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.

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

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

Asiya stands outside on campus on a chilly day.

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

National Book Month: Writing Arts & Journalism Students, Faculty Share Favorite Reads

A female student browses a bookshelf at the bookstore.

The month of October is known as a time centered around witches, pumpkins, and candy of course. However, as werewolves howl at the moon and that first October moon rises, National Book Month also begins! With only 31 days to celebrate Rowan students and faculty weigh on their favorite current and past reads on their […]

Running The Funny Farm Rescue is Serious Business for this Rowan Grad [VIDEO]

A view of Laurie's back as she walks through her farm, wearing her signature bright pink hat and bright pink boots.

“Life happens when you’re busy making other plans,” says art alumna Laurie Zaleski, who never intended to run a farm. Meet Laurie Zaleski, the owner and founder of the Funny Farm Rescue and Sanctuary in Mays Landing, NJ (Atlantic County). Laurie also owns Artsy Graphics, which is a graphic design and photography company. She graduated […]

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

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

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

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

Kayden crouches next to a large tree.

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

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

Tell me how does Pride represent you and your story?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kayden sits for a portrait.

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

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

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

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

Kayden stands cross armed leaning against a tree.

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

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

Three military students walking and talking outside the Business Hall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two military students walking outside with their black backpacks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by: Connor Bicknell, rising senior communication studies major

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

Spotlight Welcome on Incoming Transfer Paige Britt

Paige stands in the sun with flowers behind her.

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

Bridging the Gap Between the Art and Business Worlds

Isabella smiles in front of the Creatives 230 sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Senior Reflects On How He Found Himself At Rowan

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

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

From 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 […]

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

Shaun Pierson in front of a mirror with his camera.

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

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

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

Beyond the Classroom: How Two Students Blend Art and Science

Naman and Terry are sitting on the stairs of Bunce Hall.

In this edition of Beyond the Classroom, we discuss the founding of the ArtSci Symposium with Terry Nyugen, who recently graduated from the Biomedical Art and Visualization program, and Naman Srivisvatra, who recently graduated from the Biological Sciences program. While at Rowan, Terry was president of the Neurodiversity Club; Rowan Blog featured her in this interview. In our discussion with Terry and Naman, we learn of their ambition to blend the lines between art and science in order to create a more inclusive and understandable message within research exhibits.

What drew you to Biological Sciences? How do you think your program helped you transition to Biomedical Art and Visualization? 

Naman: For me at least, I picked biology mainly because I had an interest in it for such a long time. I mainly picked biology because it serves as an intersection point between a lot of different fields. I was mainly interested in the ecological and environmental side of it. At some point, I had chosen to pursue medicine but at the same time keep the same interest in environmental and ecological sciences.

With the medicinal aspect, there are parts of it that involve a lot of complex molecular biology along with other aspects that deal with organic chemistry and various other “hardcore” sciences. The Biological Sciences major presented the opportunity for me to get both of those things without having to compromise schedule or taking multiple majors.

The reason I ventured into Biomedical Art and Visualization was because of Terry. Terry had introduced me to the program back in our freshman year. I always had an interest in visual arts, so to me it seemed like a perfect fit where I get to practice science while also working in visual arts and communicating science. At the time I had thought this to be such a unique opportunity that I would not get anywhere else. 

How did you two meet? 

Terry: We met each other freshman year and quickly became friends. Naman just so happened to be in a practice room in Wilson Hall, and I just so happened to be getting ready for a concert that day. We started to introduce ourselves and we found out that we were both pre-med students and an untold bond was formed! That’s how we just got to know each other.

I didn’t really have a lot of pre-med friends at the time and I was looking for them. Naman and I got acquainted and we started signing up for classes together. From there our friendship just kept growing as we started involving each other more in each other’s lives. 

Terry is sitting on the ledge of a nearby building with flowers all around her.
Terry Nyugen, of Burlington County, is a recent graduate of the Biomedical Art and Visualization program.

How did you introduce Biomedical Art and Visualization to Naman? 

Naman: The way that I had found out about the program was the day we met when I was in the practice room. I did a lot of musical work as well, I was heavily involved with the Jazz Studies program and Terry was in Classical Piano. The day of that concert I was looking over the program booklet of the concert. In that booklet, it showed all the different names of the students that were involved in the concert as well as the major that they are affiliated with. When I saw Terry’s name and the major next to it, Biomedical Art, I had thought to myself, “I’ve never heard of that, especially at Rowan”. I started to do some research on my own and I found out that it was an entire major. I proceeded to ask Terry about the major and the different types of stuff that are involved with Biomedical Art and Visualization. I found an interest in it and then that following Fall semester I started taking those classes. 

How did you (Terry) and Naman get involved with Biomedical Art and Visualization? 

Terry: In high school I had a lot of different learning issues and curves that I had to overcome. For me, learning visually was a way for me to get the information and ingrain it into my brain. The reason why I specifically chose Biomedical Art was because deep down, I wanted to pursue medicine in high school but I didn’t have stellar performances. I still wanted to stick with science but not commit to it. My strengths were in art and I found ways, especially towards my senior year, to combine the two ideas.

My parents were the ones who found the Biomedical Art and Visualization program. My parents saw my efforts and wanted to find the environment that would put me in the best position to succeed. Even when I took AP Studio Art in high school, my portfolio was based around this idea of combining science and art. It wasn’t until I actually decided to commit to Biomedical Art that I found out it was much broader than I had previously anticipated. It deals with educating and creating different avenues of communication and not just creating beautiful illustrations.

Essentially, I chose Biomedical Art to help teach myself scientific information without outright saying “I go to medical school!” Eventually, once I feel more confident, I’ll say that. I had a love for art but also didn’t want to give up on the rigors of science classes.  

What clubs/projects are you two directly involved in right now? 

Naman: In the past, I was a founder of the American Physician Scientist Association, which was one of the main components of the ArtSci Symposium. Our goal was to help incorporate more vigorous research into medicine. A lot of the time with students that are going through the process of applying to medical school, they really do not have any scientific research experience. It’s not a prerequisite, but it is nice to have.

A lot of my friends, especially during the Covid period, were struggling to find space at labs and weren’t able to get the experience they needed for applying to medical school. And so, I had started working on setting out on an organization on campus that was dedicated towards getting students into research. For a lot of the time, what we figured out what was happening was that it was the students who did not feel comfortable directly reaching out to figures such as research supervisors. With getting into labs, it more than likely comes from word of mouth. It’s direct communication.

Especially since the pandemic hit, research took a huge blow. The pandemic created almost a vacuum, there were students who were actively looking for labs to participate in and you also had students who were leaving; there was no bridge between the two to get students into the labs.

I wanted to create an organization that was dedicated to helping students obtain the research experience that they needed, whether it was for medical school or just if they wanted to pursue science on a deeper level. That was one of the big initiatives that I had here at Rowan. 

Naman is standing profoundly in front of a brick wall with his blazer draped on his shoulder.
Naman Srivastava of Gloucester County, is a recent graduate of the Biological Sciences program.

Naman: Another one was my protein work over at MIT. Although it doesn’t directly involve Rowan, I still did a majority of the work on that here at Rowan as well as using a lot of the skills that I had learned at Rowan as well. What we did was look for new ways to communicate science. In this process called protein solidification, it was becoming more and more popularized by scientists and faculty members at MIT. I took an interest in it immediately.

As someone who has a music and science background, I thought that my perspective would bring an interesting way to communicate molecular biology. What we did was, it was me, Terry and a couple other of my buddies who were actual music majors and we sat down and looked at the different sequences of protein. Proteins are built out of these tiny pieces called amino acids and there are 20 of them total. We were able to categorize all of these different amino acids into musical notes. Each of them correlates to a different note and what we did was string all of the different notes together into a musical composition.

There’s a level of artistic literacy that is needed to get this to work because of the sheer amount of musician skills needed. I will say it was extremely complex mainly because you get a random string of notes and it was our job to make a cohesive composition out of it and make it sound coherent. We did a lot of work on that, the first time we started on it was back in 2020.

That was for the American Society of Microbiology. The society was doing a bit of an art contest. They had expanded the different forms of submissions that they would accept and so my friends and I saw this as our chance. We sat down and wrote up a composition and even filmed a music video for it. We did not win, but we did manage to get into the finalists category; which, I’ll take! After we were done that one, the following year we saw that MIT was hosting a conference that was built around biological communication and new ventures into science. We sat back down and decided to start back from scratch. We went back at it and selected a new protein, solidified it, and got all of the musical data to start writing our piece for submission. We were planning on actually driving up to Boston, but with covid that really put our plans in awry. It was held virtually but it was a really good experience to be able to talk to so many different people from that area and get an idea of their thoughts when it comes to different projects and ideas. I’m planning on going back again this year. Our group really wants to keep our ideas fresh so we’ve been thinking of integrating new ideas with the project like animation or even being able to communicate how our thought process worked. 

Naman and Terry are sternly looking directly into the camera while sitting next to each other.
Terry and Naman cofounded the ArtSci Symposium.

Could you tell us about the initiative, ArtSci, that you two co-founded?

Terry: It started off when we were having lunch outside the student center. I had approached the idea to Naman and said, “What if, and hear me out, we have a symposium where we revolutionize how research posters are presented?” We wanted to figure out a way to change the way in which research posters had been incorporated up to this point because at the time we were learning about having creative outlets for communicating certain things.

With research posters, we wanted to change the foundation of it and have them more focused on communicating the desired message in a more effective manner within the mathematical and graphic design portion of posters. For myself, I remember looking at the examples in classes versus the things that I see in the Science Hall.

I would just wonder what happened if you know, the traditional signs were posted? This mindset was an idea that came up before but it wasn’t as developed as we would have liked it. When I approached Naman with the idea I remember saying, “I really think you can do this.” I knew of Naman’s strengths and I knew that we both had skill sets that would complement each other as well compensate for our own weaknesses. After that lunch we decided to work together from then on. 

Naman: The original idea was something that was proposed a year or two back. We wanted to hold our own research symposium. But at the same time, because we cater to such a broad range of research, we were very self aware and questioned as to how we can make this interesting or something new. The main research symposium that was held on campus had been canceled for the past two years due to Covid, and the person that ran it, Dr. Gregory Hecht, had retired. So there was this vacancy and we saw that kind of as an opportunity to capitalize on.

Naman and Terry pose with campus greenery in the background.

Naman: During our discussions of the research symposium we knew that we wanted to make it unique in some way because a lot of the supervisions that are held on campus are a one-and-done type of ordeal where you make your poster, present and then you’re done. For both Terry and I, we wanted to put some sort of spin on it, something that would help people actually understand the message of what is trying to be conveyed.

If you go to a standard research symposium it has a lot of texts, a lot of diagrams and a lot of graphs. You’ll be standing there and trying to absorb all that information from somebody who’s not from that specific field which only makes it increasingly more difficult in such an arduous environment. If you’re looking at multiple research posters in the same day, that’s a lot of information for anybody to take in; so, we wanted to distill that process down and make it easier for anybody and make it more accessible for people from all backgrounds to understand the work that’s being put forth by the researchers and the artists.

Our rationale for this idea was to pair together scientists and labs with artists and graphic designers so that two to come can come together and sort of create posters and presentations that effectively communicate the type of work that the researchers are doing in a cohesive and synthesized manner. We sat on that idea for a long time. Before we could get to the point where we wanted to be we had to do a lot of pre-planning. Any idea after thinking critically on it is exceptional in theory, but the nuts and bolts of the idea is extremely intensive. For us, we had to think of ideas such as “Where is it going to be held and when is it going to be held? How much is our budget going to be? Where are we going to spend the money? How are we going to spend the money? How can we get other organizations at fault to potentially either help out, either on the artistic or the scientific aspects? What are additional sources of funding? What are other concerns?”

As most Rowan students know, the university is continuing to get larger within the most immediate sense as well as its general presence. We saw this as a potential joining of the Rowan University students and Glassboro community where people of all backgrounds regardless of circumstances can come and appreciate the work that other researchers have done in an accessible manner. For us, we wanted to make it so that anybody can walk in.  Our whole goal was to make it so that even someone as young as a  sixth grader can walk in and understand everything that’s being presented. This is a very unique opportunity for us to get engaged within the local community, specifically Glassboro and the different communities around it.

There was a lot of planning that we did and there were a lot of people that helped us out along the way. The team ended up being close to around 15 people. We had divvied up the work where there were volunteers who were strictly involved with just the planning committee. Thankfully, our head of volunteers, David Lee, did a lot of work in organizing potential volunteers who were there for both setup and teardown. David and his group helped with reaching out to different departments and finding different sorts of researchers, as well as people who can sort of help us out in this heavy endeavor. We did a lot of work in just [getting] the word [out] on our project and letting both communities know that the symposium was happening. 

Naman and Terry are standing on the Bunce Hall stairs.

You previously stated that accessibility is one of your core values. What made you come to this realization that the current standard of art and scientific diagrams are not as accessible as it should be?

