How Physics Took Nicholas Kurth to Switzerland To Work With CERN

Nicholas stands outside the science building wearing a lab coat.

A Dive Into the Physics Major at Rowan University With a Graduating Senior Tell us more about your CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) experience. “I knew about this opportunity at CERN for over a year before I applied because when I was applying to LSU to go do research work for them, I saw […]

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

Asiya stands outside on campus on a chilly day.

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

Rowan University Entrepreneurship Majors Share Their Professional Goals

A student stands in front of a wall with the word "Idea" behind him, with his arms crossed across his chest.

What internships, clubs, networking, etc. are you involved in and how do they support your goals? “I currently sell cars at a local Ford dealership, which helps with developing a stronger understanding of how the business industry works.” – Brendan Liebenow “Networking with other students and professors at Rowan has helped me realize how much […]

Why Civil Engineers Build Concrete Canoes & How it Benefits Them

A close up of the side of the Rowan concrete canoe.

Civil Engineering Majors Learn, Network & Race in ASCE Competition In the annual concrete canoe competition, Rowan University Civil Engineering students and the American Society of Civil Engineers, alongside engineering students from other schools in the area, compete. Each engineering team must determine what kind and mixture of lighter materials they should combine with the […]

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

A female student browses a bookshelf at the bookstore.

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

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

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

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

Q&A With a Senior Public Health and Wellness Major & Rowan Choice Student

Theresa Bennett stands outside her internship at Inspira Health Network with their logo behind her.

Public Health & Wellness Major Discusses Her Passion for Public Health & Wellness, her internship and professional goals Senior Theresa Bennett, from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County) joined Rowan through the Rowan Choice program, a partnership with community college RCSJ that allows students to live on Rowan University’s campus while taking 24-30 community college credits, which […]

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

A view of Spectrum Sports with people working out.

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

Neurodiversity Student Government Representative Advocates for Autism Awareness and Education

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

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

Community College to a 4 Year University

Three students walking around Rowan College of South Jersey campus.

Kaleigh Bonitatibus, a senior communication studies major from Washington Township (Gloucester County) shares this first-person perspective on their experience transitioning from Rowan College of South Jersey to Rowan University.

Graduating in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic not only ruined the best part of my senior year but also affected my college decision. I dreamed of going away for all four years to live the “college experience.” However, due to the persistent stay-at-home mandate, I knew it was pointless to leave the state for school if my first year was bound to be all on Zoom anyway. I put away my fantasy of going to a university and decide to begin my higher education at the community college RCSJ. It was more affordable and realistic during the pandemic. However, I always knew that I wanted to transfer to a four-year university to pursue my bachelor’s degree. Rowan University was affordable, close to home, and the easiest to transfer credits to because RCSJ is affiliated with Rowan.

Two students sitting outside the Rowan College of South Jersey entrance.

Transitioning from a community college to a university can be challenging. I was nervous about entering a larger campus, navigating my way to different classes, and meeting new people. Nonetheless, my time at Rowan University has been very successful.

One of the things that helped me with my transition was attending Rowan’s Transfer Student Orientation. It provided me with all the information I needed to know about the university. This especially eased my anxiety about getting around campus and the location of all the different academic buildings.

Another thing that helped me adjust to university was my proximity to campus. Rowan is only a 15 minute drive from my home, so I commute to campus. However, being so close to home means a lot of my high school friends attend Rowan. My friend Spencer, who I went to all of grade school and high school with, also attends Rowan and lives in an off-campus home. Spencer has been a big part of me meeting new people at school because he invited me to several social events where I was able to meet so many more people and even gain some valuable friendships. Joining clubs has also eased my adjustment to Rowan. Currently, I am on the Commission of Community Standards. Being a part of this commission allows me to solve issues that clubs are having and help them grow.

Two students talking in front of a Rowan College of South Jersey flag.

Academically, the transition was challenging but manageable. The courses at Rowan are more rigorous than those at RCSJ, but as I have always prioritized my education I found that I was able to keep up with the workload. Most of my courses at RCSJ were online, and adjusting to in-person classes was slightly taxing since I had to further manage and adjust my work schedule so it could fit in with classes.

Overall, my experience transitioning from RCSJ to Rowan University a was positive one. If you’re considering transferring to a four-year university, my advice would be to attend transfer orientation, get involved on campus, and utilize the resources available to you. It can be anxiety-filling at first, but eventually, it will be worth it and you’ll enjoy your experience at Rowan.

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Written by Kaleigh Bonitatibus, a communication studies major

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

Finding My Home Away from Home at Rowan University Through the Student Organization Fair

Students walking around the Rowan clubs fair event featuring different clubs and organizations on campus.

Nicholas Wright, a junior health science communication and communication studies double major, from Gloucester County, NJ shares this first-person perspective on how he found a home away from home on Rowan campus.

As a freshman at Rowan University, I was nervous about the transition from high school to college. I had heard stories from friends and family members about how difficult it can be to adjust to a new environment, but I was determined to make the most of my college experience.

One of my biggest concerns was finding my place on campus. I wanted to get involved in activities and clubs, but I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, during my first week at Rowan, I stumbled upon the student activities fair.

The student activities fair is an event where all the clubs and organizations on campus set up tables to showcase their group and recruit new members. I was amazed at the variety of groups available, from academic clubs to sports teams to service organizations. As I walked around the fair, I was struck by the passion and enthusiasm of the students involved in each group.

A Rowan student walking around the Student Activities fair event featuring different clubs and organizations.

After talking to a few club representatives, I decided to join the International Student Association. As an international student myself, I was excited to meet other students who shared my background and interests. Joining the club was one of the best decisions I made during my freshman year. I was able to make friends, learn about different cultures, and participate in fun events and activities throughout the year.

In addition to the International Student Association, I also joined the Rowan Ambassadors program. The Rowan Ambassadors serve as official hosts and representatives of the university at events such as open houses and campus tours. Through the program, I was able to develop my leadership skills, meet other students who were passionate about representing Rowan, and gain valuable experience in event planning and public speaking.

Aside from the clubs and activities, I also found a sense of community through my professors and academic advisors. Whenever I needed guidance or support, they were always there to offer their expertise and advice. They helped me navigate the transition to college and provided me with the resources and support I needed to succeed in my classes.

Looking back on my freshman year, I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that Rowan University has provided me with. From joining clubs to building relationships with professors, I have found a home away from home on this campus. If you’re a future college student or parent, I encourage you to explore all that Rowan has to offer. It may seem daunting at first, but with an open mind and a willingness to try new things, you can find your place on this campus too.

Read this story for another perspective of the student organization fair from upperclassmen involved on campus. 

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Written by: Nicholas Wright, junior health science communication and communication studies double major

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

Finishing His College Career Strong With a Summer BioChem Class

Jonathan stands outside his workplace with the Inspira logo behind him.

Today, we meet Jonathan Philip, a senior biological sciences major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County), here to talk about his experience with taking summer classes at Rowan and how it’s been beneficial to him.   Jonathan enrolled in Intro to Biochemistry this summer at Rowan. As it relates to his experiences in the class, Jonathan […]

Maximizing Summer: Interning at Campbell’s Soup Company and Taking Summer Classes at Rowan University

Landon stands in front of Bunce, decorated with the 100 year banner.

A glimpse into hands-on learning for a finance and management information systems major Landon Nicholson, a senior double major in management information systems and finance from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County), gives some insight into his experience taking summer classes at Rowan and his summer internship at Campbell’s Soup Company. Landon wrapped up two online […]

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 […]

Discovering My Passion: Taking A New Class Changed My College Experience

Two students playing the piano.

Alaina Lieze, a junior music and advertising double major from Swedesboro, NJ (Gloucester County) shares this first-person perspective on how joining Rowan Choir helped her rediscover her passion for music, improve her academic performance and feel a sense of belonging on campus.

As a freshman transfer student at Rowan University, I was initially unsure about how to get involved on campus. With so many clubs and activities available, I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. However, I decided to take a chance and join the music program. Rowan Concert Choir is open to all majors and is a one-credit course that helps to satisfy the Rowan Core educational requirements for artistic literacy. Many students choose to take Concert Choir three times, so that they earn three credits to finish the Rowan Core requirement – and without any textbooks or tests!

Although I was nervous about auditioning for the choir, I was quickly put at ease by the welcoming and supportive members. Through my participation in the Rowan Choirs, I rediscovered my love for making music. I had enjoyed singing in various choirs in the past, but this experience was different. The choir explored various genres of music and performed pieces with social justice themes, such as songs related to The Black Lives Matter Movement and African American spirituals. Singing with this group allowed me to see the world in a new way, and I was grateful to have found a community of people who shared my passion.

The Rowan University Concert Choir and University Chorus rehearsing in Pfleeger Concert Hall.

Joining the choir also helped me feel a sense of belonging on campus. As a commuter student, it was easy to feel disconnected from the university community. It was also difficult to join a college community a semester late as a transfer student. However, being a part of the Concert Choir gave me a reason to come to campus on weekends and meet new people.

But, the benefits of joining a new ensemble didn’t stop there. As I became more involved in the choir, I noticed improvements in my academic performance. I was more motivated to attend class and complete assignments because I had something to look forward to outside of my coursework.

Pictured: The Rowan University Concert Choir Singing in their final performance of the spring 2023 semester.

Looking back on my college experience so far, joining the Rowan Concert Choir was one of the best decisions I ever made. It allowed me to discover my passion, make meaningful connections, and develop important skills that will serve me well in my future career.

If you’re a current or future college student, I encourage you to take a chance and join a club or activity that interests you. It could be photography, dance, politics, or anything in between. College is the perfect time to explore your interests and find your passion, and joining a club is a great way to start.

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Written by: Alaina Lieze, junior music and advertising double major

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

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

Paige and her mom walking down Rowan Boulevard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paige and her mom stand on Rowan Blvd.

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

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

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

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

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

How did you support your student through homesickness?

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

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

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

An over the shoulder shot of Paige and her mom.

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

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

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

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

Paige sits on Bunce Hall's marble steps.

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

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

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

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

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Building a Community: Raymond Wos Jr’s Undergraduate Experience

Raymond standing in front of Bunce Hall with the pride lights shining onto the building in the distance behind him.

Rising senior Raymond Wos Jr. (he/him/his) from Gloucester County, NJ, is a subject-matter history major and double minor in both international studies and political science, and he’s also heavily involved with the inner workings of campus as a leader of change. Today he will share with us his personal journey and contributions to the University community. 

At what point did you become comfortable with your sexuality and disability both with yourself and expressing it to other people?

For my disability, I was diagnosed at the age of 6 and then that was with my Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Then I came out as bisexual, being comfortable with it and couldn’t hold it in to myself around my second year in community college so I was probably 18 or 19 years old at the time. I was thinking I feel comfortable with myself and realizing that I needed to be comfortable with these identities regardless and there’s nothing wrong or imperfect about me, it’s just that I know I am the best version I can possibly be and I can be proud of my identities without any criticism or any backlash from these issues.

What has Rowan done to make you feel accepted as part of the LGBQTIA+ community on campus and what gave you the courage to give back to the Rowan community?

As an individual, realizing how much empowerment and power I have on this campus, I realized as someone who’s a part of it but also realizing there’s so many more identities that need to be represented through SGA (Student Government Association) and many other facets I’m involved with. It’s just shown the amount this institution will give, but there’s always room for improvement regardless. However, there’s times where I’m in these roles to make change and I was able to help create legislation throughout the year. One of them, this past spring, I had written a piece of a resolution for transgender rights, acknowledgement, and more condensed stuff on our campus through the wellness center and many other facets of the community. With everything that’s happened within the trans community today outside of Rowan, it just shows that we need to pay more attention to these issues. Since we are not really, this is the first to take a course of action that I’ve done with PRISM and so forth to make this thing happen and it did pass. We’re now working together collaboratively with several offices in particular. Right now at the moment, with the Wellness Center we’re making sure they have fantastic resources for our trans community on this campus. 

What drew you to get involved with Rowan’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and can you share what you have accomplished in your role as AVP?

My time in the role as Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I have completed a lot during my time. I’ve written at least 3 to 4 different resolutions that’s helped many facets of the Disabled community, mental health, and LGBTQIA+ community this past year and made sure there was an emphasis on the importance that these communities need to be represented on this campus and making sure of it. I’ve helped write responses to things that have happened within our community through the backlash that’s happened at Holly Point and even on Twitter where people posted derogatory terms. My well known accomplishment that I’m really proud of is getting a Rowan Announcer created for Judy Heumann, who’s an internationally recognized Disability Rights advocate and leader throughout this nation. She recently passed in March and I got that settled by writing articles and blogs that were published in the campus newspaper, The Whit and DEI blog about it so there’s a lot of work I’ve gotten done.

There are a lot of accomplishments that have happened throughout the academic year. However, I’ve also attended a lot of cultural events, I’ve worked with The BSU (Black Student Union) and NAACP to try and support the local community around me within these facets, within the Division of DEI. But most importantly I do work in the office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution office with Tara Ferrucci and Dominique Pierson who are in charge of the facilities over there. They’re absolutely amazing people. Just gaining more knowledge for their office and working collaboratively with them, even super close with them. Besides that I’m involved within the facet of the Division of DEI, I’m involved in 8 committees they have on campus related to DEI. I’m so embedded into it I understand where the Division is leading to but also how I can help them and give the student perspective as much as possible. I’m proud that I’m able to give that and have faculty, staff, students, and many other supporters understand what I do and how much I care from the student body perspective and how much change I want to see, but also for future generations to realize it’s a lot to consider. But it needed to be done for us. 

Raymond smiles big relaxing in a yellow chair at night with Bunce Hall behind him.

What moments at Rowan gave you the confidence to up such a large role in representing the LGBQTIA+ community?

The reason why is because it’s not for me personally, it’s not represented as a big facet that I was hoping for. Since I had my predecessor, Alex Butler, they were a part of the LGBTQIA+ community as well. I felt a motivation– a very high interest in making a change, but also being a part of a community and realizing I do have a voice as well as seeing the facets of the community, realizing as a person in the community and as an ally, there are so many problems and issues that are not being mentioned in and out of our institution and how we’re going to fix them. I realized I can make a change, not just within the LGBTQIA+ community, but so many other communities that I am not a part of but also within my own disabled identities as well because I feel like they’re left out of the conversation. In addition, neurodiversity is a part of it as well that is missing in these conversations. I just don’t see these issues through my queer and disabled perspective. All these lenses of identities have different facets and need to be represented on campus. The role has gotten bigger and the perception of it has gotten bigger and people may not realize it. 

What challenges have you had to navigate through your time here as an undergraduate student here that other students might not have had to?

For me personally, I have navigated here at Rowan through different challenges. I was a transfer and commuter student here on this campus and it was a very different environment. I transferred the semester that COVID happened and I was here probably two and half to three months in person then COVID hit, then schools shutdown, spring break was two weeks that got extended. From there I learned online and everything else. We went to a universal design type of platform like Zoom and WebEx and learning that way was very different in the beginning, but now it’s a tool that utilizes a lot more than I was expecting to use– I’m grateful I was able to use it. But it’s always been a challenge, also being a student who doesn’t share a lot sometimes. Also, now becoming more comfortable and being empowered, I was able to represent myself on this campus being a transfer from a community college and a commuter. The other facets of my identity I represent on this campus, I have decided to make myself a powerful voice and I think a lot of people have seen that within the last year and a half through every facet of this University.

Are there certain goals that you have set out to achieve whether it’s spreading acceptance or reforming previously held views at the university level that you have achieved?

Some of the things that I personally have achieved during my time here, I can definitely tell you one of my goals is intersectionality which is something that is so important in realizing that we do have a sense of community. It’s also that we need to realize our individuality and we do have a sense of purpose, but also we’re able to have different identities but can relate to each other through this intersectionality. We realize we can share the same experiences but some of us might have it easier than others as expected. I think that’s a philosophy the position needs to have and realize, yes, I can be a person who is a cis white man that is bisexual and disabled and realize I face challenges within two identities, but being a cis white man isn’t a challenge because there’s so many benefits I get from society. But the other identities that I can’t because of how things are structured and how things are happening in our society.

Another one was mental health within DEI. I have passed a legislation resolution to get mental health resources to our campus student website, Canvas, hopefully that’s being implemented soon. Another legislation resolution that I’ve passed again that I have mentioned previously was the transgender awareness legislation and getting the Wellness Center to be more accepting and being open and having it be more accessible.

Another thing I was trying to hit upon was writing opinion pieces and stuff like that within other communities like BIPOC, Neurodiversity, within Disabled, within LGBTQIA+ and I felt like we have gotten there by expanding with our Rowan DEI blog which is absolutely amazing. I highly encourage everyone to check it out, it’s very nice.

