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. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

Three-Time Alumnus & Former Alumni Board Members Reflects on Rowan University’s Changes and How the University Changed Him

Tobi standing with his family after graduating in 2016.

Tobi Bruhn has witnessed the evolution of Rowan by first attending Rowan for his bachelor’s degree in communications in 1995, then immediately returning after graduating in 1998 to receive his master’s in public relations, before finally returning for his doctorate of education in educational leadership in 2011. During this time, he served in a variety of roles at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania before being appointed CEO of a private grant-making foundation. Even after graduating from Rowan, he remained connected by serving on our alumni board.

Headshot of Tobi Bruhn.

Glassboro has changed through the years. Rowan University has gone through many changes from Glassboro Normal School from 1923 to 1937, to New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro from 1937 to 1958, Glassboro State College from 1958 to 1992, then Rowan College of New Jersey from 1992 to 1997 until Rowan earned its University status in 1997 — a historical change that Tobi witnessed.

“I arrived shortly after the institution changed from Glassboro State to Rowan College of New Jersey, and then there was the excitement about Henry Rowan’s gift and we thought, ‘Oh, we’re going to become Rowan University.’ It was a very exciting time when I first enrolled because there were so many changes happening in a short amount of time, like new buildings, new initiatives, new majors.” It was not just a matter of excitement but also a matter of pride, a pride that the University carries to this day. “I think the way Rowan is going about its growth is smart, and the vision for South Jersey is exciting because the state needs another leading university to educate the next group of leaders.” While he mentioned the importance of growth at Rowan, the feel of a close knit college has also been well preserved. “I think they have done a good job to keep that South Jersey feel in the community, consistent with the values, and obviously with where they want to go as an institution.”

Students create a human form spelling out R and U to celebrate Rowan becoming a university.
Students create a human sign to celebrate college-to-university status with Henry Rowan and President Herman James as the dots, during the spring 1997 semester.

Tobi continued to stay involved after earning his Rowan degrees. After earning a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate at Rowan, it only felt right to him to get involved with the alumni board and give back. The eight years that he was involved with the alumni board allowed him to meet people in other fields of study that he may not have had the opportunity to meet during his time in the classroom. He was also able to see the benefits of Rowan’s growth by meeting some of the first medical school graduates. Further, the role offered him a behind the scenes look into how the university functions. “You get a lot of really neat insights into the way Rowan works and the way it wants to grow in the future.”

People form the visual of the digits of 100 on Bunce Green.

While Tobi has maintained his connections to Rowan, he currently teaches at a community college in Pennsylvania. Part of his drive is the connection to his students and the interactions between the wide variety of students he has from various walks of life, “I really enjoy teaching at the community college level because in my courses I have students of all ages, those coming straight out of high school and going into college, and those enrolling later as adults. It’s nice to see when that atmosphere comes together and you see the interactions between people giving tips to one another, sharing experiences, helping out with technology needs. It’s usually the younger students helping the more mature students. So it brings me a lot of enjoyment, it’s a lot of fun, and hopefully they keep having me back to teach that course [Editor note: Effective Speaking].”

Teaching has only been one of his career paths as he spent time on the administrative side, too. The multitude of responsibilities that he had as president of advancement included going out to help individuals grasp the importance of education and the benefits to one’s career. Working as part of the president of the community college’s cabinet was also an insightful experience, “Also serving on the president’s cabinet you had a little more input in the strategic direction of the institution.”

After being a part of the administrative side for a long time, a new path that was equally rewarding and impactful opened up. Becoming executive director at Foundations Community Project, a private grant foundation that supports local nonprofits to tackle behavioral health and human service issues, was an opportunity to touch people’s lives in a different capacity, “So it’s another outward kind of role so you interact with a lot of nonprofit leaders which is a lot of fun. You get to learn about how to help vulnerable populations and hopefully we can figure out a way we can support them through grants so it’s another very rewarding role that I’ve had. It all kind of comes to helping people and meeting them in terms of where they are and what they need.” Even with the new job being exciting, the element of uncertainty stepping into a new role and new environment was present. But the intrigue of what he could help others achieve helped quell the nerves, “You know the big names like the Red Cross, but I think what I found in this role is there are so many small nonprofits that really do a lot of important work and kind of getting to know that and getting to know the people who run these organizations and figuring out a way how we can be helpful.”

An above shot of four students working at a small table with a professor assisting them.

Although a switch in careers could be viewed as daunting, Tobi felt that both his previous work experience as well as his education prepared him for working at Foundations Community project. As coordinator of development at Bucks County College helped give him insight into building a network that could not only connect him to different people but so he could connect others together as well. Connecting people together is a tool that is often handy working in private grants,  “One of our objectives is to also build collaborative relationships between the nonprofits because I think of the curses of nonprofits is duplication of services so when you have two nonprofits kind of doing the same thing, you want to do your best to say, ‘Hey, you should talk to one another to either combine, figure out where the gaps are that maybe one of you can fill those gaps’. So I think development is a really good profession to learn some of those skills along the way. I think my experience has been that if you do those things, you connect people, you provide leads, it comes back around and people will remember that.”

By coming back to Rowan for different levels of degrees, Tobi has a unique insight into the challenges and benefits of being an adult learner. Certain questions had to be asked before returning to the classroom, “It was a little daunting pursuing a doctorate degree. It’s like 1) am I ready for this 2) do I have the time, I had a young daughter at the time. You’re playing it out, it sounds good but when you’re in the courses, because they were eight-week courses and it’s fast paced, is that really something I can really handle? I figured that I was never going to figure it out from the sidelines so I might as well go for it.” Yet one of the positive aspects was that as an adult he was able to structure his time to care for his family, continue to work, and fulfill his education obligations. 

It’s rare that a student gets to observe the evolution of a university through multiple periods of time, however Tobi Bruhn was grateful that he did and decided to give back– a theme that has persisted through his careers.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by: Thomas Ubelhoer, junior double major in political science and international studies

Education and Soccer Alumna Makes Magic at Disney World & Remains A Ray of Sunshine Through Cancer Diagnosis

Miranda kicks a soccer ball into a soccer net as an alumnus, while wearing Rowan gold.

In this alumni success story, we learn more of the career path for 2013 education alumna Miranda Donnian. With our catching up with Miranda, a former record-breaking women’s soccer player for the University, we learn more of what came after her time here at the University, where her career has taken her, and her personal […]

Alumni Success: Special Education Teacher Creates Special Needs Sports Organization [VIDEO]

A view of Spectrum Sports with people working out.

A glimpse into a former special education teacher’s career pivot After graduating and launching his special education career in 2011 and teaching for 10 years, alumnus Dan Minko noticed a gap in available recreation and athletic opportunities for people who are a part of the special needs community. To fill the gap and serve the […]

Neurodiversity Student Government Representative Advocates for Autism Awareness and Education

A close up of Heather as she sits smiling at Robinson Circle on Rowan University's campus.

One Rowan University Student Breaks Down Barriers All Year Round, Not Just During Awareness Months In 1997, sociologist Judy Singer introduced a new terminology to the world of science/medical world called neurodiversity, which is a concept that helps those to understand that there are varied ways that each person’s brain processes information, functions, and presents […]

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

Madelynn smiles at the camera.

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

Dance & Elementary Education Major Gets Ahead Through Summer Classes

Dramatic lighting on Jordyn's back during a performance.

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

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

Mark wears his graduation gown for a close up portrait.

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

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

Isabella Shainline posing in a work space.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How has your time been here so far at Rowan?

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

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

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

Jonathan is in James Hall sitting in a chair.

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

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

What drew you towards elementary education?

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

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

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

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

What drew you to Rowan? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan is standing and smiling with his arms crossed.

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

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

Jonathan is smiling with his arms crossed.

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

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

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

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

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by Lucas Taylor, Graduate English Education 









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

Janine poses in front of a mural.

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

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

Kristiina Castagnola poses in front of James Hall.

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

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

Aaliyah sits in Robinson green.

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

#PROFspective: What Health Means for Senior Adrianna Blake

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you come into Rowan?

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

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

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

What is your coursework like being a physical education major?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See our video with Adrianna here:

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

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 […]

#PROFspective: An Introduction to Tammy Nguyen, Leadership and Social Innovation Major

Rowan Leadership and Social Innovation major Tammy stands in front of James Hall.

Today we feature Tammy Nguyen, a junior in Rowan University’s College of Education. Tammy, of Camden County, NJ, majors in Leadership and Social Innovation and is also pursuing a Certificate of Undergraduate Study (CUGS) in Access, Success, & Equity for Educational Innovation. Please share an “aha!” moment you’ve had within your major that made you […]

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

Exterior shot of James Hall.

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

Faculty PROFile: Dr. Adrian Barnes on Music Education through a Social Justice Lens

Music Education Assistant Professor Dr. Adrian Barnes sits outside Wilson Hall.

Today we feature Assistant Professor Dr. Adrian Barnes, coordinator of Rowan University’s Bachelor of Music Education and a key architect behind the school’s new Master of Music Education program, which launched this fall. Here, Dr. Barnes details his research and teaching, shares more information on the new graduate program and explains why he believes education […]

Rowan Alumnus and Band Director Mike Massaro on Music Education

Music education alumnus Mike Massaro plays the trumpet wearing a red polo shirt.

Today we feature a Q and A with 2020 Rowan Music Education graduate Mike Massaro, the middle school band director at Kingsway Regional Middle School and coach for the Rowan Youth Jazz Orchestra. Music is a passion of Mike’s, and it all started for him at an early age. He talks about the journey he has been on with the art, his teaching position and the importance of learning music.

Where did your passion for music stem from?

I can think back through my life of how I got progressively more involved with music, but it all started back when I was a little kid. When my grandmother would be driving me in her car, I’d be in the backseat. And she put in this cassette tape. The first track on it was “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, and I would sing along in the back and I’d hum along.

I always knew that I liked music a lot. As I got older, eventually I joined band when I was in elementary school, got in the jazz band when I was in middle school.

But it was really when I got into the high school jazz band and my high school band director believed in me a lot, that I knew that this was something that I wanted to spend a life in.

What was the exact moment that you were like, this is what I want to do for my life?

The moment that I realized I wanted to go into music was actually the moment that music had gotten taken away from me. When I was a sophomore in high school, I always used to come right home from school, and I’d go up to my room and I’d practice trumpet right away.

One time that winter break, I was hanging out with a bunch of my friends and we were just being silly sophomores in high school, throwing stuff around the basement. I got hit in the face by a toy and my lip busted, which is not good for trumpet players. I couldn’t play trumpet for about a month or two. So, I would come home and in that time where I previously used to practice, I would just go up and sit, and just keep an icepack on my face, and not do anything. And it was boring. It wasn’t fun, it was depressing.

I realized, if this is what my life is without music, why would I go into anything but music?

Mike is sitting down and looking off to the left.
Mike Massaro (above) wrote a piece for Rowan Blog while a student; read that here.

Why did you choose Rowan for music?

There were a lot of factors that went into me choosing Rowan for music, but ultimately what it came down to was the professors that I knew I would be studying under, and the individual attention that I knew I’d be receiving.

I can tell, looking at Rowan, that every single professor truly cares about every single student that is involved in their program. Through my time learning with all these professors, I was able to get to know them all so personally, and so closely. Looking at myself now as a teacher, I’m able to look at anything I do and pick apart almost sort of where I got that from, which professor kind of instilled that in me and how it’s grown ever since that.

You knew that you wanted to continue with music, but when did you decide that you wanted to teach it?

So for me, I realized I wanted to go into music in a very finite moment. However, realizing that I wanted to teach music was more of a progressive thing.

It was probably around my junior year in high school, I had gotten a lot more opportunities to teach other students. I was running sectionals, I was just getting to work with a lot of younger students, and I started to really like that feeling of knowing that somebody was getting better at music because of something that I was able to share with them.

I started to fall in love with that feeling so much. I realized it was really what was keeping me going. It was my big spark in life and I knew that I wanted to live with that for the rest of my life.

Mike is sitting in a tree playing the saxophone.

Can you talk a little bit more about the relationships that you have with the students and the inspiration that their growth brings?

Sure. I believe in all of my students, I believe any one of them can truly achieve what they want to, especially in music. I can look at all of them and see so much of my past self and see so much of my past friends from when I was in their shoes. But I can also see so much new in all of them. There’s so many new ideas that they all bring to the table, so many new things that they want to try, and new things that they’re able to accomplish.

Every student is at a different level. I don’t expect all of my students to achieve the same things. We all start at different levels and we all end at different levels. But ultimately, what my relationship with my students is based off of is progress, and seeing that we’re all able to grow together at the same time.

Music education seems to be one of the first programs that always gets cut. Why do you believe music education is vital to help students build on their skill set?

To anybody that’s asking why music should be in schools, why is music education important? I ask the question, what would your life be without music? it’s something that surrounds us everywhere that we go. We’re in the car, we’re in the store, we go to concerts, we can hear these birds around me right now. Any sound can be considered music.

I think establishing a relationship with that art is one of the most important things that any young student can experience, because it truly exposes them to the world that is around them in a more personal and connected way than, in my opinion, any other field that is out there.

Mike is sitting and looking off to the right with a slight smile.

Can you kind of talk about how music can additionally teach kids math and language?

I definitely believe that music is a universal language. It encompasses so many of the other fundamental skills that we see. Math, rhythms are all math. Everyday pitches are all math, and in that same realm of math, it’s all science. Everything that we do is based around physics, It’s all based around acoustics.

In terms of language arts, English, literature and any other language you could possibly dream of, everything that we do is storytelling. It’s all based and structured around the same types of forms that we see in literature and stories. And, I mean if we’re talking history music has such a diverse and extensive and beautiful history throughout all of mankind. It truly does bring every single subject into play all at once, and you can take moments to isolate down and work with those specific subjects.

A side profile picture of Mike sitting and talking.

Whenever it comes to like the band, the orchestra, the jazz band, everybody has to be on the same page or the music fails. How is each individual person important, no matter if they’re the first chair with a big solo, or they’re the last chair?

Ultimately, our job as musicians in an ensemble has to pay respect to the original work that was written, that was composed. That composer wrote that work for a very specific purpose, for a very specific reason. Every single member of our team matters when it comes to making sure that reason can come to life. Whether it’s some situation where there’s one student on a part, like there is in a jazz ensemble, or there’s many students on a part, like there is in a wind ensemble. Every student matters, because again, we’re trying to pay respect to these words.

Ultimately, the melody doesn’t mean anything without the harmony. The harmony doesn’t mean anything without the melody. The drumbeat doesn’t mean anything without the melody and the harmony. It takes every single student to really create the story that we are trying to tell in there. And if you look at an activity like marching band, there’s nowhere to hide on the field. Every single student has a role. There is no bench, all of our students are on 100% of the time.

As a music education teacher, how do you keep everybody engaged evenly?

When it comes to keeping all of the students in the room engaged all the time, I’m constantly asking myself what their skill set is in three different perspectives. I’m looking at the individual skill sets, the skill sets of their sections. Like the trumpets, the alto sax is the percussion section, and then the skill set of the full ensemble.

I think the hardest part about being a band director is finding the balance between managing those three skill sets increasing all at once. ‘m constantly asking myself, is this challenge enough for this student? Is it too much? I want to push the bar for everybody individually, just how I can at the right pace.

The same goes for their sections, they grow together through their sections and ultimately ensemble goes together. So, I’m constantly listening and assessing their growth on those three levels. 

Mike is smiling and holding his saxophone.

What do you feel is the importance of having somebody to guide the students? What was the importance for you to have professors that show you the way and sparks your love for music?

I tell my students all the time, the most important thing that I could ever teach them is how to teach themselves. I always want to be there to give them the material that they need when they are ready for it. And when they are ready to take those next steps, I will push them to do it. But ultimately, I’m not the one playing the instruments. That’s them. I’m not the one sitting in the group playing that is that is them.

I want to constantly be giving them the skills that they need to take any inspiration in any musical knowledge that they can, and use it to make themselves be the best version of themselves that they can.

You touched on this earlier, but could you dive deeper on the overall experience that you’ve got with your professors and how they’ve shaped you as a musician?

One of the most important interactions that I had with a professor when I was at Rowan, was with one of my professors who was actually a middle school band director at a local middle school. This was the day that I realized I wanted to teach middle school.

I went out there on one of my practicums, which was through the ED major, and I saw what he was doing with his students and the level that they were performing. I was completely unaware that middle schoolers can perform at that level. That was the moment where I said, I want to be able to do this.

I was able to talk with this professor for a while afterwards and he talked to me about being a musician, being a teacher, and how important it is to teach to my own musicianship. Everything that I learned in my ensembles, at Rowan, whether it was in jazz band with Denis [DiBlasio], wind ensemble with Dr. Higgins, or my trumpet lessons with with Brian [Appleby-Wineberg], no matter what it was that I learned, these were all things that built my musicianship up.