Terry: I think one of the core motivators for us that I forgot to mention was this whole thing sort of was born out of the tension that was between health care and politics that sort of arose from the pandemic. With some people, they shared their own opinions such as not wanting to get vaccinated or not wanting to wear masks for several reasons, such as personal values and beliefs. Although people are allowed to think what they wish, there’s also a degree of not really understanding the scientific aspect of why it’s so important to have this certain action be done as a community.

There are some people you won’t be able to convince no matter what, but there are some who are willing to listen, as long as they understand what you’re trying to communicate. There is an abundance of research that’s being done and a lot of times, you don’t hear about it. Because for instance, you either don’t understand the ideas that are being argued or the information just isn’t accessible. For us and ArtSci, we want to sort of have a centralized place where the research was going to be presented in a way that people could easily understand it with no exclusions. 

You two provide an interesting perspective with Biomedical Art, what made you think of incorporating art into your studies? 

Terry: For me, it’s always been about how easily you can communicate things. If you think of an art museum, or even like a location such as the Natural Science Museum, everything that you see there, you’re not going to see paragraphs and paragraphs of texts. Instead, you’re going to see vibrant exhibits, diagrams and models which are all presented to help visually communicate what the researcher is attempting to argue or convey. At these sorts of spots, you’re not going there to read articles on whatever it is that they are presenting, instead it is presented in a physical concept. A lot of these creative disciplines are very linked to the way we think and the way we talk and the way we communicate with each other. If I say the word apple, you’re not going to think of the word apple; you would think of the actual physical object associated with the word.

Things like that are very important. Just in the way that we communicate as people, presenting things in a way that’s like all very technically correct, in terms of, you know, lots of text, lots of figures, diagrams, and statistics, it doesn’t always immediately click in terms of like, what’s actually being presented and it being completely understood. For myself, I’ve had experiences like this happen such as when I was sitting in a lab meeting, and I was being shown tons of graphs and charts. At the time, I was listening to my lab mates discuss the research that they were doing and I zoned out completely. I had no idea what they were talking about, even though everything was written I had retained none of the information. This is something that I face on a day-to-day basis, but with creative disciplines, it delineates from this monistic way of thought.

Naman and Terry are leaning against a railing standing side by side.

How do you feel as if you’re going to adapt and integrate new ideas into the art side? What is the vision like for that right now?

Naman: That’s a great question for our future team. They are very much interested in expanding our original vision. I will say our first plan was a little bit delusional and a little bit naive. We were thoughtful in our planning, but we were overshooting the hell out of it. But I think the new team realizes the mistakes that we made because the people who were on the new team also worked on the old team.

The new team was there to watch which steps we took in order to actualize our original vision. For example, the new team is already aware of hiring more people to help out with communication, because there are plenty of scientists and researchers at the University, but there’s not enough people to actually sit down and communicate the ideas. So being able to have a more diverse group of people to communicate that research to me, is very important. 

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, graduate English education 

Photography by:
Ashley Craven, sports and communication major

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond the Classroom: Emerson Harman, Graphic Design Intern at Stantec

Emerson standing in Westby Hall.

Today we spoke to Emerson Harman, a junior Biomedical Art and Visualization major with minors in Biology and Technical and Professional Writing, a concentration in Honors, and a certificate of undergraduate study (CUGS) in Paleo-Art and Visualization. They are an on-campus resident from Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Emerson tells us about their internship, how Rowan helped prepare them for the internship, and where they see themselves in a future career.

Emerson posing for a portrait outside under a tree.

Tell me about your internship. What was your day-to-day like?

I interned for the summer at Stantec, an architecture, design, engineering, and environmental science design and consulting firm. The company is based in Canada. The company had 23,000 employees across 23 countries. I was the graphic design intern for the summer, and it was an 8-week program. I worked 40-hour weeks.

I worked on a few different projects both within the Philadelphia office and with interns from across North America. I worked on two projects with two elementary schools in Philadelphia that are getting renovated and added to. One has an existing mural through the MuralArts program of Philadelphia, and I made designs for the new main entrance and cafeteria based on their existing mural. That school is in the very initial design phase and once they get further in with the client, they will present my designs to the client as possible design options for the space. I made designs based on murals that already exist in the other school, as well. On the second to last day of my internship, the people working on this project with me presented my designs to that client, and they actually went forward with my designs, which is pretty exciting.

I did a few smaller graphic projects for different proposals for different projects that people were working on and the intern-wide project. There were 91 interns from across North America on ten teams this summer, and we got paired with an organization in North Carolina that is creating a farmstead summer camp for people with learning disabilities, particularly teens and adults with autism. Five teams worked on each half of the property. As the only graphic design intern, I helped create the presentations and the final booklets that were given to the client and created renderings and animations of the final architectural plans. At the end of the internship, all 10 groups presented our work both internally to the broader Stantec community, and to the client. Throughout this internship, we also had groups and seminars on a variety of topics just for the summer interns, including a counter transition from school to the workplace or innovative technologies and urban planning and climate change adaptation and how they structure sustainability into such a large global company.

Emerson's design on a wall that was approved.
Emerson’s final design that was approved to be used by a Philadelphia elementary school.

Can you tell us a bit about Stantec as a company?

Stantec has many offices that work independently of each other, but sometimes they collaborate. They do architecture, so just like any other architecture firm, they do large and small-scale projects, and then they have design and interior design areas where they work on architectural projects and individual consulting-type projects.

The Philadelphia office where I work didn’t have any environmental scientists, but some offices have environmental scientists that worked with the construction crews or different building projects such as making sure that they’re not getting rid of habitat for endangered species, working near wastewater treatments, or doing anything damaging to the environment. There are many kinds of people working in one company. It’s an all-inclusive firm for these different areas. 

How did you find and secure this internship?

I first applied for Stantec’s Equity and Diversity scholarship last year, without really knowing who Stantec was or what they did. I ended up receiving the scholarship, and from there, they invited me to interview for an internship position. Stantec gives about 22 scholarships and from there they select some interns for the summer. During the interview, I met with the Senior Vice President of Design and Innovation of Stantec, the Director of the Office of the CEO, and one of the Principal Architects of the Philadelphia office, who ended up being my supervisor. I received the internship offer, and after school was out, I moved to Philadelphia for the summer.

How does this internship tie in with your major?

My major isn’t directly correlated with the architecture and design industry, but I found that a lot of the skills transferred into this internship as a graphic design intern. I worked a lot in software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, all design software that I use in my classes. Often having to learn new software in my major helped me with learning AutoDesk, Revit, and Enscape that I used a lot during and needed for the internship. Having an outside look at a lot of the design problems my supervisors gave me brought a unique perspective someone trained in architecture might not have. 

Do you have any mentors at Rowan that helped you with this internship?

There are a lot of professors and faculty on campus that I definitely have close connections with, but the two that come to mind are initially Professor Amanda Almon, who is the head of the Biomedical Art and Visualization department, and Professor Jenny Drumgoole of the Photography department. I know I can go to them with questions I have. They’re helpful and supportive and help me with applications and just creating a professional profile for myself. When I’m applying for these opportunities, they can help me along the way. Professor Almon, and Professor Drumgoole, having people like them push you to develop your skills and encourage you to apply for internships, and find new opportunities that you might have otherwise missed is important. The most important thing you can do is to connect with those professors. They’re the start of your network, and from there they can help you with so much more. 

A screenshot of an interior design rendering
An interior design, created by Emerson.

How will this internship help you achieve your career goals?

I might apply for a master’s program in scientific illustration. Many people in this field wait and do their master’s after some years of experience in the workforce. Ideally, I want to work in infographic design and scientific illustration. I definitely lean more towards the natural science side, rather than the medical side of the biomedical art program, whether that’s working for a museum, a publishing company magazine, like National Geographic or Nature, or something along those lines. 

Through this internship, I gained a ton of new connections, met a lot of amazing people, and learned a lot. I went from living in a small town in Wisconsin to living in Philadelphia, which was a very good experience, and significantly different. Now I know I can feel comfortable living anywhere. I also learned new programs and new techniques that I might not have learned if I hadn’t taken the internship. I also learned how to communicate and talk to new people on all levels. 

Emerson is working on a project on their computer.

Do you have any advice for Rowan students that are looking for internships?

I would first reach out to professors who work in the areas that interest you and see if they know of any campus or external internships they would recommend applying to. Beyond that, look up companies and organizations in your field and see if they advertise internships on their website. If not, it’s worth emailing them to ask! Make sure you have an up-to-date resumé, and just keep applying. It’s discouraging to be turned down, but the more you apply, the more chances you have of being selected.

Now that you have completed this internship, what’s next?

I just received an offer for a nine-month internship (the duration of the school year) with the U.S. Forest Service. I will create illustrations and graphic design for a visual field guide to endangered species and communications about old-growth forests. It’s through the Virtual Student Federal Service program, so it’s a virtual internship.

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

Beyond the Classroom: Writing Arts and English Major Skyla Everwine Interns for Project Little Warriors

Skyla holds a Rowan University pennant against a wooded backdrop.

Senior Rowan Blog contributor and Writing Arts and English major Skyla Everwine shares her experience working as a Grant Writing Intern for Project Little Warriors, a non-profit that practices yoga with kids in underfunded schools. As the spring semester was wrapping up, I decided that I wanted to find a summer internship closer related to […]

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

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

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

Rowan University Student Discovers New Passion After Finding The Whit [VIDEO]

After discovering our school newspaper, The Whit, Helena Perray ’22 changed her major to Journalism and worked her way up to become co-editor-in-chief her senior year. She credits The Whit for helping her build relationships and her interpersonal communication skills. “The Whit has been an invaluable experience because you’re working with a group of people […]

Meet Transfer Profs: Featuring Students from the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts

Photo of 301 High Street on Rowan's Glassboro campus.

Today we feature two incoming transfer students: Karis Brady (she/her) and Meredith Deferro (she/her) from Gloucester County and Camden County respectively. The two tell us about their majors, why they’re excited to start classes at Rowan, and give advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are […]

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

Rowan University's Bozorth Hall.

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

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

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

How did you find your friend group here at Rowan?

I found my friends through clubs and organizations.

Are you involved on campus? How so?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your professional goals?

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

Photos courtesy of: 
Spencer Reyes

Beyond the Classroom: Sports Communication, Journalism Major Larry Diehlman Writes for South Jersey Magazine

Larry holds a notebook outside on an athletic field.

Meet Larry Diehlman, a senior Sports Communication and Media and Journalism double major with a German minor and Esports CUGS. Larry is a commuter student from Gloucester County, NJ and a columnist for The Whit campus newspaper. Here, Larry tells us about his summer internship with South Jersey Magazine and offers advice for future journalists. 

How did you discover your internship?

I actually found it in an email from Professor Kathryn Quigley [chair of the Journalism Department]. She was sending all these emails about internships. I was looking through the emails, and I found the South Jersey Magazine internship. I saw the requirements, and I thought, “Ok, this could be good.” I feel like the work I do there is pretty good. I am so glad I got it. 

Larry leans against a fence inside Wackar Stadium.

What does your day-to-day look like at South Jersey Magazine?

It honestly depends on what the assistant editor of the magazine needs me to do. A lot of times I’m doing events and calendars. Sometimes I go online, and find events or whittle down articles or press releases she gives me, so we can put them in the magazine. Sometimes they’ll give me mini projects to do. Last week, she gave me an assignment. I had to go back and look at all the covers from 2016 to the present of one of our branches. For South Jersey Biz, I had a look back at the covers, and if they had a person or people on them, I had to write who it was and who they were for. We’re avoiding repeats so we can have fresh covers as much as we can. I know Dr. Houshmand was on there a few times. That’s the day-to-day. Projects, events, calendars and whatever they need me to do.

Have you learned anything new in this internship?

Yes. I’ve learned the power of editing, such as trimming down articles, what’s important in a story and what’s maybe not, at least for that excerpt. I’ve learned about using the power of research, looking up events, and seeing what’s relevant and what’s not.

I always work in a timely manner, and I always make sure I hit deadlines, but deadlines are always another great thing to practice. But I’ve learned a lot of good skills so far. I haven’t done too much of being given something to write about and going to write it. But I’ve been honing skills I’ve learned from journalism classes or The Whit. Those are what I’ve learned so far.

Larry writes in a notebook inside Wackar Stadium.

Has your experience helped you inside and outside of school?

I’m trying to learn things outside of the classroom. I got to a point where I feel I get it already in the classroom. I want to actually apply my knowledge to the outside world. With one semester left in college, I can finally take that next step into the real world, not worry about a book assignment due in a week. It feels so liberating to be outside of the classroom.

Why did you choose Rowan University?

Rowan was the first choice I had. It had the major I wanted. I knew some of my friends would be there. It was honestly close by. It was just everything I wanted, and the tuition wasn’t ridiculously expensive. If you go to other colleges, one semester over there might be the same price as two or three semesters at Rowan. All those factors were good. I got accepted to other schools, but I tossed the other two aside. I said, “I’m at Rowan.”

Why did you choose your Sports Communication and Media major, and then your Journalism major?

I’ve always wanted to do something in sports. I came into Rowan with a passion for broadcasting, but I guess over time, I realized maybe I didn’t have the broadcasting voice, so I pushed my way to the writing side. I know COVID took away certain opportunities, and there are only so many spots available, so I decided writing is more my strong suit.