A new goal that I was about to start on this campus and it might transition to our next AVP of DEI will be creating a Disability Student Union. From all the conversations and what I’ve been seeing, the empowerment from other communities being seen on campus has been absolutely empowering. It gave power to those who had a voice and gave it and became a force that was not to be reckoned with and being able to make an important change on this campus. But now, since seeing that having an organization called a Disability Student Union in the near future will be a huge benefit to this institution to make change. I think that is something we should look forward to and hopefully will be seeing in the near future. Those are some of my initiatives but there are many more besides that.

Are there specific moments that stand out to you that show the growth within the community at Rowan?

Seeing people becoming more of a family and realizing we’re coming and growing as individuals, but also as people within our society. Also within our clubs and organizations a lot of them are becoming more closely knit and trying to work on my collaboration ideas and working together– it’s a start. Plus we’ve been out of the pandemic and been fully back into school, full fledged with all these activities and everything else for about a year or two now. We’re still rebuilding that stage up again. I think we’ll need a few more years to do it, but I think the communities, the sense of belonging, and what we’re trying to bring to Rowan, seeing the potential next year is gonna be really good. We’re going in the right direction.

Are you satisfied with the changes you’ve helped create at Rowan and what would you like the next crop of students to do to carry on your work here?

For the legacy I left is definitely having empathy for others, but also having empathy that happened on this campus where we need to have a shared responsibility to care for one another and also empower each other. To give each other the power to make change and evolve as a whole and work collaboratively with SGA, with all these various organizations to really make change and challenge the administration to do better, but also to make them more knowledgeable on issues that we’re facing at this time. For the next crop of students, I want them to realize that empathy will go far and wide, showing kindness to others will take a great deal of responsibility for these roles and of these executives for what we’re trying to do for the future. Students should realize just overall empathy, love, and kindness will always take you far in what you do in these careers.

Can you talk about your next steps after you graduate?

After I graduate I want to become a high school history teacher, somewhere locally or somewhere within the state of New Jersey to work with students in history. To show them what the potential of history is, but also destigmatizing history, showing there is so much more potential in history, what is undiscovered, and showing what we learn in the classroom is not always true. We have to challenge what writers have perceived and what has been written by the victors. We need to do better and realize there’s other historical information out there, many more historians have better writing and so forth like that. In the near future, after I’m done teaching for a few years, I want to come back to Rowan and do a double master’s of arts program in Special Education and the Diversity and Inclusion program as well. Having those two facets of programs combined together and working on it, I will have the potential to grow as a self-advocate, an advocate, and an activist, and something bigger within the state or locally. That’s my goal for the future.

After your experience with Rowan, after your experience with community college, how has your education experience impacted how you will teach?

What I have learned during my time here and my time at community college is that if you have something you have your mind to and you put it to it and as someone who’s going into a teaching career, you’re gonna be able to have the same determination and the same energy you want to bring into the classroom. You want to make an impact on these students to be engaged and learn the material you’re teaching them, but go beyond that and have more of a special interest in topics in history. But even more, realizing the importance of having humanities and history in our society to still exist. Where today it’s falling apart in some of the different states, we’re losing humanities, music, and sports throughout public education. We need to refocus our energy throughout the nation to make sure we bring back humanities and I want people to realize they’re equally as important as the STEM fields.

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Written by Thomas Ubelhoer, rising junior political science and international studies double major

Spotlight Welcome on Incoming Transfer Paige Britt

Paige stands in the sun with flowers behind her.

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

Bridging the Gap Between the Art and Business Worlds

Isabella smiles in front of the Creatives 230 sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mechanical Engineering Major Shares Juggling Academics and Being a Student-Athlete

Rowan mechanical engineering student Abby smiles in front of her engineering equipment in the lab.

Today we feature graduating senior mechanical engineering major and student-athlete Abby Hainsworth from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Abby shares her experience while being an engineering major and a member of Rowan’s Field Hockey Team and how she navigates academic workload with her involvement in collegiate athletics.

What is mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineering is problem-solving different things in the world that have to do with moving parts. Within this field, you learn the science, math, and physics behind the way things work, and then you work to design new things or upkeep things that have already been designed to help keep the world going.

Why did you get an interest in mechanical engineering?

I chose mechanical engineering because it is such a broad field. You could really go into so many different professions with a background in mechanical engineering. Moreover, I have always been passionate about aerospace or sustainable energy, which are two areas that I knew mechanical engineering would help me get into as I progress into my professional career. I also knew it would be a secure field to go into.

I originally was a civil engineering major. As time progressed, I realized my sophomore year that I was more interested in mechanical engineering because it focused on moving things versus static things. 

Was there something specific whenever you were growing up that sparked your interest?

I was always interested in math and science. Outer space was the number one thing that sparked my interest. I was always interested in documentaries on TV, looking up at the stars, or just the possibility of working for NASA one day. That combination of things really inspired me.

Can you discuss the educational process? What is the major like when you first come in as a first-year up until your senior year?

In the first year, you usually go hands-on. We have a first-year and sophomore engineering clinic in which you combine with other engineering majors at Rowan and go through hands-on projects. Within these, students are creating different things, learning how to 3D print and 3D model, and learning how to use machines to manufacture things. In your first year as a mechanical engineering major, you take Intro to Mechanical Design, so you learn all the machines; you even build a mechanical clock in which you learn how to pick up a block and move it to a set position.

During sophomore year, you move more into more specific mechanical engineering courses. For example, you start taking your thermodynamics courses and Statics and Dynamics, which are more physics-based courses.

Junior and senior year, you switch to the junior and senior clinic, which are project-based courses where you pick something you’re interested in, whether in your field or another field of engineering.

You get to do a student-led project and something you are passionate about, which is a great experience. You learn a lot of hands-on things; about areas that you might not be more familiar with, and those skills transfer once you graduate.

I’m taking Internal Combustion Engines now as an elective, which I’ve always been interested in and wanted to learn more about. There is a lot of room to learn what you want to learn.

Abby Hainesworth headshot.

What does Internal Combustion Engines focus on?

Internal combustion engine is what really drives your car or anything that is moving nowadays. In the class we learn about the design of the engine, the fuel that goes in the engine, all the different components of your car that help make your car run and work.

Then, we get to research an engine at the end of it and give them back a report about what the engine is and applications of what we’ve learned in a car or something that we are interested in ourselves.

Throughout your career, what courses really stuck out to you in which you gained the most knowledge from?

I gained a lot of knowledge from my mechanical design course. This course really taught us about different ways to design linkages and moving mechanisms, but it also went into a Manufacturing and Measurement Techniques class where I was able to design a scale from scratch.

I had to learn Arduino to code a little controller and then build a kitchen scale that actually was able to measure something; I was even able to change the units on it. This course gave me a lot of experience that went into my junior and senior courses.

Additionally, I would say a lot of the physics courses. I’ve always been passionate about physics and what I do on a daily basis is primarily all physics. So I would say that statics, dynamics, thermodynamics are my most enjoyable classes.

Can you talk more about the faculty and how they help you get better in your field?

The faculty here are very supportive; they really want to see students succeed. I have reached out to my professors about classwork, I’ve gone to office hours where they work through my homework with me or talk with me about exams, but I’ve also reached out to them for personal things.

When it comes to career advice, looking for my job or an internship, or advice on how to even navigate the field after graduation, I’ve reached out to a lot of professors here and they are so willing to help students. They’re truly passionate about our successes. 

One of my biggest pieces of advice to other students is not to be afraid to talk to professors because that’s what they’re here for.

As you wrap up your final semester, what is it that you want to do?

I want to go into sustainable energy or clean energy. I am currently looking into going into nuclear power. However, even if I am not in nuclear power in the future, I want to do something clean for the earth.

I have a job lined up after graduation at the PSEG Nuclear Power Plant in Salem, NJ. I am looking into working there, probably in mechanical systems engineering. In my role, I will be helping upkeep the mechanical systems in the group. Many of the pumps, valves, and different parts help the plant work; our job is to ensure that they are running correctly to power New Jersey.

Abby Hainesworth utilizing equipment in mechanical engineering lab.
Abby Hainesworth utilizing equipment in mechanical engineering lab.

How did you find out about the job? Were there other jobs that you were looking out to?

I am still seeing what else is out there, but I basically had two internships there over the summer. One internship went from my sophomore year to my junior year. Then, I returned from my junior to senior year; I found the internship independently.

Many resources at Rowan help students find internships. With internship opportunities, there are multiple career fairs here at Rowan. I know PSEG has come to the career fairs before, so although I found it on my own, I have also attended these professional development things that Rowan to help me better my resume and assist me in networking.

Do you have a dream job? Is so, what is it?

My dream job is to work for NASA and aerospace. It has always been something that I have been interested in and passionate about ever since I was a little kid. So that is hopefully what I can do one day.

What was the what was the most difficult thing about being in this major?

The most challenging thing about being a mechanical engineering major and a student-athlete was balancing their individual requirements. A lot is asked of you as a student regarding your classes, homework, and exams. Additionally, the athletics requirements are like a part-time job with the amount of practice I have, games, and extra team commitments. Sometimes it can be challenging to do your classwork and still perform on the field.

How was being a mechanical engineering major during Covid-19?

Mechanical engineering during COVID was definitely difficult, but it was not impossible. Everything switched online, so I was learning Zoom from my bedroom, but it was okay. Many of our hands-on projects shifted to creating something on the computer, but I could still learn successfully.

Some professors did projects where you could pick them up and work on them at home. We also did things where if we were to do it at home, we would be given the supplies for it. Usually, we found ways to do it in our house with our own supplies.

Rowan mechanical engineering student Abby sits in an engineering lab surrounded by equipment.

As we transition to talk about your involvement with athletics, can you share the position you play as a member of the Rowan Field Hockey Team?

I am a goalie on the Rowan Field Hockey Team.

When did you become a goalie?

I was a little late to the game. I joined field hockey during my junior year of high school. I initially was playing a different sport, and when I joined the team, they also needed a new goalie. Something in my gut told me I should try it and could be good at it.

When I put on the pads and started making saves, I realized I wanted to be a goalie and did not want to be a field player.

What sport did you play before?

I originally played volleyball when I was in high school. I also played soccer when I was younger. Those sports were the perfect combination for me to be a goalie because I knew how to dive from volleyball, and I knew how to kick from soccer.

Can you talk about what the Elite 90 Award is? 

The Elite 90 Award is awarded to the student-athlete at the national championship with the highest GPA. It is called Elite 90 because there are 90 national championships across Division III athletics. One Elite 90 Award is given to one student at each school for each sport.

Abby Hainesworth standing behind the Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.
Abby Hainesworth standing behind the Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.

You won the Elite 90 Award back-to-back seasons. Can you share what this recognition means to you?

Winning the Elite 90 award back to back is an amazing feeling. I was not expecting to win it in my junior year when we went to the national championship in Connecticut. We had just gotten to the field to do our practice, and the NCAA commissioners came on the field and gave me the award in front of my whole team.

I remember being estatic and shocked; I did not see it coming. Senior year, I put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to win it again if we got back there. This past year we had a banquet with all Final Four teams, and they gave me the award in front of all the teams.

It was just a fantastic feeling to be there and receive recognition for what I have been doing on the field and in the classroom. To be there with my teammates to celebrate it was very special.

So one of the more difficult majors that you can pack on top of their starter every day for field hockey. How do you balance out life?

Balancing athletics and academics is challenging. It comes down to a lot of time management and looking at your schedule and knowing when you have class when you have practices or games, and when you can get your homework done between them. So a lot of it comes down to being very self-motivated.

Another critical key is finding a way to self-motivate and stick to a schedule. For example, I look at my week before my week starts and see when I am busy and my workload, then plan what I will do at the beginning of the week.

When you say you are going to do your homework and give yourself a rest when you say you are going to give yourself a rest, it is really easy to get burnt out and overwork yourself. However, you have to find a way to balance schoolwork, your other life, and other responsibilities and preserve your mental health.
There are resources, coaches, teammates, and classmates to support you through it; building a support system is very important as well.

What are the most memorable moments from your athletic career?

The most memorable moment of my career was winning the NJAC championship in my junior year against Kean in overtime. In my first year, we did not win; in my sophomore year, we did not have a season due to COVID. So, that was the first championship I had won with the team. It was such a surreal feeling; I remember when Rice scored, and everyone just ran on the field. The celebration was just an amazing feeling. Thankfully we were able to do it again during my senior year. However, the first time was just a surreal feeling.

Another great memory was making it to the Final Four back-to-back seasons. A lot of other teams do not get to experience that, and to reach that level and be one of the top four teams in the country, was really special. We truly put in the work for it and deserved it; I am so lucky to have had that experience with my teammates.

What did you learn by being part of a team?

Being on a team made me a better person throughout my four years here. I came into college, and I was really shy; I was afraid to speak to others and afraid to be judged. Being placed on a team with such supportive other athletes helped me develop into who I am today because they taught me that I should be myself and then I will be accepted.

No matter what is happening in my life, I can contact them for help. They motivate me on and off the field to be the best person I can be. I am eternally thankful for this experience and the relationships that I have made. I would not be who I am today without athletics or my teammates, my coaches, athletic trainers, and the whole support system I have been given here; I am so thankful for it.

Close-up of equipment Abby uses in mechanical engineering.
Close-up of equipment Abby uses in mechanical engineering.

Why did you decide to come to Rowan University?

I decided to come to Rowan because of our excellent engineering program here. In addition, I like the fact that the class sizes are small. Most class sizes only have about 20 students, and I knew I could not learn at a university where I was in a lecture-style classroom. If I was in a hall with about 100 other students, I knew that that learning experience would not be for me.

Furthermore, to be at Rowan and have relationships with my professors and to be able to speak to them, go to office hours, and utilize their resources is special. It helps me learn rather than just being another number because of that. At Rowan, you are not another number. Every student is valued and has the opportunity to cultivate relations with their professors.

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Story by: Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

From Political Science Student to Political Operative

Connor talks to two people.

Originally intent on a completely different major, that changed after Connor attended Dr. Lawrence Markowitz’s talk on Russian collusion in American elections. Although he quickly changed majors to political science, he did not want to lose other areas of interest that had been a big part of his life growing up, causing him to pick […]

#PROFspective: How Devon Coulter Overcomes Adversity Living with an Invisible Disability

Devon Coulter posing by the trees near Bunce Hall

Would you mind sharing your experience with your disability? “I have a rare invisible disability called Idiopathic Hypersomnia. The best way I can describe it to someone is that it’s a sister to Narcolepsy. It is an unknown origin, so they don’t know what causes it, and I tend to sleep for really long periods […]

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

Isabella Shainline posing in a work space.

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

From Bulldog to Prof: How John Maldonado Found His New Home Across The Street

Dramatically colored sunset over the Rowan athletic field where John played football.

From across the street to across the goal line, John Maldonado’s journey from Glassboro High School to Rowan University proves that a great college experience might be in one’s own backyard. “I definitely think that Glassboro High School students overlook Rowan just because it’s across the street,” says John, but his own Rowan experience has proven otherwise. A recent graduate of Rowan University, John earned his bachelor’s degree in finance within the Rohrer College of Business. As a student-athlete he played wide receiver on the football team for all four years of his college career, where he received prestigious accolades such as being named to the All-NJAC First Team Offense in both 2021 and 2022. He has also been honored for his work in the classroom, and was named to both the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team and the PhillySIDA Academic All-Area Team during his career. Rowan football player John Maldonado poses for a portrait wearing a practice football jersey and holding a football.

Born and raised in Glassboro, along with his two older brothers, John was always a talented athlete. A three-sport athlete at Glassboro High School, playing football, basketball, and baseball, he found success in all three sports, winning multiple Glassboro Bulldog awards. He was even named to the All-Conference first team for football. Like most three-sport athletes who want to continue at the next level, choosing that one sport you love can be tough. “I originally thought I was going to be a college baseball player, you know baseball was bigger than football in high school for me, but it turned out to be football.”

Rowan football player John Maldonado in action during a game, running with the football against another university.
Photo courtesy of Nick Feldman

Picking a sport to continue throughout college would end up guiding John in his decision to attend Rowan University. Like most seniors out of high school, it’s tough to know exactly what you want to do with life at that point. As John faced the pivotal moment of choosing where to continue his football career, Rowan stood out to him. “I wasn’t 100% ready I guess to move an hour or two away and live on my own so I was like if I’m going to go to an NJAC school or D3 to play football, why not just stay right here.”

John recognized there is a less-than-great perception among Glassboro High students about attending Rowan. Despite the proximity of Rowan to Glassboro High School, John believes that many students disregard the university as a potential option, failing to realize the abundance of opportunities and resources it has to offer.

