News

Library Selects New Streamlined Management System

Holy Family University’s Library will introduce WorldShare Management System (WMS) as its new library management system, replacing SirsiDynix Symphony. The new system will be rolled out beginning in June with a full launch set for July. WorldShare Management System was recommended to Holy Family University during a presentation from the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in November.

“OCLC is a global library cooperative that has been around for almost 50 years,” said Shannon Brown, Executive Director of the Library. “They are the best source for full, detailed cataloging records in all formats. Through our current membership with them, we are able to borrow materials from thousands of libraries in over 100 countries. What is most appealing about the WorldShare Management platform is that librarians designed it. OCLC studied other library management systems and surveyed their own members about what works and what doesn't.  The result is a really intuitive system that will save our staff time and improve workflow and service.”

One of the advantages for students is the integrated database searching. The new system will allow users to seamlessly search thousands of databases with the click of a button.

“WMS includes a discovery service that works with virtually all of our databases,” Brown said. “This gives our users a single entry point, similar to a Google search, to all the Holy Family Library resources. This increases the value of our databases, making it easier for students to retrieve relevant information quickly. There are also major improvements to the mobile app, which provides seamless transition between devices and cloud capabilities.”

The new system will feature an updated, user-friendly interface that will appeal to students, according to Brown.

The Library staff unanimously agreed that WMS is the best choice in terms of value and ease of use,” she said. “The platform is truly intuitive and will improve workflow and services offered to students. Additionally, the implementation fee and on-site training costs were covered by a generous bequest to the Library from the estate of former student and long-time friend of the Library, Janet Mackiewicz.”

Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame to name 2016 Inductees at HFU

The Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame will announce five new inductees during a ceremony on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 10:00 am in the President’s Dining Room in the Campus Center. The inductees include three historical figures, one living individual, and one institution. Pennsylvania State Representative Michael J. Driscoll will announce the recipients during the event.

The inductees were chosen by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, an eight-member panel of experts in various aspects of Northeast Philadelphia life. Sister Francesca Onley, CSFN, President Emeritus of Holy Family University, chairs the committee.

Inductees into the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame must be current or former Northeast Philadelphia residents whose lives or careers have been marked by high achievement, or individuals or organizations that have had a lasting, significant, and positive impact on the Northeast Philadelphia community. There are currently 18 individuals and 10 organizations in the Hall of Fame.

The goal of the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame is to foster civic values and a sense of community in Northeast Philadelphia, along with a greater awareness and appreciation of the area’s rich history, by honoring the lives and accomplishments of its most distinguished citizens.

Ashley Beck Turns Coding Internship Into New Opportunity

Ashley Beck sizedBehind the makeup of popular corporate apps are lines of dizzying code, designating what, where, and how the application will function for the consumer. Behind the code is Ashley Beck ’15, a former Pre-Med turned Computer Management Information System major at Holy Family University.

As a Pre-Med major in 2010 at a different university, Beck took a technology course as a requirement of her program, with the idea that technology and the medical world were closely intertwined. The course, Introduction to Computer Science, taught the theory and understanding of design patterns and programming language. That class sparked a passion for building and coding in the illustrious app world, where Beck is an iOS Engineer for Philadelphia-based Tonic Design Co.

“I took a technology course and honestly fell in love with the theory and understandings on design patterns and languages,” Beck said. “Being a Pre-Med major, I was not always interested in programming and becoming an engineer, but I did have a hobby for technology in general. I always had to have the new thing that came out that year.”

After switching colleges and her career trajectory, Beck, a Computer Management Information System major while at Holy Family University, now designs, architects, and develops mobile software for Apple’s iOS—working on building applications and software for clients such as Johnson & Johnson and Abercrombie&Fitch.

“Holy Family was close to home and I had relatives that went there and graduated—so it came highly recommended,” Beck said. “I liked the fact that the CMIS program was a mix of technology and the business behind such a growing career path. It really gave me a leg up when applying for internships and jobs within my field.”

