Holy Family University Unveils New Computer Information Systems Major

Holy Family University has recently unveiled its newest major, Computer Information Systems, as part of the School of Business.

Computer Information Systems is an interdisciplinary program combining business administration and computer science giving a graduate an understanding of how systems work, how to manage them, and how to create them. Students also take courses in the liberal arts to cultivate critical, creative, logical, and ethical thinking which are essential in today’s job market.

The program has three goals, according to Dr. Jan Buzydlowski, Assistant Professor for the School of Business.

“First, students will learn how to proficiently use a variety of computer languages, methodologies, and platforms. Second, they will apply the correct methodologies for the development of systems, and finally, be able to identify and explore future trends within the computing area,” Buzydlowski said. “This program was created as an alternative to a computer science degree, less theoretical, and management information systems degrees, more technical. It allows a student to create a system ranging from an app to a full information system. It also has a focus to keep an eye out for future trends so as to be able to follow them and not become dated. So, in short, students will be facile in a number of programming languages and know system-building elements, such as databases and networks.”

Students will experience classes in Introductory Programming, Advanced Programming, Internet Programming, Human-Computer Interaction, Networking, Systems Analysis, Database Management, and Cyber Security.

“Philadelphia is a hotbed for the information technology sector,” said Dr. Bernice Purcell, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of the School of Business. “Students in our Computer Information Systems major are in an excellent position to secure internships, co-ops, and other useful experience to pair with their degree. The demand for these positions will only continue to grow over time, making this a lucrative degree for students to pursue.”

Holy Family University’s First Annual Nativity and Tree Lighting

NativityTreeLightingOn 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!

Knox Makes Everlasting Connections with Patients in Diligent BSN Fast Track Program

mattknox sized- By Alyssa Reyes ‘18

Caring for hundreds of patients is part of the job description for nurses across the country, but establishing strong bonds with these patients is one of the reasons why Matthew Knox shines. A second degree BSN fast track student at Holy Family University, Knox anticipates to complete his degree in February 2017 and then hit the ground running.

During his clinical experience at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knox was responsible for checking on a maternity patient after aiding in the delivery of her healthy baby boy. She was so touched by his work and dedication that she called Dr. Margaret Harkins, BSN Fast Track Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor, to praise Knox’s work and described him as phenomenal and very caring.

Knox credits part of his success to the environment of Holy Family University and its staff.

“All of the teachers throughout the program have made me feel prepared for the clinical experiences,” Knox said. “There really is a family environment. As a male, it was easy to feel intimidated by my maternity clinical. My classroom teacher, Denise McFadden (RNC-MNN, MSN), and clinical instructor, Lisa Diasio (CRNP), shook away all doubts and made me feel more comfortable. I'm glad they did.”

Knox’s journey in the medical field originally did not begin at Holy Family University. With a previous undergraduate degree in Psychology from Penn State University, he began working as a residential adviser at Foundations Behavioral Health, a long-term mental health facility for adolescents.

“The job taught me that patient care is an environment that I loved,” he said. “I feel very comfortable in therapeutic relationships . There were many difficult conversations with patients and their families. Being successful in these moments always led to positive outcomes.”

To make it through the difficult moments that the profession can present, Knox finds that a sense of humor is important to stay grounded.

“I'm just lucky to have classmates that will sometimes laugh at my mostly terrible jokes,” he said. “Nursing programs and school in general can be very stressful; otherwise, they would probably laugh at more of them. In nursing, you’re often dealing with patients on the worst day of their life. If they are up for it, a good laugh can go a long way to making it slightly better.”

With February around the corner, Knox is thinking about what is next in his career. He still has his foot in the door at the residential psych facility and at Doylestown Hospital, where he currently works as a patient care technician. He knows that he still has some soul searching to do, but even with some uncertainty about what his future will bring, one thing that will follow him wherever his journey takes him is the humbling experience with his patient.

“I will never forget how lucky I was to have such a wonderful patient that would be willing to share this moment with me. It ended up being a life changing experience.”

Gee Presents at 2016 International Symposium on Verbs, Clauses, and Constructions

Dr. Roger Gee, Professor and Director of the Master’s Program in TESOL and Literacy for the School of Education, recently presented at the 2016 International Symposium on Verbs, Clauses, and Constructions. The symposium was held on October 26-28, 2016 at the University of La Rioja, Logroño, Spain.  It was sponsored by The Nerthus Project Research Group (Department of Modern Languages, University of La Rioja) and focused on reports of substantial, original, and unpublished research. His paper was titled, “Semantic Prosody of I/we + past tense + me/us verb constructions.”

