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Michelle Eng ‘18: I have grown to be a leader

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The aptitude tests at East Brunswick High School started Michelle Eng thinking about occupational therapy as a field. She shadowed occupational therapists during summers and saw how happy the patients were and how welcoming the therapists were to the clients.

Upon entering college, Eng was not sure if she should major in psychology or biology. After taking her first biology class with Dr. William Velhagen, chair of the Natural and Physical Sciences Department, she felt motivated to keep going. “I’ve never felt so much support, except from my family, as I have with the faculty (here),” she says, reciting the names of the science department professors. “I’m thankful to the faculty for all they have given me.”

Eng graduated from Caldwell University May 20, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in biology in just three years since she entered Caldwell with AP credits and worked hard. Besides her academics, she has learned about herself during her college career—about who she wants to become. “I’ve grown to be a leader.” And the Caldwell community endorsed that status when at honors convocation she received the Excellence in Leadership Award and departmental honors in the Natural and Physical Sciences Department.   She served as president of the Circle K Club, as vice president of the Health Professions and Earth clubs and as secretary for the Anime club. Eng also worked as a lab assistant and in campus safety at the desk in Rosary Hall.

“I’ve learned to stand up for myself more, to be more ambitious. I have had many firsts here.” That includes applying for her first scholarship, with the help of Dr. Agnes Berki, associate professor of biology. That award was the Independent College Fund of New Jersey’s Becton Dickinson Scholarship for Students Pursing Careers in Health Care. “It was my first outside of a school scholarship.” Other scholarships followed. “It empowered me to go for any opportunity available so that I can truly see how far I can go.”

Eng cherishes the friendships she has made at Caldwell including her international student friends. “So many people from so many places,” she says. “It is hard to leave because I have built such a place here.” Yet she is looking forward to the next great adventure in life—excited to be attending graduate school in the fall to work on her master’s in occupational therapy.   “Because of Caldwell University, I have a future in occupational therapy that I have been looking forward to for three years.”

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Natalie Pedri: ‘I would choose Caldwell over again 1,000 times’

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Cancer survivor receives Nursing degree at Caldwell University 

Therapeutic skills she learned in class saved her life  

Caldwell, N.J., May 20, 2018 – When Natalie Pedri walked across the finish line to receive her nursing degree May 20 at Caldwell University, she was excited to be taking the next step in her journey to become a  nurse. As a new graduate she carried with her insights that most nursing graduates don’t learn even after years in the field.

Her time spent in Memorial Sloan Kettering as a patient with stage-four Wilms tumor, a pediatric cancer, taught Pedri the kind of nurse she wants to be. “I learned about nursing from the other side of the bed.”

The therapeutic skills she learned in class at Caldwell saved her life. Right before the start of her senior year, Pedri found a hard mass on her right side after doing a self-assessment, a technique she learned as a student. “With my nursing knowledge, I knew it didn’t feel right.” She was blessed to be able to connect immediately with her nursing professors, especially Dr. Kathleen Kelley, assistant director of Caldwell’s School of Nursing and Public Health, who had gone through breast cancer, which she acquired after having served as a 9/11 nurse.

With surgery and treatments, Pedri spent an entire year out of school. Her recovery was painful, but she was grateful to members of the Caldwell community, who had their “arms way open” to help.

When Pedri was worried about school and losing her hair, Kelley assured her that the university would be there for her and that every hair that fell out meant the chemo was working and was killing the cancer cells. “During the most difficult time, I was in touch with professors every day.” She learned “what the book doesn’t teach” about how to be with patients. Pedri continued her studies as much as she could by skyping into classes, listening to recorded lectures and keeping up with all her readings.

A member of the bowling team, Pedri was most appreciative to Coach Ken Yokobosky and her teammates for their support and for the fundraiser they held, which provided over $5,000 to help her with her medical expenses. The skills she learned as a student-athlete will most certainly be applied to nursing. “In my career, I will have to work in a team with therapists and other nurses.”

Pedri has set her sights on becoming a pediatric oncology nurse. Since Wilms tumor normally affects children under five years old, her eyes were opened to the needs of little ones.” I remember just looking around in the waiting room and seeing how many innocent children were affected by cancer.” Nurses, she said, are the “ones who advocate for you, are by your side 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” Last fall she spoke at the  New York Stock Exchange about her journey with cancer, providing hope for others at “Shave 4 a Cure” to benefit the Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Pedri received the Positivity and Perseverance Award in nursing at the School of Nursing and Public Health Convocation and Pinning May 18.

