News

Spend Finals Week in the Library with an All Nighter

Looking for a fun way to spend your time studying for finals? Come to the third annual Library All Nighter on Friday, April 29. The event will kick off at 8 pm.

New activities will be planned every hour, including math tutoring, APA citation assistance, dodgeball, water pong, and healthy and high energy snack advice from a registered dietitian. There will also be door prizes, break-time activities, free snacks and beverages throughout the night, and everyone’s favorite—"Sister Maureen's Midnight Munchies"—hot and fresh pizza delivered and paid for by Sister Maureen.

“The event would not be possible without the generous donations from faculty and staff,” said Shannon Brown, Executive Director of the Library. “Last year, almost all of the food was purchased through donations. The goodwill of the Holy Family community is overwhelming. The All Nighter is an excellent and fun night of studying and bonding. I encourage everyone to come out and spend the night at the Library and see for yourself first hand.” 

Donations will also be accepted until the day of the event. Interested students should contact Brown at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Christine Runowski at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Students Participate in Student Aid Advocacy Day

student advocacy dayAlongside Dr. Stephen Medvec, three Holy Family University students traveled to Harrisburg, PA on April 12 to participate in Student Aid Advocacy Day.

Sponsored by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania’s website, Student Aid Advocacy Day is “a day set aside each year for the students from our member institutions to lobby for legislative support for private institutions of higher education. It is not only a great opportunity to remind our legislators that their constituents attend private colleges and universities but also lends an excellent educational experience for the participating students.”

Attending the trip was junior Lauren Apice, junior Sienna Smith, and sophomore Victoria Hernandez.

“This was an exceptional delegation,” Medvec said. “We met at the Capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday, April 12th, with Representative Mike Driscoll, Senator John Sabatina, Jr., and with Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack. It was an excellent opportunity for these students to get involved and learn about the behind the scenes processes for Pennsylvania’s higher education.”

Having the opportunity to network with these individuals was a valuable experience for Hernandez, as she will complete an internship in Washington D.C. during the summer.

“Traveling to Harrisburg and participating in Student Aid Advocacy Day was by far one of the most amazing opportunities I have experienced,” she said. “The ability to say I have spoken to Senator Sabatina, Representative Driscoll, and Lt. Governor Stack is something I will never forget. Moreover, everything from developing a deeper understanding of budgets for colleges and universities to the creation of scholarships will serve as a learning pillar that I will take with me to my internship in Washington D.C. this summer.”

Betsy Lane Joins Isolator Fitness As Health and Fitness Specialist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Family University Unveils New Neuroscience Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifelong Walt Disney World Fan Accepted into Disney College Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting to Know: Dr. Jennifer DeCicco

Jennifer DeCiccoAn Assistant Professor of Psychology, Jennifer DeCicco, PhD, is one half of the team that is bringing Neuroscience to Holy Family University. A self-proclaimed brain geek, DeCicco brings her expertise to the classroom, letting students learn the inner workings of the brain through hands-on experiences. She sat down with Holy Family University to discuss her background, how she knew teaching was the right career path, and her classroom philosophy.

HFU: What made Psychology the right field for you?

JD: “In high school I was always interested in psychology, but I never took a psych course until college at Rider University. I took Biological Psychology as an undergraduate and I was hooked. I was an instant brain geek. In my junior year, a student had missed a lot of class and my professor asked if I would be willing to help her out and go through the material with her. The student told me that I was good at this and that I should be a professor. I had given it thought before and I enjoyed teaching, but never seriously. I knew I was going to go on to graduate school, but had yet to think about my goals post-graduate school. These experiences as an undergraduate confirmed that teaching was not only something I was passionate about, but also that it should be my career. I was fortunate to have a great mentor who really inspired me to teach. I’ve always had an interest in biology, but not the same interest as other members of my family. I grew up in a very science-oriented family. My dad is a research pharmacist and my brother studies prostate cancer, so everyone has their own thing. We all have different perspectives in science. As compared to my dad and my brother, my interest has always been in the brain and aging.”

HFU: Can you tell me about some of your past and current research projects?

