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Mueller Gallery to Present Exhibitions on US-Mexico Border, Historical Crowns

"Panel 1 - Plazas and Parks" by Dionisio Cortes Ortega
 ‘1560’ by Mauricio Cortes

Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 16, 2019 – The Mueller Gallery at Caldwell University will open its 2019-20 season Sept. 4 with exhibitions on historical crowns and the U.S,-Mexico border.  “Mauricio Cortes Ortega: Scin-til-late” and “Dionisio Cortes Ortega: Blurred Boundarieswill be on view Sept. 4 to Oct. 8.  The public is invited to a talk with both artists from 5 to 6 p.m. followed by a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4.  The exhibitions are free and open to the public. 

“Scin-til-late” brings together recent work derived from research on historical crowns such as the Crown of the Andesa 17th century votive crown made in Colombia. The crown, purportedly made from melted down Inca objects and stolen emeralds from the last emperor, was sold to a Chicago jeweler in the 20th century and subsequently paraded at fairs, car shows and fancy dinners and finally acquired by the MET in 2015. Mauricio’s work reimagines history and corrupted splendor, complex and historical objects imbued with untold stories; alternative interpretations emerge from disfigured symbols and the redaction of the decorative.

“Blurred Boundaries” is a photography and video installation that challenges the perceived differences between the United States and Mexico. The work consists of recent images taken in two sets of cities in the USA and Mexico: Chicago, Illinois-Saltilllo, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas-Matamoros, Mexico.  These visuals are juxtaposed and presented on custom-made stereoscopic devices with the intention of mixing and blurring the identity of each photograph. Still and moving imagery are paired by location and feature everyday scenes of life in places such as markets, schools, and parks among many others. Cortes Ortega says that his exhibition draws its foundation from the public discourse on immigration that has emphasized the differences on either side of the border, differences that were rooted at the dawn of colonization and have grown over time and with ongoing political agendas. “Blurred Boundaries” seeks to puzzle the viewer by showing indistinguishable images from either side of the divide. This exercise enables viewers to question how the assumed differences dissipate, exposing the porous nature of physical and metaphysical borders. 

For information on the exhibitions, go to www.caldwell.edu/gallery or call 973-618-3238


Mauricio Cortes Ortega is an artist and educator living and working in New York. His independent and collaborative projects reflect on histories of colonialism in the Americas that have reshaped everyday symbols, religious idols and craft production. Ortega is interested in making objects and images inspired by the dramatic history of colonial America. His paintings, drawings and sculptures depict shrouded objects like crowns, hoods and other bodily adornments. In his paintings and drawings, he uses bingo markers and glitter pens to achieve shimmering and vibrant effects. He often employs line patterns, a visual connection to his hometown’s historical production of the Mexican Saltillo sarape: intricate textiles that trace colonial history through changes in design, material, and function in society. For his sculptures, he glazes the ceramic pieces in a super high gloss black for a deep mirror finish; each sculpture stands as an individual object but when brought together represent a growing still-life collection. 

Dionisio Cortes Ortega holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from The Cooper Union in New York City.  In addition to the numerous life drawing classes, Ortega took film and photography in the art school, all of which influenced his artistic and professional practice. Recently his work has focused on tackling social and political issues including: the series of missing 43 Ayotzinapa students in Mexico; the upheavals along the border between Mexico and the United States; and the current state of the justice system in the United States. Ortega has worked with number of different media. Currently he is shooting photography and creating large scale sculptures. Dionisio is also a registered architect in the State of New York and has a studio in the Bronx.


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Caldwell Student Serves in Puerto Rico with Dominican Young Adults


Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 8, 2019 – Anamika Sharma Paudel knows what it is like when a country is hit by a natural disaster. The Caldwell University international student from Nepal experienced the devastating earthquake that pounded her nation in 2015. It changed her life and she emerged knowing she wanted to pay back the people who had reached out to help her beloved Nepal.

Paudel had the chance to “pay it forward” this summer when she joined other young adults and two Dominican Sisters for a 7-day mission to help the people of Puerto Rico, who are still reeling from category-four Hurricane Maria, which slammed the country in 2017.

