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

Mackenzie Saber dancing with a partner inside of Esby Gym

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madelynn smiles at the camera.

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

Dance & Elementary Education Major Gets Ahead Through Summer Classes

Dramatic lighting on Jordyn's back during a performance.

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

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

Mark wears his graduation gown for a close up portrait.

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

Beyond the Classroom: Marketing Major Josh Echandia Talks Sales Internship with CobbleStone Software

Today we speak with Josh Echandia, a senior Marketing major from West Creek, NJ (Ocean County). Josh switched from an Education major to Marketing at the end of his sophomore year. Within the last semester, Josh worked as a Marketing Intern for CobbleStone Software, a contract management software company. He also works full-time as a sales representative for Best Buy. He discusses his decision to switch majors, his internship experience and how working in the field cultivated a love of marketing and sales. 

Why did you choose Rowan to study Marketing?  

I originally came to Rowan to be an Education major focusing on the Math Education route. That just ended up not working out for me because I did not really enjoy it. After about a year, I switched to Physical Education and then after another semester, I switched to Marketing. I had already been working at Best Buy for a couple years prior to going to Rowan, so I was already in the sales field a little bit; I thought marketing would be a good fit. I loved Rowan as a whole, so I didn’t really care what my major was. As long as I was still a student here, I knew I was going to be happy. 

What are your future plans and what is your dream job for working as a marketing major?

After gaining some experience in the business field, I discovered that I really liked the sales aspect of things. Whether that is business-to-business or business-to-consumer sales, I would love to try at all. I’m really not set on one specific job title or position. 

Marketing is a big part of sales. Within the field, you must be able to advertise what you’re selling and target what market you’re striving for. That all plays a massive role in the sales world. I know that I want to incorporate what I’ve learned in marketing and couple it with sales.

Josh Echandia.
Josh Echandia

How did you seek out the internship opportunity for Cobblestone Software? 

I went to networking events at Rowan. They were so cool. I loved talking to all the different companies there and learning about the various opportunities you could have. The first internship that I actually applied for was CobbleStone Software. They stood out to me because they were in the technology field. So I decided to apply, and it worked out well.

What did you learn from interning at CobbleStone Software? Can you talk about the pros and cons for working hybrid?

I’ve been working full-time on top of being a student since I got into college, but going from regular retail work to an internship was a change of pace. Working for CobbleStone Software made me slow down and think about applying what I’ve learned in class to what I’m doing in a real-life professional setting.

Being in a hybrid setting helped because when I started the internship, I was in the office three days a week, and on two of those days, I had class right after work. So I felt like I was always running from work to class. Once I adjusted to the hybrid setting, it made my life much easier because I could work from home comfortably. I already had a desktop setup, so it just worked out perfectly.

After transitioning to a hybrid schedule, I was able to get to class on time, and I was able to eat in between. I was truly able to structure my day around my work and school obligations.

What was your role at this internship, and what did you do on a daily basis? 

As a sales and marketing intern, we were responsible for making pre-calls for our sales advisors. Essentially, we were calling to see if they were interested or open to the market for the software we provided, just contract management, sorting contracts and auto-billing contracts. We were trying to sell our service and our software to other companies.

It was very interesting. And there were a lot of companies that I never would’ve thought they were working with, like [a local grocery story chain], for example. So it was interesting to see how real-life applications work in these settings.

What were some of your biggest challenges that you faced as a Cobblestone Software?

CobbleStone Software was very helpful in the whole process of becoming an intern and going through my day-to-day. My biggest struggle was adjusting to an office setting rather than making in-person sales connections.

Because I’m very personable, I think one of my most significant assets includes communicating with people in person. So being over the phone was a little challenging to get used to. Beyond that, everything was easy to adapt to, and CobbleStone made it very easy to adjust. So I would say the biggest struggle for me was just the change of pace and change of setting.

What was your biggest takeaway from Cobblestone Software? What was the best thing you think you’ve learned that you will be able to utilize in your future endeavors?

This response is more general, but internships teach you what real-life business is about and whether you want to be in specific fields or not. Without being so broad, I realized that CobbleStone taught me about employee engagement and employee appreciation.

Our software is not an easy thing to learn. And it was tough for a lot of us when we first onboarded to pick it up. However, the leadership team and all the people above us made the transition much more manageable. And through that, they gave us a lot of employee appreciation and were extremely curious about taking feedback from us. They made it apparent that we were at the forefront of many of their decisions. It made me feel appreciated and heard.

Do you have any advice for sticking out during the application and interview process of applying for internships?

One thing that I never really paid attention to until I started my junior year was the resources that Rowan offers their students. Especially within the College of Business, there are so many resources for you to be successful, and the only way to get those resources to the full extent is to apply yourself to them. Make sure you attend networking events, even if it’s not a class requirement, because you may find your next potential boss. Networking is key.

You may find some of the best friends through these networking events, too. It is essential to take advantage of what the school is providing you. Not only is it making the most of your tuition cost, but it’s also making the most out of your experience. Being engaged with your professors and being involved with the clubs associated with your major are ways to make the most out of your college experience and prepare you for your future.

Josh smiles whiles walking down a stairwell inside Business Hall.

How has your experience working at Best Buy and being active at Rowan in various social and athletic clubs helped prepare you and develop your skills for your professional endeavors?

My experiences within Best Buy and the social and athletic clubs at Rowan all help me develop skills and qualities that will only benefit me in my professional life. For example, being the President of the Wrestling Club opened my eyes to being a leader in general. With Best Buy, I was in management; this gave me a little bit of retail management experience.

Being the president of a club kind of opens you up to many different things, like the structure of leadership, balancing tasks, and even time management. For example, I have to delegate to my e-board certain things that must be done within the club. Everything I have learned from my job at Best Buy and my experiences made available by Rowan can efficiently be utilized in my future.

Did you experience any unexpected parts associated with your major? 

So I started to piece together many connections between education and marketing. It was kind of weird because when I went into marketing, I went in with a sales-person mindset. And for me, education was just another form of selling; instead of selling products and services, it is like you are selling information.

I didn’t know how much depth and development there was in marketing — targeting different markets and being able to adapt to various market changes like that. So I never really thought about it. And that was not only interesting for me to see, it [showed] how I wanted to learn through marketing and what I could do with it afterward.

Josh sits holding two business textbooks and smiling inside Business Hall.

What was your favorite part of your major so far? 

Honestly, my favorite part was being able to learn and now utilize Canva. Canva is an application like an Instagram editor or a video editor, and it is pretty cool to make custom logos through. It’s pretty much a design portfolio that you can use online. And we were taught to use it for different projects and assignments and marketing principles, and it is a tool I have been using ever since I started learning about it. I utilize it for the Wrestling Club, my accounts and professionally. 

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

Photos by: 
Ashley Craven, junior radio/TV/film major

Applying Different Learning Styles

Suzie poses against a tree.

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. Learning doesn’t have to be rote memorization of facts, theories and explanations. One way of improving learning while reducing stress is employing different learning […]

Rowan Alumnus and Band Director Mike Massaro on Music Education

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

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

Where did your passion for music stem from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did you choose Rowan for music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is sitting in a tree playing the saxophone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A side profile picture of Mike sitting and talking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is smiling and holding his saxophone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is smiling while holding his saxophone

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is sitting and looking off right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch our video feature of Mike here:

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Story by:
Jada Johnson, political science major

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

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

Image of prof statue near Robinson and James Halls.

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

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

Mariah holds an apple while standing outside on campus.

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

ICYMI: Rowan University Dance Team Ranked Fifth in Nation

Group photo of Rowan Dance Team at Nationals.

This year, the Rowan University Dance Team competed at the Universal Dance Association (UDA) Nationals in Florida, where the team placed fifth in the Open Division Hip Hop category. Here, members of the Dance Team reflect on their time at the competition and talk about their dynamic as a team. 

What makes the Rowan Dance team different? 

Jordyn Dauter, a first-year Dance & Exercise Science from Quakertown, Pennsylvania says: “Everyone on the team has something unique to offer, whether that is something specifically to dance, or other elements like attitude or leadership skills. We all have something special to offer, which makes our team diverse.”

Teammate Amber Schott, a junior Psychology major from Bayville, NJ (Ocean County), adds, “Definitely the dynamic of the team. I made my best friends here at Rowan through this team and I always feel super supported and encouraged in reaching my dance goals.”

