most common ways to consume it are through coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and, yes, even chocolate. Whether students consume it for the mental boost, taste, or to enjoy the social aspects, it seems to be the trendy thing to do. For all the joy and help caffeine provides to us, can it be hindering our performance and health?

Ruzie is leaning on a tree and smiling profoundly.

From the moment we wake up, the chemical adenosine builds up in our brains and accumulates throughout our day. It is what makes us feel tired by inhibiting wakefulness and promoting the sleepiness areas of our brain. What caffeine does to our body is block the adenosine from binding to the adenosine receptors making our brain unable to recognize how long we’ve been awake. However, caffeine doesn’t make adenosine disappear, only sleep does which is the reason why some people experience caffeine crashes. Caffeine does not replace good sleep and its effects have been known to interfere with sleep quality and patterns. So what can we do to maximize the benefits and minimize the risk?

 First, we need to understand our own bodies because everyone reacts to caffeine differently. If someone suffers from generalized anxiety or depression, caffeine may worsen the symptoms. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases the circulation of adrenaline in our body which increases our fight-or-flight response. Students may experience a more severe drop in mood once the effects wear off caused by caffeine withdrawal. For those individuals, it is recommended to find caffeine substitutes. Some ways to stay awake without caffeine include a quick 5-minute exercise, getting some sunlight, and staying hydrated with water. Dehydration can make us feel sluggish and aromatherapy is also an effective way to stay awake.

Suzie is leaning on a tree and smiling profoundly.

Otherwise, it is recommended to stop consuming caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime to allow for better sleep. Medical researchers also suggest waiting one hour after waking up to consume anything caffeinated. That is because cortisol, also known as the alert hormone, is at one of its daily peaks of production within an hour of waking up. Consuming caffeine first thing in the morning lowers cortisol production, making us less alert throughout our day. By taking advantage of the cortisol produced in our body and delaying caffeine consumption, we can be more alert and lower the chances of experiencing caffeine crashes in the afternoon.

In fact, if the environment permits, it might be best to take a coffee nap. Our body needs time to absorb caffeine for it to take effect and depending on the beverage the effects can kick in between 10-30 minutes. Take a 20-30 minute nap immediately after consuming caffeine. Most people find this to be more effective than drinking caffeine or taking a power nap alone.

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Story by:
Suzie Tse, Higher education graduate student, Wellness Center intern

Edited by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student



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

Devon Coulter posing by the trees near Bunce Hall

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

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

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

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

Graduate Student Sarah Salazar Shares Advice For Future Engineering Majors

Sarah working in an engineering lab.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any last advice?

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

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

Isabella Shainline posing in a work space.

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

Let’s Normalize Body Image

Riya Bhatt poses for a portrait.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Wellness Center. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanUWellness on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Body image deals with how an individual perceives themselves, how they think about themselves as well as how to view themselves when looking directly at a mirror. Body image is not just a single aspect; it is various, especially with aspects such as height, weight, and skin color that hold weight in society. It’s crucial in the case of body image to have a positive understanding of the self as it creates a sense of ease in addition to promoting a positive outlook on a person’s mental and physical health. Having a negative body image is proven to have dangerous effects to the aforementioned features as it “can lead to a lower self-esteem which can affect some areas of a person’s life“ Body Image, 2022). 

Riya is leaning on a pillar and smiling.

People can start building towards having healthier body image by practicing positive thoughts about themselves rather than thinking negative toward their body. A person will build confidence if they exhibit a healthier mentality towards their own specific body image. Body positivity is when individuals love their bodies regardless of shape, color, gender, size, and ability. Body neutrality doesn’t involve always loving your body but it is more about accepting it. For example, body positivity would be, “I love arms, scars and all, they are beautiful” while an example of body neutrality would be, “I love my arms because they help me write.” 

Some tips to practice building body positivity!

  1. Think healthier, not skinnier
  2. Cut negative self-talk
  3. Positive affirmations
  4. Do not Compare Yourself to others
  5. Focus on the Things that you love about yourself

These tips will help a person think more positively about their body. If a person is having negative thoughts, then, they should practice these five healthy tips on boosting self confidence. 

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Story by:
Riya Bhatt, junior biological sciences major, Wellness Center intern

Edited by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

Sources

Source: Body image. NEDC. (2022, July 19). Retrieved January 28, 2023, from https://nedc.com.au/eating-disorders/eating-disorders-explained/body-image/ 



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Sean Humphrey, senior public relations major

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

Senior Reflects On How He Found Himself At Rowan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How has your time been here so far at Rowan?

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

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

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

Jonathan is in James Hall sitting in a chair.

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

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

What drew you towards elementary education?

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

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

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

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

What drew you to Rowan? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan is standing and smiling with his arms crossed.

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

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

Jonathan is smiling with his arms crossed.