Ultimately, as a teacher, I’m constantly teaching to what I know. As a musician, I’m constantly pulling from those experiences. So, how did my experiences at Rowan shape myself as a teacher? They built my musicianship. They made me who I was, as a musician. They exposed me to so many different situations and types of music and opportunities, that I was able to take all these things, and now share them with my students who can now evolve on them themselves, teaching to my musicianship.

Another shot of Mike playing the saxophone in the same location.

What is the importance of being able to teach music for grades K-12?

Like I said earlier, music is universal. I think in music, having experience teaching every single grade level can only be beneficial for you. One of the time periods of my most intense growth was during my student teaching, when I was actually teaching kindergarten. I taught K through five general music and it was so much fun. I learned so much more about the teaching process in that time period, through working with kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders. Seeing how they received information and seeing how important structure was.

Music is cool in the fact that from the time we’re young, when we first experience it, and we’re in our music classes in kindergarten, second grade, and all that stuff, we’re working on what is essentially the same set of fundamentals from then all the way up to the professional level. The only thing that changes is the amount of it that we’re able to receive. And of course, yes, concepts become more and more advanced as you get older, but I perceive that as the amount of information that we’re able to receive. Being able to teach at the younger levels and at the older levels is incredibly beneficial, because seeing how people learn and how they receive this information really helps establish what comes next.

Mike is smiling while holding his saxophone

What is your role in youth jazz? How did you get involved?

I am the coach for the Rowan Youth Jazz Orchestra. This is a brand new program that is being offered through the Rowan Community Music School, to middle school and high school aged students. I got involved through this shortly after I graduated, I got a call from my former student teaching supervisor who had become the head of the Rowan Community Music School, the director of the school. She called me asking if I would want to hop on board with this new group. I said, Absolutely. We did a semester through Zoom and then we just finished our first full year of in person ensemble rehearsals and performances this year. It’s so fun being able to work alongside Skip Spratt, who is just an absolute amazing educator and musician overall, learning so much from it. I’m glad that I’m able to learn and teach these things at the same time.

How do you find a balance between your teaching and your musicianship?

Finding the balance between the teacher side of things, and the musician side of things can be very difficult at times. But again, I always do everything I can to not compromise the music and exchange for the things that come on the teacher side of things such as, the procedures, the logistics, the discipline.

I make sure that my students know my expectations as early and as upfront as possible, so that we can get right into the music as quickly and as efficiently as we possibly can. The more that side of things is running, the easier it can be for all of us to just experience what we want to get out of the music that is in front of us.

Mike is sitting and looking off right.

We know that middle schoolers obviously have a shorter attention span. How do you kind of deal with the different environment of middle school compared to college, where you are just coming from?

In college, the music that we’re performing and practicing and playing is consistently at the highest level that is available. In middle school, for most of the students, that is their first time really getting to experience music in this capacity. I often have to take a step back a lot of times and remind myself that it is the first time for the students going through this and that they can’t be expected to know all of these high-level concepts, or even sometimes, just know what to do in any given situation.

That is my job as an educator, to teach them what to do in these situations. So for me, I have to go back to square one and ask myself if I was in their chair, what would the next thing I would need to accomplish be? And then from there, I step into teacher mode and say, how can I help these students accomplish this next step?

Being there for their sort of first interaction with music, have you had that opportunity where you see a spark for the love of music in a student’s eyes? If you have what does that feel like?

Yeah. So for most schools, our pay days on the 15th, and the 30th. That’s cool and all, but for me, the real pay day is when students have those moments of those big realizations. Those, oh that’s it type of moments when they really get something and it’s clear that it locks in, and they actually understand it. That is my pay day. That is when I really understand and that’s when I really feel the reward of what I’m working for. When the students get to experience and when they take that next step, and when they really love what they’re doing. 

Mike is leaning on a tree while smiling and holding his saxophone to his chest.

How do you describe Rowan for someone to come here to further their music education?

The beautiful thing about majoring in Music Education at Rowan is that you’re going to be constantly surrounded by professors who care about you. Like I was talking about earlier, every single professor that I had believed in me and was patient with me through my learning process, and gave me the tools that I needed to figure it out and to succeed on my own. I had such a different college experience than a lot of my friends. We were all looking for different things. But whatever it was that we were looking for, our professors were able to help us achieve that and find that and live that.

So for any student that is looking into Rowan, no matter what it is that you want to accomplish with your time in college, these professors in this department is there for you to make sure that can happen.

Watch our video feature of Mike here:

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Jada Johnson, political science major

Photography by:
Brian Seay, senior sports communication and media, radio/TV/film major

Meet Transfer Profs: College of Education Student Emilie Pretto

A photo of Rowan University's education building, James Hall.

Today we feature incoming transfer student Emilie Pretto (she/her) from Ocean County. Emilie tells us about her major, why she’s excited to start classes at Rowan, and gives advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward to at Rowan University? I’m looking forward to […]

Meet #Rowan2026: Incoming Profs from the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences, Education

Image of prof statue near Robinson and James Halls.

Today we welcome incoming first year students from the College of Education and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Rowan University. Haley Hill (she/they) is from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County) and will be living on campus as an Education and History major. Gianna Burgio (she/her) is also from Williamstown, NJ and will be […]

Inclusive Education Prepares Teachers to Meet the Needs of All Students [VIDEO]

Gabriella Lugo is diligently working with a student in a classroom.

Junior Gabriella Lugo defines inclusive education as a “special education combined with elementary education to make an inclusive classroom.” The inclusive education program prepares its students by providing them the opportunity to earn a license in Elementary Education as well as having them become certified as a Teacher of Students with Disabilities (TOSD). 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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 […]

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. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

Making a Difference: Desire Forman in the Counseling in Educational Settings Master’s Program

Desire stands outside James Hall.

Desire Forman is a proud Rowan alumna from Pemberton, NJ (Burlington County) who graduated with a degree in Psychology and minor in education. She continues her graduate education here through Rowan Global. Read on as she shares her experience in the Counseling in Educational Settings master’s degree program.

Desire is planning to make an impact on students’ lives, just as her high school counselor did for her.

When asked why she wanted to pursue the Counseling in Educational Settings program, she says: “My high school counselor was the first adult in my life that really saw me. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I want to be that person for the students I serve. Rowan specifically stood out because I really enjoyed my undergraduate experience here and knew the Higher Education program was very hands on.”

Desire gets the chance to do make that impact through her practicum internship at Williamstown High School, where she helps students with class scheduling, preparing for the transition from high school to college, and the application process itself. 

Desire in front of of the statue outside James Hall.

When asked about a rewarding moment during her practicum experience, Desire shared a story about a student who was being really quiet in class. She called him down to check in. “He explained his hardships and actually opened up about a bully that had been bothering him for a few years. We gave him options to report the bully so that things would get better,” she says.

Along with high school students, Desire works closely with college students in her role as a Resident Director.

“Although it has been difficult learning/enforcing the university’s policies, getting to lead a staff of resident assistants makes it worth it,” she says. “They bring such joy to my life. It is so rewarding that I can give them someone to look up to and help support them during their journey as a student, RA and person.”

Desire with RLUH jacket sits outside Rowan Hall.

As for the Counseling in Educational Settings program itself, Desire loves it. “I feel so supported. The people in my cohort are so helpful and kind. The work I am doing is so rewarding, and I feel very fulfilled,” she says.

For others looking to get into the field, Desire stresses the importance of self care. “In this field, we give so much of ourselves to others, whether it’s students, other staff members, parents and even our peers. Being the person that everyone comes to is extremely rewarding, but it can be draining if we don’t take the proper time to reset. Finding that balance early on in your educational and career journey is going to make all the difference,” she explains.

In the future, Desire wants to work with either high school or college students. Her practicum experience and Resident Director role are helping her decide what the best fit will be for her in the future. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

#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.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE


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

Produced by: Lucas Taylor, senior English Education major



#PROFspective: A Support for Students, Paige Bathurst

Paige sits on Bunce Hall steps.

Today we feature Paige Bathurst, who has a passion for leadership and helping people. Paige is a double major in both Supply Chain and Logistics from the Rohrer College of Business and Leadership and Social Innovation in the College of Education with a minor in Management Information Systems. She is a sophomore from Mantua, NJ […]

Prof Pairs, Love is in the Air: The Story of Scott and Kevin

Scott and Kevin pose together on Rowan's campus.

Kevin: “The Rowan Music Department is pretty small and close-knit, so we always knew of each other. I always thought of Scott as… a little intimidating. He was the choral librarian, the choir section leader, the upperclassman. He was a HUGE part of the music department! I was accepted into Rowan as a saxophone player, […]

Removing Deficit from Disability: Rowan Minds Reframe College Success for Autistic Students in New Book

John Woodruff and Dr. Amy Accardo seated together with a copy of their book.

The steady increase of autistic students entering higher education coincides with schools creating programs and services to meet this growing need. But are these supports working? Autism researchers at Rowan University set out to learn more, and they’ve published their findings in a new book. Read more about their research, recommendations for college success and […]

DEI Spring 2022 Book Study Recommendations

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

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

Volunteering with the Glassboro Food Bank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Samaritan Center's Clothing Closet
The Clothing Closet

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

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

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

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story By:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos By:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Alumni Success: Dr. Janelle Alexander, Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging at Washington Township Public Schools

Today we feature Dr. Janelle Alexander, a Rowan alumna who earned a bachelor of arts in Special Education in 2001 and a doctor of philosophy in Education and Disability Studies in 2020. Dr. Alexander was selected as the Washington Township Public School Distict’s first-ever Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging this 2021-2022 academic year. 

Why did you choose Rowan to study Special Education? In other words, Why did Rowan stand out to you in your college search?

I initially did not want to attend Rowan to pursue my academic career because my mom went to school there when it was Glassboro State. I felt that I have always been reflective in the mindset that “if Harvard was in my backyard, would I not go?”

When looking at the major I wanted to study and understanding that Rowan was known for education, I quickly realized that not going to Rowan simply because of how close it was to home and because my mom attended the University was foolish.

At the end of the day, I knew Rowan produced quality educators and I saw the impact that Rowan’s education had on others, particularly like my mother who has been an amazing educator who taught in the Camden City School District for many years. I decided Rowan was a good fit for me to pursue my academic goals and to prepare me for my future endeavors in the education field. 

Why did you decide to go back to Rowan to obtain your Ph.D.? 

I always aspired to earn a terminal degree. I had a conversation with Dr. Monika Williams Shealey, who was extremely helpful in guiding me and sharing the positives and negatives of the different paths I could take in furthering my education at Rowan. I learned that obtaining a Ph.D. provided more opportunities in my eyes to being a practitioner from a research perspective.

To obtain and earn a Ph.D. that focused on access, success and equity was appealing to me. Within the Ph.D. program at Rowan, there was something called HOLMES Scholars, and within this component of the Ph.D. program you are connected with doctoral students of color nationally. In particular, there is a small percentage of females of color who have their Ph.D.’s. This created another network in which these scholars can be supported from and attracted me to this program. I wanted to be impactful in this area and grow my skill sets to be able to make a change, and Rowan gave me the resources, support and mentorships to do so. 

Janelle in her doctoral regalia.
Janelle in her doctoral regalia.

When did you know you wanted to study disability studies for your Ph.D.?

My undergraduate degree was in special education. I found that there was not a place that critiqued education. Educators and administration do not always get it right. Disability studies allowed me to question how we socially construct ability. I like to educate those into understanding how everyone learns differently, engage in the world differently, and therefore can learn from each other’s differences. I believe ability is socially constructed and that we have created and put barriers in place. This study allowed me to not only critique but have a voice.

How did you find out about the position for the first-ever Director of DEIB for Washington Township Schools?

The position was posted by … it honestly was not a position that was on my radar. I was recommended by two colleagues of mine that work in the school district and that were familiar with my work. 

Janelle in her doctoral regalia with Ph.D superman shirt.

What does this position entail for you? What does a typical day look like for you?

Because I am the inaugural director, I am currently on a listening and learning tour where I engage with administrators, community members and families, and over the next few weeks I will be shadowing students in the classroom. There are 13 schools in the school district in which I work and will be spending a day with one or two students in each respective school. During this time I will be going to lunch with them, going to the bus stop, sitting in on their classes and learning through experiencing school life with the kids. I believe there is no better way to learn on how to do things better in a school than to actually sit down with the kids, observe and start conversations with them. 

From this experience I will gather all my data, along with some general demographic data, propose a strategy plan, and then use all the work that is happening now to propel goals and objectives to the district to move closer to the goals of being more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and a place where everyone feels they belong. 

What is your overall goal as working in this position? What do you hope to gain from this experience?

Overall my goal is to set the ripple. I want to set the ripple of a space where students, staff, administrators and all people in education feel seen, valued, and heard. I say “set the ripple” because a ripple starts a wave and a wave leads to a tsunami. As the first director of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging, I want to make a difference and influence others to make a difference as well. 

Janelle Alexander.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Janelle Alexander

Related posts:

Alumni Success: Stephanie Ibe and How She Became a Teaching Assistant in France

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

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

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

Dominique attending an event in Japan.

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

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

Dominique and two friends overseas in Japan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Photos courtesy of:
Dominique DiGiacomo

Transfer to Transformed: Five Students Share

Exterior shot of a walkway near Wilson Hall.

Rowan Blog celebrates National Transfer Student Week and partners with the Office of Student Success Programs in spotlighting five students who have found their new college home at Rowan University. Victoria (Tore) Butler, Elementary Education and Literacy Studies major who transferred from The University of Scranton in fall 2019 Why did you select to transfer […]

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

Alondra stands in front of Bunce Hall.

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

Moods: Where To Go On Campus When You Feel A Certain Way

Rowan Boulevard and the Glassblower statue.

Rowan students and alumni reveal popular spots to eat, hang out and socialize on campus.

Where to go on campus when you want to socialize with friends

“When I want to socialize with my friends on campus, I like to go downtown to different restaurants like Playa Bowls and LaScala’s Fire.” – junior Supply Chain & Logistics and Marketing major Jenna Scarpa

“When I am on campus, I love going to sporting events and the Student Center to get together and socialize with my friends!” – senior Psychology major Lucille Villani

Richard Wackar Stadium where football, lacrosse, field hockey, and track events take place.
Richard Wackar Stadium, where football, lacrosse, field hockey, and track and field events take place

“I enjoy going to Holly Pointe Cafe to socialize with friends because the atmosphere gives off very welcoming vibes through the music and staff. Plus who doesn’t love to get something to eat while they are chatting?” – senior Math Education major CJ Barrett

As you can see above, Rowan offers many different places to socialize with your friends. From sporting events and walkable restaurants to Holly Pointe Commons Cafe, there are so many communal spaces to sit back and enjoy quality time with friends. 

Holly Pointe Cafe.
Glassworks Cafe located in Holly Pointe Commons

Where to go on campus when you want to study/sit in a quiet space

“Whenever I need a place to study or somewhere quiet, I love going to the Campbell Library on campus or Barnes and Noble. It helps me focus and I find that I get a lot more work done when I’m there!” – sophomore Athletic Training major Hannah Lombardo

Outside of Barnes and Noble on Rowan Boulevard.
Barnes and Noble on Rowan Boulevard

“Being a commuter, I would sit in my car and study in between classes. The best lot is by Bunce Hall because it’s small, less traffic, and there’s a nice view while working.” – senior Theatre and Advertising major Nick Flagg 

“If I have a lot of work to get done or need to study for a test, I usually go to Campbell Library or a study pod in the Science [Hall] building. I work really productively in places that are quiet and aren’t that busy!” – junior Biological Sciences major Harley Rosenzweig 

Study areas available in the Rowan Campbell Library.
Study areas available in the Rowan Campbell Library

Rowan has many options when seeking out a quiet place to study or have some alone time. Many students enjoy the library or Barnes and Noble downtown to tackle some work, and students can even find a good spot to relax on the lawn chairs in front of Robinson Hall and next to Wilson Hall. 

Where to go on campus when you want to grab a bite to eat

“Freshens was always a go to spot. Being able to customize a healthy option along with the convenience of being able to order on my phone made it a staple.” – alumnus and Liberal Studies major Daniel Corvo

Student Center Cafeteria.
Student Center Cafe

“Freshens in the Student Center is my go-to place for food in between classes or after practice! The food is SO good and filling!! LaScala’s on Rowan Boulevard is also really good.” – senior Elementary Education and Biological Sciences major Johanna Diehl

Lascala's Fire on Rowan Boulevard.
Lascala’s Fire on Rowan Boulevard.

