Home » Blog » Featured News

Category: Featured News

Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Biology student interns at Johns Hopkins

Veronica Guirguis and Dr.  Barbara Detrick, Caldwell alumna and a professor of pathology at the JH University School of Medicine.
Caldwell Biology student Veronica Guirguis with John Hopkins Diversity Summer Internship Program director Jessica Harrington.
Caldwell Biology student Veronica Guirguis (2nd from left) at her internship poster presentation at Johns Hopkins.  She is pictured with her mentors and colleagues.

Biology student Veronica Guirguis spent the summer interning at the world-renowned teaching and biomedical hospital, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Guirguis, a sophomore, was grateful to have the chance to work with “brilliant people” including Dr. Christopher Heaney, associate professor in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, and Dr.  Barbara Detrick, a professor of pathology at the JH University School of Medicine, and a Caldwell University alumna.  Guirguis also appreciated the introduction to virology provided by John Hooks, Ph.D. of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Guirguis was on a team that researched “Detection of IL-6 in Hepatitis E Virus Infection.”   “We found that IL-6 is upregulated in HEV infection which participates in inflammation,” she said.

Caldwell University’s Natural and Physical Sciences Department prepared her well for the internship.  When she started working with petri dishes at JH she said, “I”ve got this.  I’ve been prepared for this,” recalling how she had learned about plate pouring techniques in Caldwell Science Professor Agnes Berki’s labs.

The internship, she said, gave her a “confidence boost” and she appreciated being able to network with professionals. She says she has a clearer vision of the steps she will need to take to pursue immunology studies as part of a combined M.D. /Ph.D. program.

In addition to the studies, there was time to discover the city of Baltimore, it’s “beauty and history”, she said, and enjoy dinner one evening on the famous Inner Harbor with the other students and faculty.  “Everyone was so nice. They made you fall in love with the campus and Baltimore.”

It was the third year that Caldwell students were selected to participate in the JH Bloomberg School of Public Health Diversity Summer Internship Program. Dr.  Detrick formed the partnership between Caldwell and Johns Hopkins.

Featured News, News

Faculty Experience Summer Study in France for Dominican Institutions


Music Department Chair and Professor Nan Childress Orchard and her husband Music adjunct faculty member Joseph Orchard joined faculty, staff and students from other American Dominican universities and colleges in June for the annual Summer Study in France program.

They attended seminars and experienced the historic sites in the south of France and Paris focusing on St. Dominic and the Order of Preachers.   The workshops included topics such as Dominican values, St. Dominic’s travels and the history of the Dominicans.

They explored the historic village of Fanjeaux, where Dominic arrived in 1206 and took on a mission of itinerant preaching of the Gospels, and where he founded the women’s monastery of Prouille, which became the cradle of the Order of Preachers.

The group visited Carcassone, the location of the Basilica of St. Nazaire where St. Dominic preached; the ruins of Montesegur, which was a formidable base for the (rebel) Cathars or Albigensians; the Basilica of St. Sernin and the Couvent des Jacobins in Toulouse, where the Dominicans were made the guardians of the Catholic faith, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Cécile in Albi, built almost entirely of brick.

Nan and Joe appreciated the tour and remarks in Toulouse by Father Renaud Silly, O.P., provincial promoter of Dominican Holy Places and a biblical scholar, and having the opportunity in Les Jacobins to stand in front of the tomb of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas.

Joe, who teaches the Music and Contemplation course at Caldwell, was interested to learn how “Dominic’s way was fundamentally catechetical” in instructing the Cathars about their misguided beliefs about Jesus Christ. “They needed to be led back to the truth about God and about themselves.”

Nan was inspired to look more closely at how the Dominican charisms of study and contemplation could inform her in engaging students to be more focused on having a “servant attitude”, even if they are not religious.  “How can I encourage Dominican values for my students to help them play more of a role in service?”

Dominic engaged people in dialogue, said Nan.  That is an example for faculty today.  “How can I engage my students in dialogue when they don’t expect it?”

The cohort stayed at Notre Dame del Abbaye in Carcassone, an abbey that was converted to a guest house run by Ursuline sisters. They enjoyed the group’s company and “a sense of humor was always welcome,” said Joe.

In Paris, they visited Versailles and went to Notre-Dame de Paris and the gothic royal Sainte Chapelle, with its display of stain-glass windows.