Beck secured an internship while at Holy Family University with Tonic Design Co., working with the Web Development team. Post-graduation, Beck parlayed that internship into a full-time position with the company, but not without some help. Beck credits Dr. Jan Buzydlowski as a major influence in her success, especially his Structural Programming class.

“I was doing all kinds of stuff from coding email templates to editing CSS sheets for our clients while I was an intern,” Beck said. “I started to get pretty good at programming in JavaScript, so they started letting me do more complex tickets. This was right around the time I was taking a class taught by Dr. Buzydlowski. It changed the way I thought about forming methods and functions. This was the class that pushed me to learn Objective-C—the programming language used for iOS.”

Now with her foot firmly planted in the iOS programming world, Beck looks back on her time at Holy Family University fondly.

“Holy Family taught me to think outside of the box and not stop working until you came up with not only an answer, but the right solution,” she said. “I owe a good deal of my success to Dr. Buzydlowski. He is an incredible professor and mentor.”

Four Presented Honorary Degrees During Holy Family University’s 2016 Graduation

Holy Family University will present four honorary degrees during its 2016 Commencement Ceremony, held on Thursday, May 12 at the Kimmel Center. Mother Dolores Hart, OSB, The Honorable Charles F. Dougherty, Sister Thea Krause, CSFN, PhD, and Denis P. Mulcahy have been chosen as this year’s recipients. Mother Dolores Hart and Charles Dougherty will receive their honorary degree during the graduate ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Sister Thea Krause and Denis Mulcahy will receive their honorary degree during the undergraduate ceremony at 12:30 p.m.

With a blossoming career in Hollywood, Mother Dolores felt a calling to do more. Her acclaimed autobiography, The Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows, describes her life’s path from being a glamorous, successful, Hollywood actress to the tranquil secluded life of a cloistered nun. She made the decision to leave the bright lights behind and joined the Benedictine Community at Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, where she would later become the Dean of Education.

Her love for film as an artistic medium for spiritual growth led to the creation of an HBO documentary in 2012 about contemplative monastic life. With funding from Paul Newman and Patricia Neal, she founded the Gary-Olivia Theater, an open-air theater at the Abbey that hosts performances annually for the surrounding community. She continues to be the only nun to be an Oscar-voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Charles F. Dougherty was elected to Congress from the third district of Pennsylvania and served for two consecutive terms from 1979-1983. Before Congress, he was State Senator from the fifth district in Philadelphia. Throughout his 10 years in elected office, he has been known for his strong character and distinguished leadership in promoting Catholic values. Among Congressman Dougherty’s most notable accomplishments has been his steadfast defense of the unborn. While in the State Senate, he was a leader in promoting and passing Pro-Life legislation. On Capitol Hill, he founded and co-chaired the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. The Caucus continues its important work to this day, promoting legislation to protect unborn children and the rights of pro-life medical providers across the country.

Congressman Dougherty is also well known for his robust support of Catholic education at every level. As a legislative leader in the State Senate in the early 1970s, then Senator Dougherty conceived of and helped push through the Institutional Assistance Grant (IAG) program, supporting private higher-educational institutions in Pennsylvania. Congressman Dougherty has been decorated with several awards including the Legion of Merit from the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding service to the Navy and Marine Corps. He also received the Presidential Medal from the Republic of Lithuania. He was named a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope John Paul II and has been frequently recognized for his Pro-Life efforts.

In her more than 40 years as a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Sister Thea has worked vigorously to promote the mission, values, and philosophy of the Catholic Church and the religious congregation. She currently serves as Clinical Director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic and ethicist at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center, both in Altoona. Sister Thea often cares for veterans returning from combat duty who have very serious and frequently unseen trauma resulting from their military service. Sister Thea is on the faculty of Mount Aloysius College and Saint Francis University, where she teaches clinical and business ethics. Sister Thea has also served as international planning officer for the Congregation.

On the national level, Sister Thea took on the task of facilitating the merger of five American provinces into one in 2007 so that Sisters of the five provinces might better utilize their resources for the sake of mission. Sister Thea’s commitment to the mission continues through her role as chairperson of the Mission Advancement Committee of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and chair of the board of trustees of Mission and Ministry, Inc. Sister is also involved in board work for a variety of charitable agencies providing leadership, vision, and direction, always with a heart focused on mission.

