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Research on a natural mosquito deterrent earns CU student Independent College Fund of New Jersey award

CU students Lamar receives Independent College Fund of New Jersey award

Student Lamar-Shea Chang was honored at the Independent College Fund of New Jersey Undergraduate Research Symposium . He is pictured here with Natural Sciences Department professors, Dr. Darryl Aucoin and Dr. Marjorie Squires.

Caldwell, N.J., April 10, 2019 – Premedical student Lamar-Shea Chang was honored March 18 at the Independent College Fund of New Jersey Undergraduate Research Symposium for his research titled “Convert every human into a natural mosquito deterrent.” Chang, who is also majoring in computer information systems with a concentration in business systems and minoring in chemistry, received honorable mention for his research, which focused on the growing problem of mosquitoes in many areas of the world and how humans are being exposed to some of the diseases the insects carry.

Chang pointed to scientific models such as the Coupled Global Climate Model and the Community Climate System Model that predict mosquitoes are progressively moving more north and more west in the United States and Canada. With the guidance of the faculty in the Natural Sciences Department, he tested plant oils to see how they could affect the general behavior of mosquitoes and if they could act as a deterrent. The oils he used were azadirachta indica (neem), andrographis paniculata (rice bitters) and aloe vera. His data revealed that when the mosquitoes were exposed to the oils extracted in the lab, they adjusted their behavioral patterns, no longer moving away from the area where the extracts were located.

He presented his findings at the Independent College Fund event at the Liberty Science Center; the event encourages students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. It was a thrill for Chang when he learned of his recognition. “I said, ‘Did they really call my name?’” Then he looked at the faces of his professors, including Dr. Marjorie Squires, his advisor, and knew by their smiles that he was in fact receiving the award.

Chang, a junior from the island of Jamaica who started his college career with several AP classes, is grateful that the Caldwell Natural Sciences Department provides students the opportunity to do research as undergraduates. He says his professors walked him through every step of the process.

Next semester Chang will be analyzing the economy of Jamaica for his CIS business systems concentration. He has set his sights on pursuing medical school, perhaps becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. As he says, “More to come.”

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Musical Theatre Workshop Presents Classic Play Godspell

Caldwell Students Performing in Musical Theatre Workshop

Caldwell, N.J., April 16, 2019 – The Caldwell University Musical Theatre Workshop presented the classic play Godspell on Friday, April 12. Produced by Music Faculty, Dr. Laura Greenwald, the Caldwell cast and crew brought to life the production that is based on the Gospel of Matthew and had worldwide popularity in the 1970s.

Warren Helms was musical director and on piano; Dan Yates, was stage director; Tim Metz was on bass and John Piepoli was a percussionist.  The cast featured Caldwell students Lisette Guiracocha, Andrea Gutierrez, David Iarkowski, Keith Kyewalabye, Jessica Lopez, Lauren Mann, Jennifer Montejo, Maria Tavarez and Osayewere “Rae” Uyinmwen. Billy Yates played Jesus.

Uyinmwen said it was a tremendous joy to be part of Godspell’s cast. “There is something so rewarding about being able to help share this show’s beautiful message.”

Mann said that in the days leading up to the performance she could “not bottle up her excitement.” She was thrilled to be a part of the cast as they showcased the culmination of their hard work.

Audience members in the Alumni Theatre were joyfully clapping and singing, some dancing in their seats as they recalled the music and lyrics that were created by Stephen Schwartz in 1971.

Greenwald said Godspell is a transformative musical with a positive message. “It has been a blessing to work and sing with these dedicated, talented students and my brilliant colleagues, Warren Helms and Dan Yates.”

The original cast album won two Grammys.

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Caldwell Welcomes New Phi Kappa Phi Members

Phi Kappa Phi Inductees
Phi Kappa Phi Inductees
Phi Kappa Phi Inductees
Phi Kappa Phi Inductees
Phi Kappa Phi Inductees

Caldwell, N.J., April 10, 2019 – The Caldwell University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi held its 2019 induction ceremony on April 3. Lynne Alleger, Caldwell chapter 335 president, explained how PKP is the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society with the motto “Let the love of learning rule humanity.” The society’s mission is to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.

