From the ICU to HFU—Kersey-Matusiak Teaches Pennsylvania’s Newest Nurses


Gloria Kersey-Matusiak“Why are you here? Why nursing?”

Dr. Gloria Kersey-Matusiak raises these two fundamental questions in her first class to a group of bright-eyed new nursing students, looking to turn their education into a blissful career.

These two questions shaped Kersey-Matusiak’s journey from nurse to educator.

Kersey-Matusiak, a nurse for 46 years, has worked in top Philadelphia-based hospitals such as Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Philadelphia General Hospital. Her many years of experience as a nurse have shaped her philosophy on educating the newest nurses looking to break into the field.

“I expect my students to seriously reflect and discuss what is expected of a nurse in today’s world,” Kersey-Matusiak said. “I try hard to de-romanticize their concept of a nurse and instill reality to the students about the demands of the job. I explain from a personal perspective the intrinsic rewards and gratification, but I stress that one needs to want to be a nurse. It can’t be someone else’s decision.”

Kersey-Matusiak made her own decision to become a nurse after working as a candy striper volunteer at Inglis House in Philadelphia. The Inglis House allows individuals with severe disabilities to live independently within the facility. As a volunteer, the experience made Kersey-Matusiak want to pursue nursing even more.

“While in high school, I had been encouraged by a classmate to visit ‘The Home For Incurables,’ where some of my teenaged classmates were serving as volunteers,” Kersey-Matusiak said. “At 16 years old, I went purely out of curiosity, wondering just who ‘incurables’ were. Once entering the facility, I saw numerous individuals with physical disabilities. All were transporting themselves in wheelchairs through what looked like a mini-city. I learned so much about caring there. I learned that the individuals who lived there were born with disabilities but were not handicapped by them. I met a concert level pianist who had severe rheumatoid arthritis that disabled use of all but two fingers, with which he played the most beautiful Chopin melodies.”

The experience left a lasting impression on Kersey-Matusiak, who returned to Inglis House after she became a Registered Nurse.

“I came back to Inglis House as a Registered Nurse several years later and continued to learn from these heroes that being disabled is often more a state of mind then a physical or mental impairment,” she said. “My memory of this place and the residents has inspired me throughout my life to do my best with whatever God-given abilities and talents I may have.”

As a nurse, working in the intensive care unit can change perception of the profession. As a caretaker who only wanted to provide the highest quality care to her patients, she took it upon herself to make sure new nurses were devout to the same principals. To do that, Kersey-Matusiak completed additional years of education and now teaches a plethora of courses in the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at Holy Family University.

“My desire to teach came about as I worked as an intensive care nurse with patients who were critically ill and recognized that not all nurses practiced ‘caring’ in the way that really placed the patient at the center,” she said. “Sometimes care was even without real regard for the patient’s needs. Others who shared my feelings became frustrated, as we had no power over those nurses, no power to influence or change their behavior or attitude. I decided that where one has a great deal of influence over nurses’ thinking is in the classroom. I hope I continue to influence nurses in positive ways that ultimately make positive differences in their patients’ lives.”

Kersey-Matusiak has taught Nurse Educator Role and Advanced Clinical Practice; Culture and Health; Global Health; Pathophysiology; Medical Surgical Nursing; Introduction to Professional Nursing; and Transition to Clinical Practice. In her courses, the concept of diversity is one that is weaved throughout the curriculum.

“I emphasize the need for students to be prepared to communicate with patients for whom English may be a second language,” she said. “I warn them during the course that they must also factor in the patients’ cultural values and beliefs to provide care that is meaningful to them. In teaching all of my classes, I try to foster an appreciation of the health care disparities that exist between groups of people in the United States and the need for nurses to involve themselves as the greatest collective of healthcare professionals to address these disparities. When teaching at the RN-BSN level, I go beyond that to discuss global health, but to also encourage the development of cultural competency in all nurses."

Using her own textbook, Delivering Cultural Competency for Nurses, Kersey-Matusiak has developed a model for first-time nurses to perform a self-assessment to monitor ways in which nurses can make an impact in reducing health care disparities and other barriers to quality health care. Named the Staircase Model of Cultural Competency, the assessment helps students to reaffirm their answers to the question, “why are you here, why nursing?”