“Whenever I need a healthier option I love going to Fresh off the Grill [Grill Nation] and ordering grilled chicken sandwiches. They have a ton of topping options so you can really make it yours.” – alumnus and Mechanical Engineering graduate Frank Cianciotta

“The Boulevard has so many options of different restaurants to choose from! There’s such a great range of different kinds of food, no matter what I’m in the mood for they have it!” – senior Finance major Bethany Sansone

Dawn to Dusk on Rowan Boulevard.
Dawn to Dusk on Rowan Boulevard, a local favorite for breakfast, lunch and dinner

There are many options available when students are looking for a bite to eat. Students can use a meal swipe at Glassworks Dining Hall located in Holly Pointe Commons, the Student Center, or Rowan Boulevard to restaurants like LaScala’s Fire, Dawn to Dusk, El Mariachi and more. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Select photos by:
RJ Wentzell, senior exercise science major

Finally Face to Face!

Three friends pose in front of Bunce Hall.

Today, we speak to Rowan students who are excited about being physically present in class when we return to campus in the fall. 

Rachel sitting outside the Rec Center.

“I’m really looking forward to going to more in-person classes and looking to join clubs. It’s been hard to get involved and talk to people in my classes because everyone is behind a screen. In the few classes that I have in person, I’ve already made connections, and it makes a huge difference. I can’t wait to make more friends next fall!” says Rachel Bonhomme, a Math and Education major from Brick Twp. (Ocean County).

Bri poses at the gazebo by Bunce Hall.

“I would really love to join a sorority next year. Just being part of a sisterhood sounds amazing!! I am really excited to open that chapter of my life at Rowan,” says Bri Solomon, a Biochemistry major from Brick Twp. (Ocean County).

Tammy posing for a picture in front of a city landscape.

“I’m currently in the Vietnamese Student Association at Rowan. I encourage people who’s interested in learning the culture/language or anyone down to have a good time to join. I really enjoyed being in this club so far,” says Tammy Nguyen, a first-generation college student and Early Childhood Education major from Lawnside, NJ (Camden County).

Jayshalie leaning and sitting by the Engineering fountain.

“I am most looking forward to being able to have classes and more activities in person. As a current [first year], I am really looking forward to in-person activities to be able to get the full college experience,” says Jayshalie Jennings, Secondary Education (Mathematics) major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County).

A selfie of Gabrielle.

“I am looking forward to dancing, of course. I could dance, thankfully, at home in my basement all school year, but I hope to dance in a studio. The last time I did that was March 10, 2020,” says Gabrielle Langevine, a Dance major from Middlesex County, NJ.

Sumayyah posing with a piece of artwork.

“Being able to work in the studios again and have more free time by doing so!” says Sumayyah Hayes, first-generation college student and Art major from Burlington County.

Like what you see? 

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

Back-to-School Bucket List of Rowan Juniors and Seniors

Writing a list of goals

We’re so close to the beginning of the new semester, let’s kick it off with a college bucket list by sharing some students’ ambitions.

“I’m looking forward to everyone moving in and meeting more new people since my freshman year got cut short. One of my must do’s when I get back on campus this fall is to attend more basketball and football games. Also I can’t wait to go to the engineering building and go to the pond, I find it very relaxing.” – Anais Holguin, junior Marketing major from Perth Amboy, NJ (Middlesex County) 

Anais Holguin sits near the Engineering pond.
Anais Holguin

“My friend and I are on a mission to find the best lunch specials for $15 or under around campus. So far Alaura Kitchen or Family Mediterranean (both located in Pitman) are the winners! There are so many different places to explore around campus and it is so much fun to do it with friends. Also thrifting is a hoot. The lunch spot I’m excited to visit again is Au Bon Pain, it’s opening back up and I NEED their croissants.” – Meena Young, senior Biological Sciences major from Sickerville, NJ (Camden County) 

Exterior shot of Au Bon Pain.
Au Bon Pain

“I am extremely excited to be student teaching this year and to finally have in-person classes again. I miss interacting with my peers and being on campus. I miss studying at James Hall, the education building and the library and those are spots I look forward to visiting again.” – London Raikes, senior Inclusive and Elementary Education major from Deptford, NJ (Gloucester County) 

London leans against a sign of James Hall.
London Raikes

“I am involved in quite a few organizations on campus. I’m most looking forward to continuing my role as the Blood Services Undergraduate Coordinator for the Office of Volunteerism. There are many things on my bucket list this year and that includes living in an on-campus apartment, seeing my South Jersey friends, walking near Town Square, taking most of my core Finance and MIS courses and exploring campus with my friends.” Sasmita Prabu, junior Finance major from Somerset County, NJ

Drone shot of Glassboro Town Square.
Town Square

I’m looking forward to finally being in person again. Looking at a screen for 18 months has been really sad, it feels like so much of the college experience was lost. At least I’ll be less tempted to fall asleep during class. I am going to be an RA this year, so I am excited to meet new people and help others have a great return to Rowan. I have many things on my bucket list and that includes: going to the Fitness Center and working out with my friends, having movie nights with my friends in their apartments, going to Cookie Munchers and eating more calories in 10 minutes than you’re supposed to eat in two days, riding the shuttles to the movie theater, having an advisor meeting in person, taking free electives to pursue other passions rather than fulfilling requirements, plus eating at Smoked again.” – RJ Wentzell, senior Exercise Science major of Pilesgrove, NJ (Salem County)

RJ Wentzell smiling outside of James Hall
RJ Wentzell

“A couple of things I look forward to this school year are my campus event Emo Night, planning concerts, writing music and finishing my junior year. I haven’t seen Dennis Diblasio [since before COVID], I’m looking forward to seeing him. – junior Malachi Prillerman of Palmyra, NJ (Burlington County), Music Industry major and transfer student from Hampton University

Music industry major Malachi Prillerman
Malachi Prillerman

“This year, I hope to get accepted as a transfer ambassador. A must do is to visit a restaurant during a social hour. Academically, I look forward to receiving high grades, building connections with my professors and receiving a letter of recommendation.” – De’Ja Morris of Woodbury, NJ (Gloucester County), senior Finance major and transfer student from Salem Community College

De'ja stands on the bridge near Business Hall.
De’ja Morris

“This September, I look forward to going back to regular class, walking around and seeing new faces. A few things I would like to do again this semester are seeing all my friends from freshman year, visiting the Rec Center, eating at the Student Center and playing sports.” – Hualsy Paredes, junior Construction Management major from Fort Lee, NJ (Bergen County) and transfer student from Utica College

Exterior shot of campus Rec Center.
Rec Center

I am really excited to graduate. I’ve been working really hard since COVID to maintain my grades just for this moment. I really like the club fair every fall. I’m excited for that! I’m also really excited to study in the library again. I am most looking forward to in-person classes.” – Alexa Wentworth, senior Psychology major from West Windsor, NJ (Mercer County)

Alexa smiles inside James Hall.
Alexa Wentworth

“Being able to go to clubs, meeting up at the Student Center and getting food together, being able to see my professors in person, and visiting Science Hall again.” – Andrew Pinto, junior Physics major from Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County)

Exterior shot of Science Hall from Route 322.
Science Hall

“I came into Rowan as a transfer so I haven’t tried anything yet. I’m sad because I lost a year so I want to be as involved as possible. This year, I’m looking forward to seeing my fellow peers, raising my GPA and attending football games.” – senior Tara Preston of Camden County, NJ, Economics major and transfer student from Delaware County Community College

Rowan's football team enters the stadium.
Rowan Football

“A must do with my friends is going to RoBo and getting pizza. Academically, I look forward to staying busy with classes and making new friends in class.” Maria Espejo, junior Psychology major from River Edge, NJ (Bergen County)

Rowan Boulevard featuring LaScala's Fire.
Rowan Boulevard

“I’m most looking forward to seeing Discovery Hall this year and to go to football, basketball and hockey games with my friends.” – Lauren Blaze of Branchburg, NJ (Somerset County), senior Civil and Environmental Engineering major

Lauren smiles and stands in front of Discovery Hall.
Lauren Blaze

“Being able to socialize with new classmates and professors! I haven’t seen   Dr. Bhatia in person since before COVID, I am very much looking forward to seeing him on campus this fall. Looking forward to social events, clubs and  projects.” – senior Hayley Lomas of Woodbury, NJ (Gloucester County), a Mechanical Engineering major with a CUG in Aerospace Engineering and transfer student from Rowan College of South Jersey

Exterior shot of the Campbell Library entrance.
Hayley looks forward to going to Campbell Library again this fall.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Nene Diallo, senior public relations major

Photos by:
Reshaun Timmons, Stephanie Batista, RJ Wentzell and Anthony Raisley

Rowan Football photo courtesy of:
University Publications

Faculty PROFile: College of Education Adjunct Professor Sherry Knight

Sherry Knight is an adjunct professor for the College of Education in the Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education department. She received her bachelor’s degree at Mississippi State University and her M.A. at Cheyney University. 

Share an “aha!” moment that you’ve had within your discipline that made you feel passionate about your field. 

My “aha” moment that makes me feel passionate is when students state that my storytelling about real educational experience is eye opening and sheds light on what their future may look like.

Sherry Knight outside James Hall entrance

Share with us one aspect of student engagement that you enjoy most, and why?

Listening to their apprehensions. I enjoy sharing with them how to overcome them and how important the job of a teacher is. I reiterate the impact they make in the life of their students and I encourage them to build relationships with the students.

What is your area of expertise?

My area of expertise is Early Childhood/Elementary Instructional practices.

Sherry sitting inside James Hall.

What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline or your research focus?

The one thing I wish people knew is that I have a passion for perpetuating high-level practitioners to foster engaging learning experiences. When I start my doctoral program at Rowan University, my research towards my dissertation will be on active engagement and relationships.

When are you starting your doctoral program at Rowan? 

I am planning to start my doctorate in the fall 2021.

 Why did you choose to complete your doctorate at Rowan?

I chose Rowan because of the stellar doctoral programs in Educational Leadership that will enhance my skills and pedagogy. This program will also give me the opportunity to be a better professor for our future teachers providing them with research and data to drive instructional practices. 

Sherry Knight inside James Hall.

What made you become interested in pursuing a career in education, both primary and higher?

I pursued a career in education because I wanted to make a difference in the world. I believe that teachers are the catalyst to all professions and I wanted to be one who educated the future lawyers, doctors, and/or other educators.

Do you have a favorite lesson or topic you teach your students? If so, why is it your favorite?

My favorite lesson to teach is a lesson on how to build an amazing lesson plan using a menu. It’s m​y favorite because it teacher the students the key elements to develop a solid lesson plan with components of an effective lesson.  

 Is there anything else you’d like to add?

It is a pleasure to teach higher ed to future teachers. I prepare them for the next level of getting a job and being a master teacher. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, public relations and advertising graduate

Related posts:

5 Early Childhood Education Majors Share How Their Major Interests Them

Faculty PROFile: Dr. Hannah Kye, Teaching Tomorrow’s Teachers

Faculty PROFile: Experiential Engineering Education Department’s Dr. Kaitlin Mallouk

Welcoming Incoming LGBTQIA+ Students to the Rowan Community

Students carry a Pride flag outside Bunce Hall.

Though we approach the end of Pride Month, we will soon usher in a new class of Rowan Profs. Here, faculty and staff offer their tips for incoming LGBTQIA+ first-year and transfer students. 

Headshot of Brent Elder.

I think Rowan’s proximity to Philadelphia and the queer community is a wonderful asset to new students. In addition to the support and services Rowan has to offer, there are exciting events that happen annually in Philadelphia like Philly Pride in September and OutFest held in October. Also, I’ve personally attended the socials/lunches provided by the LGBTQIA+ Center and have found that to be a fun way to connect with the queer community on campus. 

Brent Elder, Ph.D. 
Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education Department, College of Education


Headshot of Drew Tinnin.

For new students, I would just encourage them to get involved and explore their new community! We have many LGBTQIA+ student organizations and resources, and they should not hesitate to check them out no matter how they identify.

Drew Tinnin, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Life
Division of Student Life

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Queer Voices: Rowan Global Student Denzell Moore

This interview was originally featured on the Queer Voices Instagram page @queer_voices. 

Biomedical Art and Visualization major Emerson Harman created the Queer Voices Project, which is working “to amplify LGBTQ+ student, faculty, and alumni voices at Rowan University through portraits and interviews.” You can also find more of their content here.

Denzell smiling and posing for a photo outside the engineering trail.

Name, pronouns, and identity?

Denzell Moore, he/him, bisexual 

What is your year in school and your major?

Graduate student in Higher Education Administration

When did you come out and why then?

I feel like I’ve never formerly came out because I was outed. Since then I choose when and who I come out to on my terms. Now that I am more comfortable with myself, I see sharing my identity with people as a privilege for them to further understand me. 

Has being LGBTQ impacted or influenced your education in any way? If so, how?

In regards to my education being bisexual has made notice a lot of the extra steps LGBTQ+ folks have to take to feel and respected in their learning environment. In class discussions around sexuality, I often contemplate whether or not to out myself and how that will change how my peers and professors will see me.

Has LGBTQ culture/acceptance at Rowan changed throughout your time here?

Initially when I arrived at Rowan I wasn’t sure about Rowan’s LGBTQ acceptance. It wasn’t until homophobic/transphobic protestors made their way onto campus (spring of 2019) that I was able to see how accepting Rowan was regarding LGBTQ+ people. While this was taking place many faculty, students and staff of all backgrounds displayed their rejection of these protestors’ ideals by verbally counter protesting and posing with the Pride flag in support. It wasn’t until then I was able to accurately see how accepting and supportive Rowan’s campus can be.   

Selfie of Denzell in Campbell Library.

 
What is something you would like to see changed at Rowan with regard to LGBTQ life?

While I was pursuing my undergraduate degree at Rowan, I served as Public Relations Chair for Prism (a LGBTQ+ advocacy group at Rowan). During this time I heard the grievances of a few trans students regarding making sure they were not addressed by their dead name by professors (even after telling their professors their preferred name). I would like to see a change in Rowan in which trans students do not have to endure this uncomfortable situation.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Meet #Rowan2025: Inclusive Elementary Education Major Brooke Neilio

Today we feature Brooke Neilio from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County), who attends Clearview Regional High School. Brooke will be studying Inclusive Elementary Education on campus. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward in college? I am looking forward to meeting new people and exploring all of the […]

Senior Reflects: 4+1 Student Mia Fondacaro

Mia stands in front of Bunce Hall.

Mia Fondacaro recently graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences through the Combined Advanced Degree 4+1 program (CADP) along with minors in Sustainable Studies and Psychology. She is now working toward her master’s degree in STEM education. She reflects on her time at Rowan and offers some advice to incoming students.

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

Not sure if this counts but I had this one professor who was super connected with her students. If you missed a class but did not inform you, she would check in on you to make sure you’re ok. She was/is a great professor, and her class was always really fun.

Mia smiles on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Could you please share your favorite social memory?

My favorite moment as a student has to be my junior year Homecoming. This is where I really went out of my comfort zone and met a lot of new people.

What are your career aspirations?

Finish my +1 year, work in a high-need school, get my doctorate, work in higher ed.

Mia stands in front of a white spring flowering shrub on campus.

How did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with your professional growth or career aspirations?

My program is unique. For your three years as an undergrad you are only taking classes for your subject matter (for me it is biology) then in your fourth and +1 year you are taking graduate courses for education. With this set up I feel like it makes getting certified being a teacher easy because I do not have to double major in my subject matter and then education, here it is a program that is already set up.

Also with this accelerated program, yes I graduate a year later than my peers, but I graduate with a MA, which will have me entering the job market with higher income. To employers I think I will look like a valuable employee based on this program and my education from Rowan.

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

Dr. Courtney Richmond, Intro to Marine Biology, connected with her students, really knew how to teach, and was well educated in the subject.

Mia stands inside a gazebo on campus.

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

With me being a senior and having Covid take away my last year at Rowan, I’m thinking back to all the amazing memories I had at Rowan and wish I could have been able to make more this year with my friends and professors.

To the incoming students at Rowan, please make the most out of your time here. Join clubs, go to events, live in a resident hall, eat on campus, sit in the student center pit, sunbathe at Bunce Green, go to the REC center. Be an active student on campus because you never know when it is all going to be taken away. What seems like a normal day on campus might end up being your last, so appreciate every moment here.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

Photos by:
Brian Seay, junior sports communication and media major

Meet Transfer Profs: Future History Teacher Joseph Leonard

Stock photo of books.

Meet incoming transfer student Joseph Leonard! Joseph is an aspiring History Education major from Gibbsboro, NJ (Camden County) who transferred from Camden County College. He shares more about what he’s looking forward to at Rowan University and he gives advice to other transfer students.

A selfie of Joseph smiling while in the car.

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

I’m looking forward to getting back to in-person learning and being able to meet new people again.

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

Bowling!

A picture of Joseph holding a bowling ball.

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

I’m looking to get involved more in clubs and activities outside of my academics. School comes first, but I want to be able to have fun as well.

What majors are you considering and why?

History education. I want to be a teacher because the excitement I get from teaching others about subjects I’m passionate about and history is a subject I’m very passionate about. I love studying the past, learning about the world’s history and also my own.