Vice president for Caldwell’s chapter, Professor Agnes Berki, from the Natural Sciences Department, introduced the new inductees.

The students who were inducted are:

Lucas Andrada
Brittany Ann Barnstead
Sagar Raj Basaula
Shawn Blaise
Robert J. Brandt Jr.
Brandi-Lee Brochu
Marisa A. Castronova
Quin DeLaRosa
Nicholas A. Diaz
Lorraine E. Donnelly
Erin M. Flohr
Molly Heller
Laura Holland
Ashley R. Kemmerer
Stefanie Sabrina Konboz
Maria Lesniewski
Amanda Lee Luzniak
Brooke McPherson
Sabrina Micciche
Sister Rita Opara
Kristin Reale
Carlos A. Rivera
Alondra Sanchez Solano
Jenna L. Sanfilippo
Anika Sanjana
Kerri A. Thiede
Stephen Van Cauwenberge
Catherine Wilcox-Avalos

The faculty and staff who were inducted are:

Dr. Joanne Jasmine, Professor of Education, Coordinator, M.A. Curriculum & Instruction
and Co-Coordinator, Ed.D./Ph.D. in Educational Leadership
Timothy Kessler-Cleary, Assistant Dean, Student Engagement and Retention
Henrietta Genfi, Assistant Dean, Advisement and Retention
Crystal L. Lopez, Assistant Dean, Residence Life and Conduct
Sheila O’Rourke, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Rebecca Vega, faculty member in the Department of Music

Alleger thanked Dr. William Velhagen, chair of the Natural Sciences Department, for his role as president the last two years and for his service to the university. Velhagen, she said, exemplifies the PKP motto.

In addition, the Caldwell chapter of PKP is collecting books for the Learning Center for Exceptional Children during April for Autism Awareness Month. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our Phi Kappa Phi student vice presidents to make the honor society more visible on campus and to provide a service to the community,” Alleger said.

For further information, go to the newly developed Caldwell Phi Kappa Phi webpage at https://www.caldwell.edu/academics/honor-societies/phi-kappa-phi.


Borough Council Meeting at University to Celebrate NJ Local Government Week, April 8


Caldwell, N.J., April 4, 2019 – To celebrate NJ Local Government Week, the Borough of Caldwell will hold its council meeting at Caldwell University on Monday, April 8.  Borough Mayor John Kelley and the council members will be in attendance.

University administrators and faculty members believe this will be a good educational experience for students.  “This is a very good opportunity for our students to learn about the workings of local government and how individual actions can serve the greater community,” said Dr. Domenic Maffei, chair of the Political Science and History Department at Caldwell University.

The meeting is open to the public and will be held from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with the opportunity for questions and answers and a student forum from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.  Refreshments will be provided following the forum.

The Borough and the university will stream the meeting live on their Facebook pages.







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Students Offer ‘Radical Hospitality’ on Spring Break Mission Trip

Caldwell University students and staff at Broad St. Ministries
Caldwell University students and staff cleaning up in Germantown with a group from Marymount University in Arlington, VA.
Student Volunteers Kevin and Lizzie with Retired Vincentian Priest
Caldwell University students and staff at Miraculous Medal Shrine

The Campus Ministry Office sponsored a spring break mission trip to the St. Vincent de Paul Young Adult Center in the Germantown section of Philadelphia March 10 to 15. The group learned about the spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, who had a heart for working with the poor and connecting the wealthy with those in need. The program focused on service, reflection and education.

Among their activities, the students volunteered with community groups such as Broad Street Ministry, which offers “radical hospitality” to those in need; PAR-Recycle Works, which provides transitional employment for those who have been incarcerated, and Face to Face, a human services organization. They also worked at a children’s aftercare program and at the SHARE Food Program, cleaned up a neighborhood and visited retired Vincentian priests.

Jill Salerno, a junior majoring in psychology, said what made this volunteerism project special for students was being able to live in the neighborhood where they worked. “While any service is great, getting to stay in the city and see the community we were helping out really added so much impact to the experience.”

