World Travel Shapes Ginsberg’s View on Counseling, Psychology

Freda sizedDr. Freda Ginsberg has lived in three different countries and held an array of jobs in the service field—however, all of these jobs have remained true to one singular motive: helping others. As the Director of the Counseling Psychology graduate program, she is now focused on educating and helping the latest group of students looking to make a difference in the world.

As an undergraduate student, she studied at Drew University, majoring in Comparative Religion and Women’s Studies. As part of her education, Ginsberg lived and learned in Israel for two years. Once she graduated, Ginsberg officially immigrated to Israel, where she spent the next 12 years living in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv—an experience she described as both “amazing and intense.”

“I lived through some wars, which affected me personally in one of the areas I lived,” she said. “You learn a lot about immediacy. In the west, we are very planned and organized, and we think everyone else is. You learn about being multiculturally flexible. You learn that in the United States, race is the organizing politic, but in the Middle East, it is religion. You learn from a multicultural perspective that different variables can be the main political issue. I would argue here that religion is as well, it’s just not as obvious.”

“Tel Aviv is very modern, kind of urban, secular, and Mediterranean. You’re on the coast; there are a lot of restaurants and the boardwalk. Jerusalem is the pinnacle of intensity in terms of religion and politics."

At the time, Ginsberg wanted to become a Jewish educator—a principal of a Jewish school or an academic in Jewish studies. However, she felt the topic became too narrow for her to pursue.

Sensing it was time to make a change, Ginsberg returned to the United States to obtain a master’s degree in Human Services Psychology. This avenue allowed her to continue focusing on Jewish issues through her research, as well as help people.

“I’ve always known I was going to do service provision of some sort,” Ginsberg said. “I thought it was just going to be teaching, but when I thought about becoming a professional, you go back to graduate school. I think a core asset I had was helping others. I definitely wanted to teach, but I also look back at myself as the person that people tell their problems too. Why don’t I go see if I’m really cut out for psychology?”

After successfully completing her master’s degree, on the urging of a professor, Ginsberg went right into a PhD program at Michigan State University, where she would spend the next seven years working on her dissertation, focused on Jewish identity.

“My research looked at secular Jewish women,” Ginsberg said. “The predominant population in the United States of Jews is secular, not religious identified. They are more culturally identified. It validated for me a lot of my experiences in the United States, that in some ways we are an invisible minority because we are predominately Caucasian. In the United States, 97% of Jewish people are Caucasian.”

“I learned a lot about how other Jewish women felt about being openly Jewish in a Christian country. Different Christian groups have different opinions about the Jews and our role in their story, for better or for worse. My age of Jewish women: we’re post-Holocaust Jews. We live in a world where less than 70 years ago, the world was ok with trying to annihilate us completely. Half of the global Jewish population was destroyed. There’s also that sort of psychological inheritance of being people who are doing relatively well in the United States, but prior to that, not so good.”

At the tail end of her PhD program, Ginsberg once again left the country—this time to Canada. The decision to leave for Canada was based on a question Ginsberg asked herself: “Do I want to practice psychology or do I want to work in not-for-profit service delivery management?”

Ending up in the latter, Ginsberg began working at an organization that provided money for counseling, vocational services, and immigration help for those in need. Wanting to do more, she was offered a scholarship to pursue an MBA, which she accepted, while also opening her own private practice in Montreal.

“Montreal has unique issues. Canada is a bilingual country. English speakers in Quebec are considered the minority. They feel highly persecuted by the French to a large extent. There’s a large movement in Quebec that wants to separate from Canada and make it a purely French country. I only treated English speakers at my practice. It was interesting because you’re treating a minority within a majority, but when you think about North America, it’s English speaking. You learn a lot by trying to help people. What you find underneath all of it is that everybody wants the same thing. They want successful relationships, some meaning in their career, and for those who want families, they want to raise good people and be good citizens.”

Returning to her home state of Pennsylvania, Ginsberg became the Director of the Counseling Psychology graduate program at Holy Family University in July 2016. Taking everything she has learned, she is now helping educate the next set of Pennsylvania counselors and psychologists—fields that are rapidly evolving as the country focuses on insurance policies and newly developed treatment options.

“On one hand, it’s the capitalistic takeover of medicine, which also effects psychology. If you don’t understand business—how businesses work, and in particular, insurance—then you are not going to be able to practice or function well as a psychologist anymore. Alternatively, in the field of psychology—addressing diversity and social justice issues—that distress doesn’t come from within. It is a byproduct of living in a world where you don’t have what you need or people don’t like people like you, or you are not paid as well as others. The field has become more multicultural and social justice oriented, but the world of psychology has become medicalized and capitalistic.”

