My Favorite Class: Puppetry [VIDEO]

Students in Puppetry class work alongside each other in class.

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

Meet Grace Fox, a senior English major and Raven Vijayakumar, a sophomore environmental & sustainability studies major. They are sharing memories from their favorite class, Puppetry.

Puppetry (ART 02300) is a studio-based class where students have time to work on creating puppets. This course is a great fit for students who like a hands-on art experience. It gets students thinking creatively about how to design artistic work. 

This course is traditionally taught by Professor Patrick Ahearn. He provides his students with guidance, rather than strict instructions, giving students the opportunity to let their personal artistry flow. He educates his students on which techniques would give them the best results for the puppet they are trying to create. Rather than being an art piece that gets displayed on a wall, puppets can be used by anyone of any age, making it an interactive experience. 

A student working on constructing a puppet in Puppetry Class, held in Westby Hall.

Senior Grace Fox spends a lot of time on the opposite end of creativity, including time spent in writing and directing. Grace does more behind the scenes work for artists. She has found it very exciting to be fabricating her own puppets with Professor Ahearn’s guidance. Grace describes her experience in Puppetry as “real exciting and broadly applicable.”

Through Puppetry, sophomore Raven Vijayakumar realized that they need art in their lives. In high school, Raven was involved in Drama Club, where they worked on creating props for various performances. Raven likes engaging in artistic activities because of how fun they can be, and it gives them an outlet of expression.

“You should take this class because it is super fun, first of all, and because you get the opportunity to do something in a way that is practical.”

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

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

Mackenzie Saber dancing with a partner inside of Esby Gym

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human Services, Leading & Impacting Lives [VIDEO]

Dimirra working alongside three other children.

Human Service professionals work with diverse populations providing a wide variety of social, personal and health services depending on need. Potential career paths include becoming a case worker, social advocate, welfare service professional, child welfare professional or law enforcement. “The sky is the limit. We need more activists. We need more listening learners. We need […]

From High School to Showbiz and Back Again: Rowan Alum Janine Edmonds Tells All on Her Career as a Guidance Counselor

Janine poses in front of a mural.

Today we feature Janine Edmonds, a graduate of Rowan University’s class of 2001 with a degree in Radio/Television/Film and a 2006 graduate of Rowan’s M.A. In Counseling Educational Settings program. Here, Edmonds tells us about her path returning to higher education and her experience as a guidance counselor for Oakcrest High School. Did you always […]

Chem E Major Shares: Challenging the World for a Sustainable Future Through Material Science

Sarah S in a lab coat doing chemical engineering research.

Rowan Global graduate student Sarah Salazar is completing a master’s degree in chemical engineering, working with others to challenge the future of plastic.  “Chemical engineering really is everything. Everything that we touch in our lives has been impacted in some way by a chemical engineer,” Sarah says. “What I love about it is that here […]

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

Aaliyah sits in Robinson green.

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

#PROFspective: What Health Means for Senior Adrianna Blake

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major Adrianna is standing out front of the PROF logo in her basketball gear.

In this edition of #PROFspective, we learn of the the viewpoint of senior Health and Physical 
Education major
Adrianna Blake of Bayonne, NJ (Hudson County). In our conversation with Adrianna, we discuss with her as to how her unique Rowan experience led the way for her discovering what her future in physical education means. 

What goes into being a Health and Physical Education major here?

Being a Health and Physical Education major means a lot to a lot of different people. For myself, I went into the major more so thinking of the health aspect. I grew up to be a really intuitive eater. I’m one of the people that you’ll see in the grocery store looking at the back label making sure there’s no gums or corn fructose syrup. I want to implement more longevity, taking especial care as to what individuals are putting into their body and noticing the difference in their everyday life.

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major jots down notes inside a gym.

Health and physical education is essentially teaching students to build healthy and sustainable life habits. Whether that be through nutrition, your mental and physical health or as I stated earlier, creating healthy life habits, it’s our duty as future educators to remind these kids to make sure they implement all of these different lifestyle habits into their life. 

How did you come into Rowan?

When I first came into Rowan I was actually a Law and Justice major. I was obsessed with “Criminal Minds” in high school and I had envisioned myself as this FBI/detective character. Eventually, I figured out what kind of work that entailed and that I would have to take it home with me. I figured it would be too much for me to handle. So, I looked into the education field.

I’ve been playing sports all my life and I figured health and physical education would be the right fit for me. It was a mix of trial and tribulation. I had originally gone in as early elementary from, from what I believe was Kindergarten to grade two or three. Elementary ed was from grade three to five and I remember realizing that I didn’t want to be put into this box where I’m stuck teaching only a specific age or grade level for the rest of my life. With physical education, which is K-12 certification, it gives me more leeway to test the waters and broaden my own perspective. 

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major Adrianna can be seen helping a student out with stretching.

What is your coursework like being a physical education major?

I had actually just come back from Concepts of Creative Dance and HPE. I had taught a lesson where I was this tree going through all of the four seasons. It’s a lot of creativity and adding your own originality to the lessons that you’re teaching. In my opinion, it takes a lot of planning and formatting and can be a bit on the tedious side. But overall, I feel that the concepts that we want to get across can best be accomplished through the energy that you, as the educator, bring to the class. You can have a stellar lesson plan and meet all the criteria on paper, but if you show up to class and have low energy or just not familiarize yourself with the students, they’re not going to be as responsive to the material as they’ll just be reading it off like a piece of paper. 

What is your involvement on campus like? Are there any specific clubs or organizations that you’re a part of? 

So I’m part of the HP club and this semester I’ve been volunteering to do “Get Fit.” It’s an established program where people with disabilities come with whomever, such as their parents or guardians, and get assistance with weight training.

For many people with disabilities, they do not receive a well-rounded physical education. However, with “Get Fit” we create a safe environment. It’s easier to feel comfortable in a room where you’re able to relate and empathize with other people, especially more so when you have a support system and people that want to see you succeed. Our participants give us progress worksheets that we fill out every week so we can see their progress. 

What sport(s) were you involved with when you were in high school? How did this inspire you to later become a physical education major? 