Sunday Night Comedy Series: Philly Native Blake Wexler Comes to HFU on February 28

Blake Wexler performs at Holy Family University - Philadelphia, PAThe Office of Student Engagement, in collaboration with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, is hosting the final comedian of its Sunday Night Comedy Series on February 28. Blake Wexler, a Philadelphia native who began his comedy career at the age of 15, brings a wealth of comedic experience to the ETC auditorium. Admission is free for all students and members of the University community. Seating is limited and is held on a first come, first served basis.

“I'm really excited for the 28th. I'm a Philly native so I always love coming back to my hometown to perform—so thank you so much for having me,” Wexler said about his upcoming performance.

After beginning his comedic career at a young age, Wexler moved to Boston in 2007 and continued his work in comedy while obtaining degrees in journalism and political science from Emerson College, according to his online biography. He has appeared on the 2009 College Humor Live Tour in Philadelphia and has performed in the 2009 and 2010 Rooftop Aspen Comedy Festivals.

Wexler has also been featured in the 2011 Seattle International Comedy Competition, the 2013 San Francisco Sketch Fest, the 2014 Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, and will be recording his debut stand-up comedy album, The Blake Album, at the Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia on March 9, 2016.

Philadelphia Magazine named Wexler one of Philadelphia’s funniest tweeters. He can also be heard on “The Todd Glass Show” podcast on Nerdist Networks.

Residing in Los Angeles, Wexler has written for Comedy Central and has worked on shows such as Key & Peele.

Tortu Excels as Student and Teacher

Donna TortuIt didn’t take Donna Tortu long to realize that her calling was meant to be in the classroom. As the mother of twin boys, being a parent volunteer in their pre-school and kindergarten classrooms drew her into the school environment on a level she never expected would happen. Connecting with children other than her own and being a part of their growth and learning made a huge impact.

“The transition to education was seamless for me,” said Tortu, MEd ’09/ EdD ’15.

A Communications undergraduate major, Tortu understood the process of exchanging and communicating ideas effectively in order to inform and teach. Tortu drew upon these strengths and put her passion for helping children learn into her next endeavor: becoming a teacher.

Deciding where to further her education was just as easy a decision as her career change.

“I chose Holy Family based on convenience of location, an excellent reputation for education majors, friends and family who received education degrees from the institution, as well as the creation of the doctoral program,” said Tortu, a Special Education Teacher at Moorestown High School in Moorestown, NJ.

The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Professional Studies program was created to develop innovative, effective, and ethical school and community leaders. A program not to be taken lightly, Tortu put her nose to the grindstone to complete her master’s in 2009 and doctorate in 2015.

“When I arrived at Holy Family, it was as I expected—rigorous and challenging—well connected to schools in the city and the suburbs with respect to student teaching and practicum opportunities, as well as knowledgeable faculty,” she said.

During her time at Holy Family, each program offered Tortu something different, something enjoyable both in and out of the classroom. Whether it was the companionship between fellow students, the opportunity to teach in a classroom for the first time, or working on her final dissertation, Tortu’s experience was rich and plentiful.

“My favorite part of my studies was the interaction among the students in my classes, because we were all pursuing a teaching degree after switching careers,” she said. “I chose the master’s program in order to pursue a dream of continuing my education and switching to a more fulfilling career. I chose the master’s elementary education K-6 degree program because it made the most sense based on my undergraduate coursework. I also chose the doctoral degree program because I felt like I wasn’t done learning. I wanted to pursue a leadership position in order to effect educational change at a higher level.”

With a daunting workload, a full-time job, and other responsibilities outside of the classroom, it’s nice to have a helping hand—someone you can rely on. For Tortu, that came in the form of Deborah McCusker, her adviser.

“Debbie was an invaluable resource,” Tortu said. “She encouraged me to take and pass as many Praxis content tests as I could at the middle and secondary level, which I did, to make myself more marketable to school districts. This proved to be excellent advice because those certifications helped me get hired.”