Larry stands at the 50 yard line inside Wackar Stadium.

Can you tell us about your column with The Whit?

I do a weekly NBA column called “Diehlman at Halftime.” I know it’s pretty popular on the site and in the column section. I talked about a variety of NBA teams, and I know that some of the other columns and articles that people do focus a lot on Philadelphia area sports, but I go through the whole rotation of the NBA. I praise some teams, and I mock teams. Sometimes I go a little harder on others, but I tried to throw some humor in there a lot. But I try to divide it into an introduction and then highlight low light and a random stat. It’s more my commentary, but I have statistics. 

Did your work with this weekly column prepare you for your current internship?

Oh, yeah, definitely. We had to email the editor at South Jersey Magazine or wherever we were applying for a resume cover letter and writing samples. I think I had to submit either three or five. The samples I sent were from my columns. I noticed they were impressed. I think it definitely helped.

What are your future goals and career goals?

Before I started at Rowan, I said, “I want to be a sports broadcaster. I’m going to be the next Monday Night Football guy.” That dream plummeted, realizing that few people get that job, even those with the experience. Some people who actually played the sport don’t even get that job. I decided it would not work. I had to come to the writing side, and I’m like, “Well, I could cover a team, I could cover a league, the NFL and NBA are where I’m at.”

With The Whit, I have some NBA experience already. Now the traveling part, I don’t, but it will give me a starting point to show an employer I can turn things in on a weekly basis. I can also make fresh content, not just saying the same five things over again. That’s my ambition. But Neil Hartman has always told us, “You’re not going to get the ESPN job on day one.”

Larry sits near a laptop inside Wackar Stadium.

What is your advice for future students on internships?

I would say try to get involved as early as you can. There are some opportunities that you can’t get early on. For example, you had to be a sophomore to get this internship. So you might not get certain opportunities as a freshman, but in sophomore year and above, try to get as much experience as you can. If you’re getting emails about internships, don’t just delete them, actually open them and see what they’re about.

When you’re at the internships, just try to soak in as much as you can. Obviously, take nothing for granted. Be on time and do your work. Complain as little as you can. Just try to use everything you can, and maybe apply it back to the classroom. For example, if it’s a summer internship, I’ll take everything I’m learning right now. Then, I’ll go into the fall semester and say, “Okay, this is what I learned” and tie it in with what the professors teach us. Now, I’ll take that, and I’ll reapply it at my next opportunity. Then it’s just this one continuing cycle until you get a full-time job, and you’re working many hours a week. So definitely soak in as much knowledge as you can.

Final thoughts?

I guess it’s been a weird experience going through COVID during college and studying journalism. I was fortunate enough to graduate high school right before COVID, so my high school experience was untouched. In my second semester of college, COVID said, “Here is my time now,” so I had one real semester of college and then everything went south, having those two semesters that we’ll never get back in person. Now that we’ve made a comeback here on campus, it’s been an experience just learning to adapt to this major.

Journalism is certainly a major that was affected by COVID, especially with sports. But always learn how to adapt. No matter what major you’re in, and if you have to adapt and learn quickly, and also pace yourself as well. 

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

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

Future Students Explore Creative Arts, Career Possibilities at Rowan’s Inaugural Storytellers Camp

Storytellers Camp students receive a tour of Rowan Radio.

What is Storytellers Camp?  Storytellers Camp is a creative media arts camp where students learn how we tell stories in all walks of life.  When we think about storytelling, often we think of a book, but it’s not limited to books. The commercials that you watch that tell a story about a parent and a […]

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

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

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

Beyond the Classroom: Advertising Major Olivia Covington Discusses Her Internship with Global Agency R/GA

Exterior shot of 301 High St.

Olivia Covington (she/her) is a senior Advertising major with minors in Strategic Communication, Professional/Technical Writing, and International Studies and commuter student from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County). Here, Olivia share details she is interning with marketing company R/GA as a remote copywriting intern. Can you tell me about your internship and the responsibilities you have […]

Alumni Success: “What’s Good” with Isaiah Showell ‘15, Multimedia Journalist and Local Storyteller

Isaiah interviews a subject for What's Good.

Isaiah Showell of Atlantic County has hosted and produced more than 100 videos spotlighting the people, places and programs of South Jersey communities for the series “What’s Good,” which he founded in 2017. Isaiah, who graduated with a Journalism degree from the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts, shares his own South Jersey […]

Meet #Rowan2026: Introducing Students from the College of Performing Arts

Today we feature incoming CPA first year students Katherine Lanzerotti (she/her), Grace Hoeltje (she/her), Bella Campo (she/her), and Jeszenee Turner. Katherine is from Rockaway, NJ (Morris County) and will be living on campus as a Music Education in Vocal Performance major. Grace is from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County) and will be living on campus […]

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

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

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

On discovering the program

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

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

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

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

Benefits of the 4+1 program

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

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

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

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

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

Experiences outside the classroom

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

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

Scott has also gotten valuable experiences outside of the classroom.

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

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

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

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

Future goals

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

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

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

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

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

Passing the Torch: Outgoing RA Loredonna Fiore Reflects On Her Experiences

Loredonna throws her cap up in the air in front of the Rowan arch.

Loredonna Fiore is a recent graduate who majored in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Communication Studies from Elk Township, NJ (Gloucester County).

Loredonna poses with a diploma.

As a Resident Assistant in the Rowan Boulevard Apartments, most recently, Loredonna had an outstanding experience. Loredonna even attributes her closest friendships to being an RA.

“I was a commuter my first year on campus, and it was honestly hard for me to feel like I had like a place on campus. It wasn’t until I got involved and put myself out there that I started making my true friends, and I always say that becoming an RA helped me find my place and home on campus.”

Loredonna’s favorite memory as an RA was always summer training. 

All the RAs from all different areas all have to be in the same room, and it’s a really long process during the summer. My favorite part is always training because we’re all together as a staff, getting closer and bonding. This year, we did a lip-sync battle, and it was just so much fun. That’s definitely a favorite memory of mine,” she says.

Loredonna poses next to a tree.

Looking back, Loredonna says her high school senior self needed advice on friendship.

I would say I would tell my high school self that it’s definitely a matter of quality over quantity when it comes to your friendships. Often, society tells you if you don’t have all these friends and these big girl groups that you’re failing in your friendships. I would give my younger self the advice that true friends really click with you and they know your heart and they know you as a person. It’s ok if that’s only like one or two really true good friends.”

Aside from being an RA, Loredonna was active on campus in other roles. 

I have an elevated leadership role in Resident Life as an Assistant Resident Director. I’m also a Digital Content Contributor for Rowan Blog, so I get to meet many student leaders on campus, interview them and hear their stories.” 

In the fall, Loredonna is pursuing her master’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Georgia. She is also starting a Graduate Assistantship as a Resident Director upon graduation.

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

Passing the Torch: Theatre Educator Nick Flagg

Nick poses in front of some flowers

Theatre and Advertising graduate Nick Flagg is excited about the next scene of his journey. A commuter student from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County), Nick is going into his second and final year of the Combined Advanced Degree Program (CADP) for the Master of Science in Teaching in Theatre Education

The program is basically an accelerated track where students start grad courses while in undergrad. It’s pretty beneficial because you don’t have to take all the classes at once. You get to dip your toes in the water a little, which is nice. It’s an easy transition,” Nick explains. “Also, it’s super affordable, mainly because the first year is done during undergrad. It’s really exciting. I am doing it with many of my friends too, so I’m not alone. I’m really excited to start student teaching next year.”

Nick poses with a diploma.

Nick is gaining experience over the summer to get a jumpstart on his career. 

“I work right down the road at the Broadway Theatre of Pitman as an actor, and I just got hired as a director for their summer camp. I’ll be directing a kid’s show for 5 to 9-year-olds called Seussical. I’m excited to start and continue teaching around the area. I teach in Millville at the Levoy Theatre, I’ve taught at the Grand Theater in Williamstown, and I’m excited to work some more right down the road at the Broadway Theatre of Pitman.”

After taking a peek into what is in store for his immediate future, Nick reflects on his favorite moment at Rowan.

“Right before COVID shut down the campus, I was involved in Urinetown, the musical, directed by Michael Dean Morgan. The day before the shutdown, we spread the word and got many people in the Tohill Theatre to come to see what we had done, since we wouldn’t get to perform it. We didn’t have all the technical elements yet, or our costumes, but our tech professors still pulled through and did lighting on the spot for a big open dress rehearsal. The run was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced because I’ve never felt so much applause and support in a room. People knew we worked so hard for the show. Hearing that roar of applause from so many supportive people is something I’ll always remember.”

Nick, left, laughs with his friends in their graduation attire under the Rowan arch.
Nick, left, laughs with his friends.

Nick reflects on what advice he would give to himself senior year of high school.

Do what makes you happy and to continue to seek out opportunities that make you happy, and not just opportunities that you think will make you appear a certain way. Do things you think will fulfill you and push you further, even if it’s not what everyone else is doing.”

From his experience at Rowan, Nick gives incoming Profs some advice.

Soak up every opportunity. Be eager to audition for everything, but also be eager to take what you’ve learned here, and implement it in other artistic areas within the community outside of Rowan, and really make sure you take what you learn and apply it as soon as you can. But don’t be afraid to audition. Just always look to be creative. Always think about who you’re making your work for and who’s digesting your work.”

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

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

Tiana poses in the garden.

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

Tiana throws her cap in front of the Rowan arch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Men’s Track and Field Student-Athletes on Their Winning 4×400 Relay Season

Athletes celebrate win.

Today we are featuring Jah’mere Beasley, Nana Agyemang, and Amara Conte, three of the four Men’s Track and Field members who secured the national championship title in the 4×400 relay in their indoor season [editor’s note: the team would later finish second in the outdoor national finals]. 

Jah’mere is a junior Sports Communication and Media major from Camden, NJ (Camden County) and ran third leg for the 4×400 relay. Nana is a sophomore Exercise Science major from Parsippany, NJ (Morris County) and ran second leg for the 4×400 relay. Amara is a sophomore Accounting major from Jersey City, NJ (Hudson County) and ran anchor for the 4×400 relay. All three share their stories on leadership, camaraderie, and express how competing in Men’s Track and Field National Championship has shaped their university experience. 

How has your team’s camaraderie propelled you to success? What makes your team different from those around you?

Amara Conte: Our team camaraderie is what makes us a great team, our bond and trust in each other’s ability to perform when it matters most helped us to focus on our own individual part of the relay and perform to the best of our abilities. What makes our team different from other teams is that we are more than a team, we are family, we are brothers, and we always have each other back. Knowing this makes up for our individual flaws and makes us a strong team. 

Nana Agyemang: The team is like one big family. We go through so much pain and suffering at practice that it only makes us stronger and makes us care for each other even more. We keep each other accountable whether that’s making sure we are on time for practice or hitting the correct times for practice we just want to see everyone maximize their full potential. I think the difference from our team to other teams is that we’re really hungry and never satisfied. We always know we can improve on something so when we do good we smile, and celebrate it for the weekend but on Monday it’s back to work like we didn’t so we can always get better and moving forward. 

Going into the race, what emotions were you feeling? Were you guys considered to be an underdog or favored within the 4×400 relay at the meet?

Jah’mere Beasley: Going into the race everyone was laser focused and locked in. I had just taken third place in the 200m, so I brought that energy over to the other guys. We had been ranked #1 in the country all year, and we knew we had the chance to win it all. I would say we were the favorite to win, but there were a lot of other great teams who had solid chances as well.  

Nana Agyemang: I was excited going into the race because of what was at stake. We knew what we had to do and how we were the team to beat from being the National Champion in outdoor so I was thrilled and excited to just get the race underway. We had the #1 time going into nationals but going into finals we were ranked third so most teams probably thought they had us beat because we were running three new people who weren’t on the outdoor national championship (me, Marquise and Jah’mere). In my head it felt like we were the underdogs, but we also knew that we were still the team to beat so we had to go out there and rise up to the occasion. 

Teammates hand off the baton.

What are your team’s biggest strengths? What are your team’s biggest weakness?

Amara Conte: Our team’s biggest strength is the bond we have and our undying love for the sport of Track & Field. Our greatest weakness is that since we have such a diverse group when it comes to individual events, it becomes hard for us to put our all on the relay event, but we somehow make it work and compete at our best when we matter.

How do you prepare for an event like this before race day? 

Jah’mere Beasley: The day before a big race like this I try to stay off my feet as much as possible. I always make sure I eat a great dinner and snack the evening before. I take an ice bath and hot shower to help my legs feel rested. I roll out and stretch really well before bed. I always try to make sure I get 7-8 hours of sleep before a big race day. 

Nana Agyemang: How I prepare for meet day is I usually wake up and instantly play some gospel music because I am a big believer in God so when I wake up I just wanna praise him. Then I go head and brush my teeth and shower and I usually have talks with myself to get my mind right because you are only as strong as your mind. Then I made my breakfast which is usually brown sugar oatmeal, eggs, a water and a granola bar. When I hop on the bus I do a little meditation to get my full body right. Then as we head on the bus approaching to the meet I’ll switch my playlist, attitude, and focus to a more serious tone and lock in on the task ahead.