Rowan football player John Maldonado catches a touchdown pass while being blocked.
Photo courtesy of Nick Feldman

Reflecting on his time at Rowan, John is filled with gratitude for the endless opportunities and resources that helped shape his college experience. “My best advice would be to use the resources,” he emphasizes, “because there’s a ton. There’s a million different things going on at one time with a bunch of people that are trying to help you.” John’s academic advisors played a crucial role in his success off the field. Student-athletes sometimes need additional supports to balance their academic responsibilities with their athletic goals, to maintain their work-life balance and their academic performance. With the support of his academic advisors, John was able to stay on track and ultimately decide on a major in finance after entering as an undecided major (exploratory studies)

John continued his studies at Rowan, now pursuing a master’s in finance, while he simultaneously trains in hopes of making a professional football career a reality. John’s story is a testament to the university’s ability to offer a one of a kind college experience, even for those who already live in Glassboro.Rowan football player John Maldonado poses for a portrait wearing a practice football jersey and holding a football.

He recognizes the challenges that lie ahead of him. “The windows are short with this type of stuff, trying next-level football.” With the resources and opportunities available at Rowan, John is poised to make the most of every opportunity, both on and off the field.

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Story by:
Sean Humphrey, senior public relations major

Photos by:
Valentina Giannattasio, sophomore dance and marketing double major

Senior Reflects On How He Found Himself At Rowan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Year Voices: Carmine Petronglo on Finding Community in Classes and Activities

Mechanical Engineering major Carmine works on his laptop inside Engineering Hall.

Meet Carmine Petronglo, a first-year Mechanical Engineering major and member of the Martinson Honors College who commutes to campus from Gloucester County, NJ. I am a member of the Honors College. I attend a weekly Honors BLAST group meeting with sophomore mentors in the Honors College. I went to the Honors priority registration breakfast and […]

Alumni Success: Joseph Albanese and Where Computer Science Can Take You

Joseph Albanese of Gloucester County, NJ is a 2021 Rowan University alumnus who majored in Computer Science. Joseph works for the company Freefly Systems as a software engineer for the organization’s Alta X drone technology. Whether that be through dealing with maintenance on the front and backend of coding on drones, Joseph Albanese is a diligent worker and proud graduate of the Rowan College of Science and Mathematics.

What is computer science?

Computer science is the study of computers and software. Rowan’s program particularly focuses on the software end of things. There’s a lot of different subcategories that you can get into within the major such as artificial intelligence and robotics, which also has a focus on low level code running on boards. You could also get into applications programming where you’re running codes on applications that you use everyday such as social media.

There are a lot of other categories within this encompassing field that all relate to computers and the software that runs them.

Joseph Albanese wears an Alta X t-shirt.
Rowan University alumnus Joseph Albanese

What are the different avenues like within the field?

Computer science is used in just about everything you can think of now. For instance, your car has a small computer that controls the electronics like the air-to-fuel ratio and a ton of other little things that you don’t even think about in your day-to-day life. Your phone runs an entire operating system that has computer programs running on it. You can go into fields like robotics or drones where you’re focusing on those low-level bits and manage flight dynamics.

You could also go into more high-level things such as writing the software that you use to interact with other pieces of software or devices. You could go into cloud programming or web development where you develop a net of servers and develop all of the different actions that the servers are performing. There’s a huge breadth of things that you can do with computer science in general.

What are some positions that you can find in computer science?

You can be an embedded software engineer where you’re specifically focusing on the development of software that runs on boards. You can think about dominos, where you’re taking these pins that have input and output signals and you have to do an operation in between. You take the input and do some form of an operation between sending out outputs.

With robotics there’s a huge application for that. You can work in an automotive field, you can work with developing cameras that even you guys [editor’s note: our camera crew] are using right now. You could also be a web developer, which has two different subsections with the frontend and backend of things.

For the frontend of things, you can work on the user interface and how buttons appear on the screen and how the user is going to interact and act with that sort of thing. On the backend, you’re managing how data is transmitted from a user, how it’s stored, as well as the operations that you perform on it. There’s a lot of different avenues that you can go about doing.

A lot of what I did at Rowan was lower level application development. I focused quite a bit on writing Linux applications at Rowan University like what was in my capstone classes. Our senior project had us contracted by ASRC to build an application that they were going to use. 

Joe is diligently working on his laptop while his drone is right next to him.

What was the coolest application that you developed at Rowan?

The two coolest things that I did at Rowan were that ASRC project where we wrote a messaging system to send text messages back and forth between servers. The coolest thing about that was that it was decentralized. There was no central server keeping track of the messages, the messages would go directly from one computer to another computer and only to the user that was supposed to be receiving it. If any of the other computers had gone down you could still communicate with all the other ones. If you brought it back up it would automatically be joined back up into the network and communicate again.

Another cool project that I did at Rowan was building a Spotify recommendation website. If you connect to the website or link your own Spotify account with our website it would give you the option to like songs. The website would then take all of the different characteristics of the songs that you had selected such as the keys, the speed of the song, the different notes that would play, and it would compile all that together to craft a playlist for the specific user.

What do you enjoy the most about the field?

There’s a huge variety in what you can do. There’s a lot of interesting jobs that you can get in computer science but I would say that the thing that I like the most about computer science and engineering in general is getting problems and solving them. I get a lot of satisfaction from it. When I get a problem that I have no idea how to approach, getting to know about it and cracking the code and figuring out what I need to do is fun.

Joe is working with a partner and has a drone flying.

What is Freefly Systems?

Freefly Systems is a company that started out doing cinema drones and other robotics. We build cameras, but I primarily focus on the Alta X, which is our large heavy lift drone that is used in many different movies. We’re also getting into the industrial space with land surveying. We’re also looking into breaking into drone delivery. We sell this drone to different companies that are already doing really cool things with their own equipment or provide different services for them.

Generally, Freefly develops drones, cameras and gimbals. Companies that specialize in filming these triple A movies would look into our company and our Alta X to put their camera and equipment together. They use our platform to carry out their tasks. There’s so many different types of markets with drones. There are people who want small drones for shows, but generally for our type of customer, payload and weight capacity is one of our highest concerns. The openness of the platform and the ability to integrate whatever you want with it allows you to take care of whatever you need at the highest level.

What are your responsibilities like at Freefly?

I am a software engineer for the Alta X Team here. Generally, I take care of multiple different tasks ranging from the programming of the boards inside the drones to managing how the different boards communicate with one another as well as writing scripts to do qualitative insurance. I’ve done some work with changing some of the different codes that provide the front end to control the drone.

There’s a whole wide range of tasks that I do as a software engineer. Rowan University definitely provided me with a lot of basic tools that I now need to understand general programming concepts and how to write quality code. From there I was able to leverage those skills and learn how to apply it to drone technology.

Joseph smiles as he programs the Alta X drone for flight.

Are there any opportunities for Rowan students and alumni at Freefly?

Here at Freefly we’re constantly looking for new talent. If you’re an alumni or just recently graduated, you should definitely apply as we’re always looking for new software engineers. If you’re a current student, we’d love to have you as an intern and show you the ropes of what drone software engineering is like.

What is the best piece of advice that every computer science student should live by?

I would say that the best thing that I had heard when I was in school was to not just focus on your course work and making it the only thing that you’re doing. If you have side projects and things that you’re working outside of what you’re being taught, not only does it reinforce things that you’re learning but it also shows that you’re passionate about what you’re doing while applying for jobs. It gives you a leg up in experience but also having something to show what you’re doing.

If you apply what you learn outside of the academic environment and take it one step further, you start to push the boundaries of what you learn in class. You’ll have a much easier time transitioning into an actual workplace. While school provides a great foundation and a bit of depth to things, going outside and like I said earlier, pushing it that one step further, will really help you get a leg up on things.

See our video with Joseph here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

The First of a Program: Katrina McCarthy, M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning Student

Katrina is sitting at a desk with a globe put near the camera.

Transitioning from one career path to another is no simple task, but in the case of Rowan Global student Katrina McCarthy, she’s used her prior knowledge to set the foundation for her next step forward. In our conversation with Katrina, a Rowan undergraduate alumna and member of the first cohort to launch the  M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning program, we discuss how her experiences have led her into different fields as well as how Rowan is setting its students up in the Urban and Regional Planning program for future success.

Can you tell us a bit about your geography background? What made you pursue it for your bachelor’s degree? 

I was initially an undergrad in the Radio/TV/Film department [RTF] here at Rowan. I was one class away from finishing the program when I had taken a class called World Regional Geography. From that class I realized that there was this whole discipline around geography and that I could make a career out of it if I pursued it.

At the time I never knew something like this existed; I had always loved flipping through the Rand McNally Atlas ever since I was a little girl. I remember being in the backseat of my family’s pickup truck during road trips just perusing through it. After that I was all in on geography. I took every class you could possibly take about GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and learned how to make digital maps. It all spiraled from there.

Katrina is standing and smiling with her arms crossed inside Discovery Hall.

What was that experience like going from RTF [Radio/TV/Film] and transitioning into Geography? What aspects of it made it difficult and what parts of it were easier than you anticipated? 

Geography is one of those disciplines that is very welcoming and open. There are many people like me who didn’t realize that you could study places, people, spaces and how or why they become those places. It ends up being somewhat of a catch all program where other people stumble upon it from these teaser classes. You have your gen ed experience and stumble upon something like Geography. You discover it. The program is very all encompassing and accessible to any person who is passionate about the big and small details of the world we live in. It’s a bit different, but I felt like RTF was a little bit more niche and competitive and I wasn’t ready for something like that at the time.

Could you provide some insight as to what Urban Planning encompasses? 

Urban planning to me is taking the physical world around you and just looking at it as if it were an onion and peeling it all back and seeing all the different component parts that make up the world that you traverse through every day. So whether it be infrastructure, roadways or buildings, it’s the built physical landscape that you live in and the other aspects of it that support it. With that being said, you’re looking at food systems (where your food comes from), water systems, affordable housing, transportation, green spaces and so on. There’s just so many different facets of how urban planning works.

What is your concentration? 

So I’ve really concentrated on conservation. I’ve worked on a project called NJ MAP. We’ve partnered with some conservation organizations to work on a project called the Conservation Blueprint, where we are basically bringing together all the conservation groups in New Jersey together in a collaborative way to figure out how to connect and preserve the available land that is left in New Jersey.

One of my colleagues, Dr. John Hasse, famously stated in 2001 that New Jersey is projected to be the first state to reach “build out.” Build out means that all the land in New Jersey is either developed or preserved; there’s no in between. From that you get what’s called a locked-in landscape. New Jersey has become rapidly suburbanized, and you see a lot of McMansions and wandering suburbs. But then you also see a really strong push to conserve the beautiful landscapes that make up this state, the Garden State.

Katrina is sitting at a table with a large map of the world behind her.

Why do you believe there should be a prevalence in keeping the balance between wanting to build more but also wanting to preserve? 

I think the balance is being able to do urban and community planning the right way. For a long time the planning profession to me seemed a little bit daunting and scary, because, growing up, I thought urban planning was something done by technocrats. I thought that it was a top-down operation and through the first half of the 20th century, it was in many ways. After going through this program, what I found out is that real true planning comes from the community.

True planning comes from learning about the history of places and opening it up for a proper dialogue. You realize that without the residents’ input you create a disjointed, sprawling landscape. In order to do it better, we need to really break it open, turn it on its head, bring more youthful vibrancy to it and, and bring in the voices of the people that are living in these places. And I think that’s what it’s lacked for a long time.

So with New Jersey being such an historic state, there’s been a lot of changes going on throughout. What difficulties do you run into when going through your urban planning? How do you overcome these difficulties?

So for example, since the onset of the COVID pandemic, you can see the skyrocketing of e-commerce and what does that do to our landscape? There are warehouses everywhere, just going up by the minute and what it’s doing is eating up farmland, it’s eating up forests, it’s eating up land that shouldn’t be developed in that way. If it was done better, we would have more coordinated roadways, we’d have more coordinated rail lines that connect to harbors and airports. New Jersey is ground zero to see these impacts. We’re the linchpin right in the middle of the Northeast megalopolis. We’re in the center of Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Washington DC – you could be to any of these places within a couple hours drive. We have the second biggest port in the country with Newark.

But what we see is, all these warehouses, just dabbling in the landscape now because of broken or short-sighted planning. All of this can be done more efficiently. But we’re just not there yet.

Part of that problem is that New Jersey has what’s called Home Rule. New Jersey is the third smallest state in the country, but at the same time, we have 564 discrete municipalities and so 564 different towns, making their own decisions about what happens in those towns. For situations decided by mayors and officials that are on two- and four-year terms, they often make decisions about what’s good for their town in the most immediate time frame and it can be very short sighted. What happens is that the next administration inherits what the previous administration’s already done and it sort of bleeds into each other.

Part of the reason that it’s so difficult to tackle things like warehouses is because we need to take a more regional approach. Not even just regionally in New Jersey, but regionally in the Northeast. How do we do this better, how do we make it more efficient? And how do we bring about the policy, regulation and/or votes to make these changes happen?

In this portrait, Katrina is standing in front of the camera with her arms crossed.

You’re clearly passionate about the subject. But with that passion, how did we get from the little girl who liked looking at maps and books to where you are now?

I think that when I transitioned into geography, like I said earlier, I realized this is actually a discipline with discourse that is able to shape the modern world. Going through the process of creating and maintaining NJ MAP really engrossed me in the power of maps to communicate change and bring awareness to matters often unseen in day-to-day life. Then when I committed to going back into this graduate program, I realized that it’s not healthy for elected officials and planning boards to be in this reactionary state when development proposals are put forward. There needs to be advocacy and understanding for the people living in these places. It starts with engaging in the community. You start to question, “Is this happening where I live? Is that happening where you live?” You start asking yourself: Where does the change actually lie? How do we change the status quo? How do we flip the script, change the dynamic, and make it so that there are more people coming into this field?

When I was in high school considering what you could go to college for, I never thought about planning. I mean, I don’t know who would because it’s not really introduced in such a way. And it’s not a really appealing field like others. Planning doesn’t exactly present itself as a riveting field. But when you really dig into it, you start understanding that there is so much to it that impacts your daily life. You start saying “We can have a say. We can figure out how to build momentum for these different initiatives.”

What was the hiatus that you mentioned earlier? 

After I graduated in 2009 with a degree in geography, I worked at an engineering firm. I was just mapping signs on roadways on a computer that was updating a road centerline inventory. It was just grueling, mind-numbing work. After that I came back to work on a project in the Geography, Planning, and Sustainability Department. We kicked off what was called the NJ MAP, which is an environmental resource atlas that we developed. Like I said earlier, a lot of the planning in New Jersey happens at a local level in these 564 municipalities. What we realized is we wanted to be able to provide data and information to people to make better decision making for their towns and what we questioned was, “How do we know where the threatened and endangered species are? Where are the stream corridors? How do we protect the wetlands? How do we not allow development in areas where development shouldn’t occur?”

We thought that we could catalog all this data because of how New Jersey is so fortunate to have a really strong program through the Department of Environmental Protection that produces so much data.

We can document and we can show where these things are. So we thought if we take all this information and we can put it out there on a publicly accessible map, people will be able to use it in the field and then bring it up at a public meeting and say, “Where is this location where would they want to build this warehouse? And is there another location that might be more suitable, where there might be a willing seller? Is there a site that isn’t going to build on prime farm soils but instead redevelop abandoned lots?” Typically all this information isn’t readily available but NJ MAP bridges that divide. We wanted to take this data and make it publicly accessible so that everyday people can use it. That’s been going on for around 11 years now, and this type of thought process is still going strong.

Katrina is sitting at a desk with different plans arrayed inside Robinson Hall.

Do you ever feel as if there’s an immense pressure with your work? Do you think it might be too much at times? 

Whenever you build something, especially if it’s open source like NJ MAP, I feel like people could use it for nefarious purposes. It’s kind of out of our control, you just hope that more people use it for good than bad. Being able to take data and put it down to a parcel level, a place where you can measure it and see where things are, I think that that gives a lot of power to make more informed decisions and support grassroots advocacy efforts.

When did you start your master’s program?

I started the master’s program in fall of 2020, which is when the program began. So I was part of the first cohort to start the program.

With you being in that inaugural program, what kind of skills have you learned during your bachelor’s that are now being tested for your masters? 

I’m a lot more focused on the question: “How do we make planning more regenerative?” For a long time planning was this one way, just kind of how humans build up the landscape to be able to accommodate automobiles. The United States was largely built for the automobile, which, if you look at Europe and other places, it’s glaringly obvious that we did it all wrong. But now we’re starting to figure out how we can get it right, undoing some things and deepening the involvement of the community. You follow practices that are regenerative.

