Today, we speak with Marissa Ciocco, a junior civil and environmental engineering major from East Greenwich, NJ, who resides on campus in the Whitney Center. Marissa will give us insight on her career as being a member of Rowan PROS and will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.
Athletic clubs: NCAA Division III Field Hockey
Do you work on campus? Yes! I work with the Peer Referral and Orientation Staff (PROS) through the office of Orientation and Student Leadership Programs (OSLP). I also work with Rowan’s Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering systems (CREATEs) in the Construction Materials Laboratory where I assist with asphalt testing.
Why did you choose your major? I chose my major because I have always enjoyed a challenge and am passionate about the environment. I have always been intrigued by how science and people interact and would like to combine those ideas and use engineering to create a more environmentally conscious future.
One reason why you chose Rowan? I think in the back of my mind I always knew that I would end up attending Rowan. I grew up having dance recitals in Pfleegar Hall and attending soccer camps on fields that don’t even exist now, but I think the moment it clicked for me was in high school when I was attending an engineering camp in Rowan Hall. Not only did I become excited about engineering but I became excited about Rowan. I remember saying to my mom when she picked me up “I could see myself here.” The campus gave me a sense of home that became a reality in a few short years.
Being a member of Rowan PROS:
The PROS experience begins long before we are seen early in the summer mornings wearing our goldenrod polos waving to cars for parking or checking in students and guests. At first it began with our own orientation experience and then our desire to join the staff. For me, I loved the welcoming environment of orientation and how excited about Rowan everyone was. I knew I wanted to be involved with campus and was looking for a summer job, so joining the PROS was perfect. The people I met when I first entered Rowan made me comfortable entering college, and I knew if I could pass that on and make at least one other person comfortable, I would have done my job.
Let’s flash back to the winter months. After attending an information session, applying, participating in a group interview, and having an individual interview, you hear if you received the job on Valentine’s Day (sort of ironic). I remember picking up my envelope after class in the OSLP office and being so excited, I opened it immediately. It was good news!
After accepting the position and filling out the necessary paperwork, it was not long until the staff began their weekly meetings. Each week of March and April we assembled as a staff for a few hours in the Student Center to learn about various aspects of campus, prepare for the summer, and get to know our coworkers. The highlight of our spring training occurs after just our first week of training. That weekend we go to Camp Ockanickon in Medford, NJ for our staff retreat. We had training on Wednesday, and on Friday evening, we gathered together to board the bus to our weekend of team building. We return Sunday afternoon after creating numerous memories and participating in activities you will have to join us to hear about!
Once the semester ends, the PROS help with Commencement Week. If you attend a ceremony and look closely at the gonfalons on stage, you will see us holding them steady during the ceremony and cheering for the graduates! During this week we are also stuffing the bags all incoming students and guests will receive during orientation. This is such an exciting time because we are assisting with programs for students leaving the university and preparing for the new students about the enter. A full circle experience. Once this week concludes in May, we are off for about a month until we move in for work in June. This year we are living in the Edgewood Park Apartments, and Holly Pointe Commons on the nights when students are present. Our first week on campus is mostly additional training sessions to meet back up with the staff and prepare for the coming weeks.
The orientation season begins with a couple transfer orientations and then moves into nine freshmen orientations. We typically follow the same schedule, but throughout the summer there is a two-day transfer orientation where we go to Dave & Busters and two three-day orientation sessions where we have a dive-in movie or ThinkFast trivia show. We welcome thousands of students a part of multiple student groups over a two-month period. Each and every member has their own story and it is exciting to be a part of that transition.
My first year being a PROS member I worked with Parent/Family/Guest Orientation and this year everyone is working a combination of Programming, Student Orientation, and Parent/Family/Guest Orientation. I am so grateful for the diverse experiences being a PROS member has provided and the people I have met. It is a welcoming environment to grow and develop as a person and I will always be thankful for the PROS. While the summer is our main stage, we can be found working Move-In and Welcome Week, a fall and winter orientation, and helping with Open Houses. The staff is active all over campus and it has been a pleasure to be a part of a group with a great history and an exciting future.
We are #RowanPROUD and we are Rowan Profs! Not exactly sure what a Prof is? It’s our owl mascot, Whoo RU. Read about him here.
Photography and story organized by:
Vanessa Vause, junior public relations major and advertising minor