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Undergraduate and graduate projects highlighted at Research and Creative Arts Day


Caldwell, N.J., May 1, 2017 – Caldwell University hosted Research and Creative Arts Day, featuring innovative projects by students, faculty and staff.

The day was aimed at highlighting Caldwell undergraduate and graduate student research and promoting STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. “We had a great turnout and great intensity. It was a chance for our students to get feedback, hone their communications skills and learn how to field questions from different audiences,” said Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Agnes Berki, who chaired the taskforce that organized the event.

Biology student Veronica Guirguis showcased her project, “The Future of Cancer Care: Virtual Reality,” which demonstrated how virtual reality could help to educate patients about treatments, could be used as a therapy to lessen pain and suffering, and could give them a chance to visit the “most amazing parts of the world.” She appreciated being able to “raise awareness and the potential of using” virtual therapy.

Stephanie Silva, a senior nursing major, presented the project “Who you gonna call? Rapid response teams,” which compared staff-initiated versus family-initiated response during a decline in health. She was delighted that nurses from her clinical site, Morristown Medical Center, came to view the research. She appreciated the feedback from those who saw her poster. “They had really good questions and made me think differently about my research. It was a great experience.”

Naissa Piverger, Melaine Betancur and Nicholette Worgs, public health educator majors, presented their research, “Utilizing Telemedicine to impact the older adult population.” Thanks to a Verizon technology grant, they taught seniors at their internship site, Marian Manor, how to use mobile devices to monitor and track their health status.

Manoucheka Jean, a nursing student,  who displayed her project, “The importance of a comprehensive patient education program in patients diagnosed with heart failure”  said the conference was a good opportunity to practice public speaking.

Chelsie Deusa, a communications and media studies and political science major, presented her scholars project work, “Northern Ireland: Divided by Religion.” She felt “proud and accomplished” to showcase it since she had put so much time into the work.

The keynote presentation was given by Dr. Jill Bargonett, a leading molecular biologist, breast cancer researcher and professor of biological sciences at Hunter College. In a lively, interactive format, she spoke on “Choreographing Genomics and Cancer Biology into Understanding.” A former dancer, she showed biological processes through dance.

Bargonetti is widely published; she and her team have made significant advances in research that looks at protein diversity in cells with the kind of genetic mutations linked to “triple negative” breast cancer.

Cosmo Cirillo, a doctoral student in the educational leadership program, was a member of a team that studied “Korean students’ views on caring teachers”. He said it was a great experience to have visitors come up to the booth “and test you on your knowledge” of an interesting project.  Vanessa Cirillo, another doctoral student on the team, said, “You don’t know how much you know about your research until you have to answer questions.”

Statewide honors

Some of the projects displayed had received statewide recognition this year. Science students 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?” at the Independent College Fund of New Jersey’s Undergraduate Research Symposium in March.

Pre-med post-baccalaureate student and alumna Jessica Binkiewicz was among the 2017 class of the Governor’s STEM Scholars honored by the New Jersey Legislature in Trenton on March 23. Her research project was titled “Thieves’ and Pulling Essential Oils Are Effective Antibacterial Agents against the Bacterium Escherichia coli.” During the school yearBinkiewicz led a research team of three high school students on the project—one from Wayne Hills High School and two from Paterson Charter High School for Science and Technology.

Research and Creative Arts Day was organized by the Research Task Force created by Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president for Academic Affairs.  The Research Task Force is comprised of faculty members Dr. Karla Batres, Dr. Ellina Chernobilsky, Dr. Thomson Ling, Dr. Jennifer Noonan, Dr. Kenneth Reeve, Dr. Meghan Ryan, Dr. Rosa Sanchez, Dr. Theodora Sirota, Dr. Marnie Sperling, Dr. Sara Tedrick Parikh, Dr. Rebecca Vega, Dr. Jason Vladescu and Berki. Also on the task force is Retention Specialist Maureen McNish and student Bipkin Koirala, a senior math and art major. Student volunteers who ushered at the event included: Amelia Biswas, Anika Sanjana, Prithy Adhikary, Shreyoshi Hossain, Michelle Eng, Ngima Sherpa, Anamika Sharma, Usha Katuwal, and Romina Ghale. The judges were greeted and registered by staff volunteers Christine Szeluga, Diana Lee, Alison Self, and Elaine Maliszewski.