I feel like coming through the program, there’s a real emphasis on what’s called the triple bottom line, which means doing things that are good for the economy, but also society and the environment. How do we set our sights on that as our goal and create strategies that achieve tangible results? What is the best situation for the mental, physical and social well being of a community? I think that’s a big part of planning today, as well.

With this master’s program, do you have to have a final thesis that you came up with?

No. There’s no requirement for a final thesis, per se. There is a capstone Planning Studio course that is immersive in applying planning techniques in a real-world project. We partnered with Frederic Byarm of Invincible City farms to gain a better understanding of community perceptions of food insecurity in the city of Camden, NJ. Mr. Byarm is passionate about cultivating nutrition, economic growth, and dignity in his mission to eradicate food insecurity in Camden and wants to create a service where local food may be produced and delivered by local employees. We worked together to conduct a semester-long project that included conducting focus groups, one-on-one interviews, surveys and a food environment scan and created a final report and presentation to the community stakeholders.

We’ve done many other interesting projects, and definitely a lot of writing, just to document different research methods. We also did a lot of qualitative research methods. For example, we did another project where we looked at the Chamberlain Agora that’s being developed right now. During this process, we knew the plans were already in motion. They’re already going to expand the building and it’s one of the places on campus, that’s an iconic campus hub. It’s one of the places that everyone goes and is a meeting place that connects all these other places on campus.

So we wanted to get some information from the people that use this place every day. We were trying to figure out what was missing and what should be there when the expansion is complete. We were looking at the seating options, charging stations, sustainable materials, water features and greenery. Mainly we were trying to figure out how to make the site functional for humans and nature. That was a really fun project that was done collaboratively (three-student team).

What is it like working with your degree here at Rowan? What is it like working on your own university, so to speak?

I had a great experience. I think that there is definitely room to build the Rowan MSURP program relationships with campus planning and other offices. Like I mentioned earlier, this program is quite young, it just started in the fall of 2020. So I think that there’s a huge opportunity for this cohort of grad students coming through to interact with the campus landscape architect, planning office and sustainability leaders. There are so many things going on, there’s initiatives that some of my colleagues are working on like Re:wild (a movement to build a world in balance with the wild) and accessibility on campus, not just for physical impairments, but for any kind of other accessibility consideration.

Katrina is standing in front of a brick wall and smiling outside Discovery Hall.

What job opportunities are out there for people that have a degree in urban planning? 

With job opportunities, the work ranges. You can work as a community developer or for conservation organizations, you can work at planning firms, whether they be urban, regional or rural. A lot of planning is done at the local level, but it’s generally done by a planning firm.

In this area in particular, planning firms might cover Camden and Gloucester counties. You can also go into fields like transportation or historic preservation. I have a colleague in the grad program who is really interested in historic preservation and vintage motels, specifically in Wildwood, and he was able to intern with their Historic Preservation office over the summer.

If you’re interested in working on climate change, mitigation and adaptation measures are being put in place now but need a lot more support from working professionals. Developing and implementing green stormwater infrastructure and practices, for example, is a huge field. With that being said, there’s a lot of different directions that you can go.

How accessible is the program going from here to there?

I say that it’s so accessible, and that’s why it can be hard to nail down one niche aspect. For myself, I could say that my niche has been conservation planning because I’ve worked in an adjacent capacity for the last few years. You have people like [faculty member] Megan Bucknum who is a professional that works really deeply in food systems planning. A lot of people wouldn’t think about urban planning and food systems, but urban areas need food and they don’t have a huge farm base, so that is another major branch of the planning field.

Why Rowan? Was it opportunity that you spoke of or was Rowan one one of the firsts to have this program?

There is one other planning  program in the state at Rutgers called the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. It is a well-established and highly respected program. I think that it’s really important for Rowan to be able to enter this space because, as a public university, Rowan has the ability to provide an accessible education to people, especially in South Jersey. With this program, I feel like it offers a flexible way to gain an understanding and entry into the field of urban and regional planning. The undergrad program is in Community and Environmental Planning, and really so much of what urban planning is comes from well-executed community engagement. There is also a 4+1 program to help streamline undergrads into the program if planning becomes their passion.

What would you say to encourage someone to look into urban planning? 

It depends on where your niche lies. If you’re a really technically minded person, you can dive deep into GIS. GIS once upon a time was using a limited software program to be able to draw polygons and points lines on a map. It was very straightforward. Now, if you want to dive into GIS and really get into the data and information, you have to be almost a software programmer to be able to do it, but you will also be able to pair that with a passion for places and spaces. If you manage to synthesize the two it will bloom even more. If you enjoy writing or graphic design those skills are strongly needed too. So it just depends where your niche lies.

Even if you enjoy traveling, then I feel like it activates something inside you. I have always loved to travel. As of now, I don’t travel as much anymore, because I have two young kids. But at the same time, being able to get lost in a map is something that will never get old to me. And I can do it anywhere in the world. I am never not intrigued by what I find. No matter where you are, just go for a walk and observe; there’s something so enjoyable about that. And if you enjoy that, you would enjoy geography, you would enjoy the discipline, you would appreciate all that goes into the field of planning.

Is there any pride that you feel having been part of this inaugural class that’s going to graduate with this master’s program? 

I’ve had a long history with Rowan. Like I said, I started my undergrad program here back in fall of 2005 which is scary to say out loud. I graduated in 2009. And I’ve been a proud Rowan alum and I will be a proud Rowan alum after I leave this program.

It’s cool to see Rowan plant its flag in this field because we need more urban planners, we need more young people realizing that they can do something about the urban and physical landscape around them and they can make a difference.

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Beyond the Classroom: How Two Students Blend Art and Science

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you two meet? 

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

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

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

How did you introduce Biomedical Art and Visualization to Naman? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naman and Terry pose with campus greenery in the background.

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

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

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

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

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

Naman and Terry are standing on the Bunce Hall stairs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Lucas Taylor, graduate English education 

Photography by:
Ashley Craven, sports and communication major

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

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

Getting to Know the Molecular & Cellular Biology Major with Lauren Staman

Lauren Staman, a senior Molecular & Cellular Biology major, speaks with us about the field, her experience conducting research at Rowan University, and tips for students looking into the major. Can you describe molecular and cellular biology? It’s basically a field of biology that’s very specialized yet interdisciplinary. It deals with the inner workings of […]

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

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

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

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 Transfer Profs: Marleigh Davis from the School of Nursing and Health Professions

A photo of James Hall behind flowers and an art installation.

Today we feature incoming transfer student Marleigh Davis (she/her) from Gloucester County. Marleigh tells us about majoring in Nutrition, gives advice to future transfer students, and discusses why she chose to attend Rowan University. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward to at Rowan University? I am looking […]

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

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

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

Meet Transfer Profs: College of Science and Mathematics Students Dante and Daniel

An image of Rowan's Science Hall.

Today we feature incoming transfer students Dante P. (they/them) and Daniel from Gloucester County and Cumberland County, respectively. Both give insights into their majors, why they’re excited to start classes at Rowan, and give advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward to at […]

Meet Transfer Profs: Welcoming Students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Bunce Hall on Rowan's Glassboro Campus behind some foliage.

Today we feature incoming transfer students April Casey (she/her), an English major from Gloucester County and Emma Rodriguez (she/her), an Anthropology major from Ocean County. The two tell us about their majors, why they’re excited to start classes at Rowan, and give advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us […]

Meet Transfer Profs: 3 Marketing Majors from the Rohrer College of Business

An aerial photo of Rowan's business building.

Today we feature Marketing majors and transfer students Grace Massengale (she/her), Halle Lemanowicz (she/her), and Irany Cano from Gloucester County, Camden County, and Cumberland County respectively. The three tell us about their majors, why they’re excited to start classes at Rowan, and give advice to future transfer students. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with […]

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

Larry holds a notebook outside on an athletic field.

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

How did you discover your internship?

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

Larry leans against a fence inside Wackar Stadium.

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

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

Have you learned anything new in this internship?

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

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

Larry writes in a notebook inside Wackar Stadium.

Has your experience helped you inside and outside of school?

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

Why did you choose Rowan University?

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

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

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

Larry stands at the 50 yard line inside Wackar Stadium.

Can you tell us about your column with The Whit?

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

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

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

What are your future goals and career goals?

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

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

Larry sits near a laptop inside Wackar Stadium.

What is your advice for future students on internships?

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

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

Final thoughts?

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

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

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

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

A Champion and Voice for Graduate Students: Amit Dhundi, President of the Graduate Student Government Association

Amit Dhundi, a Rowan Global Ph.D. in Engineering student with a concentration in Chemical Engineering from Pitman, NJ (Gloucester County), shares his continuous work and contributions to Rowan as a graduate student and President of the Graduate Student Government Association.

Emerging from a family of academics, Amit is well-versed in the realm of scholastic success.

Amit came to Rowan as an international student from India in 2018, in which he graduated with a master’s in Chemical Engineering in 2020. Shortly thereafter, he joined Rowan’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Institute (AMMI) as a project manager before returning as a PhD student.

Amit posing for a portrait in engineering hall.

“That was a tough time to graduate because of the lockdown and companies were not hiring,” he explains. “I worked for a year as the project manager at [AMMI] and I later joined at the same lab as a Ph.D. student in the summer of 2021. So I became a student, an employee, and then went back as a student. Apart from that, I was also a student worker at the Chemical Engineering department when I was pursuing my master’s.”

As of now, Amit engages in research that is funded by the U.S. Army.

“My research involves the development of a new polymer formulation and fabricating 3D printed parts, which are really great properties for the Army. Specifically, my work involves synthesizing these different formulations in the lab, so this requires knowledge of chemistry.”

Aside from his ongoing investigations, Amit is also the President of the Graduate Student Government Association (GSGA). Ultimately, the mission of the organization is to serve as the official voice and representation for Rowan University Glassboro graduate students at a university level. The GSGA is also a tool for graduate students as they navigate their educational careers. 

“GSGA brings all of these graduate students from different colleges, institutions, and centers to a common place. It is a place for everything like graduate student concerns, needs, professional development, and also advocacy when it comes to some issues that they are facing,” Amit says. “Any graduate student from the Glassboro and South Jersey campuses are welcomed to be a part of this organization, regardless of their major.”

Amit on campus via his scooter.

As an advocate for community, the GSGA championed Amit’s vision of collective ambition. 

“I have been at Rowan for four years and I was always seeking a place for graduate students to gather and get to know each other — especially from different disciplines, backgrounds and colleges. I think it’s really great that we have so many different colleges. Rowan has such a vast campus where the students can come together and learn from each other through different experiences, backgrounds, mindsets and views on a situation. This was what I was seeking, which is what brought me to this organization.”

Due to the demanding schedules of graduate students, the GSGA holds virtual meetings every Monday at 4:30 p.m. to accommodate their members. 

“Each meeting lasts at most half an hour. This is the best way to ensure that most of the graduate students can come together. I am always open to changing it based on people’s needs,” Amit shares. “It starts with something as simple as greeting each other and getting to know any developments about the student life here or their experiences they have had as a student or in the college. Also, if there are any issues or anything that they would want to be a part of the graduate community at Rowan, we see how the GSGA could help them.”

Amit studies at a desk in an academic building on campus.

As President of the association, the catalyst that led to Amit’s role was roused through multiple agents. 

“I have been in both roles at Rowan as a graduate student and as an employee, so I feel as if I have seen both sides. It’s important to me that I use this experience in order to chart out a better path that works for both groups. I think it’s important to be proactive and understand the concerns of others in order to come up with a solution. That’s one thing that I thought I could impact on the graduate community across the university.”

Amit working in an lab on campus.

“Another thing is, I come from a family of academicians. My dad was a mechanical engineering professor in India and he was the Dean of the Federal Level Engineering Institute,” Amit shares. “My mom has a master’s degree in art and a degree in education. She was a teacher. I wanted to put to use the experiences that I had growing up and the experiences here for the betterment of the graduate student community.”

“This association is also relatively new, so while I’m here I will do my best. Also, I will be around for three years so I thought that I could give much more. I don’t have that deadline nearing me for graduation,” he says. 

Since the organization is relatively new, Amit’s responsibilities as President include raising awareness of the GSGA to the graduate student community. His other duties include communicating with the university and administration about any issues, concerns, or developments that the community might be facing or want to see. 

Amit’s commitment to the GSGA has yielded a multifaceted appreciation for the organization. Since graduate students spend more time collaborating with university staff because of the nature of their academic work, the GSGA aids in raising funds as well as increased recognition for the university. Additionally, the recent addition of the organization has incited a need for more involvement through a platform that allows for effective and professional communication. Amit views this demonstration for growth as the driving force for success. 

Amit posing on a spiral staircase in engineering hall.“I think being a part of this process and development is like being a catalyst. I’ve learned many things about myself and it’s a great opportunity to communicate with so many people across the administration hierarchy and the graduate community. This helps me and will help other graduate students in their professional lives. It gives me an opportunity to come out of the Rowan College of Engineering and get to know people.”

When asked about his goals and aspirations for the future of the GSGA, Amit responds: “One of my goals is having more events in order to see a part of a larger community. The second thing is for the graduate community to come out of the shell of their respective colleges and departments to present an academically diverse group which can work together for the benefit of graduate students. Once the GSGA is active across the university, I think that would be the right time to reach out to the university administration for funding because we don’t have as much funding right now. This funding would be used for social events in order to come together and raise awareness about the association. This would just be the beginning of a long journey.”

To spur recognition for the organization, Amit strives to increase acknowledgement of Rowan’s graduate programs in ranks such as the U.S. News. This platform is recognized as a leader in college and grad school rankings. 

  Amit standing in front of the College of Engineering banner.

“U.S. News is used by everyone who goes to university. For example, international students use this as a tool to see if a university is legitimate. Even students in the U.S. start the decision-making process about universities based on U.S. News,” Amit explains. “I know engineering graduate programs have been recognized, but as an association we would like all graduate degree programs at Rowan to be mentioned or listed in U.S. News. I believe this will not only help the incoming graduate students, but Rowan University will also benefit because its programs would get more recognition.” 

A development in the awareness of graduate programs such as the GSGA would also suggest graduate student admittance into campus events. Throughout the year, Rowan University holds signature events and traditions such as the Hollybash. Started in the spring of 2016, this event is a full afternoon outdoor festival that features rides, lawn games, performances, food trucks, novelties and more. Hollybash also sponsors a large concert, which has seen guests such as Andy Grammar (2018) and Mike Poser (2017). Customarily, undergraduate students are the predominant attendees of this event. 

Amit posing with his electric scooter.“What struck me earlier this year is there is this thing called a Hollybash that we have on the campus each year and there were some graduate students, including myself, who wanted to attend it, but we were told that it was only for undergrads,” Amit shares. “I understood because undergrads pay fees for these activities and the graduate students don’t pay that much towards such events. I think the undergrads get two tickets, but I wondered what if graduate students were made available to a facility where we could buy those tickets at a discounted price because it’s a university event.” 

Amit adds, “It would be so much fun for us to attend it as well and be a part of that university celebration. And then I realized that there may be other similar events. I think that if graduate students were expected to pay a certain amount to get in, I’m sure there are so many students who would want to be a part by buying these tickets in order to be active in the student life at Rowan University. Making this facility available is something I would like to bring up to the administration.”

In a dialogue about Rowan’s current focus, Amit advocates for an integration in which graduate programs are examined alongside the university’s undergraduate programs. 

“I somehow want to be involved in making that infusion in which graduate programs are also considered. This is important because the university higher administration has said that we have really good plans and ambitions as a university,” Amit shares. “We started as an R3 university, which is a category for primarily teaching. We have now come to the R2 category, which is impressive, and which means that we are doing research and teaching. We are actually aiming for the R1 category, which is majorly a research university with some teaching. When you talk about research, you of course need graduate students because they are an important part.”

Amit working on research in a lab.
Amit working on research in a mechanical engineering lab.

He adds, “I feel like it is high time for the university to make that infusion on its approach to communication. I think that graduate students make a big impact and we need to start making that change now.”

When asked what Amit would like others to take away from GSGA, he responds: “I would really like the graduate community to reach out. In the past the GSGA had one meet-up event, and I understand that it was a small event, but still it was a good occasion for graduate students from different disciplines to come together to get to know each other. We would like to have similar events in the future. I want to stress that we really value students from different disciplines and backgrounds. Especially because this is a new organization, we are looking for graduate students to join and come onboard with this association.”

If you are interested in joining the Graduate Student Government Association or would like more information, you can contact the organization at gsga@rowan.edu.

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Jessica Nguyen, elementary education and literacy studies graduate

Inside the M.S. in Biomedical Engineering Program with Rowan Global Student Brennen Covely

Brennen leans against a wall inside Engineering Hall.

