Home » Blog
Featured News, News

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.”

Featured News, News

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.

Featured News, News

Healthy screen time for kids – Dr. Sitnick is guest on One-on-One with Steve Adubato

Stephanie Sitnick

Caldwell, N.J., April 15, 2019 – Stephanie Sitnick Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Psychology and Counseling at Caldwell University, is a guest on One-on-One with Steve Adubato to talk about healthy screen time habits for kids and teens.

With many media choices and the development of digital devices, screen time is a concern for parents who want to decide how much, if any, time their children should spend on media and digital devices. Dr. Sitnick provides information from the American Academy of Pediatrics on guidelines for children’s media use.

Dr. Sitnick and Adubato discuss issues such as appropriate time limits according to a child’s age and how parents need to model good screen time habits for their children.

The broadcast schedule is:

Wednesday, April 17 – 7p.m. on NJTV

Thursday, April 18 – 12:30 a.m. on Thirteen/WNET.

Featured News, News

Caldwell University Remembers “The Life and Words of Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P.”



Caldwell, N.J. – April 10, 2019 – They gathered to remember their mentor, their friend, their colleague and their teacher. Caldwell University alumni, colleagues, faculty, staff and family celebrated the “Life and Legacy of Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P.” at a Mass and program Sunday, April 7.

In the packed Motherhouse Chapel, celebrant Father Bob Stagg, former chaplain of the college when Sister Vivien was president, remembered his colleague as a woman of great intellect and vision. He reflected on how, just as the readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent told of God “making a new way,” Sister Vivien always focused on the making of a new way that would benefit others and encouraged her colleagues to join her in those endeavors. As opposed to breaking things apart, he said, Sister Vivien built, healed, affirmed and reinvented herself and every institution where she worked.

Following Mass, a program focused on “The Life and Words of Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P.” Communications and Media Studies Chair Bob Mann hosted a panel with History Professor Dr. Marie Mullaney, university president, Dr. Nancy Blattner, and former president of the university and Prioress of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell, Sister Patrice Werner, O.P. Mann said Sister Vivien “gave me a break” to create a Communications department and major and he has always been appreciative for her vision and support.

The panelists reflected on Sister Vivien’s lasting legacies to Caldwell including the “monumentous decision,” said Mullaney, to go forward with making the college co-educational. Sister Patrice said Sister Vivien fostered the Dominican charism and mission throughout the campus including starting the Fanjeaux experience in France where students, staff and faculty can learn about Saint Dominic and the Order, the Dominican Colleges Colloquium and the Veritas Award recognizing alumni professional excellence. Dr. Blattner said that in addition to the special decisions Sister Vivien made for the campus, her lasting legacy is her publications. “Her written word is one of her great legacies,” said Dr. Blattner. Sister Patrice said Sister Vivien, “led by example” believing that one should be willing to do what he or she is asking others to do. Mullaney, who worked with Sister Vivien during the transition to the institution becoming co-educational, has always remembered how Sister would say, “In higher education to stand still is to fall back.” Dr. Blattner said it is incumbent upon all in the campus community today to keep Sister Vivien’s vision alive and to pass forward the mission and her words.

Friends, Sisters of Saint Dominic, students and grandnieces of Sister Vivien read selections from her three books, “The Valiant Woman: At the Heart of Reconciliation,” “November Noon: Reflections for Life’s Journey” and “The Essential Journey: From Worry to Mercy to Hope, the unfinished words,” which is not yet published and was not completed at the time of her death on May 5, 2018.

The guests then moved into the Jennings Library for the unveiling of a framed image and history panel. “As we stand here in the place named after Sister Vivien in 1994, we are surrounded by the things and people that she loved – literature and learning, family, friends, students and colleagues,” said Dr. Blattner. She unveiled a huge “breathtaking photo” of Sister Vivien that was taken by alumnus Pushparaj “Raj” Aitwal, who was “a true friend of Sister Vivien” and the wall display chronicling Sister Vivien’s life and accomplishments.

Featured News, News

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.

Featured News, News

Poems by Syria refugees never before translated to English to be read at “Presence 2019” poetry journal launch

Flyer for the Journal of Catholic Poetry

Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry

Caldwell, N.J., March 20, 2019-  The launch of  Presence 2019: A Journal of Catholic Poetry will feature a reading of poems written by Syria refugees and never before translated into English.

Sharif S. Elmusa , co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, will read poems at the launch of Presence 2019: A Journal of Catholic Poetry headshot photo.

Sharif S. Elmusa , co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, will read poems at the launch of Presence 2019: A Journal of Catholic Poetry.

The reading is free and open to the public and will be held at noon on Monday, April 15 in Werner Hall at Caldwell University.

The poems will be read by Sharif S. Elmusa and Gregory Orfalea, co-editors of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry.

