Dance Majors Share Their Professional Goals

Two dancers in mid-pose outdoors.

What is your long-term professional dream goal? “Long term I see myself working with a big theater corporation like Lincoln Center, administratively. I want to continue working in DEI work to some capacity. And hopefully working in the dance world as a teacher later down the line.” – Gabrielle Langevine, senior dance major and women […]

The Professor Behind The Building of Rowan University’s Marching Band, Pride of the Profs

A close up of the Rowan University marching band drum major practicing on the athletic field with a dramatic sunset in front of him.

Once she got to Rowan, she didn’t know that we were known to be a teaching school at that time. Her professors within the College of Performing Arts really looked out for her; they would sign her up for conducting symposiums and competitions outside of the department. “One of them was my percussion teacher who […]

Behind the Lens: Our Favorite Summer Shots

Dramatic sunset photo over the athletic field with the marching band on the field at Rowan University.

We’re lonely in the summer without you, Profs. Welcome home! Here are our photographers’ and videographers’ favorite shots, stories and moments from this summer:

Four Rowan University alumni stand holding a Rowan flag on a rock in Delta Lake in the Grand Tetons.
#RowanEverywhere, a few Rowan alumni shared this pic with us from Delta Lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Go Profs!
Rowan University marching band with a dramatic sunset behind the drum.
Introducing Pride of the Profs, Rowan’s new marching band. This no-filter sunset was from just last night.
Three Rowan University students work in the community garden.
Fighting food insecurity with homegrown produce, the Community Garden is for all! They donated 75 pounds of produce to the on campus food pantry, The Shop, this summer. Story here.
A Rowan University student engrossed in work, with a line of toy dinosaurs in front of him.
Dinosaurs aren’t just for kids. In this story and video on the class Breathing Life Into Fossils, Thomas talks about paleoart.
A Rowan University faculty and student work in a blueberry field for research.
Blueberry fields forever … using math to predict crop yields for farmers, this video highlights hands-on student research.
A full half-circle rainbow over Engineering Hall at Rowan University.
Rainbows for dayssssss after summer storms behind Engineering Hall and Rowan Hall. (Notice the reflection creating a full-circle rainbow.)
A Rowan student wraps each of his arms around one parent and pulls them in for a hug.
How adorable is this family? We’re launching a parent portal with helpful info for new college parents, and a Rowan blog series just for parents and families.
A Rowan University student intern at NASA standing with his arms folded across his chest with the NASA building behind him.
It isn’t rocket science … until it is. Benjamin landed an internship with NASA and our team traveled to Washington, DC to put together this video on his experience. How cool is that?
Bunce Hall at Rowan University with the 100 banner in between each column to celebrate the university's centennial.
Celebrating Rowan’s centennial. Happy 100th birthday to us!

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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

Dance & Elementary Education Major Gets Ahead Through Summer Classes

Dramatic lighting on Jordyn's back during a performance.

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

#PROFspective: Student Leader Arianna Granda Talks Clubs, Music Education & Faith

Arianna Granda lays on the grass with musical scores surrounding her.

Today we feature Arianna Granda from Morris County, NJ. She is a rising senior studying Music Education with a vocal concentration and pursuing a CUGS in Jazz Performance. She currently serves as the president of both Rowan’s NAfME (National Association for Music Education) chapter and Profecy A Cappella group, as well as a leader of […]

#PROFspective: A Closer Look at Music Education and Jazz with Jovan Rivera

Rowan University student Jovan Rivera posing inside of Wilson Hall with a saxophone sitting in front of a piano.

Today, we are hearing from Jovan Rivera, a junior Music Education and Jazz Performance major and transfer student from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County). Could you share a few on-campus activities, clubs, sports, or events that you’ve attended so far? What was your favorite, and why? I am a part of the Photography Club, Esports Club, […]

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

Aaliyah sits in Robinson green.

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

First Year Voices: Jeszenee Turner of Denver, Colorado on Finding Your People

Jeszenee Turner sits smiling in Discovery Hall.

Today we feature first-year student and Theatre Arts-Acting major Jeszenee Turner (she/her) from Denver, Colorado. Here she shares with us some advice for incoming first-year students as well as what inspired her to attend Rowan University. Could you share a few on-campus activities, clubs, sports or events that you’ve attended so far? What was your […]

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

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

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

Rowan Alumnus and Band Director Mike Massaro on Music Education

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

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

Where did your passion for music stem from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did you choose Rowan for music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is sitting in a tree playing the saxophone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A side profile picture of Mike sitting and talking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is smiling and holding his saxophone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is smiling while holding his saxophone

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is sitting and looking off right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch our video feature of Mike here:

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Story by:
Jada Johnson, political science major

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

Senior Reflects: Carly Morton and the Power of Music Education

Carly with family at her graduation.

Carly Morton, a recent Music Education graduate from Burlington County, shares her meditation on her passion for music and the value of her student teaching experience at Washington Township High School. Carly Morton’s inclination for music has always been a prevalent aspect in her life. During elementary school, Carly began playing the flute; however, it […]

Passing the Torch: Theatre Educator Nick Flagg

Nick poses in front of some flowers

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

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

Nick poses with a diploma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Passing the Torch: College of Performing Arts Graduate Kaya Snow on “Maximizing Your Opportunities”

Kaya smiles, holds her diploma.

Dance and Theatre Arts double major Kaya Snow of Morris County will tell you the connections you make offstage are just as important as the ones onstage — they may even help land you your next gig.  “I don’t always have to apply to jobs that are in my field, specifically, because I get references […]

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

Catherine smiles and poses inside an academic building on campus.

What made you choose Rowan? What made you choose music? When I first started exploring colleges as a senior in high school, I really wanted to move far away from New Jersey and find my own way. I was set on not going to a state school, but I humored my mother and decided to […]

Alumni Success: Music Performance Major, Clarinet Player Lia Boncouer ’20 Joins U.S. Navy Fleet Bands

Dr. Joseph Higgins leads a practice performance in Pfleeger Hall.

Today, we feature Lia Boncouer, who graduated from Rowan’s Music Performance program with a concentration in Clarinet Performance. Currently, Lia is completing her Master of Music degree at the University of Michigan. She discusses her undergraduate experience at Rowan, her journey to becoming a Music Performance major, and shares details on her recent acceptance of […]

#TRANSFERmation Tuesday: A Conversation with Music Industry Major Emileigh Zane

In this edition of #TRANSFERmation Tuesday, we learn more of Music Industry major Emileigh Zane of Penns Grove, NJ (Salem County). In this exchange, we learn more of her own experience as a transfer student as well as what motivated her to pursue a career inside the music industry. 

Why did you pick Rowan? 

I mostly picked Rowan for their music industry program. There are not that many schools that do have a music industry program. I know that in the state of New Jersey, only [two other schools] have one. So because Rowan is so close to me, I went through with it. I only live 40 minutes away from here, so I liked that aspect here that was somewhat close to home but still far enough away where I’m not too tempted to go home all the time (sorry Mom and Dad!). I really liked the program and what they were offering. I know a lot of people who have gone to school here and I’ve heard a lot of great things about it, so that kind of pushed me to go forward with that direction.

Could you describe the journey it took you to get to Rowan? 

The transfer process was actually super simple because I went to Rowan College of South Jersey, which is the school that Rowan is associated with. The transfer process was super easy, I just had to apply to Rowan. I’m pretty sure all of my credits transferred over because of that affiliation between those two schools. It was super simple and I didn’t have any problems.

Emileigh is looking at a computer while typing on a keyboard.

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

I like how many opportunities there are for involvement at Rowan. There are hundreds of clubs and Rowan After Hours. I’ve always been the type of person who’s been super involved at school, especially at high school. I was the girl that was in every club. I went to a very small high school so it was okay that I was involved in a lot, it was like a sense of community with everyone. I was a part of clubs that were focused on the arts, athletics and even academic-oriented ones. Looking back, I can say that I was really involved over there.

When I got to community college I knew that I still wanted to be involved. So, at RCSJ (Rowan College of South Jersey), I was on the track team and it took up most of my time there. It was really fun, I met a lot of great people there. 

When I got to Rowan University, I knew that I wanted this type of place where I can be involved and meet a lot of new people from it. I also really like Rowan’s campus. It’s a great medium-sized campus; it’s not too big and not too small. The fact that there are a lot of good food places nearby is great too!

With being a transfer student, how included do you feel with the different events/clubs here on campus? 

I feel super included, I’ve never really felt different as a transfer student. The only real disadvantage was that people have had more time to explore on campus than I have. Sometimes it takes me longer to discover new things on campus, but for the most part I feel like the school does a pretty good job about advertising all of the opportunities for students. I had an easy time just coming right in and finding clubs and groups that I wanted to be a part of on campus.

Emileigh is sitting down on some gross with her legs crossed and smiling at the camera.

What drew you to your major?

I would say the big event that drew me to my major was when I was at Warped Tour in 2018. I was with my cousin and her girlfriend and they had entered this raffle to win backstage passes for one of the performers. They ended up winning the drawing so all three of us got to go backstage at Warped Tour and I got to see what happens behind the scenes, like the walkthrough location or the area where everybody is eating. During the tour, our guide showed us where even the green rooms were at and then we got to be backstage while 3oh!3 performed.

Just seeing the environment with everybody working backstage like the lighting crew, the audio crew, the guitar technicians, just seeing it all from that perspective and seeing them perform with the crowd had captivated me. I knew that I wanted to do this and this was what I wanted to do with my life.

Emileigh is standing out front of a sign at Warped Tour.
After her experience with Warped Tour, Emileigh Zane became aware of how a career in the musical industry field could be her calling.

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

I think my major is very helpful, especially to people that are already trying to pursue it. If they are an artist themselves, you really get to see all of the behind the scenes things that really aren’t talked about. It’s not the fun stuff so it’s not what people are usually talking about. The music industry is a very traditional type of business. It’s really easy to get screwed over in the industry and make mistakes such as in the case of ambiguous contracts or labels. It’s started to change a little bit but just knowing how it works and learning how to take advantage will really boost your career with which I consider as super helpful. For example, there’s this one class called Music Publishing and it has to do with ownership of a song and how licensing and rights work with your song.

I think that my major teaches you a lot of things that you would have to learn the hard way if you didn’t take the college route. You can take the proper precautions for starting your career or even if you just want to work on the business side of things, the teachings that we learn all deal with preventing common mistakes and setting ourselves up for future success. Just learning how to get the most money possible for yourself and your artist is great, but also learning without the whole trial and error experience is even better.