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

No I haven’t. I’ve been to Rowan once before for my brother’s graduation, but that’s it.

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

Always know there is a college for you. You don’t have to be forced into picking any one college. Pick one that makes you happy and excited to continue your education.

Where are you going to live next year?

Commute from home.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

I very much like the diversity of the classes offered and how grand the campus appears to be. It also granted me to come in with a head start on my degree.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

Meet #Rowan2025: Elementary Education Major Madison Jacobs

Madison wears a cheerleading uniform.

Today we speak to Madison Jacobs, an incoming first-year Elementary Education major from Franklinville, NJ (Gloucester County). Madison tells us what she’s looking forward to at Rowan.

Madison poses in front of a lake.

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

I am looking forward to meeting new people and getting involved in different clubs/activities.

What is one hobby, activity, sport or club you were a part of in high school that you’d like to continue in college?

I am involved in my school’s FEA Club and also am a state ambassador for NJFEA. I am looking into continuing my involvement with these types of clubs while in college.

Is there anything you’re hoping to discover about yourself in college?

I am looking to expand my involvement throughout campus.

What majors are you considering and why?

I am majoring in Elementary Education because making a change in a child’s life has always been my biggest dream.

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

I have toured Rowan and have also attended a future teachers’ convention. Rowan felt like home from the very first time I went there, and I’m super excited to spend my next four years there!

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

My advice for a senior who hasn’t committed to a school yet is to simply follow your heart. You know what’s best for you, and the place that feels like home the most is the place you are meant to be!

Where are you going to live next year?

Commute from home.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

One thing about Rowan itself that I liked is the family oriented relationship between everybody on campus.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

Meet Transfer Profs: Dual Major Stephanie Maszera

Exterior shot of Stephanie smiling.

Meet incoming transfer student Stephanie Maszera! Stephanie is an aspiring double major in Athletic Training and Education from Millstone Twp., NJ (Monmouth County) who transferred from Brookdale Community College. She shares why she chose Rowan and what she’s looking forward to!

Stephanie smiles outside wearing a yellow dress.

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

Being able to fulfill my dream career for real.

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

Stage crew, managing a sports team, and participating in any sort of band.

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

I’d like to learn a new language in my program!

What majors are you considering and why?

I want to double major in athletic training and education, because both would go together really well in a school environment, leading to two great jobs. I love the field of sports medicine, and I see myself as a teacher.

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

I toured Rowan back in 2018, and was in love with the campus ever since.

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

The process is extremely tedious and frustrating, and it takes all of your time. You’re going to worry about things not working out, but I promise if you take it slow and get help, everything will be perfect.

Where are you going to live next year?

On campus!

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

The environment and the beautiful campus.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Senior Reflects: Leadership and Social Innovation Major Sarah Niles

Sarah outside under a blooming tree

Sarah Niles is a senior Leadership and Social Innovation major, with a Dance minor and a CUGS in Adventure Education Leadership, from Haddonfield, NJ.

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

My favorite class experience was in my Wilderness First Responder class when we went out into the woods behind Rowan Hall and pretended we were injured or sick and had to fake rescue our classmates using what we learned in class. We learned how to make tents out of sticks and leaves, how to administer emergency first aid, and how to survive in the elements. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in a class!

Could you please share your favorite social memory?

My favorite memory is my freshman year Homecoming Lip Sync competition! I was on the Student Center and Campus Activities team and we ended up winning first place! That’s where I truly felt like I found a home at Rowan and with the SCCA. That’s also where I met some of my closest friends. Full circle, I actually oversaw that event in Fall 2020 as the student director!

Sarah with Prof Statue.

What are your career aspirations?

I hope to become a professional in Student Affairs in a higher education setting. I want to oversee college students that have a passion for being involved in student activities and being campus leaders. I’ll be attending University of South Florida for the M.Ed College Student Affairs program and will be the new graduate assistant for Student Support Services there.

How did the people or programs at Rowan help or support you with your professional growth or career aspirations?

My mentor, Megan McHugh, guided me to be as involved as I am today, as well as my best friend, Mia Nardone, who basically made me join clubs with her so I would be involved. Through my work with the names above, as well as the SCCA, the Orientation team, and Admissions, I have found my love for student affairs in higher education and I’m determined to continue to do this in my future. 

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

Shout-out to my dad, who is my best friend and does everything he can to support me. I got my work ethic and drive from him and hope someday I can be as amazing as him. Also, I’d like to shout-out Maria Arbizo, Melissa Ulmer, Megan McHugh, Serafina Genise, Mia Nardone, Dylan Regan, Ayala Gedeon and Arielle Gedeon for supporting me and loving me unconditionally. 

Sarah sitting down outside.

Who is your favorite professor and what class did you take them for? 

My favorite professor is Shari Willis, who I completed my Adventure Education Leadership CUGS with. She is my favorite because she cares about her students as both people and students and is willing to help you do anything to accomplish your goals. 

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

I would say get involved! Don’t sit in your dorm all day long, get an on-campus job. Get the most out of the money you’re paying for student activities fees. Go to events and get free food and t-shirts (you’ll want to make a t-shirt blanket when you graduate).

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

Photos by:
Brian Seay, sophomore sports communication and media major

Senior Reflects: Art Education Major Bianca Fusaro

Bianca smiles with the top of Bunce Hall in the background.

Today, we speak to graduating senior Bianca Fusaro. Bianca is an Art Education major from Randolph, NJ (Morris County). She shares more about her favorite times at Rowan and offers some advice to incoming students. 

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

My favorite moment with a faculty member is with Doc Appelson in Printmaking. He made the class fun to be in and I learned so much. Almost everything in printmaking I know because of him. he also helped me become a better teacher by giving me tips and tricks on how to create printmaking lesson for little kids!

Bianca stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Could you please share your favorite social memory?

My favorite memories I have with clubs is every year TRAC, or The Rowan Arts Collective, participated in Homecoming Banner Competition. It was so fun and exciting to complete a banner in a matter of a couple of hours.

What are your career aspirations?

I want to become an elementary art teacher. I love little children, their love to learn and their drive to want to create.

How did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with your professional growth or career aspirations?

The Art Education program is very small here, but that smallness created a family. Everyone in the program helps each other when it comes to teaching, even our senior project, which is presenting at the Art Educators of New Jersey conference. The professors in the program have been art teachers throughout their life. They know what you’re going to go through when you get a job. They want you to succeed and they share stories to help you become the best art teacher you can be.

Bianca smiles inside a gazebo on campus.

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

I want to thank everyone in the Art Education program. These professors helped my classmates and I become who we are today as teachers. We learned from the best, and I hope that I can be an amazing art teacher like they are.

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

Fred Adelson is my favorite professor at Rowan University. I took his Art History classes during my time at Rowan. He is so knowledgable about everything he teaches. He makes art history fun to learn about because he is so energetic and passionate about everything he teaches.

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

Make friends with the people in and outside of your major. Get out there and join clubs that you are interested in. You may make lifelong friends!

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

Photos by:
Brian Seay, Brian Seay, junior sports communication and media major

History Graduate Student Shares: Teaching Online and Supporting Distant Students [VIDEO]

Rowan Global student Steven Anderson shares how his history degree prepared him as a high school social studies teacher during COVID-19. Steven recently earned the James Madison Fellowship as an outstanding educator of the U.S. Constitution. This prestigious award is granted to only two history teachers yearly.

 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Video by:
Adam Clark, senior Radio/TV/Film major
Max Morgan, senior Radio/TV/Film major
Brian Seay, sophomore sports communication and media major

Meet Transfer Profs: Future History Educator Kendra Hahn

Exterior shot of Hollybush.

Meet incoming transfer student Kendra Hahn! Kendra plans on majoring in History Education (BA/MST) Program and is from Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County). She transferred from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Kendra shares with us why she chose Rowan and what she’s looking forward to.

A close up selfie of Kendra.

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

Here at Rowan I am really looking forward to making new friendships and gaining new experiences, but then also being able to successfully pursue my passion.

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

In high school I was always involved with student council/government and it definitely made me into the person I am today, so I would love to continue that here at Rowan! I also would love to join the Student History Association and even possibly the History Honor Society since I was in History Club and National Honor Society back in high school.

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

At Rowan I definitely want to join a sorority. I believe joining a sorority will provide me with a lot of learning opportunities and help me gain important skills, such as leadership and communication skills. In addition, I think joining a sorority will help me make connections on campus, meet a diverse amount of new people, and give me long-lasting friendships!

What majors are you considering and why?

This fall I will be in the History Education (BA/MST) Program. Ever since I was a young child, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. Teachers have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their students, and I even believe they hold the key to secure our future. This is something I long to be a part of. Additionally, I have always had a passion for learning about history, so I have a desire to pass this knowledge on to others in as well as outside the classroom.

A selfie of Kendra smiling.

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

I have toured Rowan a few times when I was in high school, and I also recently just did the virtual guided tour where you walk around campus yourself with a guide on your phone. I enjoyed it a lot, and it made me very excited to be on campus in the fall!

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

I know that transferring to a college can be scary and stressful, but just try and stay as positive as possible! The first couple weeks I realized I wanted to transfer, I won’t lie — I felt overwhelmed and not sure where to begin. However, I took my time and made sure to get as much information as possible so I could make a decision that would help me reach every one of my goals.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

I love how many opportunities Rowan has for its students as well as their class sizes. I believe that smaller class sizes will give the professor the opportunity to know me as an individual and not just a student, which I find very important. Also, I am really excited that they offer a master’s program for the history education program that I am in!

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Student photos courtesy of:
Kendra Hahn

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

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

Brittany stands underneath a gazebo on campus.

Brittany Passano, a Rowan Global student from Elizabeth, NJ (Union County), is earning her master’s degree in Higher Education: Administrative track. Here is her inspiring story. 

Brittany learned about Rowan’s graduate program at her prior institution, Montclair University. The program was appealing to her because of the size of Rowan’s residential life department and the benefits that came with the hands-on experience Rowan offers their grads.

Brittany describes it as “a two-year program that develops graduate students working in academic and student affairs. We are tasked to foster diversity and inclusion within the residence halls by supporting students and their identity. Our goal is to learn how to make universities a better place in the future.” 

Currently, Brittany is the Resident Director of Mimosa Hall, a first-year student residence hall on campus. Her job is to oversee the administrative/logistical process of the residence hall and to manage a staff of resident assistants.

“The best way to describe my job is that I assist the RA’s who assist the residents. I make sure my staff has all the right skills and resources to help our students,” she says.

Brittany leans in front of a Mimosa Hall sign.

When asked about the most rewarding part of her job, Brittany replies, “Seeing the transformation in each RA from the beginning of the semester to the end. I love watching my staff grow and help them to improve from their mistakes. It’s so nice to see how each RA makes the job unique to them.” 

Brittany has had influential mentors throughout her Rowan experience.

“Catie Baxter, who was my direct supervisor and area coordinator, really helped me when I first got here. I felt so tiny but she made me come out of my shell and helped me realize I could do it.”

She also talks about the impact her Student Development professor had on her. “Dr. Wright’Mair helped me to get out of my comfort zone and think outside of the box. I learned how to really think critically in that class. Dr. Wright’Mair challenged me to the professional I want to be. “ 

Britt sitting inside a gazebo on Rowan's campus.

Brittany shared how it feels to be a Latina woman achieving her master’s degree. “It feels incredible. I’m proud to be Latina. I wake up every morning, look at my skin and hair, and am thankful that I have it; I think that goes back to my family and how I was raised.

“Being a part of a minority community does come with personal struggles, but with that comes learning to work with integrity and caring about others. Not many Latina women have a master’s degree, but I am looking forward to being a part of the small percentage that will work to make sure there are more women like us in the future,” she explains. 

Brittany is writing her thesis on the Latina student experience with a sense of belonging. 

Brittany stands inside a gazebo on campus.

After graduation, Brittany wants to continue her career in residential life in a professional position. “I’m currently interviewing for positions and can’t wait to take everything I’ve learned into action and practice.”

When asked to give advice to students who want to enter the field of higher education, Brittany says, “Remember your first leadership position and how amazing it was — that experience brought you to this point. Remember that sometimes we have to unlearn to learn, and live in every moment.” 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

Meet #Rowan2025: Lizzie Schmidheiser, Future Teacher from Washington Twp. NJ

Stock image of math equations being written on a blackboard with chalk in hand.

Today we welcome first year student Lizzie Schmidheiser who will begin studying Secondary Math Education in the fall. Lizzie will commute from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County) and attends Washington Township High School. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward in college? I am looking forward to meeting […]

Leadership #PROFspective: Alana Brown of Orientation & Student Leadership Programs

Alana Brown sits outside on campus.

Today we feature Alana Brown, a leader at Rowan University. Alana Brown is a Rowan Global student pursuing her master’s degree in Higher Education with an Academic Advising track. She calls Paterson, NJ in Passaic County her hometown. 

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

What is your role in your organization? 

As the graduate coordinator of the Orientation & Student Leadership Programs (OSLP) department, I work with data and administration for OSLP as well as for the Office of Greek Affairs. I help students with program initiatives on campus and serve as one of their advisors. I also work with the Leadership Rowan Program. For this program, I coordinate the Mentor and Mentee Matching Program and also serve as one of the facilitators for the Leadership Seminars. I am also coordinating the Celebrating Leadership awards this year. 

OSLP hosts the orientation events that all new students first attend when they come to campus. We host all of the summer orientations and a few in the winter. We also do some transfer orientations as well. Everything the Leadership Rowan Program and the Office of Greek Affairs do is under the OSLP department. 

Alana sits at the amphitheater on campus.

What have you learned in your role as a leader?

I’ve learned that it is something I should be a part of. I know that I should contribute to higher education. I know how important my role is for the students and how I can be a liaison between students and staff. I think it is very important to advocate for students because some may feel like their voice is [unheard]. Knowing that I have that bridge, I know that I have a voice and that my voice should be heard. I’m going to advocate for my students. It’s very important to at least have students come to me and feel comfortable enough to express how they may feel about campus and life. Students will remember you for a lifetime if you make an impact. 

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

My favorite memory was connecting with Chase Campbell and Mike Nash. They came to me about an event they wanted to host on campus. The conversation organically flowed and we built a strong advisor and student relationship. Connecting with those two students has made such an impact on how I want to be [helpful] for other students at my next institution. That moment is when I realized that this [path] is definitely for me.

When you’re in grad student as a student and a staff member, you have this scale. You always wonder if you’re a student or a staff member. It always puts me in a place where [I realize], “Wow, I’m making an impact but I’m still learning how to make that impact.” It’s so important for me to be in this role. Without it, I would not have realized what I want in the future. 

Where do you see yourself in the future? 

I see myself still working in education, but also have my own nonprofit. I want to have a program that provides a space for Black and brown people to create art, especially if they cannot afford to create art [my program] is there to support them. I have always wanted something of my own to pass on to my community and others. I see myself owning my own business and also still advocating for students. There are limited spaces for Black and brown people; it’s okay to chase your passion. You don’t have to just go to school, sit in a classroom for four years and just learn a skill because you need to make money. It’s ok to want to be an artist. Your art and your passion will bring you clientele. Art keeps me going. 

Who inspires you and why?

My mom is very supportive of my dreams. As many times as she wanted to give up, she always found a way to get it done. My mom has sacrificed a lot for me and my brother. There are not enough “Thank You’s” in the world I can say to her. She’s the best.

Alana sits inside James Hall.

What’s the most significant barrier to women today? 

That’s a hard question because there are so many. We still are not allowed to have a voice. We are told to “let things be how they are.” You step into spaces that may not be diverse. Many times, I’ve been the only Black woman in the room. If I were to speak up, I would be pictured as the “loud, angry Black woman.” I still struggle with this. I want to use my voice, but when I speak people say “she may be angry.” I’m not angry, I’m passionate.

Showing up as your whole self is key. It’s hard being a Black woman. I have to show up in spaces and sometimes keep my mouth shut because I don’t want to be perceived as angry or upset. I don’t regret anything that I have to say. That just makes me, me. I am a bold, Black woman and that’s never going to change. 

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

Always own yourself, [your voice]. Always advocate for what you know is right. Be the change that you want to see. If you don’t like something, speak your voice. That voice should never be silent. Anything that you’re passionate about, your voice should never be silent. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

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

7 History Majors Share How Their Degree Supports Their Professional Goals

Raymond standing outside.

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Future High School Teacher Gianna Venturini

Stock photo of sunflowers.

Meet Gianna Venturini, a Secondary Education and History major and Psychology minor. Gianna is a transfer student from Monmouth University but is originally from Rockaway, NJ (Morris County). She shares with us why she chose her major and why she chose Rowan!

A selfie of Gianna holding a sunflower in a sunflower patch.

What are your professional goals? And how is Rowan (your program, faculty, etc.) helping to support you in those goals?

I am currently a senior in the College of Education studying to become a high school teacher. The COE has provided me with so many opportunities to be hands-on in real classrooms, and has continued to support me as I do my clinical practice this semester!