“The semantic prosody of a lexical item may be defined as the negative or positive associations of other words or phrases that co-occur with the lexical item, and the tendency is for semantic prosody to be negative,” Gee said. “The research I reported investigated the semantic prosody of the I/we + past tense + me/us verb construction for ditransitive high-frequency verbs that carry a possessive or obtaining sense. The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) was used to locate 165 singular tokens of the verb construction and 81 tokens of the plural construction. For the singular construction, 86 percent had a positive semantic prosody, and for the plural construction, 60 percent had a positive semantic construction.”

School of Business Administration Presents at NABET Conference

Dr. Jan Buzydlowski, Assistant Professor, Dr. Don Goeltz, Associate Professor, and Dr. Bernice Purcell, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of the School of Business Administration, presented at the 39th Annual Northeastern Associate of Business, Economics, and Technology (NABET) Conference on October 27-28 in State College, Pa.

The Northeastern Association of Business, Economics, and Technology, formerly known as The Association of Pennsylvania University Business and Economics Faculty, originated in the late 1970s, providing an opportunity for interested economics and business professors to meet and discuss their research and controversial issues in business education and in the state government of Pennsylvania. NABET offers opportunities, primarily in the Northeastern states, for the faculty of colleges and universities to engage in the exchange of their research by presentation at the NABET Conference.

Dr. Buzydlowski presented with James Pomykalski of Susquehanna University. Their presentation, “Comparing and Contrasting Systems Analysis Methodologies with Data Analytic Frameworks,” described the parallels between the systems development lifecycle and similar lifecycles common for data mining and data-exploration systems for the purpose of developing a hybrid methodology and supporting modeling tools for a more comprehensive and rich developmental environment for data analytics.

Dr. Don Goeltz and Dr. Bernice Purcell presented a paper in process entitled “Critical Thinking in Capstone Courses.” Their presentation detailed their efforts to judge course inputs—particularly textbooks—with regard to how well the texts support development of critical thinking capabilities in students.

“This conference is a growing regional conference that provides a chance to present to our peers from colleges and universities similar to ours,” the group said. “The collegiality, sharing of experiences, and opportunity to learn from each other made this an excellent experience."

Holy Family University Named to Victory Media’s 2017 Military Friendly® Schools List

2017 Military Friendly® School Award BadgeHoly Family University has been named a 2017 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media.

First published in 2009, Military Friendly® Schools is the most comprehensive, powerful resource for veterans today. Each year, the list of Military Friendly® Schools is provided to service members and their families, helping them select the best college, university, or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career.

Holy Family University’s Veterans' Affairs Programs, part of the Registrar’s services, has been committed to making a private, post-secondary education affordable for all veterans and their dependents.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from Victory Media’s proprietary survey. More than 1,700 schools participated in the 2017 survey; 1,273 were awarded with the designation. Ratings methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Victory Media with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

“Holy Family University is committed to making all students feel welcome and at home in our halls, especially veterans, who have served our country and now want to come back and receive a college education,” said Sr. Maureen McGarrity, President of Holy Family University. “We are honored to have earned this distinction from Victory Media, and will continue to make an effort to ease the transition from solider to student for our veterans.”

Science Faculty Awarded Alden Trust for Zebrafish Lab

zebrafish2Dr. Jackie Myers and Dr. Chris Carbone, Assistant Professors of Biology, have recently been awarded a $75,000 grant by the George I Alden Trust. The grant will be used to purchase equipment for basic science research and development of a new zebrafish facility.

Students will have the opportunity to work with zebrafish in their course related laboratory experiences. Currently, students in the honors section of Biology 120 are utilizing the lab for one of the independent research projects. The students have set up different conditions to determine the effects of water quality to establish appropriate fish habitat conditions. Students interested in pursuing further Zebrafish-related research will have the opportunity to work directly with Dr. Carbone and Dr. Myers.

“During our transition to Holy Family University, we knew an animal model system was important for research,” Myers said. “We came from institutions where murine models were the primary research tool. Independently, we came to the conclusion that the Zebrafish model would be the most practical system and would easily integrate into the classroom. Through many research discussions, it became evident that Chris and I had a strong collaborative research interest. During the Spring of 2015, we began planning on how to make a Zebrafish research facility for faculty and students a reality.”

The addition of the Zebrafish will provide students with an exciting view into biomedical research.  