McCusker always believed Tortu had what it took to succeed.

“Donna was an enthusiastic learner, always pushing herself toward her next goal. When we began our Doctoral program she immediately came to mind as a candidate. I was so excited when she began her studies for her doctorate and overjoyed when she was among the first to graduate. Dr. Donna Tortu is an excellent role model and a real life example of how success is achieved through dedication and hard work.”

Tortu’s experience during her time at Holy Family included student teaching in the Council Rock school district, as well as in Pennsbury, where Tortu was a middle school special education teacher for three years.

“Opportunities to work with faculty that have real-world experiences in schools and school districts were invaluable based on their understanding of the practice in the field," she said. "Holy Family University is well known in the area and enabled me to present a respectable resume to potential employers. I felt prepared for my student teaching and subsequent positions after graduation.”


Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer ’11 Leads Philadelphia Fire Department

Derrick SawyerReports of a local fire rattle the alarms of the firehouse. Inside, men and women race against the clock to get up, dress in full garb, get inside the fire truck, and arrive at their destination as quickly as possible to put out the flames. Years ago, Derrick Sawyer ’11 was one of those firefighters—racing into the burning building to extinguish the orange beast. Now, as the Fire Commissioner for the Philadelphia Fire Department, Sawyer is using what he learned in the Air Force and the classroom to lead more than 2,000 firefighters under his watch.

A native of Philadelphia, Sawyer entered the U.S. Air Force, where he would spend 22 years of his life. After retiring from his post, Sawyer began to pursue academics goals, attending community college and obtaining an associate’s degree in Fire Science before transferring to Holy Family University. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration in 2011.

“I chose Holy Family University because they had an agreement with Community College of Philadelphia, where I received my Associate’s in Applied Science and they accepted transfer credits from my Fire Science degree,” Sawyer said. “I also chose Holy Family because they are recognized for their high academic standards. After arriving at Holy Family, it was all that I expected and more. There was a strong sense of family, which is similar to the culture of the fire service.”

Before joining the Philadelphia Fire Department, Sawyer was unsure of what to do after spending so many years in the Air Force. A slew of city entrance exams began to point him to his future career.

“Interestingly, I did not grow up wanting to be a firefighter,” Sawyer said. “After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, I took many city tests, including the entrance exam for the Fire Department. After passing the test and going through the interview process, I decided to give it a try. I graduated from the Fire Academy and decided that the fire service was a perfect fit for me because everyday would be a new challenge with numerous opportunities for advancement.”

It didn’t take long for Sawyer to gain a newfound respect for those who serve and protect the city—similar to the armed forces. Sawyer’s first call after graduating from the Academy and becoming a full-fledged firefighter changed his outlook on what his duties would be.

“The first call that I responded to was eye opening,” he said. “It was an accident response that involved a trash truck that crashed into a tree on City Line Avenue. The driver was trapped and I had to render first aid while he was being extracted from the vehicle. The accident helped me realize quickly that there are many facets of the fire service that I had to be ready for.”

After continuing to grow and work his way up the ladder, Sawyer was named Fire Commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department in June 2014. His position was in part made possible by his decision to obtain his bachelor’s degree from Holy Family.

“Attending Holy Family University provided me with the opportunity to become the Fire Commissioner in Philadelphia,” he said. “I had the opportunity to enroll in the Executive Fire Officer (EFO) program at the National Fire Academy, and one of the requirements to get into the EFO program was a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, it allowed me to serve on the Fire Science and Public Safety Committee for Holy Family University, which I enjoyed doing.”

In his position, Sawyer oversees the fifth largest fire and emergency services department in the country. He has also reduced the number of fire fatalities and injuries to an all-time low, secured $23 million in grant funding, and hired 160 new firefighters throughout the city. In a diverse landscape in a bustling city, being able to make the appropriate decisions are imperative for the safety of the residents and firefighters that Sawyer oversees.

“What I learned at Holy Family helped me transition into my role as Fire Commissioner,” Sawyer said. “The University provided me the tools to transition smoothly and process information in spite of tragic incidents that occurred during my first six months in office, including a propane tank explosion, a firefighter lost in the line of duty, and the Amtrak 188 train derailment.”