Emileigh is standing in front of a brick background smiling at the camera.

What has Rowan done to prepare you for the future, aka, post-academia? 

I think that my major in particular has done a great job of giving me a lot of hands-on, relevant experience. I’m currently in a touring and concert promoting class, and it teaches us what it actually takes to put on a show. But then the other part of that class, and what I think is most helpful, is that we get to put on two shows as a part of that class as a part of our grade. 

For our capstone projects, we have the freedom to do a lot of different things, whatever you’re interested you can do for the most part. For example, a lot of artists that I’m friends with do an EP (Extended Play) or album and other people have started artist management companies. For my capstone project, I’ve decided to do a one-day music festival called Better Now Music Festival. Currently, I’m looking for a local venue to book the show at as well as looking at many different local and semi-local artists. There’s still a lot to plan, but I also really like the idea of having a lot of activities, food trucks and some tables with helpful resources. It’s like my own little homage to Warped Tour in a way, I guess.

What have been your favorite moments so far on campus? 

My house shows with Rowan Alt (@rowanalternativemusic) are the most fun and enjoyable thing that I do on campus. I also went to see the Rowan jazz concert that they have every winter and spring. I went to one in the winter and it was really good. I was really surprised, I didn’t realize that the students were as good as they were. That jazz festival was really fun. Just getting to be involved with Rowan Music Group, that was really cool by itself too. If I could describe it, It’s like the Rowan record label that a lot of people don’t really know that we have, but we have. I have a lot of fun just hanging out with my roommate too, we’ll just be hanging around at our apartment.

Emileigh is leaning on a railing and smiling directly at the camera with the sunset at her back.

What’s the most interesting thing that you had learned during the transfer process?

Most things that you may need help with are a simple ask away. I feel like a lot of people don’t realize that there are people out there willing to help you. Knowing how to ask for help in a nice way can get you pretty far.

With everything that you know now, what advice would you give to your high school self in regards to college?  

To just stay organized. I’m already a very organized person, but I think staying organized is really important because there are so many things that you’re trying to juggle between school, taking care of yourself and being involved. Just make sure that you are aware of all of the opportunities and that you take advantage of them. It’s very important to the entirety of the college experience.

Story by:
Lucas Taylor, English Education major

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

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#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

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Rowan Dance Major Gabrielle Langevine, Front and Center

Gabrielle dances with two spotlights shining on her from either side.

Dancing since she was 10 years old, sophomore Gabrielle Langevine of Middlesex County continues to study her craft at Rowan University’s College of Performing Arts. She is part of the Dance Extensions group and the university’s NAACP chapter. As a Black artist, she hopes to encourage future dancers of color not to “shrink themselves” but […]

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

Terry stands outside near the Wilson Hall amphitheatre.

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

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

Scott and Kevin pose together on Rowan's campus.

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

#PROFspective: Kaya Snow, Combining Passion with Academics

Senior Kaya Snow, a Dance and Theatre Arts major from Morris County with a concentration in Acting and Musical Theatre, shares her #PROFspective as a Rowan student. 

What inspired you to choose your major?

I was inspired to choose my major because I did not want to give up the things that I loved. I’ve been singing and dancing my whole life, so pursuing Theatre Arts and Dance have allowed me to continue with my passions.

Dance and theatre major Kaya leaps in front of Bunce Hall.

Tell us something interesting that you’ve learned in a class this semester. 

I am currently taking a seminar called “Acting for the Camera” that is really interesting. I have learned so much about what goes into creating anything on film. We have done both acting and filming which helps give a perspective of what the people around us would be doing on set. So far it has been a really worthwhile experience.

Dance and theatre major Kaya does a heel stretch on the steps of front of Bunce Hall.

Take us through one typical Rowan day for you.

Every day is different for me, but Wednesdays are probably my most exciting day. I wake up and eat breakfast with my roommates and then get ready for my singing lesson. After my singing lesson is over I go back home to eat lunch and watch some Netflix. Then I drive back to campus for Dance Theatre Workshop and Acting II. Both take a lot of creative energy and are very interesting. After that I take a dance class to keep motivated and strengthen my skills. I then go home for dinner with my  roommates and do some homework before I go to practice for the Dance Team. When I get home from practice I shower and go to bed so I can be ready for another day!

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

Dance Extensions has really made Rowan feel like home for me. I met so many of my close friends by joining freshman year and now have the honor of being President the last two years. I have been able to watch our club and members grow so much, and it has brought me so much joy.

Dance and theatre major Kaya leaps in the air near an entrance of Bunce Hall.

Could you share any academic clubs, social clubs and/or sports you are involved in?

I am a member and president of Dance Extensions, the Rowan University Dance Team and Campus Players, as well as a member and Social Chair of Alpha Psi Omega.

Could you share any jobs, either on campus or off campus, that you hold?

I am currently doing federal work study with the Theatre department!

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

#PROFspective: Theatre Major, Texas Native and Longboarder Maria Dixon

Maria sits with her longboard in front of a brick building on campus.

Today we feature Maria Dixon, a sophomore Theatre major with a concentration in acting from Wylie, Texas. Maria is also the Senator for Rowan’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre honors society, an Admissions Ambassador, and a Theatre department student advisory board member. She discusses her major and goes into detail about her experience at Rowan.

Why did you choose Rowan to study Theatre?

It was really important for me to go to a college near Philadelphia and New York, given my interests in theatre, and because those two cities are the main hubs of stage theatre.

Rowan’s Theatre and Dance program is well known in the community, and the program is great at marketing and recruiting. I also learned very quickly that Rowan valued movement in theatre and acting and did not just value script and straight play-acting. The program emphasizes using your body as an instrument when you perform, and I really appreciated that. I truly appreciate how Rowan valued certain aspects of theatre. 

Maria sitting outside on lawn chair.
Maria holding her one of her paint-by-numbers landscape pieces. 

Why did you choose to study Theatre?

I come from a very musical background and was involved in different theatrical and musical arts growing up. In high school I did a bunch of different activities and extracurriculars like band and color guard and track.

Initially, theatre was just for fun. I started theatre two years after playing music and I had awful stage fright. For plays and productions I was always in the ensemble. Senior year came around and it was common from where I live Texas to audition for a bunch of different opportunities and schools and just see what scholarships are accessible to you. In this process, I went to a mass audition, and Rowan was one of the first schools to call me back and offer me a scholarship. I quickly decided I liked to do theatre and wanted to explore it more throughout my collegiate journey. 

What are your future plans and what is your dream profession for working as a Theatre major?

I am used to being behind the scenes within theatre rather than the star actor or performer. However, in the fall play this year, I was the star and throughout this experience I realized that I love working behind the scenes and would prefer stage management. I am looking to pursue an M.A. in arts administration here, and my dream job could involve managing a venue to schedule tours and events. 

Maria posing next to her longboard in front of Wilson Hall.

What professor has stood out to you in preparing you for your future?

I took Professor Ross Beschlur’s Intro to Acting class last spring over Zoom. His class focused a lot on breathwork, and it was the first class that educated me on using my body and movement as an instrument in theatre. This class set the foundation for me in my theatre studies. 

What class at Rowan have you found most challenging, interesting, difficult?  

One of the more challenging classes that I have taken has been my Script Analysis class. This class challenges me to look at script in new ways. Our professor teaches us different terminologies to use when analyzing script. 

Maria sits outside Business Hall.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am a pretty avid longboarder. I skate to class around campus, and I am always trying to improve my skating skills. I will say that gravity is not my friend … and I do fall occasionally; however, I do love longboarding. I have recently started enjoying paint-by-numbers. 

What is your favorite part about your major?

My major is very fun. It is challenging in completely different ways that other majors are challenging. I think my major and the courses I need to take are all interesting to learn about. I also appreciate I think it is so cool that there is a mental side of acting … It sometimes feels like I have a psychology minor.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

I have most of my classes on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Therefore, on Monday and Wednesday, I usually have some free time to meet my work and hour requirements for my Admissions Ambassador job. In the rest of my time I either usually have rehearsal for theatre or I am participating in events for Alpha Psi Omega. 

Maria smiling on one of the steps at Bunce Hall.

See our video with Maria here. 

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Story by: 
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Jack Maisonneuve, senior communication studies major

My First Semester As An International Student

Valentina poses on the #RowanProud chair near Bunce Hall.

Today we hear from Valentina Giannattasio, a first-year international student from Argentina. Valentina is a double major in Dance and Marketing. Today, she shares with us her experience of being a first-year international student at Rowan.

Flying around the world and living in the opposite hemisphere of the globe is not an easy task. Since I was 9 years old, I had always wanted to study abroad and earn my college degree in the United States of America. Today, 10 years later, I am here at Rowan, fulfilling my dreams and double majoring in Dance and Marketing.

Valentina poses in front of the Prof statue.

Since I can remember, dancing has been my passion, and I am thrilled to say that my first semester at Rowan has provided me with a lot of opportunities to navigate my dance experience. Not only I am attending classes with amazing professors, but I also performed in the Main Stage production “Making Good Trouble.” Besides, I am a member of Rowan University Dance Team and a senator of Rowan University Dance Extensions.

When I first arrived at Rowan, I was really scared. A new chapter of my life was about to start, and my fears were flooding my mind. The fact of living 5,225 miles away from home, my family and friends was terrifying. I remember I was really excited but upset at the same time, my emotions were crushing against each other. However, I was sure that although I was going to miss Argentina, my goals and desires were more important.

Valentina poses in front of Bunce Hall.

I will never forget the day I moved into Rowan, and I immediately realized that this campus was going to be my home for the next four years! Today, after my first semester, I need to admit that adapting to this huge change, the new language, food, ideologies, currency and culture was easier than I thought. I need to say that everyone at Rowan was really kind and ready to help me at any time. I am more than happy and thankful for being here, surrounded by all the amazing people, faculty and friends.

Personally speaking, and as an international student, I would like to say that Rowan is an amazing place to make new friends, socialize with others, learn and acquire the necessary tools for future success. Although I really miss my home, my family and my friends, Rowan has become a special place for me, and I am thankful for all the beautiful experiences and memories I am creating there. I am proud of attending Rowan, and I am sure this was the best decision I have ever made. I truly cannot wait to see what my next years have to offer.