Another reason I had thought physical education was a good choice for myself was because of my athletic background. In high school, I was a triathlete, I was involved with soccer, basketball and threw shot put and discus in track and field. On the latter, I had thought it was almost crazy that I was involved with throwing. I had started my sophomore year and I ended up being exceptional at it. For myself, I had really gotten so proficient in throwing through technique and not just the raw physical aspect of it. All of my background in sports had given me inspiration to go into the physical and health education major. I’ve had so many great figures in my life that eventually I want to be on the coaching side of things. 

I had actually come into Rowan to play basketball my first year. Unfortunately, four days into my second year I had torn my ACL around four days before the season had started. Health and physical education really had played a part in changing my perspective as a whole. I understand why there is a stigma with the major and how it can be perceived as being solely focused on sports, but it is so much more than that. And obviously, physical activity helps with longevity and putting you in a better mood, enhancing all these great things. But you want to make sure that you’re also working on your mental health and being mindful of what you consume and put into your body as well. 

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major Adrianna can be seen on the basketball court with friends smiling inside Esby Gym.

How has tearing your ACL affected your going into the health and physical education field? 

I would say it has. Tearing my ACL was more so of a mental injury more than anything. I was kind of down for a bit. I wasn’t able to do the normal things that I’ve been doing since I was six years old when I had first started participating in sports. It was definitely hard on me. I feel like health and physical education was that kind of linkage and gave me solace as to where I am now. I know my own limitations now physically but I also am aware of the other side of things. I can always coach and help other young students and athletes play the sport that I love. 

Where are you originally from and how has your transition been from there to Rowan? 

I’m originally from North Jersey. I grew up in Bayonne. For myself, the camaraderie has been extremely beneficial for myself since I’ve been on campus. The best comparison that I could give for it is that it’s been almost like a natural instinct where I knew that Glassboro was going to be home for a few years. I feel like it was far away from home but not too far. I’ve still had my dad be able to come down and visit me down here. When I first arrived I do think there was a bit of a culture shock. I always knew North Jersey and South were super different but I remember just picking up on all of the different lingos when I first moved. The transition was still adaptable and now I can see myself staying down here for a few more years. 

What do your future plans look like outside of college in the field of education? 

For myself, there is still a bit of uncertainty. I don’t know if I’m going straight into a district and teaching after I graduate. But I do see myself coaching. I feel like I can bring about a very interesting perspective and would love to implement that into either coaching or physical education.

When I was growing up, my dad was a boxer and he actually won the Golden Glove a couple of times in New Jersey. My mom was a yoga instructor so I always felt as if it was natural for me to be as active as I am. What’s interesting to me nowadays is children who are struggling with mental health and how prevalent of an issue it’s becoming. You know, in this day and age there are so many different curveballs that are constantly being thrown at teachers such as social media, it makes it difficult to remain flexible. 

During my clinical experience there was one particular teacher, Michelle Thornton, who had stood out to me. Thornton had the students work on their mindfulness and had a class dedicated to meditation in substitute for a physical activity in their PE class. I had sat in on one of those classes and I was blown away. In one of the times I was observing she told me this story of this room that was originally a storage room and how the school had renovated it just for her. This room was heavily decorated and seemed so warm and welcoming; there were multiple different tapestries arrayed on the walls alongside string lights and different yoga mats. Thornton’s teaching method was incredible to me, she would talk with the students for 40 minutes just reminding and reassuring them that they were okay and that the classroom was a safe space for them to get anything that they wanted off of their chest. I think in my field, I want to implement something similar, whether that be a yoga class instead of a volleyball lesson or a mindfulness class instead of something. 

Rowan University Health and Physical Education major Adrianna can be seen at "Get Fit" and is coaching another person how to use a machine.

Can you discuss with us the importance of mental health in connection with physical health? 

With physical activity, it boosts your endorphins and stimulations you; but, that’s not everything that occurs. Mental health is something that we forget to exercise and work on. As a society, I feel like we’ve grown as its become more of a goal that we want to reach to be happy by working on that part of ourselves. For myself, this is especially important for my own set of values. The professors here at Rowan do a great job at implementing health and wellness just as much as the physical education aspect. 

With your ACL injury, you stated that it became more of a mind injury, how were you able to heal yourself mentally and continue to keep moving forward? 

Going back to my personal injury, it was a big blow. Something that had helped me a lot was journaling how I felt every day and keeping track of the progress throughout the injury. It’s an extensive recovery lengthening around over nine months. Even after the recovery process you can still feel some aches and groans from the area. No matter how much I tried to focus on the physical aspect and get back to playing sports, I knew that I couldn’t rush the process. The mental block was especially draining. I had to face the fact that I might not be able to go back to playing sports.

Because of my experience, I want to remind students that if you ever go through such an endeavor, whether it be injury or anything else, I want to remind them that it’s good to have grit and have that drive to get back but to also be able to take a step back and let your thoughts settle about what had just happened. It’s important to recognize these type of thoughts, recognizing trauma is a huge task in itself, especially at a young age, students may not think of that possibility of not being able to play a sport again. 

Of course, it may seem a bit outlandish to someone who has never played sports, but I can understand why someone may think it a bit extreme. However, to that person, whether that’s a student or athlete, these types of injuries are prone to causing trauma and be detrimental to their life. Right now I’m learning more about these trauma-based injuries and as a teacher, we have to be aware of the signs of it. Noticing patterns of lack of effort, attendance, and depression, lets you as an educator put that hand out to help students going through bleak times. 

What’s an interesting aspect about physical education that you didn’t know until you took a course on it?

I’ve talked about nutrition a lot so far but something that was really eye-opening to me was school lunches. I want to be that voice to persuade the school or district that I’ll be at and let them know how processed students’ lunches are. 

I also remember in high school that the football team that we had was the only team that had taken weight training seriously. In connection with my own injury, I tore my ACL and the doctor’s and people involved all had thought that it was my hamstring that had torn because it was so weak. Naturally, women have weaker hamstrings than men. Women are more quad dominant while men are more hamstring dominant, which is why you may see more ACL injuries in women. When I tore my ACL they had wrapped it up and I was even able to go to a Halloween attraction that night. I had surmised that everything was fine but when I woke up the next morning, my knee was the size of my thigh. From that point I knew something awful had happened.

