Computer Science Major Kick-Starts her Career with Co-Op Experience

Monica Mahon, a rising senior from Mays Landing, NJ (Atlantic County), is one of the lucky kind of students who knew what she wanted to study before even coming to college. “I took a computer science class in high school and had a really great teacher that introduced me to it. It was something I really liked and could see myself doing,” she says, in regards to her Rowan career in the computer science major.

During her first computer science course on campus, Monica learned the ins and outs of the industry, as well as coding and communication skills that she would use later on. Her first professor in the field, Professor Chia Chien, “has been a huge help throughout my college experience. She really encouraged me and opened my eyes to great opportunities.” Professor Chien even introduced her to her current resume-builder, as a co-op worker for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). Through the AFMS (ASRC Federal Mission Solutions) program with the Rowan computer science department, students can partake in a real-life work environment and contribute to meaningful projects that improve their skills.  “The program allows students to immerse themselves in a real job, full time, with the option to take classes part time, at night or online,” Monica explains. “You partner with industry companies and really learn how they function and how your knowledge can contribute.”

In the program’s second year, Monica is already making a major positive impact. She works with a software development company through the Department of Defense, to maintain ongoing company projects, and develop software solutions for the Navy. And while this may sound overwhelming for a college student, she explains that the ASRC pairs each new student employee with a mentor that is experienced and willing to guide their mentee through the experience, and help troubleshoot any challenge that may arise.

Monica and two friends smile as they look on at the computer, where Monica is working on HTML coding.
Monica receives advice from her classmates on a Comp Sci project.

“Being quickly introduced to this opportunity and having work assigned to me right away, I learned how to work closely with other employees. They didn’t treat me like an intern,” Monica says. “Learning the workflow of an office environment and seeing the whole process in my specific field – from writing to testing to identifying software issues and engineering solutions, and building the final product – it’s helpful to be part of it and really see how it all works.”

Monica’s on-campus experience has helped her tremendously when it comes to being knowledgeable and prepared for this important role. “Rowan’s computer science program prepares you to work full-time. I felt like I could handle the job going into it, because we learned how to use different operating systems and programming skills right off the bat. Working efficiently in a team is something that is really emphasized here.” As a learning assistant within the department, she works alongside her professors, addressing student questions during class and tackling any issues they may need help with. She notes that having to communicate concepts to students has translated directly to her AFMS experience, where she must communicate her ideas to colleagues.

Monica and her friends stand outside of Robinson Hall, petting a dog.
Monica makes a friend outside of Robinson Hall!

 “For me, choosing computer science as a major was a risk,” Monica says, “I was intimidated at first to enroll knowing that I would feel like a minority as a woman in the STEM industry, but I found a bunch of great friends that really support me and make me feel part of the community. Being a woman in STEM here has felt empowering, instead of limiting.”

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Photo by: Nicole Cier, rising senior writing arts major

Aspiring Counselor Started As Exploratory Studies Major

Autumn sits on a bench outside of Savitz Hall at Rowan University

Sophomore Autumn Vilches-Cruz, who commutes from Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden County) shares her insight with prospective students every day in her role as an Admissions Ambassador who gives tours of campus. Today she shares one snippet of insight, as a former exploratory studies major (commonly known as an undeclared or undecided major.)

Autumn stands in front of Savitz Hall at Rowan University, with her hands clasped in front of her.Coming in as an exploratory studies major really helped me to solidify what I wanted to do as a career.

When I was a freshman, my Rowan 101 seminar required me to attend at least two information sessions about different majors provided at Rowan. I have always had a fascination with people and why we do the things that we do, and think the things that we think. I came in knowing that psychology was the major for me, and once I was finally declared a psychology major, I could not have been happier!

I’m aspiring to become a counselor, and I’m actually thinking about working at Rowan’s Wellness Center when I’m done with my schooling.

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Exploratory Studies Student: Allison Cespedes

student Allison outside of cherry blossom tree in Rowan hoodie

Meet Allison Cespedes who started off her Rowan experience as an exploratory studies major and discovered her interest in pre-med.

Allison sitting outside in a Rowan hoodie

“Hello! I’m Allison Cespedes, a first generation college student who is a senior psychology major on a pre-med track with an honors concentration. I am from Bridgewater, NJ (Somerset County) and have lived on campus all four years.

I’ve been a resident assistant and a student admissions ambassador for the past two years now and currently I am a resident assistant for the Whitney Center. I began my college career as an exploratory studies major after I took a career course during the summer, before coming into the fall semester. Starting off as this major gave me a good idea as to what I wanted to study for the rest of my time at Rowan.”

Allison wearing Rowan hoodie sitting on bench outside of Bunce

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Photography by: Vanessa Vause, senior public relations and theatre major

#PROFspective: Translational Biomedical Science Major Zachary Padron

Your Name: Zachary PadronYour Major: Translation Biomedical ScienceYour Minors: Bantivoglio Honors Concentration in the Honors College, Pre-Medical Minor, Neuroscience Minor, and Ethics Certificate of Undergraduate StudyYour Year: JuniorHometown and County: Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County)Resident: Yes, I live as a Resident Assistant in the Townhouse ComplexAcademic Organizations: American Physician Scientist Association (Research Chair Executive Board Member)Social Clubs: President of Colleges Against Cancer and Chi Alpha Christian FellowshipOn-Campus Employment: Resident Assistant for the Townhouse ComplexOff-Campus Employment: Research Assistant in the Neuroscience Research Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia […]

Hajah’s Home Away From Home: Willow Hall [VIDEO]

Hajah and four friends stand in the underpass at Willow Hall.

Hajah Carpenter, a freshman biology major from Somerdale, NJ (Camden County), feels most at home with her “Willow Squad” friends in Willow Hall.

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Video by: Nicole Cier, junior writing arts major and Edris Forde, junior radio/TV/film major
Music by: Louis Testa, sophomore music composition major

Krishna’s Home Away From Home: Rowan Fitness Center [VIDEO]

Young male student flexing in front of glass doors

Take a look at where Krishna Mansukhani feels most at home while getting his “sweat on.” Rowan’s Fitness Center has all your work-out needs to stay fit and to get in-shape. Get ready to feel the burn!

Krishna is a junior studying health promotion and wellness within the School of Health Professions, and he’s originally from Sayreville, NJ in Middlesex County.

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Video filming by: Alyssa Bauer, junior public relations major
Video production by: Alexander Belli, senior public relations and advertising major
Music by: Don Dewitt, junior music industry major

Tatiyana’s Home Away From Home: Science Hall [VIDEO]

Tatiyana sitting inside the science hall in front of planetarium

First generation college student Tatiyana Stubbs, a sophomore bioinformatics and community health double major who commutes from Millville, NJ (Cumberland County) feels most home at Science Hall studying or working on assignments in a lab.

Video by: Edris Forde, junior radio, TV & film major and Vanessa Vause, senior public relations and theatre double major
Music by: Louis Testa, sophomore music composition major

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