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Political Science Students Selected for National Model United Nations Program


Caldwell, N.J., April 19, 2017 – Four Caldwell University political science students attended a program at the United Nations that brings students from colleges and universities all over the world together to discuss global issues.

Padriptee Lama, Patrick Rotondo, Daniele Roca and Katherine Llangari were selected for the National Model United Nations program in New York City. The program simulates a regular U.N. session. They were selected to represent the nation of Azerbaijan and attended two General Assembly sessions.

The students were expected to come to the program prepared to solve three pressing issues relevant to the 21 simulated U.N. committees. The National Collegiate Conference Association sponsors the National Model United Nations.

Lama is a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations; Rotondo is a senior with history and political science majors and a minor in pre-law. Roca is a junior with a major in political science and minors in pre-law and business. Llangari is a junior majoring in political science with pre-law and Italian minors.

For students like Llangari who are considering careers in diplomacy, the program was a worthwhile practical experience. “NMUN taught me that no matter where you are raised, when you have to represent other people’s interests you have to sometimes put your beliefs aside and see what is best for them.” She found it gratifying that other students agreed that international cooperation is needed to affect global change. “This is good to hear because we, the future generation, know that in order to address 21st-century issues we have to collaborate with each other.”

It was also a rewarding experience to meet students from all over the world and to network with U.N. staff and volunteers. “Debating and acting very diplomatic was also an incredible feeling for those of us who are interested in pursuing a career in diplomacy,” said Llangari.

The students are members of the Political Science Club.  They were selected because they are active members of the club and engaged in their political science classes at Caldwell. Dr. Domenic Maffei, chairman of the History and Political Science Department, and the students’ advisor, said Model UN is a great program that ties in with the department’s goal of vigorously promoting the application of theory to practice. “This program exposes our students to the institutional processes of the world’s leading diplomatic organization. The skills they learn during these sessions will benefit them greatly once they graduate.”

Alumni News, Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Alumna, physical therapist encourages STEM exploration

Credits tuition aid grant program with giving her the stepping stone for her education

“Rewarding” does not begin to describe the feeling Caldwell University alumna Monique Pineros  has every day when she heads out the door to work as a physical therapist. “Bringing back a human body to its normal functions with one’s hands is truly an art,” she says.

Pineros remembers her days at Caldwell and how her exposure to the liberal arts and to the diversity of campus life helped prepare her for the dream of entering the medical field. After receiving her doctorate in physical therapy from Quinnipiac University in 2016, she began to practice physical therapy and teach as an adjunct in Caldwell’s Natural and Physical Sciences Department.

“It all would never have been possible without that first stepping-stone, which was Caldwell University, along with the help of TAG,” she says. TAG is a New Jersey  need based grant program that  helps lower income students achieve their dream of receiving a college education.

“When I stand behind the podium in the classroom or evaluate and treat my patients in the clinic, I am constantly reminded that everyone has the potential to become their very best. The trick lies in becoming the individual’s first pusher in order to tap into it.”

Having been “fortunate enough and blessed to be on that receiving side,” Pineros wants to give back. “I too want to be on the other side to help that individual, whether student or patient.

“Coming from a family with financial hardships, I realized I required all the help necessary in order to make my dreams of a college education a reality. TAG was able to provide me with the financial bridge I needed to fulfill my academic studies at Caldwell University.”

Caldwell exposed her to a liberal arts foundation and to a diverse student body. “As a practicing physical therapist, I am able to clearly see the connections from the classroom theory I was given at Caldwell as well as the wealth of knowledge I gained from the interactions with my former peers to that of my current patient population. Not only was I given the academic foundation to pursue graduate studies but also the foundation to interact with patients in the clinic from all ages and walks of life.”

Having the opportunity to interact one on one with her professors at Caldwell and to create trusting relationships made her comfortable with the exchange of ideas at the professional and personal levels. “This was and is quintessential to my everyday life, in and outside of clinical practice.”

