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."

Counseling Students Make and Donate Baby Blankets to Women’s Shelter

Huber Blanket Making sizedStudents from Dr. Jim Huber’s Professional Orientation and Ethics for Marriage and Family Therapists course constructed handmade fleece baby blankets to donate to the Bucks County Women’s Shelter in Doylestown, Pa.

"Late in the Fall Semester, when graduate students are busy managing their own lives, families, jobs, coursework, research papers, and exams, there is a palatable calmness and serenity that transforms the classroom when we pause for an hour to make the blankets,” Huber said. “Students are spread out on the floor cutting and tying their chosen fabric, yet connected in conversation, laughter, and a shared sense of purpose. Like the students they are now, no two blankets are the same. Like the marriage and family therapists they will become, their efforts help make the world a better place."

The service learning project, which was started by Huber in 2011, is designed to emphasize the importance of marriage and family therapists giving back to the community through humanitarian activities or pro bono services, as specified in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Code of Ethics, one of the key resources studied in the course.

Students purchase the required materials out of their own pocket and along with Huber’s directions, create the blankets.

"Christine Runowski, a former LRC librarian at Newtown campus, always delivered the fleece blankets to the shelter for us,” Huber said. “She would tell us touching stories of the joy and gratitude expressed by the women upon receiving the soft, colorful blankets for their infants and children. One women, holding her child when the blankets were distributed, broke into a smile and tears as she wrapped her baby and herself in the warm embrace of a blue and green chameleon print fleece. That woman and her reaction are why we do it each semester."

Holy Family Donates 1,000 Books to Cornwells Elementary School

athletics libraryThe Holy Family University Department of Athletics donated and presented new children's books to Cornwells Elementary School in Bensalem, Pa. during an assembly on Tuesday morning.

The assembly marked the 11th annual 'Build-A-Library' community engagement initiative, which first began in 2006. Since then, the Holy Family Department of Athletics along with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has donated nearly 14,000 new books to 13 Philadelphia area schools.

"Each year our 'Build-A-Library' project continues to grow," said Associate Director of Athletics, Robin Arnold. "Just last year we celebrated our 10th anniversary doing this initiative and to continue having the success we have had over the years is amazing. We are excited to have Cornwells Elementary be our recipient school this year, as this helps us build on our partnership with Bensalem School District."

Members of the athletics staff along with student-athletes delivered the new books to Cornwells Elementary to jump start an assembly held at the school. Mariano Cepeda (Men's Soccer), Tori Hernandez (Softball) and Dana Trevito (Women's Lacrosse) spoke at the assembly sharing stories from their experience in school and how reading played an important role in their success.

It's never to late to start planning for next year. If you have any new or slightly used children's books and would like to donate to next year's 'Build-A-Library' project please contact Robin Arnold at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Police Counseling Video Created by HFU Communications Student

philadelphia policeKathryn McCarty, a junior Communications major, created a video used by the Philadelphia Police Academy about the Michael the Archangel Ministry program, which offers counseling services to retired and working officers and their families.

The six-minute video’s objective was to inform the public about the counseling services offered. Working with the Fraternal Order of Police, Father Steven Wetzel, OSFS, and officers and affiliates of the program's board, McCarty filmed the video in the fall semester over the course of two months.

“Finishing the video gave me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment,” McCarty said. “Going into my Television and Electronic Media class, I had little experience with shooting video and editing and was impressed with how much I learned. I consider this experience one of the most rewarding projects of my collegiate career.”

According to the video, police officers and their family can receive counseling for a multitude of reasons, including critical police events such as the use of deadly force by or against an officer, domestic emergencies, major events like the Amtrak train derailment, hospitalization of officers, and other crisis situations. Pastoral care is offered at home or in the workplace, and includes on-site and scheduled counseling, hospital visits, bereavement services, and emergency counseling.

“I met new officers and FOP faculty very frequently and they were all so welcoming and supportive,” McCarty said. “It was interesting to watch the video come to life and the process it took. We started out with a rough script and each time we shot something new, we got more excited to see the finished product. I also learned a lot about Michael the Archangel Ministry program and its mission each time we had a new shoot.”

Sad News for the HFU Community (S. Patrice)

Dear Holy Family University community,

It is with tremendous sadness that I let you know that Sister Patrice Feher has passed away. Sister Patrice, former Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students, has been a cornerstone of the Holy Family University community for decades, and I know that this loss will be felt deeply by all of us. Let's keep her and our community close to your hearts and in our prayers.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Saturday, December 3 | Viewing 9:00 am | Mass: 10:00 am
Viewing and Mass are at Nazareth Academy High School's Chapel.