Gloucester County native Brennen Covely graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and two patents to his name. He returned to pursue his master’s degree through Rowan Global and leads a novel research project studying fetal alcohol syndrome. Brennen takes us through his research and gives us a more detailed look into […]

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 […]

Beyond the Classroom: Sarah Forsman, Achieving the Impossible

Sarah smiles with green shrubs in the background.

Sarah Forsman, a Marketing and Psychology student from Gloucester County, is an advocate for those who have Alpha-Mannosidosis and Craniosynostosis. Her experience with the following conditions have provided Sarah with a renewed perspective — one that influences her outreach and prospective goals. In today’s article, Sarah discusses her story, her involvement across organizations, and her use of writing as a platform to champion others. 

Why did you choose to study marketing and psychology?

I came to Rowan after I went to Rowan College of South Jersey. I got my associate degree in business administration, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I chose marketing because it’s versatile.

When I entered my senior year, I realized that I didn’t like marketing, but I had all of these credits. I prayed and thought about it until I came to the conclusion of psychology. This is something that I am interested in learning more about and potentially doing in the future because it has helped me. I chose psychology so if I potentially got a master’s in this area, I would have all the core classes.

What internship are you involved in and what are some responsibilities in this position?

Currently, I am interning for Craniofacial Connection. They are a brand new organization. I’ve been in the craniofacial world for some time now because I was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis and I had surgery when I was a year and a half. The person that I am interning for, she worked for the children’s hospital when I had my surgery. She was starting this new organization and she needed help with marketing. Right now, we’re focusing on starting social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We are also working to develop a newsletter as well as updating her website. 

Sarah stands and smiles at her home.

Can you share your story about Alpha-Mannosidosis and Craniosynostosis?

I was born with Alpha-Mannosidosis. It’s a rare genetic disease that affects every single cell in the body. My body was missing one enzyme and that was the alpha-mannosidase enzyme. By missing that enzyme, it really affects every single part of the body. It affects my bones, brain, and muscles. If you think of something, it’s probably most likely affected by this rare disease. I’ve had a lot of challenges when I was younger. I had moderate hearing loss so I had hearing aids. My muscles were very weak so I had trouble walking. I had ataxia or balance issues. I had a lot of cognitive issues and processing issues. I also have issues with my memory so I don’t remember anything from when I was younger. Even things that were two or three years ago are hard for me to remember, so I always say that I have a blank slate for everything!

With Alpha-Mannosidosis, I do have a treatment option, but it’s not technically a cure. I had a bone marrow transplant when I was four and a half. Transplants are very risky because of the chemo drugs that are used. The surgery really helped my life because if I didn’t have that bone marrow transplant, I would be here in a wheelchair, barely communicating, and having so many issues because it is a degenerative disease.

What are some of the challenges that followed after your bone marrow transplant?

I don’t really have a lot of challenges that were from the actual transplant. We’ve watched a lot of the different aspects that it can affect, and everything is looking pretty good right now. The bone marrow transplant stops the disease from progressing at that stage so anything that happened is thought to have stopped where it was. I still have challenges with my memory, cognitive issues, and brain issues in general. I have a lot of good muscles now and after the bone marrow transplant my hearing came back. I don’t have hearing aids now, which is super cool!

The biggest thing is probably my brain because it really affects everyday life. My life doesn’t look the same as a typical person that is my age because of what I’m experiencing with my brain challenges. That means I don’t have a job, I don’t drive, I go to school part-time, and I’m doing neurofeedback therapy three times a week. My schedule looks a lot different, but I’m always just trying to remind myself to stay in the moment and be ok with where I am because of the things that I’ve gone through.

Sarah sits and smiles at her home.

How do you advocate for others who may be experiencing similar challenges?

I’m involved with a lot of different things because I don’t have a job, so it can help me be in all of these different areas. A lot of what I do, I do on social media. Parents who have kids that are being diagnosed with Alpha-Mannosidosis are reaching out to me because they see that I have Alpha-Mannosidosis on my social media pages. It’s so cool because they’re reaching out to me and we’re getting on a Zoom call to talk. We’re connecting with families that are across the world like Brazil and Serbia. The one girl that we connected with recently had a bone marrow transplant to stop the disease from progressing. A lot of my advocating happens on social media because there’s not that many people that have this rare disease alone in the United States.

As a board member of International Society for Mannosidosis and Related Diseases (ISMRD), what is the mission of the organization and your responsibilities?

ISMRD is the International Society for Mannosidosis and Related Diseases. It’s a family support for all of the different rare diseases that are within this organization. We’re researching a lot because we work with scientists who are looking for cures for these nine glycoprotein rare diseases. We’re on a mission to really try and get the patients connected with the scientists, doctors, and similar networks. I have been on the board for a little under a year. I am working on sending emails to the family to update them on things that are happening within the organization or any opportunities that are happening in the rare disease world. I am also going to be helping them with their social media presence on Instagram because they don’t have Instagram. The board is made up of parents of these kids who have these rare diseases, so there’s not many younger people on the board.

How do you use your interest in writing as an outlet and a platform for your goals?

I absolutely love writing! It’s funny because when I was in elementary school, I always wanted to be a writer one day. My mom told me to go for it, even though I had challenges in the writing classes because that was one of the challenges I had with what I was born with. Writing was not my strong suit whatsoever, so I love that I am able to write and share my journey. I write in a way that feels like I’m talking to you and that’s really what I want it to be like. I want to have a conversation with someone because we live in a world that is so fast-paced and no one is sitting down and having a conversation about what they are going through or what is happening in their life. I just want to help to inspire people, even if it’s just one person that reads my blog. I just want to share some hope, joy, and peace in their life.

Sarah stands and smiles at her home.

What is the idea behind the title of your blog, Achieve the Impossible Today?

I am a Christian, and in the Bible it says in Mark 10:27 by Jesus: “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” I grew up Catholic, but I stopped going to church. I knew God when I was younger, but it wasn’t like I know him now. In the past four years of knowing God and diving into my relationship with Jesus, he’s just shown me that anything is possible. The whole thing is I just want to share stories of doing the impossible because everything that I’m doing today is considered impossible.

Who do you hope to reach with your blog?

Anyone — I would love for anyone who’s going through a hard season to read my blog and find that hope that they will get through this. It’s also for parents who are just finding out that their kid has Alpha-Mannosidosis because there’s not much out there. I just want to raise awareness of the disease.

What are your goals for the blog and your future?

The main theme that I wish to go after is just to inspire people in whatever it may be that I’m doing.

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

Photos by:
Harley Sarmiento, senior sports communication and media major

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

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

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

On discovering the program

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

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

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

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

Benefits of the 4+1 program

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

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

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

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

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

Experiences outside the classroom

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

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

Scott has also gotten valuable experiences outside of the classroom.

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

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

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

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

Future goals

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

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

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

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

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

Passing the Torch: International Studies Grad Griffin Lallier Looks Ahead

Griffin poses next to a flower bush with his diploma.

Griffin Lallier, an International Studies major with minors in Political science and Geography and a CUGS in sustainable urbanism, is a commuter student from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County).

Griffin looks off into the distance in front of Bunce Hall.

As a commuter, Griffin could still make many friends. He shares the best ways he found to make friends at Rowan. 

“Go to any of the social events that have been on campus, such as events held by RAH or SUP. Also, go to any of the events that professors talk about in class or any events the department is holding. It’s fun to hang out with fellow students. Being a part of clubs and activities has been a great way for me to meet a bunch of different people from so many walks of life,” he says.

Griffin talks about the clubs and organizations he was involved in where he made friends.

I’m involved in a couple of different things. While it’s not really a club, I am an Admissions Ambassador. I’ve been an Admissions Ambassador for just a little under two years now and we’re the people that give tours around campus and be the faces of campus. Aside from that, I’ve been heavily involved in RIPPAC, which is the Rowan Institute of Public Policy and Citizenship. We’re an organization that prepares students for dealing with matters of public policy and legalities. We get to meet a lot of really great high-end people in politics in New Jersey. I am also in the Spanish Student Association,” Griffin explains.

He shares his favorite moment of being involved on campus.

“Aside from just hanging out with people on campus and being in the Admissions Ambassadors, there was a moment last spring. One of our graduating seniors, Allison Mosley, was a Biomedical Art and Visualization major. She had an art show for her final, and so she invited all the Admissions Ambassadors to go. All of us got dressed. We treated it like a Met Gala sort of thing and it was so much fun. We all had pizza there and we all just hung out with one another. It was such a great night because not only did we get to celebrate her academic accomplishments, but we also got to have that fun, carefree atmosphere that anybody in college is always looking forward to. I think that’s probably my favorite memory that I’ve ever had.”

Griffin jumps and throws his graduation cap in the air in front of the Rowan arch.

Griffin describes his major as interesting and interdisciplinary.

“Being an International Studies major, it is very interdisciplinary. You learn a lot about so many things in terms of political science, anthropology, economics and all that. But with that, you also have to be prepared to do the research. It might sound intimidating, but when you do the research, your professors are always there to help you, so it’s a great balancing act. If you do a little of this, your professors will go a mile to help. So really, just get the chance to do the research and then get the chance to get to know your professors. That is the best way to succeed in this major.”

Griffin looks back and advises his high school senior self on making it through college.

“There are two things. Stop procrastinating. You need to get it together, dude. But also go easy on yourself. College is hard for everybody. Thinking that you need to have everything in your life figured out freshman year is completely unrealistic. It’s not sustainable for your own academic career or your mental health. Honestly, taking things as they go and proactively working on what’s going on at your current moment is the best way to make a successful college career.”

This summer, Griffin is interning with Welcome America, a company that partners with Wawa, in their marketing department. After the internship, Griffin hopes to take a year to work and then start applying for master’s in environmental policy programs.

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

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

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

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

Loredonna poses with a diploma.

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

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

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

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

Loredonna poses next to a tree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Passing the Torch: Theatre Educator Nick Flagg

Nick poses in front of some flowers

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

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

Nick poses with a diploma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outdoor shot of Marko wearing a coat and backpack.

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

Marko standings holding the Serbia flag.

How did you end up transferring to Rowan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marko is introduced before a game.

How did you choose your major?

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

What is your favorite part of computer science?

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

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

Do you have a favorite moment with your basketball team?

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

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

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

See our video with Marko here: 

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

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

Family photo submitted by:
Marko Pantovic

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



#PROFspective: Senior Theatre Major Kayla Bowe

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

Why did you choose to study Theatre? 

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

Is that why you came to Rowan?

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

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

Kayla Bowe poses inside Tohill Theatre.
Kayla Bowe

What’s your favorite moment or happiest memory here? 

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

What’s your typical day like at Rowan?

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

Kayla Bowe in Tohill Theatre in Bunce Hall.

What is your favorite class?

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

What’s your favorite Shakespeare piece? 

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

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

Kayla Bowe posing in Tohill Theatre in Bunce Hall.

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts?

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

Kayla Bowe smiling.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior business management major

Related posts:

Passing the Torch: Theatre Educator Nick Flagg

Queer Voices: Theatre Major Tyler “TJ” Jacobs

Alumni Success: Rowan Graduates Take Over the Eagle Theatre

Pride Month: Hearing Their Voice, Emily Ward

Emily Ward smiles outside on campus.

Today we feature Emily Ward (she/they), a freshman from Mullica Hill, NJ. Emily is majoring in Physics and has a minor in astronomy. Emily discusses how their involvement in PRISM supports them while being a Rowan student and their journey through recognizing and being open about their identity. Story by:  Natalie DePersia, junior public relations […]

#PROFspective: A Dialogue with English Education Major Lucas Taylor

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

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

What inspired you to choose your major?

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

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

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

Lucas is walking towards the camera and smiling.

How are you involved on campus?

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

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

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

Lucas is sitting down and smiling at the camera.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Produced by: Lucas Taylor, senior English Education major



From TikTok Dreams to Reality: A Summer to Remember in Lake Powell, Arizona

Sofia DiCastelnuovo, a senior Biological Sciences major with a minor in Sustainability Science, shares how she went from scrolling on TikTok in New Jersey to spending a full summer in Lake Powell, Arizona. 

If you are looking for a sign to travel: this story is for you. Sofia DiCastelnuovo is a transfer student from another four-year university that was not the right fit for her. She declared a Biological Sciences major right away because she knew she loved science and the environment. She came to Rowan for the opportunity for a fresh start and guidance on how to combine her passion with a career. 

Zion National Park, Utah - Angel’s Landing Hike
Zion National Park, Utah – Angel’s Landing Hike

Unfortunately, Sofia did not get a traditional experience her first semester here as everyone was sent home due to Covid-19.

“After getting sent home and having time to really think about things, I was feeling really stuck in place. Covid made me realize that I wanted to strive to do more in the future. I really started thinking about what my next steps were after quarantine and how I could combine my passion with my coursework,” Sofia says.

Like many of us, Sofia spent a lot of time on TikTok during isolation. Her “For You” page wasn’t filled with viral dances or whipped coffee recipes, though. She realized that her algorithm was sending her a sign she needed to receive. 

“I was scrolling scrolling on TikTok and saw all of these travel videos of people at national parks or these beautiful remote locations. I found this website called ‘Coolworks’ through those videos, which is a database that displays seasonal work opportunities in all different places around the country,” Sofia explains.

Arches national park
Arches National Park, Utah

This got Sofia thinking: maybe traveling and seeing new places could give her clarity on what she wanted to do in the future as a career. She says, “I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my biology major, but I thought traveling would allow me to immerse myself in a different environment while also learning new things.” 

Rather than dreaming about traveling or working in a new place, Sofia started taking the steps to do it. “I started applying everywhere. I had no place in mind, I just cast my net wide and hoped for the best,” she says.

Luckily for Sofia, a company from Lake Powell, Arizona called her within a few weeks for a phone interview. They offered Sofia a position at the end of that phone call.

Sofia at Zion National Park.
Sofia at Zion National Park

“I never thought I’d go to the desert of all places. It was completely out of my comfort zone, so I took some time to think about it, but ultimately accepted the offer a few days later.”

Sofia accepted a position at Wahweap Rental Marina, where she helped visitors rent houseboats, kayaks, jet skis and other small boats on Lake Powell. 

“I worked as a rental agent in the office, which was my first time doing anything like that,” she says. “I got to meet different people traveling from all over the world every single day. They provided employees with housing where we could cook, eat, and even exercise at the fitness center. Any time we weren’t working was our time to explore.”

Lake Powell
Lake Powell, Utah

“I got to visit five national parks, but Zion National Park was my favorite. It was beautiful. I hiked Angels Landing and the Narrows, which were places on my bucket list from TikTok. It was cool to hike places that I had only ever seen through a phone screen. The videos didn’t do them justice.” 

Sofia came back to New Jersey at summer’s end with a new mindset. “The trip made me realize everyone has their own path. I always questioned what my future held and put so much pressure on myself. I met so many people doing seasonal work (high schoolers, college students, retired people etc.) who were doing the exact same thing as me. Not only am I able to put this valuable experience on my resume, I was able to learn a lesson I really needed to: it’s ok to figure it out as you go.”

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

Photos courtesy of:
Sofia DiCastelnuovo, senior biological sciences major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pixabay

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Your Travel Guide to Visiting Glassboro

A drone view of Rowan Boulevard.

Whether you’re coming from up the road, Central Jersey, or out-of-state, find a way to make the most of your visit to the place we call home. Rowan University is in Glassboro (Gloucester County) and is conveniently located just 30 minutes from Philadelphia, 45 minutes from Jersey beaches, and a train ride from New York City.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn what there is to see, do, eat and experience in Glassboro, this is our favorites’ guide for you.

A Glassboro event at the end of Rowan Boulevard.

    Sit Down Meals on Rowan Boulevard

    • La Scala’s: This higher end Italian American restaurant offers wood fired pizza and unique Italian cuisines. It’s a rolling kitchen so you get your food as it’s ready and bring your own bottle.
    • Dusk to Dawn Cafe: Dine in and get a taste of fresh, all day breakfast and La Columbe coffee. On a nice summer day, sit outside and enjoy the Glassboro sunshine. 
    • Oishii: If you’re looking to support a local business owned by a recent Rowan graduate and grab some great ramen, this is your place. This Rowan alumnus’ biggest inspiration for the restaurant was to bring a different culture and cuisine to the Rowan and Gloucester County communities.

    Three Rowan students at Oishii Ramen.

    Favorite Bites

    • Einstein Bagels: Looking to grab a quick bite while touring our campus? This shop in Engineering Hall serves fresh bagels, sandwiches and hot coffee.
    • Kung Fu Tea: The best boba tea in our area, located on Rowan Boulevard. Customize your tea selecting every detail from sweetness to the number of bubbles, and take it on the go.
    • Playa Bowls: If you’re seeking a quick, healthy meal, Playa Bowls is your spot. Located at the beginning of Rowan Boulevard, it offers fresh fruit bowls, smoothies and treats.