Pineros wants to help others who have talents in the STEM fields to be forward-thinking and passionate. “Marrying my love of physical therapy and clinical practice to that of teaching is what I aspire towards because not only do I want to inspire the generations after me in the classroom, I want to ignite a fire and thirst for never-ending exploration for the sciences, health and our future innovations.”

Business News, Featured News, News

New Sports Media Course at Caldwell University

Sport Management is a new major for the Division of Business Administration. The new Sports Media course will be a requirement in the program. Professor Bernie O’Rourke is associate dean and chairman of the Business Division.

Caldwell, N.J., April 12, 2017 – Caldwell University is introducing a sports media course through the combined efforts of the Communication and Media Studies Department and the Business Division. The course will be offered as part of the communication and media studies major and in the Business Division for majors and minors in sport management.

Sport Management is a new major for the Division of Business Administration and joins the six other majors already offered by the division.  The sports media course will be a practical introduction to the world of sports media. It will teach practical and professional skills required to perform and produce radio and television sports broadcasts. The course will also address the business aspects of sports media, the role of new media in sports coverage, and the social and ethical aspects of this field.

Students taking this course will be involved in highlighting Caldwell’s new sprint football program. They will assist in broadcasting home games and will be involved in game-day play-by-play and color. They will produce, write, and work as on-air talent.

Caldwell University recently added sprint football to its sports program. The Cougars will compete in the Collegiate Sprint Football League, and their first season at Caldwell University will begin in the fall of 2017.

A sports media course is being offered through the combined efforts of the Communication and Media Studies Department and the Business Division. Professor Bob Mann is chair of the Communication and Media Studies Department.

Professor Bob Mann, chairman of the Department of Communication and Media Studies, said, “We have wanted to do this for years. It’s a wonderful complement to our broadcast journalism courses because media has expanded to satellite radio and digital communications, providing more opportunities to create sports media content.”

Professor Bernie O’Rourke, associate dean and chairman of the Business Division, said, “This course will be a requirement for our new sport management major. We are excited to round out the program offerings with the addition of this applied course in sport broadcasting. Already, before even its introductory year, the sport management major is shaping up to be a highly successful program for the Division. This course is an indication of our commitment to provide a comprehensive program covering all aspects of the business of sport.”


Education news, Featured News

Television host Steve Adubato and Communication and Media Studies Chair teach education doctoral students

Television host Steve Adubato and Communication and Media Studies Chair Bob Mann taught education doctoral students in a class at Caldwell this spring.

Caldwell, N.J., April 12, 2017 – Emmy Award-winning television broadcaster Steve Adubato, Ph.D. and Caldwell Communication and Media Studies Chair Bob Mann recently taught a communication class together for the university’s education doctoral leadership program.

Students in the first educational leadership doctoral cohort in the required “Communication for School Leaders” class learned how to face tough questioning in T.V. studio interviews, gave speeches designed for school audiences, and did a series of mock job interviews and a mock radio interview about new school initiatives.

“Dr. Adubato and Professor Mann brought their communication backgrounds and provided applicable media experiences for our leaders.  This was extremely valuable for our students. ” said Dr. Joan Moriarty, associate dean, of the Education Division.

Ed 707:  Communication for School Leaders is the final requirement for the doctoral students.  Caldwell will be graduating its first class of education doctoral students in May.

Dr. Adubato is the author of several books on communication including his latest Lessons in Leadership. He anchors “Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato”, “State of Affairs with Steve Adubato” and “One-on-One with Steve Adubato”.  As a media and communication expert, he contributes to Metro Focus, a PBS series in the New York region and has appeared on the Today show, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, AM970, SiriusXM and NPR as a media and political analyst.

Professor Mann created the Communication and Media Studies Department and major at Caldwell University more than 20 years ago. During his tenure at Caldwell, Mann has also worked as a professional broadcaster. He recently completed a ten-year run on Sirius XM satellite radio as the host and producer of “Let’s Consider the Source,” a weekly national program on media issues. He currently hosts the talk show “Humanities Connection” for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. For 15 years, he was the voice of Hackensack University Medical Center’s New York area radio commercials and hosted a weekly TV program for HUMC. Before coming to Caldwell, Mann hosted talk shows for United Artists Cable TV, was the pledge drive host for WNET Channel 13, and worked as a feature reporter for WOR Radio in New York.