Paudel, along with Sister Pat Stringer, O.P., a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, and the other travelers, helped repair and rebuild homes and planted crops. They learned about farming and afforestation, the process of planting trees to create a forest. And they stood with the people of Puerto Rico during the protests against government corruption. Along the way, they met special people who opened their hearts and homes and shared their culture and their struggles. “We heard their stories, prayed together, ate together like a family,” said Paudel, a senior majoring in health care administration and minoring in communication and media studies.

Paudel recalled meeting a man who joyfully told of his love for the environment and his coffee farms and taught them how to plant coffee samplings. A silver lining from the hurricane was that the ground became more fertile and new plants have arisen where they had never grown before. “I saw such content on this man’s face that it was clear to me how one would feel when he found his purpose in life,” said Paudel.

They learned more about planting from a 16-year-old boy who had turned an abandoned school into an agricultural research center with funding from the United States. Paudel was impressed with his skills, purpose and humility. “At such a young age, he has done so much for his community.” His family hosted the group for lunch; “we sang together and blessed each other,” Paudel said. The encounter taught her “how beautiful a simple life is and that it had purpose.”

Paudel was thankful for the friendships she forged with the young adults from other Dominican institutions. “We all came from different walks of life; we were in different phases of our lives, but we shared the common values of community, service, integrity, compassion and friendship.”

Stringer, promoter of Dominican life and charism for the Caldwell Dominicans, was also grateful to be a part of this “special group of young people” on an adventure during which they received far more than what they gave. “I believe that each of us was changed for the better by this experience and came away appreciating all that we have been given.”

Paudel, vice president of the Student Government Association, says she  has come back “rejuvenated,” knowing “the value of true contentment found in service,” and she hopes other Caldwell students are inspired to take community service opportunities “which will change their lives for better, forever.”

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Alumnus’s Business Foundation at Work at Big 4 firm in Norway

Caldwell, N.J., August 5, 2019- Most people in Drammen, Norway, have never heard of Caldwell, New Jersey. And vice versa. But at the Ernst & Young offices in this port and river city in eastern Norway, a young professional carries with him the foundation he was given in the business classes at Caldwell University.Ole-Anders Wendelborg Alumnus Ole-Anders Wendelborg ’18 has been an auditor at the big four accounting firm for the past year.

Leveraging his undergraduate degree in business and his MBA, he has worked closely with partners at E&Y locations in Norway, helped managers with clients overseas and locally, provided translation and assisted co-workers with information on international laws and regulations. “I cannot thank the Business School at Caldwell enough. Being the only new employee with an international degree gave me certain advantages,” said Wendelborg. “I came into work well prepared, organized and excited to start.”

Wendelborg credits Caldwell Professor Alvin Neiman’s accounting classes for sparking his interest in accounting and auditing as a career path. In Professor Virginia Rich’s courses, he learned “business lingo” and “how to approach clients and co-workers in a professional manner.” Professor Bernie O’Rourke’s integrated strategic management seminar gave him hands-on experience to learn the ways businesses operate and develop during changing times and trends. The small classes, led by professors who “push you further academically,” said Wendelborg, encouraged and supported participation from students.

A native of Drammen, Wendelborg transferred to Caldwell in his sophomore year and played on the men’s soccer team for three years. He was happy that there were direct flights from Newark to Oslo, which is 40 minutes from Drammen. That made visits from family and friends doable, and he was able to get home a few times a year.

As an international student, Wendelborg felt welcomed by the campus community, and he cherishes the friends he made at Caldwell. “We’re all like a big family. I still stay in touch with several of my old teammates and roommates. We meet up regularly, and I’ve already planned several trips for the coming fall.” He would like his fellow Caldwell alums to experience Norway’s unique landscapes, cuisine, attractions and culture. “You can, in the span of 15 minutes, go from a fairly large modern city like Oslo to the wilderness. I enjoy skiing and we offer some of the best slopes around.”

Wendelborg plans to keep growing professionally in Ernst and Young, and perhaps “one day I’ll be able to work in the United States for some time,” he said.