Beasley runs one leg of the race.

How do you prepare for an event like this on race day? Do you have any race day traditions, meals, or specific actions you swear by? 

Amara Conte: Once we get to the track on the day of the meet, I do my usual warm up while listening to my pre-made playlist that I have prepared just for track meet to help me stay focused and locked in. I don’t eat much on meet days because I run fast on an empty stomach. 

How does winning the [indoor] national championship for the 4×400 meter relay shape your experience at Rowan? How are your track experience in general shaped your college experience? 

Amara Conte: Winning the national championship in 4×400 meter twice now has made my experience at Rowan more pleasurable and has enhanced my experience in ways that I could only imagine. My track experience in general has taught me many life skills, for example: time management, networking, and discipline. Due to my experience as a track athlete, I’ve grown in more ways than I can possibly fathom and with more years these skills and experience will only sharpen and improve before I enter the real world. 

Jah’mere Beasley: Winning the national championship in the 4×400 has made my time here that much more special. This is one of the closest teams I have ever been a part of, and winning that national title brought everyone closer together. Having a brotherhood like this is unmatched. I always cherish the moments I have on the track and that national title is something I will always remember. Those moments always motivate me to get faster and better than I was before. My track experience has shaped my college experience in a big way. Track has helped me make lots of new friends here at Rowan. Most of the the friends I have made are people that play other sports. Track is helping me stay focused in the classroom as well. It motivates to keep my grades up and give max effort with each assignment. 

Nana Agyemang: It’s been cool seeing my friends repost it, having teachers come up and congratulate me has been a great feeling. It’s just made my Rowan experience better and more enjoyable. Track had taught me valuable lessons like when things don’t go your way you can either come back the next day and try again or quit. It has also taught me that life will get hard, like workouts, but if you keep going there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It might look dark while you’re going through but sooner or later you will reach the end of the tunnel and be happy you did. We have had plenty of workouts that we feel like we aren’t gonna make it but we just gotta keep going and you gotta tell yourself your stronger than that you think.  

Conte runs one leg of the race.

Do you participate in both winter and spring track? What are the biggest disparities between the two? What the biggest challenges between the two different seasons? 

Jah’mere Beasley: I run both winter and spring track. The biggest disparity between the two are the size of the tracks. The winter track is 200m and the spring track is 400m. During the 4×400 in winter track, each person runs two laps, as compared to spring track where each person runs 1 lap. Events like the 4×100 and javelin are only during spring track. The biggest challenge is running on the indoor tracks. The lanes are smaller and the turns are tighter. It take a lot of getting used to during the season. 

Read our earlier interview with Jah’mere here.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major 

Photos courtesy of: 
David Dermer/Rowan Athletics

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

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

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

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

Mic Worthy is sitting at a desk with his laptop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, freshman dance and marketing major

#PROFspective: Noor Baig and Her Journey in Graphic Design

Noor and a classmate review film.

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

Why did you pick Rowan? 

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

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

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

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

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

What have been your favorite moments so far on campus?

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

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

Noor and a classmate review photo negatives.

What drew you to Studio Art?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What classes have left the biggest impression on you? 

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

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

Noor is preparing some film.

What are some of the different expectations in your classes? 

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

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

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

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

Noor is holding her camera and is looking off.

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

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

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, Graduate Education Major

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

Leo stands inside Rowan Radio offices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for the project itself, it still remains unfinished. 

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

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

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

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

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

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Story By: 
Bianca Gray, English graduate

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

Terry uses graphic design software in a computer lab.

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

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

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Celebrating Eid

Eid is the most exciting time of the year after fasting for the month of Ramadan. Here’s how Rowan Blog Contributor Nene Diallo, a senior Public Relations major, celebrates Eid with her family. 

First things first? The night before Eid, we break our last fast for the month of Ramadan feeling extremely joyful. We wake up early in the morning, around 6 a.m., to get prepared for prayer at the mosque. 

What do we wear? Women wear traditional attire, whether it’s the Kaftan or pretty African-made dresses. The men also wear similar attire styled for men, ex. pants and long-sleeved shirt.

Two women wearing the Kaftan and hijab.
Kaftan and hijab attires

Prayer at the mosque? Prayer usually starts at 8 or 8:30 a.m. We arrive 30 minutes before to get settled and greet people. Usually the Imam do greetings over the microphone to enlighten and set the mood for Eid.

After prayers everyone hugs and embraces each other while saying “Eid Mubarak,” meaning happy Eid, as a form of joy, respect and union. The mosque we go to usually provides breakfast like donuts, coffee and juice for after prayers. 

Muslims praying at the mosque.
Prayer at a mosque

After the prayer? We go back home and take lot of pictures. We call other family members, greeting them Eid Mubarak. Then we eat some good food, usually chicken with plantains or some fried rice with sauce and vegetables. 

After eating? We usually change outfits or some of us keep the same ones from the morning. We go visit other family members. They always have a lot more food prepared and ready for us to join. The food is probably the second best part of Eid.

Rice and chicken dish.

The first best part? The treats you get from older family members. Traditionally, older folks gift the younger ones money, and it can add up to a very large amount after you receive it from a couple of family members. I remember once I received such a great amount that I went out to dinner three times that week without worrying about my other expenses because those were also taken care of from my Eid cash. 

Family gathering
More food and more treats!

Last thing? After eating a lot, having a great time with family and getting a good amount of cash, we go back home and call it a joyful day. 

Story by:
Nene Diallo, senior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Pexels

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What Rowan Offers: Accepted Students Day

A family is posing in front of the Accepted Students Day setup and is smiling.

From this past Accepted Students Day, Rowan University welcomed hundreds of future students to experience what the campus has to offer with a vast array of different events, information on clubs and student life, and opportunities to meet other potential students. In our interviews with these prospective students, we uncovered their reasons for why Rowan could be their future four-year university and what college means for them. 

The next generation of Rowan students brings an exciting perspective eager to take on new challenges. Whether they are freshly graduated high school students or transfers, many of these students are still pondering their own choices as to where to head for their higher education; but in our conversations, we learned of their own dreams and aspirations. 

An array of accepted students are posing in different positions.

For some of the students when asked “Why Rowan?” or “Why college?,” they had an immediate response in regards to their future careers. In the case of future international transfer student, Sophie O., she was drawn to Rowan’s Psychology program. Transferring from Delaware County and originally from Nigeria, Sophie is fueled to help others and future teenagers who do not have the resources to cope with their own mental health issues. 

Sophie is posing on Bunce Green with her Rowan goodie bag in hand.
Sophie O., is an international transfer student from Delaware County and Nigeria who is planning on majoring into Psychology at Rowan.

Already, students are preparing their own core values for their future career and are motivated by empathy in creating a better environment for all. 

In another conversation with Vivianne N., an accepted student who was drawn to the university due to her family’s own heritage with the school, we learned of Vivianne being unsure as to what to expect for the future. But as she says in her own advice to students, she believes that “students should make a stable plan and live accordingly to it.” Vivianne is a future Rowan student who is entering the Graphic Design program. 

Vivianne is giving a peace sign and smiling on Bunce Green.
Vivianne N. is a future Rowan student who is planning on enrolling into the Graphic Design program.

Outside of thinking of their careers, many students are ready to embrace the college lifestyle and eagerly awaiting the different opportunities that can be found in extracurriculars. For accepted students Stephen L. of Collingswood, NJ (Camden County) and Skyler G. of Wayne, NJ (Passaic County), both are anticipating exploring the different intramural and club sports that the campus offers such as tennis and field hockey. 

In our conversation with future Engineering student Colvin A. and and Physics major Victor A., we learned of their shared excitement in finding out about the different activities that Rowan has. Specifically, Colvin and Victor are especially looking forward to seeing the Robotics Club and possibly joining an intramural sport. 

Victor Aretegra (pictured on the left) and his friend Colvin Abdaulkander (pictured on the right) are enrolling in the Physics and Engineering program respectfully.
Victor A. (pictured on the left) and his friend Colvin A. (pictured on the right) are enrolling in the Physics and Engineering programs, respectfully.

Outside of these factors, many students are also paying close attention to the financial portion of college. Many students are choosing Rowan due to it being close to home as well as the price of tuition. These components bring out difficult conversations, but many students are ecstatic over the various opportunities that Rowan has to ease the financial burden that comes with college such as in grants and scholarships. 

For Dylan S. of Pittsgrove, NJ (Salem County), our interview with the future Education major with a concentration in Mathematics provided insight as to his own viewpoint on what scholarships mean for himself. We learned of his welcoming of these different chances of scholarships and treating more as challenges for himself. 

An accepted student is posing with her mother in front of the balloon archway.

During the Accepted Students Day fair, there was a reoccurring sense of pride in all of the students and parents attending. Even if Rowan won’t be their home for university, students and parents were enjoying themselves, happily checking out all of the different booths and venues at Bunce Hall. Students and parents were, and are, welcomed with open arms by Rowan University, allowing them all to enjoy an afternoon on campus and experience Rowan even for only one day. 

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, Graduate Education Student
Loredonna Fiore, public relations graduate

Produced by:
Lucas Taylor, Graduate Education Student

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

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

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

What drew you to your major? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashley is smiling with her two kids around her.

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

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

How would you describe your academic journey so far? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

What has been the biggest challenge in transitioning to Rowan? 

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

Any final words you would like to give? 

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

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, senior English education major

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

The (Abridged) Beginner’s Guide to Communication Studies

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

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

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

Brandon Simon is sitting on swing in the forest.

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

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

Brandon is squatting down and smiling at the camera.

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

References 

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

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Produced by:
Lucas Taylor, senior English education major

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

Kate leans against a brick wall and stares off in a different direction.

What inspired you to choose your major? I chose to be a Communication Studies major at Rowan University considering this field of study is an intersection of various social sciences, flexible in the creative process, and because of my passion for reading and writing. I came into Rowan as a Psychology major, which I also […]

Rec Center Confessions: Student Workers Share

Rec Center student worker checks on gym equipment in one of the fitness rooms.

The gym can be an intimidating place. Lucky for the students of Rowan, student workers at Campus Recreation are doing everything they can to make staying active an enjoyable experience for everyone!

Campus Recreation, better known to students as the Rec Center, offers a safe and welcoming facility for students to maintain happy and healthy active lifestyles.

Built on the foundations of inclusivity and skill development, the Rec Center is the perfect place for anyone to work on being their best self. Don’t believe us? Let’s ask the students who spend more time there than anyone else on campus: The student workers!

Stevie Payne, a Building Manager and senior Health and Wellness Promotion major, and Katie Baker, the Lead Building Manager and senior History major, have both been with the Rec Center since the beginning of their Rowan journeys.

Katie Baker lifting weights
“I’m a part of a lot of different activities in the Rec Center like Women in Rec and the student advisory council. These activities benefit different groups of people and really work to make the Rec center better and more inclusive. It’s one of my favorite parts of working here.” – Katie Baker

“At first,” Stevie shares, “the Rec Center was a job, but after being here since freshman year I’ve slowly realized it was more than that. It’s a community.” 

“Yeah,” Katie agrees, “I understand why people were telling me to work here because it’s just such a good environment. There’s so many good people who come in.” 

Many other student workers share the same sentiments. To them, the Rec Center isn’t just a place to workout or even just where they work. It’s a place that feels like a second home and the professional staff work hard to maintain that feeling for their workers. 

Stevie fixing a weight at the bench
“The professional staff aren’t just good at being bosses. They help us grow into better students and people. They’ve helped me with envisioning my life after Rowan and planning my future goals.” -Stevie Payne

Chris Mapitigama, a sophomore Biochemistry major who doubles in helping the facility and working as lifeguard, expresses similar feelings about the professional staff stating, “They’re super chill. If you ever need to talk about anything work related or even personally, they’re always there to listen.”

For Chris, his transition into life at Rowan wasn’t an easy adjustment. Starting his college career off at the height of the pandemic, Chris was not only looking for an on campus job but for people to call friends. 

“I was lonely when I first got here,” he tells us, “I was holed up in Holly Pointe alone most of the time as most of my classmates had switched to online learning due to the pandemic. When I started working here, I began to build relationships and make friends very quickly. I almost instantly formed connections with my coworkers and I know everyone that works here!”

Chris on lifeguard duty by the pool
“I like being in the building regardless of the job. The people here are the best. My favorite place in the building is the weight room. I definitely spend the most time there.” – Chris Mapitigama

Chris’s experience isn’t uncommon at the Rec Center. Many student workers share about how something in the air just seems to make friendships form quicker. Jessica Rodriguez, a sophomore Public Relations major who works at the Center front desk, describes the environment as welcoming, stating, “The first time I came here, I felt like I had already known everyone for months.” 

Jessica has been a huge part of spreading positivity to all students who come to the Rec. As the first face you see when you walk in, greeting people, helping with their memberships, answering phone calls, and other things of that nature. “If people have questions, they come to me.”

