Today, we speak with Mark A. Ziegler-Thayer, a junior psychological science major from Stratford (Camden County), New Jersey, who lives on campus, in the Rowan Boulevard Apartments. Mark will share his #PROFpective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how he’s getting the most out of his university experience as a Rowan Prof.
Name: Mark A. Ziegler-Thayer
Major: Psychological Science at the College of Science & Mathematics
Concentration: Thomas N. Bantivoglio Honors Concentration
Minor: Education and Ethics
Hometown and County: Stratford, New Jersey (Camden County)
On Campus Resident: Yes, the Rowan Boulevard Apartments
Academic Clubs: Psi Chi – (The International Honor Society in Psychology), Alpha Phi Omega – (National Service Fraternity)
Social Clubs: Rowan Boulevard Hall Council – (RHA Representative, E-Board Member)
Do you work on campus? Yes, I am doing Federal Work-Study for the Office of Equity and Diversity. One of my favorite parts of working here is that I am surrounded by a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming staff. Feeling comfortable, in that regard, does wonders. Now, I am preparing for the 6th Annual Title IX Summit, which will be held in June, with Supervisory Program Coordinator, Margaret Viggiano, MBA. Working for her has been so inspiring, as she is an exemplar of promoting and championing for equality.
Do you work off-campus? Yes, I work as a teacher’s aide, every weekday, at an elementary school in Camden, New Jersey. I cannot express my admiration for this job enough! Working with other university students (many from Rowan University), as an after-school educator, has been an incomparable, learning experience. I teach kindergarten students, five to six years of age, fundamental knowledge, in a fun and engaging manner. The “scholars,” as we call them, teach me so much as well. My students are some of the cleverest individuals I know, as is made evident through their empathetic nature and optimistic attitudes. What I have found most interesting in teaching kindergarteners is that they keep me grounded. Educating intelligent, diverse, underrepresented students, in the city where I was born, has been such a special opportunity.
Why did you choose your major? Acquiring knowledge about social psychologist, Mamie Phipps Clark, Ph.D. and her research concerning child development, prompted my immense interest in psychology. Upon educating myself regarding Dr. Clark’s involvement in the 1950s, United States Supreme Court Case, Brown Vs. Board of Education, I realized how pertinent it was for university students to advocate for underrepresented groups’ educational equity.
One reason why you chose Rowan: Though there were many factors that compelled me to attend Rowan University, the research opportunities that the university provided ultimately lead me to this decision. Early on, I identified that my educational ambitions consisted of schooling until I earned a doctoral degree. As an inspiring academic, I wanted to ensure that I was able to involve myself in meaningful, substantial research, as an undergraduate student.
Currently, I am a Co-Investigator, under the supervision of Bonnie Angelone, Ph.D. In her research lab, we are examining variables (e.g. location) that may impact a pedestrian’s engagement in safety behaviors. As existing literature suggests, there are startling repercussions of unsafe, pedestrian practices. One of the goals of our research is to raise awareness about pedestrian safety practices. Excitedly, I, along with six other students, will orally present our research findings at the Psychology Department’s 44th Annual Psychology Research Conference, in April.
My Typical Day as a Rowan Student: I am taking a 20-credit course load, this semester – which I actually do not mind. Although this may seem daunting, it is made possible, due to my strict balance between traditional and online courses. It also helps that I am taking courses that I genuinely enjoy!
On Mondays, I get ready and then I walk with my roommate to Dr. Angelone’s 8:15 am research lab. After lab, she and I head to our 9:30 am class, Research Methods in Psychology. Immediately after Research Methods in Psychology is over, we carpool to the elementary school (our off-campus job). We usually get back from the school and arrive at the university around 7:00 pm. Depending on the weather (which has been very unpredictable this past couple of months), I either head back to the apartment with my roommate, or I go to the university library.
On Tuesdays, I get ready and then I walk to my 8:30 am, on-campus job. After that, I head to my Honors Experiencing Literature: Literature and the Environment class, until 12:15 pm. I adore Tuesdays because I am usually able to get lunch with people, on campus, prior to heading to my off-campus job. When my roommate and I return to the university (around 7:00 pm), we either relax or we do our coursework.
The only scheduling differences between Mondays and Wednesdays is that I carpool to work earlier and that I attend, biweekly, 9:00 pm, Rowan Boulevard Hall Council, E-Board meetings, on the latter weekday. On Thursdays, I have an 8:00 am-10:45 am course, Honors Teaching the Holocaust: History and Memory, with my other two roommates. Although the topics discussed in this class can be unsettling, my two roommates and I agreed that this course is emotionally and academically rewarding. After Honors Teaching the Holocaust: History and Memory is over, I carpool to the elementary school with my roommate.
On Fridays, I get ready and then I walk to my 9:00 am, on-campus job. When I am done working at the on-campus job, I have a nice opportunity to sleep before I carpool to my off-campus job.
On my days off (from classes and occupational obligations), I make sure to take the time to engage in self-care activities. This may include playing records, writing, going somewhere exciting with my roommates, or even watching a documentary on Netflix. Essentially, the weekend serves as my chance to rejuvenate. I have come to learn the importance of taking time to myself and of separating myself from academics.
My journey as an undergraduate student at Rowan University, has been one I speak highly of. I am so glad that I chose to attend this university. It has provided me the resources to grow as an academic, an advocate of educational equity, and as a young adult. When I am a Ph.D., in the near future, I will look back, fondly, at my four years as a Prof.
Story organized and photography by:
Vanessa Vause, junior public relations major and advertising minor