    Two happy students eating at playa bowls.

    For the Family

    • Glassboro Heritage Museum: Ever wonder how Glassboro acquired its name?  The Heritage Glass Museum preserves and displays antique glasswork made in Glassboro and surrounding South Jersey towns over the past 200 years. The best part – it’s free admission! 
    • Town Square: Enjoy the day with your family at our Town Square. Located at the end of Rowan Boulevard is a community place with art, adirondack chairs, and a fountain display. Throughout the year, Glassboro hosts many seasonal events in this space, including the annual tree lighting and Summer Fest.
    • Edelman Planetarium: Explore the skies through live stargazing or immersive 360-degree video in our Planetarium, located on campus in Science Hall. All shows are one hour long, with new shows featured every month. 
    A drone view of the town center.
    Glassboro’s Town Square located at the end of Rowan Boulevard.

    For the Parents

    • Axe and Arrow: Located on Rowan Boulevard, this microbrewery and taproom offers a wide variety of craft beer styles. Bring your own food!
    • Chickie’s & Pete’s: A Philadelphia staple is located right on our campus. Come in to watch the game or get a sweet taste of some Crabfries®.

    A mom and her daughter on Rowan Boulevard.

    Around the Corner

    • Uptown Pitman is just a short drive away and is a hot spot for locals and visitors alike. Enjoy quaint shops, historic landmarks and family-owned restaurants.

    Three smiling students by the bookstore.

    Lodging

    • Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Glassboro: Located on Rowan Boulevard, the four-story, 129-room hotel features a heated indoor pool and spa, outdoor courtyard and fire pit, and is just a short walk to our campus. 

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

    LaWana works on her laptop inside Savitz Hall.

    LaWana Boone of Gloucester County, NJ chose Rowan’s Diversity and Inclusion Certificate of Graduate Study for its rigorous curriculum, classes both online and close to home, and opportunities to get involved on campus. This fall, she earned her graduate certificate — the first to do so — and plans to leverage her knowledge to help […]

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

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

    #PROFspective: A Support for Students, Paige Bathurst

    Paige sits on Bunce Hall steps.

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

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

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

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

    What inspired you to join your major? 

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

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

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

    What’s your typical day like on campus?

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

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

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

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

    Where do you get them from?

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

    And who are your Beanie Babies? 

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

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

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

    Emily smiling near the Science Building
    Emily looking beautiful!

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    Story by:
    Bianca Gray, recent English graduate

    Photos By:
    Nick Flagg, senior theatre and advertising major 

    Reaching New Heights: AJ Pingol Shares His Experience as a Biomedical Engineer

    AJ Pingol, a recent College of Engineering graduate from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County), shares what it’s like to be a Biomedical Engineering major at Rowan University

    What made you choose biomedical engineering (BME)?

    Like a lot of people, I’m someone who loves to play video games. When I play video games, I never play on easy mode; I always have to challenge myself.

    I knew after I earned my undergraduate degree that I had to pick something that was going to challenge me intellectually and push me to be out of my comfort zone. This is why I chose biomedical engineering.

    The reason why I chose Rowan specifically is because I realized how invested they were in their students — invested into what I wanted to do as a career and provided me with the best resources possible to get there. So I think that the combination of the challenge and the kind of community that’s here ultimately led me here to becoming a BME.

    AJ sitting while working on a laptop.

    Did you know that you wanted to do med school to begin with? 

    Yes, I knew I wanted to go to med school to begin with. So I think something so great about biomedical engineering is that I’ve gotten the chance to work directly with physicians. The current project that I’m working on allows us to work directly with local physicians working with patient data to ultimately better these outcomes for the patients.

    And I’ve realized … I love having my hands on both sides of the process of helping the patient. And I think that the biomedical engineering majors, they definitely don’t get enough praise because they deal with the more behind the scenes work of what patients don’t see. I’ve realized how important biomedical engineering is to the whole process and I’ve gained this wider perspective of health care for patients.

    As far as the research lab experience, do you get that early into your career?

    So you definitely can even start as soon as you’re a freshman. I think something so special about biomedical engineering, and specifically the biomedical engineering program at Rowan, is that everybody is so open about teaching and inviting everybody to the lab. In STEM, it can be a little intimidating to go up to someone who is an innovator and has all of these different accolades in the field, but the atmosphere here is so open.

    At Rowan, the overall goal is to see everyone succeed. 

    What impact do you hope to have on this field?

    I think everybody has that one professor that makes you think “Wow, that  professor really made an impact on my life.” Something that I realized going through my BME classes was that I felt that way about every single one of my professors. Each one empowered me in a different way to either push myself to new heights or try something new. I think that kind of empowerment really impacted me and showed me who I really wanted to be.

    I want to continue to empower other people, whether it’s through education or through research. I hope to make an impact to create a better patient experience and better healthcare in general. 

    AJ sitting while working on a laptop.

    Can you share  an “aha” moment you had where you knew you made the right decision?

    BME is a major that makes you put your hands in a bunch of different pots. For example, the research program I was involved in was 100% coding based. To be honest, I’m not that great at coding (well, wasn’t that great at coding).  So you can imagine someone who doesn’t have any experience with coding could be intimidating. The research is so impactful that you feel like you don’t want to mess up. But the faculty here, the research groups, and the friends that I’ve made are all so uplifting. In this program I’ve gotten the opportunity to find myself in discomfort to see new heights and how far I can push myself.

    So eventually, I was able to use coding to help patients directly and I could see that direct impact. That culmination of all this time and hardwork from being a novice in the field makes being in this program so unique.

    What ultimately made you decide to come to Rowan?

    What drew me to Rowan was the environment of unity and togetherness that exists here. Rowan emphasizes being different and innovative, especially in the BME program. They do a great job of supporting your individual goals. I found so much support for what I want to do and that’s why I chose Rowan. 

    Final thoughts?

    When I think of Rowan BME, I think of finding who you are and seeing what you can do. BME definitely is not an easy major, and it’s like that way for a reason — to help you see that you can push yourself to new heights to succeed. I think it’s great because it brings out the best in people. 

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

    Related posts:

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

    7 Biomedical Engineering Majors Share One Cool Thing About Their Major

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

    Rowan University Geography Major Hopes to Create Change For Future Generations

    A landscape photo of the fountain behind engineering pond.

    Jaylen Shanklin, a junior Geography major from Gloucester County, shares why he chose his major and the environmental impact that he hopes to have.

    Jaylen poses for a portrait outside Science Hall.“I’ve always had an interest in geography. My dad is a major history buff and we’d watch shows together and it drew me in,” says Jaylen.

    His initial interest in the major drew him to the program, but the classes and professors are what made him know it was a good fit.

    “I’ve been lucky! All of my professors I’ve had, no matter the subject or the class, have all gone above and beyond the call of being a professor,” Jaylen explains. “They’ve made sure everyone succeeds professionally and personally.”

    Geography students research and present ways to build and manage resources in a more sustainable way. 

    “I want to make a positive change and I know this major will get me there. I want to know that I put my imprint on our local community and made this place a better, more sustainable state for my kids and future generations. My favorite class so far has been Geography in New Jersey, because it focuses on what I can do for my community.”

    Jaylen, a Rowan University geography major, looks at a globe.Jaylen is currently in his junior year and has been involved with extracurricular activities in addition to things related to his major. While he looks forward to the field work and internships, he finds a lot of value in networking and making friends.

    “I play Rugby and I wrestle, so my advice is to just get involved. Take classes in your major, even out of your major. Dip your toe in everything and take a wide range of exploratory classes. Do a bunch of clubs, even if you think it wouldn’t be for you. It all helps and makes you a better person, and that’s what college is about after all.”

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

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

    Why did you choose to study Sports Communication and Media?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Harley reading to her son at Rowan Barnes and Noble.

    What is your favorite part of being a mother?

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

    What are your goals after you graduate?

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

    Harley smiling while sitting on a bench on campus.

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    Story By:
    Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

    A Series of Chances Led Biomedical Engineering Major Brandon Hickson to His Perfect Fit

    Brandon works in a biomedical engineering lab.

    Meet senior Brandon Hickson of Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County), a Biomedical Engineering major and member of the Honors College. A last-minute change of plans brought Brandon to Rowan University’s College of Engineering. Later, a cancelled research experience sparked a new passion and career path for Brandon in the medical field. Read on to learn more about Brandon’s story and future plans. 

    What made you choose biomedical engineering?

    Growing up, I was fascinated with LEGOs and building things and constructing something out of nothing. And as I got older and got into middle school in high school, I realized that I had a passion for people as well. And I knew that I couldn’t live and do something for the rest of my life without incorporating both of those things into my life.

    And I found out that biomedical engineering was really the thing that was perfect for me, because it combined the human component of biology and interacting with patients and people. But then also the mathematical and technical side of engineering meant a lot to me. And I feel like I found my perfect fit here at Rowan.

    Brandon stands next to a Henry Rowan quote.
    What impact do you hope to have in your field?

    No matter how big or small it is, on every single level, I hope to impact the patient directly. Patient interaction is huge with me. I have had a family history of medical issues where over the years, we’ve had several different doctors and engineers who have had profound impacts on our lives. And I think that is something that goes very much unsaid that the people who work behind the scenes have a profound impact on the way that people live their lives and the success that they encounter. And I would love to be a part of that success in different people’s lives.

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

    My “aha” moment, believe it or not, happened when COVID was at its peak. I had a cancelled Biomedical Engineering research program at the University of Delaware. And through that cancellation, I ended up working at a doctor’s office in the area. Through that experience, I realized that medicine is actually my true calling.

    The work that I have done in biomedical engineering has allowed me to have an appreciation for the overall holistic view of health in the human body, and to one day integrate that into a practice that I will hopefully have on my own. So as of now I’ve wanted to shift over to pre-med studies in addition to biomedical engineering, and I can’t wait to see what that’s going to bring.

    Close up of Brandon in the lab.

    Can you give one piece of advice for any student who is looking into this major and aren’t sure if it’s right for them?

    I would say learn from me, and don’t come in with a very closed-minded approach. I graduated high school and thought that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and had the next 10 to 15 years planned and ready to be executed. And I had a giant curveball thrown my way. And I feel more at peace now with my professional career than I ever have. So definitely have an open mind when it comes to deciding what you want to do with your future and how you live your life because you’re only going to have one college experience. And you’ll hear this a million times, but live it how you would want to live it. Don’t let other people dictate what it is that you’re going to do with your life.

    Portrait of Brandon leaning against a chair.

    Why did you choose to come to Rowan?

    I chose to come to Rowan because of the size of it. Believe it or not, I originally planned on going to the University of Maryland, and at the last minute decided to come here because of the streamlined approach that the engineering program takes with its students.

    The class sizes are extremely small, so much so that the faculty can have a one on one relationship with multiple if not all of their students. And that is not really the case at any other university, especially any other university that has a program as prestigious as this one. Any other university, you would be simply a number on a page, or a name in a book. But here you’re a person who has wants and needs and desires for their future, and the faculty here make sure that that happens. 

    Brandon works in the biomedical engineering lab.

    The engineering program starts day one [your first] year and is meant to cultivate you to what you would eventually want to do for the rest of your life as you graduate. And you have faculty that are always pushing you along the way for excellence to make sure that you attain all that you seek out to achieve in life.

    See our video with Brandon here.  

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    Related posts:

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

    Reaching New Heights: AJ Pingol Shares His Experience as a Biomedical Engineer

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

    #PROFspective: Chemistry Major, Rowan After Hours Programming Coordinator Jon Marcolongo

    Exterior shot of the Chamberlain Student Center.

    Today we speak with Jon Marcolongo, a senior Chemistry major and commuter from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County). Jon is a programming coordinator for Rowan After Hours (RAH). He will share insight on studying chemistry and his involvement in his student worker position. 

    Why Rowan?

    I knew I wanted to pursue chemistry ever since junior year of high school. Rowan stuck out to me because it is local as I am a commuter from Mullica Hill, and because my sister went here. Prior to making my college decision I was very familiar with the campus and it quickly became one of my first choices in my college search. 

    Why did you choose to study Chemistry?

    During my time in high school, I was always interested in science. It wasn’t until junior year that I took chemistry and realized it was the route I wanted to explore while in college. I had an amazing teacher for chemistry who inspired me to choose this type of science as my major.

    Although being a chemistry major is difficult and a lot of work, the professors are there to help you. Put in the time to complete your work and ask for help when you need it because you professors truly do want to see you succeed!

    Jon Marcolongo.
    Jon Marcolongo

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

    Eventually I do want to work in a laboratory setting, preferably involving research. Right now I am planning on graduating and hopefully working for a chemical manufacturing company. 

    What is it like being a commuter on campus? What advice do you have for fellow commuters when trying to get involved around campus and meet new people? 

    The one difficult and stressful part about being a commuter is finding parking. However, it has pleasantly not been too difficult to find a spot this year yet.

    My advice for fellow commuters is to go to any clubs or activities that you are interested in. I would definitely recommend seeing if Rowan offers the clubs or activities that you were a part of in high school. There are so many options and ways to get involved around campus.

    Most importantly, go to events. This is the best way to meet new people and find others with similar interests. 

    What inspired you to get involved on campus?

    Back in high school I was more of an introverted than extroverted person. I decided that in college I wanted to make a conscious effort to break out of my shell. I started going to different activities and events on campus especially through Rowan After Hours and I quickly realized that RAH was simply an enjoyable experience. This is how I ended up applying for RAH in the first place. 

    What is your typical day like at Rowan?

    Typical day starts with breakfast before driving to Rowan for the day. During my free time I usually go to the student center to relax between classes or to get work done. I then attend any classes I have for the day and head back to the student center for RAH. 

    Rowan After Hours science night in 2019 where attendees made lava lamps.
    A Rowan After Hours (RAH) Science Night where attendees made lava lamps

    What is the best part about being a part of RAH?

    The best part is definitely all the experiences you’re going to have. During my time as a member of RAH I have met so many amazing people whether it was co-workers or students attending our events. I even met my girlfriend while being a member of RAH. This experience has also led me to express myself and has taught me to put myself out there especially while being the introverted person I am.

    What makes Rowan feel like home?

    The people here. All the people that I have gotten to know over the years have made this campus feel like home for me. 

    What are some of the activities that Rowan After Hours provides? 

    Our most popular events are our bingo events. We always give great prizes out to the winners of our bingo events and I am actually in charge of the bingo events. We just gave out a 32 inch TV to the winner of the event.

    We also do some cultural appreciation nights. We brainstorm a variety of different events and are always looking for ways to attract more people and different interests. 

    When can students participate in RAH activities? Is there a calendar event list?

    Our calendar event list is located on the Rowan After Hours ProfLink website. This provides all events for RAH and SUP (Student University Programmers.) The typical RAH events take place between Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to midnight. 

    If anyone is interested in joining RAH there is an opportunity to interview for a position next semester. More information is available on the RAH website as follows: https://sites.rowan.edu/scca/RAH/index.html

    Jon Marcolongo working as an RAH coordinator at Saturday Night Lights football game on September 4th, 2021.
    RAH Coordinator Jon Marcolongo at a Saturday Night Lights football game

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    Story by:
    Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

    Photos provided by:
    Jon Marcolongo

    First Year Voices: Fall Edition

    Campus beauty autumnal photo.

    Today we feature first year Rowan students Destinee Hines, Jake Brandenburg, Abbie Ealer and Sam Skripko — each with a unique sense of style, sharing their experiences and ambitions for the school year.

    Destinee posing with a peace sign
    Notice Destinee’s TLC shirt? She enjoys listening to 90s music.

    “My year’s been good, had a couple ups and downs, but it’s getting better. I went to pop-up shops and I hope to get into more activities on campus. Rowan’s been good to me and I like the people here. I definitely want to get engaged and have more fun.” – Destinee Hines, Radio/Television/Film major from Camden, NJ (Camden County)

    Jake poses with his sunglasses
    Jake Brandenburg recommended the crossed arm and sunglasses pose.

    “My freshman year so far has been unexpected, but I mean how could you expect college life if you never experienced it right? Anyways, I did a couple things like going to Bingo Night. I didn’t get any matches but it was really fun. By the end of this year, I’m looking forward to having a solid group of friends. I do have a few people right now but I want to build more friendships. So far I like it here, I’m having a great time.” – Jake Brandenburg, Management major and first-generation college student from Haddonfield, NJ (Camden County)

    Abbie is holding a beanie baby.
    Abbie Ealer enjoys bringing Hoot the owl around campus.

