Senior Reflects: Changing Majors to Find Passion

Stock image of black ink cursive on tepia colored paper.

A close-up photo of Genna posing and smiling in front of a busy street in New York City.

Meet Genna Gaskill, a first-generation college student and Elementary Education and Liberal Studies Dual Major with sequences in Writing Arts and English. She is from Egg Harbor Township, NJ (Atlantic County). In her time at Rowan she spent half of her time living on campus and the other half in a house off-campus. She reflects on her time at Rowan and tells us some of her favorite experiences and where she’s headed to next!

What are your career aspirations and how did the people or programs at Rowan help to support you with those aspirations?

I had some trouble when I first came to Rowan figuring out what I wanted to be. I started off as a Civil Engineering major, then I went into Music Education, and eventually Elementary Education and Liberal Studies. It took me a while, but through taking all of these different classes, I was able to realize my passion for education. I want to be an elementary school teacher and, one day, an administrator in a public school district.

The first professor who helped me realize this passion of mine was Dr. Adrian Barnes in my Music Education classes. He showed me a passion for education that I learned from and took with me in my future education classes and I will forever be grateful for his teachings. My other professors in my Education classes, such as Nancy Pagliughi, Arlene Stampa, and Gary Dentino, are who took that passion I had for teaching and shaped me into a real teacher. I will always remember their teachings when I have a classroom of my own. I would be remiss if I did not also mention my Writing Arts and English professors who helped me realize my talent for writing and showed me how to use that to make me into a better teacher. My professors Keri Mikulski, Dr. Jennifer Courtney, Amanda Haruch, and Dr. Yvonne Hammond, all saw my potential and shaped me into the writer and educator I am today. I have had so many amazing professors at Rowan that have given me knowledge and skills that I will be forever grateful for!”

What was your favorite or most meaningful personal moment at Rowan?

My most meaningful moments at Rowan were when I was President of my sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha. I met so many of my greatest friends there and almost every one of my good memories comes from them. Going to Greek Week, volunteering at the Special Olympics, and recruitment are just a few things that I will always remember and treasure from my time with ASA. My roommates, Rachael, Sara, and Nicole, were with me through three years of being at Rowan and they were the reason I called Rowan my home. Looking back at my time in college in the future, I know I will fondly remember the times I spent with them the most.”

Genna Gaskill hikes in the red mountain region - here she is sitting on a rock with mountains behind her.

Tell us about your favorite moment with a faculty member or a favorite experience in one of your classes: 

One memory I have of my experience in the College of Education that I think I will always remember was being in Professor Gary Dentino’s class. Almost every single day, he would email us a whole letter telling us how proud he was of us and how we will change the world. He took the time out of his day to handwrite personal letters to us as a class almost daily. Even when my classes were getting tough and I felt like I was falling behind, I would read his daily email and feel like I truly had someone in my corner. His dedication to forming a positive and uplifting relationship with his students is something I hope to carry with me when I become a teacher someday.”

Shout outs:

“I’d like to give a special shoutout to my best friends in the entire world: Sara Riegel, Nicole Traeger, and Rachael Kolmins. Thank you for always being there for me through it all. Another special shoutout to all of my ladies at Alpha Sigma Alpha, especially my big Rosie Nanfara and my little Emily Fishman. Keep on joyously living each day to its ultimate good! Shoutouts to other amazing people I met at Rowan like Hersh and Fraidy Loschak from Chabad at Rowan, Celeste DelRusso and Donna Mehalchick-Opal from the Rowan Writing Center, and all of my fellow Edgewood RAs. Thank you for making a difference in my life! One more shoutout goes to my boyfriend, Mark Kozak, for being my rock throughout my years at Rowan. My biggest thanks will go to my parents, who are the reason that I am where I am. Thank you Mom and Dad for everything, I love you!”

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