Though having cancer was difficult, Pedri is thankful for her journey and says she would not have wanted it any other way. “I can use my experience as a learning experience for others.” She learned much about herself, about nursing and about appreciating the gifts in life. “I would choose Caldwell over again 1,000 times if I had to.”

Watch the News 12 New Jersey story on Natalie Pedri here!

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Caldwell University celebrates 76th annual commencement with record-breaking number of graduates

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Students are encouraged to be “amazing”

Caldwell, N.J., May 20, 2018 – Caldwell University celebrated its 76th annual commencement May 20 with a record-breaking number of graduates. The university  awarded 502 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees.

Danielle Hamblin of White Township, New Jersey, delivered the student address at the graduate commencement ceremony encouraging her fellow graduates to “be amazing.” Drawing on the words of a motivational speaker she once heard, she gave the graduates three simple points they need to be successful in life’s journey and to be “the greatest husband, wife, mother, father, boss, employee ever.”

“Number one, wake up; number two, be amazing; number three, go to bed,”  she said. It is obvious how to fulfill numbers one and three, said Hamblin, but number two is personal. “It is up to each individual to define what being amazing is. Can you imagine if we all did?”

Hamblin received a doctoral degree in educational leadership with a special education concentration. Reflecting on her experience in the doctoral program with students in the cohort, she said, “Caldwell provided us with mental challenges but not without the support of collegial partnership. I felt amazing when I knew I had contributed in meaningful ways to helping others on this journey.” Hamblin teaches as an adjunct on the college level and is director of special services for the Sparta public schools.

Dennis Brady of West Orange, New Jersey delivered the student address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. “The close-knit family that we have grown into over these four years was something that none of us could have anticipated. Those bonds we will cherish forever—the sporting events we attended, the community service trips we went on, it all happened here on 120 Bloomfield Avenue,” said Brady. “We are now sent out to find our way in this world with the knowledge, and more importantly, the values of Caldwell that are instilled in us from the day we walked onto the campus.” He encouraged the graduates never to stray too far away from their Caldwell family. “As a respected doctor and philosopher, Dr. Seuss, once said, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened,’” said Brady.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Media Studies with a minor in business administration.

President Nancy H. Blattner, Ph.D., 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.

Blattner asked the students to stay connected to their alma mater. “Return to this campus that has been your home for the past few years, and carry with you our core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence into your communities and workplaces.”

Graduates wore 100% recycled caps, gowns and tassles. 

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Caldwell Alums bring Cougars Spirit to Baltimore’s Finest

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.

 

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Celebrating the life of Sister Vivien Jennings, former president of Caldwell

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Caldwell University Faculty and students on tour with sister Vivien.
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Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P., former president of Caldwell College, passed away on May 5. She served as president of the college from 1984 to 1994.

Sister Vivien’s leadership paved the way for many historic firsts at the college. She was president when the decision was made in 1985 to transition from an all-women’s institution to a coeducational college. She expanded intercollegiate athletics, was the first director of the Educational Opportunity Fund, a professor in the English Department, a director of continuing education and started the Fanjeaux study-abroad experience, which allows members of the campus community to learn in depth about the Catholic Dominican tradition.

Her former colleagues reflected on her accomplishments, from building strong academic programs to improving infrastructure, but most important how she modeled working hard and taking risks while remaining humble and caring about the well-being of employees. “She had a way of making everyone feel important and validated, signs of a great leader,” said Sheila O’Rourke, vice president for institutional effectiveness, who first worked with Sister Vivien starting in 1991. “She was a visionary who seemed to foresee the changing landscape in higher education we are dealing with now.”

Dr. Marie Mullaney, professor of history, remembers how Sister Vivien would say, “’In higher education, to stand still is to regress, to go backwards.’  This was an especially important approach that guided the college decision to become co-educational.”

Caldwell University President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D. said that Sister Vivien’s decision to transition Caldwell to co-education “was understandably controversial at the time,” but “positively changed the institution in terms of our student body, the degrees we offered, and our place in the field of higher education in New Jersey.”