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Story and photos submitted by:
Valentina Giannattasio, first year dance and marketing double major

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

Nick Flagg as Buddy the Elf in Elf the Musical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Production Photos by:
Valerie Neuber

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

Music Industry Major Pharaoh Freer’s Big Break

Pharaoh sits on a bench near James Hall.

Today we feature Pharaoh Freer, a sophomore Music Industry major from Jamesburg, NJ (Middlesex County). Over the summer, Pharaoh had the opportunity to work on a movie set as an extra! Pharaoh shares his experience on set with us and how it has impacted his life. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Pharaoh Freer, and I’m a sophomore Music Industry major. I went to a school in Philly before I came to Rowan. Before going there I didn’t really know what I was doing when it came to school. That school was my chance to show myself and others that I can do school. Prior to that, I didn’t really think I would end up at Rowan. I’m still living in the “Wow, I’m really here!” Other than that, I’m an artist and a rapper. My goal for right now is to make my mark on Rowan.

Pharoah smiles in front of Wilson Hall.

You were recently in a movie! What was the experience like for you?

My aunt works for Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta. Somebody she knew was a movie director and he let her know that they needed a few extras. My parents flew me out the next week. It was so fast. The movie was filmed at my aunt’s house. You had to see it! Her house is so big and modern, which is why they asked to film there.

I get there and all the movie stuff is set up: microphones, cameras, all of it. I’m just thinking, “Wow, this is really a movie.” All the stuff behind the scenes was almost like a movie itself.

The scene they needed me for was a church scene. I had to wear certain attire and I needed a haircut. But I was doing more than just my scene. I was helping the director, I was taking COVID temperatures, and doing other stuff like that. It was super crazy!

Pharaoh walks on a path near James Hall.

Would you ever do something like that again?

I definitely would! I’m already a musician. Music, acting, fashion, all of that comes hand in hand. After my experience in Atlanta, all I thought about when I got back to New Jersey was, “I want to make a movie! I need to direct my own movie!” I’m the type of person where if I see something and I feel like I can accomplish it then I want to do it! 

Did you go to the premiere? 

Yes! There were two premieres. One in Atlanta that I went to see and a premiere in Michigan. There weren’t a ton of people but enough people to show that the director really had a lot of support. It’s not a crazy big movie, but seeing the community really come out in support made me want to move to Atlanta. 

Pharaoh looks ahead near James and Wilson Halls.

Tell us a little bit about “Broken Covenant: The Movie.” 

I’ll sum it up in a nutshell. It’s basically all about family, love and trust. I’m telling you, the movie is crazy! 

Has the experience made you want to get more involved in the film industry?

I want to do it all! One thing about me is I try to do everything I set my mind to. I want to do movies, music, fashion, everything! After my first experience in Atlanta I told myself, “The next time I come out here to do a movie, I’m going to have a bigger role.” I’ve always loved acting and I’ve started to take becoming an actor more seriously along with my music. 

Read Pharoah’s first-person take on the lessons he’s learned on his journey to becoming a Rowan Prof here

Pharaoh sits and smiles with Wilson Hall in the background.

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Story By:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos By:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major 

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

View from the stage at Rowan's Pfleeger Hall.

Today, we feature Felicia Brown, a graduate of Rowan’s Arts Administration masters program through Rowan Global. Currently, Ms. Brown serves as the Career and Technical Education (CTE) theatre educator at Trenton Central High School. She sits down to explain how the arts have taken her all across the world.

Would you mind introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Hello! My name is Felicia Latoya Brown, and I am currently a CTE [Career and Technical Education] theatre educator at Trenton Central High School. Prior to that, I taught at Life Center Academy. I am the regional programming director for the Alliance for Theatre and Education. Along with this, I am on the board for the Ritz Theatre Company as well as a member of the Speech Theatre Association of New Jersey and the Educational Theatre Association in which I am a Thespian Troupe director.

I’ve taught short theatre programs in Kenya, Brazil and Costa Rica, one of which included drama therapy for former child prostitutes. I’ve also performed internationally in Egypt and Slovakia, and that’s just the short list. 

Felicia directs Seussical Jr.
Directing Seussical at the Life Center Academy

Tell us a little bit about your educational background. 

I did my undergraduate degree at Eastern University. I always tell people it was a triple major, double minor. My major was English with Communications for Secondary Education and a minor in music and theatre. Rowan was where I got my second master’s degree, which was in Arts Administration. My first master’s degree was in Theatre studies, which got me the fancy term of Theatreologist.

What made you want to pursue your second master’s at Rowan University? 

What initially drew me to Rowan was their online program. I was interested in Arts Administration mainly because I have this huge crazy dream of running my own full-scale arts production company that would encompass every aspect of the arts.

I got into these classes at Rowan and every single professor asked me about my future dream business. They go, “Is it a museum? Is it a theatre? Is it a dance studio?” And I just reply, “It’s everything.”

Every professor I had definitely encouraged me and knew how amazing my dream business would be if I ever got it up and running but they wanted me to focus on just one aspect of it for their course. 

Felicia performing on stage during a theatre production surrounded by three other actors
Felicia performs in a Ritz Theatre Company production

Was there ever a professor who allowed you to focus on your dream in full and not just an aspect of it?

There was one professor who allowed me to come up with what my season would look like if I had my dream business up and running, which allowed me to think about it further. If I had it up and running like I want, there would be a dinner theatre, a children’s theatre, a community theatre, as well a professional equity house. That’s about four or five spaces that would have shows happening [at the same time] along with outdoor performances that would take place during the summer.

My professor wanted me to think about how I would make all of these shows connect so that I have people interested in coming and seeing shows in whatever space they may be in. I came up with a PowerPoint presentation that took you through the whole thing. It was nice for my dream to be encouraged in that way and to be able to share it with others. 

How would you describe your time at Rowan?

My time at Rowan was very interesting. When I started the program, it was still under theatre arts and it was called Theatre Arts Administration. It changed to just Arts Administration while I was in the program, which was cool with me. I liked it! It was a challenge though.

One of the most challenging courses I had taken wanted me to learn QuickBooks and how to handle the financial aspects of running an organization. I was just like, “Numbers? I’m an artist! Numbers and the arts don’t go together!” It’s funny to me now, but it wasn’t an easy feat during the time. Ultimately, I’m glad I took that course because it helped me so much. I truly believe that every single person that runs any kind of artistic organization needs somebody who has gone through an arts administration program. 

How have the arts education programs in New Jersey changed over the years? 

There’s this beautiful learning that’s happening right now. Priscilla, a colleague I met through Rowan, works with Arts Ed New Jersey, and she told me how the program is looking to teach anti-racism through Art Education. They’re conversations happening amongst the leaders of the Artistic Educational Programs in New Jersey where these leaders sit together and ask themselves, “Alright, how do we make sure the work we bring to our students is anti-racist?” These conversations weren’t happening 10 years ago and certainly not when I was growing up. Now, they’re in the forefront of our teaching, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

How can arts educators and administrators across the country make sure they are incorporating anti-racist practices into their teaching? 

It starts with just asking the right questions. To make sure educators are invoking these anti-racist practices while teaching students, they can take a step back and ask themselves: “What are things that we need to do to change? How can we make ourselves better? How can we be an anti-racist organization?” 

I sit on the board for the American Alliance for Theatre and Education as regional programming director and that has been the whole thing for this past year: Asking ourselves what are the changes that we need to make in our organization to make sure more voices are heard. It’s not that we need to lose room at the table. We just need to make more room at the table for other. 

Felicia on stage alone during a production of The Crucible.
Felicia on stage during a production of The Crucible for the Ritz Theatre

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Story by:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

Photos courtesy of:
Felicia Brown
Ritz Theatre Company photos, Steve Rogina
Life Center Academy photo, Rebekah Yeretzian

First Year Voices: Musical Theatre Majors Olivia Frankenbach and Liz Baginski

Olivia and Liz sit outside Holly Pointe Commons.

Meet College of Performing Arts students Olivia Frankenbach of Lambertville, NJ (Hunterdon County) and Liz Baginski of Metuchen, NJ (Middlesex County), who share the theatre experiences they’re looking forward to this year.  “I love Rowan. I knew when I chose this school I would be happy here and my opinion hasn’t changed. I’m looking forward […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Double Major Rachel Ricci Uses Her Voice for Theatre and Therapy

Rachel sits at the Wilson amphitheater.

Today we feature junior Rachel Ricci of Moorestown, NJ (Burlington County), who transferred from Rowan College of South Jersey. Rachel, trained in classical voice, is a double major in Musical Theatre and Music Therapy within the College of Performing Arts. She shares how she first learned of the Music Therapy program and her first impressions of Rowan life.

How did you discover the Music Therapy program?

I had been interested in it because I just heard about it through people for a while. But it was actually Morgan, a friend of mine who … was in the program, and we got to talking about it. She just was telling me about her classes, how much she loved all her professors. And I got even more interested in it from hearing that.

I started looking into music therapy as a general concept, a lot more online research. I spoke to [Professor] Andrea Hunt, I had an interview with her. And they were all super helpful to give you a lot of information about it, hearing about the internships that come afterwards, and all that sort of stuff.

Rachel sits near Wilson Hall.

What got you interested in music therapy as a career option?

I really love the combination of areas that it is. It’s all the things that I’ve been really passionate about and really interested in, from psychology to music, and just the different demographics of people that you get to work with. I love working with children. I’ve also spent a lot of times in assisted living facilities, and I love working with older people. And I just like that you have the option to go into a lot of different areas with it.

What is your favorite part so far of being part of this program?

For me, I mean, I’m very brand new to it all. But I love how much I get to do voice with it. Because my instrument … everyone has a different instrument for the program. And mine is classical voice, which I love studying. So I’m very excited about all the voice classes and the choirs, studio days and all that.

How are you meeting people as a commuter?

Actually everyone’s really welcoming. Just last night, I was at a meet-and-greet for my [musical theatre major] and people were very warm. And there’s a lot of clubs on campus and stuff. So it’s not hard to get to know people even as a commuter.

How do you like Rowan so far?

Oh, I love it. A really nice environment. I love the campus. And it’s fun because I’m around here so I have a lot of friends that I knew since before college who go here, so it’s nice to already have kind of a community.

What are you looking forward to?

Just the whole experience because I’ve only done community college so far. I’m very excited to be at a university. I get to spend time with the friends I already have here and to make new friends when I start taking classes here.

Rachel sits near Wilson Hall.

Have you thought about joining any clubs or organizations on campus?

