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Featured News, Faculty

Students simulate real-life maternal death story

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Caldwell, N.J., May 7, 2018 – Students at Caldwell University had the opportunity to witness a simulated event aimed at preventing maternal death. In introducing the event to the students, Dr. Brenda Petersen, associate dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control showing preventable patient death is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. She said the United States has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and 60 percent of these deaths are preventable.

Caldwell University students reenacted an event involving Lauren Bloomstein, a neonatal intensive care nurse who died in 2011 after giving birth at a New Jersey hospital. Bloomstein was married to Dr. Larry Bloomstein, an orthopedic surgeon. She died at the hospital where she had spent most of her career and where she and her husband had met some years before.

Larry Bloomstein was in the audience watching the simulation at the university and then presented to the students in detail what happened to Lauren after she gave birth to their beautiful daughter. “It means a lot that you are interested in Lauren’s death and want to learn,” said Bloomstein. “This type of exercise was a testament to Lauren and very meaningful for future medical professionals,” said Bloomstein. “She would want to have an impact on the way medicine and nursing are practiced.” He encouraged the students to do good in their chosen fields. “I hope you find satisfaction in your job, like she did.”

The audience included nursing, public health, business and psychology students. Many said they were frustrated at hearing Lauren’s story—especially “knowing how preventable it was,” said Kelly Donaldson, a nursing student. “It really drove home the point as an educational simulation.”

Steven Han, a senior recently accepted into medical school, said the exercise gave him a better picture of the environment that may develop in a hospital and of the events that may take place. “This experience helped me to understand the role and potential responsibilities that come from each of the medical professionals that are involved in the patient’s plan of care. The types of mistakes and the overlooking of critical data portrayed in the simulation are events that I will definitely hope to avoid as a practicing physician.”

“It was amazing,” said Hanifah James, a senior nursing student. “It definitely should be discussed in Caldwell and other nursing schools. It’s very sad to see that it could have been prevented. I’m so glad I got to witness this.”

Gabriella Caparino, also a senior nursing student, said the simulation built on what students do in the labs at Caldwell, including mock codes or mock rapid response simulations. The scenario was shocking to her since in her clinicals she had seen hypertensive distress. “My nurses know what to do.”

Led by Petersen and nursing faculty member Dr. Aneesha Jean, after the simulation of Lauren’s death, the students who attended were assigned to conduct a “root cause analysis” and to “ask why” five times. Petersen explained that this systematic analysis allows organizations to look at the root causes when errors occur in high-stakes industries such as health care. “Too often within the health care industry, when errors occur, people die.”  The “five whys” technique is used in the analysis phase of Six Sigma to “peel away the layers that lead to the root cause of a problem,” she said. Six Sigma uses data and analysis to look for errors to improve outcomes within organizations.

Petersen said the inter-professional health education collaboration simulation exercise provided students with the opportunity to work in teams to look at a problem and consider solutions. “Learning that takes place in a simulated environment allows learners to make mistakes without patient harm and also allows the health care system the opportunity to reenact events that have a poor outcome to look at the factors that contributed to this.”

The other members of the simulation team were: Matthew Amling, Andrea Amorim, Brittany Carlin, Erin Casner, Charlotte Genthe, Joelle Libman, Jessica Minuto, Alysse Palestina, Rebecca Pasteur and Aisha Perez.

Featured News, Faculty

Softball Repeats as CACC Champions on MVP Sandoval’s Walk-Off Homerun in Extra Innings

Women's softball CACC champs 2018

LAKEWOOD, N.J. – The Caldwell University softball team rallied back from an early deficit as freshman and tournament MVP Paige Sandoval (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) blasted a walk-off three-run homerun in the eighth inning to send the Cougars to a 10-7 victory over Dominican College to claim back-to-back Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Titles.

The Cougars capture their eighth CACC championship and have won three of the last four CACC Championships. Caldwell receives the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament. The Cougars will await their seeding on the NCAA Division II Softball Selection Show, which will be streamed live via ncaa.com on Monday, May 7 at 10 am.

Caldwell took lead in the first inning as freshman Maya Rodriguez (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) singled in a pair of runs. Junior Carly Testa (Sicklerville, N.J.) added a sacrifice fly in the inning to extend the lead to 3-0.