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

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

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

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

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Story by Lucas Taylor, Graduate English Education 









From the Classroom to Competition: World Ninja League Founder Takes His Skills to the Next Level [VIDEO]

Chris Wilczewski is a Rowan University 2015 alumnus who majored in Marketing. Chris is the founder and chief operating officer for the World Ninja League, “home of the world’s leading obstacle course organization.” He discusses how he founded the company, his involvement in ninja competitions, his origin story and experiences throughout his educational and professional […]

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

Jade stands in front of a tree, smiling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your history with wrestling? 

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

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

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

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

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

Sapjah is standing in front of Bunce flexing her arms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

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

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

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

Self-Advocacy

Sedrick is playing Uno with friends and is smiling at the camera.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Wellness Center. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanUWellness on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

More times than not, whenever we’re experiencing a personal hardship of some kind we tend to retreat into our shells like a turtle and let the issue continue to persist rather than making a stand and finally addressing it.

The topic of self-advocacy is especially compelling considering that it can be applied to many different facets, whether it be mental or physical health, periods of stress, as well in situations of anxiety and depression.

The core aspect of self-advocacy is in its prefix, “self.” Only you can speak on account for the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you’re currently experiencing; you’re the one who is able to tell how these emotions impact you in a positive or negative way.

Sedrick is with friends and is walking around on campus.

The textbook definition of self-advocacy is “the action of representing oneself or one’s views or interests.” Once a student enters college, self-advocacy can be seen as a training ground for students to begin to speak on their own behalf after half a lifetime spent having their parents and guardians advocating for them on behalf of their well-being (Rogers, 2022)

One form of self-advocacy that we see at the start of each and every semester, even if it’s usually glossed over really quickly, are the accommodations that are ingrained in every professor’s syllabus.

While it may not seem like it, making your professor(s) aware of the accommodations that you need in order to ensure your success in the class is a form of self-advocacy that not many students take advantage of. Accommodations don’t have to be specific to resources or materials, sometimes it’s taking one “mental health day.”

Sedrick is with friends, sitting on one of the lawn chairs on campus.

Life gets extremely arduous at times. Sometimes missing one class during the semester allows one the chance to recuperate your mental stamina, especially if it’s the week before an exam or quiz that you’re feeling especially stressed about. You can spend this mental health day just letting all the tension you’ve had building up over the semester finally ease a bit before throwing yourself back into your studies.

Putting yourself first has remarkable results, it gives you the chance to finally take a breath of fresh air for yourself and get back on track. 

Sedrick is getting ready to play Uno.

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Story by:
Sedrick Golden, junior health and science communication major, Wellness Center intern

Edited by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

Sources

Rogers, L. T. A. (2022, September 22). Self-advocacy: A tool for Success. CollegiateParent. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://www.collegiateparent.com/student-life/self-advocacy-a-tool-for-success/#:~:text=Self%2Dadvocacy%20is%20a%20student,this%20is%20not%20the%20case.

Second-Generation Rowan Engineering Student Lives Her Legacy

Abigail Cassino sits in a daffodil patch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by: Valentina Giannattasio

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

Lila Dasi posing outside of Bunce Hall at Rowan University

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

Overcoming Overthinking: Ways to Cope with Anxious Thinking

Kathleen is sitting on a bench at Rowan while the sun is going down.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Wellness Center. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanUWellness on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Do you ever find yourself in a quiet setting trying to get some work done but there is just a little voice in your head saying a million things at once? Have you ever been told “you are just overthinking it?”

This is a natural emotion for us to feel but it can be a problem if you let it control your life.

Kathleen is standing with her hands in her pocket smiling brightly.

Overthinking can attributed by multiple different factors like stress and anxiety but it can be more expansive than what people perceive it to be. For instance, in cases of stressful events, traumatic crises and even precarious decision-making, all of these different ideas can all play factors. Overthinking is something that can happen automatically; It can come from one thought and eventually spiraling down a rabbit hole of negative thinking.

When this is a recurring action, it could be a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or major depression disorder (MDD). People who worry excessively will have difficulty in concentration and ability to function. 

Kathleen is leaning into her hand and smiling.

With all of that being said, it’s very easy to start how to stop negative thinking! In most cases talking to someone about any problem allows you to gain perception on the situation you’re going through as well as hearing a voice from someone you trust. Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT) is very helpful for individuals to identify the problem or emotion.

CBT will assist with  reframing negative thoughts and find healthier ways to cope with anxiety. If an individual can’t afford therapy or the time that comes with it, having a support group or person that you can trust to talk about anything with is especially helpful.

Kathleen is sitting on rocks and smiling.

Journaling is also a great way if someone doesn’t want to share with someone. It’s a great way to make a list and see the problem in front of your eyes to identify it better. An article called “How To Stop Overthinking” by Health Essentials, suggests setting up a worry period! With this method it gives you an allotted period of time to sit in a quiet place with a 30 minute alarm where you can write all your worries down on a piece of paper.