This was also a great learning point for myself. Throughout that process of physical therapy and the read to recovery, a lot of emphasis was placed on growing the muscles around the knee such as the hamstrings, quads and glutes. Growing up, I had no idea that was even a thing. I hadn’t got involved with weight training until I came to Rowan my first year where it was mandatory for the basketball team to have 5 a.m. lifts. I can reflect on that now and think of how bizarre it was to have something so important such as weight training and have it neglected. You have the usual sports that are heavily involved with weight lifting such as the wrestling and football team but it goes beyond that. Women should also be doing the same thing to ensure maintenance of the body as well as prevent injury. 

See our video with Adrianna here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English education graduate student

#PROFspective: Getting to Know Health and Science Communication Major Sedrick Golden

Sedrick Golden is a junior student here at Rowan University originally from Pleasantville, NJ (Atlantic County). Sedrick is a Health and Science Communication major with a minor in Public Health and Wellness. Sedrick is breaking down barriers as a first-generation college student commuting to Rowan after transferring from Atlantic Cape Community College. On campus, he […]

#PROFspective: Civil Engineering Student and Clubs Enthusiast Kayla King

In this edition of #PROFspective, we learn more of Kayla King of Burlington County. Kayla is currently a senior and majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering and in this excerpt we learn more of how Rowan provided opportunities to further her career as well as enriched her experience as a college student. 

What is civil engineering?

Civil engineering, to me, is the ability to design, build and construct all types of bridges, buildings, any type of infrastructure. Civil engineering also deals with maintaining all of that aforementioned infrastructure When you’re on a job site you’ll see that it’s not just all the construction workers that you see building things. It’s also all the design teams, consulting teams, the land surveying teams, there’s a bunch that goes into all of the different infrastructure that we see today.

Rowan University Civil Engineering major Kayla works on a project inside the concrete lab in Engineering Hall.

What made you choose engineering and more specifically civil engineering?

I’ve always known that I wanted to be an engineer; my father was actually in the construction industry growing up. My father was an ironworker, to put it into perspective, those are people that you see climbing all the high rises, putting up all that steel. Later in his career he switched into becoming an operating engineer with Local 825. I’ve always had a background in construction, which has influenced my decision, but I’ve also always loved math and science.

I was always a problem solver, I love to answer questions and come up with solutions with intricate questions or challenges. I’ve also really enjoyed engineering diving, that is something that I’ve learned all the way back in eighth grade. I would say that  because of my upbringing and just familiarity in the construction industry I’ve gotten some inner niche details within the industry. So I’ve just kind of always known that I wanted to do civil engineering.

What goes into civil engineer diving? 

They’re basically commercial divers, they do not have typical scuba equipment but you do have something similar to the whole helmet. There are a lot of intricate differences such as how you don’t have the air tank on your back it’s fed into a line to you. Throughout the dive, you have a tagline throughout. With civil engineer divers, these people are the ones that kind of will go in anything that has water. They’re certified to be able to go underground, and they end up taking special care into noticing how things are down below and then report that information to the people up above. That’s how they’re able to do underwater inspections on timber piles on bridges or foundations. So it’s really nice. It’s an interesting thing that a lot of people don’t know about.

Civil engineering major Kayla (left) and another student work on a project in the concrete lab in Engineering Hall.

What made you choose Rowan initially?

Rowan is close to home, but not too close. I’ve also been very fortunate to get a lot of scholarships to go here. Rowan has an incredible engineering program. In my opinion, it’s got to the point where you cannot even argue that it isn’t. I believe we’re 15th in the nation for the last year for our civil engineering program. So I’m very proud to consider myself to soon be a Rowan graduate.

Describe your experience here.

So I’ve been involved in everything since the start of my freshman year. I have been a Chamberlain Student Center building manager and before I did that I had a position working at the Information Service Desk.

Outside of work-related aspects, I’ve been involved in the Wrestling Club, which is something a lot of people wouldn’t think of. I had met a friend freshman year and we became really close. I kind of pinned him in his freshman dorm room and I’ve been going to the club ever since.

I’ve also been involved in various other clubs throughout my time on campus. I am ASCE president and have been for the past two years. Before getting that position, I was the senator of the club. I’m also involved with women’s engineering. I used to hold the workshop chair position as well as the senate chair position for that club as well.

What does ASCE stand for, and what does it represent? 

ASCE is the American Society of Civil Engineers and it is a worldwide organization. The ASCE national has different student chapter branches where we are able to compete in various different competitions with other regions of schools. So for example, we are hosting the ASCE Region One metropolitan symposium from April 21 to the 23rd this upcoming year. There is a lot of excitement around it because of how so many different students can get involved in it. The competition has a bunch of different challenges and tasks such as making things like concrete canoes with surveying competitions. It’s a whole bunch of things to help facilitate fun and learning at the same time.

Could you provide some insight on what went into Women in Engineering? 

WE (Women in Engineering) was definitely a club that I enjoyed being a part of. I wasn’t as involved as I have been in comparison with ASCE just because ASCE is more directly geared towards my major, so I decided to give more time towards that. But WE was definitely a great thing because it was under the I triple E which is the electrical engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering major club. And I just like WE slightly better than SWE (Society of Women Engineers) throughout my time here because I feel like the individuals that WE had were more personable while SWE was definitely more professional. So it kind of depends upon what you were looking for at the time. In my case,I decided to go the latter route because I wanted to make more friends. They also had really good baked ziti at the time. 

Profile picture of Rowan University Civil engineering major Kayla.

What is it like being a woman in the engineering field? How would you say your experience has been so far?

I love being a woman in STEM. I like the fact that I’m constantly expected to do less, because then I always do more and there’s always an element of surprise. I’ve grown accustomed to hearing things such as “What the heck? Where’d this come from?” I like to be able to prove myself and my worth.

So, talk to me about your most influential professor here.

So the most influential professor for me would definitely be Dr. Douglas Cleary. He’s a great teacher. You get an introduction to him in your freshman or sophomore year. Dr. Cleary has courses where you deal with statistics, which is a really fundamental civil civil engineering course. Right from the start, you definitely understand that he’s a professor who’s looking out for your best interest. As time went on, I got more involved with ASCE and I spent more time with Dr. Cleary and I definitely can say he is one of the best professors here.

The camera is panned in and zoomed in on what Kayla is working on.

What are some of the clubs that you’ve been involved with like? 

