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

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Biological Sciences Major On Academic Opportunities, Campus Life

Nathaneal studies his experiment with a serious face.

Nathanael Alicea is a senior commuting transfer student (from Rowan College of South Jersey) here at Rowan University originally from Lindenwold, New Jersey (Camden County) pursuing a BS in biological sciences; with minors in Pre-Health and Chemistry. When asked what inspired him to choose his major Nathanael shared, “I would like to get to medical […]

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 […]

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

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, & […]

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

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

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

#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 […]

Senior Reflects On How He Found Himself At Rowan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#PROFspective: What Health Means for Senior Adrianna Blake

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you come into Rowan?

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

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

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

What is your coursework like being a physical education major?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See our video with Adrianna here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All About Accounting with Senior Jacob Rodriguez

Jacob reads from a laptop, seated in Business Hall.

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

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

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

In Foraging Course, Wild Foods Abound on Rowan University’s Campus

Today, we join Rowan University’s Foraging for Edible Plants class, led by School of Earth & Environment Assistant Professor and course founder Dr. Daniel Duran. Just steps outside their classroom on the side of the newly opened Discovery Hall building, Dr. Daniel Duran shows his students a juneberry shrub, one of dozens of edible plants […]

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

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

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

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

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

Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective: Public Relations Major Justin C. Sabio

A photo of the College of Communication and Creative Arts building on Rowan's campus.

Today, as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective series, we feature Junior Justin C. Sabio (he/him), from Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County). Justin is a first generation college student majoring in Public Relations, having transferred to Rowan University from Rowan College of South Jersey. He tells us about his experience as a Rowan student, his […]

History, Anthropology Graduate Kathryn Seu Pursues M.A. in Holocaust and Genocide Education

Kathryn holds a textbook. in inside

Today we speak with Kathryn Seu, a recent Rowan University graduate with degrees in History and Anthropology. She will continue her studies by pursuing her master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide Education, the first program of its kind, through Rowan Global. Kathryn is from West Berlin, NJ (Camden County) and is student association president of the Rowan Center for the Study of Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (RCHGHR). In this article, she discusses her experience within her studies at Rowan, her goals and her responsibilities as within RCHGHR. 

Why did you choose to pursue a master’s?

For my career goals, it feels like the natural next steps. I would like to pursue [a degree] higher than a master’s eventually, so it seems like for what I want to do and with research, it helps to have more of an advanced degree — especially with a specialized field. It definitely helps more to have academic experience.

Kathryn reads from a text inside James Hall.

Why did you choose to study Holocaust and Genocide Education?

Rowan is the only university to offer Holocaust and Genocide Education. You can get degrees in Holocaust and Genocide Studies or Conflict Studies, but Rowan is the only one that has the education aspect. I think it’s really important, especially with so much negativity and hate speech that we see almost everywhere, that we encourage accessible education to these subjects.

Most states don’t require Holocaust education in public school curriculum, so some people don’t even get that education. I think it’s really important to emphasize that and make it accessible for as many people as possible.

Are there any notable differences between the undergraduate program versus the graduate program?

Mostly the course load is different. It’s also interesting because you have a different relationship with your professors. It’s more professional rather than superior and inferior. Rowan already has small class sizes and the master’s or higher education classes are much smaller, so you have more time to have more in depth conversations because you’re not in a classroom with 25 people, it’s more like 10 people. Pretty much everyone knows each other. It’s easier to have a tighter community. 

What are your career goals?

I would like to pursue an even higher education and apply for some Ph.D. programs this summer. I would like to go into some sort of research position or public advocacy. I think it’s really important and I love doing research. There’s just so much that we can learn and you can draw connections from the past to the present. I think it’s really important to spread that information to everyone.

What is Rowan Center for the Study of Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (RCHGHR)?

This is a center on campus for interdisciplinary studies to help grow the next generation of educators. The center is run by the professors, but the student association focuses on student-led events on campus like International Holocaust Rememberance Day in January and student-led discussions.

Kathryn holds a candle at International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Kathryn at Rowan’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day event

Some of our more popular discussion events were “Antisemitic Tropes in Media” and “Rights on the Reservation,” which was about indigenous rights in America. The main goal is to get students and faculty alike more involved with talking about the Holocaust Genocide and human rights.   

What was your role or involvement with the RCHGHR?

For the student association, I am the president, and one of the big responsibilities was planning International Holocaust Remembrance Day. That was at the beginning of January, and I would only have a couple of weeks to work it out because we weren’t a charter, so we didn’t have our own budget. It was really nice to have other organizations coordinate to help bring food, candles and lighters.

We have meetings every other week, and I would work on a presentation or a discussion topic. For example, the one that we had before the end of the semester was about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and why it’s not a good book. Meetings are around discussion topics like this to get more people involved.

Why did you choose to be involved with the RCHGHR?

I took a Historical Methods class with Professor Manning and at that time I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with history and anthropology. I thought I was going to be an Egyptologist for a while, but after I took that class I thought that this might be it. Professor Manning told me about the student association and recommended that I joined so I did. I did that for a semester and at that time the President was graduating and thought that I should take on that role after he left.

Are you currently involved in any other activities or clubs at Rowan?

For the past two semesters I was involved with the Mixed Martial Arts Club as a recreational activity. I was also involved with Phi Alpha Theta, which is the National History Honor Society and Lambda Alpha, which is the Anthropology Honor Society.

What is your most memorable experience at Rowan?

My situation was unique because I did my undergrad in three years and I started in Fall of 2019 and then we immediately went online next semester. I really only had three semesters in person, but even still, the whole experience was very memorable. Probably the most memorable experience was getting to speak at graduation, which was a pretty big deal to me.

Kathryn speaks at commencement.
Kathryn speaks at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences commencement ceremony.

What class during your studies in Holocaust and Genocide Education do you find most memorable? Why?

I just got back from a study abroad trip for the class, Nazi Germany & the Holocaust. It was 13 days and we were in Germany, Poland, Czechia and Austria. We got to see and do so much. We went to so many museums that I can’t even begin to list how many. It was really impactful because the furthest I had gone was Florida. This trip was the most memorable and the most enriching for my education because I had never been to a concentration camp before. I had never seen all these sights that we talked about.

It was really powerful to be there because we read about this all the time, but going to all these museums, talking to the locals, and seeing all these places and memorials in real life was really impactful.

Kathryn holds a textbook inside Campbell Library.

How do you think Rowan has prepared you for your future endeavors?

My education at Rowan has been incredibly interdisciplinary. I feel like I’ve gotten so much out of my two majors and undergraduate programs than what I’ll get in graduate school. With Holocaust and Genocide Education, the principles that you learn can be applied to other areas of history. You’ll sometimes hear it referred to as the “hard histories,” like the Holocaust and slavery. The same principles of education can be applied to different areas, and I think that has been the main thing that Rowan has been able to do for me, and I’m very grateful for it.

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

Photos by:
Tyler Allen-Williams, radio/TV/film major
Kathryn Seu
University Publications

Summer Session: Painting Campus Landmarks with Art Education Major Brooke Bryant

Brooke talks to professor Alicia Finger while working on a painting in class.

Brooke Bryant (she/her), a senior Art Education major from Cumberland County, guides us through a summer session of an Introduction to Watercolor class with Professor Alicia Finger. Brooke talks to us about why she likes the class, the strengths of Rowan’s Art Education program, and some of the work she’s done in the class. What […]

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

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

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

Can you tell us more about data science?

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

Jon smiles and stands on a walking path on campus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you discover your internship?

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

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

Jon stands inside a stairwell in an academic building.

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

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

What advice would you offer to your peers?

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

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

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

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

Jon sits in the Wilson amphitheater.

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

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

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

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

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

Jon works on his laptop inside a classroom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you give me an overview of your role?

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

Bryan smiles at his internship location.

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

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

Bryan sits in the Business Hall lobby stairwell.

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

How were you able to get this opportunity?

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

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

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

Bryan works in Business Hall.

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

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

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

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

Bryan wears a branded L'Oreal t-shirt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woman in Business: Fey Talabi Reflects on Her First Year in the MBA Program

Fey Talabi, a Rowan Global student from Baltimore, Maryland, shares how she manages her roles as a resident director and a student in the MBA program. 

Fey’s journey at Rowan University began at her undergraduate institution. Her supervisor, a proud Rowan alumni, recommended that she go to graduate school and pursue her degree here.

“I majored in Health Administration for my undergraduate degree and really enjoyed it. I knew I wanted to stay in healthcare, but I wanted to do so on the business side of things,” Fey says. “Rowan University’s program really stuck out to me because it is one of the only institutions that offer a concentration in Management. Now, I am pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management.” 

Fey headshot
Fey Talabi

Wrapping up her first year in the program, Fey has enjoyed her experience in the MBA program thus far.

“Graduate school has taught me some really valuable lessons. I feel like I am learning information that is practical and applicable to the workforce. In my Leadership Theory class, I am learning how to be an effective manager and how to rally employees toward a common goal. My Corporate Entrepreneurship class has given me the opportunity to format real business proposals. The program is very concentrated and focused, which I like.” 

Along with academics, Fey is working as a resident director of Chestnut Hall.

“I learned about the resident director position from my former supervisor as well. I interviewed for the position through MAPC, which is a conference for employers to interview potential employees for work opportunities. I ended up getting the position and began training in August,” she says.

Fey and Chestnut hall RA staff
Fey and her staff of resident assistants in Chestnut Hall

Fey’s favorite part of the position is her staff of resident assistants.

“This is my first time supervising a staff this large. I am taking management classes for my program, so it’s great to get to apply what I am learning in class to my assistantship. I really get to put my skills to work. Aside from my staff, Rowan University has a diverse culture and I have loved getting to interact with different members of the residential community,” Fey explains.

Managing classes and a graduate assistantship is no easy task, but Fey makes it look that way.

“It is all about time management. I am lucky because my job allows me to structure specific office hours, so I am able to base my schedule around that. I also have a supervisor that really values me as a person and student. She is adamant that I make time for schoolwork.” 

Fey and Chestnut RA staff
Fey and her staff of resident assistants posing on Bunce Green

In the future, Fey hopes to work in the healthcare industry. “I would love to work within the pharmaceutical sector as a business manager. Financial management really interests me, and I am excited to use my skills to better the healthcare industry one day.”

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

Photos courtesy of:
Fey Talabi

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

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

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

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

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

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

What made you decide to transfer to Rowan? 

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

Annabella is leaning on the Business Hall sign and smiling.

What’s been your experience like at Rowan?

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

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

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

Annabella is turning her body towards the camera and smiling.

