Featured News, News

Welcome President Whelan

Welcome to Caldwell University President Matthew Whelan!

We are so happy that you are here.
We are ready to go! 


A picture of Samantha Guerra ‘22, Major- Nursing, President, SGA, and the SGA Eboard“On behalf of the student government association here at Caldwell University, we would like to welcome you to our campus. We are very excited to be working with you to create a proactive, healthy, and safe environment for all the students, faculty, and staff here at Caldwell University. Looking forward to expanding both your mission for Caldwell, as well as ours for the success of our students.”

 Samantha Guerra ‘22, Major- Nursing, President, SGA, and the SGA Eboard





A picture of Paul Iwarat ‘22 - Major - Accounting, Esports overwatch captain, resident assistant.Congratulations, President Whelan! I look forward to seeing you in action! I can tell you right now that you made the right choice choosing to work at Caldwell University. We are all here for you as you are here for all of us.

Paul Iwarat ‘22 –  Major – Accounting, Esports overwatch captain, resident assistant.


A picture of Dennis Martin ‘21 Major - Social Studies, EOF Class Representative of 2017 Cohort

On behalf of the EOF Program, which is embodied by students, and blessed by God with determination, perseverance, and grit, we welcome you Dr. Matthew Whelan to both the Caldwell University Family and the Caldwell EOF family. Thank you for taking the torch of light and hope that will empower Caldwell students to continue to seek the welfare and justice of their families, communities, and the whole world.  

-Dennis Martin ‘21  Major  – Social Studies, EOF Class Representative of 2017 Cohort


Dear Dr. Whelan, I am looking forward to seeing you around campus. It will be A picture of Jose Perez ‘21, Major - Financial Economics and Marketing, Vice President, International Student Organization, member of the men’s track and field team.fantastic to get to know you. Please let me know if you need help with anything, as I would like to make your transition into our Caldwell University Community as pleasant as possible.

Jose Perez ‘21,    Major – Financial Economics and Marketing, Vice President, International Student Organization, member of the men’s track and field team.


A picture of Madison Perry ’21, Major - Biology, Member, Women’s Bowling Team, Catholic Relief Services Student AmbassadorWelcome to Caldwell, Dr. Whelan! I hope you fall in love with the community as quickly as I did during my freshman year. I can’t wait to see what you do for our community!

Madison Perry ’21, Major – Biology, Member, Women’s Bowling Team, Catholic Relief Services Student Ambassador.






A picture of Ashley Williams

My name is Ashley Williams and I am a student in the  EOF program. I just want to welcome you to Caldwell University and I hope you create some of your best memories while you are here! 

-Ashley Williams ‘21 –  Major-History




A picture of Colin WilliamsPresident Whelan, It is my honor to welcome you on behalf of the Caldwell University Football Team. I promise to deliver you a championship this year

-Colin Williams ’21 – Major – Communication and Media Studies




Welcome to Caldwell University, President Whelan! On behalf of the Staff Council, we are so excited that you are now part of our beautiful and vibrant campus community. We look forward to all you will bring to Caldwell’s present and future! Marina C. Manning, Academic Advisor


Dear Dr. Whelan,

On behalf of the faculty of Caldwell University, I would like to welcome you to our community.  Having met you during the interview process, I know firsthand your passion for our mission and your excitement about the institution’s future.  I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead. – Dr. Benjamin Lammers, President of the Faculty Council


Matt, A picture of Linda Luciano

The Board and I look forward to partnering with you in your role as Caldwell University’s ninth president. I am confident that you will successfully lead our university into the future.  

 Best regards, Linda Luciano, EdD, MBA
Chair, Caldwell University Board of Trustees



A picture of Msgr. Robert EmeryDear Dr. Whelan, 

It is a pleasure to be able to welcome you to Caldwell University! As the Pastor of St. Aloysius Church here in Caldwell, I look forward to collaborating with you whenever possible. There has always been a wonderful relationship between the University and the Parish and I know that will continue under your leadership. Please know that I am always willing to help in any way.  I wish you many blessings in your new role and promise you a special place in my prayers.