As an alum, he knows that the journey he made halfway around the world for his education is already proving to be a foundation for professional success. “I have landed a great job, which has opened several doors for the future.”

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Summer Institute Encourages Students to Become Leaders in Promoting Public Justice and the Common Good

Sign SLI 2019
SLI group 2019 at Yankees game
SLI group 2019 in Library
SLI group 2019 outdoors

Caldwell, N.J., July 30, 2019 – High school and university students attending the annual Spirituality and Leadership Institute (SLI) at Caldwell University explored some of the deeper questions of life, like how to become a leader or how to develop their talents and gifts to serve others.

“Building Up Communities” was the theme of the institute that was held July 14-19 and included speakers and discussions that focused on topics like digital citizenship, contemplation and servant leadership.

Director of SLI, Kyle Bennett, Ph.D. said the students discussed how to serve their neighbors in their daily activities of talking, thinking and even tweeting. This, he said, will “show others an alternative way of living that promotes public justice and seeks the common good.”

“At SLI, we believe that leaders are those who are deliberate about how they engage in these activities and to what end,” said Bennett who is chair of the Department of Theology and Philosophy at the university.

Several students were moved by the presentation by Edwin from First Friends of NJ/NY, a nonprofit that works on behalf of detained immigrants and asylum seekers. Jeniffer Llivicota of Saint Vincent Academy in Newark said it opened her eyes to the needs of others. Llivicota and Riley Sikorski, a student from DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, New Jersey, liked Edwin’s suggestion of becoming a pen pal for someone who is being held in a facility or is detained.  “It is easy to make a change. It is not hard to write a letter,” said Sikorski.

Monica Sullivan, a student at Dominican Academy in New York City, appreciated the presentation by artist Brother Mickey McGrath of the Oblates of St. Frances de Sales who spoke about art, imagination and social justice in creating hope.  “A simple drawing can change a world view,” she said.

Dr. Chris Cimorelli, assistant professor of theology and philosophy presented on contemplation and silence; Colleen O’Brien, director of campus ministry, spoke about leadership; and Bennett led a conversation on the importance of responsible digital citizenship.

“I’m confident that the next time they open their mouths or open Instagram on their phone they will think twice about what they’re doing,” said Bennett.

Brooke McPherson, a senior in the fall at Caldwell, worked on the institute as an undergraduate mentor for her second year in a row.  She was enthused that they were able to have deeper conversations about spiritual and social justice issues—a unique opportunity to have true dialogue with peers about important topics.

The group engaged in community service at Restore Native Plants in Oakland, New Jersey and took part in fun activities like taking in a movie, attending a Yankees game and going to a barbeque.

“Making new friends from different areas,” was one of the best parts for Kelly Raftery, also of DePaul Catholic High School.  “I hope the friendships last a lifetime,” said Llivicota. Ruth Amouh of Lacordaire Academy in Montclair also attended.

Caldwell University students Julianna Verso, Kassandra Pardo and Gary Striggles Jr. were also mentors.  Staff members who worked on the program were: Julie Kajouras, Dana McStowe and Allison Johansen.

The conference is made possible by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.


The Jennings Library Welcome a New Librarian!

Picture of Victoria Swanson

Victoria Swanson, MLS, has recently joined the Jennings Library as the new Instruction and Assessment Librarian. She is also the new liaison for the School of Nursing and Public Health, the Department of English, the School of Education, and the Department of Modern Languages.

Victoria received her MLS from Pratt Institute and BA in Sociology from Seton Hall University. She has worked in both corporate and academic libraries in New York & New Jersey and enjoys teaching students information, media & digital literacy.

Her hobbies include exploring New York City, unwinding at the Jersey shore and fixing up her 100 year old house.

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Studying culture and Catholicism in summer programs overseas

Students near St. Dominic statue

The Caldwell University group near a statue of St. Dominic at the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba.

Professor and Students pose in Spain

Dr. Rosa Sanchez (2nd from left) and students in Segovia, Spain.

Campus Minister Colleen O’Brien overlooking the "seignadou,”

Campus Minister Colleen O’Brien overlooking the “seignadou,” which means sign of God, where St. Dominic saw the globe of fire from the sky over the church of Prouilhe, which would become the place where he would start the Dominican order.