What drew you to finance? 

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

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

Why did you select your current internship? 

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

Can you describe in detail what your internship entails? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Annabella has her head down and studiously writing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, graduate English education major 

Photography by:
Ashley Craven, sports communication and media major

Engineering Entrepreneurship: Senior Daniel Nachtigall Shares All About Major

Dan works on a project inside Business Hall.

Today we speak with Dan Nachtigall, a recent graduate who majored in Engineering Entrepreneurship from Atlantic County, NJ. Dan explains the importance of his major in the engineering field, learning how to collaborate, and his final project while offering insight for others thinking about pursuing the path.

What is Engineering Entrepreneurship? 

Engineering Entrepreneurship is equitable to other engineering majors such as Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering. The only difference is that the Engineering Entrepreneurship major incorporates more business-based classes where the other majors focus more on the deeper-based sciences. My major has about 90% of the same classes as the other engineering majors except for the higher level courses, which are substituted with business and entrepreneurship classes that will help me when I step out into my career path. 

What are some of the business classes that you take in your major? 

We go through classes like Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Product Development, Business Management, Finance, and other things of that nature. These classes help us learn to balance both the creative and management side of engineering. 

Can you tell us more about your final project?

My final project is for the New Product Development course. In that course, there’s more of a focus on requests for proposal contracts. In the engineering field, everything will involve some sort of contract or a request for a proposal to bid to get a contract. It’s really important for engineers to have the ability to prepare, write and communicate about documents that they need to make with their company or their own businesses in order to reach the consumer. 

Daniel explaining his powerpoint
Daniel practices presenting his final project!

What’s the importance of having that education?

It is really important for an engineer to not just be skilled in simply working in design. It’s important that they understand the industry as a whole. They need to know how to communicate with not only their fellow engineers but with the staff they will be working with as well. As much It’s important to be the designer and the one who’s leading the innovation, it’s also important to be able to support the people aiding you in bringing your ideas to life. 

How does this program tailor to a different type of engineer, an engineer who isn’t straight mechanical or biomedical or anything else along those lines?

The reason this program stood out to me was that it appeals to all different types of engineers like technical engineers, operations engineers, or sales engineers. It’s not just someone doing data analysts. I don’t want to be the highest level engineer doing the calculations. I want to be one of the supporting engineers who’s on the shop floor of the business, doing more work with my hands. 

How do collaborations work between you and your classmates? 

In our major, we have a clinic class each semester. The clinic classes are designed to encourage teamwork and collaboration. Most of the work assigned is group projects and team exercise. During my first clinic freshman year, one of the things they had us for first was the spaghetti and marshmallow tower challenge. We had to use raw spaghetti to balance a marshmallow as high as we could. It was fun but it really emphasized the importance of teamwork, communication, and planning, all things are major values and prides itself on. It’s not just all about sitting behind a desk. 

Daniel writing something down while in the Collaboration Room
“Collaboration is a big component of the field,” Daniel shares.

What’s your advice for students looking to get into engineering and may be interested in pursuing engineering entrepreneurship?

I know there’s a lot of students looking to get into engineering but believe it to be really daunting. It was daunting for me, but this program takes away some of the more daunting elements of engineering. Think about the type of engineer you want to be, the job you want to end up in, the type of engineering you enjoy as a hobby, and determine which branch of engineering you could see yourself going down. Take your time, find what’s good for you, and who knows? You might learn that entrepreneurship engineering is the route for you.

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Story By: 
Bianca Gray, English graduate

The Rowan Writing Arts 4+1 Program: Students Share Their Experiences

Eric Uhorchuk holds a stack of Writing Arts materials outside on campus.

The 4+1 BA/MA in Writing Arts program allows students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years. Students Tara Grier, Scott MacLean and Eric Uhorchuk give us great insight into the benefits of the program and why it is helping to support their goals. 

On discovering the program

Scott MacLean, a first-generation college student from Wenonah, NJ (Gloucester County), recently graduated from the program this spring. He originally learned about the program through a professor. “Professor Rachael Shapiro was the first person to tell me about the program. We met when I took Intro to Writing Arts, and I really thrived in her class. At a later time, I ran into her in the hallway, and we chatted about the opportunity. When I looked into the program I saw that they offered classes focused on aspects of the publishing industry as well as internship opportunities. I knew I had to apply!” 

Eric Uhorchuk, a third-year student in the program from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County), found out about the 4+1 program through professors and classmates. What ultimately lead him to apply were “how many career opportunities and internships the program offered.” So far, Eric has seen the benefit of taking the challenge. “I’ve been working on research for my master’s project, and with luck, it’ll be something I can actually publish. With Rowan University’s program specifically, the degrees can help me see what local presses or businesses are looking for employees, and actually allow me to interact with them.”

Tara Grier, in her third year of the program from Newark, Delaware, learned about the opportunity as a first year student. She ultimately chose Rowan University because it was one of the few schools that offered Writing Arts as an actual major. 

Tara Grier outside on campus.
Tara Grier of Delaware has served as Managing Editor for Rowan’s pop culture online magazine Halftone and as an intern for Singularity Press, the university’s publishing start-up.

Benefits of the 4+1 program

Tara explains: “The program is great because it allows you to begin your M.A. degree as an undergrad while still paying undergrad tuition. Not only does it save time and money, but it’s a unique experience that allows you to explore a graduate program as a senior.” She adds, “Taking graduate-level courses was initially very intimidating, but I’ve learned so much from them already and I feel they’ve even given me new skills that have improved my quality of work in my undergraduate courses too. Another benefit is that you get to know more people in the program!” 

Scott is happy about the time and money he is saving while being enrolled in the 4+1 program. “When I was at RCGC I got into the ISP (Internship Scholarship Program), which allowed me to work in Gloucester County Social Services as an intern in exchange for tuition. Since I finished half of my master’s degree while still in my senior year thanks to the 4+1 program, I managed to save a lot of money. It also just saves me time in the long run. Rather than spending two or three years on my master’s, I am only spending one.” 

Eric identifies faculty and classes that have enriched his experience at Rowan University so far. “Megan Atwood’s Writing the YA novel and Genre Fiction classes helped me learn what major mistakes I make while writing and how to best improve them. Heather Lanier’s Writing Creative Nonfiction course helped me understand that my life is important and that I can use writing to express my personal experiences, and her Creative Writing II course gave me the concept for my current MA project. At the same time, Lisa Jahn-Clough’s Writing Stories for Children and Young Adults is helping me understand which audience I’d be most comfortable writing for, and giving me a special environment to work in.

“All of my professors have made a huge impact on how I write, why I want to write, and how I want to grow while doing it.”

Headshot of Eric wearing a Writing Arts T-shirt.
Eric Uhorchuk says he always knew Rowan University would be home. “I’ve been looking at Rowan University for my whole life. It’s close to home, filled with so many amazing people, and I’ve spent many summer camps, school trips, and even dance recitals here. The fact that it offered a Writing Arts program was the icing on the cake.”

Experiences outside the classroom

Along with classes, Tara is involved in extracurricular activities that have made her experience well-rounded and meaningful thus far.

“I have been an intern and volunteer for Singularity Press since Spring of 2020, a start-up self-publishing service that will help authors edit and promote their work, create cover art, and other services when they self-publish, which is launching this semester. I have loved all the work I’ve done for Singularity Press, from social media management to graphic design, administrative tasks, and all of the creative work that goes into it too. Last semester, I also worked as Managing Editor of Halftone, a new pop culture magazine on campus, which was a great experience. As a freshman, I interned for the Writing Arts department, which allowed me to gain skills that have helped me gain other opportunities and internships.” 

Scott has also gotten valuable experiences outside of the classroom.

“I was an intern for Glassworks Magazine, working under Katie Budris in Fall 2021. Through that internship, I was able to gain experience as an editor for a literary magazine! I learned more about social media management, newsletter writing, website development, and how to best represent Glassworks and the Writing Arts program in general. I was responsible for reviewing and voting on submissions for the magazine and participating in packet meetings where we discuss which pieces we’d like to accept. I also was charged with helping the people taking the Editing the Literary Journal class at the time, editing their editorial content that would be going on the website (book reviews, op-eds, and author interviews). I think one of the main reasons I feel confident graduating from Rowan and entering the workforce is because of my time with Glassworks.”

Scott MacLean at graduation
Scott MacLean at his undergraduate graduation. Scott is a recent graduate of the 4+1 program with plans to join the publishing industry in an agent or editor role.

Currently, Scott serves as an intern for the Singularity Press. “Through this internship, I’ve been able to do more social media management. My favorite part of the internship has been the public events. We went to the AWP conference and I was able to represent both Glassworks and Singularity Press. Lastly, I’ve been able to read and evaluate manuscripts for an agent who is associated with the press. All of these experiences have helped me feel better prepared for the future. I’ve come to realize that I am more capable than I once thought I was, and I’ve managed to push myself out of my comfort zone and thrive in new environments.”

Along with the coursework, Eric is also involved in extracurricular activities. “I worked as an intern for Singularity Press when it was first being conceptualized, where I helped organize events and social media posts and helped out with the website. Currently, I’m working as an associate editor at Glassworks, where I read, and vote on submissions, interact with social media, proofread and edit accepted works, create newsletters, as well as participate in events that the publication runs.”

Future goals

In the future, Tara hopes to have her books published. “I’ve been writing a Fantasy novel for several years, and would love to see it published and successful someday. While I was always aware of my passion for storytelling, my experiences at Rowan also helped me discover a passion for helping others tell their stories. This is why I’d like to pursue an editing career as well.” 

Scott’s ultimate goal is to make the world of literature more inclusive and represent people of all identities in his work. “In high school, I read constantly but I rarely ever found gay characters in the genres I loved. Then I stumbled across I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, the first book with a gay character that didn’t involve the character dying/suffering greatly/being gay-bashed. Reading that book made me realize how little representation was present in literature. That has changed a lot these days, but it’s still very hard to find gay characters at the forefront of genre fiction: fantasy, thrillers, etc. and I plan on changing that. Along with this, I would like to either become a literary agent, or an acquiring editor in the publishing industry.” 

Looking ahead, Eric’s dream goal is to be a published author. “I’m also thinking of possibly going into the editing field, specifically for novel writing or becoming a Writing Arts professor at a university, so I can help others grow and hone their craft. I’ve always wanted to teach, so why not teach the thing I love?

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

Select photos courtesy of:
Tara Grier (credit: Christian Browne) and Scott MacLean

#PROFspective: Computer Science Major, Basketball Player, International Student Marko Pantovic

Outdoor shot of Marko wearing a coat and backpack.