Sister Mary Joseph, O.P., was a member of the executive administration and the board of trustees when Sister Vivien was president and the decision was made to accept male students. “It was really very visionary.” Sister Vivien was very good at connecting people, even outside the college. “A gift of hers was putting the right people together,” said Sister Mary Joseph. She always saw the needs of those she worked with and recognized their talents. “She could see things in people they could not see in themselves. She was a quiet, moving individual who had extraordinary results.”

One of those results was Caldwell’s rising enrollment. By the time Sister Vivien left the presidency in 1994, enrollment had grown from 400 to nearly 1,000.

One reason for the increase was the support she provided in expanding intercollegiate athletics. Former chaplain Father Bob Stagg recruited Mark Corino, and Sister Vivien hired him to coach the men’s basketball team and to build the athletics program. She trusted that Corino’s vision was equal to that of the institution. “She and Sister Patrice Werner played great roles in allowing athletics to be a part of the college’s vision,” said Corino, assistant vice president and director of athletics. “Sister Vivien had outstanding leadership qualities and understood the value of athletics.”

Sister Michel Rodgers, O.P., recalled how early on when one of the teams won a championship and the Athletics Department did not know how it could afford travel for the team members,   Sister Vivien said, “I will find the money and they will go.” Dean Johnson, associate director of athletics, was hired by Sister Vivien in 1990. “She is one of the big reasons we are as successful as we are today, with our growth in enrollment, added athletic teams and improved facilities.” The naming of the Jennings Library was appropriate too, he said, since “she was a scholar and very focused on the academic reputation of Caldwell University.”

Sister Michel worked at the college in several positions including sociology professor, residence life director, assistant academic dean, and vice president of student life.  She remembered how Sister Vivien asked her to oversee a new academic advisement office. “She was so supportive, and the program eventually won first place in advisement nationally,” said Sister Michel.

Al Neiman, professor of accounting and an accountant, was also hired by Sister Vivien. “She was an inspiration, humble and grateful.” Trish Verrone, professor emerita of English, remembered how at an all-campus meeting Sister Vivien once said, “‘Never use the word  “small” to describe the college because, although we may have fewer students than some other institutions, we are big in ideas and vision.’ Since that time, I have spoken at many open houses to students and parents, and I have never used the word. I have always remembered and respected that,” said Verrone.

Sister Vivien held a bachelor’s degree in English from Caldwell, a master’s in English from Catholic University, a master’s in communications from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. in English from Fordham. She saw the value of emerging media.  She worked in telecommunications at Barry University and at the Catholic Telecommunications Network in New York City.  In the early ’80s, seeing that communications was an expanding field, she founded a communication arts certificate program at Caldwell and then as president in 1988 hired Professor Bob Mann to work toward the creation of a communication department and major, a goal achieved in 1995. “Sister Vivien and Sister Patrice were constant advocates of the creation of the Communication department and major,” said Mann.

Andrei St. Felix, director of the Educational Opportunity Fund, remembered that when the EOF office was in transition, Sister Vivien would come by every Friday to ask if the staff needed anything. “She cared so much about the program; she wanted to make sure we had everything we needed for it to run efficiently.”

At Sister Vivien’s funeral on May 9, Sister Patrice Werner, prioress of the Caldwell Dominicans and former president of Caldwell serving after Sister Viven, spoke of her mentor and friend as a “preacher of truth, the valiant woman.”

“If she gave you a job, she trusted you to do it well.  She didn’t look over your shoulder as you were doing it but you knew that you could go to her for encouragement and counsel if needed,” said  Sister Patrice. Even in her later years despite frailty, she continued “to stand tall in the life of the Congregation she loved so much, still sharing her knowledge and Dominican vocation with others, fully involved in community activities,” said Sister Patrice.   

That was certainly evident just two weeks before Sister Vivien’s passing when she spoke to a  class of undergraduate students about the beauty of the great Dominican saints—Dominic, Thomas Aquinas and Catherine of Siena—and their zeal for spreading the truths of the Catholic faith.       

“She was a beautiful woman,” said Sister Mary Joseph.  Perhaps Coach Johnson reflected best the sentiments of her many friends and colleagues on campus. “She was easy to talk to. I will miss her.”

