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

Paige and her mom walking down Rowan Boulevard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paige and her mom stand on Rowan Blvd.

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

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

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

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

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

How did you support your student through homesickness?

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

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

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

An over the shoulder shot of Paige and her mom.

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

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

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

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

Paige sits on Bunce Hall's marble steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: Liberal Studies, Languages and Law with Junior Alexzia Lyons

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

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

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

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

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

Fey headshot
Fey Talabi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos courtesy of:
Fey Talabi

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

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

Liliana wears her graduation cap and gown.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liliana and staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Desire stands outside James Hall.

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

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

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

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

Desire in front of of the statue outside James Hall.

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

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

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

Desire with RLUH jacket sits outside Rowan Hall.

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

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

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

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Beyond the Classroom: How Dawn Lombardi Gave a Senior Cat a Forever Home

Close up shot of Reginald the cat wearing a bowtie.

Dawn Lombardi, a double major in Nutrition and Business Management, shares her experience of working with Rowan’s Office of Accessibility Services to give her new cat his forever home. 

Dawn was juggling her responsibilities as a resident assistant and student all by herself. This year, she decided she was ready for a companion that she could take care of. “I felt like I had a lot of love to give and wanted to direct my energy into something good,” she says. “That’s why I adopted Reggie.”

Dawn and cat
Dawn with Reginald

Reginald, Dawn’s cat, is a 12-year-old senior adoptee from Homeward Bound Animal shelter.

“I wanted to adopt a senior cat because they are often overlooked by other families,” Dawn explains. “Usually, people who adopt want a young animal, so senior pets have trouble finding their forever home. I wanted an older cat so I could make its older years the best it’s ever had.” 

Before adopting Reginald, Dawn had to go through a thorough ESA (emotional support animal) approval process.

“I looked up the Rowan ESA policy, saw that I qualified, filled out the necessary paperwork, and turned it into the Academic Success Center [now called the Office of Accessibility Services]. The people were very helpful. I worked closely with [staff members] during my process, and [they were] awesome.” 

John Woodruff, director of the Office of Accessibility Services, talks about this process in a bit more detail.

“There is an online registration form on our website that students must complete. They are then responsible for working with their healthcare provider to fill out a three-page application form to request an accommodation for an ESA. A dog, cat, lizard, or rabbit are all animals that can be an ESA. After the application is complete, our office shares a link with the student that connects them to a portal where they can upload any documentation necessary (a formal diagnosis, an emergency contact for the desired animal, the breed/name of the animal, etc.),” he says. 

Now that he is approved, Reginald is living lavishly in Dawn’s Rowan Boulevard Apartment. “I think the Rowan Boulevard Apartments are really suitable for an ESA. My apartment is a great size and has multiple rooms that he can walk around in.”

Reggie- Dawn's cat

Aside from being adorable, Reginald has helped Dawn become a better student. “Reggie wakes me up for breakfast in the morning, so it helps me to get out of bed and get my day started nice and early. With him, I have a reason to get up and be productive,” she says.

Reginald has helped Dawn in more ways than one.

“When I feel overwhelmed with school or anything really, he comes and sits next to me. Just having him there gives me so much comfort. I joke and say that he is an ESA to everyone, too. My friends or residents that come and pay him a visit love him. He makes everyone’s day better.” 

Reginald relaxes at his new home.

“I am really grateful Rowan gives us the option to have an ESA. It makes me feel very supported and valued as a student who is juggling a lot.”

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

Photos courtesy of:
Dawn Lombardi 

#PROFspective: A Support for Students, Paige Bathurst

Paige sits on Bunce Hall steps.

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

Alumni Success: Byron Bustos Tells It All!

Byron holds a Rowan University flag.

Today we feature Byron Bustos, a 1999 graduate of Rowan’s Political Science program. Originally from North Jersey, Byron details his journey to Rowan, how he joined his fraternity and how it led him down a path he didn’t know he’d be taking.

When did you graduate from Rowan and what clubs, organizations or activities were you a part of?

I graduated from Rowan University in spring of 1999. I graduated as SGA [Student Government Association] President. I was also a resident assistant, and I worked with the Admissions Office as an Ambassador. I was in the United Latino Association, a member of my fraternity Lambda Theta Phi, BOCO which was the Borough of Cultural Organizations, the student activities board, the Political Science Association, Rowan Christian Fellowship, and Greek Council. I’m sure I was involved in other things throughout the years, but that’s what I can remember. 

What have you been up to since graduating from Rowan?

Right from Rowan, I went straight to grad school at Seton Hall University to get my master’s in Public Administration. I got my undergraduate degree in Political Science so I knew I wanted to work in the government but I didn’t know which aspect of it. I was also contemplating becoming a guidance counselor since I got my certification in Secondary Education at Rowan as well. After Seton Hall, I was offered a job in DC with the Office of the Inspector General for postal service. I did 19 years with that agency. This past January, I was promoted to the Director for the General Service Administration of the Office of the Inspector General (GSAOIG) .

Byron holds a Rowan flag while sitting on a flight of stairs.
Byron Bustos

I became the national president for my fraternity. I then became the executive director for my fraternity. I was elected to be the President of the school board in my hometown of Passaic, New Jersey. I’ve been involved with different cultural and political organizations as well. I started the New Jersey Young Professionals Organization. Then I moved to Maryland about five years ago, and I’m just as busy here. I’m currently the president of the Homeowners Association.

I also started the Urbana Latino Festival after feeling like I needed to do something cultural in my community. We just had our fifth celebration recently. Other than that, I got married, had two kids, a dog and a few houses.

Did you always have plans on attending graduate school after college or was it just something that you happened upon?

I didn’t know I was going to be going to grad school until I was a senior and that was exposed to me. Mind you, I was the first person in my family to go to college, so college was all new to me. I didn’t have anyone to show me the ropes.

Senior year, I knew graduation was coming and yet I was uncertain about what I was going to do. I wanted to be a guidance counselor, but back then, it was required that you had to become a teacher first. So I got my certification to teach. But, just like everything else in life, there was a crossroad. An opportunity arose for me to go to Seton Hall. Going to grad school gave me more time to think about what I wanted to do with my life. 

What was it like being a first generation college student? 

In my family, no one went to college. In high school, I didn’t even know if I was going to college. I didn’t have the mindset of: “I’m going to college, I know my next steps, and I’m going to become XYZ.” I just kind of fell into it because I was so involved in high school and exposed to different things. The doors were presented. I just had to walk through them.

The only reason why I went to Rowan was because, back then, Rowan sent buses to North Jersey to communities like mine that would bring high school students down to Rowan to expose us to something that we otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to. We were able to apply right on the spot. Without that, I would have never been exposed to Rowan since the only colleges and universities I knew were the ones around me in North Jersey. 

Were you always super involved as a child?

I always had inklings that I wanted to do things, but it really took off in 8th grade. I found my area of things that I wanted to do, which was community-oriented public service advocacy.  Just trying to inspire people to do things. I did things in high school, but I really blossomed in college. 

Were there any classes you took or professors you met that you felt helped you achieve your success?

I can’t pinpoint to one specific professor, but in my last semester at Rowan I did student teaching. Although I never fully taught a classroom after I left Rowan, I still had my certification in teaching, which helped me when I became elected to the school board. I had perspectives on [questions like:] What are pedagogies? What is it to teach the curriculum? What is it like to go through the training and be able to have students in front of you? Those things were all crucial to know. 

How do you feel being a member of Lambda Theta Phi and the United Latino Association impacted you?

If I didn’t have the United Latino Association while at Rowan, my years would not have been as fruitful or as fulfilling. If I didn’t have Lambda Theta Phi, I don’t know what friends I would have carried on from college. I don’t know what my future would have been like if I wasn’t so involved in my fraternity. I was able to build a great network with both of the organizations. They really shaped a lot of who I am and I helped to shape them as well, so it was a two-way street. I’m glad I had them. 

Did you have plans of joining Lambda Theta Phi or was it just something that happened? 

When I was a freshman, my family’s attitude was very much: “No, you’re not joining a fraternity,” which, at the time, I didn’t care much about anyways since I didn’t know much about fraternities. However, my sophomore year is when my perspective started changing and I became more open minded. I went to a meeting, heard about it, learned about it, and did my own research. 

I learned what the members were doing and how they were giving back to the community and what they were doing for the university, which really propelled me to say, “This can be a way for me to do more of what I want to do, which is advocacy, motivation and trying to get others to change things.” What better than joining a cohort of like-minded individuals? 

A young Byron Bustos
Byron at Rowan University

What was it like going from just a member of Lambda Theta Phi to becoming the National President, then the Executive Director? 

It didn’t happen overnight, but I was heavily involved during my undergrad, which propelled me to going to the regional meetings. After that, I would go to the national conferences, which exposed me to the organizations and the leadership, which allowed me to join the alumni board. Getting so involved just propelled me further and further in the organization.

With the fraternity, I wasn’t in favor of a few things and thought things could be improved. So I decided to run for national president to be able to create change from the top down. I didn’t go through the normal process to become the head person, but that’s just the way I am.

Do you feel like fraternities and Greek life in general get a bad rap which deters people from joining?

Definitely. Fraternities and sororities provide more good than what they get credit for. Many times, the media focuses on the incidents that occur rather than the greater benefits that Greek life provides to the campus and the community overall. It’s a disservice to the legacy of those organizations, some that have been here for hundreds of years, to have that legacy erased in a moment. 

How do we get minority students more involved in Greek life and make them aware of the fraternities and sororities that are made for them and by them like Lambda Theta Phi? 

It’s a catch-22 sometimes. I don’t know if the university needs to shove in people’s faces per se but I think it just depends on the student and what the student wants to be involved in. All the university can really do is make sure that these organizations are available. 

Going back to something we discussed earlier, do you care to tell us a little bit more about the Urbana Latino Festival?

When we moved down here to Maryland, we quickly realized that there was a need for a little bit of music and more diverse events. My wife and I decided to put the event together and, within a day, the RSVP was sold out which no one expected. Five years later, we moved it to a different location and had over 600 people attend.

There’s vendors and different food trucks. It just has really blossomed into a beautiful thing. We’ve added more diversity and exposure to what it means to be Latino and everything that comes with it.

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Story By: Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos and video courtesy of:
Byron Bustos

How To Handle Homesickness: An RA’s Perspective

For most students, college is the first time they are living away from home for an extended period of time. This transition can be tough. Here are four ways students can handle homesickness from an RA’s perspective:

1. Plan to go to an on-campus event

Sometimes, just being around people is comforting. Check ProfLink for any on-campus events that seem interesting to you. This could be anything from a Student University Programmers (SUP) movie night to a Rowan After Hours (RAH) Disney night. Getting out of your room can help get your mind off of things. 

Students talk outside near Robinson Hall.

2. Attend a Chill n Chat session at the Wellness Center

The Wellness Center offers a wide range of drop-in hours where students can come in/log on to Zoom and talk about their feelings with a group of people. Chill n Chat is designed to be a casual, comfortable environment where students can share what’s on their mind in a safe space. The hope is that in a group setting, students can see that they are not alone and have others relate to their struggles. 

Students inside their residence hall.

3. Call family and friends from home

It is normal and understandable for students to feel homesick. Sometimes, just picking up the phone and calling your friends/family from home is comforting. Consider scheduling a time out of your day/week to spend some time talking to your loved ones on the phone. Carving out time to stay connected to them is important and may help with the feeling of homesickness. 

4. Talk to your RA

Your RA is there to help! Attend one of their programs to get more connected to other people on your floor. Also, let them know that you are feeling homesick so that they can refer you to resources they see fit. I bet they will even offer to go to events with you themselves. They want to see you succeed and be happy in the residential community, so they will do what they can to make it happen.

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Story by:
Loredonna Fiore, an assistant resident director, senior public relations and advertising major

#PROFspective: From Colorado to Glassboro, Biomedical Engineering Major Katie Driscoll

Katie works in a biomedical engineering lab.

Today, we speak with senior Biomedical Engineering major Katie Driscoll of Durango, Colorado. She holds minors in History, Chemistry and Arabic Studies and is part of the Honors College. Here, Katie shares insights on her major, including the research work she’s been part of since her first year here at Rowan, and talks about the importance of getting involved on campus.

What made you come all the way here to New Jersey?

I just felt really at home when I visited the Biomedical Engineering program. It felt like everyone was super excited about Rowan’s potential for growth. And everyone was really happy to be here, students and faculty alike. So it really kind of felt like a welcoming place. 

Why Biomedical Engineering? 

I decided to major in Biomedical Engineering because it is a super well-rounded major. I wanted to know about a lot of things, and I wanted to have a lot of skills coming out upon graduation. So that was kind of my focus coming into undergrad.

Portrait of Katie Driscoll.

What do you want to do with this degree? 

I’m not really sure exactly what I want to do yet. But that’s a really good thing about this degree is you can do pretty much anything coming out of an undergrad in Biomedical Engineering. There are a lot of different paths open, whether it’s industry, med school or grad school, I feel really comfortable and confident going into anything.

Can you tell me a little about your experience in the lab? Have you done any research? 

I started research at Rowan in my freshman year with Dr. Vega, which was really cool, because it’s rare that you get to actually do hands-on research as a freshman in any research university.

I currently work in his biomaterials lab, looking at how the mechanical environments of stem cells affect their behavior. And that is for future use and tissue engineering applications.

Can you share an “aha” moment either with a faculty member or in a class where you knew you made the right decision?

So my freshman year when I started research in Dr. Vega’s lab, he was going over protocols with all of us and teaching us how to do everything. And we were imaging some cells on a fluorescent microscope and one of the labs, and he put the image up on the computer, and I just remember thinking that all the cells against the black background really looked like space. They looked like their own little, little galaxies. And I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Because you always see the pictures or the cells in a textbook, but to see it in real life, and all lit up, that was really different. 

What advice would you have to an incoming student who just chose this major?  

I would say definitely get connected with faculty in the department as early as possible because they are some of the most supportive people that I’ve met at Rowan. And if you know the faculty, you’re going to feel a lot more at home in the program. And also just get involved super early, whether it’s in research or in clubs, whatever you want to do, just kind of day one freshman year go in with a plan of how you’re going to get involved on campus.

Katie performs an experiment in a lab.

Can you share with me some things that you’re involved in or things that have had an impact on your college career?

I’m pretty involved with research here through Dr. Vega’s lab. This is my third year in his lab. And then I am also involved with Rowan Food Recovery Network. It’s a club that focuses on taking food from the dining halls that would otherwise get thrown away and redistributing it to community partners to reduce food waste and help with community hunger. So that is one big thing that I do. 

I’m an assistant resident director through the Office of Residential Learning (University Housing). I also am the Vice President for Rowan Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), which is like a pre-professional club that we have through our department. And that’s been really impactful to get to meet different people from industry and grad school and have them talk about their experiences.

Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

BMES is like our major specific club, and we meet every other week. And we usually have people from industry or have our own professors talk about their research. And it’s just a really great way to get connected within the major. Because a lot of the faculty will come to the meetings, people like freshmen through seniors come, and you can kind of network with each other, and talk to each other.

We also do some community service events. And we also usually, in non-COVID times, we have the BMES games, which is where everyone — it’s like a field day for our department. But all the professors also come out and they compete with us. So it’s a really fun environment.

You said that you’ve been working in a lab for three years. So are you able to start working in a lab early into your college career, you don’t have to be a junior, senior? 

You can start day one. I walked in, and I just emailed the head of the department … it’s that accessible. And he set up a meeting with me as a freshman, which I don’t think that’s really found at any other university. And he was able to get me connected with Dr. Vega. And I started in his lab, like my first month, freshman year. We also have other freshmen in our labs, we have sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

As an out-of-state student, do you have any advice for the transition process to come here? 

Rowan is a place where it’s really easy to make friends. Even though a lot of people here are from New Jersey, and there’s not as many people from out of state, it’s super easy to get integrated with the community. I’ve never once felt out of place.

Katie views a microscope in the lab.

Is there anything else that you want to share?

I’d like to reiterate how excited everyone in this department is to be here. And I think that’s really rare in other schools; faculty just kind of like their jobs. But like, every single one of our faculty members are super passionate, not just about their research … instructors are super passionate mentors. I think that’s a really rare combination to find at another university. 

See Katie with the Rowan Food Recovery Network in this video

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#PROFspective: Emergency Management with Kevin McCarthy

Kevin stands in front of the Rowan arch in a Rowan t-shirt.

Today we speak with Kevin P. McCarthy, a recent graduate from Cranford, NJ (Union County) who earned degrees in Political Science and Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management. He was an RA (Resident Assistant) for three years in Holly Pointe, Chestnut Hall, and Triad Apartments. Kevin was also heavily involved in the SGA as well as Rowan EMS.

What advice do you have for incoming students? 

Get involved, especially with hall council your freshman year. Also SGA, that’s how I got my start in leadership on campus. Finding what organizations are good for your major. I’m on Rowan EMS. I got a lot of my connections and experiences through SGA and Rowan EMS. 

Now the Disaster Preparedness Major, I remember the last two years of that major were intended to be in Camden, correct? 

I’ve actually been taking major-related courses my entire four years. So, I’ve been going to Camden almost every semester. 