Today we speak to Marko Pantovic, a senior Computer Science major and basketball student-athlete from Belgrade, Serbia. Marko transferred to Rowan University from Maryville University in Missouri. Marko tells us about the chance experience that led him to Rowan and shares his advice for future international students. 

Marko standings holding the Serbia flag.

How did you end up transferring to Rowan?

In the summer of 2018, my brother was just getting married. He had been dating his girlfriend for eight years. They both met at Drexel. They had a wedding in Philly that summer. My family and I decided to look at schools around the area because they lived in Mullica Hill, NJ. I decided to look at Rowan. The school looked great, and they had the major I wanted to do. The D3 level doesn’t matter. Basketball doesn’t matter. Joe Crispin, the Rowan Men’s Basketball coach, set up a tour for me right after I email him. I did the tour, and then I committed right on the spot. I loved everything about Rowan. It was also great to be near my brother for the first time in years.

How did moving closer to your brother affect your college career?

My brother became more of a father figure towards me, which I didn’t expect. I really appreciated him because he’s been pushing me to be my best, not just in school, but also on the court and with everything else. He’s shown me how it looks like living life here. I loved every second I’ve been here.

Marko poses with his brother and his brother's wife after a basketball game.
Marko poses with his brother and his brother’s wife after a basketball game.

What was it like, transitioning to life in the United States?

Well, I know some people from back home who felt so homesick they had to go back home. I have never felt that way, but I think it was because my older siblings came to the United States as well. I did a prep year before going to college, and there were three or four Serbs there, as well as other international students. The next year, I felt by myself. The holidays and winter break were especially lonely. Winter break felt like it would never end. That was a big reason I wanted to transfer to Rowan. Now that I am living with my brother, his wife and my two little nephews, I feel at home. I don’t get as homesick as I did before. 

Do you have any advice for future international students on how to make yourself at home?

My brother was not the only person who made me feel at home here. I also give credit to Nick and Rob, two of the other seniors on the basketball team. They accepted me as soon as I came here. I would say finding a group of friends is important. You can find one on your team, in your major, or through other international students at the International Center.

The International Center here is great. They have banquets, meet-and-greets, and other events. They were especially helpful my first semester here when I was trying to see if there was anyone else from my country here. 

Marko is introduced before a game.

How did you choose your major?

Computer science is really vast. Cybersecurity, everything we do on our phones and computers, is all computer science. A cash register at a store is computer science. The vastness attracted me, and I wanted to explore it. My dad works at an IT company, so I have been exposed to it. Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved computers and loved working with them. I had never experienced software and programming, so I have been learning a lot in my courses. I learned how much I like computer science, and how vast it is.

What is your favorite part of computer science?

I’ve had a lot of software development classes the last two semesters, which have been amazing and I’ve had so much fun with them. I’d like to focus on software development, but I’m not sure if I want to do it in web apps or mobile apps.

Marko stands next to a sign with many countries on it outdoors.

Do you have a favorite moment with your basketball team?

In Serbia, we take basketball really seriously. The fans are passionate; they chant and support their team, and they yell at the other team. I love that kind of environment. We had a setting like that in Jersey City, and we won the game. It was awesome, and I’ll never forget it. 

What made you feel that you made the right decision, coming to Rowan?

The whole Rowan experience, I’m really thankful for it. I didn’t think school would be this great. I always knew I was going to stick through it. I always knew I would finish school with a degree in something. When I was here, I literally had a feeling I didn’t want to leave. Rowan has become a second home for me, and I’m really thankful for it.

See our video with Marko here: 

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

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, first year dance and marketing double major
Rowan Athletics

Family photo submitted by:
Marko Pantovic

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

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

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

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

Mic Worthy is sitting at a desk with his laptop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, freshman dance and marketing major

#PROFspective: Noor Baig and Her Journey in Graphic Design

Noor and a classmate review film.

In our conversation with Noor Baig, a junior commuter from Cherry Hill (Camden County), we learn of her own career path in graphic design. Noor shares insights on her Studio Art major and details some of the expectations in the various classes offered. 

Why did you pick Rowan? 

For the most part, I had picked Rowan because it was nearby and commuting is really important for me since I have an older parent. Besides that, as an art major, I had gone through their website and viewed student work which was definitely super interesting for me, along with the fact that Jan, the (now retired) head of Rowan’s Graphic Design department was emailing me through high school during my application and interview process and was incredibly helpful, friendly and personable. I had really felt that Rowan would give me the best chance to become a better student and artist.

What aspects here at Rowan made you know that this was the place you wanted to be?

Rowan was super welcoming from the start as I had met and communicated with multiple professors before my acceptance. The professors really accepted me and believed in my potential to become a better artist. I was able to build a really great rapport with a lot of my professors as well which makes the learning environment super friendly and helps to build a great community within the studio.

When I started attending classes, which usually for any studio courses are relatively small with 10-20 people maximum, I noticed how the professors are really open to learning about your artistic processes. The professors don’t just talk at you and expect you to just work, they really pull the best out of you and try to inspire you. 

Noor is reaching for an item to help with her developing some film.

What have been your favorite moments so far on campus?

There are so many cool things to go and explore on campus. You’re coming out of high school, you’re a kid who was probably driven around everywhere and everything is really close by. With coming to Rowan and everything being so big you kind of realize you’re on your own now. I think that having that realization was cool but I think a lot of my favorite moments were the smaller ones. When you build up such a rapport with your professors and peers the class becomes more personable. You look forward to going to these different classes every week.

Seeing people of similar interests and working together with them builds inspiration within the class. The camaraderie that I had with my classmates is something that I always look back fondly on. It’s really nice to have such a community and have it reinforced with everyone involved.

Noor and a classmate review photo negatives.

What drew you to Studio Art?

Since I was young, most likely 11 or 12, I’ve been infatuated with art. Even now at home I have art in every room in my house, it’s kind of like an impromptu art gallery from the art that I’ve collected over the years. When I was in high school around my junior or senior year I had some friends who were also getting into the art scene, probably because they had a couple other art friends and we were all influencing one another. I had a couple of friends ask me if I would be interested in buying some of my art or set up commissions for creating art. I started to get into it. I’ve always been passionate about little details like fonts or calligraphy so I started getting routine commissions that dealt with painting or cards. I would advertise locally to my friends and teachers. Selling art was definitely a big thing for me.

Before, I hadn’t even thought I was going to go to college because of finances and other reasons. But selling art and seeing how art brings people together and its impact was a huge game changer for myself. I started to realize how much I liked it; the entire process of creating something with other people. It just made me want to continue doing more and more. I had found out more about graphic design and what Rowan had to offer. I started to realize that this possibility was within my reach and it inspired me to keep going.

However, art is always a hard thing. There’s always anxiety with job security but with graphic design, an applied art, it relieves that tension. Finding out about the opportunities that graphic design could give me and my own personal passions with the process of creating and discussing art pushed me forward to major in Studio Arts. The major is so welcoming. I knew that if I went to art school and had professors that were experienced enough, I would learn more efficiently than I would if I tried to manage it all by myself. Getting my degree would diversify my own abilities and make me better prepared to meet the goals I set out for myself. 

Since the beginning, I always had my foot in every door that I could. I never really stuck directly to one thing. As cool as that was to experience, it prevents you from sticking onto one path. You have half-finished and half-learned skills. By going to college, it gave me the goal that I could run without having to stray from that path. Even that goal, the way that Rowan structures studio art, it’s very generalized, it forces you to try a little bit of everything. I feel a lot more confident in different things in comparison to before.

Noor is standing in a doorway cupping a camera.
Noor, a sophomore commuter from Cherry Hill, (Camden County) has recently developed an interest in photography from a class she took this spring semester.

How do you view your major making a difference for others? 

I think that art is so critical to culture, especially across time. People left different marks thousands of years ago that let us know so much now. I think that art is a hallmark of specific cultures, communities and people. The art that you make as an artist ultimately defines you. Your own art allows for others to try and peer into the type of vision that you have, what you see or are attempting to see, it marks you and defines you. By being an artist, specifically a graphic designer, I’ve always had this desire to help people out the best way I can. With graphic design, a lot of it has to do with solving problems. We solve visual problems and we help to express different ideas. We push ideas forward and help to conceptualize it and bring people together. Art as a whole is very communal, it bridges different gaps and illustrates solutions.

What classes have left the biggest impression on you? 

There’s one class that comes to mind. There’s an Expressive Drawing class with Dr. Appelson, we affectionately call him Doc, it’s like an art bootcamp. Usually, you take it in the spring semester of your freshman year and it’s quite a class. Dr. Appleson has you do a lot of work every single week and he’s teaching you so much as well. It’s stressful in the moment but you realize that it’s never just busy work. Everything that is assigned has you trying or learning something new. Dr. Appleson expects you to put your best foot forward.

It’s tough, but you learn so much in the class. I really came into myself surrounding my style and everything. Funny enough, Doc has this saying where it’s one thing to see what’s on the paper or canvas, but it’s another when trying to figure out what’s going on in an artist’s head while you’re making the drawing. Doc is helping us to connect the art with the artist. While he’s tough in the class, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s the unofficial mascot for Westby Hall. He always gave me so much great advice in the class and I made a lot of great work for my portfolio. It’s hard, but it’s so worth it for developing your skill set.

Noor is preparing some film.

What are some of the different expectations in your classes? 

Graphic design especially is really big on expectations. Specifically, the way that the curriculum is structured and organized. Eventually the last thing that you do in Graphic Design is called Portfolio. This is a class where you work together with students and plan the group exhibit. Every senior who is in the Art major has to have their own exhibit but in graphic design it’s more of a collective.

Everything that you do in graphic design is about organizing yourself and building up your final portfolio. The portfolio is super important for artists because it shows exactly what you’re bringing to the table. You’re showing yourself to your employer. Everything that is in it shows how diverse you’ve become since you’ve started, it shows packaging, typography, infographics, publications and things of that matter. It’s super organized and every little thing almost builds off of one another. 

Out of all the classes you’ve taken so far with your major, what’s worked the best for you in learning the material? 

I take a lot of studio classes, it’s more of a work time to try and explore everything. I love a good studio class; it’s super relaxing. I get into a very specific type of energy and just start powering through. It’s very liberating. Of course, professors are around for guidance if you ever need anything but I like to just keep going. Because of my own work ethic, I do have that sense of responsibility when it comes to assignments. So just being able to be on my own and knowing I have someone in my corner is super reassuring. I’m also a big fan of group critiques because of how everyone gets to voice their opinions. You get a lot of different perspectives that you may have not seen. There’s different ways of conducting critiquing but I think that working in a group and getting that extra feedback helps even my own outlook.