“How do you live in a world that is so focused on the bottom line and following these insurance protocols for treating people, which is very behavioral? We know distress isn’t about physical symptoms. You need to change the world people live in. If people don’t have food or a roof over their head, the world is distressing. They’re going to be distressed, not because they have a neurochemical problem which makes them depressed, but because their life is depressing—it is harder.”

Still, as future counselors and psychologists prepare to enter the work world after Ginsberg’s tutelage, the goals remain the same, no matter the roadblocks they might face: help those who seek it, find happiness for those who lost it, and help facilitate the change that could resume normalcy for those in need.

Holy Family University Introduces New Course: Spanish for Health Care

Holy Family University introduced a new interdisciplinary way for students to fulfill their language requirement with its latest course addition—Spanish for Health Care. The course will provide students a practical way to learn and hone their craft in a classroom setting while focusing on a budding topic. Beginning in Fall 2017, the course will teach students to demonstrate basic proficiency in communicating in Spanish, a non-native language, and the medical vocabulary utilized in routine, health-care settings, to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking patients.

“We have seen a pattern of students having a hard time making the connection between the courses in General Education and the courses in their major,” said Shelly Robbins, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “Nowhere is that more clear to me than students in health care majors having a good multicultural competence. I spoke with Sister Angela Cresswell about this concern and she came up with the idea of Spanish for Health Care. Students in Nursing, Pre-Med, Pre-PT, Psychology, and many others can take the General Education language course and see a clear link to their career choice.”

This course is designed to provide a solid foundation in the basic skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing for beginning Spanish students whose goal is to enter the health field with some proficiency in serving the growing population of Spanish-speaking patients with limited English. It focuses on real-world language with grammar practice imbedded automatically in context while providing cross-cultural insights significant to patient care.

"Students selecting a career in the health field genuinely desire to relieve the physical distress of humanity,” said Sister Angela Cresswell, CSFN, Assistant Professor. “In addition to their medical skills, a knowledge of the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures may provide an even greater relief of the psychological and emotional distress that accompanies an inability of patients to communicate adequately in English. The increasing number of Spanish speakers in the United States requires an increasing number of Spanish-speaking service providers. This course endeavors to prepare students to confidently bridge the linguistic and cultural barriers that they will surely encounter in serving this population."

Faculty and Staff Winter Break Travel Blog

Dr. Madigan Fichter, Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Sciences

"I spent part of the winter holiday traveling in Guatemala with my family. Although Guatemala has had a pretty dark recent history of dictatorship and civil war, and much of the population still lives in grinding poverty, it’s a spectacularly beautiful country with a rich cultural heritage. We spent several days in the colonial city of Antigua, which is full of colorful, Spanish baroque architecture with volcanoes looming in the background. Next we went to Lake Atitlan, which is a beautiful lake, again, surrounded by volcanoes. One of the really interesting things that we saw here was that a lot of the indigenous, Mayan traditions have still been preserved. People wear traditional, embroidered shirts called huipiles, speak the Mayan languages—sometimes instead of Spanish, and worship syncretic saints that blend Catholicism with pre-Christian beliefs and practices. We finished up the trip with the highlight, the imperial Mayan city of Tikal, which consists of these fantastic pyramids looming out of the rainforest."

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Glenn Gatlin, Instructional Technologist, Information Technology Services

"During the break, I made a delivery to Orodruin, an active volcano in the northwest of the Black Land of Mordor, close to Barad-dûr. I wanted to stay at an Air B&B, but I guess I tried to book my reservation too late because there weren't any available. Orodruin is an amazing site to see, but if you go, I'd suggest flying. I hiked in, and was attacked by a number of nightmarish monsters. 8/10 - would visit again."

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Dr. Barry Dickinson, Dean, School of Business Administration

"Here are some pictures from my trip to Miami Beach with my family. We drove down and back up, staying overnight along the way on each leg. These pictures were taken by my daughters, Zoe and Giselle. The South Beach sign photo was taken while we were out walking along Collins Avenue which runs adjacent to the beach, looking for dinner. The other photos are from a double-decker bus tour/water tour. The girl with her head in her hand with the ice cream cone behind her, on top of the bus, is my 13 year old daughter. That was taken in Little Havana. The roosters are also in Little Havana. They are all over the area and represent good luck. The other shots are from the boat tour looking over the city of Miami and the port.

