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Caldwell Alums bring Cougars Spirit to Baltimore’s Finest

Carlos Sanchez  and Robert Arena

For Carlos Sanchez ’12 and Robert Arena ’12, the start of the workday might feel a little like old times. The former classmates—and teammates on the soccer field—now work together to fight crime on the streets of Baltimore.

If you had asked them in high school, it is doubtful either would have mentioned attending Caldwell. In fact, Carlos wasn’t sure he would even go to college. “I had always struggled in class. At the time, I was looking at other options, such as trade school.”

That’s when fate—and Caldwell’s recruiters—stepped in. “All I knew is that I wanted to play soccer in college, and that I wanted to be on my own,” Robert recalls. He met Coach Nash at one of the University’s recruitment events.

Carlos happened to wander by the Caldwell table at a Nutley High School college fair. “I struck up a conversation with the admissions counselor, applied, and was accepted on the spot! I don’t know who was more surprised: me, or my parents when I called them with the news.”

Robert joined the soccer program right away. The two met when Carlos joined a year later. Many of their best Caldwell memories revolve around their team. Spring break trips to Europe and Canada with their teammates were particularly memorable. And they still laugh about the Halloween when a few of the soccer players showed up for practice in a friend’s convertible, in full costume.

Robert enrolled at Caldwell thinking that he would pursue a career in teaching. He learned pretty quickly, however, that education was not for him. A teammate suggested he try an elective in criminal justice. He signed up for a class about crime families, and he was hooked.

Carlos had a different path in mind. A communications major with a criminal justice minor, his dream was to become a professional photographer—a combat photographer, preferably. After graduation, he worked for a major transit advertising company, taking photos for public transportation giants like New Jersey Transit and DeCamp Bus Lines.

Although Robert had envisioned joining a New Jersey-based police department after graduation, recession-era budget cuts translated into fewer opportunities for new graduates. He decided to branch out, learned that the city of Baltimore was investing in law enforcement, and joined the force there. When Carlos decided to pivot his career toward criminal justice, Robert encouraged him to apply in Baltimore as well. Within months, not only were they both on the Baltimore police force, they were assigned to the same squad.

Robert mentions how quickly they have advanced in their new careers, in such a short time, “I’ve been able to climb to a level that I never expected.”

But when asked about their achievements, both point to their Caldwell degree. “I didn’t think school was for me,” Robert says, about his early days in college. “I am proud that I was able to handle my studies, while also being a student athlete.”

For Carlos, earning a college degree holds a special place as well. “In high school, I was classified with learning disabilities.” College-level work was even more challenging. “I had to study harder than everyone else. But the Caldwell community supported me. Because of the people there—the teachers, the resources, and the culture—I learned to cope, to be patient, and to keep going.”

Robert echoes this sentiment. “Caldwell helped shaped me into a more confident and responsible man. When I was a tour ambassador for the college, people used to ask me all the time, if I had a chance to do it all over again would I make the same choice? And I would respond with a definite ‘yes’!”

Carlos and Robert are not part of a typical patrol team in Baltimore. They are a crime enforcement unit working to improve a community that is struggling. It is dangerous, but very important, work. In true Cougar fashion, they will persist until the job is done.

 

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

Coincidence or Destiny? For this Caldwell Graduate, Unexpected Turns Lead to a Career in Medicine

Bryan Broderick Caldwell University Graduate (2011) outside John Hopkins Hospital.

“When one door closes, another opens.” It’s an expression we often lean on for encouragement when things don’t turn out the way we hope. For Bryan Broderick, the sentiment carried something far more profound.

The truth is, Broderick didn’t really see Caldwell University in his future. His older brothers were already well-established at Caldwell by then, both on and off the soccer field. Broderick envisioned something different. He was, at the time, being recruited by Bucknell University for their soccer program, and he was pretty sure he was on the right path.

Until he wasn’t.

“The cost of attending Bucknell was way out of my family’s range. I wasn’t sure what to do. All I really knew was that I wanted to play soccer.”

As chance would have it, not only did the head soccer coaches at Bucknell and Caldwell know each other, they were brothers. It took only a few phone calls to land Broderick a spot as midfielder on the Caldwell Cougars, with enough scholarships to make his undergraduate education possible.

Choosing a major was another matter. Broderick drifted into the business program. “A good 75% of my teammates were business majors, so I figured that’s what I should do too. But you know how important the liberal arts are at Caldwell, and that was a good thing. Early on, I was introduced to a wide variety of subjects. In the spring semester of my freshman year, I took an anatomy and physiology course for non-biology majors. I just loved it. I couldn’t study enough for this course.”

Broderick’s anatomy and physiology professor quickly saw his potential. In addition to teaching this particular course, the professor was the university’s pre-med advisor as well. Still, he didn’t quite believe her when she first suggested he could have a career in medicine.

