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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loredonna poses with a diploma.

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

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

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

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

Loredonna poses next to a tree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating Eid

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muslims praying at the mosque.
Prayer at a mosque

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

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

Rice and chicken dish.

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

Family gathering
More food and more treats!

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

Story by:
Nene Diallo, senior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Pexels

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Making Friends, Supporting Charity

Gabby and her classmates walking past 301 High Street.

Today we introduce guest blogger Gabby Lang, a sophomore public relations major from Cranford, NJ (Union County.) Gabby learned from home as a first-year student and now, as a sophomore, shares her story of how she branched out to make friends this year. Gabby shares this post to encourage the Rowan community to come out for the Cystic Fibrosis walk Wednesday, November 10, at Bunce Green from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

A Rowan University Public Relations Major Poses for a Headshot.I can 100% say that adapting to college was one of the biggest adjustments I have ever had. A new environment, new people, and new everything. I can admit that at first it was very difficult to make new friends and acquaintances, and like everyone else I wanted the “college life” everyone talked about. 

I learned that the cliche advice to join new clubs really was the best advice given to me. If a club appeals to you, jump at the opportunity. I joined PRaction, a student-run public relations firm, to get hands-on experience in my field.

I was scared to join at first because I did not know much about PR and am only a sophomore, however it seemed interesting.  I decided to give it a try, and I was assigned to work on our annual cystic fibrosis fundraising event. 

We host the event in memory of Rowan University student Colette W. Bleistine, who sadly passed away from cystic fibrosis in 2012. Her parents created the Colette W. Bleistine Paying It Forward Foundation, and we donate the money we raise to this foundation. 

3 students standing in front of the CCCA building.

This year, our goal is to raise $590 through a community walk around campus. We welcome our #RowanPROUD family, community neighbors, and those who support finding a cure for cystic fibrosis to join us on Wednesday, November 10 at 5 p.m. at the Bunce Green for the one hour walk. 

Three Rowan Students outside 301 High Street.PRaction placed me with students who had similar interests, and because of this I connected with people I would have never otherwise met. This is the first time that I’ve collaborated in a large group for a professional project. Every group member is delegated a role and it makes you realize you’re a part of something and that your work has purpose and impact. 

This experience is so beneficial because I am able to network, gain valuable experience, and help plan an event that will benefit those living with cystic fibrosis. Planning this event has brought so much more passion to my interest in public relations.

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Transfer Story: La’Tonia Carnegie [VIDEO]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Case You Missed It: Favorite Classes At Rowan

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

Tips On Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle And Eating Habits In College

Plated salad on a white dish.

Rowan Blog contributor, Public Relations major and student athlete Natalie DePersia shares how students can make healthy options available in their residence halls and where healthy options are accessible around campus.

Dorm eating can be difficult. The refrigerators that come in your room can only hold a little bit of space between two roommates, and there is no access to cooking in dorm rooms. Despite the adjustment from home living to dorm living, there are many ways to seek out healthy food options and to get the daily nutrients your body needs. 

Utilize Holly Cafe in Holly Pointe Commons

This was key for me my first year. Because I was always hustling to get from class to practice, I needed to be able to grab something quick and easy at all times. Holly Cafe always has bananas, apples, bars, and cereal available that can be taken on the go. There is even a yogurt and granola station!

Holly Pointe Cafe.
Holly Pointe Cafe.

Get snacks that do not need to be refrigerated

You do not need a refrigerator to have healthy snacks. Lots of protein-packed snacks can be stored in a pantry. A couple healthy options can be trail mix, rice cakes, protein/energy bars, nuts, nuts/seeds and popcorn. These snacks are not only guilt free, but they taste good!

Seek out healthy options

There are many healthy options available on campus. My personal favorites are Bowl Life and Freshens in the Student Center. Bowl Life is awesome because you can get foods like spinach, sweet potatoes and whole-grain rice. Freshens offers a wide variety of options like smoothies, wraps, salads and more. There are also healthy places off campus like Playa Bowls.

Student enjoying Playa Bowls on Rowan Boulevard.
Playa Bowls offers healthy options on Rowan Boulevard.

Meal prep

This is targeted more toward students who live in apartments or off campus. Meal prepping can be difficult in a dorm but still possible. Meal prepping is a great way to stay full and while maintaining portion control. I like to meal prep my food on Sundays and again on Wednesdays so I have fully prepared food for a few days at a time!

Carry a reusable water bottle

Staying hydrated is pivotal to overall health. My reusable water bottle not only keeps my beverages cold, it is environmentally friendly. There are many fill up stations located around campus including stations on each floor of each dorm.

picture of a reusable water bottle.

Invest in a Keurig

If you are a coffee lover like me … a Keurig was my saving grace by not only saving money, but by staying away from unnecessary sugar. Instead of going to Starbucks or Dunkin daily, I would use my Keurig to make my coffee. I also like how you can make tea, hot cocoa and other beverages with the Keurig. 

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

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

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

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

Looking Back on What I Learned My First Year of College

Natalie sits with her coworker Reshaun on campus.

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

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

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

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

Natalie standing in front of Gazebo.
Natalie DePersia

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

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

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

Staying organized is the key to my success

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

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

Be grateful for what you have when you have it

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

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

Apply yourself because you owe it to yourself

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

Networking is imperative

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

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

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

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your dream profession?

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

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

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

Kayla Tucker smiling up close.

What is the Black Cultural League?

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

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

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

Kayla Tucker smiling in front of Gazebo.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

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

What makes you unique from others?

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

Kayla Tucker smiling on Bunce Green.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

National Dog Day: August 26 Is a Day For The Dogs

Rowan Blog contributor, Public Relations major and student athlete Natalie DePersia captures Rowan’s beloved Prof Pets.

As tribute to National Dog Day, we would like to highlight some of the pets of our Rowan students and alumni.

Student Oluwafemi Sonubi with Willow, his Husky.
Computer Science major Oluwafemi Sonubi with Willow, a Siberian husky, on Bunce Green.

National Dog Day is more than just a day to have a bigger incentive to post a cute picture of your furry friend. This national day is a holiday that is also celebrated to bring awareness to the canine population that needs adopting and rescuing. National Dog Day is a day to celebrate every dog breed at every stage and age. 

Lacey Lu Shane Feldschneider, (right) a yellow Labrador Retriever, 10 years old with Ellie J. Feldschneider, (left) a Golden Retriever, 1 year old.
Alumna Taylor Feldschneider’s dogs Ellie J. Feldschneider (left), a golden retriever, with Lacey Lu Shane Feldschneider (right), a yellow labrador retriever.

While purchasing an owning purebred dogs in America is common, it is important to be educated on the importance of adopting a dog. There are many shelters around that have purebred adoption options available as well. By adopting a furry friend, you may not only save the life of your dog, you are contributing to breaking the system of pet overpopulation, you will be paying way less than buying a dog from a breeder, and you can be potentially inspiring others to adopt as well. 

Dog playing with owner in snow on Rowan Boulevard.
Mini golden doodle puppy Penny playing with owner Julia Neiheiser (not pictured) in the snow on Rowan Boulevard.

Dogs are important because they also provide company and companionship. Whether you are trying to sleep through a windy storm, afraid of the dark, or simply having a bad day, a dog can not only help you feel better, they can relieve stress and anxiety as well. Dogs provide endless positivity; the simplest adventures are viewed as the greatest joy from a dogs point of view.

Dog sitting on Rowan Proud chair.
Theatre and Advertising major Nick Flagg’s corgi Fiona is #RowanProud.

Dogs are also amazing by their ability to help their owners. There are many different types of service dogs ranging from; diabetes assist dogs that can detect low blood sugar levels, autism service dogs that assist those with autism by helping them with everyday tasks, hearing dogs that assist individuals with hearing problems, seizure response dogs who assist their owner during or after a seizure, guide dogs who assist visibly impaired owners, and more. 

Katelyn Rapp's graduation photos with her dog.
Recent grad Katelyn Rapp took graduation photos with her pug, Goya.

Dogs truly are amazing and provide so much love and presence in our everyday lives. Whether you have a dog of your own, are looking into adopting a furry friend, or just love these companions from afar, make sure to send some love to a dog today. 

Rowan student with her Dachshund puppy.
Economics major Sarah Prosser with her dachshund puppy Slinky.

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Story By:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

#PROFspective: A Chat with Public Relations Major Nene Diallo

Nene smiles in front of a tree on campus.

Today we feature senior Nene Diallo, a Public Relations student with a minor in International Relations who is originally from Guinea, West Africa but currently resides in Sicklerville, New Jersey (Camden County). Nene discusses with us the perks of her major and plans for her future after graduating. 

Why did you choose your major? 

I love interacting with different people, and that is basically the public relations major. I feel like I can learn alot about different mindsets and ideas. I like the environment. It’s creative and not a one-track thing. There are a lot of opportunities in the field and various paths for interaction. This is also why I added on the International Relations minor. I get to interact with different people who are outside of my country and culture. 

Nene leans against a part of Science Hall.

Why did you choose Rowan? 

Well, Rowan’s close to home. My guidance counselor actually recommended it to me. Most of my teachers from high school graduated from Rowan and they told me how good the school was so I said, “Ok, I’ll give it a try.” Plus, its location allows me to easily go to school and work at the same time. 

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

So I’m usually doing schoolwork, going to work, and/or doing chores around the house. I wake up around 9 a.m., eat breakfast and clean up the house before heading off to school. I have work around 3 p.m. and my shifts can last either six to eight hours and I’m on my feet the majority of the time. Then I have to find a time between work and school to figure out when to do my homework, but I usually end up doing it when I get home from work around midnight. Then, I go to sleep and wake up to do the same thing over again. 

Nene stands on the bridge by the student center.

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

I once got this assignment from this professor that was super frustrating. I usually don’t like not completing my schoolwork but when I’m frustrated I sometimes give up on it. There was a 10-page essay that needed to be done that required citations from the course textbook, but I forgot to buy the textbook. I was debating whether or not I should complete the assignment. I really care about my grade but I was so frustrated, which caused me to wait until the last minute to complete the assignment even though it was given a month before. I still didn’t have the book to do the citation after putting off buying it to the point of forgetting about it entirely. I wasn’t sure what to do. But, eventually, I decided anything was better than a zero, did the assignment, and ended up with a C. That was like the final project of the class and worth most points. Getting a lower grade on it dropped my grade from an A to a C. It was really bad, but I got through it. 

Nene sitting at outdoor table on campus.

What’s something people wouldn’t expect to know about you?

I’m not gonna lie, despite being a Public Relations major I can also be anti-social. Just because I enjoy interacting with different people doesn’t mean I want to do it 24/7. I have a social battery. I’m pretty sure a lot of people do. It’s like I can talk to people for a certain amount of time and genuinely enjoy it, but then I want to go home and just be in my room. 

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

I would definitely say  to seek help especially from your professor and upperclassmen. Doing that really helped me and allowed me to get different opportunities at Rowan that I wouldn’t have known anything about.  Asking questions can lead you somewhere that you didn’t know you needed to go. Nobody’s perfect. We’re humans. Sometimes, we need help from other people in our field. Don’t feel like you need to figure things out on your own. Also, get involved in different clubs and activities. Like I said, I’m a pretty busy person, but I still find the time to be involved on campus. It helps you make connections. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself as someone who is in the Public Relations field … like coordinator or manager. I can start out small. That’s perfectly fine with me, but I definitely see myself being a part of an organization that is a comfortable environment to work in that I’m hopefully happy to work in. I see myself financially stable and surrounded with lots of love and happiness. I know it’s not going to be a fairytale and that there’ll be problems and issues, but I hope that I’ll be able to face any challenge that is thrown at me. 

Nene stands behind the back of Science Hall.

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Story by:
Bianca Gray, English major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

Alumni Success: Sena Pottackal Launches PR Career, Seeks to “Improve Inclusion Within the Consumer Experience”

Campbell Library from the grass

Today we feature Sena Pottackal, a 2015 Rowan graduate who has persevered through personal adversity. Sena majored in Public Relations and minored in Advertising and Communications Studies while at Rowan. She participated in activities such as PRSSA and PRaction and was a member of several societies, including Lambda Pi Eta and Delta Alpha Pi

Do you mind talking about when and how you lost your sight and what that transition involved for you?

I became legally blind when I was 15 due to a genetic disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. The disease is progressive, and I lose vision every few months. Over the years I had to learn how to use assistive technology, such as a screen reader, which has enabled me to complete school work and work professionally. 

Sena Pottackal on Red Carpet at 2019 NYWICI Matrix Awards.
Sena Pottackal on the red carpet for the 2019 NYWICI Matrix Awards, where she received its IPG scholarship and internship at Weber Shandwick.

Why did you choose to study Public Relations at Rowan? 

I went to community college for undergrad. During my time there I took basically every communications course they had to offer. Public Relations resonated with me the most because it gave me great opportunity to pursue my passions in writing and business while utilizing my analytical skills. When I was looking to transfer to a four-year school, my teacher who taught my Public Relations course recommended Rowan. 

Sena Pottackal before 2020 Virtual Graduate Convocation where she was a student speaker.
Sena Pottackal before her 2020 virtual graduate convocation, where she was a student speaker.

How do you believe Rowan has prepared you for your future professions and endeavors?

Rowan has given me the skills to be successful in Public Relations and in particular, writing. Professor John Moscatelli was my Advanced Public Relations Writing teacher, and he really helped me to develop my writing skills and confidence in my writing. 

How did you and how do you continue to persevere through adversity?  What advice would you give to other individuals trying to seek a job while having a disability?

Something that was helpful for me was having mentors. Networking makes a huge difference. I was unable to get an internship while at Rowan, which inspired me to pursue grad school. Fortunately, I was involved with NY Women in Communications and I went to their annual student conference and I found out they have a scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students. Then I proceeded to win the NY Women’s in Communication Scholarship, which is how I broke into the industry. This scholarship also came with an internship to work at one of the IPG agencies. If I did not network and try to be part of different clubs, I would not have found out about many internship and job opportunities.

Sena Pottackal
Sena Pottackal speaking at 2019 Public Relations Council Critical Issues of the Modern Workforce Forum at Carnegie Hall.

How did you manage to balance academics, social responsibilities with clubs, and your involvement with your community? Do you have tips for students who may be struggling with creating a balance?

Outlining when meetings were and when assignments were due was important for me to stay on task and up to date with my work. I also had to be honest with myself and the people I was working with about my time constraints. Professor Cristin Kastner Farney was very helpful. She taught me in Journalistic Writing. There was a book I needed for my advertising and account planning class. The book was not available through any platform that offered accessible textbooks. So she scheduled an hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week to read me the textbook so I could take the class. Teachers like Professor Cristin Kastner Farney got me through because they invested in my future.

2018 Bronx Zoo trip with NYU PRCC classmates.
Sena Pottackal (second from right) on a 2018 Bronx Zoo trip with NYU Public Relations and Corporate Communications (PRCC) classmates.

What lessons have you learned from your disability?

Everyone is different. We all have our own struggles, and this disability taught me to approach people with compassion. You never know what someone can be dealing with, and I can attest to the fact that some days can be harder than others. Being kind and compassionate can go a long way.

What were your initial visions for pursuing a career in public relations? Do you believe you are working in and/or toward your dream job?

When I graduated from Rowan, I was truly just looking for any job in communications. Back then I was aware that employment for people with disabilities was very low. After graduating Rowan I attended a blind training session while taking a year off. This is where I realized that by practicing PR, I could do more than just write. I could use this field to promote awareness about the capabilities of the disabled community and to overall improve inclusion within the consumer experience and the workforce. 

Sena Pottackal on NYU 2018 SPS Spring Cruise with colleagues from NYU SPS Community Service Committee.
Sena Pottackal (in middle) on NYU 2018 SPS Spring Cruise with colleagues from NYU SPS Community Service Committee.

What is your role/what do you do as working as a Junior Associate at Current Global?

Right now I am presenting research that my company just did about the lived experience of consuming content as a person with a disability. So I have been presenting that research in webinars. I also have helped write accessible communications guidelines.

What is your life motto that keeps you striving for more?

Be kind to yourself and give yourself the time and the room to grow into the person you were meant to be.

Sena Pottackal and partner in Jamaica for Sena's 30th birthday in June 2019.
Sena Pottackal and partner Karl Hogans in Jamaica for Sena’s 30th birthday in June 2019.

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Sena Pottackal

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#PROFspective: A Chat with Public Relations Major Nene Diallo

Public Relations Major Lands Full-Time Job After Internship

5 Interesting On-Campus Jobs

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

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

Summer Conference Assistant – Chase Campbell

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

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

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

Academic Success Coach – Alee Rebillon

Alee works on her laptop and chats with a friend.

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

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

Picking Peppers with President Houshmand – Dyone Payne

Dyone holds a bucket of peppers fresh from the farm.

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

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

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

Engineering Intern – Jed Vergara 

Students working in the RU Sustainable Facilities Center with faculty.

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

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

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

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

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

Rowan Blog Digital Content Contributor – Bianca Torres

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

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

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

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

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

Related posts:

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#PROFspective: Natalie DePersia, Public Relations Major and Lacrosse Athlete

Natalie poses on the bridge in front of Mimosa Hall.

Today, we feature junior Natalie DePersia, a Public Relations major with minors in Psychology and Sports Communication and Media. Natalie shares her experience at Rowan as a student and lacrosse athlete.

Do you live on campus, or do you commute? 

“I live off campus in a house across from the football field.”

What are some likes and dislikes of your major?

“I was originally a Communication Studies major, but it was too broad for me. I enjoy writing because it forces me to come out of my shell. Since I just started in this field, I don’t have any dislikes yet.”

Natalie poses next to some greenery.

How is your experience at Rowan so far?

“All of my professors, especially Professor Cristin Kastner Farney, Professor Sherry Hicks and my coaches are genuinely caring and are very helpful. As a student-athlete, I started off as a defender even though I wanted to be a midfielder. Because of Covid, I could not play from September to February. Eventually, I progressed my way back to playing lacrosse, but it’s been inconsistent and challenging. I hope to start back up in fall 2021. Overall, I have had a good experience at Rowan so far.”