In addition to his work during emergencies, Sawyer spends a lot of time both locally and abroad talking about proper fire and personal safety measures. He has presented at the International Safety Seminar in Seoul, South Korea and the National Fire Protection Association’s Annual Conference. His work resulted in him being named the 2011 recipient of the T. Seddon Duke Award for Fire Prevention.

“The opportunity to speak at seminars and community meetings has been very rewarding,” Sawyer said. “One of my dreams early in my career was to be a motivational speaker. Although I am not technically one, I have the opportunity to change behavior as it is related to fire and life safety so that the city and the citizens that live and visit here are as safe as possible.”

A Pair of Professors Breathe New Life into Communications Program

Drs. Amanda McClain and Janice Xu - Holy Family University Communications ProgramAfter Dr. Amanda McClain came on board as a faculty member in the communications department at Holy Family University in 2011, she was quickly assigned a large task. Dr. Michael Markowitz, then the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, asked McClain to bring the program into the 21st century, including a complete overhaul, redesign, and update of the current technology and course offerings.

McClain, a modern pop culture junkie, is the author of two books focusing on today’s pop culture landscape: American Ideal: How American Idol Constructs Celebrity, Collective Identity, andAmerican Discourses and Keeping Up the Kardashian Brand: Celebrity, Materialism, and Sexuality. With a strong idea about what is currently trending in today’s society, McClain began to reshape the program from the ground up, including adding or altering 10 courses and bringing in new technology to keep the University competitive with other top programs.

Working alongside with Dr. Janice Xu, an expert in crisis communication, public relations, and the Chinese media industry, the pair have since added two additional courses and are continually thinking of ways to keep the program fresh.

“The field of communications is continually evolving in technology and social media,” McClain said. “We want our curriculum to reflect industry practices and to reflect what is actually happening in the media. That allows our students to get jobs in the field. Dr. Xu and I both really strive to stay abreast of contemporary popular culture and technology news. We’re constantly consuming news—not just mainstream press news, but technology news, media news, and academic news. When you’re an expert in the field, you’re so interested and passionate about it that you can’t help but stay abreast.”

To bring students the most up-to-date communications knowledge, McClain and Xu also proposed the University’s new social media minor, which is also becoming a certificate program. In this minor, students are taught the fundamentals of social media, building an online audience, and using the platforms in a professional setting. The response to the program has been immense.

“The new social media minor attracted a lot of students,” Xu said. “Even before the minor passed, students were asking how they could enroll and become involved. This not only reflects the trend of the industry, but also reflects our effort to accommodate the skill sets that our students have, because some of them are experienced in using social media.”

McClain agreed, adding that knowledge of social media is not only expected, but required when entering the communications field now.

“We wanted to reflect the contemporary media landscape,” McClain said. “This allows students that are graduating to say that they have experience in social media. It is a new area of job growth. Every company, every non-profit, every government organization has at least one social media manager. For our graduates to be able to say that they have experience in this field and that they can help cultivate and run these profiles, it gives them an edge in the job market.”

Xu explained that students go into the social media classes with the notion that only a couple of platforms are useful, that everyone uses it the same way. However, she added, that it is those who learn how to use it effectively are the ones who will succeed in this booming industry.

“In the beginning, they believe that everyone is posting the same stuff about their animals, their vacations, and their family gatherings,” Xu said. “What this minor is teaching them is how to expand and use the medium professionally—how journalists and marketing professionals use social media in their day-to-day lives.”

Whether it was new equipment in the television studio, cutting edge programs in design and video production, or the use of iPads in the classroom, both McClain and Xu believe that keeping students current on today’s trends are what will help them succeed after graduating from Holy Family University.

“I believe in experiential learning,” McClain said. “I believe in taking what is happening outside of the classroom and bringing it in. For example, my Digital Media class lets everyone borrow an iPad for the semester. That’s what people are doing outside of class. They’re using Twitter and using iPads. In the class, students are encouraged to live tweet the class and have a back channel of conversation about course topics. In Law and Media Ethics, every student brings in a relevant current events article. The law, especially media law, is never stagnant. To see how what we are learning in class resonates outside of the classroom is very important.”