Before he knew it, Caldwell was helping to arrange introductions to faculty at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) and the Northeast Regional Alliance (NERA). He enrolled in NERA’s MedPrep Program, a three-year summer enrichment program for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students interested in the medical professions.

Broderick graduated magna cum laude from Caldwell in 2011, with a B.A. in biology. The honors he earned along the way reflect his love of both the sciences and soccer. In 2010 he received the Frederick W. Neumann II Award for meritorious work in the sciences. His project, “Analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was awarded credit “with distinction.” For four years running, Broderick earned Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference All-Academic Team honors as well as the Division II Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Award.

His years at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School were equally distinguished. He was a four-year recipient of the Riverview Medical Center Lester Simon, M.D. Scholarship, and in 2017 he earned the NJMS Dr. Harold J. Jeghers Future Internist Award, which honors a fourth-year student for academic excellence, skill, dedication, and interest in the pursuit of the field of internal medicine.

Broderick graduated with his M.D. in 2017. His career quickly skyrocketed when was accepted into the residency program at Johns Hopkins. “I couldn’t believe it. The program is so competitive. I’m thrilled to be part of such a well-respected institution.”

Broderick is grateful for the support he has received over the years from mentors, scholarship programs and—of course—his family. He has spent plenty of time,  “paying it forward,” volunteering to provide food, clothing, and holiday gifts for needy families in Monmouth County; organizing Caldwell University’s Midnight Run to deliver food, blankets and other items to people living on the street in New York City; and working at the Student Family Health Care Center in Newark, a student-run free clinic for the uninsured. These days, he is mentoring other hopeful future doctors.

By choosing internal medicine as his focus, Broderick will be able choose from a wide range of sub-specialties. “I’m liking cardiology and pulmonary critical care,” he notes. There’s a good chance that whatever door opens for him now will be the right one.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Elaine Tweedus ’66: A Gift in Memory of “Aunt Mary” to Create a New Chapel

Elaine TweedusWhen Elaine Tweedus graduated from Caldwell College for Women in 1966, a new VW Bug was going for around $1,500, the Beatles had four top Billboard singles and Time magazine’s Man of the Year was awarded to the generation 25 and under. The hippie movement was beginning to take hold, and there were massive protests against the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights and women’s rights. It was a time of new opportunities, a time when education gave women the chance to become trailblazers. Tweedus, a French major, and her classmates graduated and ventured out into a world that offered them not just jobs but careers and a newfound sense of freedom that fueled their dreams. Tweedus says that when she read “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan, a light went on.

Looking back on her journey more than fifty years later, Tweedus says she is grateful for the ways in which her Caldwell education shaped her life. Her appreciation and desire to give back inspired a transformational gift of $500,000 to Caldwell to build a new chapel in the Newman Center in memory of her Aunt Mary, a Sister of Saint Dominic of Caldwell.

A product of 16 years of Dominican education, Tweedus says she is blessed to have been taught by excellent, nurturing faculty at Caldwell and to have been guided by Dominican values throughout her life. In light of her career and personal success, she is emphatic in her belief that “Education is one of the best investments anyone can make.”

As a new graduate, Tweedus was hired by Prudential for a position in legal research. Her work ethic and discipline earned her high marks with her supervisors; she rose through the management ranks and eventually became director and corporate officer, the position from which she retired in 2015. She says it was rewarding to witness how her work benefited the company while educating consumers about the importance of making sound financial choices.

Earlier this year Tweedus and her husband, Ed Lonyai, pledged a gift designated for the new campus chapel, which will be named in memory of Elaine’s aunt, Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus, who devoted her life to the Dominican community, serving it for 67 years. Tweedus and Lonyai envision the new chapel as a sacred space for meditation that encourages prayer and reflection—a place where students and the rest of the campus community can find respite from the pressures of daily life. Their investment will enhance the student experience at Caldwell for generations to come.

Tweedus recalls the year or so when her aunt lived at the Motherhouse on campus. “Aunt Mary was my father’s sister. On Sunday afternoons my father would drive my mother, my brothers and me to Caldwell to visit with Aunt Mary. I remember my brothers and I playing tag on the lawn of the Motherhouse. It seems like I had a connection to Caldwell long before I began my college days there,” says Tweedus. She believes her aunt will “be looking down on and offering (the students) insight and advice, as she did for me.”

As one driven to make a difference, Tweedus is active in her community. She spent a number of years volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America. Since her retirement, she has become involved with the Woodbridge River Watch, the Historical Association of Woodbridge Township and the Barron Arts Center in Woodbridge. She is a certified advocate for the New Jersey Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and works with veterans to help them better understand complex veterans’ benefits. She is an antiques enthusiast, a collector of Chinese porcelain and a world traveler. Now that she has more time for herself, Tweedus is pursuing her love of writing and her lifelong dream of becoming a novelist; she is working on a mystery novel.

