Author: skhadka

Alumni News, COVID-19 News, Featured News, News

Alum and family create hundreds of masks for hospitals and nonprofits

When alumnus Patrick Koslecki’17 heard that hospitals were in desperate need of personal protective equipment he knew he had to do something.  “My mother and I both know how to sew and together we made the decision that anything we could do, we would do, “said Koslecki who holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Caldwell. 

Alum Patrick Koslecki and his family have made more than 600 masks for hospitals, nonprofits and other groups.

Alum Patrick Koslecki and his family have made more than 600 masks for hospitals, nonprofits and other groups.

The shared understanding between Koslecki and his mother has transpired into a project of sewing masks for hospitals and nonprofits.  After initially making 15 masks, he posted the story to Facebook and Instagram putting out a call for materials such as elastics, heavy quilter’s fabric, and donations for shipping. Most rewarding to them has been seeing how many people from around the country have stepped up to donate.

With help from extended family, the Kosleckis Alum Patrick Koslecki and his family have made more than 600 masks for hospitals, nonprofits and other groups.have made and donated over 600 masks to those who are high risk and to hospitals, clinics, first responders, immunocompromised persons, Navy contractors and Army soldiers. 

As orders continued to increase, Koslecki, who is now a graduate student in the Master of Public Administration program at The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at City College of New York, and his mother were not able to keep up with the demands.  “My father masterminded an “assembly line” in our house where my brother would measure our 16 x 9 squares and cut them out, pass them to my dad to be ironed and he would pass them to me to have the hems sewn in and turned inside out, where finally my mother would pleat and attach the straps.”

Alum Patrick Koslecki and his family have made more than 600 masks for hospitals, nonprofits and other groups.

Alum Patrick Koslecki and his mother spearheaded a production process for sewing masks.

When the family outgrew their process, they began dropping fabrics off to an aunt and cousins who would cut and iron over 100 masks per day, letting the family focus on the sewing.  “Throughout this process, cleanliness and hygiene has been our highest priority,” said Koslecki. “The fabrics are sanitized when moved from house to house, which is another step, but a necessary one.” 

Hospitals they have donated to include St. Barnabas in the Bronx and in Livingston, Newark Beth Israel, University Hospital in Newark, Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, NYU Langone’s Cardiac and Acute Respiratory Units and NYC Health + Hospitals/ Harlem. The masks have been sent to 18 states and New Zealand and Italy. “Most important to me are the masks that have been sent to Oyate Health Center in South Dakota, a habitually underserved community where many of the Native peoples do not have access to clean drinking water, let alone access to regular hand washing practices, and HIV clinics serving LGBTQ positive individuals.  These individuals deserve to live without stigma, as well as have the security of health as a right, not a privilege,” said Koslecki. 

Alum Patrick Koslecki and his family have made more than 600 masks for hospitals, nonprofits and other groups.Koslecki says he lives by a belief in the importance of servant leadership—something that he learned from his parents, his mother who is a public-school teacher and his father who is a captain in the Newark, New Jersey Fire Department—which means “never resting when things get tough, but keeping my head down, getting the work done, and encouraging others to do the same.”  Koslecki does not do it for the recognition but always simply to do the right thing and help someone in need.  “I was raised by public servants who instilled in me that our community and the greater good, is more important than yourself.”   


COVID-19 News, Featured News, News

Campus virtual groups boost body, mind and spirit

COVID19 is driving home the importance of striving to keep our bodies, minds, and spirits in good condition. Caldwell University is reaching out to provide digital ways for faculty, staff, students and alumni to stay connected and healthy.  

CAMPUS MINISTRY AND PRAYERCampus ministry Hangouts

Staff members Colleen O’Brien and Dana McStowe in Campus Ministry have launched an online rosary.  The Campus Ministry Weekly Virtual Prayer Service meets every Wednesday at 11 a.m. through Google Hangouts Meet. The service includes the Mass readings of the day and the recitation of the rosary as a group.  O’Brien says sprayer intentions are welcome.   Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to join the prayer service by emailing or  

Campus ministry is also holding its student community gatherings virtually on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Senior Brooke Pherson has been joining the rosary and campus ministry group remotely. “I’m really grateful that despite being off-campus we’re still able to come together in prayer, especially because my parish is closed.  It’s obviously not the same but I’m so thankful for Colleen and Dana for putting the rosary call together, as well as the other campus ministry gatherings.”   