Dominican rallied in the top of the second as they pushed across four runs. The Chargers added a pair of runs in the sixth to extend their lead to 6-3.

The Cougars answered in their half of the sixth as sophomore pinch hitter Daniela Solis (Wilmington, Del.) led off the inning with a solo homerun. Sophomore Melissa Rini (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) drew a walk, while Rodriguez followed with a double to score Rini. Freshman Kaileen Cain (Hauppauge, N.Y.) tied the game at six as she singled up to middle to score freshman pinch runner Abbigail Cleckner (Sykesville, Md.). Testa reached on an infield single as Cain scored to give Caldwell a 7-6 lead.

The Chargers tied the game in the seventh as they pushed across a two-out run to force extra innings.

In the eighth, senior Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J.) was intentionally walked to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Cain worked out a walk to put runners at first and second with one out. Sandoval stepped to the plate and played hero with her walk-off homerun to give the Cougars the CACC Title.

Sophomore pitcher Sara Bearden (Ewing, N.J.) worked the first 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on eight hits with two strikeouts. Sophomore Jessie Johnston (Livermore, Calif.) earned the win in relief, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit.

Sandoval earned Tournament MVP honors with two homeruns and nine RBI in the four games at the tournament. Monasseri batted .400 for the tournament, while Rini added a homerun and turned in outstanding defensive play at short stop to earn all-tournament team recognition. Johnston was also selected to the all-tournament team as she went 2-0 with a saves along with a 0.70 ERA for the week.

The Cougars will await their seeding on the NCAA D2 Softball Selection Show, which will be streamed live via ncaa.com on Monday, May 7 at 10 am.

Featured News, Faculty

Research and Creative Arts Day highlights theme “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future”

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Caldwell, N.J., April 30, 2018 – Students displayed nearly 150 research undergraduate and graduate projects at the second annual Caldwell University Research and Creative Arts Day on April 25. This year’s theme was taken from a quote from writer J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” The day was planned in memory of Judith Croce, professor of art, who passed away last May.

The Student Center gym was packed for the entire day so that visitors could come and speak to the students and learn about their research.  Awards were presented at Honors Convocation that evening.

Some of the undergraduate projects

Biology student Eliane F. Tsopmegha was excited to showcase her research on “Are Makeup Tools Safe? Can They Be Sources of Contamination or Infection?” Since she likes makeup and doing research, she wanted to know whether the products could be harmful. She looked at the safety of makeup brushes and sponges, a vanity table and the makeup. Her results showed harmful bacteria. As a result, she recommends washing makeup applicators on a weekly basis and discarding them after three months of use. The research aspect was so intriguing that it reinforced her interest in wanting to apply to schools to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology. Her advisor was Dr. Agnes Berki, associate professor of natural and physical sciences.

Recent political science graduate Katherine Llangari did her project on “The U.S. Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership: An Analysis of the Effects.” The soon-to-be law student said it is important to understand that political science is not isolated, that history and economic issues affect everything in a globalized world. Her advisor was Dr. Domenic Maffei, chair of the Department of History and Political Science.

“Reduction of Airborne Microorganisms Indoors with Essential Oils” by Eva Kenfack Ngapgue, a senior biology student, examined how airborne infections afflict millions of people annually worldwide and how sterilizing indoor air is too costly. “I was very interested in this topic. I’m a commuter, I volunteer at a hospital and I have younger siblings, so I wanted to see if there was something cheaper and effective.” Her findings suggest essential oil diffusers are effective in reducing the number of bacteria and molds/fungi in the air and can be used as affordable air sterilizers. Her advisor was Dr. Berki.

Huong Nguyen, a communication and media studies student, did her project on “People of Colors” to raise awareness about racial and color discrimination. “It was a chance to combine my interest in digital art with the social sciences,” she said.  Her advisors were Dr. Berki and Dr. Bonnie French.

Zaira Baranukova, a senior nursing student, explored the toxic effects of digoxin for patients with atrial fibrillation. Baranukova, who works on a cardiac floor for her nursing clinicals, said she sees what happens to patients with heart issues, so the topic interested her. “I offered an alternative procedure called the LARIAT procedure,” which she found had far more positive outcomes than digoxin. Her advisor was Dr. Kathleen Kelley, associate professor and assistant director of the School of Nursing and Public Health.