I’ve been a part of a  slew of different clubs. One of the ones that I’ve been involved in throughout my time here is ASCE, WE and SWE, but there are a million other different ones like Tau Beta Pi, which is an honor-based introductory society. For Tau Beta Pi, it’s invitation only, which is really cool. I’ve also been a part of the Rowan Environmental Action League, which is something where if kids are interested in the environmentally friendly side of civil engineering, it’s definitely a way to give back to the community and participate in a lot of campus cleanups.

We also have EWB, which is Engineers Without Borders, which is a club where a lot of the students can have opportunities to go out of the country and be able to work on small different tasks to help the communities there. Another club is 3D PC. So this one’s not technically engineering-based, but it is something to keep an eye on, because a lot of civil engineers might have some like niche interests. So say if they want to build something themselves, 3D PC allows you to print your own personal designs. You also have NSBE, which is the National Society of Black Engineers, or SAME which is the Society of American Engineers.

When you’re here at Rowan in my opinion I think you should try and give every club that you might be interested in the chance. In my experience, a lot of my peers were doing the same thing and it gives you the chance to separate yourself from others, they’re gonna be the things that get your name out there.

Being a part of different clubs and associations is gonna be the way that professors know you. And professors obviously have had their own life, their own network. So it’s really important to make sure that you are involved in the clubs, because it’ll set you apart from everyone else.

Kayla (pictured in center) and a group of her classmates are listening to the directions of a professor.

What are your goals for the future?

I would love to end up becoming an engineer diver. If that falls through I’d also be open to the idea of becoming a construction project manager, I don’t necessarily have a direct path right now. I’m in a place where I have a great amount of internship experience. I’ve done an excellent amount of work during my time at Rowan. So it’s kind of just kind of where life takes me so far.

What impact do you wish to have on the world?

I would love to be the “know it all” answer for everyone. That’s what I kind of did at Rowan, just being involved in everything. That’s what I really like to do is just being a leader and  being able to help anyone, no matter what it is. Even if I don’t know the answer, I would love to find out and help you with that. So that’s why I’ve always enjoyed being a part of all the clubs because of all the different mentoring opportunities that they include, there is definitely a great way to foster more relationships, and therefore more networking opportunities for a better job in the future.

What’s one piece of advice you would give an incoming freshman?

I would say don’t give up and keep your head high. You know yourself best. So if it is something that you want to do in regards to a club, Greek life, or if it’s something that you’re not sure about and you say you want a friend to go with, that’s ok. You don’t need a friend. Do it by yourself. You have the confidence. 

See our video with Kayla here:

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Story produced by:
Lucas Taylor, English Education graduate student

All About Accounting with Senior Jacob Rodriguez

Jacob reads from a laptop, seated in Business Hall.

Today we feature Jacob Rodriguez, a senior Accounting major from Hammonton, NJ (Atlantic County). Jacob is a first-generation college student who transferred here from Rowan College of South Jersey in Gloucester County. We featured Jacob in a previous story as part of our Hispanic Heritage Month #PROFspective series, which you can read here. Could you […]

#PROFspective: Liberal Studies, Languages and Law with Junior Alexzia Lyons

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

Exploring the Community and Environmental Planning Major with Senior Jon Hansel

Jon smiles outside in on Glassboro Town Square.

Today we feature senior Jonathan Hansel (he/him) from Burlington County. Jon is majoring in Community and Environmental Planning and pursuing a master’s in Urban and Regional Planning through Rowan’s 4+1 program. Here, he discusses the importance of planning, his personal aspirations, and the opportunities he’s found in the program. Could you tell us a little […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your concentration? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was the hiatus that you mentioned earlier? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

When did you start your master’s program?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How accessible is the program going from here to there?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rowan Alumnus and Band Director Mike Massaro on Music Education

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

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

Where did your passion for music stem from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did you choose Rowan for music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is sitting in a tree playing the saxophone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A side profile picture of Mike sitting and talking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is smiling and holding his saxophone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is smiling while holding his saxophone

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

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

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

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

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

Mike is sitting and looking off right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch our video feature of Mike here:

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Story by:
Jada Johnson, political science major

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

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After discovering our school newspaper, The Whit, Helena Perray ’22 changed her major to Journalism and worked her way up to become co-editor-in-chief her senior year. She credits The Whit for helping her build relationships and her interpersonal communication skills. “The Whit has been an invaluable experience because you’re working with a group of people […]

Rowan University Student Zachary Rouhas on the Joint Degree Program That Pairs Environmental Studies with an MBA

Today we feature Zachary Rouhas, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environment and Sustainability Studies and a master’s degree in Sustainable Business. through an accelerated 4+1 program — the first of its kind in the state. Zachary, a veteran of the U.S. Army, discusses his journey to becoming a student within the accelerated program, his future […]

Inclusive Education Prepares Teachers to Meet the Needs of All Students [VIDEO]

Gabriella Lugo is diligently working with a student in a classroom.

Junior Gabriella Lugo defines inclusive education as a “special education combined with elementary education to make an inclusive classroom.” The inclusive education program prepares its students by providing them the opportunity to earn a license in Elementary Education as well as having them become certified as a Teacher of Students with Disabilities (TOSD). 

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Rowan Vocals Provides Students A Support System While Producing Beautiful A Capella [VIDEO]

“We dance, we sing and yeah, we’re a nice big family and we like to have fun,” says Christopher Scire, the vice-president and music director of Rowan Vocals. Rowan Vocals prides itself on its interweaving community providing connections, lasting bonds, and an escape of the daily grind from people of various different majors.

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Bridging The Gap In Health Literacy Through Graphic Design [VIDEO]

Terry uses graphic design software in a computer lab.

Rowan’s Biomedical Art and Visualization (BMAV) major is one of a select few programs of its kind offered nationwide. As a biomedical artist, you will apply your knowledge of art, medicine, science and technology to create educational illustrations, animations and interactive media for specific audiences.

“BMAV is a program that is geared towards students who are artistic but also have an affinity for the sciences,” says senior Terry Nguyen. “We take scientific data or any sort of data and interpret it visually.”

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Alumni Success: Melissa Miller ’02 Ensures Penn Dental Medicine Technology Stays Up To Speed [VIDEO]

The set up of a dental clinic room.

Melissa Miller, a Computer Science alumna, directs and leads all technology operations within the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, including academics, clinics, research and satellite community locations.