The Grotto Rosary Ministry is continuing monthly where anyone can submit their prayer petitions online at   The next rosary group will meet Tuesday, April 14 at 4:30 p.m. through Google Hangouts Meet.  Reach out to staff member Colette Liddy at if you would like to pray the rosary on the 14th and she will send you a Google Hangouts Meet invite to connect.  



Counseling Services is providing students with remote online and telephone counseling.  Additionally, students can take part in different virtual groups. 

“Baby How You Feelin’? Anxiety, isolation and remote living in the COVID crisis” meets every Friday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Google Hangouts Meet via Caldwell Gmail.   Robin Davenport, executive director of counseling services, recognizes that students are dealing with rapid changes as a result of the COVID-19 virus, including adapting to online coursework, being away from classmates, friends, and loved ones and missing their normal routines.  This group provides a safe virtual space where students can connect with each other and find ways to practice self-care as a group. “We want to help students be mindful about the media they consume, prioritize their emotional and physical wellbeingand find ways to make connections during an isolating time, said Davenport. For students to participate, all that is needed is a Gmail account, internet connection, and a microphoneDavenport says students do not need to use their video cameras if they do not feel comfortable. They can join and drop-in, even for just five minutes. 

A virtual Weekly Meditation is held every Friday from noon to 1 p.m. at Google Hangouts Meet via Caldwell Gmail.  Meditation can help create a sense of calm, improve sleep, foster relaxation and strengthen concentration, said Davenport.  “This group is perfect for maintaining social distance and finding a sense of peace during these turbulent times.”   A discussion period is held after the meditation. “Participants can talk about the impact of COVID19 on our sense of wellbeing and how the practice of meditation can help us regain our stability, said Davenport. 

The Wellness Center is hosting a Women’s Empowerment Group every Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Google Hangouts Meet via Caldwell Gmail This is a place for college women to connect with other women regarding shared concerns such as learning how to be more assertivedealing with difficult people, enhancing self-esteem, and respecting personal values and cultures.  Davenport says women of all backgrounds are encouraged to participate in this growth-enhancing group. Students can join any of these virtual groups by emailing Counseling Services at


Executive Director of Health Services Cindy Striano says it is vital for everyone to strive to boost their immune systems through exercising, getting adequate sleep and clean eating.  “Even the little things matter as we all work to fight the spread of the virus and keep ourselves healthy and safe.”  

Twenty to 30 minutes of exercise every day can go a long way in improving health.  “This can be as simple as a walk in the fresh air while practicing social distancing of at least six feet,” says Striano.   Eating cleanly, she says, includes reducing unhealthy snacking and drinking adequate water each day.   She advises doing your best to get at least seven to nine hours sleep per night during stressful times when sleep is often interrupted, use deep breathing or meditation to help encourage sleep.” 

 Striano is also reminding everyone of the imperatives of “washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water multiple times throughout the day and after you have touched surfaces, before and after going to the bathroom and before touching your face or eating.”   

Students can speak with a nurse by sending an email to to schedule a time to ask general health questions or questions about COVID-19.  They can use the same email to schedule an appointment with the school physician during the hours of Monday 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or at other specific times as scheduling allows. 

COVID-19 News, Featured News, News

COVID-19: Public Health Education Graduate & Professor Dispatches

A picture of Ashley Trommelen

Ashley Trommelen is an adjunct faculty member in the public health education program. She is responding to COVID19 as an employee for the Atlantic Health System.