You’re not going to be able to get through all of your problems which expected; no one is able to chase all their worries away in one sitting. Let it settle and find a different way of dealing with these problems in your next worry session. This is a great way to help someone to attack each worry one by one!

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Story by:
Kathleen Ramos, Senior Nutrition Major, Wellness Center intern 

Photography by:
Joseph Conte, Junior Community and Environmental Planning Major

Edited by:
Lucas Taylor, English Education Graduate Student

References

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-stop-overthinking/

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friendship Toxicity

Kye is standing in front of Business Hall and smiling.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Wellness Center. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanUWellness on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Friendships in adulthood can be difficult to navigate especially when it comes to recognizing a healthy friendship versus one with toxic traits. Growing older means meeting friends in many different ways, for instance, in college we meet them in class, club meetings or even as student workers. Throughout the years we are constantly growing and evolving and sometimes we may outgrow certain friendships. When we grow as a person, sometimes friendships do not grow with us. People grow in different ways and it is okay to let them go. 

Kye is standing directly in front of the camera smiling profoundly.

Healthy relationships look different for everyone but at its core they all consist of similar values. Having the ability to have open and honest communication with one another is the foundation for every friendship. When communicating, it is important to have respect and to practice active listening skills. Relationships have highs and lows and being able to stick through both of them can say a lot about the relationship. At the end of the day, regardless of which values and boundaries the relationship has set, what is important is that each person enjoys spending time with one another.

Boundaries are a vital part of every healthy relationship that help everyone feel comfortable. Just like relationships, boundaries are constantly evolving and they look different for everyone. An example of a boundary is that folks often believe that relationships consistently need to be 50-50; however, this is not always the case. Oftentimes it is okay if that number fluctuates because someone can’t always give everything all the time in a relationship. 

Kye is standing in front of the student center party-acting in an activity on the sidewalk.

We are all human and as humans we make mistakes, and that is okay. What really matters is how someone responds upon realizing a mistake. Mistakes can take many forms like snapping at someone, taking more in the relationship or accidentally pushing some of the boundaries a friend may have set. Upon realizing the mistake, it is important to be able to hold oneself accountable. Accountability can look different in various ways but the most well-known and appreciated is an apology and the willingness to learn and grow. 

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Story by:
Kye Binik, senior law and justice major, Wellness Center intern

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, dance and marketing double major 

Produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

References

https://www.today.com/health/behavior/toxic-friendship-warning-signs-rcna16665

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

Janine poses in front of a mural.

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

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

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

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

Be Prepared for the Unexpected: Rowan University’s Wilderness First Responder Course

Rowan Health and Physical Education major Gabriel Sherry treats another student in a scenario in Rowan's Wilderness First Responder course.

Today we take you outdoors with the Wilderness First Responder class, led by Dr. Shari Willis, within the School of Nursing & Health Professions. In a simulated training sequence for the Rowan University course Wilderness First Responder, a wooded area on campus serves as an isolated, high-altitude patch of the Colorado mountains. Here, students must […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chem E Major Shares: Challenging the World for a Sustainable Future Through Material Science

Sarah S in a lab coat doing chemical engineering research.

Rowan Global graduate student Sarah Salazar is completing a master’s degree in chemical engineering, working with others to challenge the future of plastic.  “Chemical engineering really is everything. Everything that we touch in our lives has been impacted in some way by a chemical engineer,” Sarah says. “What I love about it is that here […]

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

Shaun Pierson in front of a mirror with his camera.

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

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

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

#PROFspective: Student Athlete Kristiina Castagnola on Her Record-Breaking Season and Graduate Assistantship

Kristiina Castagnola poses in front of James Hall.

Today we feature Rowan Global graduate student and student athlete Kristiina Castagnola (she/her) from Voorhees, NJ (Camden County). Off the field, Kristiina is a commuter studying for an MA in Higher Education and works as a graduate assistant for the College of Education. On the field, she has become one of Rowan’s most decorated student […]

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

Aaliyah sits in Robinson green.

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

#PROFspective: What Health Means for Senior Adrianna Blake

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you come into Rowan?

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

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

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

What is your coursework like being a physical education major?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See our video with Adrianna here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

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

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

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

Lanasia stands outside the Rohrer College of Business building.

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

#PROFspective: Civil Engineering Student and Clubs Enthusiast Kayla King

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

What is civil engineering?

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

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

What made you choose engineering and more specifically civil engineering?

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

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

What goes into civil engineer diving? 

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

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

What made you choose Rowan initially?

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

Describe your experience here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Profile picture of Rowan University Civil engineering major Kayla.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your goals for the future?

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

What impact do you wish to have on the world?

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

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

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

See our video with Kayla here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English Education graduate student

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