International Student College Juniors Reflect on Their Journeys and Goals at Rowan University

A campus beauty photo showing bright autumn colors on Rowan University's campus.

This story is one within a multi-part series highlighting the aspirations, hopes and dreams of a few of Rowan University’s international students. Read the other stories.  Meet rising seniors Aayush Kapri from Nepal, Doménica Gusqui Gavidia from Quito, Ecuador, and Abigail Jones from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  What is your long-term professional goal […]

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

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

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

Transfer Nutrition & Dietetics Majors Share Their Professional Goals

A stock image from Pexels showing a close up of a variety of densely packed fruits and vegetables.

What internships, clubs, networking, etc. are you involved in and how do they support your goals? “Wellness Center Intern, Vice President at Nutrition Care Club, Success Coach with Rowan Student Success Program, Apart of Cohort 7 in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics.” – Kathleen Ramos, senior transfer student from Brookdale Community College “I don’t participate much […]

My Favorite Class: Puppetry [VIDEO]

Students in Puppetry class work alongside each other in class.

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

Meet Grace Fox, a senior English major and Raven Vijayakumar, a sophomore environmental & sustainability studies major. They are sharing memories from their favorite class, Puppetry.

Puppetry (ART 02300) is a studio-based class where students have time to work on creating puppets. This course is a great fit for students who like a hands-on art experience. It gets students thinking creatively about how to design artistic work. 

This course is traditionally taught by Professor Patrick Ahearn. He provides his students with guidance, rather than strict instructions, giving students the opportunity to let their personal artistry flow. He educates his students on which techniques would give them the best results for the puppet they are trying to create. Rather than being an art piece that gets displayed on a wall, puppets can be used by anyone of any age, making it an interactive experience. 

A student working on constructing a puppet in Puppetry Class, held in Westby Hall.

Senior Grace Fox spends a lot of time on the opposite end of creativity, including time spent in writing and directing. Grace does more behind the scenes work for artists. She has found it very exciting to be fabricating her own puppets with Professor Ahearn’s guidance. Grace describes her experience in Puppetry as “real exciting and broadly applicable.”

Through Puppetry, sophomore Raven Vijayakumar realized that they need art in their lives. In high school, Raven was involved in Drama Club, where they worked on creating props for various performances. Raven likes engaging in artistic activities because of how fun they can be, and it gives them an outlet of expression.

“You should take this class because it is super fun, first of all, and because you get the opportunity to do something in a way that is practical.”

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Written by: Jordyn Dauter, junior double major in dance & elementary education

Seasons of Life by Suzie Tse

Suzie sitting on a bench on a fall day.

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 social. This story is by Suzie Tse, a graduate student in the MA Higher Education: Academic Advising. Here at Rowan, we experience a temperate climate. We witness seasonal changes […]

My Favorite Class: Teaching Concepts of Dance in Physical Education [VIDEO]

Mackenzie Saber dancing with a partner inside of Esby Gym

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

Interested to see what it’s like to be part of the health & physical Education major? Check out this feature on this upper-level course “Teaching Concepts of Dance in Physical Education.”

“Teaching Concepts of Dance in Physical Education” (HPE 00316) is a course that teaches students how to integrate social dance and culture dance inside of a physical education classroom. This course occurs once a week during a 3-hour block. During the first part of the class, students learn about different dance styles and methods of instruction. During the second part of the class, students actively engage in executing the dances that they’ve learned. They review between three and four dances per class period.

As students are learning these dances, they have the opportunity to practice their teaching methods on preschool students, at the on-site Rowan University Early Childhood Demonstration Center housed within James Hall, the education building. “It’s learning how to be hands-on, which goes into depth on how to teach step-by-step so a preschooler can understand,” says junior health & physical education major Rachel Dubois of Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County.)

This course is usually taught by Professor Merry Ellerbe-McDonald. “It is a required course for health & physical education majors because students are required to take teaching concept classes during their last two years in the program,” shares Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County) junior Mackenzie Saber, who was a dancer for 15 years. 

Senior Nicholas Seibel, of Mount Holly, NJ (Burlington County), shares: “I don’t have a background in dance. I never danced before. I’m not a great dancer to begin with, so this course gave me a lot of confidence.”

This class allows for students to be goofy with each other, while accomplishing work and having fun. Teaching Concepts of Dance in Physical Education gives student a chance to get an active education with an encouraging professor. 

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Written by: Jordyn Dauter, junior double major in dance & elementary education

Human Services, Leading & Impacting Lives [VIDEO]

Dimirra working alongside three other children.

