Tett’s Volleyball Prowess Leads Her to HFU

Rebecca Tett - Holy Family UniversityHoly Family University wasn’t exactly the first college that popped into Rebecca Tett’s mind when deciding where to continue her athletic career since she lived in Leesburg, Virginia.

“I first heard about Holy Family after playing in a volleyball tournament,” she said. “The coaches emailed my parents about bringing me up for a visit. I had never heard of Holy Family before—I actually sort of blew them off. The coaches followed up again and a few months later I decided to visit. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I came up for an official visit during the start of volleyball season, and the second I stepped on campus I knew I belonged here. It was just the right size for me, where I could be a name and not just a number. It had volleyball, the degree I wanted, and most importantly, if I decided not to play volleyball anymore, I would still love the school.”

Tett, a 2012 graduate with a degree in Management & Marketing with a minor in Computer Management Information Systems, is currently the Director of Communications for River Bend Golf & Country Club in Great Falls, Virginia.

Not knowing what her true calling was, Tett struggled to find a major she was passionate about.

“Going into college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “I changed my mind numerous times, but in the end, I knew I wanted to study business. With the business major, I got to experience classes in accounting, management, and marketing. About halfway through college, I realized I liked marketing and wanted to possibly do something in that area. Taking the computer classes helped me with programming and web design, which has ultimately translated over into my current position.”

As Director of Communications, no two days are the same for Tett. Whether it is prepping digital, email, and print marketing materials, preparing monthly newsletters, designing and administering email campaigns, our assisting with on-site events, Tett is busy experiencing every aspect of marketing at the popular country club.

“Every day I use a variety of marketing and computer skills that I learned from Holy Family University,” she said. “Website and office application classes help with my digital and email marketing campaigns and the marketing classes, especially consumer marketing, help me with targeting the right division of membership to gear a flyer towards. Holy Family opened the door that allowed me to realize that I can do anything with my business degree.”

Tett’s decision to follow a business degree led her to meet Dr. Bernice Purcell, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of the School of Business Administration and Extended Learning. Tett credits Purcell as one of her influences for success in the classroom.

“Everyone in the Business School was influential—they all showed me that you can do anything with a degree in business,” Tett said. “One professor that stands out in particular is Dr. Purcell. She was very attentive to her students in and out of the classroom. She wants everyone to succeed. I always loved going to her classes during my time at Holy Family. I even asked her to write me a recommendation letter for my MBA application!”

Moore Publishes Third Novel: The Unseen World

The Unseen World sizedFollowing the overwhelming success of her second novel, Heft, Liz Moore, Associate Professor of Writing and Coordinator of Humanities, has officially released her third novel, The Unseen World.

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 was inspired to write the story of a girl who grew up in Boston in the 1980s with a computer scientist father because I grew up in the suburbs of Boston in the 1980s, and my own father is a scientist—though he's a physicist, not a computer scientist,” Moore said. “But that was only one grain of inspiration. The rest came out of being fascinated with the history of computer science and reading as much as I could get my hands on. The book took lots of wrong turns before I came up with a complete draft, but finally everything clicked into place about three years into the writing process.”

This book comes after the success of Moore’s 2012 novel, Heft, which was pegged by NPR and Oprah as a book to watch out for during the year.

“I always hope that my books will find their way into the hands of people who will truly enjoy them,” Moore said. “I do feel a sense of satisfaction on completing a novel and seeing it enter the world—it definitely takes a lot of mental energy and stamina to write a novel, so it's a great feeling when it's finally packaged and out there.”

The response to Moore’s latest novel has been positive. Reviewing her latest book, The Washington Post said, “Set in the 1980s in the pre-Internet days of the emergence of artificial intelligence, this is a novel that artfully straddles genres. It is a rich and convincing period piece that captures daily life in the modest neighborhood of Dorchester in an era of wall-mounted phones, frozen Salisbury steak dinners and first-generation home computers, like Ada’s 128K Macintosh…”

Dr. Shelly Robbins, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, has been thrilled with the success that has come from Moore’s accomplishments, knowing that it creates an excellent opportunity for students to speak to an accomplished author.