Kevin and Leah sit on the Bunce Hall marble steps both wearing Rowan t-shirts.

Has that moved to online format because of Covid?

Yes, everything is online. 

So you haven’t been able to go to Camden very much? 

Yes, not much this [past] semester. I’m also in the master’s program. I was accepted for next year. We’re seeing what’s gonna happen. If I get a full-time job or if I continue with my master’s or not, I have been taking master’s classes for senior privilege through that. 

What have been some of the advantages of going to the Rowan Camden campus for classes (even in a COVID world)?

It’s a really gorgeous building. It’s an old bank! There’s a student lounge in the basement that used to be the old safety deposit room. The area is nice and the shuttle drops you off right there. I also have a friend that goes to Rutgers Camden and it’s only two blocks away. I would go over and meet her in their Student Center every so often. It’s a very nice building.

Kevin and Leah study on their laptops sitting on Bunce Green.

What is the professional direction you would like to go?

I would like to go into emergency management in some capacity, whether that be for the government or the private sector. I’m keeping my options open. 

For those who are not familiar with this emerging major, what does that mean to a layperson? Is it like working for FEMA? 

My professor, Dr. Len Clark, said that it’s like being a general without an army. You’re making the plans and you’re in charge during the emergency, the police, the firemen, the EMS. You’re working with their respective leads and coordinating an “all-hazards” approach. If there’s a hurricane coming, you have to work with DPW, EMS, the fire department, the police department evacuating people, and preparing the town with sandbags. 

Is a lot of your work preventative? A town would bring you in to develop a plan for them and then you would move on?   

Yes, you can! There are some people who do subcontract. You’ll develop a plan for a town or a business and then leave. Or you can continue to work for that town or business, as an internal [contractor]. You would develop plans, run drills, and serve as a liaison.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

40 Ways to Get the Most out of Your College Experience

The Rowan welcome gate.

Rowan Blog contributors share their personal tips on getting the most out of your college experience at Rowan University. 2. Participate in recreational sports Participating in recreational sports can lead you to meeting new people with similar interests and fuel your competitive edge without the stress of competing in a division III NJAC conference sport. […]

Interesting Clubs To Check Out At Rowan University

Students check out a club on campus.

Rowan University has countless of clubs ranging from staying active clubs, diversity/inclusion clubs, major-specific clubs, residential assistant clubs and more. Rowan Blog contributors each share a club on campus that students should check out!

Club Fair Outside Student Center.
Annual Club Fair Outside Student Center

Outdoors Club

The Outdoors Club is all about exploring the wilderness and connecting with nature. The club takes multiple trips throughout the year to go hiking, kayaking, camping and more. Trips are really cheap and can be free or cost $5-10. 

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/outdoors

– Reshaun Timmons, senior Marketing major

Get FIT Club

The Get FIT Club is a great way to volunteer and help an underserved population. If you like staying fit and helping others, this is the club for you. In this club you act as personal trainers for local individuals with special needs. 

– RJ Wentzell, senior Exercise Science major

Student University Programmers (SUP)

Help brainstorm campus events, help advertise and work events. Meets the first Wednesday of every month at 9:15 p.m, usually in the Student Center. There are various committees that plan certain events and help with [planning] events. Committees include special events, live events, charitable events, technical services, off-campus events, cinema and marketing. You can meet new people, make friends, and build camaraderie while volunteering and having fun. Their signature programs you can help with and enjoy are Hollybash, Movie Nights, Food Truck Festival, Battle of the Bands and more!

Student University Programmers – ProfLink (campuslabs.com)

– Rachel Rumsby, junior Communication Studies and Public Relations major

Student University Programmer.
Student University Programmers staff member

Women of Color Collective 

Held every other Tuesday of the semester, the Women of Color Collective (often abbreviated as WOCC) serves as a safe space for Rowan’s women of color to openly and honestly discuss their feelings and experiences. It’s sponsored by SJICR and is held in Hawthorn Hall.

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/123

– Bianca Gray, senior English major

Athletic Training Club

This club delves into everything related to the athletic training field. Whether you are an Athletic Training major or just simply interested in the field/major, this club teaches members about rehab, responsibilities as an athletic trainer and rehabilitation for athletes. This club is also useful for athletes looking to develop a deeper understanding of personal recovery. 

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/atc

– Natalie DePersia, junior Public Relations major

Residential Learning University Housing (RLUH) 

RLUH is an organization catered to residential life on campus. To be a part of RLUH, you can apply to be a Resident Assistant, or RA. RAs are responsible for programming to residents, helping them through their transition from high school to college and connecting students to campus resources. Some major perks of being an RA are the amazing transferable skills learned and free room and board. 

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/rluh

– Loredonna Fiore, senior Public Relations and Advertising major

Resident Assistant.
Resident Assistant

PRSSA  

The Public Relations Students Society of America is an organization for students pursuing careers in the communication field. The club provides networking opportunities as well as special events such as virtually meeting with PR practitioners, participating in Organ Donor Day and even picnics. Meetings are held bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. 

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/rowanprssa

– Nene Diallo, senior Public Relations major

RU Puppet Artists (RUPA) 

RUPA was founded in Fall 2020 by TJ Jacobs to cultivate the art of puppetry at Rowan University and beyond through sustainable and accessible practices. We are an experiential and collaborative organization dedicated to the puppetry and artistic growth of our community using proven educational techniques. Members can expect to learn not by sitting in the classroom or in virtual meetings, but by actually creating artistic experiences for their communities.

Contact: RUPUPPETARTISTS@gmail.com

ProfLink: https://rowan.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/rupa

– Nick Flagg, senior Theatre and Advertising major

Rowan Photography Club 

Rowan Photo Club is a great place for ANYONE interested in art, photography, modeling and more. We host meetings with fun games and activities. We have photo contests and the winner gets featured on our instagram. We plan to have in person photo walks and photography meets. The club is a fun environment with cool people. 

Follow us on instagram! @RowanPhotoClub

– Stephanie Batista, junior Music Industry major

Student holds a DSLR camera in front of Wilson Hall.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

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

Writing a list of goals

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

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

Anais Holguin sits near the Engineering pond.
Anais Holguin

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

Exterior shot of Au Bon Pain.
Au Bon Pain

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

London leans against a sign of James Hall.
London Raikes

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

Drone shot of Glassboro Town Square.
Town Square

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

RJ Wentzell smiling outside of James Hall
RJ Wentzell

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

Music industry major Malachi Prillerman
Malachi Prillerman

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

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

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

Exterior shot of campus Rec Center.
Rec Center

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

Alexa smiles inside James Hall.
Alexa Wentworth

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

Exterior shot of Science Hall from Route 322.
Science Hall

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

Rowan's football team enters the stadium.
Rowan Football

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

Rowan Boulevard featuring LaScala's Fire.
Rowan Boulevard

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Nene Diallo, senior public relations major

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

Rowan Football photo courtesy of:
University Publications

Rowan RAs Share Tips for Creating a Positive Environment while Living with a Roommate

two people sitting in apartment.

For most people, college is the first time students live with a roommate. Resident Assistants (RAs), who are trained with mediation tactics, share some tips on how students can create and maintain a positive environment in their spaces. 

Senior RA in Townhouse Apartments Alyssa Putiri thinks the key to a positive roommate relationship is “all about being open to communication. Discussing boundaries and personal preferences are crucial to making sure both you and your roommate are comfortable with each other. Remember, you don’t need to be best friends with your roommate, but it’s important to create a comfortable environment for the both of you to live in.” 

Alyssa Putiri leans against an outdoor railing on campus.
Alyssa Putiri

Alex Jackson, a senior RA in 230 Victoria Nexus Apartments, says to “pick your battles. There’s always going to be disagreements, as people in general have different living styles. But if you and your roommate can learn to compromise on things that aren’t too important, you will both be sure to take important issues much more seriously.”

Alex standing outside

Whitney Center RA senior Mathew Mcgrath says “first and foremost, it is essential that roommates maintain respect for one another. Roommate agreements provide a framework for what roommates want and expect from one another. Having respect for each other will make developing personal bonds both a less complicated and less intimidating venture.”

Mathew McGrath

Sam Eloy, a junior RA in Rowan Boulevard Apartments, challenges students to “make sure they are as transparent as possible. Address any issues immediately rather than letting them simmer. Drawing lines of respect and understanding is important to make sure no one is ever offended or gets hurt.” 

Selfie of Sam Eloy.
Sam Eloy

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

Ten Ways to Avoid Getting Lost on Campus

Are you new to campus? Is it your first time taking in-person classes on-campus? As any new place is, Rowan’s campus may be confusing at first. To help you out, here are 10 ways to avoid getting lost!

1. Visit the information desk

The Information Desk at the Chamberlain Student Center provides directions and other useful resources to students, parents and any other visitors on campus! The Information Desk is located on the main floor of the Student Center.

A student asks for help at the Information Desk on the main level of the Student Center.
A student asks for help at the Information Desk on the main level of the Student Center.

2. Tour campus before the semester starts

Even if you are already committed to Rowan, taking a campus tour is a great way to get to know the campus and have questions you may have answered. Rowan is currently offering guided personal and multi-family campus tours, as well as self-guided audio tours. There are also virtual opportunities to learn more about your major and campus culture!

3. Walk your class schedule

Can’t get to campus for a tour before moving in? No problem! A great idea is to walk around campus and find the buildings your classes are in before the first day of classes.

4. Check out the campus map

Already out and about and lost? Check out the campus map on your phone! 

Prof statue.
Prof statue

5. Look for landmarks

Try to associate certain landmarks on campus with certain buildings. For example, when I see the Prof statue, I know I am next to Robinson Hall, and Science Hall and Savitz Hall are across the path.

Science Hall.
The sign denotes that this building is Science Hall.

6. Read the signs around campus

There are signs in front of buildings telling you their names, as well as signs around campus pointing you in the direction of other buildings. Find one of these signs to figure out where you are. 

Two girls pose in front of a sign that gives directions.
Two students pose in front of a directional sign on campus.

7. Ask an RA for directions

If you live on campus, you will most likely get your RA’s contact information during your floor meeting. If you need directions, your RA is there to ask for help!

An RA stands next to her door.
An RA stands next to her door. Most RA’s doors have multiple name tags like this.

8. Stop into Admissions at Savitz Hall

There are Admissions Ambassadors that work the front desk for Admissions. The Ambassadors give tours of Rowan. They know where most buildings are, so they can give you directions.

A friendly face at Admissions gives someone a pamphlet.
A friendly face at Admissions can give you directions if you need help.

9. Find a PROS member

PROS (Peer Referral and Orientation Staff) are the staff members in the yellow polos that you see at Orientation and during Welcome Week. They don’t wear yellow polos during the school year, but they do wear big braids on their bags to identify themselves. PROS members are trained on how to answer questions from new students and families, including where buildings are located! If you see a PROS member with a braid on their bag, you can ask them any questions you may have. 

A PROS member leads her orientation group.
A PROS member leads her orientation group. The brown, yellow and green braid on her bag shows she is a PROS member.

10. Stop in the Welcome Center on Rowan Boulevard

The Welcome Center is located at the end of Rowan Boulevard. Staff members know the layout of campus. If you are lost on that end of campus, popping in there and asking for directions can be helpful!

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

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

Advice for Incoming Freshmen from Upperclassmen

3 Rowan RAs Share Their Favorite Programs

Resident Assistants, or RAs, are tasked with creating programs to connect residents with each other and the greater Rowan community. Each program is designed specifically and intentionally by the RA of the floor to promote a sense of belonging in the residence hall. Here are some programs that RAs loved to host for their residents. 

Junior Keianna Williams, an RA in Chestnut Hall, shared her favorite program titled “Self Reflection.”

“I displayed a mirror outside of my room and then made a heart full of sticky notes. Each resident was asked to write something they loved about themselves in a sticky note displayed on the wall. I then handed out tiny pocket mirrors for them to keep. I told them that every time they opened the mirror, they should say something nice about themselves. This program helped promote self-esteem and self love. I also loved that it included Rowan Thrive, a wellness initiative on campus attributes of purpose.” 

Keianna Williams
Keianna Williams

Sydney Ramos, a junior RA in Mimosa Hall, shared that her favorite program that she has done is a Black Lives Matter Brave space.

“This was a program that encouraged an open discussion on issues surrounding racial injustice in our communities. It also was a space where those who did not know much about the BLM movement could understand what it was and gain information and resources to have a better understanding as to why the BLM movement is so important. I had a decent outcome with residents, and they were happy to be able to have a discussion on issues that sometimes are hard to talk about. I was even interviewed by The Whit for a featured article about my program.”

Sydney Ramos
Sydney Ramos

Alyssa Salera, a senior RA in Holly Pointe Commons, described her favorite program that combined fun with important conversations about relationships.

“We had a Bachelor finale watch party. My residents all loved the show, both my male and female students, so we all got together, snacked on a bunch of food and desserts, and talked about the show and everything it encompassed. I loved seeing how excited they got about who the star chose to get engaged to, as each of my residents had a personal preference. We then talked about toxic relationships and the importance of mental health in regards to how it pertains to the show, they were all so involved in the conversation! It was the most I’ve heard some of my residents speak and be engaged in all semester, so it was great seeing them come out of their shell.”

Alyssa holding goat
Alyssa Salera

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

5 RAs Share the Benefits of Living on Campus

External shot of Townhouses.

Living on campus can open a door of opportunities for Rowan students. Resident Assistants, or RAs, are an integral part of the on-campus community. They are trained to guide and support students in their transition to Rowan residence halls. Here, five Rowan RAs reveal the perks of on-campus living.  

“Especially in a time where online learning is more prominent, it is crucial for our students to feel like they have a space to connect with other students and staff. We offer events that different offices and organizations hold for students to be able to unwind and enjoy their time on campus. We have internship opportunities here on campus, jobs, and so much more to offer all for our students. These connections are something that they can take with them well into the future.

“My job as an RA is to be able to know the resources on campus and connect my residence with what I feel they need or would like to try. I offer events that SUP put on, connections to the Wellness Center, the Academic Success Center and so much more. As an RA I am the point person to help students understand each of the departments that we offer. I even get the opportunity to get to know my residents by attending events with them or even just eating at the student center. It is one of the most impactful student leadership roles on campus.” – Sydney Ramos, an RA in Mimosa Hall

Sydney sits outside on a gazebo.
Sydney Ramos

“Living on campus was one of the best decisions I made when I first arrived at Rowan. Not only do students who live on campus possess opportunities to develop as an independent, but they may also forge bonds with one another. The communities fostered by Rowan’s residence halls are strong, making it easier for students to thrive socially when they first arrive at college. RAs are responsible for making residents feel comfortable in their new environment. We facilitate and promote programs and other events tailored toward the diverse interests of our community.” – Matthew Mcgrath, an RA in The Whitney Center

Matthew smiling with red umbrellas in the background.
Matthew Mcgrath

“Living on campus gives a whole different perspective of life! It’s not for everyone, keep in mind, but it’s a great way to meet new people and get super involved. Rowan has so many fun campus events that it’s just easier to enjoy if you live on campus. Academically, it can be a lot more convenient to walk to class instead of trying to find a parking spot or if you need to run into a lab for whatever reason. RA’s can play a huge role in the college experience, as they are usually the first resource you go to for any advice or announcements regarding events on campus. They try their best to really integrate you into the community and make you feel at home.” – Alyssa Putiri, an RA in Townhouse Apartments

Alyssa sitting at a table with her laptop on campus.
Alyssa Putiri

“Living on campus is an integral part of the college experience. It provides a smaller community of students who you might not otherwise get to meet if you weren’t living on campus. Rowan’s residence halls are great communities for students, and as RAs, we help run this community. Fostering an environment for residents to interact with one another and feel connected to the community is one of our goals, and this is an experience you don’t get to have if you aren’t living on campus.” – Rachel Galing, an RA in Magnolia Hall

Headshot of Rachel smiling.
Rachel Galing

“Living on campus was the best choice for me, 100%. Living in a residence hall freshman year was a unique experience that introduced me to so many different types of people and brought me closer to people on my floor and in my major. I was also close to everything on campus, so meeting up with friends or classmates to do homework or hang out was always convenient.” – Alex Jackson, an RA in 230 Victoria Apartments

Alex in student center.
Alex Jackson

Even though living away from home can seem scary, Rowan RA’s and the greater campus community can help make it worthwhile. 

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

Why Psychology Major Leah Boyle Chose to Study Close to Home

Leah stands in front of a tree on Bunce Green.

Today we speak with Leah Boyle, who recently graduated with a degree in Psychology. Leah comes from Haddonfield, NJ in Camden County and is a first-generation college student. She had been an on-campus resident all four years and worked as an RA (Resident Assistant) for the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community in Holly Pointe for the last two years.

Why did you choose a university close to home? 

My sister went [to Rowan]. She’s a year older than me and she graduated last year. We are very, very close and when she went to Rowan, I knew that they had a great psychology program. We were roommates in Holly Pointe my freshman year. We had an apartment together with our friends. She’s one of my best friends. That was why I chose [Rowan] and it ended up being a great opportunity. Everything about it has been awesome. It was more for family. 

How do you carve out an identity for yourself if you are with a sibling in the same place? 