Why Rowan?

“I first looked into Rowan because my brother attended the school as a basketball athlete. I live pretty close, which makes it convenient as well. In my junior year of high school, I played lacrosse and wanted to play it at Rowan. Everything Rowan offered was convenient. I ended up liking the school after visiting.”

Do you have a job? 

“I’m a server at PJ Whelihan’s in Medford, and so far the job’s been cool.”

What do you like to do for fun? 

“I enjoy hanging out with friends, spending time with my dog, playing lacrosse and working out. I also like writing and singing my own songs, just not in front of people.”

Natalie sits in a gazebo near Bunce Hall.

What is one interesting fact about yourself?

“I have a twin brother, but we don’t share the same birthdays. I was born at midnight and he was born the hour before. I also have two older twin brothers.”

What is your dream job?

“My dream job is to travel, meet people, hear and write their stories.”

Do you have any life advice for Rowan students?

“You are capable of more than you think you are. Challenge yourself.”

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Story by: Nene Diallo, senior public relations major

Photography by: Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major, and Reshaun Timmons, senior business major

                               

National NJ Day: Are You From North, South, or Central Jersey?

Five students walk and talk on campus.

Rowan Blog contributor, Public Relations major and student athlete Natalie DePersia touches upon the common debate between North, South, and Central Jersey.

The debate about North, South, and Central Jersey is somewhat silly until your friends and even acquaintances get quite annoyed on your opinion. Being from South Jersey my entire life, I believe a tasty dessert is water ice, a breakfast food is pork roll, and water is pronounced how it is spelled.

In honor of National New Jersey Day, I am curious on where the line is drawn between North, South, and Central Jersey. 

Dawn to Dusk storefront entrance.
Dawn to Dusk is a great place for breakfast food and bagels.

The debate between pronunciations and geographical locations is all fun and games until a friendly debate turns into turmoil. If an individual from South Jersey calls the breakfast food pork roll and an individual from North Jersey calls the food Taylor Ham … what does an individual from Central Jersey call it? If they call it pork roll does that mean they live closer to South Jersey? Is that a plausible argument? I do not think the answer to those questions will ever be known.

Where is the line drawn to split South Jersey from Central Jersey from North Jersey? I understand that North Jersey versus South Jersey is can be associated with location. For instance, South Jersey has Philadelphia as its neighbor while North Jersey is closer to New York City. For individuals that have somewhat of a split distance between those two major cities … would it be fair to say they live in Central Jersey?

Brooklyn, New York.
Brooklyn, New York

Truly every Jersey resident has a different answer. Some residents say they are visiting the beach by saying “I’m going down the shore,” when others say “I’m going to the shore.” Other differences in word choice can be associated with what an individual calls a sandwich — a hoagie or a sub. 

Two students eating outside Jersey Mike's.
Jersey Mike’s is a great place to eat a hoagie or a sub.

Geographical distinctions are endless. Do you have good bagels in your area? You must be from North Jersey. Prior to college, I believed South Jersey bagels were delectable. However, fellow peers and friends quickly explained that South Jersey does not produce a GOOD Jersey bagel and I need to taste one from New York and/or North Jersey. 

Goods from New York.

Whether one is from South, Central, or North Jersey, the feud will go on and the differences in pronunciations and word choices will remain. Which part of Jersey are you from?

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

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

Pros and Cons of Living in Holly Pointe

Exterior shot of Holly Pointe Commons.

Rowan Blog contributor, public relations major and student athlete Natalie DePersia shares her personal pros and cons of living in the Holly Pointe Commons residence hall.

During my first year at Rowan University, I had the luxury of living in a newer residence hall with a fully functioning air conditioning system that was pumping on a continuum. From my experience I have gathered the highs of living in Holly Pointe and my personal downsides of living there. 

Pros of living in Holly Pointe

My ultimate pro of living in Holly Pointe was the air conditioning. I hate being hot, especially if I am not on a tropical beach with an ocean in an eye’s distance. As a collegiate athlete, the air conditioning in Holly Pointe was my saving grace during the changing of seasons in the fall and the very warm spring. If you are prone to getting cold easily … the air conditioning could definitely be a con for you. 

A light pink and gray decorated bedroom in Holly Pointe with photos on the wall.
Natalie’s first-year room in Holly Pointe.

Another pro of living in Holly Pointe was food accessibility. I lived in the G Wing, which was located directly above the Glassworks Dining Hall. Craving a late night snack or seeking out a pre-class and/or pre-practice meal could not have been easier for me! My favorite food was grilled cheese. Simple, but life changing. Holly Pointe even had a convenience store and a Starbucks located on the main floor.

Another pro was the inclusivity that Holly Pointe provided. There are gender neutral bathrooms accessible in every wing. There are also mixed gender rooms available. Holly Pointe provides a safe, comfortable and accepting living environment for all.

Finally, the easy accessibility to the laundry rooms made hauling a big hamper mostly hassle free. My laundry room was located just a few steps away from my room. This was just the right amount of distance before my arms started hurting from my reluctance to do laundry prior to my clothes surpassing the max capacity of my hamper. 

Glass displays and retail counter space in the Holly Pointe Snack Shop.
The Holly Pointe Snack Shop.

The cons of living in Holly Pointe

My first con has to be the frequency at which the fire alarms went off. Holly Pointe is a massive residence hall that houses over 1,400 students. For some unknown reason, the fire alarms would frequently go off; the fire alarms most of the time did not go off to warn the occupants of a fire or anything dangerous happening, but because some residents would decide they had a sudden desire to pull the fire alarms. There were many sudden wake-up calls during the middle of the night from the alarm, and it gave me a good scare every time. 

exterior of Holly Pointe Commons, orange, white and gray modern.

Another con of living in Holly Pointe was how thin the walls were in the dorms. Yes, this is a very specific con; however, as the tired student-athlete I was, I would go to bed decently early. Other residents in Holly would sometimes play music or hang out with friends during this time. If I was trying to go to sleep and a resident was playing Billy Joel a floor above me, I was indeed listening to Billy Joel along with them and not going to bed anytime soon. 

Natalie (left) and first-year roommate Jenna (right).
Natalie (left) and first-year year roommate Jenna (right).

Finally, the last con I have of living in Holly Pointe was the rule that we were not allowed to have extension cords. Yes, this con seems like a very small issue and it is enforced as a safety precaution; however, there were in fact frequent times where I wish I could have my phone, laptop, Apple watch and lamp all plugged in and accessible at my reach. I do admit that that “problem” was minuscule. 

My overall experience at Holly Pointe was one I will never forget. I greatly valued the air conditioning, easy accessibility to Starbucks coffee — a little too much — and that there was a grilled cheese always available to eat a floor below me.

External shot of Holly Pointe.

Check out our video of Holly Pointe Commons here:

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Story by:
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major

Personal photos courtesy of:
Natalie DePersia

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First Year Dorm Survival Kit

Freshmen, Don’t Freak! It’s Easy to Eat

Thrift Store Dorm Makeover Under $50

Alumni Success: Michael A. Wilson Jr., Marketing Operations Specialist for SHI International Corp.

Side angle shot of the Rowan welcome arch.

What have you learned by working as a Marketing Operations Specialist for SHI International Corp.? What were your initial visions for pursuing an undergrad in Public Relations and then a graduate degree in Data Marketing Communications? I would say SHI has been my saving grace. I have been at this company since I have graduated […]

Rowan Sorority Sisters Share How Greek Life Brings Women Together

Bunce Hall behind trees

Six of Rowan’s sorority members talk with us about how Greek life brings women together and how they’ve positively changed as individuals. 

What is it like being in a sorority?

Lesley Esteves, junior Accounting and Finance double major, and president of Rowan’s Delta Phi Epsilon chapter, says being in a sorority is very impactful. “Personally, I’ve definitely grown so much as an individual. I have a better understanding of people and understanding that not everyone is raised the same way. I’ve definitely become more confident in myself. Being in a sorority has given back to me so much more than even what I’ve put into it. I’ve become more organized, independent, and professional. It’s given me more than I can even explain.”

Lesley smiles while wearing her Greek letters.
Lesley Esteves

How do you think Greek life brings women together?

Kristin Jennings, a recent Public Relations and Advertising graduate and member of Rowan’s Alpha Sigma Alpha chapter, says Greek life helps to bring all of the people in your organization together. “Because you meet every single girl that you’re part of the sorority with, it helps you make friends with way more people than you’d probably ever be friends with otherwise. It’s so much togetherness because of all the events and bonding. It creates a sense of comfort within the sorority and brings us together that way.”

Kristin smiling at home.
Kristin Jennings

How important is sisterhood to you?

Lauren Marini, junior Finance major and member of Rowan’s Alpha Sigma Tau chapter, says sisterhood is really important. “Sisterhood is really important, especially within my close friend group, but it’s also nice to have that sense of sisterhood with girls I’m not as close with because no matter, if you need something there is always someone there for you and we all always have each other’s back.” Lauren also adds that sisterhood is supporting one another and that it’s a sense of bonding. 

Lauren smiling at the beach.
Lauren Marini

How does Greek life inspire you?

Jennifer Probert, a recent Public Relations and Advertising graduate and former president of Rowan’s Alpha Sigma Alpha chapter, says Greek life is inspiring because of the tradition that it holds. “Even with other ASA chapters throughout the country, we all hold the same values and it’s cool because sisters that I don’t even know still reach out and refer to me as a sister. It’s inspiring that one mutual thing bonds us and shows how much we respect that bond and each other.”

Jen smiling outside of Bunce Hall.
Jennifer Probert

What’s your favorite aspect of your organization?

Shanell Mighty, junior Law and Justice Studies major and Mu Sigma Upsilon sister, says her favorite aspect is the support within the organization. “Regardless of anything, all of us are always here for each other. It doesn’t matter what happens, someone is always going to be there for you in our chapter. It’s like a home away from home.”

Shanell Mighty poses with two of her sisters.
Shane Mighty (right)

Do you have any advice for other students looking to rush next year?

Maura Jackson, senior Accounting major and president of Rowan’s Mu Sigma Upsilon chapter, advises students to remember why they wanted to rush in the first place. “I think the best way to find out what organization you like is to first, before you even pick an organization is to form what we like to call ‘the why you’re joining Greek life.’ Then, figure out what organization lines up with your whys. A lot of people do this backwards, which isn’t bad but you don’t want to form yourself to an organization, you want your organization to form to you.”

Maura with sisters on the beach.
Maura Jackson (seen at left)

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

Photos courtesy of:
Lesley Esteves, Kristin Jennings, Lauren Marini and Maura Jackson

Photo of Jennifer Probert by:
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

My Favorite Class: Integrated Marketing Communication

Caitlyn stands near a gazebo on campus.

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

Today we feature Caitlyn Dickinson, a recent Public Relations and Advertising graduate from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County). Caitlyn is a first-generation college student and transfer student.

Caitlyn outside of Bunce Hall.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan?

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

What department was the class in?

Advertising

Who taught the class when you took it?

Professor Rodolico

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.

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

In this class, I was put into a group where we were tasked to create an IMC plan for a sustainable company. We created a situational analysis including a competitive analysis, SWOT analysis and storytelling summary. We wrote objectives and strategies for our plan, and we also wrote up a creative brief regarding our vision for the campaign based on research which would be used when making the creatives for the campaign. We featured billboards, print ads, a radio script, social media posts, app icon design, email blasts, interstitials and a news release.

Caitlyn smiles and stands on the steps of Bunce Hall.

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

This class was so impactful because it allowed me to use the knowledge I have learned from previous classes and put it all together in one IMC plan. I learned how to write news releases from Basic PR Writing, how to write radio scripts and create print ads from Ad Copywriting, and use basic design elements I learned from Publication Layout and Design.

What makes this professor great?

Professor Rodolico is one the best professors within the advertising department. He presents information in a way that’s easy for students to grasp and understand and also in a way that’s interesting. He grabs your attention with humor and creates an environment within the physical classroom and over Zoom that is comfortable. You’re never afraid to ask questions or speak up and comment on something. Since I’d had him for Ad Copywriting, I tried to take as many classes with him as I could.

Caitlyn stands near Bunce Green on campus.

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

This class exposes you to a lot of different aspects within the communications industry. You leave the class at the end of the semester with a strong grounding of each part of an IMC plan. A lot of what was covered in the class was review and the opportunity to put what you’ve learned to the test. While some material I learned was brand new that I was able to try out and add to my knowledge.

What are your professional goals?

Rowan has offered me so much knowledge about my industry that I feel like I have so many options with what I could get into post-graduation. Being an advertising and public relations double major, I’ve learned a lot and have done a lot of work in both respective fields that allows me to choose where I want to take my degree. I’d like to end up in either content creation or event planning. I like to be creative and use my skills in a way I find exciting and fun. 

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, music industry graduate

Photos:
Joe Gentempo, art graduate

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

Faculty PROFile: Passionate Communicator Lisa Handt Fagan

Lisa Fagan and her students walk in the crosswalk in Abbey Road fashion.

Today we speak to Lisa Handt Fagan, an instructor of Advertising & Public Relations within the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts. Prof. Fagan holds a B.A. in Communication – Mass Media & Writing, and an M.A. in Professional Communication (now called Strategic Communication). You can find her on LinkedIn here.

Professor Lisa Fagan, an instructor in the Public Relations and Advertising Department at Rowan.
Prof. Lisa Fagan, an instructor in the Public Relations and Advertising Department at Rowan.

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

There are a million moments in a year in this field that bring me tremendous satisfaction, both professionally and personally. Overall, I love the daily collaboration with my colleagues inside and outside of my department.

I think the most pivotal moment that led me to Rowan University happened in 2005 when I was preparing a summary of our marketing successes for the owners and operation department heads of our business who did not wholeheartedly support marketing. They thought advertising, public relations and events consisted of frivolous work. (They worked 80+ hours a week in the heat with millions of visitors, and we added to their workload!)

I prepared an hour-long presentation for my boss. He was an impressive speaker — once the media spokesperson for a presidential candidate! As I prepped him on the slides moments before our meeting, he told me I was going to present. I had done many presentations but had never been comfortable with public speaking, especially with an unfriendly audience. Nonetheless, I took on the challenge, and in that meeting saw the power in what we do, the power of public speaking, and my ability to one day lead a classroom.

As the meeting began, the room of over 20 people entered, exhausted, disinterested, and disengaged. They sat back, slouched in their chairs. As we went through each of our accomplishments in advertising, public relations, events and research, they started to pay attention, sit up and ask questions. When the presentation was over, we had an overwhelming engagement and could not end the meeting! We were inundated with smiles, congratulations, feedback, ideas and respect.

Share with us one aspect of student engagement that you enjoy most, and why?

I am a people person by nature, but nothing gives me more enjoyment in teaching than working directly with students. I love hearing their opinions, discovering their hidden talents, and watching them blossom with ideas! To be honest, I am just as interested in watching their development as humans as I am as communicators.

For example, this year, one student told me she loved my class, but was more grateful that as a shy transfer student —online during Covid — that she could make friends in our class and find roommates for on campus next year. A 2021 graduate student made connections with my LinkedIn connections across the country and is well on his way to his dream job. Likewise, I connected a student who held back her quirky, creative side into a job as Marketing Director one week before she earned her B.A.

It isn’t all about grades; it is about people.

Professor Fagan collaborates with her students.

What is your area of expertise?

Advertising is my area of expertise. I have branded and rebranded company brands. I have led strategy and creativity. I have bought and placed media. I have managed and conducted market research. You name it; I have done it and love doing it!

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

There is no perfect, fail-safe way to do this work. You have to try and try again. Failure is part of the process and is actually even more important than success. You learn the most when you fail.

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

Passing the Torch: Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts Grads Reflect

Recent graduates from Rowan’s Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts (ECCCA) share their memories, tips and wisdom with future Profs.

Marian smiles and stands in front of the Bunce Hall steps.

“Get involved with clubs like PRSSA and Ad Club because they let you build a community outside of class and you get to practice classroom skills with real clients! Start working internships as soon as possible,” says Marian Suganob, who earned degrees in Public Relations and Advertising.


Caitlyn smiles in front of spring flowers on campus.

“There is just so much room for you to do whatever you want. There are so many possibilities. When I started my Comm. Studies major, I thought I wanted to do interpersonal, organizational; and within the past few months, I realized that I don’t want to do that. But I still have enough skills to go into any other field that I want within communication. So there’s lots of options, and you’re never going to feel like ‘Oh, I picked the wrong thing,’ because you have so many options,” says Caitlyn Halligan, who earned a degree in Communication Studies


Jenna smiles and stands on Bunce Green.

“Take every opportunity you can when it’s right in front of you. It’s definitely going to pay off when you’re applying to jobs,” says Jenna Fischer, who earned a degree in Public Relations.


Zachery smiles in front of Bunce Hall.

“I think one of the most fulfilling things about being a part of the Westby community and being a student studying in the arts is certainly the faculty and the friends you make along the way. It’s a wonderful community. Everyone is very inspiring and always pushes each other for success,” says Zachery Woodward, who earned a degree in Studio Art with a concentration in printmaking.

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Senior Reflects: Student Leader Cam Hadley

Cam smiles outside Bunce Hall.

Cam Hadley, a Public Relations and Advertising major with minors in New Media and Journalism, reflects on her time at Rowan.

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

My favorite memory in class was participating in mock interviews with Professor Rodilico in Portfolio Prep! We got to be the interviewer and interviewees which really helped us get good practice. He gave me questions that he thought would stump me and was so proud I was able to answer them. 

Cam sits on a paver bench on campus.

Could you share your favorite social memory?

My favorite social memory was working Hollybash each year with SUP.  As the Vice President of SUP, I had so much fun being next to the artist who performed and interacting with students throughout the set.

What are your career aspirations?

I am looking to earn my Doctorate in Public Relations and then own a PR agency named JB Communications after my dad. I’d also love to become a professor after I retire because I can’t stop working!  

Cam smiles under a tree on campus.

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

I was able to learn about each aspect of PR and learn how to lead others to success. All of my involvement in SUP, SGA, PRSSA and PRaction helped me realize that you’re always working towards your team’s goal, not just a personal goal.