Averi Zarbetski, a senior history student, did research on “The 1967 Newark Riots.” With a pictorial display of newspaper and magazine articles of the time, she documented how the city was shaken to its core over a five-day period in July of that year. “I had always heard about it from my grandparents,” said Zarbetski. That , along with her passion for history, led her to want to explore that period in the history of the city of Newark. Her advisor was Dr. Marie Mullaney, professor of history.

Some of the graduate projects

Kelly Neill, a student in the master’s in literacy instruction program, did a project titled “Will the Use of Multisensory Instruction Improve a First Grader’s Phonemic Awareness and Overall Attitude Toward Spelling and Phonics? The Study of a First-Grade Student.” She is planning to work as a child life specialist, and she said this project helped her think about more opportunities for doing research in that field.  Her advisor was Dr. Edith Ries, professor of education.

Leif Albright, who recently completed his Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at Caldwell, researched “Nodality and the Relative Strengths of Transitive and Equivalence Relationships” with Caldwell ABA faculty members Ken Reeve and Sharon Reeve. “It gave me a line of research that I enjoy pursuing and helped me as a practitioner,” said Albright, who works as an assistant director of a children’s center in Manhattan.

Adrienne Jennings, an ABA doctoral student and colleague of Daniel Ferman and Leif Albright, both recently graduated ABA students, researched “Teaching Religious Literacy Using Stimulus Equivalence Technology,” which was aimed at helping students become familiar with other religions and their practices. “We found that there are efficient ways to teach religious literacy even in the public school setting,” said Jennings. Their advisor was Dr. Ken Reeve.

Alissa Mahadeen, a student in the master’s in special education program,  did her research on “The Use of a Social Story Protocol to Promote Classroom Independence on the Part of a Male Preschool Student.” She wrote a  social story to help a child who did not know how to unpack his backpack when he came to school.  As a result of the social story, he began to unpack his backpack. She was able to develop a rapport with him where he came to her for help when he needed to put his coat and shoes on.  Her advisor was Dr. Edith Ries, professor of education.

Keynote speakers

The undergraduate session keynote speakers were biology alumnae Anup Khanal, a research technician at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, and Dennis Maharjan, a Ph.D., a student at Cold Spring Harbor. The graduate session keynote, “Exploring the Benefits of Graduate Research Training,” was given by Caldwell applied behavior analysis Ph.D. alumna Jessica Day-Watkins, a behavior analyst at Drexel University.

There was a three-minute thesis competition, which challenged graduate students to present their research in 180 seconds with no research notes in front of them.  Danielle Hamblin, who will be receiving a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership with a special education concentration, was the winner.

Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president of academic affairs, said the event was a testament to the Caldwell University community of scholars and the individualism provided to Caldwell students to advance their education. “In doing research projects, faculty and students journey together,” said Chesler. “Rather than simply telling students about the how and why of a given process of discovery, students are engaged in that discovery. Students come to the research or creative project as a novice and they leave as an expert,” said Chesler. “These projects highlight the importance of a liberal arts education where critical and creative thinking, along with problem-solving, are the core of how and what we teach at Caldwell.”

The day was arranged by the Research Task Force, volunteer faculty and staff members along with several undergraduate student organizers.

Featured News, Faculty

Advances in Applied Behavior Analysis Conference at Caldwell University

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Caldwell, N.J., April 30, 2018 – As part of its Autism Awareness Month celebration, the Caldwell University Department of Applied Behavior Analysis hosted the “Advances in Applied Behavior Analysis Conference” on April 20.

Accomplished faculty provided their research findings to more than 200 students, educators, administrators and non-profit leaders.