These days Ashley Trommelen dresses for work a little differently. She stands outside in personal protective equipment at the coronavirus drive-thru testing site for the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey.  A health educator for AHS, she is situated adjacent to a security guard and holds up two signs – one requesting all car windows remain up until instructed by a nurse and the other with a phone number for the registration tent.  It is a testing site for patients who have a prescription from an Atlantic Medical Group provider. Trommelen, an adjunct faculty member in Caldwell’s bachelor’s of public health education program, confirms each patient’s identification via his or her license held up to the window and writes each person’s initials with soap on the window before the car may advance to the next step. Often she will say, “Feel better” through the window and patients will respond, “Thank you.” Trommelen is grateful to be one of the many health care workers who are addressing the COVID-19 needs. “I’m proud to work for the system, to be able to make a little positive impact.” In the fall, Trommelen will be teaching Epidemiology and plans to incorporate the COVID-19 pandemic as much as possible. “I never thought I would witness a pandemic so early in my career but plan to teach my students about the crucial roles public health workers played in this situation.”

A picture of Samantha Areson

Samantha Areson ’19 is working in telemedicine at Overlook Medical Center in Summit.

Samantha Areson ’19 feels she was prepared for the possibility of a pandemic and that she would play a role in it as a health care worker.  Her professors in the bachelor’s in public health education at Caldwell readied the students to be “at the forefront” of a pandemic or epidemic, says Areson, who is working in telemedicine at Overlook Medical Center in Summit. Normally a health educator in community health in Union County, in response to COVID-19, Areson was recently redeployed to create the structure for virtual visits with doctors and the follow-up app.  “We are playing a big part in easing patients’ minds that they can see a doctor and not come to the office. And we are keeping the office staff and the other patients healthy.” Even though this is her first job out of college, Areson says she was not nervous about adjusting to her new duties so rapidly. “A lot of people are coming together…my bosses prepared me well for the reassignment…and I also have support from Caldwell because I know I can email my past professors at any time for guidance!”

A picture of Beatrice Turenne

Beatrice Turenne is an adjunct faculty member in the public health education program and a mental health professional. In response to the pandemic, she has been working on the Disaster Mental Health Line for the NJ Mental Cares Call Center through the Mental Health Association of New Jersey,

Public health education adjunct faculty member Beatrice Turenne is seeing “the hunger” build in her students to learn more about their profession’s vital work during the coronavirus pandemic. “Everything we talk about is real and in your face,” says Turenne, who teaches Intro to Public Health, Theories of Health Behavior and Epidemiology. Long before the coronavirus outbreak, Turenne asked students in her Theories of Health Behavior class to create a public service announcement “Handwashing Campaign” aimed at different populations including kindergartners, elderly nurses, commuters and college athletes. They were instructed to think of ways to communicate with people on their terms respecting diverse cultures and environments. Now Turenne is pleased to see her students understand more clearly how their careers will play a vital role in public health. Since the outbreak, Turenne, a mental health professional who works at the NJ Mental Cares Call Center through the Mental Health Association of New Jersey, has also been working on its Disaster Mental Health Line which was activated as a response to the pandemic. They provide essential services to help people navigate through fear and anxiety. Turenne knows these are real-life experiences that are relatable for her students. “They are seeing how beneficial this field is at this moment. They are gaining information that will save lives.”

A picture of Emily Stabile, school health aide for the Fairfax County Health Department in Virginia.

Emily Stabile ’18 is a school health aide for the Fairfax County Health Department in Virginia. During the pandemic, she is taking calls from the public concerning the coronavirus for the county health department.

Emily Stabile ’18 is taking calls from the public these days concerning the coronavirus for the Fairfax County Health Department in Virginia.  She says her team plays “a huge role” in providing guidance and getting information out to the community. That information includes everything from testing sites, to discussing symptoms to easing their worries.  Stabile, a Caldwell University public health education graduate,  is normally employed as a school health aide for the Fairfax County Health Department where she responds to emergencies, administers medications, conducts vision and hearing screenings, and handles other health-related tasks in an elementary school.  The county follows a public health model and does not have nurses in school health rooms except for once a week to oversee everything. “It is a really great experience working with school-age children and giving them the care that they need,” says Stabile. She credits Caldwell’s Public Health Education faculty with giving her a strong foundation in areas such as research and group projects that apply to her job responsibilities today. Even though it is a challenging time, she is grateful to be able to work with her team and the Health Department and answer questions and help people feel a little safer.
“I’m thankful to be able to have that impact on the community.”