Shannon, my older sister, specifically was an Art major. She was working on that, and I became interested in the Social Justice office. [I] started working at the office of Social Justice Inclusion and Conflict Resolution (SJICR). I worked on their programming and it got me thinking about what we do for our queer students, which got me to becoming an RA. She ended up making a club for women in our arts programs (Women of Westby, W.O.W). I was able to get my residence to come to W.O.W. events and she was able to bring the arts to my residence. So we were able to connect a lot [that way]. She was really successful in her art. I was doing my psychology and social justice stuff. We started out the same but went in different directions.

Leah wears glasses and a Rowan t-shirt smiling in front of Bunce Hall.

Did you ever feel overshadowed by having a sibling here? 

Well, I’m not an artist! I didn’t really know much about how Shannon is such a good artist until I would meet with her in the art building. [We’d] go get food together, see her stuff and [witness] people talk about her and her art. She is an incredible oil painter. So I didn’t [feel] overshadowed because I don’t do a lot in the arts. I took an oil painting class last semester on Zoom and had to call her every day to get tips. We had our own things that we specialized in. It was good to see her grow in her art. She got a lot of involvement in social justice too.  

What was it like to live with your sister in a university location after living together for your whole life? 

It was much messier because we had bigger rooms now. We’ve shared a room since I was seven. I say everything that is hers is mine. She lives in Maryland now. It’s a lot more arguments about where things should be put, but it was great. My sophomore year we had an apartment with four other friends in university housing. It was really great because there’s no one you could be more honest with than your sister. I could say, “I can’t be around you right now.” I can be honest with my roommate because she is my sister.

Rowan was really accommodating to [me] living with a sophomore my freshman year. They had no problems and they were so happy for us. I’m happy we were able to do it because now she’s doing her own thing. I’m moving after this. I’m going to grad school at Montclair State University.

Leah chats with her friend Kevin on Bunce Green.

Do you have any other majors, minors or CUGs? 

I took Child Life courses at University of California Santa Barbara, where I study hospitalization. I’m going to Montclair State for Child Psychology. 

What is it like not living with your sister? 

In the beginning, it was kind of a bummer. I’m happy I didn’t have to go live with someone who wasn’t her. I got used to it. It’s a little far (I’m up near New York) so we make weekends to see each other. She calls me and I call her probably a little too much. It’s not so bad, we’re [still] in constant contact.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Alumni Success: Mitch McDaniels on Finding Your “WHY”

Mitch poses at the Holly Pointe Commons sign.

Today we speak with Mitch McDaniels, who graduated from the Honors Concentration with a degree in Biochemistry in 2020. Mitch also minored in German Studies throughout his time at Rowan University. He grew up in Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County) but now lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Mitch was a Resident Assistant (RA) for three years and lived on campus for all four years. He was also actively involved in the Honors College, B.L.A.S.T. Mentoring, the Keck Behavioral Lab at Cooper Medical Schoolthe Academic Associate Program at Cooper University Hospital, Rho Alpha Sigma, and Alpha Epsilon Delta. He was also a volunteer at the Kitchen of Hope Food Bank (Glassboro), and a Chemistry Learning Assistant for four semesters.

What did being an RA and Assistant Resident Director (ARD) mean to you?

Res Life [meaning RLUH or working for Residential Learning and University Housing as an RA, ARD, graduate role, or professional role] is such a unique field and it’s such a diverse and unique group of people that come together to do so much more than just run a building. I absolutely loved it throughout my time at Rowan — the opportunity to be a part of flourishing communities of residents in their first year of college, and hopefully being that go-to guy for my residents for the good, bad and everything in between.

My experience through Res Life has definitely been one of my favorite memories at Rowan because I met so many new, and now lifelong, friends through it. I love when my residents come back and tell me how much fun they had their freshman year or a favorite memory they had from their year in our pod. A few even went on to go into Res Life themselves; it makes me so happy to hear that!

For me, it was really special to see the ways in which my communities grew together, and the ways they found to make a difference together. 

Mitch poses under the "Pork Chopper" statue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Mitch poses by the “When Pigs Fly, Pork Chopper” Statue which is part of the Sculpture Walk in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

What advice do you have for current students?

I think every first year student should take a little bit of time to find what it is they want to do at Rowan, until they really find their “why,” both on campus and off. I’m still learning exactly what that is for me, honestly. No matter what you do, who you hang out with, or the classes you take, I’ve learned that it’s best to keep an open mind because those moments came when I was least expecting them.

My first year, I was really quite quiet, but I thought that being an RA would be a really unique way to meet people and be part of a community. Lots of people become hyper-focused on the free housing and food, which is pretty sweet, to be honest, but I also wanted to find a place to help in building that welcoming environment I found on campus. I often forget that I had a meal plan and free housing as an RA because I just enjoyed getting to meet everyone and get connected and involved in a way that was different from any other role on campus because their home also becomes yours. 

No matter what you do at Rowan, you really have to take the time to find your “why” [your purpose] at Rowan. There’s this proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I really believe that Rowan’s spirit comes from that small-campus community, where friends, colleagues, and professors all have your back.

My best advice would be to enjoy college for the people and experiences you’re surrounded by — go together, not alone. I’ve found that the best way for me to get things done is when I’m passionate about it and that I want to see it through to the end, together. For me, the Res Life community was that “thing.”

Now stepping into the real world and getting off of the college campus, finding your “why” comes with the territory for everything you do.

Mitch poses confidently in front of a Sioux Falls sign.

Where do you work now?

Now, I work as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Sanford Health, a big hospital system in the Midwest, but mostly in the Dakotas and Minnesota. I’m on a team of four coordinators that are working on a portfolio of COVID studies. We have two different studies that we are mainly working on for the moment. One is for different treatments that focus on outpatient settings, where patients actively have COVID and are sick, but they’re not sick enough to be hospitalized. This study, sponsored by the National Institute of Health, is an Adaptive Platform Study, which means that we are evaluating multiple investigative treatments that can change from time to time, to quickly and safely identify medications that could significantly improve a patient’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

We’re also doing inpatient work with people who are in the ICU on ventilators, high flow oxygen or other life-saving measures to support them throughout their battle with COVID-19. It’s another adaptive platform study evaluating various medications for people suffering more severe COVID, and who have received advanced life-saving therapeutics or interventions to keep them alive or better support them.

I was always asking myself “why” because I wanted to pour all that I could into any activity I was doing. I didn’t want anything to be just a checkbox for my resume. It really needed to be something that I cared about and believed in.

Part of my “why” for medicine is that I want to be a resource for people wherever I go. That’s something I saw in my family with my father being an FBI agent. I want to be able to carry my skills into underserved areas at some point in my career and make a difference within those communities.  

Mitch wears a light blue shirt and stands in front of a waterfall.
Mitch loves the famous Falls Park in his new hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

What do you hope to do in the medical field?

It really hit when I had the chance to really immerse myself in the Camden community through Cooper, first as a student at MEDacademy at Cooper Medical School, and later as an Academic Associate at Cooper University Hospital. I really began to see that a physician doesn’t work in a bubble, they are someone who’s active and embedded within the community that they are trusted to serve. Ever since, I saw medicine as an opportunity to expand upon the skills, mindset and joy that Res Life has brought me, to help better build a community.

Of course, Rowan has always supported and nourished my curiosity for science and the human body; it’s also helped me to find my voice in leadership. But what my time at Rowan and Cooper has gifted me with has been the opportunity to think, grow excited and imagine how I wanted to give back to the community at the intersection of science, leadership, education, research and policy. 

Part of my “why” for medicine is that I want to be a resource for all people wherever I may go. That’s something I saw, and valued, in my family with my father being a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I hope to be able to carry my skills into communities (especially those underserved) throughout southern New Jersey, our nation, and the world throughout my career and in hopes of making a difference within those communities by empowering the people of those communities through all I learn from them. No matter what field of medicine I pursue, there’s nothing more important to me than to help these communities I hope to serve to thrive and grow.

A gorgeous blue and orange sunset shines above a majestic waterfall in Minnesota.
Mitch captured the beauty of Falls Park with just his phone.

Tell me about your favorite memory from Res Life? 

My favorite moments were those that were unscripted where I would just hang out with my residents on a random Tuesday night in a hallway or lounge of Holly Pointe. We would have the best conversations! I would always leave my door open because I wanted people to be able to walk in and just sit down. I wanted them to know my room was theirs too, and that it was a safe space where they could unwind, have fun, or talk anything over. The most organic moments were the times when I felt true friendship forming between myself and my residents, and it was not any longer just me “supervising” their freshman experience.

One of my favorite memories in these communities as an RA and an ARD was bringing my residents to the food pantry. I really loved the idea of getting into the Glassboro Community and all of us volunteering together and seeing the ripple our pod could make in the greater community. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesome staffs I worked with throughout my three years in Res Life. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to program with, spend time with, or occasionally deal with those 3 a.m. fire alarms. Those unscripted moments, with my residents and RAs alike, made every moment worth it. I owe it to them for helping me to find my why throughout undergrad. 

Waterfalls and tower in Sioux Falls, Minnesota
Another gorgeous sunset by the Queen Bee Mill in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos courtesy of:
Mitch McDaniels, biochemistry graduate

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Beyond the Classroom: Kevin McCarthy and His Time with SGA

Kevin smiles wearing a gray Rowan t-shirt with Bunce Hall in the distance.

Today we speak with Kevin P. McCarthy, a recent graduate from Cranford, NJ (Union County) with degrees in Political Science and Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management. He was an RA (Resident Assistant) for three years in Holly Pointe, Chestnut Hall and Triad Apartments. Kevin was also heavily involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) as well as Rowan EMS.

How did you get involved with SGA? 

At the federal work-study career fair, SGA had a table looking for student workers. They hired me but I also had an offer from IRT doing something that was a little bit more in [tune with] my major. But, I decided to go with SGA. I ran for the senator-at-large position. It was a mid-semester election. I served one semester as the senator-at-large. Then I ran for vice president of government relations. I’ve been there for three years. 

What have you gotten out of being part of SGA personally and professionally? 

I helped pass the Student Wellness Fee my sophomore year. It was introduced as a $50 fee and it wasn’t well-discussed in e-board, so it failed miserably at the Senate. 

We had our CFO at the time rally against it. It lost by 125 to 10. I spent the rest of the year working with Arielle Gedeon, who [later became] President. At the time, she was the Recording Secretary. I worked with her and a couple of other e-board members in order to get the fee reshuffled and changed. Eventually, we put it up during the series 2 elections for a $30 fee to support Rowan EMS and the Wellness Center in hiring more counselors and physical health providers as well as providing free medications and other free [items] for students. During the series 1 elections, it tied exactly at 250 to 250. So, we put it in front of the Senate. Arielle and I talked for 45 minutes, then we were discussing and debating the bill.

Kevin and Leah sit on the marble steps of Bunce Hall wearing Rowan t-shirts and glasses.

It provided so many critical things like vehicle replacement for Rowan EMS. People spoke out against the Wellness Center charging per visit [preventing students from reaching out for help]. They were planning on charging Insurance in charging a copay. I have good insurance; my mom works for a hospital up north. However, it is one of those in-network kinds where if [the treatment] was connected to the hospital it cost $5, but if it’s not connected in any way it cost $100. So a Wellness Center bill for me would cost over $100. I really advocated for the bill and eventually, it passed. 

I also did a couple other things in SGA. I attended the Conference on Student Government Associations in Texas. We actually went right before the pandemic, like March 10. A week later, we were sent home. I went with the Dean of Students, the next SGA Vice President Sarah McClure, the current AVP of Facilities & Operations Liam Cutri-French, and one senator. We thought Covid was not going to be a real thing and would be over in two weeks. But here we are now! 

From that, I got the inspiration to start the New Jersey Conference of Student Government Associations NJSGA. We had the first one in 2019 around Thanksgiving. 

We had it in the Business Hall. Rutgers New Brunswick and TCNJ came as well as William (Bill) Moen, who’s actually a Rowan alumnus and a current assemblyman from Camden County. He came to do the keynote speech. We took a little hiatus, but last weekend we hosted the second conference of NJSGA. Rutgers New Brunswick, Rutgers Newark, TCNJ, Ramapo, and Drew attended as well. We [aim to] raise fruitful discussion about supporting students and how SGAs should operate.

Kevin stands confidently in front of Bunce Hall.

Luckily, Rowan does really great with shared governance. For example, Arielle has a meeting with President Houshmand every month. The AVP of Academic Affairs meets monthly with the Provost. The AVP of Student Affairs meets with advisor Kevin Koett. We really have very involved faculty that want to know what the students want.

It’s super important to get involved with SGA. We always have openings for our Class Senators and Academic Senators. Every class has four senators, there are four at-large Senators, and every single college has its own Senator. 

With everything that you’ve experienced, what has been your most to use what is 

Definitely “Rowan Well,”  just having the mental health resources available to students is a really big thing. Obviously, it’s taken a long time to see that change, but there were at least two counselors hired, there are more resources available, and they got rid of a waitlist.

After the Rowan Well bill passed, they expanded counseling services to include Victoria St. and in different academic buildings. Rowan EMS also got a new truck. I think they get $3 out of the $30 every semester from every undergraduate student. It really helps a lot. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your SGA experience? 

Applications are open for Senator positions. We have every position open except for the College of Science & Math. If you go on ProfLink and look into forms, you can find them. Applications close in September which allows people going through any incoming student orientation to get involved.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

#PROFspective: JT Kurtz, Inspiring ARD & Genuine Friend

JT stands confidently in front of Bunce Hall.

Today we speak with JT Kurtz, a recent Computer Science graduate from Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County). JT is a first-generation college student and worked as an Assistant Resident Director (ARD) on campus, most recently at 223 Nexus.

How did you like living on campus? 

I loved it! I was a Resident Assistant (RA) in Chestnut Hall last year and Magnolia Hall the year before. It’s a complete 180 from working in traditional living to living in new apartments. I remember as a freshman, those apartments were not even there. 

In your three years of being the go-to person as an RA and ARD, what is your advice for people who are living in dorms?  

My advice is to not be afraid to make connections. Being the RA/ARD, I’m the middle person to connect people with programs or on-campus resources. We’re there for people when they ask, “Hey, what should I do?” Whether they’re stressed out, bored, or if they need help, RAs and ARDs know it all. For anybody — whether you’re new, a transfer, or have been here for two years — RAs and ARDs will always be there for you. We will definitely guide you to somebody that can help you. For me, being in that department, I have met so many of my closest friends who have helped him with making connections (from talking to people in the PR department to the admissions department). 

What does being an RA mean to you? 

In my eyes, the RA position isn’t so much about following the rules. I know a lot of people tend to put a label on RAs as “rule-enforcers” but that’s not the case. We’re here to make sure you’re safe and that you’re having a good time at the same time. There are rules made for a reason, not just to ruin the fun. We understand that we’re in a college atmosphere. We empathize with a lot of people.

JT leans against a tree reminiscing on Bunce Green.

The way we shift that empathy is by encouraging them and saying, “Hey, here’s a safer, smarter alternative way to approach something.” Whether that’s academics, [social life] or mental health. For example, if somebody’s stressed out they may not go to class. I’ll go to them and say, “Let’s get to the root of this and make a plan of action and then turn it around.” Rather than just saying, “Hey go over here” [and leave them to figure it alone]. We try to connect with them at a deeper level. We have rules, but we have them for a reason, making sure that everyone is having fun and staying safe at the same time. 

What are some of your favorite memories from being an RA? 

Some of my favorite memories (prior to Covid) are the times I’ve been able to hang out with all of my staff members. Whether it’s just getting food, pinging ideas off each other, or just doing homework, or duty nights and handling incidents. The big theme of this experience was that you’re never alone. Even in a virtual setting, we still managed to find ways to really be connected. Sometimes we would just hop on a Zoom call and have a conversation.

What is the difference between being an RA and an ARD? 

Now, I’m like a team captain of the RAs. I had to figure out how to keep my staff engaged and doing their responsibilities. At the same time, I’m recognizing that my staff are still people at heart and still need to balance their lives. My thing is music, I made a Spotify playlist that everyone can contribute to and everyone loves it. They can see all of their diverse backgrounds. There are so many stories I can go on about being an RA.

I’ve met so many influential people, from my supervisors to staff members and my residents. My residents last year always went to me, even for the most random things. At the same time, my residents had no problem referring themselves and their friends to me. I’m there for them.

JT poses on Bunce Hall green in a Rowan sweater.

How do you handle that responsibility as a fellow undergraduate student? 

I handle the responsibility of taking care of fellow students through time management, balancing classes, time for myself, and time for others. The department has so many people you can lean on, your staff or supervisors. If you don’t know what to do or if you need more time on something, communication is absolutely a pinnacle skill for this kind of role because that will help you succeed.

How did you become an RA? 

In my first year, I lived in Holly Pointe. My RA at the time, Mitch McDaniels, who graduated last year, was a fantastic person. He was really engaged with the residents. He kept it down to earth. He didn’t come off as a policy enforcer but we all respected him. He inspired me.

I had personal roommate issues (I roomed with my best friend). Mitch managed to smooth it out and now my best friend and I are still best friends. From that moment, I knew that [being an RA] was a leadership position. If I could help one person a day, that makes it so worth it.