Tina M. Sidener, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, professor of applied behavior analysis, presented on “Toilet Training Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”  Jason C. Vladescu, Ph.D., BCBA-D, NCSP, LBA, associate professor of applied behavior analysis, gave a workshop on “Teaching Safety Skills to Children.”  Kenneth F. Reeve, Ph.D., BCBA-D, the Alvin Calman Professor in applied behavior analysis, spoke on “Using Stimulus Equivalence-Based Instruction to Teach Behavior-Analytic Content to Staff.”  Ruth M. DeBar, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, associate professor and director of outreach,  presented on “Video-Based Instruction to Teach Conversational, Leisure, and Community Skills to Individuals with ASD.”  Sharon A. Reeve, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, chair of the Applied Behavior Analysis Department, gave a forum on “Teaching Generalized Repertoires of Joint Attending, Empathy, and Conversation Skills to Children with ASD.”

Nicole Bednarski runs Hand over Hand, LLC in Morris County and is an alumna of Caldwell’s master’s program in ABA. She said the presentations were very well done and  relevant to her work with children and young adults with varied diagnoses.

Rosiland Franklin-Petersen, who works in the Preschool Intervention and Referral Team, Office of Early Childhood for the Newark Public Schools and is alumna of Caldwell University’s master’s in educational leadership program, attended the program.  She found the toilet training workshop to be very helpful. “This type of information is invaluable to support the health and safety needs for students. This workshop promoted skills to increase positive social emotional confidence and growth in students.”

Adrienne Jennings, a graduate assistant in the university’s Center for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis, was very pleased with the opportunity to hear some of the most recent findings in the field. “Each presenter explained the most efficient and effective teaching strategy based on their findings. Their recommendations spanned across populations and skill levels. The
information was highly relevant and delivered in a digestible manner.”

Jacqueline Carrow, a Ph.D. ABA student, was very happy to hear from a diverse group of speakers. “Each presenter shed light on meaningful topics in our field applicable to all children.”

Caldwell University’s state-of-the-art Center for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis provides graduate students with the opportunity to work hands-on with children on the spectrum with the guidance of accomplished faculty.

Business News, Faculty

Delta Mu Delta Induction 2018

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The School of Business & CIS is proud to present the fifteen students who were inducted into the international business administration honor society, Delta Mu Delta. Caldwell University instituted its Lambda Psi Chapter of Delta Mu Delta in 2009. In order to qualify for this prestigious society, students must have completed at least half of their coursework and maintain a GPA in the top 20% of their class.

2018 Inductees

Taylor Brier Alda
Giovanna E. Caceda
Lindsay D. Council
Martin Djikanovic
Gina Lynn Fasolo
Connor William Foor
Isabel Theresa Fourre
Kayla Jean George
Roshan Mallepati Shrestha
Aida Osmeni
Jenna Leigh Sanfilippo
Mehruz Shafana
Olha Shchur
Renee Szewc
Hanna Marie Weber

Each year, Caldwell University selects honorary members, who exhibit excellence in business and maintain strong ties to Caldwell University’s Business programs, to be inducted into the honor society. The School of Business & CIS was proud to induct two distinguished alumni, Rose Ann Labar and Miguel Walker.

inductees with head of CIS business school

Rose Ann Labar joined Caldwell in 1998 as an adult evening and weekend student while working full time. She graduated from Caldwell with a BS in 2002 and with her MBA in 2005. She has worked for American Cyanamid Company and held various positions including payroll, compensation, benefits and organizational development for the Latin America Division. She is currently employed by Avis Budget Group which is a leading global provider of mobility solutions, operating three of the most recognized brands through Avis, Budget and Zipcar. Avis Budget Group and it’s licensees operate the Avis and Budget brands in approximately 180 countries and employees approximately 29,000 employees. She currently serves on the Business Advisory Council for Caldwell University is an avid New Jersey Devils hockey fan and considers herself a Disney aficionado.

Miguel Walker is a Vice President in Barclays Financial Institutions Investment Banking Group, where he provides strategic advisory services to specialty finance companies on mergers and acquisitions and capital raising across the debt and equity capital markets. Prior to Barclays, Miguel worked as a portfolio analyst with ING Direct USA responsible for analyzing credit risk and driving the growth strategy on the Company’s $40 billion residential mortgage portfolio. Miguel received his MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University in 2012 and his BS, summa cum laude, from Caldwell University in 2007. While at Caldwell, Miguel was captain of the Men’s soccer team was active in student government and the International Student Organization, for which he served as president.