 Sincerely in Christ,
Msgr. Robert Emery
Pastor, St. Aloysius Pastor, Caldwell, NJ


Dear Matt,

I’m looking forward to continued conversation and wishing you a very warm A picture of Sister Patrice Wernerwelcome to Caldwell University and our Dominican family.  With all of the sisters I extend our Dominican blessing:

May God, the Creator, bless you.
May God, Redeemer, heal you.
And may God, the Holy Spirit, fill you with light.

In Dominic and Catherine,

Sister Patrice
Prioress, Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell



Featured News, News

“You grow more as a person through the years you are here” – Alicia Rodriguez ‘20

Alicia RodriguezNavigating through tough conversations is one of the skills Alicia Rodriguez learned at Caldwell University. As a lacrosse student-athlete and an Admissions Department student ambassador, she interacted with professors, potential employers, teammates, parents and prospective students. What sometimes seemed “difficult or awkward” as a younger college student  became smoother as time went on, “because I got the practice I needed,” said Rodriguez who received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management on May 17.  “You grow more as a person through the years you are here.”

Rodriguez is the first in her family to earn a university degree. She is proud to have represented the university in positions interacting with the public by providing tours to prospective students and parents. “Caldwell has modeled me into the young woman I am today.”     She gave her “hard work, tears, athletic ability and dedication” to her university and in return she gained “a future, family, friends, and teammates” and most importantly, she says, “a better outlook on life and reality.” Rodriguez also took advantage of what was offered including becoming a member of the Sport Management Club and going on a short-term study abroad trip her sophomore year with her academic department to learn about the sport management business in Italy. 

Although the coronavirus pandemic abruptly ended her time as a college lacrosse player, she has applied what she has learned to understand  the bigger picture.  “I learned to take each day, day by day and to appreciate that my loved ones are still well and healthy and that we can all get through this pandemic together.” It is wisdom she will draw on as she pursues a career in game day operations and perhaps goes on to study law.

As she looks back at her four years, Rodriguez is grateful for what she learned through academics, athletics, clubs, campus work and even those “awkward conversations”.  Now she is proud to be a Caldwell University alumna.  “It is not just about getting a degree but also the experiences that come with it that you will cherish forever.” 

COVID-19 News

Alexa, Let’s Innovate – Art therapy and counseling students bring connection during COVID-19

Compassion and connection. These are two of the hallmarks of good care. And when it comes to the Lifestyle Engagement team at Sycamore Living, a senior wellness community in East Hanover, New Jersey, providing quality care is a priority, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. No surprise then, that Caldwell University students and faculty  have been playing an integral part in the work there, using new and exciting technology to accomplish their goals.

Sycamore Living Marissa

As graduate students, Marisa Juliano (L) and Amanda Mascolo (R) worked with Caldwell adjunct faculty member and their field work supervisor Maria Lupo (center) at the senior wellness community Sycamore Living. They have used their art therapy and counseling backgrounds along with innovative technology to serve seniors during the pandemic.

Art therapist Maria Lupo is an alumna of the master’s in clinical mental health counseling with a specialization in art therapy program and she is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Psychology and Counseling. Lupo is also the director of lifestyle engagement at Sycamore Living who  supervised Caldwell graduate students Amanda Mascolo and Marisa Juliano as  Lifestyle Engagement associates during the spring semester. These women are on the cutting edge of new technology that is connecting the elderly with loved ones and staff members in a unique climate.

The idea of working in a facility that houses COVID-19 patients may seem intimidating to some. Lupo enters the isolation unit to deliver activity kits and visit  as part of her work while Mascolo and Juliano visit it through the use of technology. 

Lupo wants people to know that the atmosphere inside the unit may not be what you picture.

“Before I went in, I was concerned as to what it was going to be like,” says Lupo. “Once I walked in, though, it was really about that people-to-people connection. Nursing at its best, care at its best. Yes, it’s serious and they’ve come through a lot. But people are still people.”