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Story by:
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

#PROFPRIDE: Leah Boyle, RA for the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community

Leah smiles in front of Bunce Hall while wearing a gray Rowan shirt and glasses.

Today we speak with Leah Boyle, who graduated this May with a degree in Psychology. Leah comes from Haddonfield, NJ in Camden County and is a first-generation college student. She has been an on-campus resident all four years and worked as an RA (Resident Assistant) for the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community in Holly Pointe for the last two years.

What has it been like being an RA?

It’s been so good. I love everything about it. I’ve gotten so many opportunities through it. I am the RA for the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community. I make programs and oversee all of our students as they transition into Rowan. 

Is there a moment that stands out to you as particularly meaningful being the RA of this pod? 

Making programs [focused] on helping people introduce themselves and finding footing in a completely safe space for the first time has been the most impactful to me. Just having people refer friends to me if they have questions. Knowing that I myself am a resource has been my favorite thing about it. 

Do you get a lot of first years? 

Yes, it’s only first-years. I’m so happy I was able to do it. It’s been the happiest job I’ve had. It’s been so positive and a great environment.

Can you tell me more about the programming that you’ve offered? 

Because of Covid, it’s a little bit different. This semester I taught American Sign Language every month on Zoom. Last year I did Coming Out parties and LGBTQIA+ History Trivia Nights (showing the names and faces of people who are really important to our history). We have certain events for people who were celebrating their one-year anniversary since transitioning. It was so great, we had so much fun.

It’s a little different with Covid. I had a Diversity Movie Club, where everyone would watch the movie on their own time and then we would get together later on and discuss whether it was reflective of our experiences. It’s more flexible, but last year I had a lot more [spontaneous yet purposeful] events.

Leah puts a hand on her hip while standing under the Rowan arch.

What feedback have you gotten from residents in comparing this community to where they originally come from? 

I’ve had people tell me that this is the first time that they have had people refer to them by the name that they always wanted to be referred to by. [I’ve been told], “You’re the first person to ask me what my pronouns are and if I’m comfortable” or “I was nervous about my roommate but because I’m part of the LGBTQIA+ Learning Community, we’ve had the same experiences and I feel validated.” It’s so important that we have this space for people to meet other people. They all go off and join clubs together and lead together through Rowan. Having people show up to events that don’t even live in my pod and knowing more people around campus is so great. This has been great too. If people are happy within the community, it will continue to grow and grow. 

When you talk about your job with people who are not directly part of the campus community, such as parents or relatives, do they embrace it or do you find yourself having to explain its importance? 

One of my favorite things about coming to college has been that everyone comes from a different understanding of the community. It’s a bit confusing for people who are older than me or don’t really understand [why] I work specifically with this community. [It] also means that sometimes my job is more difficult than the people who live in neighboring pods because it comes with more difficult conversations. Sometimes I have to explain that, “Yeah, I have fun programs but sometimes it can be really intense.” 

It’s a bit different from a typical resident assistant but a lot of times my friends would always want to show up to these events, meet people, and get people involved. I think it’s important to talk about it and learning communities at Rowan are so important. They’re really, really successful. I hope that the more we talk about it, maybe we could have learning communities in one or two other buildings. I like to spread the good word and let people know it’s a really great space.

Leah and Kevin stand under the arch together.

Have you ever encountered any hate towards you as being the RA or towards people who live in your pod?

I think with having a diverse community living in a space, people can make the decision to come through and be judgmental or defacing property. In those situations, we have a lot of things in place to make sure that students are feeling supported. It’s not very common. I’ve been in this position for two years and very few times have I had to sit down with someone and say “Let’s talk about why you’ve done this thing.” 

It doesn’t really happen that often. A lot of the time we get people who didn’t sign up for it but they’re really just happy at the end of the experience because they were able to learn. I’ve had a lot of people grow and learn more. It helps not only our community but the people around us. Yes, we’ve had situations where people have not been accepting, but Rowan has a very strict policy for any of that behavior. It’s always been taken care of. 

For people coming into the university, do they have to share who they are to be able to qualify for this pod in terms of identifiers? 

We don’t want anyone to feel like they have to out themselves to their family or friends when they’re coming to Rowan. So, what they can do is when they sign up for housing there will be boxes of all of our learning communities. You can select that you want to be with first-gen people or social justice people. Then you can have information sent to your personal email about the LGBTQIA+ community and find out if you were able to be placed. 

I don’t get a list of [how] people identify. You can join if you’d like to and it’s not shared with a lot of different people. So I go into my job [thinking] that maybe this person signed up or maybe they didn’t. It’s more of an educational experience. A lot of people will come in letting me know that they’re so excited and share their past experiences. This year is different because we have different numbers than usual. I have people who don’t identify as LGBTQIA+. They have the complete same housing experience as everybody else. They just get more resources. It’s a win-win.

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Beyond the Classroom: Cultural Clubs and Landing Internships with JT Kurtz

JT leans against a tree on Bunce green, wearing a Rowan sweater with hands in his pockets.

Today we speak with JT Kurtz, a first-generation college student from Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County). JT will be graduating this year with a degree in Computer Science and currently works as an ARD (Assistant Resident Director) on campus. He is also active in RUPAC (the Rowan University Philippine American Coalition) and is a Human Factors Researcher for the Psychology department. 

What clubs have you been a part of? 

I am part of the Rowan University Philippine American Coalition (RUPAC – the Filipino club). I am half-Filipino and half-Italian! 

I’m also a Human Factors Researcher for the Psychology department. Human Factors looks at processes (not just technical, anything with how a team operates or any technologies they work with). We try to find the most efficient way to make it better or redesign it so that it’s much easier for everyone.

When I was in the Honors College, my Comp II professor (Professor Flocco) was the coordinator for the Honors B.L.A.S.T. Mentor Program. I told her about my passion for computer science. I really like taking something, being innovative or redesigning it, and making sure it’s the best for someone to visually see and understand. That’s considered User Interface or User Experience Design (UI or UED). That segued into “Oh, she knows somebody at UPenn. Speak with them and see what opportunities you can get from there.” So, I went all the way to Philly, had a 30-minute conversation and that person was like “Hey, I know somebody that’s here at Rowan.” I came back and had an interview with my advisor, Dr. Tremoulet. She is fantastic without a doubt. She said “I’m going to bring you on board with my team. So I’ve been in her lab for about a year and a half now. We actually just published one of her researches. It was super awesome.”

JT smiles and points at the camera on Bunce green.

Tell me more about RUPAC!

I’ve been a part of that since my sophomore year. I went out my freshman year to the Org Fair, that was always an awesome opportunity. My friend and I went to high school together. He’s been in it since freshman year and was like “Hey, you should check it out.” I met some really great people and being part of that org has helped me start my DJ career because they always needed a DJ for any of their on-campus events. And from there, I was able to build my network because RUPAC is affiliated with major regional and national Filipino conferences [all under the organization called “Filipino International Networking Dialogue” (FIND) spanning colleges from Massachusetts down to Florida]. 

I believe it was last year, prior to COVID, I went to TCNJ. They hosted a big conference called “Dialogue” where all of these other Filipino organizations come together. They talk about what it’s like to be Asian American and how we can better our communities from all different kinds of perspectives. It was really cool, it’s always fun! You play games, share stories, and then you make new friends. With that, I was actually able to segue into being the DJ for their regional formal dance (hosting students from 7 out of the 8 regions in FIND). With RUPAC, it’s been really great to be on campus. I know they’re still working their best now even with the pandemic. 

JT stands in front of the Rowan University archway near Bunce Hall.

Are you part of any other clubs? 

I feel like I always do too much (everyone always describes me like that). Aside from that, nothing else on campus. I have my off-campus internship as a software developer for General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT).

Where are they located? 

They have a lot of different branches and offices. They’re a government contracting agency, similar to Lockheed Martin. I interned with them over the summer and I will continue interning with them throughout the school year. Thankfully, I just accepted a full-time job with them. 

When do you start working for them full-time? 

I believe I start with them in June. I have to smooth things out, fill out some paperwork with the manager. I’m super excited. The game plan from there is to work with them and hopefully, I would like to pursue my master’s in Computer Science. 

How did you find that internship? 

Every year since freshman year, I went to the Career Fair and that’s how I found GDIT. 

JT leans against a tree, looking solemnly across Bunce green.

Do you have any thoughts on what’s happening with Asian hate? 

We definitely live in a world where there’s hatred all throughout. It’s a shame that there are different groups that are being targeted. I think a lot of people try to work together to make things better. I know recently we had a march around campus [protesting Asian hate]. I encourage any group that has [been targeted] to come together and speak on how we can make our society better. We can acknowledge that things are happening in our world that is definitely wrong. At the same time, we need to work together and come up with solutions to prevent that from happening. 

Have you ever experienced any Asian hate on campus? 

Personally no, that’s actually an interesting topic now. I think about how when you walk around campus and how people can tell if you’re of a certain race. I don’t think that’s fair because you don’t fully know their background. You probably didn’t know I was Filipino because I don’t portray the common characteristics of a Filipino. I think that contributes to why I don’t experience much of that perspective. At the same time, I can still resonate with my friends, my family, and my culture. I’m sure there are other people in that same situation. Maybe they don’t contribute to the hate but they don’t understand it. I will definitely support this movement as much as possible with as much as I can. 

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Alumni Success: Nah’Ja Washington Shares How Rowan Helped Her Succeed In The Advertising Industry

Rowan arch near Bunce Hall.

What are some of your responsibilities at DDB? I have a lot of different responsibilities. One of them is being aware of different trends and what’s going on in the market and creating a newsletter with my manager to keep her up to date on those things. I also, as the junior strategist, essentially do […]

Advice From a Rowan RA on the Residence Hall Experience

Exterior shot of Chestnut Hall Building

Today we speak with Alex Brown, a senior Music Industry major and first-time resident assistant (RA) at Chestnut Hall.

What advice do you have for incoming first years or transfers living in residence halls?

Definitely do not be afraid to try something out. If there is something that peaks your interest even a little bit and you feel like you can manage that with your course load, or even if you think you can’t, at least give it a shot. One, you’ll meet the people who run it; two, learn more about it; and three, you can say that you gave it your best shot.

There are people who leave after four years regretting not joining a club or being more involved on campus. 

What advice do you have for students who choose to live in a residence hall?

It’s a great experience, but it’s also something where you get what you put in. I highly recommend talking to as many new people as you can. You never know who is going to be your next best friend or resource for the rest of your college career.

Alex stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Do you have any advice for students dealing with homesickness?

You’ll definitely feel homesick the first few weeks, but Rowan does a lot of welcome week events where you can start immersing yourself with all the opportunities Rowan has to offer. Put yourself out there, go to events, go to Rowan After Hours (RAH) events every weekend, walk around, learn more about the campus and you’ll start to fit in to the environment. If you put in the effort to be a part of the community, the community will welcome you with open arms. 

Can you tell us about some of the best parts of Chestnut Hall?

Chestnut Hall is huge. It’s on the bigger end of the first-year dorms. Because of that, there are a lot of people you see on a daily basis. The space allows for more connections and friendships to be made without having to go too far.

Alex sits on the steps of Bunce Hall.

How would you describe the proximity to the academic buildings?

The way Chestnut is placed, you have a lot of different things that can help you. Chestnut has a parking lot for first-year students with access to a car. It’s a reasonable walk to Rowan Boulevard where there are a lot of restaurants. It’s also just a great hangout area for Rowan students and close to other first-year buildings.

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

Why I Chose a School 20 Minutes Away from Home

Figuring out where you want to go to college is no simple task. Here, junior Public Relations and Advertising major Loredonna Fiore offers four reasons she says Rowan made it easy for her to pick a school 20 minutes away from home.

1. Amazing housing options

Normally, only juniors and seniors get to live in fancy apartments: not at Rowan. As early as your sophomore year, you can choose to live in an apartment with a kitchen and a living room. Rowan also has a great Residential Learning University Housing program where you can become a Resident Assistant and get free housing!

Loredonna sits on steps outside on campus.

2. Affordability 

As a New Jersey resident, I qualify for in-state tuition at Rowan. This allows me to get all of the benefits the school has to offer at a reduced rate. The Rowan Financial Aid office is always helpful with any questions about billing and tuition as well. 

3. Surrounding Location

Rowan is a 20-minute drive to Philadelphia, two hours to New York City, and two hours from Washington, D.C. The close proximity to these major cities was intriguing to me because I knew I was near places with amazing professional opportunities.

Loredonna smiles behind purple springtime flowers on campus.

4. Rowan’s opportunities

Even though I live close to Rowan, I didn’t let that get in the way of all of the opportunities it had to offer. I loved getting to tour the new College of Communications and Creative Arts building and thought that was a great indication of how up and coming Rowan is. 

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

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

Brittany stands underneath a gazebo on campus.

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

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

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

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

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

Brittany leans in front of a Mimosa Hall sign.

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

Brittany has had influential mentors throughout her Rowan experience.

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

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

Britt sitting inside a gazebo on Rowan's campus.

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

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

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

Brittany stands inside a gazebo on campus.

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

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

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

#PROFspective: Junior Marketing Major Jake Mayer

Jake poses in a wooded area.

Today we speak to Jake Mayer, a junior Marketing major with a Management Information Systems minor. Jake is a first-generation student from Stratford, NJ (Camden County), and a Resident Assistant. Jake is co-president of Rowan Club Baseball and a member of both the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Rowan Economics Society.

Jake poses in front of Business Hall.

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

On my busiest day, I would be balancing my schoolwork, being a Resident Assistant (RA) and the responsibilities that come with that, having two other jobs at Trifecta Therapeutics and Pro Image Sports, while also going on a daily Zoom call with my family members at night.

What are your professional goals?

My short-term professional goals are to apply and get accepted as a second-year Resident Assistant (RA) or Assistant Resident Director (ARD) for the 2021-22 school year, as well as get an internship for the summer to hopefully turn that experience into a career. My long-term professional goals are to graduate from Rowan University and get a job in the marketing, business world to begin my career.

How are you involved on campus?

On-campus, I am a Resident Assistant (RA) in 230 Victoria, the co-president of Rowan University’s club baseball team, and a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA). Being involved in these allow me to be involved and network with fellow Profs of different majors, ages and backgrounds. The most supportive of my future goals is AMA, where I interact with fellow marketing majors and network with marketing professionals. Hopefully, by interacting with fellow marketing majors and networking with professionals, I will make connections that will help me get into my future career field.

Jake poses in a wooded area on campus.

Could you share with us one moment that made you feel inspired or confident that you’re in the right field for you?

I felt really inspired in my Entrepreneurship class during the final project of the class when my groupmates were looking towards me to lead the project in the marketing aspects. It was a fictional company and product idea that we came up with and I put a lot of effort into the project and we got an A. It may not sound like a lot, but leading this project in the marketing aspect of our project really inspired me and made me feel confident about my chosen major.

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.

One professor who I really enjoy talking to and one who makes me feel supported in my goals is Dr. Michael Milovich, professor of MIS. He is extremely supportive of students’ goals and guiding them to reach them in realistic ways. In his lectures and discussions, he always relates class material to the real world and how we can use tips and tricks that he provides to us to succeed in future situations that we will all experience, such as a job interview or how to move up the ladder of a company. I love him as a professor and would highly recommend that any student take his class if they have the chance.

What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a major, campus involvement, or choosing a college/university?

If I were in high school, I would tell myself to choose a major that I really enjoy and can envision myself working in for the rest of my adult life. As far as finding the perfect college or university, do more research and look around at other schools. Choosing the right place is important so that there isn’t the chance of transferring and going back to square one.

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

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

6 Residents Share Why They Like Mimosa Hall

an upward pan view of the broad side of Mimosa Hall.

Mimosa Hall is a traditional residence hall for predominantly freshmen, located in the center of campus, closest to the Student Center, Recreation Center, intramural fields, the library and academic buildings. Six residents have shared why they like living here.  Nickvens Delva, a freshman Psychology major from Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County) says he likes how Mimosa […]

Beyond the Classroom: Woman in Business, Management and Marketing Major Lexi Jubin

Lexi standing in a wooded area near Rowan Hall on campus.

Junior Lexi Jubin from Monroe Township in Middlesex County, NJ shares her experience about being a woman in business. She is a Management and Marketing major with a certificate of undergraduate study in Entrepreneurial and Independent Media.

Lexi Jubin’s calendar is filled with office hours, events and leadership meetings. Her extracurricular involvement is extensive, as she is a Resident Assistant in Mimosa Hall, the Marketing Director of Student University Programmers (SUP), a part of the American Marketing Association, the Society for Advancement of Management, and has an outside internship at Soccer Therapy NYC. It’s safe to say that Lexi is taking advantage of the opportunities provided at Rowan. 

Lexi outside on campus.

When Lexi was asked about her experience being a woman in a predominantly male field, she shared her honest feedback. “Most of my classes have male students, so the women are usually outnumbered. I definitely notice a difference when we are in virtual breakout rooms. I feel like sometimes I have to stand my ground and talk over people, but I always make sure my voice is heard. That’s one of the reasons I am so involved; I try to let my knowledge and experience speak for itself so I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”

Lexi stands in front of the entrance to Business Hall.