“Introducing a new variety of biology research at Holy Family provides students the opportunity to complete research-based internships internally,” Carbone said. “Additionally, improved research facilities provide us the opportunity to apply for research-based federal funding. The development of a sustainable research agenda will benefit student research and faculty scholarship for many years to come.”

Part of the Alden Trust offer included a stipulation that Holy Family University match the grant’s monetary funding, indicating the institution’s commitment to the Zebrafish project. This match was made possible through a bequest from Janet Mackiewicz’s estate. Mackiewicz earned three degrees from Holy Family University—Elementary Education/Psychology ’99, MEd ’09, and Art ’14. She passed away in May 2014 after a battle with cancer.

“Janet Mackiewicz left a gift to the University that is going towards exactly what she wanted—advancement of the sciences,” said Sister Maureen McGarrity, President of Holy Family University. “Janet’s name evokes many memories across the campus community, none more so than her never ending quest for education. With her help and generosity, we were able to match the funds of the Alden Trust grant and get the Zebrafish project off the ground. I’m excited and proud that we can use Janet’s gift towards this exciting endeavor.”

Huber, Shea, and Corbin Present at Pennsylvania Counseling Association's Conference

Dr. Diane Shea, Dr. James Huber, and Lisa Corbin will present at the 48th Annual Pennsylvania Counseling Association Conference on November 12 in State College, Pa.

The Pennsylvania Counseling Association (PCA) is a state branch of the Washington, DC-based American Counseling Association (ACA), the national professional association that represents the 526,000-plus professional counselors who live and practice here in the United States.

Lisa Corbin, Practicum/Internship Coordinator and Dr. Diana Piperata, Clinical Director at Self Help Movement, Inc.
Creative Mindfulness Strategies for Non-Traditional Population

Presenters will engage attendees in hands-on mindfulness activities that have been shown to work with the diverse clients of Self Help Movement, Inc., a multi-level of care substance use disorder treatment facility located in Philadelphia, Pa. Presenters will provide a brief synopsis of Mindfulness meditation as related to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as well as a portrait of the population being served within SHM. Participants will then engage in three hands-on activities that they can take back to use with their diverse populations. Activities using kinetic sand, bubbles, and markers will exemplify the underpinnings of mindfulness.

“We are establishing a qualitative research project that will investigate outcomes of participating in the mindfulness meditation group,” Corbin said. “Clients will be asked to elaborate on how they were or were not affected by participating in the mindfulness meditation group, which activities appeared most influential, and what strategies they are using after the group has ended. Results from this study will be utilized to create a quantitative research design.”

Dr. Diane Shea, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology and Dr. James Huber, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology
Class Notes: The Creative Use of Music in MFT and School Counselor Education and Supervision

In this one-hour, interactive workshop, Dr. Huber and Dr. Shea will describe, discuss, and demonstrate creative and effective ways to use music to engage students, enhance learning, and explore diversity in graduate Marriage and Family Therapy and School Counseling courses and supervision.

"Music has been called ‘the universal language’ so we like to use it to help energize the

learning process and stimulate creative thinking in our counselors in training,” Huber said. “For example, listening to world music in a multicultural counseling class may help students appreciate new aspects of their diverse clients.  Even Bruce Springsteen's classic song Streets of Philadelphia can become the inspiration for a good clinical case study."

Additionally, Huber will be a part of a panel, titled “Creative Strategies for Engaging Students and Enhancing Counseling Training Programs.” He will join representatives from Marywood University, Arcadia University, and Villanova University. The panel will provide participants with specific teaching strategies that engage students in their learning as well as offer ideas for increasing involvement and a sense of community within counselor training programs.

"The HFU Counseling Psychology faculty is a creative team of teachers,” Huber said. “This statewide panel is a great opportunity share some of our success stories in interactive classroom methods, innovative skill building exercises, and inspiring service learning activities.”

Better Late Than Never, Lowe Reaches Her Education Goals

KimLowe SizedKim Lowe’s fateful day wasn’t even intended to be for her. In 2008, seated in an office with a friend who was interested in going back to college, Lowe realized that her own education aspirations were still alive and well. She originally attended college in the 80s, but had to withdraw because of family circumstances. However, it wasn’t long after Lowe entered that office that she spoke with an admissions counselor, described her hesitation about reentering school, and met with a college representative.

She graduated with a degree in Human Services in 2011 and then earned a Master’s in Administration of Human Services in 2012.

Now a doctoral student in the School of Education at Holy Family University, Lowe is expecting to graduate in Spring 2018 with an EdD in Educational Leadership and Professional Studies. However, the journey hasn’t been without its fair share of heartache.