Nan and Joe attended Mass and Vespers at the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Notre Dame and enjoyed a lovely concert by the Cathedral’s children’s choir.

Featured News, News

Fritzner Philemon – Earning a degree means giving 200 percent

College is never about giving 100 percent; it is always about giving 200, says Fritzner Philemon.  He should know. The last several years the criminal justice major has walked a hard road on the journey to completing his college education. The class of 2017 graduate is the first in his family to earn a college education—not just in his immediate family but among his “cousins and cousins’ cousins” too.

Growing up in a tough neighborhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Philemon saw violence, gangs and drugs wherever he looked. “I always wanted to save people from being victims of senseless crimes. I feel as if law enforcement is the only way I can make this goal come true.”

He was moved to apply to Caldwell after a recruiter came to his high school and talked about the family atmosphere and the opportunities through the Educational Opportunity Fund. He began his freshman year with hopeful anticipation, not knowing he would face life-changing obstacles along the way.

At the end of his freshman year, his parents’ apartment burned down and they lost everything. Not wanting to live in a rundown motel, Philemon found himself homeless, so he lived out of his car. With the university’s help, he lived in the residence hall for a time. He got a job at the Citibank corporate office in Warren, New Jersey and eventually was able to find an apartment for $600 a month, something he could afford only by working overtime—more than 40 hours a week. He commuted across the state to take his college courses. By the time he left the bank, he was a supervisor.

After that, Philemon got a full-time job at a pharmaceutical company, closer to school, where he worked two weekday nights from midnight to 8 a.m. and weekends from 4 p.m. to midnight. On school days, he would get off from work, eat and head right to class.

He is grateful to have been taught by faculty with extensive hands-on experience in the field. “I know more than what is in the book. I know the dangers and the realities in the field.” Philemon plans to apply that knowledge to graduate school studies in criminal justice, to the police academy or to taking the Secret Service exam. “I want all my life to be about helping people and making a difference in a positive way.”

He is grateful to the staff in Caldwell’s Educational Opportunity Fund Office. “They always motivated me. If it wasn’t for EOF, I would have given up.”

If there is a silver lining—and Philemon would probably tell you there are several—it is that he has solid work experience, much more than many 22-year-old students have when they graduate. “My résumé looks really good.”

He is not wasting any of the struggles but is using them to give advice to other students who hit roadblocks. “You can make it through. Think about the end goal and why you are here.” And always give 200 percent.

Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Biology students selected for summer premedical program

Biology students Shanice Edwards and Roksana Korbi were selected for the Premedical Urban Leaders Summer Enrichment Program.
Biology major Shanice Edwards and Director of Caldwell’s Educational Opportunity Fund Andrei St. Felix. Edwards is showing her research project for the Premedical Urban Leaders Summer Enrichment Program.

Biology students Shanice Edwards and Roksana Korbi learned about urban health through the Premedical Urban Leaders Summer Enrichment Program at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

PULSE gives undergraduate students interested in healthcare exposure to the medical professions. The six-week forum provided academic, clinical, research and service learning opportunities.  “I was honored and privileged to be accepted into such a rigorous and prestigious program,” said Edwards.

“My favorite workshop was the suturing workshop and the simulation labs where we pretended to be doctors,” said Korbi.

Edwards said it was especially rewarding to learn about Camden and help the city through volunteering at the non-profit organization Ronald McDonald House where she did activities with children ages 16 and under.

Korbi volunteered at The Neighborhood Center, a non-profit organization aimed at helping  families get out of poverty.  She and her group did research on the urban farm located at the back of the center.  “Our goal was to increase awareness so people could go and get free fresh food from the farm and live  healthier lives,” said Korbi.

The program culminated with a symposium where students highlighted their research for family, friends and guests.

Korbi and Edwards found that PULSE provided them with good information on the steps they would need to take to plan for medical school.

Featured News, News

Healthcare Foundation Grant Supports Art Therapy Center and Internships

Caldwell University has received a grant from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey to expand its graduate programming in art therapy. The $95,600 grant will support the expansion and modernization of art therapy program space on campus and establish new supervisory fellowships at mental health agency internship sites in the Newark, New Jersey area.