"We are very excited about the publication of Liz's new book and to have her on our faculty,” Robbins said. “Students in our writing classes have a celebrated novelist as their writing professor. There is no better way to learn to write well than to have a professional provide you with feedback on your work."

Getting to Know: Dr. Elizabeth Rielly

Elizabeth Rielly sizedDr. Elizabeth Rielly is eager to educate students through a hands-on approach to ecology. A native Philadelphian, Rielly returns to her hometown to share what she has learned in the field. Rielly sat down with Holy Family University to discuss the dangers of habitat loss, how she plans on incorporating local nature into her coursework, and her attempt at a green thumb while living in South Philly.

HFU: Can you tell me about your background and what brought you to Holy Family University?

ER: “I’m originally from the Philadelphia area but spent a great deal of time away for school and professional opportunities. I returned to Philadelphia to enter the Biology doctorate program at Temple. I love Philadelphia and most of my family and friends are here. I was drawn to Holy Family University because I’ve always wanted to engage in meaningful research with undergraduate students. Holy Family’s required internship for students was very appealing to me. Pursuing an undergraduate degree is an incredible time in one’s life. You begin to refine your interests and define your career goals, and I wanted to be somewhere that values that experience and a place that has a very strong community. I definitely sensed that from faculty and students during my visit to Holy Family.”

HFU: Your website says you’re an “Ecologist interested in how habitat changes influence ecosystem processes.” What sparked your interest in this specific field?

ER: “I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and science. When I was in college, I really had a hard time choosing between the sciences as my major. I gravitated toward ecology because it is so interdisciplinary. When studying ecosystems, you have to keep in mind all of the biological, geological, and chemical processes that are operating simultaneously. Habitat loss is the number one threat to biodiversity. We hear a lot about other environmental issues like climate change, pollution, and invasive species, and while they’re all critical issues, they are still not as detrimental to biodiversity as habitat loss. In some ways, we could think of an ecosystem as analogous to an orchestra. If you remove certain instrumentalists, the concert will not sound the same, and eventually the orchestra won’t be able to play the song. The same goes for an ecosystem—when certain species are harmed or removed, the function of the ecosystem as a whole is at stake.”

HFU: Can you describe some of your research initiatives?

ER: “I have spent the last five years exploring how habitat fragmentation in seagrass beds influence ecological communities. We don’t often hear about marine habitats as being fragmented or discrete. We assume that the ocean is a fluid continuum, but habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass are being lost at an unprecedented rate. These types of habitat-forming marine organisms are known as foundation species and are essential to ocean biodiversity and functioning. Nearly 90% of all marine species spend at least some portion of their life cycle in these habitats. They are critical nurseries for a lot of commercially important fish and invertebrates like blue crabs. Their loss not only has biological implications, but economic as well.”

“I am also working on a new project to examine whether certain species of grasses can uptake nutrients from storm water runoff more efficiently. I am very excited to bring this research to Holy Family because we will be doing this research right in our home field—the Delaware River Basin.”

HFU: How do you plan on taking what you’ve learned and studied in the field and incorporate it into the education a student receives at HFU?

ER: “One thing I’ve learned about science is that it is best learned by doing. I’m really excited to be so close to areas like Pennypack Park, as well as Poquessing and Byberry Creeks. I am excited to get out into the field with students and literally get our hands dirty exploring the surrounding environment. In the classroom, I prioritize group work as much as possible. Rarely in a professional environment do we work as individuals. The benefits of working in teams rather than as an individual are two-fold. First, it’s an important skill to practice—working as a team doesn’t always come naturally to some and it’s a valuable skill that employers look for in potential employees. Second, each person in a group brings different strengths to the table, and everyone stands to gain from each other.”

HFU: What are some of your hobbies outside of the classroom?

ER: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, I am a lover of the outdoors. You will often find me on my bike cruising around the city. I’ve also been trying my hand with some success at container gardening. I live in South Philly, so I have a typical concrete patio, but we’ve been able to get some great cucumber and strawberry plants going. I’m hoping for zucchini this year!”