Lexi talks fondly about one of her favorite professors, Dr. Guner, who is the head of the marketing department at Rowan. “Dr. Guner is an example of another strong woman in business. She can easily hold the attention of the class because she’s so outspoken and interesting and carries herself so well. She is such a role model for me. 

As you could’ve probably guessed, Lexi has some big goals after graduation. “My ultimate goal is to work in marketing for national aquariums or to have my own small businesses. I would also love to help other small businesses compete by doing their digital marketing for them,” Lexi says.

She adds that Rowan has given her the tools to achieve those goals. “My experiences as a student employee have helped me so much. I’ve learned communication skills, flexibility, time management, and most importantly: confidence. Given the opportunity to head the marketing for Student University Programmers (SUP) shows me I have the ability to lead a team as well as demonstrate marketing practices.”

Her coursework has also given her some great opportunities. “In the Rohrer College of Business, we are required to attend networking events. This allows me to expand my connections and gives me a chance to update my LinkedIn profile.” 

Lexi stands on the steps in the Business Hall lobby.

Lexi shares some powerful advice to other women who want to enter the field of business. She says “you deserve respect, you deserve to be heard, and you deserve to be there.” 

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

Leadership #PROFspective: Camryn Hadley, Choosing Her Own Legacy

Camryn kneeling outside near a house and bush.

Today we feature Camryn Hadley, a leader at Rowan University. Camryn is involved with many activities on campus like SUP (Student University Programmers), Student Government Association, PRaction, Residence Life and more. Camryn is a senior from Somerset, NJ (Somerset County) who double majors in Public Relations and Advertising with minors in Journalism and New Media […]

Alumni Success: Attorney Jennifer Webb-McRae

Rowan alumna Jennifer Webb-McRae shares how impactful her college experience was to her current career as an attorney.

Jennifer admits that Rowan (Glassboro State College at the time) was not her first choice going into college. Growing up in Vineland, she didn’t think she could possibly have her ideal college experience living 30 minutes away from campus.

Sure enough, Jennifer ended up exactly where she was meant to be and made Rowan her home. “I stayed on campus, I rarely went home, and was a part of a phenomenal little community.” 

Headshot of Jennifer in front of flag

On campus, Jennifer was a Resident Assistant her junior and senior years, a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and was part of the Gamma Tau Sigma law and justice society of Rowan University. 

Coming into college, Jennifer knew she wanted to be a lawyer and felt that way all her life. “My parents would tease me and say I would argue every point, so I had that idea since I was a little girl,” she says.

During her time at Rowan, Jennifer made impactful connections that helped catapult her to that goal. “My advisor Dr. Douglass from the Law & Justice department really helped me get into law school by preparing me and guiding me through the process. He steered me in the right direction and gave me advice on taking the appropriate classes and getting good grades so I would be a competitive applicant to get into law school.”

Jennifer got accepted and attended Rutgers Law School after graduating from Rowan. 

Jennifer in front of county prosecutor crest.

Jennifer says her education from Rowan really helped her transition to law school. “I was definitely prepared for law school. It was really the mentors I had at Rowan that pushed me, supported me, and made me feel like I could do it.” Jennifer says she still keeps in touch with those people to this day. 

Jennifer serves as Cumberland County prosecutor, the first female and first African American appointed to this role.

She also teaches classes at Rowan for the Law & Justice Studies department. During our interview, Jennifer personally offered herself as a resource to this contributor and any other Rowan student. “I was very fortunate to have mentors in my life at every step of my career, and that starts in college,” she says. 

Jennifer in front of child advocacy office.

Jennifer’s advice for graduating Rowan students would be “go for it, plan for it, and take advantage of opportunities college has to offer you.”

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

Header photo by:
Anthony Raisley, senior history major

7 Students Share Why They Like Magnolia and Chestnut

Exterior shot of Chestnut Hall.

Two of Rowan’s on-campus residence halls, Magnolia and Chestnut, have a lot to offer. We spoke to a few of the residents to see what they like about living there. 

Leena Nesby, a freshman resident at Chestnut, says: “I like Chestnut because the lake is just outside my window, so I like my view. I like that it is really close to Holly [Pointe Commons], which is where my friends and I go to eat a lot of the time. I do like the courtyard, the benches and all the bike racks night there.” Leena is a Nutrition major from Tabernacle, NJ (Burlington County).

A selfie of Leena.

Griffin Roughgarden, a freshman Entrepreneurship major from Caldwell, NJ (Essex County), says that Chestnut is a quiet place to sleep, study and live.

Griffin poses in front of Chestnut.

Christopher Maestoso, a freshman Exploratory Studies major from Fairfield, NJ (Essex County), says that Chestnut is the perfect temperature once the heat of summer passes.  

Christopher poses in front of Chestnut.

Amanda Holzlein, a junior Human Resource Management major from Jackson, NJ (Ocean County) and a Resident Assistant at Chestnut, says that it feels like home. 

Amanda poses in front of Chestnut.

Bryce McMaster, a freshman Explorartory Studies major from Southampton, NJ (Burlington County) and a resident of Magnolia, says that he likes that he only has to share his bathroom with three other residents and that he has his own room, which he really likes. 

Bryce poses in front of Magnolia.

Andrew Mercurio, a freshman Music Education – Instrumental from Kendall Park, NJ (Middlesex County) and a resident at Magnolia Hall, says he likes that it sits right in the middle of where all his classes are and Rowan Boulevard. He likes that convenience.

Andrew poses in front of Magnolia Hall.

Samuel Poku, a freshman Music Industry major from Old Bridge, NJ (Middlesex County), says: “The main reasons why I do like living at Chestnut are because it is a very cozy environment and quiet. Even though it is an older dorm it still has a great the environment with the people in and around it. I like the location, too, because it is between everything and easy to find everything. The Resident Assistants also do a very good job and make sure students are safe.”

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Story and photography by:
Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major and Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

First student photo courtesy of Lena Nesby

#PROFspective: Senior Theatre/Marketing Double Major Says “Try New Things … You’re Only Young Once”

Erik during an acting class monologue.

Today we speak with Erik Kattermann, a senior theatre and marketing double major with concentrations in Acting and Honors from Montville, NJ (Morris County). Erik is a Resident Assistant and lives on-campus at 114 Victoria Street. He serves as the vice president of the Fishing Club.

Erik poses against a gray backdrop.

What inspired you to be passionate about your major?

I’ve taken classes with Professor Michael Dean Morgan, a theatre professor, since sophomore year, and he’s had a huge impact on me. He really showed me theatre and he showed me that anyone can be an actor, the work that has to be put in. When Professor Morgan showed me what theatre was about, it opened doors for me and motivated me. I truly love going to every theatre class I have, no doubt about it. I love going to class and watching my classmates, who are super talented and super hard-working, perform. I love getting the opportunity to perform and be in the environment of the Rowan Theatre Department. I’m so grateful. I always take steps back and realize how blessed I am just to have this opportunity to learn about something that I really am passionate about. Rowan also helped me find that passion. In high school, I had nothing to do with the arts or theatre, or acting. Professors, classmates, and friends at Rowan helped open that door to me, and I really love it. 

What would you say to a future student interested in a major?

Definitely don’t be afraid to try. Try new things and put yourself outside of your comfort zone. I can say from personal experience that if I never put myself outside of my comfort zone that I would not be where I am today with the goals that I have today. Something like acting or theatre or performing or even just talking in front of a group of people is something where, years ago, I would have never thought I would be doing, let alone enjoy doing, and it’s all because I put myself out of my comfort zone. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get nervous at first. I still get nervous sometimes. But you’re at a time in your life when you’re young and we’re only doing this once. So just try new things, and every day, challenge yourself to do one thing that’s outside of your comfort zone. You’re going to have so much personal growth and find so many new passions and so many new journeys that you’re going to want to go on.

Erik poses in a Rowan shirt.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned this year in one of your classes?

I took a dialect class where we learn accents. This whole semester I got the opportunity to work on an Australian accent. Everybody gets to choose their own accent. I got to work on an Australian accent, which is by no means mastered. But it’s pretty good. And we also got to talk in a New York accent. And I got to listen to all my classmates do their own accents. Some people worked on French, British, Irish, and Scottish accents, among others. So that was definitely something cool I got to learn this year.

What’s one moment that made you feel like Rowan was the right fit for you?

I knew Rowan was right for me the second my parents dropped me off freshman year. I just had this overwhelming feeling of comfortability and knowledge that I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted. There is a feeling at Rowan of everyone wanting you to succeed. I immediately felt that, and I have felt it every day on and off-campus, for as long as I have been a Prof.

Eric during one of his acting class monologues.
Eric during one of his acting class monologues.

Could you share one moment that you felt that Rowan was a welcoming environment for you?

There definitely was a specific moment. I was originally just a marketing major, but then I took a theatre class. The theatre major is like nothing else. It is such a unique and diverse and connected family. Everyone knows everyone and supports everyone. Everyone makes such a big effort to get to know you as a person and to get to know your goals and make sure you feel supported and comfortable. That sense of community and family is what made me want to audition for the theatre department and become a double major. 

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

Photos provided by:
Erik Kattermann, senior theatre and marketing double major

#PROFspective: Electrical & Computer Engineering, Rowan After Hours and More

Alex standing outside James Hall in the background.

Today we feature Alexandra Jackson, a senior Electrical and Computer Engineering major who minors in Mathematics, from Marlton, NJ (Burlington County). She lives on campus and is a Resident Assistant, the treasurer of the College Diabetes Network, is involved in Out in STEM (oSTEM) and Catholic Campus Ministry. Tell us about one club, organization or […]

#PROFspective: Brett Mayer, An EMT At Rowan EMS

Brett poses next to a tree.

Today we speak with senior Law & Justice Studies and Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management double major Brett Mayer. Brett is an EMT at Rowan EMS. He also lives on campus and works as a resident assistant in the Rowan Boulevard Apartments. Brett is from Manalapan, NJ (Monmouth County). 

Brett poses next to some trees.

Are there any professors you feel are a visionary in your field? 

Definitely. Dr. Stanley Yeldell in the Law and Justice Studies department, and Dr. Demond Miller in the Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management department. They both send their students job opportunities, and, especially senior year, it is important to look at all the opportunities and try to line up jobs. They have both been big helpers with my internship. They also both gave me a lot of help along the way with helping me decide what courses I should take, and helping me maximize my education. 

What career field do you see yourself in after graduation?

As of now, I am still deciding, but I am thinking of going into the Law and Justice field and becoming a police officer, or something in emergency management. 

Brett poses in front of the student center and sits at a table.

Why did you choose your majors?

I chose my majors because of being an EMT. I knew I wanted to be in the emergency response field, whether that’s the police or EMS. I figured, I love it so much, why not study something in that field? I had an interest in it, and I was already working in the field, so I thought I might as well study it.

How do you feel that your field impacts the world? 

Especially today, a lot is going on in the world. Especially in the Law and Justice and police area specifically. The Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management side definitely impacts the world, because disasters happen all the time, and the emergency managers are the people who handle those disasters. Someone is needed to run operations when there is a disaster or big storm, and these events are always going to happen. There is not only job security, but the field has a great impact on the world. 

Brett poses against the wall of the student center.

What would you share with a future student that was interested in one of your majors? 

Get involved within the major. Law and Justice has a few clubs, one that I know of is the Criminal Justice Preparation Club. In clubs related to your major, you can meet other people in your major, discuss job opportunities. It is a great way to meet other people in your major, as well as get ready for your future. 

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

#PROFspective: Mathematics Major Alisa Patel

Alisa standing outside of Robinson Hall.

Today we feature Alisa Patel, a junior Mathematics major with a Statistics of Operations Research and Data Analysis minor. Alisa is a first-generation college student from Cedar Grove, NJ (Essex County). Alisa is a tutor through tutoring services, a resident assistant (RA) through Residential Learning & University Housing and a mentor with Dr. Harley E. […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Future Chemistry Teacher Trevor Jones

Trevor outside.

Today we feature Trevor Jones, a senior first generation college student majoring in chemistry education. Trevor transferred his junior year and is from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County). He is a resident assistant at the Nexus apartments and is involved with various clubs such as rugby, Men of Color Alliance (MOCA) and Student Organization for Caribbean […]

#PROFspective: Bio Major Alyssa Putiri Talks Campus Life, Diversity of Clubs

Alyssa standing outside.

Today we feature Alyssa Putiri, a senior Biological Sciences major with a Pre-Med concentration from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County). She is a part of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS), Pre-Health Society, Leadership Rowan (LR) and Residential Learning and University Housing (RLUH). Tell us about one club, organization or group of friends that […]

Five Reasons the Rowan Boulevard Apartments are Great

View of the Rowan Boulevard Apartments from the courtyard.

The Rowan Boulevard Apartments (RoBo) are upperclassmen dorms. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors can live there. Here are five reasons why students love living there.

1. The rooms. Quintin Stinney says he was pleasantly surprised by the size of the rooms. He is a transfer student, and he says the rooms in RoBo are larger than those at his previous college.

Erwin Lopez, another resident, loves that he, and everyone else in RoBo, is able to have their own rooms while still having the “college experience.”

Quintin poses outside of RoBo.
Quintin Stinney

2. The community. Jasmin Jones, an RA at RoBo, says the community in RoBo, especially the staff, is great. She says that RoBo probably has the most diverse group of students living on campus. Everyone always says “Hi” and holds the door for each other.

Jasmin Jones poses outside of RoBo.
Jasmin Jones

3. Living in an apartment. Jasmin also says she likes being able to live in an apartment instead of a dorm room. Jon Colon, another RA in RoBo, speaks about this further.

“I like living at RoBo because it really does encapsulate what being an adult is. Getting up in the morning, making my own breakfast, and leaving my apartment in the morning to just go outside and live my life feels so surreal,” Jon says.

Apartment living definitely feels more like being an adult rather than living in a dorm. 

Jon Colon poses outside of RoBo.
Jon Colon

4. The windows. Leeranie Vazquez loves that the window screens open up all the way. She says that this is great, especially because she lives on the first floor.

Leeranie Vazquez poses outside of RoBo.
Leeranie Vazquez

5. The proximity to Rowan Boulevard. Erwin Lopez likes that RoBo is so close to Rowan Boulevard. Jon Colon also likes that RoBo is so close to the restaurants, stores and common areas on Rowan Boulevard.

Erwin Lopez poses outside of RoBo
Erwin Lopez

Check out the Rowan Boulevard Apartments here:

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

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First Year Voices: Journalism Major Austin Ahart

Today, we speak to Austin Ahart, a freshman Journalism major who currently resides on campus in Holly Pointe Commons. Austin tells us more about his on-campus experience.

Austin posing for a picture.

How is living in Holly Pointe? 

I love Holly Pointe, it’s beautiful! 

Have you met your RA?

I have! My RA is super supportive. He’s been really awesome, to be honest. He’s helped me a lot throughout the move-in process, and he’s made me feel very welcome.

Austin posing for a picture.

What’s your favorite on-campus spot to eat?

I love eating at Chef Jet! The food is great, and to be honest, the people working there are pretty great too.

Any advice to incoming freshmen? 

Take it patiently. In terms of trying to absorb everything, I really recommend just being patient.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

Senior Marketing Major Byron P. Campbell Jr. Reflects On The Black Lives Matter Movement

Today we speak to Byron P. Campbell Jr., a senior Marketing major from Neptune, NJ (Monmouth County). He lived on campus for three years and lives off-campus this year. Byron is a first-generation college student.

Byron poses outside in a parking lot.
How have you gotten involved at Rowan?
I joined Greek life and I was a Resident Assistant for three years. I have gone to ASPIRE Leadership retreats, and I have been to Multicultural Men’s Retreats for the Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution (SJICR) office. I have also spoken on a panel about leadership at Rowan. 

What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean to you? 
BLM is an awareness of what’s been happening since the beginning. We want to be equal like everyone else. It’s always been one step forward, one step back. The protests get attention, and they get people to see what’s been happening since the beginning. 

Headshot of Byron in his graduation cap and gown.

What do you think that Rowan can do to better serve the BLM movement?
Rowan has made great strides, but there should be more free spaces to speak. There is SJICR, where people usually talk. There needs to be more spaces to talk about it. People feel a divide, and they need an opportunity to talk. There are lots of meetings, events and resources are out there, but for some reason it hasn’t translated to the students participating more. Understanding how other people feel is important. You need to understand how others feel.

What does inclusivity mean to you?
A space to talk. Some people will put you down and say all lives matter, but having your voice heard is important.

Byron sits with others at an event.

Do you feel Rowan is an inclusive environment? 
It will take a while to be more inclusive. Rowan is reactive and not preventative. Nobody speaks up and tells the right people when there is a problem, but always [does] something after the fact.

Could you share a little bit about your relationship with Vice President Richard Jones?
He has been one of the most supportive people on campus for me. I met him at my freshman orientation, when he was a speaker. I asked him my freshman year if he could take me under his wing, and he’s helped me through college. Richard Jones has been a mentor to me.

What is one of your favorite moments with a faculty/staff member or a favorite experience in one of your classes?