“It’s not as scary as it would seem to the public,” she adds.

It is that desire for connection that has driven the team to find innovative ways to allow seniors to interact with staff as well as their friends and family. Each of their rooms is equipped with an Alexa Echo Show, a device that allows both audio and visual communication. Each patient is assigned a unique Alexa account that includes a username and password. Associates contact the patient’s family when they arrive and send them a thorough instruction sheet, video, and any additional technical support they need. Once connected, the family can simply call in to virtually visit their loved one, without the patient having to pick up a phone or operate any technology on their end.

Families have described this service as a “life saver.” Many have not seen their family member in weeks while they are treated for COVID in the hospital. Once they arrive at Sycamore for continued recovery, there is finally a renewed connection with home. 

“Technology can be a burden or a lifesaver, and I feel like in this situation, technology is really a life saver,” Lupo says. “It is really creating that human connection.”

Marisa Juliano and Amanda Mascolo at Sycamore Living

Marisa Juliano and Amanda Mascolo say it has been rewarding during their graduate school field work to provide seniors with support, empathy and creative activities throughout COVID-19.

Juliano received her master’s in mental health counseling with art therapy specialization May 17. “I never imagined being an essential worker during a global pandemic…but being able to be there for the residents and patients any way that we can during all of this, knowing that they felt safer, makes us feel better.”

 She has seen her backgrounds in counseling theory and technique and art therapy come together. “I have heard stories about fear, loss, death, but also of hope and prayer for a better world after this. I keep the families and patients in my thoughts each day.”

Lupo recalls Mother’s Day and the unique role that technology played in the day. Prior to the holiday, the team contacted families to see how they would like to celebrate their moms. Families e-mailed artwork that grandchildren had made, pictures of family, or whatever else they wanted to share. Lupo came in and printed everything that had been sent in on the morning of Mother’s Day and put the materials into envelopes with cards from the staff. These special care packages were delivered to patients, and families were able to video in to spend some time with their loved one. Paired with a special meal from the facility’s culinary department, the day was truly special.

Another initiative that has helped keep spirits high is the creation of personal activity kits. The team fills these kits with coloring sheets, puzzles, a journal book with inspirational words, as well as writing and art materials. They are delivered into the unit, and then the associates use the technology of Alexa to virtually visit with each patient. They help them explore the activities, and sometimes, they just offer conversation. Lupo knows that some days, the activities are a welcome stimulation, and other times, the patient may just need a listening ear.

“Even as an art therapist, you give the patient or resident what they need,” Lupo says. “Checking in with them, giving them a one-to-one room visit, listening, and having that human connection conversation.”

Lupo says that patients often want to talk about everyday life. They want to share memories or hear about the staff member’s pets. They want to hear what it is like to go to the grocery store during the pandemic. Simple conversations are a craving that the Lifestyle Engagement staff can satisfy.

Even outside of the COVID unit, residents are seeing the effects of a team who cares to connect with them as they face the same isolation that households across the country do. One such resident is a Caldwell University alumni, Peggy Lavery Leo ’64. She shared about how the Lifestyle team takes the time to bring residents outside to enjoy warm weather, and engages in conversation with the residents. Leo enjoyed the opportunity to reminisce about her memories from her time at Caldwell, when the school was composed of all women, and there were just 114 students in her graduating class. She doesn’t take the challenges the Sycamore staff face for granted.

“With the difference in all of our ages and likes and dislikes, they are making it work,” she says. “If things are all planned and no one is interested in doing that, they’ll sit and talk with the residents. This is especially important since we cannot leave the faculty, nor can we have visitors.”

When you hear about the work being done at Sycamore Living, technology certainly stands out. But flowing under that innovation is a steady current of compassion. Each decision comes out of a desire from the staff to connect with residents and to allow them to flourish in their home. 