At a young age, Lowe was diagnosed with Spinal Meningitis, which doctors believed could have left her with cognitive and emotional impairments. After overcoming the odds, her health declined yet again when she became pregnant with her daughter.

“My health deteriorated to the degree of becoming permanently disabled,” Lowe said. “As a survivor of abuse and brain injury, I still cannot believe that my long journey towards a college degree has afforded me the chance to obtain a doctorate degree.”

A debilitating pregnancy left Lowe vulnerable and skeptical that she could achieve the education she had always wanted. With support from her family and friends, Lowe committed herself to physical rehabilitation and has been able to work with mental stimuli to continue her education.

“Despite everything, I have a greater appreciation for many of the things that people take for granted, like eating, being self-reliant, and feeling healthy,” Lowe said. “In my dining room I have a makeshift classroom with a blackboard, dry erase board, and posters. I repeat things often, but at least I have the tools to enhance my learning and memory. I continue to be under doctor’s care to address my physical and emotional needs. I sometimes view life as being overwhelming, but there is a support system in place.”

After she completes her education, Lowe has aspirations to become a motivational speaker—to help those searching for encouraging and powerful words to make dramatic changes in their lives.

“Poor self-esteem and lack of motivation has inhibited many people from living to their fullest potential,” Lowe said. “I was that person. I want to move people into a higher knowing of themselves. I want to help adults get back on track.”

Everything Lowe has worked for over the past eight years has been in tribute to her daughter, Kyla, a freshman at Merion Mercy Academy, who she hopes to inspire with her own higher-ed journey.

“Returning back to college was one of the hardest decisions of my adult life,” Lowe said. “As a single parent, I did not want to neglect my child. I believed that my time for a formal education was behind me; my role now consisted of being a mother and provider, not a college graduate. One day, I was talking with my daughter about resilience and determination. I stressed the importance of finishing what you started in life. I reflected on the fact that I did not complete college. As my daughter’s first role model and teacher, it was important to lead by example.”

“The past eight years have involved countless marked-up papers from my professors, the not-so-good grades, the late-night naps on the computer desk, and, of course, the final passing grades. I shared these moments with Kyla because I want her to witness the power of faith and resiliency. Obstacles are a part of life. It is important to learn how to remain on course of your life’s goals.”

As her graduation date continues to draw near, Lowe is moving towards the finish line—slowly, but surely, better late than never.

Accounting Students Find Strength in Numbers

Accounting Nuts lightened sizedFor accounting students Michael Weiss, Carli Mastantuno, and Lauren Apice, the decision to work with numbers has always been an easy choice. Facing an overloaded credit schedule to eventually sit for the CPA exam, the group pools its resources to form a permanent study group, acting as academic, social, and emotional support during a sometimes difficult schedule. Their relationship has earned them the nickname “the accounting nuts.” Three might just be their lucky number.

“We rely on each other when it comes to taking notes or clarifying an aspect in class that maybe one of us didn’t quite understand,” Apice said. “We have formed a tight study group and are always there to help or answer each other’s questions. After spending so many long days and hours with them, I am proud to say that they have become two of my best friends.”

“Originally, I thought I was the only Accounting and Finance major until I met Mike on the first day of college. We both had the same idea that majoring in dual subjects and getting 150 credits, the required amount of credits to sit for the CPA exam, in a four-year timeframe was the best path to follow. We convinced Carli, an Accounting major at the time, to pursue the dual degree with us. After that, we had all of the same business classes together and seemed to gravitate towards one another, especially since we are all dedicated and extremely hard workers.”

The dedication to the dual degrees has helped all three with studying the required material. As a constant study group, the team uses each other for clarification, extra help, or some much needed stress relief.

“Because we all take the same classes and share the same break, we normally work together on any assignments that are due for the upcoming week,” Mastantuno said. “Although each assignment is our own thoughts and own ideas, we are all there to provide feedback to one another, while helping each other improve any mistakes one of us may have made. There are also times during our breaks where we have managed to go to the mall or to lunch if we did not have any schoolwork to complete.”

As the group continues on their degree path, with extra classes filling up the little free time they already had, Weiss, Mastantuno, and Apice are glad to have each other, making the process easier to overcome.

“Working with them has made the course overload much more bearable,” Weiss said. “The three of us work together and always push each other to limit, while having fun and bonding as much as possible. Lauren and Carli have become my close friends, and there are no other people I would want to spend my academic career working with.”