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Dr. James Acton, Adjunct Instructor, School of Arts and Sciences

"My wife, two dogs, and I are at our home in sunny Southwest Florida during the Christmas break. This will be our permanent home in two years. On occasion, an alligator will wonder into the lake out back. Hate when that happens, but a quick call to Animal Control and it’s 'See ya later, alligator.'"

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Cheryl Glover, Research Assistant, Institutional Research & Assessment

"I visited the new museum in Washington, D.C., The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was very moving from the lower levels, which looked at the history from slavery to civil rights, to the upper levels, which celebrated accomplishments in all areas of culture—from science to music to sports. I took photos with the statues of Representative Joseph Rainey, Democrat, South Carolina, as well as Venus and Serena Williams."

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January Art Gallery: Robert McNellis

RobertMcNellis sizedHoly Family University Art Gallery
Presents Robert McNellis
Exhibit Dates: January 9-30

Holy Family University is pleased to exhibit Robert McNellis’ latest collection: Anonymous Images/Specific Objects.

McNellis studied film at the University of South Florida and holds a degree in art from Troy University, with a concentration in film and digital photography. Since moving his studio practice to Philadelphia, his work has been exhibited at ARTSPACE 1241 in downtown Philadelphia. McNellis is also an adjunct instructor in Holy Family’s School of Arts and Sciences.

From the artist: “My work attempts to combine the pictorial, material, and structural elements of my practice into a balanced unity. Using modern materials, I strive to create structures and discover imagery that can achieve this unity. As the pictorial aspects of this work have come more and more to suggest visual similarity to the natural world—albeit obscure and scarcely defined—I have recently turned to incorporating photographs taken in chance ways into my work. In these anonymous photographs, I find images that are evocative and yet whose subject is largely unknowable. When successful, this interplay between the evocative and unknowable within the image, together with the clarity of the material structure, creates a strong resonance between image and object.”

The event will take place at Holy Family University’s Education Technology Center (ETC) in the lobby and art gallery. Parking is available to all in the Campus Center parking lot in the visitor section without restriction.

This exhibition is part of Holy Family's monthly Gallery shows held throughout the academic year, each of which showcases a new and diverse exhibit featuring artists from around the world as well as Holy Family University's graduating art majors. The intended audiences of this exhibition are people of all ages.

The University Art Gallery is located on the Lower Level of the Education & Technology Center on the University’s Northeast Philadelphia campus. The exhibit is free and open to the public. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday, from 8 am - 8 pm.

Holy Family University Diversity Team Holds Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

MLKDayofServiceFlyerHoly Family University’s Diversity Team will hold a day of service to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Sunday, January 15, from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm. Students and faculty are will be visiting Jewish Relief Services in Northeast Philadelphia to help prepare food for local families in need and area food banks.

“The Diversity Team did this activity last year to commemorate MLK Day of Service and the small group of students and faculty that went did an excellent job and gained a lot from the experience of giving back to our immediate community,” said Nicole Stokes-DuPass, Associate Professor of Sociology for the School of Arts and Sciences.

“This year, the group will work for a few hours at the distribution center preparing dry food and produce that will be delivered to needy families and food banks in our area. This event and day of service aligns well with Holy Family’s mission and core values. Giving back to our community and to those in need recognizes the dignity of each person and the oneness of our human family. Part of the experience of an education at Holy Family University is to impart an appreciation of lifelong responsibilities to God, society, and self.”

To reserve a seat on the van, email Dr. Nicole Stokes-DuPass at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 267-341-3695. The van will be leaving the Campus Center Rear Parking Lot at 9:30 am.

Current Discussions on Infectious Disease Prepare HFU Students

MichaelDickmanIn a world of rapidly developing diseases, nurses and biologists stand at the forefront of an epidemic, ready to help contain and treat whatever outbreak just arrived. In the classroom, students are taught about past infectious disease, with textbooks struggling to keep up with current issues plaguing society. Dr. Michael Dickman, adjunct professor for the School of Arts and Sciences, uses his Clinical Microbiology course to teach nursing students about current issues in infectious disease, preparing them for careers where they’ll deal with these issues head on.

Dickman is no stranger to the field of infectious disease. While receiving his PhD at Thomas Jefferson University, his thesis was supported by the United States Navy, focusing on many aspects of infectious diseases during the Vietnam War. He has also directed a private clinical laboratory, The Dickman Laboratories, and the Philadelphia Naval Hospital’s Microbiology Division, where he served as the only civilian member of the hospital’s Infectious Disease Control Committee.

