Finding My Path and Passion with an English Degree

Rowan English graduate Nicole sits in front of fall foliage on campus.

Meet guest Rowan Blog contributor Nicole Tota of Marlton, NJ (Burlington County), who recently earned her degree in English from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She now pursues her master’s degree in Higher Education: Advising at Rowan Global. Here, Nicole candidly shares her degree brought more career questions than answers until she ultimately […]

Frequently Asked Questions About the Rowan Writing Center Answered With Tutor Bianca Gray

Today, Rowan Blog contributor and Writing Center tutor Bianca Gray answers questions people often ask her about the Rowan Writing Center. Bianca, a senior English major with a concentration in Shakespeare Studies, notes: “Spoiler alert! Don’t be surprised by how much I say RWC.” 

What is the RWC?

The Rowan Writing Center (often abbreviated as RWC) is the place on campus to go if you need help with any form of writing and is also a nice place to study. It’s open Sunday-Friday and operates throughout the entire school year as well as the summer. Currently, it’s fully virtual, but there are hopes that it will be open for the 2021-22 academic school year (check the RWC site for up-to-date hours of operation). 

Bianca stands next to a sign in The Writing Center.

Where is the RWC?

The RWC is located on the first floor of the Campbell Library.

How did you get hired with the RWC?

Buckle up ’cause it’s a long story: The worst part about being a transfer student was everything I had built for myself at my previous institution being torn down. Before coming to Rowan, I spent the majority of my [first] year at my previous school making a name for myself around campus, specifically with the Writing Arts department. I had won the Freshman essay contest and had snagged an internship working with the Writing Center at that campus before I had to leave the school due to an unforeseen change in my finances.

I came to Rowan because I saw how well the Writing Arts department was and hoped to make the same foothold at this institution as I had at my previous one. My academic advisor placed me in a class called ‘Tutoring For Writing’ where I met one of the nicest professors on campus, Dr. Leslie Allison. I told Dr. Allison about my situation and how I wanted to be involved with the writing department on this campus and, while she couldn’t just give me a job, she helped me strengthen my tutoring skills to make me properly prepared to apply to work at the Writing Center when the time came. Thanks to Dr. Allison’s help as well as my newly strengthened skills, I was able to get a job with the RWC. 

Will the hiring process be as dramatic for me?

No, I’m just dramatic by nature. The hiring process is pretty straightforward. Applications go out in the spring, then there’s interviews, then you’ll know if you got the job relatively quickly.

Bianca works on a computer at The Writing Center.

What does your job consist of?

Students from all over the university (both undergraduate and graduate) make appointments with my co-workers and I in order to get feedback on any given writing assignment. We don’t just look over English or writing major papers; we look and give feedback on papers that span across many different majors.

The RWC hires people of many different majors so that we’re better equipped at helping all students. We even have Engineering and Biology major tutors in order for them to help students who need help with lab reports.

On top of that, tutors also work closely with first year writing classes and hold weekly hour-long sessions in order to help first year students with their home/classwork as well going over things they may have been struggling with in class.

So if I go to the RWC for help with a paper, will they edit it for me? 

No, RWC tutors are not editors. Editing a paper does nothing to help a student grow. It’s like when a teacher just X’s something you wrote out and writes wrong next to it. If you don’t know what the problem is then how can you be expected to solve it? RWC tutors, however, will go through your paper and mark areas where they see repeated problems and discuss those problems with you so that you can better understand the issue and learn not to make those same mishaps again.

What I do is this: If I see a repeated problem in a paper, I correct it the first time and mark it the next two times but don’t correct it. After that, I don’t correct or mark the problem at all. I discuss the issue with the student and expect for them to go back through the paper and find places where they see the problem and correct it themselves. Editing a paper doesn’t help a student to become a better writer. 

What’s the best part about working there?