Rowan Dance Team outside at the Florida competition.

Senior Kaya Snow, a double major in Dance and Theatre Arts with concentrations in Acting and Musical Theatre from Oak Ridge, NJ (Passaic County), says, “We’ve really gone through some huge changes in the last few years and we’ve come out stronger through it all. I’m so glad that we decided to pursue UDA Camp and Nationals my sophomore year because it really has changed the entire dynamic of the team for the better.”

Kristin Mostrangeli, a sophomore Psychology major from Hamilton, NJ, (Mercer County) puts it simply: “Since we get to spend so much time together, we really become so close with each other as a team.”

Dance team outside

What is your most memorable memory with the team?

Junior Inclusive Elementary Education Bianca Moffa from Maple Shade, NJ (Burlington County), shares, “Hearing our university get called as a finalist qualifier will definitely be a core memory for sure. I am so proud to be a member of this team and to see all our hard work pay off by becoming 5th in the Nation in Hip Hop.”

Do you have a Rowan University or Dance Team experience you’d like to share?

Nicholette Voci, a junior Law & Justice and Psychology double major from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County), says that “being able to dance at football games, volunteer events, and be in Florida with my best friends is the best experience anyone could ever have in college.”

Sophomore Sociology major Taryn Larsen from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County), reflects on her time with the Rowan Dance Team by saying “it is the perfect mix of practice each week, meeting new friends and performing.”

A member of the Rowan Dance Team smiles at Nationals.

How was your experience at Nationals 2022?

Reflecting on her experience, Mia Tabasco, a first-year Sociology student from Haddon Township, NJ (Camden County), says, “It was so incredible. I’ve been dreaming of going to UDA for the longest time and I’m so proud of our team for making finals. We’re a new team and we made our names known.”

Sophomore Exercise Science major Adrianna Laezza from Monroe Township, NJ (Middlesex County), shares that the journey to the UDA National competition was a big deal to her. “It was the best feeling in the world to perform on stage again. I got to compete at UDA which was a dream I have had since I was 12 years old.”

Valentina Giannattasio, a first-year double major in Dance and Marketing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, says, “It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I still cannot believe we performed there with all those astonishing dancers. I am proud of how far we have gone. Now we are Top 5 in the nation for Hip Hop!”

Dance team performing

What is the best part of being a member of Rowan University Dance Team?

Alyssa McAvoy, a sophomore Music Industry Technology and Business major from Shrewsbury, NJ (Monmouth County), says, “I love that I am still able to dance in college and the friends I have made through being on the team!” 

Junior Engineering Entrepreneurship major Isabel Rivera from Flemington, NJ (Hunterdon County), puts it simply. She says, “The best part about being a member of the Rowan University Dance Team is “being surrounded by people who will motivate you no matter what.”

First-year Spanish Education major Lily Cummings from Pittsgrove, NJ (Salem County), reflects on her first year on the Rowan Dance Team by saying, “It allows me to grow in my ability as a dancer and dance throughout college without it having to take up my whole life. It also provides so many exciting and memorable experiences along with amazing new friendships.” 

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

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

Header photo courtesy of:
Rowan University Dance Team ProfLink



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

Finally Face to Face!

Three friends pose in front of Bunce Hall.

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

Rachel sitting outside the Rec Center.

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

Bri poses at the gazebo by Bunce Hall.

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

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

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

Jayshalie leaning and sitting by the Engineering fountain.

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

A selfie of Gabrielle.

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

Sumayyah posing with a piece of artwork.

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

In Case You Missed It: Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts This School Year!

Today, we will share our top 10 most popular stories from the blog for the 2020-21 school year. If you missed any of these great stories, be sure to check them out! 

1. Alumni Success: New Jersey State Police Sergeant Danyel Barnes

Headshot of Danyel in uniform wearing a mask.

“Danyel Barnes, a 1994 alumnus, shares his Rowan story and how it shaped his life today as a Sergeant with the New Jersey State Police.”

2. How to Apply for Scholarships at Rowan University

Wide exterior shot of Bunce Hall.

“Admissions counselor Amanda Kuster explains how scholarships work at Rowan and shares how prospective students can earn more money for college. “

3. TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Future Chemistry Teacher Trevor Jones

Trevor smiles outside of Science Hall wearing a white T-shirt.

“In this story, 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 Awareness.”

4. Alumni Success: Teacher and Soror Kathleen Gordy-Mathis

Kathleen smiles wearing a black leather jacket outside her home.

“Kathleen Gordy-Mathis, an alumna and current preschool teacher, tells us about her amazing experiences since graduating. Kathleen graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in Communications with a specialization in Public Relations in 1990.”

5. TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Studio Art Major Christine Stewart

Christine smiles while seated outside on campus.

“In this story, we welcome Christine Stewart, a transfer student from Cumberland County College. They are a junior majoring in Studio Art with a specialization in Graphic Design from Pennsauken, NJ (Camden County). They are also involved in Prism, Queer People of Color (QPOC), and Women of Westby.”

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

Dr. Susana stands by a railing inside Business Hall.

“Meet Dr. Susana C. Santos, assistant professor of Management and Entrepreneurship within the Rohrer College of Business. Rowan Global Learning and Partnerships awarded Dr. Santos its Excellence in Online Learning faculty award last year. Learn more about Dr. Santos, her teaching, and how she created an inventive, daily exercise to build online engagement with her students.”

7. Alumni Success: Student-Athlete, Trailblazer Brad K. Leak

Rowan alumnus Brad Leak poses by the Shady Rest Clubhouse sign.

“In this story, we feature alumnus Brad K. Leak ’94, who earned a bachelor of science degree in Business with a specialization in Accounting. He also led the men’s Track & Field team as captain from 1991 to 94. As a three-time all-American champion, Brad wisely balanced the many responsibilities of being a student, an athlete, and a leader.”

8. The Importance of Unstructured Time

Landyn posing outside Bunce Hall while wearing a Rowan jacket.

“This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Healthy Campus Initiatives. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options.” Landyn Bacanskas, a Biomedical Engineering major, wrote this piece on the power of a “mental recess break.”

9. 7 Dance Majors Share How Their Degree Supports Their Dreams and Goals 

Grace dancing in a dance studio in Memorial Hall.

“Seven Dance majors share how they’re dreaming big and how their degree is going to get them there.”

10.  Leadership #PROFspective: Yashaswi Parikh, Uplifting Leader, Cofounder, and Copresident of Rowan SASA

Yashaswi sitting on a Gazebo outside near Bunce.

“In this article, we speak with Yashaswi Parikh, cofounder, and co-president of the Rowan South Asian Students Association as well as sunshine chair of Alpha Phi Omega (APO). As sunshine chair, she works to bring joy and happiness to the organization! Yashaswi is a senior Biological Sciences major and Spanish minor who is part of the 3+4 BS/DO program and the Bantivoglio Honors Concentration. She calls Monroe Township in Middlesex County her hometown.”

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Stories and Photos by: 
Various Digital Content Contributors from the Rowan Blog

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

Meet #Rowan2025: Inclusive Elementary Education Major Brooke Neilio

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

Senior Reflects: 4+1 Student Mia Fondacaro

Mia stands in front of Bunce Hall.

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

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

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

Mia smiles on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Could you please share your favorite social memory?

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

What are your career aspirations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mia stands inside a gazebo on campus.

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

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

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

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

Meet Transfer Profs: Future History Teacher Joseph Leonard

Stock photo of books.

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

A selfie of Joseph smiling while in the car.

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

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

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

Bowling!

A picture of Joseph holding a bowling ball.

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

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

What majors are you considering and why?

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

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

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

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

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

Where are you going to live next year?

Commute from home.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

Meet Transfer Profs: Dual Major Stephanie Maszera

Exterior shot of Stephanie smiling.

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

Stephanie smiles outside wearing a yellow dress.

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

Being able to fulfill my dream career for real.

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

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

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

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

What majors are you considering and why?

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

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

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

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

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

Where are you going to live next year?

On campus!

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

The environment and the beautiful campus.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Meet Transfer Profs: Future History Educator Kendra Hahn

Exterior shot of Hollybush.

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

A close up selfie of Kendra.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What majors are you considering and why?