Noor is holding her camera and is looking off.

Are there any professors that you’ve had that stood out to you? Why?

I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to build such a rapport with a lot of my professors that it’s kind of hard to pick just one out. They all have their own unique outlook which reflects in the class. I really appreciate a lot of my professors who create such a cohesive work environment. Everyone is so respectful of one another and keeps it all so casual. For example, I had a class called Color Theory with Professor Alicia Finger and everybody was in such deep contact with each other. Prof. Finger is a great communicator and it resonated with the class. It’s casual, but such a friendly work environment. As for teaching style, again Prof. Finger was great. We were able to talk out some of the different theories in class. Being in college, there’s a lot of freedom to come into yourself and discover one’s own interests. The professors understand this in the art sector and allow us to try and explore our own self. With my professors’ help I was able to commit to myself and find my own style.

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, Graduate Education Major

Putting Experience into Practice: Clinical Intern to Educator, Mariah Hodge

Mariah holds an apple while standing outside on campus.

Since childhood, Mariah had her sights set on becoming a teacher. Through Rowan University, she was able to graduate with a dual major in Elementary Education and Literacy Studies. Her completion of Literacy Studies has also granted her certification as a Teacher of Reading in New Jersey. Mariah’s final task to achieve her undergraduate degree […]

Senior Reflects: Finance Major, Soccer Team Captain Bethany Sansone on Leadership and Mentorship

Today we speak with Bethany Sansone, who recently graduated with a degree in Finance and a minor in Marketing. Bethany is from Roxbury, NJ (Morris County) and is involved around campus as a member of the Women in Business Club, member of Rowan Athletics’ OWL (Outstanding Women Leaders) Group and as captain of the Women’s Soccer Team. She discusses her experiences within her major, her career aspirations, and she shares details on the job she will be starting this fall.

Why did you choose to study Finance? Have you always wanted to pursue a career in this field?

The reason why I choose to major in Finance is because it’s challenging, fast-paced and exciting! I’ve always loved and excelled in working with numbers and math in general. Finance seemed to be the perfect fit for me. My parents are both in the accounting and finance field, so from high school I’ve always known I would be going into the business field in some way. 

Why did you choose Rowan to study Finance? How did Rowan stand out to you in your college search?

I ultimately chose to go to Rowan to play soccer. Luckily enough, Rowan happened to be a great school for business and my academic aspirations! Rowan’s campus and atmosphere also stood out to me compared to all of my other college visits. 

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

Professor Singkamanand is my favorite professor at Rowan. I [took] Advanced Excel Applications with him. He truly cares about all of his students and wants them all to do well in school and at their workplace upon graduation.  

Bethany Sansone after graduation.
Bethany Sansone after graduation.

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

Advice I would give to incoming first year students is to go out and experience everything! Rowan has so many different events where you can truly discover what you’re passionate about. Not only that, but at these events you can meet new people, form new connections, and explore different things about yourself. Overall, Rowan offers so many clubs and activities that you should take advantage of and can lead to a whirlwind of opportunities — whether it’s a job connection, a new passion, new friendships, etc. 

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

I’ve had many great experiences in all of my classes at Rowan, but a time that truly took a turn for the better was when we were able to go back to in-person class opposed to learning remotely over the computer. All of my professors were amazing during the pandemic, but nothing compares to being able to learn face-to-face in a classroom with your peers. 

What are your career aspirations? How do you think Rowan has prepared you for your future endeavors?

I aspire to become a CFA or CPA in the future. One way Rowan really prepared me for my future is with the Finance Mentorship program it provided. I am so thankful for this program, as I believe it was the best thing to help prepare me for my career post graduation. My mentor helped guide me through everything I needed; through resume help, interview prep, to choosing what industry in finance fit me the best. 

Can you talk about being a female in a predominantly male field of study? What are some challenges you have faced? What do you believe your biggest strengths are as a student within this major?

Being a female student in a predominantly male field of study definitely had its challenges. First and foremost, I questioned whether this field was a fit for me personally and professionally and how I was viewed by my peers especially when working in group projects since I was typically the only female in the group. This definitely made me introverted and shy at first.

As I grew as a person over the years, I became more comfortable and confident in myself. One of my biggest strengths as a student is that I am always on top of my work; I make sure the quality of my work is high and I make sure that I have everything done before the deadline. 

Bethany Sansone pictured with her cap and gown.

Why is finance the best suitable major for the goals you would like to accomplish in your future?

Finance is the best suitable role for me because I enjoy problem solving in creative ways. My goal is to help the company that I work with in planning how to grow their revenue and maintain profitability. 

Can you talk about the position you have accepted post graduation? Can you talk about the process of applying and then accepting this position?

I accepted a full-time offer as an Analyst with WithumSmith+Brown upon graduation. My process for applying to this position started with a referral from a friend; from there I attended the career fairs that the firm was going to, and had multiple interviews with different people from the firm to then be able to accept the position.

Do you have advice or tips, in particular for females, that are trying to stand out within the job search and interview process? What do you believe were your biggest attributes to obtaining this position?

My advice for the interview process is to be yourself and don’t let your nerves get to you! Along with that, I suggest that you do a good amount of research on the company and to prepare questions to ask at the end of it. Additionally, make sure to mention your strengths and share previous professional experiences like internships. For me, I think I stood out in the interview process by highlighting my leadership roles in college, like being captain of the Rowan Women’s Soccer Team, along with sharing the clubs I am a part of. I also think my previous internship experience helped showcase my skills and knowledge. 

Is there anything else you would like to look back on and reflect on regarding your time at Rowan?

I am so thankful to have had a great college experience at Rowan. I gained so much knowledge, met so many great people, and explored many different interests. Rowan gave me all the tools and resources to be successful while in school and preparing for the real world post graduation. 

Bethany Sansone posing on Bunce Hall steps after graduation.

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Story by: 
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Bethany Sansone

Enlighten, Engage, Entertain: The Mission of M.A. in Writing Graduate Leo Kirschner

Leo stands inside Rowan Radio offices.

Leo Kirschner is a champion of radio and sound. On air, he serves as assistant manager of the award-winning Rowan Radio station. On campus, he teaches for the department of Radio/TV/Film. He incorporated sound theory into a capstone project for his master’s degree in writing through Rowan Global. Read on to learn more about Leo’s research and graduate school journey.

Write the book that you want to read. A book to help others like you. 

That was the goal of Leo Kirshner as he set out to complete his capstone project to earn his M.A. in Writing, but that was easier said than done.

A lover of all things fantasy, the goal would have been easier to complete if books like “Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter” were available to choose. Though, as much as we love to dream that schools like Hogwarts or places like Middle Earth exist, they are only works of fiction. For Leo’s assignment, he needed to choose a work of nonfiction that aligned with his research interests of radio broadcasting as well as his mission statement: Enlighten, Engage and Entertain. 

Long before he was given this daunting task (and before Henry Rowan made his generous donation), Leo Kirshner was another student at Glassboro State College wondering what his next steps in life would be. While working to receive his undergraduate degree, Leo developed an interest in Radio and Television Broadcasting that he would pursue as a career after graduating. 

“I was working professionally in commercial broadcasting,” he shares. “I was writing and creating content, focusing on journalism and covering local stories for the news or for radio. I also worked as an advertising copywriter for car commercials, restaurants, and other stuff along those lines. Along with that, I did voiceover work for different commercials as well as producing.” 

He continued down this career path for the next 20 years before an opportunity to work at his alma mater would arise.

“My professor, Frank Hogan, who ran WGLS, was retiring, and they were bringing in a new team and wanted to know if I was interested in helping the department. I really wanted to give back to the community that helped me find success in my career.” 

Leo helps guides a student at Rowan Radio
Rowan Radio airs 24 hours a day with a broadcast signal that covers all of South Jersey as well as areas of Philadelphia and Delaware. It’s Leo’s pride and joy!

Leo would give back to the Rowan community by helping to run the Rowan Radio station and, though he enjoyed it, wanted to further lend a helping hand by diving into the world of academia. Since the school didn’t offer a master’s program in his initial career path, Leo decided to apply for the M.A. in Writing program through Rowan Global, something that greatly interested him. He was accepted based in large part on his portfolio filled with radio advertising, professional writing and creative writing that he writes on the side. 

“I started the program in the fall of 2016 and took it one semester at a time,” he says. “It’s like all other programs. You have your prerequisites, your core classes, your seminars and your electives. It was all in person prior to COVID. They were the double session classes, usually from 6:30 until 9:15. There were two semesters where I taught my broadcasting class from 3:30 to 6:15 and the grad program was the same day starting at 6:30. I was working full time, 40 hours a week in my job plus teaching, plus being a family man.” 

Managing it all wasn’t a simple task. During this time period, Leo experienced a health scare that made him step away from the program for almost a year and tried to make up for it by taking two classes a semester, something he describes as “the hardest thing I ever did.” 

In one semester between the two classes, Leo had completed 57 writing projects that he had done in the span of 16 weeks while simultaneously working 40 hours a week at Rowan, running the radio station and teaching his course on broadcasting. Not to mention, he still had a family to take care of and support.

“It probably would have been easier if I was younger or didn’t have as much responsibility, but I wanted to do the best just to see if I could do it, you know, and yeah, thankfully, I did.”

Leo on the air at the Rowan Radio Station
Did you know Rowan Radio first aired in 1964? Rowan Radio studios are currently located in the College of Communications and Creative Arts and Leo, seen here with Station Manager Derek Jones (left), is always nearby to lend a helping hand.

Despite all of this hardship, Leo’s greatest test would come in the form of the capstone project, the final project/thesis requirement for completion of the program. “It’s essentially the first or second draft of your proposed book that you’re going to eventually publish.”

For his capstone project, Leo would decide to write a nonfiction piece centered around the concept of acousmatics in the style of a textbook mixed with a memoir. Acousmatics can be defined as the influence that sounds have over people. It’s the podcast you listen to on your drive home or the music you play while you workout. How does it make you feel? What does it inspire you to think? 

Acousmatics comes to us from the Greek philosopher Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras), known for his favorite high school math equation as well as teaching his students behind a partition so that he was not visible. His students only heard his voice. It is this method of teaching that was the basis for Leo’s work. 

“You listen to the DJ,” Leo explains, “You listen to the commercial to my car, because it’s this worldly voice that makes you think it’s the voice of God, an otherworldly being trying to educate you, to inspire you. The goal of you being on the air is to engage, enlighten and entertain.”