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

I truly believe that becoming a teacher is one of the most important and impactful career fields that a person can get into. As teachers, we are responsible for educating and cultivating the next generation of thinkers and leaders. There is nothing I want more than to inspire and encourage my students to pursue their passions and be there to support them during such an important phase of their lives.

What inspired you to choose your major?

I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher; I was one of the few kids who always loved going to school and had a true love for learning. When I got to high school, I had a really difficult time struggling with mental health issues and I never felt like I had a true support system in a teacher or counselor at the school.

Once I graduated, I knew that I wanted to become the teacher I had needed at such a difficult point in my life, and that is my number one priority as a future educator.

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

Many people from my high school had gone to Rowan or were planning to after graduation! I also have a family member who attended Rowan.

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

The trip home takes me about two hours — a very long, straight and boring drive up the NJ Turnpike!

A portrait photo of Gianna wearing her high school cap and gown while holding a Rowan flag.

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

I think that two hours is the perfect distance because it’s far enough away that I feel like I am living my own life, but close enough and still in NJ so that I can visit my friends and family for the weekend when I want to go home!

What are a few interesting or new things (to you) about Rowan’s South Jersey area that you would share with future out-of-state students?

Prior to coming to Rowan, I had never been to Philadelphia and I had no idea how close it was to campus! Back home, we always refer to New York as “the city” but when I transferred, I had to get used to people calling Philly “the city.” My best friend and I are actually planning on living in Philly after graduation!

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

As I said before, I love how close Rowan is to Philadelphia, and my friends and I often like to visit the city. As a history major, I love exploring the rich culture and historical significance that Philadelphia holds! There are also so many amazing restaurants and bars to check out, as well as fun shops and public park spaces.

Why did you choose to transfer to Rowan University?

The first time I visited and toured Rowan’s campus, I instantly felt at home and knew I wanted to spend the rest of my college career here. I had such a terrible freshman year, and I was desperately in need of a fresh start. That’s exactly the opportunity I saw at Rowan!

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by: Bianca Torres, Senior music industry major

Header photo courtesy of: Unsplash 

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Future History Teacher Kaan Aktas

Exterior shot of walkway by Bunce Hall.

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

Kaan poses in front of some greenery.

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

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

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

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

What inspired you to choose your major?

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

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

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

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

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

Kaan poses in front of some colored lights.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did you choose to transfer to Rowan University?

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

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

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

Header photo by:
Anthony Raisley, senior history major

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

Rowan Global Alum Kristi Lancaster Realizes New Career Goal Through Education Programs

Today we feature Rowan Global alumna Kristi Lancaster, who recently earned both her master’s degree in Learning Disabilities and a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDTC) certification. Kristi discovered the programs through the New Jersey Teacher Outreach Program (NJTOP®), which supports state educators by making accelerated, graduate-level programs accessible either online at satellite locations, at a discounted rate. Kristi works as a master teacher for a Cumberland County elementary school district. 

Kristi sitting in a rocking chair on her front porch.

Can you explain what a master teacher is?

A master teacher is an instructional coach. We support the teachers by setting up or delivering  professional development, modeling or co-teaching lessons, and assisting with district programs.  We also analyze and share out on school and district-level data. We assist with the communication between the curriculum, instruction and assessment team and the teachers.

What made you decide to go for your master’s degree?

At that time, I was a general education teacher assigned to teach in an inclusion classroom, and I saw a lot of things going on in the special education program that I thought could be improved. I decided I wanted to get my LDTC certification, and in doing that I needed to get my master’s in learning disabilities. 

Why Rowan?

Well, I wanted to stay local. I have two children, so I didn’t want to be far from them. Completing classes and classwork online really helped. The combination of the master’s degree and the LDTC certification [at the time] helped also. The NJTOP program, with accelerated online classes and discounted tuition, tipped the scales and finalized my decision to pursue my degree at Rowan.  

Has there been a class that has been impactful for you?

There was a class on positive behavior supports that really helped to kind of change the way that I think about behavior issues and offered me a different perspective. 

A portrait photo of Kristi.

What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline?

This is really specific to the LDTC, [but] a lot of times there’s friction between teachers and the LDTC, and I guess the biggest thing I’d like people to know is that we’re all on the side of the kids. It’s about everyone working together for the sake of the students involved, and functioning as a team in the child study team is extremely important. 

Where do you see yourself after earning your degree? 

Right now, I’m in a position that I love. I do love where I am right now, but where I see myself next is I would like to transition from the role of a teacher to the LDTC. So I would be doing more of the testing, child study team meetings, and things along those lines.

I’m also interested in pursuing a doctorate eventually, so that’s something I may be looking into. I may want to one day pursue opportunities in administration.  At this moment, I’m not really sure. It’s exciting to know that there are still unknowns. 

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

I am a mother of two kids. I’m married. We have an English bulldog named Tank. During the school day, I check in with teachers, answer emails about any curriculum-based questions they may have, and visit classrooms. If I have a model lesson set up, I would go and do that. I may have a meeting with [someone from] administration, whether it’s building level or district level. I have different data-based projects throughout the year that I am responsible for, so I try to keep my school assessment data as up-to-date as possible. I’m also responsible for delivering online professional development for teachings, so I spend time planning those presentations. 

I live about an hour from work, so the commute also takes up a lot of time. My children both play sports, so that takes up the rest of my time after school. My son has a lot of food allergies, so I have been promoted to head chef here at our house. I do a lot of allergy-friendly cooking. I typically work on my academic responsibilities once the kids are in bed so that I can focus as much as possible. 

Kristi holding her English Bull Dog named Tank.
Kristi playing with her dog, Tank.

What is one thing this field has allowed you to do that you either dreamed of or you never thought you’d get to do?

I always saw myself in the classroom. I always wanted to be a classroom teacher, that was my number one goal all throughout high school, college. And then as I matured in my career, I started wondering about other options that were available. My preferences started to change. Rowan really opened up the door for me to explore those other opportunities that I didn’t think I’d be interested in. At this point in my life, showing up in a classroom every day is really difficult to do, but Rowan allowed me to do that through their online degree options. 

Final thoughts?

The reason teachers don’t go after the master’s is they think there’s not a way to do it. You can do this. It’s an accelerated course, it takes eight weeks rather than 16. I went slowly. But if you wanted to go quickly and take your classes back to back, it’s a two-year program if you design it that way. And Rowan, they’ve been supportive with all of my needs, my professors, anything, they’re flexible with deadlines. 

As teachers, we have so much on our plates right now you can’t think about adding one more thing. But our plates are big, and you can add one more thing. Rowan makes it doable. I thought it would be impossible, but it’s not.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

One Semester Down: 6 First Years Share

Group of Rowan freshmen friends outside.

Six students share their thoughts on their experiences so far at Rowan and what advice they would share with future freshmen. “I am most looking forward to meeting new people and making friendships for life at Rowan. But also the opportunities that Rowan gives to further my career. In the future I would like to […]

Meet #Rowan2025: Inclusive Elementary Education Major Kristina D’Antonio

Exterior shot of James Hall.

Today we feature Kristina D’Antonio, an incoming Inclusive Elementary Education major from Manalapan, NJ (Monmouth County). Kristina plans to live on-campus next year. 

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

One thing I am looking forward to in college is making new friends!

What is one hobby, activity, sport, or club you were a part of in high school that you’d like to continue in college?

I enjoy music and would like to join Rowan Alternative Music in college.

Kristina poses against a backdrop.

Is there anything you’re hoping to discover about yourself in college?

I would like to try new kinds of clubs, such as a dance club or an education club.

What majors are you considering and why?

I am majoring in Inclusive Elementary Education.

Kristina poses with a guitar.

Did you tour Rowan or attend any virtual events?

I toured Rowan a couple of months ago, and I loved the environment of the school. I’ve been wanting to come here since freshman year.

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

Rowan is a great school for several kinds of majors.

Kristina poses against a backdrop in her graduation cap and gown.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

I like the student life at Rowan. There seems to be a diversity of students.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

Photos submitted by:
Kristina D’Antonio, incoming freshman inclusive elementary education major

Valentine’s Day Birthdays

Red gift box with bow.

Valentine’s Day is not reserved for strictly couples. Here are some Rowan students who feel some extra love on their birthday. 

Mackenzie Campbell, a sophomore Law and Justice major from Great Falls, Virginia, was meant to be born on the holiday. “My mom actually had a scheduled labor for Valentine’s Day, but her water broke that morning and she had me and my twin brother naturally.” To celebrate, even though they go to different schools, Mackenzie and her brother always make it a point to call each other to wish each other a happy birthday. 

Mackenzie Campbell sitting inside on her phone looking at the camera.

Senior Emily Johnson, also a Law and Justice major, from Menifee, California, says holiday birthdays are common in her family. “I was born two weeks early, my sister’s birthday is two days after Christmas and my dad’s birthday falls on Easter some years!” Emily embraces the uniqueness of her special day. “Having a birthday on a holiday is unique but double the fun! I absolutely love everything heart-shaped and enjoy the traditions of Valentine’s Day! I typically celebrate my birthday on the 14th and celebrate a “Valentine’s Day” dinner with my boyfriend the following day.” 

Emily Johnson poses for a selfie.

Ashley Edwards, a Law and Justice major, says having a birthday on Valentine’s Day is “actually pretty nice. Haven’t come across anyone who has tried to jip me of a birthday present so that’s a good thing! The only con is that I can never make last-minute dinner plans … it’s nearly impossible.” The junior from Central Jersey came early and surprised her parents “with the most romantic gift … childbirth.”

Ashley Edwards sitting on a couch.

Emma Knoll, a dual major in Early Childhood Education and American Studies, embraces her unique birthdate to the fullest. “I always loved having my birthday on Valentine’s Day, even more so because I am also a twin! When I was a child, my twin and I never felt like the holiday was taking over our birthday. My parents and family always made it a point to celebrate our birthday as well as Valentine’s Day. As an adult, my boyfriend continues to shower my birthday with love and presents but still celebrating Valentine’s Day, so I get extra treated on my birthday!” The senior from Cape May County, NJ would recommend “celebrating the birthday as well as the holiday. Your birthday is something worth celebrating even if it is on a holiday!” 

Selfie of Emma Knoll.

Senior Anthony Sokolowski, a Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management major from Berlin, NJ (Camden County) has mixed feelings about having a birthday on Valentine’s Day. “A pro is that it’s unique since no one that I know has a birthday on a holiday, let alone Valentine’s Day, and when I was a child I sometimes got both Valentine’s cards and birthday cards at school. A con is that my birthday is on a holiday that’s meant to be about love and relationships, so I feel like that can take away from my birthday sometimes.” His advice for having a birthday on a holiday would be “to ask that person whether they enjoy having their birthday on a holiday and if they would like it to be celebrated on the day or would prefer that it be celebrated before/after.” 

Selfie of Anthony Sokolowski in a green hoodie and glasses.

Audry Feltner, a junior Biological Science major with a concentration in pre-med and minors in Chemistry and Spanish, is from Chesapeake, Virginia and she loves having her birthday on Valentine’s Day. “You get lots of candy when your birthday is on Valentine’s Day, mostly chocolate. When I was a kid I would walk into the store and see the Valentine’s Day stuff for sale and I would tell my mom that they were decorating for my birthday because I didn’t understand Valentine’s Day. Scheduling dates now is actually easier for me because it’s a birthday and Valentine’s.” To celebrate, Audry “usually has a birthday party just like anyone else. I’ve had a few Valentine’s Day-themed parties just because it’s easy with all the decorations in the store (pre-Covid of course).” 

Selfie of Audry Feltner.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

My Favorite Class: Cheyenne Smith, Introduction to American Studies

Cheyenne holds a pennant on campus.

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

Today we speak to Cheyenne Smith, a senior Early Childhood Education major with a dual minor in American Studies & Africana Studies from Somerdale, NJ (Camden County). Cheyenne is a transfer student from Camden County College and commutes to campus.

Cheyenne poses outside of James Hall.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan?

Introduction to American Studies is my favorite class.

What department was the class in?

The class is in the American Studies Department

Who taught the class when you took it?

Professor Brian Dashefsky was my professor for Introduction to American Studies. 

Tell us a little about what the class is.

In Intro to American studies, we learned about history, but in a new light. This course was an introduction to the history, the people, and the culture of America, and to encourage critical thinking and writing. In addition to this, we learned about the Vietnam war and WWII through different perspectives, in the form of a story from a different point of view and forces you to think critically and change your perspective on it. We learned about how pop culture was developed and who runs pop culture. We looked at ads from the 1950s and old commercials and compared them to today and saw not much change in the approach.

Cheyenne poses on a bench.

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

I loved the material we talked about in class. It was a lot of critical thinking and using the critical eye to observe and reflect. You learn about pop culture and how it was born, view world history in a new light than your typical classes in the past to expand and broaden your perspective.

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

The project that you have to do at the end of the semester is amazing! I had so much fun doing this. It was incorporating pop culture of today with what we learned over the semester and present it to the class in about a seven-minute presentation. I volunteered to go first because I was that confident in the material I was equipped with to present my project.

What makes this professor great?

Professor Dashefsky is the best professor! Has a great sense of humor, easy-going guy, has easy grades. He may give a pop quiz ONLY if the class is not participating. He likes conversation and equal participation in the class. His approach to the content of the class was unforgettable and made it easy to learn and feel great learning. It almost felt like we weren’t in a lecture but a general educated conversation for three hours! Time flies when you’re having fun with Professor Dashefsky!

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

This class helped me realize that what I’m always taught is not always right and that there are other people in this world who also have feelings. The content and material in the class forced us to change our point of view and place ourselves in other’s shoes.

What are your professional goals?

I want to be a teacher in a public school and hopefully, eventually, work my way up to being the principal, and then get on the board of education to improve and make a change in the world one child at a time.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Elementary Education Major Mikayla Hiddemen

Mikayla standing at the bridge near the student center with snow behind her.

Today we feature Mikayla Hiddemen, an Elementary Education major from Marlton, NJ (Burlington County). Mikayla is a senior, and this is her fourth semester at Rowan University. Mikayla transferred from Rowan College at Burlington County. Tell us a little bit about your favorite class at Rowan so far. My favorite class at Rowan so far […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Elementary Education Major Paige Smith

Page standing behind greenery.

Today we feature first-generation college student Paige Smith, a junior Elementary Education major from Alloway, NJ (Salem County). She is a transfer from Salem Community College, and this past fall was her first semester at Rowan. Why Rowan? I have always dreamt of going to Rowan. For the area that I live in Rowan has […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Michael Grabowy “You Put Heart into This School, You Get Heart Back”

Michael sitting on a stone outside.

Today we feature senior Michael Grabowy, an adult learner double major in Physical Education and Health Studies from Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County). Michael transferred to Rowan from Cumberland County College.  Tell me about your experience at Rowan. I love Rowan. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be here. All of the students and faculty here. With […]

Senior Reflects: Subject Matter Education And English Major Christina Bharda

Christina standing outside.

Today, we speak to senior Subject Matter Education and English dual major Christina Bharda from Middletown, NJ (Monmouth County). She tells us more about her Greek life involvement and what she looks forward to doing with her degree.

Christina smiling outside on Rowan Boulevard wearing a white shirt.

Are you in any campus involvement or clubs?

I’m in a sorority! I’m the vice president of programming and ritual for Alpha Sigma Alpha.

What do you want to do with your degree once you graduate?

I want to teach middle school or high school English. Eventually, I want to teach students with learning disabilities.

What favorite class experience or professor have you had so far?

I would say Dr. Glazer is the most amazing Education professor. I’m also student teaching right now, too so that’s pretty cool! I’m teaching at Millville Memorial High School.

Christina posing with a friend.

How would you rate your Rowan experience as a whole?

Ten out of 10. It has been the best. I definitely picked the right place!

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography by:
Rachel Rumbsy, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major

PROFFAMILY: An Inclusive & Welcoming Group Of First Years

PROFFAMILY members stand amongst the trees during fall foliage.

Story header photo, from left: Tara Long, Brandon Sagbo, Jada Johnson, Poku, Aaron Brown, Dianna Schreidl, Jayshalie Jennings Today we speak with PROFFAMILY. Freshman founder Poku and first members of the group share how it began and how it has helped them transition into being college students. Creator and visionary, freshman Samuel Poku (who prefers […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Early Childhood Education Major Mikayla Priscopo

Mikayla sitting outside of James.

Today we speak to junior Mikayla Priscopo, an Early Childhood Education major from Clayton, NJ (Gloucester County). Mikayla talks about her time here at Rowan and how Rowan has prepared her for her field. How would you tell a fellow student interested in your major that they’re choosing a worthwhile field?  I would tell a […]

PA to NJ: Theatre Major, Education Minor Elliot Colahan

Elliot stands in a wooded area on campus.