JD: “A lot of the projects and research I did throughout my undergraduate career asked questions about attention, aging, and physiology. When I went on to grad school, I continued with the same type of research program, but added an emotional component. I studied how individuals differ in the ability to regulate emotion, ranging from five-year-olds to 90-year-olds. Using electroencephalography (EEG), a noninvasive way to measure brain activity, my research projects and dissertation focused on how older adults and young children differ in how much they pay attention to positive, negative, and neutral stimuli using emotion regulation strategies. The big question is what characterizes adaptive versus maladaptive emotion regulation, which is associated with psychopathology and mood disorders.”

“I moved away from using EEG as my primary physiological measure, and now I use electrocardiography (ECG) to measure changes in heart rate. I am currently working on some analyses for a project that examines differences between college-aged students with and without ‘helicopter parents.’ The project aims to understand whether those with helicopter parents have greater physiological reactivity, as measured via ECG during a stress task, as compared to those who do not have helicopter parents. The goal is to understand whether having a helicopter parent plays a role in various outcomes from stress reactivity to depression and anxiety.”

“I started out with this really strong interest in physiology, the brain, and behavior. That’s always been the common theme throughout my academic career, from my undergraduate degree through graduate school and beyond. Though I am passionate about research and statistics, some of my projects are service learning-based. These projects teach older adults how to use emotion regulation strategies that are known to have positive effects on well being. My research projects, in combination with these service-learning opportunities, aim to explore how we can use emotion regulation strategies and physiological measures to develop an understanding of what characterizes positive well being. My goal is to use various characteristics to develop profiles of what skilled emotion regulation versus maladaptive regulation looks like across the lifespan. More importantly, if we know identify a profile of what skilled regulation looks like, how do we help train individuals who aren’t doing as well?”

HFU: If you weren’t teaching, what would you be doing?

JD: “I can’t imagine not teaching. When deciding on my path for graduate school, my decision ultimately came down to whether I would have the opportunity to teach while in graduate school. The program I was in offered me a teaching fellowship, which was a perfect match for me. There has never been an aspect of my career that didn’t involve some sort of teaching. I began teaching undergraduate courses in my third year of grad school, and there hasn’t been a semester I have not taught since. I’ve always had an interest in teaching, and after I tutored that student, it sort of confirmed that this was what I was passionate about. It was her perspective that helped to confirm it, but I was fortunate to have really great teachers that helped me understand the importance of mentoring students. I’ve always sought to end up a school that valued this perspective. I kept gravitating towards small schools where I could continue to have that personal interaction with students that I had as an undergraduate. That’s what drew me to Holy Family University. There was a strong emphasis to know your students, have smaller classes, be able to work with students one-on-one, and engage students in critical thinking in and outside of the classroom.”

HFU: What is your philosophy in the classroom? How do you get students to connect to the material on a personal level?

JD: “In my Physiological Psychology class, I try to do a lot of hands-on activities. I tell a lot of personal stories and try to relate everything we talk about to personal experiences, topics, and stories in the media and things the students can relate to. So for me, it’s about relating it back to topics the students understand and use on a daily basis. I use a lot of clinical examples and have students complete mini-labs during class even though it’s a lecture. Neuroanatomy can be difficult for students to grasp solely by looking at 2-D pictures on a screen, so I have students make models of the brain in class. It’s all about a hands-on experience to tie it back into what we learned. If it is something unique the students can relate too, I think they walk away with the knowledge.”

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

JD: Outside of the classroom, sports are a big thing in our family. I played soccer for 15 years, and now my daughter plays what can only be described as organized chaos on the soccer field right now. I play on a softball team with my husband in a co-ed league and we are avid Phillies fans. We enjoy all Philadelphia sports and spending family time together, whether it is out at the zoo or the ballpark.”

Turkish-Muslim Scholar Visits HFU to Speak About Islam

 

Holy Family University will welcome Ferhan Tunagar, a Turkish Muslim who teaches at Rutgers University and is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, for a presentation on Islam on Friday, April 15, from 11:45 am – 12:45 pm in the ETC Auditorium. The event is open to the campus community and public.