Tweedus and Lonyai look forward to the day when the new chapel will open and they can celebrate their memories of Sister Mary Dominic Tweedus in a place named for her in perpetuity.

—Christina Hall

Alumni News, Featured News, News

New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress of CU’s Art Department

New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department
New Mueller Gallery Celebrates Foundress Of CU’s Art Department

Joy spilled out of the packed gallery into the hallway as Caldwell University unveiled the “Mueller Gallery” signage at the Homecoming festivities Saturday, Sept. 24. Alumni, students, faculty, staff and administration were honored and thrilled to be celebrating with Sister Gerardine Mueller, O.P., as the art gallery was named after her.

Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D., OPA, assisted Sister Gerardine with cutting the red ribbon to signal the official opening of the gallery.

Sister Gerardine, the foundress of the university’s Art Department, was grateful and surprised at the large turnout of former students and Homecoming attendees. “It was unexpected that they would respond to the gallery naming as they did. It was just beautiful,” she said.

A sister, a teacher, a mentor, an artist and a professor emerita, Mueller is an iconic presence on Caldwell’s campus and is remembered by her students for the lessons and inspiration she shared with them.

At 96 years old, she has a lifetime of artistic works encompassing different mediums including sculpture, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, woodcarvings and clay.

Alumna Agnes Dembia ’69 was happy to attend the dedication and “see such a glorious acknowledgment of Sister Gerardine and her many contributions to Caldwell University”. Dembia recalled how when she was in the third or fourth grade she saw a color photo spread of Sister Gerardine’s illuminated manuscripts in The Daily News. “Immediately I knew that I wanted her to be my teacher one day and promised myself that it would happen! In my senior year at Caldwell, I took her class in calligraphy and illumination and loved it. I went on to earn a master’s degree in art education. To this day I still enjoy the practice of calligraphy”.

Alumna Elaine Weiss Yonke ’69 was proud to attend the dedication. “Her art is everywhere you look around the campus, yet she remains so humble. I know she is grateful for this special honor, and it was so good to be there and see her smile. She has always inspired me to do my best, to be open to new ideas and to keep going despite setbacks. She taught me to always be true to myself”.

The new gallery is located in the Student Center and will provide a beautiful space for displaying student works and holding special exhibitions.

Sister Gerardine said the gallery naming was recognition of the work done on behalf of the Sisters of St. Dominic congregation at the university. “The gallery leaves a physical, lasting mark of the sisters’ work—of the sisters’ presence—and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have worked in that area of the university.”

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Maureen Lynch ’67: Making a Difference for Generations of Kids

Dr. Maureen Lynch and Dr. Elaine Farrell

Dr. Maureen Lynch (right) in Haiti with her good friend Dr. Elaine Farrell.  The two trained together at Boston Children’s Hospital

Once, when Cambridge, Massachusetts pediatrician Maureen Lynch was on rounds in medical school, her group came upon a patient who had been admitted because she fainted every time she went to the hairdresser. The rather overbearing instructor asked each person in the group, “What is it?” She returned at the end to Lynch, who had diagnosed a colloid cyst of the third ventricle. “How did you know that?” asked the instructor, to which Lynch replied, “I saw it on ‘Marcus Welby.’”

Lynch’s mantra: “It doesn’t matter where you learn something as long as you remember it.” This says a great deal about Lynch: her insatiable interest in diagnosis and absolute disregard of status and image.

When Lynch was 10 years old, her mother contracted Eastern equine encephalitis and lapsed into a coma. Because she and her sister took alternate weeks off from school to care for their mother, Lynch had a great deal of contact with physicians. During that time her self-described “feeling of helplessness” became a desire to practice medicine.

At Caldwell, she was a leading biology student. Her fierce determination, coupled with her intelligence and drive, earned Lynch the distinction of class valedictorian.

The week before her sister’s wedding, just as Lynch was about to enter medical school, her father died of a heart attack, leaving her with the sole responsibility of caring for her invalid mother. Lynch worked as a pharmacological researcher for four years and earned a master’s degree at New York University. She then entered the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, receiving her delayed M.D. in 1975, and completed her internship and residency at Boston Children’s Hospital, earning a fellowship in adolescent medicine. Lynch then joined the Harvard University Group Health Plan, caring for children and serving as the pediatric department’s head for more than 33 years.

Earlier this year, when the plan outsourced pediatrics, Lynch continued as its medical director, and she still works at Children’s Hospital, serving as assistant in gynecology and assistant clinical professor since 1979. In this role she provides clinical care to infant and adolescent girls made vulnerable by developmental and/or physical disabilities.