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

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

Two students peer into a giant telescope in the planetarium.

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

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

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

Brian Osterlof sitting outside at a table.
Brian Osterlof

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rachel Rumsby outside on Rowan Boulevard
Rachel Rumsby

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

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

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

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

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Rowan University Wellness Center Intern Shares How College Students Can Break the Procrastination Cycle

Dabany poses in front of the wellness center.

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 social. This story is by Dabany Garris, senior psychology major with a concentration in child behavioral services. Procrastination. Take a minute and think about some of the things that […]

Rowan University Anthropology Majors Share Their Professional Goals

A close up of Mexican communication on a stone from an ancient civilization.

Anthropology is the scientific and humanistic approach understanding human origins, and biological and cultural diversity. Potential career paths can include becoming an anthropologist, archeologist, forensic science technician, curator, medical scientist, museum technician and conservator or geographer. What internships, clubs, networking, etc. are you involved in and how do they support your goals? “I am currently […]

Bangladeshi Graduate Student Finds Opportunity & Community at Rowan University Pursuing a Master’s in Computer Science

A portait of Tilpa outdoors.

This story is one within a multi-part series highlighting the aspirations, hopes and dreams of a few of Rowan University’s international students. Read the other stories.  What is your long-term professional goal or dream career? “I see myself as a cloud engineer; it’s my dream career.” Are you involved in internships, clubs, networking, etc. here […]

Dance Majors Share Their Professional Goals

Two dancers in mid-pose outdoors.

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

How to stop being the “Problem Solver”

A campus photo of Laurel Hall during Spring.

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 social. This story is by Kathleen Ramos, senior nutrition major. As college students, we all have our own personal problems. It could be about that one professor that […]

A Look Inside Geo Information Systems With Jackie Ganter & Danielle Miller

Four members of Geo Lab discuss a project while outside holding equipment.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) majors and graduating seniors, Danielle Miller and Jackie Ganter, give insight into what the GIS major entails and its impact. What is GIS? According to Danielle, “geographic information science, it’s the analysis of data sets, the creation of maps, and other imagery.” She went on to give her point of view […]

Homebodies Unite!

Jocelyn wearing a red dress standing under a red gazebo.

Embracing the Art of Homebound Bliss at Rowan University 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 social. This story is by Jocelyn Reuben, a senior athletic training major. Rhythmic Japanese plays in the […]

How Physics Took Nicholas Kurth to Switzerland To Work With CERN

Nicholas stands outside the science building wearing a lab coat.

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

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

Asiya stands outside on campus on a chilly day.

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

Rowan University Entrepreneurship Majors Share Their Professional Goals

A student stands in front of a wall with the word "Idea" behind him, with his arms crossed across his chest.

What internships, clubs, networking, etc. are you involved in and how do they support your goals? “I currently sell cars at a local Ford dealership, which helps with developing a stronger understanding of how the business industry works.” – Brendan Liebenow “Networking with other students and professors at Rowan has helped me realize how much […]

One Rowan University Pharmaceutical Science Graduate Student’s Professional Goals & Career Aspirations

Pintu stands outside an academic building.

This story is one within a multi-part series highlighting the aspirations, hopes and dreams of a few of Rowan University’s international students. Read the other stories.  What Rowan professors or Rowan classes have been most helpful and enlightening to you, and how? “To begin with, the majority of the professors at Rowan University exhibit a […]

Empowering Dreams: Meet Sreypich Heng, A Rowan University International Computer Science Senior Pursuing a Career in UX/UI Design

A close up of Sreypich with Bunce behind her.

This story is the first in a multi-part series highlighting the aspirations, hopes and dreams of a few of Rowan University’s international students. Read the other stories.  What is your long-term professional goal or dream career? “My long-term professional goal, or dream career, is to become a skilled UX/UI designer. I wouldn’t have thought that […]

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

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

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

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

1. Prepare for emotional and physical discomfort:

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

2. Prepare for new weather:

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

3. Prepare for balancing school and sport:

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

4. Prepare for out of state cost:

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

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

5. Prepare for opportunities:

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

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Written by: Emily Casale, senior advertising major

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

How Political Science Majors Can Grow Through Research and Internships: A Conversation with Professor Markowitz

The student government association president sits at his desk for a interview.