“Most Americans know little about this religion and its members who make up the fastest growing religion in the world,” said Dr. Joseph Stoutzenberger, Professor of Religious Studies. “Ferhan is a Muslim scholar that will address questions posed by Holy Family students. He has spoken to a number of church and community groups in the area about Islam and is associated with the Peace Islands Institute, a Turkish-Muslim organization dedicated to dialogue, education, and justice. We’re looking forward to inviting him to our campus to learn more about Islam.”

For more information, contact Dr. Joseph Stoutzenberger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Saturday Senior Class Legacy Flea Market Rescheduled for 4/30

The 2016 Senior Class Legacy has rescheduled its Flea Market for Saturday, April 30, 2016 from 9 am to 2 pm at Holy Family University’s Main Campus, 9801 Frankford Avenue at Grant Avenue.

Flea vendor spaces are just $15, 2 spaces for $25. Interested vendors should contact Michael at 215 333-3155. The day’s activities will include a silent auction, live entertainment, face painting and games for the kids, raffle prizes, a 50/50 and more.

April Art Gallery: Seriously Hilarious

April 2016 Art Gallery - Seriously HilariousHoly Family University Art Gallery Presents Seriously Hilarious

Exhibit Dates: April 6 – May 2

Artist Reception: Tuesday, April 12 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

On Tuesday, April 12, Holy Family University will host an artist reception for senior William Goebig to discuss his senior art exhibit Seriously Hilarious.

From the Artist: “This body of work is entitled Seriously Hilarious because there is a sense of duality to my art making. In one aspect, I am very serious and strict in my technique to create balanced and aesthetically pleasing designs. In the other aspect, I am looser and more spontaneous, like in my paintings and drawings of exaggerated features and abnormal situations. It is through these two styles of art that I have found my personal balance in art and in life.”

“Throughout my time as a student and during the course of my life I have always, quite literally, drawn on any piece of paper that was in front of me. These drawings usually turned out to be nothing but partially finished sketches of faces or letters. Although different, they always had one thing in common—they all ended up in the trash and I never paid them any mind. Recently I decided to use these sketches, give them life, and break away from the guidelines and rules that I thought art had to follow. My art today is a result of sketches that were either on a blank piece of paper, the back of a syllabus, or in a sketchbook.  This work is a break away from the seriousness of life and art, and is fun because life is hard and everyone needs a chance to escape; this is mine.”

“As a Graphic Designer, art plays a different role, which can be viewed as more strict and serious. The majority of my graphic art focuses on the guidelines of design. I enjoy making balanced designs because it allows a different approach to creation. It allows me to create a piece of art that I can look at and know that it can make sense by itself. My graphic design work is serious while my paintings and sculptures are hilarious.”

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.

For more information, please contact Pamela Flynn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Linda Thompson Presents at Counseling Conference

Dr. Linda Thompson, Associate Professor and Director of the Counseling Psychology Program at Holy Family University, recently returned from Montreal, Quebec where she presented at the Annual American Counseling Association and Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association Conference and Expo from March 30 to April 4.

With more than 3,000 attendees representing professional counselors, psychotherapists, school counselors, counselor educators, as well as hundreds of graduate students from all over the United States and Canada, Thompson presented on gender issues and panic disorders.

"This was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with both American and Canadian colleagues who are producing cutting edge research and to share my research with those who are working on similar projects,” Thompson said. “The highlight for me was to have participants say that they had no idea of the innovations that I had shared, and that it will make such a difference in their work with clients. That is the ultimate goal of clinical research."

Titled "Understanding Gender Issues in Working with Panic Disorders: An Integrative Approach," Thompson spoke about her ongoing clinical research into treatment outcomes in combining Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy in working with those suffering from panic-related disorders. This integrated approach incorporates current findings in neuroscience regarding hormonal influences in the "fight or flight response," and how oxytocin levels can mediate panic differently in men and women, prompting the need to employ different therapeutic approaches.

Thompson also presided over the International Association of Addiction and Offenders Counselors annual meeting as president-elect for 2015-16.