It’s hard as a commuter sometimes because you’re going back and forth so much, but I’ve been hearing about a lot of great ones and I definitely want to start looking into to get involved.

Why Rowan?

I really loved the school as soon as I when I was touring campus a few years ago. As soon as I was here, I liked the environment. I really liked it. It’s a medium-size school, you know, so you get the experience of being a bigger-feeling school without feeling too massive. I liked the community. I like the commute from where I live …  just a lot about it that was a really good fit for me. 

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Photos by:
Nick Flagg, senior advertising and theatre major

In Case You Missed It: Favorite Classes At Rowan

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

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

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

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

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

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

A faculty member speaks with a student.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story by: 
Nick Flagg, senior theatre and advertising major

First Year Dance Major Amanda Drayton Performs in String Ensemble Concert

Amanda dancing on stage in a purple outfit and mask with the ensemble around her.

Amanda Drayton, a first year Dance major from Somerset, NJ (Union County), rehearsed on Zoom with Associate Professor Paule Turner for weeks leading up to her first live performance during COVID-19. Amanda walks us through her performance and shares her experience as a College of Performing Arts student this past year. What made you choose […]

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

Rowan Boulevard and the Glassblower statue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holly Pointe Cafe.
Glassworks Cafe located in Holly Pointe Commons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Student Center Cafeteria.
Student Center Cafe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Select photos by:
RJ Wentzell, senior exercise science major

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

Sneak Peak into the Theatre – Design/Technical Program and its Stagecraft Class

Someone measures a line on a piece of wood.

Today we share moments from our conversation with College of Performing Arts students Michael Landolfi and Jenna Hope during a session of their Stagecraft Fundamentals class. We asked them about their favorite parts of their majors and the course itself.

Michael Landolfi is a sophomore Theatre major with a concentration in Theatre – Design/Technical

Why did you come to Rowan?

“I recently just transferred from the Music Industry program so it was actually the major that made me want to come to Rowan. I also like that it is fairly close to home but not too close. It was important to me to be close enough to home where I could see family but still be able to explore a new area.”

In the Stagecraft Fundamentals course, have you found anything you are particularly passionate about that you did not think you would like? 

“I definitely have taken an interest in woodwork and carpentry more than I thought I would have.”

Michael in class.
Michael Landolfi

Can you tell me about the relationships you have between the staff here? 

“Especially the staff in the theatre department and the staff in the music program … [t]hey all have been pretty open with communication. Several professors have helped me figure out what trajectory I am taking in terms of what I am learning here and what I want to do in the future.” 

What made you change your major?

“I personally did not like taking business classes … [t]here were quite a few of those classes I had to take. Also I have also always loved live sound, and that is mainly what I am trying to get a career in because those jobs are more secure than trying to land a job as a music producer or a performer in general.” 

A student working in Stagecraft Fundamentals.
A student working in Stagecraft Fundamentals

What is your favorite class so far?

“Stagecraft Fundamentals is pretty great. Starting to get involved in the theatre department and stuff has been a really good experience. I also enjoy a Social Problems class I have taken that is completely not related to my major. I just needed to take it for credits, but I heavily enjoyed it.”


Stagecraft Fundamentals student, Jenna Hope, using power tools in class.
Stagecraft Fundamentals student, Jenna Hope, using power tools in class.

Jenna Hope is a transfer junior Musical Theatre major; however, she will be switching to the Theatre – Design/Techical major. 

What made you want to change your major?

“What made me change my major was the fact that I felt like I was not able to use my hands as much, and getting to take classes like Stagecraft Fundamentals in my first year was something that really made me realize that design and tech is something that makes me really excited. Things like carpentry and costuming are so interesting and also simply fun for me.”

A picture of a power saw used in Stage Craft Fundamentals.

Out of all the elements in design and tech, what would you say your favorite is?

“Out of all of them I would say carpentry, but I really have a soft spot for costuming even though I have not gotten to do it yet.”

Can you tell me about some things that you have made in your Stagecraft Fundamentals class?

“We made a couple of different things … sadly most of the things we make in class are for productions we are holding in the semester, but with Covid we were unable to put on the amount of productions that we would have liked to so we did not have that many sets or props to make. With that being said, we have been making birdhouses this semester as a little project for everybody.”

What advice would you give to a person who is interested in the major but unsure of design and tech?

“I think they should just take Stagecraft because it gives total insight to the major. Asking for help is also so important. Just because you need assistance or help does not mean you cannot partake in something you enjoy.”

Stage Craft Fundamentals students using a power saw.
Associate Professor Tom Fusco (left) works with Jenna (center) and another student using a power saw.

See more from the Stagecraft Fundamentals class in this video. 

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

First-Year Student Amanda Drayton Performs in String Ensemble Concert [VIDEO]

Amanda dances in front of string players.

Amanda, a first-year Dance major, rehearsed on Zoom with Associate Professor Paule Turner for weeks leading up to her first live performance during COVID-19. She steps out onto the stage for the first time and shares her experience as a performing arts student this past year.

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Video by:
Christianna Arango, Radio/TV/Film graduate
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

#PROFspective: Theatre and Advertising Major Nick Flagg

Nick sits in a director's chair on Bunce Green.

Today, we speak to Theatre & Advertising double major Nick Flagg from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Nick has a concentration in Theatre Ed, Acting/Directing & Musical Theatre, and will graduate next spring. He shares with us why he heavily enjoys studying his majors and the endless opportunities Rowan has offered and equipped him with.  Why […]

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

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

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

Headshot of Danyel in uniform wearing a mask.

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

2. How to Apply for Scholarships at Rowan University

Wide exterior shot of Bunce Hall.

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

3. TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Future Chemistry Teacher Trevor Jones

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

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

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

Kathleen smiles wearing a black leather jacket outside her home.

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

5. TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Studio Art Major Christine Stewart

Christine smiles while seated outside on campus.

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

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

Dr. Susana stands by a railing inside Business Hall.

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

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

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

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

8. The Importance of Unstructured Time

Landyn posing outside Bunce Hall while wearing a Rowan jacket.

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

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

Grace dancing in a dance studio in Memorial Hall.

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

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

Yashaswi sitting on a Gazebo outside near Bunce.

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

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

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

Stagecraft Fundamentals | Building Your Skill Set [VIDEO]

Someone measures a line on a piece of wood.

COVID-19 did not stop students from learning the fundamentals of set design and building. “I think everybody should take Stagecraft Fundamentals because you will learn so many things,” says Jenna Hope, a sophomore theatre major. “You don’t just learn carpentry. You can learn costuming, lighting, sound, really a lot of different skills that are helpful […]

Senior Reflects: Public Relations and Advertising Double Major Marian Suganob

Marian poses in front of a bush with her graduation regalia.

Today we speak to recent graduate Marian Suganob, a Public Relations and Advertising double major with a minor in theatre. Marian, a first-generation college student from Mantua, NJ (Gloucester County), lived on campus all four years of her college career.

Marian poses next to the Rowan University sign.

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

I didn’t come to Rowan as a theater minor. I took Intro to Acting to fill a Rowan Core requirement. The adjunct professor that was teaching the course, Professor Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez, saw that I had a creative mind. She could see that the major that I had declared at the time wasn’t the right one for me. She recommended I sign up to be a theatre major or minor. That experience really helped me feel welcome at Rowan. She didn’t just treat me like I was one of the thousands of students that she taught. She saw me and made the effort to talk to me during class and after class. That was definitely one class that made me feel I was at the right school.

Could you share your favorite social memory?

A lot of my memories come from my time with the Rowan University Philippine American Coalition (RUPAC), the Filipino club on campus, and also being an RA.

I’m a bit of an introvert, so I’m not always hanging out with people, but the only way I could survive being an RA and also do well in school was by sticking together with the other RAs. Often, the other RAs and I would study together, while we were on duty we’d study from 8 p.m. until around 2 a.m. It was really fun. We also bonded over having crazy experiences being RAs. 

When I joined RUPAC my freshman year, I felt welcome at Rowan. We performed a play that was run, created, written and directed by students. It was an adaptation of Mulan. I got to play the lead role, and that was really, really fun. It broke me out of my shell and I met a lot of friends because of it. The experience was great for me. 

Marian stands on a big yellow chair that says #Rowan2021.

What are your career aspirations?

Right now I would like to find what I am passionate about. However, I would really like to go into advertising one day. 

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

Being at Rowan helped me build my work ethic. Rowan has also helped me explore my career aspirations by letting me ask questions and be curious. The people at Rowan helped me open my mind to more creative fields. All of my relatives are in some part of the medical field, so nobody in my family has ever gone into the creative field. Rowan supported me in my exploration to find my career aspirations. 

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

Thank you to RUPAC for giving me a home on-campus. Thank you to my professors and advisors for helping me grow and helping me enjoy my education, even though it was challenging. Thank you to the Office of Events and Conferences for the many professional opportunities they have given me. The Office of Events and Conferences led me to my current job at the Rowan Blog. Thank you to those who created and passed the Student Health fee my sophomore year. You saved my life and countless others. Please continue to advocate for these issues and fight for change. Thank you to my boyfriend for being my study partner and my best friend. Thank you to my parents for supporting me throughout college. 

Marian's decorated graduation cap, as seen from above.

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

I loved taking Public Opinion with Dr. Novak, and I also really enjoyed taking PR Practicum with Professor Shoenstein.

Public Opinion helped me understand why PR and Advertising are so important. It’s not just about promoting a business or promoting your own efforts. Your work helps create social change. PR and advertising are grounded in actual psychology. Also, understanding your audience is really powerful. 

In PR Practicum, I was able to practice my skills in social media and graphic creation. I mostly used those skills for clubs on the side, or for myself, but to practice with a team and a professor for a good cause was really fun.

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

Try to find a balance between exploring your career aspirations and keeping mentally healthy. I wish I had done more internships and explored more, but it was good for my mental health to limit myself to one per year.

Marian poses in her graduation regalia.

Is there anything else you would like to look back on and reflect on regarding your time at Rowan?

College helped me grow as a person, especially in public speaking. At the beginning of college, I absolutely hated public speaking. I never wanted to volunteer, I never thought I was good at it. But after the countless presentations I have given for classes, and papers I have had to write, I am a better communicator. I would have never thought that I’d actually like presenting and that I would want to present with my team at the end of my senior year. Thank you, Rowan, for helping me become better and changing me. 

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

Photography by:
Joe Gentempo, art graduate

My Favorite Class: Foundations of Music Education

Luis stands with his trumpet outside on campus.

