"News is the first rough draft of history."

The Voice of the College at Florham

"News is the first rough draft of history." - The Voice of the College at Florham

Students show off talent with Colleges Against Cancer event

Staff Writer

On Wednesday, April 1, Colleges Against Cancer held their second annual FDU Talent Show. The event, which was co-sponsored with Iota and Student Life, had 16 acts scheduled to perform. Three judges, who were faculty members from the Office of Student Life, Student Health Services and computing services, scored each act. First, second and third place winners were awarded cash prizes.
Michelle Cabot took first place for her a cappella rendition of “A Broken Wing,” by Martina McBride. She won a $100 prize.
The second place winners, Jared Wilson and Jensen Senat, who performed a dance routine, were awarded a $75 prize.
Finally, third place winners, Jenn Figueroa and Craig Davis, who sang a duet a cappella, were awarded a $50 prize.
Although not everyone won a cash prize, many other students showed off their talents.
The opening act of the show was a student band named Luna Laval, who performed and sang their personal songs. The audience seemed to enjoy the music, but complained that they could not hear the band.
The same reaction occurred with the second act. Shawnsy Billops played his guitar to a song he wrote about Hurricane Katrina. The audience appreciated the guitar music, but was annoyed that they could not hear him sing.
It was the third act, Sondra Hicks, which had the audience’s full attention. Hicks sang a cappella “Take A Bow” by Rihanna, and the audience loudly applauded Hicks for her talent.
The fourth act shocked everyone. Michael Conto was performing a comedy routine, but was instantly booed off the stage by the audience, for his jokes and swearing. He even swore at CAC for asking him to get off the stage, and for that, he was thrown out of the dining hall, where the event was held.
Luckily, Gordon Baker took over with his own comedy routine, and the audience was laughing in no time.
Other student talents included: Andrew Miles, who played a jazz and blues song on his keyboard without sheet music; Stevie Cohen, who performed hula hoop tricks accompanied by circus music; Brittaney Zudick, who recited a memorized monologue; and Javier Rodriguez, who performed a “hilarious” comedy act, according to one student.
Despite having sound-check problems, microphone difficulties, a comedy act thrown off stage, and continuously reminding the audience to respect the performers on stage, CAC considered this year’s talent show a successful event.

