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Caldwell University Recognized for 2017 Learning Excellence in NJ

Caldwell, N.J., July 5, 2017 –

Caldwell University has been recognized for offering one of the best learning environments in New Jersey for 2017 by LearnHowToBecome.org, a leader in education and career resources.

“It was important to recognize the colleges and universities that are going above and beyond the standard for learning,” said Wes Ricketts, co-founder of LearnHowToBecome.org. “These schools have proven that their learning environments are exceptional and continuing to improve.”

“This is an affirmation of the value of the education Caldwell is providing to prepare students for the career path they choose to pursue,” said Joseph Posillico, senior vice president at Caldwell University.

The full ranking list and complete methodology can be viewed here:
Best Colleges in New Jersey – http://www.learnhowtobecome.org/college/new-jersey/

To be considered for this ranking, schools must be institutionally accredited, public or private not-for-profit institutions and offer at least ten total programs. The main data points considered when ranking universities include:
• In-state tuition and fees for undergraduates
• Student to teacher ratio
• 6 Year Graduation Rate
• % of students receiving institutional financial aid (first time- full time undergrads)

LearnHowToBecome.org has distinguished their ranking measurement by including the median earnings of alumni ten years after enrolling in college. Factoring in salary earnings alongside tuition and financial aid offers a more accurate assessment of the return on investment a university offers.

LearnHowToBecome.org began in late 2013 with a mission to help students and professionals understand what is takes to land their perfect career, whether they need to know which schools to pick or how to climb the company ladder.

LearnHowToBecome.org works alongside educational and employment experts to make sure information is accurate and current.

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Education Student Receives Prestigious Student Teaching Prize


Education Division Associate Dean Dr. Moriarty and Education Division students Victoria Sabatino, Samantha Parigi, and Kristen Kowalski who were recognized by the NJ Department of Education for their student teaching.

Caldwell, N.J., – June 30, 2017

Caldwell University Education Division graduate Samantha Parigi ’17 received a statewide award for her student teaching. Parigi, a resident of Caldwell, was selected for a 2017 New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern Award from the state Department of Education and was honored at a ceremony in June. Kristen Kowalski ’17 and Victoria Sabatino ’17, also education majors, won New Jersey clinical intern awards.

Joan Moriarty, associate dean of the Division of Education, is grateful to the faculty and staff in the division who prepared the students to stand among “the best of the best” in New Jersey.

Each year the deans of New Jersey’s education preparation programs are invited to submit the dossiers of their three most outstanding prospective teachers into competition for the award. This process includes their university supervisors and cooperating teachers.

The award publicly recognizes the year’s 15 top graduates of educator preparation programs in New Jersey’s colleges and universities. “To be selected from all the student teachers in the state is amazing, and it reaffirms all the hard work I’ve done this past year,” said Parigi.

She graduated from Caldwell May 21 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Elementary Education and English and received a certification in Early Childhood Education, specializing in preschool through third-grade.

She credits the Caldwell Education Division with providing continuous support and encouragement. “Whenever I had a question or concern they were there with answers, especially my university supervisor Bernadette Santoriello. The guidance I have received along the way has made me feel excited and confident to enter this career.”

She starts her career in the fall when she will teach third grade at Lincoln Elementary School in Nutley, New Jersey.

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Campus Ministry offers new faith immersion program for incoming freshmen

Caldwell, NJ, June 28, 2017 –

Incoming freshmen are invited to apply to take part in a two-day faith immersion program before the start of the fall semester.  The program, “FIRST”, which stands for Freshmen Immersion into Reflection, Service, and Tradition, will be offered Thursday and Friday August 24 and 25.

Colleen O’Brien, director of campus ministry, says FIRST is an introduction to aspects of faith reflection, service, and the rich Catholic Dominican tradition that underpins the foundation of Caldwell University.

O’Brien says heading off to college can be an exciting time but it can also be filled with fear and anxiety.  This will give students a chance to reflect on how they can make the most of their college experience.  “Students are asking themselves questions like ‘Who will I meet? Will I make friends? How difficult will my classes be?’ With FIRST we want to help lessen a little of that worry and let them know that they are bringing unique gifts to share with our Caldwell community,” said O’Brien.

Fifteen students will be selected for the program. The cost will be $25 for each student for the two days, which includes food, transportation, and a T-shirt.