The purposes of Delta Mu Delta are to promote higher scholarship in training for business and to recognize and reward scholastic attainment in business subjects. Delta Mu Delta membership provides recognition for a lifetime. It is the highest national recognition a business student can earn.

Featured News, Faculty

Mass celebrates “unbroken bond between Caldwell’s past and its present” to close one chapel and open another

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Caldwell, N.J., April 25, 2018 – The Caldwell community gathered for a final Mass in the Mother Joseph Residence Hall Chapel April 23 as the university moves forward with plans to build a new chapel in a more centrally located part of campus.

Father James Manos, of the Archdiocese of Newark, was the celebrant. Reflecting on the Gospel reading in which Jesus’s sheep hear his voice when he calls their names and he leads them out, Manos said we often hunger and search, but we do not know what we are searching for. Jesus says, “I am the gate,” and we need to know when God is calling us in a new direction and telling us not to stay in the same place. And so it is with the plans for a new chapel.

“God’s call remains the same, no matter where we are or what time we live in,” Manos said. We thank God for this house, said Manos, and we look forward to a new house “full of young men and women” who will continue to hear God’s call, no matter where they are.

President Nancy Blattner explained to the alumni, students, faculty and staff that the formal process was being done in accordance with the code of canon law.

She said it was a fitting time to read from “Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future,” by Sister Rita Margaret, O.P., about the beginnings of the building and the chapel, which was completed in December 1961.

“The joy of their first Mass in the new chapel on Christmas Eve was heightened by the beauty of the stained glass windows and the tabernacle,” Sister Rita wrote.  “The windows, designed by Sister Julia Marie, depicted Dominican saints and are still a reminder of the relationship between the Dominican Sisters and the college.  The tabernacle was a gift of the student body of the college in memory of Monsignor John L. McNulty.” (He was an uncle of Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for student life.)

Blattner invited the attendees to look carefully at the surroundings. “Drink in the magnificence of the stained glass windows created by one of the Dominican Sisters. Appreciate the tabernacle that commemorates the life of one of God’s servants. Look in awe at the green Italianate marble which graces the altar, the stations of the cross, the pillars in the altar rail, the holy water fonts and the candleholders. These are the sacred art and furnishings that have surrounded those who have visited the chapel for more than the past 50 years.”

The new chapel will be located in a more heavily traveled part of the campus, in the Newman Center off of the student plaza, where the Eucharist will be preserved in the tabernacle and there will be an opportunity for prayer and reflection.

Student  Brittany Gaule did the first reading. Students Devin Lattuga and Jacqueline Kajon were mass assistants. “I was honored to be a part of it,” said Lattuga. The students are happy that the new chapel will be more centrally located. It was a beautiful ceremony, “closing one chapter and opening a new chapter,” said Kajon.

Sister Patrice Werner, O.P., the former president of Caldwell and current prioress for the Sisters of St. Dominic, and Sister Michel Rodgers, O.P., worked in residence life in Mother Joseph in the 1970s and ’80s. The Mass brought back many good memories of their days living on the third-floor west wing.

As the university designs the new chapel, made possible by a donation from alumna Elaine Tweedus, “careful consideration is being given to preserve many of the distinctive features of this chapel so that there remains an unbroken bond between Caldwell’s past and its present, between its founding and its future,” Blattner said.

The family of Sister Julia Marie, O.P., who created the stained glass windows, was present.

Blattner invited everyone to hold in prayer the sisters, living and deceased, who lived in Mother Joseph and the former and current resident and commuter students who came to the chapel for Mass and reflection as well as current members of the sponsoring congregation, the board of trustees members, faculty, staff, all students, alumni and benefactors.

“As God has blessed the work of the hands of those who have come before us, we pray that Mother Joseph Dunn (Caldwell College founder) will intercede with our heavenly Father and ask for continued blessings on Caldwell University in the years to come.”

Blattner and Sister Patrice ceremonially closed the doors for the last time as the community left for a reception in the Newman Center next to the site where the new chapel will be located.

Tweedus ’66 and her husband, Ed Lonyai, have pledged a generous gift to build the new chapel, which will be named in memory of Elaine’s Aunt Mary, Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus, a Sister of Saint Dominic of Caldwell, who served the community for 67 years.