Definitely my co-workers and supervisors. Celeste, Donna and Cate are some of the coolest people I’ve ever met since being in college. I remember taking Shakespeare my first semester of working at the Writing Center and Cate always taking the time out of her day to better help me understand my work for the class, something she was under no obligation to do. It’s little stuff like that that makes me really appreciate them. My coworkers are cool as well. They’re a very boisterous group of people (more boisterous than you’d expect a group of tutors to be), but they all mean well. I remember my coworker, Nia, going out of her way to make me feel included and help me out when I first started. Having such a positive work environment with friendly faces makes the job so much easier. 

Bianca checks her laptop at The Writing Center.

What’s your advice to anybody nervous to come to the RWC in fear of their paper being judged or criticized harshly?

The RWC is a no-judgement zone. No tutor wants to read a paper and rip it apart. Everything we say is meant to be constructive and help to make your paper the best it can possibly be. If a tutor does or says something that makes a student feel upset or uncomfortable, report it immediately and it will be handled by the supervisors. 

What are some other cool things about the RWC?

They host so many different events throughout the academic year. In a COVID-free school year, the RWC hosts multiple events including movie nights, trivia nights and holiday parties. If you’re ever free, don’t be afraid to come! 

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Story By:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

The Best Study Spots on Campus

Bunce Hall

Rowan Blog contributor Bianca Gray compiled this list of her top places to study on campus that she says “you need to know about for the upcoming semester.”  

Campbell Library from the grass.

5. Campbell Library 

Since it’s kind of a given, I’ve decided to place the university’s library at the bottom of the list of places to study. However, that doesn’t make it any less of a good resource to know about. Located between Savitz Hall and the Student Center, Campbell Library is home to many different places to study. While there are communal areas to on each floor, there are also special rooms that can be reserved for just you and whoever you choose to study with.

Along with this, there are communal areas available throughout any normal day that allow for people to speak freely with each other like the communal area located on the fourth floor as well as areas where people can work independently like the silent study hall on the first. Personally, I prefer to study at the Rowan Writing Center located on the first floor. The library is perfect for accommodating any studying needs.

Students study at one of the tables behind the Student Center.

4. Chamberlain Student Center

If you don’t mind a bit of activity going on around you while studying, then I’d highly recommend the Student Center. While you won’t find as many quiet places to study in it as you will with the library, that doesn’t mean the Student Center isn’t a good place for people to get work done. As someone who prefers a bit of quiet, I usually find it best to study here on Friday mornings when most students are too busy sleeping in on the usual campus wide ‘day off.’

Though The Pit is a comfortable place to sit, I always head up to the second floor where there’s always an empty table. Alternatively, when the weather’s not too bad, there are tables available at both the front and back of the building that are great places to study as well. Editor’s note: Construction is underway to expand the Student Center through fall 2023.

Barnes and Noble, the school bookstore.

3. Barnes and Noble/School Bookstore

Further up Rowan Boulevard, Barnes and Noble (aka the school bookstore) is a favorite study spot of mine due in large part to the Starbucks located on the first floor of the building. I mean seriously, what’s a better way to get through a long study session than with a coffee and a brownie? Before even transferring to Rowan, the Barnes and Noble near my house was always the perfect place to go and study when I wanted to get out of the house. So having one right across the street from my room was literally one of the best things about coming here.

And, again, if you would like to study on the Boulevard on a nice day, there are several seating areas along the strip to sit at when you just don’t feel like being cramped indoors.

The Greenery behind Robinson Hall.

2. Robinson Hall

I think I may be bias to places that come with snacks because my second favorite place to study is definitely Robinson Hall, specifically, in the small dining area near the first floor snack shop. Robinson Hall is right at the heart of campus, sitting right next to the Owl Statue and across from the Science Hall. Unlike the places mentioned above, Robinson never feels particularly crowded even at peak times throughout the day, making it perfect for people in need of a quiet place to study. The only downside: on the few busy occasions, space is limited. 

Whitney Center and Flowers.