The students appreciated the people they met at the service sites. “Whether it was others running these nonprofit organizations, people experiencing homelessness or just people in the city, everyone was so inspiring and wonderful to talk to,” said Salerno.

Leanna Chen found that as a public health major the experience helped her gain a greater understanding of community needs so she can better serve people. Participating in a service trip immersion, she said, helps to break down social barriers that one may not be aware exist. “It helps to focus us upon our similarities and the “differences” can then disappear and melt into the background.”

The project was led by Director of Campus Ministry Colleen O’Brien. At the university’s Founders Day Mass and celebration March 22, she too reflected on the many people the students met and the gifts they received from those encounters.

“If I dig a little deeper into the reality of the lives of the people I met last week,” she said, “I’m reminded that life is hard and sometimes the exchange leaves us with feelings of sadness, challenge or even a call to our own growth. Our first morning of service was spent at Broad Street Ministries, a place of radical hospitality as they call it, where they serve anyone living with scarcity in their lives. Towards the end of the meal a woman came in to get some hot food with her son … after my initial thought of sadness I was moved to think more deeply about the challenge this mother may face every day … wondering where she is going to get her son his next meal, where they will lay their head at night, or how she will teach him to be a kindhearted and strong man when he grows up. And for this I cannot help but think about her strength … the strength that it takes to get out of bed in the morning, to put one foot in front of the other and step out into the unknown. Although our interaction was short and no words were exchanged, I believe I will carry her value of true strength with me as I move forward from last week.”

The experience inspired several of the students to want to do more to reach out to those in need. “Getting to serve and work with people of the community was such an amazing experience and just further ensured that I want to have a career involving service to others,” said Salerno.

Dana McStowe, campus ministry staff member, also attended. The other students who took part were Prabhat Gurung Prabhat Gurung, Brooke McPherson, Natasha Fontenez, Kevin Munoz, Oluwatosin Adebiyi and Elizabeth Rebeiro.

Music News, News

8th Annual Summer Intensive Percussion Camp  at Caldwell University

March 7,2019 – Caldwell University will hold its 8th annual Summer Intensive Percussion Camp July 15-20 on the beautiful campus of Caldwell University located 20 miles west of New York City.

During the week-long camp students are immersed in the percussion world through their participation in ensembles, clinics, and masterclasses with internationally recognized drummers and percussionists.  Previous artistsinclude Grammy Award winners Andres Forero (Hamilton) and Mark Guiliana (David Bowie),Tommy Igoe (performer, author),Joe Bergamini (Doo Wop Project, Broadway),Chuck Burgi (Billy Joel),Dom Famularo (The Global Drum Ambassador),Rolando Morales-Matos (The Lion King, Ron Carter), Payton MacDonald (composer, performer, film maker) andDennis DeLucia (DCI Hall of Fame).

Daily activities include drum set, world drumming, classical percussion, percussion ensemble, and masterclasses and technique classes. Both group and individual instruction are offered throughout the week. The camp runs daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with some extended activities including a trip to New York City to attend a live performance.The week culminates with a concert on Saturday, July 20 for family and friends. The camp is open to students 13 and older and no formal audition is required.

Camp tuition is $725 and includes lunch, snacks, and transportation and admission to the New York City performance.   For those who would like to stay on campus overnight, a residential option is available for $1,275, which covers camp tuition and room and board. Early bird discounts are available. For more information see the pricing chart on the camp brochure.  

Download the brochure and application form on the Music Department page.

For additional information contact Alex Bocchino (Camp Director) at abocchino@caldwell.edu.

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“A Woman’s Bible for the 21st Century” Founders Day talk

Adam and Eve by Donald Jackson

Image credit – Adam and Eve, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2003, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 25, 2019 – Caldwell University will hold its annual Founders Day celebration with a presentation on “A Woman’s Bible for the 21st Century” by Dr. Marie Mullaney, Caldwell University professor of history. The event will be held at 11 a.m.  on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 in the Alumni Theater and is free and open to the public.   Dr. Mullaney’s talk will focus on The Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten illuminated Bible of monumental scale in 500 years.  The university is hosting the Gospel and Acts Heritage edition of the Bible throughout 2019.  

