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Reaching Out Around the Globe

Admissions recruiter applies his own experiences as an international student

When Jan Marco Jiras came to Caldwell 13 years ago from his native Peru, he was provided with an opportunity to play soccer and tennis in the United States. Following his playing career, he remained in the Caldwell community as part of the university staff. Today, Jiras travels the globe recruiting from a prospective international student population as the director of undergraduate admissions.

As a young college student Jiras chose to attend Caldwell despite not having visited the campus. He received an athletic scholarship to play soccer and tennis, joining the Cougars in the fall of 2004. He came to Caldwell on the recommendation of a hometown friend, Jorge Ibarcena, who was a freshman on the soccer team in 2003. The soccer team become his second family as he played in one of the most successful eras in the program’s history. During his four years, Caldwell boasted a record of 47-25-8 and was one of the top teams in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. The Cougars advanced to the CACC tournament semifinals all four years that Jiras played, and they were the runner-up in his sophomore season.

Following his undergraduate days, Jiras chose to stay at Caldwell to continue his studies in the graduate program. He became a residential life assistant and pursued his master’s in business administration degree. He joined the admissions office in 2010 as a travel recruiter and later moved into his current role as the lone international student recruiter, a job that has taken him to places such as Vietnam, Nepal, China, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, Chile and Peru.

Jiras believes what attracted him to Caldwell was the close community atmosphere and the proximity to New York City. In the classroom, he received personalized attention in the small classes Caldwell offers. His connection to his professors is one of his fondest memories as a student.

“For me, Caldwell University has been my home for many years. Recruiting international students to Caldwell University is personal to me as someone who took a chance and came to the United States from Peru. I believe that the international students that I help bring to Caldwell make it a diverse campus community. This contributes to better discussions and new ideas that these students will bring to their classrooms and their fellow students.”

When Jiras embarks on a recruiting trip, he promotes Caldwell and mentions his personal experiences to prospective students. International recruiting is a challenge but Jiras’s background as an international recruit has enabled him to reap success in his efforts.

Like Jiras did in 2004, prospective students hear about Caldwell from friends who also took a chance on an American education. In the international student world, word of mouth is a key component to growing Caldwell’s reputation and sharing all the positive aspects that it has to offer, he says.

His efforts have been fruitful as Caldwell has become a top destination for international students in the North. With 9 percent of its student population coming from other countries in 2015-16, Caldwell ranked eighth in the North in international student population in a report released by U.S. News & World Report.

Jiras has found that international students are intrigued at the opportunity to make the trip to the United States. Many come to Caldwell with an interest in computer information systems, which has become the most popular major among international students. Having a degree from a prominent university like Caldwell that is close to New York City also gives these students advantages in obtaining top internships and having successful careers, he says.

Jiras continues to find international recruiting to be a rewarding experience. The lifelong friendships he developed as part of the Caldwell soccer family are what he hopes the international students will experience at Caldwell.

—JT  (John Tagliaferri is Director of Athletic Media Relations for Caldwell University.)

Jan Marco Jiras in his playing days on the soccer field.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Caldwell University Recognizing Alumni Professional Excellence at Veritas Awards

Caldwell, N.J., March 8, 2017 – Caldwell University will recognize alumni professional excellence at the annual Veritas awards on Friday March 31.

The award is the highest honor the college bestows on its alumnae/alumni for their professional excellence in diverse fields.  The reception is at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. at Essex Fells Country Club.

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh, O.P. ’68 will receive the Excellence in Social Justice Advocacy award, Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 will receive the Excellence in Quality Technology award, and Carlos Pomares ’93 will receive the Excellence in Cultural Activism award.

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh, O.P. ’68

Sister M. de Montfort Kinchellagh, O.P. ’68 will receive the Excellence in Social Justice Advocacy award.

Sister de Monfort is a tireless advocate on behalf of issues of peace and justice.  She has held several positions including councilor of ministry for the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell and justice promoter for the Sisters.  She was pivotal in establishing the Commission on Global Issues for the Sisters and served as it’s chairperson for over 15 years. Sister de Monfort had a career in education holding a number of positions including teacher, principal, supervisor of schools, and assistant superintendent.

Sister holds a B.A. in English/Elementary Education from Caldwell College and New Jersey Teacher of Elementary Education N-8 and New Jersey Principal certifications. She has an M.A. in Supervision\Administration from Seton Hall University.

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 will receive the Excellence in Quality Technology award.