Mr. Mulcahy is Co-Founder and Chairman of Project Children, an organization established in 1975 to provide children from Northern Ireland a break from the violence and strife of their native land. Mr. Mulcahy, along with this brother Pat, wanted to do something to help the children. They brought six children from Northern Ireland—three Protestants and three Catholics—to upstate New York. They showed the children that they could live and play together in peace and understanding.

Over the last 40 years, Project Children has made a difference in the lives of nearly 23,000 children. Mr. Mulcahy joined the New York City Police Department in 1969 and was assigned to the Street Crime Unit some years later, receiving the gold shield of detective in 1973. In 1983, he entered the elite Bomb Squad and served as a First Grade Detective and Bomb Technician. In 1987, he was awarded the Medal of Valor by the NYPD for the extremely dangerous task of diffusing a bomb. He retired in 2002 after 33 years of service. Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. Mulcahy has received significant recognition and accolades for his work with the NYPD as well as his leadership in Co-Founding Project Children. He was awarded the Bene Merenti Medal from his Holiness Pope John Paul II, as well as the Cardinal Cooke Right to Life honor in 1991. In 1995, President Clinton asked Mr. Mulcahy to accompany him on his historic trip to Northern Ireland.

Blue Mass Celebrates Police, Fire, and Public Safety Professionals

On Friday, May 6 at 10 am in the Campus Center Gym, Holy Family University will celebrate the bravery and dedication of Police, Fire, and Public Safety professionals during the 10th annual Blue Mass.

Joe McBride, retired Philadelphia Police Department Sergeant and current Director of Public Safety at Holy Family University, constructed the event. Fr. James MacNew will preside over the Mass.

“The Blue Mass is important to the Officer's who are currently working on the streets, those who previously did, and to the families of officers who gave their lives to protect the public. This Mass reminds the families that these individuals were valued, respected, and never forgotten,” McBride said.

A 22-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, McBride worked as a Patrolman and in Plainclothes Investigations before retiring as Sergeant. His son, Brian, is a currently a Lieutenant in his 21st year with the Philadelphia PD.

“At the Blue Mass, we gather in prayerful support of the men and women who serve selflessly day and night to protect the citizens and their families,” Fr. MacNew said. “We gather in gratitude to God for the valiant spirit of self sacrifice demonstrated by our officers on every shift as they practice charity, patience, kindness, counsel, and courage in running unfailingly toward danger to protect the men, women, and children they have sworn to serve. We also gather in devout remembrance of officers from across the nation that have given the full measure of selfless service, who have given their own lives in the line of duty.”

Distinguished guests include Police Commanders from the Philadelphia Police Department, recruits from the Philadelphia Police Academy, and Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 officials, among others.

Hornbach’s Calling Leads Her to the Library

AnnHornbach sized“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

~Stephen King

If Stephen King’s quote is true, then Ann Hornbach ’00 works in a land full of whimsy.

In a world littered with computers, tablets, smartphones, and accessible information at the snap of a finger, Hornbach spends her days among the original information and entertainment providers—books.

Hornbach’s journey to become the Library Supervisor at the Torresdale Neighborhood Library was similar to one of the many novels lining the shelves at the library—filled with unexpected twists and turns, ups and downs, all leading to a happy resolution. However, one thing remained a constant, even when she was a little girl.

“I had wanted to go to Holy Family since I was in grade school at nearby St. Dominic,” Hornbach said. “Even as a kid, I loved the campus, it just seemed so inviting. I chose Holy Family University in part because it was so close to home, but also because I just loved the school and the grounds. I believed that at the other universities, I would just be a number, one in a very large crowd. I got the feeling that Holy Family would have a more intimate, family like atmosphere. I was not disappointed.”

Originally a Computer Management Information Systems major, Hornbach mulled over her career options before finally switching to Religious Studies.