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

I want to shout out Melissa Ulmer from SUP. She is the best advisor ever and always willing to hear us out! 

Cam smiles under a gazebo on campus.

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

My favorite professor has to be Lou Rodilico, who I had for Advertising Copywriting and Portfolio Preparation. He is one of the funniest and most passionate professors who truly wants us to succeed. 

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

I would say to get involved early and attend as many events as you can! Try to get involved in leadership positions as soon as possible. Climbing up those leadership ranks will lead to personal and professional growth.

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

Photography by:
Joe Gentempo, art graduate

Senior Reflects: Dyone Payne, PR Major, Reflects on the Joys of College

Dee poses ecstatically in a pink dress and glasses, with her hands up in the air.

Today we speak with Dyone Payne, who will be graduating this May with a degree in Public Relations and two minors in Journalism and Strategic Communication. Dyone is from Glassboro, NJ (Gloucester County) and is part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority. 

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

My favorite class memory was with Dr. Schoenstein during IMC. Every week we would give a presentation about a product or company we created. From start to finish, we created the logos, company brand, position statement, and most importantly the presentation. She actually wanted us to be prepared for the real world. She wanted us to be able to present a brand in a short amount of time. 

Could you share your favorite social memory?

Meet the Greeks is one of my favorites. To see all of the organizations come together, perform, have a good time, and most importantly inform students about who they are. 

What are your career aspirations?

I aspire to work in the marketing and advertising space. I would love to contribute to storytelling, especially in this environment.

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

The EOF program is how I got admitted into Rowan. They have been a major support system to and for me throughout the past four years! Shout out to everyone in that office. 

Dyone poses by a pile of lemons and hanging plants at the Philadelphia Garden Convention, wearing a lovely baby blue dress.

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

Shout out to my advisors and professors, Mr. Morton, Ms. Brucker, Mrs. Mummert, Prof. Farney, and Prof. Rodolico. From beginning to end, all of you have pushed me to grow beyond boundaries, ask questions, and go beyond what is expected of a student, person, and most importantly, a professional. I value each lesson I learned from every one of you.

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

Professor Royek! I believe I took Composition Writing I or II with him my freshman year. Professor Royek taught me so many lessons, but most importantly he taught me to always ask questions, be patient, and learn something from what others have to offer. I’ll never forget he helped me with my paper and as we did the mock interview he taught me how to be conversational rather than sticking to the script. 

I then applied that to my life by always having a plan and if the plan fails, improvise! Want to learn from people. Want to be friendly. And most importantly take your time!!

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

Incoming freshmen, take your time. Whatever you want to do, do it and don’t let anyone stop you! You’ll learn so many things once you just live life outside the classroom. At the end of the day, JUST DO YOU!

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

Cory Monroe: Graduating Public Relations Major and Mother

Cory sits with her son on the Rowan Proud chair.

Today we speak to Cory Monroe, a graduating Public Relations major and mom from Medford, NJ (Burlington County). Cory transferred to Rowan from Rowan College at Burlington College. Corey is a first-generation college student.  

Cory poses in front of trees on campus.

If you could paint a picture of your time here at Rowan, what would that look like?

It would look like it’s come full circle, I suppose. I graduated from Rowan College at Burlington County and transferred to Rowan University in 2014. I was finishing up one semester and then the next semester would have been my final year at Rowan, but my mom got sick and was hospitalized the week of finals. I couldn’t even finish taking my finals because she was diagnosed with cancer. It was a chaotic time for me. She passed away quickly the next month. It took me a very long time to come back to school. I would say that I just feel like my time at Rowan, though chaotic, has come full circle.

What are some challenges you faced, being a student and a mother?

I would say that I experienced mom guilt sometimes. Sometimes I need to ask my husband, “Hey, I didn’t get everything done that I had to get done. During naptime or bedtime, I need a few hours to study or to write this paper,” and I feel bad. My husband is very supportive. I still feel bad segmenting off that time, even though it’s for the better. It’s for the best that I finish my degree. I would just say time management has become really important, and conquering mom guilt is very important.

Cory poses with her husband and son.

How has Rowan helped you achieve your goals?

I would say that Lori Brucker, the advisor for the Public Relations and Advertising department, has been very helpful. There were a few times I was going to come back to school, but then it just didn’t pan out. I was suffering with some depression prior to having my son, and the people at Rowan were really patient. They didn’t say, “Oh my gosh, this is like your third time talking about coming back to school, get your life together.” They were really patient and believed that I could graduate. Each time that I would come back and ask “Okay, what do I have to do?” and then I didn’t go through with it, they were always just very supportive of me finishing my degree and telling me what I had to do to get there. I appreciated that.

What was your inspiration for coming back to finish your degree?

My son, 100 %. Eventually, when he’s a little older, I want to go back to school for nursing in an accelerated bachelor’s program, and you have to have your bachelor’s degree to be in the program. I want to complete what I started and make my mom proud of me for finishing it, even though it wasn’t easy. 

How do you best balance school, life, and being a mom?

I take advantage of nap time. Luckily, my son still naps. During his nap time, I set a goal of getting something finished, and that’s when I do it. I actually find that I’m more proactive with deadlines now as a mom than I was before. I used to wait until the last minute and say that I don’t have any time, but now I finish assignments two weeks in advance. I try to get things done, so it’s off of my shoulders.

Cory looks on as her husband holds her son in the air.

What advice do you have for other mothers that are thinking about coming back to school or that are already here trying to finish their degree?

I would say that if it makes you happy, come back to school and complete your degree. You’re definitely going to be inspiring your son or daughter. They’ll be able to see that you made sacrifices and that you work towards an end goal that wasn’t easy. They’ll see that as an adult, it’s difficult to come back to school to finish a degree, or begin and finish a degree while having a child.

What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

I love absolutely everything about being a mom right now. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I love being a stay-at-home mom. My son is always happy to see me. As soon as he wakes up in the morning, he’s always so happy to see me. He is just full of like endless love and limitless fun. He’s my heart.

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

Interview by:
Kayla Tucker, junior public relations major

Photos by:
Joe Gentempo, senior art major

Why I Chose a School 20 Minutes Away from Home

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

1. Amazing housing options

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

Loredonna sits on steps outside on campus.

2. Affordability 

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

3. Surrounding Location

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

Loredonna smiles behind purple springtime flowers on campus.

4. Rowan’s opportunities

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

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

Photography by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major 

#PROFspective: Public Relations and Advertising Major Madison Sweet

A headshot of Madison Sweet outside on Rowan's campus.

Today, we speak to Public Relations & Advertising double major Madison Sweet! Madison is a transfer student from Raritan Valley Community College and is from Bridgewater, NJ (Somerset County). She shares with us what a typical day at is like for her and how she transitioned into Rowan.

A portrait photo of Madison outside on Rowan's campus.

What is a typical Rowan day for you?

I work at Financial Aid in the mornings and afternoons and then I return home to join my Zoom classes. After that, I cook myself dinner or I will treat myself and order out (sushi always). After my work load is done, I love spending quality time with my friends, my boyfriend, and my Big in my sorority. Some nights, I like to go out to Landmark or Chickie’s & Pete’s for a drink with my friends as well (following COVID procedures, of course).

Could you share with us one moment during your time at Rowan that made you feel inspired or confident that you’re in the right major for you?

The relations that I have built with my professors have made me love my major even more. I am super comfortable with them and love doing my work. The moment I knew I was in the right major was my accomplishment in making the Dean’s List back to back. I struggled with school growing up, and now I have a 3.7 GPA that I am super proud of, it would have not been possible without the Communication Profs.

Could you tell us a little bit about your transition into Rowan as an incoming student? Were you nervous? Excited? Stressed? What people, programs or things helped to make your transition smooth?

I felt all the nerves. Since I was in community college before, I was super eager to start a new chapter of my life away from home to learn who I am as a person on my own. I was super excited to start my classes but worried I wouldn’t make any friends. But Rowan’s students and profs are the nicest people I have ever met. Class was never boring. Joining my sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, also had a huge impact on my social life. Without this org, I wouldn’t have all of the friends that I do, today.

Madison posing with her four friends outside the Engineering building.
Madison hanging out with friends outside the Engineering building.

What are your professional goals?

Currently I am not sure what I want to do for a job after college. I would love to work in the social media field for a big company if possible.

How has Rowan helped to support you with your professional goals?

My profs have always been very supportive toward me, they are very understanding and are always willing to help if you need it, which was very nice and comforting. If I was ever confused they would help me with an assignment if needed. My sorority has always encouraged us to prioritize school work first to make sure that we stayed on top of our grades. My profs and advisor always let us know about potential Internships as well.

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Story by: Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photography by: Joe Gentempo, senior art major

Leadership #PROFspective: Vanessa Livingstone, President of PRSSA

Vanessa kneeling outside near Bunce.

Today we feature Vanessa Livingstone, a leader at Rowan University. Vanessa is the president of the Anthony J. Fulginiti Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). She is a senior, first-generation college student from Palmyra, NJ (Burlington County) who double majors in Public Relations and Advertising. This story is part of a […]

Leadership #PROFspective: Camryn Hadley, Choosing Her Own Legacy

Camryn kneeling outside near a house and bush.

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

How the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication Will Benefit Rowan Students

Two Rowan students stand in front of 301 High St.

Today we speak to Dr. Julie Haynes, director of the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University. Dr. Haynes is also a professor of Communication Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Dr. Haynes, along with two students who intern at the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts, tell us how the Center will benefit Rowan students.

A portrait of Dr. Julie Haynes, the director of the Center for the Advancement of Women.
Dr. Julie Haynes, director of the Center for the Advancement of Women.

Can you tell me a bit about how the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University came to be?

“The Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University is an affiliate of The Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Florida International University. The Kopenhaver Center was founded in 2012 by Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, who currently serves as its executive director.

“Dr. Kopenhaver graduated from Glassboro State College in 1962 and continues to be active at Rowan. She has been instrumental in several recent initiatives on campus, including The Dr. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for Alumni Engagement in Shpeen Hall as well as the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Career Resource Library in Savitz Hall.

“Dean Sanford Tweedie, the Dean of the Ric Edelman College of Communication of Creative Arts, discussed the possibility of creating an affiliate center for women in communication at Rowan with Dr. Kopenhaver. He approached me about directing it, and I was thrilled. We launched the Center in October. Although our initial plans were to launch in spring 2020, COVID, like in so many areas, presented challenges, so we pivoted to more virtual opportunities in the fall.” 

Can you tell me about the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication?

According to Dr. Julie Haynes, “The mission of the Center is to promote advancements for women, and gender equity overall, in communication industries and academia. We highlight career and internship opportunities for students and provide networking events while serving as a thought leadership center on gender equity in communication for southern New Jersey. We work collaboratively with the Kopenhaver Center to advance these initiatives across our campuses and across the country.”

A Zoom screenshot of "A Level Playing Field: Female Leaders in Sports Communication", a virtual workshop the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication held.
A screenshot on Zoom of “A Level Playing Field: Female Leaders in Sports Communication,” a virtual workshop hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication.

How do you feel that the Center has helped students at Rowan?

“We just launched in October, but I feel that we are already starting to help students at Rowan. We provide students with opportunities to get involved in internships within the Center. I have students working on my social media and website that are students. We also give students opportunities to network with professionals and potentially find internships through our virtual workshops. Our inaugural event was “100 Years of Speaking through the Ballot: Women and Political Communication.” Students were able to hear about women in politics and political communication from E. Michele Ramsey, a professor at Penn State, Berks, and Heather Simmons, a Gloucester County Freeholder and director of University Business Relations at Rowan. We also held a program on Women in Sports Communication as well, with speakers Gail Dent from the NCAA and Marisabel Muñoz from Major League Soccer & Soccer United Marketing.

“In April we’re holding an event on working in museums and public spaces with a communication degree. One of the speakers for that event, Julissa Marenco, is the Chief Marketing Officer at the Smithsonian Institution and a 1997 RadioTV/Film graduate of Rowan. She has also sent me information on how to get a paid internship at the Smithsonian for students. Our goal is to expose students to different speakers from a variety of communication backgrounds and provide them with networking opportunities. In the future, we also plan to have a student club.

“In addition to our events, students have also been able to take advantage of programs offered through the Kopenhaver Center at Florida International University (FIU). We have been excited to collaborate with them on these workshops. For example, the Kopenhaver Center held a virtual workshop on starting your own communication business in January, which featured a southern New Jersey public relations firm owner, Laura Bishop. Bishop currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts and is a member of the Leadership Council for Rowan’s Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication. It has been rewarding and so interesting to work together on creating events, and the feedback from attendees and students has been extremely positive. Once the pandemic is over, I will be able to take selected students to FIU for the Kopenhaver Center’s annual conference as well.”

Jessica poses outside of the 260 Victoria building.
Jessica Newell, an intern for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts

How do students feel about the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication and its benefits and future benefits to students?

According to Jessica Newell, an intern for the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts that works with the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication, “The Center serves as a networking hub for students, scholars, and industry professionals in the various communication-related fields. Our events showcase female leaders and seek to demonstrate how a solid background of communication skills will help you thrive in any path you take. For students, like myself, seeing these female role models inspires me to pursue leadership roles in my own future. I think students also benefit from seeing the breadth of career possibilities in the field of communication, some of which may not be immediately obvious.” Jessica is a junior Communication Studies major from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Jessica also minors in Spanish and Women’s and Gender Studies, and holds an Honors Concentration.

“It is so inspiring to see the Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication at Rowan University putting gender equity at the forefront of its agenda,” says Sarah McCabe, a junior Public Relations and Advertising double major from Mantua, NJ (Gloucester County) with an Honors Concentration who also interns for the college. 

“As a female Public Relations student at Rowan, I am always looking for ways to create connections with powerful leaders in the field, especially leading women in communication. The new Center offers students just that, with virtual workshops and events featuring different professional communicators each month. I am so glad to see the Ric Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts recognizing and empowering women’s voices.” 

Sarah McCabe, one of the interns for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts.
Sarah McCabe, an intern for the Edelman College of Communication and Creative Arts

How has COVID affected your plans for the Center?

“Launching in the midst of COVID has been challenging, but there have been some excellent opportunities created by it and the overall shift in virtual communication. We have been able to have virtual workshops with people from all over the country who might otherwise not be able to visit campus in person. While we certainly can’t wait until we can be together in person, we are excited to be able to provide such excellent opportunities for our students and the entire Rowan community. “

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

All other photos provided by:
Sarah McCabe, junior public relations and advertising double major

Alumni Success: Teacher and Soror Kathleen Gordy-Mathis

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

Kathleen smiling and wearing her sorority jacket.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathleen smiling while wearing sunglasses and her sorority jacket.

What do you remember the most about Glassboro State? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Path to Finding My Major: Junior Kayla Tucker

Today’s story is by Kayla Tucker, a junior Public Relations major from Bordentown, NJ (Burlington County). She lives on campus at 220 Rowan Boulevard. Kayla writes about her experience picking a major at Rowan. 

When it was time for me to come to Rowan, I thought I had everything figured out as far as my major was concerned, but boy was I wrong. In my first semester, I started out as a marketing major. It did not take very long for me to figure out that a major pretty heavily based on mathematics was not going to be a good fit for someone like me. So, I began my journey to find my happily ever after. 

Kayla poses at an event.

Something that I feel like most high school students could use help with is finding a major during their search for colleges. At the high school I attended, we had very little assistance when it came to finding a major and or a career path. Most of the heavy lifting fell on the students. This being the case, I started to look for jobs and careers that typically make a lot of money, and at the very least, I knew I wanted to be in the business field. I thought I had found a career that played to my strengths when I had discovered marketing but did not do enough research on the courses required for the degree. 

Kayla poses outside of the student center.

I have always been interested in the creative side of things and struggled with anything numeric. When I got to campus as a marketing major and looked at the classes provided by my advisor, I was hopeful that my semester would go well. I knew taking classes such a micro-economics and other required math courses, I was going to be in for a wild ride. By the end of the semester, I knew that marketing just wasn’t the major for me and switched to exploratory studies. Making that switch was by far one of the best decisions I made my freshman year.

By making that change, I was able to take the proper time to work on completing my Rowan Core classes, all while taking additional classes that piqued my interest, which lead to me finding public relations. Rowan has so many different majors out there to explore for students to find what fits them best. For me, it was public relations. After declaring PR as my new major, I began to see myself flourish academically and even socially. 

Kayla poses in a dress.

The best advice that I have to offer incoming students or even students who have declared a major that they feel unsure about is to major in exploratory studies. Coming to college is scary enough and then having the additional pressure to pick a major that will one day lead to your career is heavy stuff. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to find your perfect fit for a major because taking your time might be what leads you to your happily ever after.

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Story and photos provided by:
Kayla Tucker, junior public relations major

Earning a Master’s in Strategic Communication Through a 4+1 Program

Today, we’ll hear from Maridel Tineo and David Rodriguez, who will earn their undergraduate and master’s degrees in five years and ultimately save money through Rowan’s 4+1 program in Strategic Communication. 

Maridel Tineo is a senior from Camden, NJ (Camden County) who will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations and Advertising this spring. Maridel is a first-generation college student and part of Rowan’s EOF program. She found out about the 4+1 program last year in her Public Opinion class. Her professor, Dr. Bokyung Kim, serves as the advisor to the program and encouraged Maridel to apply.

“After she introduced the program to the class, I applied for it because I always wanted to get my master’s degree. It was always just a thought, but when I got the opportunity and information, I had to do something about it,” she explains.

She was accepted into the program in her second semester of junior year. 

Portrait of Maridel Tineo.
Maridel Tineo

Maridel ultimately decided to choose the program because the classes are closely related to what she was already majoring in (Public Relations and Advertising), she liked the coursework and she will save money by shaving a year off of her studies. 

This program does have its unique challenges, though. Maridel shared that the coursework is accelerated and very fast-paced. “The professors definitely hold you to a higher standard. There are great expectations in this 4+1 track because it’s so calculated to make sure you’re able to finish in the five years,” she says.