Getting to Know: Dr. Freda Ginsberg

FB sizedAs the new Director of the Counseling Psychology graduate program, Dr. Freda Ginsberg is excited to share ideas and best practices with her students, using her personal experiences as reference. With a plethora of skills, Dr. Ginsberg specializes in not-for-profit-social service management, social justice counseling, service delivery to women and minority populations, counseling, trauma and crisis intervention, and more. Dr. Ginsberg sat down with Holy Family University to discuss her background, areas of expertise, and many artistic hobbies.

HFU: Can you tell me about your background and what brought you to Holy Family University?

FG: “I am a Counseling Psychologist, trained at Michigan State University, and also hold a master’s degree in Human Services Psychology from LaSalle University, an MBA from the University of Ottawa, in Ontario, Canada, and a bachelor’s from Drew University in Comparative Religion. For the past four years, I have been a professor at SUNY Plattsburgh in the Counselor Education Department and also served as the Director of the SUNY Plattsburgh Ward Hall Counseling Clinic. Previously, I worked for six years as a non-profit executive director for the Jewish community in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, as well as in my private psychotherapy practice in Montreal.”

“I was drawn to Holy Family University because it is a small campus dedicated to student development, social justice, and faculty collaboration. As the Director of Counseling Psychology, I believe I can bring my experience and skill in leadership and not-for-profit management, as well as excellence in teaching, research, and professional service. I am wholeheartedly excited to take on this professional challenge, where I can work with my colleagues to identify a broad vision that is inspiring, motivating, and leads to the growth and innovation of the program.”

HFU: What are your areas of expertise?

FG: “My areas of expertise are focused on not-for-profit-social service management, social justice counseling, service delivery to women and minority populations, counseling Jews, trauma and crisis intervention, eating disorders, social justice, multicultural and feminist pedagogy, and mentoring students.”

HFU: Can you describe some of your current research initiatives?

FG: “My scholarship utilizes social justice, multicultural, and feminist frameworks to explore three topics: Jewish identity and counseling Jewish women, feminist and social justice pedagogy, and counseling underserved populations. My data-based research focuses on cross-cultural variables, whereby I utilize qualitative methodologies to explore complex issues and highlight my participants’ voices. Recently, I co-edited a book, and wrote a chapter on social justice for McGill Queens Press, Canadian Counselling and Counselling Psychology in the 21st Century, which features chapters by the leading counseling and counseling psychologists in Canada.” Currently, I am co-editing a multi-disciplinary book on trauma and the Holocaust and am also authoring an exhaustive literature review on Jews and the field of psychology.

HFU: What is your classroom philosophy when teaching? How do you get the students engaged in the classroom to fully comprehend the material?

FG: “Congruent with the values of counseling, all of my courses, trainings, and psycho-educational workshops are contextualized by the scientist-practitioner model, as well as social justice, multicultural, feminist, lifespan, and humanistic theories. Given my multi-disciplinary background and education, I am fluent in various epistemological approaches, and I am able to teach students from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Practically speaking, I am particularly adept at working with a diversity of learning styles and attending to the needs of a broad range of cultural styles. In my classroom, I strive to strike a balance between employing a student-centered approach with sharing my expertise using traditional formats.”

“Consistent with my teaching, I have developed an expertise in feminist, multicultural, and social justice pedagogies, which require that all student realities are respected and attended to in the classroom. Specifically, these pedagogies inform instructors on how to create classrooms wherein a diversity of perspectives are valued, and the subject matter covered reflects a multicultural reality. These pedagogies also require teachers to consider alternative views regarding authority in the classroom and to design educational experiences that are both communally and individually focused. In addition, these educational philosophies ask teachers to acknowledge the value of formal knowledge acquisition as well as personal and character development.”

HFU: What are some of your hobbies outside of the classroom?

FG: “I fancy myself to be an artist, and over the years, I have created many pieces using the formats of collage, needlework, jewelry construction, and fabric craft. I am also a voracious traveller and have been to many countries around the world and eagerly await the opportunity to continue to explore the globe. I am also passionate about my Jewish life, and I am fluent and literate in Modern and Biblical Hebrew.”

At Home in the Lab—Kopiński Researches Signal Networks Between Mitochondria and Nucleus

Kopinski2Spending his days in the laboratory, it wasn’t long ago that Piotr Kopiński was on the fourth floor of Holy Family Hall conducting his first experiment under the microscope. A graduate of Holy Family University, an MD-PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellow, Kopiński now spends his time with world-renowned scientists studying the signaling functions between mitochondria and the nucleus.