The communications capstone course, Multi-Media Storytelling, has also been revamped to provide students with a way to tell a full-fledged digital story.

“The students put together digital photography skills, audio skills such as podcasting, writing skills, and video skills,” McClain said. “They then create one big project where they learn how to tell a multimedia story. This is more then just journalism because you’re putting together all of these moving parts and making decisions for how to tell this story. Having a finished product like this at the end of their college career can really help students showcase what they can do.”

The change in the program has paid dividends for the students.

“The semester long project that were working on is a great learning tool,” Rachel McAnany, a senior Communications major in the Public Relations track, said. “This class and project will teach me not only how to tell a story through my writing, but also visually. We live in a digital world where multiple media elements must be combined in order to keep the reader's interest. The capstone taught me how to combine these elements in a thoughtful and compelling way.”

Students are also able to participate in a number of communications clubs on campus, including the TV Club, the student newspaper, and the Public Relations Student Society of America. Drs. McClain and Xu are the faculty advisors for all of these programs. Another form of first-hand experience comes with the program’s mandated and acclaimed internship program. Previous students have interned at the Bucks County Courier Times, NBC 10, Q 102 FM, The Fan 97.5, and the Philadelphia Flyers.

“The students do internships and know what is going on in the communications field by participating in daily operations of the media,” Xu said. “They are with radio and television stations, professional sports teams, and they bring the latest activities back to the classroom. They discuss what is going on in the industry.”

With a revitalized course offering and a fresh communications philosophy in the classroom, McClain and Xu are ready to offer Holy Family University students the most comprehensive communications experience.

“As instructors, what we can do is find or help create opportunities for them, where we can bring out their talent and engage them with people in the professional field,” Xu said. “Holy Family University has strengths that other colleges in the regions do not have. As Holy Family students in the communication major, students will proudly say that they are confident, competent, and capable of producing high-quality content for the profession and for the society.”


Stokes-DuPass Discusses Citizenship, Belonging, and Nationalism During Art Gallery Panel


Nicole Stokes-DuPassNot long ago, hopeful presidential candidates debated about citizenship, immigration, assimilation, and belonging. With stark and controversial opinions, the topics grew to national news.

Dr. Nicole Stokes-DuPass is a sociologist who specializes in state and international migration, citizenship, and social integration. She also co-authored Citizenship, Belonging, and Nation-States in the Twenty-First Century, the topic of the Art Gallery panel discussion on February 23. Stokes-DuPass sat down with Holy Family University to discuss her new book, immigration in the media, and what it means to be a citizen.

HFU: The February Art Gallery revolves around the title “Nationalism: Belonging/Not Belonging.” What resonates with you when you hear that title?

NSD: “Our book, Citizenship, Belonging and Nation-States in the Twenty-First Century, talks about the role of Nation-States, and specifically countries as governments who determine or create the conditions for belonging and not belonging. It is going to be really interesting to see how the artists interpret that. Think about anybody who has ever traveled to another country. Once you get in that country, there is usually an immediate feeling of belonging or not belonging, feeling welcomed or not welcomed. The book talks about policies that are enacted by governments to make migrants feel as if they belong to that new society or if they are excluded from that society.”

HFU: Looking specifically at the United States and the idea of belonging or not belonging, is that something that you believe as a country we excel in, have room to grow, or is something that is continually evolving and you never get to the greatest level of acceptance?

NSD: “I think it is all of the above. The United States has one of the most open citizenship policies in the world. We are one of the few countries that have a citizenship law that says if you were born on the soil in the United States, you are automatically a citizen. That is very unusual compared to the rest of the world. With that said, there is a chapter in the book on the United States that talks about some of our challenges, specifically about migrants coming in and citizenship being granted to those deemed ‘most deserving’ and in ‘good moral character.’ There have been points where we have limited who can come in. A lot of that is shaped by whatever geopolitical events are happening. If you look at our own history with Mexican immigration, we have had a push-pull relationship, where we have had a labor need and invited Mexican migrants over the border. Then, when we have a robust economy, we kind of say ‘ok, get back out.’ In some of our policies there is room for improvement. The one game-changer today is that the world is focused specifically on Muslim immigrants who practice Islam. The focus is on coupling immigration with national security, which has a new appeal, particularly in the U.S. and Western Europe, in the post-9/11 era.”