Relay for Life


For Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos, Jan. 19, 2000 was not just another bitterly cold winter night. In the early-morning hours, arsonists set fire to a couch in the student lounge of the Boland Hall dormitory at Seton Hall University. The threatening blaze killed three people and injured 58 others. Simons and Llanos, who were freshman roommates at the time, were two of the most critically burned survivors.
On March 3, College at Florham students and staff had the unique opportunity to listen to Simons’ story. FDU’s Diversity Council, Office of Campus Life and Educational Opportunity Fund sponsored the event, which attracted over 50 audience members.
Everyone in attendance received Robin Gaby Fisher’s book, “After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival.”
Fisher, an award-winning news and feature writer for The Star-Ledger, along with staff photographer Matt Rainey, followed and witnessed every important step during Simons’ and Llanos’ treatment and recovery after the tragic event. Fisher and Rainey’s coverage of the men’s excruciating recovery ran in the Ledger as a seven-part series.
In 2001, Rainey won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography because of his photos covering their story.
In August of 2008, Fisher published “After the Fire,” which details the lives of Simons and Llanos. According to Fisher’s Web site, her writing is “[h]onest and intimate in her account of the stress of distraught parents, the intense strain upon marriages and relationships, the prolonged suffering and multiple surgeries of the survivors and the evolving friendship of the accidental roommates.”
During the March 3 discussion, Simons gave FDU students an inside look into his inspirational story and the lessons that can be learned.
Normally, Simons said he would have run out if the fire alarm had gone off, but students in the Boland dormitory had been pulling the alarm as a prank almost every week, so he assumed it was just another false alarm.
“We just went to sleep about an hour ago so we took our time,” Simons said. “When we reached the door, a big cloud of smoke came into the room.
“I can’t really remember anything during the fire. It was just complete silence,” Simons said. “I was yelling for help. It was like a dream, but no one was there.”
Simons immediately crawled out of his room toward the elevator he always took, but the lounge was where the fire was.
“Basically, I crawled right into the fire,” he said. “I didn’t actually get burned, but the heat was so intense my hands were burnt from touching the ground.”
Eventually he made it to another room and was able to scream out the window for help.
“A voice came and said ‘Get back down and crawl to your left, there will be a door on your right,’” Simons said. “No one ever came forward, but my mother always says it was my angel that said that.”
After exiting the fire, Simons and numerous other victims, were rushed to Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
“It was one of the worst pains in my life,” Simons said. “I remember the ride to Saint Barnabas, but then I blacked out and ended up in a coma for 13 days.”
Simons’ roommate, Llanos, was considered the most critical patient upon arriving at the Saint Barnabas burn unit.
“If 50 percent of your body or more is burned, they say you aren’t going to make it,” said Simons. “Al was 60 percent completely from his neck down.”
Llanos was given an almost zero percent chance of survival and ended up being in a coma for three months, Simons said. He added that because of all the bandaging, the only thing you could see on Llanos were his eyes and toes.
“It was a lot to go through,” Simons said. “But at the burn unit, I would see other people and thought it could be worse.
“Me and Al had been so cool that I thought when or if he wakes up, I could be there for him,” said Simons.
According to a 2006 New York Times article, more than three years after the fire had burned more than half his body, Llanos went back to school and had more than 30 operations. “Al stopped getting surgeries about two years ago and he was in the hospital for almost a year,” said Simons, who left the hospital after a month.
Although they were out of the hospital and moving on, their lives would be forever changed.
“It even got to the point when people were staring at me and I would ask, ‘Would you like to know what happened?’” Simons said. “I think that got to Al.”
One of the most powerful pictures in Rainey’s photo slideshow is an image of Llanos walking through a hall with a young girl staring at his scars.
“I figured we were going to be like this the rest of our lives, so I said ‘Al, you just have to be comfortable in your own skin,’” said Simons.
According to a May 2009 Star-Ledger article, the two arsonists, Sean Ryan and Joseph LePore, who lived across the hall from Simons and Llanos, were indicted in 2003 on charges of felony murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault and arson. The men entered a plea-deal that dismissed all of the homicidal and assault charges, leading them to receive a reduced arson sentence. In March of 2009, Ryan was granted parole and walked out after serving two years and four months of a five-year sentence, according to the Ledger.
“A lot of the victims were upset because we wanted justice,” Simons said. “I wanted justice for those parents that lost their children.”
Llanos went on to get married and have two kids. Simons graduated from Seton Hall, on time, in 2003.
“I’m glad it happened to us because we were strong enough to go through it,” Simons said. “I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone.”
Simons said that, after the fire, a law was enacted requiring that all dorm rooms have fire sprinklers in them. “We needed this tragedy to happen to make you guys safe,” he told the FDU crowd.
After the discussion, Simons took time to sign copies of the “After the Fire” and shook hands with everyone.