While attending St. Jadwiga the Queen Gymnasium and High School (Gimnazjum i Liceum imienia Świętej Jadwigi Królowej) in Kielce, Poland, Kopiński made his first connections with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. After years of political turmoil that resulted in the school being closed, the Sisters regained control of the school and ran the operations. While in junior high, Kopiński met the delegation from Holy Family University, including then President Sister Francesca Onley.

“Together with some students, we gave the Sisters a tour of the premises,” Kopiński said. “During that time, we discussed Holy Family University in Philadelphia and I jokingly said to Sister, ‘See you in Philadelphia’ when she was departing.”

What started as a joke quickly became a reality. Fast-forward three years later—Kopiński found himself being summoned to the Headmaster’s office for an unscheduled meeting.

“It was somewhat unexpected, but I couldn’t remember any mischief I caused that could result in Sister Benedetta Ewa Pielech wanting to see me,” Kopiński said. “Sister sat me down and calmly said ‘Piotr, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth from Holy Family University decided to sponsor two of our students on a full scholarship to go to Holy Family University in the United States. Would you be interested?’”

Faced with such a big decision, Kopiński needed to take time to digest the opportunity and visit the campus. After scheduling a meeting in the spring semester during his senior year of high school, Kopiński was won over by the charm and opportunities that Holy Family University could offer him.

“My original plan was to enroll in medical school in Poland, so a visit to Holy Family University was necessary,” Kopiński said. “I still remember the professors and students I met during that short visit. The faculty were very interested in meeting with me and talked about the opportunities available at Holy Family. The science faculty were clearly enthusiastic and very supportive of their students.”

After accepting the offer, Kopiński officially became a member of Holy Family University. It was there that his scientific prowess took off. Taking as many science courses as he could, paired with liberal arts classes to round of his skillset, Kopiński thrived in the HFU classrooms.

“As far as my degree choice, biochemistry seemed natural given my interest in science and medicine. My favorite courses were molecular biology and genetics. I was able to perform real experiments for the first time, learned how to use scientific equipment, and how to think about designing experiments. It was the foundation of my future experiences with lab bench work.”

“Genetics was a theoretical course that made a big impact because it applied mathematics and logical thinking to biology. The other two courses that became the foundation of my degree were biochemistry and physical chemistry. The first is basically the chemistry of life, a subject I always had a great interest. Physical chemistry combined two of my favorite subjects, physics and chemistry, into a science that could be applied to living organisms such as cells and explains important physiological processes on a molecular level.”

Though he was succeeding in the classroom and with his experiments, Kopiński was always looking to do more. After a chance meeting with Dr. Margaret Nieborowska-Skorska and her husband, Dr. Tomasz Skorski, Kopiński was able to secure an internship in the cancer research laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Temple University School of Medicine.

Kopinski“They offered me a summer position in the lab, which turned into a three year internship that Holy Family University allowed me to incorporate into my school workload,” Kopiński said. “It was amazing—I spent three days a week in classes, and three days a week in the laboratory during the semesters, and I was in the laboratory full time in the summers. This tailor-made program changed my life. That was where I wrote my first research proposal, which received the American Society of Hematology Research Trainee Award Dr. Skorski pushed me to become a confident and hard working scientist. He also allowed me to deliver a lecture at an international meeting of the European School of Hematology held in Washington DC. I was the only undergraduate student with a full oral presentation that I delivered in front of over 500 faculty and graduate students. That meeting exposed me to world-class research and renowned scientists.”

After completing his studies and graduating from Holy Family University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry, Kopiński went on to apply and be accepted to the MD-PhD program at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. It is here that Kopiński has been able to pursue his dream of becoming a physician scientist and study mitochondria in a variety of ways.

“The MD-PhD Program is designed for people who want to pursue medical research as a career and translate discoveries in the laboratory to the clinic,” Kopiński said. “I think medical school provides a great foundation of knowledge for a scientist interested in curing human diseases and training the mind to turn interesting clinical observations into important research questions. My laboratory studies mitochondrial genetics and was founded by Dr. Douglas Wallace, who founded the field of mitochondrial genetics and discovered that mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother, and that mutations in the mitochondrial DNA can cause disease in humans. More specifically, my project aims to find out the signaling network functioning between mitochondria and the nucleus.”

