News http://www.kean.edu/ en Empowering Our Future: Inside Kean University's Center for Africana Studies http://www.kean.edu/news/empowering-our-future-inside-kean-universitys-center-africana-studies Discover the Center for Africana Studies at Kean University, a hub for cultural exploration and social justice. Join us as we honor history, forge our future and unite communities.

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Discover the Center for Africana Studies at Kean University, a hub for cultural exploration and social justice. Join us as we honor history, forge our future and unite communities.

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Facing the Tide: How Rising Sea Levels Shape Our Future http://www.kean.edu/news/facing-tide-how-rising-sea-levels-shape-our-future mmccorry faa9ebf3-8c8a-4e48-87f6-9371bdc9aae6

Learn more about rising sea levels, the critical role of dunes along the Jersey Shore and innovative strategies to address climate challenges with Kean Assistant Professor Dr. Jun Cheng, Ph.D., on our latest episode of Urban Impact.

Urban Impact is recorded and produced at Kean, New Jersey’s urban research university. The podcast is now available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google, and at kean.edu/urban-impact.

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Graduate Student Wins Fulbright Award to Teach in Peru http://www.kean.edu/news/graduate-student-wins-fulbright-award-teach-peru Kean University graduate student Kevin Vega has received a Fulbright Award that will take him to Peru this summer, where he will help teachers develop their skills in teaching students to understand and interpret history.

He is one of only 20 U.S. citizens selected for the 2024 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short-Term Program, which dispatches expert K-12 teachers from the United States to participating countries around the globe.

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Kean University graduate student Kevin Vega has received a Fulbright Award that will take him to Peru this summer, where he will help teachers develop their skills in teaching students to understand and interpret history.

He is one of only 20 U.S. citizens selected for the 2024 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short-Term Program, which dispatches expert K-12 teachers from the United States to participating countries around the globe.

“I am incredibly excited to have been chosen for this prestigious award,” Vega said. “In addition to assisting teachers and specialists with new strategies aimed at helping students critically interpret sources, understand historical events and context, I will provide recommendations on conducting regional historical research.” That research pertains to the Battle of Ayacucho, a pivotal conflict in Peru’s war of independence.

Vega, of Somerville, who is also a history and social studies teacher at Princeton High School, is a student in the Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (MAHGS) program at Kean and expects to graduate in May 2025. He said he has long been fascinated by Holocaust and genocide studies, “particularly its exploration of human behavior,” and teaches related topics. 

Kean History Department Chair C. Brid Nicholson, Ph.D., said the MAHGS program encourages students, most of whom are teachers, to “not only recognize the past, but develop curriculum and bring what they learn into their own classrooms.”

She said the Fulbright will give Vega the opportunity to utilize his skills internationally and experience a different classroom and different methods of teaching.

“I am thrilled that Kevin has been recognized with the Fulbright Award,” Nicholson said. “As the University works towards R2 research status, this award is a wonderful recognition of Kevin's work. Everyone connected with Kean’s MAHGS program, faculty and students, is very excited for him.” 

Vega said the lessons he has learned in the MAGHS program will enhance his educational experiences in Peru.

“Through the MAHGS program, I've developed various skills, including research methods, critical thinking, primary and secondary source analysis, and text analysis. These skills have been consistently emphasized throughout my courses, and I'm eager to apply them in my work in Peru,” he said.

Vega, whose parents were both born in Costa Rica, also has significant experience in bilingual education, and will be teaching and collaborating with other educators primarily in Spanish.

Vega will work in Peru for five weeks, starting in July. Stationed in the city of Ayacucho, and spending time in various classrooms and schools, he will lead seminars and workshops, review academic study plans, and suggest evaluations and assessments to measure learning outcomes.

Fulbrighters also have the opportunity to expand their professional networks, and lay the groundwork for continued collaborations and partnerships after they return to the United States. Vega said he hopes to do that as well. 