Jessica gets ready to check out a basketball to student at the front desk
“My favorite part of Rowan is my job. This is where I work out. I’m actually the President of the Girls Basketball Club so I’m here all the time.” – Jessica Rodriguez

It’s difficult for many college students to stay active while dealing with the pressures of higher education. It’s important to have student workers like Katie, Jessica, Stevie and Chris who work to create and maintain an environment that helps to inspire students to get involved while not feeling pressured or judged.

Are you a Rowan student who wants to be a part of Campus Rec? Congratulations! By being a Rowan student, you already are. So come down to Campus Rec. We can’t wait to see you there!  

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Story by:
Bianca Gray, recent English graduate

Photos By:
Nick Flagg, senior theatre and advertising major 

Black #PROFspective: Radio/TV/Film and Journalism Dual Major Kariyah Bennett

Today we feature Kariyah Bennett, a Radio/Television/Film and Journalism double major. Kariyah is from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County) and is a senior graduating this spring. Kariyah spends her free time as a member of Rowan Radio and the Rowan Television Network. She also works at the Rowan Recreation Center. Kariyah shares her experience as […]

A Q&A with Terry Nguyen, Co-President of Rowan’s Neurodiversity Club

Terry stands outside near the Wilson Hall amphitheatre.

What brought you to the Biomedical Art and Visualization program? A little background information about myself would be that I always loved art. But I also really valued the importance of scientific endeavors, and just general scientific literacy. I wanted something that could combine the two of them. But … I didn’t want to fully […]

How I Found My Place at Rowan University

College of communication and creative arts building.

Today’s Rowan Blog guest contributor, Burlington County’s Matthew DuBas, reminds us that students don’t always stay in their first college major — and that’s ok! Matthew, a sophomore advertising major and photography enthusiast, shares his story as well as some of his own campus images. 

I started in the spring as a confused first-year student at Rowan University, wanting to go into the sales field, but not knowing where I belonged in the grand scheme of things.

I began my adventure as a marketing major; however, I quickly realized that marketing wasn’t the program I expected it to be. I wanted to be more on the creative side of the sales experience. After experimenting in a technology-based major, I landed where I am now, as an advertising major.

So far, the advertising program at Rowan has been far more beneficial to me personally. Learning about ways to inform target publics about new products, learning about public relations practices, and working on assignments about things I enjoy are just a few of the ways the advertising program has assisted me in my projected career path.

Snowy path by Rowan Townhouses at night.
Rowan University Townhouses in winter at night. Photo taken and edited by Matt DuBas.

I also went into my college career not thinking about what I wanted to sell, only that I wanted to sell. Through some personal exploring, I discovered a love for craft beer, and my new career goal is to become a sales representative for a microbrewery. When I tell my professors this, they encourage me to do my assignments on things related to this field, whether that’s writing a marketing plan for a local brewery, discussing how Budweiser has switched to sustainable practices,  or discussing a public relations strategy with a brewery owner.

As a student who struggles with ADHD, working on assignments that interest me makes my college career that much easier, as I find it easier to stay focused on my studies.

While I walked into Rowan without knowing a thing about my future, my professors have assisted me with furthering my education and my career path. I applied to Rowan due to its proximity to home; however even if I were farther, I wouldn’t reconsider my decision!

A Rowan walkway at sunset.
A view of the sunset from the Rowan University Campbell Library. Photo by fellow student Peter De Celie, edited by Matt DuBas.

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Story and photos by:
Matthew DuBas, sophomore advertising major

 

We’re Not in Glassboro Anymore: Nadine El Maalem Shares Her Study Abroad Experience in Morocco

Sunset horizon shot in Morocco.

Nadine El Maalem, a senior Communication Studies major with minors in Arabic Studies and International Studies, is far away from our Glassboro campus. As a Global Ambassador at International Studies Abroad, Nadine is embarking on a non-traditional experience by studying abroad in Morocco.

Nadine learned about the opportunity to study abroad during her Rowan 101 class, a course offered to first year students that highlights a wide range of information on the Rowan experience.

Nadine was inspired to learn more about the program and found a perfect fit: an Arabic program in Morocco. “I thought this would be an amazing opportunity to connect with my own culture. I did the paperwork, and the next semester I was on a plane. That was in 2019. Now it’s 2021, and I’m doing the program a second time because it’s just that good,” she says.

Nadine and a former professor
Nadine and her former Intermediate Arabic professor, Dr. Zakaryae Arsalane, in Meknes, Morocco

Now, Nadine is in Morocco doing an academic and service learning program. This entails four traditional classes and 90 hours of service learning at an organization for class credit. Nadine works at Association Al Amal for her service learning course. “The organization is dedicated to helping women complete/continue their education by teaching them computer literacy skills, offering embroidery courses to make traditional Moroccan clothing, and cooking courses. The organization also partners with local schools to teach students ages 5-16 English,” she explains.

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Nadine is getting a much different experience abroad. “I live with a host family and two other student roommates. My host mom is the best. She makes us Moroccan and French food daily. I really feel like I can connect with the culture because I’m totally immersed in it,” she says.

That’s one of the reasons Nadine wanted to go to Morocco again. “I love interacting with the locals and other students. I’m an extrovert, so I find myself chatting with the person who works at the local shops that is selling me cookies. Studying abroad is such a great piece to tack on your resume and is such an amazing experience; “it’s a win-win.” 

Fes, Morocco, posing in front of the doors of the King's Fes palace.
Nadine and her classmates in Fes, Morocco, posing in front of the doors of the King’s Fes palace

Back at Rowan, Nadine is a student ambassador with Rowan’s Education Abroad Office. There, she works with the Education Abroad Advisor, Laura Kahler, as well as other student ambassadors at Rowan to promote the different education abroad opportunities available to Rowan students, as well as to provide one-on-one advising, application help, and information about scholarships and funding for study abroad.

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

Photos provided by:
Nadine El Maalem

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of Robinson Hall.

What do you like about living on campus?

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of Wilson Hall.

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

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

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

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

Sincere poses on the Prof statue.

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

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

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

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

Sincere poses in front of some leafy green plants.

Were you nervous to start at Rowan?

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

Final thoughts?

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

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

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

#PROFspective: Junior Advertising Major Missy Pavorsky

Missy works on her laptop computer.

Today we feature Missy Pavorsky, a junior Advertising major from Voorhees, NJ (Camden County). Missy is a photographer for Rowan Blog and speaks with us today about why she chose her major, her on-campus activities and more!

What made you choose your major?

I was originally an RTF major because I love movies, but going into the spring semester of my freshman year, it just wasn’t for me. My roommate said I should try advertising, so I did and I’ve been enjoying the program ever since.

Are you in any clubs? 

I work for Rowan’s enrollment management and marketing as a digital content contributor with a specialization in photography. I work with writers to take pictures of students, staff as well as campus. 

What’s your favorite thing to do around campus?

I love going to the basketball games. My roommates and I have a tradition where we go to every home game that we can.

Missy poses for a portrait against a white backdrop.

Do you have any hobbies or something that you like to do in your spare time?

I like doing editorial style photography such as freelance and fashion. I also love taking photos of my friends.

What type of music do you like to listen to?

I like most 80s style music, like Earth Wind and Fire, also K-pop, I like it mainly for its uniqueness and high production value. Also, my favorite band is Bombay Bicycle Club.

What’s your favorite memory while you’ve been a student here?

The basketball games with my old roommate, but mainly this whole semester, I’m no longer stuck in my house which has been a huge plus. Also, I get to spend time with my wonderful current roommates.

Missy poses for a photo as she sits in her dorm working on her laptop
Missy smiles for the camera, taking a break from her schoolwork!

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Story and photos by:
Jack Maisonneuve, senior communications major

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

Tiana poses in front of a wooded area.

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

The Rowan Blog Team’s Favorite Posts of 2021

Drone shot over Wackar Stadium at sunset.

This year, Rowan Blog published more than 500 posts spotlighting the people and places that make Rowan University our home away from home. Here, members of our team revisit a few of these stories and select those that stayed with us as we bid farewell to 2021. 

Jars of Beekeeping Club honey packaged for sale.

Rowan Beekeeping Club Launches: A Q & A with President Michael Hoban

Read the full story here

“I loved learning about the Beekeeping Club by Michael. He was so passionate about this club and saving the bees. He informed me on so much information about bee pollination and extracting the honey. I was never educated on this information prior to interviewing him.” – Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major


Nicole smiles in the fiction stacks of Rowan Barnes and Noble.

Finding My Path and Passion with an English Degree

Read the full story here

“I believe [Nicole] shows that although she was not sure about what to do with her major at first, she ended up finding a job she loves and enjoys. I personally love this quote: ‘Here was a career path that let me balance my desire to help others with the analytical skills I’d developed as an English major.’” – Valentina Giannattasio, first year dance and marketing double major


Ayanna smiles at the New York City Pride Parade.

Ayanna Johnson Reflects on New York City Pride Parade

Read the full story here

“I love Ayanna — amazing personality, very vocal!” – Nene Diallo, senior public relations major


One of the pieces of artwork sold by Taylor at the Philadelphia Art Show.

Studio Art Majors Taylor Brown and Abby Leitinger Featured in Philadelphia Art Show

Read the full story here

“I thought this piece was so interesting. I loved learning about these two artists on the rise and the differences they hold while creating their pieces. It was interesting to see the art they produced and how they use different mediums.” – Natalie DePersia


Sarah and Madeline McClure hug at the Rowan Prof statue.

Sisters on SGA: Madeline and Sarah McClure

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“I was really happy with the way my photographs turned out, and I especially loved getting to meet and know Sarah and Madeline McClure. They were the absolute sweetest and such a joy to work with!” – Missy Pavorsky, junior advertising major


Victoria kisses her son Rowen on Rowan Boulevard.

Meet Transfer Profs: 3+1 Psychology Student and Mother Victoria Hable

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“Victoria’s story is an impactful one. Any story of a person being a parent and going to college is amazing, and I’m proud of all of them. However, Victoria’s story shows that even if there is an unexpected change during your college career, Rowan will help you get to the finish line.” – Rachel Rumsby, junior communication studies and public relations double major


Dr. Santos smiles inside Business Hall.

Faculty PROFile: Journey into the Entrepreneurial Mindset with Dr. Susana C. Santos, Rohrer College of Business

Read the full story here

“I first learned of Dr. Santos when she won the Excellence in Online Learning award from Rowan Global Learning and Partnerships (she has since won this award again, the first faculty member to do so). I was really impressed with the creativity and care she imbues into her instruction, especially when she couldn’t interact with students face-to-face. We also share a mutual love of the ‘How I Built This’ podcast, which Dr. Santos uses in her coursework.” – Christina Lynn, digital content strategist


A photo of Chloe as she graduated from Rowan at the Prof statue.

Rowan Abroad: Recent Graduate, Chloe Senatore, Talks Acceptance into Trinity College in Dublin

Read the full story here

“It showcases how amazing the Rowan English Department by highlighting the accomplishments of one of its students.” – Bianca Gray, senior English major

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Header photo: One of our favorite campus photos of the year, taken at sunset in Sept. 2021

#PROFspective: Senior Communications Studies Major Jack Maisonneuve

Jack works on his laptop computer.

Today we feature Jack Maisonneuve, a senior Communications Studies major from Asbury Park, NJ (Monmouth County). Jack is a photographer for Rowan Blog and speaks with us today about his love for photography and his experience within his major.

Why did you choose your major?

I chose my major because I figured it would be broad enough where I could continue pursuing my photography career, while also exploring other aspects that I found interesting that Rowan had to offer.

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

When I joined my club that I’ve been a part of for four years now (Rowan Alternative), it made me find crowds that I enjoyed being with, as well as help me find some of my lifelong friends.

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

I was uncertain that communications would be for me, and well actually I’m still pretty uncertain of it. But communications helped me find that I’m interested in aspects of research and communications in itself, and that’s what made me stick with it.

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

Moving out! No, but getting to experience the professional world and finding my career.

Are you involved in any clubs/organizations on or off campus?

I’m involved in Rowan Alternative as well as being a founding consultant for Rowan Photo Club.

Jack playing the drums in his room.

How did you get into photography?

One of the classes I took here during my sophomore year! I had [Prof.] Jenny Drumgoole … for photos, and she inspired me to want to become a photographer.

If you could have a photoshoot with someone famous, who would it be and why?

Henry Rollins from Black Flag. He’s my number one hero; I aspire to be like him when I grow up. I think he’s a very worldly person, and he has a lot of interesting things to say.

Who or what inspires you to create? 

What inspires me to create and shoot are the people I get to work with, and my surroundings.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself working for a music magazine company of some sort, and getting to do what I love most, which is concert photography.

Jack smiling in front of a gray background.

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Story and photos by:
Missy Pavorsky, junior advertising major

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

Nick Flagg as Buddy the Elf in Elf the Musical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Production Photos by:
Valerie Neuber

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

Air Force Veteran, Strategic Communication M.A. Student Alex Walpole on His Road to Rowan

Alex stands on one of the pathways along Rowan Boulevard.