“One thing I really enjoyed about my experiences in the computer science program at Rowan was all of the collaborative work and projects we were able to complete that actually had real world connections to them,” says Miller ’02.

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Rowan Fencing Club [VIDEO]

Two people fencing in full equipment.

Open to all skill levels, Fencing Club offers instruction for all three weapons: foil, épée and sabre, with two experienced coaches in the sport. Neither equipment nor prior knowledge about fencing is needed to join.

Learn more about student organizations at Rowan here.

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Video by:
John Hunter, junior Radio/TV/Film major
Brian Seay, junior sports communication and media major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pexels

Alumni Success: Matt Ruiz ’10 Builds Career Thanks To ROTC Scholarship [VIDEO]

Matt smiles outdoors in front of fall foliage on Rowan's campus.

Matt Ruiz, a CPT Exercise Planning Officer, used his Armed Services Assistance ROTC Scholarship to earn a liberal studies degree, which helped him build life skills that he now uses as an office in the United States Army. “I would say that the biggest thing, getting the scholarship and doing the ROTC program here, it […]

Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey Lea Donaghy on Advocacy and Education [VIDEO]

Lea sits with her partner at a table in her wheelchair.

Congratulations to Lea Donaghy, named Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2022 by the nonprofit Ms. Wheelchair America. “It allows me to advocate for my state, talk about my experience and things that I think we need to really improve upon in the disabled community,” says Lea. Her platform will be to provide better resources for college students coming into college with a disability.

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Alumni Success: Aeberli Begasse ’19 Strives For A Healthy Community [VIDEO]

Aeberli walks with Dr. Nicole Vaughn in front of Wilson Hall.

Aeberli Begasse, a 2019 Rowan graduate of the Health Promotion and Wellness Management program, works as a tobacco program coordinator, educating and helping the community kick the habit.  “When I went to Rowan, I had the opportunity to explore other possibilities, and I was fortunate enough to find a career that fit more of what […]

Purpose & Community Impact Through Dietetics [VIDEO]

Jeramie stands inside a local ShopRite as part of the research he worked on in his program.

A chef by trade, Rowan Global student Jeramie Cooper says he’s combining health and “something he’s always loved” into a new career path through the Nutrition and Dietetics program.  “I just want people to be healthy, it’s what I want to be able to bring to other people,” Jeramie says. “So that’s pretty much my […]

Strengthen Your Writing with Strategic Communication [VIDEO]

Shot of Owl Statue.

Brandon West, a Rowan Global student pursuing his master’s degree in Strategic Communication, shares his thoughts on the program.  “No matter what field you want to go into, whether it’s public relations, sports communication or being a teacher, this program is applicable to pretty much any career,” he says.

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

Active Minds [VIDEO]

Purple azaleas near Hollybush.

“Active Minds is an organization, and our main goal is to educate others about mental health,” says Rowan Active Minds Chapter President Mia Fondacaro.  A national organization, the mission of Active Minds is to break the stigma surrounding mental health. The Rowan chapter “is geared toward changing the conversation, supporting one another, building community, and […]

Gettin’ Sudsy with Whoo RU [VIDEO]

Whoo RU relaxes in the laundry room between wash cycles.

Laundry service on the ground floor of the Chamberlain Student Center lets our Profs stay spiffy and clean. With 10 washers and 10 dryers that accept quarters or Rowan Bucks, this central location on campus is easily accessible.

Watch as Whoo RU demonstrates how to do laundry.

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Produced and edited by:
John Hunter, junior radio/TV/film major

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

Gardening For All: An Inclusive Community [VIDEO]

The Borgerson family and Jenna see the raised beds at the Williamstown Organic Community Garden.

“Having an inclusive garden makes it easier for other people to access, whether it includes people in a wheelchair, using a walker or a cane,” says junior Charlotte Borgersen.

Inclusive Community Gardens is funded by the Division of Disability Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services.

A Rowan team, under the guidance of Dr. Spencer, has partnered with seven area community gardens, reviewing each and making changes such as reducing sensory stimuli, adding Braille and images to signage and designing paths and beds that are more accessible.

Read more about this project and one of the students behind the research here.

For more on our M.A. in Wellness and Lifestyle Management program, click here

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

Amanda dances in front of string players.

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

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

Roommates Reflect | Anthony and Nasir | Holly Pointe Commons [VIDEO]

Exterior shot of Holly Pointe Commons.

Roommates Reflect is a series highlighting campus living, how new students bond together and the stories they share.

“The reason I like it here is because it’s very close to home,” says sophomore Civil Engineering major Nasir Brown. “It’s good to get the experience of living on your own and having the real college experience despite all the difficulties.” 

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Video By:
Brian Seay, sophomore sports communication and media major

Rowan Emergency Medical Services: Student Leadership [VIDEO]

Exterior shot of Rowan EMS headquarters.

“Anyone is able to join Rowan EMS, you don’t have to be a specific year. Just anyone that has interest we will get you in,” says Luke Heisler, the captain at Rowan EMS, and a Biological Sciences major. Catch a glimpse into the life of Luke who works in the field with Rowan EMS.

Learn more about clubs and activities at Rowan here

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Video by:
Joshua Hedum, Radio/TV/Film graduate

Stagecraft Fundamentals | Building Your Skill Set [VIDEO]

Someone measures a line on a piece of wood.

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

#PROFPRIDE: Filmmaker Riel Dioquino on “Beyond His Closet”

Riel wears his graduation regalia and squats by a tree.

Today we speak with Riel Marc Dioquino (he/him), who recently graduated with a degree in Radio/Television/Film (RTF) and a concentration in Production. Riel hails from Burlington Township and is a first-generation college student. He also participated in Cinema Workshop and earned recognition for this short documentary, Beyond His Closet, in the Edelman College of Communications & Creative Arts Student Showcase. Beyond His Closet follows Adam Kowalski in his journey after coming out. Riel also earned recognition for his narrative film, Lost & Found, at the 7th Annual RTF Media Festival.

Why is this a relevant story to share? 

Anyone that’s in the LGBTQ+ community, we hear a lot of stories of people coming out, but little do we hear stories of what happens after. There are a lot of inner demons you still have to work with maybe your whole life you’ve closeted yourself and you’ve hidden your identity for so long. That affects your way of living and you have to find a way to find yourself again.