“I hope to integrate what I learn in Peru into my own classes and maintain professional ties. Additionally, I'm excited to become part of a large global alumni network,” he said. 

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Fruit Fly Research at Kean Provides Insights on Human Infertility http://www.kean.edu/news/fruit-fly-research-kean-provides-insights-human-infertility Dive into the cutting-edge world of genetic research with Kean Assistant Professor Matthew Niepielko, Ph.D., as he and his students study fruit flies to unlock solutions for infertility and sterility. Discover how this important research could pave the way for future medical breakthroughs.

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Dive into the cutting-edge world of genetic research with Kean Assistant Professor Matthew Niepielko, Ph.D., as he and his students study fruit flies to unlock solutions for infertility and sterility. Discover how this important research could pave the way for future medical breakthroughs.

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Kean University Establishes Dual B.S./Pharm.D. Program with Fairleigh Dickinson University http://www.kean.edu/news/kean-university-establishes-dual-bspharmd-program-fairleigh-dickinson-university mgonzale 77db40d6-7d1a-4464-b1d3-28e37989a8a4

Kean University this week announced a dual degree program with Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) that will provide a faster pathway for aspiring pharmacists to earn their doctoral degrees close to home.

This strategic initiative comes a week after Kean announced a similar agreement with Howard University, one of the nation’s preeminent historically Black universities based in Washington, D.C.

“We are committed to providing our students opportunities to excel and pursue the career of their dreams,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “These agreements offer our chemistry students not just one, but two robust avenues to success. We look forward to establishing additional partnerships in other disciplines to provide even more opportunities for our diverse student body.”

Under the accelerated degree program with Fairleigh Dickinson, students at Kean will obtain both a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Kean and a Doctor of Pharmacy, known as a Pharm.D. degree, from FDU in seven years. This trims a full year off the traditional time required to earn these credentials.

The Howard agreement offers a similar approach with students moving to Washington after three years at Kean. The new FDU agreement provides students a similar opportunity and allows them to remain in state, said Keith Bostian, Ph.D., associate provost for science and technology at Kean.

Kean's reputation as one of the most diverse universities in the country will be further enhanced by these programs, contributing significantly to diversifying the field of pharmacy.

“These are both excellent Pharm.D. programs and the admissions criteria will be strict to ensure our students are truly prepared to succeed,” Bostian said. "These pathway programs represent a crucial investment in the future of our students, providing them with accessible, high-quality educational and career opportunities.”

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Culturally Rich Solo Exhibition Opens at Kean http://www.kean.edu/news/culturally-rich-solo-exhibition-opens-kean Artist Jacoub Reyes recently unveiled his site-specific art installation, Esconderte del mundo y en ti mismo esconderte, meaning “hide from the world and hide in yourself,” at Kean University. A brilliant transformation of space, Reyes delivers an experience steeped in the history of Puerto Rico’s sugar plantation system.

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Artist Jacoub Reyes recently unveiled his site-specific art installation, Esconderte del mundo y en ti mismo esconderte, meaning “hide from the world and hide in yourself,” at Kean University. A brilliant transformation of space, Reyes delivers an experience steeped in the history of Puerto Rico’s sugar plantation system.

Reyes, an interdisciplinary artist based in Central and South Florida, primarily works in printmaking and large-scale installation. His work utilizes experimental techniques to unravel his complex mixed-cultural heritage and build an imagined future based on belonging and resistance.

The exhibition, on display in the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery, located in the Nancy Thompson Learning Commons on Kean’s Union campus, showcases Reyes’s work and ability to navigate different mediums. In partnership with the Galleries at Kean, Reyes was joined for the opening reception by the Raíces Cultural Center New Brunswick for a special Bomba dance performance in the Learning Commons Viser Lab. 

“This is my homecoming,” said Reyes. “I used to sit in the back of the classroom at Kean while my mother took classes. To return, years later, and present my work, and partner with local community organizations, is deeply personal and rewarding.” 