To learn more about Caldwell University’s Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education, go to


Table manners were on the menu at Caldwell’s spring etiquette dinner

Use the fork on the outside first and work your way in with your utensils. Use the bread plate to your left. Do not ask for more food.  And definitely don’t pick up your phone. 

Perhaps that does not sound like your typVirginia Rich with a group of Caldwell students in the etiquette dinner?eventical college business class, but at Caldwell University, students learned about table manners at the annual Spring Etiquette Dinner, Feb.27. For the second year in a row, the popular event had a waiting list. 

Associate Dean of the School of Business and Computer Science, Virginia Rich, J.D., and Executive Chef and Director of Dining for Gourmet Dining, Tom Duggan educated the students about professional etiquette featuring a delicious five-course dinner, prepared by Gourmet Dining, the university’s food service provider. 

Learning the protocols, “makes life easy,” Professor Rich told the students. A group of Caldwell students in the etiquette dinner?event“Once you know what to do, you know what to do.”   There are two concepts to keep in mind all through the dinner, said Rich–“hygiene, and respect for the people who invited you.” 

The dinner is a valuable learning experience from a career development perspective, said Geraldine Perret, director of Caldwell’s Office of Career Planning and Development, the office that sponsors the event. “Students may find themselves at a meal with their internship supervisor, as part of an interview, or at a professional conference.”

Senior Roshana Hassan agrees. I’m an accounting major so it’s not uncommon to be in a situation, where you’re taking a client out for dinner. Knowing proper dining etiquette will help me present myself and my firm very well for our clients.” 

Among the rules, Duggan told the students that their water glasses are always to their right. “I’ve been at plenty of weddings where someone takes the wrong glass and then everyone has to take the wrong drink.” And of course, there is the A group of Caldwell students in the etiquette dinner?eventever-beckoning cell phone which must be off-limits at a business meeting or interview that takes place over a meal. “The worst thing to do is to pay any attention to the phone,” said Duggan.

For Sonia Godoy Tejada ’20, a business administration major, with a double minor in marketing, the main takeaway was “that there won’t be much eating going on. You’ll be chit-chatting and answering so many questions during an interview or company dinner, that you won’t really be sitting there and enjoying the food.” Eating is not the main reason that you are there.  She appreciated learning pointers like the importance of breaking bread into small pieces, spreading a little bit of butter as one goes along and that “you don’t cut all your food right away–you cut your food as you eat. And [you] never ask for a to-go box.” 

Other faculty members joined the students at the tables to help them navigate the formalities of a business dinner and to provide a networking opportunity.



Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Faculty Feature: Darryl Aucoin: A Science Professor’s Formula for Success: Teamwork, Humor and the Great Outdoors


Professor Darryl Aucoin was describing the odd shape of a molecule to his chemistry students. “Did you ever have your umbrella flip inside out?” he asked. “It kind of looks like that.” 

To explain how atoms and electrons relate, he showed his students a cartoon with a “great Snidley-Whiplash-looking chlorine atom” (referring to an old TV A picture of Darryl Aucoinvillain) that was “practically stealing an electron from a poor hydrogen, who is very distressed looking,” said Aucoin, assistant professor in the Department of Natural Sciences. 

Aucoin uses analogies to insert humor into the classroom when he is teaching a complicated subject. Most times his creative gymnastics come on the spur of the moment. “I often find that I come up with them in the middle of the lecture and I can’t remember them later when I try to write them down,” he said. The comparisons relieve tension in the classroom—“slow me down a bit so the students can catch up.” He might have to explain the concept two or three different ways, but when he finds an analogy that “clicks,” it makes teaching “really fun.” Then students start to understand the more abstract ideas, which makes all the mental exercises worthwhile. 

Prithy Adhikary, a senior, has had Aucoin all four years at Caldwell, in classes and labs and as a freshman advisor. She appreciates his humor. “He reminds me of Walter White,” said Adhikary, referring to a chemistry teacher in the TV series “Breaking Bad.” More important, she said, he is the type of professor students can see about day-to-day academic problems, and “there will always be a solution.”  