 

Featured News, Faculty

CU Chorale performs in Harmonic Convergence Concert at Carnegie Hall

Caldwell University Chorale Director Dr. Laura Greenwald with composer Dr. Rosephanye Powell.  Caldwell’s chorale joined other ensembles that performed a world-premiere Choirs of America commissioned choral piece by Powell at Carnegie Hall April 6.

Caldwell, N.J., April 16, 2018 – Performing at Carnegie Hall is a musician’s dream. “It takes years of hard work to get there,” said Eric Dieterle, a member of the Caldwell University chorale, who had the thrill of taking to the stage in the 2018 Harmonic Convergence Concert at Carnegie Hall on April 6.

Dieterle and the other members of the chorale, led by music faculty member Dr. Laura Greenwald, took part in the concert, the culminating performance of the Choirs of America (COA) Nationals for Top Choirs. Caldwell’s chorale was one of several ensembles that performed a mix of massed choir and individual choral repertoire. The evening concluded with all of the singers performing in the finale, a world-premiere COA-commissioned choral piece by Dr. Rosephanye Powell. “I’m so proud that the Caldwell University chorale was able to rise to the occasion and to perform at such a prestigious venue,” said Dieterle.

Caldwell’s chorale is comprised of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members. They spent the day before the concert being adjudicated at the Aaron Copland School of Music by Joshua Habermann, chorus director of the Dallas Orchestra Chorus and artistic director of the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, as well as meeting other choirs and hearing them perform. They also rehearsed the premiere, “Get Busy,” with the composer. Greenwald was delighted to greet Powell, a classmate from her days at Westminster Choir College. On Friday all of the ensembles had the opportunity to rehearse briefly and to have photos taken on the Carnegie Hall stage, a joy for all the members.

Caldwell chorale member Alison Self, who works in the English Department, said it was inspiring to share the stage and to create music with friends and colleagues and many talented singers from across the country. She said that “the opportunity to work under the tutelage of renowned composers and conductors was both educational and fun.”

Dieterle, a communication and media studies major with a music minor, said the Caldwell music faculty made it happen. “Dr. Greenwald did such a fantastic job organizing the trip as well as preparing us for the occasion. She made the whole experience feel professional while keeping it fun and lighthearted at the same time. Mr. Helms, our accompanist, also played a vital role in helping the choir learn the music for the concert; we couldn’t have done it without him. Professor Vega also helped us keep everything organized and prepared at our rehearsals and Carnegie Hall on Friday.”

Miriam Edelstein, a recent music education graduate, was happy to share the experience with her professor, Greenwald, a talented singer who has helped Edelstein shape her singing and music education goals. It was amazing “to sing next to her on stage,” said Edelstein, who is looking forward to pursuing a career in music therapy. “I know I can make a difference in someone’s life with music.” She had thought it was time to give up her performing days, but being on stage at Carnegie Hall made her realize she wants to continue singing while also pursing music therapy.  Greenwald is helping her as she makes graduate school plans. “I’m very grateful and fortunate to have had her as a professor.”

Greenwald was thrilled to provide this opportunity for her students and to have sung with them on stage. “That is definitely a bucket-list moment, to stand on the historic stage of Carnegie with my students and colleagues. I’m so very grateful to our accompanist, Warren Helms, to my students, alumni, and colleagues for their dedication in making this happen.”

Featured News, Faculty

Poet and National Book Award winner Mary Szybist to present at Caldwell University, April 19

Caldwell, N.J., March 28, 2018 – Poet Mary Szybist will headline the launch for this year’s issue of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thurs. April 19 at Caldwell University. Szybist’s collection “Incarnadine” won the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry.  Szybist will read with her husband, poet Jerry Harp, whose book “Spirit Under Construction” appeared in fall 2017.  The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Jennings Library on campus.

Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry is a venue for publication of new poetry written by authors whose work is informed by the Catholic faith.  The editor is Mary Ann B. Miller, professor and chair of English at Caldwell University.

“We are very grateful to Szybist for agreeing to be interviewed in the second annual issue of Presence and to Harp for contributing two poems to the collection.  We are happy to be able to provide a venue in which the community can hear more about their work and its connection to the work of the journal,” said Miller.