“The most rewarding aspect of my work is to be able to provide the residents with support,” says Mascolo who is pursuing her master’s in mental health counseling.  “They are often faced with challenges and are accustomed to hearing that they can’t. My time and experience from Caldwell’s academic program has prepared me to be patient, empathetic and understanding of this population especially during this time.” 

Lupo sees innovation remaining as a standard even after COVID-19 has passed.

“We want to change up what senior living means,” Lupo says, “engaging the mind, bringing purposeful, meaningful activities to seniors.”

Whether that means planting an herb garden or exercising on a normal day, or adjusting to the temporary normal of a pandemic with Alexa-assisted family visits, the team at Sycamore Living is ensuring that for the seniors in their care, every day has purpose.


-Nicole Burrell ‘09

Featured News

Christopher Lepore ‘20: A Family Legacy at Caldwell University

Christopher Lepore ’20 was interning in the treasury department at Newell Brands in Hoboken when his supervisor took him tochristopher meet the company’s chief financial officer who was the interim CEO. He credits the personable skills he learned at Caldwell University for that interaction. “When you bring that to the workforce people appreciate it. Not many adults have those skills,” says Lepore, who received his bachelor’s in communication and media studies on May 17. “You sort of have to be polite to go to Caldwell,” he says. The parents of prospective students to whom he gave tours were happy to hear that. “To succeed on Caldwell’s campus you need to be able to work with others and communicate your thoughts and actions while also understanding everyone’s perspective,” says Lepore, the third of three brothers to graduate from Caldwell.

His leadership skills have been noticed not only by faculty and staff but also by students. At honors convocation on May 7, he was awarded the senior class C-Pin, an award given to an individual in each class, nominated by his or her peers, who displays the qualities of an exemplary Caldwell University student.

When Lepore looks back at his four years at Caldwell, one of the high spots was his decision to minor in philosophy. It was his Intro to Philosophy course with Dr. Kyle Bennett during freshman year that motivated him to learn more about the discipline. Bennett was his mentor for independent studies, providing him and other students with the chance to meet professional philosophers at a conference at Bard College.  Lepore had a hunger to learn about the great thinkers and their mindsets during traumatic times in history. “My practices in my philosophy courses all have translated to my professional life whenever a task requires critical thinking and communication.”

Lepore appreciates the foundation he received in the Communication and Media Studies Department. “The entire department gave me the versatility to be able to write, perform, and produce as well as teach others the skills.” He particularly enjoyed Professor Bob Mann’s radio broadcasting and podcasting course.

He also earned a minor in business administration and interned as a news writer for the global technology company, Yardi Systems.  All three academic programs have equipped Lepore with a strong foundation for his immediate career goal, which is to run a social program for adults with special needs. He certainly has the experience. Since his freshman year of high school Lepore has been volunteering for HANDS of North Arlington, which meets weekly to provide free activities for adults with special needs. One night a week night during college, he drove to the nonprofit in North Arlington, taking five hours to do something that is in his heart and soul. “Volunteering with HANDS of North Arlington has been the most important aspect of my entire life. Every Tuesday, since I was 13, has been dedicated to charity, friendship, and love. ” He runs the organization’s finances and is an administrator and liaison for all of the high school volunteers. “I have made relationships with so many people and the group has shaped me into the person I am today.”

He is also grateful to the Caldwell University admissions staff members in particular Colleen DeTroia and Melissa Oszmianski. “Everyone in admissions, and specifically Colleen and Melissa, were the greatest support system I could have ever asked for, and I am so thankful to have them in my life.”

In this episode of the podcast, Caldwell University Conversations, Chris joins two other Class of 2020 grads to talk about what they have received from their Caldwell University educations, their advice for incoming students, and what they are learning through the pandemic.


Living a Life of Service: Brooke McPherson ‘20

Living a Life of Service: Brooke McPherson ‘20

Brooke-McPherson Headshot Image

Brooke McPherson ’20 was watching Caldwell University’s virtual honors convocation with her parents on May 7.  By the time it was over she had received four awards with her dad saying “it was like watching our own personal superbowl.”  It was quite an accomplishment for a young woman who, when she had first started college, wasn’t sure where she fit in.  She found her purpose at Caldwell in a life of service. It was a journey that took her to several states and even out of the country and culminated in her deciding on a unique post-graduation path.