With its focus on women, the presentation is particularly appropriate since March is Women’s History month. Founders Day is set aside to honor the Sisters of St. Dominic who founded what was then Caldwell College for women in 1939.

Although centuries-old medieval techniques were used in its production, The Saint John’s Bible is refreshingly contemporary in its themes and points of emphasis. This lecture showcases the images of women found throughout the seven-volume series. These illuminations celebrate key Biblical women, insert women where they may not be explicit in the narrative, and use symbols to remind us of their presence and witness. Taken as a whole, these illuminations highlight the importance of women within the Judaeo-Christian tradition, a message that convinces us that this is indeed a “Bible for the 21st century.”

The lecture is part of the university’s Year with The Saint John’s Bible.  The Bible was commissioned by Benedictine Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the creative director was Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office.  

Groups are invited to book visits to see the Bible during the year at thesaintjohnsbible@caldwell.edu or by calling Julie Kajouras at 973 618-3922.

The Founders Day Mass will be celebrated at 12:15 in the Student Center Gym.  

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Celebrate Black History Month at African American Read-In

Flyer of African American Read-In Program

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 21, 2019 – Caldwell University’s English Department will celebrate Black History Month with an “African-American Read In”, 2 p.m., Tuesday February 26 in the Cougar Den on campus.  The featured speaker will be Dr. Valerie Lewis-Mosley who teaches in the Theology and Philosophy Department.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are invited to read their own favorite poem or short passage from an African American writer or listen to the powerful words written by African Americans.   Caldwell African American students, faculty and staff are invited to share excerpts from their own creating writing.

The National African American Read-In is the nation’s oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature.  It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month.

For information contact Dr. Katie Kornacki at kkornacki@caldwell.edu

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University Celebrates Launch of “A Year with the Saint John’s Bible”

The Saint John’s Bible
Dr. Blattner at The Saint John’s Bible Presentation
The Saint John’s Bible Presentation

Caldwell, N.J., Jan. 29, 2019– It is not often that one gets to view an illuminated, handwritten Bible created by the Queen’s calligrapher, yet more than 200 people at Caldwell University had that opportunity on Jan. 28 when they came out for the launch of the school’s “Year with The Saint John’s Bible”.

Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner said the year with the Bible is an invitation “to reflect upon our own journey to God, an invitation to seek God in all aspects of our life, an invitation to be drawn deeper into the mystery of our faith.”

The evening featured prayer, music and a presentation by Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John’s Bible at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Ternes explained how the timeless gift of sacred art is the first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be created in more than 500 years.  It was commissioned by Benedictine Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the creative director was Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office.

Jackson worked with a team of scribes, artists, theologians and scholars. Ternes described the creative process that took 15 years with Jackson leading artists who used traditional materials such as vellum, (calfskin), ancient inks, gold and silver leaf and platinum and was written with quill pens fashioned from goose, turkey and swan feathers. Although traditional materials were used, The Saint John’s Bible, Ternes said, “was inspired by our times and can inspire our times.”

The Bible is monumental in size because it is meant to be shared with others. “It is communal…the artworks are there to cause you to have discussions,” said Ternes. The legacy of the Bible, he said, is “what you choose to do with it…share it, enjoy it, use it.”  The Bible is the New Revised Standard version.   The text, translation and imagery in The Saint John’s Bible reflect Saint John’s Abbey and University’s dedication to ecumenism.

Interactive discussions made the opening night celebration very enjoyable for the audience members. Christine Millien, a recent graduate, was happy she attended. Ternes, she said, “opened your mind and joined the community together.”

Brooke McPherson, a Caldwell student, who is working on the docent team, said the “entire school is excited,” and she is “excited to be in the middle of it.”

University Music Department faculty members performed a new piece, “Calming of the Storm,” composed by faculty member Rob Middleton, inspired by an image in the Bible of the same title by artist Suzanne Moore. Middleton played the clarinet and he was joined by Music Department chair and pianist Nan Childress-Orchard and flutist Rebecca Vega.