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

A selfie of Kendra smiling.

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

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

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

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

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Student photos courtesy of:
Kendra Hahn

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

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

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

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

7 History Majors Share How Their Degree Supports Their Professional Goals

Raymond standing outside.

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

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

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

Kristi sitting in a rocking chair on her front porch.

Can you explain what a master teacher is?

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

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

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

Why Rowan?

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

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

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

A portrait photo of Kristi.

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

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

Where do you see yourself after earning your degree? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts?

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

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

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Alumni Success: Teacher and Soror Kathleen Gordy-Mathis

Kathleen Gordy-Mathis, an alumna and current preschool teacher, tells us about her amazing experiences since graduating. Kathleen graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in Communications with a specialization in Public Relations in 1990. 

Kathleen smiling and wearing her sorority jacket.

What was your experience like as an undergraduate at Glassboro State College?

“As an undergrad, my experience was absolutely awesome. It was a bit of a culture shock for me because it was rural and something I wasn’t accustomed to. Deer and rabbits were basically escorting you across [Route] 322 to get to the Student Center.

Originally, I’m from Atlantic City and though there are casinos, to me [Atlantic City] is still a small town with big city money. To go from that to Glassboro, was very different. To me, there were enough students but there weren’t too many. It wasn’t overwhelming. 

I chose communications because I like to talk and I love to write. Glassboro was known for being one of the best communications schools out there. [I chose Glassboro] because it was far enough away but yet close enough to go back home. 

I learned, as a freshman, not to take 8 a.m. classes and to opt for 9:30 a.m. classes instead! It was an interesting experience trying to get up every morning and get myself to class. I learned to enjoy the moment and not to put too much pressure on myself. Though school was very serious [to me], I didn’t stress out about it to the point where I would make myself anxious or nervous. I truly enjoyed my experience at Glassboro.”

Can you tell us about your journey from graduation to now?

“In my senior year, I took the PRAXIS or the National Teachers’ Exam and I passed it on my first go-around. Right out of college, I was a substitute high school teacher for one year. Then, I worked for a nonprofit. Then, I went on to work for Computer Sciences Corporation as a corporate trainer, contracted with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). [I realized my passion for teaching in] becoming a corporate trainer, where you get to interact, facilitate and answer questions. You get the opportunity to see people’s thought patterns and mindsets. You have the opportunity to provide [others] with the tools to navigate anything.

I left the corporate sector to become a full-time teacher. I am currently a preschool teacher in Atlantic City. I love working in pre-K because they are willing to learn anything you teach them! They are so hungry for knowledge!”

Working with the FAA, Kathleen trained people in interpersonal skills, navigating change, proactive listening and teamwork dynamics. As a corporate trainer, she discovered her passion for teaching and became a full-time teacher in 2003. Kathleen has taught first and second grade, but loves pre-K the best.

Kathleen smiling while wearing sunglasses and her sorority jacket.

What do you remember the most about Glassboro State? 

“Black History with Dr. Gary Hunter was very informative and his style caused you to reflect upon what was presented to you and what you had gained before going into his class.” 

Kathleen’s memories of Dr. Hunter’s popular class on black history was also enriched by her experiences of pledging to Alpha Kappa Alpha in the same semester. For Kathleen, the most significant lesson she learned from Dr. Hunter was how to be a continuous learner.

“The motto I try to mold my life after is: you cease to learn, you cease to grow.”

What was your experience like in the sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA)?

“I pledged as a freshman. So for the most part, my entire career at Glassboro, I was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. It was an awesome, life-changing experience. It gave me the opportunity to, not only network with sorors but also with other people in the greek family. They are lifetime bonds. [That experience] was truly worth it.” 

Kathleen served as president of AKA and has been an active member of AKA for 33 and a half years (34 years in May)! She fondly remembers practicing for step performances in the kitchen of an Evergreen apartment. Kathleen’s solid sorority connections have continued to bring her skill-strengthening opportunities, such as mentoring Kathleen in her first permanent teaching job. She has had sorority sisters working by her side and cheering on her success. 

Another fond memory Kathleen shares with her sorority sisters is the absolute elation they felt when Kamala Harris was elected Vice President of the United States. 

Kathleen smiling while wearing sunglasses and her sorority jacket.
Kathleen is a local minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church. She earned her master’s degree in teaching from Montclair State University in 2016.

Could you share a little bit about racial inclusion and the student culture while you were a student?

“We kind of stuck to ourselves, as far as like-minded people and groups that we were ‘a member of.’ We didn’t really venture outside of that dynamic. It definitely was not as diverse as it is now.” 

Kathleen remembers being inspired by Herman James, the first African American president of Rowan, saying “he always went out of his way to make you feel welcomed.” Kathleen remembers protesting with AKA against Coca Cola’s involvement in South Africa regarding apartheid and against other social issues, whether local, national, or international. AKA made themselves known.

Kathleen’s time with the Black Cultural League helped share valuable information focused on the African American experience ranging from the nuances of college life or life post-graduation. Kathleen continues to be involved in the Rowan community, including Homecoming and the Rowan University Black Alumni Network (RUBAN) panel discussions which span the 80’s to the 00’s. She enjoys annual Homecoming tailgate parties and celebrating with lifelong friends.

Kathleen remains excited about the future of Rowan, knowing that Dr. Penny McPherson-Myers, her fellow soror and the Vice President of Rowan’s Division of Equity and Inclusion, works to make sure that the efforts in working with the student population are balanced and focused on providing the tools students need to be successful. 

“[I hope] to see a continued level of diversity and also, what is needed to sustain it. As our general population changes, I feel that Rowan also has to adapt in order to properly serve those who come through its doors.”

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

My Favorite Class: Cheyenne Smith, Introduction to American Studies

Cheyenne holds a pennant on campus.

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

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

Cheyenne poses outside of James Hall.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan?

Introduction to American Studies is my favorite class.

What department was the class in?

The class is in the American Studies Department

Who taught the class when you took it?

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

Tell us a little about what the class is.

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

Cheyenne poses on a bench.

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

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

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

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

What makes this professor great?

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

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

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

What are your professional goals?

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

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Black STEM Majors Share Advice for Black High School Students Interested in STEM

Ylanda sits outside campus near Campbell Library.

Today, we’re highlighting Black STEM majors as they share some advice on where to start when looking into STEM.

Ylanda wearing a Rowan shirt and posing outside the Campbell Library.

“Attend as many events as you can to meet new people that has the same interests as you and to also carry out with your interests,” says Ylanda Souffrant, a sophomore, first-generation college student and Math Education major from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County)

Josephine wearing a lab coat and posing in the Science building.

“It’s alright if you know you’re interested in STEM, but you don’t know what you want to do with it in life. Carefully choose the school/program you join because that is how you will position yourself and expose yourself to experiences and individuals that will guide you along your journey,” says Josephine Babatunde, a senior Biochemistry major and transfer student from Union County College (Union County, NJ).

Dévon sitting and posing for a photo while wearing a dotted dress shirt and blue dress pants.

“One major key of advice I would give for high school STEM students is to not give up. I know this sounds a bit cliché, but you’re going to run into many obstacles and people who try to hold you down or stop your progress, but you can’t let nothing stand in your way. The road is going to be rough and tough but like my family always used to preach to me, ‘If someone already did it, you can too,'” says DéVon Malloy, a junior, first-generation college student and Biomedical Engineering major from Hillside, NJ (Union County)

Briana sitting and posing on the fountain stature outside Campbell Library.

“Hold your head up high! The courses may seem rigorous and tedious, but you are more than capable. You are just as competitive as anyone else around you; don’t give up! Ask for help if you need it, take advantage of programs that cater to your major whether it is directly or indirectly correlated with the unrepresented, be sure to make connections any chance you get, and try to get some some volunteer experience in the field if possible.” — Briana Davy, junior, first-generation college student and Biological Sciences major (planning on receiving a CUGS in Spanish), Honors Concentration, transfer from RCSJ Cumberland, Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County)

Akil leaning against the bridge and smiling outside Engineering Hall.