 

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School of Education 2018 Early Childhood Conference, June 1

Anna Seewald, ME.d., founder of Authentic Parenting

Caldwell, N.J., April 9, 2018 – Caldwell University’s School of Education will host an early childhood conference Friday, June 1, on campus. The day will feature a number of workshops for current and future educators. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. and the conference will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The keynote speaker will be Anna Seewald, ME.d., founder of Authentic Parenting. Seewald is a parent, educator, speaker, author and podcaster. She will speak on the importance of working with emotionally resilient, capable and responsible preschool students in the modern age of distraction, disconnection and lack of free play.

Workshops will  include “What a Difference the Environment Can Make” with Denise Brokenborough, “Classroom Management” with Suzanne Gaccione, “Literacy Skills Start at Home” with award-winning children’s author Marcie Aboff, “Tech and Tots” with Arielle Peterson, “Hands-On Music and Movement!” with Amanda Weiss, “Making Math Fun Again!” with Athena Giordano, and “Vocabulary, What’s the Big Idea?” with Beth Heinzelmann.

General admission is $80, $40 for Caldwell University alumni and free for Caldwell University students. Make the check payable to Caldwell University, and mail it to Caldwell University School of Education, 120 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell, New Jersey 07006 with your top three workshop preferences listed.

For more information about this event or the School of Education at Caldwell University, contact Audrey McGowan at AMcGowan@Caldwell.edu or Debbie Giordano at DGiordano@Caldwell.edu.

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SisterStory oral history project gives ‘20-something’ voice to women religious

Caldwell University Student unveiling their final SisterStory Project at a reception May 7.
Caldwell University Student unveiling their final SisterStory Project at a reception May 7.
Caldwell University Student posing with the Sister whom she chose for the final SisterStory Project.
Caldwell University Student posing with the Sister whom she chose for the final SisterStory Project.
Caldwell University Student unveiling their final SisterStory Project at a reception May 7.
Caldwell University Student unveiling their final SisterStory Project at a reception May 7.
Sister2Caldwell University Student posing with the Sister whom she chose for the final SisterStory Project.
Caldwell University Student posing with the Sister whom she chose for the final SisterStory Project.

Caldwell, N.J., May 8, 2018 – Lynve Laurard did not have religious sisters in school growing up, but her parents were educated in Catholic schools and she always had an interest in oral history. From the time she was in grammar school and heard the oral histories of slaves during a visit to the Library of Congress, Laurard knew that type of communication was something unique. “When I heard that the university was offering the SisterStory oral history project, I said, ‘I have to be a participant.’”

Laurard and five other students engaged in the semester-long project after being paired with a Dominican sister and getting to know her throughout the semester. They unveiled their final projects at a reception May 7 on campus. The SisterStory Project is a national project that archives histories of women religious and connect sisters with young women who share their impressions in an authentic, first-person 20-something voice.

Laurard was paired with Sister Alice Uhl, O.P.  For Sister Alice, the project was a great way to get to know the college-age students and to have the rare opportunity to reflect on her life as Laurard asked the interview questions. “She’s such a good listener,” said Sister Alice.

The students recounted the happy adventures they had with the sisters over the semester including sharing meals at places like the local pancake house or celebrating National Catholic Sisters Week by having dinner at the Sacred Heart Convent, across from the university’s campus.

Jacqueline Marcinczyk, a junior with a double major in business administration and criminal justice, worked with Sister Elaine Keenan, O.P. “I am blessed to have been able to get to know Sister Elaine very well through the process and to be able to call her a friend.”

Sister Pat Worman, O.P., saw the project as a gift enabling her to name her life in a new way and allowing it to be shared. She was teamed with Erika Christian, a junior psychology and education major. “I’ve always been happy as a sister,” said Sister Pat.  She hoped Erika and all the students could also come to see their lives as journeys—to be able “to dream, grow, embrace the unexpected and accept what happens in life. That allows us to be compassionate because of our own experiences.”

Kelsey Marren, a junior psychology and education major, and Sister Suzie Janis were teamed up. “I never had the connection with the Dominican sisters on campus. I love it,” said Marren. “Kelsey was very conscientious” about her work, said Sister Susie. “It was a mutually good experience.”

The students produced videos and other visuals and created poster boards on the sisters.