    “I’m trying to get used to my class schedule and navigating college especially being a commuter; therefore I’m not here often. The most interesting thing is that my best friend from childhood goes here all well, so I get to spend so much more time with her. Since I’m in the honors college, I’m really excited to explore all the opportunities the program offers like the Think Thrive events. I’ll have more time in the spring semester, so I’m looking forward to engaging myself more on campus.” – Abbie Ealer, History major, commuter from Turnersville, NJ (Gloucester County)

    Sam" holds" the water tower
    Sam Skripko is fluent in Russian.

    “I love the campus, although I felt a little down and catching up was challenging because of missing work, but now I’m all caught up. I’m thinking of joining Rowan’s hockey team since I already play the sport and I’m a referee. By the end of my freshman year, I hope to learn more about my major.” – Sam Skripko, Computer Science major from Fair Lawn, NJ (Bergen County). 

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    Story by:
    Nene Diallo, senior, public relations major

    Photos by:
    Nick Flagg, senior, theater and advertising major 

    Header Photo by: 
    Missy Pavorsky, junior advertising major





    Retired Marine Corps Veteran Morgan Kelley Challenged and Changed by Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management Program

    Morgan looks at an award inside Bunce Hall.

    After multiple tours to Iraq, one to the western Pacific and more than 20 years in service to his country, Staff Sergeant Morgan Kelley had planned to enjoy some quiet time and look for government employment after he retired from the United States Marine Corps. But when his family moved close to the Rowan University […]

    Confidence Is Not Always Consistent, And That’s Ok

    Sarah poses in Business Hall.

    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.

    Being confident is hard, especially as a college student. Transitioning into a competitive environment, navigating through your career goals and personal goals, as well as uncertainty about the future can have a significant impact on an individual’s self-esteem.

    College is a unique experience and with it comes a variety of obstacles and adventures. While being a college student can be a very rewarding journey, it can also come with a wide range of challenges that can result in a fluctuating self-esteem, and that’s ok.

    Sarah poses on a bench by trees near Rowan Hall.

    Self-esteem is rarely at a constant level, it fluctuates and develops throughout our lives. According to an article published by Mayo Clinic, “Self-esteem begins to develop and form in early childhood … depending on your circumstances it can begin to fluctuate throughout time” (Mayo Clinic, 2020).

    Factors such as life experiences, friendships, home life, school life, relationships, how we perceive ourselves and more influence our self-esteem. A majority of these factors are probably significantly different now compared to how they were in childhood. Throughout that time period, a variety of changes and overall growth occurs. The changes physically, emotionally, mentally and socially significantly and greatly impact self-esteem as growth and maturity develops and takes place.

    As young adults and adults, that growth has not stopped. During an academic career in college and higher education in general, a lot of changes will occur, both good and bad ones, throughout an individual’s time as a college student. It is ok to experience fluctuation in confidence and self-esteem.

    Sarah poses in front of Engineering Pond.

    Self-esteem is important and it is something that can affect individual’s greatly, especially if they are experiencing low self-esteem. It is ok to experience both healthy and low self-esteem. Most, if not all, college students go through times where confidence is high as well as times where confidence feels nonexistent. It is important, however, to reach out to trusted resources on and off campus if self-esteem and confidence is starting to affect daily life.

    Sarah poses in front of a tree outside Rowan Hall.

    From freshman to senior year of college, there is a significant difference in who individuals are when they first start college and who they are when they graduate college. That change from the first day of college to the last day just shows how individuals change and grow during their college experience. Fluctuations in self-esteem, both the highs and lows, is a part of that growth individual’s experience throughout their time in college. In the end, the high’s and low’s in confidence are valid and ok to experience throughout college and throughout life as well.

    Reference: 

    Mayo Clinic, Staff. (2020, July 14). Does your self-esteem need a boost? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/self-esteem/art-20047976.

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    Story by:
    Sarah Mackenzie, junior biological sciences major from Gloucester County, NJ, Wellness Center intern

    Photos by:
    Joe Gentempo, art graduate

    Alumni Success: Chemical Engineer Jennifer Roddy

    Jen poses outside of Rowan Hall.

    Today we speak to Jennifer Roddy, a 2008 graduate of Rowan’s Chemical Engineering program. Jennifer is originally from Franklinville, NJ and now resides in Metuchen, NJ. She lived both on and off campus during her time at Rowan. Jennifer is currently the Director of External Partner Management at Bristol Myers Squibb and has an MBA from Rutgers University.

    Jen poses in front of Engineering Hall.

    What is Bristol Myers Squibb?

    Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) is a global biopharmaceutical company that drives scientific advancement across multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, hematology, immunology and cardiovascular disease. Our mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. Our patients are at the heart of everything we do!

    What was your journey like from Rowan to your current position?

    I was offered an internship the summer after my freshman year at a pharmaceutical company called Johnson Matthey (JM). I worked there part time while at Rowan, allowing me to develop real world skills while simultaneously obtaining my formal education. After graduation and two years as a full-time process engineer at JM, I was ready for a new challenge. A Rowan alumnus in my network was working for BMS at the time and referred me for an open position in his group. I joined BMS in 2010 as an Outsourcing Coordinator focused on external manufacturing of clinical supplies. I continued to support our external operations throughout my career, with my roles transitioning over time from a technical focus to a business focus. This transition encouraged me to pursue my MBA with a concentration in Pharmaceutical Management at Rutgers University. 

    Jen poses in front of a wooded area by the Engineering buildings on campus.

    What is your role at Bristol Myers Squibb? 

    At BMS we outsource certain operations to external partners for many reasons, including but not limited to balancing our capacity, limiting risk, and evaluating unique technologies. I currently lead a team called External Partner Management. We are responsible for developing and maintaining strong relationships with our partners that develop and manufacture materials that will be used in clinical trials. We also work to identify future partnerships, develop sourcing strategies, and focus on ways to drive value for BMS through these partnerships.

    Why did you choose Rowan?

    My decision to attend Rowan was driven by the unique program structure and economics.  Rowan’s engineering program offered multidisciplinary labs and engineering projects that allowed you to develop real-world skills in the classroom. Small class sizes also suited my learning style and allowed me to develop strong connections with my classmates. In addition to the program offerings, I was also focused on the affordability of higher education. I could not afford tuition without taking out student loans and needed to ensure my education would have a high return on investment. Rowan offered an amazing program at a fraction of the cost of many other universities.

    Jen poses in front of the bridge connecting Engineering and Rowan Halls.

    Why did you decide to go into Chemical Engineering?

    I initially enrolled as a Chemistry major, but I ended up at an Engineering Open House my first week of school. During the session, one of the professors explained how challenging the program was but that the opportunities after graduation were endless. I switched majors that day and never looked back. 

    How do you feel that Rowan’s Chemical Engineering program helped prepare you for your career?

    Rowan’s Chemical Engineering program not only prepared me for a career in engineering, but it provided a way of thinking that I could apply throughout all stages of my career. The multidisciplinary labs provided technical skills across many disciplines, while allowing individuals to develop the ability to work across peer groups of different educational backgrounds. At the core, Rowan’s Engineering program teaches you to solve problems. The ability to solve problems will make you successful no matter where your career takes you.

    Jen works on her computer.

    Do you have any advice for students who are currently in the Chemical Engineering program?

    Persevere!—As a former fifth-year student, I understand firsthand how challenging the engineering program can be. As you struggle through content and coursework, know that hard work and perseverance will be your key to success. Celebrate your success as they come, but also appreciate your failures. If you are able to develop the ability to learn through failure, your growth will be limitless.

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    Story written by:
    Jennifer Roddy ’08, Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering

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

    Photography by: 
    Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

    Who Would We Be Without Whoo RU?

    Meet Whoo RU! What would Rowan be without him? He is the face, spirit and pride of Rowan University. As we return to campus, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves who we are as a community and what Whoo RU means to us. 

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Whoo RU!

    Whoo RU, or “The Prof,” is the official mascot for Rowan University. Standing at 6 feet, the magnificent brown and gold owl has been the face of our institution for over 50 years! He is mighty and strong with a wingspan of 6-foot-5 and an appetite for lions, making him the perfect candidate to intimidate the competition of our school’s different sports teams. But he is also an old and wise owl serving as a source of motivation for our students to continue with their academics and one day walk off Rowan’s campus with their degrees in hand. 

    Whoo RU taking some time to visit the Campbell Library

    Our mascot isn’t something to just be toted out at sporting events like with some other schools. He is the perfect embodiment of our community. Like our beloved owl, the Rowan community is a group of multifaceted individuals who can’t be confined to a single box. We’ve each walked many different paths in life that all have converged on one small corner of Glassboro and expanded to touch all around the world. 

    Whoo RU reminds us of the power that we hold as Profs. Profs are multifaceted and not people who are bound by the age-old saying of “the sky’s the limit.” No, the skies are our stomping (or flying) grounds, and we possess the ability to reach far beyond. We are scholars, athletes, teachers, friends, parents, musicians, business owners, artists, writers, doctors, etc., with one thing that binds us together: Prof Pride. 

    Whoo RU showing off his strength at the gym.

    As we return to campus, let’s keep Whoo RU’s spirit and pride in mind. Adversity is bound to challenge us in these trying times, but, never forget that our Prof Pride is unshakable and will see us through any challenge we may face. 

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    Story by:
    Bianca Gray, senior English 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

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

    Writing a list of goals

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

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

    Anais Holguin sits near the Engineering pond.
    Anais Holguin

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

    Exterior shot of Au Bon Pain.
    Au Bon Pain

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

    London leans against a sign of James Hall.
    London Raikes

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

    Drone shot of Glassboro Town Square.
    Town Square

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

    RJ Wentzell smiling outside of James Hall
    RJ Wentzell

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

    Music industry major Malachi Prillerman
    Malachi Prillerman

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

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

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

    Exterior shot of campus Rec Center.
    Rec Center

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

    Alexa smiles inside James Hall.
    Alexa Wentworth

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

    Exterior shot of Science Hall from Route 322.
    Science Hall

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

    Rowan's football team enters the stadium.
    Rowan Football

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

    Rowan Boulevard featuring LaScala's Fire.
    Rowan Boulevard

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

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

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

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

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    Story by:
    Nene Diallo, senior public relations major

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

    Rowan Football photo courtesy of:
    University Publications

    5 Interesting On-Campus Jobs

    Rowan Blog student worker Bianca on the job at a photo shoot.

    Finding the right on-campus job can change your whole college experience, leading you to important connections, helping you discover your career goals or letting you find the right school/work/life balance. Five students share their experiences in some of the most interesting, beneficial and well-paid jobs on campus!

    Summer Conference Assistant – Chase Campbell

    Chase Campbell smiles for his portrait in front of Bunce Hall.

    Advertising major Chase Campbell of Burlington County worked as a Summer Conference Assistant for the Office of Conference & Event Services in 2019. As part of a staff of eight students, Chase worked and lived with his teammates! This job offers a stipend and free summer housing. He found this job through the Rowan Announcer and attended an informational session.  

    Some of the responsibilities in this job included helping people check into the conferences, preparing residential and event spaces and taking turns being the 24/7 customer service representative for the events. Chase learned the importance of being himself rather than just being the “perfect customer service representative.” He enjoyed speaking with clients and helping them feel welcome to the university with kindness. Look out for this job if you enjoy working on a team and assisting people! 

    Academic Success Coach – Alee Rebillon

    Alee works on her laptop and chats with a friend.

    Alee Rebillon, a senior Psychology major from Mercer County, worked as an Academic Success Coach her junior year for one semester. She found this opportunity through an email listing Federal Work-Study (FWS) options. She also spoke to their department staff at the on-campus Fall Job Fair. As a psych major, Alee felt this would give her great experience in working with people one-to-one. Although, Academic Success Coaches come from all different majors and walks of life! 

    Alee worked with fellow students who needed guidance in lots of different areas! Such as, who to speak to if they want to change majors, where to find a student organization, or even how to make a schedule for themselves. She learned so much about herself, other students, and the university from this job. She has helped people receive supports through the Wellness Center and Tutoring Services; she also walked students through how to use The Shop or Prof Jobs. If you want to help other students by being a relatable source of guidance, this job is for you! 

    Picking Peppers with President Houshmand – Dyone Payne

    Dyone holds a bucket of peppers fresh from the farm.

    Public Relations major Dyone Payne, a senior from Gloucester County, worked for Dr. Houshmand, Rowan University’s president, on his local farm picking peppers and several other vegetables. They use the peppers to create the famous Houshmand’s Hazardous Hot Sauce, which is processed in a factory (by professionals) in Bridgeton. All proceeds from the Hot Sauce go towards the Student Scholarship Fund. The amazing part of this job is that they work to support students on all levels of operation in the making of this hot sauce. A team of students, Houshmand, and his staff go out to the West Campus farm throughout the spring and summer to begin the process. 

    Dyone remembers enjoying the hands-on experience and learning so much about the different kinds of peppers and sauces. The ghost peppers went into the hottest flavor, the mushroom peppers were the mildest peppers, and jalapeno peppers also went into the mildest sauce. She also shared how kind the staff was, always making sure the students were hydrated and offering transportation to and from the farm. Another responsibility of this role was selling the Hot Sauce (and Hot Sauce merch) at university football games, basketball games, and university holiday parties. She enjoyed being able to connect with the university staff and see that they truly understand the students’ struggles. 

    Dyone found this job through Rowan emails and contacted the president’s staff. She learned important life skills such as the importance of patience and taking your time. She also appreciates the president’s mission, even more, knowing that he is genuinely kind and interested in caring for Rowan students. Dyone also recalls the students having to leave their phones (because the pepper residue may get to your eyes and face through your phone). This helped the students to connect with each other and forge strong friendships. She absolutely adores plants and keeps a lovely mini garden oasis in her room now!

    Engineering Intern – Jed Vergara 

    Students working in the RU Sustainable Facilities Center with faculty.

    Students working in the RU Sustainable Facilities Center with faculty (Jed Vergara not pictured).

    RU Sustainable Facilities Center – Rowan University + NJARNG (NJ Army National Guard) Building Information Modeling (BIM) Intern

    Jed Vergara worked as a Building Information Modeling (BIM) Intern for more than two years as a Rowan undergraduate. This internship was under Rowan’s Sustainable Facilities Center in contract with the NJ Army National Guard (NJARNG). It’s offered as both a part-time job as well as an engineering clinic on campus. He first discovered this role at the beginning of his sophomore year after a professor shared the opportunity because of Jed’s stellar grades. 

    The internship also offers different roles in the operation. Some interns would inspect recruitment centers across NJ for the Army National Guard, and others like Jed worked on building information modeling (BIM). BIM is basically cataloging several parts of a building such as spatial measurements, construction materials, HVAC, electrical or plumbing. In the 50 years the buildings have been around, there have been so many refurbishments added that no single catalog of the buildings records all of the changes. Rowan was contracted to change this and catalog every NJARNG recruitment center in the South Jersey area. 

    Jed was able to work with a 3D laser scanner and connect individual room scans into a large model of the building on a program called Revvit. The basic three-step process of his internship was to scan the building, consolidate all of the scans, and finally add the details. He greatly appreciates this internship experience because he works with images of building scans as a Structural Engineer. He also found that his experiences with different computer programs proved to be very valuable in his career. Many times, Jed had to quickly learn how to use a program and help others learn how to use it as well. Another valuable lesson he learned was how to plan effectively and efficiently. This internship is open to civil engineering majors, electrical & computer engineering majors (ECE) and mechanical engineering majors. This department is located within Rowan Hall (the original Engineering building).

    Rowan Blog Digital Content Contributor – Bianca Torres

    Bianca stands confidently in front of a brick building on Rowan Boulevard.

    Lastly, we speak with Bianca Torres, a Music Industry major and senior from Morris County, who works as a fellow Digital Content Contributor for Rowan Blog. Bianca helps the blog run smoothly in so many different ways! She not only creates content for the Admissions page, but she also contributes to the Humans of Rowan Instagram and other Rowan social media platforms. Bianca finds ways to market the school to incoming first year and transfer students. She loves sharing the vibrancy of campus life through stories. She started off creating music for the background of Rowan’s YouTube videos. She has since branched out into photography, writing articles, interviewing leads and strategy (planning stories and Google Ads). Bianca appreciates how much knowledge she has learned about journalism and marketing in this role. 

    She really enjoys working with fellow college students and diving into the campus culture (which helps her with networking). The schedule is super flexible and was perfect for working during the pandemic because it can be remote and you can work whenever you choose. She enjoys how much freedom she has gotten in this job, being able to pitch stories and share so many unique perspectives at Rowan. This real-world experience has taught her how to market effectively to different target audiences. Knowing that the skills she uses every day, such as blogging and creating graphics for social media, she feels confident in her career goals. Without this job, Bianca would not have known that she wants to do digital marketing for the music industry.  