Today we feature first-generation college senior Luis Ozoria. Luis’s favorite class was Foundations of Music Education in the Music department taught by Dr. Adrian Barnes. Luis recently graduated with a bachelor’s of music in Jazz Studies and is from Galloway, NJ (Atlantic County). Tell us a little about what the class is… The class gives […]

Queer Voices: Theatre Major Tyler “TJ” Jacobs

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

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

TJ smiling while wearing a rainbow headband.

Name, pronouns, and identity?

I am Tyler “TJ” Jacobs, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I am a gay man.

What is your year in school and your major?

I am a junior Theatre major at Rowan University.
When did you come out as LGBTQ+, and why then?

[laughs] Ok, this is actually a really funny story. So there is never a right time for anything. I actually came out twice, and the first time was of my own accord. I was in 8th grade, and I had attended an open house at my sister’s elementary school with my family and my sister. My sister’s school had one of those “cafetoriums” where there’s a stage in the cafeteria, and I had gone up on the stage and had done some kind of flourish or something, and my mom was like, “Be careful Tyler, do something like that and people might think that you’re gay.”

I said “Haha, yeah,” and she said, “It would be ok if you were,” and I was like, “Cool, that’s good to know.” 

That in mind, we were going out to the car, and I said, “Well, I am gay.”

My stepdad laughed and said ok, but my mom proceeded to freak out. She pulled every emotional trick to basically force me back into the closet, and that was not great. She had said it would be okay, so I had been like, well, there’s no better time than the present, and it turns out the present was not a great time. Later, sophomore year of high school, I had two of my friends over. My friend, who I had a crush on at the time, and I were cuddling and my mom came in and said “Stop that.” Well, obviously, we didn’t stop, and then she came back and said​ that I needed to come downstairs, while my friends were still in my room, and then had this entire confrontation with me that was forcing me out of the closet. Now everything’s fine, we have a great relationship. My mom doesn’t have a problem with it; she did research on her own to figure out what was going on, and we have a great relationship now. Certainly back then, things were a bit rocky.

Has being LGBTQ impacted or influenced your education?

Not really in any negative way. Generally, I’ve been pretty blessed with being a white cis man, who is also straight-passing, that I haven’t had any backlash. I mean, I’ve been called “fag” only twice in my life, and not so many are that lucky. 

Has LGBTQ culture and acceptance changed throughout your time at Rowan?

I’m in the theatre department, so I’m just generally around a large amount of LGBTQ+ people, but I haven’t really felt super connected to a larger community of LGBTQ+ people as a whole at Rowan. I haven’t felt that at all. I haven’t really experienced any hatefulness or anything from the general public, besides being called “fag” once, but that was one time out of three years. Ultimately, it doesn’t feel like there’s a huge presence with any of the LGBTQ+ organizations. I know that they’re there, but I’m never able to attend because of my schedule.

This year I’m really, really trying to reach out and connect to other people in the community because in general LGBTQ+ youth do not get to connect to others in the community throughout their adolescence. I really think we are negatively impacted by that, because we don’t get to relate and share our experiences with others as our straight counterparts do. I’m hoping that the community continues to grow and open up and connect with others on campus, but I haven’t seen any new developments. It’s honestly stagnant. The community at large here is very accepting.

How has attending Rowan helped you in finding an inclusive community?

Rowan, like many other institutions, helped me find an inclusive community by providing a space where I could find like-minded individuals. Whether it is in the classroom, at the student center, the library, or the theatre, usually I could find someone to speak to or learn something from. Rowan has also provided me with a wealth of opportunities to build smaller communities within through artistic endeavors, educational experiences, and club formulation. For instance, from my understanding I was the only puppeteer on campus with the exception of the puppetry workshop professor. Seeking to change that, I created RU Puppet Artists (RUPA), which allowed me to create the community I wanted to be a part of. Over a single school year, despite COVID-19, there are now several students that would proudly call themselves puppet artists that I know I can rely upon. 

Were there any faculty that you particularly enjoyed, inspired you and/or made you feel you had a safe space?

My biggest inspiration is the Department of Theatre & Dance’s Technical Director Tom Fusco. Not only is Tom an incredible professor, he has been an amazing friend and collaborator. He has been there to support myself and many other students throughout all of our endeavors. I know that whenever I need a hand or advice, I can call on him. That is not to say that he is the only professor who has supported me, especially when it comes to the theatre & dance department. There are several of them who I am proud to have worked with and am incredibly grateful for all the support and wisdom that they have imparted upon me. As I approach the end of my undergraduate studies, I can smile at all that I have learned from these incredible people and look forward to continuing my work with them in the larger South Jersey/Philadelphia community so that we can continue to inspire young artists trying to find their voice.

Is there anything you would want to see changed at Rowan in regards to LGBTQ+ life?​

I would like to see a large presence besides rainbow balloons at Pride month. There are drag competitions that happen, but only once a year. Maybe I’m wrong, because I’m not super connected to any of the organizations, but I would generally like to see more outreach and letting people know “Hey we’re here.” Other than me just being aware of the existence of these clubs, I see and hear nothing. That’s really unfortunate because there are a lot of people who could really use a little more messaging and letting them know that they’re there. There’s no connection, there’s no flyer up or anything that’s constantly up in their periphery to remind them that ‘Oh, there are people out there like me on campus who I can connect to and grow with.’ It would be really assuring if there was a general expansion of LGBTQ+ presence to let people know we are here.

Anything else you want to discuss?

​I think it’s really, incredibly important to find people in the community you look up to and can relate to and maybe reach out to. I’m a puppeteer, and the puppeteering community, like most professions, is dominated by straight, cis, white men, but there are queer puppeteers out there, and there are some truly amazing ones. While I haven’t had the privilege of getting to speak with them, just knowing that they exist and being able to see and relate to their work, and to know that they’re approaching it through that [LGBTQ+] lens is a really powerful thing. To know that there are these artists representing gay men in the puppeteering profession is really important to me. They are truly my biggest heroes.

I know for me, I hope I can connect with them so maybe one day I can be that hero where someone looks at my work and says he did it, I can do it, which is a beautiful thing. Find your idols, find your role models, and if you can, let them know that you’re here too. 

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My Favorite Class: Instrumental Conducting 2

Rowan music performance in Wilson Hall.

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

Abby Bernhardt is a first-generation college student and a recent graduate with a degree in Instrumental Music Education from Egg Harbor City (Atlantic County). Her favorite class was Instrumental Conducting 2 in the Music department taught by Dr. Joe Higgins.  

Abby standing with French horn in hands.

Tell us a little about what the class is.

This class is a continuation of Conducting 1, and in this class you learn skills regarding how to conduct a band. We also focused a lot on things to do to make us better educators, and how to select repertoire that represents wide groups of people.

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

I loved this class because it made me realize what I want to do with my future. I learned so many things that I had been waiting for since high school, and I plan on using all of them in my career.

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

Dr. Higgins is a wonderful teacher and role model, and I am so grateful to have been able to have had this time spent learning from him.

Abby smiling with French horn in front of Christmas tree.

What makes this professor great? 

Dr. Higgins not only is an amazing educator himself, but he is very good at teaching others how to be their own type of great teacher also. He also is always around for a chat or some advice.

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

This class helped me solidify that I want to be a music teacher. I was always excited to go to class and learn new things that will help me immensely in my future. This class also gave me a lot of motivation to do well in school.

What are your professional goals? 

I plan on being a music teacher for a bit and then getting my master’s and going into administration as an arts administrator or vice principal. This way I will be able to support my students in the classroom and then help to support them from above, and hopefully help others to see the importance of arts education.

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Story by:
Caitlyn Dickinson, public relations and advertising graduate

4 Out-Of-State First Year Students Share Why They Chose Rowan

Today we speak with four out-of-state first year students about why they chose a university further from home and their experiences here at Rowan. Abby Riley, a first-generation student and Exercise Science major from Elkton, Maryland, shares the value of attending an out-of-state university. Abby says, “I considered and chose an out-of-state university because I […]

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

#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

Advice From a Rowan RA on the Residence Hall Experience

Exterior shot of Chestnut Hall Building

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Do you have any advice for students dealing with homesickness?

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

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

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

Alex sits on the steps of Bunce Hall.

How would you describe the proximity to the academic buildings?

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

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

Music Majors Share Music to Listen to While Studying

Photo of a student studying.

Need some tunes to help you study for finals? Here are some recommendations from upperclassmen music majors.

The "Spiegel im Spiegel" by Arvo Part album cover.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

“It’s one of my favorite minimalist pieces. It repeats over and over, so it’s good to listen to when you’re trying to focus. I love how delicate it sounds; it reminds me of a lullaby. A couple years ago, I was reading a book called ‘The Rest Is Noise’ by Alex Ross. Pärt was mentioned in it, so I wanted to dive into his music more,” says senior Kimmy Speers, a Music Education: Instrumental major from Morristown, NJ (Morris County).

The "3am Talk" by Icemann album cover.

3Am Talk – Icemann

“Chill vibe. I created the song myself,” says first-generation junior Justin Nunez, a Music Industry major with a concentration in Technology and a transfer from Kean University from Jackson, NJ (Ocean County).

Lisa holding a clarinet outside by the Rowan Hall pond.

Nocturnes (all 21) – Chopin

“It is very calming and relaxing. Chopin is very popular in the classical music world, and played very often by pianists,” says senior Lisa Harkisheimer, a Music Education Instrumental major from Sicklerville, NJ (Gloucester County).

Melissa wearing a Rowan sweatshirt while walking on the beach.

Etude No.2 – Phillip Glass

“Phillip Glass is a minimalist artist. His songs are thought provoking and stimulating to the ear. I studied minimalist artists in my theory course a year ago and found the compositions of Phillip Glass. I use his Playlist on Spotify to focus when I’m studying and thought it might help other students,” say junior Melissa Breslin of Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County), a Music Education Instrumental major and transfer student from Rowan College at Gloucester County. 

Liz sitting on a bench.

Rêverie – Claude Debussy (or really anything by Debussy)

“It relaxes me without putting me to sleep. I discovered the song by researching romantic composers on my own and also hearing his music in my music classes,” says senior Liz Cicali, a Music Education major with a specialization in instrumental music from Absecon, NJ (Atlantic County).

Sunshine holding a guitar while smiling outside.