A new dedicated Art Therapy Center will feature a dynamic learning environment with workshop and classroom spaces equipped with state of the art technology, such as digital smartboards, tablets and iMac© personal computers and collaborative office and art display areas.

Graduate student interns will work with vulnerable children at sites like the Youth Consultation Service and The Essex County Mental Health Center and with seniors at the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey and Daughters of Israel.

Annette Vaccaro, Caldwell University associate professor of counseling and clinical coordinator, points out that Caldwell student interns provide over 9,500 hours annually at sites ranging from physical rehabilitation to pediatric units to schools and programs that serve those facing mental health problems.  “This grant will allow us to reach more sites and the most vulnerable populations who may not have the language to express themselves in words but can accept an offer to make art for self-expression and healing.”

Marsha Atkind, executive director/CEO of the Healthcare Foundation added, “We at the Foundation are keenly aware of the positive impact that art therapy can have on people suffering with various mental health challenges – people who often cannot express themselves adequately in other ways.  We are proud to have been able to support this important work.”

The art therapy graduate program prepares students to become licensed mental health counselors and registered art therapists. Caldwell offers three levels of training in art therapy. The undergraduate double major in art and psychology with art therapy concentration prepares students for entry into the M.A. in mental health counseling with art therapy specialization, the post-graduate M.A. in art therapy is designed for professionals who already hold a graduate degree in a related field but want to become art therapists, and the M.A. in mental health counseling with art therapy specialization. The Mental Health Counseling Degree with Art Therapy specialization program was the first program of its kind in the nation to become accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program, and the first and only graduate art therapy program in New Jersey.

About the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey

The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey is an independent, endowed grant-making organization dedicated to reducing disparities in the delivery of healthcare and improving access to quality healthcare for vulnerable populations in the greater Newark, NJ area and the Jewish community of MetroWest NJ. To this end, the Foundation has granted over $133 million in its 20 year history.

Featured News, News

High school students gather for Spirituality and Leadership Institute


Caldwell, N.J. – Thinking deeply about how you communicate, text and post might not be the way most teenagers would like to spend a week at summer camp, but  10 high school students found it was the best way they could imagine.

The students gathered on the campus of Caldwell University from July 15 to 21 for the Spirituality and Leadership Institute program.

“We probed questions like: ‘What does it look like for us to eat, drink, dress, shop, watch, play and love in ways that help and heal those around us and foster health and happiness in our own lives?’” explained Dr. Kyle Bennett, Ph.D., director of the institute and a Caldwell University assistant professor of philosophy.

“Mr. Bennett made us understand that nothing just is. There is always a further meaning,” said Rich Franklin, a rising senior at St. Mary of the Assumption High School in Elizabeth.

Now in its second year, the program is aimed at helping young people look at avenues for promoting public justice and seeking the common good. Mornings consisted of lectures and class; afternoons and evenings included free time and organized events. The students lived in the university’s residence hall.

“It was a new experience every day,” said Viv Zeballos, a rising senior at Millburn High School.

“I felt like I was actually in college,” said Franklin, who attended the institute for a second year.

Among the speakers was Meghan Ritchey, an events coordinator and curator in New York City, who gave career advice. She stressed the importance of “being mindful of serving others” and at the same time providing a quality product. Ritchey said that as a freelancer she must “rely on God because there is so much uncertainty.” She encouraged the students to choose good mentors and to find ways to work with teams, putting “experiences over events” and concentrating on “relationships more than work.” She said they should show God they are willing to take risks. “Anything you think you are bad at, you should do.”

Ritchey’s talk was “so motivating and inspiring,” said Zeballos, who works at a bakery and now feels empowered to take risks and to share her creative promotion ideas. For Noah Wickenheiser, a rising junior from Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Bennett’s talk on interacting with others was most valuable. It “made me think about how I act around others … and how I value others,” he said.

Other speakers included: actor Matt Lowe on thinking and creativity, business executive and Caldwell adjunct professor Barbara Davies on journaling and expression, and Assistant Professor of Theology Christopher Cimorelli, Ph.D., on working and the environment.

Getting to know students from different schools and locations was a broadening experience. “I’m basically a city kid” who found a “country friend,” said Franklin.

Activities included rope courses at the Turtle Back Zoo, a Jackals baseball game, an ice cream social, dodgeball, kickball and mini golf.

The program was well organized, said Wickenheiser. “They included everyone’s ideas.”