    Bianca found this job through an email from the program director of the music industry program. She advises students looking for student jobs to start looking as soon as possible and ask their professors if they know of any openings! Many professors have side gigs and know other connections on campus. She also says to check if you qualify for Federal Work-Study (FWS). If you enjoy connecting with people and making creative content, working for Rowan Blog is for you.

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

    Related posts:

    5 RAs Share the Benefits of Living on Campus

    Rec Center Confessions: Student Workers Share

    Meet Transfer Profs: Nursing Student Brandi Hunter

    An exterior photo of nursing textbooks.

    Meet incoming transfer student Brandi Hunter! Brandi is an aspiring Nursing student from Deptford, NJ (Gloucester County) who transferred from Rowan College at Burlington County. She tells us more about what she’s looking forward to at Rowan University.

    A selfie of Brandi wearing glasses and blue scrubs.

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

    Academic growth in the nursing field.

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

    I actually like fishing.

    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?

    I want to just continue my nursing career and be able to have professional growth.

    What majors are you considering and why?

    Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). RN to BSN.

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

    I didn’t tour Rowan because I have already been to campus!

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

    Stay on top of your dreams and emails.

    Where are you going to live next year?

    Commute from home.

    What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

    The community atmosphere with the restaurants and people.

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    Story by:
    Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

    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 […]

    My Favorite Class: Professions in Publishing

    Exterior shot of 301 High Street.

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

    Scott MacLean is a senior Writing Arts major enrolled in the 4+1 dual degree program. He is from Wenonah, NJ (Gloucester County) and transferred from Rowan College of South Jersey.

    What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan? 

    Professions in Publishing

    What department was the class in? 

    Masters in Writing (MAWR)

    Who taught the class when you took it? 

    Megan Atwood

    Scott smiling outside.

    Tell us a little about what the class is.

    Professions in Publishing looks at the publishing industry as a whole and trade publishing in particular. We went over the various career paths involved in the publishing process, with an emphasis on the editing aspects. We worked to edit manuscripts and learned from many guest speakers who all play a role in the publishing industry.

    Share with us a few details on why this class was interesting or special to you. 

    I’ve always been a book lover, and throughout my time at Rowan I’ve learned I’m an excellent peer editor. My goal is to one day work as an editor in the publishing industry, and this class gave me the skills needed to realize that dream!

    Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

    I have never had a class that so closely applies to what I want to do with my future. I am so thankful for the chance to learn from Professor Atwood and the many guest speakers!

    Scott holds his diploma at commencement.

    What makes this professor great?

    Professor Atwood has first-hand knowledge of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. She is truly a wonderful professor who made this class not only informative, but fun too! She is always open to questions and creates a safe environment for classroom discussions. It’s easy to tell she’s invested in our futures and wants us to have all the knowledge we’ll need to be successful writers and editors.

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

    For the first time, I feel not only prepared for my future career, but eager to begin! It’s as if some divine force crafted this class to fit my needs perfectly.

    What are your professional goals? 

    My dream is to become an editor in the publishing industry and to eventually go on to be an author myself.

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    Story by:
    Caitlyn Dickinson, public relations and advertising graduate

    Meet #Rowan2025: Biological Sciences Major Lauren Kliniewski

    A Rowan student works in a lab.

    Meet incoming first year student Lauren Kliniewski! Lauren is a first-generation college student and aspiring Biological Sciences major from Sewell, NJ (Gloucester County). She tells us more about what she’s looking forward to at Rowan! Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward in college? Furthering my education and […]

    Passing the Torch: Rowan STEM Majors See All the Possibilities

    Alyssa smiles and stands in front of the Rowan arch.

    “One thing I like is that you have a lot of options. Once you graduate, there’s so many fields you can go into,” says recent grad Margot Clarke about the Chemical Engineering program.

    “And it’s something that you can take on with an open mind. I would say my biggest lesson was learn as you go.” 

    Margot stands in front of Bunce Hall.

    Margot, from Burlington County, NJ, is looking at positions in the pharmaceutical industry. She says she hasn’t accepted an offer yet but is “considering something right now.” 

    Margot smiles and stands in Bunce Green.
    Margot Clarke

    Alyssa Salera of Gloucester County, NJ, who graduated with a degree in Biochemistry, plans to continue doing research at Rowan while applying for jobs and focusing on her long-term goal of medical school. 

    “Personally, some of my friends are going to medical school, some of my friends are going to be pharmacists. And then I have a lot of friends who are going to get Ph.D.s and … research in different aspects of chemistry. The major is very diverse and you can really do whatever you want with it, which is really nice,” she says.

    Alyssa stands in front of the Rowan arch.
    Alyssa Salera

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    Passing the Torch: International Studies, Modern Languages Dual Major on Taking Advantage of Every Rowan Opportunity

    Ashley walks down Bunce Green in her cap and gown.

    If there’s one member of the class of 2021 who truly knows the ins and outs of Rowan University, it’s Ashley Hermansen.

    The Gloucester County native and dual major in International Studies and Modern Languages and Linguistics works as an Admissions Ambassador coordinator. In this student leadership role, she has recruited and trained dozens of students to connect prospective Profs and their families with Rowan’s history, culture and campus.

    Portrait of Ashley in front of Bunce Hall.

    As a sophomore, Ashley led the Spanish Studies Association as its president. She’s also been involved with the Arabic Club and Model UN, contributed articles to Her Campus, coordinated opportunities for the Office of Volunteerism and studied abroad

    “The more you talk to people and the more you take advantage of all the opportunities you have, the more you’re going to feel like you got out of it. And so I feel like I’ve exhausted all my opportunities” at Rowan, Ashley says.

    “I’ve done everything. And I’m ready to pass the torch on to the next incoming [first year] class because there are so many things for them to take advantage of. And I know I did, and I know they could totally do the same thing and have just as great and even a better experience, too.”

    Her favorite experiences — and people — extend to the classroom as well.

    Ashley smiles and stands on Bunce Green.

    “My advisor, Christine Larsen-Britt, she’s my favorite person on this planet. She has helped get me from point A to point B in college, and I could not have done it without her. She’s the best.”

    She adds, “My favorite class was with Dr. Schrader. He was absolutely awesome. He’s turned my research from high school level to academic and professional level. I’ve had experiences with all the Modern Language professors, Dr. Hernandez, Mousa, mainly all of them.”

    Ashley hopes when she enters graduate school, it will even compare to the level of connection and care she has had with her Rowan professors. 

    “They care about you so much. They just want to see you succeed. They’re so happy when you do succeed, they all support you really well,” she says.

    Ashley photographed from behind in front of Bunce Hall.

    Ashley will head to Washington, DC this fall to begin her master’s program in International Development Studies at The George Washington University.

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    20 Minute Radius: Best Burgers (and Alternatives)!

    Stock image of burgers with a side of French fries.

    Happy National Burger Day! Today we looked for some of the most bun-tastic burgers on campus and nearby. Finding your perfect burger, fries, and shake spot is a great way to explore Gloucester County. Smashburger, Alumni Grill, Five Guys, and Burgerzoid are all less than 20 minutes away from Rowan and all four offer more than just burgers!

    Storefront image of Alumni Grill.

    Alumni Grill is located directly on campus down Rowan Boulevard and features memorabilia from local schools and colleges!

    Holding a burger up to the photo of Bunce Green inside Alumni Grill.

    Alumni Grill offers a black bean patty and gluten-free buns! You can also use Rowan Bucks or Dining Dollars at Alumni Grill 🙂

    Holding up a burger to the Alumni Grill sign.

    We recommend the Black and Tan burger, which has fried onions, pepper jack cheese, and the beef patty includes bacon and is seasoned perfectly! 

    Exterior of Smashburger fast food restaurant in Glassboro.

    Next, we have Smashburger on right Delsea Dr. in Glassboro.

    Jen enjoying her burger from Smashburger while wearing a yellow Rowan shirt.

    Having the Classic Smash, Smash Fries and any shake is always solid! 

    Nick and Jen enjoying burgers and a shake inside Smashburger.

    You can customize your burger to make a “Jersey Burger” by adding bacon, blue cheese, grilled onions, haystack onions, lettuce, tomato and mayo.

    Exterior of Five Guys burger place in Sicklerville, NJ.

    Five Guys is located in Sicklerville, 15 minutes away from campus! 

    Marian holding up a burger in front of the Five Guys fast food place while wearing a yellow Rowan Blog shirt.

    All the toppings (except for the cheese) are free at Five Guys!

    Glowing Five Glows logo inside the store.

    Five Guys offers veggie options, hot dogs and milkshakes.

    Bright green Burgerzoid sign over the store.

    Burgerzoid is also located in Sicklerville, only 13 minutes from Rowan. 

    Onion rings on top of a burger with a side of fries from Burgerzoid restaurant.

    Burgerzoid is new to the area and offers veggie burgers as well as crazy milkshake options!

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    Story by: 
    Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

    Photos by:
    Nick Flagg, senior theatre and advertising double major with concentrations in theatre ed, acting/directing, & musical theatre

    Header image courtesy of:
    Unsplash

    Senior Alex Brown Shares Insight on Rowan’s Music Industry Major

    Alex stands in front of Bunce Hall

    Today we speak with Alex Brown, a senior Music Industry major from Glassboro, NJ (Gloucester County). He tells us more about his experiences in the Music Industry program.

    What area of the music industry interests you?

    “Artist management. I’ve always enjoyed helping people, and I’ve taken that aspect of my personality and translated it to music. Music is one of my passions; I used to sing throughout middle school and high school. I kind of just merged the two into this field of managing artists, getting their music out there for fans to discover them and make sure those fans stay to support them. That’s my dream job, but I’m content with anything within the music industry.”

    What music was played in your home? What music did you grow up listening to?

    “I’m from a Caribbean family. Both of my parents and I were born in Jamaica, but since my father had citizenship in the U.S., I’m considered American. They would play all kinds of songs, top 40 pop songs, reggae, old school songs like classical blues. I had a wide range of influences.”

    Alex smiling outside

    Alex mentions that there are two different tracks you can take within the program. The first is the business side of the industry, which focuses on contracts, the structure of labels and organizations, learning about deals, management, marketing, touring, promoting and sponsorships. The second aspect is the technology side that focuses on the production of music, where students gain skills about special effects, recording vocals, using a soundboard and live recording.

    Alex says, “There are many options available for people who want to be an artist and hone their craft or people who want to work more behind the scenes and looking at the business aspect.” 

    Alex enjoys that the program is run by professors who are still actively working in the industry. He mentions one of his professors is currently working at Atlantic Records managing artists like Estelle. Alex adds, “It is good to have that aspect that you’re working with people who are still in the field.”

    Have you had any internships yet?

    “I’ve had two internships, one being with the Philadelphia International Music Festival. They bring in [students] from all over the world for a two-week program where they get to work with professional musicians who are part of the Philly Orchestra. Before the camp started, I worked in their offices where I was mainly contacting universities and schools to see if anyone was interested in registering for any last-minute spots. Once the camp session started, I acted as a residential manager for children who chose to stay on the camp. I’d stay there for the entire two weeks, live in the dorms with them, make sure they were going to lessons, practice their instrument and I helped out with the choir program.

    “My second internship was with the school label, Rowan Music Group, over the summer. We essentially worked on building up our social media, looking for music to put in a compilation, and learning about different aspects of how labels run.

    “Both internships were so fun, I learned different things from the two and I hope to take that experience with me into whatever next position I can get.”

    Alex stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

    Is there anything you wish you knew beforehand about your major or anything that is better than you expected that you could share with others?

    “I wish I knew more about this option in high school. I never knew there were dedicated programs for the music industry and learning the ins and outs. I wish I was better prepared for all this program has to offer.”

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

    Photography by: 
    Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

    Meet #Rowan2025: Elementary Education Major Madison Jacobs

    Madison wears a cheerleading uniform.

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

    Madison poses in front of a lake.

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

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

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

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

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

    I am looking to expand my involvement throughout campus.

    What majors are you considering and why?

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

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

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

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

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

    Where are you going to live next year?

    Commute from home.

    What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

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

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    Story by:
    Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

    Senior Reflects: Dyone Payne, PR Major, Reflects on the Joys of College

    Dee poses ecstatically in a pink dress and glasses, with her hands up in the air.

    Today we speak with Dyone Payne, who will be graduating this May with a degree in Public Relations and two minors in Journalism and Strategic Communication. Dyone is from Glassboro, NJ (Gloucester County) and is part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority. 

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

    My favorite class memory was with Dr. Schoenstein during IMC. Every week we would give a presentation about a product or company we created. From start to finish, we created the logos, company brand, position statement, and most importantly the presentation. She actually wanted us to be prepared for the real world. She wanted us to be able to present a brand in a short amount of time. 

    Could you share your favorite social memory?

    Meet the Greeks is one of my favorites. To see all of the organizations come together, perform, have a good time, and most importantly inform students about who they are. 

    What are your career aspirations?

    I aspire to work in the marketing and advertising space. I would love to contribute to storytelling, especially in this environment.

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

    The EOF program is how I got admitted into Rowan. They have been a major support system to and for me throughout the past four years! Shout out to everyone in that office. 

    Dyone poses by a pile of lemons and hanging plants at the Philadelphia Garden Convention, wearing a lovely baby blue dress.

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

    Shout out to my advisors and professors, Mr. Morton, Ms. Brucker, Mrs. Mummert, Prof. Farney, and Prof. Rodolico. From beginning to end, all of you have pushed me to grow beyond boundaries, ask questions, and go beyond what is expected of a student, person, and most importantly, a professional. I value each lesson I learned from every one of you.

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

    Professor Royek! I believe I took Composition Writing I or II with him my freshman year. Professor Royek taught me so many lessons, but most importantly he taught me to always ask questions, be patient, and learn something from what others have to offer. I’ll never forget he helped me with my paper and as we did the mock interview he taught me how to be conversational rather than sticking to the script. 

    I then applied that to my life by always having a plan and if the plan fails, improvise! Want to learn from people. Want to be friendly. And most importantly take your time!!

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

    Incoming freshmen, take your time. Whatever you want to do, do it and don’t let anyone stop you! You’ll learn so many things once you just live life outside the classroom. At the end of the day, JUST DO YOU!

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

    #PROFspective: Perks of Living On Campus with Dom Natali

    Dom sits on marble steps at Bunce Hall wearing black-and-white plaid.

    Today we speak with Dominick Natali, a first-year Music Industry major from Washington Township (Gloucester County) who lives on campus. 

    What are you looking forward to about next year?

    I’m looking forward to my first apartment and not having people accidentally come into the room. I currently live in a suite. Some days I’m working in my room in my pajamas and one of my suitemates will accidentally open the room when they’re trying to lock the door.

    Do you know how to cook? 

    I know how to cook pasta. I’m a proud Italian! I can only make pasta. I don’t know what I’ll be learning to cook next year, but I am going to get an unlimited meal plan. I love getting as much food as I want. I do enjoy Jersey Mike’s. 

    Dom smiles up at the camera by Bunce Hall, wearing black-and-white plaid and pink sunglasses.

    What aspect of apartment life do you look forward to most of all? 

    I am looking forward to having personal space and the way the apartment is set up where everyone has their own individual room. 

    I don’t have a roommate right now luckily. So I don’t experience having to hear somebody else’s alarm before your own or somebody not coming back to the room because they’re out. If anything, I’m just excited to be able to have a place with some buddies.

    Has it been lonely without a roommate?  

    It hasn’t been very lonely this year even without a roommate. It’s also beneficial because I like being able to play loud music in his room. I listen to a lot of rock and metal, 90s metal (Slipknot, Korn, Linkin Park) and modern stuff. I met Stephanie Batista [featured here] through the Rowan Alternative Music Club. I thought I was the only person that liked this kind of music because everyone talked about Weezer. I didn’t hear anyone talk about Slipknot or Chevelle until Stephanie did! That’s how we became friends. There’s always a place for loud music at Rowan. Rowan has a diverse music taste.

    Dominick does a yoga pose in pink sunglasses by Bunce Hall.

    Tell me more about your social life!

    My friends at Rowan are from before college as well as music events. The Rowan Alt Music Club and Rowan Photography Club have been really great for making new friends. I’m not a photographer [yet] but I model for the club and hope to learn more about photography.

    I haven’t been able to do much because of school work, but I go to the trivia nights with friends. [Surprisingly,] a whole room of 30 people didn’t know anything about Tom Cruise movies! I also go to RAH events, and I look forward to “post-Covid” in-person classes. I learn better in person and can focus more when in an actual classroom compared to studying in your dorm room on your laptop. I associate the dorm room with downtime, food, comfort and the classroom with work. For me, it’s a weird balance of “I have to learn” and “I want to get food out of my fridge and take a nap.”

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

    Photography by: 
    Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major