Today we feature Alex Walpole of Burlington County, a student in the M.A. in Strategic Communication program through Rowan Global. Alex, a retired Air Force officer, shares his military transition from active to civilian life, his goals and challenges as a Strategic Communication student and the unconventional way in which he discovered Rowan. It was […]

Sports CaM Major, Navy Reservist and Mother Harley Sarmiento Shares Her Story

Today we feature Harley Sarmiento, a junior Sports Communication and Media major with a concentration in Sports Journalism from Gibbstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Harley is a member of the Navy Reserve and mother to her 1-year-old son. Harley goes into detail on her experience within the military and as a transfer student at Rowan.

Why did you choose to study Sports Communication and Media?

I was an athlete growing up. During high school I competed in two different varsity sports and then I managed a varsity sport in the winter. Because of this, I always had a personal connection to sports. My family was also heavily involved in our sports programs back in my home town. Once I started journalism in the military, I decided I wanted to pursue it on the sports side while working on the civilian side. 

Harley Sarmiento smiles near a tree-lined path on campus.
Harley Sarmiento

Why did you choose Rowan to study Sports Communication and Media?

I am a transfer student from University of California San Diego. I was stationed there for four years, and I just moved back to New Jersey in May.

Once I moved back to New Jersey and I was looking at schools, I found that Rowan was the best fit for me location wise and in regards to my academic goals. 

How has Rowan supported you in being a mother, active in the navy and being a student?

This fall semester is my first semester here at Rowan. The professors that I have had this semester have been extremely supportive. I have been taking both online and in person classes this semester and the professors have really been flexible with my schedule. For the most part, I have had really good relationships with all my professors to where if something comes up with my son, they were super easy to communicate with and understand that being a mother comes first.

At my previous university, I did not have the support, understanding or flexibility from my professors. Rowan has been extremely helpful, especially during my first semester here as a transfer student. 

Harley holds up her son Easton in front of autumn foliage.
Harley with her son, Easton

Can you talk a little bit about why you joined the Navy? What was your motivation to join?

My grandfather and my uncle were both in the Navy. Because of this, I always heard about the military growing up. The year before I joined the Navy, my cousin, who was my best friend throughout my childhood, joined the Marine Corps. My cousin seemed to have a very positive experience and  this led me to deciding to join the Navy. I also did not want to give my parents the burden of paying for college. After weighing my options, I decided to join the Navy, travel the world for a time period, and then come back and finish my degree. 

Can you talk a little bit about where you have been deployed to and your experience on duty? What is the longest time you have been away from home? Are you going to be deployed anytime soon?

When you are active in the Navy, you know a timeframe of when you will be deployed. For instance, I knew a couple months ahead that I was going to be deployed because they are scheduled. However, now that I am on the reserve side, I kind of get to pick and choose if I want to go or if I want to stay home — unless something huge happens and they need me to go serve. My current title is Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class, Surface Warfare/Air Warfare. 

When I was on the active side, I deployed to many different places. In 2018, I deployed for 10.5 months on the USNS Mercy. This was a hospital humanitarian ship where we provided medical care for many different countries. Some of the countries that I have been to were Japan, Indonesia, Guam, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and some smaller islands owned by the bigger countries mentioned. I was a photographer journalist, so my job was basically to document everything we did for these countries while on these deployments. 

Harley walking with her son on a walking path along Rowan Boulevard.

Do you plan on having a future professional career in Sports Communication and Media or do you hope to stay involved with the naval academy and/or military in some way?

My goal overall is to eventually separate from the Navy to pursue a more civilian career in Sports Communications. As much as I loved the military, it was not heavily family oriented. I want to see my son grow up and be available to attend all his events, and this is unlikely while being active in the Navy. 

How do you manage to balance your education with your involvement in the Navy while also being a mother? 

Coming back to New Jersey and my hometown has been extremely beneficial for my son and my family. My parents still live locally, my cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings all chip in and help, [my] boyfriend’s family helps, and everyone in my circle is willing to help whenever we need anything. I am really lucky that I have such a big support system. 

Harley reading to her son at Rowan Barnes and Noble.

What is your favorite part of being a mother?

I think providing my child with everything I ever wanted is one of my favorite parts of being a mother. For instance, my son just turned 1 year old in August, and we took him to Disney with my family for his birthday. I think seeing his excitement everyday is so rewarding. The little things that make him happy like the Christmas tree and the lights are so rewarding. It is like I get to see the world through a kid’s eyes again. 

What are your goals after you graduate?

I am hoping that it works out that I can be a stay-at-home mom for a little bit since my boyfriend has a stable job [who is in the Army]. Once my son starts school, I plan on hopefully working for a local newspaper and cover the high school sports of the area. My boyfriend is 28 and I am 23 and we enjoy attending and watching the sporting events locally, so I think it would be interesting to cover those events for a newspaper. 

Harley smiling while sitting on a bench on campus.

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Studio Art Majors Taylor Brown and Abby Leitinger Featured in Philadelphia Art Show

Philadelphia skyline.

Today we feature Taylor Brown and Abby Leitinger, two Studio Art majors who recently displayed their work in the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia. We interviewed Taylor and Abby on their experiences as young artists at the show and on how they developed their interests in creating art. 

Taylor Brown, junior Studio Art major from Perry Hill, Maryland

Why did you choose to study Studio Art?

In high school I went to a magnet school in Maryland, which is a high school completely dedicated to the arts. They have classes focused on dance, acting, and the arts like painting. While I was at school there I focused on art so I developed a passion for creating artwork throughout those four years. Studio art was a great option for me because I did not fully know what I wanted to do, and studio art gives room for exploring your interests through a variety of classes. 

Taylor Brown's setup at the art show.
Taylor Brown’s display at the 2021 Rittenhouse Art Show.

How did you first get interested in art? 

In middle school I felt like I started excelling in art. I overall genuinely enjoyed attending art class and it was something I looked forward to on a daily basis. This is when I decided to go to high school at the magnet school and focus on art throughout my high school career. 

What mediums do you like to work with when producing your art?

I really like sculpture, graphite and oil painting. 

Taylor Brown's 22 x 30 inch graphite drawing of a lion.
Taylor Brown’s 22 x 30 inch graphite drawing of a lion.

Do you follow any themes when producing your art? Do you like to paint or illustrate landscapes? People? Still life? 

I like to create a mixture of everything. I love working with different mediums and get my inspiration from anywhere. Instead of thinking about creating art as a project or as “work,” I like to think I am creating something because I enjoy the process. My pieces are never the same, and it makes the process very interesting for me.

How did you find out about the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia? How did you get involved? 

I basically received an email in my student email sent to all art majors explaining there was an art show if I was interested. I immediately thought it could be a cool experience, so I made an application and submitted some art work. I then received an email that I was accepted and that’s how it all started!

What is your favorite part of producing art?

I really enjoy the process of producing art. 

Taylor Brown's 14 x 14 in canvas oil painting of a plant.
Taylor Brown’s 14 x 14 inch canvas oil painting of a plant sold at the art show.

How was your experience as an artist featured in the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia? Will you continue to seek out art shows in the future?

It was such an amazing experience. I got to speak to other artists where they gave me feedback on how I could grow and what I could work on. It was the first time I had my artwork in a show where attendees could buy my work. I sold six pieces and I think it is so cool how someone has my artwork in their house somewhere. I will definitely seek out future art show opportunities. 

Taylor Brown's 22 x 30 inch canvas oil painting of a car.
Taylor Brown’s 22 x 30 inch canvas oil painting of a car sold at the art show.

Abby Leitinger, sophomore Studio Art major from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County)

Why did you choose Rowan to study Studio Art?

I toured a bunch of schools junior year of high school. Rowan was actually the last school I toured because I did not have serious intentions of going there. I ended up touring Rowan because it was local and I have friends that went there. It wasn’t until I went on my tour that I realized Rowan was where I needed to be. My tour guide happened to be a Biomedical Art and Visualization Major, which I thought was very interesting. But Rowan was one the only school that thoroughly discussed art on my tour. I felt instantly that art was important and prominent on campus. 

Why did you choose to study Studio Art?

My advisor placed me in this major. I was informed that this major was a basic art major that would let me explore my options. I picked this major so I could eventually find what I love to do and select a concentration that best fits that.

Abby Leitinger in her booth, engaging with a few customers inquiring about commissions at the Rittenhouse Art Show.
Abby Leitinger engaging with a few customers inquiring about commissions at the Rittenhouse Art Show.

How did you first get interested in art? 

From a young age I was always interested in art. I was constantly drawing and I always had a box of Crayola crayons at an easy reach. I never thought of majoring in art until senior year of high school. I always thought I had to pursue art as a pastime on the side. My art teacher was the person that encouraged me to pursue art. She simply cared so much about art. She was the first person that looked at my art and then decided to put it in an art contest. She told me art is everywhere and I can be involved in so many different professions while being an artist. 

What mediums do you like to work with when producing your art?

I really like to use pen and ink. However, I do like to explore different mediums and I find myself using watercolor, acrylic, and charcoal as well. 

Abby Leitinger's Great Dane", a pen and ink drawing part of her pets series.
Abby Leitinger’s “Great Dane,” a pen and ink drawing, part of her pets series.

Do you follow any themes when producing your art? Do you like to paint or illustrate landscapes? People? Still life?

I am an exploratory artist. I love trying different things and alternating between different subjects. I think I would get bored if I only created the same types of pieces. I like to keep ideas fresh.

How did you find out about the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia? How did you get involved? 

I received an email that I believe was distributed to all art majors. I am extremely grateful that I saw this email because this led me to this amazing experience. This is another reason of why I believe Rowan was the place I was meant to be — because of opportunities like this that are offered through Rowan. 

I ended up submitting a portfolio for this process, which was looked over and judged. I later got notification that I was approved for the spot. 

Abby Leitinger's "Cranes", a white colored pencil drawing on black paper.
Abby Leitinger’s “Cranes,” a white colored pencil drawing on black paper.

What is your favorite part of producing art?

I love looking at the final result. I can be a perfectionist at times, so when I get to the final process of looking at what I accomplished and thoroughly enjoying it, it is really rewarding.

How was your experience as an artist featured in the Rittenhouse Art Show in Philadelphia? Will you continue to seek out Art Shows in the future?

It was stressful leading up to the show because of the constant preparation. I had to price my pieces out which was shockingly challenging. When I actually got to the show and got to just sit and observe, I began to relax and appreciate the moment. I ended up selling a lot of pieces which is more than I could have asked for. It is really cool to think about a person having my artwork in their house right now. 

Abby Leitinger's booth at the Rittenhouse Art Show featuring her boyfriend and his little brother.
Abby Leitinger’s booth at the Rittenhouse Art Show featuring her boyfriend and his little brother.

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos provided by:
Taylor Brown and Abby Leitinger

Related posts:

Inside the Studio Art Major and Apprenticeship Program with Hannah Healy

Beyond the Classroom: How Two Students Blend Art and Science

Alumni Success: Felicia Brown Talks Career, Future Goals and Her M.A. in Arts Administration

Strengthen Your Writing with Strategic Communication [VIDEO]

Shot of Owl Statue.

Brandon West, a Rowan Global student pursuing his master’s degree in Strategic Communication, shares his thoughts on the program.  “No matter what field you want to go into, whether it’s public relations, sports communication or being a teacher, this program is applicable to pretty much any career,” he says.

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 […]

Transfer Story: La’Tonia Carnegie [VIDEO]

Exterior shot of 301 High St. and Art Gallery entrance.

Originally from Jamaica, La’Tonia Carnegie transferred to Rowan to pursue a career in public relations. “Because of Rowan, I just launched my business,” La’Tonia says. “Rowan definitely elevated and gave me that push I needed to pursue my career.”

La’Tonia is just one of the thousands of students who choose to transfer to Rowan each year.

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Video by:
Max Morgan, Radio/TV/Film graduate

Alumni Success: How Strategic Communication Grad Nadya Ramos Inspires Us All!

Rowan University has a network of alumni thriving in many different fields and professions all around the world. Today, we got a chance to sit down with one of these successful individuals — Nadya Ramos, a 2020 graduate of Rowan Global’s Strategic Communication program.

A young girl sits atop a green chair in her kitchen, her feet dangling off the edge. She’s too young to understand anything it says, and the adults around her are getting more entertainment watching her than she gets out of reading it, but there she sits day after day trying to make sense of the words on the page. There’s something special about that little girl even though she doesn’t know yet. Something unique that’ll come to inspire many other women and girls. 

This young girl went from pretending to read newspapers to becoming a wife, mother and the CEO of her own small business.

Rowan alumna Nadya Ramos is the founder of Modern Millennial Mom, a blog to express her own reality and experience being a mother in the modern age as well as a businesswoman and has grown to allow her to create content for others. Modern Millennial Mom has allowed her to reach many other women who are experiencing being mothers in this modern age while simultaneously juggling the whirlwind of this world around them. 

An Atlantic City native, Nadya currently lives in Arizona working as content creator, marketing consultant, business owner and full-time mom creating content for companies like Walmart and Office Depot, but life wasn’t always like that for her. When asked about her past, Nadya shared not only her experience being a first generation young Hispanic girl but also explained the multifaceted layers of the word “first.”