A class that stuck out to her was a graduate-level Strategic Communication course with Professor Alison Novak. “[Dr. Novak] made the course engaging even though it was online,” Maridel says. “A lot of things that we covered were so interesting to me. My favorite topic was starting my own [fictional] business from the ground up and learning what goes into doing it. Even though it was challenging, it made me realize how interested I was in what we were learning about.” 

Maridel’s end goal is to start a nonprofit organization to give back to her community in the future and take what she has learned in her coursework to make it happen.

David Rodriguez, a senior and first-generation college student from Clayton, NJ (Gloucester County), will graduate with his bachelor’s degree in Public Relations this spring. David also heard about the path to a fast-tracked master’s degree through a class with Dr. Kim. He ended up choosing the program because it was a cost-effective option to achieve a long-term goal he’s always had. “I never thought I would get my master’s degree from Rowan, but I like the professors here a lot and I’m saving money,” he says.

David was accepted into the program in summer 2020 and began his experience the following fall semester.  

David Rodriguez stands in front of a garage door.
David Rodriguez

This program does come with its challenges, though. “The professors in graduate classes expect more. I’ve had the same professors in undergrad classes and graduate classes, and you can tell the difference,” he says.

When asked about an influential professor, David shared his experience about his Graduate Strategic Writing 1 class with Professor John Moscatelli. “He’s a tough grader but made me a better writer. I find myself using the rules and tricks he required in my other classes,” he says.

David’s end goal is to end up in the public relations sports or fashion worlds because it ties what he’s interested in with what he’s learned from his time at Rowan. 

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

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Jennifer McGraw, Finding a Fit in Public Relations

Jennifer sits at a table at a bookstore.

Today we speak to junior Public Relations major Jennifer McGraw, who has a minor in Sports Communication and Media and an Honors Concentration. From Deepwater, NJ (Salem County), Jennifer is a transfer student from Salem Community College. She is a commuter student and a first-generation college student, and is involved with the Honors Murder Mysteries, the student newspaper The Whit, and she is the Honor’s College’s senator.

Jennifer poses with the Eagles mascot.

What inspired you to choose your major?

When I was transferring I originally wasn’t thinking about public relations at all or any kind of writing major, I was thinking of music production or the music business major. But that fell through because there was a portfolio that I had to submit for the application, and my portfolio wasn’t as strong as I thought the program would prefer. I wanted to major in something that I could fall back on that was still relatively similar to what I wanted to get into. But I found that as I started to try the public relations classes and the public relations major, I learned that I really liked it. I found something that I want to get into and was more passionate about than I did with the music business major. 

Has there been a faculty or staff member that’s helped you to connect what the next step is for your career?

The first person that comes to mind is Dr. Kristen diNovi. She is the Assistant Dean of the Honors College and she’s helped me branch out and gain as much experience as I can on campus that could be transferable into my career path. She has been a huge help.

Jennifer poses indoors.

What was your transition to Rowan like?

My transition happened in the middle of the pandemic. It was a little rough, but not on Rowan’s part. Rowan did everything they could to help make the transition smooth, especially under the current circumstances. Luckily, I have taken school trips to see the campus before so I didn’t not necessarily not know the campus. In the last few months of the process, I didn’t really have a whole lot of help with the transition into Rowan. So it was a lot of me finding out things and having to communicate with the different departments at Rowan. And it’s kind of challenging, but once the flow of things started, and everything gets started. Basically,  I found it was a lot easier. 

Why did you choose Rowan?

I wanted to pick a college that was close, and given the pandemic, I wanted to go to a school where something where I could commute and still feel safe. Also, for financial reasons, I wanted to choose someplace cheaper. It’s a perfect distance from Philadelphia and New York and all the major cities. So if I ever wanted to get an internship, the location is perfect.

Jennifer poses at a book signing at a book store.

How would you tell a fellow student interested in your major that they’re choosing a worthwhile field?

Public Relations is broad in a good way. It gives you an overview of the different career paths you can go into. There are so many different fields you can go into. Public Relations is a major where you can pick a minor or concentration and make it fit into what field you want to go into specifically. Also, if you like writing, the major is a perfect fit. 

Are there any times that you doubted that you were in the right major for you?

I would say that in the very beginning, I doubted my major. After all, I first picked it because I just wanted to get a degree and then move on, which is kind of terrible to think. I didn’t really have any interest in a minor or concentration, but after I got into writing, and got into the different things that Rowan has to offer, I realized that public relations is a good major for me. Like I said at the very beginning, I was kind of doubtful because I didn’t know if I would really like this, but I wound up liking it. 

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

Photos provided by:
Jennifer McGraw, junior public relations major

Beyond the Classroom: PR/Advertising Double Major Steven Saxon on How Volunteerism Ties into His Major

Steven poses outside by the Rec Center at Rowan.

Today we speak to senior Public Relations and Advertising double major and avid volunteer Steven Saxon. Steven is living off-campus in Glassboro, but he is from Haworth, NJ (Bergen County). 

Steven poses in front of the Rowan Prof Owl statue.

What got you interested in your intended field?

As a kid, both my parents were involved in business, particularly public relations. My dad was a PR representative, and my mom was an account manager. I saw that both of my parents dealt with people for their job, a lot. There was a lot of person-to-person interaction, not a lot of sitting behind a desk, and, more specifically, when you have interactions like that in the working world, it opens up a lot more opportunities than behind a desk.

I believe that the most praise you can get for doing desk work is doing an outstanding job. When you’re talking to someone, there’s so many different ways and things that can open up in a conversation that just help you, benefit you, or interest you, that don’t even relate to business. I want to do exactly what my dad does.

How did you get into volunteering?

Every single person, if you are given free time, you have to stay productive. It’s just kind of innate as humans. You can’t wake up every day and sit in your living room and look for a new TV show or just scroll through social media. It’ll bring you into a hole, and then by the time it’s time to be productive again whether you got your job or school, it becomes three times as hard now that you’re so used to doing nothing.

During school … I’m the Vice President of Public Relations for Sigma Alpha Lambda, which is the Leadership Honor Society. I’m in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). I’m very involved at school when it is in session. So when it’s not in session, I know sometimes people look for a job, but I’m not looking at the money at the moment; I’m looking to build my resume my connections, things like that. I could get a job and I have in the past for like three months over a break. But I think there are a lot more substantial things I could do than make some money over there because I mean money’s not really a huge issue for me right now, as long as I focus on my academics. 

Steven poses outside at Rowan.

How does your volunteer work tie in with your majors?

Volunteer work ties in with my majors for multiple reasons. First, by getting to meet these people and beginning the volunteer process, I get to know them and establish a relationship with them. After that, I can talk to them in the future and maybe get a recommendation, a new volunteering opportunity or job offers from them. Also, my major has helped me because I know that communication and public relations is key. For my current volunteer position at The Kitchen of Hope, I was applying and I was told that people call to see if they can volunteer there all the time, and I think that my knowledge of communication helped me get the position, and she didn’t even know too much about me. I’m sure she got an a three-minute phone call with everyone else, I got a five-minute phone call with her, and I finally landed the volunteer opportunity. 

How did you find these volunteer opportunities?

For my volunteer position when I worked with Veterans of Foreign Wars, I looked up “social service,” and that is what led me to them. I also volunteered with Claws, a cat adoption and rescue center, and I got that opportunity by calling them. I was told to email them, so I communicated with them through email. I made sure to present myself as someone who loves animals. I secured my current position at Kitchen of Hope by talking with the people that work there for a few weeks. 

Steven poses on a bench.

What has been the most meaningful experience that you’ve had while volunteering?

While I was volunteering with Veterans of Foreign Wars, I was assigned different veterans to work with and help them with their duties. The veterans ran a restaurant and worked in an office. One of the guys I was assigned to was Sherman. Sherman was a quiet guy. I like to talk when things get awkward, and I talked to Sherman often. He loved it when I came in to volunteer, and I noticed that he became more comfortable with me. He went from mumbling orders at me to telling me stories about his time in the military.

What knowledge or skills have you developed through this opportunity that you will take with you for future endeavors?

I have learned to be more tolerant. I have also been exposed to different types of people and I met a lot of people I would not have met otherwise.

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

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

Keeping Houseplants In Your Dorm or Apartment

Close up of houseplants on a windowsill in Willow Hall.

Today we speak with three Rowan students about living on campus with plants in their living spaces.

Two green plants inside of small pots. The pot on the left looks like a cat. There is also multiple other items on the table.
Tara’s plants

Tara Lonsdorf, a senior Geology major from East Windsor, NJ (Mercer County) has three plants, all of which were given to her from different people. She says she has, “a tiny air plant given to me by my dad, an aloe plant given to me by my boyfriend, and a jade plant given to me by Lindsay Johnson at the Wellness Center after completing counseling with her.” Tara’s reasoning for her having those specific plants are that they are convenient for her. She explained, “All of the plants are small, easy to transport, and super low-maintenance.” Tara also advised, “Don’t get a plant just to have a plant. Get a plant that will be meaningful to you and fit your lifestyle.”

Three green plants sitting on a brown table. There is also a "groot" holding one of the plants.
Kalie’s plants

Kalie VanDewater, senior Journalism major from Mt. Holly, NJ (Burlington County) said, “I have three plants: an aloe, a cactus, and the other one is a vine plant.” Kalie said, “I just got them because I thought they were cool. I honestly can’t remember why.” Kalie’s advice is, “I recommend a cactus because that’s my most resilient plant and does well without a lot of water.”

Small green bamboo plant with mini pumpkins around it.
Rachel’s bamboo

Rachel Rumsby, a sophomore Communication Studies & Public Relations double major from River Edge, NJ (Bergen County) said, “I have one bamboo plant. My roommate, friend and I went to a Rowan After Hours event because we heard they were giving away pumpkins. They ran out of pumpkins so we were not able to get one. However, they had these bamboo plants so we each got one of those instead.” Rachel’s tip was, “Buy something easy to take care of and small to start off.”

Among the three of them they all are happy and enjoy living with their houseplants.

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Story by: Luke Garcia, junior music industry major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Aspiring Super Bowl Advertiser Kaela Moore

Kaela standing outside.

Today we feature Kaela Moore, a sophomore double majoring in Advertising and Public Relations and minoring in sociology from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County). She attended Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) for one year then Rowan College of Southern New Jersey (RCSJ) for one year through Rowan Choice before transferring to Rowan University. What do […]

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Public Relations, Advertising Double Major Alana Walker

Alana standing outside.

Today we speak to senior Alana Walker who double majors in Public Relations and Advertising. Alana is from Browns Mills, NJ (Burlington County) and transferred from Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC.) She is involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the student-run firm PRaction, and Women of Color Collective (WOCA). Why […]

The Best And Worst of Being A Collegiate Student-Athlete: Sophomore Women’s Lacrosse Natalie DePersia

Rowan's Women's Lacrosse players huddle on the field.

Today’s story is by sophomore Public Relations major Natalie DePersia. Natalie is from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County) and rents a house off-campus with friends.

Natalie DePersia poses for a photo.

Interdependent, focused, and self-motivated.  These are just three adjectives that I believe describe a successful student-athlete. Being a student-athlete is hard, time-consuming, and mentally and physically draining. However, I would not trade this college lifestyle of mine for any other college experience. This lifestyle comes with many perks, but also, some people would say, many sacrifices.  

Natalie DePersia playing lacrosse.
Natalie DePersia playing lacrosse.

The positives of being a collegiate athlete consist of: gaining an instant community, the countless life lessons you learn from playing a team sport, the physical health benefits of playing sports, and of course, comedically, it is acceptable to wear sweatpants every day. As a member of the Rowan Women’s Lacrosse Team, our schedule on a day-to-day basis is very hectic and just simply, long. A typical day in my life during our lacrosse season, on a game day, is structured like so: wake up at 7 am, go to class from 8 am to 10:45 am, go to the locker room to get ready to leave for the game, leave Rowan by 11:30 am, arrive at the opponent’s field at 2:30 pm, start warming up at 3 pm, play the game from 4 pm to 5:30 pm, board the bus and get home by 7-8:30 pm (depending on how far the game was located), shower and start homework, lights out by 11:30 pm, and then repeat. This lifestyle was overwhelming but also led me to learn how to multitask so well. I also learned how passionate I was about playing a collegiate sport and was committed to becoming better every day. Personally, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.  

Natalie poses in the car.

Being a collegiate athlete is not always as glamorous as it seems. Because of all the time spent on athletics, you may need to sacrifice your time and your experiences. Some of the negatives of being a student-athlete are: having less time to focus on your academics, having a limited social life, having an increased risk of injury because of your participation in athletics, and setting limits on extracurriculars.

Being a student-athlete takes a lot of mental focus, commitment, and time management to balance between athletics and academics. Even though I do miss out on certain things that regular college students experience, I would not trade the lifestyle I have grown to love. Rowan University makes it more than easy to love being a student-athlete. 

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

Best Advertisements of 2020, According to Ad Majors

2020 spelled out in papers.

Today we feature senior advertising majors from Rowan. They tell us what they think the best advertisements of 2020 are.

Melanie poses in front of a white bakground.

Melanie Gross Melanie, a senior advertising major with a strategic communications minor from Marlboro, NJ (Monmouth County), says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the Burger King-“Bullying Jr.” advertisement. She says, “In this Burger King ad, a complex idea is expressed. Burger King stages a social experiment where a “High School Jr.” is bullied in one of their Los Angeles area restaurants. It depicts overseers who do not do a thing are then served a “bullied” Whopper Jr. This sandwich is squashed and mangled. Some 95% report their mangled sandwiches to management. They are then asked if they would have intervened had they seen an employee “bully” their burger. Their collective response is “yes”. The focus then shifts to the 12% of customers who stood up for the High School Jr. We hear their words of encouragement which console the High School Jr. This spot shows that inspiring ads can be crafted out of social experiments and possibly make a change to take action when we see unkind acts.” 

Doug poses outdoors.

Doug Weinstein Doug, a senior advertising and public relations double major from Cranford, NJ (Union County), is a transfer student from Union County College and a first-generation college student. He says “the most impactful ad of 2020 so far for me has been from BMW. The video ad release took creativity to another level that BMW as a brand has not expressed in the past. The new 2 series is introduced into a new genre of consumers as “option two,” a BMW that is different from the competitors in an expressive and bold way as the better option. BMW brought a new type of advertising technique that focuses more on the new genre of consumers, rather than the BMW itself. The company is changing drastically for the better, becoming more aware of their consumer demographics and lifestyles. BMW is bold in this ad with video movement, colors, sounds and tells a story of who consumers are and why this is the car for them.

Caitlyn poses at a restaurant.

Caitlyn Dickinson Caitlyn, a senior advertising and public relations double major from Toms River, NJ (Ocean County), is a transfer student from Ocean County College and a first-generation college student. She says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the “Loretta” – Google Super Bowl advertisement. She says, “Loretta is the perfect example for an emotional appeal, which for me is why I find it to be so memorable. It’s effective, it’s compelling, and overall heartwarming.” 

Alana poses outdoors.

Alana Walker Alana, a senior advertising and public relations double major from Browns Mills, NJ (Burlington County), is a transfer student from Rowan College at Burlington County. She also says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the “Loretta” – Google Super Bowl advertisement. She says, “This advertisement came out in the beginning of this year. I feel like it’s important for the times because the older generation is learning to adapt to the new technology created. This particular advertisement shows how it can be beneficial for them but also is heartfelt. They layout and execution of the ad gives you something to relate to.” 

Matthew poses with a "Rowan Alumni Welcome" sign.

Matthew Isaacs Matthew, a senior advertising major from East Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County), is a transfer student from Georgian Court University. He says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the The “Cardboard Fan” by Bud Light advertisement. He says, “It’s so memorable and unique. When do you ever see a cardboard cutout come to life? Especially when it can’t enjoy it’s favorite beverage while watching football. It’s weird without the crazy energetic fans you’re used to seeing on TV. I appreciate what the producers did here. They made something out of nothing, literally. During a depressing time like this, why not have a little fun with those cutouts?” 

Jenna poses against a brown background.

Jenna Greenlee Jenna, a senior advertising and public relations double major from Wilmington, Delaware, is a transfer student from Temple University. She says that Beats by Dr. Dre had a beautiful ad called “You Love Black Culture, But Do You Love Me” that was so impactful and great especially with the BLM movement in America right now. She says, “It makes it the best because a lot of companies have posted its support of the BLM movement, but Beats by Dr. Dre was started by a black man which is so inspiring. It has a star studded cast of popular African American figures but doesn’t harp on WHO they are, but rather just them being Black people in general. It’s artfully done, simple and impactful.” 

Kristin poses in front of sun flowers on a swing.

Kristin Jennings Kristin, a senior advertising and public relations double major with a CUGS in PR in the News, from Woodbury Heights, NJ (Gloucester County), is a transfer student from West Chester University. She says that the best advertisement of 2020 is the Match.com – Match Made in Hell advertisement. She says, “This ad combines a common interest of wanting to connect with others with comedy in a funny yet charming commercial. The commercial also features an exclusive recording of Taylor Swift’s Love Story which drew in her fans as well.”

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

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Shop Local? Shop Rowan Grad

Rowan Boulevard and the Glassblower statue.

Shop Rowan Grad this winter! Today we feature Rowan alumni who have started their own businesses. Wider Awake Alumna Courtney Stevenson graduated from Rowan in 2008 with a B.A. in Printmaking & Illustration. She and her husband Justin, also a Rowan alum, own a printmaking company called Wider Awake. https://www.widerawake.com/ | Instagram @widerawakeprint “I learned […]

3 Easy Holiday Cookie Recipes College Students Can Make On Campus

Different kinds of cookies in different kinds of shapes.

Today’s story is written by sophomore Communication Studies and Public Relations major Rachel Rumsby from River Edge, NJ (Bergen County). Rachel is an on-campus resident currently living in the Rowan Boulevard Apartments. Here, she shares with us some of her favorite, easy holiday cookies, and how she makes them in her apartment. 

The holidays are my favorite time of year. There is a special kind of magic, no matter what holiday you celebrate. It fills my heart with joy, love and warmth. This time of year reminds me of cheerful memories with family and friends. It is a time of helping others and enjoying certain traditions. 