Last year, Mann and his co-producer, Caldwell Studio Manager Nick Amabile won a Garden State Journalist Award for “Let’s Consider the Source.”

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English Department Faculty Dr. Kornacki Selected as National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar

Caldwell, N.J., April 5, 2017 – Caldwell University English Department faculty Dr. Katie Kornacki has been selected as an NEH Summer Scholar from a national applicant pool to attend one of 24 seminars and institutes supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Endowment is a federal agency that, each summer, supports these enrichment opportunities at colleges, universities, and cultural institutions, so that faculty can work in collaboration and study with experts in humanities disciplines.

Dr. Kornacki, a resident of Montclair, N.J., will participate in an institute entitled “Transcendentalism and Reform in the Age of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller.” The two-week program will be held in Concord, Massachusetts and will be directed by Dr. Sandy Petrulionis. The 25 teachers selected to participate in the program each receive a stipend of $2,100 cover their travel, study, and living expenses.

“I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity to enrich my own research and to develop materials to use in the classes that I teach at Caldwell,” said Dr. Kornacki.

Topics for the 24 seminars and institutes offered for college and university teachers this summer include Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia: The Voices of Women in Literature, Cinema, and Other Arts since Independence; American Material Culture: Nineteenth-Century New York; Beyond East and West: the Early Modern World, 1400-1800; Bridging National Borders in North America; City/Nature: Urban Environmental Humanities; Diverse Philosophical Approaches to Sexual Violence; Elizabeth Bishop and the Literary Archive; Emmanuel Levinas on Morality, Justice, and the Political; Exploring the 1977 International Women’s Year Conference in Houston; The Formation and Re-formation of the Book: 1450-1650; Islam in Asia: Traditions and Transformations; King Lear and Shakespeare Studies; Making Modernism: Literature and Culture in Twentieth-Century Chicago, 1893-1955; Migration and Empire: The Roman Experience From Marcus Aurelius to Muhammad; Mississippi in the National Civil Rights Narrative; On Native Grounds: Studies of Native American Histories and the Land; Recognizing an Imperfect Past: History, Memory and the American Public; Rethinking Area Studies Through the Modern Asia Novel; Space, Place, and the Humanities; Teaching the Religions of the World; Transcendentalism and Reform in the Age of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller; Will, Commandment, and Human Perfection in Medieval Jewish Philosophy; What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement?; What is Gained in Translation: Learning How to Read Translated Texts.

The approximately 537 NEH Summer Scholars who participate in these programs of study will teach over 93,975 American students the following year.

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Art Department faculty Dr. Jennifer Noonan to be a post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Dr. Jennifer Noonan will be a post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Caldwell, N.J., April 4, 2017 – Caldwell University Art Department faculty Dr. Jennifer Noonan will spend the 2017-18 academic year completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Dr. Noonan, associate professor of art history and director of the Honors Program at Caldwell, will be the Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in American Art for a twelve-month period, 9/1/2017-8/31/2018. She will be working at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Archives of American Art to develop her research project, “The 1970 Venice Biennale: The Politics of Display, Politics on Display Abroad and At Home.” Her principal advisor on site will be Melissa Ho, and Crawford Alexander Mann III, the new Graphic Arts curator, will advise the project as well.  Dr. Noonan is thrilled that the Smithsonian and Terra Foundation selected her project. “This great honor will allow me the time to develop my research because the appointment will provide me with access to the Smithsonian collections and their archives, as well as the holdings in the Archives of American Art. I’m excited to get going and dig into the project.”

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. On July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation by James Smithson and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 127 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.

If you would like more information about this Smithsonian Internships, Fellowships, and Research Associates, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Internships at 202-633-7070 or check out their website smithsonianofi.com.