This goes back to the concept of coming in, which is what Adam talks about [in the documentary]. The concept of coming out is that you tell everyone, your friends and your family that you’re gay or bi, or whoever you are. Coming in is just as important because it means you’re coming into yourself. You’re starting to explore the good and bad sides of yourself and become more comfortable in your own skin. That’s what this whole story of Adam and this documentary focuses on, not just the process of coming out, but going through life afterward and finding yourself again. 

Is there anything else you want viewers to realize or feel after watching the film? 

Coming from my personal struggles, I think from what Adam says at the end to keep going through life and keep moving forward, I think that makes us stronger. 

I just hope anyone that watches this feels the hopefulness and the strength Adam shows. I think Adam is a really strong person, and having that film in mind kind of helped me mentally prepare for my surgery [Riel currently has a broken arm that required surgery]. I feel like we should just appreciate life as it is, not take life too seriously and just continue on regardless of whatever you’re are going through, I think that’s what’s going to make your life the fullest.

Adam, wearing glasses and a black t-shirt, plays the guitar on his porch.

How did you prepare Adam to be your documentary subject? 

I did a pre-interview with Adam before we started shooting for the film. We met up and talked about his life for a few hours that first day. After I knew a little bit about him, I had my questions lined up so that he could talk about: his childhood, his process of coming out, what happened after he came out and then a wrap-up of what he thinks about his life.

How long did it take to film the documentary? 

On all phases of production, it took a whole semester. This film was for my TV Documentary Field Production class. I had Professor Jonathan Olshefski and I chose to do it independently, which was a tough job to carry but it wasn’t too bad. Thankfully, I had Prof. Olshefski to guide me. 

Surprisingly, it took four days to film the documentary. Before and during those film days throughout the semester, I had to find a subject, pre-plan the shoot, plan all the equipment, then commute to get all of the equipment from the RTF room. Once production was done, I edited everything at home. 

Beyond His Closet film cover photo showing Adam playing the guitar while barefoot.

In the future, what kind of films do you want to make? 

I’ve honestly never really thought of that because I’m always thinking about what’s the next job to do. I just graduated and I always get asked, “What’s your plan? Do you have any jobs lined up?” It’s the pressure of “What is next?” or “You have to keep going even though you have no idea where to go” that kind of scares me.

I always thought about maybe doing freelancing or production assistant jobs. Personally, I never thought of making a documentary or a huge film because it’s not usually my thing. But, if anyone asked me to join their project, I would!  

For my Instagram posts, I play around with a lot of lighting and smoke on concepts for my photo/video shoots. Recently, I’ve been wanting to get out of my basement to do more photo/video shoots in nature for a change. The way I work with projects on Instagram or non-jobs is more about expressing myself, what I feel in the moment, and what I need to get out of my chest into visuals. Then I’m onto my next project. 

I used to make a lot of dark, emo, Billie-Eilish-inspired projects where I’m in this dark void, but recently I want to make more projects where I feel free with the use of outside nature. 

Going back to the making of my documentary, it can be hard for filmmakers to create a documentary if you don’t understand the energy of the person. That’s what brings life to it, showing compassion and deep feelings about it. Not just the way people talked in the interview but the way you edit it, the way you shoot b-roll, and how you use lighting. Everything influences how you want to portray this person’s life on screen.

Riel looks contemplatively into the golden sunset with his hand on his face.

Is there anything else you want to share about the film? 

I just thought it was cool how I was able to be comfortable enough to dive deep in this subject of being a part of the LGBTQ+ community and exploring someone’s life through that. I definitely would give credit to my production classes especially my Video Art class because I was able to express myself and be open about being gay through projects where I was given the freedom to make whatever I want. From that, I felt open to doing the documentary on Adam which I am very grateful for.

What’s your message to people during Pride Month or are you keeping anything in mind during Pride Month? I feel like I’m a newbie at being openly gay because this is the first year where I’m actively expressing my identity through projects where I’m able to tell people my struggles with being gay. 

I have social anxiety, I’m very introverted, and I’m Asian. My advice for people is that there’s always going to be a group for you even if you think there’s not. 

Keeping that fire or spark alive is so important. Do what makes you happy. When I grow up, I don’t want to regret not doing the things I wanted to do. I don’t want to have an unfulfilled life when my time comes. Having that mindset helps me move forward and blocks out all the negativity. Letting go of all the tension in your chest and just doing whatever you want helps bring a lot more meaning to your life. I know it won’t be easy but I think it’d be worth the shot if you tried.

Check out more of Riel’s work at:

Instagram – @rmarc99

Portfolio Website – https://rieldioquino.myportfolio.com/work 

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Story by: 
Marian Suganob, public relations and advertising graduate

Photos by:
Riel Dioquino, radio television film graduate

Vinyl Record Club [VIDEO]

Stock photo of vinyl album covers

Members of the Vinyl Record Club share their favorite aspects of vinyl, analyze the authentic analog sounds of records, and welcome you to join the fun. Whether you own vinyl or just love music – all are welcome.

Explore our clubs, honor societies, Greek organizations and sports to make the most out of your college experience.

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

Secondary videographer:
Brian Seay, junior sports communication and media major

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

3D Printing Club [VIDEO]

Stock image of 3D printing supplies.

The mission of the 3D Printing Club is to give all students, regardless of major or skill level, the opportunity to learn about 3D printing.

“You don’t have to be a pro at 3D modeling or 3D design,” says Lauren Repmann, co-president of the 3D Printing Club. “You can take an idea that you have in your head and make it something that you can hold in your hands.”

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Video by:
Adam Clark ’20, radio/TV/film major

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

Beyond the Classroom: Fiona Hughes, CFO for SGA [VIDEO]

Exterior shot of Chamberlain Student Center.

As Chief Financial Officer for Rowan’s Student Government Association, Finance major Fiona Hughes oversees all finances, monitoring all clubs and resolving any issues that may arise.

“I’ve learned a lot more with my position in SGA, relating to my major, than I would have if I were just … attending classes,” she says.

“I think my role in SGA has helped me learn how to be a better leader as a woman in a male-dominated field.”

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Video by:
Joshua Hedum, radio/TV/film graduate

Studio 231: Rowan’s Central Hub For Ideation and Prototyping [VIDEO]

Photo of the inside of Studio 231.