She explains: “I was the first person to get a bachelor’s degree, I was the first person to get a master’s degree, the first to start a business. All of these opportunities and ‘firsts’ come with a lot of struggles and challenges. I didn’t have someone to go to in my family to say I needed help or to even ask. It’s a double-edge sword. You dream bigger when you’re the first, but with it comes many challenges.” 

Many who can’t relate to the experience of being the first would then ask, “How do you do it?” If Nadya were to respond with the advice given to her by her mother it would be: “Work hard and go to school,” a mantra many of us may know from our own parents. But Nadya felt as though there was more to life than just working hard, going to school and building enough to get by stating: “When my mom came to this country, a single mother of five children, it was all about survival. For me, I wanted to build more than just enough to get by.”  

Nadya did face her own set of obstacles and challenges, but instead of treating them like adversaries, she used them as stepping stones to get to where she is today. For starters, Nadya had initially had plans of attending Rowan for her undergraduate degree but was not accepted. Taking the setback in stride, she chose to instead go to school locally working as a blackjack dealer on nights and weekends as well as interning for $10 an hour (and sometimes for free) to put herself through school.

She would eventually enroll into Rowan’s graduate program for Strategic Communication and, while would receive her degree in August 2020, there still came numerous setbacks. 

Nadya strikes a pose in front of brick wall

“It took me longer than expected,” she explains. “I got married in the process. I had a baby. I moved. I took a break from work and was a stay-at-home mom for some months. But, looking back now, I can see that everything happens for a reason, and I understand now why it took me longer than expected. I actually ended up writing my master’s thesis after influencer marketing blew up, and so I was able to switch my topic and write about something I was really passionate about after initially choosing something I wasn’t all that interested in. Now, I do this for a living. I work with many influencers. I do brand collaborations. I do influencer marketing campaigns. And now I myself get to work with other brands doing those collaborations.” 

On the launch of her own small business, Modern Millennial Mom, Nadya lets us know that it didn’t just fall in her lap and was the result of yet another setback: “I launched my marketing consulting business because I was let go from my job last year. There were things about the workforce that didn’t align with my goals now that I’m a mom with a family to raise. I wanted more freedom. More flexibility. I just didn’t want uncertainty. I want to regain control of my life. Be the CEO of my life. Now, I teach other women how to gain the confidence to market themselves and their business better.”

As a woman of color in a field that is predominantly not filled with faces that look like hers, Nadya has had to deal with her share of misogynoir. For those unaware of what misogynoir is, it is defined as the culmination of racism and misogyny, and it’s something that many women of color are all too familiar with. Nadya was very candid about her experience with misogynoir, holding no punches. 

“I’ve definitely experienced misogynoir,” she shares. “I didn’t know how real it was until it was me who was experiencing it. I came home one day and sat in the kitchen talking to my husband and mother-in-law about how this is not something that’s in my head. You know how people say, ‘Maybe that’s just in your head’ or ‘Maybe you’re overthinking it.’ Well, when it’s you on the receiving end, it’s hard to justify it or explain to yourself what just happened.

“Not very long ago, in my last job in the field, I experienced, myself and other women, microaggressions in the workplace. Other women and I started to notice a lot patterns that just didn’t make sense and it felt very targeted. It just didn’t make sense and it felt very targeted. I feel it’s important to give voices to women who own businesses and women of color so they can get out there and create more opportunities. But it’s also important to provide these same women with the resources to be able to do so.” 

Close up on Nadya in front of wall

One of the ways Nadya helps to provide these resources is through her series, Growth Through Conversation. The show, which started out as a Facebook Live series, has now expanded to pre-recorded conversations that are posted to YouTube. Nadya describes the show as: “A conversation you might have with somebody in your living room or at a networking event.” 

When asked about how it feels to be able to use her platform to elevate the voices of women, specifically Latina women, Nadya gave an answer this writer wasn’t quite expecting. While she took the time to praise the women who have been able to achieve great success in their field, she reflected more admirably on the women who are still working day in and day out to achieve their end goals. 

“So we read these books,” she starts, “about how this person made it or how that person made it and they’re inspiring, but the thing about that is that we’re looking at somebody who is already on the other side. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it’s a different point of view when you’re looking back. You can say now: ‘I made this mistake but thank God I did because it led me to X, Y or Z.’ And, while there is value in that, I think I find myself more inspired by other women who I either know personally or who I have connected with that are just living life.”

It can be easy for a person dealing with multiple responsibilities to sometimes lose track of them all and just feel beyond overwhelmed. In order to prevent this feeling, Nadya understands that in order to be her best self to everyone around her, she needs to take time for herself, by herself.

She says: “Through therapy, I learned that I can’t be my best self if I don’t take care of myself. I see self care as building time into your day to get out and move. For me, I go on power walks and listen to a podcast or a DIY video about a new skill that I want to learn and master. I listen to that when I first start my walk but then, on the way back, I unplug. I take out the headphones and allow myself to rest. I allow my mind to rest. Overconsumption is very overwhelming to someone like me. I battled with anxiety and depression so I have to build in these moments where I can unplug.” 

From the little girl reading the newspaper to the accomplished woman she is today, Nadya doesn’t serve as an inspiration to us because she’s a woman who can juggle it all and has just achieved so much. Nadya is an inspiration because she showed strength and persistence in the face of adversity and has never backed down when it arises. 

“That’s who I’ve always been,” Nadya smiles happily as reflects back on the rollercoaster ride life has been. “It took me too long to realize I was special and I am special! And so are you! And so is the person reading this. And if I can say anything to that little girl in that chair, reading that newspaper, I would say: Thank you for being you!” 

Nadya and her son Noah together and happy

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Story By: 
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos courtesy of:
Nadya Ramos

First Person Perspective: Women’s Lacrosse at Rowan University With Natalie DePersia

Rowan Blog contributor, Public Relations major and student athlete Natalie DePersia shares her experience as a member of the Rowan University Women’s Lacrosse Team. 

Like many collegiate athletes, I developed a love for my sport in high school. However, I can easily say that I loved lacrosse in high school for a completely different combination of reasons than the reasons I love lacrosse now.

My high school lacrosse team was ranked amongst the top five teams in the state. My graduating class consisted of nine players, and seven of us continued on to play lacrosse or field hockey in college.

I loved lacrosse in high school for the social aspect, to fuel my competitive edge, because my team was simply … the team to beat. 

Natalie DePersia Playing Lacrosse.
Natalie playing lacrosse at Ursinus in spring 2020.

My love for lacrosse in college became way more than a social experience. Yes, I met friends I know I will have for a lifetime. However, Rowan Women’s Lacrosse gave me a fresh start. Many individuals have a variety of different experiences when they commit to a university to play a collegiate sport. Some experiences are bad, some average, some good, and some are the once-in-a-lifetime … amazing experiences.

As soon as I got to Rowan, I quickly realized I did not only love the sport, I loved the culture that was built up into the program. 

Practice picture from preseason 2021.
Full team picture after practice from preseason in spring 2021.

There are always pros and cons of playing a sport in college. Cons may include waking up prior to 6 a.m. for Breakfast Club (a conditioning and running workout our team was required to participate in), not having as much time as a regular college student, needing to take classes at specific times in order to attend lacrosse commitments … all the normal things which in the grand scheme of things are minuscule compared to the pros playing a sport has provided me.

I genuinely love practice, I love seeing my teammates, I love my coaches, I love being able to compete, I love how the sun sets as practice ends, and I love so many other things that lacrosse has given me. But simply enough, I mainly love lacrosse because I love the action of playing lacrosse. 

Last academic year, my sophomore year, I developed heart complications from Covid-19. This resulted in my inability to play lacrosse for most of the year. As a competitor, this was difficult and mentally defeating. However, this is where I learned that I loved lacrosse even more than I knew. I attended practice with a bright smile and a big spirit. I could not attend physically but I sure attended practice mentally. I listened, I learned to be a good teammate, I tried to help others, I observed. I dedicated myself to being a great sideline leader, which would not have been possible if I was fully cleared. 

Our lacrosse team volunteering at the Mens soccer games.
Rowan lacrosse team volunteering at the men’s soccer games in fall 2020.

As a member of the Rowan Lacrosse team, the past year from an outsider’s view could be looked at as a “wasted year” for myself. However, with the help of my coaches, teammates, trainers, and friends and family outside of lacrosse, my efforts were focused elsewhere, and I developed a deeper gratification toward the sport. I realized how much I care about the sport by not playing. I realized I how much I care about the program and the people around me by not being able to be on the field and by being on the sideline. 

My absence last year has only made me more excited to come back to the program this year. I may have been unable to play, but regardless, I learned more about myself as a leader, more about the program and our culture, more about the coaches and their compassion, and more about my teammates and their support. 

Rowan Lacrosse Team after the last fall season practice in 2020.
Rowan lacrosse team after last fall season practice in 2020.

You can follow the Rowan Women Lacrosse Team at the Instagram handle @rowanwlax.

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Story and photos provided by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

In Case You Missed It: Favorite Classes At Rowan

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

What It’s Like to Take a 10-Year Sabbatical from School: Brandon Torres

Brandon holding the Dominican Republic flag in front of Bunce hall.

Today, Brandon Torres gives us a first-person perspective on his journey leading up to how he ended up taking a 10-year sabbatical from school and becoming a Rowan student. Brandon is a senior Public Relations and Advertising major. Just like many of you, I aspired to be a great student at one time or another. […]

The Sculpture of Discovery Hall: Studio Art Students Leave an Everlasting Handprint at Rowan with the Installation of Time Sweeps

Exterior shot of Discovery Hall.

The introduction of Discovery Hall sees the entrance of a new public art sculpture on Rowan’s campus. Today, we speak to two students who took part in its installation.

This summer, two Studio Art majors — senior Liz Kenlan and recent graduate Jon-Erik Hem — were offered the chance to leave an everlasting mark on Rowan’s campus through the installation of Time Sweeps. 

Discovery Hall will be open to the school’s general population for the 2021-22 academic school year. With the new building being described as a way for the university to expand in the STEM disciplines, Jon describes the Time Sweeps sculpture as: “The bond between man made and nature.” 

Time Sweeps just after its completion captured by the DSC Staff
Time Sweeps just after its completion (credit: Digital Scholarship Center)

Time Sweeps, located in the East Garden Courtyard at Discovery Hall, is an entirely stone sculpture of winding serpent-like unnatural shapes formed out of individually-placed rocks and stones. 

Prior to its unveiling, I was able to sit down with Liz and Jon to discuss not only the installation of Time Sweeps but their experience in helping to bring it to life as well as letting me know what art means to Rowan.

Liz and Jon were both recipients of a paid internship that allowed them to work with Thea Alvin. Alvin is a stonemason and the designer of Time Sweeps. 

“I learned so much from her, all about wall making and building,” says Jon. When asked about working besides Alvin, he adds, “It’s awesome to see someone working hard from the minute they get in to the minute they leave.” 

Jon-Erik Hem stands besides Discovery Hall
Jon-Erik Hem stands besides Discovery Hall

Liz agrees with the sentiments about the sculpture’s designer, stating: “From the first time I heard her speak as a guest visiting my Public Art class I got this feeling that lingered with me the rest of the day that things were good and I was alive with artistic inspiration. I sincerely related to her character, motivations, means to make her work, and the connection between herself and the communities she worked in.”

Alvin was not the only person that Jon and Liz got to work with. According to them, they worked with two other students chosen to work on the sculpture from the Geology department as well as a number of professional stonemasons. 

“We were immediately hands on with it,” Liz remembers about her first day on the job. “I thought we’d be getting these simple intern jobs but on the first day it was, ‘Oh no, go and start placing the foundation for the wall’ and we were just like what? We got to do the actual work that the masons were doing. I was shoveling gravel and carrying holders. The thing I did the most was smashing boulders. It was actually very therapeutic.” 

Liz Kenlan sits atop Time Sweeps with Whitney Hall in the distance behind her
Liz Kenlan sits atop Time Sweeps

Jon also spoke on the installation process and similar love of smashing things: “I’ve done a lot of construction work. I’m all about three-dimensional thinking and I’m all about swinging hammers and breaking stuff.”

The sculpture isn’t just a beautiful work of stone. As the name suggests, it’s also an interactive teller of time. There’s a spot under the arch that allows for a person to view the winter and summer solstice, adding an almost magical element to not only Discovery Hall but Rowan as a whole.

Though Jon and Liz remember the summer fondly, Jon spoke candidly about the representation of Rowan’s Art department and the community as a whole. 

“More can be done to represent the Art Department here at Rowan,” Jon speaks openly. “They have good faculty, but oftentimes, it feels like many universities want a lot from their art students without giving them respect in return.”

Time Sweeps serves as not the physical embodiment of the hard work and dedication of Jon, Liz, Thea and all those who worked on it but as the tenacity of artists at Rowan as a whole. 

“They want us to put paintings in the Business building or for us to do something for the medical building in Camden,” Jon told me as our discussion came to a close. “Everyone needs artists.”