HFU: A lot of our would-be presidential candidates have talked about immigration, making controversial statements that ultimately made the topic a hot-button issue. What are your views about how immigration law is portrayed in the media?

NSD: “The topic is being displayed in a very polarizing way. All of these policies could work in varying degrees. Building a wall to block the border is not practical. I do think we have to couple national security interests with labor interests. One of the things, especially in the western world that we are dealing with, is that we have an aging population—a graying of America. Our population is aging and people are having fewer children and a number of our social and pension systems are reliant on young people paying into the system to support those who are pensioners. This is true for the United States and most of Western Europe. Immigration can address some of that because most of the people who are migrating come from cultures that marry younger and tend to have more children. Another piece of the puzzle is globalization and labor. Manufacturing in this country has declined significantly. There are certain countries that could be nice ‘sending countries’ for certain occupations. A lot of our nurses come from the Philippines. We have had immigration visa policies that are specific to group needs. We have also done this with India when we need doctors and physicians on work-approved visas.”

HFU: The panel discussion on February 23 is about your new book, Citizenship, Belonging and Nation-States in the Twenty-First Century. Can you tell me more about the book and some of its major themes?

NSD: “Political scientists and sociologists are the two main groups who have focused on citizenship studies. Political scientists have always focused on what citizenship can do—the conveyance of right, duties, and obligations. Sociologists have typically focused on access to citizenship, the assimilation process, and issues of discrimination associated with citizenship status. The book says that it is all of those things, and the one entity that controls all of them is the nation-state. Both disciplines have forgotten Nation-States in that conversation. They have moved towards this idea that Nation-States aren’t as important because we have all of these new actors, the European Union, and non-governmental organizations that now have transcended the Nation-State. We argue that the Nation-State is still the primary actor that controls all of the conditions associated with belonging or not belonging. Each chapter of the book is taking that conversation and to a different part of the world and looking at how the Nation-State in Syria, Qatar, and the Netherlands function.”

HFU: To someone who has never heard of the term, how do you define what a Nation-State is?

NSD: “This is where a political scientist would say that the nation is specifically defined as the government. The state is the government coupled with institutions that can make laws—an organized political community. When you put the concepts together, it shows that it is not just a form of government, but it is also a system of institutions that can enact policy and that can, and usually is, considered a form of identity.”

HFU: One of the major themes throughout your book deals with citizenship. In this day and age, how do you define citizenship?

NSD: “Citizenship is a status, and we stick with a very traditional definition in the book. It is a status and form of identity that is conveyed by the Nation-State. The status is important because it gives you legitimacy within that society. The best example is Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are American citizens. They have a very different form of citizenship than those who are born on the main land, but because they are a Spanish-speaking demographic, we tend to lump them in as an immigrant population. Puerto Rican citizenship is a great example because their Governor sits in Congress but has no voting rights. Residents of Puerto Rico have no voting representation in Congress, they have no electoral vote in presidential elections, but they participate in national service, meaning they can be drafted into the army. It is a strange form of U.S. citizenship and both exists in our present-day U.S. society.”


Criminal Justice Instructor Writing and Talking About Role of Police Officers at Schools

Beth SanbornIt’s been a busy few weeks for Officer Beth Sanborn, an adjunct faculty member at Holy Family University and a Police Officer for the Lower Gwynedd Township Police Department.

Teaching courses in Criminal Justice at Holy Family, Sanborn was recently published in the February issue of American Police Beat, a monthly law enforcement magazine tailored specifically to those in the profession.

Sanborn’s article focused on the role of School Resource Officers (SRO) in today’s public school system.