“I was sensing a calling to another career, one in which I would be serving others,” she said. “My intention at the time was to pursue a career in either pastoral care or teaching religion in one of the Archdiocesan high schools. I had also considered entering religious life, which I had been thinking about since my husband passed away in 1986.”

After completing her education at Holy Family, an interesting opportunity presented itself. Choosing not to pursue education or pastoral care as her career calling, Hornbach answered an ad from the Free Library of Philadelphia for library trainees.

“I had thought of being a librarian in the past, and I believed that this was the right career for me to pursue,” Hornbach said. “I applied for the position and was eventually accepted. After two years of library school at Drexel University, I earned my MS-LIS in Library Science. My education and experiences at Holy Family were instrumental to my success. Dr. Stoutzenberger wrote me a wonderful letter of recommendation.”

Her work in the Torresdale Library hasn’t gone unnoticed. Former Philadelphia May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter presented Hornbach with the Richard­son Dilworth Award for Ex­cel­lence in Cus­tom­er Ser­vice in May of last year. City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on also presented Hornbach with a cita­tion that re­cog­niz­ed her various educational initiatives.

“To say I was shocked when I won the Richardson Dilworth award and received a citation from City Councilman Bobby Henon is truly an understatement,” Hornbach said. “My work, in and of itself, is very rewarding. Being recognized for doing what I love to do has been quite humbling. I am very grateful to the Dilworth Award selection committee, Councilman Henon, and fellow Holy Family alum Linda Colwell-Smith, who nominated me for the award.”

Still involved with Holy Family University, Hornbach, who serves on the Alumni Association Board of Advisors, still revels about her time as a student.

“I loved my time at Holy Family,” she said. “I truly felt that it had a very tangible family atmosphere. Everyone was so friendly. I pray to the beloved Holy Family every day, and I truly believe Their Spirits are alive and well at Holy Family University.”

Strittmatter’s Childhood Obsession Becomes A Lifelong Career

alyssa strittmatter sizedIt all started with a plastic red toy.

“When I was younger, my parents gave me a red plastic microscope as a gift,” Alyssa Strittmatter, a graduate of the class of 2012, said. “I was constantly using it, looking at slides, insects, or just grabbing dirt from my backyard. Anything that I could put on to a slide, I would look at it for hours under this tiny handheld toy. Ever since then I knew I wanted to be behind the lens of a microscope.”

Knowing that science was her calling—Strittmatter spent time after high school carefully selecting the perfect college for her desires.

“One of the main reasons why I chose Holy Family University was because I knew exactly what I wanted to do as a career,” she said. “Holy Family is one of the only colleges close to me that offered classes and a clinical program for my specialized medical field. Other colleges tried manipulating my career path by advising me to focus in other sciences, rather than the field I knew I so desperately wanted to be in. Holy Family captured the vision for my future from the start and never tried leading me astray.”

Even Holy Family’s name ignited a close connection with Strittmatter. Growing up in a Catholic household, her faith was an important aspect in her college selection.

“Besides the fact that I fell in love with the cherry-blossomed campus, what won me over was the ringing of the church bells down the street,” she said. “Being Catholic, I was never far from my family’s church. I could hear the church bells every day from any part of my neighborhood. The bells reminded me of home. I knew right away that I could make Holy Family University my home away from home.” 

Making the decision to move away from home and live on campus, Strittmatter would persue a degree in Biology, taking the first initial steps on her path to her dream job. Of course, an upgraded microscope didn’t hurt, either.

“I knew the next couple years would open up new opportunities and experiences for me, but I didn't know the advanced knowledge I would be receiving on scientific topics beyond the medical field,” she said. “The sciences in this lifetime are such incredible areas to explore and they expand further than any person could reach. Holy Family allowed me to gain knowledge in not only my field of study, but in biological sciences far beyond the human body.”

Throughout her time at Holy Family University, Strittmatter always had the support of her parents back at home. When she was young, it was tough for Strittmatter to fully comprehend what her mother did. Now, as she worked towards her own degree in biology, Strittmatter was able to talk and relate her studies to the work her mom did.