Group of students and faculty under the stone archway of Time Sweeps
Liz (top left) with several of the Times Sweeps installers, including Thea Alvin (second from bottom)

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Story By:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos By:
RJ Wentzell, senior exercise science major and the 
Digital Scholarship Center

How Communicating With Professors is Different Than Communicating With Your High School Teachers

Rowan Blog contributor Nick Flagg shares:Despite being a high school student only four years ago, it feels like a different lifetime. The world of academia opens up when you move on to college, especially when talking about how you both work and communicate with your teachers. And being both a Theatre and Advertising major, I feel as though I can speak on a range of experiences with various professors.”

I have noticed that the biggest difference between college and high school is that high school teachers tend to do a constant check-in with all their students, while professors expect you to reel them in as needed. The transition from high school to college takes maturing in communication skills. If you need help, you need to communicate that more to a college professor than you would to a high school teacher.

Going to college is much more of an individualized experience. It is not that the resources are more limited compared to high school; in fact, there might be even more. Moreover, there is an expectation for you to speak up when you need something. I believe high school is an experience catered to all, whereas college is what you make of it.

Though college is still a place for growth and trying things out, it is rewarding when you know what you want and set up a game plan to reach your goals. The student-to-professor relationship should be nothing less than professional, but nothing short of believing that these people are here to help you succeed. They are here to help you meet those goals and land a job after you graduate.

A faculty member speaks with a student.

I have found myself engaging more in conversation with my professors than I did with high school teachers. Hearing about their personal journey is what makes me want to focus on creating my own.

I think I speak for many college students when I say that high school feels like a general educational experience compared to college. Don’t get me wrong, I believe high school is a wonderful educational experience that everyone needs. But here I am as a Theatre and Advertising major, still waiting for the day when I will need to know that the Mitochondrion is the powerhouse of the cell.

All jokes aside, high school allows you to see into many different courses and extracurriculars that should propel you to decide what you want to do after high school. College is where the lens focuses in on your future career, and plops you into a community of people interested in the same work as you.

When I am talking with faculty and students in my college, I feel more at home. When talking with my college professors, I am hearing many first-person experiences that set me up to figure out my own path. Getting to talk to the people who are “doing the thing” is what makes your career goals feel like a reality.

When I talk with my theatre professors, I am talking with people who have done professional work in performance. When I am talking with my advertising professors, I am talking with people who have done professional work with advertising agencies. And in most cases, aside from teaching, they are still working in their given industries. Asking your professor questions shows you are engaged and lets them know you are interested in professional opportunities beyond the classroom.

In my sophomore year at Rowan, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a research project with my Acting and Speech professor, Michael Dean Morgan. I got to work with other students to facilitate interviews with Broadway actors in New York City. Because I was able to communicate with my professor and show that I was interested in getting experience in the field work, I was able to directly hear more about the industry of my work and gain networking tools.

Pictured from left to right is Professor Michael Dean Morgan and students Nick Flagg and Maggie O'Connor from their trip to NYC in 2019.
Pictured from left to right is Professor Michael Dean Morgan, author Nick Flagg and Maggie O’Connor from their trip to NYC in 2019.

Reaching out to your professors is crucial in college. Always checking in and asking for help is beneficial for all students. We cannot do this alone. Talking with professors forms a connection that potentially brings you closer to a job in your industry. 

The first step is always showing up. And each day you show up, treat your attendance like you would treat an interview. Ask questions, engage yourself, and maybe shoot an email or two. High school is where your teachers help you figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. College professors are here to offer the resources to help you get there. 

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Story by: 
Nick Flagg, senior theatre and advertising major

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. 

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Select photos by:
RJ Wentzell, senior exercise science major

Looking Back on What I Learned My First Year of College

Natalie sits with her coworker Reshaun on campus.

Rowan Blog contributor, Public Relations major and student athlete Natalie DePersia shares her take on the first-year experience.

What I learned first year year of college was to take one deep breath in, one deep breath out, and to take a look around.

My first year, just two short years ago … seems like a different universe to the current world we live in. Reflecting back on my past two years as a Rowan student, I have came up with a list of things I learned from my first year of college; what I have learned from starting a normal first year to having it be cut short by a global pandemic.

As a rising junior, so much much has happened in what feels like such a short amount of time. Approaching your first year can be nerve-wracking, exciting, and can come with a mixture of emotions. A way to ease any anxiety or uneasiness is to get involved in some way around campus.

Natalie standing in front of Gazebo.
Natalie DePersia

Join college clubs, extracurricular activities, and get involved around campus

Getting involved around campus is imperative to finding new friends and taking a break from your academic course load. I play on the Women’s Lacrosse Team at Rowan, and from this experience I have developed friendships that will last a lifetime. College clubs, extracurriculars and even sports are a great way to find others with the same interests of you. 

Rowan Women Lacrosse Team and Alumni.
Rowan Women’s Lacrosse team and alumni after the annual alumni game in 2019.

Staying organized is the key to my success

Being a first-year student in college can be stressful. The adjustment from high school to college can be a very different experience depending on who you ask. Personally, the adjustment had its easy moments and its hard moments. In high school I did homework based off of memory. This worked most of the time. However, I did experience the occasional “Oh no I forgot to do an assignment … let me finish it quickly 10 minutes before the class starts.”

Having a planner and a system to organize myself has been my saving grace as a busy college student. Between lacrosse practice, in-person meetings, classes online or in person, to internship hours and assignments … having a planner is essential to my success and punctuality academically, athletically and professionally. 

Be grateful for what you have when you have it

I wonder how I am approaching my junior year as I remember first-year orientation like it was yesterday. Time goes by so quickly and I feel as if I did not truly appreciate what my first year was because I assumed I had three more years just like it. Having a normal college experience the most of my first year to going into lockdown by a global pandemic my entire sophomore year only made me realize that I need to appreciate what I have when I have it. I was taught by Covid-19 to expect the unexpected and to make the most of every moment given.

Natalie and lacrosse teammate Reilly before home game.
My lacrosse teammate, Reilly, and I before our last home lacrosse game before our season was cut short by Covid-19 in Spring 2020.

Apply yourself because you owe it to yourself

This one is my favorite. I was a decent student in high school. I did what I needed to do, and I was ok with receiving any grade from A to B range. When I got to Rowan I realized I was not striving for my maximum potential and I needed to start working harder if I wanted to accomplish the goals I set aside for myself. I can happily say that I am now a 4.0 student successfully balancing academic course work of a major in Public Relations and a double minor in Sports Communication and Psychology, athletic responsibilities of playing on a women’s collegiate lacrosse team, and professional efforts of working two jobs. It took me a little time to realize, but anything is truly possible if you set your mind to it and put in the work.

Networking is imperative

Networking has so many positive outcomes. Networking can bring you internship or job opportunities, introduce you to new friends or a new hobby and more. I found an internship by reaching out to one of my favorite professors, Cristin Kastner Farney. You never know what opportunities can arise if you talk with others and are simply a friendly face. Being kind can go a long way in your academic and professional career. 

Natalie with fellow employee and friend Reshaun.
My fellow employee and friend Reshaun and I sitting outside of Bunce Hall.

If you gather anything from this piece I hope you learn to take one deep breath in, one deep breath out, and to take a look around. College and life in general go by fast. Do not let the little things stress you out, everything has a way of working itself out. Be present in the moment because sooner than later you will be entering your junior year writing a reflection piece and wondering where the time has gone.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos courtesy of Natalie DePersia and by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

#PROFspective: Public Relations Major, Strategic Communication Minor Kayla Tucker

Today we speak with Kayla Tucker, a senior Public Relations major with a  Strategic Communications minor and a concentration in Public Relations in the News. Kayla, from Burlington County, is the Vice President of the Black Cultural League and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. 

Have you always wanted to study your major? At what point in time did you realize the major you decided to pursue was the one most adequate for your future goals?

“When I came to Rowan my original major was Marketing. I quickly realized that marketing did not align with my strongest assets. After deciphering my strengths, knowing I love writing, public speaking and everything involving communications; and knowing that Rowan’s Public Relations program is nationally ranked, I realized Public Relations was the major I wanted to study.”

Kayla Tucker standing and smiling in front of Bunce Hall.
Kayla Tucker

What is your dream profession?

“Working in an in-house public relations firm.”

How has Rowan prepared you for your future? What professors have impacted you the most as a student at Rowan?

“Ms. Cristin Kastner Farney is a professor that immediately stands out to me. I had her as a professor in Intro to PR and I truly enjoyed everything that class offered me. That class taught me interviewing skills and just the basics of PR and she presented all material in an amusing yet educational way. Cristin was also super helpful in terms of career development and assisting me in finding available internships.”

Kayla Tucker smiling up close.

What is the Black Cultural League?

“The goal of this club is to have conversations and discussions on issues concerning African-American studies outside of of the classroom.”

What advice would you give to your first-year self?

“My best advice would be to get involved early. Rowan offers countless amounts of club ranging from sports clubs, community and service clubs, clubs that promote diversity and inclusion, and many more. Getting involved around campus led me to meeting so many amazing different people.”

Kayla Tucker smiling in front of Gazebo.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

“I like to cook, listen to music, and spend time with family and friends. This year I also started a small business on campus named K. Kooks where I make and sell food to students.”

What makes you unique from others?

“Probably the fact that I love public speaking. I know many people that dread giving speeches or speaking in public, but I love everything about speaking in front of large audiences. It honestly is a big contributor to why I chose public relations as my major.”

Kayla Tucker smiling on Bunce Green.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Behind the Camera with Recent Radio/TV/Film Grad Adam Clark

Today we feature December 2020 graduate Adam Clark. Adam graduated with a degree in Radio/Television/Film. He also commuted from Bridgeton, NJ (Cumberland County). He tells us about his work since graduation and his upcoming plans. What have you been up to? Before I graduated I started working on this film that continued long after I […]

#PROFspective: Brian Seay, Double Major and Rowan Admissions Twitch Streamer

Headshot of Brian Seay against a black backdrop.

Today we feature Brian Seay, a double major in Radio/Television/Film and Sports Communication and Media from Cumberland County. Brian also has a certificate in undergrad study (CUGS) in Esports. We interview Brian as he touches upon his involvement with the Rowan Admissions Twitch streaming account through his job as a Digital Content Contributor for Rowan’s Marketing and Enrollment Management team. 

Why did you decide to get a certificate in undergrad study (CUGS) in Esports?

“I love video games. My friends and I play very frequently, and during quarantine I got interested in competitive 2k (basketball video game). When I was looking at my Sports Communication and Media major and the credits I needed for it, I came across the CUGS for Esports. I quickly realized that obtaining a CUGS in Esports was only one more course in addition to all my courses I have already taken for my major in Sports Communication and Media, so I thought why not?”

What is Twitch?

“Twitch is simply just a place where you can stream something live — it does not necessarily have to be video games. It started off as ‘Justin TV’ where this guy named Justin just basically streamed his everyday life on this website that he created. It has now turned into a place where content creators can stream videos; Twitch is primarily used for videogames but can be used for anything.” 

Headshot of Brian Seay.
Brian Seay

What do you do for Rowan as a content contributor?

“My primary task is to create videos and to help Rowan’s Marketing team to draw students in. One of the projects we did a few weeks ago was that we went in a filmed some of the residence halls so we can create a video on all the different resident and housing options Rowan offers. These videos are our most popular because they appeal to a big population of students, while club videos and certain sport videos are geared to a smaller target audience.”

What do you do to prepare for each Twitch stream?

“Setting up for my streams takes a decent amount of time. I stream on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. so I usually start setting up at 5 p.m. This allows me enough time to make sure all my equipment and software is running smoothly before I go live. Set up consists of sound checks, microphone checks, controller checks and more.”

Brian Seay playing a video game.
Brian Seay playing a video game

How does your CUGS in Esports help with your job for Rowan as a Twitch streamer?

“As I stated previously, I only needed one class to obtain a CUGS in Esports because of all the classes I have already taken for my major in Sports Communication and Media. With that being said, my Intro to Esports class not only equipped me with a lot of knowledge on Esports but made me very interested in playing Esports.”

What is your favorite part of streaming on Twitch?

“As stated previously, I just love video games, so this job is honestly not looked at as work for me. I am doing something I enjoy, and it makes my streaming sessions go by so quickly.”

Brian Seay.
Brian Seay

What is your favorite Esport game to play for Rowan Twitch?

“First off, it is important to note that I have to play games that are educationally appropriate. However, I like to play games that are popular in Esport streaming. Therefore, I enjoy playing Rocket League as it is a very popular Esport game.”

What is your favorite game to play on your free time?

“I have to say, my favorite game of all time has to be Minecraft. I am very creative and I love how the game caters to what your needs are. I think it is so cool how you can spend weeks and months on a world and you create your own environment and atmosphere and I think it is really cool how you can truly make it your own.”

Brian Seay's game controller.
Brian Seay’s game controller

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Brian Seay

Senior Reflects: RTF Major Riel Dioquino on Finding True Friends

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

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

What was your favorite social memory? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out more of Riel’s work at:

Instagram – @rmarc99

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

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Riel Dioquino, radio television film graduate