Dr. Marie Mullaney, professor of history, was a faculty advisor for SisterStory.   The goal of celebrating the work of the Sisters of St. Dominic, she said, was highlighted this past weekend with the passing of the former president of Caldwell, Sister Vivien Jennings, “a master builder.” Mullaney said she was most grateful that Sister Vivien had been a part of the first Sister Story cohort in 2016 and noted the poster board on display of Sister Vivien’s oral history created by a student two years ago.  Communication and Media Studies Professor Rachel Carey and Campus Ministry staff member Abigail Cimorelli were also advisors.

The other students involved in the project were Roksana Korbi, a sophomore biology major, and Anwar Khalil, a sophomore, health science major. The other sisters involved were Sister Lena Picillo and Sister Eleanor Uhl.

SisterStory is the ongoing project of National Catholic Sisters Week, a campaign aimed at broadening awareness of Catholic sisters. The intention is to demystify religious life—the vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience, the experience of living in community, the desire to belong totally to God—by sharing the stories of Catholic sisters.

Many of the SisterStory blog posts from the semester can be accessed on www.sisterstory.org.

 

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Students simulate real-life maternal death story

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Caldwell, N.J., May 7, 2018 – Students at Caldwell University had the opportunity to witness a simulated event aimed at preventing maternal death. In introducing the event to the students, Dr. Brenda Petersen, associate dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control showing preventable patient death is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. She said the United States has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and 60 percent of these deaths are preventable.

Caldwell University students reenacted an event involving Lauren Bloomstein, a neonatal intensive care nurse who died in 2011 after giving birth at a New Jersey hospital. Bloomstein was married to Dr. Larry Bloomstein, an orthopedic surgeon. She died at the hospital where she had spent most of her career and where she and her husband had met some years before.

Larry Bloomstein was in the audience watching the simulation at the university and then presented to the students in detail what happened to Lauren after she gave birth to their beautiful daughter. “It means a lot that you are interested in Lauren’s death and want to learn,” said Bloomstein. “This type of exercise was a testament to Lauren and very meaningful for future medical professionals,” said Bloomstein. “She would want to have an impact on the way medicine and nursing are practiced.” He encouraged the students to do good in their chosen fields. “I hope you find satisfaction in your job, like she did.”

The audience included nursing, public health, business and psychology students. Many said they were frustrated at hearing Lauren’s story—especially “knowing how preventable it was,” said Kelly Donaldson, a nursing student. “It really drove home the point as an educational simulation.”

Steven Han, a senior recently accepted into medical school, said the exercise gave him a better picture of the environment that may develop in a hospital and of the events that may take place. “This experience helped me to understand the role and potential responsibilities that come from each of the medical professionals that are involved in the patient’s plan of care. The types of mistakes and the overlooking of critical data portrayed in the simulation are events that I will definitely hope to avoid as a practicing physician.”

“It was amazing,” said Hanifah James, a senior nursing student. “It definitely should be discussed in Caldwell and other nursing schools. It’s very sad to see that it could have been prevented. I’m so glad I got to witness this.”

Gabriella Caparino, also a senior nursing student, said the simulation built on what students do in the labs at Caldwell, including mock codes or mock rapid response simulations. The scenario was shocking to her since in her clinicals she had seen hypertensive distress. “My nurses know what to do.”

Led by Petersen and nursing faculty member Dr. Aneesha Jean, after the simulation of Lauren’s death, the students who attended were assigned to conduct a “root cause analysis” and to “ask why” five times. Petersen explained that this systematic analysis allows organizations to look at the root causes when errors occur in high-stakes industries such as health care. “Too often within the health care industry, when errors occur, people die.”  The “five whys” technique is used in the analysis phase of Six Sigma to “peel away the layers that lead to the root cause of a problem,” she said. Six Sigma uses data and analysis to look for errors to improve outcomes within organizations.

Petersen said the inter-professional health education collaboration simulation exercise provided students with the opportunity to work in teams to look at a problem and consider solutions. “Learning that takes place in a simulated environment allows learners to make mistakes without patient harm and also allows the health care system the opportunity to reenact events that have a poor outcome to look at the factors that contributed to this.”

The other members of the simulation team were: Matthew Amling, Andrea Amorim, Brittany Carlin, Erin Casner, Charlotte Genthe, Joelle Libman, Jessica Minuto, Alysse Palestina, Rebecca Pasteur and Aisha Perez.