Like most political science majors, Professor Lawrence Markowitz was originally set on entering law school after he had completed his undergraduate degree. However, after a brief internship in law that exposed him to what big law was like, some time off and a tour of Western Europe exposed him to the alluring complexities of international relations. He has since then become an expert on and published work on a variety of topics from political violence to state building with a focus on post-Soviet Eurasia and is the current chair of the political science department at Rowan University.

Transitioning from one field of study to another presented new opportunities to learn not only in the classroom but by working as well, “I interned for human rights on international affairs, then decided that I wanted to go into the field, but knew I needed a little bit more of a regional focus and a little bit more language skills.” The 1990s changed the landscape of international politics as the Soviet Union fell, providing Professor Markowitz with an opportunity that most people for close to 70 years only could dream about. As he waited to see which university would be his home for his master’s degree, he says, “While my applications were being reviewed, the year before I started my master’s, I went overseas to Moscow and did a study abroad language study for about five months in Moscow.” Even after starting his master’s degree in the fall of 1995, trips to Armenia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Russia again all helped add to his depth of knowledge–something that can be seen and heard when sitting in his class. 

Professor Markowitz stands in front of a slide labed "The Politics of Multiculturalism" with his hand pointing to some of the bullet points such as "Why is multiculturalism important?" and "How does multiculturalism matter?". There is a student in the foreground taking notes.

What Professor Markowitz does for students extends outside the classroom setting, helping to guide students through their academic career. The vision he has for his department has been carefully put together to maximize the potential of students, “In political science, the faculty spends a good amount of time talking about and thinking about putting together a curriculum that builds multiple skills and helps broaden students in a variety of ways. Obviously on the most superficial level, we want you to cover the basic topics, themes, and theories and to know the material in political science. That’s the obvious. Underlying that, we’re developing a lot of the skills and less tangible abilities that will serve you over the long term.” The benefits of the skills you learn exceed being able to think more analytically or write better, “For example, how to impose and support an argument through compelling logic and evidence. If you go into law, that is obviously relevant, but in any field you’re going to be able to do that. You want to ask for a raise? That’s a good tool to have–the ability to craft an argument and to think through how to support it.”

Even when diving into the specifics of what you learn, Professor Markowitz ensures that students leave class with a better understanding of the world around them. The experiences he’s had in his own studies, research, and travels are all passed onto the students to provide a well-rounded approach to the topics covered in class. Helping students craft well thought out opinions on the world comes from taking a look at the world around them and analyzing the pros and cons in the differences, “If you just look at your experience in the U.S. and you look at the U.S. and try to interpret the U.S. American politics and the world around you and the economy, without having that broader perspective, you only have a limited view. In comparative politics and in the Russian politics class I teach we talk about themes, such as in the comparative politics class I teach, one day we do welfare states, we look at social programs, we look at Germany’s pensions and version of social security and its health care.” As much as Professor Markowitz seeks to help develop his students ability to learn and think critically outside the classroom, opportunities outside the classroom are equally as important. 

While many students think primarily of internships, there are other opportunities that are available to students as well. Research opportunities are also available to students, an opportunity that helps a student branch out, “Students in their undergrad years, if they can work with a professor on a research paper project or conduct research for their classes, that is a big opportunity and advantage. In other words, they’re working on a paper and have a wide range of themes, but develop over time where your interests are.”  Traditional internships are always available to students. The benefits to those are clear, “But also: not just research, but doing work within organizations or on campaigns, getting involved in various ways in politics;  there’s a lot of opportunities for that.” There was also an emphasis on how lucky students are to have three major cities (New York, Washington DC, and Philadelphia) all within relative proximity to campus for tangible hands-on experience. Opportunities are boundless to those who look for them, with the staff helping students find positions for them to not only grow in, but find success as well. With both the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship (RIPPAC) offering internship opportunities and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences offering a wide variety of internships, the possibilities available are varied.  Rowan’s study abroad program also adds a layer of depth to the chances that students can create for themselves by immersing themselves in the cultures they’ve spent time studying in the classroom. 

As much as Professor Markowtiz sees opportunities for students’ growth within their own fields of study, he also believes that students should expand their horizons by taking classes outside of what their area of focus is. Undergraduate studies provide students with the opportunities to explore a variety of interests, “First of all, even before selecting, but also after selecting a major, they should take a wide range of classes and explore. We’re one of the few countries on the planet, historically one of the few countries where you have a liberal arts education and you can take a range of classes and just take something in art or biology just because you want to learn about biology.” But when picking classes, students should not just choose randomly, but pick based on how it could relate to future careers, “If they go into law, then political science is a good major, but then the question is, ‘What kind of law might they be interested in?’ They don’t have to decide for sure, but if they are randomly thinking they might want to go into corporate law, then doing a minor or CUGS (Certificates in Undergraduate Studies) in something in finance or business makes sense. If they want to go into family law, then maybe doing a minor in psychology makes sense.” Finding a balance to broadening your horizons and narrowing down what a student is key to academic success. 