Elaine Bauer Zabriskie ’73 has excelled in the field of telecommunications with employment at companies such as AT&T and Verizon. Among her many accomplishments is the design and implementation of a supplier report card program that identified thresholds of performance for customer requirements as well as the management of corrective actions. The program was awarded a U.S. Business Process Patent in November 2012 after a ten-year review process. She is a published author of several professional white papers on supplier performance and on a recognition program for telecommunications suppliers. Zabriskie holds a bachelor of arts in history and social studies from Caldwell College and a master’s of political science and an MBA in management from Montclair University. She is a lifetime certified purchasing manager and a certified software quality engineer.

Carlos Pomares ’93

Carlos Pomares ’93 will receive the Excellence in Cultural Activism award.

Carlos M. Pomares ‘93 is executive director of the Cuban Artists Fund, a non- profit dedicated to supporting artists of Cuban ancestry.   He has overseen a variety of collaborative educational projects between the Cuban Artists Fund and organizations such as the Times Square Alliance, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.  As councilman at-large in Bloomfield, New Jersey, he has successfully spearheaded historic restoration projects, public art installations, and environmental preservation efforts.

Pomares holds a B.A. in History from Caldwell College and received a certificate in Communications.  He also holds an M.A. in Museum Professions from Seton Hall University.

Tickets are $95.00.   RSVP by March 15. For further information, contact Alumni Director Meghan Moran at 973-618-3411 or mmoran@Caldwell.edu

Business News, Featured News, News

Student Interns with International Youth Sports League

Every time Jessica Cusimano interviews a young athlete her face lights up. She knows what it is like to play youth sports, and she is thrilled to have the chance to work with the Babe Ruth League.  She is developing her reporting, producing and editing skills in bringing news of the international youth baseball and softball league to a wider audience.

“The young girls I meet at the Babe Ruth World Series truly inspire me and remind me of when I was young and in love with the game,” says Cusimano, who recently described  her internship to business and education professionals at the university’s Business Advisory Council meeting.

Cusimano travels to events in New Jersey and in the Southern U.S.  where she meets top-notch athletes who have been recruited for strong athletic programs. She even helped create the Babe Ruth Network, which covers the Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken World Series and regular-season games.

The Babe Ruth World Series annually draws some 5,000 people from across the country when it is played at the end of July/beginning of August.  In 2017 a team from China will participate, bringing even more global interest in the league.

Because she played softball as a child and teen , Cusimano knows the  challenges young athletes face. “I went through three injuries with surgeries, and every time I got knocked down it taught me how to make myself stronger.”

She also has an internship in media relations with Faster2First, an organization that provides recruitment and development opportunities for aspiring college football, basketball and softball players.

Cusimano is majoring in communication and media studies with a minor in sport management. She appreciates the career guidance she has received from her professors. “They have gone above and beyond to help me achieve my dream.”

She would like to pursue on-air sports for a network like ESPN or Fox Sports. Caldwell has helped her make connections. “In the industry I am in, networking is key.” The “kind and dedicated” people at Caldwell have helped her spread her wings. “I can only imagine where my career will take me.”

Featured News, News

Public health education student field work experiences serve community

Arsha Chacko, a student in the bachelor’s in public health education program, interned with the New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group. She is pictured here with Peggy Cowan, president and founder of NJPAG.

Arsha Chacko, a student in the bachelor’s in public health education program, interned with the New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group. She is pictured here with Peggy Cowan, president and founder of NJPAG.

Caldwell, N.J., March 7, 2017 – Caldwell University students in the bachelor’s in public health education program are receiving exciting hands-on internships and employment in the field of community health.

Arsha Chacko, the program’s first graduate, interned with  the New Jersey Physicians Advisory Group in the fall, assisting the nonprofit in its work of educating young people about sexual health. Senior Janae Bailey completed an internship with ADAPT of Essex County, which focuses on alcohol and drug use/abuse prevention among the young. She will be starting a job as a medical scribe with ScribeAmerica. Melanie Betancur, also a senior, has been hired by TeleNurse Network, which offers telemedicine. As part of her field work, she provided seniors at Marian Manor with health education on issues such as medication management and telemedicine. She also did health coaching at St.Joseph’s Regional Medical Center on the heart failure floor.

The university recently opened its Department of Public Health Education to train students to work in public and community health, explained Dr. Brenda Petersen, director of the department.  “We as a nation are being crushed by billions of dollars in treating diseases. We are excited that this department will be graduating health care workers who can make a difference in educating people about disease prevention and how to better manage chronic conditions,” she said.  Caldwell is one of the few programs of this type being offered on the undergraduate level.

Internships are an important part of the program, allowing students to gain valuable experience at nonprofit and community health organizations.

Chacko helped to prepare for conferences and to disseminate information about an NJPAG study that examined outcomes of “The Yes You Can” curriculum designed to encourage fifth- through twelfth-graders to live a strong and focused lifestyle and to postpone sexual involvement. “I really enjoyed this internship because it showed me a different experience than that of the hospital setting,” said Chacko.

Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Science Students take top prizes at ICFNJ Undergrad Research Symposium


Caldwell, N.J. March 7, 2017 – Caldwell University science students took first and second place prizes at the Independent College Fund of New Jersey’s Undergraduate Research Symposium. Deborah Balthazar and Amanda Surujnauth received the first place Outstanding Poster Presentation award for their project “What is on your toothbrush? Are you brushing with fecal matter?” They focused on assessing toothbrush microbial contamination from toilet aerosols and on offering suggestions for storage and decontamination. They wanted to engage in something practical that would interest people and that “people deserve to know,” said Balthazar.

Student Gianna C. Klucker received the second place Outstanding Poster Presentation award for her project “Creation of a Novel Deodorant Using Essential Oils.”

Five other students in Natural and Physical Sciences faculty Dr. Agnes Berki’s research, conduct and composition biology class presented their projects at the symposium at Liberty Science Center, where they heard from leading New Jersey professionals in the STEM fields who gave them professional advice and insight.

ICFNJ began the symposium in 2014 to offer new undergraduate grants to its member institutions. The grants connect students with peer and faculty mentors who are engaged in research.

Also on display was Won Seok Choi and Steven S. Han’s project “Investigation of Microorganisms on Smartphones.” They found an alarming number of microorganisms and showed that smartphones can serve as a source of infections, underscoring the need to sterilize phones.

Han says doing the research gave him the chance to “put into practice the science method and see how it plays out when doing research.”

The symposium is the culmination of months of hard work by students, said Berki. “It solidifies their STEM training and prepares them for the world.”

The projects gave the students the chance to work outside the classroom or the lab and learn to work one-on-one. They develop professionally, academically and personally and learn about teamwork and public speaking, explained Berki. In addition, they “play off of each other’s strengths” and enhance their critical thinking skills, said Dr. Darryl Aucoin, assistant professor of chemistry, who worked with student Daniel Outo-Acheampong on his project “Optimizing the Growth Conditions for a Cellulose-Producing Bacterium.”

Science students Yara Abdelnabi and Michael James presented on “Optimization of Human DNA Detection in Unclean Teeth.”

Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president for academic affairs, said doing undergraduate research is very valuable for students because they look at the reason for what they are learning and it makes them more marketable for graduate school. “It helps their chances of competing against other students for graduate school admissions,” she said.

The projects were not only educational but fun, said Han. “Dr. Berki was a great help. The students give each other moral support and helped each other out.” The research brings a “practicality to the lectures,” said Surujnauth.

The students are looking forward to displaying their work on campus at Caldwell’s research day April 26 when the university will showcase student, faculty and staff research projects across all disciplines.

Featured News, News

Counseling Director is guest on One-on-One with Steve Adubato

Director of Counseling Service Robin Davenport is a guest on One-on-One with Steve Adubato.  They discuss the university’s initiatives to address mental health issues.

Davenport explained how Caldwell raised awareness about mental health issues by becoming New Jersey’s first stigma-free campus. The stigma-free initiative is sponsored by the Codey Fund for Mental Health, which was put together by former governor Richard Codey and his wife Mary Jo, a Caldwell alumna.  Davenport talks about the university’s Wellness Center which serves the body, mind and spirit for students. She discusses the different services the university has to help students through stressful periods during their college career including during final examinations week.

Downloadable link: http://bit.ly/One-on-One2019_Davenport

Watch here

Broadcast schedule:

Monday, March 13th at 7 p.m. & 11:30 p.m. on NJTV

Tuesday March 14 – 1 a.m. on WNET/Thirteen.

Featured News, News

Drogsler Selected to CoSIDA Academic All-American First Team

AUSTIN, Texas- Caldwell University women’s basketball junior Kristen Drogsler (Middle Village, N.Y.) added another major award to her incredible season as she was selected to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American First Team. Drogsler was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Year last week.

Drogsler has excelled in the classroom in her three years at Caldwell. She has posted a 3.90 GPA as a Health Science major and is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and a CACC All-Academic Team honoree last season. Drogsler is the second women’s basketball player to receive CoSIDA Academic All-American honors since Caldwell went Division II in 2002-03 (Emily Caswell, Third Team, 2014-15).

On the court, Drogsler has been one of the top players in the region. She is averaging 20.4 points per game and leads the Cougars with program-record 81 three-pointers.  Drogsler leads the CACC in scoring and three-pointers this season. She ranks second in the conference in three-point percentage and is tied for sixth in blocks. In the East Region, Drogsler is third in scoring and three-pointers. She also ranks among the national leaders as she is tied for eighth in the Division II in scoring. Drogsler ranks tenth in the nation in three-point percentage and 13th in three-pointers.