“I’d rate it as a really positive experience,” said Zeballos.

“A 10 out of 10,” agreed Wickenheiser.

The institute is made possible through a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.

The other students who participated are:

Antonia Ippolito,  Pope John XXIII Regional High School

Nasir Jones and Jennifer Lawson from St. Mary of the Assumption High School

Daniel Cwynar from James Caldwell High School

Sophia Feijoo from St. Dominic Academy

Miles Smith from Union Catholic Regional High School

Sidney Lauredant from Oratory Preparatory School

An optional overnight weekend will be held October 6 to 9 at the Spruce Lake Retreat Center in Canadensis, Pennsylvania.

Featured News, News

Caldwell University Named a “Best College” by MONEY Magazine

Caldwell University has been named one of the “Best Colleges” by MONEY Magazine, a longtime trusted leader in financial preparedness.

The magazine ranked 711 colleges and universities in the U.S. based on educational quality, affordability and alumni success. Caldwell University was chosen for its high performance in those areas.

“This is the first time we have made the MONEY Magazine ‘Best Colleges’ list and it is very exciting for us,” said Joseph Posillico, Ed.D., senior vice president at Caldwell.  “It reinforces the progress and innovation that Caldwell has made in our quality education and affordability along with the strong feedback we are receiving from our alumni.”

Featured News, News

Caldwell, New Jersey: a perfect location for a university

Rock n Joe photo

Students Denis Gray, Farah Leon, Zaira Baranukova and Louis Del Virginia having a good time at the coffee café Rock’n’Joe.

The borough of Caldwell is an ideal location for a university. Within walking distance or a short drive from campus, there are many places to get a good cup of coffee, a great slice, or find a unique gift.

With tree-lined sidewalks, a Main-Street-USA feel, and Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association, Caldwell is a great place to take a bike ride, grab an ice cream cone, enjoy the great outdoors and visit boutiques and shops. Plus, there are a number of restaurants and eateries featuring various cuisines and atmospheres.

Throughout the year, students, faculty and staff enjoy frequenting the different venues for everything from grocery shopping to getting a haircut or a manicure. They use the service provider businesses for professional and personal needs.

Crystal Lopez, director of residence life at the university, says the students enjoy the warm community surrounding their educational atmosphere. “Many of them work in town and make Caldwell a home out of their college experience.”

During the academic year, Theology and Philosophy Department professors Kyle Bennett, Ph.D. and Christopher Cimorelli, Ph.D.host discussions with students at the coffee café, Rock ‘n’Joe, on Bloomfield Avenue. “We meet on different Fridays to talk about topics such as economics, politics, theology, and marriage,” says Dr. Bennett.

The Caldwell University Jazz Band, student ensemble and the faculty jazz quartet, led by Music faculty member Rob Middleton, play at Rock ‘n’ Joe once a semester.


Caldwell University nursing students provide free blood pressures screenings at the annual Caldwell Street Fair the first Sunday of October.

During the spring semester each year, English Department Professor and Chair Mary Ann B. Miller, Ph.D. works with the Caldwell Public Library staff to host poetry readings for local, published poets. As part of her Introduction to Poetry course, students work with poets to plan their readings and gain experience in public relations, event planning and public speaking.

The university is a sponsor for the Rotary Kiwanis Caldwell Street Fair, which is held the first Sunday of every October. Nursing students enjoy providing free blood pressure screenings, music students perform, and staff and faculty provide free give-aways, photos with the mascot Cougar and information about the university. “It is always great fun and a terrific opportunity for the university students, staff and faculty to meet many people in the community,” says Tim Blattner, husband of Caldwell President Nancy Blattner. Tim, a member and past president of the Rotary, coordinates the university’s tent along with Linda Maher, the university’s marketing coordinator. This year’s street fair will be held Sunday October 1 from noon to 5 p.m.

Dr Miller and her daughter's photo

English Professor Mary Ann Miller and her daughter enjoy ice cream at Gelotti of Caldwell on a hot summer day.

In the summer, the West Caldwell free outdoor gazebo concert series feature a variety of music. Here’s the summer 2017 schedule.

Art on the Avenue is held in Caldwell on a Saturday at the beginning of every June and features photography, fine art crafts, sculpture, and crafts.