Today, we speak to PA native Elliot Colahan! Elliot is a sophomore Theatre major with concentrations in Acting, Musical Theatre and Theatre Education with a minor in Education from Malvern, PA. Elliot tells us more about why he chose to cross the bridge over to Jersey.

Elliot posing and standing outside Robinson Hall.

What are some fun off-campus things to do within 20 minutes of Rowan on this side of the bridge?

This is a very “theatre major” answer, but bear with me — I really love going to all the different theatres in the Glassboro area! There are so many different ones close by, and it’s always super cool to see what shows are being performed each year. I also love going to grab a bite to eat before going to see a performance! There are a ton of super cute and fun restaurants nearby, with a special shout-out to The Pop Shop in Collingswood. Looking for some super great pancakes? That’s the place to go!

Why did you choose to leave PA for college?

One of the biggest things I wanted out of college was a new, fresh start. Originally, I hadn’t planned that a different state would be part of that fresh start. In fact, Rowan was one of two colleges on my list that wasn’t in Pennsylvania. But as I did some more research and started to tour colleges and audition at various places, it kinda hit me that there’s something super magical about getting to say you go to school in a completely different place than where you live. At the same time, I’m never too far away from home when I start to miss my mom’s garlic bread or my dad’s movie collection. It’s the perfect mix for me!

Why did you choose Rowan?

I really fell in love with the environment here! I came for a shadow day to see what it was like to be a student in classes, and I had an absolute blast. I met some really amazing people that I’m still close with today, and got to check out some classes that I’m still looking forward to taking in my next few years here. Rowan is truly a second home, and I’m really happy with my choice to come here.

Elliot sitting on a rock outside on campus.

What is one thing about South Jersey that was a happy surprise for you or different than you expected?

I don’t think I ever realized how often people go to the beach around here! Back home, we would always have to plan our beach trips weeks in advance, and make sure we’d have enough time to have a good day at the shore and get back before midnight. Here, people will randomly say “Hey, let’s go to Ocean City!” And then they just do it! It’s so weird to see, but I for one am not complaining about it at all. 

Have you adopted any “Jersey” tendencies?

Hmm, this is a tough one. Nothing that I’m aware of? I’m certainly more aware of New Jersey culture than I was before — specifically that I should never get into an argument about whether Central Jersey exists or not. I’ve also gotten a lot more used to New Jersey traffic over the past year. Crosswalks are now my new best friend, but don’t tell Pennsylvania that.

Elliot smiling and sitting outside on campus.

How has choosing to move out of your hometown area for school benefited you?

Moving to a new state that’s completely separate from my hometown has made me feel very free and open! Everyone in my college life only knows me from here, so I don’t need to think about who I was in middle school, in clubs, in any of that. I’m still myself, but I can be me with a lot less stress. It’s a really wonderful feeling.

What advice do you have for Pennsylvania residents leaving PA to go to school in NJ?

Go into things with as much of an open mind as you can! Some things are going to be identical, and others are going to be bizarrely different. Go with the flow and don’t forget to be you! And yes, Wawa’s still exist in New Jersey, so you’ll be fine.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

6 English Majors Share How Their Major Supports Their Professional Goals

Six students from Rowan’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences tell us how their English major will support them professionally.

Reilly posing for a photo with pink flowers and a white structure in the background.

“I want to teach elementary school after college, and I feel like an English major covers so many important things that go alongside education. An English major explores racial issues, class issues, historical moments, gender, sexuality and so much more. I feel like that is so important in order to aid in the understanding of how history has treated your students differently.” – Reilly Stowell, Junior, English and Elementary Education dual major, Sicklerville, NJ (Gloucester County)

Cat posing with an old blue police public call phone box.

“This major supports my professional goals because by analyzing literature, I can use that knowledge to better construct my own written works. Rowan also has a great Writing Arts department so by taking some creative writing courses as electives I can really feel at home in my major.” – Cat Reed, Junior, English major, transfer from RCBC, Pemberton, NJ (Burlington County)

Abigail posing for a portrait photo.

“I have made great connections with many of my professors, peers and other faculty members by being a part of this major. My professors have also helped me transform my writing over the years. I hope that because I’ve experienced such a transformation myself, I’ll be able to help my students transform their writing in the future as well.” – Abigail Brous, senior, English and Education (BA/MST) and American Studies major with a minor in History, West Deptford, NJ (Gloucester County)

Caroline posing in Central Park, New York City.

“My major will help me understand the material that I’d love to teach to middle school/high school students!” – Caroline Dillon, junior, Secondary Education and English major, Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County)

Taryn posing for a portrait photo.

“My career goal currently is to work as an editor in the book publishing field. English has helped me develop my writing and critical reading skills, which are both of key importance in this field.” – Taryn Guettler, Senior, English major with minors in Writing Arts and Women’s and Gender Studies with concentrations in Honors and Shakespeare Studies, Succasunna, NJ (Morris County)

Nicole posing for a selfie.

“I always get the question, ‘So what are you going to do with that major?’ My response is ‘Everything!’ I am going on to Rowan’s Master’s in Teaching: Subject Matter-English in May 2021 so that I can become a high school English teacher, but my major has taught me life skills that I know could be an asset no matter what profession I choose. Between critical thinking skills and communication skills, being an English major taught me to look at anything I encounter in new and creative ways and how to share my knowledge with others.” – Nicole Tota, Senior, English and History dual major with minors in International Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and American Studies, Marlton, NJ (Burlington County)

Like what you see? 

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

Tree branch covered with snow.

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

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

Keianna taking a selfie.

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

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

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

Sheridan smiling for a selfie.

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

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

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

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

Teresa posing for a portrait shot outside the Engineering building.

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

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

NJ Children’s Advocate Kelley Michalowski Advances Degree in Rowan’s Ed.D. Program

Kelley is pictured in her home.

Today we feature Rowan Global student Kelley Michalowski, part of Rowan’s Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) program, P-12 track. Read more about Kelley’s professional career in education and her personal dedication to lifelong learning. 

Kelley Michalowski will soon be a two-time graduate of Rowan’s College of Education earning her master’s degree and ultimately her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. 

Kelley started work with the state’s Juvenile Justice Commission as a teacher, then rose to Supervisor of Education. When she first started her career, Kelley taught first-time offenders; her job was to transition them so they can rejoin society. 

You can now find Kelley serving as Director of the Department of Children and Families. In this role, she oversees the needs of those children living in poor circumstances and their educational needs all over New Jersey. She visits 18 schools ranging from Cape May County to Bergen County. 

Kelley is pictured outside her home.

When asked about how the Ed.D. program will help her in the future, Kelley replies: “It already has. The kids I serve are so underserved and had [few] resources when I got there. So even just the contacts I made and the different roads the districts are doing … we can get them back into districts easier because of the contacts I’ve made, with not only the other students but professors. It’s been fantastic for our schools.”

Kelley started her program with a research theory in mind. She also wants to focus on the impact that can be made on teachers. Her overall goal is to motivate educators who serve underserved students and keep them from getting “burned out.” To do this, she plans on creating a teacher mentorship program to pair teachers together to talk and collaborate.

A class that Kelley regarded as being beneficial to her was her diversity class. She feels as though this class informed her enough to educate others. She and her staff would later be inspired to form a racial equity committee based off of the information that Kelley got from her Rowan class.

Like many, Kelley and her family had to learn how to adjust to a work-at-home environment. In addition to work, Kelley served on two of the state’s COVID committees and continued to work on her program while also attending to her family needs, Kelley has been staying strong and pushing hard to complete her program and help others.

Kelley poses outside her home.

“I always promised my father I would continue,” Kelley mentioned as a part of her inspiration to complete this program. Her father always wanted her to do well in whatever she wanted to do and was excited to learn she would be earning her Ed.D.

Some advice Kelley would like to give to prospective doctoral students is to stay calm and do everything slowly so you won’t stress out. She also wants to let you know that Rowan has very caring professors who only want to watch you succeed.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Cam Hadley, senior public relations and advertising major

5 Early Childhood Education Majors Share How Their Major Interests Them

College of Education student Cheyenne holds a pennant on campus.

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

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

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

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

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

Alicia posing for a selfie.

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

Tyra sitting on a yellow bench on Rowans campus.

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

Grace posing for a photo outside Robinson Hall.

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

Like what you see? 

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

Video Game Live Streaming During a Global Pandemic

Student holds a gaming device in the Student Center Game Room.

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.

Allison sitting on the Bunce Hall steps.
Author Allison Niemiec.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing issue that introduced several changes to the way in which society lives their day-to-day lives. One of these major changes were the quarantine and stay-at-home measures that took place during a majority of the spring of 2020 (Nielson Global Media, 2020).

By being forced to stay at home, many people experienced feelings of isolation. As a way to combat these feelings, there was an increase in the number of people either playing video games or live streaming them to others (Nielson Global Media, 2020).

Video game live streaming is an activity in which an individual is able to record themselves playing a video game for an audience of viewers to watch and engage with. According to Li, Wang and Liu (2020), some of the most commonly used video game streaming websites are Twitch and YouTube.

There are several mental health benefits that have allowed for streaming to become popular during the global pandemic. For one, live streaming allows streamers and viewers to communicate and interact with each other through real time methods (Li, Wang and Liu, 2020). A streamer may even encourage their viewers to participate in their stream by inviting them to play a video game together or allowing the viewer to have input on the decisions a streamer makes in certain games. This interactivity is really beneficial because it allows for a streamer to make a community with their viewers and potentially make new friends.

Second, Li, Wang and Liu (2020) suggest streaming can offer moments of suspense and excitement for both the streamer and the viewer. Unlike watching pre-recorded television shows, a viewer is unable to skip to a specific time in the stream to see whether or not the streamer successfully completed a goal or challenge. A viewer is given an opportunity to share in the streamer’s success or failure in real time, which can provide a greater sense of enjoyment from watching a stream in comparison to a television series.

Last, another benefit that streaming allows for is the creation of a routine through a streamer’s consistent streaming schedule. The streamer will have a specific time and day to look forward to releasing new content, while a viewer can look forward to watching and interacting with this content. Having these days to look forward to is important because it can make up for some of the disappointment people experience as the result of other major social and in person events during the pandemic.

Allison sitting on the Bunce Hall steps.
Overall, video game live streaming has become increasingly more popular during the months of the global pandemic. Part of this popularity is a result of the various mental health benefits that video game live streaming allows for. Specifically, video game live streaming allows a streamer and viewer to communicate and interact with each other, allows for moments
of suspense and excitement, and allows for the creation of a routine.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Allison Niemiec, Rowan Global student in the M.A. of Higher Education program, Wellness Center intern

Photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, public relations graduate

References

Li, Y., Wang, C., and Liu, J. (2020). A systematic review of literature on user behavior in video game live streaming. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(9), 3328. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.3390/ijerph17093328

Nielson Global Media. (2020, March 06). 3, 2, 1 Go! Video Gaming is at an All-Time High During COVID-19. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from
https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2020/3-2-1-go-video-gaming-is-at-an-all-time-high-during-covid-19/

Doctoral Student Erica Watson Brown Believes Time Management is the Most Important Part of the Ph.D. Pursuit

Erica Watson Brown stands outside of a playground.

Today we feature Rowan Global student Erica Watson Brown, who’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at Rowan. Learn more about her journey, research focus on urban studies and insights on work/life balance. 

Full-time Rowan employee, Erica Watson Brown, is currently in her second year of earning her Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Urban and Diverse Learning Environments. On top of her doctoral and full-time work, Erica is also a mother and a wife. She is interested in civil rights relating to education, which is evident in her research on diversifying the teacher workforce. 

Having the ability to balance family, work and school was an important factor for the timing of when Erica would pursue this degree. Erica grew a strong interest in Rowan’s Ph.D. program four years ago when she attended an information session. There she asked if it was possible to do the program part time, and they told her not at the time. Erica had been working as a teacher full time in South Jersey, and at that point Erica thought the timing was not right. She said she “wasn’t going to drop any responsibilities in her life.” 

Fast forward a few years later, and Erica landed a job at Rowan University as the Program Coordinator for Elementary Education. After working at Rowan for about a year, she decided it was time to look into the Ph.D. program again. For a number of reasons, she decided that this was a good time to go after the degree. 

Erica Watson Brown stands outside in a playground.

Erica’s concerns about having enough time for all her responsibilities were definitely warranted as she describes the most vital aspect of graduate school is time management. When asked about this, she explained: “The one thing that is the most challenging is all of the reading you have to do. There is a massive amount of information you need to know about different theorists because it will then inform your research at some point in time.”

Erica’s research focuses on diversifying the teacher workforce. This is an issue that hits close to home for her because she went to a school where she was “one of two women of color.” She went on to say she had many good friends and meaningful relationships at school, but it was not always easy. 

“Oftentimes I felt like I was the voice of people of color,” Erica explains. “As a woman of color I have certain insight into situations that relate to social justice.” 

Erica Watson Brown stands outside in a playground.

Her research is extremely prevalent today since it has been made clear there are questions about race that must be asked in every aspect of American life. Erica seems passionate enough about this subject to institute impactful change. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

PA to NJ: 7 Pennsylvanians Share If They’ve Adopted Any “Jersey” Tendencies

Exterior shot of Kailey Booth sitting on campus.

Today, 7 Pennsylvania native students reveal what New Jersey sayings, mannerisms or other traits — if any — have rubbed off on them. 

Delaney posing outside the Campbell Library on campus.

I think I’ve picked up a little bit of the South Jersey accent. I’ve started saying “caw-fee” instead of coffee. Also, I miss being able to order pork roll whenever I go home. – Delaney Molnar, senior Theatre major with concentrations in Musical Theatre and Acting and a Spanish minor from Pittsburgh, PA

Kendall posing for a picture in a green shirt.

I’m originally from Jersey, so I always have it! – Kendall White, senior in  Applied Sociology, Lumberton/Burlington, PA

Daniella posing outside Robinson and Wilson Hall on campus.

No way PA wins in this! – Daniella Emrich, sophomore, Elementary Education and History major from West Chester, PA

Brendan posing outside the Engineering building.

I’ve started calling it “pork roll.” – Brendan McGrath, junior Mechanical Engineering major with a concentration in Automotive Engineering from West Chester, PA

Kailey sitting on the Rohrer College of Business outdoor steps.

Pork roll, egg and cheese and cheesesteaks. – Kailey Booth, senior Marketing major from Easton, PA

Lindsay posing outside Holly Pointe Commons.

No, I think the Taylor ham/pork roll debate is as stupid as PA’s Wawa/Sheetz debate! – Lindsay Tobias, junior, Radio/TV/Film and Creative Writing major from Wayne, PA

Haley posing for a selfie.

I’ve gotten a slight accent! – Haley DiMezza, senior, Music Industry major with a specialization in Music Business, transfer from Chestnut Hill College and Des Moines Area Community College, from Montgomery County, PA

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

9 Elementary Education Majors Share What Excites Them About Their Major

Elementary education student poses outside on campus.

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

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

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

TJ sitting on a bench outside on campus.

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

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

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

Tyler sitting outside Wilson Hall.

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

Catherine posing for a picture on a boat dock.

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

Michael posing for a photo outside on campus.

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

Cameron posing for a photo outside on campus.

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

Ashley posing for a photo outside on campus.

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

Cait posing for a photo at the Sugar Factory restaurant.

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

Like what you see? 

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Inclusive Elementary Education Major Joseph Soto

Joe sitting on a chair outside.

Today we speak to Joseph Soto, a junior Inclusive Elementary Education major from Riverdale, NJ (Morris County). He transferred from Passaic County Community College and talks about his time and transition to Rowan. How has a faculty or staff member here helped to connect you with the next step for your career? An admissions counselor […]

First Year Voices: Physical Education Major Jalen Baptiste

Today, we speak to Jalen Baptiste, a freshman Physical Education major currently residing on-campus in Chestnut Hall from Hackettstown, NJ (Warren County). Jalen tells us about living on campus and more about his first year so far.

Jalen sitting and smiling on the edge of Mimosa hall.

How do you like on-campus housing?

I’m living in Chestnut. Chestnut’s not bad, though, because I live by myself in a double.

Are your classes completely online or hybrid?

Right now, all my classes are online, but I think some of my classes will switch to in-person hybrid hopefully soon!

Jaylen posing while wearing his mask.

Thinking about joining any clubs?

I’m thinking about joining a fraternity in the spring.

Any advice to incoming freshmen?

If you do come to Rowan, try to get into Holly Pointe! It’s really nice there.

Like what you see? 

LEARN MORE

Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos by:
Loredonna Fiore, junior public relations and advertising major

#PROFspective: Combined Advanced Degree Program (CADP) in Subject Matter Education: English Major Dominique DiGiacomo

Dominique poses in front of a stream.

Today we feature Dominique DiGiacomo, a rising senior in the Combined Advanced Degree Program (CADP) in Subject Matter Education: English program, minors in International Studies and Asian Studies, and a Certificate of Undergraduate Studies in Japanese.  Dominique is a commuter student this coming year from Atco, NJ (Camden County).