Sister Maureen McGarrity, CSFN

Careers Center Implements New Job Posting System

The Holy Family University Careers Center has announced a new job posting system, replacing the email distribution system previously used by the department.

According to Don Brom, Careers Center Director, the new system allows students to make a profile, add a resume and cover letters, and search for the latest jobs by category, type, or company name. Students will also be able to keep track of their saved job searches and the applications they have submitted through this intuitive system.

"The Careers Center advocates that it’s never too early to begin developing a successful vocational plan,” Brom said. “The new Job Posting section located on the Career Centers website will help students connect with employers, post resumes, and apply for jobs within their major. I'm very excited to add this student-centered tool to the list of services offered by the Career Center for the hard working and dedicated students at Holy Family University."

December Art Gallery: John Chang

john changHoly Family University Art Gallery Presents John Chang
Exhibit Dates: December 2-20

Holy Family University is pleased to exhibit a collection of mixed media paintings created by John Chang.

Chang holds an MFA in Visual Art from the College of Art and Design at Lesley University. He also earned a BA in Decorative Arts and Design from Shanghai Light Industry College. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Chang now resides as an artist in Southern California.

From the artist: “I was born and raised in Shanghai. By the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping initiated a more open door policy, but I still had a deep desire to experience America and Western culture. Immigrating to Boston to study art in graduate school, I discovered a more complex society than I had imagined. Longing for a democratic system, I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of consumption, both promoted and practiced. The great chasm between Communist China and capitalist America was quite a shock and heightened my awareness of self. Belonging to both worlds and to neither, I recognized the social construction of cultural codes and their impact on identity.”

“Calligraphy expresses the shared space of the personal and the political. Chinese students must devote many years to memorizing several thousand characters. Each character must be written flawlessly and must be both neat and pleasing to the eye, and such rote exercises condition one to submit to authority. In the public square and all walls everywhere, big calligraphic characters were a constant reminder of a collective voice, and so people discounted the empty rhetoric of the official media. Yet in classical Chinese, the script, or shu, is so sacred that it is believed to be capable of affecting change in the natural order of things. By invoking calligraphic forms, I am commenting on the distortion of language, but I am also reclaiming the energy of the written word. Tapping into my ancestral roots, I also use pigments for their symbolic power. For example, black and white are the colors of most ink painting but also represent yin and yang; red and yellow represent happiness, wealth, and health. I consider myself a ‘spiritual escapist.’”

“I am especially interested in making and unmaking meaning with the combination of word and image—particularly in this age of digital communication. Incorporating contemporary events and pop culture, I collect daily newspapers in English and Chinese, cut specific text, graphics and articles, and put them in categories. I also gather post production material from local ad agencies. Influenced by artists like Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, my calligraphic strokes commingle with expressive brushwork and drips, and the freedom of such abstract artists allows me to explore Chinese characters in a personal, reinvigorated way—connecting to and balancing vital energy. The cross-cultural exchange mediated in my creative process continues to unfold and push beyond duality. In merging the beauty of traditional painting technique, modernist performance-like gestures, as well as typography and imagery, I am forging an art that both creates and expresses myself. Embracing the chaos, or ran, I stand hopefully poised between ambivalent remembrance and undetermined tomorrow.”

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.

Nativity and Tree Lighting Moved to December 1

UPDATE: The First Annual Nativity and Tree Lighting event has been moved to Thursday, December 1 at 7 pm.

On Tuesday, November 29, at 7 pm, Holy Family University will host its First Annual Nativity and Tree Lighting on the lawn in front of Holy Family Hall.

Family, friends, and the entire HFU community are welcome to attend this outdoor event. The night will feature holiday music from the Nazareth Academy High School and Grade School and will culminate with the lighting of the Star of Bethlehem, the Nativity, and the Christmas Tree. Admission is free, and light refreshments and pictures with Santa Tiger will be available.

“As a Catholic institution, we knew we wanted to do something to commemorate the holiday season,” said Staci Altomari, Development and Alumni Operations Specialist. “The lighting of the Nativity, Christmas Tree, and the Star of Bethlehem is a great way to bring the holidays to campus. The tree will be decorated in blue and white roses, which tie into our Christmas Rose tradition. These roses have an additional layer of meaning to our campus, as each rose represents a Blue and White fund donor. We’ll be joined by both the Nazareth Academy High School and Grade School, and there will be a visit from Santa Tiger to take photos with all the children. I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities.”

Let us know you’re coming by visiting the official event Facebook page!