“Start early. Time flies really fast and you never know what the next day will bring you. Get involved in programs, especially offered by the schools you go to, because it not only looks fantastic on your resumé but also the skills and knowledge you acquire from it goes a long way. Get involved early too, don’t be afraid of clubs and participating, and don’t be afraid to reach out to people in college now and ask questions.” — Akil DeBruhl, junior Biological Sciences major with a minor in Psychology, South Orange, NJ (Essex County)

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior Music Industry major

Photography by: Stephanie Batista, sophomore Music Industry major and Joe Gentempo, Senior Art major

First Year Voices: Education Major Jayshalie Jennings

Jayshalie and friends.

Today we speak with freshman Jayshalie Jennings a Secondary Math Education major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Jayshalie is a part of PROFFAMILY, a newly formed freshmen group focused on inclusion and fun. What has your freshman experience been like so far? It’s been very different just because we haven’t had the chance to come on campus […]

4 Mathematics Education Majors Share Insight About Their Major

Backlit image of woman writing on a white board.

Today, we speak to four students pursuing masters’ degrees in STEM education about one thing they wish they knew about their major or something that was better than expected. 

Reese posing for a portrait photo.

“Teaching is a profession that requires passion. I warn future education majors to really make sure they are passionate about teaching and will love what they do. There are things we do not consider in the future before making the decision to be a teacher. For one, we do not have full control of what we teach and how we teach it. There are very specific restrictions and each school has different expectations.  You must have the ability to save money. The final year of your education will consist of you being a full time teacher without any compensation. It will be a lot of hard work but you will learn to appreciate it as time goes by,” says senior Reese Hart a Mathematics and Education major, transfer from Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ), from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County)

Tiffany posing for a selfie.

“The staff associated with my education degree have by far been the best, most personable, helpful and considerate people in all of my college career!” says first-generation college senior Tiffany Burke with a B.A. in Mathematics with an M.A. in Education and a minor in Psychology, transfer from Rowan College of Gloucester County (now RCSJ) from Buena, NJ (Cumberland County) 

Stephanie posing for a selfie.

“I love how open all the supervisors are with all of us graduates. They go out of their way to help us succeed and treat us all like a large family. If any questions or concerns are had they are answered immediately by the many supervisors in this field,” says senior Stephanie Gomez with a B.A. in Mathematics, working toward M.A. in STEM Education form Laurence Harbor, NJ (Middlesex County)

Michael posing with a trail sign while hiking.

“I would tell people starting this out to save up some money. You’ll need it come clinical year,” says senior Michael Garber Mathematics, transfer from Camden County College (now RCSJ) from Camden County, NJ

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Story by: Bianca Torres, Senior, Music Industry major

PROFFAMILY: An Inclusive & Welcoming Group Of First Years

PROFFAMILY members stand amongst the trees during fall foliage.

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

History Majors, Professors Suggest Historical Sights to Visit Over Winter Break

Building at Arlington National Cemetery.

Today we feature History majors and their professors, who suggest historical sites to visit over winter break. 

The statue of liberty.
Statue of Liberty

Kaan Aktas, a senior education and history double major from Fairview, NJ (Bergen County), is a transfer student from Bergen County Community College and a first-generation college student. He recommends that Rowan students visit the Statue of Liberty, or Ellis Island, because “Ellis Island has the Immigration Museum, which is also indoors and can get pretty empty during the wintertime. The Statue of Liberty is very beautiful and breathtaking. It shows the relationship between France and the U.S., and also the importance of immigration to our country.”

Anthony poses against a backdrop, wearing a suit and tie
Anthony Raisley

Anthony Raisley, a senior history major with minors in international studies, entrepreneurship, and new media studies and a CUGS in Italian, is from Middletown, NJ (Monmouth County). He also recommends that Rowan students visit Ellis Island, as well as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City Transit Museum, American Museum of Natural History. He says “Much of what’s at these museums I feel that even if you are not a history major you can relate to and learn.” He also tells us about his favorite museum or historical site. “Ellis Island is my favorite. All of my great grandparents came to the United States from Italy through Ellis Island. It was very impactful to see the sight first hand and what other immigrants coming to the United States went through, and how immigration has enriched New York City, and the U.S. today.”

Jen poses in front of a mirror.
Jen Gruberg

Jen Gruberg, a senior history major with minors in education and international studies is from West Deptford, NJ (Gloucester County). She recommends visiting the James and Ann Whitall House Museum and Red Bank Battlefield. She says “The Whitall House sits on the side of the Delaware River and was a private plantation since 1748. It was used as a field hospital in 1777 during the American Revolution. It’s now a museum and park in Red Bank, NJ. My favorite part about the park is the artifacts left in the trenches and in the house itself. There are cannons, cannonballs, anchors, and medical equipment, but unfortunately due to COVID, you can only see things that are outside of the house.” She also tells us about her favorite museum or historical site. “It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but my favorite museum or historical site I’ve visited would be the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I’ve been there a handful of times and I’m always in shock of the sheer beauty of the place.”

A photo from the Morris Arboretum.
The Morris Arboretum

Connor Hoagland, a senior history major with a minor in French from Mount Holly, NJ (Burlington County), is a transfer student from Rowan College at Burlington County. They recommend visiting the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, or the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. They say: “Both of these places are primarily outdoors. I like the arboretum since it’s one of the last of its kind remaining, and I’ve been there a few times when I was younger. The Grounds for Sculpture has some really impressive works of art and it’s fun to just explore.” They also tell us about their favorite museum or historical site. “My favorite historical site would have to be Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The free tour and the knowledge that the country was literally founded in that building was pretty nice. History has always been my strongest subject, and I’ve always had an interest in the revolution, especially since it pretty much happened in my own backyard.”

Bobby poses next to a cannon at the Museum of the American Revolution.

Bobby Scott a senior secondary education major with history subject matter, is from Elk Township, NJ (Gloucester County). He recommends students visit the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, or the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. He says “Each of these museums or locations show true insight into what life was truly like for people who have through trying times of history, or pay remembrance to the sacrifices that others have made in service to their nation in the hopes of bringing freedom to others.” He also tells us about his favorite museum or historical site. “Pearl Harbor was perhaps the most significant sight I have ever visited, however, it is quite a distance from Rowan University and sadly out of reach for many college students. Arlington holds an even more impactful memory upon me, as seeing the thousands of graves of those who selflessly gave their lives for their friends and their country. Pictures cannot capture the emotions, and words are difficult to choose that convey the emotion and overwhelming presence of such a place. The Holocaust Museum, which is only a short distance from Arlington, gives a truly personal account of the horrors that Jews and other minorities were forced to endure during some of the darkest days of the twentieth century. Many who walk out of there are often in tears, as they finally come face to face with the odds that men, women, and children had to go up against. Each of these locations can often take even those who find history a dull and boring affair, and can turn it into a life-altering experience.”

Dr. Kelly Duke Bryant, history professor, recommends that students visit The Newark Museum of Art. She says “I teach African history, and this museum has a wonderful collection of African art. They are currently featuring the “Arts of Global Africa” in a special exhibition. Even if you can’t go in person due to distance or the pandemic, the online exhibition is worth a look. ” She also tells us about her favorite museum or historical site. “The National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian) is my favorite museum. I visited this museum a number of years ago, shortly after it opened, and was impressed by the range of historical artifacts on display and the complexity (and honesty) of the historical narrative presented. The building itself is gorgeous, too.”

George Washington's house in Philadelphia as shared by Dr. Emily Blanck.
George Washington’s house in Philadelphia.

Dr. Emily Blanck, history professor, recommends that students visit the Harleigh Cemetery in Camden/Collingswood (Camden County), Historic Germantown (Philadelphia), and Washington’s House (Philadelphia). She says “These two off-the-beaten-path destinations have interesting aspects. I love Walt Whitman, and in the COVID environment, it is good to stay outdoors. Bundle up and go visit Walt Whitman and many other souls in Harleigh Cemetery in Camden. It is one of the oldest with lots of prominent folks with interesting headstones. Historic Germantown is great because they have worked to engage with the past of slavery as well as feature important elite homes. There are many small and medium historical sites here, and they’re not well-trod, so the chance that you’ll be in a crowded indoor space is slim. The Johnson House is especially a gem, but there are a couple of small museums dedicated to understanding and remembering the black experience too. Another COVID-friendly outdoor spot is Washington’s House near Liberty Pavillon in Philadelphia. It is just the frame of the house and it focuses on the interpretation of George Washington’s slaves when he was President. Great stories and it’s really accessible. ” She also tells us about her favorite museum or historical site. “I can go on the Independence Hall tour over and over. I don’t know why. I like hearing the different interpretations from the rangers and hearing the outlandish stories folks have about America’s founding.”