One favorite experience in my Intro to Marketing class with Professor Puckett was learning how marketing is used all the time, whether selling a product or service or even selling yourself for a job. That really made me want to switch my major to marketing. At the time I was an accounting major, and it was Professor Puckett who shared with me that he thought marketing would be a good fit for me. 

What is the most amazing or interesting thing you’ve learned in your major this year?

One amazing thing I learned in my major this year is all the paths I can take with a marketing major. I can be in all types of fields in the job force.

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

Photos courtesy of:
Byron P. Campbell Jr., senior marketing major

Physically Distant but Socially Strong: Luis and Nick

Luis and Nick posing in an inviting way.

Assistant resident director Luis Acevedo and resident assistant Nick Petrole share how they continue to social distance during the pandemic. Luis a senior, first-generation college student from Camden, NJ (Camden County), majors in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology. Nick is also a senior and a first-generation college student from Flemington, NJ (Hunterdon County), […]

Seniors Share How They Have Grown From Their Freshman Year Mistakes

Rowan Prof outside of Savitz Hall

Rowan seniors Stephania Bocanegra, Alexander Brown and Aaron Lee reveal how their freshmen year mistakes helped them grow into the student leaders they are today.  

Stephania Bocanegra, a Civil and Environmental Engineering major from Cape May, NJ (Cape May County), currently lives on campus as a Resident Assistant at Victoria Apartments. Stephania started off at a community college and transferred to Rowan.

“I wish I kept the work ethic I had as an honors student in high school to my first year of college,” she says. “By the time I transferred, I didn’t feel as prepared because I slacked off a bit in community college. My grades were good, but I didn’t need to work as hard. When I got to Rowan, I needed to start working harder because the classes were very different.”

Stephania quickly got into a groove at Rowan and began to flourish in the college environment. She is the Student Government Association officer for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the United Latinos Association.

Stephania poses with flowers in background.
Stephania Bocanegra

Alexander Brown is a Music Industry Business Major with minors in  Africana Studies, Music, and a Vocal Concentration. He is originally from Montego Bay, Jamaica and currently lives on campus as a Resident Assistant in Chestnut Hall. He shared that as a freshman, he didn’t take advantage of all of the extracurricular options that are available at Rowan. “I was more focused on adjusting myself to college life, so I was nervous to try too many new things. As I continued to grow, I tried to join organizations and clubs to put myself out there and get involved to meet new people,” he says.

As a senior, Alex is now the President of Profecy Acapella Club and the Treasurer of music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha.

Alexander Brown stands near Wilson Hall.
Alexander Brown

Aaron Lee is a Chemistry and Public Relations double major from Portsmouth, Virginia. “A mistake I made my freshman year was not tapping into the resources around me,” he says. “Coming out of high school, I thought I had everything figured out, so I didn’t take advantage of a lot of things. Whether that was the tutoring services or even just sitting in the library to do my work instead of my room, I assumed that I could handle things the same way I always did. But college is very different. As I got older, I grew a lot by using what’s available on campus.” 

Aaron is now the Assistant Resident Director of Evergreen and Magnolia Halls, an Orientation Leader and the President of both the Anime and Improv Clubs.

Aaron Lee in front of library columns.
Aaron Lee

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

5 Ways I’ve Gotten Involved on Campus

Loredonna on bridge.

College isn’t complete without getting involved to make campus feel like home. Here are 5 ways Loredonna Fiore, a junior Public Relations and Advertising major, did it.

1. Joining Residential Learning and University Housing (RLUH).

As a commuter during my freshman year, I didn’t know how to feel more connected to campus. A friend of mine who was an RA asked me to go to an information session to look further into the position. I applied, interviewed and thankfully got the RA position. As a sophomore, I found where I belonged on campus. I got to work with amazing student leaders, supportive professional staff and got to connect with wonderful freshman residents (shoutout to Chestnut Hall Class of 2023). I am now the Assistant Resident Director of Mimosa Hall, and I am learning and growing in this new role alongside my awesome team. RLUH has taught me the power of impact and how each of us can make a difference, big or small. 

Loredonna stands outside on campus.

2. Being an admissions ambassador. 

When I applied to be an admissions ambassador, I learned so many things about Rowan that made me love it even more. Getting to learn about Rowan’s history, all of the resources we offer and working with the professional staff was an awesome experience. I loved helping prospective students and giving them a glimpse of Rowan.  

3. Becoming an Orientation Leader. 

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, I wasn’t able to put all that I learned in PROS training to the test. I am looking forward to doing so next summer (hopefully). From what I did get to experience, I know that I am excited to go back to it. During training, I enjoyed learning about my staff and how we would operate as a team. I can’t wait to get to work with and help freshmen students. 

4. Interning with Rowan Blog. 

I was able to apply for my internship because of my Introduction to Public Relations professor. Professor Farney would always talk about real-life examples from her work with Rowan Admissions. I reached out to her in the summer to see if there were spaces available on her team, and she welcomed me with open arms. This is an awesome way to get involved on campus — using the connections you form in your classes and seeing them through to opportunities. Now, I get to meet so many great students and faculty members and expand my portfolio every week. Take advantage of these opportunities. 

5. Attending Events. 

Throughout my college experience so far, I have been able to attend events that make Rown feel like home. I love watching Rowan men’s soccer games and attending the live shows at the Bunce Black Box theatre. I also love going to the events put on by Rowan After Hours and the Student University Programmers. Some of my favorites are the Tuesday movie nights, $10,000 bingo and the food truck festival. You can meet people and have fun with your friend at these free Rowan events.

Loredonna stands outside on campus.

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

Rowan Student Leaders Alexa Bassano, Sydney Ramos and JT Kurtz Share Their Insights

Read firsthand accounts from three Rowan students who talk about the benefits of their on-campus leadership positions. 

First up is Alexa Bassano, a junior Biological Science major from Brick Township, NJ (Monmouth County). Alexa is a Resident Assistant at Mimosa Hall, a member of Rowan Emergency Medical Services and the Director of Collegiate Alumnae Engagement of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority. She explains: “Each role has benefited me in a different way. Now more than ever, people are thanking me for my service with EMS. As an RA, my residents tell me how much they appreciate me referring them to resources or just showing them where a building is. To me, those little things are just me doing my job, but that gratification reminds me I am a part of something bigger. Being involved and helping people just makes me so happy, whether it comes with a ‘thank you’ or not.”    

Lexi in front of library columns
Lexi Bassano

Next, Sydney Ramos is a junior Human Services major from East Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County). When talking about her role as a student leader, she shared her experience from the very beginning. “Overall, I have to thank Res Life for making me the leader I am today. As a freshman, I really kept to myself and didn’t explore what options were out there for me. But as soon as I found RLUH, I knew I was where I needed to be: in a family atmosphere with amazing people I really respect.” Sydney is a Resident Assistant at Mimosa Hall and a new member of the United Latinos Association

Sydney on bridge
Sydney Ramos

JT Kurtz, a senior Computer Science major from Egg Harbor Township, NJ (Atlantic County), is also heavily involved on campus. He is the Assistant Resident Director of Nexus Properties, a learning assistant for the Computer Science department, a researcher in the Psychology department, and a member of the Filipino Club. “In all of my roles, I want to be a valuable resource for the people around me,” he says. “I want to push people to be the best they can be and get them to success. By coming up with innovative ways to work and help others, I get to learn and grow every day.”

JT with tree in the back
JT Kurtz

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

#PROFspective: Meet Electrical and Computer Engineering Major Bhavik Malkani

Bhavik sits on the steps of Engineering Hall wearing a mask.

Meet Bhavik Malkani, a junior Electrical and Computer Engineering major with a minor in Systems Engineering and an Honors Concentration at Rowan University. Bhavik is a first-generation college student from Voorhees, NJ (Camden County). Bhavik is a part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Phi Kappa Psi and Honors College. Here, he shares his experience as a Prof thus far. 

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

One of the biggest organizations that made me feel like Rowan is my home is Residential Life and University Housing or RLUH. Ever since becoming a Resident Assistant (RA), I have felt like I truly have a home here. Everyone within RLUH has made me feel like family, and it was definitely one of the best decisions I have made so far in my college career.

Bhavik smiling on Engineering Hall steps.

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

I think Rowan being a welcoming environment started with orientation, along with the PROS and other orientation staff who made that experience possible. I met people who immediately made me feel welcome and am still friends with today.

What’s your favorite thing about one typical day at Rowan for you?

My favorite thing about one typical day at Rowan is being able to see my friends.

What is one thing about Rowan that was a happy surprise for you?

One thing about Rowan that was a happy surprise for me was how active campus was along with how many events are put on throughout the semesters.

Describe for us an experience you’ve shared with a professor or staff member in which you felt like they truly cared about your well-being.

I was a sophomore and concerned about my academic success as well as my choice of major. I talked to a couple professors together after class for a few weeks, and they gave me many study suggestions as well as encouraged me to stick with my current major. They showed me that I could earn my degree and be successful.

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

Junior Major Moments: Law and Justice Studies Major Matthew McGrath Talks Internships and Research Opportunities

Matt smiling and posing for a picture.

Matthew takes a selfie outdoors.

Today we feature rising senior Law and Justice Studies major Matthew McGrath. Matthew is a Resident Assistant in the Whitney Center from Middletown, NJ (Monmouth County).

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

Over the course of three years I have completed at Rowan, my favorite experience is a more recent one. During the fall semester of my junior year, I took a class called “Critical Issues in American Law Enforcement.” Dr. Evan Sorg was the instructor for this course; I had taken an introductory Law & Justice course with him during my freshman year. 

Dr. Sorg’s class relies heavily on research conducted within the criminal justice field, and I was often interested in the articles we were required to read for class. This course got me engaged in research and provided me with a more academic approach to law & justice. This past spring, Dr. Sorg reached out to me and subsequently offered me a research assistant position.

Dr. Sorg and I are currently working together in order to create a systematic review of immigration enforcement and the impact it has on crime in America. Not only is the work fulfilling, but Dr. Sorg is an awesome advisor and has definitely become one of my role models in the field of criminal justice research.

Matthew poses with some friends and with Gaten Matarazzo who plays Dustin in the hit show "Stranger Things."
Matthew poses with friends and with Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin in the hit show “Stranger Things.”

What is the most amazing or interesting ​thing you’ve learned in your major this year?

Prior to enrolling in some of the higher-level courses Rowan has to offer, I held the notion that Law & Justice relies primarily on the information presented in textbooks. This, however, is incorrect, as I have learned in Dr. Sorg’s classes as well as in other criminal justice research-oriented courses. Research is a constantly-evolving field that requires dedicated attention to detail. While others may find it to be a bit dry, I am intrigued by criminal justice research and the opportunities it may lend me moving forward.

Matthew poses in a hallway with shelves filled with glass objects.

What pre-professional experiences are helping to support your growth?

One pre-professional experience that has definitely supported my growth is an internship I completed with the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender this past spring. As a Drug Court System Navigator with the NJOPD, I had the opportunity to collaborate with over 150 Gloucester County Drug Court participants to ensure they act in accordance with probation guidelines. I was also responsible for reaching out to local businesses with the goal of providing Drug Court participants with employment as well as assisting them with essential matters including healthcare and housing.

Not only did this internship provide me with a quality professional experience that will greatly benefit me moving forward, but it was also a fulfilling position that I looked forward to every single day. I learned a significant amount during my time with the NJOPD and this experience also introduced me to the field of social work, which is something I am now considering for my future. 

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

RA and Psychology Major Jeremiah Garcia Gives 5 Pieces of Advice To Incoming Freshmen

Jeremiah poses on the stairs next to the Student Center.

Third-year Psychology major and Urban Studies minor Jeremiah Garcia recently spoke with Rowan Blog about his freshman year experience. Today, the first-generation college student from Camden, NJ (Camden County) residence assistant (RA) offers his tips to new students. 

1. When you come to Rowan, make mistakes and learn from them.Jeremiah poses on the sidewalk.

2. Recognize that you’re not alone. You get to meet new people with the same goals but different purposes.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when things are hard. During my freshman year, I felt like nobody was there, especially as a first-generation college student, and I blocked myself into a box. I realized there are resources but I was afraid to ask for help. I had a rough start, and I thought that I needed to learn everything myself. Know that it is okay not to be perfect. There are always people with knowledge that you don’t have, and they can help you. The resources Rowan has helped physically and mentally, not just academically. The Wellness Center and Rec Center are great resources too.

4. Step outside of your comfort zone and be the best version of yourself. Being involved helped me to step outside of my comfort zone.  Getting involved helped me built confidence and leadership.

5. Don’t beat yourself up if your major isn’t right for you. I wanted to go into the medical field, but I wasn’t passionate about it. I took other opportunities and decided to switch my major to Psychology. Take other opportunities, explore and see what’s right for you. 

Jeremiah poses next to a window overlooking Rowan Boulevard.

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

Photos contributed by:
Jeremiah Garcia

Julia’s Corner: Handling the Emotions on Move-in Day

a photo of julia sitting outside the Rec Center

Headshot of Julia, who is smiling and has long blond hair.Recent grad Julia McAleavey shares guidance through this advice column for incoming students. A student with well-rounded experience, Julia earned a bachelor’s in advertising this spring. She transferred to Rowan her sophomore year, after another school wasn’t a great fit. While at Rowan she started as an exploratory studies major, unsure of what to major in. She’s lived both on campus and off campus, held student worker jobs and internships, and participated in clubs and sports.

The day you’ve been waiting for since you committed to Rowan is almost here: move-in day! In short, this day is filled with a mix of emotions.

You’re excited to start college to move away for the first time. You might also be overwhelmed because of all of the stuff you have to move and the hustle and bustle happening around you. Of course, you also might be a little sad to be leaving your family, even if you don’t want to admit it.

You cannot necessarily prevent these emotions, but here are some ways to prevent stress and anxiety on move-in day.


Exterior shot of Mimosa Hall

Take your time setting up your room: You do not have to organize every single thing before your family leaves you. Have them help you bring stuff up and set up the things that you definitely will need help with. You can do the rest on your own. You are moving in a few days early, so you will still have time to adjust your room to the way you like it before classes start.

Exterior shot of a residence hall

Everyone else is in the same boat as you: This goes for your roommate, their family, everyone on your floor, the building, and every freshmen on campus. This is a brand-new experience for everyone! You are all probably overwhelmed with setting up your space. You will all miss your families and they will all miss you. 

Breathe! This is an exciting an overwhelming time for you. You might be emotionally overwhelmed, and that is okay! You will be okay! Don’t forget to pause, take a breath and remember that everything is going to be okay. 

Exterior shot of Holly Pointe Commons

Like I said, move-in day is a crazy time for everyone involved. There are so many mixed feelings about leaving home for the first time. Your journey as a Prof is about to begin! It’s a lot to take in, but keeping these things in mind will help you get through move-in day. 

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Story by:
Julia McAleavey, advertising graduate

Julia’s Corner: What to Pack and What to Leave Home

a photo of julia sitting outside the Rec Center

Move-in day is approaching quickly, and you are home making your pack list. Packing for college is an exciting time! You’re probably thinking about how you are going to decorate your room, and what color schemes you’ll want to use. It is likely though, however, that you will pack way more than you need. Remember, your living space is smaller and you may be sharing space. Here are some things that are absolutely worth packing, and some things you can probably do without. 

What to pack

Your favorite plate/bowl:  For when you want to use the microwave, these are really all you’ll need. You do not have a kitchen though, so don’t bring more than one or two.

One set of silverware: To go with the bowl and plate.

Mug: For coffee or that late night hot chocolate.

Dish soap and sponge: To clean all your things!

First aid kit: Anything can happen in college, you never know when you might need a Band Aid.

Extra set of sheets: News flash, you have to clean those. Do yourself a favor and bring an extra set so you can swap them out.

Small tool kit: Just in case something breaks or a screw needs to be tightened. 

Desk Lamp: Not all dorm rooms have overhead lighting. While window light is great, you’ll definitely need one of these. 

Command strips: To hang decor, as well as to use as hangers for clothes, towels, etc. 

Bike: Use a bike, skateboard, or roller blades to get in some outdoor time. They make it super easy to get to class easy too. 

Holly Point Commons.What to leave home

Most of your t-shirts: You’ll get free ones at campus events. Plus, you’ll find yourself wearing the same ones over and over again.

Curtains, tapestries and candles: These go against the Rowan fire code. Resident assistants will make you take them down, so leave them home.

Winter clothes: You won’t need those for a few more months. Bring your favorite jacket and a couple extra layers. If you’re close to home, you can always run back and swap winter/summer clothes.

Kitchen appliances (like a blender): Your living space is too small for these types of things. If you want a smoothie, there are places on campus you can go and use your meal plan at. Save the kitchen stuff for next year when you have a kitchen.

Excessive decorations: They’re a pain to put up and take down. You aren’t living their forever. Just pick two or three of your favorite. 

All in all, make the most of your space your first year of college. There really is no room for clutter, especially when sharing a room. Pack was it absolutely necessary, and you won’t have anything to worry about.

