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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.

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Monasseri, Ponto Earn CoSIDA Academic All-American Honors

AUSTIN, Texas- Caldwell University softball junior Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J.) along with senior Sydney Ponto (West Deptford, N.J) received College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American honors as announced by the organization on Wednesday. Monasseri was selected to the Academic All-American Second Team, while Ponto was an Academic All-American Third Team honoree.

Monasseri has a 3.49 GPA as a business administration major and earns her first CoSIDA Academic All-American honor. She completed another outstanding season for the Cougars as she was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Year and was a First Team All-Conference selection for the second straight season. Monasseri was a D2 Conference Commissioner’s Association and National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region First Team selection at catcher. She was also named as an Eastern College Athletic Conference First Team All-Star. Monasseri was also named as a NFCA Division II Player of the Year Top-10 Finalist. She finished the season with a .503 this season with 11 homeruns, 11 doubles, 78 hits, with an on base percentage of .624. Monasseri posted a .787 slugging percentage and led the team with 67 RBI. She led the CACC in on base percentage, slugging, average, homeruns, RBI and walks. Monasseri was tied for second in the conference in hits, fifth in runs scored and tied for 11th in doubles. In the nation, she led Division II in walks and was ranked third in average, sixth in RBI, 20th in slugging and sixth in walks.

Ponto posted a 3.73 GPA as a Spanish/Education major and this is her first CoSIDA Academic All-American selection. She completed a historic season for the Cougars as she was named the CACC Pitcher of the Year and was a CACC First Team All-Conference selection. Ponto also earned D2CCA East Region Pitcher of the Year as well as ECAC D2 Pitcher of the Year honors. She also selected to the D2CCA and NFCA East Region First Team and was a ECAC First Team All-Star. Ponto set the program single season record with 30 wins in the circle this season. She led the conference in wins, strikeouts (269), complete games (23) and innings pitched (226.0). Ponto went 4-0 in the CACC Championship Tournament, earning Tournament MVP honors. She ended her career second all-time in school history with 75 wins.

The Cougars finished their season with a 45-15 mark, tying the single season program record for wins (2004, 2013, 2014). Caldwell won the CACC regular season title with a 25-1 mark and went 4-0 in the CACC Tournament for their seventh conference championship. The Cougars were selected as the #3 seed in the NCAA Division II Championship, earning a postseason bid for the tenth consecutive season.

 

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Monasseri, Ponto Named to D2CCA and NFCA All-American Teams

ROLLA, Mo.- Caldwell University softball junior Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J.) and senior Sydney Ponto (West Deptford, N.J) were selected to the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Teams as released by both organizations. Monasseri earned First Team Honors, while Ponto garnered Third Team honors. Monasseri was also selected by the NFCA as the Diamond Catcher of the Year.

Monasseri earns her second All-American honors as she was a Second Team All-American selection by both organizations in 2016. She was recently named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-American Second Team. Monasseri completed another outstanding season for the Cougars as she was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Player of the Year and was a First Team All-Conference selection for the second straight season. She was a D2CCA and NFCA All-Region First Team selection at catcher. Monasseri was also named as an Eastern College Athletic Conference First Team All-Star. She was named as a NFCA Division II Player of the Year Top-10 Finalist earlier this month. Monasseri finished the season with a .503 this season with 11 homeruns, 11 doubles, 78 hits, with an on base percentage of .624. She posted a .787 slugging percentage and led the team with 67 RBI. Monasseri led the CACC in on base percentage, slugging, average, homeruns, RBI and walks. She was tied for second in the conference in hits, fifth in runs scored and tied for 11th in doubles. In the nation, she led Division II in walks and was ranked third in average, sixth in RBI, 20th in slugging and sixth in walks.

Ponto earns her first All-American honors with her Third Team selection by both the D2CCA and NFCA She was recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-American Third after completing a record setting year in her final collegiate season with the Cougars. Ponto was named the CACC Pitcher of the Year and was a CACC First Team All-Conference selection. She also earned D2CCA East Region Pitcher of the Year as well as ECAC D2 Pitcher of the Year honors. Ponto was also selected to the D2CCA and NFCA East Region First Team and was an ECAC First Team All-Star. She set the program single season record with 30 wins in the circle this season. Ponto led the conference in wins, strikeouts (269), complete games (23) and innings pitched (226.0). She went 4-0 in the CACC Championship Tournament, earning Tournament MVP honors. Ponto ended her career second all-time in school history with 75 wins.

The Cougars finished their season with a 45-15 mark, tying the single season program record for wins (2004, 2013, 2014). Caldwell won the CACC regular season title with a 25-1 mark and went 4-0 in the CACC Tournament for their seventh conference championship. The Cougars were selected as the #3 seed in the NCAA Division II Championship, earning a postseason bid for the tenth consecutive season.