Leo lending a helping hand to a student at Rowan Radio.
Much like Leo said, teaching is more than just sitting down with a textbook. It’s doing everything in your power to enlighten, engage and entertain your student.

Leo presented his project to his peers and professors at a week-long symposium held by the department. Students present their projects in a fashion similar to TED Talks with presentations lasting anywhere between 20-45 minutes. Due to the pandemic, Leo’s class was regulated to presenting their findings via Zoom, but the presentation wasn’t any less impactful. 

According to Leo, it was actually, “More fun!”

As for the project itself, it still remains unfinished. 

“The book is not done,” he shares. “I think I’m only halfway through it, I had my outline. But the project is going to be at least 30,000 words.”

As for who he hopes readers will be, the answer is obvious. It is those he hopes to enlighten, engage and entertain the most: his students.

[Learning and research] doesn’t have to be you sitting with a 500-page textbook,” he says, “It’s just you taking in an experience and learning from it.”

And we couldn’t agree more! For any student hoping go follow the same path as Leo and pursue their MA with the Rowan family, he offers the following words of wisdom:

“What I would tell any prospective M.A. student is that getting a master’s degree is everything you’d expect and nothing you’d expect. Yes, it’s going to take hard work. Yes, it’s going to be stressful. Yes, it’s going to give you self-doubt. But it also will offer you unique opportunities and perhaps change the direction of your life.”

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Story By: 
Bianca Gray, English graduate

Senior Reflects: Engineering Major Danielly DeMiranda Ribeiro on the Campus Opportunities that Shaped her Rowan Experience

Danielly celebrates commencement with her family.

Peer Tutor. Women in Engineering Club Treasurer. AIChE student chapter class representative. Chemical Engineering major Danielly DeMiranda Ribeiro stayed active on campus and online as Covid-19 surged through her college career. Now, with her degree in hand and a position with the pharmaceutical company Merck, Daneilly shares her best Rowan memories and her words of […]

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

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

What inspired you to choose your major?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gianna Moyer posing outside Richard Wackar Stadium.

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

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

Do you hold any jobs on or off-campus?

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

Gianna Moyer at Richard Wackar Stadium.

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Story by: 
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Why Liliana Ferrara Chose Rowan for her Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration

Liliana wears her graduation cap and gown.

Liliana Ferrara, a Rowan Global student in the MA in Higher Education: Administration program from Parsippany, NJ (Morris County), shares why she chose Rowan to pursue her graduate degree. 

Liliana is no stranger to Rowan University’s campus. As a proud Rowan alumna, Liliana graduated with a degree in Psychology and two minors in Sociology and Italian Studies. In fact, Liliana was the first person in Rowan’s history to graduate with an Italian Studies minor. During her undergraduate degree, Liliana also served as a resident assistant in Mimosa Hall and Nexus Apartments. 

Liliana grad photo
Liliana graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Psychology.

Knowing that she wanted to continue working in residential life, Liliana looked for programs that not only had a higher education program, but a graduate assistantship that would meet her needs.

“I interviewed at a few other schools through the MAPC conference and even got offered a few other positions. Rowan’s package and program was one I could not pass up,” Liliana says. “I loved Rowan so much during my undergraduate experience so it made the decision to come back so easy.” 

Now that she’s back on campus, Liliana talks about her adjustment into graduate level courses.

“My first semester was a nice introduction into the MA in Higher Education: Administration program. My professors really helped with the adjustment and made me feel comfortable,” Liliana says. “Now that I am in the second semester, it is definitely starting to feel more real. We are starting to talk about our research projects for next year and preparing for that.” 

Liliana and staff

So far, Liliana has enjoyed her time in the program and has connected with her professors. “Dr. Dale, who I had for Higher Education in America last semester, was really great. She gave me so much encouragement and support throughout the semester. I really valued that she was able to share so much of her experience in residential life because that is what I am passionate about. I was really able to connect with her on that level and hope to take her classes again next semester.”

Along with her coursework, Liliana has her hands full being a resident director of Rowan Boulevard Apartments.

“Although it is challenging to manage being a student and an RD, I have had such an amazing experience so far. I love getting to work with the RA’s on my staff and across campus. I wanted this job to help students and develop a close connection with them past the supervisory role. As an RD, I get to do just that,” she explains.

Liliana and staff pointing at her
Liliana (center) poses with members of the resident assistant staff.

Liliana can’t imagine being an RD anywhere else, either. “Being an RD at Rowan specifically gives you such a holistic experience in higher education. This assistantship stuck out to me because we get to do so much as graduate students. Whether it is working with the housing assignments team, supervising a staff, or serving in a duty rotation, this assistantship is so hands on. We really get to put the theory we learn in class into practice,” she says.

When asked to give advice to students who want to pursue a career in higher education, Liliana replies: “You really have to think about the work-life balance you want to achieve. In a field like residential life, it is so easy to get burnt out because there is a stigma that you have to work after hours to be great. I think it is really important to set boundaries so you can be successful in your work life and your personal life.” 

After graduation, Liliana wants to continue to work in residential life and maintain the work-life balance that is so important to her. 

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

Photos courtesy of:
Liliana Ferrara and Residential Learning and University Housing Department 

Related posts:

Higher Education Master’s Program Sounds Like Sweet Success For Rowan Music Alum Ben Wilner

Rowan Global Student Brittany Passano: Paving the Way for Latina Women in Higher Education

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

Bridging The Gap In Health Literacy Through Graphic Design [VIDEO]

Terry uses graphic design software in a computer lab.

Rowan’s Biomedical Art and Visualization (BMAV) major is one of a select few programs of its kind offered nationwide. As a biomedical artist, you will apply your knowledge of art, medicine, science and technology to create educational illustrations, animations and interactive media for specific audiences.

“BMAV is a program that is geared towards students who are artistic but also have an affinity for the sciences,” says senior Terry Nguyen. “We take scientific data or any sort of data and interpret it visually.”

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#TRANSFERmation Tuesday: A Conversation with Music Industry Major Emileigh Zane

In this edition of #TRANSFERmation Tuesday, we learn more of Music Industry major Emileigh Zane of Penns Grove, NJ (Salem County). In this exchange, we learn more of her own experience as a transfer student as well as what motivated her to pursue a career inside the music industry. 

Why did you pick Rowan? 

I mostly picked Rowan for their music industry program. There are not that many schools that do have a music industry program. I know that in the state of New Jersey, only [two other schools] have one. So because Rowan is so close to me, I went through with it. I only live 40 minutes away from here, so I liked that aspect here that was somewhat close to home but still far enough away where I’m not too tempted to go home all the time (sorry Mom and Dad!). I really liked the program and what they were offering. I know a lot of people who have gone to school here and I’ve heard a lot of great things about it, so that kind of pushed me to go forward with that direction.

Could you describe the journey it took you to get to Rowan? 

The transfer process was actually super simple because I went to Rowan College of South Jersey, which is the school that Rowan is associated with. The transfer process was super easy, I just had to apply to Rowan. I’m pretty sure all of my credits transferred over because of that affiliation between those two schools. It was super simple and I didn’t have any problems.

Emileigh is looking at a computer while typing on a keyboard.

What aspects here at Rowan made you know that this was the place you wanted to be? 

I like how many opportunities there are for involvement at Rowan. There are hundreds of clubs and Rowan After Hours. I’ve always been the type of person who’s been super involved at school, especially at high school. I was the girl that was in every club. I went to a very small high school so it was okay that I was involved in a lot, it was like a sense of community with everyone. I was a part of clubs that were focused on the arts, athletics and even academic-oriented ones. Looking back, I can say that I was really involved over there.

When I got to community college I knew that I still wanted to be involved. So, at RCSJ (Rowan College of South Jersey), I was on the track team and it took up most of my time there. It was really fun, I met a lot of great people there. 

When I got to Rowan University, I knew that I wanted this type of place where I can be involved and meet a lot of new people from it. I also really like Rowan’s campus. It’s a great medium-sized campus; it’s not too big and not too small. The fact that there are a lot of good food places nearby is great too!

With being a transfer student, how included do you feel with the different events/clubs here on campus? 

I feel super included, I’ve never really felt different as a transfer student. The only real disadvantage was that people have had more time to explore on campus than I have. Sometimes it takes me longer to discover new things on campus, but for the most part I feel like the school does a pretty good job about advertising all of the opportunities for students. I had an easy time just coming right in and finding clubs and groups that I wanted to be a part of on campus.

Emileigh is sitting down on some gross with her legs crossed and smiling at the camera.

What drew you to your major?

I would say the big event that drew me to my major was when I was at Warped Tour in 2018. I was with my cousin and her girlfriend and they had entered this raffle to win backstage passes for one of the performers. They ended up winning the drawing so all three of us got to go backstage at Warped Tour and I got to see what happens behind the scenes, like the walkthrough location or the area where everybody is eating. During the tour, our guide showed us where even the green rooms were at and then we got to be backstage while 3oh!3 performed.

Just seeing the environment with everybody working backstage like the lighting crew, the audio crew, the guitar technicians, just seeing it all from that perspective and seeing them perform with the crowd had captivated me. I knew that I wanted to do this and this was what I wanted to do with my life.

Emileigh is standing out front of a sign at Warped Tour.
After her experience with Warped Tour, Emileigh Zane became aware of how a career in the musical industry field could be her calling.

How do you view your major making a difference for others?

I think my major is very helpful, especially to people that are already trying to pursue it. If they are an artist themselves, you really get to see all of the behind the scenes things that really aren’t talked about. It’s not the fun stuff so it’s not what people are usually talking about. The music industry is a very traditional type of business. It’s really easy to get screwed over in the industry and make mistakes such as in the case of ambiguous contracts or labels. It’s started to change a little bit but just knowing how it works and learning how to take advantage will really boost your career with which I consider as super helpful. For example, there’s this one class called Music Publishing and it has to do with ownership of a song and how licensing and rights work with your song.

I think that my major teaches you a lot of things that you would have to learn the hard way if you didn’t take the college route. You can take the proper precautions for starting your career or even if you just want to work on the business side of things, the teachings that we learn all deal with preventing common mistakes and setting ourselves up for future success. Just learning how to get the most money possible for yourself and your artist is great, but also learning without the whole trial and error experience is even better.

Emileigh is standing in front of a brick background smiling at the camera.

What has Rowan done to prepare you for the future, aka, post-academia? 

I think that my major in particular has done a great job of giving me a lot of hands-on, relevant experience. I’m currently in a touring and concert promoting class, and it teaches us what it actually takes to put on a show. But then the other part of that class, and what I think is most helpful, is that we get to put on two shows as a part of that class as a part of our grade. 