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Softball Repeats as CACC Champions on MVP Sandoval’s Walk-Off Homerun in Extra Innings

Women's softball CACC champs 2018

LAKEWOOD, N.J. – The Caldwell University softball team rallied back from an early deficit as freshman and tournament MVP Paige Sandoval (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) blasted a walk-off three-run homerun in the eighth inning to send the Cougars to a 10-7 victory over Dominican College to claim back-to-back Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Titles.

The Cougars capture their eighth CACC championship and have won three of the last four CACC Championships. Caldwell receives the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament. The Cougars will await their seeding on the NCAA Division II Softball Selection Show, which will be streamed live via ncaa.com on Monday, May 7 at 10 am.

Caldwell took lead in the first inning as freshman Maya Rodriguez (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) singled in a pair of runs. Junior Carly Testa (Sicklerville, N.J.) added a sacrifice fly in the inning to extend the lead to 3-0.

Dominican rallied in the top of the second as they pushed across four runs. The Chargers added a pair of runs in the sixth to extend their lead to 6-3.

The Cougars answered in their half of the sixth as sophomore pinch hitter Daniela Solis (Wilmington, Del.) led off the inning with a solo homerun. Sophomore Melissa Rini (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) drew a walk, while Rodriguez followed with a double to score Rini. Freshman Kaileen Cain (Hauppauge, N.Y.) tied the game at six as she singled up to middle to score freshman pinch runner Abbigail Cleckner (Sykesville, Md.). Testa reached on an infield single as Cain scored to give Caldwell a 7-6 lead.

The Chargers tied the game in the seventh as they pushed across a two-out run to force extra innings.

In the eighth, senior Marisa Monasseri (Monroe, N.J.) was intentionally walked to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Cain worked out a walk to put runners at first and second with one out. Sandoval stepped to the plate and played hero with her walk-off homerun to give the Cougars the CACC Title.

Sophomore pitcher Sara Bearden (Ewing, N.J.) worked the first 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on eight hits with two strikeouts. Sophomore Jessie Johnston (Livermore, Calif.) earned the win in relief, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit.

Sandoval earned Tournament MVP honors with two homeruns and nine RBI in the four games at the tournament. Monasseri batted .400 for the tournament, while Rini added a homerun and turned in outstanding defensive play at short stop to earn all-tournament team recognition. Johnston was also selected to the all-tournament team as she went 2-0 with a saves along with a 0.70 ERA for the week.

The Cougars will await their seeding on the NCAA D2 Softball Selection Show, which will be streamed live via ncaa.com on Monday, May 7 at 10 am.

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Research and Creative Arts Day highlights theme “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future”

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Caldwell, N.J., April 30, 2018 – Students displayed nearly 150 research undergraduate and graduate projects at the second annual Caldwell University Research and Creative Arts Day on April 25. This year’s theme was taken from a quote from writer J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” The day was planned in memory of Judith Croce, professor of art, who passed away last May.

The Student Center gym was packed for the entire day so that visitors could come and speak to the students and learn about their research.  Awards were presented at Honors Convocation that evening.

Some of the undergraduate projects

Biology student Eliane F. Tsopmegha was excited to showcase her research on “Are Makeup Tools Safe? Can They Be Sources of Contamination or Infection?” Since she likes makeup and doing research, she wanted to know whether the products could be harmful. She looked at the safety of makeup brushes and sponges, a vanity table and the makeup. Her results showed harmful bacteria. As a result, she recommends washing makeup applicators on a weekly basis and discarding them after three months of use. The research aspect was so intriguing that it reinforced her interest in wanting to apply to schools to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology. Her advisor was Dr. Agnes Berki, associate professor of natural and physical sciences.

Recent political science graduate Katherine Llangari did her project on “The U.S. Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership: An Analysis of the Effects.” The soon-to-be law student said it is important to understand that political science is not isolated, that history and economic issues affect everything in a globalized world. Her advisor was Dr. Domenic Maffei, chair of the Department of History and Political Science.