“If you compare the cell to a city, then the mitochondria become the power plant and the nucleus becomes City Hall,” he continued. “During a power outage, the Mayor gets a call from the power plant stating that because of an emergency, only 50 percent of regular power output can be supplied. The Mayor then has to make decisions about who gets power—like police, fire department, and hospitals—and which districts to cut off—like schools, which would equate to them getting a day off. In the case of a cell, the nucleus reacts to energy shortage similarly. It adapts to the energy deficit by shutting off certain functions and upregulating others to compensate. I study who makes the ‘phone call’ from mitochondria to the nucleus to let it know that it needs to adapt to the new situation.”

Kopiński’s work has not gone unrecognized. In September 2015, he was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research Fellowship, a three-year designation worth $129,000 that covers his PhD training, tuition, stipend, and provides an educational allowance for travel to attend research conferences. It also comes with an invitation to the HHMI Investigator Meeting, which brings together some of the best biomedical scientists in the world.

“The award makes it possible for me to pursue more independent research projects that are high risk, with potential high returns,” Kopiński said. “The award is given to about 50 students in the United States each year, and I am the first Polish individual to receive it. I am very honored to be an HHMI Fellow.”

Kopiński was also awarded a Foerderer Grant from the Children’s Hospital Philadelphia and, most recently, a $100,000 grant from the Institute for Translational Medicine and Advanced Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania to be used as seed money to start his research.

As he works tirelessly in the laboratory to make a breakthrough discovery, Kopiński looks back fondly on his time at Holy Family University—the institution that helped him break into receiving an education in the United States.

“Holy Family really gave me everything it had,” he said. “It provided me with the education and mental support I needed to develop into a well-rounded person who can pursue his dreams. Whether as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, a tutor in the Center for Academic Enhancement, or a teammate on the golf team, I always felt the values of family, respect, and vision were present. People here encouraged me to reach for the stars and gave me their time and attention to help me achieve my best. Without Holy Family University, I would not be where I am today.”

Robbins and Stokes-DuPass Lead the Charge for Study Abroad

SR - ItalyWith more than 24 countries between them, Dr. Shelly Robbins, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Professor, and Dr. Nicole Stokes-DuPass, Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor, know a thing or two about study abroad trips. Robbins and Stokes-DuPass see the merit in both short-term and long-term study abroad trips. The pair sat down with Holy Family University to discuss the benefits of these trips, their reasons for leading multiple trips to foreign countries, and their favorite destinations.

HFU: What are your thoughts on the documented benefits of short-term study abroad trips?

NSD: “I firmly believe that study abroad opportunities are an essential part of the higher education experience. Now more than ever because we live in an increasingly globalized world and our students will need cultural competency skills in order to compete with their peers in the global economy. The higher education literature supports this claim. Kuh (2008) identifies study abroad as one of the high-impact activities of a university experiences as measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Specifically, the data shows that first-year students and seniors who participated in these high-impact activities reported greater gains in learning and personal development. Many students and parents ask if there are real benefits to traveling for 8-12 days versus spending a semester or an academic year abroad. A recent research study at Michigan State University examined this exact question. They found that even short-term study abroad programs enhance students in four major ways: Academic/intellectual—problem solving and language skills, historical knowledge; Professional—professional contacts, direction for future career choices; Personal—an appreciation for the United States, confidence, personal identity, increased flexibility; and Intercultural Interest—an interest in other cultures, diminished ethnocentrism, language skills, cultural sensitivity”

SR: “Short-term study abroad trips allow students enrolled in highly structured academic programs to experience the benefits of international travel. Like Nicole said, these include increased cultural sensitivity, openness to new experiences, increased self-confidence, and a better view of the United States’ place in the world. On a practical level, students gain experience in using different currency, trying a new language, and visiting sites they may have only heard about or seen on TV. This allows students to understand the importance of geography and politics first hand.”

HFU: What have been some of the personal reasons for you leading these study abroad trips?