For Aucoin, connecting with students is a benefit of teaching at a smaller university like Caldwell. In his “Principles of Chemistry” course for nursing students or in his labs for the general chemistry course or the biochemistry class for junior- and senior-level science students, the atmosphere at Caldwell opens up a world of science that is focused not only on knowledge but also on “wisdom”—hence Caldwell’s motto of Sapientia et Scientia, Wisdom and Knowledge. “Knowledge is what you know, and wisdom is how you use it, or your application of the knowledge. And they are both important,” said Aucoin. That is why “you teach classes, but you also show students the practical in the labs.” 

Biology major Sudeep Khadka has two labs with Aucoin and appreciates that he is open to students’ ideas. “He always says ‘yes’” to trying projects, said Khadka. 

Aucoin and his colleagues in the Department of Natural Sciences encourage student-led research. They have been integrally involved in planning the university’s annual Research and Creative Arts Day and in helping students prepare for the Independent College Fund of New Jersey’s annual Research Symposium at which their work is showcased for statewide business and community leaders. 

Aucoin sees how research provides many benefits for students beyond the science; they learn professional skills like adaption, trouble-shooting, “coming up with new solutions, not getting too frustrated, problem-solving” and especially teamwork. “All of my lab courses have students working in pairs,” he said. Students learn how to collaborate. They divide responsibilities, assist each other with data collection and bond and get to know each other better. This “lets them make a friend in the department,” which he points out is especially good for his freshmen. 

Aucoin remembers what it was like when he was young and discovering the world of science research in Greenville and Smithfield, Rhode Island. His chemistry and physics teachers at Smithfield High School challenged and encouraged him to pursue science studies in college. Then his freshman chemistry teacher at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, sparked his interest in becoming a university professor. “He also wore a suit every single day, which is where I got that from,” said Aucoin. 

Chemistry Professor Demonstrating an Experiment to a Group of Students

He majored in chemistry and biochemistry at Clark and had multiple opportunities to engage in research. “I want to make sure we give that opportunity to our students.” He went on to graduate school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, earning a Ph.D. in structural biology; he did his postdoctoral work at Ohio State University where he focused on nuclear magnetic resonance research, examining the proteins associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Working with another professor, he learned the ropes of teaching by helping train students, setting up labs and working as a teaching assistant. 

Aucoin is aware that many of his 80-plus undergraduate students will enter professions that help others, becoming nurses, doctors, physician assistants or drug designers, and he hopes he can inspire them to ask questions like “How can we stop certain diseases from progressing as bad as they get? Can we understand those diseases so we can make better drugs to help people?” He believes these are important questions for students to ask themselves, especially at a Catholic Dominican school that is focused on how to serve the common good and to search for and discover the truth. 

For Aucoin, a whole world of discovery is waiting to be explored. He and his wife, Hilary, enjoy the great outdoors, hiking up mountains—everywhere from Colorado to New Jersey, where they can find less-traveled places, “nice little ponds or lakes” and ruins like the Van Slyke Castle in Ramapo. An avid photographer, he always packs a camera—“anywhere we go to pick something that has some kind of mountain view or a lake.” He and Hilary, along with Natural Sciences Professor Agnes Berki, have taken university students hiking to show them “the splendor of the fall foliage.” As international students, Khadka and Adhikary are grateful to discover the beauty of nature in New Jersey and to find that professors are generous with their time. “They are like family,” said Adhikary 

Aucoin gives back to the community, volunteering with the middle school and high school Boy Scout troop at St. Aloysius Church in Caldwell, New Jersey. He is happy to be a part of an experienced team that teaches young people how to camp outside in all types of environments, “giving them survival skills and confidence in their abilities,” he said. As a kid, Aucoin camped outside in all weather conditions, even “when it was only 20 degrees … and I still have my fingers and toes to prove it.” 

The skills he learned in scouting—like leadership, character development, citizen training, and teamwork—have proved to be a good foundation for many aspects of life including his schooling and professional work.

Aucoin especially appreciates the teamwork he sees modeled across campus, and this makes his job worthwhile. “Everyone pays so much attention to their students.” The members of his department have good camaraderie. “We all get along really well and we help develop ideas together … and share resources,” he said.  The team has the same primary goal in mind: It is laser-focused on the students— “That they know we really care, that we are there. All in it together.” —CL