 

Alumni News, Featured News, News, Nursing News

Nursing alumna reportedly helps save a life on airplane

Caldwell 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/

Featured News, News

Recycled commencement academic attire featured in news outlets

News outlets including NJTVNews, News 12 New Jersey and NJ. Com reported on Caldwell University’s 100 percent recycled caps, gowns and tassels worn by undergraduate and graduate students at the May 21 ceremonies.  Sister Kathleen Tuite, vice president of student life explained that the fabric in the attire was spun from molten plastic pellets that come from plastic bottles. “With each gown taking about 23 bottles to make, and more than 300 graduates (present at both ceremonies), that’s 7000 bottles that have been used for this purpose,” she said.   “This sustainable switch is a tangible reflection of Caldwell University’s mission and vision that states ‘our graduates will respect the sacredness of creation.’ Making this choice to utilize these new green gowns fall right in line with the respect and reverence of creation.”

Following both ceremonies, there were collection bins in the bookstore and outside the CARES Center for students who chose to upcycle their gowns.

To watch the NJTVNews coverage go in 5:35 on this link.

NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams

For News 12 New Jersey go to:

https://www.facebook.com/dellacrews/videos/1577405642272496/

To see NJ.Com’s story go to:

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2017/05/caldwell_universitys_75th_commencement_is_largest.htm

Featured News, Natural and Physical Sciences News, News

Koumudi Thirunagaru – The dream of attending medical school becomes a reality

Koumudi Thirunagaru started thinking about becoming a doctor at a young age. She volunteered at Stanford Children’s Hospital near her home in San Ramon, California, and she took AP biology at Homestead High School and found the subject constantly stimulating.

Caldwell has been her home away from home. She began college at Caldwell as a biology major. “I became involved in everything that had to do with the medical field my first year including being an officer for the Health Professions Club.” The idea of pursuing a career in medicine “turned from a fantasized” dream to a realistic goal.” During the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, she went on a medical mission to Nicaragua, an eye-opening experience that spurred her to pursue a minor in Spanish.

Thirunagaru will be taking a step closer to her goal of becoming a doctor when she begins her studies at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., in the fall. The faculty at Caldwell have helped her in the process. “I received a lot of guidance from Dr. William Velhagen. The professors are easily approachable. They are not just teachers but also mentors—inside and outside the classroom.”

She received her bachelor’s in biology with minors in chemistry and Spanish at graduation on May 21. She excelled during her undergraduate years, receiving departmental honors in the Department of Natural and Physical Sciences and being involved in a number of activities including holding leadership positions in the Health Professions Club, playing tennis all four years, tutoring in the Academic Success Center and working as a scribe at a hospital in Newark. She appreciated being given opportunities for community service ranging from planning the annual Halloween-for-hunger drive to attending Midnight Runs for the homeless in New York City and volunteering at the annual Caldwell Day.

Thirunagaru finished her coursework last December and taught grammar school children math and English at an after-school center and privately tutored in art. Her artwork appeared in this year’s edition of Calyx, a Caldwell student journal of literature and art. Caldwell has been her home away from home, especially since her family lives on the West Coast. The university’s cohesiveness makes it special for her. “It’s a circle, a family.” Thirunagaru advises incoming students to get involved quickly. “Students make the school. Take advantage of what you have, and never lose sight of your dreams, regardless of the daily battles.”

Featured News, News

Caldwell University celebrates 75th annual commencement with largest number of graduates ever

 

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Caldwell, N.J., May 21, 2017– Caldwell University held its 75th annual commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 21 with 482 graduates, the largest in the institution’s history.

The undergraduate commencement speaker was Shyam Sharma, president of the Student Government Association.   Sharma, of Lodi, New Jersey reminded the students  of Caldwell’s core values of  respect, integrity, community, excellence and the responsibility they have in upholding those values, “going forward: embrace the diversity of everyone you meet, and take care to notice what makes them special.” Sharma received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with minors in marketing, pre-law and political science.

Matthew J. Block, director of human resources for the Summit public schools, was the commencement speaker for the graduate ceremony.  He received his Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership. He pointed out that in a time of blurred lines, fake news, and alternative facts, it is important to analyze data, conduct deep research, and use the lessons learned in graduate school to change the world for the better.  “Through our experiences here at Caldwell University each of us has been given a metaphorical mirror with which to reflect light into dark places.  We have been given the tools to be a positive force where there is negativity, and to provide clarity where there is ambiguity.”

President Nancy Blattner said the day is one of great joy and pride for all of the parents, family members and friends who have supported the students over the years.  “And it is a day of celebration for the faculty, staff and administration of Caldwell as we send forth our 75th class of graduates to make a positive impact upon our world.”

The university presented an honorary degree to Olive Woodye, an outstanding educator from Belize, a country where Caldwell University students, faculty and staff have served on volunteer mission trips. Woodye was honored for her service to children, education and her community. She was the first principal of St. Benedict Primary School, a model Roman Catholic school in Punta Gorda in the Toledo district of Belize. Miss Olive said she accepted the honorary degree with gratitude and pride. “This degree is very significant and special to me. I accept it in the name of all the children I taught during the 44 years of my teaching career, and of course, the class of 2017 without whom this would not have been possible.”

Undergraduate and graduate students wore academic attire made from 100 percent-recycled plastic bottles. The company the university chose, Greenweaver, reports that an average of 23 plastic bottles are used to produce each cap and gown.