One amazing tradition in my family during the holidays is baking. Every year, my mom and I bake cookies and make little bags of them for some of our neighbors. Some of these recipes are super easy to recreate in my apartment. Here are three easy holiday cookie recipes that you can make where you live.

123 Cookies. 123 cookies are one of my favorites, yet easy to make. We call them 123 cookies because there are only three ingredients in them.

You will need: 1 and 1/4 sleeves of graham crackers (count how many are in one sleeve and use 1/4 of that), 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.Ingredients for 123 Cookies.

Directions: 

  1. Put the graham crackers in a plastic bag. Pound them into crumbs.Graham cracker crumbs and a cup. 
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into a greased, square baking pan.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
  4. Cut into squares.123 Cookies finished product.

Peanut Butter Blossoms. My mom loves this kind of cookie. The Hershey kiss gives it a nice finishing touch, especially for the holidays!

You will need: 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar, 1 egg, and Hershey Kisses.Peanut Butter Blossoms ingredients.

Directions:

  1. Warm peanut butter in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring often.
  2. Beat and stir in the egg and sugar, mix well.Peanut Butter Blossom "dough".
  3. Form the “dough” into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet, then flatten with a fork.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. press Hershey’s kiss into the middle of the cookie while it is still warm.Peanut Butter Blossoms with Hershey's kisses.

Bark. This is another one of my favorites! I love the sweet and salty flavors in this treat. 

You will need: 1 sleeve of saltines, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 bag of milk chocolate chips, 1 stick of butter or margarine, and red and green sugar (optional for the holidays). Ingredients for bark.

Directions:

  1. Lay out the saltines on a greased cookie sheet.
  2. Microwave the butter and sugar together until the butter melts.
  3. Pour over the saltines.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the saltines are light brown.
  5. Spread the chocolate chips on the saltines, and put them back in the oven for one minute to melt.Bark that is halfway finished.
  6. Spread the melted chocolate over all the saltines, sprinkle on the colored sugar, and refrigerate until it is cold.Bark after it has left the fridge.
  7. Break the bark into pieces.Bark that has been broken into pieces.

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

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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

How Remote Students Are Staying Involved On Campus: PR Major Jenna Fischer

Student's home desk.

Today, we speak to Jenna Fischer, a senior Public Relations major with a Strategic Communications minor who transferred from Middlesex County College. Jenna is studying remotely from her home in East Brunswick, NJ (Middlesex County) in light of COVID-19. She tells us more about how she’s staying involved on campus while living at home.

Jenna sitting on her bed in her dorm room.

“I chose Rowan because I saw that [the school] had a lot of opportunities to grow within my major. They were one of the few colleges in the state that had my major and had other options to go along with it,” says PR major Jenna Fischer, who initially chose Rowan because she knew a degree at Rowan would help her get her foot in the door with a job before she graduates.

At Middlesex County College, Jenna initially didn’t know what major would be the right one for her. She decided to talk to her advisor and everything suddenly came together. 

“I needed to talk to someone about picking classes, and I didn’t know what to pick. She told me, ‘Well, you seem like you would be good in public relations.’ I didn’t even know what that was! She started explaining it more, and I realized that it would be a good fit for me. So, I looked into it some more and ended up falling in love with it,” she explains. 

Jenna’s senior year has been a little different than the rest of her years at Rowan because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She admits there have been some challenges with taking online courses and staying at home in East Brunswick, NJ. 

“Honestly, one of the most challenging parts is I feel like I have a lot more work! I also have been going a little stir-crazy. I’m a very introverted person so I like being home … but this is a new level!” 

However, even though she’s off-campus, Jenna is still staying hopeful and active on-campus through her e-board position as Communications Director with Rowan’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. She had her doubts about being able to work with the club remotely, but she found that she still enjoys her work with the club.

Jenna's computer screen displays the PRSSA website.

“I was kind of worried because I was thinking what am I going to do because I’m not on campus but it was a lot easier than I thought,” Jenna says. “I’m always reaching out to the advisors of the club to just make sure I’m on the right track of things.”

Jenna also shares that her club meetings give her a sense of community even when she’s away. She says PRSSA has been very accommodating and she feels more connected to everyone on campus. 

“Our e-board meetings definitely keep me informed with what’s going on. Everyone’s also super understanding. We did do an in-person picnic, but we also had a virtual option so I think its beneficial for a club to incorporate both options. I actually did end up going to campus because I was itching to go! Get involved in some kind of club because that’s the main reason why I’m in contact with everyone on campus. Everyone in the club are mainly my friends on campus too.”

When asked about the pros and cons of staying remote this semester, Jenna says:

“The main reason why I didn’t want to come back to campus was because I was scared that I was going to catch something and bring it back home. I also didn’t feel the need to be back on campus if I was doing my classes online. So I feel a little safer being home. A con for me would be that I don’t get to see my friends in person very much. One way I do try to stay involved is that I FaceTime them a lot, which I highly recommend everyone do!  I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone but it’s good to be able to talk and see your friends that way.”

Jenna's at home school desk.
Jenna’s “at home” school desk set up

Quarantine hasn’t been all bad for Jenna. She even found an internship opportunity within her field!

“I was so ready to give up on applying because I wouldn’t hear back or I wouldn’t get them. I was getting so frustrated because a lot of my friends were still getting internships! So, I was scrolling through social media and this one company I was kind of eyeing put out a post saying ‘Hey we’re going to have summer interns.’

“So I applied immediately and ended up getting it! It was so much fun and all-remote. I was a social media marketing intern. I was skeptical about it at first because I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the same experience. It was so fun!”

Jenna shares a piece of advice for those struggling to connect with Rowan’s campus while being remote.

“Definitely reach out to professors if you want to get involved in any kind of club. I know professors who are also advisors who will usually plug in clubs at the end of class. PRSSA is looking for general members! It’s not scary, we have a speaker of the week talk to the club and you can participate if you want! I really do think it’s helpful. Just participating in any kind of Zoom club or event — I really recommend!”

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos courtesy of:
Jenna Fischer

20 Minute Radius: Fall Fun at Hill Creek Farms

hill creek farms sign

Loredonna Fiore, a junior Public Relations and Advertising major, and Olivia Smithson, a Biological Sciences alumna, recently visited Hill Creek Farms in Mullica Hill to get into the spirit of fall just in time for Halloween. 

Looking for an aesthetically pleasing place to take photos and get in the fall spirit? Hill Creek Farms is the perfect spot. Located in Mullica Hill, this destination offers a wide range of attractions that make it a must-visit spot. 

Loredonna and Olivia at Hill Creek Farms.

On the 24-acre farm, Hill Creek Farms offers apple picking, pumpkin picking, vegetable picking, sunflower fields and cornstalk fields. This makes for a great socially distant atmosphere where you can enjoy nature and appreciate the colors of fall. 

Olivia smiling and picking apples.

Hill Creek Farms has a farmer’s market on-site that is filled with freshly made baked goods and household decorations. Apple cider and apple cider donuts are a staple for the market, which I highly recommend. Hill Creek Farms also has a wine garden with wine made with the apples that are grown on the farm. 

This is a great local spot to visit if you’re looking to get off campus for a fun afternoon. The views, food and friendly staff make this a great place to get into the fall spirit! 

Olivia picking apples.

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

10 Books That Will Give You Spooky Vibes

Student reads a book in the stacks of Campbell Library.

Get into the Halloween spirit with these book picks by Rowan Blog contributor and senior Public Relations and Advertising double major Camryn Hadley.

Spending more time inside this year, I recently picked up reading more than I have been before the shutdown. Bringing together my new love of reading and my current love of spooky season, I’ve compiled a list for you to help get you in the mood for Halloween!

1. “Dracula’s Crypt” 

Interested in something spooky while also tackling social issues? This book parallels the life of vampires to some issues currently hitting our country. Be prepared to be both scared and open-minded.

Student reads inside Campbell Library.

2. “Slayers and Their Vampire”

This isn’t your typical “Twilight” love story. Get a deep dive into the history of vampires and those who save us from them. 

3. “Modern Mummies”

Not looking to be scared? Check out the historical truth of mummies. Get a deep dive into the process of preservation from the ancient Egyptians to the process of today. When you’re done, make sure to suggest it to your mummy!

Book recommendations inside Campbell Library.

4. “The Werewolf”

The Werewolf dives deep into the historical folklore of the shape-shifting monster. If you’re looking to have your skin crawl, look no further.

5. “Horror Films of the 1970s”

Radio/TV/Film majors: have I got a book for you! Dive deep into your favorite horror movies and learn more about them. You might be surprised at what you learn!

6. “Dracula”

We all know the name, but get to know the story of the world’s most famous vampire. Take a deep dive into the story and try not to get too scared!

7. “There’s Someone Inside Your House”

Lover of crime shows? Make sure to try this one out for some hair-raising fun. This young adult book is perfect for the Halloween season, just make sure to leave the lights on.

Book recommendations inside Campbell Library.

8. “A Monster Calls”

Go on the journey with Conor to find the truth about the monster following him. This read is definitely one to make your skin crawl!

9. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

This famous story is ready to put you in the Halloween spirit. Fall into the story of the Headless Horseman and be prepared for a fright!

10. “The Halloween Tree”

Think you know the origins of Halloween? Think again! Dive deep into Ray Bradbury’s tale and find the magic of Halloween in every page.

Owl statue and Campbell Library.

All of these books can be found on campus in Campbell Library. Make sure you bring your Rowan ID and your mask! Happy reading!

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Story by:
Camryn Hadley, senior public relations and advertising major

Photos by:
Anthony Raisley, senior history major

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 

Sophomore Reflects: Musical Theatre and Public Relations Double Major Erica Gerold

Erica sitting with friends on the Bunce Steps

Meet sophomore Erica Gerold, a Musical Theatre and Public Relations double major from Philadelphia. She’s also an on-campus resident who resided in Magnolia Hall this past year. Erica tells us more about what she enjoyed most about her first year at Rowan and shares advice for future freshmen.

Erica sitting with friends on the Bunce Hall steps.
Erica sitting with her roommates (from left to right: Mattie Millet, Hannah Kittrell, Erica Gerold and Emilia Weiss).

What did you most enjoy your freshman year at Rowan?Erica taking a selfie.

Something I enjoyed most here at Rowan were the amount of on-campus artistic opportunities I was able to have as a freshman! This past year I have been in directing scenes, written/done voiceover work at the art exhibit, “The Sister Chapel,” performed in our annual Holiday Celebration, “The Vagina Monologues,” devised cabaret “(di$) conn3cT*d” and “Urinetown: The Musical.” I have made amazing friends through our college and learned so much through its chances to create. I truly do not think I would be happier anywhere else.

Could you share with us one happy moment you had with friends, professors or other members of the Rowan community that made you realize Rowan felt like “home”?

Among many things I am beyond grateful to have been involved in this school year, the first that made me feel at home was rehearsing “(di$) conn3cT*d.” I was cast within my first month of moving to college when unfamiliarity was around every corner. Right away not only were the cast/creative team eager to hear the ideas of us freshmen, they were eager to make us feel welcome. I became so close with the people involved with that production, including my new best friend Elliot Colahan. The support the people of Rowan (my profs and classmates alike) have for us is nothing like I have seen anywhere else. Especially as a freshman, their care for me and the rest of my peers filled me with motivation and happiness. They make me feel lucky to be a part of this community.

Erica alongside the cast of a production called The Vagina Monologues.
Erica alongside the cast of The Vagina Monologues (directed by Robin Purtell and Chelsea Sharp, 2020).

What advice do you have for future freshmen looking at colleges right now?

Shadow! Leading up to College Decision Day, I actually had my mind set on committing to a different school. Once your choices are narrowed down, seeing a day in the life of your options really puts things into perspective. Once I shadowed my now dear friend Marisa Pelikan, the decision could not have been clearer that Rowan was the right fit for me (note: If you cannot shadow due to COVID-19, research schools to the best of your online abilities. Also, do not be afraid to reach out to their current students/profs!).

What are you most looking forward to next year at Rowan?

I am most looking forward to honing my skills as a double major! I currently combine my passions of PR and theatre as a member of the social media team for RUTD, a publicity officer for our Lab Theatre organization and the creator/writer for my school blog highlighting the Rowan University Department of Theatre & Dance, RUTDInsider. All of that being said, Public Relations students typically do not start taking major-based classes until their sophomore year. This fall I will be taking three of those classes and I am super excited to put all forthcoming knowledge into my current projects. I will be the first to admit learning/creating in the upcoming school year will be difficult due to the coronavirus, but I hope to push forward in making it happen any way I can.

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos provided by:
Erica Gerold

Beyond the Classroom: Katelyn Rapp’s PR, Foreign Language Skills Help Her Give Back to Her Community

Torch image in the lobby of Campbell Library.

Today, we feature Public Relations major and senior Katelyn Rapp, a commuter from Pennsville, NJ (Salem County) and first-generation college student. Katelyn recently started interning for the nonprofit organization Miracle for Mateo. She’s also on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using her Spanish translation skills, Katelyn helps out her area’s testing site. Here, she tells us a little more about her experiences and how she’s helping her community.

Katelyn poses in her scrubs with a sign that says "A Hero Lives Here".

Tell us more about your public relations internship.Katelyn sitting at her dining table doing work for Miracle for Mateo on her computer.

I am currently working with Miracle for Mateo, a nonprofit that I have been familiar with since they started up 10 years ago. I actually got involved with them during this past semester because I was doing a couple PR and nonprofit related classwork.

Miracle for Mateo provides financial support for families with dependent children who: have complex congenital heart disease or life-threatening illness and are struggling through a lengthy hospitalization, waiting for an organ transplant, or living at home on hospice care.

I realized during a rhetorical analysis of their website that it was quite outdated and gave the impression that they were no longer a functioning NPO. I knew one of the board members personally, and I reached out to her to see if she would be open to some changes.

Before COVID started, I went to her house and we talked about all the changes needed. After some approval from the board I was able to rewrite all the body copy for the website, choose updated photos, recreate some graphics with InDesign and now we are about two weeks away from the new website going live!

Was there any Rowan affiliation?

As far as I know there is no affiliation with Rowan, but I actually think it could be a great idea to create some type of affiliation. They have some small projects that impact people on a great scale (of course I may be a bit biased). Can tab collections and food drives that benefit the families who are by their child’s side in the hospital are two of their longest-running projects that require a bit less ‘in person work’ but make a huge difference for the organization and their families.

How did you find the opportunity?

I found the opportunity by reaching out to one of the board members I knew personally. I grew up with her kids, and seeing if the organization would consider letting me help. In my ADV/PR Writing course I had to choose an organization to ‘write for’ throughout the semester, and I thought it would be a personal challenge to write for a NPO since all of my internship experience is in oil refineries and transportation. I also decided to analyze their website in my Writing for the NonProfit class since I was already writing a pretend backgrounder and had so much information on the organization. I found the website was outdated and generally needed some work, and although I know I am nowhere near an expert, I thought I might be able to help. 

How did you get involved in your county’s COVID-19 response?

My mom works for the Salem County Department of Health, and so naturally when COVID hit, she and her coworkers became the response team for my county. Soon enough, my county opened up a COVID testing site, and it became apparent that my county’s Hispanic population was getting hit harder than others. My mom and her coworkers had become contact tracers/COVID test site nurses and were trying to speak what little Spanish they could to communicate. I wrote up a little speech for my mom to use when she called someone to speak with them about results or the test site and they only spoke Spanish. When she came home, she told me the whole department was using it! She also told me that her boss was interested in seeing if I would volunteer at the test site as a translator. The next week I did my fit test, and the day after I went to the test site.

Tell us more about your skills as a translator and how that’s helped in your county’s COVID response.Katelyn posing outside wearing scrubs and holding a healthcare heroes sign alongside her two cats.

My skills as a translator allowed me to check in patients at the drive-up clinic, give them instructions on what to expect in the barns (testing area/hot zone), and if they had not signed up for testing before that day give them information on how and where to be screened before coming to the test site for a COVID test. I was also able to help the nurses/contact tracers by writing up some helpful Spanish phrases and a small script, which would allow them to explain who they were and that they would call back with a translator.

What are you looking forward to this semester or in the future?

I think I am looking forward to the same things as most students now, I would love to see a safe return to campus to continue my classes. This upcoming semester I am also starting the 4+1 (CAPD Program) Public Relations/Strategic Communication program, so I will start working towards my master’s while finishing my bachelor’s. Personally, I am really looking forward to traveling internationally again. I was planning on a couple of trips this year, but unfortunately traveling isn’t an option right now.”

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Story by:
Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

Photos provided by:
Katelyn Rapp

20 Minute Radius: Fun Off-Campus Things New Transfers and Freshmen Should Check Out

External shot of Angelo's Diner and Main St.

Today’s story is from Melanie Sbaraglio, a recent Public Relations and Advertising graduate from Nutley, NJ (Essex County). Melanie joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Ace Screen Printing in Glassboro was cut short due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

If you are an incoming freshman or transfer student to Rowan University, you might be wondering what there is to do around Glassboro and nearby surrounding areas. Luckily, if you have been asking yourself these questions, you’ve come to the right place.

When I was a freshman, there weren’t as many things to do on campus like there are now. Walking down Rowan Boulevard is a lot more exciting today than it was four years ago. 

Since freshmen can’t have cars, getting places can be tricky; but services like Uber and Lyft always come in handy. Splitting the cost between a few friends to get places ends up being very cheap and worth it.

Without further delay, here are a few fun things to do off campus within a 20-minute radius. 

Exterior photo of Angelo's Diner taken from Main St.

Angelo’s Diner, located on North Main St. right next to campus, is a great breakfast or lunch spot in the area. The food is always really good, and the prices are very cheap. 

Monarch Diner on Delsea Drive opened up last winter. The food is amazing, fairly priced, and it’s even close enough to walk from campus.

Another great find is the Regal United Arts Theater in Washington Township. This spacious movie theater is clean, easy to get to, and has reclining leather seats making the experience that much more enjoyable. There are also many restaurants in the same area as the theater to grab dinner before or after seeing a movie.