Studio 231 is an experiential learning lab and makerspace, dedicated to all students of any major. At the Studio, students are provided with the resources they need to grow their ideas into profitable, scalable, and sustainable businesses.

“We go from helping you create ideas or come up with ideas for different problems all the way up to different forms of prototyping, so whether that’s 3D printing, laser cutting, etc.,” says Andrew Bunoza, a Rowan Global student in the master’s of engineering management program. 

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Produced by: Max Morgan, radio/TV/film graduate

Video Credit: Quintin Stinney, junior radio/TV/film major
Brian Seay, junior sports communication and media major

Creating Change Through The Social Justice Action Committee [VIDEO]

Three students protesting for Black Lives Matter.

“We can’t let fighting for change become a fad, because it’s not a fad, it’s something that needs to happen,” says Ayanna Johnson, a junior women’s basketball player and Social Justice Action Committee member. The committee is a student-led, university-wide umbrella initiative for projects and programming that promote diversity and inclusion through sport on American […]

History Graduate Student Shares: Teaching Online and Supporting Distant Students [VIDEO]

Rowan Global student Steven Anderson shares how his history degree prepared him as a high school social studies teacher during COVID-19. Steven recently earned the James Madison Fellowship as an outstanding educator of the U.S. Constitution. This prestigious award is granted to only two history teachers yearly.

 

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Video by:
Adam Clark, senior Radio/TV/Film major
Max Morgan, senior Radio/TV/Film major
Brian Seay, sophomore sports communication and media major

From Past to Present: History Shares A Lesson [VIDEO]

“It’s a cliché to say, but you understand history so you don’t repeat it,” says Timothy Dewysockie, a Rowan Global M.A. in History student. Graduates with a master’s degree in history have the opportunity to position themselves in roles across a variety of fields, including educators, museum curators or archivists.

Women of Westby [VIDEO]

Art installation in Westby.

Learn more about the Rowan creative collective Women of Westby. 

“Women of Westby looks to create community through uplifting the voices of our creative makers in the effort to bridge the gap of unequal representation for women, people of color and those in the LGBTQIA+ community,” says Noel Waldron. Those who join can “have a safe platform to display their art and build their CV’s in an otherwise competitive market.”

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Video by:
Quintin Stinney, sophomore Radio/TV/Film major

Music by:
Don Dewitt, junior music industry major

Women of Westby on Instagram 

Seniors Share: Women’s Club Lacrosse [VIDEO]

View of the intramural field through the fence.

Seniors Paige Ryan (white jersey), and Jeannie Corcione (grey shirt) share the positive impact that the Women’s Club Lacrosse team had on their college experience. Paige, captain of the team, is a double major in Biology and Psychology from Sparta, NJ (Sussex County). Jeannie is social chair of the team and is a Psychology major […]

Cinema Workshop Club: Rowan University [VIDEO]

Cinema Workshop president and vice-president with masks inside.

Today we feature Cinema Workshop, a student-run film production club. The club is not just for Radio/Television/Film (RTF) majors but for anyone. We speak to the club’s president Patrick McGowan and vice president Stephen Myers. They speak to us about the club and their experience. “You don’t have to be a film major, even if […]

First Year Voices [VIDEO]

Nathalie poses outside of Wilson Hall.

Today we chat with Nathalie Hernandez, a violin performance major from Feasterville-Trevose, PA, and Marc Rivera, a music industry major from Ewing, NJ. These two freshmen share their experience so far this year and what they’re most looking forward to during their time at Rowan. Like what you see? Video by:Max Morgan, senior Radio/TV/Film major […]

Muslim Student Association: Rowan University [VIDEO]

Yasmien Farhat, a member of the Muslim Student Association.

Muslim Students Association (MSA) is an organization devoted to strengthening the Muslim community through service and activism, educating both Muslims and people of other faiths about the religion of Islam, and facilitating a better environment for students on campus. Like what you see? Video by:Joshua Hedum, senior radio/TV/film major Music by:Don DeWitt, senior music industry […]

Studio Art Major Seeks to Inspire Through Inclusive Art [VIDEO]

Jess Hedum working on a sensory art painting.

Jessica Hedum, a senior Studio Art major from Cape May, NJ (Cape May County), aims to change the world and make an impact through her social justice work.

What inspired you to choose your major?
I have been interested in the arts all of my life. I was active in all art and music classes offered from elementary school to high school. In high school I fell completely in love with painting and I’ve never looked back. I knew I wanted to be an artist but deciding on what I wanted to do with my skills all depended on the education I chose to define my skills in college. I toured Westby Hall before transferring from community college, where I achieved my associate degree in studio art and when I walked in the painting studio, I knew it was meant to be my second home.

How does your field impact the world?
Artists are necessary in every way possible! Every visual depiction offered, design, creative outlet to explore is provided and created by an artist. I personally have a concentration in oil painting, specializing in murals and large-scale paintings. I see my art ranging from museum galleries to public spaces to bring peace, serenity and color to mundane topics and locations.

What impact would you like to have through your creations?
I would love to have an impact through my social justice work. Creating installations around topics that need to be a conversation and hopefully leading to some change of mind. My paintings themselves have 3D sensory elements to them, created for those that have mental illnesses or fall on the spectrum and find feeling a painting more soothing and connecting rather than just viewing a piece. I aim to create a body of work behind emotions and caring for others, overall, I feel that an art movement of sensory paintings can become huge and impactful.

Tell us about one club, organization or group of friends that make you feel like Rowan is home.
I dedicate myself growth and positive experience at Rowan to my Westby family that gave me a second home with open arms. The professors and faculty that check in on me and support my art to the fellow artists I work all night creating with. There is no better support system for artists than within Westby Hall.

Due to all the positive energy and kindness I have received in my time at Rowan University I have dedicated my learnings and passion to founding The Women of Westby. The Women of Westby is an art activist group that highlights women of history, tackles social justice issues through interactive installations and supports RU art students and alumni by showcasing and selling handmade work. Everything we do as a collective group is focused on supporting aspiring artists and speaking up for what is right. The Women of Westby is a movement created around acceptance and love of all. I hope for one day to see the movement grow towards being a staple at the university as a whole and giving the art department the recognition, it deserves.