“Reduction of Airborne Microorganisms Indoors with Essential Oils” by Eva Kenfack Ngapgue, a senior biology student, examined how airborne infections afflict millions of people annually worldwide and how sterilizing indoor air is too costly. “I was very interested in this topic. I’m a commuter, I volunteer at a hospital and I have younger siblings, so I wanted to see if there was something cheaper and effective.” Her findings suggest essential oil diffusers are effective in reducing the number of bacteria and molds/fungi in the air and can be used as affordable air sterilizers. Her advisor was Dr. Berki.

Huong Nguyen, a communication and media studies student, did her project on “People of Colors” to raise awareness about racial and color discrimination. “It was a chance to combine my interest in digital art with the social sciences,” she said.  Her advisors were Dr. Berki and Dr. Bonnie French.

Zaira Baranukova, a senior nursing student, explored the toxic effects of digoxin for patients with atrial fibrillation. Baranukova, who works on a cardiac floor for her nursing clinicals, said she sees what happens to patients with heart issues, so the topic interested her. “I offered an alternative procedure called the LARIAT procedure,” which she found had far more positive outcomes than digoxin. Her advisor was Dr. Kathleen Kelley, associate professor and assistant director of the School of Nursing and Public Health.

Averi Zarbetski, a senior history student, did research on “The 1967 Newark Riots.” With a pictorial display of newspaper and magazine articles of the time, she documented how the city was shaken to its core over a five-day period in July of that year. “I had always heard about it from my grandparents,” said Zarbetski. That , along with her passion for history, led her to want to explore that period in the history of the city of Newark. Her advisor was Dr. Marie Mullaney, professor of history.

Some of the graduate projects

Kelly Neill, a student in the master’s in literacy instruction program, did a project titled “Will the Use of Multisensory Instruction Improve a First Grader’s Phonemic Awareness and Overall Attitude Toward Spelling and Phonics? The Study of a First-Grade Student.” She is planning to work as a child life specialist, and she said this project helped her think about more opportunities for doing research in that field.  Her advisor was Dr. Edith Ries, professor of education.

Leif Albright, who recently completed his Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at Caldwell, researched “Nodality and the Relative Strengths of Transitive and Equivalence Relationships” with Caldwell ABA faculty members Ken Reeve and Sharon Reeve. “It gave me a line of research that I enjoy pursuing and helped me as a practitioner,” said Albright, who works as an assistant director of a children’s center in Manhattan.

Adrienne Jennings, an ABA doctoral student and colleague of Daniel Ferman and Leif Albright, both recently graduated ABA students, researched “Teaching Religious Literacy Using Stimulus Equivalence Technology,” which was aimed at helping students become familiar with other religions and their practices. “We found that there are efficient ways to teach religious literacy even in the public school setting,” said Jennings. Their advisor was Dr. Ken Reeve.

Alissa Mahadeen, a student in the master’s in special education program,  did her research on “The Use of a Social Story Protocol to Promote Classroom Independence on the Part of a Male Preschool Student.” She wrote a  social story to help a child who did not know how to unpack his backpack when he came to school.  As a result of the social story, he began to unpack his backpack. She was able to develop a rapport with him where he came to her for help when he needed to put his coat and shoes on.  Her advisor was Dr. Edith Ries, professor of education.

Keynote speakers

The undergraduate session keynote speakers were biology alumnae Anup Khanal, a research technician at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, and Dennis Maharjan, a Ph.D., a student at Cold Spring Harbor. The graduate session keynote, “Exploring the Benefits of Graduate Research Training,” was given by Caldwell applied behavior analysis Ph.D. alumna Jessica Day-Watkins, a behavior analyst at Drexel University.

There was a three-minute thesis competition, which challenged graduate students to present their research in 180 seconds with no research notes in front of them.  Danielle Hamblin, who will be receiving a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership with a special education concentration, was the winner.

Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president of academic affairs, said the event was a testament to the Caldwell University community of scholars and the individualism provided to Caldwell students to advance their education. “In doing research projects, faculty and students journey together,” said Chesler. “Rather than simply telling students about the how and why of a given process of discovery, students are engaged in that discovery. Students come to the research or creative project as a novice and they leave as an expert,” said Chesler. “These projects highlight the importance of a liberal arts education where critical and creative thinking, along with problem-solving, are the core of how and what we teach at Caldwell.”

The day was arranged by the Research Task Force, volunteer faculty and staff members along with several undergraduate student organizers.