Resident students participating in FIRST will move in Thursday August 24. Commuter students participating in FIRST will check-in by 4 p.m. on Thursday August 24 and commute back and forth to the program. The forum will begin with a prayer service at 5 p.m. for the FIRST student participants and their families. After the prayer service, families will depart and the program will begin with dinner.

If interested in applying or finding out more, please contact Colleen O’Brien in Campus Ministry at campusministry@caldwell.edu or 973-618-3660.



Alumni News, Featured News, News

Radio host alum interviews Bob Mann on morning drive show

Alum Joe Catenacci ’06 is host of the radio morning drive show The Big Talker 106.7 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Communications and Media Studies Professor Bob Mann was the guest of his former student Joe Catenacci ‘06 host of the radio morning drive show The Big Talker 106.7 in Wilmington, North Carolina. As a Memorial Day program, they discussed a previous radio program Mann had hosted from the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

“It’s been awesome to have him on,” says Catenacci.  The conversation may heat up next month when they begin a regular segment on media issues since the two do not regularly look at issues from the same political viewpoints. That is what makes it interesting, says Catenacci. “One of the great things about Professor Mann was and is the fact he always encourages you to have free thought….he welcomed different viewpoints with open arms to build the discussion.  For us, the debate and conversation hasn’t ended since I graduated from Caldwell”.

Catenacci,  who does  play-by-play sports broadcasting for Coastal Carolina University and UNC-Wilmington, says that when the conversation gets too animated or heated, Mann and he can always pivot back to what they both have a passion for, “baseball and the New York Yankees.”

A former Cougars baseball player, Catenacci appreciates the experiences he had at Caldwell. “I was trained with the proper tools through operations and direction as a person who had potential for on-air.”  Although he says it is the individual who has to go after the media career, he credits Professor Mann and his communications studies in helping him lay the foundation and set the building blocks for his future.

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Students Attend Dominican Preaching in Action Conference

Caldwell, N.J., June, 8, 2017 – Caldwell students attended the Dominican National Preaching in Action Conference, a program of the Dominican Youth Movement USA at Molloy College in Rockville Center, New York in May.

The program focused on Dominican spirituality and the life of Saint Dominic. The group learned about the Dominican pillars, the Dominican family and preaching through the signs of the times, service, arts and prayer.  “It was a great way for students to learn more about the roots of Caldwell and to bring this fire back to campus and share with their peers,” said Colleen O’Brien, Caldwell’s director of campus ministry. Thirteen Dominican colleges and universities were represented providing an opportunity for students to interact with those from other institutions.  Caldwell student Brooke McPherson said she made “lasting bonds” with many of guest preachers, mentors, and attendees.

The students took part in a day of service at different sites with children or immigrant women or on a sustainable farm.  McPherson volunteered at the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville’s  OPening Word ministry where immigrant women are taught English and computer skills. “I truly will remember these strong, compassionate women for the rest of my life,” said McPherson. She said they were able to find a way around the language barrier and spent a long time talking about the difficulties of learning a new language and what it is like “trying to make it in a world that doesn’t always want to see you succeed.”

The students were split up into “home groups” which they met with each night to share and reflect on the day’s events. At the end of the conference, students were charged with setting a group goal and a personal goal. The Caldwell group chose to facilitate a boxtown event in the 2017-18 academic year to raise awareness of homelessness in the Essex County area. They also look forward to increasing interaction with the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell.

The others who attended are: students Maria Lesniewski and Devin Lattuga and recent graduate Olivia Lewis. In addition to O’Brien, Marissa Haynes, associate director of student engagement, was a Caldwell chaperone.


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Caldwell Phi Kappa Phi collects hundreds of books for children in need

Caldwell Phi Kappa Phi Vice Presidents Katherine Llangari (left) and Alyssa Mol (far right) and Bridge of Books Foundation Volunteer Theresa Jahns.

Caldwell, N.J. – Caldwell University’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi organized a drive for the Bridge of Books Foundation to provide books for children in need in New Jersey. The chapter collected 430 books during the spring drive.

“We think that helping fellow New Jersey residents develop and improve their literacy skills benefits society as a whole,” says Katherine Llangari, a political science student and one of the vice presidents for Caldwell’s chapter.

>Bridge of Books Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, organization with the mission of providing an ongoing source of books to underserved children in New Jersey to support the development of literacy skills and to encourage a love of reading.

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Fulbright Scholarship Takes Art Therapy Coordinator to Taiwan


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


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.