Dr. Hague poses at a book signing for his first book.
Dr. Hague at a book signing for his first book that he wrote. One of the sites he recommends, the Stenton Historic House, is featured extensively throughout the book.

Dr. Steven Hague, history professor, recommends that students visit The Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA; the Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern, PA, and Stenton historic house in Philadelphia. He says “As a former museum director I would suggest three great and very cool hidden gem museums in the Delaware Valley: The Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA; the Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern, PA, and the Stenton Historic House in Philadelphia. Imagine a giant concrete castle built as a museum filled with objects from the early time of America, everything from a whaleboat hanging from the ceiling to a gallows. Chock-a-block filled with great stuff. That is the Mercer Museum. Wharton Esherick was an American artist who worked in wood and built his own house. Quirky, fun, and absolutely worth the visit. Call ahead. The Stenton Historic House is one of the best-preserved 18th-century historic sites anywhere. Off the beaten path with remarkable collections and history. And a Rowan grad runs their award-winning educational programs!” He also tells us about his favorite museum or historical site. “There are so many (in addition to the regional ones mentioned above): Art Museum: The Louvre in Paris – stunning – with a close honorable mention for the Met in New York and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is world-class. Historic site: two houses – Beauport, a rambling house filled with amazing collections, in Gloucester, MA. Similarly, Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. Both were put together by quirky, eccentric individuals with lots of flair.”

Dr. Dack poses outdoors.

Dr. Mikkel Dack, history professor, recommends students visit The German Resistance Memorial Center. He says “The memorial’s (virtual) permanent exhibition provides extensive documentation of the motives, aims, and forms of the fight against the Nazi Dictatorship. This is an important topic of German and WWII history that most students are unfamiliar with.” 

Denis Long, a senior history major with a minor in American Studies, is from Point Pleasant, NJ (Ocean County). They recommend that Rowan students visit the Monmouth Battlefield in Freehold, New Jersey. They say “While I’m not sure if its Visitors Center will be open, Monmouth Battlefield in Freehold, New Jersey is a beautiful, scenic location filled with historical significance to the American Revolution. Since its Visitors Center is likely closed, I recommend reading up on the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse beforehand, it’s a really wonderful piece of American history!  I’ve been going there most 4th of Julys ever since I was young. I have many great memories there of traversing the fields and Comb’s Hill with my family, taking in the history. I also did research on the battle that I presented for an undergraduate research workshop at Penn early this year and to be able to spread my love for this event makes it even dearer to my heart.” They also tells us about their favorite museum or historical site. “Besides from Monmouth Battlefield, Ellis Island struck a chord when I visited it last summer. It was a beautiful museum packed with information and stories about immigration to the United States that helped show the importance of immigrants and diversity to this nation. People of all races, ethnicities, and other walks of life were there and to see people come together to learn about all of this honestly made me emotional.”

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

Photos of Morris Arboretum and the Statue of Liberty and header photo courtesy of:
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PA to NJ: Theatre Major, Education Minor Elliot Colahan

Elliot stands in a wooded area on campus.

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

Elliot posing and standing outside Robinson Hall.

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

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

Why did you choose to leave PA for college?

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

Why did you choose Rowan?

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

Elliot sitting on a rock outside on campus.

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

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

Have you adopted any “Jersey” tendencies?

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

Elliot smiling and sitting outside on campus.

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

6 English Majors Share How Their Major Supports Their Professional Goals

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

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

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

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

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

Abigail posing for a portrait photo.

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

Caroline posing in Central Park, New York City.

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

Taryn posing for a portrait photo.

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

Nicole posing for a selfie.

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

5 Early Childhood Education Majors Share How Their Major Interests Them

College of Education student Cheyenne holds a pennant on campus.

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

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

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

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

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

Alicia posing for a selfie.

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

Tyra sitting on a yellow bench on Rowans campus.

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

Grace posing for a photo outside Robinson Hall.

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

9 Elementary Education Majors Share What Excites Them About Their Major

Elementary education student poses outside on campus.

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

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

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

TJ sitting on a bench outside on campus.

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

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

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

Tyler sitting outside Wilson Hall.

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

Catherine posing for a picture on a boat dock.

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

Michael posing for a photo outside on campus.

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

Cameron posing for a photo outside on campus.

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

Ashley posing for a photo outside on campus.

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

Cait posing for a photo at the Sugar Factory restaurant.

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

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

Dominique poses in front of a stream.

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

Dominique poses in her Rowan attire.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dominique poses with some friends in the ballroom.

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

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

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

Photos contributed by:
Dominique DiGiacomo

#PROFspective: Meet Japanese Culture-Enthusiast, History and International Studies Major Sean French

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Sean smiling for a selfie overlooking mountains in Japan.

Today, we speak to Sean French, a senior History and International Studies dual major from Haddon Township (Camden County). Sean, a commuter and first-generation student, holds a leadership position in Rowan’s Japanese Culture Club. He tells us more about the club, his majors and why he chose Rowan!

Why did you choose your majors?

I’ve loved history since elementary school, so it made sense to study what I loved. I was originally enrolled as a History and Education major to teach history at the high school level. During my sophomore year, however, I decided to change to History and International Studies (Asia studies concentration) after falling in love with Japanese culture and decided to study abroad in Japan.

Why did you choose Rowan?

I chose Rowan because it was known for having a robust Education department, in state and nearby, so I could commute to school!

Sean eating at a restaurant with a group of his friends.

Take us through a typical Rowan day for you!

The typical Rowan day for me (pre-Covid) was waking up at 6 a.m., going to the gym near my house, making breakfast, then going down to campus to study at the library or go to class. Then, later in the day, I would go to an e-board meeting for the Japanese Culture Club (I was previously VP and will be President beginning Fall 2020).

At our meetings we would talk about Japanese culture, have activities and games such as karaoke, a bento box competition and arts nights including calligraphy and making origami.

The Japanese Culture Club is a place we’ve worked to make welcoming and open to folks of all backgrounds, where you could hang out with friends and enjoy learning and talking about all things Japan. We’re hoping to continue club meetings this coming semester, be that online or safely in person.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, rising senior music industry major

Photos by:
Sean French

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rowan let me learn from these students.

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

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

Mike Massaro sitting with a trumpet

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

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

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

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#Rowan2020 Instagram Contest Winner Jodi Heady

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

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

How does it feel to be an official college graduate?

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

What was your most memorable experience at Rowan?

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

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

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

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

What’s next for you?

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

Any advice for those who are graduating next year?

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

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Meet #Rowan2024: Inclusive Education Major Lexi Davis

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

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

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

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

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

How or why did you choose your major?​ 

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

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

How did you get to know campus?

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

What music do you like? 

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

Why Rowan?​​ 

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

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Photos courtesy of:
Lexi Davis
Unsplash

Meet #Rowan2024: Future Math and STEM Educator Rachel Bonhomme

Meet Rachel Bonhomme, a future Math and STEM Education major from Brick, NJ (Ocean County). She is excited to be an on-campus resident and part of the Rowan community. She tells us more about why she chose Rowan University! 

Rachel Bonhomme is wearing a #RowanPROUD T-shirt and is holding up her acceptance letter.

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

One activity I’ve always done in the past is choir! It’s always been a part of my life and I’d love to join at least one of Rowan’s choirs.”

How or why did you choose your major?

I’ve always wanted to teach because my mom is a teacher and I’ve been impacted positively by so many teachers, so I thought it was a good choice! I learned about the 4+1 Math and STEM Education pathway, and I thought it was an amazing opportunity to get what I need.”

Why did you choose a university close to home?

Choosing a university close to home has always been one of my top priorities, and Rowan is a perfect distance away from home! It’s close enough that if anything happens, I’m not a long distance from home, but it’s far enough that I get the freedom I need. “

Why Rowan?

The moment I stepped onto Rowan’s campus, I knew that I wanted to go here. The environment was exactly what I was looking for, and every interaction I’ve had with staff has been a great one! There are amazing programs and opportunities, and it’s just a great fit for me.”