After feeling a bit like a fish out of water her freshman year, McPherson realized she was never really alone on campus. She noticed that many people wanted to connect with her, whether it was in Campus Ministry, in the cafeteria when she would run into new friends, or in time with professors.

BrookeMcPherson and group

“I think becoming aware of that support system gave me added confidence that helped me to thrive while at Caldwell,” said McPherson, who received her bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and marketing with a minor in communication and media studies May 17.

After discovering the wonderful support system she had at Caldwell, McPherson began looking for ways to apply her love of faith and service to her newfound community. She dove into many activities on campus, rarely saying no to a need. She brought with her commitment a joy that left a lasting impact on everyone she encountered. She served as president of the Delta Mu Delta International Business Honor Society and volunteered as an orientation leader, offering herself as a first friend to freshmen on campus.  Through the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice she traveled to Washington, D.C., to learn about social justice issues and to meet with senators and representatives to advocate for those being crushed by systemic oppression. 

During her time at Caldwell, McPherson gained a greater sense of her faith. She discovered she could serve others and in doing so, grow as a person. Through Campus Ministry, she participated in an immersion trip to Belize. She was also given the honor of serving as a Eucharistic minister during the opening Mass for the new Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus chapel on campus. She was thrilled to be attending a Catholic university where she had lots of opportunities to live out her faith through acts of service.

BrookeMcPherson and group

“I try to preach with my life,” said McPherson of her active spiritual walk.

And others have recognized that too. At the honors convocation she received the Excellence in Leadership, Leadership in Ministry and Faith Does Justice Awards and departmental honors in marketing. 

 She credits the university’s dedicated professors and staff members with helping her find a path in life that she can’t wait to begin. After graduation, she will take the alternate path of a year of service. Based on her history of serving others during her college career, this decision is no accident. At the end of the summer, McPherson will begin a year with Good Shepherd Volunteers in Washington Heights, New York City. She will work as the public policy and advocacy fellow, supporting funding for trauma-informed programs that will provide aid for youth, families and communities in New York. 

After she completes the program, McPherson plans to continue her life mission of service by attending graduate school to earn a master’s with a focus on ethical business practices or public policy.

BrookeMcPherson and group

Reflecting on her time at Caldwell, McPherson is quick to acknowledge the role the university’s staff and students played in her life. Her memories are far-reaching, from service trips to late nights spent with friends in the gazebo, from making her confirmation freshman year to a weekend in the Poconos with classmates. The highlights are varied, but there is continuous thread of joy and community in McPherson’s story. The help of others who met the needs of an uncertain freshman has carried her through to this moment when she is stepping out to dedicate her own life to serving others. And as anyone who has met her knows, she will be doing it with a smile on her face.

Alumni News, Featured News

A Message from President Blattner: Racism is a social evil and conflicts with our university’s Catholic Dominican values

 June 1, 2020

Dear Members of the Caldwell University Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today.  In the course of the past few painful days and months, we have witnessed the horrific and senseless killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and countless other people of color who died because of what they look like. It is a tragic reality that the sin of racism, which began over 400 years ago in the United States, remains with us today and is an insidious systemic reality in our society.

Racism is a social evil and conflicts with our university’s Catholic Dominican values.  As the U.S. Catholic Bishops expressed in a statement issued on May 29, 2020: “People of good conscience must never turn a blind eye when citizens are being deprived of their human dignity and even their lives. Indifference is not an option.”  We painfully witnessed the indefensible death of George Floyd at the hands of an officer who swore to protect the public’s safety.  We cannot in good conscience remain indifferent to the abuses that people of color endure regularly in our country.