“The article was about School Resource Officers and our different responsibilities,” Sanborn said. “As a uniformed police officer in a public school setting, parents and student alike are sometimes wary and unsure of my presence. It didn't take long for them to realize that I was there as a resource, a trusted adult—not a disciplinarian. I have three roles that make up being an SRO. I am a police officer, there to prevent violence and crime; I am a counselor when students come to me with concerns; and I am a teacher who can provide information on the law, crime prevention, and crime detection.”

Though this is her first time being published in American Police Beat, Sanborn has also been published in Law and Order Magazine, The North Penn Reporter, Ambler Gazette, and has an article waiting to be published by Law Officer Magazine.

Sanborn isn’t just writing about these topics, either. She recently spoke at Tiferes B'Nai Israel Synagogue in Warrington about the responsibilities and benefits of a uniformed police officer in public schools, especially after the rash of incidents that have happened in schools in the past 15 years.

“I think having uniformed officers in our schools is a wonderful idea,” she said. “The reality is that officers who work with juveniles explore a tremendous number of avenues to divert them from the criminal justice system. Arrests come as a last resort. We work tirelessly to help kids make good choices on their own—to become productive adults. We mentor, guide, divert, and come up with alternatives to arrest as best as we can. By building relationships over time, we establish ourselves as trusted adults and not as someone who should be feared. SRO's invest themselves in their communities.”

Alternative Spring Break Sends Students to Oklahoma City With Habitat for Humanity

Holy Family University Habitat for Humanity - Alternative Spring BreakFor the 10th year in a row, Holy Family University students looking for a twist on the traditional spring break experience will travel to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to participate in a Habitat for Humanity building event.

From March 6–13, students and chaperones will help construct homes for a new development, Legacy Estates, in Oklahoma City. The homes are built to help individuals struggling with poverty in the surrounding area.

“This isn’t a handout,” Mike McNulty-Bobholz, Assistant Vice President for Student Life said. “It is a way to get out of poverty. Habitat for Humanity helps with home ownership and with the mortgage.”

Chaperones and students alike are responsible for fundraising the entire trip, with a goal of $20,000 being set at the beginning of the year. Through campus-wide events like Pizza and Pins, Bingo, and letter writing campaigns, the group has raised roughly half of that number.

During their weeklong trip, HFU students will attempt to build a complete home, but every building site brings its own set of challenges and goals.

“In Washington, we started with just a concrete slab,” McNulty-Bobholz said. “By the end of the week, we had all the rooms framed, the outside walls framed, and the framing for the roof was being placed. Did we build a whole house? No—but we do get far. In Texas, we had to do a lot of rehab. We cleaned out yards, as well as a house that was infested with roaches. Every year is a different story. On top of this, we also work with Philadelphia. On Friday, February 12, we are doing a day of service with the Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia branch and on February 20, we will be working with the Bucks County Habitat for Humanity.”

Throughout the years, the trip has been a way for students to learn and grow outside of the classroom.

“This is a life-changing experience,” McNulty-Bobholz said. “Every student that has gone has said that once it is done, they have been changed in some way. Some see how lucky they are to have the possessions they live with every day.”

One of the reasons students are drawn to the Alternative Spring Break program year after year is two-fold. The trip provides students with an alternative way of learning and growing, while at the same time, providing richer meaning to the Core Values of Holy Family University.

“This program is the flesh and bones of our Core Values at Holy Family University,” McNulty-Bobholz said. “It has Family, where we become a very united group throughout the journey. It is the 24 of us working and building together, and not always being happy with one another, but getting through the challenge while still having Respect for each other. There is Integrity—every site we go to, the last thing we hear is ‘I hope you guys can come back because you were really hard workers.’ There is Vision—the students see the vision of having no money for the trip, and turning that into the $20,000 needed to go and support future trips. Then Learning—a lot of the students have never flown before, never left their parents before. A lot of them never used a power tool of any kind. Finally, the trip itself is about Service and showing Responsibility for your fellow man. There are great growth stories of students who once they go on this trip, come back as a new person.”