The Deptford Mall and Gloucester Premium Outlets are great shopping options close by as well. My friends and I used to go all the time freshman year even just to walk around and window shop.

Maggie Paige Boutique in downtown Pitman.
Located in downtown Pitman and less than 10 minutes away from campus, Maggie Paige Boutique is another shopping destination worth visiting.

Finally, Duffield’s Farm is a fun seasonal place to visit. During the fall months, you can pick pumpkins and get yourself a fresh, warm apple cider donut. It’s a great place to take photos and just enjoy being outdoors for the day.

Discovering new places off campus can be beneficial for getting to know the area as well. Take these suggestions into consideration because even though there are plenty of on-campus things to do and get involved in, exploring off campus is definitely worth your time.  

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Story by: 
Melanie Sbaraglio, recent public relations and advertising graduate

Angelo’s Diner photos by:
Anthony Raisley

Maggie Paige Boutique photo by:
Jenna Fischer

Advice For Living With Roommates

Five Rowan students posing and smiling outside on campus

Today’s story is from Melanie Sbaraglio, a recent Public Relations and Advertising graduate from Nutley, NJ (Essex County). Melanie joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Ace Screen Printing in Glassboro was cut short due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

Since I’ve lived with roommates for all four years of college, I feel like I experienced a lot. There are going to be times when you feel like it’s the greatest thing in the world and then other times when you want to pull your hair out. However, I am lucky enough that I am best friends with my roommates, so even when conflict arises it is usually something we eventually laugh about. 

One of my first tips is to be prepared for a lot of sharing. Especially if you’re the roommate who has the best clothes. In my case I am that roommate. I didn’t think I would be the one that everyone wants to borrow from but my closet gets raided by at least two roommates whenever we are getting ready to go out. The important thing to remember here is to have patience and to keep track of who takes what.

My roommates and I outside of our house together.
Melanie (lower left) lived off campus with roommates her senior year.

Next, make sure that everyone does their part when it comes to cleaning up after themselves. My roommates and I developed a weekly chore list and everyone gets a task for the week. For example, taking out the trash, cleaning the floors or cleaning the bathrooms. Although we still argue at times when the kitchen is left a mess or the drain gets clogged this where more patience comes in because with six people in one house messes are for sure going to pile up. 

Another pro tip is to have house meetings. With six girls living together who are all very vocal with their opinions it is important to get everything out in the open at one time. No one likes having conflict in their house especially when it’s the place you come home to after a long day of classes or other activities.  

My last tip is something that I have realized over the years. Don’t sweat the small stuff because this is a time of life where you’re supposed to be having fun and enjoying your time with the people around you. Sometimes my roommates will walk downstairs with my clothes on and say, “Oh by the way I’m gonna borrow this.” Other times we argue over things like who left all the lights on or who let their garbage pile up without taking it outside. In reality these things are small issues that can be easily talked out.

Melanie poses with her roommates

I have become the type of person who lets a lot of things slide without saying anything because I think about whether it’s really something that bothers me in the long run and usually the answer is no. I think this can be good to an extent but if something is really getting on your nerves don’t let it keep happening; otherwise, you’re going to let it all build up and just explode one day. Talk things out, keep yourself grounded and remember the important thing is to enjoy your time living with your best friends while you can. 

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Story by: 
Melanie Sbaraglio, senior public relations and advertising graduate 



Advice From An RA

Exterior drone photo of Chestnut Hall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public Relations and Advertising Double Major Olivia Clinkscale Shares Her Perspective on the Black Lives Matter Movement

Today we feature Olivia Clinkscale, a Public Relations and Advertising double major with a minor in Sports Communication and Media from Galloway, NJ (Atlantic County). Olivia is an on-campus resident. 

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

The most interesting thing I’ve learned in public relations and advertising is that it branches out in so many different ways. I learned that PR can be media relations, government relations, investor relations, and used in crisis communication. Basically, the skills that I use in everyday life. Also learning what type of impact advertisements have on people and how the world perceives something has been interesting.

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

I would share that in the public relations/advertising field you will learn about all different things. It’s not just about PR, because this connects with plenty of other majors. You will learn about how to define the story and then make the story compelling to a broader audience. Learning along the way life skills that are useful not just for public relations.

Olivia poses for a selfie.

How have you gotten involved at Rowan? How has your involvement impacted your Rowan experience?

Being a volleyball player here at Rowan has really gotten me involved on campus. It has ultimately given me an outlet and a break from the stresses of schoolwork. Volleyball also keeps me active and keeps me informed on other activities Rowan provides. This involvement in sports has definitely made my time here at Rowan more enjoyable!    

What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean to you?

The Black Lives Matter movement is people stepping up and fighting against racial injustice. People are waking up and seeing problems that need to be fixed, such as police reform and systemic racism. 

Have you attended any Black Lives Matter rallies, protests or vigils?

I attended one in Egg Harbor Township. It was more of a rally, but there was also a protest. The rally was filled with people citing poems, stating facts and speaking about what we are fighting for. The rally was organized by four moms. There were also some little boys that spoke. I am also planning to go to the one in Glassboro on Juneteenth. 

Do you think that the demonstrations are effective?

Yes, I think the recent demonstrations are effective. There are bigger audiences than before, so they cannot be ignored. We have support from all around the world, which helps a lot. 

Olivia poses in her volleyball uniform.

What do you think that Rowan can do to better serve the BLM movement?

Rowan should educate everyone. There should be more of a class to inform students. We have Africana Studies, but … [W]e should have a course that reflects the fact that racism is still an issue today.

Is there anything you want your fellow Rowan students to know?

It all starts with our generation. We need to educate ourselves in order to educate our children and their children and also the people around us. We need to do better so that the world can change. 

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

Photos courtesy of:
Olivia Clinkscale
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#Rowan2020 Instagram Contest Winner Enzo Ronchi

Enzo stands against a brick building on campus
Enzo in his cap and gown sitting on a chair outside a house. He is holding a dog who is wearing a matching cap and gown.

Meet recent graduate and #Rowan2020 Instagram Contest winner, Enzo Ronchi! Enzo graduated with a degree in Public Relations and is originally from Ventnor, NJ (Atlantic County). He transferred from Atlantic Cape Community College and has spent the past two years at Rowan University. He reflects on the past two years of his Rowan University journey!

Tell us about your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes.

One of my favorite moments during my time at Rowan was with a faculty member was taking Ad Copywriting with Professor Rodolico. We had to do various PowerPoint presentations, and he makes every student feel very comfortable and confident during a presentation and gives great constructive criticism. I took this class fall 2019. I also really enjoyed my experience in Intro to PR with Cristin Farney! She made me feel super at home when I first transferred here. That was during fall 2018.

What was your favorite or most meaningful personal moment at Rowan?

My most meaningful and personal moments were performing at Rowan Alt Music’s and 4333 Collective shows with my band Transfer Post. Ever since quarantine started, the one thing I miss the most is playing and attending live music shows go any kind.

What are your career aspirations, and how did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with those aspirations?

I think my career aspirations lie within PR/social media in the music industry. That would be my ideal career after college. But working with any form of social media marketing management would be great! I can say almost all of my classes I took between 2018 and 2020 really shaped me and gave me the resources to make myself a better student of PR. This past semester, I interned at 4333 Collective as its social media marketing manager, and I had an amazing experience doing that.

Shout outs:

My family, my friends, The Hamilton House, 4333, Rowan Alt, Jersey Mike’s Italian Subs, Transfer Post, RowanBlog, RoBo, Wilson Hall Studio 1, Pizza Hut, 301 High Street, Rowan PRSSAPRaction, Rodolico, Farney, Schoenstein, Novak, Fitzgerald.

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Quarantine at Home Workouts

stock image of woman planking

Today we feature sophomore Lynzie Morgan, a Public Relations major with a minor in Marketing. She is from Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County) and lived in 230 Victoria before COVID-19 shut down campus. 

Welcome to Rowan at Home workouts! This is a great opportunity to get your heartbeat pumping and inherit a new great beginning in a rough time like this.

Getting a good workout can help lower cholesterol, burn fat cells, improve heart health and decrease chances of mental health issues.

Among these issues that we try to prevent by working out, there are several unknown positives to working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The science behind it in a nutshell has to do with adrenaline. This is a hormone released that helps your body react in a faster manner, causing the body to make sugar to use for fuel.

Lynzie doing a "HIIT" workout in her driveway.
Lynzie sets up her HIIT workout with a yoga mat and a jump rope.

With gyms being closed, it’s difficult to find motivation to continue working out at home. However, there are specific workouts titled “HIIT” that make it super easy to get moving and burn a lot of calories. “HIIT” stands for high intensity interval training, which consists of short, 45 seconds to one minute intervals with complete cardio and then usually a shorter interval of a rest period.

These workouts can be done so easily outside and they don’t require any equipment, making it super convenient to do. No money is needed, which makes this also very convenient. “HITT” is located on YouTube for free access whenever you want.

Lynzie and her friend Maria.
Author Lynzie and her friend Maria on a socially distant walk.

My friend Maria and I have been working out together, at the local park or in her driveway six feet apart. Our workout includes a 3-mile run, “HIIT” and driveway circuits we make up with the equipment we already have. We use 8 lb. weights, resistance bands, jump rope and a yoga mat. From there we make up a circuit and rotate to each station after one minute.

Being stuck in the house all day has resulted in us trying new things and working out outside has been keeping us busy. It’s something everyone should try and do, even if it’s for a short amount of time a few days a week!

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Story by: 
Lynzie Morgan, public relations major

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Beyond The Classroom: an “Enchanted” PR and Marketing Internship

Stock photo of an outdoor wedding ceremony

Enchanted Celebrations logoToday’s story is from Devon Graf, a senior communications studies major self-distancing from her house in Camden County, NJ. Devon joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Enchanted Celebrations was cut short prematurely due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

I had absolutely no idea where or what I wanted to do for an internship. Luckily, I found Enchanted Celebrations. This company is a photo and video wedding service located in West Creek, NJ. My main focus when applying to this internship was that I noticed I would be doing a lot of public relations and marketing work — perfect for me! I am a Communication Studies major with an Advertising minor. Enchanted Celebrations photo of bride and groom holding hands on a dock with water behind them.

I went full throttle into this internship, I was able to provide my team with innovative ideas and complete all of the tasks that I was given. One thing I take out of this internship is that I became super successful in multi-tasking, stepping out of my comfort zone, and handling each task I was given with a positive attitude. Not only was the work I was given super fun and exciting, but my team members were absolutely incredible! I didn’t go one day not having a great time in the office. 

All semester, I completed various projects relating to event planning and marketing within the wedding industry. For marketing, I contribute to daily blog posts that were shared with numerous clients and marketed across various social media platforms and wedding publications. I became proficient in using their system called CRM, SEO, and various forms of social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hootsuite, etc. In addition to this, I also got to assist the events team in coordinating event logistics and prepping for weekend staff and weddings! Enchanted Celebrations photo of a bride cutting wedding cake.

Below are some of the amazing works of photography I have worked with. Enchanted Celebrations has a numerous amount of extremely talented photographers and videographers. 

Enchanted Celebrations photo of a bride and groom dancing.

I found this internship through Indeed.com! Indeed is a website agency for job positions. I recommend creating an account if you are looking for your next position somewhere! I was at a standpoint at one moment in time and was clueless where to even start searching. I simply filtered out internship positions near my area and selected public relations and communication fields. Next thing I knew, I had an interview!

I got to show my skill set and gained a whole new one. I was able to be creative and show my passion for public relations and marketing all while learning and being in a wonderful environment.

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Story by:
Devon Graf, senior communication studies major

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Senior Reflects: Professional Skills Through Greek Life

Group photo of Alpha Sigma Tau.

Today’s story is from Melanie Sbaraglio, a senior public relations and advertising double major social-distancing from her house in Nutley, NJ (Essex County). Melanie joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Ace Screen Printing in Glassboro was cut short due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

Many people recognize Greek life for its social aspects however, coming from experience there is a lot more to it. Gaining professional skills is a very valuable thing that Greek life provides. For instance, having a position within your sorority or fraternity, such as being on the executive board, can teach you a lot. There are also a lot of positions across the organization that are very important.A few Alpha Sigma Tau sisters at a recruitment event this past spring.

I was the merchandise chair for my sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau, this semester. My role was to design and place orders for apparel that represented our sorority during events. This position taught me a lot because I was able to practice time management, staying organized, and working with other people. A lot of the positions within Greek life relate back to your major as well. Someone interested in accounting could become the financial chair and keep track of the budget. There is also a public relations chair who runs our sorority’s social media. Any of these positions can be great to put on a resume in the future to show a potential employer you have experience.

Pink Alpha Sigma Tau recruitment shirt.
Pictured above is one of our Alpha Sigma Tau spring recruitments shirts that I designed this year.





Even if you don’t have a position within your organization you are still learning skills just by participating in events and meetings. Weekly chapter meetings are basically business meetings to discuss and plan for future events.

Sorority recruitment also taught me a lot because I experienced both sides of it, as a recipient and as an organizer. It teaches you networking skills and gives you the confidence to be able to go into a room and start up a conversation with anyone. Gaining that kind of confidence will help you in the future with things like job interviews and working with new people.

I would recommend Greek life to anyone because it is definitely something great to be a part of while also getting the benefits of learning professional skills along the way.

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Story and photographs by: 
Melanie Sbaraglio, senior public relations and advertising major

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

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

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

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

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

Exterior shot of public relations major Jasmine Dennis

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

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

Exterior shot of Jasmine Dennis at home.

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

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

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

Group photo of Jasmine Dennis with her family.

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Senior Reflects: Friendship & Greek Life

One of my favorite memories of my friends and I on stage after I won the Miss Tau Delta Phi Pageant.

Today’s story is from Melanie Sbaraglio, a senior public relations and advertising major social-distancing from her house in Nutley, NJ (Essex County). Melanie joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Ace Screen Printing in Glassboro was cut short due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

I have made a lot of memories throughout my four years here at Rowan. My experiences have shaped me into the person that I am today in so many ways.

When I think back to the first day that I moved into my freshman dorm, I had no idea what the next few years would have in store. Now as a senior who is almost reaching the point of graduation, I want to share some of my favorite moments from the past four years.

This photo os from freshman year of my roommate and I.
A throwback to freshman year with my roommate and me (at left).

The first memory I have is moving into my freshman dorm and meeting my first friend at Rowan, Emily. Emily and I have experienced everything together at Rowan because we have been roommates since freshman year. We even ended up both joining the same sorority during our sophomore year, Alpha Sigma Tau. Joining my sorority brought me to so many amazing friends that I continue to make memories with all the time.

Moving into 114 Victoria junior year was definitely one of the best times. My roommates and I were all just starting to meet new people since joining Greek Life. I’d have to say this was my favorite year of college. It was when everything started to finally fall into place for me, and I realized that I loved this school.

My roommates and I junior year in our 114 apartment.
This picture is from junior year with my roommates in our 114 apartment.

I came out of my shell a lot junior year and did things that I never thought I would do. From participating in Greek Life pageants to dancing on stage with my sorority for lip sync during Homecoming and Greek Week, I was finally having the college experience I’d always hoped for. I gained so much confidence after joining a  sorority because it got me involved on campus   and recruitment pushed me out of my comfort zone. Finally finding the friends/roommates who I still live with this year also gave me so much  confidence because I finally felt like I belonged here. 

The start to senior year will also always remain one of the best times of my life. My five roommates and I moved into our off-campus house together, which was another new and exciting experience. Although senior year was unfortunately cut short, I will always have the best memories from Rowan. I will always have the friends that I made along the way as well and will continue to keep making amazing memories with them.

The time spent at this school brought so much good into my life, and I would not change a thing about how it all came together.

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Story and photos by: 
Melanie Sbaraglio, senior public relations and advertising major 

Brand Management, My Favorite Class at Rowan

Julia McAleavey- my favorite class at Rowan

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

Today’s story features Julia McAleavey, a senior from Monmouth County, NJ, graduating with a bachelor’s in advertising. Julia transferred to Rowan her sophomore year, from Eastern University in Pennsylvania. 

During my time at Rowan, I have taken a lot of really incredible classes. These include classes within the Department of Public Relations and Advertising as well as general education classes.

My favorite class I ever took, however, was a graduate course called Brand Management.

Last year, during my spring semester advising appointment, I was told that I was eligible for a program called Senior Privilege. I learned that I had enough credits to take six credits of graduate courses as a senior. I hadn’t thought to much about graduate school, but figured this would be a great chance to find out if it is a good fit for me.

I had a few options to choose from within the program, but I chose Brand Management because I am someone who could talk about brands for hours and not be bored. Being that this was my first-ever graduate course, I was very nervous at first. It did help, however, that I already knew the professor from previous courses. The course was taught by Dr. Kristine Johnson, a well-known and loved professor in the Public Relations and Advertising department. Additionally, there were a couple other students who were still undergrads, which also made the situation more comforting. 

Graduate courses aren’t too different from undergrad, but there are a few distinctions that I really liked. The classes are smaller, so it’s easier to build relationships with peers. They are also much more discussion based. Every week, we sat in a circle so we can easily talk about brands and other topics. One discussion I remember having was when we compared and contrasted Sprite and Mountain Dew as if they were people. As I stated before, I could talk about brands forever and not get bored, so I loved activities like these. 

301 High St. building shot from aboveBrand Management also consisted of several projects and presentations, both group and individual. We did individual presentations on brands in the news, which kept us up to date on what was going on with different brands. We also did a ‘my brand’ presentation, where the presenter presented themselves as their own brand. I liked this one a lot because it showed that people are their own brand, that brands have personality, and it helped my classmates and I get to know each other.

For the group projects, we did a full brand audit and a case study. My favorite project, however, was one where we worked with real clients. Two men who owned a gym wanted help to get more people to join their gym, so we pitched ideas to them that they could use. Helping out actual projects made the project seem more worthwhile and rewarding. 

As a whole, Brand Management was an amazing class and a perfect fit for me. I would recommend it to any ECCCA major who qualifies for Senior Privilege.

As far as Senior Privilege goes in general, even if grad school isn’t in your final plan, try the program if you’re eligible. It’s a great way to find out if you’d like to try grad school in the future, and you might really enjoy the experience like I did. 