SR: “I did not travel outside of North America until I was 30. My whole understanding of the world and my comfort zone was changed at 30 by a trip to Israel and Egypt. I remember my sense of awe when seeing the Sphinx for the first time. I love that component of travel. I want to instill in them the sense that there is more in the world than the area around campus. There may even be better places than Wawa to get lunch.”

NSD: “I’m a strong advocate for study abroad and I have created these opportunities for the past 10 years because I have personally observed the change in students prior to and upon return from a study abroad experience. Many return with a broadened perspective on a myriad of social issues, tangible skills of being able to navigate daily life in a new country, and communicate with people from cultural backgrounds that are different from their own. As our workplace and society becomes more diverse, and as globalization of business intensifies, an individual’s sensitivity to cultural differences, combined with an ability to adapt his or her behavior to those differences, will become increasingly valuable.”

NSD-FinlandHFU: Why did you select the countries that you did for study abroad trips?

NSD: “Because I always include a strong academic component to the programs that I lead, I will often choose countries that I have great familiarity with, or where I have conducted prior research. I am a political sociologist who explores issues of public policy, citizenship studies, international migration, and nationalism. For me, it is important that travelers have tangible connections to their respective majors and are able to leave the experience exposed to new and different ways to tackle common social issues. For example, the criminal justice majors who traveled with me to Finland got the opportunity to visit a prison in Helsinki, where the approach to criminal justice is more focused on rehabilitation than on retribution or punishment. The goal of this visit was not to identify which system is ‘better or worse,’ but rather to have our students exposed to models for addressing crime that are unique or different from the models that our society uses—a broadening of perspective.”

SR: “Initially we chose destinations that were not too challenging, but exotic enough. In 2008, I was asked not to take students to Paris because of the ‘language barrier.’ But I wanted Paris, so we persevered. We have been back there several times. More recently, I have begun asking students where they want to go. Italy and Australia/New Zealand grew from those open invitations to students.”

HFU: Out of all of your trips, what has been your favorite country and favorite moment?

SR: “Personally, my favorite was our visit to Turkey and the day we spent in Troy. As a Classics minor, this was the top of my bucket list. As we walked through the ruined city, I was able to talk about the history of Troy VI and its archaeology. We covered everything from the Trojan Horse to Schliemann’s Trench.”

NSD: “This is difficult for me to answer because they all offer unique experiences. One of my favorite ‘teachable moments’ was having a conversation with a criminal justice student who also worked for one of our state prisons after we visited a medium security facility in Finland. This particular facility did not refer to the residents as prisoners. They trained staff to use the term ‘client’ instead because of Labeling Theory. The director who spoke to our group said that the term prisoner would label someone for life, and what would happen after they serve their time and leave the facility? After the visit, the student said, ‘I learned about Labeling Theory in my classes, but never thought about it being applied in that way in terms of the language that we as practitioners toward the people in our prisons.’”

Emily Gilmour Accepted into Hofstra’s Graduate PA Program

emily gilmourNot even a month removed from walking across the stage at the Kimmel Center where she accepted her diploma and turned her tassel, Emily Gilmour ’16 will move on to Hempstead, NY and attend Hofstra University, where she will study to be a Physician’s Assistant (PA).

A Psychobiology major while at Holy Family University, Gilmour knew she had a passion for the sciences since high school. A 12-day medical camp in Washington DC with the National Youth Leadership program before her junior year at Conwell-Egan Catholic showed Gilmour that it wasn’t just science, but medicine, that she was truly interested in.

“Since I was young I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in science,” Gilmour said. “During that camp, I learned about the various aspects medicine had to offer me. It was at this camp I knew I wanted to become a Physician’s Assistant. At the end of the trip I made the decision to shadow a PA to see what it was like on a daily basis. After that experience, there was no doubt that this was the career path for me.”

One moment still sticks out in particular to Gilmour during her shadowing experience—a pivotal moment that solidified her decision to pursue medicine.

“The PA I was following was treating a critically ill patient from a prison who was not responding to previous medical treatment,” she said. “He was going to be intubated for a period of time in order to reverse his condition. Right before he was sedated, he grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes, and asked if I would say a prayer with him and continue to hold his hand until it was over. I didn’t let go of his hand until the procedure was over. In that moment, knowing that I was able to comfort him, assured me that this was the career for me. Being a PA is physically, intellectually, and emotionally demanding, but in the end, it’s worth it.”