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Photos courtesy of:
Rachel Bonhomme
Pixabay

Meet Rowan #2024: From Rowan Youth Orchestra to English Education for New Prof Daniel Marquez

Stock image of school or office supplies
Daniel Marquez standing and smiling on a busy street in New York City.

Today we feature Daniel Marquez, an incoming freshman and first-generation English Education major from Bridgeton, NJ (Cumberland County). He tells us more about what he’s looking forward to at Rowan University and why he chose Rowan! 

What are a few things you are looking forward to next year at Rowan?

“I am looking forward to making new friends, learning more things, and growing as a student and a person through classes and extracurricular activities.”

How or why did you choose your major?

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but was never too sure what subject I wanted to teach. My senior year I realized how much I enjoy writing, so I decided to major in English Education. I am excited to see how I may grow at Rowan and who I will become thanks to it.”

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

I want to continue with some type of a cultural club. I love dancing Mexican folklore so I would love to do that through a cultural club, or create a dancing group through a club.”

Why Rowan?

I chose Rowan because when I attended the Rowan Youth Orchestra throughout high school, I would get to interact with some staff and even some of the older students, and they really looked like they loved Rowan and were proud to attend/work there, and I wanted to be a part of that environment.”

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Coping with Grief as a College Student

Allison Niemiec poses for a photo on the Bunce Green.

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

Allison Niemiec poses in a gazebo on campus.Meet Allison Niemiec, a first year graduate student in the Higher Education Administrative Track program, from Cedar Grove, NJ (Essex County). She shares, “I wanted to write about coping with grief in response to a lot of the current events that surround mental health in higher education. There was a lot of conversation about these topics in my graduate classes, and I was able to see the impact that these events have on college students.” 

Death is a sensitive topic and unexpected event that can cause an individual to experience a variety of different emotions and reactions. The emotions or reactions an individual has in response to loss is often referred to as grief (Thai and Moore, 2018). In college, students already deal with multiple stresses such as with academics, finances, friendships, adjusting to campus, and many more, which can be amplified when dealing with loss and grief. 

A Residential Assistant named Meghan Auer (2019) explains her experience of coping with grief after receiving the shocking news of the death of a dormitory resident that she used to work with. Meghan provides some insight as to what potential steps are toward coping with grief as a college student and student leader. For one, Meghan discusses the importance of processing and taking time to breathe immediately after hearing the news about death (Auer, 2019). She suggests that at this moment an individual will be faced with a variety of emotions at once such as frustration, denial, or feeling overwhelmed. Taking deep breaths helps to clear your mind from feeling these emotions as intensely and calling a close friend can provide positive support (Auer, 2019).

Second, it will be important to let employers or professors know about your loss so that they are aware of the situation and can provide accommodations (Auer, 2019). For example, informing a professor about your loss may be important in the event that you need to travel for services or need an extension on an assignment.

Third, the most important part of the healing process is engaging in self-care. Self-care can appear in a variety of different ways, but can include activities such as creating a routine that provides structure to your day, surrounding yourself with positive people, participating in hobbies that bring forth joy, exercising, and many more (Auer, 2019). In some cases, wellness resources such as group or individual counseling can also help an individual have another environment to talk about their experience with loss and learn more tips on how to cope with grief (Auer, 2019).

Overall, dealing with loss can cause a range of different emotions and reactions in an individual and is most commonly referred to as grief. As a college student the feeling of grief can seem overwhelming especially when dealing with other stressors such as finances, relationships, academics, and getting used to the college environment. Giving yourself time to process the news of the death, informing professors and employers about your loss, and participating in self-care are all beneficial steps towards coping with grief as a college student. 

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Story by:
Allison Niemiec, first year graduate student in the Higher Education Administrative Track program, Wellness Center intern

Photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major

References

Auer, M. (2019, November 8). Coping with Grief and Loss as a College Student. Retrieved from 

https://psychcentral.com/lib/coping-with-grief-and-loss-as-a-college-student/

Thai, C. L., & Moore, J. F. (2018). Grief and bereavement in young adult college students: A review of the literature and implications for practice and research. Communication Research Trends, 37(4), 4-29. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/2167696443?accountid=13605

Grit & Greatness

Jess Hassell poses outside of Bunce.

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.

Jess Hassell poses for a photo outside of Bunce.Meet Jessica Hassell, a second-year Higher Education Administration graduate student from Owings Mills, Md. Jess wrote this article to help the Rowan community. She shares: “Fear can be paralyzing. I was inspired to write this article because I was so worried about success that it was stopping me from being my best self. I hope that this article will help other Rowan University students not be afraid to fail and to persevere.”

Failure is a scary word. In the collegiate environment, failure is associated with under-achievement, incompetence or a lack of trying. As college students, there is a tendency to get stuck in the dichotomy of success or failure. This manner of thinking can result in every nonsuccess: raising stress levels, being demotivating, or even debilitating (Shelton, 2017). Therefore, students must reorient their thinking to understand each “failure” as a growth experience.  

When success is determined by grades, deadlines, expectations and a long list of involvements, it is difficult for college students to manage coursework, jobs, clubs and a social life with health and emotional well-being. If an individual finds themselves incapacitated by a nonsuccess, employing mindfulness can help manage the stresses being experienced (Shelton, 2017). Having an awareness of oneself, challenges and support systems can cultivate an internal shift wherein growth from failure is acceptable.  

Jess Hassell speaks to another Healthy Campus Initiatives intern on Rowan BoulevardThat being said, there exists no person who sets out to undertake a task and enjoys it when their efforts lead to a lack of success. The result of an unexpected outcome can leave individuals questioning their abilities, but this should not be the case. Mistakes or unexpected outcomes are necessary for experimentation, problem-solving and increasing efficiency (Driscoll, 1989; Shelton, 2017). As such, it can be helpful to remember that success is only the expected or desired outcome. Understanding what does not work can only help when developing strategies to inform future courses of action. Without unexpected results, there is no push for innovation, so the opportunity to fail should be embraced (Driscoll, 1989).  

Grit is a better word. To have grit means to have the courage and ability to overcome obstacles and challenges. Recognizing one’s capacity for psychological grit, wherein an individual has the passion and perseverance to achieve their long-term goals, can ease the stress of a failure (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007; Vonderheyde, 2017).  Moreover, each nonsuccess and subsequent attempt to continue teach us a greater lesson about our capacity to persevere.  

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Story by:
Jessica Hassell, second-year higher education administration graduate student, Wellness Center intern

Photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major

References

Driscoll, D. (1989). The Benefits Of Failure. Sales and Marketing Management, 141(5), 46. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/211806229/

Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087–1101. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1087

Muenks, K., Wigfield, A., Yang, J. S., & O’Neal, C. R. (2017). How true is grit? assessing its relations to high school and college students’ personality characteristics, self-regulation, engagement, and achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(5), 599-620. doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.1037/edu0000153

Shelton, I. G., Jr. (2017). A generic qualitative investigation of academic stress in college students in the 21st century (Order No. 10608475). Available from ProQuest Central; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global; Social Science Premium Collection. (1947584353). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rowan.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.rowan.edu/docview/1947584353?accountid=13605

Vonderheyde, E. (2017). The relationship between mindfulness and stress among college students.

Pandemic Profs: Maintaining Normalcy

Stock image of mixed color reddish brick.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from 4+1 biological sciences education major Mia Fondaro, a junior who also has minors in environmental science and psychology. Mia is isolating from her home in Pequannock, NJ (Morris County).

Mia stands in front of a waterfall to pose for a tourist photo. There’s not one person whose life hasn’t been changed by the COVID-19 virus. Personally, my life got turned upside down. I have a very strict and fully packed weekly schedule that now is suddenly full of free time. My days would start at 6 a.m. and wouldn’t end till about 10 p.m.

What is a positive in this situation is all the sleep I’m getting, but I’ll trade that in for all the on-campus experiences that I’m now missing.

How I’m trying to cope with it all is by staying positive and keeping as much of a routine as possible. I continue to wake up at a reasonable hour, make breakfast, do homework, and work out. Whole life may not be “normal” right now; what’s important to remember is to be thankful for your health and continue doing things that keep you sane.Mia's laptop, a notebook, and guitar.