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Story and video by:
Joshua Hedum, junior Radio/TV/Film major

RU Puppet Artists Rowan University [VIDEO]

Two puppet in front of a blue backdrop.

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

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

Music by:
Bianca Torres, junior music industry major

Student Leadership with Volunteerism: Fresh For All [VIDEO]

Will, the student leader of Fresh For All poses on Rowan's campus.

Rowan University students share their volunteer and leadership experience with Fresh For All, an on-campus initiative spearheaded by Philabundance that brings free, fresh fruits and vegetables to campus every week.

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Student Created:
Adam Clark, senior Radio/TV/Film major
Louis Testa III, senior music composition major

Rowan Commuters: James Milward [VIDEO]

James Milward sits on the green next to Wilson Hall

Welcome to our new “Rowan Commuter” series, where we take an inside look at the lives and experiences of Rowan University commuters and how their overall college experience is without living on campus.

In this video, Geology major James Milward talks about how he balances Rock Climbing Club and spending time with his group of Geology majors with being a commuter student here at Rowan. 

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Video by:
Tom Copsetta, radio/TV/film graduate

Cook with Me: Brioche French Toast

Printed plate with French toast and bananas
https://youtu.be/63c7iGmEpho

Welcome to 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 video is from Bianca Torres, a senior Music Industry major isolating from her home in Long Valley, NJ (Morris County).

Step into Bianca’s kitchen as she whips up a delicious breakfast treat, Brioche French Toast, from home. 

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Video and music by:
Bianca Torres, music industry major

Header photo courtesy of:
Unsplash

Study with Me: Sound Design [VIDEO]

https://youtu.be/vZkxPT6OXLc

Watch Adam Clark, a senior Radio/TV/Film major, as he takes you through the final project in his Sound for Film & Video class. For this project, he created a sound design for a Playstation game. See Adam rebuild the game trailer’s audio “from scratch.” 

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Story and video by:
Adam Clark, senior radio/tv/film major

Header image courtesy of:
Pixabay

Graduating College at 19

Tom Copsetta on the riverfront

Earning a college degree at 19, and earning an associate degree while still in high school, is not something we hear about very often. I asked Tom Copsetta, a 2020 graduate of the radio/TV/film program at Rowan, and previously ambassador for the High School Option Program (HSOP), a few questions about his experience.

Tom earned his associate degree in radio/TV/film from Rowan College of Gloucester County (now RCSJ) before even graduating high school.  

Radio/TV/film major Tom Copsetta stands in front of a river and cityscape

When I asked Tom about what it was like to balance high school and college work, he said it was most difficult to maintain a healthy mental state. There was no break from school during the process; even his high school summer and winter breaks were filled with college work. He went on to say that his high school career consisted of challenging honors courses, so “stacking college on top of it was really rough at times.” On the bright side, he said the college work consisted mostly of general education courses, which he found not to be so difficult.

Although the workload was stressful, Tom said that it taught him how not to crack under pressure. “Many people would say I was crazy for doing this, which I probably am, but I tend to just be an all-around workaholic,” he added. 

I asked Tom if he had any advice for students thinking of getting into the program and he said, “Try your best to manage your time and get things done so you can sleep at night.” Honest advice like that is what some students need to hear when thinking about entering a program that can be so time consuming.

He recommends taking all online classes because they can be done at your own pace. However, if you are not one that can handle online courses, HSOP will be a tough challenge. Tom also says to take advantage of CLEP tests. These are exams that you pay to take instead of taking the actual college course. By taking these exams he was able to pass English 101 and 102 as well as math 101 and 102. He saved thousands of dollars and earned 12 credits.

He says the spotlight that he gained from HSOP is now great because it is a great resume builder and a way to “quickly build an impressive image” of himself to new people. However, the spotlight back when everything first took off was definitely overwhelming. It felt great to have his hard work recognized, but also overbearing at times because it was a lot of attention he didn’t ask for. The main reason why he gained so much attention is because he made a video promoting the program that took off, making him an ambassador for two years. 

I asked what got him interested in radio/TV/film as a major and he said, “This is just the closest major I could find to what I love, which is video production as a whole including motion design, visual effects, cinematography and more.”

Radio/TV/film major Tom Copsetta stands in front of a river and cityscape

Tom began making videos with his friends at just 9 years old and always loved cameras and capturing moments. Marty Bouchard, who started the Washington Township High School television production course 34 years ago, was and still is a big inspiration to him.

“Marty is an absolute legend,” says Tom. “He was the man who solidified my interest in the field, and taught me many techniques in making professional content.” Tom said that Marty made the classroom a fun and enjoyable experience for all of his students because he cared about their progress. 

The most important thing Tom learned through this whole experience is to push yourself. Although it can be hard to get going and make progress, it will lead you to success and many other great opportunities. Experiencing stress and the side effects of it and learning how to deal with it is a very important thing to go through as well. Tom says that even though the program showed him how important time management is, he is still convinced that he “holds the world record for most assignments submitted at 11:59 p.m.” 

Radio/TV/film major Tom Copsetta stands in front of a river and cityscape

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Story by:
Melanie Sbaraglio, public relations and advertising graduate 

Photos courtesy of:
Tom Copsetta

Take a Look Inside Rowan’s Anime Club [VIDEO]

An Anime Club member draws an anime figure on the whiteboard at a club meeting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRmT-XfHRPk

Rowan Blog produced this video pre-quarantine.

Join us as we visit a meeting of the student-run Rowan University Anime Club.

You don’t even have to watch anime to join Anime Club, which its members describe as “inclusive,” “open” and “accepting.” Students with little to advanced anime knowledge will find a community here. 

Anime Club meets in Robinson Hall. 

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Video by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Tom Copsetta, senior radio/TV/film major

Music by:
Bianca Torres, junior music industry major

Thrift Store Dorm Room Makeover Under $50 [VIDEO]

dorm room with gray comforter on bed and wooden desk and drawers.

https://youtu.be/P8mWMr4JU8U

Bianca Torres, a junior Music Industry major from Morristown, NJ (Morris County), shows us how she transformed her room in the Whitney Center apartments, using items she had and items she purchased from a Glassboro thrift store and the shops near campus.

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Video edited by:
Nicole Cier, senior writing arts major

Music by:
Bianca Torres, junior music industry major