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Story by:
Julia McAleavey, advertising graduate

RA and Psychology Major Jeremiah Garcia Reflects on His Experience as a Rowan Freshman

Exterior shot of Evergreen Hall

Today we feature third-year Psychology major and Urban Studies minor Jeremiah Garcia. Jeremiah is a first-generation college student from Camden, NJ (Camden County). Jeremiah is also a Residence Assistant (RA) in Evergreen Hall

Psychology major Jeremiah poses outside with trees in the background.

How does being involved on campus impact your college experience?

I am an RA and I am involved in the Minority Association of Premedical Students (MAPS), and the Residence Hall Association (RHA). I was able to step outside of my comfort zone, learn leadership and confidence, and feel like I have my voice heard. As an RA I help incoming freshmen with things I had a hard time with. This has made me a better person and made me not afraid to use my voice.

How were you able to make friends on campus?

I made friends by going to the Rec Center. I was able to get my mind right at the Rec Center when things got hard and I met people there. I also met people at events, Rowan After Hours (RAH) and classes. Freshman year was competitive, but you have to be a leader in class and make study groups or say that you should get lunch together. It depends on the class, though. Some are more group-oriented than others.

Psychology major Jeremiah poses at a Rowan After Hours event.

How were you able to adjust to campus life?

I was able to adjust by getting help and using Rowan’s resources. Putting myself out there was the best way to adjust. It gave me confidence and a push to succeed. 

What does inclusivity mean to you?

Some people are different, and it is important to have inclusivity so that people can make new friends and have the same opportunities as everyone else regardless of race, gender and appearance.

Psychology major Jeremiah poses with Rowan friends.

Do you think that Rowan is inclusive?

Yes. Everyone has the opportunity to be in leadership positions, they just need to do well academically and have the confidence to earn the positions. Rowan is inclusive. 

What are you looking forward to next year?

Being on campus. I miss campus. I am also excited to get into new opportunities. I would like to try out for the baseball team and to get into an honors society.  It will be my second year as an RA and I am looking forward to the experience. I am also looking forward to taking new classes, doing well in my major and getting better grades.

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

Advice From An RA

Exterior drone photo of Chestnut Hall.

Meet Loredonna Fiore, junior Public Relations and Advertising double major with a minor in Communication Studies from Elk Township, NJ (Gloucester County). Loredonna was a Resident Assistant (RA) for Chestnut Hall this past year until COVID-19 shut down campus. She looks forward to being the Assistant Resident Director (ARD) of Mimosa Hall in the fall and shares how RA’s help students comfortably transition into college life.

Loredonna poses with a Rowan RA.
Loredonna (left) with a fellow Rowan RA.

New room, new roommate, new classes, new life! These are the paramount changes that people living on Rowan’s campus undergo when transitioning through college.

To help with life in a residence hall, your resident assistant can be a major resource for you.

To begin, resident assistants are required to host at least 5 events that residents can attend on various campus locations. The first event type is a community builder. Community building programs happen within the residence hall and are meant to unify the members of a floor/residence hall as a whole. Whether it is a gaming tournament, a self-care night, or a DIY craft party, community builders are designed to be social and fun for members of the hall.

The other event type is the Campus Community Connection programs. These programs are made in an effort to unify the students with the greater Rowan community by exposing them to Rowan-run activities or resources around campus. These include meditation classes, career fairs or even a 10,000 bingo night. 

Loredonna with other Rowan RA's.Along with programming, resident assistants are available for the students they serve on a deeper level. Once a semester, resident assistants conduct a one-on-one meeting with students. During these meetings, students will be able to discuss academics, involvement, the environment in the residence halls, overall emotional/mental health, and any other concerns the student may have. Resident assistants have a list of resources available to help direct students not only during one-on-one meetings, but at any point throughout the semester as well. 

Community meetings will also be hosted throughout the year to stimulate an ongoing conversation among residents to ensure their health, happiness, and safety. During these meetings, there will be discussions about residence hall policy, fun happenings around Rowan (programs, athletic events, live shows), and different suggestions about how students can live in harmony in a residence hall. 

Your resident assistant is basically a built-in support system and friend that Rowan gives each student. They are trained for weeks in the summer to effectively handle all different situations and to advocate for the needs of all residents. During move-in week, stop by to see your RA and begin to develop a relationship with them. As an RA, I can promise they will be delighted to meet you and get to know you throughout the school year. 

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Loredonna Fiore, junior public relations and advertising double major

#PROFspective: Biological Sciences Major Olivia Smithson

Olivia stands in a blue tank top next to a poster during a presentation.

Olivia in a garden.

Meet Olivia Smithson, a senior biological science major from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County) who is minoring in German, neuroscience and psychology.

How have you gotten involved on campus?

I work as an Assistant Resident Director (ARD) in Chestnut Hall on campus, and have been involved as an undergraduate research assistant since my freshman year. I also participated in ultimate frisbee, the pre-allied health club, and GetFIT

Describe your typical day on campus at Rowan.

My typical day at Rowan would start at 6:30 AM when I would wake up, eat a banana with peanut butter, and head to the gym by 7:00 AM. I would typically come back around 8:30 AM to shower and work on homework before class. I always have to eat before class too because I get extremely hungry super quickly! After my afternoon classes, I have office hours for my ARD position followed by dinner with friends, and then one night class. After I get back, I typically try to work on homework or fit in some volunteering as a Crisis Counselor for the Crisis Text Line. Before bed, I would give myself 30 minutes to relax and do my skin care routine and watch some funny YouTube videos (lately I’ve been into the TryGuys). I usually fall asleep around 12:00 AM, depending on how much homework I have. 

Olivia and a friend stand side by side on Bunce Green wearing matching RLUH t-shirts.
Olivia with a friend from RLUH.

What inspired you to choose your major?

I chose to major in Biological Science because my eyes are different colors, and I’ve been intrigued by genetics since I was a kid because of that. I feel that genetics is one of the most unexplored areas of science, and I knew I wanted to contribute to that field as an adult. Seeing that my older brother switched majors in college though, I wanted to keep an open mind instead of jumping into a purely pre-med concentration. I really enjoyed doing research on honey bees as an undergrad, but I definitely prefer more human-focused interactions every day! After shadowing this past summer at a few hospitals, my new goal is to attend medical school and specialize in pediatric genetics. 

Describe for us one of your favorite things you’ve learned in your major.

One of the most interesting things I learned this year was in my Data Science for Biologists class, and it was that so many researchers and advertising companies filter or alter their data to convey the message they choose. We’re used to seeing scammers employ these techniques, but huge companies like Apple have even been guilty of manipulative data visualization. The thing I love the most about this class is that we can apply data analysis techniques to any industry, not just biology. 

Describe for us a moment when you felt that Rowan was a good fit for you.bunce green at sunset.

One moment where I felt Rowan was a good fit for me was when I sat on Bunce Green to do homework for the first time in the spring of my freshman year. I always wanted to go to school somewhere beautiful, and I didn’t always think that Rowan could fit that description. I grew up nearby, and got to witness a lot of Rowan’s expansion, so I never officially toured the campus. But when I sat on Bunce Green and started getting some assignments done that day, I looked up and realized how gorgeous Rowan really is. I felt at peace, and I knew I was going to be okay for the rest of my time here. Now I routinely go to Bunce when the weather is nice, and I get to experience that feeling all over again every time I go.

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Story by: Olivia Smithson, senior biological sciences major

#PROFspective: Computing & Informatics Major Robert Brown

Robert Brown poses with Freshens rice bowl on campus.

Today’s #PROFspective features Robert Brown, a junior computing and informatics major from Bridgeton, NJ (Cumberland County), who lived in the Triad apartments until COVID-19 shut down the campus. He’s looking forward to being a resident assistant in Magnolia Hall when returning in the fall.

Robert Brown smiles for a portrait on campus.Why did you choose a university close to home? I actually commuted my first two years, which was best when it came down to cost. But now being on campus, I have the opportunity and flexibility to go home on weekends.

How do you get that “away” feeling while still being close to home? My involvement on campus has me more involved and focused on what’s going on here, so being close to home isn’t a factor when I’m busy. I make sure I’m out and exploring and discovering new things on campus when I’m here.

Where’s your favorite place to eat on campus? It’s hard to choose because everything in the Student Center is great but Freshens is always a go-to.

Robert Brown poses with a Freshens rice bowl on campus.What advice do you have for incoming freshmen or transfers? Talk to your resident assistant (RA), even if it seems intimidating. It’s their job to let you know what’s going on and how you can get involved on campus.I’d also encourage them to check out all of the Rowan After Hours events. I didn’t take advantage of them until sophomore year and wish I went from the beginning. The midnight hot bar is worth the trip. For transfers, I would suggest to reconnect with people you know already know to get a better understanding of the ins and outs of campus.

What’s the best decision you’ve made since you got to college? I don’t think I have just one. There hasn’t been just one decision that I thought was “it.” That changed everything. So many decisions have equal value that made me who I am and brought me to where I am now. They’re all important, even if it doesn’t seem that way. 

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Junior Major Moments: Professional Development Opportunities on Campus

Group photo of Chase (center) receiving a scholarship.

Today we feature Chase Campbell, an advertising major with minors in communication studies and strategic communication. Chase is a transfer student from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County). Before COVID-19 shut down campus he lived in Magnolia Hall, where he was also a resident assistant.

What is your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes? Headshot of Chase.

My favorite moment with a faculty member was when Professor Rodolico had me visit his office to discuss a scholarship opportunity. He kept pushing me to apply and I doubted that I’d even get considered. I applied for the scholarship, got the interview, and ended up being the first-ever recipient of the Philly Ad Club’s “George Beach Trailblazer Scholarship Award,” which recognizes African American students who are blazing their own trails and upholding the legacy of advertising legend, George Beach. I’ll always be grateful for the support he has given me and for helping me realize my true potential. He has made such a positive impact on my experience at Rowan University.

What is the most amazing or interesting ​thing you’ve learned in your major this year?Group Advertising Club photo.

The most interesting thing I’ve learned is how fun putting together an integrated marketing communication plan can be. Professor Schoenstein not only teaches us the fundamentals, but incorporates creativity in all of the stages. She also emphasizes the importance of detail when it comes to presenting. Small details like those are interesting to learn because once you’ve mastered the art of persuasion, it’s easy to sell an audience.

What pre-professional experiences are helping to support your growth?

I am currently the president of the Advertising Club, vice president and co-founder of the Men of Color Alliance (MOCA), and I am also a resident Group photo of the Men Of Color Alliance Club. assistant. I do have an advertising internship and I am a part of the final talent pool for the T. Howard Foundation. This organization gives college students professional work experience with major media, technology and advertising companies.

I continue to read up on how to enhance my knowledge on the field and attend career advancement events when I can. Getting involved with organizations and events like these, you have the opportunity to network, plan events, improve existing skills and learn new ones in the process.

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Senior Reflects: PR Grad Jasmine Dennis Shares Her Favorite Rowan Memories

Exterior shot of Holly Pointe Commons, where Jasmine Dennis was a resident assistant

Today we feature Jasmine Dennis, a 2020 graduate who earned her degree in Public Relations with minors in Communication Studies and Strategic Communication. Jasmine is from Sayreville, NJ (Middlesex County), and lived on campus all four years.

The experiences and memories I’ve made at Rowan will last a lifetime. To begin a new life in an unknown place felt overwhelming at first, but looking back now I’m truly grateful I attended an amazing university that helped me to evolve as a person. Rowan became my home away from home.

I want to thank my parents and sister because they’ve been an incredible support through this whole process. Next, thank you to all of my friends for the endless support and memories. Lastly, thank you to everyone else who’s supported me along the way, it means the world.

Exterior shot of public relations major Jasmine Dennis

I’m proud to say I have achieved many of my goals in a such a short period of time here. To name a few, my junior year I was selected for the Resident Assistant position at Holly Pointe Commons. Later in my junior year, I was awarded the Silver Certification Leadership award. My favorite part about being in a leadership position was serving as a role model and helping others.

Next, the fall of my senior year, I attended the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference trip to San Diego, California with the Rowan PRSSA chapter. This was my first real business trip, and I made great connections, gaining helpful insight about the real world. By the end of the fall of my senior year I was sworn into Rowan’s PRSSA chapter. Finally, in the fall of my senior year, I landed two on-campus jobs and completed an internship at a PR firm located in Marlton, NJ.

Exterior shot of Jasmine Dennis at home.

I loved being active at Rowan, and it was truly the best thing I could have done. Each opportunity built on and prepared me for the next one. Rowan helped me to step outside my comfort zone and gain exposure to a large variety of rewarding experiences.

One of my favorite things about Rowan was its ability to provide what feels like an endless number of social events. Rowan goes above and beyond to offer a variety of opportunities and engaging, hands-on activities.

Thank you, Rowan, for an incredible journey. I’m looking forward to the next chapter that awaits. Congrats to all of the class of 2020, and best of luck to everyone! The world is yours.

Group photo of Jasmine Dennis with her family.

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Senior #PROFspective: Serving Others & Finding Self

Justin posing on campus.Today we feature Justin Roldan, a graduating biochemistry major from Galloway, NJ (Atlantic County), who is a first generation college student. Justin lived on campus, as a resident assistant at Rowan Boulevard Apartments.

On-campus Clubs: Alpha Phi Omega (APO) and Rowan University Philippine American Coalition (RUPAC)

Could you share with one happy moment you had with friends, professors or other members of the Rowan community that made you realize Rowan felt like “home”? Alpha Phi Omega is one organization that helped me turn Rowan into a house from a home. As a co-ed service fraternity, I joined for the service, but I stayed for the people. I became a brother in Spring ’17, and I can truly say every experience through the organization has been transformative. Every brother I met became a friendly face that I had the pleasure of getting to know, and these same brothers I met inspired me to hold two Vice President positions, and eventually become President. Completing service projects and being selfless for others releases all those feel-good hormones in your body, but completing them with people you care about truly spikes your serotonin levels.

Justin posing with pumpkins.Could you share a moment you’ve experienced in which you have felt that Rowan is a welcoming environment for you? As transformative as APO has been for me, it was RUPAC that first showed me how welcoming the Rowan community can be. Just like any freshman looking to get involved, I reflected on interests and hobbies I hold close to my identity. Luckily, I came across a flyer in Science Hall advertising RUPAC’s first general body meeting; as a Filipino-American that hasn’t ventured too deep into his Filipino identity, this was a perfect opportunity to do just that.

When I arrived at the meeting, I was met with a room full of people that looked just like me, exuding bundles of energy and warm welcomings. They had just met me, but they showed genuine interest in getting to know me almost instantly. Thanks to them, I found a pamilya (family) that I can rely on for just about anything.

What is your favorite thing to do on a typical Thursday? Before the pandemic ensued, my absolute favorite thing to do on my typical Thursday was volunteering through Rowan’s Get FIT program. As a pre-Occupational Therapy student, this program helped get my feet wet for the profession. This program brings in young adults with cognitive and physical disabilities seeking to enhance their physical well-being through exercise. The young adults can even work out with their family members as well. During my short time in the program, I had the pleasure of being paired with a nonverbal client that brought joy to my face whenever we met. Seeing him smile from exercises I taught him brought me happiness, and helped reassure me that I was making the right career choice for future.

What is one thing about Rowan that was a happy surprise for you? Coming to Rowan, one happy surprise was realizing how close the campus is to Philly. It was an even better surprise when I learned that Rowan has a free shuttle to Philly every Friday. This allowed me to venture into the city just about every other weekend, learning about different neighborhoods and people of the city. Through different networking opportunities offered by RUPAC, I met incredible people from the Filipino clubs of Philly schools. Ultimately, it was these networking opportunities that helped me decide on attending University of the Sciences in Philadelphia to earn my master’s in Occupational Therapy this upcoming May.

Justin in the city.

Describe for us an experience you’ve shared with a professor or staff member in which you felt like they truly cared about your wellbeing. In my third and final year on staff with ResLife, my Resident Director, Bri Vogel, made me feel as though someone truly cared about my wellbeing. As RAs, we have biweekly one-on-one meetings with our Resident Director. These meetings turned into free therapy sessions between Bri and I; she fostered an environment in which we were comfortable sharing personal details about our lives both in and outside of ResLife. Bri was an integral part of my journey in coming to terms with my suffering mental health, and I can’t thank her enough for encouraging me to start counseling through the Wellness Center. When people say that some of the biggest lessons you learn from college come from outside of the classroom, I feel like this small snippet of my four years at Rowan is a true testament to that.

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Story by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major

You Vape Bro? Big Tobacco is Still Targeting You!

Mariana Cardenas poses inside the Chamberlain Student Center.

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

Mariana Cardenas poses in the Campbell Library.Meet Mariana Cardenas, senior Psychology major from Dumont, NJ (Bergen County). She shares: “People know the harmful effects of cigarettes [but] do not realize that vape companies are using the same tactics. Companies like Juul market their products by claiming that their products are the healthier alternative.”

We are the generation that grew up knowing the dangers of cigarettes. We were shown the pictures of tarred lungs and videos of people talking like robots because they lost their voice box. We grew up knowing that the cigarette companies are evil. Well, the same CEOs who targeted at-risk populations now have their hands in vapes and e-cigarettes. 

K.C. Crosthwaite replaced the former chief executive of JUUL Labs. He was a top official at Altria, which is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco and cigarettes. Crosthwaite is taking the same tactics that cigarette companies use to profit off of people without regard to their well-being to the vape world. 