 The Brain Dance – Animals as Leaders

“This will stimulate your mind and senses in every way. You will be awakened to learn and receptive to new information. I discovered the song at a concert,” says senior Sunshine Jones, a Music Education Vocal Major and Classical Guitar minor from Sewell, NJ (Gloucester County).

The "Viberations" by Iman Omari album cover.

L.A. Vibes – Iman Omari 

“Iman Omari is the king of chill and loops. He’s a producer that makes dream like beats. He can chop any song up and claim it as his own. A lot of his music doesn’t contain words, he has a beat tape that has nothing but loops and it really helps me study. Hearing the beats allow me to read, think and focus on my tasks. I’m able to listen to music and concentrate, that’s all I need in this world. Music and focus,” says first-generation college junior Phinesse Scott, a Music Industry major and transfer student from Rowan College at Burlington County

Phinesse adds: “I discovered Iman Omari through YouTube. You can really go down a never-ending hole on YouTube. I typically like to search for beats on there and I came across one of his old tracks and it was at that moment I became a fan and looked for every song I could find that he made.”

The "We the Kings" album cover.

Check Yes Juliet – We The Kings

“It’s a good song and catchy but by studying to this song it helps you to think back to what you read right before an exam if you listen to it again. It’s a popular pop rock song similar to artists I listen to,” says first-generation college junior Amanda Uretsky, a Music Industry major with a concentration in Technology and Business from Lumberton, NJ (Burlington County).

Emileigh smiling for a photo.

Imagine Paris – Daniel Paterok

“I find this song very relaxing, which I believe is important when doing homework or studying. Plus, I find the melody really pretty and catchy. I found this song on a public Spotify playlist that I sometimes listen to when I study,” says junior Emileigh Zane, a Music Industry major with a Business concentration who transferred from Rowan College of South Jersey and is from Penns Grove, NJ (Salem County).

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major 

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

Meet #Rowan2025: Isaiah Hymans Strives To Improve Instrumental Skills

Sheet music in a book.

Meet incoming first year student Isaiah Hymans. Isaiah is a first-generation college student who will commute from Egg Harbor (Atlantic County, NJ) and currently attends Cedar Creek High School. Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward in college? I am looking forward to having the ability to teach […]

First Year Voices: Music Education Major Arianna Granda

Headshot of Arianna.

Today we speak to Arianna Granda, a first-year Music Education major with a Vocal Concentration. Arianna is from Rockaway, NJ (Morris County) and lives on campus.

Arianna sits on a chair inside Business Hall.

How is your first year at Rowan so far?
It’s definitely been a weird transition, especially going into online school. But I think overall Rowan has handled it really well, especially the music department, they’re doing everything they can really to give us the closest thing that they can to performances and they’re still pushing us to our full potential, despite the circumstances. They’ve been very understanding, yet still pushing us to do the best we can.

This past winter, we had a virtual choir concert, so we recorded it in Pfleeger Hall, which is the bigger concert hall, and we were six feet apart with masks. It was recorded professionally and then it was live-streamed about a month later, so it was really cool that despite not being able to have an in-person performance, we still were able to have a product to showcase all our work throughout the semester.

I also was involved in the theatre community. I was in the cabaret so that was really fun because it was similar where they grouped us with who we had the same voice part as and who we saw every day. We did our own individual numbers and put it together, it looks really cool because they had people edit it. It was a similar event, where it was live-streamed so it was really cool that like despite everything we’re still having some sort of sense of normalcy.

What would you tell a future student who is interested in going to Rowan?

I would say that I really like Rowan, and if you’re looking for small class sizes and an intimate relationship with your faculty where you can ask them questions during class and even have a personal relationship with them, to an extent, where you can email them if you have a question, then this is the place for you.

One thing that I found at Rowan that was kind of rare amongst other schools I was looking at is that the faculty really care about all of their students and their personal needs. I shadowed at Rowan my junior year of high school, and then I participated in a summer camp at Rowan, and when I came back for my audition, the faculty I met remembered me. They didn’t just remember my face and name, they remembered what I was like, my personality, and some things we spoke about when I last saw them. The rest of the faculty and everyone else I’ve met have been the same way, with the same demeanor of being really friendly and open and personable to your needs as a student.  

Arianna poses outside of Business Hall.

Can you tell me about the shadowing opportunity you had, and the summer camp you attended at Rowan?

I shadowed at Rowan in my junior year of high school, and I met other people who wanted to major in music. I met Dr. Christopher Thomas, the head of the voice faculty, and we all discussed our voice parts and other information. When I came here, I saw posters on the wall for the Rowan summer music camps. I participated in the camp, and I didn’t know anybody. I remember I was paired with a random roommate. When I came to the program on the first day, I made so many friends. I knew everyone’s name by the end of the first day. The program was so welcoming.

Many of the people there had been participating in the program for years, and the faculty of the program was mostly alumni. I felt out of place until we started doing all these icebreakers and it amplified that same sense of community that I felt when I came to Rowan and shadowed, seeing all these alumni come back and being so excited to work with these kids at the summer camp. At the camp, in such a short time you get so much accomplished, and you learn so much, and most of the camp is rehearsals, but in those rehearsals, they’re fast-paced but you’re learning so much and you’re learning your parts and I learned about a lot about who I was as a musician individually while being in that intensive environment.

It was really nice to also have that sense of community, which made it a really fun experience, but also one that challenged me and helped me as a musician.

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Pharaoh Freer: Realizing My Power, Passion and Prof Pride

Pharaoh stands outside on Rowan's campus.

Meet Pharaoh Freer, a Music Industry major from Jamesburg, NJ (Middlesex County). Read his first-person perspective on the lessons he’s learned on his journey to becoming a Rowan Prof. From discovering how to hone in on your passions to understanding the power of your brand, Pharaoh shares the wisdom of leading a life with great ambitions, talent and vision.

Pharaoh stands outside near a wooded spot on campus.

When building an empire, you will go through many obstacles. Life is constructed of multiple points and times you learn and make a mental note so that it won’t happen again.

When I was in middle school, I wasn’t the best kid. This age was my lesson stage. I was getting in trouble, disrupting class. It never occurred to me the image I was setting out for my brand, and when I say brand I mainly mean my name. In your adolescent days, you aren’t aware of the meaning of your name and how much power it has. 

After middle school, I went to a technical school and made better decisions, but there were still a few things I had to “freshen up” on. High school was trial and error. I didn’t take it seriously. I was doing music but not seriously, very unconscious of my actions. All of my friends left me. When I graduated, I hadn’t quite understood what I wanted to do. 

What did I love? Music was something I was always around but never started to take it seriously. My dad introduced it to me early when he started his gospel group. “Heaven Sent” is the group name I helped them [create]. When they went to the studio, I would play around on the mic. So, maybe I fell in love with the way I sounded on the mic. Once I found out I wanted to pursue music as my career, that’s when I found out what person I wanted to be. 

Pharaoh stands inside an academic building stairwell.

After not doing well at community college, I went to an audio engineering school in Philadelphia. [I] shadowed a well-known producer … who has worked with B.o.B, Christina Aguilera, and M.G.K. I passed with flying colors there. It was the first time I maintained a 3.3 GPA.

After this program, I transferred to Rowan and [chose] my major: Music Industry. My dad went here, so this was always a school in mind. When he went back in the day, he came here for soccer on a full ride. But that wasn’t my main reason. I got accepted to Full Sail University in Florida, but I felt like it was too far from home, and I needed to master my area before venturing off. 

Rowan gave me a chance to STRIVE. When my back was against the wall, this was the school that gave me that second chance to strengthen my empire, which is my name. When you think of yourself as a business or an entity, you will try your hardest to not tarnish your business, which is your name. 

I never thought I would ASPIRE to these heights, but it would have been very hard [without] the helping hand of big brother Rowan. 

Pharaoh stands outside an academic building on campus.

If you’re a transfer student coming here or someone discouraged to apply, don’t hesitate: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” 

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Story by:
Pharoah Freer, freshman music industry major

Edited by:
Marian Suganob: senior public relations and advertisting double major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista: sophomore music industry major

One Semester Down: 6 First Years Share

Group of Rowan freshmen friends outside.

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

Black History Facts All Students Should Know

"Black History Month" written in colorful letters.

Today we speak to Rowan students from three different colleges who share insight on key moments in Black history and suggest books and movies to learn more. 

“Black History Month originally began as Negro History Week, created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. It only became Black History Month in 1976 when President Gerald Ford called for the public to ‘seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.’ The month of February also coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.” 

Gregory Williams, a freshman Dance major from South River, NJ (Middlesex County) is a resident on campus at Magnolia Hall. Gregory says he learned about Black history mostly through social media and his own research online. He recommends students read “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi or view the movies “Selma,” “13th” and “Harriet” to educate themselves about Black history. 

Gregory poses outside the student center in a Rowan sweatshirt.
Gregory Williams

“Jack Johnson became the first African American to be a world heavyweight champion.”

Latiesha Small, a freshman Biological Sciences and Mathematics double major from Matawan, NJ (Monmouth County), is a resident on campus at Evergreen Hall. Latiesha says she learned about Black history from her family. 

Latiesha poses at a table.
Latiesha Small

“Before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, there was a young girl named Claudette Colvin who refused first.”

Jamar Green, a junior Law & Justice Studies major with an Africana Studies minor, is from Linden, NJ (Union County). Jamar transferred to Rowan from Union County College and is a resident on campus at 230 Victoria. He is a first-generation college student. Jamar says he learned about Black history by researching. “I was always told by my grandfather if you want to know your history you have to learn it for yourself, so I read articles, books and watched videos, documentaries and movies.” A book that he recommends for students to educate themselves about Black history is “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass.

Jamar Green sits and smiles, wearing a red vest.
Jamar Green

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

Photo of Latiesha provided by:
Latiesha Small, freshman biological Sciences and mathematics double major

Photo of Jamar provided by:
Jamar Green, junior law and justice studies major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pixabay

Meet #Rowan2025: Communication Studies and Dance Major Paige Nixson

Outdoor photo of campus with Wilson Hall in the background.

Meet #Rowan2025 student Paige Nixson! Paige is an incoming freshman Communication Studies and Dance major from Bel Air, Maryland. She tells us what she’s looking forward to in college and shares some advice to high schoolers who haven’t committed to a school yet.

A portrait of Paige smiling and holding a pink flower.

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

I am looking forward to meeting new friends and really experiencing what it’s like to be on my own! I think college is such a big step in anyone’s life, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

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 plan on continuing to dance as I did in high school on a competition dance team by majoring in dance and participating in mainstage dance productions.