Graduation brings students home

Staff Writers

For FDU’s Class of 2010, and many soon-to-be graduates around the country, graduation may not lead to the “real world” right away. Instead, many students are making plans to move back home.
According to an article in New York Life, that trend seems to be cyclical, especially during economically unstable times.
About 40 percent of 2008 grads still live with their parents and 42 percent of the 2006 grads surveyed said they’re still living at home, according to Monster’s 2009 Annual Entry-Level Job Outlook.
Senior Fred Wied said, “I am planning on taking a year off. That is final for me. I just need some time off before I move on with the next phase of my life.”
Wied added that he plans on working during his year off while living at home. He hopes to gain valuable experience and apply what he learned over the past four years to the real world.
“I do intend to attend grad school at some point, but not right after graduation,” he said. “I will not be worrying about that yet.”
The New York Life article cited a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, which found that 13 percent of parents with grown children say one of their adult sons or daughters has moved back home in the past year.
With the economy in the shape it is and the job market more competitive than ever, especially for young adults just graduating, it seems almost inevitable that moving back home is the next step.
Many factors contribute to the high number of graduates moving back home, but the recession has been particularly hard on young adults. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2009, 15.6 percent of 20 to 24-year-olds were unemployed.
For many recent grads, it made smart economic sense to move back in with their parents, where rent tends to be either low or nonexistent. It allows them to stay comfortable while getting their finances in order.
Senior Stephanie Nunez feels that it’s the right choice, but not the smart choice, to live at home.
“At about the age of 22, graduates should try to branch out and stand on their own two feet by moving out of their parents’ home,” Nunez said. “But many graduates have paid for college with loans.”
Nunez, who has student loans to pay off, knows that she must start payments right after college, whether she has a job or not.
“These loans with their accrued interest are synonymous to the costs of paying a mortgage,” said Nunez. She also believes that because students are consuming too much, compared to what they can afford, they are, as a result, financially unstable.
Senior Vanessa Clark will be entering her fifth year at FDU as part of the QUEST program. Clark said, “I’m still undecided as to whether or not I will be staying at home or living on campus. But more than likely, I will be commuting.”
She also added that until she has a job and makes enough money to get her own place, she will be living at home.
Although it seems that the prospect of jobs and graduate school are on the horizon for the Class of 2010, housing is still uncertain. For many students, it’s not that they want to go home again, but that they have to.

Professor’s work featured on ‘Cake Boss’; Circus sideshow art becomes edible

Staff Writer

Marie Roberts, an art professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan Campus, had the unique opportunity to have some of her artwork featured in a recent episode of TLC’s hit show, “Cake Boss.”
“Cake Boss” centers around Buddy Valastro’s bakery, Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J. In the episode “Freaks, Fast Food & Frightened Frankie,” which originally aired on Nov. 30, 2009, Valastro and his crew designed a cake for the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, using Roberts’ paintings as part of the design.
When Roberts received a call asking permission for her pictures to be used on the show, she allowed it even though she had never heard of the show.
“I don’t have cable; I didn’t know what ‘Cake Boss’ was,” said Roberts. “Only after the episode aired, and Amusing the Zillion (a former carnival performer) did a blog on me, did I get an inkling of just how popular the show is.”
The works that appeared on the “Cake Boss” episode were edible reproductions of cast portraits. This cast included performers Scott Baker, Donny Vomit, Serpentina, Heather Holliday, Black Scorpion and Kryssy Kocktail.
Since 1997, Roberts has been painting banners for the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. The images, called the bannerline, hang over the entrance to the sideshow theater.
“I generally try to make a new bannerline each sideshow season. That is about nine new six-by-five foot paintings,” Roberts said.
Roberts’ uncle was a talker with the Dreamland Circus Sideshow in Coney Island during the 1920’s, and her father also worked with the Dreamland show.
“I grew up with all this sideshow culture,” she said. “I ran away from sideshow culture to become an artist.”
In the early 1990s, Roberts said she saw a New York Times article about a contemporary sideshow in Coney Island. “It was started by Dick Zigun, who had an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in playwriting from Yale School of Drama. He understood both sides of my background, the sideshow and the professional artist.”
It was in 1997 that this contemporary circus sideshow moved to its present location, and banners were needed.
Roberts and her students painted 25 full-size banners for the 1997 sideshow season.
“I fell in love with the genre and continued to paint for the sideshow. I am an artist in residence there,” she said.
“I paint anything that needs to be painted, the banners outside and inside the sideshow theater, some installation work for programs like Creepshow at Halloween, and anything needed for the annual Mermaid Parade.”
After the “Cake Boss” episode aired, Roberts had the opportunity to meet Valastro.
Valastro allowed Roberts to tour the inside of his cake mobile, a white air-conditioned SUV.
Roberts learned that before Valastro designs a cake, he draws out his designs beforehand.
Roberts said, “I was really pleased with his work. I firmly believe in drawing as the basis of all design.”
As for the cake, “I told Buddy that he did an incredible job,” Roberts said.
“It was really beautiful; it had the feeling of the show and my paintings. The colors were keyed to my paintings.”