Dominique poses in her Rowan attire.

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

On my busiest day, I am juggling two to three classes along with an opening shift (6:30-11 a.m.) for work as a building manager at the student center, an hour workout at the gym/kickboxing, an hour meeting for my second job, and a club meeting in which I am the vice president. 

Did you ever have a moment of uncertainty within your major? How did you get through the challenge?

Yes, I have experienced a moment of uncertainty within my major. There was a time in which I was not enjoying my education classes as much as my classes that were going towards my international studies minor. In order to get through this challenge, I talked to my teachers as well as those who I trusted to confide in them and ask for their opinions. This moment helped me to rediscover my passion for education and it also helped me to combine both my passion for education and international studies into one. 

Dominique poses with some friends in front of a "Rowan University" banner.

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

After my freshman year, I had the opportunity to work as a PROS (Peer Referral and Orientation Staff) member for Rowan orientations, as well as an SCCA staff member in the game room. The moment I started these two jobs was the moment I felt I really belonged at Rowan University. Through these jobs, I not only met new friends, but I also formed new families within the Rowan community. Working for Rowan really helped me to feel at home within the university.

Tell us about your transition into college and how you pushed through any challenges

Transitioning into college was definitely a nerve-racking situation. It was my first time living away from home, as well as the first time I had so much freedom in my life. These nerves, however, only lasted for the first week of school. Overcoming these nerves proved to be a lot easier than I had expected. I made sure to be social, interact with my roommate and my classmates and joined a few clubs. I also realized that every freshman in college was in the same boat; they were all nervous and looking to make friends. After realizing this, my transition to college became a whole lot easier. 

Dominique poses with some friends in the ballroom.

What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a college?

Don’t feel pressured by your friends to choose a certain school. Go on tours, interact with students, and get excited about going to college. Choose the place you feel most at home because college truly does become your second home. 

Like what you see? 

LEARN MORE

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

Photos contributed by:
Dominique DiGiacomo

Beyond the Classroom: Music Education Major Mike Massaro Directs Two Local High School Bands

stock image of a trumpet player against a red background

Meet Mike Massaro, a recent Music Education graduate and commuter from Swedesboro, NJ (Gloucester County). He had the great opportunity to take his musical skills outside of the classroom and was able to direct the jazz band and marching band at a local high school. He tells us more about his experience and his passion for music education.

Four years ago, every single person I knew was telling me, “All of the opportunities and resources are there, you just have to choose to use them.” Genuinely, it probably took me until my 7th semester to truly understand what that meant. However, I had been surfing the opportunities of Rowan University since the first day I stepped on the campus.

Music Education is considered a double major at RU — music and education. Because of this, my program involves being a student of both the College of Performing Arts and College of Education (two degrees, two commencement ceremonies, etc).

The most amazing aspect of this has been being able to learn from and collaborate with my student colleagues and the incomparable faculty from both colleges. Being around other people who want to see you learn is what truly can put your college education to the next level.

I’m going to be very real here: more than likely, you will graduate. You will get the paper. At the end of the day, many will earn that paper, but the paper isn’t what matters in the end. It’s the education that went INTO the paper. What can YOU do to make what is very likely to be your most enriching 4+ years of education as educational as possible for YOU?

As an educator, my belief on this is very firm and was inspired by one of our CPA adjunct professors, Mr. Gerry DeLoach. The passion for what it is that you are teaching is what will drive you forward as an educator. Your knowledge and ability in your specific subject or field is what makes you tick. It is so important to keep that flare to learn alive. What you do in your field sets your ability for what you can do as a teacher. How tall will you let that ceiling be?

Mike Massaro playing trumpet with a high school band on the bleachers.

Here’s a short story. I was offered a very rare opportunity to direct a marching band and jazz band at a local school, Woodstown High School, while still completing my undergrad. By my sophomore year I was directing the jazz band, and junior year I was directing the marching band. It was a dream come true come early — teaching real students.

The program showed success very quickly. One of my beliefs when it comes to teaching is that the best way to learn how to teach is to teach. I wanted to do as much as I could for this school’s music program. It seemed like every day I was at Rowan, speaking to my professors about teaching strategies, learning more about music, and sharing and listening to stories; then in the evening, I would go put it all into practice when I taught for real. One of my biggest focuses through my undergrad was on making this program grow, because I knew that the more I was able to learn as a musician and a teacher, the more I would be able to teach these students. I think it is very important as a teacher to learn from your students, as they can teach us far more than we can teach them. I certainly learned so much from them.

Rowan let me learn from these students.

If it wasn’t for the education that I received every day, the conversations and performing experiences that I had, I would have never had anything fresh to offer my students. I’ve had professors come out to Woodstown on their own time to give clinics to the bands and watch me teach. What the faculty has to offer is truly unmatched. Rowan is a growing school that still has a small school feel where it matters the most — in the classroom.

The professors here care for you and want to watch YOU learn. We don’t have massive educational lectures. We have conversations about the real world and how you can make it better. In my teaching, I can directly categorize aspects of individual professors that have molded so many aspects of my musicianship and teaching.

Mike Massaro sitting with a trumpet

Thanks for making it to the bottom of my text blob. I have one more blurb. My trumpet professor, Dr. Bryan Appleby-Wineberg, once said, “You can’t change the whole world at once, but you can start by changing your corner of it.” Dr. AW’s belief about education is one that should resonate with all of us. Educators are at the center of any community. The educators teach the students, the students graduate, the students get jobs, contribute to our workforce, grow the economy — the students become the doctors, entertainers, designers, chefs, researchers who allow our community to grow. It all starts at the educator.

The educators are the students. The students are the educators. Be the best one you can be and take the opportunity. We are profs. Eruditio spes mundi — education, hope of the world.

If I knew my last time riding back from the student center on my skateboard holding my box of hot pulled pork with a piece of cornbread and a cup of red Gatorade would be my last time, I probably would have done it again. Remember that when you get nervous, it’s because you care.

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Passing the Torch: Second-generation Rowan Grad Offers Advice

Front of Bunce Hall in the backrground and Don's cap in the foreground

“Take advantage of everything that’s available to you here,” says Don Stahlberger, a recent Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate from Pittgrove, NJ (Salem County). His mom, Lisa, graduated from the College of Education when Rowan was then Glassboro State College. 

Don in the center with his parents on either side in front of Bunce Hall

“We have access to a lot of equipment and resources that a lot of people don’t have,” Don says. “Learn as much as you can about it because it will help you when you go to look for a job.”

Don should know: he’s already secured a position with the IT firm Innovative Defense Technologies and will soon relocate to Arlington, Virginia. 

He notes his favorite class within the College of Engineering was Computer Architecture. 

“We basically built a computer processor from the ground up, and it taught me a lot about my major and it was just really insightful,” Don explains. 

Don holding graduation balloons in front of Bunce Hall

As he leaves campus for the last time as an undergrad, Don says, “Rowan has been awesome. If I had to go back and do it all again … I’d pick Rowan again.”

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Passing the Torch: Master’s Graduate, Teacher Offers Advice

Megan Pfizenmayer stands outside of Bunce Hall in her cap and gown

Meghan Pfizenmayer, who recently earned her master’s degree in Special Education, advises future graduate students to learn “time management, between working and school online, not waiting until the night before to get things done.

“I would do a lot of school work after my own school day was over. I might be there until 8 or 9 p.m., but it helped me keep everything going and not doing things the night before,” she explains.

Megan Pfizenmayer stands with her mom and a graduation sign outside of Bunce Hall

Meghan, from Gloucester County, NJ, works as an elementary school resource room teacher for the Washington Township School District. She says her Inquiry in Special Education Settings class, a capstone course she took her last semester, was among her favorites.

“It was a research-based class. It was interesting, too, because we had to shift due to coronavirus. It helped me a lot to learn how to do online teaching,” she adds. 

While celebrating her graduation with family, Meghan realized just how long she’s really been part of the Rowan community. 

Megan Pfizenmayer stands outside of Bunce Hall with her family

“I grew up on this campus. I went to Kids Rule summer day camp here from the time I was 6. Just walking around the campus, we would have field trips out here. It’s a [surreal] end to my journey,” she says. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

20 Classes at Rowan to Further Education on Race & Social Justice

Black and white photo of two people shaking hands

As the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion stated earlier this month, “Universities are not exempt from facing issues that plague our society and threaten our democracy.” It is extremely important to recognize these issues and take the necessary steps to educate ourselves and those around us on the dangers of racism, to start making the changes the world needs to see.

These courses* are available to Rowan students, focusing on the history of race, the dangers that racism instills in society, and ways that we can prevent racism as a community. 

  1. Black Lives Matter: An Ethnographic Perspective of The Movement (AFST 11350)

Oppression, injustice, and violence has plagued black and brown lives through a history of colonization in the United States. Beyond the black nationalist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, the New Jim Crow has given rise to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The #BLM Movement has erupted as a platform that has fueled social media activism and creates space for grassroots organizing that emboldens narratives of rupture and resilience and asserts the voices and dignity of all.

This course will cover topics related to the socio-cultural, political, legal, and education foundational aspects of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Students will gain real-life perspectives on the impact of the BLM Movement on America’s current social justice landscape as well as their own personal assumptions. Students will engage in critical reflection, in-class discussion and debates, as well as an analysis of the constructs of culture, race, and class in order to gain a better understanding of their identity and social categorizations in America’s established systems of oppression.

Two students wearing Rowan t-shirts sit on a ledge overlooking the Engineering Pond.

  1. Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity (ANTH 02275)

This course focuses on the historical development and current status of the race concept, a purported descriptor of human diversity and potential. Using the perspectives of four-field anthropology, this course covers the historical development of the race concept as well as current scholarship, controversies and consequences of race. Students will read relevant texts from biological anthropology, linguistics, cultural anthropology and archaeology.

  1. Examining Intersectionality in Critical Theories of Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality & Citizenship (CASE 90512)

This course provides an overview of intersectionality and selected theoretical lineages which intersectionality often draws from including feminism, critical theory, critical race theory, ethnic studies, queer studies, nationalism, and de/post-colonialism. Beyond studying and summarizing relevant work, the course challenges students to critically synthesize and apply these frameworks to the study of urban education and communities.

  1. Race, Ethnicity, Class & Justice (CJ 09532)

This course will include an in-depth study of race, ethnicity and class, and their evolving impact upon the U.S. criminal justice system, as well as the system’s impact on minorities, the poor, and their communities. A major focus of this course will be a critical examination and analysis of how race, ethnicity, and class have impacted the nature, content, and quality of justice that is rendered within the nation. One major purpose of our study is to provide students with an opportunity to gain sophisticated understanding of the inequities that minorities experience within our system of justice and in the wider community. Students will learn to critically assess significant research concerning race, ethnicity and class and the criminal justice system, and understand the practical applications of this research.

Three students talking outside Chamberlain Student Center

  1. African American Literature I (ENGL 02354)

This upper-level survey course examines African American literature from its beginnings in the colonial period through the Harlem Renaissance. We will engage in close readings of seminar vernacular, autobiographical, poetic, creative, and critical tests, exploring the relationship between literary expression and the highly charged American social, cultural, and political histories that form its context.

  1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in U.S. Literature (ENGL 02530)

This class explores the ways literary texts enforce, subvert, or otherwise complicate constructions of race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, physical ability, religion, and/or sexual orientation. The course will address topics such as the formation of identity, both personal and cultural; privilege and exclusion; assimilation and the myth of the melting pot; immigration; geographical and metaphorical borderlands; and the complexities of ethnic, religious, and political nationalism.

  1. Hip Hop Culture: Music, Lifestyle, Fashion and Politics (MUS 40344)

The main objectives of this course are to discuss the origins of Hip Hop culture and study its influence around the world. Students will explore the key elements of Hip Hop, understand the importance and necessity of entrepreneurship and analyze how the Hip Hop Culture has evolved into a dominant force over the years. Students will examine the impact that Hip Hop has on fashion by helping to catapult the sales and positioning of major fashion and sneaker brands as well as creating independent clothing lines by way of entrepreneurship. The course will discuss and analyze the unprecedented effects and influence that Hip Hop has on global lifestyles, language, and politics.

Students sitting at the picnic tables outside above the Student Center Patio.

  1. History of American Education (FNDS 21150)

This course provides an in-depth study of American education from 1600 to the present, covering preschool through post-secondary education. It focuses on the social forces, sources of conflict, major educational figures and patterns of schooling during each period. In addition, the course will highlight the ways in which diversity has been accommodated, marginalized, or rejected in American education. Students will be able to identify and discuss ways in which diversity has been accommodated, marginalized, or rejected in American education.

four students sitting next to each other outside, wearing Rowan t-shirts.

  1. Songs Of Praise/Protest (INTR 01172)

This course will examine the ways in which music has served as an instrument for social change. African-American music in the form of Spirituals and Blackface Minstrelsy will provide a mechanism for exploring social change, tensions between races, confused dynamics of racial identity, and stereotypes. Hymns of the late 18th and early 19th century will demonstrate how women used song as a means of self-expression denied them in other spheres. Finally, the civil rights and protest songs of the 60s and 70s will provide a backdrop for exploring issues of race and social culture.

  1. Minorities, Crime And Criminal Justice (LAWJ 05205)

In this course students critically examine the involvement of minorities with crime in the U.S. both as perpetrators and victims. Additionally, they will be afforded the opportunity to understand, critically examine, and apply significant theoretical perspectives for the study of minority criminality. They will develop an understanding of the impact of race and class within the law-making process, the content of the law, and the quality of justice afforded minorities within the American criminal justice system.

  1. Philosophy and Race – WI (PHIL 09327)

This course will explore philosophical issues related to “race,” including the role of modern European philosophers in the development of the concept of ‘race’ and historical and contemporary critical examinations of ‘race’ and racism.

  1. The Politics of Race in American Society (POSC 07324)

This course examines the central role of race in American political culture and American politics at large. We will examine concepts through the use of interdisciplinary resources including film, biography and scholarly materials. The course will approach the study of race through an intersectional lens.

  1. Psychology Of Racism And Ethnocentrism: Causes, Development, Consequences, Solutions (PSY 01310)

This course provides an opportunity for students to develop critical understanding of psychological perspectives regarding the root causes, complex patterns, and the individual, group, and societal consequences of racism and ethnocentrism in the United States of America. The course will draw upon comparative data regarding the psychological factors involved in historic or contemporary race and ethnic relations within selected international contexts to explore parallel and unique cross-cultural phenomena.

  1. Environmental Justice: Race, Class, and Gender (SOC 08442)

This course examines issues of environmental equity and social justice. It examines the rights of people to live in a clean environment free from hazardous pollution or contamination and to access the natural resources necessary to sustain health, safety, and livelihoods. A primary focus of this course will be the topics of race, class, and gender as they relate to environmental disputes.

Biology student studies in Science Hall

   15. Critical Race Theory: Social Justice, Advocacy and Intervention (SOC 08488)

Students will explore the social construction of race and the subsequent implications this phenomenon has for particular members of this society. Building upon the origins of the Critical Legal Studies Movement and Critical Race Theory (CRT), students will examine their own dispositions for significant issues from the centrality of race to better understand the need for becoming social justice advocates while learning a variety of social justice intervention strategies.

  1. Critical Race Theory: Application and Intervention (SOC 08578)

Students will explore the social construction of race and the subsequent implications this phenomenon has for particular members of society. Building upon the origins of the Critical Legal Studies Movement and Critical Race Theory (CRT), students will examine their own dispositions for significant issues from the centrality of race, class and gender to better understand the need for becoming social justice advocates while learning a variety of social justice intervention strategies. Specific attention will be focused on the medical/clinical setting where issues of race, class and gender can pose barriers to culturally competent care for clients.

  1. Black Americans and American Politics (POSC 07324)

This course examines the role of Black Americans in the political system, the forms and changing nature of their participation and a review of judicial and administrative decisions affecting the political and social status of Black Americans. This course may not be offered annually.

  1. African American History to 1865 (HIST 05376)

This course surveys the major social, economic and cultural developments of the black community from Africa to the Civil War. It emphasizes a comparison of the transition from Africa to slave culture and studies the contribution of blacks to the making of America.

  1. African American History Since 1865 (HIST 05377)

This course studies the development of the black community from emancipation to contemporary America, tracing such major themes as the pattern of migration and the various methods of black protest developed and employed in the 20th century.

  1. Sociology of Minority Groups (SOC 08230)

This course analyzes the nature of the relationships among ethnic, racial and other groupings in our society. It examines and tests sociological theories by the study of specific past and present minority group situations.

Two students dressed in labcoats and goggles, holding vials in a science laboratory.

*Disclaimer: Not all of these courses are offered this fall, and some may already be full; check for availability when it is time to register. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Header photo courtesy of:
Pexels

#Rowan2020 Instagram Contest Winner Jodi Heady

Jodi holding her decorated Graduation cap that says, "It takes a big step to shape little minds."