Asked what has changed the most in her years of pediatric practice, Lynch replies, “The kids are the same; kids are great!” One of the challenges, she says, has been the impact of the internet and parents’ access to a surfeit of information. Many who research online sources think they have diagnosed their child’s problem and/or discovered a solution. Lynch asks them to describe their worst fear and then dispels it with dispatch. She says she views her job as ruling out potential problems so parents can sleep. “Let me worry until it’s time to worry,” is her regular, gently spoken admonition to parents.

Lynch says she has been “blessed with a good education and a wonderful profession.” In her desire to give back, for 14 consecutive years she has traveled to Haiti with a team of doctors working under the umbrella of the Haiti Mission of the United Methodist Church.

In her scarce leisure time she is a “sucker for rom-coms, particularly those from Nora Ephron,” and enjoys spending time in London and on Cape Cod with her husband, Roger Stacey.

“Maureen has a reputation for being quite outspoken, especially about things she really cares about,” he says. “The maddening thing is that she is almost always right.” Her sage advice for Caldwell students: “Try to do the right things and fight for what you believe in.” And in terms of choosing a career: “Know your passion and follow your heart.”

“I know I make a difference,” she says, adding, “As I come to the end of a successful career, I am now in a position to motivate young people. I couldn’t have asked for a better ride in this life.”

—Christina Hall,
with thanks to Roger Stacey

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Women’s Basketball Alum Danielle Ciresi Murphy ’91 Elected to CACC Hall of Fame

Danielle Ciresi Inductee in Women's Basketball CACC Hall of Fame

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- Caldwell University women’s basketball alum Danielle Ciresi Murphy ’91 was elected into the third class of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame as announced by the conference office today.

The CACC Hall of Fame was established in 2015 to honor the legendary individuals and teams in league history. Members of the hall of fame are voted on by a committee comprised of administrators throughout the CACC. Ciresi Murphy will be honored at an on campus event at a later date during the basketball season.

Ciresi Murphy re-wrote the Caldwell record books during her outstanding career for the Cougars. During her senior season, Murphy broke the existing school scoring record and surpassed 2,000 career points in the same game with her former teammate and record holder in the Student Center seats. She went on to score 2,491 points, which at the time ranked her fourth all-time among college women’s basketball players in New Jersey.

Ciresi Murphy led all New Jersey college players in scoring her junior and senior seasons. As a senior, she was named the CACC co-Most Valuable Player and received All-American honorable mention honors. Her scoring average of 31.7 points per game as a senior led the nation and was fifth all-time in NAIA scoring history.

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Radio host alum interviews Bob Mann on morning drive show

Alum Joe Catenacci, host of the radio morning drive show The Big Talker .

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.

Alumni News, Featured News, News, Nursing News

Nursing alumna reportedly helps save a life on airplane

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

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

To read about Courtney’s story go to:

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

To watch CBS 2’s story, go to:

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

Alumni News, Featured News, News

Alumna Tanya Freeman Honored as Family Lawyer of the Year

Caldwell University Alumna Tanya Freeman Headshot Caldwell, N.J., May 10, 2017– Caldwell University alumna Tanya Freeman, a partner at Weiner Law Group in Parsippany, New Jersey, was honored as Family Lawyer of the Year by the Hudson County Bar Association on April 18 at Liberty House.

Freeman, who has represented professional athletes, television personalities and other high-profile celebrities, fondly remembers her days studying political science at Caldwell. She returned to school as a mother with six children and as a full-time employee at Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. “I really invented myself in my late 30s, and it started at Caldwell. It was so good for my kids to see that Mommy went back.” She still proudly hangs in her office the plaque she received for earning the highest grade point average in the Political Science Department.

Before entering the legal world, Freeman led audit teams for over a decade. She was licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey in 2012 after graduating cum laude from Touro Law Center. In 2014, Gov. Chris Christie appointed Freeman to the board of directors of University Hospital in Newark, where she chairs the Governance, Ethics and Legal committee. The Thomson Reuters list of New Jersey Super Lawyers named her a “rising star” for two consecutive years. She was also elected to the board of trustees of the Hudson County Bar Association in 2016.

Freeman recalls how she was inspired to start studying at Caldwell. While working for Blue Cross Blue Shield, she was staffing a career fair booth in Caldwell’s cafeteria and decided to look into enrolling. She was 60 credits shy of her undergraduate degree. Soon she was attending classes and was on her way to gaining her bachelor’s degree. “I’m still friends with my Caldwell classmates,” she says.

As a divorce lawyer, she tells her clients her story so they know that that no matter what their age or state in life there is great hope and that they too can take the steps to reinvent themselves.

 

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

Alumna, physical therapist encourages STEM exploration

Caldwell University alumna Monique PinerosCredits 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.”