Paige in her ballet gear posing in front of an ornate building.

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

I really am open to anything! I would love to join a club where I can meet people of similar interests. I hope to discover people of all backgrounds and beliefs and really grow as a person and educate myself.

What majors are you considering and why?

I plan on double majoring with Communication Studies and Dance. I am majoring in Communication Studies to grow my skills of writing and understand how people react to certain advertisements and ways of communication. I think it is all around really interesting! I’m also majoring in Dance because it it such an important piece of my life, and I would love to continue my education in college to hopefully perform or choreograph professionally after college.

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

I plan on attending the audio tour in February. My family and I did drive up to the campus over the summer to just drive around and get an idea of the campus, and I loved it! I loved that it felt like a real college campus, with aspects of “real life” surrounding it with many options for food, studying areas and entertainment.

Paige smiling for a photo with her hands on her hips.

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

Pick the place that feels like home! If you haven’t visited or don’t have the chance to visit, I suggest looking up the campus on Google Earth. It can give you a good idea what the campus looks like and feels like without physically being there. Also, take the time to look up what kind of classes you may take with your major. If it interests you, look deeper into that school. Make a pros and cons list of every school to help you narrow down your options.

Where are you going to live next year?

On campus.

What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

I loved the small class sizes while still having a large amount of majors and classes to pick from. I also love the Theatre and Dance department. When I met with the professors for the first time over a Zoom call, I felt so comfortable and felt like I could be myself without any judgement.

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Header photo courtesy of: Anthony Raisley, senior history major

7 Students Share Why They Like Magnolia and Chestnut

Exterior shot of Chestnut Hall.

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

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

A selfie of Leena.

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

Griffin poses in front of Chestnut.

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

Christopher poses in front of Chestnut.

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

Amanda poses in front of Chestnut.

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

Bryce poses in front of Magnolia.

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

Andrew poses in front of Magnolia Hall.

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

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

First student photo courtesy of Lena Nesby

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

Erik during an acting class monologue.

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

Erik poses against a gray backdrop.

What inspired you to be passionate about your major?

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

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

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

Erik poses in a Rowan shirt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#PROFspective: Jazz Studies Major Luis Ozoria

Luis standing outside of WiIlson hall with his trumpet.

Today we feature first-generation college student Luis Ozoria, a senior Jazz studies major from Galloway (Atlantic County).  Luis has been a part of the jazz band, wind ensemble, some time in the orchestra, small jazz ensembles, Rowan brass band and the choir. Why did you choose your major? I always knew I wanted to go […]

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

Photo of dancer Grace Koller in an upward split.

Shoot for the stars. Seven Dance majors share how they’re dreaming big and how their degree is going to get them there. 

Grace dancing in a dance studio.
Grace Koller

“Being in a B.A. dance program gives me the opportunity to expand and customize my dance major. While I am taking dance classes weekly, I also have the opportunity to grow in my passion for business through my entrepreneurship minor. Some days I am in the dance studio all day working on my technique, and other days I am in the business building learning how to run my own business and how to create product prototypes in the lab. This degree supports my short term and long term goals by giving me the confidence to dance professionally and the knowledge to run my own business!” says first-generation college student Grace Koller, senior, Dance major with a Entrepreneurship minor from Pitman, NJ (Gloucester County).

Gregory outside the student center wearing a Rowan sweatshirt.
Gregory Williams

“Having a degree in dance would help me expand my ideas so that I can become a more well-rounded dancer. I like to keep in mind the things that I am taught so that everything can intertwine with each other creating depth in my ideas,” says freshman Gregory Williams, a Dance major with an Entrepreneurship minor from South River, NJ (Middlesex County).

Katie dancing in a show.
Katie Fasbach

“As someone who has been dancing my entire life up until this point, there is no way I couldn’t include dance in my future – near or far. Through my dance degree, I will be able to accomplish all that I plan to because I have learned the necessary skills to go beyond in the real world of dance,” says senior Katie Fasbach, a Dance major from Monroe Township, NJ (Middlesex County).

Brooke posing for a picture on a railing while wearing a yellow skirt with a lake in the background.
Brooke Foster

“A dance degree is the first step to reaching my goals of getting my master’s in dance.” says senior Brooke Foster, a Dance and Exercise Science double major from Burlington, NJ (Burlington County).

Abby holding a trophy from a dance competition.
Abby Lamb

“My dance degree supports my dreams and goals because I needed to be fully experienced and educated in dance to be able to continue and educate others. A dance degree shows my eligibility to teach dance in schools and show future members of my studio that I have a very good understanding,” says junior Abby Lamb a Dance and Business Management double major from Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County).

Lesleigh posing for a picture on train tracks.
Lesleigh Emanuel

“Pursuing my dance degree has allowed me to study with so many amazing different professors and learn different techniques to broaden my horizons. I also study so many different styles of dance that I have become a more well rounded dancer,” says first-generation college student, freshman Lesleigh Emanuel a Dance major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County).

Gabrielle smiling on a cobblestone street.

“A dance degree will help me gain a possible dance company job after I graduate. Also, this degree allows freedom to possibly do other things such as, teaching or choreographing,” says freshman Gabrielle Langevine, a Dance major from Piscataway, NJ (Middlesex County).

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Story by: Bianca Torres, Senior, Music Industry major

One Great Thing About Living Away (Even During a Pandemic)

Sunset at Rowan with stark red sky against black silouette of buildings and trees.

“The atmosphere. Your mind is in the school mindset. It would be harder to do homework in your room, because at home your mind thinks you’re at home and resting. But being here you see the buildings, the professors, the students and you still think it’s school first and relax later,” says Jaylen Shanklin, a sophomore […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Jazz Bass And Classical Cello Major Rafael Alvarez From Tampa, FL

Raphael standing playing bass.

Today we speak with first generation college student, Rafael Alvarez, who is a transfer from Raritan Valley Community College. Rafael is a senior double major in Jazz Bass performance and Classical Cello. He is originally from Tampa, FL. Why did you transfer to Rowan? There were just a lot of opportunities and my brother went […]

Kudos To Professors Who Made An Impact

Exterior shot of the side of Campbell Library.

We recently spoke to students who each picked a professor they’ve had at Rowan who really made an impact on them. Here, the students explain how these professors affected them and what made them truly enjoy their classes. Tiara Gbeintor, junior Psychology major Professor Lisa Abrams, Psychology: “She was a very understanding teacher. She made […]

PROFFAMILY: An Inclusive & Welcoming Group Of First Years

PROFFAMILY members stand amongst the trees during fall foliage.

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

5 Juniors Share Why They Changed Their Majors

These students recognized their majors weren’t the right fit and took the time and energy (which isn’t much) to make the switch. If you don’t absolutely love what you’re studying, it might be good idea to make a switch to improve your college experience!

Selfie of Bria Riley.

“I was exploring a couple different paths such as addiction counselor, teacher and community health educator, but I realized they weren’t for me. Then what really drove me to add world religions was just my own personal experiences with spirituality, and I realized that I really value critical thinking and multicultural competency … everyone having peace with one another and getting along.” – Bria Riley, junior Psychology major (previously Writing Arts) from Washington Township (Gloucester County)

Outside headshot of Michaela Navarro.

“I wanted a place where I could do music business and not have to deal with the recording and playing an instrument. My ex-boyfriend took me to see ‘Wicked’ and that was the deciding factor for me. I wanted to do theatre and I wanted to make amazing theatre like ‘Wicked.’ I just always really loved the technical aspect of everything. I do live sound, so I mix musicals here and I do lighting.” – Michaela Navarro, junior Musical Theatre-Design/Technical major (previously Music Industry) from Howell, NJ (Monmouth County)

Jackie Carlton sits on a purple chair outside.

“I was a Mechanical Engineering major up until the fall of my sophomore year. I wasn’t really enjoying the classes that were more specific to it, I was trying to go to the clubs to figure out more what to do. But all the career stuff wasn’t really stuff I wanted to do. I want to get as much diverse experience as I can, I’m not really sure what I specifically want to get into, but I kind of want to learn a little bit of each field.” – Jackie Charlton, junior Civil & Environmental Engineering major (previously Mechanical Engineering) from Boonton, NJ (Morris County)

Shirley stands in front of a tree and a nearby academic building.

“I changed a bunch of times. I came to Rowan as a Biochem major, then I switched to Psychology, then I was undecided for like two seconds, then I was Physiological Sciences, and I became an Anthropology major and I recently doubled majored in Modern Language & Linguistics. Spring semester [sophomore year] I had to take an Anthropology class and I was given Natives of South America with Dr. Maria Rosado, and she changed my perspective on everything. Coincidentally, the major just became a major that same semester, if I’m not mistaken. – Shirley Celi-Landeo, junior Anthropology / Modern Language & Linguistics dual major (previously Biochemistry) from Newark, NJ (Essex County)

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Story by:
Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

Photos not submitted taken by: 
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major
Quintin Stinney, sophomore Radio/TV/Film major

First Year Voices: Music Industry Major Nick Merritt

Nick stands on Rowan Boulevard

Today, we speak to freshman Music Industry major Nick Merritt from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County). Nick currently resides on campus in Holly Pointe Commons. He tells us a little more about living on campus and why he chose Rowan.

Nick posing by 114 Victoria wearing a rainbow jacket.

How’s living in Holly Pointe?

I like it! I just moved there from Chestnut! I live by myself. It‘s so nice. I got the whole set up. 

Have you joined any clubs yet?

I’m navigating right now. I eventually do want to join clubs, but I’m just starting to figure things out. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what options I have here music-wise because I do sing!

Why did you choose Rowan?

Honestly, I had a lot of friends who came here pre-COVID, so I would always visit last year. It’s close enough where I can go home if I need to. I like the vibes here too. Everyone’s really friendly, and I like the set up of the campus!

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

PA to NJ: Theatre Major, Education Minor Elliot Colahan

Elliot stands in a wooded area on campus.

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

Elliot posing and standing outside Robinson Hall.

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

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

Why did you choose to leave PA for college?

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

Why did you choose Rowan?

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

Elliot sitting on a rock outside on campus.

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

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

Have you adopted any “Jersey” tendencies?

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

Elliot smiling and sitting outside on campus.

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

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

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

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

RU Puppet Artists Rowan University [VIDEO]

Two puppet in front of a blue backdrop.