Gilmour’s education at Holy Family University has prepared her for an in-depth medical education. Whether it was her coursework or the values instilled in her from Holy Family, Gilmour feels ready to face her next journey head-on.

“HFU has provided me with the necessary foundation to become a Physician’s Assistant,” she said. “Everything I have learned set the ground work for my future career. The core values of Holy Family University were embedded in each and every one of my courses. Holy Family’s motto, ‘I’m bound by my responsibilities,’ will continue to be an important reminder in my future education and career. I will be responsible for my patient’s wellbeing, but that is exactly what I want to be doing.”

Using what she has learned in the classroom at Holy Family, combined with her work as a Unit Secretary at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol, Gilmour hopes to work in an ER after receiving her PA degree.

“During my time at Lower Bucks Hospital, I’ve learned how to take vitals, interact with patients, perform electrocardiograms, and assist doctors during routine procedures,” Gilmour said. “This job has validated my passion to work in an ER. I love the fast paced environment and variety of patients that an ER brings. I’d also like to specialize in trauma because I like the adrenaline rush you get while thinking on your feet.”

Gilmour has had an impact on those who taught her as well. Dr. Chris Carbone, Assistant Professor of Biology, has witnessed Gilmour’s success in the classroom first hand and knows that she has all the tools of the trade to succeed in such a program.

“During my interactions with Emily both in and out of the classroom, she has continuously demonstrated herself as an intelligent, mature, compassionate, and motivated young woman that knows the meaning of hard work and dedication,” Carbone said. “She has developed a real and genuine fascination with medicine and understands that medical knowledge must translate into the appropriate patient care and proper bedside manner to be a successful Physician’s Assistant. She possesses all the core virtues, passion, intellectual capacities, and practical life experiences that will allow her to excel in any PA program.”

Holy Family Enters Educational Agreement with St. Joseph’s High School

Holy Family University is excited to announce an Admission and Scholarship agreement with St. Joseph’s High School, to further both institutions commitment to faith-based learning. With the agreement, St. Joseph’s students will be accepted to Holy Family University as long as they meet three requirements: graduate with a high school degree, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and meet the University’s SAT/ACT scores. St. Joseph’s students will also be able to receive scholarships if applicable and participate in instant decision days and specialized visit opportunities, among other benefits.

St Josephs High School Holy Family University Educational Agreement Signing

St Josephs HS / Holy Family University - Educational Agreement Signing 2016

From St. Lucia to Philadelphia—Augustin Finds His Stride at HFU

Taurai Augustin sized1,993 miles.

That’s the distance between Philadelphia and St. Lucia. If you’re fortunate enough to secure a flight with only one stop, it’ll take roughly eight hours in the air. Other flights can take up to 29 hours. When leaving from Philadelphia International Airport, you’ll eventually arrive at Hewanorra International Airport, where you’ll still have to endure an hour and a half drive, a 59-kilometer journey, to La Clery, the northwest tip of St. Lucia, and the hometown of junior Taurai Augustin.

Augustin’s arrival in the United States was planned, but his journey to becoming a college athlete at a small school in Northeast Philadelphia was a little bit of a shock.

In 2013, Augustin packed up his belongings and moved from St. Lucia to live with his grandmother in New Jersey. He began attending Union County College, where he became a member of the track and field and cross-country teams. After finding success in the classroom and on the track, Augustin piqued the interest of scouts from Holy Family University. The rest, you can say, is history.

“I had always been a dedicated and focused student,” Augustin said. “My coach at Union County was always keen on me picking the right school to transfer to afterwards. One of my offers was to Holy Family University, and after discussing the school, academics, and my role on the team, I was certain I would transfer here.”

Though most of his family lives in the U.S., his parents still reside in St. Lucia. Augustin joins his grandmother, an older brother, and an older sister in the United States. With the support of his family, the culture shock hasn’t been too dramatic, though Augustin admits it can be tough to be away from your parents and the laid-back island life.

“It has been a little challenging being away from my home, especially not being able to see my parents as much as I’d like, but that is part of the college experience,” Augustin said.