For our capstone projects, we have the freedom to do a lot of different things, whatever you’re interested you can do for the most part. For example, a lot of artists that I’m friends with do an EP (Extended Play) or album and other people have started artist management companies. For my capstone project, I’ve decided to do a one-day music festival called Better Now Music Festival. Currently, I’m looking for a local venue to book the show at as well as looking at many different local and semi-local artists. There’s still a lot to plan, but I also really like the idea of having a lot of activities, food trucks and some tables with helpful resources. It’s like my own little homage to Warped Tour in a way, I guess.

What have been your favorite moments so far on campus? 

My house shows with Rowan Alt (@rowanalternativemusic) are the most fun and enjoyable thing that I do on campus. I also went to see the Rowan jazz concert that they have every winter and spring. I went to one in the winter and it was really good. I was really surprised, I didn’t realize that the students were as good as they were. That jazz festival was really fun. Just getting to be involved with Rowan Music Group, that was really cool by itself too. If I could describe it, It’s like the Rowan record label that a lot of people don’t really know that we have, but we have. I have a lot of fun just hanging out with my roommate too, we’ll just be hanging around at our apartment.

Emileigh is leaning on a railing and smiling directly at the camera with the sunset at her back.

What’s the most interesting thing that you had learned during the transfer process?

Most things that you may need help with are a simple ask away. I feel like a lot of people don’t realize that there are people out there willing to help you. Knowing how to ask for help in a nice way can get you pretty far.

With everything that you know now, what advice would you give to your high school self in regards to college?  

To just stay organized. I’m already a very organized person, but I think staying organized is really important because there are so many things that you’re trying to juggle between school, taking care of yourself and being involved. Just make sure that you are aware of all of the opportunities and that you take advantage of them. It’s very important to the entirety of the college experience.

Story by:
Lucas Taylor, English Education major

Photography by:
Valentina Giannattassio, first-year dance and marketing double major

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First Year Voices: History Major Abbigail Ealer

Today, we feature Abbigail Ealer, a first year History major from Washington Township, NJ. Abby is in the Honors program and a mentee of the Bantivoglio Leadership and Service Training (BLAST) peer mentoring program, which pairs upperclassmen with incoming Honors students to help guide them through their first semester in Honors and at Rowan. Abby speaks with us about her experience in the program and her first year of college. 

What was the transition to college like for you? How did you push through any challenges? 

I was definitely nervous. This was the first time where I’m going to school with people I don’t know. I’ve gone to Catholic school my whole life, so from grade school to high school I’ve known everybody. It was very weird going to classes like American Government where most of the students were upperclassmen and I didn’t know anyone. 

On your busiest day, what responsibilities do you find yourself juggling? 

Wednesdays are definitely my busiest day of the week. I have three classes and I have BLAST at night. As a commuter, I drive all the way to campus for my classes during the day, then have to drive back home at night. My BLAST group gets out around 7:30 p.m., so I don’t get back home until late. It’s really hard to get any work done that day. 

What are the three classes you have that day? 

I have Western Civilization at 9:30 a.m., American Government at 12:30 p.m., then Honors Comp II with Prof. Flocco at 2:00 p.m. I have a break in the middle of the day between classes and BLAST and I usually spend that time with my sister (who is also a Rowan student) or with my friends. 

What have you enjoyed most about BLAST?

Honestly, friendships are the most valuable things. The mentors give us really great and helpful advice, but I’ve made some really great friends that have been super supportive and helpful. I’ve talked to them regularly outside of our group after finding out that we have classes together. They’ll even walk me to my car after our meetings. They always invite me to come with them to different events on campus, which is really sweet and inclusive. 

Abby leaning against Science Hall.

How are your mentors? 

Our mentors are great and they are also becoming my really good friends. I think it’s helpful to have friends who are upperclassmen because they can serve as a guide to us younger students. 

Tell us about a moment that made you feel like Rowan was a good fit for you?

There was this Honors event that I went to where we were able to meet the deans of our college. I’m a history major, so my college is the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. I met this girl at the event who was in the same college. She overheard me talking about how I was interested in Museum Studies, which happened to be an area of interest for her as well. She said to me, “I’m doing the same thing! Let me get your number,” and she spent thirty minutes just giving me all the information she could about the program and typed it all up in a google document.  That moment made me realize that this university isn’t just a school. It’s a community. People want me here, they want to help me succeed. Not just faculty but the students as well. It was just a really wonderful moment and made me feel like I belonged. 

What advice would you give to a high school student about choosing the right college?

Go with your gut. That’s what I did. I almost went to community college to save money, but I just felt like that wasn’t the path for me, so I came to Rowan. I don’t think if I went down any other path that I would be as happy as I am now. 

Abby holds the Hoot, spreading his wings
Abby’s friend, Hoot, steals the show!

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Story By: 
Bianca Gray, English graduate

Photos By:
Nick Flagg, senior theater and advertising major 

#PROFspective: Senior Psychology Major Kya Riley

Kya smiles and sits in the lobby of Campbell Library.

Today we talk to senior Psychology major Kya Riley, a commuter from Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County). Kya discusses her experience at Rowan the past four years and her future plans within the psychology field. 

Why did you choose to study psychology? Have you always wanted to pursue a career in psych?

I chose to study psychology because I am really big on mental health and understanding mental health and how it can vary by individual. I am someone that has struggled with depression and still do. My personal experience with mental health is what really got me interested in psychology and mental well-being to begin with. In the psychology field, I am interested in becoming a counselor for kids and teenagers within a school environment.   

Why did you choose Rowan to study psychology?

I chose Rowan when I was in my college search mainly because I wanted to be close to home. 

Most memorable experience at Rowan so far?

My most memorable experience was probably when I lived on campus freshman year and experienced more school life as a campus resident. I remember going to one of the events where the sororities join together at the event fairs and informational sessions.

Kya Riley smiling inside the library.

What would your dream job be as a psychology major?

I do want to start off at first in school counseling. However, my dream job within this field would definitely be opening up and running my own practice and give counseling to kids and teenagers.

What class at Rowan have you found most challenging, interesting, difficult?

A difficult class for me was definitely Psychology of Scientific Thinking. Another class that was difficult for me was Intro to Sculpture. A class that was interesting to me was Human Exceptionality. 

How do you think Rowan has prepared you for your future endeavors?

I have learned a lot over the years from my experience at Rowan that I can utilize in my future endeavors and in my future work life. The most important thing that I have learned as someone who will be entering the human services profession is that you must have an open mind and learn to alter your thinking. It is a profession that you need to be understanding of everyone and everything. 

Kya Riley in Rowan Campbell Library.

What is something interesting that you have learned this semester within a specific class?

I am in a classed called Psychology of Women and Cultural Experience. In the class we learn about gender stereotypes and I thought it was very interesting and informative. 

What does a typical day for you look like? 

My schedule really changes day by day depending on my work schedule. In a typical day, I wake up in the morning, head to campus for class, and then I go off campus and head to work. After work I head home to relax for a little before I head back to campus for my night classes. Before heading home for the night I either spend time with friends or hang out with my boyfriend.

Portrait of Kya Riley inside Campbell Library.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, first year dance and marketing major

The Perspective and Path of International Student, Sarah Atai

Sarah is smiling at the camera while being outside.

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

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

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

Sarah is sitting down and smiling directly at the camera.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your fondest memory here at Rowan?

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

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

Sarah is standing behind a wall with an intricate design.

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

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

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

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, English education major

Photography by:
Valentina Giannattasio, dance and marketing double major 

#PROFspective: Senior Theatre Major Kayla Bowe

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

Why did you choose to study Theatre? 

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

Is that why you came to Rowan?

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

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

Kayla Bowe poses inside Tohill Theatre.
Kayla Bowe

What’s your favorite moment or happiest memory here? 

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

What’s your typical day like at Rowan?

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

Kayla Bowe in Tohill Theatre in Bunce Hall.

What is your favorite class?

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

What’s your favorite Shakespeare piece? 

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

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

Kayla Bowe posing in Tohill Theatre in Bunce Hall.

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts?

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

Kayla Bowe smiling.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Related posts:

Passing the Torch: Theatre Educator Nick Flagg

Queer Voices: Theatre Major Tyler “TJ” Jacobs

Alumni Success: Rowan Graduates Take Over the Eagle Theatre

#PROFspective: A Dialogue with English Education Major Lucas Taylor

Lucas is smiling and staring away from the camera. There is a large blue sky behind him.

With Rowan Blog’s latest release of #PROFspective, we converse with Lucas Taylor, a commuting senior English education major from West Deptford (Gloucester County). In our discussion with Lucas, we learn of his unique Rowan experience with his new job as a producer for Rowan Blog as well as his own motivation for pursuing higher education in English.

What inspired you to choose your major?

I originally didn’t want to be an English major; I didn’t really find it all too interesting until my senior year of high school. I was always good at writing and analyzing texts but never really took an interest in it until my teacher at the time had seen how proficient I was at it. She saw through me being lazy, and I suppose in a sense, that resonated with me. I wanted to do well to make her proud and at the end of the year I kind of realized that teaching was something I could spend my life doing. I owe a lot of my college career to that teacher and hope she’s doing well with her own life.

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

I think teaching is a very admirable occupation. My mother is an art teacher herself, and I learned all of the different tribulations that she goes through with teaching almost hundreds of kids a year. Yet, she’s always so happy and proud to teach all of them. Mainly, I want to be able to reach out to kids like me who really didn’t have an ideal path for the future and show them the different paths that they could take.

Lucas is walking towards the camera and smiling.

How are you involved on campus?

I’m a newly hired producer for Rowan Blog and I have to say it’s pretty exciting. With Covid indirectly wiping out 2-3 years of my college career, I really haven’t spent all that much time on campus. I’m a commuter so I don’t really get around to traveling so much around campus. So far, this job has had me go into buildings that I’ve never even seen and meet with people. It almost makes you feel like a first year all over again.

Could you share a moment you’ve experienced in which you have felt that Rowan is a welcoming environment for you?

Coming into Rowan, I already knew that I had a lot of really close friends that were also going to be attending. I wouldn’t say that there is a specific moment but I guess you could call it a collection of experiences. Whether it was my buddies and myself going to grab a pizza and goofing off in one of the buildings at Holly Pointe or just meeting different people with every new class I take, it’s a different ordeal every time which I find pretty fascinating.

Lucas is sitting down and smiling at the camera.

Tell us about one moment that made you feel like Rowan was the right fit for you.