President of RU Puppet Artists Tyler “TJ” Jacobs, a Theatre major from Fredericksburg, VA, shares his excitement about the club and how the club adapted to a virtual platform. “Anyone no matter who they are, what they are capable of, or what they think they are capable of is welcome to the puppet club because absolutely anyone can do puppetry,” says TJ Jacobs.

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Video by:
Joshua Hedum, senior radio/TV/film major

Music by:
Bianca Torres, junior music industry major

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

Tree branch covered with snow.

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

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

Keianna taking a selfie.

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

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

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

Sheridan smiling for a selfie.

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

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

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

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

Teresa posing for a portrait shot outside the Engineering building.

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

First Year Voices: Musical Theatre Major Lennon Heitz and Acting Major Shayla Hermann

Today, we speak to Musical Theatre major Lennon Heitz and Acting major Shayla Hermann! These first years both reside on campus in Magnolia Hall and Holly Pointe Commons. Lennon is from Middletown, DE and Shayla is from Pennington, NJ (Mercer County). They tell us a little more about living on campus and why they chose Rowan.

Lennon and Shayla posing together.
Lennon (right) and Shayla (left) hanging out on Rowan Boulevard.

How did you two meet?

Shayla: We met each other through a Theatre Snapchat group chat!

How are your dorms? Have you met your RA? 

Lennon: I live in Magnolia! I’ve met my RA and I’ve met a few of the girls, we’ve said “Hi!” The courtyard is super pretty.

Shayla: I live in Holly Pointe. I love it there! AC is great. The dining hall and Starbucks are really convienient too. My roommate and I have met some people in our pod too. One of our friends is on the same floor as us!

Lennon wearing a purple mask.
Lennon on Rowan Boulevard.

Looking to join any clubs?

Shayla: Definitely! I need to look into it some more. I was just waiting to get settled in and stuff, but I definitely want to check it out.

Lennon: I don’t know yet! I haven’t delved into any clubs yet, but I really want to join the musicals.

Why Rowan? 

Lennon: Rowan is actually the only school that I visited, and I ended up loving it! I felt like everyone was very friendly. I felt like it had hometown feels. That was a big thing for me.

Shayla: I really loved their theatre program here. Everyone seemed really nice and encouraging and not that sense of competition that I got with other schools. Also, I just fell in love with the campus here. My cousin also went here!

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

Music To Listen To While Studying, According to 7 Music Majors

Study area with earphones, laptop and notebook.

Need some study music recommendations? Let students from Rowan’s music majors give you some suggestions.

A selfie of Mia.

I really enjoy listening to NCT and Day6 when I study.

They have both nice songs for background music (ballads calm songs) and songs that are upbeat and fun to keep you awake and feel more energized.

How It Was Discovered: I’ve been listening to the K-Pop genre since 2011 so I knew about NCT since they debuted as a group and Day6 was one of the first groups I listened to when I got into the genre.

– Mia Visconti, Freshman, Music Therapy major, Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County)

The Chopin "Ballade no.1 in g minor Op.23" album cover.

Ballade no.1 in g minor Op. 23 by Chopin

Chopin was an amazing romantic composer and pianist whose pieces are very emotional and well written. It is great background music for studying or doing something important. I use it for tests all the time.

How It Was Discovered: From the movie “The Pianist”

– Anthony Jimenez, Freshman, Music Education and Music Performance major, Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County)

Samuel smiling for a photo on the Bunce Hall steps.

I suggest listening to Aladdin – Not3s.

This song has a very soothing vibe to help you vibe but still focus, with a little bit of Afro-beat tunes to groove to, very nice to study with.

How It Was Discovered: I discovered this song through the music streaming app AudioMack.

Samuel Poku, Freshman, Music Industry major, Old Bridge, NJ (Middlesex County)

The album cover for "Locket" by Crumb.

Plants – Crumb

It’s not too distracting and it’s soothing to listen to even when you aren’t doing homework.

How It Was Discovered: On my recommended songs in Spotify.

– Katie Alvarez, Sophomore, Music Education major, Passaic, NJ (Passaic County)

Nayyirah smiling for a selfie.

Darlin’ – Tobi Lou

It’s slow and I like his voice.

How It Was Discovered: From a friend

– Nayyirah Wood, Freshman, Music Education major, Philadelphia, Pa

The single cover for "walk but in the garden" by LLusion.

“walk but in the garden” – LLusion

Off the bat, you can recognize the chord progression remains in a major key. The melody has aspects of suspense and resolution, making it pleasing to the ear. A unique aspect about this song is that the melody and chord progression repeat consistently throughout the piece, easily making it uplifting background noise.

How It Was Discovered: I was editing a Spotify playlist of mine, and this song popped up in the recommended songs section. I find a lot of new music through this feature of Spotify’s playlists.

– Arianna Granda, Freshman, Vocal Music Education major, Bantiviglio Honors Concentration, Rockaway, NJ (Morris County)

The Nelson Rangell album cover "Blue."

Sweetest Somebody I Know – Nelson Rangell

The song just has a really chill vibe to it that you can just listen to in the background while doing other things.

– Tyler O’Shaughnessy, Sophomore, Music Education – Instrumental major, Atco, NJ (Camden County)

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Header photo courtesy of:
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My First Semester as a Transfer: The Adjustment

Today we feature Stephanie Batista, a sophomore Music Industry major from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County). Stephanie is a first-generation college student who transferred from Ramapo College of New Jersey this semester. She is a digital content contributor for Rowan Blog and is passionate about photography. Why did you choose Rowan? I chose Rowan because […]

Today I am Grateful for…

With the holiday season upon us, we spoke to Rowan students about what they are thankful and grateful for this year. This is what they had to say.

Jenna Fischer, a senior Public Relations major, says she is thankful for her family who supports her in every phase of her life. She says that no matter what dream and goal she has, she knows they will always stand by her side.

Jenna poses with her family.
Jenna (center) and her family.

Chase Shebey, a junior Marketing major, says that he is grateful for all the opportunities that Rowan University has given him.

Chase poses on the intramural field with a rugby ball.

Jessica Newell, a junior Communication Studies major, is grateful for her roommates who remind her that every accomplishment, no matter how small, is to be celebrated and that every problem can be somewhat improved by ordering pizza.

Jessica poses on the side of 301 High Street building.

Mya Calderon, a junior Journalism major, is grateful that she didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving again this year.

Mya sits next to flowers in front of the student center.

Jasmin Jones, a junior Law and Justice Studies and Sociology double major, is grateful for her loved ones and for all the opportunities she has been given. 

Jasmin poses outside of the Rowan Boulevard Apartments.

John McCleery, a sophomore Civil Engineering major, is thankful for his siblings and how close they have become during COVID.

John poses in front of a waterfall wearing a Rowan shirt.

Lianna Johnson, a sophomore Vocal Music Performance major, is thankful to have been able to live on campus so far this semester. She is grateful to see old friends, make some new ones and even have an in-person class!

Lianna poses in front of Mimosa Hall.

Erwin Lopez, a sophomore Health and Exercise Science major, says that he is thankful for his family and the support they give him, especially during these uncertain times. He is also thankful for all of his friends that give him moral support.

Erwin poses in front of some trees.

Nickvens Delva, a freshman Psychology major, is thankful for many things, but he is most thankful for both his family and his health. He says that the most important thing to him is his family, so the health of his family and him during these unusual times is truly the biggest blessing to him.

Nickvens poses in front of Mimosa Hall.

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Story and photos of Chase, Jessica, Mya, Jasmin, Lianna and Nickvens by:
Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major

Photo of Erwin by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Photo of Jenna provided by:
Jenna Fischer, senior public relations major

Photo of John provided by:
John McCleery, sophomore civil engineering major

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

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

Exterior shot of Kailey Booth sitting on campus.

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

Delaney posing outside the Campbell Library on campus.

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

Kendall posing for a picture in a green shirt.

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

Daniella posing outside Robinson and Wilson Hall on campus.

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

Brendan posing outside the Engineering building.

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

Kailey sitting on the Rohrer College of Business outdoor steps.

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

Lindsay posing outside Holly Pointe Commons.

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

Haley posing for a selfie.

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

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

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

First Year Voices: Musical Theatre Majors Ben Helbert and Connor Shields

Today, we speak to freshmen Musical Theatre majors Ben Helbert and Connor Shields! Both out-of-state students, Ben is from Williamsburg, VA and Connor is from Holland, PA. They live on campus in Holly Pointe and Mimosa Hall. Here, they tell us more about their time at Rowan so far and why they like living on campus.

Connor and Ben sitting with each other outside the student center.
Connor (left) sitting with Ben (right) outside of the Student Center

How did you two meet each other?

Ben: My friend Leslie made a Facebook group chat. We got together through that chat but then decided to make a separate Performing Arts Snapchat group chat too.

Connor: So, that’s how a lot of us met each other beforehand through that. Now, here we are!

How do you like campus and New Jersey so far?

Connor: I love it here. I don’t want to go back home!

Ben: New Jersey is different than I expected. The cars are a lot louder here, but other than that, it’s pretty similar! 

Connor sitting outside the student center while wearing a Rowan shirt.

How are classes going?

Ben: It’s going great! I had my voice lesson. I got to meet my voice teacher and figure out how I sound. It was good! At the moment my classes are online, but hopefully they will move to Hy-flex soon.

Where are you living on campus, and how do you like it?

Ben: I live in Holly Pointe. I like that Holly Pointe is colder, its so nice and I love the dining hall attached to it! I also love hanging out around Rowan Boulevard.

Connor: I live in Mimosa! I love living there. I like the vibe of it. It’s so nice that it’s right in the middle of campus, so I can just say “It’s a 5 minute walk, let’s go get something!”

Ben sitting and smiling for a photo outside the student center while wearing yellow crocs and Rowan gear.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

#PROFspective: Music Education Major Austin Kurbansade

Austin sitting outside on stairs.

Today we feature Austin Kurbansade, a sophomore Vocal Music Education major from Roxbury Township, NJ (Morris County). He is an on-campus resident and is involved in the National Association of Music Education, American Choral Directors Association and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He tells us today about his student experience and how connected he has felt at Rowan. […]

Seniors Share How They Have Grown From Their Freshman Year Mistakes

Rowan Prof outside of Savitz Hall

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

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

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

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

Stephania poses with flowers in background.
Stephania Bocanegra

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

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

Alexander Brown stands near Wilson Hall.
Alexander Brown

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

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

Aaron Lee in front of library columns.
Aaron Lee

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major