“I had no concept of what my mother did for work because I was so young,” she said. “I didn't fully grasp her career until middle school when my science course discussed cultural diseases. My mother went into detail about how she works in a laboratory where she performs testing to detect infectious diseases. She was and still is a scientist of viral pathogens. I wouldn't know what medical technology was or the importance of it without her.”

“Many people don't realize that there is a team of healthcare professionals behind a doctor's diagnosis. There is so much behind-the-scenes work that goes into patient care and I love being a member of that team. My mother taught me that in this line of work, I'm not just holding a test tube. I'm holding the life of a patient, a family member, or a child. I take so much pride in my work and I couldn't be happier that I followed in her footsteps.” 

Strittmatter’s senior year was remote, spending her time off campus at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children as part of the Medical Laboratory Science program. This unique experience provided her with an extra step above other graduates, and even helped Strittmatter secure her first job after graduation, as a Medical Laboratory Scientist at the hospital. Holy Family is affiliated with the Medical Laboratory Science program at St. Christopher's. When she applied to work at the program, she was told there were over 50 applications submitted and only eight students were accepted.

“When I received a call from the program director that I had been accepted, I knew that everything I had done up to that moment was the right choice,” she said.

Working in the Hematology, Chemistry, Urinalysis, Microbiology, Virology, and Immunohematology departments at St. Christopher’s, Strittmatter is able to assist doctors in diagnoses, making sure the patient is receiving the best care for his or her ailment. Looking back, her journey to becoming a Medical Laboratory Scientist started with a plastic red microscope, but ended at Holy Family University.

“My educational experiences were intense, yet rewarding,” Strittmatter said. “Not only was I able to open a textbook and read all about the depths of science, I was given the opportunity to take the information I had just learned and apply it in the laboratory. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. This was the exact reason why I attended Holy Family—to make my childhood dream my adult reality. Holy Family University gave me the opportunity to turn my passion into a career.”

Betsy Lane Joins Isolator Fitness As Health and Fitness Specialist

betsy laneWhen she isn’t preparing for a bodybuilding competition, Betsy Lane is working as a physical therapist at ATI Physical Therapy, and even more recently, as a Health and Fitness Specialist at Isolator Fitness. However, it wasn’t long ago that Lane was a student at Holy Family University, pursing a degree in Biology and Psychology. Now with a Doctoral of Physical Therapy degree to her name, Betsy simply goes by Dr. Lane.

“My passion for physical therapy laid the groundwork for my undergraduate academic career,” Lane said. “I knew that I wanted to be a Physical Therapist before I was accepted to Holy Family University, so everything I did was meant to gear me towards physical therapy school. I had truly passionate and influential teachers who helped bring each subject to life and was fascinated by the social sciences while at Holy Family. My teachers really helped me take a personal interest in human behavior, as it laid the groundwork for the way I would understand and pursue information in the years to come. So much of what Physical Therapists do is based on the aspect of pain and requires a thorough understanding of human behavior. I found those classes extremely valuable.”

As the newly introduced Health and Fitness Specialist at Isolator Fitness, Lane’s duties are to educate individuals on living a healthy and injury free lifestyle. This goal isn’t without its challenges, as the health industry is filled with misconceptions that Lane is hoping to clear up for individuals that are looking for help.

“A quick Google search confirms that healthy living and weight management are just too complicated; everyone advocates for a different guru, so who should they turn to,” Lane questioned. “Part of my role at Isolator Fitness is to reduce this confusion by providing free information in the form of scientifically supported research and presenting expert opinions. Crash dieting is one of the things I deal with on a daily basis. Most people have the ‘go hard or go home’ mindset. They starve themselves and greatly increase their activity levels, burning themselves out before they realize it simply isn’t sustainable. I am adamant about balance, minimal necessary caloric deficits, and guidelines to follow in achieving healthy, sustainable weight maintenance.”

In addition to her work at Isolator Fitness, Lane is also a Physical Therapist for ATI Physical Therapy. Lane passion for physical therapy led her to Arcadia University, where she graduated with a Doctoral of Physical Therapy degree.