Individuals wishing to help support the student’s trip to Oklahoma are encouraged to email Mike McNulty-Bobholz directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Lions, Tigers, and Bears—Oh My!

rp primary TOY DRIVEHoly Family University (Tigers) in conjunction with Bloomfield College (Bears) and Georgian Court University (Lions) will be hosting toy drives during the month of February to collect stuffed animals. Each school will then donate the stuffed animals to their local children's hospitals.
Holy Family will be donating its stuffed animals to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
During the men's and women's basketball doubleheader on Wednesday, Feb. 17 versus Chestnut Hill College, anyone who brings a stuffed animal to be donated will receive free admission. 
General admission that night will be $5 with all proceeds going towards the stuffed animal toy drive and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Holy Family students, faculty and staff with valid university ID will be admitted free. In addition, those that would like to purchase a stuffed animal at the game can donate $2 and will be able to take part in an in-game event.  
During a particular point in each game, fans will be allowed to toss the donated stuffed animal onto the court. Athletics staff will then collect the stuffed animals off the court so the game could resume.  
For more information on the stuffed animal toy drive please contact Tim Hamill, Special Events Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The original article publicizing this event can be accessed by clicking here, or by visiting Holy Family University Athletics.

February Art Gallery - Nationalism: Belonging/Not Belonging

February 2016 Art Gallery - Nationalism: Belonging/Not BelongingHoly Family University Art Gallery Presents Nationalism: Belonging/Not Belonging

Exhibit Dates: February 9 - March 1, 2016

Panel Discussion: February 23, 2016 3-4 pm in the ETC Lobby followed by an artist reception from 4-6 pm in the Art Gallery.

On Tuesday, February 23, Holy Family University will host a panel discussion titled Citizenship, Belonging and Nation-States in the 21st Century, in conjunction with its February Art Gallery event, Nationalism: Belonging/Not Belonging.

Eleven artists from across the United States will be exhibiting works that address the topic of Nationalism: Belonging /Not Belonging.

Exhibiting Artists: Kristen Miologos, Lidia C. Hasenauer, Gail Morrison-Hall, Stephen Marc, Robert Fields, Howard Hao Tran, Robert Knight, Calcagno Cullen, Howard Skrill, Pamela Flynn, and George Masry Isaac.

Panel Discussion: Citizenship, Belonging and Nation-States in the 21st Century. Editors Nicole Stokes-DuPass and Ramona Fruja will lead a panel discussion about the major themes of the book. Specifically, they will articulate why nation-states still matter in citizenship studies. The authors assert that nation-states continue to hold the unique capacity to determine who has the right to have rights. They also plan to discuss how states actively shape the assimilation outcomes and experiences of belonging among the populations who reside within its borders.

Nicole Stokes-DuPass, Associate Dean for School of Arts and Sciences/Associate Professor of Sociology, Holy Family University

Stokes-DuPass is a political sociologist and an accomplished educator with over 15 years of experience and expertise in teaching diverse student populations. Stokes-DuPass’ research focuses on the state, international migration, citizenship, social integration and Scandinavian and European studies. Her recent book, Integration and New Limits on Citizenship Rights: Denmark and Beyond (2015) is published with Palgrave-MacMillan.

Stokes-DuPass previously served as a U.S. Fulbright Fellow at Roskilde University and Guest Researcher at the Danish Institute for Social Research in Copenhagen, Denmark from 2000-2001 and in 2008. She has also previously served as a Dissertation Fellow for the American-Scandinavian Foundation to Denmark in 2008 and has also conducted research abroad in Russia, Germany and Cuba.

Ramona Fruja, Assistant Professor of Education, Bucknell University

Fruja has a dual doctoral degree in Sociology and Education and teaches courses on immigration, social contexts of schooling, and multicultural education. Her research is interdisciplinary and examines the intersections among immigration and identity, focusing on educational contexts and citizenship, particularly immigrants' experiences with education and citizenship in their multiple forms. She has presented her work at professional conferences internationally and has published in Globalizations; The International Handbook of Migration Studies (Routledge), Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation and Integration. She is also the co-editor of Social studies and diversity teacher education: What we do and why we do it (Routledge).

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.