Elmusa is a Palestinian refugee who he grew up in a refugee camp near Jericho. He is author of  a book of poems, “Flawed Landscape”His poems and essays appeared in numerous print and online magazines, including most recently, “The Massachusetts Review,” “Mizna,” “The Indian  Quarterly” (India), Jadaliyya.com and Voxpopulisphere.com. Elmusa taught at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, for many years, and also at Georgetown, Qatar, and Yale. He is Palestinian by birth and American by citizenship. A number of his long essays have appeared in anthologies, including, Seeking Palestine, and Gaza Unsilenced. He has contributed opinion pieces to English-language newspapers in Egypt, including Al-Ahram Weekly and madamasr.com.; Jadaliyya.com; The Washington Post; and the New York Times.

Gregory Orfalea, co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, head shot photo.

Gregory Orfalea, co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, will read poems at the launch of Presence 2019: A Journal of Catholic Poetry.

Orfalea is the author of ten books, the most recent of which is “Journey to the Sun:  Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California” (Scribner, 2014)  A children’s version is “Junipero Serra and the California Missions.”    His “Angeleno Days” won the Arab American Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN USA Prize.  His collection of poetry, “The Capital of Solitude,” won the Ithaca House First Book Prize.  The long poem, “Arab and Jew in Alaska,” which originally was published by the Christian Science Monitor, was the first poem by an Arab American to appear in The Norton Introduction to Poetry.  Poet Lore has nominated “Poem for the Unspeakable” for the 2019 Pushcart Prize.

For information about the event, contact Dr.  Mary Ann B. Miller, editor of Presence and chair of the Caldwell University English Department,  at 973-618-3454 or mmiller@caldwell.edu



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.








“O Happy Fault: The Human Element in the Creation of The Saint John’s Bible” Lecture

Sower and the Seed

Sower and the Seed, Aidan Hart with contributions from Donald Jackson and Sally Mae Joseph, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“O Happy Fault: The Human Element in the Creation of The Saint John’s Bible” will be the focus of a lecture, 4:30 p.m., Monday April 8 at Caldwell University.  The speakers will be Robert Miller, Ph.D., chair of the Division of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Mount St. Mary College, and Stephanie Pietros, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, College of Mount Saint Vincent.  The lecture is being presented by the Department of Theology and Philosophy at Caldwell as part of its Sister Maura Campbell, O.P. lecture series.

Dr. Pietros will discuss the illustrations of medieval manuscripts and the materials used in their creation, as well as instructions left behind by scribes.

Dr. Miller will speak about biblical text criticism and the causes for errors in ancient illuminated manuscripts. He will demonstrate how the contemporary calligraphers of The Saint John’s Bible made the same errors that were common in the copying of texts prior to the invention of the printing press.

Dr. Pietros’s research interests include medieval and early modern literature, especially lyric poetry; the history of the book, and interdisciplinary studies in literature and music. She has published articles and reviews in the journals Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Shakespeare Bulletin, and Early Modern Culture. Her current projects include an essay on song in Shakespeare’s Othello and a co-edited special issue of the journal Early Modern Culture on the topic of teaching Shakespeare to first-generation college students.

Dr. Miller is a Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and a board member for the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary – USA. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate classes in scripture and theology at Caldwell and Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University. Dr. Miller’s research spans a wide area of theology and biblical studies, including biblical theology and typology, John’s Gospel, and Mariology.

The Sister Maura Campbell, O.P. Lecture Series is named for Sister Maura, who was a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, a theologian, philosopher, professor, researcher and national leader in education whose scholarship and teaching spanned 50 years.

For further information, call 973-618-3931.

Featured News, News

April – Autism Awareness Month: Mom says Center for Autism and ABA has provided hopeful path for her family

Caldwell, N.J., April 1, 2019 – Ben Tepper enjoys taking rides on the elevators at Caldwell University. He also likes visiting a professor who has sound effects on his computer. And he is happy when he goes to the mailroom accompanied by graduate students to pick up the mail, which he sorts by himself and delivers on the mail cart to faculty members in the Center for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell. “His strength in reading and phonics helps him with that job,” says Ben’s mom, Pam Tepper.

The center has been an essential part of Ben’s life on weekdays for the past five years. The 19-year-old, who is on the autism spectrum, has been learning from graduate students who are aiming to be the future educators of people with autism spectrum disorder. In a state with the highest prevalence of ASD in the nation, the master’s students learn hands-on with the guidance of faculty nationally known in the field of applied behavior analysis. ABA is a science-based approach to learning proven to be highly effective in treating people with ASD.

Several years ago, Caldwell faculty saw that there were not enough trained educators in ABA to teach those with ASD in New Jersey and began offering the first master’s and the only doctoral program in ABA in the state. The Center for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis was founded in 2011 to provide exceptional assessment and intervention services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. “Our goal is to teach socially significant skills through the use of evidence-based practices based on the principles of applied behavior analysis,” says Dr. Sharon Reeve, professor of ABA and a founder of the center. Over the years, the center has had learners ranging in age from one through 20 years old on various levels of the spectrum. It is open to learners of any age.