Honestly, there was this one moment where I had just bought a new car to start off my first year here at Rowan. If I remember right, it was like a 1998 Camaro and I had thought it was the coolest thing, especially since it had that retro looking t-roof. I was going to pick up my friends and grab something to eat as a first trip with the car and it didn’t start for some reason. While I was calmly freaking out I was surprised over the amount of students that actually were coming up and asking me if everything with the car was alright. It was a very humbling experience but something that made me feel really included with the entire population.

Lucas is holding a notebook that he was writing in and looks off in the distance.

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

You really have to appreciate the different classes that are offered in the major. There are so many different welcoming professors such as Professors Falck, Meadowsong and Tucker that really make you invested in what you’re learning. I think with English there’s always something new to learn or even just interpret based on what you think a source is trying to convey which makes it almost tailored to however you want to believe. All in all, I would just say to keep up with reading and not to slack off too much.

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Story and Photography: by Ashley Craven, junior sports communication and media major

Produced by: Lucas Taylor, senior English Education major



#PROFspective: Life Behind the Camera with Sports Communication and Media Major Ashley Craven

Ashley holds a DSLR camera with a long lens inside Business Hall.

In this edition of #PROFspective we learn of junior Sports Communication and Media major Ashley Craven. Ashley is a transfer student from Camden County College who commutes from Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County). Showing great tenacity, Ashley is a single mother rising up to achieve her degree. Recently, Ashley was hired for Rowan Blog and exhibits a passion for photography. In this dialogue, we learn of Ashley’s own journey through academia as well as an inside look at her unique Rowan experience.

What drew you to your major? 

Being an athlete, I wanted a job in the sports industry. I was actually going to nursing school and when I got in, I realized it wasn’t for me; so, sports came to mind.

I recently discovered my passion for photography. I thought of connecting the two. Now, I am taking on more cinematography and production assignments for the Rowan Blog. It just feels right.

Ashley works on a laptop with her camera at her side inside Business Hall.

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

Combining photography and cinematography is like conveying a story in silence, which I think is pretty powerful. It allows athletes to showcase their talents and emotions. Whether they’re winning a championship or so forth, I really want to emphasize the talents of other athletes. It is a form of storytelling, so those who weren’t at these events can see bit by bit.

On the professional side, I want to get a job with the NFL or WWE. I’d feel a big sense of accomplishment if I got to do that because I would see my photos being out there around the world. I want to be an asset to a company and provide them with quality pictures to benefit them as well. It’s cool to think that photos are one of the only ways you can actually look back at the past. 

Ashley sits and holds her knees on a bench inside Business Hall.

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

I have Neil Hartman to thank, without a doubt. I even kept in close contact with him even when I was still at Camden County College. It took me a year and a half to come here, and I still keep in touch with him. He has just been so influential. Neil Hartman provides all the students networking opportunities, keeps up to date with upcoming events and job fairs. He definitely wants me to succeed because he saw how passionate I was. He even reached out to ask me to do a lacrosse tournament just because he knew I was willing to do anything to succeed in the world of photography. He is definitely great with guidance and he is going to be the one I thank at my graduation speech.

What’s your fondest moment here at Rowan that involves your major?

The best would have to be when Brianna McCay, who is involved in The Whit, asked me to photograph the Brian Dawkins interview. Because of her, I was able to take some awesome photos of an icon. Two of my pictures made it into the newspaper, and I realized that I wanted to keep doing it.

I think photographing with the newspaper and seeing my photos published for the first time was one of the greatest moments. That was just an opening door to my future success. It’s still a new hobby of mine but it’s already got me here.

Ashley is smiling with her two kids around her.

Any words you want to give to someone interested in your major?

Really, when you talk about the sports industry it’s all about who you know. You have to network, you have to promote yourself, you have to preserve. Every no will lead to a better yes. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything, it is the preview to life’s coming attractions.” That really resonates with me. What you put out into the universe is what’s going to attract to you.

How would you describe your academic journey so far? 

So I absolutely love school now. I actually did not complete high school. Then, about eight years later, it kind of just came to me that I wanted to go back to school again. I wanted to better my life my kids and for myself, so I got my GED. I have worked relentlessly ever since. I wanted to get the degree, and I’ve just been so motivated.

With my kids, it’s hard to get work done but I’ve always believed in self discipline and I think it’s huge. So I set up times where I wake up at five or six in the morning when they’re still sleeping just to get an assignment done. Or I’ll even get them to bed by 9:30 and stay up until midnight to do my work. It’s very challenging for sure.

Because of them and how I want to better myself as an individual, it encourages me to stay on top of my assignments, get things done and get good grades. I value that, especially from someone who originally hated school.

Ashley stands with her hand on her hip inside Business Hall.

Is there any specific club or organization that has helped welcome you here at Rowan? 

Pizza with the Pros, there you feel the togetherness. It’s just awesome the people that you get to meet. Everyone just wants to help — whether it’s a student, a professional in the industry or in my case, Neil Hartman. Those events are all about networking and hearing perspectives of people in the industry. The all give great advice. Those events really just make me feel welcomed and supported. 

What has been the biggest challenge in transitioning to Rowan? 

Learning where all of the buildings are located! I just think being new is the most challenging. Other than that, everything has been pretty easy to navigate, especially with Canvas. 

Any final words you would like to give? 

You’re never too old, and it’s never too late. Prioritize what’s most important to you and put self-discipline first. I’m huge on being mindful. I would also suggest writing everything down. It’s really important to write down all your thoughts and ideas just to reflect on them after. Don’t forget to date them as well!

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, senior English education major

Photography by:
Valentina Giannattasio, first year dance and marketing double major

The (Abridged) Beginner’s Guide to Communication Studies

Brandon is smiling and gazing at the camera behind a forest.

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

When I first entered college, I was unsure about what I wanted. My friends all seemed so solid in their paths to becoming mechanical engineers, accountants or even psychologists. For a long time, this made me insecure about my own choices and, more often than not, my inability to make them. However, even with all of the trouble that I had faced with indecision, I realize now that I found my place in one of the broadest majors Rowan University has to offer: Communication Studies.

Brandon Simon is sitting on swing in the forest.

The most elusive thing about my major is its definition. What is communication studies? According to the University of Otago in New Zealand, communication studies can be described as “a study of how we communicate differently to various audiences/users and communities. It understands that communication is social, political, and media-based, and occurs in different contexts” (University of Otago).

This idea can be applied in countless different ways across two major tracks: Rhetoric/Cultural Criticism and Interpersonal/Organizational. This major gives students so many options when it comes to specializing in the specific fields of communication that they would like to study. While this freedom may sound like a good thing, students often can feel restricted when it comes to narrowing down their concentration and looking for a job.

Brandon is squatting down and smiling at the camera.

A graduate of communication studies can do anything with their degree. Some students in the Interpersonal track may find a job in human resources at a large company, while students in the Rhetoric track may go on to graduate school and conduct their own research. A minor or certificate of undergraduate study can also help guide students through this process. The number of opportunities out there can feel overwhelming, but the key is keeping an open mind and knowing how to market yourself and your acquired skills.

References 

What is Communication Studies. University of Otago, University of Otago, New Zealand. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://www.otago.ac.nz/mfco/about/otago040200.html

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Story by:
Brandon Simon, senior communication studies major, Wellness Center intern

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Produced by:
Lucas Taylor, senior English education major

Women in Leadership #PROFspective: Riya Bhatt, the AVP of University Advancement

Today we feature Riya Bhatt, the AVP of University Advancement for Student Government. Riya is a sophomore Biological Sciences major who also minors in Public Health and Wellness. Riya discusses her involvement in SGA (Student Government Association) and her future plans as a biological sciences major.

My Most Interesting Class: United States History to 1865

Ahmad looks to the side while leaning against a railing in Business Hall.

While senior Ahmad Conteh has pursued his degree in Finance through the Rohrer College of Business, one course he took from outside his major quickly became one of his favorites. Read on as Ahmad, a transfer student from Mercer County College, shares details on a class that took him centuries back in our nation’s past. […]

Faculty #PROFile: Insight on the Perspective of Dr. Alicia Monroe

Dr. Monroe has a thought provoking look on her face and is looking off.

During her time here at Rowan University as both an instructor for the Africana Studies department and assistant director at the Office of Career Advancement, Dr. Alicia Monroe can be seen as a beacon for students who are facing uncertainty in their own careers and futures. In her perspective, Dr. Monroe wants to let students know that she understands the trials and tribulations that they might be facing and wants to create a safe space for students to be able to flesh out their own ideas in a safe environment.

In this Faculty #PROFile we learn more of Dr. Monroe’s thinking on her self-created course around Black Lives Matter as well as her own thoughts on academia for students.

Dr. Monroe is in a conversation with another person. Using her hands to emphasize her points.

For Dr. Monroe, education is a pivotal part of the academic journey. By being able to comprehend and understand the perspectives of others, Dr. Monroe would argue is just as important. The effervescence of this idea inevitably gave foundation to Monroe’s Black Lives Matter course here at Rowan University, where it explores different dimensions of society that is often overlooked due to it being controversial or tucked underneath the carpet. However, the current state of the Black Lives Matter course came through not only the preserving of Dr. Monroe, but also through the request of the student body. 

Originally, the course was a part of a coordinating project used to supplement and help students in poor areas. Although many of the different aspects of the project had drastically helped enrich the education of the students involved, Dr. Monroe wanted to give these students opportunities to gain college credits that would help them further along their academic journey. 

“[W]e really wanted these students to have opportunities to earn college credits. So, I was asked, ‘Dr. Monroe, you’re the educational guru, you’re the educational wizard, can you develop this course?.’ I already had a lot on my plate but I replied that I would consider it. I was told that I needed the course in two weeks. You don’t develop curriculum in two weeks, especially not a credit-bearing course curriculum. However, I had been doing extensive research on Black Lives Matter, such as the backdrop of Trayvon Martin and all of the unfortunate killings that had increased from there. I noticed that it was finally starting to gain traction and the media attention that it deserved.”

Dr. Monroe is posing and smiling directly at the camera.

In Dr. Monroe’s perspective, she had wanted this course to not only be be just subjected to the Black Lives Matter cause but for it to apply to aspects that affected a wider population. Although the course may be titled “Black Lives Matter,” Dr. Monroe reassures students that the class affects the entirety and not just a selected group. This can be seen in the various amount of students and their different backgrounds attending each of her classes as they range from white, hispanic, Black and many other minority groups.

The course covers a wide range of different subjects that Dr. Monroe considers important to bring up through class discussion such as climate change, the recent rise of the AAPI (Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate) or even giving more context to cases such as Ahmaud Aubrey’s that wouldn’t be presented on television. 