Honorable Mention: Whitney Common Area(s)

As an honors student, the Whitney Center has practically been a second home for me on campus. Though there is an honors exclusive wing on the second floor of the center that comes equipped with a computer lab and study hall, my favorite place to get my work done is definitely one of the common areas located on nearly every floor of the center.

If you’re not an honors student then don’t worry because nearly every residence hall on campus has its own common area/study room. 

Exterior portrait of Bunce Hall.

1. Bunce Hall

I’m not so sure about letting you guys in on my secret study spot, but I figured why not be generous? If you’re genuinely looking for a quiet and secluded place to hit the books, then Bunce is the best option.

Bunce Hall is the face of Rowan University, but rarely do students visit the building if they aren’t attending class or going to the theater. Due to the lack of visitation, it’s easy to overlook the abundance of study space that the building offers. The ground floor of the building houses many classrooms that often go unused throughout the course of the semester and are left unlocked.

Along with this, there’s plenty of seating space throughout the halls that are perfect for any student in need of a quiet escape. 

Like what you see?


Story by:
Bianca Gray, senior English major

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40 Ways to Get the Most out of Your College Experience

The Rowan welcome gate.

Rowan Blog contributors share their personal tips on getting the most out of your college experience at Rowan University. 2. Participate in recreational sports Participating in recreational sports can lead you to meeting new people with similar interests and fuel your competitive edge without the stress of competing in a division III NJAC conference sport. […]

Success For All: Support Systems at Rowan and Where to Find Them

If your student has a documented disability, sending them to college without an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may feel downright scary. 

Lisa Wilner, parent of a College of Education graduate student in the Higher Education program, wants to flip the script. 

“[Parents] need to understand that universities are not abandoning the IEP resources that your child had,” she said. “Your job is to teach your child to use the resources that exist and to find the proper university for your major that has the resources. Rowan has them.” 

Lisa is a featured speaker for the Academic Success Center’s College Prep Transition Conference and a parent network member with Rowan’s Autism PATH program, which aims to strengthen employment outcomes and networking opportunities for neurodiverse students and alumni. 

Lisa’s tips, gleaned from five years at Rowan with her son, Ben — who also earned his undergraduate degree in Music from the College of Performing Arts — offer a parent’s take into the university’s academic and wellness resources.

  • “If you have a student with a disability, you should register them with the Academic Success Center, even if you don’t think they’ll need it. If they think they can get extra test-taking time at the Testing Center, and they didn’t register and they ask the professor, they’re still going to have to take that test. It’s not like they can change it instantly. To register with the Academic Success Center, they need their senior year or [most recent] documentation of disability.” 

  • “I highly recommend the College Compass [transition to college] program. Students come in early, before the rest of freshmen students, and they get familiar with the school. They get comfortable, before everything starts to happen. And whether your student is on the [autism] spectrum, has ADD, has emotional issues, no matter what challenges, it gives them a comfort zone within the school.”

  • “Register with Academic Success Center to work with an academic coach. I look at it as an insurance policy. If they never use it, that’s wonderful. But if they need it and you didn’t register them, you’re going to have issues because you can’t go backwards.”

  • “This is for all students — drop-in and math tutoring and writing labs, all students have [access to] those. We just have to teach our children to utilize the services.” 

  • “[Students] have to build relationship with professors. Meet your professors. They have to know who you are by name. They have to go to their office hours. Get their email. When your student gets their accommodation letter, give it to the professor on day one, trust your student to do that.”

  • “Your student needs to utilize Blackboard and check their email. I get more calls from parents saying my son’s crashing because he never checked his email. Some students are really good about that, others aren’t. A lot of professors [also] communicate through smartphones.” 

  • “The first two weeks of the semester and right before finals, your student will be freaking out. They will be a stress mess. So whatever their stress relief is, tell them to do it … it could be the gym or to just breathe. Rowan has something that is very unique — they have one counselor [at the Wellness Center] who specializes with working with students on the [autism] spectrum, ADD and such.”
Lisa Ann Wilner with son Ben Wilner at home
Lisa Ann Wilner with son Ben (left) at home.