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#PROFspective: Graduate Education Student Donn Matthew Garby

Name: Donn Matthew GarbyDonn Garby stands outside of Hawthorne Hall.
Major: Ph.D. in Education
Concentrations: Higher Education
Year: Second year Ph.D. student
Hometown and County: Naples, FL 
Resident or commuter: Resident
Academic clubs: Founder and Council Member of Education Student Association (ESA), Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA)
Do you work on campus?: Yes, I am a Graduate Coordinator for the Interfaith and Spiritual Exploration Center & Adjunct for the College of Education

Tell us about your transition into the graduate program. My transition was not too bad. I came directly from my master’s program, so I was still in that “student mindset.” The largest transition was coming from a large R1 university, in a large city, to a smaller institution in a [more] rural town. Saying that, though, the benefits of Rowan, and the faculty interactions make it so that I feel home in the College of Education.

Why did you choose Rowan’s graduate program? I chose Rowan’s graduate program because it offered me the opportunity to connect with faculty on a one-on-one level, provided me resources to conduct my Rowan PhD student Donn Garby working at his cubicle in Hawthorne Hall.research, and allowed me the space to explore different career and research paths. In addition, with it being a new program, it allowed me to help make a difference and work to shape the program for the benefit of future students.

What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline or research focus? One thing I wish people knew about my academic discipline is that we are people outside of our research. A lot of times, people, and students specifically, see us as a researcher or faculty member. But we have lives, we have hobbies, and although our research is a large aspect of who we are, that is not all that we are.

What is one thing this field has allowed you to do, that you either dreamed of doing or thought you’d never get to do? One thing this field has allowed me to do is turn my research into practice. It has been so rewarding to see that happen, and I am so grateful.

On your busiest day, what academic, non-academic and social responsibilities are you juggling? On my busiest day, I am juggling two classes, a meeting for my program and Senate meetings.

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

First Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management Graduate Reflects on His Rowan Experience

Jeff Dever, a 2017 alum from Moorestown, NJ (Burlington County), has many reasons to be #RowanPROUD. He made Rowan history as the first student to graduate with a degree in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, and has made countless contributions to campus safety throughout his undergraduate years. But where did his success begin?

The walls of Robinson Hall were the sign he was looking for to launch a successful career. During his sophomore year, they were adorned with posters advertising the new Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management program at Rowan University.

At the time, I was a volunteer firefighter, working part-time in emergency medical services (EMS). I’d always had an interest in the field, so I thought, why not go talk to my advisor and give it a try?” he recalls.

Jeff Dever, an alumnus of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management program, stands in front of a Rowan University EMS truck.The advisors and faculty within the department were eager to help an interested — and experienced, as a bonus — student transition into this exciting new major. 

“I had originally started at Rowan with a dual major in History and Education. I was headed down the teaching track when I realized maybe that wasn’t what I wanted to pursue,” Jeff says. “I spent a lot of time that semester in their offices as they helped me figure out how to incorporate the credits that I had already earned as an Education major into my progress in the emergency management program, as well as my experience as a first responder.”

The role models Jeff grew close with over the next few years in the program shaped the positive experience he had as one of the first students to enter the realm of disaster preparedness and emergency management. He credits his professors and advisors within the major for helping him explore careers in the field and find his place in the program. 

“They wanted me to graduate on time and grow as a person, but also encouraged me to bring my outside experiences as a first responder into their learning environment,” he says. “I don’t think you get such personalized attention and assistance like that at many other universities, especially one that is growing as quickly [as Rowan is].”

One of the first professors Jeff met in the program, Len Clark, quickly became a mentor throughout his college experience. 

“At the time [I was in Clark’s class], I was working part-time at the Gloucester County EMS. He was the former emergency management coordinator of Gloucester County, so we would always go into class and swap stories about our experiences,” Jeff shares. He stayed in touch with Clark beyond graduation, as he continued on to work with the Camden EMS and with FEMA.

Jeff Dever, an alumnus of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management program, reunites with a former mentor from his undergraduate days with Rowan EMS.
Jeff reunites with a former mentor from his undergraduate days with Rowan EMS.

Jeff credits the outstanding education he earned in the major to the variety of wise, experienced faculty members who taught him. Many of his professors were first responders and emergency management authorities throughout South Jersey themselves, as were his peers and classmates in the program. This is what contributed to such a tight-knit, collaborative environment within the program that led to lifelong friendships and impactful careers.

“The professors I had were all very invested in the success of their students, because they realized that these were the students who would be taking over their roles once they’ve retired. They want to leave people in good hands,” Jeff says. 

“You see a lot more camaraderie in the program, because you have professors who are retired firefighters or police officers teaching current or aspiring firefighters and police officers. Of course you have professional expectations to get your work done and come to class, but you also know that these people genuinely care about your wellbeing and your success.”

Jeff attributes his accomplishments in his career so far to the rich experiences he gained through an on-campus internship with the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) at Rowan and as a line officer in the Rowan EMS. As an intern with the OEM, Jeff made numerous contributions to the safe environment Rowan students appreciate today, such as managing inventory for Rowan’s shelter stockpile and updating the campus emergency operations plan, in the case of any major incident on campus.

But his most memorable accomplishment as an intern was his role in Rowan earning the HeartSafe Campus status, which there are signs posted for throughout campus. Through this program, a certain percentage of students are trained in CPR, and CPR training events are held regularly on campus. It’s one of the many ways Rowan sets itself apart from other universities in terms of safety.

Jeff Dever, an alumnus of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management program, stands proud with one of the HeartSafe Campus stations he helped bring to Rowan.
Jeff stands proud with one of the HeartSafe Campus stations he helped bring to Rowan.

“All these experiences I had as a disaster preparedness and emergency management student not only helped me in my professional development, but it made the campus that I love a safer place. It was a really cool, win-win experience — and something I take a lot of pride in.”

As Jeff sets off to continue his career as an Emergency Management Specialist at the Wake County Department of Fire Services in Raleigh, North Carolina, he encourages more students to look into the disaster preparedness and emergency management program at Rowan.

“As we see more disasters being declared in the United States, a lot of jurisdictions and nonprofit agencies are seeking more formal education with their emergency management team.

What Rowan offers in this program — with accessibility to opportunities like Rowan EMS and internships — is a mix of that formal education as well as practical experience, which is so important in this field.”

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Story and photography by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Hybrid Doctoral Studies Program Offers Flexibility for Aspiring Educational Administrator

Exterior shot of James Hall, home of the College of Education

First-generation college student Manuela Jiménez has always had plenty of ambition and little free time. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, the Perth Amboy, NJ (Middlesex County) teacher knew that she wanted to continue her education. She earned her master’s in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University while teaching secondary students, and attained her school principal and supervisor credentials. Jimenez believes that learning is a lifelong process, and in an effort to reflect on her practice as an educator, she decided to continue her studies. 

A simple Google search led Manuela to discover the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) program at Rowan, and she dove right in. “I came across this top-rated hybrid doctoral program and was thrilled to hear about it!” she says. “Being a full-time working individual, it’s so convenient to be in a program that gives me the flexibility I need to have face-to-face classes and online classes that allow me to also work.” 

Rowan Ed.D. student Manuela sits at a desk with the name "Ms. Jimenez" in colorful letters pasted to the front of the desk.
Manuela — or Ms. Jimenez, as her students call her — sits at her desk, ready for another successful day!

Flexibility was a requirement when it came to Manuela’s decision to enroll in a doctorate program. She currently teaches English to seventh graders at a local school, and is the Chair for the elective department — two time-consuming positions that require a lot of work and dedication. She met with a Rowan University advisor in order to determine the perfect schedule that would integrate with her work preferences. The face-to-face class meetings are convenient to her schedule, and she prefers to complete the online portion of her learning during her breaks from teaching. “Having access to all of my learning materials and professor office hours online is very helpful to me because of my schedule,” she says.

Though this schedule may sound overwhelming, Manuela loves every moment of it. “It’s a very rigorous program, but it makes me want to learn more! The more that I read, the more inquisitive I become about my current methods as a practitioner. My professors provide thorough feedback for every assignment, and prepare me to feel more competent and confident in the workplace,” she says.

The most rewarding part of the program is that the content Manuela learns through her courses can be applied to her teaching the very same day! Since she completes her online work throughout the school day, the lessons she learns are fresh in her mind, allowing her to apply the theories from her readings to her classroom to see real results. And since she’s started the Ed.D. program, she is already noticing a difference in the quality of her interactions with students and faculty.