The exhibition is inspired by Julia de Burgos’ best-known poem, Rio Grande de Loiza. In this poem, Burgos’ childhood landscape emerges as a driving force for her memories and reveals the harm and grief of her island, enslaved by colonialism.

Throughout this installation, Reyes uses contrasting visual tropes to create connections between displacement, memory, cultural preservation and notions of home. He focuses on the lasting social, political and ecological effects of the colonial experience through the interior of a sugar mill ruin. Esconderte del mundo y en ti mismo esconderte features a variety of multimedia, including video, audio, assemblage, screen prints, woodcuts, painting and textile works. Through these, he aims to excavate histories lost, forgotten and buried beneath us.

“Reyes’ work is grounded deep within his cultural heritage, as someone born to a first-generation Catholic Caribbean mother and South Asian Muslim immigrant father,” said Lynette Zimmerman, Ed.D., associate vice president of the Liberty Hall Academic Center and Galleries at Kean. “He traverses multiple mediums and deepens the relationship between them through his own layered identity. Each work resonates with cultural context and is developed through research into his ancestry, systemic failures and human existence. His personal journey exemplifies his ability to embrace complex emotions, feelings of belonging and how art is his wellness.”

Reyes will return to Kean on Thursday, March 28 for a workshop with local middle and high school art teachers, part of the Galleries at Kean professional development day.

Esconderte mundo y en ti mismo esconderte will be on display through Friday, June 21, in the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery at the Nancy Thompson Learning Commons on Kean’s campus, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, New Jersey. Visit galleries.kean.edu for more information.

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Communication Graduate Lands Social Media Role for NFL http://www.kean.edu/news/communication-graduate-lands-social-media-role-nfl Francisco Reyes always followed professional football growing up in Atlantic City, but now the Kean alumnus is making a career of it as an NFL social media and marketing associate.

For the past few months, he’s been ensuring that the best moments from NFL games are posted to social media and followed up with reactions, quotes, videos and messages.

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Francisco Reyes always followed professional football growing up in Atlantic City, but now the Kean alumnus is making a career of it as an NFL social media and marketing associate.

For the past few months, he’s been ensuring that the best moments from NFL games are posted to social media and followed up with reactions, quotes, videos and messages.

“In my second week on the job, I found myself sitting a few feet from Commissioner Roger Goodell,” recalled Reyes, who commutes to NFL headquarters in New York from Elizabeth. “It was one of those pinch-yourself moments where you say, ‘Oh, wow, l'm really here!’ It's surreal, and my inner child is enjoying it.”

Reyes, who graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in communication, said it was his work experience, rather than his contacts within the sports industry, that landed him his job with the NFL — and previous positions with ESPN and Pro Football Focus.

“They liked my resume because most of the work I've done has had a pro football focus,” he said. “In fact, the NFL offered me the position 15 minutes after my second interview. I think it was meant to be.”

Ajah Hunter, managing assistant director of technical services at Kean, never doubted that Reyes would achieve his goals. She still remembers his huge grin when she interviewed him in 2015 for a commentating position at Kean.

“I saw how enthusiastic he was and knew he would fit perfectly at Kean Live,” Hunter said. “Aside from being a natural leader, Francisco adapts to any situation thrown at him, and I loved how he kept his composure when unforeseen circumstances occurred on air. I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished and cannot wait to see what the future holds for him.”

At Kean, Reyes served as executive vice president and then president of Kean’s Student Government Association, learning leadership and public speaking skills. Stephanie Fazer, former director of the Office of Student Government, remembers him as “one of my best presidents, a leader dedicated to being the voice of the students and getting the job done.”

While Reyes had planned to go into sports broadcasting, his commentating experiences convinced him that social media would be a better fit, allowing him to be more creative and versatile. He also credits a Kean internship in the tape library at MSG Network with teaching him the importance of establishing himself in his industry.