As an instructor, he has taught Nursing Microbiology and Biology at Holy Family University for the past seven years.

According to Dickman, textbooks cover past infectious diseases, such as Tetanus and Diphtheria. However, these outbreaks are now considered rare because of "herd immunity," or acquired immunity due to a high proportion of a population who have been exposed to small doses of these pathogens over time. Instead, Dickman argues, that students should also be learning about current infectious diseases that nurses and biologists will be facing in the immediate future.

“During the past year there have been a number of cases of serious toxin producing STEC E. coli and gastrointestinal upsets in Chipotle, Quedoba and other food chains. These represent the types of issues that our nurses will face immediately following graduation as opposed to standard infectious diseases. These new outbreaks are continually inserted in my lectures to keep the students current. They are urged to select emerging diseases and treatments to study, such as implanting new gut flora into patients with C. difficile disease.”

In his classes, Dickman has taught about current infectious disease outbreaks in the United States as well as worldwide pandemics, including Zika, Norovirus, and strains of flesh eating bacteria.

“Almost all texts books in Microbiology, no matter how recently published, are years behind what is currently occurring in the field,” he said. “I would guess that currently not a single Nurses’ textbook includes updated information on such pathogens as the Zika virus, which is currently causing a world-wide pandemic, or updated data on new diseases and the epidemiology and treatment of infections caused by MRSA, VRE, STEC E.coli, flesh eating bacteria, and the Norovirus. These textbooks also lack references to the alarming incidence of Carbenicillin resistance, recently observed in Klebiella spp. and Colistin resistance reported in many members of the Enterobacteriaceae. These issues serve as addenda to our standard Powerpoint presentations, which should in the future be added by textbook publishers.”

With recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika, Dickman saw an opportunity to educate students on the disease, where it came from, and how it was able to reenter the world after being dormant for many years.

“When we discuss the cause of infections with previously unknown microorganisms such as Ebola and Zika, I stress to our students that they represent ‘spill over’ and ‘jumping’ from the continually receding forest and jungle areas where they have been hiding,” Dickman said. “The emergence of new so called ‘Super Bugs’ such as flesh eating strains of Group A and S. pyogenes are also added to our lectures during the semester to ensure that our students are familiar with updated topics.”

Students are also encouraged to share the latest news they find with their professor and classmates. For example, a student is currently investigating a possible increase in new Zika cases among athletes and spectators at the summer Olympics. The student is also running data on whether there was an increase in Zika cases during the Paralympics, also held in Rio this year.

“In addition to helping the kids focus on new instances associated with infectious diseases, they learn that Microbiology is not a stagnant topic and that new cases and outbreaks with common and unusual pathogens occur on a daily basis. I truly believe that students will better understand those issues that they are likely to encounter as the enter their clinical careers.”

SBA Freshmen Year Experience Donates Gifts to Children in Need

Operation Christmas Child sizedThirty-nine students from the School of Business Administration’s Freshmen Experience class bought, filled, decorated, and wrapped more than 80 gift boxes, which were donated to children oversees through Operation Christmas Child.

Boxes were filled with basic needs: school supplies, hygiene materials, and socks. Fun items such as balls, coloring books, and small toys were also included to bring a smile to the children’s faces during the holiday season.

According to Karl Malaszczyk, Esq., Assistant Professor for the School of Business Administration, students were split into teams to come up with creative items to fill the boxes.

“There was a sock puppet team, where the students used tube socks, googly eyes, felt, and glue to create puppets; a chalkboard team that took pieces of wood and stained them with chalkboard paint resulting in more than 50 places to practice math; a jewelry team that hand-crafted over 100 bracelets and necklaces; a tie-dye team that stained over 70 wash clothes in bright crazy colors; and a tote bag team that hand painted blank school bags with hopeful messages. These handmade items were supplemented by boxes of crayons, coloring books, blankets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, socks, glow sticks, balls, and many other items. Students also included personal items such as pictures of themselves or a letter and their e-mail address in the hopes they will hear from the recipient of their box.”

To help offset the cost of the project, students set up at snack table on the Woodhaven campus every Thursday, selling cookies, pretzels, fruit, granola bars, and other bakery items, with all the proceeds going towards the boxes.

“This project allowed the students to look beyond the campus walls and see how they could make other people’s lives better, while going through the challenge of starting a new phase of their own lives,” Malaszczyk said. “They were given insight into living in impoverished countries—to see how much joy a simple shoe box filled with soap and small toys could give a child who has nothing. More importantly, they were able to put into action the core values of the University and to come together as a team, friends, and family.”