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Distinguished High School Coach Ken Trimmer Joins Caldwell Sprint Football Coaching Staff

CALDWELL, N.J.- Caldwell University Head Sprint Football Coach Daryle Weiss has announced the hiring of renowned high school coach Ken Trimmer as an assistant coach for the inaugural season this fall. Trimmer is no stranger to the Caldwell area as he was the Head Football Coach at James Caldwell High School for over 20 years and worked for over 50 years in the district.

“I’m excited to join the Caldwell sprint football staff and provide a great opportunity for young men in the area to continue their football careers,” said Trimmer. “I am thrilled to join the staff at a great university that provides a quality education that will prepare our players for life. The excitement for the team’s home opening day, with the support of the surrounding community, is one of the reasons I chose to join Coach Weiss’ staff.”

Trimmer recently retired from James Caldwell following a 23-year run as their head football coach. He was the assistant coach for over 20 years and brings 53 years of coaching experience to the Cougars. Trimmer has been part of five NJ State Championship teams with two (1997 and 2008) coming while he was the head coach of the Chiefs. As head coach, he guided his teams to the postseason in 21 of his 23 seasons. While at James Caldwell, Trimmer also served as a physical education, health and drivers education instructor for 46 years. Weiss and Trimmer worked together for two seasons as Weiss served as one of the assistant coaches on Coach Trimmer’s staff.

Trimmer’s experience in the NJ football world is extensive. He has been involved with the Phil Simms New Jersey North-South All-Star Football Classic for over 25 years. Trimmer was the general manager for six years and has been the game director for the past 15 years. He has recruited former National Football League superstars to lend their support to the annual showcase of the best high school seniors in the state. The game is named for legendary NY Giants quarterback Phil Simms. The North Offensive MVP award is named for Dave Szott, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and the Washington Redskins. The North Defensive MVP Award is named for two-time Super Bowl Champion Jim Burt, former New York Giant and San Francisco 49er. The South Offensive MVP Award is named for NFL Hall of Famer Joe Theismann, former quarterback for the Redskins. The South Defensive MVP Award is named for Jim Jeffcoat, a two-time Super Bowl champion. Theismann (South River H.S.), Jeffcoat (Matawan H.S.) and Szott (Clifton H.S.) also played football in NJ and remain heavily involved in the North-South Game due to Trimmer’s influence. This past year, Neil O’Donnell (North) and Scott Brunner (South) served as honorary coaches.

Trimmer is also involved in the Robison East-West All-Star Classic where he serves as the treasurer. The game features the top high school seniors from Hudson and Essex Counties against the seniors from Passaic and Morris Counties. In his 24 years with the Robison Classic, Trimmer was involved in garnering sponsorships to provide the participants an opportunity to showcase their talents for the next level.

The Cougars are part of the nine member Collegiate Sprint Football League that includes Army West Point, Chestnut Hill College, Cornell University, Franklin Pierce University, Mansfield University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Post University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Sprint football is a full-contact, intercollegiate, varsity sport and has the same rules as regular college football, except that all players must weigh 178 pounds or less. The league has existed since before World War II.

About Caldwell Athletics: The Caldwell Athletics Department sponsors 16 varsity sports with the addition of sprint football in the 2017-18 academic year. Caldwell University is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II (NCAA DII). The Cougars compete in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) and the Eastern College Athletic Association (ECAC). Sprint football will participate in the Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL), while women’s bowling competes in the Northeast Conference (NEC). For more information about Caldwell Athletics, visit caldwellathletics.com.

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Communication and Media Studies students inducted into national communications honor society

The Communication and Media Studies Department inducted students into the Alpha Gamma Delta chapter of the national Communications honor society Lambda Pi Eta. Top row, left to right: Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies and honor society advisor Rachel Carey,  inductees Casey Abramson, Eric Dieterele and Dennis Brady and President of the Caldwell chapter of Lambda Pi Eta Matthew Lepore.
Bottom row, left to right: inductees Nicholas Hayduk, Julia Cummings, Heba You Karroum and Kate Hogan. Not pictured: Jessica Cusimano and Andrew Cotto.

Caldwell, NJ, April 3, 2017 – The Communication and Media Studies Department inducted a group of students into its Alpha Gamma Delta chapter of the national Communications honor society Lambda Pi Eta.