“I couldn’t imagine anything greater,” she said. “I love being able to bring the overall health of my patients full circle with my nutritional background, but I really have fallen in love with being a part of the physical healing that comes along with physical therapy. My clinical background is very diverse; some of my experience is rooted in an acute care hospital setting and acute rehab, as well as outpatient neuro. As you can imagine, this is quite a bit different from where I work now, in an outpatient PT setting that sees predominantly high school athletes. I’ve worked with a lot of incredible people who just wanted to get back to work, be able to roll over in bed, walk again, or be able to pick their grandkids up again. My true passion is working in outpatient orthopedics, where I work to treat everything from herniated disks to deconditioning. I work most frequently with a more highly-functioning population focused on returning to sport.”

Interestingly enough, Lane’s passion for physical therapy came during a time of childhood distress. At a young age, Lane suffered a stroke, leaving her with unpleasant side effects for years to come. To cope with these symptoms, she would perform push-ups and sit-ups until the physical exhaustion combated the underlying symptoms.

“The side effects of the stroke left me experiencing seizures and terrible anxiety attacks,” she said. “I didn’t like taking the medicine, so I stopped. Every time I felt those anxious feelings rising up, I did push-ups and sit-ups. That seemed to resolve the anxiety, so I gradually began to do more. I started running, then weight lifting, and then eventually started to compete in bodybuilding competitions. I needed rehabilitation after my stroke and I had a wonderful experience with Physical Therapists who cared for my autistic nephew. These Physical Therapists were so incredibly genuine and influential people. I knew I wanted to do something to help other people, and I saw this as a perfect outlet.”

Speaking of those bodybuilding competitions—Lane has competed in five events, which were inspired by winning a Bodybuilding.com contest that sent her to the Olympia expo in Las Vegas with the company that sponsored the event.

“Oh gosh, I don’t know how I got myself into this crazy life,” Lane admitted. “I fell in love with fitness, and I thought it would be really cool to set a fitness goal and get onstage and accomplish the level of athleticism of those who I admired. I really was clueless—I was way too small for my category, and frankly I was getting very bad advice. Someone should have told me to get a grip and just take some time to build more muscle! But I did it anyways, and I was kind of terrible. However, I got back up, thanks to an important turning point in my fitness journey. I was a winner in a bodybuilding.com contest with a supplement company, and as a result, they took me to the Olympia, a large expo/bodybuilding competition in Las Vegas held annually. It was there that I was so inspired by all of those who were so dedicated to bodybuilding and the pursuit of constant self-improvement. It was there that I met my first coach, Jamie Ibone, who saw potential in me and encouraged me to do another competition. Since then, he helped me get back onstage four times, each time better than the last.”

As Lane continues to help others live a healthy and pain free lifestyle, the news of Holy Family University’s new Pre-Physical Therapy track made her laud the Biology program and its continued development since her graduation in January.

“I’m glad to see Holy Family moving in this direction, as I think it will help to attract students who are interested in the medical field outside of pursuing their MD,” Lane said. “The concept of class customization in order to gear oneself towards a specific academic career sounds like a great idea, because then the program can offer an array of classes that will appeal to a variety of graduate schools. I definitely feel that having the option to take more Pre-PT classes would have better prepared me for my in-depth studies on human physiology. I know Holy Family always seeks to provide the best educational experience for its students, so I am confident that they will select experienced educators who will help to bring clinic to the classroom.”

Holy Family University Unveils New Neuroscience Program

playdohbrainIn a continued effort to stay abreast of new and developing majors, Holy Family University is proud to offer Neuroscience as a major under the School of Arts and Sciences beginning in the Fall 2016 semester. Holy Family will be the first SEPCHE school to offer this major.

Spearheaded by Drs. Jen DeCicco and Jaclyn Myers, students in the Neuroscience field will experience courses in Psychology, Biology, and the natural sciences. Students will also be required to take hands-on laboratory courses and have the chance to pursue research with the faculty.