Studying and Music: Graham Craig’s Secret Ingredients to Becoming a Superhero

By Alyssa Reyes ‘18

Graham Craig sizedAs a young boy, Graham Craig knew he wanted to be a superhero—he wanted to save the world. With his Green Lantern shirt always underneath his regular school clothes, Graham was ready to protect his first-grade classmates at a moment’s notice.

Eventually, he grew out of the shirt, but he found another way to make a difference: teaching. All he had to do was develop the right powers to help the citizens of the world. Craig found that the best way for him to help was to counsel those in need. As a graduate student in Holy Family University’s Counseling Psychology program with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy, he is developing those powers.

“I taught in Philadelphia for three years,” he said. “Then I decided to go into counseling, figuring that I could do the most good helping one person or family at a time.”

Currently, Craig interns at the Child Guidance Resource Center in Havertown, PA. He finds that his relationships with clients are the most rewarding part of the job, especially when he sees positive change.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be change in the client,” Craig said. “Change happens throughout the course of the therapeutic relationship; to the relationship itself. You get to know each other on a more personal level and the relationship grows stronger.”

While building significant relationships with his clients, Craig is also constructing a unique relationship with his fellow classmates by incorporating his side job as an accomplished and talented professional musician.

“The guitar is a great tool in a lesson plan. I did a lesson on Harriett Tubman and used an original song to tell the story. That was fun. Music is just something that I love and it makes me want to participate in its creation.”

Craig has even performed on acclaimed stages such as WXPN’s World Café, a non-commercial, public FM radio station in Philadelphia that typically broadcasts an adult album alternative radio format. He described such an accomplishing experience as terrifying, but exhilarating.

“You have so much fun with it because you realize you have all this extra adrenaline that’s built up that you can now channel into music in really powerful ways.”

Juggling his music career and counseling career, Craig advises students who want to explore what they are truly passionate about to do so with no hesitation.

“If you really want to draw then see if you can get a gig drawing,” he said. “If you want to make music, get a gig at a pub. If you really want to do something—anything—do it.”

For students wanting to pursue a career in counseling, Craig implores that they must learn the proper skills to manage strong patient relationships that will only continue to grow over time.

“To me, one of the most important skill is the ability to actively be aware of one's self­—to know one's own biases and prejudices. Face the job in a compassionate way—be compassionate.”

Christina Little Exhibits During Mingle Among the Masterpieces Art Reception

Christina Little sizedChristina Little, a senior Pre-Art Therapy student, exhibited her painting, Ocean Blues, during the Mingle Among the Masterpieces Art Reception on December 5.

Hosted by the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Mingle Among the Masterpieces event celebrates art, music, and culture in Northeast Philadelphia. According to the event’s page, the night featured “45+ art pieces we’ve received from the young to seniors, from the novice to the professional.”

Little decided to enter her piece after being made aware of the event by Pam Flynn, Professor of Art and Coordinator of Fine Arts.

“At the reception, it was nice to see other artists in one room discussing their work,” Little said. “As they read my statement, it was pleasing to see the audience understand my piece, and see it from my point of view. They were able to understand the meaning behind my work, and look at it as a powerful and relatable statement. In the Holy Family community, I felt proud to be given the opportunity to represent Holy Family University, and to bring an awareness to our art program. This event is a great way for artist’s at HFU to be recognized for their talent and hard work.”

The Unseen World Named to “Best of 2016” Lists

lizmoore readingElizabeth Moore’s novel, The Unseen World, has been named to the Best of 2016 list by Publishers Weekly,, BBC, and the New Yorker.

Moore, an Associate Professor of Writing and Coordinator of Humanities for the School of Arts and Sciences, published The Unseen World in July 2016. The book has received praise from The Washington Post, New York Times, and the Boston Globe, among other news and book entities.

The Unseen World tells the story of Ada Sibelius, the daughter of David, an eccentric and socially inept single father who runs a computer lab located in Boston. Ada joins David during his daily work—becoming a protégé along the way. While David's lab begins to gain success, questions regarding his past start to surface. With David's mind failing, Ada is determined to discover her father's secrets.

"I'm delighted to have been included on these lists,” Moore said. “The publishing industry has changed dramatically in the past several years, so any additional publicity helps a great deal with book sales. More than that, though, it is still thrilling to know that people are reading and enjoying what I've written."