Dr. Blattner  presented doctoral students with their Ph.D.’s and Ed.D.’s, graduate students with their Master of Arts, Master of Business Administration or Master of Science degrees and undergraduates with their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees.

The first two graduates from the educational leadership doctoral program received their degrees. They were Block and Lauren Banker, an elementary school principal with the Summit public schools.

The 50th reunion class participated in the undergraduate ceremony.

Stephen Maret, Ph.D., professor of psychology and counseling was the grand marshall for the undergraduate ceremony.

John R. McIntyre, Ed.D., professor emeritus, Education Division, was the grand marshall for the graduate ceremony.

About Caldwell University

Caldwell University is a private, Catholic coed four-year university with a strong liberal arts core curriculum that enhances critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Caldwell offers 30 undergraduate and 30 graduate programs, including doctoral, master’s, certificate and certification programs, as well as online and distance learning options that prepare students for today’s global marketplace. The university has 15 NCAA Division II athletic teams and numerous clubs, fraternities, sororities, and activities. It is located on a beautiful 70-acre campus in suburban Caldwell, New Jersey. Caldwell was founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell. Its core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence influence academic and campus life. For more information about Caldwell University, visit www.caldwell.edu.

Follow the university on Twitter @CaldwellUniv, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/caldwelluniversity, and  on Instagram at www.instagram.com/caldwelluniversity

To see NJ.Com’s story and photos go to:

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2017/05/caldwell_universitys_75th_commencement_is_largest.html

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Amy Hickman Receives Trustee Recognition Award

Amy Hickman has enjoyed showing new students the ropes. “I liked helping future generations of Caldwell students,” says Hickman who received her bachelor’s in biology on May 21.  In her four years at Caldwell, she has had the opportunity to interact with many students—as a member of the women’s softball team, a resident assistant, a student worker in the Admissions Office and an orientation leader.

She has taken advantage of opportunities Caldwell has presented, going through the RCIA process to receive the sacrament of confirmation, serving in an impoverished village in Belize— “opened my eyes up tremendously; the people I went with are good friends ”—and making a Midnight Run to serve the homeless in New York City.    She is a two-time All-CACC Player and was an Academic All-District selection as a junior. In her sophomore and senior years, Caldwell won the CACC Championship.  She collected her 200th hit of her career during her senior year.

Hickman’s contributions have been noticed—so much so that at the honors convocation she received the Board of Trustee Recognition Award, a prestigious award given to a member of the senior class who has developed his or her giftedness while a student and has shared those gifts generously and who shows potential to communicate Caldwell’s mission and core values to others.

The Jackson, New Jersey, native is planning to go to graduate school to study to be a physical therapist. “I always knew I had a passion for helping people. People are always attracted to me for help with their injuries.” She says this is “a gift, a sign,” that physical therapy is the direction to take.

She has formed strong relationships with the professional staff and faculty at Caldwell—including science professors Dr. Agnes Berki and Dr. Angela Scimone, her softball coach Dean Johnson, Tim Kessler-Cleary, Meghan Moran and the admissions staff—and is grateful to them. “I love learning from professionals. They have helped me form who I am.”

In return she has made a point of sharing that goodness. “I like to make an imprint on other people. I feel like that was my main goal here.”

Featured News, News

Oral History SisterStory Project Highlights Caldwell Dominicans

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Caldwell University held a celebration of its SisterStory project on May 10. For the second year in a row, Caldwell took part in the national oral history project, an initiative of National Catholic Sisters Week and St. Catherine’s University. Sponsored by the Hilton Foundation, the project aims to broaden the awareness of Catholic Sisters and the contributions they have made to American life.

The students were paired up with the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, the founding order of the university.  They met with the Sisters, interviewed them and produced blogs, videos and powerpoint presentations.  The videos and transcriptions will become part of a national archive being created by the project.

The Sisters and students were paired as follows:

Sr. Mary Joseph Bircsak/Michelle Eng

Sr. Joan Doyle/ Kathryn Reilly

Sr. Mary John Kearney/ Christina Campos

Sr. Catherine Gerard Kirchner/ Sarah Torres

Sr. Pat Mahoney/ Juan Garcia

Sr. Honora Werner/ Sean Puzzo

Sr. Lois Kikkert/ Jonathan Diaz

The project provided students with a chance to learn about women religious and about the founding order of Caldwell University.  Biology student Michelle Eng wrote how she was fortunate enough to be paired up with Sister Mary Joseph Bircsak, O.P. “When we first met, she had a warm and genuine atmosphere. At the same time, she was very put together and smart. I thought it would be fitting if we were paired together because we were both biology majors. I would learn so much from her. Lucky for me, this became a reality.”

Christina Campos, a junior, was happy to be teamed up with Sister Mary John Kearney, O.P. “In the little time that we have known one another so far she has shown much character and warmth in her personality that I look forward to building and furthering our newfound friendship.”

History Professor Marie Mullaney, Ph.D. supervised the academic portion of the oral history project.  Communication and Media Studies Professor Rachel Carey taught the students technical skills to produce the videos and Campus Ministry staff member Abby Cimorelli managed the logistics.