Passing the Torch: Political Science Major from Honduras Shares Tips for Success

Edwin, in his cap and gown, stands next to his four family members outside Savitz Hall

“The best way to connect with internships is through email and on-campus job fairs,” says political science graduate Edwin Benavides from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County), who is originally from Honduras. He suggests that incoming students, “take advantage of all assistance programs provided by the University.”

The advice he’d give to high school students is to, “take honors and advanced courses” to get ahead in college, says the College of Humanities & Social Sciences graduate who transferred to Rowan. 

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Passing the Torch: Studio Art Commuter Gives Advice

Rowan graduate standing outside after commencement

“The best way to make friends in college is to walk in and be the loudest guy in the room,” says CJ Haughey, a studio art transfer student (now graduate!) from Kensington, PA, who commuted to Rowan from an off-campus rental and graduated from the College of Communication & Creative Arts. 

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Story and photography by:
Dean Powers, a sophomore radio/TV/film major

From Exploratory Studies to Entrepreneurial Star

Jo Carter sits next to a Business Hall sign at Rowan University, wearing a pink button down blouse and holding a notebook

Jo Carter, a recently graduated senior from Lindenwold, NJ (Camden County), has always been full of ideas, but when she first transferred from Albright College, she wasn’t quite sure how to bring them to life. “I came to Rowan as an Exploratory Studies major, (within the College of Humanities & Social Sciences) unsure of what I wanted to do after graduation,” she says. “I knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be my own boss, which required getting into business. I decided to explore entrepreneurship after looking into the college of business, since that is what I was most interested in. And the rest is history!”

An article Jo came across on Snapchat sparked an epiphany, which would transform the rest of her time at Rowan. “The article discussed the fact that we will run out of fresh water by the year 2050. Here we thought we had an endless supply of water, but we really do not! I wanted to use my creativity to help,” she says.

Around the time she discovered the article, Jo was part of a class called New Ventures Development, where students expand on an idea for a potential startup business or product, and experience the process of bringing it to life. “In that class, I came up with the concept of a personal filtration system within a water bottle, called RefresH2O,” Jo says. “Wherever you are – hiking, spending time outdoors – you can scoop up water from a nearby body of water, and it will be filtered fresh. This will alleviate our plastic usage, and make us wiser about how we source our water.” Another class, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, helped Jo finalize the marketing plan and details for her product, including the target market and purpose. “I wanted to make a product that even a three year old could use. Everyone needs clean water — it’s a human right, but not everyone is lucky enough to have that,” she explains.

Jo notes her professors as the most impactful people in this stage of her life. “For a little bit, I became discouraged because not everything about my idea was perfect. That held me back a lot — the thought that I had to have everything completely set before putting it out there,” she reflects. She is grateful to have had class with Professor Kimble Byrd right before his retirement. “He was such an inspiration for the three or four semesters I had him. He kept us on our toes in class, and saw the fire in my belly and told me to keep my passion going, keep that drive, do what needs to be done, and just go for it.” Jo’s professors asked the tough questions she had tried to avoid in the past, and helped her stay on the track to success.

Her future plans include owning her own environmentally sustainable holdings or manufacturing company, and possibly even attending graduate school for a degree in engineering management, to continue to grow. She advises freshmen coming into the field to not let the idea of ‘perfection’ interfere with your goals. “‘Good’ is good enough; just get your name and idea out in the world and continue to work on your idea as you progress,” she says. “And keep track of your commitments! Juggling school work, being on the track team and my internship, senior year has been the most challenging year yet, but planning it all out and prioritizing made it a lot better.”

For now, Jo continues to accrue meaningful experience in the entrepreneurial field, working as an intern for the Office of Technology Commercialization at the tech park. “If a faculty member or student has research and the beginnings of a new venture or product that they are interested in marketing, we help them patent it, market it, or possibly license their technology,” she explains. As an intern for the office, Jo helps to build the content for the website and market the services the office has to offer.

“Now that I am familiar with the office and how it runs, I know that I can come here with my future projects and they will help me. I have a vision, I have a plan, and now my goal is to find similar people who can help me bring this to life. My mind just never shuts off with all these different ideas, and the entrepreneurship program here has really helped me put everything on paper. ”

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Story and photo by: Nicole Cier, junior writing arts major

TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Alanah Gorczynski

Young female student wearing light clothing with flowers in the background

Meet transfer student Alanah Gorczynski, a rising senior communications studies major within the College of Communication & Creative Arts, from Stratford, NJ (Camden County). Alanah transferred to Rowan University from Penn State during her freshmen year.

“I was looking for that home-feeling. A place where I can get to know the professors I’m learning from and recognize the faces I’m passing every day. When I came to Rowan, during my first class I realized right away that this is where I belong. I feel like Rowan is a close family – everyone knows each other, everyone fits in with each other, and everyone is just really friendly.”

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Story and photography by:
Alexander Belli, senior public relations and advertising major

Passing the Torch: Political Science Grad Gives Advice

Brianna and her four family members standing in a group
Brianna in her graduation gown holding up her decorated cap that says "wherever life plants you, bloom with grace"

“Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things!” says Brianna Donahue, a political science graduate from Mullica Hill, NJ (Gloucester County) who is a first generation student.

“If I could go back and give myself any advice it would be to not pick a school for anyone but myself. I was too busy focusing on fitting the image, that I didn’t realize I wasn’t ready to go 8 hours from home,” says Brianna.

“Transferring to Rowan allowed me to grow and succeed in ways I never imagined. I’ve studied abroad in Europe, held local, state, and federal internships, and met some of my best friends.”

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Passing the Torch: Transfer Student Grad Gives Advice

Eduarda in her graduation gown sitting on a pink wooden chair
Eduarda in her cap and gown sitting on a pink chair

Eduarda Moura, a law and justice graduate from Delran, NJ (Burlington County), shares how she made the most out of her college students as a first generation, transfer student.

“Definitely don’t waste time. Time fliesmy four years hit me before I could realize it. Now, off to grad school!” 

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