Colleen O’Brien outside the St. Dominic house

Colleen O’Brien outside the house where St. Dominic lived between 1206-1215.

Cross statue

The cross marking the spot from which Dominic received the seignadou.

Laura Ziegert in Carcassonne, France.

Laura Ziegert in Carcassonne, France.

Members of the Caldwell University community spent time in Spain and France this summer on study-abroad experiences to learn about culture, language and Catholic history.

Anne Ilardi was one of the students who traveled to Segovia for “The Catholic Tradition in Spain,” a monthlong excursion led by Dr. Rosa Sanchez of the Modern Languages Department. One of the most enjoyable parts for Illardi was living with her host family. They shared their food and dance and “showed [me] that their family dynamic is similar to the American family dynamic,” said Ilardi.

The students took two classes and visited sites in Madrid, Seville, Granada, Cordoba and Malaga in June. “The courses are designed to help them appreciate what they will see on the excursions, so they learned about architecture, history, religion and literature in addition to language,” explained Sanchez, who teaches one of the courses. “They visited nearby palaces and cathedrals, strolled through the Jewish quarter and learned how to cook paella and croquetasfrom a local chef.”

Illardi said she progressed in her Spanish language skills and brought home Spanish recipes, a yearning to travel and “a respect for people who move or immigrate to a new place and have to learn the customs and languages of that area.”

Summer Study in Fanjeaux and Paris

The annual trip to the medieval village of Fanjeaux, France, to trace the roots of the Catholic Dominican tradition took place May 28 to June 13. It was “life-changing” to learn about the Dominican heritage along with faculty, staff and students from other Dominican institutions, said Laura Ziegert, a graduate admissions counselorand Dominican associate with the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell.

Members of the group would start their days with “warm croissants and coffee,” said Ziegert, and then they would take classes to learn about art, medieval history and the spirituality of St. Dominic. She found it soul-stirring to visit the ancient churches, walk along the country path St. Dominic traversed in the 1200s and attend the evening vespers prayer service with the Dominican Sisters in Prouille, France. They also spent four days in Paris.

Ziegert was grateful for the opportunity to have learned more about St. Dominic’s vision and explore how she can carry that forward in her life and on campus. “I brought back St. Dominic’s love for teaching and education, and I hope to incorporate it in my work as a graduate admission counselor.”   She encouraged others at the university to explore the Dominican foundation, which can be done “right here,” she said, by visiting the Motherhouse or the Sisters in the infirmary or by getting involved. “There is so much to learn.”

Attending with Ziegert were Caldwell School of Psychology and Counseling instructor Linda Farina and students Caroline Colmary and Adriana Floridian.

Lands of Dominic Pilgrimage

Colleen O’Brien, director of campus ministry, made the “Lands of Dominic” pilgrimage to Fanjeaux from June 26 to July 4. She traveled with Dominican religious and lay associates and lay staff members at Dominican institutions as they went from Toulouse to Carcassonne to Prouille learning how Dominic preached the gospel and lived in relationship with others.

O’Brien was in awe of St. Dominic’s courage and the depth of his belief, especially since he was a Spaniard living in France. “His commitment to his faith was so deep that he solely trusted in God to make the impossible possible,” said O’Brien. “It was his faith and his humility that led him to aid in the conversion and change of hearts for many people in southern France in the early 1200s.”


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Caldwell University Named a College of Distinction

College of Distinction 2019-2020

Caldwell University has been named a 2019-2020 College of Distinction.The university has been recognized for its successful delivery of four distinctions—engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.

The university was also acknowledged with 2019-20 awards as Business College of Distinction,Education College of Distinction, Nursing College of Distinction and Catholic College of Distinction.

Stephen Quinn, acting vice president for enrollment management and communications, says the awards reaffirm areas of strength at Caldwell. “We are delighted to be acknowledged in areas where we are exemplary in serving our students and preparing them for the global marketplace.”

The university is offering a new Bachelor of Science degree in esports management and a new fully online Master of Science degree in nursing in population health; it is relaunching its Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.

About Colleges of Distinction: Colleges of Distinction has recognized and honored schools throughout the United States for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education for over 15 years. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their focus on the undergraduate experience. For more information, visit CollegesofDistinction.com.

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Health Sciences Grad Receives Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship for Medical School


Favour Garuba recipient of Phi Kappa Phi fellowship

Favour Garuba ’19 is the recipient of a Phi Kappa Phi fellowship. She will be attending Washington University School of Medicine in the fall on a full scholarship.

Recent graduate Favour Garuba is the recipient of a fellowship from the prestigious honor society Phi Kappa Phi.  PKP awards the grants to members who are starting their first year of graduate or professional study.  Garuba, who received her bachelor’s in health sciences May 19, will be entering Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in the fall on a full scholarship.

Garuba was active in community service during her undergraduate years including spearheading the Phi Kappa Phi book drive for Autism Awareness month in April where students collected over 300 books for The Learning Center for Exceptional Children in Clifton, New Jersey.

She was thrilled when she found out that she was selected for fellowship. “Once I read the email, I felt grateful, honored, and humbled,” and she felt like a load was lifted off her shoulders, “All I could really say was ‘thank God.’”

Lynne Alleger, associate faculty member in the Academic Success Center and president of Caldwell’s chapter of PKP, worked closely with Garuba on the project.  “Even with mid-terms looming and graduation quickly approaching, Favour was always ready and willing to meet, make suggestions, and coordinate with our book drive recipient.”

Alleger is also proud of the other student leaders, Chennelle Lawrence, Roksana Korbi and Anwar Khalil for “their diligence in getting the book drive off the ground in a very short period of time and securing a very grateful recipient…all of the young women were more than motivated to meet with me and get the ball rolling on our agendas.”

Garuba, an international student from Nigeria, is grateful to the Phi Kappa Phi Chapter at Caldwell for nominating her, to the professors in the Natural  Sciences Department who wrote recommendation letters and to “the countless other individuals” at Caldwell who helped her achieve her goals.   She is looking forward to starting her medical studies so she can use her gifts to help those in need. “I would like to dedicate my services as a physician and researcher to improve health in a way that reaches every community, including those in disadvantaged areas.”

Watch News 12 New Jersey’s feature with Favour as Viewer of the Day. Watch it here.

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Business Student’s Apprenticeship Provides In-depth Human Resources Training

“All schools should be making this a priority. It should be across the board,” says Caldwell University business student Crystal Zamora of her human resources apprenticeship program.  Zamora is the first federally registered human resources apprentice in the U.S. thanks to a partnership with the Employers Association of New Jersey.

Crystal Zamora

Zamora, who is majoring in business administration and minoring in human resources, has worked in HR for the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey where among her duties she assisted with payroll and planned a wellness program, and she is currently working in HR at Mott MacDonald, a national engineering firm in Iselin, New Jersey. “The companies I have had the honor of working with have given me such invaluable experiences,” she said.   The networking has been one of the highlights of the apprenticeship.  “There are so many professionals who are willing to help me.”

Apprenticeships are different than internships since students have the opportunity to work for two to three years immersing themselves in the business experiences.   John Sarno, president of EANJ, says most of the students, like Zamora, are the first in their families to attend college and they are “totally committed to their career development, working and attending classes full-time, a long-term commitment that requires the utmost endurance.”

Zamora, who will graduate in December and continue in Caldwell’s MBA program, is applying  concepts she learned in the classroom to “real life experiences” as she is exposed to areas of HR like the Affordable Care Act and Occupational Safety and Health Administration reporting, bargaining agreements, recruitment and promotion, and harassment issues.  EANJ has given her the opportunity to attend classes on human resources administration and law and compensation.

The US Department of Labor is promoting apprenticeships following the 2017 executive order to expand the programs. According to the US Department of Labor, nationally registered apprenticeships are becoming increasing available with reportedly 585,000 in 2018 compared with 375,000 in 2013. Graduates who have had apprenticeships are attractive to employers because they have on the job experience.

Sheila O’Rourke, Caldwell’s vice president of institutional effectiveness and member of EANJ’s board, is happy that Caldwell is one of the first to embrace this way of giving students more in-depth work experiences. “Crystal worked in our Human Resources office at Caldwell University before she started her apprenticeship.  There, I had the pleasure of getting to know her, and to witness firsthand her eagerness to learn and her strong work ethic.  Crystal will be an asset to any HR office lucky enough to employ her.”

Zamora recommends apprenticeships to students in any majors for their personal and professional development. “I hope more of these apprenticeship programs come to life,” she said, because it gives students solid experience and “enhances the connection” between class instruction and the field work.

Virginia Rich, associate dean of the School of Business and Computer Science, says the program is a terrific opportunity for employers to groom a potential employee to meet their firm’s unique needs and is one of the best active learning experiences a student could have. “Through industry experience, the lessons we teach in the classroom are reinforced in a tremendously meaningful way. And the employers benefit from the valuable work apprentices provide.”

Zamora is grateful to Rich and business faculty member Helen McGowan for introducing her to the program. “They have guided me throughout the entire experience.” She knows it has put her on the right path. “I have realized this is something I would love to do and a career I could see myself happy in.”

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Dominican Preaching Conference Opens Students’ Eyes to “Wide, yet Connected World”

Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference_
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Volunteers for the Dominican Preaching Conference
Caldwell Students Volunteers for the Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference
Participants of the Dominican Preaching Conference

Caldwell, N.J., June 5, 2019 – Isabelle Pioch came away from the annual Dominican Preaching Conference full of ideas that she would like to bring back to her campus and incorporate into her own life.   From a service day to possibly visiting detention centers to focusing more on contemplation, Pioch is looking forward to taking what she learned and putting it into action.  The Siena Heights University student joined 35 other students from Dominican colleges and universities at Caldwell University May 21-26 to explore how the Catholic Dominican tradition can be a part of their everyday lives.  “I am also going to continue expressing my faith through my artworks and projects,” said Pioch, a graphic design major.  Madison Perry, a biology student at Caldwell, was happy to discover that “preaching is not just standing behind a pulpit but can be expressed through art forms and service.”

Speakers presented on topics such as the Saints of the Order, The Dominican Family, Preaching the Signs of the Times, Preaching Through Service and Preaching Through Art.  In “Saints of the Order,”  “St. Dominic” portrayed by Patrick Spedale, campus minister at St. Pius X High School in Houston, spoke about “holy preaching” and encouraged the students to see that there is “a great need for great preachers of truth today.” Dominicans “love to study and study to love,” he said, and it is important to have “the Bible in one hand and the iPad in the other in order to read the signs of the times.” Dominic was “destined to do great things in life in the name of Jesus Christ,” said Spedale, and he encouraged the students to do the same in striving for the best in their lives.

A session on social justice included topics such as immigration, climate change, human trafficking, economic justice, and peace and security. The students were encouraged to look for solutions for famine, war, prejudice, racism, and sexism through advocacy, fundraising, and by asking systemic questions and look for answers.

Perry enjoyed meeting other students from across the United States.  “Despite not being Catholic, this conference has helped me grow closer to God and I was happy to have met such an accepting community of students, mentors, and staff.”    It was an empowering conference, said Pioch, “and really opened my eyes to the wide, yet connected world around me.”

Sister Gina Fleming, O.P., executive director of the Dominican Youth Movement USA, was in awe of the participants’ energy and interactions.  “The future of our communities, our country, and our world is in the hands of these young people.” It was a privilege for her to share the Dominican charism with the students. “I have tremendous hope that they will make a difference with their lives.”

Caldwell’s director of campus ministry, Colleen O’Brien said it was a gift to see the students engage in their faith in more active ways.  “Our Caldwell students learned quite a bit and hopefully they will be able to carry this experience with them into their future. We look forward to putting some more Dominican values into practice this next school year.”

Dana McStowe, the campus ministry program coordinator, assisted in running the program. Caldwell student Kassandra Pardo also attended.

The Caldwell students who helped with set-up and other logistics were Brooke McPherson, Maria Lesniewski, Julianna Verso, Brittany Gaule, and Anthony Pineros.