Lambda Pi Eta (LPH) is the honor society of the National Communication Association for four-year institutions of higher education. The aim is to promote outstanding academic achievement in the Communication discipline.

The students who were inducted are: Casey Abramson, Eric Dieterele, Dennis Brady, Julia Cummings, Heba You Karroum, Nichola Hayduk, Kate Hogan, Jessica  Cusimano and Andrew Cotto.

Bob Mann, chair of the communication and media studies department, said he is very happy that the students are being recognized.  “The efforts to establish this chapter came from our students. They really care about the Communication field.”

Caldwell’s chapter is advised by Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies Rachel Carey.

To be eligible for admission, undergraduate students must meet the following criteria: complete 60 semester credit-hours (90 quarter credit-hours), have a minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.0, complete the equivalent of 12 semester credit-hours (18 quarter credit-hours) in Communication Studies, have a minimum GPA of 3.25 for all Communication Studies courses, and currently be enrolled as a student in good standing, as determined by the institution’s policies and rank within the highest 35 percent of one’s class in general scholarship.*

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Caldwell University Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Inducts New Class


Caldwell, N.J., April 3, 2017 – The Caldwell University chapter of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi inducted 34 new members at a ceremony on March 30. Students, administration, faculty, staff and alumni joined the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society.

William Velhagen, president of the Caldwell chapter, gave the introductions. “We are pleased and proud that each has chosen to become part of a century-old community of scholars and professionals that includes men and women who have distinguished themselves in positions of leadership and whose careers have been characterized by achievement.”

University president Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., who was pivotal in bringing the honor society to Caldwell and served on its national board for six years, congratulated the class on joining the community of scholars, which she said represented the “very best of all disciplines.”

Joseph Posillico, vice president for enrollment management and communications, was one of the inductees. “I was honored to be inducted along with my esteemed colleagues and so many deserving students. The motto of Phi Kappa Phi encompasses for many of us our passion: ‘Let the love of learning rule humanity.’”

Theresa Henry, a junior who was inducted, said the motto will stick with her forever. “I hope that I will strive to learn something new every day and share that knowledge with my peers.”

Shyam Sharma, senior and president of the Student Government Association, said it was an “incredible ceremony” for the new inductees. “Being inducted into an honor society with a rich history and mission like Phi Kappa Phi is truly a humbling experience. “

Phi Kappa Phi elects its membership from all academic fields within the university. The faculty, staff and alumni inductees were Dr. Agnes T. Berki, Dr. Ellina Chernobilsky, Maureen Kenney, Joseph Posillico and Sister Catherine C. Waters, O.P.

The student inductees were: Amanda Appleby, Stephanie Bendush, Jennifer Ashley Bitetto, Dennis Brady, Samantha Ann Bremer, Alexandra Campanaro, Melissa Marie Cook, Alyssa Marie DiNapoli, Caitlyn Doyle, Kathleen Drwiega, Steven Eigenlaub, Michelle Eng, Brittany Finneran, Erin Sullivan Goldstein, Kelly Marilly Gonzalez, Victoria Amanda Grzelak, Danielle Anne Hamblin, Theresa Gail Henry, Rikki L. Herman, Lindsey Horowitz, Sheri Beth Horowitz-Jay, David Jones, Silvia Lambiase, Chelsea Nicolle Maher, Michelle Mayrer, Kelly Neill, Daniella L. Preston, Kimberly A. Rothenberger, Jessica R. Shackil, Shyam Sharma, Tammy Underwood-Daniel, Kiana Valenzuela, Diana C. Velazquez and Cassandra E. Winnie.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 under the leadership of Marcus L. Urann, who wanted to create a different kind of honor society—one that recognized excellence in all academic disciplines. Today, the society has chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States and the Philippines and inducts more than 30,000 new members each year. Membership is by invitation only to the top 7.5 percent of juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students, along with faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.

The society’s mission is “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Since its founding, more than 1.25 million members have been initiated. Some of the organization’s more notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, novelist David Baldacci and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley. The society has awarded approximately $15 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, more than $1 million is awarded each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, member and chapter awards and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.