Professor Markowitz is standing in front of the board with his hand out stretched lecturing to his students.

Rowan’s political science department gives students the tools they need to succeed through lessons taught in the classroom, to the doors that lead to the professional world. When asked about what makes this university produce graduates who are so competitive, Professor Markowitz was quick to give credit to his colleagues, “We have a lot of faculty, especially in our College of Humanities & Social Sciences, who research within these fields. Most of them are at the high levels in their particular sub-field; they’re specialized. They are experts and they’re among the top experts in the broader fields that they’re in.” The staff aims not just to research for their own benefit, but to also help students stay on the cutting edge of information, to help them stay competitive in their fields of study. Professor Markowitz is not wrong when he says, “They’re not someone who is never interacting with undergrads and they don’t know how to talk about their research topic in everyday terms. We have that great mix, we have a dozen people or so in every discipline that have that kind of specialization and expertise. For the price tag, it’s a pretty good deal.”

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Story by:

Thomas Ubelhoer, sophomore political science and international studies double major

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

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

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

Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

Alexia poses for a portrait surrounded by trees on campus.

College life is fun and exciting but it can also be stressful for many students. Mental health can affect individuals physically, mentally, and socially. On a college campus, students can get stressed from various things like relationships, internships, workload, financial struggles, extracurricular activities, and much more. There are many ways students can receive the support […]

Finishing His College Career Strong With a Summer BioChem Class

Jonathan stands outside his workplace with the Inspira logo behind him.

Today, we meet Jonathan Philip, a senior biological sciences major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County), here to talk about his experience with taking summer classes at Rowan and how it’s been beneficial to him.   Jonathan enrolled in Intro to Biochemistry this summer at Rowan. As it relates to his experiences in the class, Jonathan […]

Accelerating Graduation and Building Stronger Connections Through Rowan’s Summer Classes

Richard Ricks touches a tree.

Today, we meet Richard Ricks, a senior biological sciences major on a pre-vet track, from Burlington, NJ (Burlington County), here to talk about his experience with taking summer classes at Rowan and how it’s been beneficial to him.   This summer Richard completed Organic Chemistry, Physics II, (both online) and Plant Diversity (in person) summer […]

Summer Classes: Adam Amaefuna Taking On 3 Engineering Entrepreneurship Courses

Adam smiles looking off to the side.

Ever since he was young, Adam has been fascinated with building things and how they work, which led him into the engineering field. The entrepreneurship side was modeled for him within his family. Adam enjoys communicating and business as a whole, so he felt like it was perfect to pursue this degree. This summer session, […]

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

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

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, & […]

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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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

#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 […]

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 […]

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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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/ 



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 […]

#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.

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: 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

#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 […]

#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 […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An image of Congress Hall where Alivia interned.

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

Breaking Barriers: How Perseverance and Family Found Kayla College Success

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

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

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

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

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

All About Accounting with Senior Jacob Rodriguez

Jacob reads from a laptop, seated in Business Hall.

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

What is the Deal with Mental Health and First-Year College Students?

Rowan students walk down Rowan Boulevard, laughing with each other.

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. The first year of college is both exciting and terrifying. You are moving away from home, gaining a sense of independence, and expected to […]

Exploring the Community and Environmental Planning Major with Senior Jon Hansel

Jon smiles outside in on Glassboro Town Square.

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

Benefits of Being a Pet Owner

Three dogs enjoy the warm weather on Rowan Boulevard.

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. Owning a pet comes with joy that radiates through the owner’s body when they come home to see them waiting at the door. The love […]

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

Jeszenee Turner sits smiling in Discovery Hall.

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

Prioritize Your Wellness

Riya stands beside a tree, 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. One of the biggest challenges as a college student is the workload of assignments, exams and other extracurricular involvements. Many college students are extremely […]

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

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

What is computer science?

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

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

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

What are the different avenues like within the field?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was the coolest application that you developed at Rowan?

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

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

What do you enjoy the most about the field?

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

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

What is Freefly Systems?

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

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

What are your responsibilities like at Freefly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See our video with Joseph here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student