“Neuroscience is a fast growing and in-demand field that integrates multiple areas of study, including Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry, making it very interdisciplinary,” DeCicco said. “The major affords students the opportunity to explore the aspects of Psychology, while still understanding core concepts in Biology and Chemistry.”

Added Myers, “On the other hand, students with strong interests in molecules, genes, and cells can broaden their understanding of Neuroscience, with the addition of Psychology courses focusing on human behavior.”

The course curriculum includes new classes, such as Intro to Neuroscience, Science Writing, and Abnormal Psychology. These additions round out a program that allows students to customize his or her major to meet their interests and career goals.

“This major allows students to pursue Psychology, Biology, or a combination of both electives in their junior and senior year,” DeCicco said. “If students are interested in fulfilling pre-med requirements needed for admission to graduate or medical school, the Neuroscience program allows them to complete the required courses. A lot of employers value students who have an interdisciplinary understanding of science. In creating this program, we kept the potential career goals of our students in mind, developing a major that allows our students to be competitive candidates for prospective jobs or graduate programs.”

According to Myers, the blended faculty experience is a particular point of emphasis for this major, as students will experience a wide range of learning styles during their time as a Neuroscience major.

“What makes our Neuroscience program unique is how balanced the major is, not only in the coursework, but in the mentorship as well,” Myers said. “I’m a member of the Biology Department, whereas Dr. DeCicco is a member of the Psychology faculty. My research focuses on the cellular components of a neuron and the synapse, whereas Dr. DeCicco examines physiological effects of emotion. Therefore, students have the option to participate in a wide range of research projects.”

One of the programs goals was to mimic the same experience you would receive at a larger institution, including a true interdisciplinary experience, according to DeCicco.

“This major is reflective in changes in the field, in that Neuroscience has become very interdisciplinary,” DeCicco said. “It’s a relatively all-encompassing term that can mean multiple things. It can mean that you have more of a molecular approach and your interest is in biology and chemistry, or perhaps you’re interested neuropsychology and the brain. As the major continues to grow, we will add new electives or courses, such as Cognitive Neuroscience or Developmental Neuroscience.”

After the completion of his or her degree, students in this major will have an excellent opportunity to further their education in graduate school, medical school, or enter the workforce, according to DeCicco.

“For graduate school, whether it is medical school, it gives students this multiple level of understanding, not just biology from a cellular perspective, but also how it interacts with psychology,” DeCicco said. “If you’re going to medical school, you’re eventually going to interact with people. This major allows students to have a background in both of those fields, while also meeting the requirements for medical school. It’ll give them a bit of an edge, as graduate admissions will see that they understand an interdisciplinary field. It’ll make them competitive candidates.”

Lifelong Walt Disney World Fan Accepted into Disney College Program

rj sized 2For senior Rachel Johnson, being able to intern at Walt Disney World has always been a dream of hers since she was young. After four years of hard work and dedication, that dream became a reality after she was accepted into the lucrative Disney College Program.

“I have wanted to do this program since I heard about it in eighth grade,” Johnson, a Communications major from New Lenox, IL, said. “I have spoken with many past program workers while on vacation and they have had nothing but great things to say about it. I have been vacationing at Disney ever since I was in kindergarten and have since been there about 28 times. I want to be on the other side, making magic for the guests.”

A member of the women’s volleyball team, Johnson applied for the internship in February. After completing both web and phone interviews, she was notified on March 14 that she was accepted. Johnson will be working with the Merchandising team.

“I was actually landing on my flight back from Chicago after spring break when I opened up my email and saw that I was accepted,” she said. “I immediately Face Timed my parents when I got off the plane and could not stop smiling. I wanted to cry I was so happy.”

After completing her internship with Disney, Johnson hopes to make a career out of her love for sports.

“I have always wanted to take my love of sports and turn it into a career,” Johnson said. “Whether that is with a major sports team or sports network—I hope that doing this program will allow me to network with a lot of people and help me figure out whether I want to pursue either a professional internship with ESPN, which is owned by Disney, within the Disney parks, or explore other jobs in the sports world.”