Using evidence-based practices, faculty members and graduate students have helped Ben through many teenage transitions, including learning how to go to work, as they assisted him in his first days at his places of employment. Today Ben works at Calabria’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in Livingston, where he sets up tables, takes down chairs and puts out spices, and at a print center, where he shreds and sorts mail. He is also learning skills at Antonio’s Salon and Spa in Livingston. There he organizes towels when they come out of the dryer and sweeps the hair, “which has proved to be more difficult,” says his mom, because when “you are in people’s space and you have to learn the social etiquette” and when you are doing the work, you have to learn that “we stick with staying on topic.”

A focus on employment is very important to the faculty at the ABA center considering upwards of 90 percent of individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities reportedly may remain unemployed after high school. “As individuals move into their teenage years, a major focus of our efforts is on teaching job skills and job sampling. Our goal is to help put individuals in the best position to obtain real jobs for real pay,” says Dr. Jason Vladescu, associate professor of ABA.

For Pam and her husband, Rich, the journey to get to where they are today was a tough one. Pam remembers when she first brought Ben to the center. They had been struggling for some time to find a program with professionals who could meet Ben’s specific needs. “We were stuck.” Meeting with Dr. Reeve was a turning point for the Teppers. “That cautious optimism turned into hope,” Pam says.

The ABA faculty created a behavior intervention plan for Ben based on the results of a functional analysis. With the “data-driven protocol in ABA, they were able to show my district, even after three months, a lesser amount of aggression,” Pam says. “Outsiders might not have noticed, but they knew from the data that the curve was going down. We took their lead on every little thing,” says Pam of the advice she received from the professors.

Pam began going to the center for the weekly training provided for the parents of learners. There she could see Ben’s behavior “as good as it could be.” The Teppers did not make changes at home until the graduate students and faculty made home visits to help the Teppers implement the same behavior plan to manage Ben’s disruptive behavior.

Along the way there were a number of goals, says Pam, such as learning about showering and brushing teeth and not throwing food or stepping on the dog on purpose. “All of these little things, that weren’t so little, have improved,” she says.

As Ben made progress, he and the graduate students visited neighborhood restaurants and stores where he learned how to interact in the community. Then he was ready to move on to employment.

Chris Colasurdo is a doctoral student in ABA who received his master’s in ABA at Caldwell.  Working with Ben and seeing his “amazing progress” have reinforced why he wants to go into the field. “His attitude is infectious. It is impossible to have a bad day,” Colasurdo says. “He brightens everyone up, on campus and anytime we go out … it transfers over to everyone he spends time with.”

Employees on campus say they have grown from their interactions with Ben. Don O’Hagan, chief information officer for Caldwell, says Ben visited his office almost every afternoon for four years. “With no fear, he was loaded with a series of questions as he scanned my messy desk.” It was the little details that were important to Ben, O’Hagan says. “He helped me give thanks for my blessings and made me realize I have to be myself at all times.”

The Caldwell program has enriched the Teppers’ family life. Ben says Caldwell is “great.” His family agrees. “I can’t even tell you how supported we feel,” Pam says. It is the “the outside-of-the-box thinking and the very individualized approach that have made this so successful. I can’t imagine that wouldn’t happen for any student that is in crisis.” Each person with an autism spectrum disorder needs individualized attention, contends Pam, and she points to a saying in the autism community that “If you have met one child with autism, you have met one child with autism.”

Pam gets gratification out of knowing that the master’s students experience firsthand how they can make a difference in the lives of students—“because Ben is not the only one who suffers from aggression,” she says. “Faculty members Sharon Reeve and Jason Vladescu and the graduate students at Caldwell’s Center for Autism and ABA have undoubtedly changed the trajectory of Ben’s future.”

Pam is passionate about sharing her journey with others. A former kindergarten teacher (she decided to stay home after having Ben), she is president of a Livingston-based nonprofit, Parents and Professionals for Exceptional Children, which educates and empowers parents so they can advocate for their children.

She shares her family’s story in creative videos she produces for her vlog called “the Education of BT.” The episodes feature Ben, Pam, Rich and Ben’s brother, Matt. They show the milestones and challenges of Ben’s life, from trips to the dentist and Disneyworld, to when Ben learned to count to five, to his ride on the merry-go-round at the Turtle Back Zoo, to job training at Calabria’s. “My hope is that somebody else can benefit,” Pam says.

She has concerns about what happens when Ben turns 21 since there is a lack of services for adults with ASD, but she says, “You have to be thankful in life and thankful for what is today. There was a time that we didn’t have that. And now we do. And I want to share that with people.” And her family’s journey continues. “I don’t know where it is going to end, but I know that the program at Caldwell has paved a different path for him, a positive, hopeful path.”


To see Pam’s vlog, “Autism and the Education of BT,” go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiXWzpXp_LxLEJAD3cFKqEw.

To find out more about Caldwell University’s Department of Autism and ABA, go to https://www.caldwell.edu/graduate/academic-department/applied-behavior-analysis.

For information on Caldwell University’s Center for Autism and ABA, visit http://www.caldwelluniversityautismcenter.org/.