Cigarette companies had fruity-flavored products that targeted young people until 2009, when they were made illegal. Who do we know now that has fruity-flavored products? 

There were celebrities who were paid by cigarette companies to endorse their products in magazine ads. These ads were a way to glamorize cigarettes in the same way artists are seen hitting vapes in music videos. 

There is a current epidemic of underage people smoking and dying of lung disease. The blame is put on the kids who don’t know what they are putting into their bodies and not on the vape companies that know exactly what is going into their products. People put the fault on kids for being addicted and not on vape CEOs who advertise their products to a population that is proven to be impulsive and at risk of addiction.

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Story by:
Mariana Cardenas, senior psychology major, Wellness Center intern

Photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major

References:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/health/juul-vaping.htmlhttps://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/tobacco/reports-resources/sotc/by-the-numbers/10-really-bad-things-the.html (paywall)

5 Financial Tips to Help You Graduate Debt Free

Scattered dollar bills.

This spring, I will graduate with no college loan debt, but I was kind of dealt the financial aid jackpot when I applied for college. I live with a single mom who had two other kids in college. Due to my situation, I was eligible for multiple grants and scholarships at any college I picked.

Public relations major Maria Mancini at her Glassboro home
Public relations major Maria Mancini will graduate this spring debt free.

Although I got a lot of help through financial aid, here are some tips for high school and college students for saving money and graduating debt free. 

  • Take advantage of high school classes that can earn you college credits.

In high school I was able to take advanced placement (AP) courses such as AP calculus AB and BC. At the end of the marking period, I then took AP tests to earn college credit for those classes. Taking advantage of these classes allowed me to graduate with a whole semester worth of college credits.

There was also a course called High School Option. This meant you had a period or two free, but you attended a college course at your local community college. Both of these options allow high school students to receive college credits at low costs. Now, there are even more opportunities for high school students to receive college credits. My cousin attended GCIT, where she graduated with almost a full year of college finished. 

  • Apply for grants and scholarships and don’t miss the deadlines.

Another way to lessen your student debt is to apply to all grants and scholarships that are available to you. Local businesses and organizations in my town gave out scholarships to high school students. I was able to take advantage of these and although it may not have been tens of thousands of dollars, I was able to use that scholarship money and pay for books for two years of college.

Each state also gives out grants and financial aid, but there are deadlines for both of these. It is very important that you do not miss these deadlines. Missing these deadlines can result in you not getting the full financial aid you are eligible for. 

  • Consider going to your community college for 2 years. 

While you may not get the full college experience, going to community college allows you to finish your first 2 years of college at a third of the cost, possibly even less. Going to a community college cuts down the cost because you only pay for the classes that you are taking. You don’t have to pay for room and board, a meal plan or all the additional expenses that a 4-year college charges you. Attending a community college also allows you to work part time or possibly full time. This can help you pay out of pocket for your classes you are taking or it will give you an income to help save money for when you transfer to a 4-year college. Either way, attending a community college will help you cut expenses and college costs in the long run.  

  • Create a budget and stick to it!

The first step to creating a budget is calculating all of your monthly expenses. This means going through your bank statements and receipts and figuring out how much you spend and what you spend it on each month. Next, calculate your monthly income. Once this is all determined, you can figure out how much money you are left with each month. In order to save or pay off debt, you must create a budget. It can be to save $100 every week or $200 a month. Whatever you determine your budget will be, it is important to stick to it!

  • Apply for a work-study or to be an RA.

Another option for college students is applying for a work-study on campus or applying to become a resident assistant (RA). Work studies are a great way to gain experience with on-campus jobs and can also connect you with a lot of resourceful connections for after you graduate. R.A’s get free housing, but also a lot of responsibility that may leave you not gaining the full college experience, if that is what you are looking for. Both of these options allow college students to lessen the cost of college or allow you to make money while attending college. 

Using these 5 tips can help you towards graduating with little to no debt. 

Public relations senior Maria Mancini at her home

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Story by:
Maria Mancini, senior public relations major

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As We Evolve, So Does Our Music

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.

Allegra sits on the second floor of the Campbell Library.Meet Allegra Giannini, junior English major, from South Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County.) Allegra wrote this article to connect the Rowan community. She shares, “I wrote this piece on music because I feel that music is a universal thing that connects humans together. From the meme in Bee Movie where he asks, “Ya like jazz?” music never fails to be a talking point. I’ve met countless people who have said music has saved their lives or impacted them in an equally large way. Ask practically anyone who their favorite musical artist is, and you see their eyes light up. It’s one of my favorite things because it makes me happy to see people talk so passionately about something. My article talks about how normal it is to let music have an impact on you. How it’s been clinically proven that the right music can decrease anxiety and simultaneously elevate your mood. It’s an important, yet overlooked part of our lives. But it’s a discussion worth having.”

Music has been around since the dawn of time. It began most likely with a rhythmic beating of rocks against a hard surface, and humming, to downloading a music program and mixing sounds with a keyboard. One easy way to study societal evolution is by exploring the wide range of music. Most people on this planet have a type in music. The answers often heard range from rock, indie, rap, R&B, the list is endless. One interesting question though, is what makes people have a taste? Do people tend to enjoy music they’ve grown up on? Or is it scientifically speaking people’s neurological reactions to the aesthetic sounds created. Perhaps both answers are true, but maybe there is one more. The other answer would be where one is developmentally influences the kind of music they listen to. Not just because of rhythm or melody, but perhaps because of the lyrics. 

What do people most remember about songs? Everyone has done that thing where they try to look up a song in Google, but can’t remember the title so they either type in the rhythm which looks something like, “that song that goes dum da dee dum.” Or they Google a snippet of the lyrics, they may Google, “Same as it ever was” and learn the song they were looking for is “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads. Whatever the case may be, they Google the lyrics that stuck out to them the most, the ones they resonate with. Maybe the lyric “same as it ever was” perfectly describes how they feel on the inside. Those lyrics hit home, they mean something to them. 

If people correlate how their lives are going with songs, they may find that they gravitate towards artists, albums or songs they feel perfectly encapsulates how they are mentally feeling, or brings up a memory. An article written by Nancy Shute for NPR from September 2013 said, “Music is a powerful cue for retrieving strong personal memories — when you kissed that girl at summer camp; the blue polka-dot dress you wore to prom; how lonely you were freshman year.” (Shute, npr.org)

That article may be from 7 years ago, but the message still stands. Music is a lot more powerful than some give it credit. Hearing a song can change someone’s mood instantaneously. It is important that it’s power is embraced. So, when the going gets tough, it’s a good idea to put on a song. Make a “Happy Times” playlist, or even a “Rad and Sad” playlist. Sometimes listening to the songs that bring on the tears is just as healthy. What’s most important is embracing the effect music has on one’s personality.

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Story by:
Allegra Giannini, junior English major, Wellness Center intern

Photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major

#PROFspective: DJ and Resident Assistant JT Kurtz

JT poses in front of Chestnut Hall.

Name: JT Kurtz,JT poses in front of Chestnut Hall with his laptop and headphones.
Year: Junior
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Egg Harbor Township, NJ (Atlantic County)
On campus resident or commuter: I am a resident assistant in Chestnut Hall

First-generation college student? Yes

Academic or social clubs you are a part of: I am a part of Rowan University Philippine American Coalition (RUPAC), I do research for the psychology department and College of Business, I am a learning assistant for Introduction to Computer Science, and I oversee the computer science learning community.

What inspired you to choose your major? I aspire to be a full-stack developer, which is a person who has the ability to design and develop both the front-end and back-end of a software program.

What would you share with a future student interested in your major?
Persevere. Going into computer science is challenging, but very rewarding. When you see results, you will recognize the work you put in, and it is a lot of work. Rowan’s Computer Science department has so many opportunities. There are so many internships, jobs and co-op program opportunities. Also, be independent, but don’t be afraid to ask people for help.

Did you ever have a moment of uncertainty within your major? How did you get through the challenge? I can’t pinpoint a certain moment, but there come times where you really can’t figure things out and it gets tough. I got through it by having my RA staff around and being honest with them. JT and his friend are working on homework.They were motivational. Listening to music and getting in the zone helps. I learned to not be afraid to ask for help from some of my computer science major friends, then that translated into feeling comfortable asking for help from professors. 

Tell us about one moment that made you feel like Rowan was the right fit for you. When I first stepped on campus, I felt at home. Rowan isn’t too big, or too small. It felt just right. During orientation, Professor Jack Myers really hyped up computer science, which motivated and influenced me to pursue my degree. He got me excited about the major and made me feel like computer science was what I wanted to do with my life. I also knew Rowan had the tools to help me go far.

How has DJing impacted your experience at Rowan and vice versa? I love to DJ. I DJ for on campus events, formals, and I also outsource to otherJT is DJing at an event. universities. When I outsource to other universities and in the outside world, I am representing Rowan. Being an RA has made me more confident and comfortable, as well as increases my interpersonal skills. These qualities are transferrable to my DJing. Both jobs have also taught me how to be adaptable and make people feel welcome. Also, DJing has helped me make many connections, and being an RA people reach out to me to DJ their events. 

How will being a DJ and an RA affect your future career? Both jobs go back to the fact that I love technology and helping others. My goal to be a full-stack developer is to help people, and both jobs allow me to help others in different ways. For example, as an RA, I was able to redesign the duty system for housing. The system made scheduling a lot easier for everyone. Being a DJ, if a party or event is dying and starting to become slow, I rescue it and bring the event back to a party level. 

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Story and photography by:

Rachel Rumsby, freshman communication studies and public relations double major
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Exploratory Studies Student: Allison Cespedes

student Allison outside of cherry blossom tree in Rowan hoodie

Meet Allison Cespedes, who started off her Rowan experience as an exploratory studies major and discovered her interest in pre-med.

Allison sitting outside in a Rowan hoodie

“Hello! I’m Allison Cespedes, a first-generation college student who is a senior psychology major on a pre-med track with an honors concentration. I am from Bridgewater, NJ (Somerset County) and have lived on campus all four years.

I’ve been a resident assistant and a student admissions ambassador for the past two years now and currently I am a resident assistant for the Whitney Center. I began my college career as an Exploratory Studies major after I took a career course during the summer, before coming into the fall semester. Starting off as this major gave me a good idea as to what I wanted to study for the rest of my time at Rowan.”

Allison wearing Rowan hoodie sitting on bench outside of Bunce

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Photography by:
Vanessa Vause, senior public relations and theatre major

#PROFspective: Translational Biomedical Science Major Zachary Padron

Your Name: Zachary PadronYour Major: Translation Biomedical ScienceYour Minors: Bantivoglio Honors Concentration in the Honors College, Pre-Medical Minor, Neuroscience Minor, and Ethics Certificate of Undergraduate StudyYour Year: JuniorHometown and County: Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County)Resident: Yes, I live as a Resident Assistant in the Townhouse ComplexAcademic Organizations: American Physician Scientist Association (Research Chair Executive Board Member)Social Clubs: President of Colleges Against Cancer and Chi Alpha Christian FellowshipOn-Campus Employment: Resident Assistant for the Townhouse ComplexOff-Campus Employment: Research Assistant in the Neuroscience Research Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia […]

#PROFspective: International Student Gatha Adhikari

Today, we speak with Gatha Adhikari, a sophomore biomedical engineering major from Begnas Tal, Pokhara (Nepal), who lives at Holly Pointe Commons as a Resident Assistant. Gatha will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be an international Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.

How is Rowan welcoming to you? During the Flying First Symposium by Rowan’s Flying First Task Force for first generation college students, I was invited to speak on the panel to Gatha Adhikari posing in front of her Resident Assistant sign in Holly Pointe Commons.share my journey. To see the first generation alums and get their support made me feel welcomed and a sense of belonging.

Could you tell us a little bit about being a first generation college student? My family is back home in a small village in Nepal and were supportive to let me come here for my studies. Being first-gen is a point of pride in itself, but is also a big struggle. As a first-gen student, I am able to accomplish the dreams of my parents and inspire my community. I affirm for the young ones that they can live their dreams and achieve immense opportunities. Gatha Adhikari mixing a solution in the Science Hall.

Tell us a little bit about the sacrifice that you and your family has made in order to make college a reality for you.  My family and community have made a big emotional sacrifice to let me come to this foreign land and study while my other friends got married without finishing their education. While my family could have kept me home to assist them with their agriculture, they decided to let me fly away and be independent, which means a lot to me. I have left behind my friends and family who are very close to my heart, my traditions and festivities behind and work days and nights to make college a reality.

How do you feel your family will feel when they watch you walkGatha Adhikari posing in the first floor in Engineering Hall. across that graduation stage? I can imagine the tears of joy in the eyes of both my parents and brother when I finish my degree and graduate. They have dedicated their love and sacrificed so much to make it happen. My parents’ goal in life will be fulfilled when they see my accomplishments. My graduation ceremony will mean a lot.

What organization is most meaningful to you on campus? I work as a Resident Assistant (RA) for the Residential Learning and University Housing which means a lot to me. As a team, we strive to build communities within Rowan’s campus to provide the best possible residential life experience to Rowan students so they can find a home away from home here. The residents I lead are a part of an engineering learning community in Holly Pointe Commons

Gatha Adhikari handing a beaker to her professor in Science Hall.

Tell us about your transition into college and how you pushed through any challenges. Leaving everyone I knew and my home country behind when coming to Rowan has been a challenging journey. I have faced numerous obstacles along the way including financial difficulty, as I don’t get any financial aid for being an international student and it is hard to find scholarships I am eligible to apply for. I still have this problem, but I work hard, work on-campus and apply to every scholarship I can.

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Story and photography by: Alyssa Bauer, junior public relations major

It’s Who You Know: Management Information Systems Major Lands Internship

Serving as a volunteer peer mentor for the Dr. Harley E. Flack Student Mentoring Program opened the door for  Management Information Systems (MIS) major Steven Brito to land an exciting internship in his desired field, beginning early in his junior year. With his internship, which is on campus within the web services portion of the Office of […]

#PROFspective: Physics Major Nabil Jamhour

Nabil walks down the stairs in James Hall at Rowan University

Today, we speak with Nabil Jamhour, a junior physics major from Clifton (Passaic County), NJ, who lives on campus in Mimosa Hall. Nabil will share his #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how he’s getting the most out of his college experience as a Rowan Prof. Name: Nabil […]

Roommates Reflect: Living with your Best Friend from High School

orange gray and white Holly Pointe Commons at Rowan University with Glassboro water tower in view

Sophomore engineering majors Nick Cooper and Mark Hausman reflect on their experience as roommates in Holly Pointe Commons during their freshman year at Rowan. They were best friends throughout high school and took the risk living together in college, and made some great memories! They now live down the hall from each other at the […]

5 Things I Wish My Residents Knew: An RA Perspective

As I continue to move through my senior year at Rowan, I find myself reflecting on my experience as a resident assistant on campus. Working in the position for three years, I’ve seen how residents’ concerns and problems evolve throughout the year. In the beginning, most express concern over their living environments. But as the […]

#PROFspective: Management Information Systems Major Steven Brito

Today, we speak with Steven Brito, a junior management information systems major from Plainfield (Union County), NJ, who lives on campus in Triad Apartments. Steven will share his #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how he’s getting the most out of his college experience as a Rowan […]

Inside Look, Chestnut Hall: Door Decs and Good Friends

brick exterior and white columns of Chestnut, with brown and yellow flags

One of the first images that probably comes to mind when students think of Rowan is the scenic outside of Chestnut Hall. With its elegant columns and vibrant brick walls, it is definitely a place on campus to admire. But what makes it even more special are the residents that live there. Sophomore Laura Colandrea, […]

#PROFspective: Psychology and Sociology Major Jeraca Marsh

Jereca sitting on Rowan University brick sign outside of Holly Pointe

Today, we speak with Jeraca Marsh, a senior psychology and sociology major from Burlington City (Burlington County), NJ, who resides on campus in Holly Pointe Commons. Jeraca will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a […]

#PROFspective PROS Edition: Chemical Engineering Major Steven Schwartz

hands up in front of Holly Pointe

Today, we speak with Steven Schwartz, a senior chemical engineering major from Manahawkin, NJ, who resides on campus in Holly Pointe Commons as a resident assistant. Steven will give us insight on his career as being a member of Rowan PROS and will share his #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University […]

#PROFspective Spanish; Secondary Education; Modern Languages and Linguistics Major Christina Terry

student outside international building

Today we speak with Christina Terry, a senior Spanish, secondary education and modern languages and linguistics triple major from Voorhees, Camden County, who lives on campus as an resident assistant in the International House. She will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college […]

#PROFspective: Psychological Science & Africana Studies Major Falisha Lormejuste

student poses at science center

Today we speak with Falisha Lormejuste, a sophomore psychological science and Africana studies double major from Rahway, Union County, who lives in residence hall Mimosa. Falisha will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a […]

#PROFspective: Biomedical Engineering Major Shanna Davidson

Student stands in front of dorms

Today we speak with Shanna Davidson, a junior biomedical engineering major from Pretoria, South Africa, who lives on campus in residence hall Laurel Hall. Shanna will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan […]