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Fulbright Scholarship Takes Art Therapy Coordinator to Taiwan

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Receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in another country fulfilled a lifelong professional goal. In spring 2017, I spent five weeks in Taiwan, Republic of China, where I provided lectures and workshops at three universities in Taipei City as well as public outreach to professionals in several communities that included travel to areas outside Taipei such as Tainan and Kaohsiung. Chinese Culture University provided a faculty office where I had the opportunity to interact regularly with the faculty and students in both the undergraduate and graduate counseling psychology programs. In addition, I taught in the departments of Educational Psychology and Counseling at Tsin-Hua University and the National Taiwan Normal University. I provided lectures to school counselors and teachers at National Nanke International Experimental High School and worked with the staff of a domestic violence shelter.

My lectures and workshops were on topics related to both art therapy and counseling, and included areas like assessment and treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, sexual addiction, sexual abuse and sexual disorders. Based on audience response and feedback, I believe that Taiwan is a number of years behind the U.S. in recognition of and treatment of addictive illness. Sexual addiction was a topic completely new to a majority of the students and professionals that I met.

While there is considerable interest in art therapy in Taiwan, currently there are no graduate training programs in the country. There is a Taiwan Art Therapy Association (TATA) formed by art therapists who graduated from programs in the U.S. or England. I provided several lectures and a supervision session to TATA and found how much we all have in common in our appreciation for art therapy. I was happy to raise awareness about the benefits of art therapy as a treatment modality for addiction and sexual abuse.

On a personal note, I interacted with a range of students, faculty and professionals from varying backgrounds and found all to be kind, generous and hardworking people, with a reverence for education and knowledge. I was impressed when over 60 graduate counseling students voluntarily attended my 6-hour lecture on a Sunday! At the end, they each stood in line to get their pictures taken with me; this became a common occurrence, as did the many gifts and food items they brought me or left in my office.

Taiwan is a beautiful country. I made many new friends for which I am most appreciative. I visited many interesting temples and other cultural sites and ate the most wonderful food. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity for such an enriching and special personal and professional experience.

By Marie Wilson, PhD, ATR-BC, ATCS, ACS, LPC
Professor, Department of Psychology & Counseling
Coordinator of Art Therapy Programs

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Nursing Convocation and Pinning Ceremony Celebrates Graduating Seniors

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Caldwell, N.J., May 30, 2017 –   – The Caldwell University Nursing Department held its annual convocation and professional pinning May 19. Graduating seniors received their pins showing that they graduated from Caldwell University and symbolizing pride and accomplishment that unites nurses all over the world.

Pinning ceremonies celebrate the achievement of meeting the high standards of the nursing curriculum. The nursing pin was designed by representatives from the first graduating class of Caldwell University in 2012. The centrally located Nightingale lamp is a symbol of care and comfort to the sick and suffering. The cross represents the institution’s Dominican commitment and Judeo-Christian tradition. Laurel leaves encircle the pin and symbolize success, peace and life.

At this year’s ceremony Professor and Director of Nursing Theodora Sirota PhD, APRN-BC, CNL said the faculty prepared the graduates with a strong educational foundation to meet the challenges ahead.  “You have been taught by gifted and passionate nurse educators who have constantly modelled excellence in all nursing activities.  The education you have received here will serve you well as you enter nursing practice in a climate of ever-expanding health care possibilities and novel roles for professional nurses.”

The keynote address was given by Dr. Wendy Silverstein, manager of clinical education and nursing research at Morristown Medical Center. She encouraged the students to engage in lifelong learning including considering getting an advanced degree and certifications, joining a professional organization and getting involved. “Be passionate about striving for the best possible outcomes,” and represent the profession proudly, she said.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Barbara Chesler explained that the pinning ceremony brings together the art and science of nursing.   “The pin represents the badge of courage nurses wear, for every day they are on the front lines of health care – birthing babies, fighting death, disease” and showing “the courage and commitment to the patient when everyone else might have given up hope and gone home.”

The valedictorian was Rebecca Susan Welsh.  Samantha Ann Coghlan, president of the CU Student Nurses Association, received the peer mentor award; Emma Marie Nicholas and Cassandra Nella Venditti received professional promise awards; Angel May Henry received the positivity and perseverance Award.

Nan Childress Orchard, DMA, chair and professor of music, provided music by  Jeremiah Clarke, Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn for the ceremony.

The graduating seniors were:

Christen Marie Ardito

Ame Ariana Arriaza

Michael Cahn

Michaela Ciriak

Samantha Ann Coghlan

Ines Coppola

Meagan Curcio

Michael Andrew D’Antico

Karissa Marie DeGennaro

Lovena Frazil

Angel May Henry

Manoucheka Jean

Karen Jeri

Hava Kraja

Alexa Lubrano

Ruthzar Mercier

Emma Marie Nicholas

In Ju Oh

Christina Ann Orleanski

Jaimie A. Peter

Brielle E. Reighn

Gabriella Marie Rosko

Amanda Paige Schuren

Stephanie Lynn Silva

Amber Laye Smith

Lindsay Francine Truan

Casandra Nella Venditti

Rebecca Susan Welch

Tamara Anna-Kay Wong

Magdalene Woznicki

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Sean Puzzo –Dominican charism can inform one’s professional life

For Sean Puzzo it is the relationships he has formed at Caldwell University that will stay with him. His advisor, Art Professor Larry Szycher, stands out for “unending support—from checking up on my studies to sending me links to internships,” says Puzzo, who received his bachelor’s in graphic design at graduation on May 21.

Puzzo has formed other lasting relationships with students, faculty and staff by being immersed in campus life. He has volunteered with campus ministry, made mission trips to Belize and Appalachia, attended the Dominican Preaching Conference, served on the Strategic Planning Committee, and worked in the Admissions Office and the Student Life Office, where he used his art skills to create wall visuals.

In his senior year, he took part in the national oral history project SisterStory focusing on women religious.  He was paired with Sister Honora Werner, O.P. and created a video and blog about her life as a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell.

At the honors convocation his efforts earned him the Leadership in Ministry Award given for outstanding service and witness to campus ministry at the university and to someone who exemplifies the qualities and values the university hopes to promote in furthering the role of the laity in the church.

That zeal for community service and appreciation for how the Dominican charism can inform professional life have opened the door for his post-graduation plans. Beginning in August, Puzzo will give a year of service to the Dominican Youth Movement USA. He is excited to explore innovative ways of bringing the tradition of preaching to high school and college students and young adults.

Puzzo sees the connection between his passion for helping to make the world a better place and his art talents. “Good design helps good happen.” His parents are in the design business—“it is in my blood”—and he has done two internships with professional graphic design firms. The industry, he believes, has power and can be a force for good. “Change in this world can come from graphic design. Graphic design is at the forefront of communication these days.” If nonprofits and churches do not see the value of investing in marketing materials and design, their message “falls flat,” he says.

He looks back at his four years at Caldwell with fondness and has advice for incoming students. “Number-one step, get out of your comfort zone. Take a leap. Sign up for a class you might not otherwise take. Get involved in community service.”

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Greaves Named CACC Track Rookie of the Year; Women’s Team Receives Team Sportsmanship Award

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- Caldwell University women’s track and field freshman Alexandra Greaves (Huntington, N.Y.) was named Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Female Track Rookie of the Year as voted on by the conference coaches. The women’s team was also honored with the CACC Team Sportsmanship Award.

Greaves turned in a tremendous freshman season for the Cougars. She was named the CACC Track Rookie of the Week four times and was selected as the CACC Track Athlete of the Week following the Roadrunner Invitational. Greaves was a five-time Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) D2 Track Rookie of the Week this season.

Greaves shined at the CACC Championships as she won both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash events. In the 100, she posted a time of 12.82, while finishing with a time of 26.84 in the 200. Greaves also set the school record in the long jump with a distance of 5.12 meters, finishing in second place at the conference championships. She also won the 100-meter dash at the Roadrunner Invitational on April 1.

The women’s team also received the CACC Team Sportsmanship Award for demonstrating outstanding character and class throughout the entire season and at the CACC Championship meet.

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Monasseri, Ponto Earn CoSIDA Academic All-American Honors

AUSTIN, Texas- Caldwell University softball junior Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J.) along with senior Sydney Ponto (West Deptford, N.J) received College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American honors as announced by the organization on Wednesday. Monasseri was selected to the Academic All-American Second Team, while Ponto was an Academic All-American Third Team honoree.

Monasseri has a 3.49 GPA as a business administration major and earns her first CoSIDA Academic All-American honor. She completed another outstanding season for the Cougars as she was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Year and was a First Team All-Conference selection for the second straight season. Monasseri was a D2 Conference Commissioner’s Association and National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region First Team selection at catcher. She was also named as an Eastern College Athletic Conference First Team All-Star. Monasseri was also named as a NFCA Division II Player of the Year Top-10 Finalist. She finished the season with a .503 this season with 11 homeruns, 11 doubles, 78 hits, with an on base percentage of .624. Monasseri posted a .787 slugging percentage and led the team with 67 RBI. She led the CACC in on base percentage, slugging, average, homeruns, RBI and walks. Monasseri was tied for second in the conference in hits, fifth in runs scored and tied for 11th in doubles. In the nation, she led Division II in walks and was ranked third in average, sixth in RBI, 20th in slugging and sixth in walks.

Ponto posted a 3.73 GPA as a Spanish/Education major and this is her first CoSIDA Academic All-American selection. She completed a historic season for the Cougars as she was named the CACC Pitcher of the Year and was a CACC First Team All-Conference selection. Ponto also earned D2CCA East Region Pitcher of the Year as well as ECAC D2 Pitcher of the Year honors. She also selected to the D2CCA and NFCA East Region First Team and was a ECAC First Team All-Star. Ponto set the program single season record with 30 wins in the circle this season. She led the conference in wins, strikeouts (269), complete games (23) and innings pitched (226.0). Ponto went 4-0 in the CACC Championship Tournament, earning Tournament MVP honors. She ended her career second all-time in school history with 75 wins.

The Cougars finished their season with a 45-15 mark, tying the single season program record for wins (2004, 2013, 2014). Caldwell won the CACC regular season title with a 25-1 mark and went 4-0 in the CACC Tournament for their seventh conference championship. The Cougars were selected as the #3 seed in the NCAA Division II Championship, earning a postseason bid for the tenth consecutive season.

 

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Monasseri, Ponto Named to D2CCA and NFCA All-American Teams

ROLLA, Mo.- Caldwell University softball junior Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J.) and senior Sydney Ponto (West Deptford, N.J) were selected to the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Teams as released by both organizations. Monasseri earned First Team Honors, while Ponto garnered Third Team honors. Monasseri was also selected by the NFCA as the Diamond Catcher of the Year.

Monasseri earns her second All-American honors as she was a Second Team All-American selection by both organizations in 2016. She was recently named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American Second Team. Monasseri completed another outstanding season for the Cougars as she was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Year and was a First Team All-Conference selection for the second straight season. She was a D2CCA and NFCA All-Region First Team selection at catcher. Monasseri was also named as an Eastern College Athletic Conference First Team All-Star. She was named as a NFCA Division II Player of the Year Top-10 Finalist earlier this month. Monasseri finished the season with a .503 this season with 11 homeruns, 11 doubles, 78 hits, with an on base percentage of .624. She posted a .787 slugging percentage and led the team with 67 RBI. Monasseri led the CACC in on base percentage, slugging, average, homeruns, RBI and walks. She was tied for second in the conference in hits, fifth in runs scored and tied for 11th in doubles. In the nation, she led Division II in walks and was ranked third in average, sixth in RBI, 20th in slugging and sixth in walks.

Ponto earns her first All-American honors with her Third Team selection by both the D2CCA and NFCA She was recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-American Third after completing a record setting year in her final collegiate season with the Cougars. Ponto was named the CACC Pitcher of the Year and was a CACC First Team All-Conference selection. She also earned D2CCA East Region Pitcher of the Year as well as ECAC D2 Pitcher of the Year honors. Ponto was also selected to the D2CCA and NFCA East Region First Team and was an ECAC First Team All-Star. She set the program single season record with 30 wins in the circle this season. Ponto led the conference in wins, strikeouts (269), complete games (23) and innings pitched (226.0). She went 4-0 in the CACC Championship Tournament, earning Tournament MVP honors. Ponto ended her career second all-time in school history with 75 wins.

The Cougars finished their season with a 45-15 mark, tying the single season program record for wins (2004, 2013, 2014). Caldwell won the CACC regular season title with a 25-1 mark and went 4-0 in the CACC Tournament for their seventh conference championship. The Cougars were selected as the #3 seed in the NCAA Division II Championship, earning a postseason bid for the tenth consecutive season.

 

Alumni News, Featured News, News, Nursing News

Nursing alumna reportedly helps save a life on airplane

Caldwell University nursing alumna Courtney Donlan ’16 was interviewed on several news outlets after reportedly saving a woman’s life on an airplane.  Donlan is a nurse at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Professor and Director of the Department of Nursing at Caldwell Dr. Theodora Sirota said the nursing faculty and administration could not be more proud Courtney.  “She exemplifies the high standards and quality of the education our expert faculty provides our students.  It comes as no surprise that Courtney was able to respond swiftly and competently in a mid-flight emergency situation.”

To read about Courtney’s story go to:

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/local/outreach/caring-communities/2017/05/23/rwj-nurse-east-brunswick-saves-life-plane/339403001/

To watch CBS 2’s story, go to:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/05/23/hero-nurse-puts-training-to-the-test-with-emergency-in-the-sky/

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Recycled commencement academic attire featured in news outlets

News outlets including NJTVNews, News 12 New Jersey and NJ. Com reported on Caldwell University’s 100 percent recycled caps, gowns and tassels worn by undergraduate and graduate students at the May 21 ceremonies.  Sister Kathleen Tuite, vice president of student life explained that the fabric in the attire was spun from molten plastic pellets that come from plastic bottles. “With each gown taking about 23 bottles to make, and more than 300 graduates (present at both ceremonies), that’s 7000 bottles that have been used for this purpose,” she said.   “This sustainable switch is a tangible reflection of Caldwell University’s mission and vision that states ‘our graduates will respect the sacredness of creation.’ Making this choice to utilize these new green gowns fall right in line with the respect and reverence of creation.”

Following both ceremonies, there were collection bins in the bookstore and outside the CARES Center for students who chose to upcycle their gowns.

To watch the NJTVNews coverage go in 5:35 on this link.

NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams

For News 12 New Jersey go to:

https://www.facebook.com/dellacrews/videos/1577405642272496/

To see NJ.Com’s story go to:

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2017/05/caldwell_universitys_75th_commencement_is_largest.htm

Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Koumudi Thirunagaru – The dream of attending medical school becomes a reality

Koumudi Thirunagaru started thinking about becoming a doctor at a young age. She volunteered at Stanford Children’s Hospital near her home in San Ramon, California, and she took AP biology at Homestead High School and found the subject constantly stimulating.

Caldwell has been her home away from home. She began college at Caldwell as a biology major. “I became involved in everything that had to do with the medical field my first year including being an officer for the Health Professions Club.” The idea of pursuing a career in medicine “turned from a fantasized” dream to a realistic goal.” During the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, she went on a medical mission to Nicaragua, an eye-opening experience that spurred her to pursue a minor in Spanish.

Thirunagaru will be taking a step closer to her goal of becoming a doctor when she begins her studies at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., in the fall. The faculty at Caldwell have helped her in the process. “I received a lot of guidance from Dr. William Velhagen. The professors are easily approachable. They are not just teachers but also mentors—inside and outside the classroom.”

She received her bachelor’s in biology with minors in chemistry and Spanish at graduation on May 21. She excelled during her undergraduate years, receiving departmental honors in the Department of Natural and Physical Sciences and being involved in a number of activities including holding leadership positions in the Health Professions Club, playing tennis all four years, tutoring in the Academic Success Center and working as a scribe at a hospital in Newark. She appreciated being given opportunities for community service ranging from planning the annual Halloween-for-hunger drive to attending Midnight Runs for the homeless in New York City and volunteering at the annual Caldwell Day.

Thirunagaru finished her coursework last December and taught grammar school children math and English at an after-school center and privately tutored in art. Her artwork appeared in this year’s edition of Calyx, a Caldwell student journal of literature and art. Caldwell has been her home away from home, especially since her family lives on the West Coast. The university’s cohesiveness makes it special for her. “It’s a circle, a family.” Thirunagaru advises incoming students to get involved quickly. “Students make the school. Take advantage of what you have, and never lose sight of your dreams, regardless of the daily battles.”

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Caldwell University celebrates 75th annual commencement with largest number of graduates ever

 

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Caldwell, N.J., May 21, 2017– Caldwell University held its 75th annual commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21 with 482 graduates, the largest in the institution’s history.

The undergraduate commencement speaker was Shyam Sharma, president of the Student Government Association.   Sharma, of Lodi, New Jersey reminded the students  of Caldwell’s core values of  respect, integrity, community, excellence and the responsibility they have in upholding those values, “going forward: embrace the diversity of everyone you meet, and take care to notice what makes them special.” Sharma received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with minors in marketing, pre-law and political science.

Matthew J. Block, director of human resources for the Summit public schools, was the commencement speaker for the graduate ceremony.  He received his Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership. He pointed out that in a time of blurred lines, fake news, and alternative facts, it is important to analyze data, conduct deep research, and use the lessons learned in graduate school to change the world for the better.  “Through our experiences here at Caldwell University each of us has been given a metaphorical mirror with which to reflect light into dark places.  We have been given the tools to be a positive force where there is negativity, and to provide clarity where there is ambiguity.”

President Nancy Blattner said the day is one of great joy and pride for all of the parents, family members and friends who have supported the students over the years.  “And it is a day of celebration for the faculty, staff and administration of Caldwell as we send forth our 75th class of graduates to make a positive impact upon our world.”

The university presented an honorary degree to Olive Woodye, an outstanding educator from Belize, a country where Caldwell University students, faculty and staff have served on volunteer mission trips. Woodye was honored for her service to children, education and her community. She was the first principal of St. Benedict Primary School, a model Roman Catholic school in Punta Gorda in the Toledo district of Belize. Miss Olive said she accepted the honorary degree with gratitude and pride. “This degree is very significant and special to me. I accept it in the name of all the children I taught during the 44 years of my teaching career, and of course, the class of 2017 without whom this would not have been possible.”

Undergraduate and graduate students wore academic attire made from 100 percent-recycled plastic bottles. The company the university chose, Greenweaver, reports that an average of 23 plastic bottles are used to produce each cap and gown.

Dr. Blattner  presented doctoral students with their Ph.D.’s and Ed.D.’s, graduate students with their Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration or Master of Science degrees and undergraduates with their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees.

The first two graduates from the educational leadership doctoral program received their degrees. They were Block and Lauren Banker, an elementary school principal with the Summit public schools.

The 50th reunion class participated in the undergraduate ceremony.

Stephen Maret, Ph.D., professor of psychology and counseling was the grand marshall for the undergraduate ceremony.

John R. McIntyre, Ed.D., professor emeritus, Education Division, was the grand marshall for the graduate ceremony.

About Caldwell University

Caldwell University is a private, Catholic coed four-year university with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Caldwell offers 30 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master’s, certificate and certification programs, as well as online and distance learning options that prepare students for today’s global marketplace. The university has 15 NCAA Division II athletic teams and numerous clubs, fraternities, sororities, and activities. It is located on a beautiful 70-acre campus in suburban Caldwell, New Jersey. Caldwell was founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell. Its core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence influence academic and campus life. For more information about Caldwell University, visit www.caldwell.edu.

Follow the university on Twitter @CaldwellUniv, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/caldwelluniversity, and  on Instagram at www.instagram.com/caldwelluniversity

To see NJ.Com’s story and photos go to:

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2017/05/caldwell_universitys_75th_commencement_is_largest.html