Drogsler is a four-time CACC Player of the Week and a two-time Met Basketball Player of the Week honoree this season. In addition, Drogsler has been named the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Player of the Week six times this season. She has posted 17 games with at least 20 points and has recorded three or more three-pointers in 15 games. Drogsler tallied season highs with 33 points and eight three-pointers vs Philadelphia on February 11.

The Cougars are having a record-setting season and rank among the best teams in the East Region. Caldwell set the program season victory record (previously 21) and enter this weekend’s CACC Championship Semifinal contest with a 24-4 record. The Cougars won the CACC North Division for the third time since 2002-03 with an 18-1 record and currently rank #4 in the East Region. The Cougars’ three in-region losses this season are to teams that are currently ranked in the DII East Region Poll (Queens College, Molloy College, and Bloomfield College).

The North Division Champs host North #3 Dominican College in the CACC Championship Semifinals on Saturday, March 4 at 5 pm at the Newman Center. Caldwell University will serve as the host site for this weekend’s CACC men’s and women’s basketball Final Four on Saturday and Sunday.

Featured News, News

Faculty Present Frederick Douglass Lives

In honor of Black History Month faculty presented “Frederick Douglass Lives!” on the life and legacy of the great nineteenth century American abolitionist.  Dr. Doug Anderson of the English department discussed the various themes of Douglass’ famous autobiography published in 1845.  Dr. William Barnhart of the History department talked about the origins of abolitionism and Douglass’ contributions to the movement.  Dr. Katie Kornacki of the English department presented on Frederick Douglass’ connection to the women’s rights movement that grew out of abolitionism.  The panel also shared their thoughts on Douglass’ continuing relevance for a variety of human rights issues today.

Featured News, News, Uncategorized

Lecture “Action to Encourage Interfaith & Environmental Dialogue: How Do Pipelines Affect Our Water”

Caldwell, N.J., Feb. 27, 2017 – Writer and activist Anny Martinez will present on “Action to Encourage Interfaith & Environmental Dialogue: How Do Pipelines Affect Our Water”, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.  Monday, March 6 in the Alumni Theatre on Caldwell University’s campus.

The forum is being hosted by the Theology/Philosophy Department as part of its Sister Maura Campbell lecture series. It is free and open to the public.

Martinez has extensive background in community building and non-profit social work. She is founder/organizer of Spoken Word Events which showcases local poets and pivotal causes. She authored the book Black Start, which tells the story of the hope and fear that transpires during a power outage.  Martinez is a member of Coalition Against the Pilgrim Pipeline and Food & Water Watch.

The series is named after Sister Maura Campbell, 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.

Featured News, News

Nursing Department Blessing of Hands recognizes sacredness of healing the sick and suffering

Nursing student Catherine Mulick with her mother and grandmother, a family of three generations of nurses.

Caldwell, N.J., February 24, 2017 – The Nursing Department held its annual Blessing of the Hands ceremony for juniors.

Director of Campus Ministry Colleen O’Brien opened the ceremony pointing to the importance of the blessing for the students who will use their hands to heal the sick and suffering and bring forth the mission of Caldwell University and the Sisters of St. Dominic.

Director of Nursing Dr. Theodora Sirota reflected on various scriptures references to healing.  “The prophet Ezekiel speaking in the name of the Lord says: ‘I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak’ and that is what we nurses do.  Jeremiah speaking in the name of the Lord says ‘Behold, I will bring to them health and healing, and I will heal them’ and that is what we nurses do,” said Sirota.

Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president for academic affairs said it was a time to celebrate “our call and gifts and to remember how much we need one another.”  The blessing, she explained, “symbolizes our belief in the sacredness of our everyday lives and work.”

President Nancy Blattner reflected on the scripture verse from Isaiah 49 which references how the Lord holds us in the palm of his hand.  She reminded the students that God holds them in the palm of his hand and in turn, they have the important work of holding others in the palm of their hands as nurses.

The nursing students said they felt appreciated and proud to have the support from the university. Junior Daniel Aponte said the ceremony empowered him to move on in his clinic experience. Junior Andrea Felano said she is more motivated and understands the power of using her hands in nursing.  Yasmine Khalaifeh, a sophomore who was watching the ceremony, said it is important to remember that spirituality comes with being a nurse. “There is more to nursing than performing physical tasks.”

Faculty and administration did the readings and administered the blessing.

It was a special day for junior Catherine Mulick since she is going to be a 3rd generation nurse in her family, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother who attended the ceremony to celebrate with her.