Szybist is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.  Her first book “Granted” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches at Lewis & Clark College.

Harp’s books of poems include “Creature” (Salt Publishing, 2003) and “Spirit under Construction” (NeoPoiesis Press, 2017). He is also the author of “For Us, What Music? The Life and Poetry of Donald Justice” (U. of Iowa Press, 2010). His essays and reviews appear regularly in Pleiades. He also teaches at Lewis & Clark College.

Students in Miller’s undergraduate Journal Editing class read poems submitted for possible publication in the journal each fall in conjunction with the journal’s submission period.   Miller is editor of “St. Peter’s B-list: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints” (Ave Maria Press, 2014), a collection of over 100 poems, written by 70 poets from across the USA.  She guest-edited the fall 2015 issue of the women’s literary journal, Adanna, which is a specially-themed issue devoted to Women and Spirituality.

 

 

Alumni News, Featured News, Faculty

Elaine Tweedus ’66: A Gift in Memory of “Aunt Mary” to Create a New Chapel

When Elaine Tweedus graduated from Caldwell College for Women in 1966, a new VW Bug was going for around $1,500, the Beatles had four top Billboard singles and Time magazine’s Man of the Year was awarded to the generation 25 and under. The hippie movement was beginning to take hold, and there were massive protests against the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights and women’s rights. It was a time of new opportunities, a time when education gave women the chance to become trailblazers. Tweedus, a French major, and her classmates graduated and ventured out into a world that offered them not just jobs but careers and a newfound sense of freedom that fueled their dreams. Tweedus says that when she read “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan, a light went on.

Looking back on her journey more than fifty years later, Tweedus says she is grateful for the ways in which her Caldwell education shaped her life. Her appreciation and desire to give back inspired a transformational gift of $500,000 to Caldwell to build a new chapel in the Newman Center in memory of her Aunt Mary, a Sister of Saint Dominic of Caldwell.

A product of 16 years of Dominican education, Tweedus says she is blessed to have been taught by excellent, nurturing faculty at Caldwell and to have been guided by Dominican values throughout her life. In light of her career and personal success, she is emphatic in her belief that “Education is one of the best investments anyone can make.”

As a new graduate, Tweedus was hired by Prudential for a position in legal research. Her work ethic and discipline earned her high marks with her supervisors; she rose through the management ranks and eventually became director and corporate officer, the position from which she retired in 2015. She says it was rewarding to witness how her work benefited the company while educating consumers about the importance of making sound financial choices.

Earlier this year Tweedus and her husband, Ed Lonyai, pledged a gift designated for the new campus chapel, which will be named in memory of Elaine’s aunt, Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus, who devoted her life to the Dominican community, serving it for 67 years. Tweedus and Lonyai envision the new chapel as a sacred space for meditation that encourages prayer and reflection—a place where students and the rest of the campus community can find respite from the pressures of daily life. Their investment will enhance the student experience at Caldwell for generations to come.

Tweedus recalls the year or so when her aunt lived at the Motherhouse on campus. “Aunt Mary was my father’s sister. On Sunday afternoons my father would drive my mother, my brothers and me to Caldwell to visit with Aunt Mary. I remember my brothers and I playing tag on the lawn of the Motherhouse. It seems like I had a connection to Caldwell long before I began my college days there,” says Tweedus. She believes her aunt will “be looking down on and offering (the students) insight and advice, as she did for me.”

As one driven to make a difference, Tweedus is active in her community. She spent a number of years volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America. Since her retirement, she has become involved with the Woodbridge River Watch, the Historical Association of Woodbridge Township and the Barron Arts Center in Woodbridge. She is a certified advocate for the New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and works with veterans to help them better understand complex veterans’ benefits. She is an antiques enthusiast, a collector of Chinese porcelain and a world traveler. Now that she has more time for herself, Tweedus is pursuing her love of writing and her lifelong dream of becoming a novelist; she is working on a mystery novel.

Tweedus and Lonyai look forward to the day when the new chapel will open and they can celebrate their memories of Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus in a place named for her in perpetuity.

—Christina Hall