That thoughtful career exploration paid off, said Zach Tantillo, head of social media at Pro Football Focus and Reyes’ former supervisor.

“He had a great attitude every single day,” Tantillo said. “He took and implemented feedback extremely well, a key part of success in our business. I always appreciated his flexibility and willingness to make things work.”

Since graduating, Reyes has made sure to share his insights with students at Kean.

In November 2023, he served as a panelist at the school’s first Sports Summit, hosted by the Kean Sports Business Club and the President's Advisory Council to acquaint students with sports professionals and potential career paths. Now, he’s advising Student Government President Makenzie Kuntz through a formal Kean mentorship program.

“I think it can be valuable to hear from someone who has had similar experiences but then graduated and gained a broader perspective,” Reyes said. “I’m proud to be involved because I want to give back to Kean in any way I can.”

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After Loss, Family and Friends Show Gratitude to Kean Center for Communication Disorders http://www.kean.edu/news/after-loss-family-and-friends-show-gratitude-kean-center-communication-disorders jrundqui 092aa40f-c14d-459d-a5c4-bb8787143fb1

The Center for Communication Disorders (CCD) at Kean University provided more than therapy to Gary Gerold when he began treatment there following a stroke in 2021.

“The clinic gave him a little bit of his old self back,” said his daughter, Blair Gerold. “The social opportunity my dad found there, in addition to therapy, may have been the single most mentally beneficial thing for his well-being. He could go someplace people recognized him as a whole person, who understood the full person who was behind there even if he couldn’t express it at all times.”

A retired account manager who loved meeting people, the Edison man received speech-language services after losing his ability to communicate due to aphasia, a disorder caused by the stroke. 

When Gerold passed away in November 2023, his family requested memorial donations be made to the center at Kean. Thus far, more than $2,500 has been raised from 14 donations.

“These generous donations will aid future patients and students at Kean, and we are so grateful for that support,” said Kean University Foundation Chief Executive Officer William Miller. “We express our deepest condolences to the Gerold family, and are pleased that our Kean student clinicians were able to play an important role in his life.”

James Konopack, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Professions and Human Services at Kean, which includes the CCD, thanked the Gerold family for their “amazing act of kindness and generosity.

“My colleagues and I in the College of Health Professions and Human Services are so proud of our students, faculty and alumni for the work they do, and we are grateful for the love and support shown by these gifts that honor Mr. Gerold's memory and support our ongoing mission,” Konopack said. 

Located on Kean’s East Campus in Hillside, the CCD  is a nonprofit teaching clinic and part of the University's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The clinic offers individual and group therapy services provided by graduate students in Kean’s Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology program. Patients include adults with issues such as aphasia; children with language delays; and others with various speech and language disorders. 

The CCD is one of several Kean clinics that offer services to the public at no cost. Others are in occupational therapy, mental health and autism assessment. 

Many aphasia patients are referred to the clinic after their progress in therapy slows and insurance benefits are dwindling, said CCD Director Susan Mandel, Ed.D. 

The condition is sometimes described as the feeling that you have a word on the tip of your tongue, but can’t come up with it.

“After a stroke, communication may be limited but intellect is not impacted,” Mandel said. “When communication is a struggle, individuals can feel isolated. In addition to individual therapy, clients participate in groups where members become a support system and a place to socialize.”

Gerold was treated during three semesters and bonded with student clinicians. One student, Julianna Austin, made a “communication book” to help him, with phrases and photos of things and places he loved.

Austin, of Edison, who graduates in May, worked with him individually and said she saw him “flourish.”

“Gary had so much to say, I just needed to make it more accessible for him to share his thoughts,” she said. “He was truly an inspiration and taught me many lessons on perseverance, strength and compassion.”

When Gerold died suddenly, the CCD community grieved. His therapy group sent the family a card. Several students attended his funeral.

Kate Clancy of Freehold said she hopes to “embody his humor and dedication” in her future career as a speech language pathologist.