“Growing up on a small island and than coming to Philadelphia, there are a lot of changes. The roads, the huge buildings, the scenery, and the food are some of the things that were difficult to adjust to, not to mention the Philly dialect. Besides my family, I miss the atmosphere, the people, and the somewhat simplistic lifestyle of St. Lucia. The island life brings a culmination of beautiful weather, surreal environments, and hardworking people. I miss the scenery, the food, the festivities and the culture, but it still remains in me and I share it with my peers at Holy Family.”

Augustin’s accomplishments don’t just come on the track. He was presented the Top XV Award by the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference in May, an award that recognizes student-athletes with the highest cumulative grade point average that participated at the CACC championships. A Biology major with a focus on Pre-Med, Augustin has a 4.0 GPA, thriving in the small classroom environment of Holy Family.

“My educational experience at Holy Family University has been comprehensive,” he said. “Each professors shows their desire to teach, as well as make themselves available for any issues that may come along during the duration of the course. The fact that Holy Family University is a small institution allows my professors to be able to identify who I am so that we can build meaningful relationship.”

As far as what he’d like to do upon graduating, Augustin has his eyes set on a career as a sports medicine physician, where athletes can receive the same kind of treatment he was provided.

“When I graduate, I’d like to enter the medical field, prepare for getting into medical school, and eventually specialize in sports medicine so that I can treat athletes,” he said. “This degree will be the foundation for my medical career and I hope to use it to signify that hard work is a key part of success.”

Algarra Passionate About Tiaras and Stethoscopes

AlgarraJacqueline Algarra more frequently dons a pair of scrubs than a big colorful dress anymore, but that doesn't mean she has retired from the pageant circuit. Still competing today, the junior nursing major is currently focused on following in her mother’s footsteps to become a healthcare professional.

Entering her first pageant in the fourth grade, Algarra used the competitions as a way to break out of her shell—a way to combat her shy personality. After watching Sandra Bullock star in Miss Congeniality, Algarra knew that she wanted to start training and competing.

“It all started with Miss Congeniality when I was little,” Algarra admitted. “The movie made me interested in entering a pageant. I was very shy, so my first pageant brought me right out of that mindset. I loved every minute of it. I always kept up with Miss America and Miss USA competitions, and even attended Miss NJ in Atlantic City in 2005. I was in awe of each girl’s platform, talent, and love for their community service.”

Still competing today, Algarra finds time for competitions between her schoolwork. She recently competed in Miss NJ USA, Miss American Coed (MAC), and Miss Burlington County—a Miss America preliminary event. She is the current titleholder of Miss Pennsylvania American Coed 2015, representing Holy Family University. She also placed in the top 15 at MAC Nationals in Orlando out of 70 women. If that wasn’t enough, she also guest judges certain competitions. Her success landed her an interview with Fox 29s Good Day Philadelphia in December.

Algarra’s platform is The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), a group that she has a particular soft spot for, as someone who overcame her own eating disorder.

“I suffered with it through high school,” Algarra said. “At first, I always kept it to myself, but through the pageants, I’ve been able to help others through my story. Each year I attend the NEDA walk in Philadelphia and raise money for the organization. Eating disorders are the mental illness with the highest mortality rate of all mental disorders. Through my platform and through being a nurse, I hope to help all 10 million women and one million men suffering across the United States.”

When she isn’t rehearsing for a pageant, Algarra is preparing for a career in nursing. Following her mother’s lead, Algarra knew nursing was the right major for her once she arrived at Holy Family University.

“I’m a care giver at heart,” Algarra said. “I have always had an interest in health, and through volunteering at my local hospital, I knew it was the right path for me. My mom is a nurse, so she is able to give me the support I need in this tough but rewarding profession. I’ve watched her save lives and make so many people happy.”

Though she is open to any opportunities that her nursing degree will present her, Algarra gravitates towards treating the geriatric population.

“I have such a soft spot for the elderly,” she said. “They have a lot of knowledge and so many stories to tell—all you have to do is listen. The baby boomer population is getting older now and people are living longer than ever. We need more skilled personnel to take care of this population that can specialize in their diseases and body processes. My goal is to get my masters and become a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner.”