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Celebrating Earth Day | 10 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact

rowan university water bottle on the beach

Today’s story is from Dominique Fiorentino, a junior public relations major from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County) who rents a house off-campus with friends.

Living a greener lifestyle is something everyone should aspire to become better at. Reducing your carbon impact, creating less waste, and focusing on sustainability – all of this is much easier than you may think. That is why I am here to provide 10 simple ways to reduce your environmental impact in your everyday lifestyle.

  1. Use a reusable water bottle.

    The cost of the average reusable water bottle is about the same price as three cases of water. Imagine all of the money you save and plastic waste you avoid from this simple change. Rowan provides water bottle refilling stations in each of their buildings to keep your bottle full. You can take the extra step and purchase a water filter for your dorm to ensure you always have clean water!

  2. Find alternative ways of travel.

    Rather than always driving to class, find an alternative! You can soak in the fresh air and get moving by walking or biking to class. Not only are these environmentally friendly alternatives, but they are also good for your own well being. If these aren’t an option, you could take the Rowan Shuttle or carpool with friends! Any of these options allows you to help reduce CO2 emissions and contribute to a cleaner planet.

    Jelani leans against a fence, hands in his pockets, with bikes next to him.

  3. Refuse plastic utensils and straws.

    Single-use plastic utensils take an average of 1,000 years to decompose. That means every plastic fork, knife, straw that has been used in our lifetimes is still polluting the planet. When dining at home, stick to reusable silverware. You can take it a step further by refusing plastic utensils and straws when ordering take out food. This simple switch will go a long way. 

  4. Take shorter showers.

    The average shower head uses about 2 gallons of water per minute. By making a conscious effort to shorten your showers, not only will you be saving water but also energy used to heat the water. 

  5. Shop with reusable bags.

    Don’t contribute to the billions of plastic bags used worldwide each year. Most of these bags end up polluting our waterways and harming sea life. Think of all the waste we could reduce by simply switching to reusable bags every time we shop. If you have difficulty remembering your plastic bags when shopping, try keeping them in your car!

  6. Thrift or borrow clothing.

    Believe it or not, the fashion industry contributes 10% of the global carbon emissions. Rather than buying a new outfit for every occasion, borrow something from a friend or visit your local thrift store. And trust me, your wallet will thank you later!

    Costume shop staff sifts through racks of clothes.

  7. Support companies with sustainable business practices.

    If possible, buy from companies who are certified B corporations. Companies who use renewable energy and recycled products, and strive to reduce their environmental impact.  The more green companies are supported, the more likely other companies will soon follow. 

  8. Turn off and unplug.

    When not in use, unplug and turn off your chargers, fans, lamps, etc. Although these objects may seem like they’re “off”, they are still using plenty of energy. The planet and your wallet will thank you later. 

  9. Limit your meat and dairy.

    It can be difficult to completely cut out animal products. This is why I suggest choosing vegan/ vegetarian options when possible. Items such as almond milk, dairy-free yogurt, vegan snacks, and meat alternatives. If you would like to take it a step further, dedicate your Mondays to Meatless Mondays! This way you can ensure that you are truly making an effort to limit your animal product intake.

    Hannah lays on the ground with colorful fruit and vegetables surrounding her head like a halo.

  10. Educate others about what they can do!

    Spread the word to those around you on how they can do their part! The more of us practicing environmentally friendly habits, the more of a positive impact we will make. 

Although these are just a few minor adjustments in your everyday lifestyle, they can go a long way. Imagine the positive impact we would make if we all made the effort and did our part to help keep our planet clean. Whether you decide to implement just a few or all of these mindful tips is up to you. It is all about being consistent with these habits that will make a difference. 

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Pandemic Profs: Pizza from Scratch!

A Sicilian slice of pizza on a plate.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Rachel Rumsby, a freshman holed up in her house in Bergen County, NJ, for the rest of the semester. Rachel is a dual major in communication studies and public relations who normally lives in Mimosa Hall. 

As an extrovert, I thrive in situations where I get to talk to people and have human interaction. I love doing activities and keeping busy outside my house. During this time, where there is a need for social distancing, I’m not thriving so much. To make up for that, I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking to keep my mind off things. One recipe I have been making often is Sicilian pizza from scratch. Most of my recipes are made from scratch, and I have often been called a food snob because of this. I believe that anything from scratch is better and more fun.

Here is my recipe for pizza from scratch! While I make it as a Sicilian pie, you can make it as a round pie if you have the proper pan. In this post, I will use a pizza stone, but a cookie sheet works well, too. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:Ingredients for pizza.

2 cups of flour

1 large egg

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 cup of warm water

2 envelopes of yeast

olive oil

red sauce

mozzarella cheese

toppings of choice

cooking spray

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Flour, egg, and baking powder mixed together in a bowl.2. In a separate bowl, dissolve 2 envelopes of yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Mix batter until firm, but not sticky. Yeast dissolving in warm water.
  2. Move batter to a floured surface. Cover hands with flour and knead into a ball. Add a dab of olive oil to the top. Pizza dough kneaded into a ball with a dab of olive oil on top.
  3. Cover with a dish cloth until the dough rises, about 15-20 minutes. Pizza dough is rising underneath a dishcloth.
  4. On desired pan or pizza stone covered with olive oil or cooking spray, form dough into a pizza shape. Pizza dough is formed into pizza shape on a pizza stone.
  5. Add sauce, cheese, and desired toppings.Pizza has sauce and cheese and is ready to go into the oven.
  6. Cook pizza at 400 degrees until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Slice and serve!Pizza is finished and cooling on the stovetop.

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

Pandemic Profs: Podcasts I’ve Been Listening To

Senior Alyssa Bauer at her home in Bergen County

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Alyssa Bauer, a senior public relations major isolating in her house in Bergen County, NJ. 

While spending so much time inside, it’s super tempting to waste my day on Twitter or YouTube … which I definitely did during spring break. I quickly realized how it lessened my productivity (obviously) and my motivation for the next day.

Podcasts have grown popular over the past few years, so I asked some of my friends for their favorites and made a list of some I could get behind. I enjoy listening to podcasts while I drive, cook or clean up the house. 

  1. Collegehood Advice
     Alyssa Bauer sits on a porch listening to a podcast.Collegehood Advice provides listeners exactly with what you’d expect: college advice. With topics ranging from building your personal brand, exploring potential careers, and even more relevant, adjusting to school online, it’s a great tool to navigate a successful college life.
    https://collegehoodadvice.com/podcast


  2. Janson & Hunt: Talking Points
    One of my peers recommended this podcast. The two hosts discuss relevant trends in the communications, business, sports marketing and social media industries. It helps me maintain information relevant to my career path, but I think would benefit any major looking to explore mainstream media.
    http://www.thetalkingpointspodcast.com/episodes

  3. FoundMyFitness
    FoundMyFitness with Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. discusses health topics and provides listeners with ways to boost their well-being through a better understanding of biology. Some episodes are definitely information heavy if you don’t already have a general knowledge of science concepts, but it’s worth it. I’ve given more attention to my sleep cycle and active lifestyle after listening. 
    https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes

  4. TED Talks Daily 
    TED Talks Daily is the podcast version of the TED Talks YouTube channel. It’s an easy way to listen to an inspirational and thought-provoking presentation, which we could all benefit from right now.
    https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/ted-talks/ted-talks-daily

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

Pandemic Profs: Relax with Drawing

Sketches of a human heart and a crystal ball side by side.

Today’s story is from Melanie Sbaraglio, a senior public relations and advertising major social-distancing from her house in Nutley, NJ (Essex County). Melanie joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Ace Screen Printing in Glassboro was cut short due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

If you are looking for something to do while sitting at home, it’s always a good time to pick up a pencil and a blank piece of paper.

I find that sometimes sitting down, clearing my head, and just sketching the first thing that comes to mind can be a great way to pass the time.

Over the years drawing has become one of my favorite hobbies. It doesn’t matter if you’re artistic or not because anyone can do it. I have also found that the less you focus on trying to make something look perfect, the better it comes out. So don’t stress because eventually you will start to notice yourself getting better over time — practice can only improve your skills.  Sketch of human skull with a butterfly on it.

Turning on some music and sitting down with a pencil and a sketch pad is a great way to turn off your brain and tune out everything that is going on in the world. Even for just 45 minutes a day I find that drawing is a great way to relax.

In the past my friends also asked me to draw things for them, and my one friend even asked me to draw him a tattoo that he wants to get in the future. You might surprise yourself and end up creating a few tattoos along the way as well.

Compass sketch. Drawing can also be a good way to calm your mind before going to sleep at night. Instead of going on your phone or watching TV before bed, try lighting a candle, playing some music, and just letting yourself be creative.

Even if you aren’t someone who considers themselves to be artistic you might just enjoy the feeling of being able relax your mind for a while. 

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Story and images by: 
Melanie Sbaraglio, senior public relations and advertising major 






Pre-Quarantine 20 Questions with Cam Hadley [VIDEO]

Cam sits in her office in the Student Center.
https://youtu.be/KzUvzPoOWBk

Welcome to Rowan at Home, our new series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story features Camryn Hadley, a junior isolating in her house in Somerset County, NJ. As we walk through the Student Center into the Student Government Association office, Camryn answers questions about her major, jobs on-campus, and leadership positions. Rowan Blog captured this footage pre-quarantine.

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Video by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major

Pandemic Profs: Yoga at Home

Yoga outside on my back deck.

Today’s story is from Melanie Sbaraglio, a senior public relations and advertising major social-distancing from her house in Nutley, NJ (Essex County). Melanie joined the Rowan Blog team to wrap up her remaining internship hours, after her internship with Ace Screen Printing in Glassboro was cut short due to COVID-19 affecting business. 

Stuck inside, gyms are closed, and looking for some kind of physical activity that will also relieve stress and anxiety? I had the idea to get into yoga when I wanted to focus on something new during this unusual time in life.

I went in thinking about how it was something I never used to have an interest in even though I tried it a few times in the past. For a beginner like myself I recommend starting with an easy stretch routine.Melanie does a demonstration of cobra pose from a stretch yoga routine. I have been liking one by a social media fitness instructor named Maddie Lymburner. Her YouTube handle is MadFit and the video that I started out with is her 20-minute Yoga For Stress and Anxiety. This routine is 20 minutes of Stretch Yoga, which also focuses on breathing. It can be a great way to start or end the day because it is quick and relaxing.

Once I did this beginner routine I realized that even though I am not an expert on yoga by any means, it is a great way to release stress and any tension from the body. Throughout the video, the instructor wants you to focus on breathing and letting any tension go from the neck and shoulders through different positions.

Melanie does a demonstration of airplane pose.

After doing a stretch routine for a few days to ease yourself into it, there are many other forms of yoga to try that are beneficial in different ways. If you are interested in working up a sweat and getting a good workout through yoga, try out Power Vinyasa Flow Yoga. This became another favorite of mine after following along with a video from a YouTube channel called YogiApproved. Power Vinyasa Flow is more intense and requires you to move from one pose to the next all in one motion. I noticed that this kind of yoga is more of a full-body workout because it is fast paced and tests your strength.

So far I have only tried out these two forms of yoga myself, but there are tons of videos on YouTube for any kind of yoga that interests you. I have never had a real interest in yoga or its benefits until these past few weeks of being home and needing to find something to occupy my time. It’s something anyone can try and do in the comfort of their own home for free.

Now is as good of a time as any to challenge yourself to something new so give it a try and get to stretching! 

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Story and photos by:
Melanie Sbaraglio, senior public relations and advertising major

Pandemic Profs: a Social Distancing Spring Break

Alyssa Bauer poses at the top of Bear Mountain, NY.

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Alyssa Bauer, a senior holed up in her house in Bergen County, NJ, during spring break. Alyssa is a public relations major.

I am definitely not someone who enjoys staying in. I am actively involved on-campus, which forces me out of my dorm for at least eight hours a day. Being stuck in my home with only my mom and brother, although I love them very much, is quite an adjustment. To avoid complete boredom, I found some ways to accommodate and welcome this new challenge of social distancing, which is important for my health and those around me.

  1. Socializing while social distancing
    Just because I’m limiting who I physically hang out with, doesn’t mean I’m completely trashing my social life. FaceTiming friends is a great way to keep each other company, distracted, and sane. If you’re in need of some open space and fresh air, I suggest grabbing a friend and taking a remote hike!
    Alyssa Bauer poses at the top of Bear Mountain, NY.
    Here I am at the top of Bear Mountain in Upstate New York!
     
  2. Staying active 
    Laying in bed all day may seem tempting, but making an effort to keep your body moving will help ease built-up stress.
    Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, meditation or a combination of all three, take the time to find out what works for you. Working out breaks up each day and ensures I’m doing something positive with my day instead of binge-watching  YouTube videos.
  3. Cooking
    Cooking is a huge de-stressor for me. I use that time to log off of social media (mainly because my hands are dirty) and cleanse my mind of distress. Now that I have all of the time in the world, or so it seems, I’ve been experimenting with different time-consuming recipes. What better reward than a yummy meal?
    Photo of cooked chicken Thai curry.
    This past week, I cooked Thai chicken curry, which came out delicious!
  4. Watching movies
    I rarely have the time to sit down for two hours to watch a movie. I started re-watching my favorite sappy movies (starting with About Time) and going through my Netflix watch list. Yesterday, I watched The Place Beyond the Pines, and it was one of the craziest movies I’ve watched in a long time — definitely recommend.
  5. Reading books
    Another activity I enjoy doing but usually don’t have time for is reading. However, I am now making an effort to replace screen time with book time.
    Photo of Educated by Tara Westover
    I just started reading “Educated,” by Tara Westover.
  6. Limiting caffeine consumption
    I love coffee. I love the taste, smell and comfort of holding it in my hands. However, it took me until my senior year of college to admit consuming more than one cup a day is a recipe for disaster. Too much caffeine makes me feel anxious, and adding stressors to a new routine will not help the adjustment. Take note of how you feel with the amount of caffeine you’re drinking.
  7. Finding peace
    The entire world is affected by all of this chaos in different shapes and forms. I, among my fellow soon-to-be graduates, are hurt over abrupt goodbyes, event cancelations and job losses. As hard as it may seem, we have the opportunity to exhibit humanity through our reactions.
    Behaving in deviance will not lead us to health. Be safe, be distant and wash your hands. 

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

Learn How This Transfer Student Graduated Debt Free

The top of Bunce Hall on a sunny day.

Rowan alumna and transfer student Natalia P. graduated debt free.Meet Natalia Panfilova, a 2017 graduate from the Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts. Natalia earned her bachelor’s in Public Relations without paying a single dollar for her degree.

According to Marketplace, roughly 70% of American students end up taking out loans to go to college. It was estimated that the average student leaves school with around $30,000 in debt. Not Natalia, though, and today she will share with us how this transfer student managed to graduate debt free.

Community College

Before coming to Rowan, Natalia went to Camden County College. She chose to attend community college because she knew she would save up more money that way. According to Saving for College, “Students can save as much as $30,000 or more by attending a community college instead of a private four-year college.” During community college, Natalia worked in full-time jobs that were taking care of her tuition payments. Also, during community college, one of Natalia’s friends told her to work with her at one of the Wyndham hotel chains in Atlantic City because the hotel chain would cover a part of her tuition. This opportunity was one of the reasons she managed to graduate debt free.

Tuition Reimbursement Jobs

Wyndham is one of many organizations that offer tuition reimbursements. Tuition reimbursement is when a company agrees to help pay for an employee to further his or her education. “All you have to do is prove that you can somehow apply your career skills to your job,” Natalia says. Natalia also received financial aid, but whatever was not covered by her job took care of it. “They would cover up my books and they would cover up to $4,000 per year. So, I actually didn’t pay anything out of pocket. I got to keep my salary, because I was a commuter,” Natalia says.

Natalia in front of the ccca sign.Commuter

When Natalia was at Rowan, she chose not to stay on campus and decided to commute from Brigantine, NJ (Atlantic County). She commuted an hour each day, but because she commuted and was able to schedule her classes in two days, she was able to work full time at the hotel.

She recommends students learn about finances: “Educate yourself in all things financial, the more you know the better. Just in life in general, if you know how debt works, how banks work, your life is going to be so much easier.”  

What is Natalia Doing Now?

Rowan alum Natalia visiting a friend in Minsk, Belarus.
Natalia visiting a friend in Minsk, Belarus

Natalia recently moved to New York City for her new position as a program marketing manager for WebMD. By being savvy with her spending, she was able to graduate debt free and become a homeowner. Graduating debt free allowed Natalia to travel worry-free and so far, she has visited 13 countries.

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Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major

Photos courtesy of:
Natalia Panfilova

It’s OK to be Scared

cassidy stands in front of a brick wall.

Moving away from home is scary. I’m not going to sit here and lie Cassidy posing for a portrait on train tracksand say that the transition from high school to college was easy for me. I’m sure other people had smooth transitions and would love to share their stories, but for the people who are scared to move away, I want to let you know that you’re not alone.

The longest I had been away from my parents before moving to college was on a school trip to Europe that was a week long, and by the end of the week, I called my parents crying.

Believe it or not, I was excited to move into college. Buying all the things I needed for my dorm was exciting, but there was always a voice in the back of my mind that said, “What if I’m making a mistake?” My boyfriend who lived close to me was commuting, so why was I going to live on campus? I pushed those thoughts out of my head and told myself I wanted the “full college experience.”

Cassidy holding a sunflower umbrella by red foliage.I moved in a day before move-in day because I had a late orientation date. I had talked to my roommate before I moved in and we decided to live together because we were both Theatre majors. My family moved me in, we had dinner, and then they left. Then I was alone in a place I was not familiar with. I had no idea where anything was and I felt alone. I decided to reach out to my friends from home and we hung out all night. I felt a little more comfortable. The next night, my roommate Faith invited me to hang out with some people from the department. Little did I know that I would make a ton of friends that would help me through this rough transition.