“Gary touched us all so much,” added Michaela Diaz of Middletown. “I hope his family feels the love we are sending their way.” 

Blair Gerold said it was a clear choice for her family to direct memorial donations to the Kean clinic.

“When we thought about it, they had been such a help. It felt like a good decision,” she said. “We have such gratitude for what they do, and the holistic approach they take. I hope they are able to continue doing this for a very long time.”

For more information, visit the Kean Center for Communication Disorders website

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‘Common-Sense Billionaire’ John Catsimatidis Shares Wisdom with Kean Students http://www.kean.edu/news/common-sense-billionaire-john-catsimatidis-shares-wisdom-kean-students jrundqui 81819a3b-6c9f-43c3-bb65-640c61bb42f0

John A. Catsimatidis, a billionaire owner of grocery store chains, a real estate and aviation company, and the New York radio station WABC, gave lessons in success to students at Kean’s College of Business and Public Management (CBPM) on February 7.

In a remote lecture to a capacity crowd at Kean’s Hynes Hall, Catsimatidis touted hard work, putting in long hours, getting a “great education” and learning from mentors.

“I worked 100 hours a week. When other grocery stores were open six days a week, I opened seven days a week. The payment is in sacrifice,” said the business mogul, who started his empire with one New York City grocery store, and grew it into the Gristedes and D’Agostinos supermarket chains.  

Catsimatidis also owns Red Apple Group, a real estate and aviation company with $2 billion in holdings; United Refining Company; and WABC, where he has a talk show. He released a book about his life, How Far Do You Want to Go? Lessons from a Common-Sense Billionaire, and donated 100 copies of the book to the college.

“There’s no substitute for hard work,” he told students.

CBPM, which last year was accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, offers innovative curriculum, strong faculty, research opportunities and experiential learning in marketing, management, accounting, entrepreneurship and other programs.

Dean Jin Wang, Ph.D., said events such as Catsimatidis’ lecture broaden students’ experiences. 

“It is an invaluable opportunity for our Kean students to learn from successful leaders like John Catsimatidis,” Wang said. “We are grateful to Mr. Catsimatidis for generously sharing his message with our Kean students. His stories, wisdom, advice, and willingness to help us in the future were greatly appreciated.”

The event was moderated by CBPM Assistant Professor Saran Nurse, Ph.D. She called Catsimatidis “a remarkable blend of business acumen and community service.”

“He is a testament to the American dream,” she said.

Catsimatidis’ family immigrated from the Greek island of Nisyros when he was an infant. He dropped out of New York University eight credits shy of earning an engineering degree. 

Catsimatidis started his career when he had the chance to buy into a supermarket where he worked. By age 25, he owned 10 Red Apple grocery stores, a number that expanded to almost 50. He also pursued a lifelong passion - learning to fly a plane - then launched an aviation company. 

Kean students, many of whom said they dream of starting businesses, were energized by the lecture.

“He’s very inspiring, especially as an immigrant himself,” said Yulieth Sanabria of Elizabeth, a human resources management major, who immigrated from Colombia.

Garrett Terlizzi of Brielle drove to the lecture from Kean Ocean so he could hear from Catsimatidis. 

“He talked about hard work, putting in 100 hours a week. I think that’s a message we need to hear in our generation,” the senior finance major said.

James Mele of Manasquan, a second year MBA student, valued it, too.

“I appreciate that he still preaches the classic way of building a business by working hard,” Mele said.

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Kean College of Business and Public Management Among Elite Business Schools http://www.kean.edu/news/kean-college-business-and-public-management-among-elite-business-schools Hear from the College of Business and Public Management dean, faculty and students at Kean University about how being awarded AACSB accreditation – a feat achieved by less than 6% of business schools worldwide – impacts each of them. 

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Hear from the College of Business and Public Management dean, faculty and students at Kean University about how being awarded AACSB accreditation – a feat achieved by less than 6% of business schools worldwide – impacts each of them. 

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