Lisa’s final tips: “Your student knows more than you think they know. You just have to get them to advocate for themselves. At this point, we’re letting the student go. We’re their emotional support and their encouragement. Rowan is their scholastic support.”

Like what you see? Come visit us!

#PROFspective: Mechanical Engineering Major Morgan Dean

Today, we speak with Morgan Dean, a senior mechanical engineering major who rents a house off campus with friends. Morgan will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.

Name: Morgan DeanMorgan Dean sitting in Rowan's Engineering building.
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minors or concentrations: Writing Arts, Mathematics; Bantivoglio Honors College
Year: Senior
Hometown and County: Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County)
Off-Campus resident: Yes, I live in a house on University Boulevard with my five roommates!
Do you work on campus? If so, where/what do you do? I work as a tutor in the Rowan University Writing Center (in Campbell Library)

Morgan Dean sitting in front of the Engineering auditorium. What wakes you up in the morning? The thrill of getting to do and/or learn something new. Also, I love to have my morning coffee while reading!

What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline or research focus? I find that being a girl in engineering, especially one of the five or six in the MechE undergraduate program, is more advantageous than most realize. Additionally, although mechanical engineering tends to be associated with cars/engines/etc., the possibilities of post-undergraduate work are endless. You’re in no way tied down to any one field of work.

What is one thing this field has allowed you to do, that you either Morgan Dean showing Rowan student something on her laptop.dreamed of doing or thought you’d never get to do? Through its interdisciplinary program, mechanical engineering sparked my interest in biomedical engineering. Although I once said I would never take another biology class again, I am now set to be a PhD Biomedical Engineering student come Fall 2019.

Could you share a moment you’ve experienced in which you have felt that Rowan is a welcoming environment for you? The Rowan Writing Center has provided me with a sense of belonging ever since I began working there. The staff took me in immediately as family and I always feel a sense of peace while in the space.

Morgam Dean posing in front of the pond in back of the Engineering building.Why Rowan?  I have made some incredible student-professor relationships here which have shaped my future by unlocking my potential. Professors Dr. Staehle, and Dr. Merrill and Writing Center Director Celeste DelRusso have exposed me to new areas of research through the engineering clinic curriculum, summer programs, and professional development conferences. Additionally, I would never have been accepted to graduate school if it weren’t for these valuable connections I made.

Like what you see, come visit us!


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

#PROFspective: English & Writing Arts Major Rachel Barton

Rachel outside Barnes and Nobles sitting on bench with her books and Her Campus pennant

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A Late Night at the Writing Center

Writing center helpers

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Why I Love Working at the Rowan Writing Center

student library

Morgan Douglas is a senior at Rowan University double majoring in writing arts, with a concentration in creative writing, and biology, with a concentration in pre-med. A mouthful, right? Even with all of her school work, Morgan took a job working at Rowan University Writing Center in Campbell Library as a writing tutor at the beginning of spring semester […]

#PROFspective: Early Childhood Education Major Naveen Khan

Student in SGA office

Today we speak with Naveen Khan, a senior early childhood education and history/Spanish double major from Cherry Hill, Camden County, who commutes from home. She will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.  Name: Naveen Khan […]

#PROFspective: Communications Studies Major Troi Foster

student ra room

Today we speak with Troi Foster, a senior communications studies major from East Orange, Essex County, who lives on campus as a resident assistant in Mimosa Hall. Troi will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.  Name: […]

9 Things to Know About Rowan’s International Center

Dr. Li Yang, Katelyn Sullivan and Arthur Bautista at the International Center

Dr. Li Yang, the Director of the International Center and the Intensive English Language Program, and Katelyn Sullivan, the administrative assistant, share with us 9 things we need to know about the International Center here at Rowan.  1. Rowan hosts 170 international students The International Center assures that our international students have a smooth transition coming from abroad […]