We acknowledge the cumulative pain and trauma that these experiences bring, especially to those members of our community who time and again disproportionately bear the weight of racism. We are united in our fundamental belief that all people possess dignity and deserve respect, and we will not remain silent when any member of our family is harmed.

Together, we will draw strength to face these larger societal challenges, informed by our Catholic and Dominican mission and identity and our value of inclusiveness. We regret that the pandemic does not allow us to gather in person as a community to connect, support, pray and educate each other. However, Caldwell University stands with and offers condolences to the Taylor, Arbery, and Floyd families and the individuals and communities impacted by their deaths.

As a Caldwell family, we embrace the core value of ‘community’; I encourage you to reach out in support of our students, colleagues and neighbors of color who are, without a doubt, feeling the weight of these tragedies.  Please let them know they are not alone. Please do not be silent, but speak up for what is right.

For students who may find themselves struggling over these tragedies, please know that Caldwell University’s Counseling Services is available to you.  You can email a counselor at counseling@caldwell.edu for free and confidential assistance. Tele-counseling services are available.

Similarly, staff and faculty can receive counseling by contacting Caldwell University’s EAP, Aetna Resources for Living; information can be found on the Benefits section of the Human Resources website page.

Let us stand together as a community to repudiate the racism that ravages the dignity of human life.  Let us live out the core values of Caldwell University.


Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., OPA



Alumni News, Featured News

Caldwell gave me the perfect gift–Lamar-Shea Chang ‘20


LamarShea Chang ‘20 knows hes equipped to make a difference in the world, and he credits the mentorship he received at Caldwell University for that conviction. Professors, staff, faculty, alumni, and health care and business leaders helped him get on “the right trajectory” to believe that the sky is the limit. He certainly did his part in taking advantage of the opportunities presented to him.

Chang received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and Biology with a minor in Chemistry on May 17, and he plans to work a year or two before pursuing a career in medicine.

Chang has been selected to deliver the Class of LamarPhoto2020 undergraduate commencement address at a ceremony in the fall, delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to tell his classmates that graduating from Caldwell University has given them the “arsenal of tools and calibrated compasses” to impact the lives of “billions” of people for generations to come. “It is true,” he said. “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Although it was difficult to have his senior year interrupted by the pandemic, after the initial shock, he realized “the world had changed, and I had, as well. New opportunities look bright as some companies begin to reevaluate their business models.Most of all, he is grateful that his family and friends have been okay and that, as one of the very few students who has lived on campus through the pandemic, he had “a place to stay and food to eat while I finished up my studies.

It helped to draw on what he believes at his deepest core—“that God is in control of my daily events…I quickly accept a given reality…and see the potential in every decision” while moving forward and keeping focused on his goals.

The pandemic cannot diminish his accomplishments at Caldwell like learning about and experiencing the Dominican tradition, which “is all about love, he said.

The virus cannot detract from his impressive honors like being recognized at the Independent College Fund of New Jersey’s symposium at Liberty Science Center for his research on the growing problem of mosquitoes in many areas of the world.

A native of Portmore, Jamaica, in the Caribbean, Chang is proud that he joined other student leaders who stepped up in the fall of 2019 to spearhead the Bahamas Strong Relief Drive for those slammed by Hurricane Dorian.

He appreciates the internships and work experiences including being mentored by an executive in global drug development at Novartis and working with the Borough of Caldwell learning about municipal government while providing his input on how to create relationships between smallbusiness owners and consumers.

As a resident life assistant in the dorms, Chang is proud to have hosted community development programs to help students form relationships. “One of my favorite things was to mentor other students,” he said.

Caldwell University, he said, gave him the “perfect gift,a package filled with qualities to carry one through a lifetime—“a sense of pride, community, a great education, lifelong relationships and a desire to make the world a better place for those inhabit it.” And that is a gift no virus can ever touch.

COVID-19 News

Essential workers are champions

Thank you to all the essential workers who are stepping up during the coronavirus pandemic. We celebrate the many brave, dedicated members of our Caldwell University community. Here are some of those champions.