For one year, Caldwell is hosting the Heritage Edition of the Gospels and Acts volume of the Bible.  The Heritage Edition is the only full-size limited signed and numbered fine art edition that will ever be produced. Each volume includes Jackson’s signature as its certificate of authenticity.

The community is invited to take advantage of the various programs and lectures at Caldwell in theology, art, history, science, music and more as they relate to the Bible.  Groups are invited to contact the university to schedule visits.

Other lectures during the year will include:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – Dr. Marie Mullaney, Caldwell University professor of history, will present on “A Woman’s Bible for the 21st Century.”

Monday, April 8, 2019, 4:30 p.m. – Stephanie Pietros, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, College of Mount St. Vincent, and Robert Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, Mount St. Mary College, will present on “Oh Happy Fault, Errors in the Saint John’s Bible” as part of the Caldwell Department of Theology and Philosophy’s Sister Maura Campbell series.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019, Noon– Dr. Anton M. Koekemoer, research astrophysicist with the Hubble Space Telescope at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, will speak at Caldwell’s third annual Research and Creative Arts Day.

More lectures will be added.

If you would like to book a group visit, contact thesaintjohnsbible@caldwell.edu or call Julie Kajouras at 973-618-3922.  To find out more visit www.caldwell.edu/thesaintjohnsbible

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Building a Heart for Service in Belize

Caldwell University Graduate Joe with Local Students in Belize
Caldwell Students Interacting with Local Students in Belize
Caldwell Students Volunteering in Belize
All the Caldwell Students in Belize

Caldwell, NJ. , Jan. 29, 2019 – For several years, Caldwell University students and staff have been volunteering in villages in Belize during winter break. They do the important work of rebuilding in a part of the Central American country where people have very few modern conveniences.   This January, a group of nine students and two staff members did service in the village of San Miguel for one week.  They built a partition to make a one room building into two, which now allows for two classrooms to accommodate the growing school enrollment.

The manual labor is helpful to the community, but as Colleen O’Brien, director of Caldwell’s Campus Ministry Office, tells the Caldwell students, there is something more important to the experience than the actual construction work.  “It has to be about relationship building,” she explains. It is about the people and the bonds they form—bonds with the villagers and bonds with each other, she says.  And it is about seeing that human goodness is universal no matter where you live on God’s earth.

The experience teaches, “that humanity requires us to be humble and to do good,” said Jenelle McLeod, a graduate student from New Brunswick, New Jersey, who took part in the mission trip.  “Everyone has a purpose…and every person and every experience we encounter contributes to each of our purposes,” said McLeod, who is majoring in mental health counseling with a school counseling concentration. It was the little things, that were really big things, that had an impact on the volunteers—like when the mothers of the parent teacher group would bring empanadas and corn cakes to the work site each day.

Daniela Diaz, a junior and business administration major from West New York, New Jersey, appreciated learning about a new culture and the people, which helped her reflect on her own life.  “Life is simple. It is us humans that make it complicated,” said Diaz.    Playing with the children at the school was what she enjoyed most.

Amber Raines, a junior and psychology major from Millville, New Jersey, was on the mission trip for her second time.  The strong sense of family that she witnessed in Belize had an effect on her, “…being there makes me value and appreciate the family that I have more.”

Cutting down on digital device usage took some adjustment but the students found that it helped them cherish the excursion even more.  “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to let go and take advantage of the trip and the experience,” said Diaz. McLeod said it allowed her to delve deeper and focus more closely on what she wants for her life.  “My commitments to what truly matter to me were further developed during our time without internet or phones.”  They were able to build “a closeness like a family” and simplify their living by spending quality time without distractions, she said.   Raines said that without social media “you can be more in touch with your surroundings and live more in the moment.”

The students have carried the memories home with them.  They are memories of “the beautiful villages with the vibrant children, the beautiful culture, and the bonds I’ve made with my new friends that I traveled with and have come to love,” McLeod.

She recommends that other students who have “a heart to serve” consider taking part in the mission trip in the future. There are friendships to be made.  “Even if you go in alone, you won’t come out alone,” said Diaz.

Watch News 12 New Jersey’s Feature