“It’s not all about the concept but the implementation of it in the teaching environment,” she says. “I am becoming a more reflective practitioner, learning the difference between theory and practice by applying the curriculum of these courses to my real-life interactions.”

Drone shot overlooking Rowan's Glassboro campus at sunset
“It’s so convenient to be in a program that gives me the flexibility I need to have face-to-face classes and online classes that allow me to also work,” Manuela says of Rowan’s Ed.D. program.

“I’ve definitely made the right choice with Rowan,” Manuela says. “The program is hard but it’s worth it, because the quality of the education I’m receiving is truly impactful. It’s inspiring that first-generation college students like myself can make it in their career, and pursue a higher education degree while juggling everything else in life.”

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Story by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Danielle’s Journey from the Ed.D. Program to Overseer of $20 Million

Woman sitting in pink lawn chair laughing while the sun shines down

Meet Dr. Danielle B. Jubanyik, a Rowan alumna and Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County) native with her Ed.D. in educational leadership. Danielle is currently working at the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development as the State Director for Adult Education & Literacy Services. She is responsible for $20 million worth of funds that are used to help New Jersey adults attain a stronger education and hopefully lead to a brighter future. Learn how Rowan’s Ed.D. program helped prepare her for making a powerful impact in the New Jersey community.Professional business woman smiling at the camera

Danielle started her Rowan University journey 20 years ago, finishing her undergrad with a B.A. in English with a secondary education certification in 2003. Five years later, she earned her M.Ed. in teacher leadership with a writing arts concentration, and then completed her Ed.D. in 2013.

“Education has always been a passion of mine,” said Danielle. “One of my fondest memories is playing school as a child over summer breaks.” Danielle’s passion for education was easily matched at Rowan — a fact she knew early on as her mom attended the school when it was known as Glassboro State College. It became a “no-brainer” for her to attend, pairing the school’s positive reputation with its affordability.

“The rigor for this doctorate was intense, the amount of research requirements helped me to become a stronger writer and speaker, and the cohort portion allowed me to grow from others with different perspectives,” Danielle revealed. The cohort allows students to build off one another in the program, providing an experience with diversity and multiple facets for students to grow from.

At the beginning of the program you conduct research into a topic of your choosing associated with education, leading you to write the research portion (Chapter 1) of what will become a dissertation. Once this portion is completed, it must be presented to a dissertation chair (chosen by the student) for review and approval. “Presenting to the dissertation chair allows them to judge whether you can read, write, research, synthesize information and demonstrate your dedication,” Danielle explained.

Following this initial check-point you continue with the required coursework, with each class acting as a different puzzle piece for the dissertation. “You may begin to meet folks in-person and may be doing surveys or phone interviews,” said Danielle, referring to the bulk of the program. “In another class you’ll learn about social justice — potentially writing a chapter about why it’s important to learn about the perceptions and professional development people are receiving to produce a well-versed teacher.”

Once you’re finished writing the dissertation, you present a Rowan-formatted package to a dissertation committee (a group of individuals selected by the student to review and critique the work). After passing their approval, you schedule the dissertation symposium. This openWoman leaning against a wall while the sun shines through a window behind her event allows the student to present all findings while arguing their research to a committee that will judge whether you’re ready to receive the title of doctor.

The experiences Danielle had throughout her time in the Ed.D. program prepared her for her current role as the State Director for Adult Education & Literacy Services. As a representative for the state of New Jersey in Washington, D.C. she needs to hold strong communication skills that allow her to defend her views and argue for her opinions. “All of these pieces of the Ed.D. program: multitudes of research, the rigor, the accountability, speaking components all factor into my job,” said Danielle. Rowan’s Ed.D. program provides students all of these opportunities for an impactful career that can help change lives for the better.

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Story and photography by:
Alexander Belli, new graduate with a B.A. in public relations and advertising

The Ed.D. Program Showed Christina Just How Strong She Truly Is

Family of four strolling down a side walk on the main street of a town

Meet Christina DiDonato Dillon, mother of two (Luke, one year old and Filomena, 10 months old) and wife to Drew. Christina earned her undergraduate degree in early childhood education and sociology from Rowan University in 2011, graduated in 2016 with her M.A. in school administration, and is currently working toward earning her Ed.D. in educational leadership. Christina lives in Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County) with her beautiful family while working as a real estate agent and assisting her parents with the family business, KMD Constructions. This is truly one woman who can do it all!

A woman in a pink top and white pants with her hand on her hip posing on a busy town street sidewalkChristina, a lifelong Prof, found her love for teaching at an early age and knew Rowan University would be the school to help her achieve this dream. “I knew Rowan was the choice for me,” said Christina. “I was most impressed with the devotion its faculty and staff have towards education and truly teaching it like a calling.” During her time within the College of Education, Christina has had the opportunity to learn from inspiring professors. Creating connections that helped her find her first teaching position in the Deptford Township School District. Christina has had seven years within the public schooling system teaching pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and second grade.

Now, working toward her Ed.D in educational leadership, Christina looks back and reflects on the accomplishments she’s already achieved and the dedication she’s put into the program. When entering the Ed.D program you can expect to conduct heavy research into a topic you choose and must get approval for by faculty within the program. You will grow your understanding of qualitative and quantitative data, build more on courses from previous graduate and undergraduate programs, and eventually A family of four with a son and daughter sitting at a coffee shop table happily talking to each othercomplete a dissertation. “The coursework is incredibly reflective,” Christina explained, referring to the educational leadership program. “It’s something that helps you to better understand ‘who am I,’ allowing you to apply the concepts in real-world situations.”

Through this program, Christina learned about the strength she’s always had within her and discovered what she was capable of accomplishing. “The program is so motivating and also difficult, but it brings you to a point of ‘what kind of person am I as a leader, as a teacher, and as a person in a family?” Christina revealed, referring to juggling all her responsibilities. The program, though challenging, benefits its students in ways one might not expect. As Christina has shown, you may learn more about yourself through A woman wearing a pink shirt holding a baby girl in front of a decorative chalkboardworking towards an Ed.D while still gaining that higher education.

“Leadership influences change toward a shared vision through empowerment and built relationships. The concept that leadership is an influential process is the thought and definition I endorse. When thought of as an influential process, we can combine the ideas that leadership is complete as a trait, ability, skill, behavior and relationship.” An excerpt from Christina’s dissertation, which is titled Organizational Culture, Partnerships, and Placemaking — Social Emotional Learning via the Perspectives of School Leaders and Parents in an Early Childhood Setting: An Ethnographic Case Study.

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Story and photography by:
Alexander Belli, new graduate with a B.A. in public relations and advertising

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Christian Pineda

Christian facing front towards the camera

Today we speak with Christian Pineda, a junior English and education dual major. He transferred to Rowan University last fall semester after two semesters at Rowan College at Gloucester County.

Name: Christian Pineda
Year: Senior
Major: English & Education
Hometown: Franklinville, NJ (Gloucester County)
Transfer student? Yes
Where do you live? Off-campus

“What gets me out of bed in the morning is my writing,” said Christian. He is currently in the process of writing a book, having always had a passion for creative writing he is finally able to make his own creation.

“I would tell someone interested in English or education that either field is full of opportunity but they are also fields that you have to love what you do!’ 

“Something that inspired me and made me know that I was in the right field was after I started class for my programs specifically. A common response from many students, most say after their second year at college they really started enjoying learning about their future field,” Christian shared.

Christian looking at his laptop

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Story and Photography by:
Justin Borelli, senior advertising major

Marcus’s Home Away From Home: Education Praxis Lab [VIDEO]

Marcus standing inside James Hall near the Praxis Lab in jacket and bookbag on
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dgm7EyvMOw&feature=youtu.be

Marcus King feels most at home around his friends and classmates in the Rowan Praxis Lab in James Hall. Get a sneak peak into the area that’s important to this junior health and physical education major from Willingboro, NJ (Burlington County.)

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Video by: Vanessa Vause, senior public relations and theatre double major
Music by: Dan Ledden, senior public relations major

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Student outside Wilson Hall on bridge

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Mark inside Campbell Library at Rowan on campus

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Henry, a Rowan University College of Education student sits in elementary school classroom

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Evan standing outside of James Hall at statue

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