Meet #Rowan2020 Instagram Contest winner and recent graduate, Jodi Heady! Jodi graduated in Literacy Studies under Subject-matter Education with two minors in Education and Psychology. Jodi commuted to Rowan during her last semester from her home in Mantua, NJ (Gloucester County). She’s a first-generation college student who transferred to Rowan University from Rowan College of South Jersey. She reflects on her time at Rowan and tells us where she’s headed next.

How does it feel to be an official college graduate?

It feels great! I am a first-generation college student, so to be able to have this accomplishment for not only myself but for my family as well is a great achievement. I worked very hard to graduate, and although I loved my time at Rowan, I am excited to see what is next for me.

What was your most memorable experience at Rowan?

My most memorable experiences at Rowan are the times I was able to work with the amazing students and staff in the Reading Clinic and the Rowan University Early Childhood Demonstration Center. The Reading Clinic is where I had my classes School Reading Problems and Supervised Clinical Practice in Reading. In those classes, I was able to tutor children with reading comprehension, fluency, writing and word study. I loved seeing how much the children’s literacy skills grew by the end of each semester.

In this class, I worked with amazing people who guided me in my journey to become a teacher. Those people include my classmates, Kelly the secretary, and my professor the amazing Dr. Valarie Lee. I also loved my time at the Rowan University Early Childhood Demonstration Center. The children and staff there were all so sweet, and it was the best way to either start or end my school day! I loved seeing how creative the children could be. And I loved having little dance parties with the children. I do not think I ever had a day there where I was not laughing or smiling.

What are the things you will miss the most about Rowan?

I will definitely miss the staff and students at Rowan University Early Childhood Demonstration Center. I will also miss my advisor (April Ellerbe), and my professors I had throughout my years here at Rowan. I will also miss HollyBash, it was always something I looked forward to during the Spring semester.

What’s next for you?

I have been applying to many daycares to become a teacher lead, and I am just waiting to hear back from them. I heard back from one daycare, and they told me when they are open again they will get in touch with me!

Any advice for those who are graduating next year?

Be proud of this accomplishment no matter how long it took you. I am graduating with my bachelor’s in Literacy Studies after six years of college, and I am very proud of myself. No matter if you graduate in four years or six years or more than that, what you have done is amazing and I want you to celebrate this milestone. You deserve it!

Like what you see? 

Meet Rowan #2024: Commuter Yasmien Farhat Looks Forward to Club Involvement

A drone photo of James Hall.

Today we feature incoming freshman Yasmien Farhat, an elementary education major from South Jersey.

What is one activity, club, sport or hobby that you did in high school Yasmien poses for a selfie in a Rowan t-shirt.that you’d like to continue with at Rowan?

Throughout my high school career, I fell in love with volleyball. Being on the court with my teammates and feeling my opponents’ competitive energy made my drive for the game even stronger.

Even though I love the game, I want to focus on my education but still play when I am able to, and so hopefully I will be playing club volleyball when campus reopens. Also, I want to join many clubs that Rowan offers to broaden my network throughout the school. 

How or why did you choose your major?

I chose to go into elementary education because I have always found myself drawn to young kids, I love how fun and clueless they find themselves to be. I want to influence the change that the new generations to come have to offer to the world. And so, I want to pass down my knowledge to younger kids and be part of that change even though it’s on such a smaller scale.

What is something you’re looking forward to next year at Rowan?

I look forward to the new opportunities that I will have at Rowan. I cannot wait to be part of the great programs that they have to offer to further my education. 

A portrait of Yasmien standing in front of a stone buildingWhy did you choose a university that is in-state for you?

I chose to go to an in-state university because of my financial situation. I can’t afford to dorm and attend an out-of-state school. Although it may seem like a saddening moment, I find some joy in being close to home. I still get to be a part of my little siblings’ life and get to help out with things at home.

Why Rowan?

Out of all the schools that I applied to, Rowan intrigued me the most because of its education program. In addition, my sister, who is now a sophomore at Rowan, told me great things about the campus. And so I look forward to going there.

Like what you see? 

LEARN MORE

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Early Childhood Education Major Jordyn Briner

Upward view of white blossoms on a tree and a clear sky with puffy white clouds.

Today’s TRANSFERmation Tuesday features Jordyn Briner, a transfer from Rowan College at Burlington County. Jordyn is a junior early childhood education major who commutes to campus from her home in Burlington Township, NJ (Burlington County).

Jordyn Briner selfie shows her smiling and wearing glasses.

One moment that made you feel inspired or confident that you’re in the right field for you? 

In high school, I always wanted to be a Special Education Teacher, when I went off to college I wasn’t 100% confident in my choice. So I decided to major in 3 different programs for an associate degree. I began working in a Special Services school my sophomore year of college. I loved the job, coworkers and the children. Seeing the strides the children would make and seeing how you made a difference in their lives really helped me see I chose the right path all along. 

Why did you choose Rowan?

My mother attended Rowan when it was called Glassboro State. She loved it when she attended, and I thought I would too. Since working full- and part-time, the commute is much easier. 45 minutes to commute is long due to traffic but I really couldn’t see myself going anywhere other than Rowan. Its education program was highly spoken of and was known for having one of the best education programs. 

What are you most looking forward to at Rowan next year?​

I’m looking forward to my last couple of field placements and eventually my clinical practice. Next year, will be my last year at Rowan (as an undergrad, will be attending for graduate). I also look forward to their on-campus workshops, activities, and events. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Meet #Rowan2024: Inclusive Education Major Lexi Davis

Today we feature Inclusive Education major Lexi Davis from Riverside, NJ (Burlington County). 

What is something you’re looking forward to next year at Rowan?Selfie of Inclusive Education major Lexi Davis 

Going to Rowan, I’m looking the most forward to being able to gain knowledge on things I actually find interest in. I’m also looking forward to meeting new people outside of my small hometown.

What is one activity, club, sport or hobby that you did in high school that you’d like to continue with at Rowan?

I wasn’t a very active person in high school, I only did color guard for marching band from 7th grade until my junior year. However, when I start at Rowan, I want to be more active, particularly dancing. I’ve always wanted to take a dance class but I was always too nervous and shy. I feel like at Rowan, I can finally be myself and try new things.

How or why did you choose your major?​ 

Growing up, I’ve been surrounded by teachers. I have multiple aunts and uncles who are teachers. Teaching has also interested me in the fact that I would be helping kids learn and give them valuable knowledge to use in their lives. I’ve also always had a soft spot for the special education department in schools. I feel all kids should be able to get a good quality education with a disability or not.

I chose Inclusive Education as my major because I would be able to give both Gen Ed students and Special Ed students the same opportunity at a good quality education. 

How did you get to know campus?

Ever since I started telling my teachers in school that I wanted to study teaching, 99% of them have told me to look into Rowan. In the spring of my junior year, I started looking into Rowan and I really liked everything about it. In November of my senior year, I took a tour and went to a seminar on Inclusive Education and I fell in love with the school and everything about it! I saw myself spending the next four years of my life there, and I still do!

What music do you like? 

Personally, I am a fan of all types of music, but I mostly listen to alternative music or pop music. My favorite artists are Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At The Disco, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Ariana Grande.

Why Rowan?​​ 

Well, I love everything about the school. The faculty and other students are really nice, the campus is beautiful, the opportunities never end, the major selection is expansive, and the departments are extremely helpful and useful to each of the students, making everything easy and accessible. I’m so excited that this is where I’m going to spend the next four years of my life!! Go Profs!!

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Photos courtesy of:
Lexi Davis
Unsplash

Meet #Rowan2024: Future Math and STEM Educator Rachel Bonhomme

Meet Rachel Bonhomme, a future Math and STEM Education major from Brick, NJ (Ocean County). She is excited to be an on-campus resident and part of the Rowan community. She tells us more about why she chose Rowan University! 

Rachel Bonhomme is wearing a #RowanPROUD T-shirt and is holding up her acceptance letter.

What is one activity, club, sport or hobby that you did in high school that you’d like to continue with at Rowan? 

One activity I’ve always done in the past is choir! It’s always been a part of my life and I’d love to join at least one of Rowan’s choirs.”

How or why did you choose your major?

I’ve always wanted to teach because my mom is a teacher and I’ve been impacted positively by so many teachers, so I thought it was a good choice! I learned about the 4+1 Math and STEM Education pathway, and I thought it was an amazing opportunity to get what I need.”

Why did you choose a university close to home?

Choosing a university close to home has always been one of my top priorities, and Rowan is a perfect distance away from home! It’s close enough that if anything happens, I’m not a long distance from home, but it’s far enough that I get the freedom I need. “

Why Rowan?

The moment I stepped onto Rowan’s campus, I knew that I wanted to go here. The environment was exactly what I was looking for, and every interaction I’ve had with staff has been a great one! There are amazing programs and opportunities, and it’s just a great fit for me.”

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Photos courtesy of:
Rachel Bonhomme
Pixabay

Beyond the Classroom: Future Teacher’s Clinical Practice Radically Changes Due to COVID-19

Stock image of a teacher's bookshelf

Today’s “Beyond the Classroom” features Tabitha Dougherty, a recent Rowan graduate. She majored in both elementary education and liberal studies to learn more about her “other passions of history and geography.” From Gloucester City, NJ (Camden County), Tabitha transferred from Camden County College after a career change to enter into the teaching profession. In her words, she shares how the pandemic altered her student teaching year — called a clinical practice — and how she plans to grow from the experience.

Tabitha stands with other teacher candidates dressed in costumes for Read Across America.
Tabitha Dougherty (far right) at the school where she was a teacher candidate right before COVID-19 forced the school to close and move to remote learning.

I began my journey in education about five years ago. I worked at a call center as a team leader that managed a group of about seven. I realized how much I enjoyed the teaching aspect of this position and made the decision to leave my career behind to further my education into teaching.

Each education class I took connected me with field work. The first few semesters were observations of various schools, where I saw how teachers of differing backgrounds worked within the schools and their classrooms. 

Student teachers now participate in a year-long clinical practice. This entails two full days a week in semester one and five full days a week during semester two. In both semesters, it is the teacher candidate’s responsibility to fully immerse themselves in the classroom environment by getting to know the cooperating teacher, the students, the daily routine and what it is really like to be a teacher. If you begin this year long teaching practice in the fall, you get the added benefit of having the same students all year long. 

This is the part of the program where you really begin to find out if this is your calling, and for me it is where I discovered that the passion I have to become a teacher is much deeper than I could have ever imagined. My passion is seeing all students succeed and finding different ways in which you can change things around to ensure that every single child gets the same opportunity.

Clinical practice is not easy, nor for the faint of heart, but it is the most rewarding thing I have ever been a part of, and it’s what solidified for me that I made the right career choice. It is my forever choice.

Sadly, my clinical practice was cut short due to the current pandemic. As of [mid-March], I have not been at the school I was assigned and have only been able to see the students through Zoom twice. I was able to create a video of myself reading a story using an interactive program on the Portal by Facebook called Story Time. My cooperating teacher shared this video with the students through their parents’ email.

The current situation really opened my eyes to the lack of technology that some school districts have. The school district I am in did not have a plan set in place for online learning and provided each student with a 10-day paper packet in the hopes it would only be a two-week shutdown. 

Stock image of a girl working on a school paper

We now know it has gone on longer than two weeks, and now some students, those with technology at home, are being directed to websites to complete activities that coincide with the standards of their grade level. Since not all students have access to a laptop, computer, or tablet, the district cannot require that all students participate in online learning. This is where the students are getting the short end of the stick and where teachers will be very busy, to put it mildly, next year.

I am hoping that students will come through this stronger than ever and ready to learn, but more importantly, I am hopeful that school districts are looking into a curriculum that is heavier in the use of technology and providing that technology to each student for online learning in the event something like this happens again.

What I take away from this is, I will be making sure that all of my lessons will be available for students online not only in the event of an emergency, but for them to review at home when needed. Not only is the use of technology important for situations such as our current pandemic, but it is the way of the future and plays to multiple levels of intelligence depending on the programs used. 

I have never been more motivated to be a teacher and look forward to working in a new era of learning.

Exterior shot of James Hall, home of the College of Education
James Hall, home of Rowan’s College of Education

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE 

Photos courtesy of:
Tabitha Dougherty, Pexels, Unsplash

Meet Rowan #2024: From Rowan Youth Orchestra to English Education for New Prof Daniel Marquez

Stock image of school or office supplies
Daniel Marquez standing and smiling on a busy street in New York City.

Today we feature Daniel Marquez, an incoming freshman and first-generation English Education major from Bridgeton, NJ (Cumberland County). He tells us more about what he’s looking forward to at Rowan University and why he chose Rowan! 

What are a few things you are looking forward to next year at Rowan?

“I am looking forward to making new friends, learning more things, and growing as a student and a person through classes and extracurricular activities.”

How or why did you choose your major?

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but was never too sure what subject I wanted to teach. My senior year I realized how much I enjoy writing, so I decided to major in English Education. I am excited to see how I may grow at Rowan and who I will become thanks to it.”

What is one activity, club, sport or hobby that you did in high school that you’d like to continue with at Rowan?

I want to continue with some type of a cultural club. I love dancing Mexican folklore so I would love to do that through a cultural club, or create a dancing group through a club.”

Why Rowan?

I chose Rowan because when I attended the Rowan Youth Orchestra throughout high school, I would get to interact with some staff and even some of the older students, and they really looked like they loved Rowan and were proud to attend/work there, and I wanted to be a part of that environment.”

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Meet #Rowan2024: Early Childhood Education Major Casey Tettemer

Today, we talk to incoming freshman Casey Tettemer, an Early Childhood Education major from Hunterdon County, NJ. She will be an on-campus resident and is looking forward to starting her college experience at Rowan University and spending time on campus.

Casey posing with Rowan University's mascot owl, Whoo R U.

What are a few things you are looking forward to next year at Rowan?
I am looking forward to being in a new environment as well as making new friends.”

How or why did you choose your major?
I chose my major because I love to teach. Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I love to teach and I love working with young children.”

What is one activity, club, sport or hobby that you did in high school that you’d like to continue with at Rowan? (Or a new one you’d like to try?)
I played Field Hockey in high school and I would like to continue playing for the Rowan Club Field Hockey team.”

Why Rowan?
I chose Rowan because when I first stepped on campus it felt like home. I feel comfortable at Rowan and it’s not too far away from home, but also just far enough.”

Like what you see? 

LEARN MORE

Photos courtesy of:
Casey Tettemer
Unsplash

#PROFspective: Leadership & Social Innovation Major Sarah Niles

A Student University Programmers (SUP) banner

Today we feature Sarah Niles, a Leadership & Social Innovation major wrapping up her junior year. Sarah rents off campus, and calls Haddonfield, NJ (Camden County) home. 

Sarah in the Chamberlain Student Center wearing a red SUP shirt.On Campus Employment: Peer Referral and Orientation Staff (PROS), Admissions Ambassadors, and Information Desk at the Student Center 

Academic or Social Clubs: SUP (Student University Programmers) Secretary and incoming Director of Live Events, member of Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity, and member of the Student Alumni Association (SAA)

Describe for us your typical day as a Rowan student.

On my busiest day, I am juggling 2-3 in person classes and two online classes, a shift or two at the Student Center Information Desk, office hours for SUP, might be giving a tour for Admissions, probably do some volunteering with my fraternity. Depending on the day I probably will need to go to a bunch of meetings, taking time for homework and other work that needs my immediate attention, and try to find time to eat through all of this!

What is one of your favorite memories from your Rowan experience so far?

The fall of my freshman year I joined the Student Center and Campus Activities Homecoming team and thought it might be something fun to do because I was already so involved with that office. My favorite part of that week had to have been the Lip Sync Competition (which I coincidentally get to program and oversee next year!). Our dance was so fun, I met a ton of new people, and we ended up winning first place! Any time I’m asked what my favorite Rowan memory is or when I knew Rowan was for me, I think back to that event. 

A headshot of Sarah with a pink headband and yellow Rowan Admissions shirt.How did you manage the transition to Rowan as a freshman in college?

My transition to Rowan was fairly easy. I went on the Freshman Connection Adventure Trip with the Student Center & Campus Activities (which, unfortunately, no longer runs) the week before classes started. It was a great way for me to meet people before the semester even started and the leader of the trip ended up being one of my best mentors and helped my transition be a little bit better. I am a pretty independent person though, so I didn’t have much trouble living by myself or taking on more adult tasks. Whenever I got a little bit homesick, my family would come down to see me and it made me feel better!

What would you tell your high school self about college? Any advice for incoming freshmen?

I would tell my high school self not to be scared or worried about transitioning to college. Yes, it’s a big change, but it’s also a really fun change and you might end up doing things that you love that you never thought you would be doing or would have never done if you didn’t go to college. 

Like what you see?

LEARN MORE

Story by: 
Nicole Cier, writing arts graduate