“When there were attacks on the AAPI community, we spoke about that. We don’t only focus on a specific race, we focus on the movement and what it is directed on. We had conversations on climate change. I argue that social media has skewed the overall appearance of the movement but if you look at the content it’s so much bigger. Although the core element is Black and brown lives, it’s so much bigger than that,” she explains.

In Dr. Monroe’s eyes, she looks at the bigger picture, the ability to have conversations with others and ultimately reach an understanding. This premise of respectability and the ability to have these difficult conversations is something that is primarily not taught in classes. For her, she wants to normalize these conversations and allow her students to be able to format their own thoughts and opinions on core events throughout the country. 

“When I had offered this idea of the course, I had told the coordinators that the course was going to be focused on the research that I have discovered as well as focus on the constructs of race, class and culture. This is what it was all about, the respect of diverse world views, the respect that everyone has a voice, the respect of what is truly fair and just,” Dr. Monroe says. “We can have that level of conversation and it can develop into a credit bearing course.”

From her exhaustive research on the subject matter, Dr. Monroe was able to successfully undergo teaching the course in the summer semester of 2016. However, it was not green lit to continue for the upcoming fall semester. As a result, the course was shelved for multiple years until students expressed their desire to have a course that catered to their own feelings in 2019. In her recollection of the moment, Dr. Monroe states: “Dr. Chanelle Rose had approached me with the sentiment of her students. Dr. Rose had said, ‘I need a course, students are asking for a course that really reflects some of the contemporary issues that they are grappling with. They need a space to release but also be guided into the right formats of collective action.’ I replied, ‘There is a Black Lives Matter course that I developed two to three years ago.'”

Dr. Monroe is having a conversation with another woman across a table.
Dr. Alicia Monroe works with colleague Altonia Bryant (right) in the Office of Career Advancement

Dr. Monroe’s harbored no hard feelings as to why her course ultimately was placed on the back burner for some time; instead, she saw it as a reflection of the status of the country and University at the time. During this lapse, Dr. Monroe kept up with her research with most current events that were applicable to the Black Lives Matter movement and bided her time; she says she knew eventually that it was going to be needed to further the conversation on injustice for those that didn’t have the ability to use their voice. 

It’s with these students that motivated Dr. Monroe to keep upholding her teaching values and instill confidence in students and let them understand their own value and worth. Whether it’s through the classes that she is heading or even students that come to her for advice on their own future, Dr. Monroe places a great amount of emphasis for these students and how they come to mold her own futures through her guidance.

The education process can be seen as an ever moving and fluid system. Each stage of this system makes up an intricate cog of modern day academia. For Dr. Monroe, she’s played a vital role in almost every phase of learning; she states she is a “Pre-K through 20 educator.” Her experience is invaluable information for any student facing their own academic issues. Instead of treating each unit in the process of learning, Dr. Monroe’s motivation in progressing has been fueled by gaining an entire understanding of the developmental process. 

“I’ve spent a number of years in pre-k through 12, starting off from the classroom and moving up to every level from department supervisor, assistant principal to a middle school, a principal to a high school as well as becoming an assistant superintendent. I had moved up deliberately because I wanted to identify each role in this whole hierarchy of learning,” she says.

Dr. Monroe is laughing and pointing her finger.

As a result of her dedication to her work and her students, Dr. Monroe has exemplified the characteristics of a model educator. Whether it’s through her own spread of her research and rhetoric or through her own unique framework through the educational process, she’s committed herself to create an effect on her students that goes beyond teaching and guidance. 

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Story by
Lucas Taylor, Senior English education major

Photography by
Valentina Giannattasio, first year dance and marketing major

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#PROFspective: Senior Communications Studies Major, Sorority President Kate Palozzola

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Paige sits on Bunce Hall steps.

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First Year Voices: Physics Major, Beanie Baby Enthusiast Emily Ward

Emily poses in front of the Prof statue with a few of her Beanie Babies.

Today we feature Emily Ward, a first year Physics major with a minor in Astronomy from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County). Emily runs an Instagram account called @ProfBeanieBabies along with managing a heavy school load. Emily shares how she balances it all. 

What inspired you to join your major? 

When I was around 10 or 11, I watched the reboot of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I talked about it with my dad during the car ride to school and telling him all about this cool show I was watching. He told me, “Well, that’s what astrophysicists do for a living!” It was in this moment where I realized that I realized that that’s what I want to do for a living. 

What’s something interesting that you learned in a class you’ve taken this semester? 

I’ve learned a lot of cool things in my literature class about time. The class is called Science and Literature: Modern Times with Dr. Hyde. We talk a lot about how time is a social construct and discuss literature that centers around that thought. I’ve learned a lot of really cool things in this class, so much that I can’t pinpoint just one. 

What’s your typical day like on campus?

I wake up around 8 or 9 in the morning. I normally go to the student center for breakfast because I love Pete’s Bagels coffee. I chill in the Pit for a while, playing web games or doing homework. I have classes everyday at 11 so that’s where I’d typically head to next. After class on Mondays and Wednesdays, I go hang out with my best friend from high school named Andrew. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I usually head back to the Student Center and hang out there. 

The Beanie Babies rested atop of the owl
The Beanie Babies steal the show!

You run a Beanie Baby account that has become quite popular around campus! How did you come up with the idea? 

Senior year of high school, my friend, Olivia, and I had an AP Calculus test the first week back in school and Olivia was really nervous. A few weeks back, I found a Beanie Baby snail while thrifting, and I know that Olivia loves snails. So I thought, “Hey, why not bring in the Beanie Baby snail for her?” So I brought in the Beanie Baby for her to have during the day and she really liked that. From then on, I kept bringing in Beanie Babies to school to make me and my friends smile. Eventually, our whole friend group started buying them. 

Where do you get them from?

I found this antique store in Pitman that gets shipments and sells them. I started going there so often to buy them that the owner now knows who I am and texts me whenever they’re about to get a shipment. My friends and I shop there all the time now. My friend, Emily, bought her first beanie baby, Weenie, there. I’m definitely the trendsetter of the group. 

And who are your Beanie Babies? 

My Beanie Babies are named Batty, Pounce, Magic and Cassie!

What’s one club, organization, or group of friends that’s helped you feel like Rowan is home?

PRISM has really helped me feel at home. I remember going to the first meeting and they were talking about their policies against discrimination and it included sexual orientation in the policy. I went to a Catholic school and we didn’t have any policies against discrimination of sexual orientation. My friend, Abby, and I ran a secret club at the school like PRISM. We had to keep it a secret or else the school feared that parents would pull their kids out or that donors would stop giving donations. They made us call it a Cultural Diversity Club so people didn’t know what it was actually about. While I loved my old school and how supportive many of the teachers were of our club, it’s sad that our administration couldn’t fully support us in fear of losing money.

Emily smiling near the Science Building
Emily looking beautiful!

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Story by:
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How the Africana Studies Major Changed the Course of Jamar Green’s Studies, Leadership and Future

Jamar smiles while looking to his left side.

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Scott and Kevin pose together on Rowan's campus.

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#PROFspective: Civil/Environmental Engineering Major, Rowan CHAARG Ambassador Trinity Good

Trinity sits on a rock in front of trees.

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#PROFspective: Kaya Snow, Combining Passion with Academics

Senior Kaya Snow, a Dance and Theatre Arts major from Morris County with a concentration in Acting and Musical Theatre, shares her #PROFspective as a Rowan student. 

What inspired you to choose your major?

I was inspired to choose my major because I did not want to give up the things that I loved. I’ve been singing and dancing my whole life, so pursuing Theatre Arts and Dance have allowed me to continue with my passions.

Dance and theatre major Kaya leaps in front of Bunce Hall.

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

I am currently taking a seminar called “Acting for the Camera” that is really interesting. I have learned so much about what goes into creating anything on film. We have done both acting and filming which helps give a perspective of what the people around us would be doing on set. So far it has been a really worthwhile experience.

Dance and theatre major Kaya does a heel stretch on the steps of front of Bunce Hall.

Take us through one typical Rowan day for you.

Every day is different for me, but Wednesdays are probably my most exciting day. I wake up and eat breakfast with my roommates and then get ready for my singing lesson. After my singing lesson is over I go back home to eat lunch and watch some Netflix. Then I drive back to campus for Dance Theatre Workshop and Acting II. Both take a lot of creative energy and are very interesting. After that I take a dance class to keep motivated and strengthen my skills. I then go home for dinner with my  roommates and do some homework before I go to practice for the Dance Team. When I get home from practice I shower and go to bed so I can be ready for another day!

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

Dance Extensions has really made Rowan feel like home for me. I met so many of my close friends by joining freshman year and now have the honor of being President the last two years. I have been able to watch our club and members grow so much, and it has brought me so much joy.

Dance and theatre major Kaya leaps in the air near an entrance of Bunce Hall.

Could you share any academic clubs, social clubs and/or sports you are involved in?

I am a member and president of Dance Extensions, the Rowan University Dance Team and Campus Players, as well as a member and Social Chair of Alpha Psi Omega.

Could you share any jobs, either on campus or off campus, that you hold?

I am currently doing federal work study with the Theatre department!

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of Robinson Hall.

What do you like about living on campus?

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of Wilson Hall.

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

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

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

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

Sincere poses on the Prof statue.

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

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of some leafy green plants.

Were you nervous to start at Rowan?

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

Final thoughts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lauren poses in the woods.

What inspired you to choose your major?

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

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

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

Lauren poses in front of a fountain.

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

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

Lauren poses in a clearing.

Take us through one typical Rowan day for you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major 

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#PROFspective: Psychology Major, Psi Sigma Phi Multicultural Fraternity Member Zyaire Harkins

Zyaire stands outside James Hall.

Today we speak to junior Psychology major Zyaire Harkins of Willingboro, NJ (Burlington County). Zyaire shares his PROFspective on campus activities, service opportunities in Greek life and his future professional goals. What inspired you to choose your major? I chose psychology during high school. I feel that the mental health field is very undervalued, and […]

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

Tiana poses in front of a wooded area.

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

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

Public art display of city names on campus.

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

Would you mind introducing yourself? 

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

What was it like when you first came to Rowan? 

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

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

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

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

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

How did you adapt to your new school and environment? 

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

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

How did you go about making friends?

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

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

How have classes been?

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos provided by: 
Rana Sarwatejas, senior biochemistry major

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

Nick Flagg as Buddy the Elf in Elf the Musical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Production Photos by:
Valerie Neuber

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