Cassidy and her sister on her first move in day.During my first week of classes, I met professors who made sure I was comfortable and taking care of myself. I quickly learned that everyone cared about me and I wasn’t alone. I joined clubs, performed in shows and made friends along the way who have changed my life for the better.

If you are scared or anxious about moving away from home, I want to let you know that it’s OK. Once you get to college, you will quickly realize that everyone here wants to help you and they want to see you succeed. So don’t be afraid, call your parents every day, and don’t forget that if you’re having a really tough time, just reach out.

Story by:
Cassidy Anderson, sophomore public relations and theatre major

Photos by:
Scott Anderson

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Public Relations Major Lands Full-Time Job After Internship

Ciara Sikking stands in front of Rowan Art Gallery at 301 High St.

Meet Ciara Sikking, senior Public Relations and Mathematics double major, from Buena, NJ (Atlantic County). She shares how her summer internship at Holman turned into a full-time position post-graduation.

Ciara Sikking posing in the Glassboro Town Center.In October of last year I sat down with my public relations advisor, Lori Block, to discuss class registration. I did not expect this very routine meeting to land me a full-time job.

In the PR department, the word “internship” is a huge deal, so it did not surprise me when Lori asked if I was looking for one. She suggested that I apply for the Holman Enterprises summer internship program, one I hadn’t even considered applying to due to its notoriously competitive selection.

Three months later I landed an interview and two months after that received one of the 50 positions out of over 500 applicants.

During my time at Holman, I worked in the client relations department and assisted with projects for the company’s most profitable clients including United Rentals and FedEx. Within the first four weeks I conceptualized, programmed and presented a tracker to organize information for United Rentals. Speaking in front of the upper management team was nerve-wracking, but it gave me the chance to utilize the presentation skills I have learned in many of my PR classes.

Aside from my client relations projects, I worked with a team of interns to research and create start-up recommendations for Holman Auto’s mobile Ciara Sikking sitting outside Barnes and Noble.service initiative. My team and I delivered an exciting presentation to a roomful of company leaders and, as a result, the company decided to move forward with the ideas we presented in our project. It is thrilling to know that the executives loved all of our hard work, especially Mindy Holman, granddaughter of the company’s founder.

Interning at Holman helped me grow in every way possible. It allowed me to mature professionally, gave me the confidence to tackle real-world problems and provided me with impressive projects to add to my portfolio. To add icing on the cake, I recently received a full-time position in the client relations department for after graduation.

I know that I could not have gotten this far without Lori Block and the strong education that I have received over my last three years at Rowan University. I encourage every student thinking about an internship to be bold and never sell yourself short. You can accomplish fantastic things if you just take a chance.

Ciara Sikking posing with her Holman Enterprises T-shirt.

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Story by:
Ciara Sikking, senior public relations and mathematics double major

Photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major

First Year Voices: Public Relations Major Rachel Rumsby

Freshman Public Relations major Rachel Rumsby sits on a bench outside on Rowan's campus.

Freshman Public Relations major Rachel Rumsby sits outside on Rowan's campus. Ten toes in. This is the motto of First-Year Connection: Leadership, and how I tried to live during my transition into college. For me, this meant getting as involved as possible to meet a lot of people and get acclimated to campus. 

The first home I found on campus was First Year Connection: Leadership (FCL). This is a four-day program for freshmen and transfer students that focuses on kickstarting your leadership journey at Rowan. This program allowed me to move into Mimosa, my freshman dorm, early, which really set me up for success here at Rowan. By the time the semester started, I had 40 new friends and was all moved in! FCL also jump-started my leadership Rowan career, where I am currently working on my Bronze Leadership Certificate. I still hang out with these people now, even though FCL ended months ago!

Rachel Rumsby (middle) poses with her First-Year Connection: Leadership group.
Rachel Rumsby (middle) poses with her First-Year Connection: Leadership group. (photo by Jessica Hassell)

The second group that I joined at Rowan is Student University Programmers (SUP). SUP is a group that makes programs and events happen for students by students here at Rowan. One of the FCL mentors is the president of SUP, and my RA is the Director of Charitable Events for SUP, and they really encouraged me to join. I don’t attend every event or meeting, but when I do they are always super friendly.

Joining Rowan’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, a national pre-professional organization, and PRaction, Rowan’s student-run public relations firm, also helped me in my transition to Rowan.

Rachel Rumbsy (right) hands out granola bars at Rowan University's Student Center for The SHOP.
Rachel Rumsby (right) hands out granola bars at Rowan University’s Student Center for The SHOP food pantry.

Being on a team for a PRaction client as a freshman really makes me feel like I am going to be professionally prepared after leaving Rowan. I am learning about the profession that I would like to go into, so I can be sure that public relations is actually what I want to do. 

My team on-campus is the Crew Club team. We are an up-and-coming club that welcomes people of any skill level in rowing. We are working toward earning enough money to buy a boat so that we can start competing. We are preparing to compete by working out, erging (rowing on a machine) and team bonding. I have found the members of the crew team to be my closest friends on campus. We are always looking for reasons to be together!

All of these clubs are family because they have helped me transition into having a successful start at Rowan. However, my college experience would be very different if I didn’t live on campus. My RA has been amazing with helping me through everything from roommate issues to how to use the laundry machine. My floormates are also becoming like family to me as well. I am so thankful to have this experience living on campus with them.

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, freshman public relations major

Photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: PR Major Jenna Fischer

Outside shot of 301 High St.

PR major Jenna Fischer holding up a 15th grade signToday, we hear from Jenna Fischer, a junior Public Relations major who recently transferred to Rowan from Middlesex County College. Read Jenna’s account of her first few months on campus. 

If someone told my quiet self in high school three years ago I would be striving as a public relations major and living on campus at Rowan University, I would have called you crazy. The only thing I knew three years ago was I was going to Middlesex County College for Communications. I knew I was going to transfer to a four-year school but pushed it as far back in my mind as possible.

Before I knew it, application season was upon me. I had my heart set on a specific school. In addition to that, I applied to Rutgers New Brunswick as my backup (like every other East Brunswick graduate does). But as deadlines quickly approached, the school I had heart my set on made the transfer process difficult.

PR major and transfer student Jenna Fischer inside her dorm roomWith a few days left until the application deadline, I decided to apply to Rowan. I remembered touring it with my brother a few years prior and enjoying how it was a small and quaint school. Most people think applying as a transfer can be confusing, and it can be. However, Rowan’s process made applying simple and painless. I even received my acceptance letter a just few days later.

When I emailed with questions about transferring credits or housing, Rowan’s staff was quick and kind to answer. But it wasn’t until I came and toured campus that I saw myself living here and feeling safe in the environment that I was now ready to call home. The puzzle pieces began to fall into place.

PR major and transfer student Jenna Fischer poses with WHOO RU at the owl statueBefore I knew it, I was all moved in. I cried as I didn’t want my family to leave because I was still scared to start this new chapter. But within a few days my worries subsided, and I found myself getting into the swing of my routine. I was starting classes, working on Rowan’s social media team and joining clubs, such as PRSSA and PRaction. In only two months, I am stepping out of my comfort zone, doing things I never thought I would do.

So, to the quiet student sitting in high school about to start county college or someone who’s ready to transfer but scared … you’re going to be alright.

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Story by:
Jenna Fischer, junior public relations major

Photos courtesy of:
Jenna Fischer

#PROFspective: Public Relations Major Serina Gonzalez

Rowan public relations major Serina Gonzalez

Today, we speak with Serina Gonzalez, a senior Public Relations major and Strategic Communication minor from Little Ferry, NJ (Bergen County) who lives on-campus. Serina will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.

Name: Serina GonzalezRowan public relations major Serina Gonzalez

Year: Senior

Major: Public Relations

Minors: Strategic Communication

Hometown: Little Ferry, NJ (Bergen County)

Academic or social clubs: Volunteerism mentor, Animal Advocacy Club and the Dr. Harley Flack Student Mentoring Program

Why did you choose Rowan? After going on a tour of Rowan, I knew it was the school I wanted to attend. It stood out from the other schools I toured because it didn’t feel like anything was forced. People actually seemed genuine. It made me feel comfortable, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Did you ever have a moment of uncertainty within your major? How did you get through the challenge? I honestly never had a moment of uncertainty within my major. I feel like I found a subject that keeps me inspired. I would not have learned my passion for PR if I did not go through other majors’ courses.

Rowan public relations major Serina GonzalezWhat got you interested in your intended field? I began taking all communications courses and realized it wasn’t for me. I definitely needed to find a balance to a communications-oriented career, but allowed more flexibilty. I talked to my advisers who introduced me to public relations. I took Intro to PR and fell in love. I immediately switched my major.

Was there a specific mentor that you would turn to about your degree/field? How did they help you? My academic advisor for the ASCEND program, and everyone in that office, acted as my mentor for years. They helped introduce me to the program.

How has your overall experience been so far? What is your favorite accomplishment? Working in the Office of Volunteerism is really rewarding because it gives me exactly what I’m looking for. Later in life, I plan to be a teacher. Overall, the kids are always so happy and make my sad days so much better. I learn a lot from them … being a kid is a good thing. 

What has been the most meaningful experience you’ve had while volunteering so far? One day, I was helping a little girl making cards for old people. While every other kid was working on their third card, she was still on her first. I looked at her card to see why it was taking her so long, and it was because her card was perfect. She’s a true artist.

What knowledge or skills have you developed through this opportunity that you will take with you for future endeavors? In the future, I plan on volunteering on the side. Volunteering taught me how to be a better person, even though it’s not only about being a good person. It’s just something you’re supposed to do.

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

#PROFspective: Public Relations and Advertising Dual Major Griffin Gallagher

Public Relations and Advertising major Griffin Gallagher is featured in this PROFspective

Today, we speak with Griffin Gallagher, a senior Public Relations and Advertising major from Middleton, NJ (Monmouth County) who lives in a house off-campus. Griffin will share his #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how he’s getting the most out of his college experience as a Rowan Prof. Name: […]

Where is She Now? PCI Alumna and PR Grad Troi Barnes

PCI alumna Troi Barnes attended the Student Leadership Conference in the Chamberlain Student CenterMeet Pre-College Institute (PCI) alumna Troi Barnes, a 2017 graduate from the department of Public Relations and Advertising. She is from Williamstown, NJ (Gloucester County). Today, Troi will share with us what she’s up to now and how PCI helped her prepare for Rowan.

What are you currently doing? “I am a public relations account coordinator at Skai Blue Media, located in Philadelphia. I lead accounts such as The African American Museum in Philadelphia, I handle all their communications. I work with [teen activist and author] Marley Dias, I lead her account for #1000BlackGirlBooks. I also work with [author and producer] Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, who does a one-woman show called “One Drop of Love.” She is also a consultant for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for Pearl Street Films. So, I secure their accounts for speaking engagements and different social media partnerships.”

PCI alumna Troi Barnes attended the Student Leadership Conference in the Chamberlain Student CenterHow did PCI help you prepare for college? “It helped me a lot. My mother is Dr. Penny McPherson Myers [from the Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Rowan]. So, I was 12 when I started coming to the PCI summer program. It helped me to get to know people prior to even before coming to Rowan. And when I was actually in the program in 2013, I met so many lifelong friends. It also prepared me for college with being able to take courses that would eliminate me taking them in the school year, building up my GPA and just having a family going into the school year and college life in general.”

Were there any classes that stood out for you during the summer program? “I took a writing class that really helped me strengthen my writing before I entered college. I wasn’t that strong [in writing], and that helped me to eventually get where I am now, where I am writing press releases and media alerts.”

Any advice you would give to PCI students? “Give your all. As much as you give is as much as you get from the program. So, if you engage with everyone, you will become family. If you put effort to become friends with the people you are here with for six weeks, then you will definitely get a lot out from the program.”

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VISIT CAMPUS

Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major

Communication Grad to CEO

Rowan alumna Denise Vitola with her team at her agency

Rowan alumna Denise Vitola at her agency

Meet alumna Denise Vitola, a 1997 College of Communication and Creative Arts graduate. Originally from Howell, NJ (Monmouth County) and now residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, she is cofounder/CEO of Vitola Strategies. Today, she will share with us how Rowan helped her find her passion for public relations and what inspired her to open her own agency.

Denise started out at Fairleigh Dickinson University and transferred to Rowan University her junior year to play basketball. “I always liked sports, I’ve played sports my entire life. I’m a sports fanatic,” she said.

Growing up, Denise wanted to be an FBI agent. It was not until Rowan that she started to fall in love with the public relations field.

“The way they designed the curriculum with advertising, news and TV … we didn’t have social or digital back then, but all the elements of the marketing mix really gave me many options of where I could take my career,” she said.Rowan alumna Denise Vitola giving out a speech

Denise loved that Rowan was near Philadelphia because she got the chance to do a couple of different internships. Some internships were on TV and one was at a hospital, where she did public relations. “I just really loved the variety of what they taught me under the whole communication discipline,” she said. “And it served me in my career later on because I started out doing public relations, but I’ve evolved in doing more integrated marketing now.”

What caught Denise’s attention about the communication field was that it’s a field where communicating and talking to people is a must. The ability to communicate to a larger audience and being able to share information to them also caught her attention.

Denise’s first job after graduating from Rowan was at the Alan Taylor Communications (now called Taylor Communications), a sports and entertainment PR firm. “It was really event related, so I had the opportunity while I was there to support my clients like Mastercard, Ford, NYC Marathon, the Super Bowl, the Olympics and the Major League Baseball World Series. So, I was able to really do a lot of exciting things like travel the world and meet a lot of famous athletes,” she said.

Before starting her own agency, Denise worked for 20 years in some of NYC’s top 10 agencies. “I started my own agency because I started moving away from doing the actual work. And I became more of a business head in that organization where I was looking at numbers,” she said. “So, I went off on my own to really begin working with the clients again, and that is what I’ve been doing.”

For Denise, the best part of owning and running her own agency is that she gets to call all the shots. “I get to work with clients that I like and love. I get to take on projects that are meaningful, and I get to do the work. I don’t hand it out to anyone else, I do it all. And I have an extremely flexible schedule,” she said.

Headshot of Rowan alumna Denise VitolaShe has recently worked with clients such as P&G, The Home Depot, Purina, Merial, Abbott Nutrition and PayPal.  

Denise has earned several awards for her hard work, dedication and passion for what she does. PRWeek honored her as one of its “40 Under 40” PR professionals, and PRNews named her one of the Top 25 Women in PR. She won the 2016 Stevies Award/American Business Award for Executive and Woman of the Year, and Women’s Health Magazine selected her as one of its Action Heroes of the Year.  

“Well, it’s fantastic. It’s nice to be recognized for the work that you’ve done. I feel very blessed that I won those awards,” she said.

Her next goal is making her clients award-winning brands. “I was able to achieve those things at a young age, and what’s next for me is to do the work for my clients. For me, it isn’t too much about me anymore, it’s about what I can do for my clients,” she said.

Her advice for anyone wanting to major in the communication field is to know how to work with new technology. “I would say that understanding social media and having a good idea about how to work with influencers and how to manage social channels is a must. You want to go into your job knowing much as you can, because your manager who is going to be 44 years old isn’t going to know much as you do. So, technology is key.”     

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Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major

Achieving Goals: Getting Produced

Rowan student and public relations major Enzo Ronchi

Today we are talking with Enzo Ronchi, a senior Public Relations major who transferred from Atlantic Cape Community College. Enzo is a part of the band Transfer Post. Transfer Post was featured on a completion album produced by Rowan Music Group.

Enzo was always inspired by music and is a self-taught musician from an early age, being a part of music in anyway he could — from jazz band in high school to writing his own music. One of the major reasons he decided to join the Rowan family is because of the music scene around us, with Rowan Alternative Music club and the venue 4333 playing an enticing role. When Enzo arrived to Rowan he met his bandmates, who formed Transfer Post. 

“Coming here gave me every resource I needed to start this band,” says Enzo. Besides having a great music industry and tech program, Rowan allowed him to meet many talented people. Enzo was able to network throughout the music scene on campus enough to meet the right people, who eventually asked his band to be a part of their album and produce their song. 

“A friend of mine who recently graduated was a part of Rowan Music Group and asked if we wanted to be a part of an album compilation and at that time we finished recording the song shortly prior but we didn’t have anyone to produce it, so everything sort of fell into place.” Rowan Music Rowan student and public relations major Enzo Ronchi Group opened the door of opportunity for Transfer Post to become more known and get their name out there with other popular local bands. Here’s a story of how a talented self-taught musician, was provided with every opportunity and made his aspirations a reality.

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Story and photography by:
Justin Borelli, senior advertising major 

How to Help Your Student Adjust to “Adulting”

Students studying and playing on a field

Helping your child adjust to “adulting” is easier than you think. Today we hear from Ferdoushe Laizu, mother of rising Rowan senior Mohammed Fuad (journalism); Brunilda Gomez, mother of rising Rowan senior Miguel Martinez (radio/tv/film); and Kathy Vause, mother of recent Rowan graduate Vanessa Vause (public relations and advertising). They will share their tips on how to help your child adjust to “adulting.”

There is no book in the world with instructions on how to properly help your child adjust to “adulting,” but if every parent shares at least one tip or advice that has worked for them then there is a higher chance you can help your child adjust to “adulting” properly. Here are three “adulting” skills/qualities that Gomez thinks is essential for your child to learn before entering college:

  1. Time management- “Being able to manage your time between priorities is important in the real world, whether that is for a job or just in general in life.”Girl reading at the library
  2. Respect- “Respecting your coworker or people you come across in life. Show what kind of person you are. If you respect people, they will also respect you.”
  3. Organization- “Just like time management, organization is something you will use in real life and being good at it will bring you a long way.” 

Laizu’s piece of advice for students:

“One advice I would give is to tackle responsibilities like an adult and if you mess up, you have to learn how to take responsibility.”

students hanging out Kathy Vause shares her own experience as a parent on how she helped her recently graduated daughter adjust to “adulting.”

“As a parent, I’m there for my daughter but I need to step back and let her live out her life. Yes, she’ll make mistakes and struggle but that’s what will make her stronger and give her the ability to grow. It’s important to find a balance of supporting, but letting your child learn lessons on their own.”

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Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, rising senior journalism major