Editing by Class of 2020’s Communication and Media Studies graduate Anthony Escanosti.

Alumni News, News

Caldwell University Heroes

Thank you to all the essential workers who are stepping up during the coronavirus pandemic. We celebrate the many brave, dedicated members of our Caldwell University community. Here are some of those champions. Special thanks and congratulations to the Class of 2020’s Communication and Media Studies graduate Anthony Escanosti for his great work on this video!


Alumni News, Featured News

Healthcare administration grad is ready to respond to COVID-19: Anamika Sharma Paudel ‘20

Anamika Sharma Paudel Photo

Anamika Sharma Paudel ’20 is about to join the ranks of those responding to COVID-19. She’ll be working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a care coordinator. She comes to the position armed with a passion for service to others and a resume filled with her many contributions to the Caldwell University community.

Sharma, who received her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration with a minor in Communication and Media Studies on May 17, recalls how when she arrived at Caldwell as a freshman, she wasn’t so sure of her path. In those early days, Sharma wondered who she would meet and how she would grow.  In a completely new environment, the future was filled with questions. The way she describes it, she felt like she was a seed being planted. It wasn’t long before she discovered that Caldwell is a nurturing place for a seed to grow.

Anamika Sharma Paudel PhotoSoon after arriving at Caldwell, she was surrounded by kind people, wonderful professors and cool things to do. She found that those kind people were willing to welcome her into their lives beyond the campus. “I still remember sitting in a long bio lab,” Sharma says, “and a girl came up to me and asked, ‘Do you want to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family?’” That student, Stef Konboz, would become one of Sharma’s dearest friends. She represented a larger community of people at Caldwell who nurtured Sharma during her time as an undergraduate student studying healthcare administration with a minor in communication and media studies. Dr. Barbara Chesler, Caldwell’s vice president for academic affairs, celebrated Sharma’s successes with her. Grace, a member of the cafe staff, took the time to learn her name and would speak to her every day. Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for student life, wrote her a note of appreciation for her work. President Nancy Blattner stopped to talk to her. Blattner took the time to get to know her and connect with her as she made her way through Caldwell. These people provided Sharma the fertile ground that allowed her to flourish.

One person who made a lasting impact was Dr. Agnes Berki, an associate professor of biology in the Natural and Physical Sciences Department. Not only did Berki provide comfort while Sharma navigated a change in her major, but she also helped her secure her dream job, working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While Sharma was an intern there, her supervisor often forgot she was not a full-time employee. Like so many other Caldwell students, she was told that her strong interpersonal skills made her look like a seasoned professional. It is no accident that so many undergraduates and graduates of the university hear something similar. Sharma credits her experiences at Caldwell with making relationship-building a natural part of her work life.

She was extremely involved with campus life, honing those strong interpersonal skills during her time at Caldwell.  She worked as a resident assistant, helping students and organizing self-development programs. Serving as an orientation leader, she guided freshmen as they navigated the same challenges of adjusting to a new atmosphere that she had experienced. She also served as president of the International Student Organization. In that role, she worked with other students to organize the first Global Thanksgiving Day, celebrating the 33 countries represented on campus, an event that is now held annually. Adding to her impressive resume, Sharma served as a member of the Student Government Association, as student representative to the Board of Trustees for Academic Affairs and as a founding member of the Nepalese Student Association. The NSA hosted the consulate general of Nepal at Caldwell University on the occasion of Tihar: Festival of Lights, strengthening the relationship between the Nepalese embassy in the United States and Caldwell University. During the pandemic, the NSA has reached out to Nepalese organizations that helped approximately 80 students with groceries and medical supplies.

At the virtual honors convocation on May 7, she received departmental honors for healthcare administration. She plans to bring everything she has learned at Caldwell to her job. After an experience that has allowedher to stretch herself and grow strong, she is ready to go into the world and flourish. “I am honored to join the front lines of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have found my purpose, and I will be fulfilling it with my heart and soul.”

  • Nicole Burrell – ‘09