On the Fourth of July, the Grover Cleveland Birthplace historic site hosts a free ice cream social. The site is the birthplace of the only U.S. President born in New Jersey, President Grover Cleveland.http://presidentcleveland.org/


Caldwell University students Farah Leon and Denis Gray outside Rock n Joe coffee cafe.

Transportation to New York City and other locations
For those who want to visit New York City, the Decamp # 33 bus stops on Bloomfield Avenue right outside the entrance to the university. There are also local New Jersey Transit #29 buses to Montclair and Newark where students can enjoy activities including the Montclair Art Museum and the Newark Museum.

NJ Transit trains run to New York City, Newark and Hoboken from several stops in Montclair. Trains from Newark run to various points at the Jersey shore where one can enjoy the beach.

For bus and train schedules to go:

Useful community links
Caldwell Merchants Association – https://www.caldwellmerchants.com/
Caldwell Street Fair – https://www.caldwellmerchants.com/
Rotary Club of the Caldwells – http://www.caldwellrotary.org/

Featured News, News

Public Health Education Program Preparing Students for Healthcare Workforce

In this video, Dr. Brenda Petersen, Ph.D., associate dean of the Caldwell University School of Nursing and Public Health and Dr. Ernani Sadural, director of global health for Barnabas Health, talk about ways the Public Health Education program at Caldwell University is preparing students to enter the healthcare delivery system equipped with the necessary skills to meet complex healthcare needs of diverse populations.

The department includes the Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education and the Inter-Professional Health Education Collaborative.

Graduates of the BSPHE will be qualified and prepared for positions in community health and public health as well as hospitals, insurance companies, primary care provider offices, private and commercial community health organizations, research organizations, health coaches in wellness centers, educators within biology and pharmaceutical industry and governmental public health organizations.

The IPHEC provides integrated learning experiences utilizing best practice methods for students enrolled in the inter-disciplinary health programs.

Students have the opportunity to engage in exciting inter-disciplinary learning activities, simulation exercises in state-of-the-art simulation labs, and assignments that strengthen necessary skills to enter the healthcare delivery job force, such as using telemedicine as a disruptive innovation for providing patient teaching to populations.

To find out more, go to:


Featured News, News

Broadway ‘Hamilton’ drummer returns to Caldwell University to give percussion clinic


Caldwell, N.J., July 13, 2017 –

When you do something it is “super important” to do it like you mean it, Broadway musician Andres Forero told middle and high school students at Caldwell University’s percussion camp. Returning to the camp for a second year in a row, Forero, drummer for the hit Broadway play “Hamilton,” gave a percussion clinic to 20 students on July 11. Now in its sixth year, the camp features daily clinics presented by nationally acclaimed drummers and percussionists, said Alexander Bocchino, director of the camp and a Caldwell music faculty member.

In an entertaining interactive format, Forero, who has won Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards, took the students “out of the pit,” playing R&B, jazz and creative music. “It is wonderful to share what is underneath the stage, studio and live shows,” he said. He also gave the young people words of wisdom, saying they should be grateful to their parents for sending them to the camp. Recalling how he had grown up in humble circumstances, he told the students that one year his mother worked very hard so he could attend a music camp.

He stressed the importance of have good listening skills and working with “intention” in whatever they do. “The intention behind what you do should have a substance and meaning to it.” That, he explained, applies to music and anything else they set out to do in life.

Forero, a music prodigy, has played around the globe. In 2016, he was on the cover of Modern Drummer magazine. He recalled how when he was younger he thought it would be nice if he could someday afford a subscription to the magazine. His life experiences—including being in a car accident many years ago and having to learn to walk and play again—have given him the opportunity to share with young people how to get past obstacles and to achieve goals.

Recent high school graduate Carina Page, who has attended the camp for several years, said Forero is such an “amazing musician,” and she was impressed by “the way he teaches us different ways to portray creativity in music.”

Bocchino remarked, “We are lucky to have a musician of Andres’ caliber come to our camp and share his wealth of talent and experiences with the students.”

Forero said it was an honor to return to the university. “How could I say no? I’m grateful to Alex and the staff … it kind of my responsibility to share my experience with young people … I learn as much as I teach.”

The camp also features a trip to the Birdland Jazz Club in New York City where music faculty member, prize-winning composer, and saxophonist Rob Middleton plays, and a final student concert on campus for parents and friends.