Radio makes new moves

Staff Writers

It was one year ago that WFDM-FM, the College at Florham’s radio station, moved to the Student Center in order to better broadcast to the student body. The main goal in mind for WFDM was to become the voice of the College of Florham. Also they wanted to offer services for clubs to advertise events, and provide time slots for those who wanted to broadcast a radio show.
This semester, WFDM no longer exists in the Student Center. It has left the building, leaving some students questioning its untimely departure and its future plans. Now, WFDM is raising its voice, and assuring the campus population that it is far from being over.
Stephanie Gentile, former president of WFDM, said that the radio had moved from the Student Center to NAB because she, Dean of Students Brian Mauro, and Department of Communication Studies Chair Jennifer Lehr had all agreed on the move.
“I cannot speak for Dean Mauro or Dr. Lehr, but I feel that radio needs to get built up to be a stronger station, before moving to a space in the Student Center. The station must be deserving of getting space back in the Student Center,” said Gentile.
The radio is here for the student body to represent the voices of the College at Florham, Gentile said. She also mentioned that a survey was sent around to the student body, asking students what music they prefer, in order for the radio to better select songs to air.
“Whatever the body wants to hear, in respect to our rules and regulations set forth that we must follow, the station will play the type of music that wants to be heard,” she said.
Gordon Baker Bone, another radio member, confirmed what Gentile had said about WFDM’s move.
“Some say it moved because we didn’t utilize the space given to us; others say it was because the school needed it for more office space,” he said. “But we are now located on the first floor of NAB. Radio wants to provide something for all students to enjoy, so we’ll try to have a wide variety of music.”
Elise Kaplan, who was recently appointed president, said that although relocating to NAB may seem like a setback, there is some positive regard for the new location.
“Being in the NAB has positive aspects because it’s in a location where all students, including commuters, can look inside our room and see a live radio show going on,” said Kaplan.
The way in which students will be able to see the radio is through two large windows, which is currently covered in posters.
As soon as the radio is up and running and the studio has been reorganized, the windows will be free of posters, allowing students to see in.
“The radio is just like every other radio station. There will be different shows, and each show will have its own particular genre of music to play, or even just a talk show,” said Kaplan.
“Radio is open to anything, and that is why it will be so great to listen to, because it will be available to everyone’s interests on or off campus.”
Though WFDM is going through its changes, it is now more than happy to welcome anyone who would like to start their own show, as long as it meets with the Federal Communications Commission regulations.
Simone Hawkins, treasurer of WFDM, said that the reason why the radio had to move was because nothing was getting done.
“According to our adviser, we were ‘unworthy’ of having a location in the Student Center,” said Hawkins. “I agree that radio needs some TLC from its members. So, I guess the school had to do what it had to do.”
Hawkins also mentioned that people will soon have the option of having their own show.
“We are currently undergoing some maintenance issues, but as soon as everything is sorted out, we will be giving time slots to whoever would like their own show,” she said.
WFDM is currently looking for students who want to start up their own radio show, or work behind the scenes, said Kaplan. Those who want to do a show get to pick what time slot they want their shows to be aired.
“The radio station is flexible in its time slots,” Gentile said. “So if a student has classes going from 9:55 a.m. straight through to 2 p.m., then the student can have their show on the air at anytime after 2 p.m. Radio will not deny a student for not being available during a certain time.”
Kaplan said that she looks forward to getting the new station up and running, at which point students will be able to visit Fduradio.org and listen to the shows.
“Once we are finally up and running, FDU will have a radio station again,” she said. “Hopefully it will be even better than it was.”

Nader offers perspective on health care

Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, consumer advocate Ralph Nader came to FDU and gave a speech on his perspective of universal health care.

Nader started off by saying that Americans put in more hours of work than any other industrialized country, and Americans are the only people without universal health care.

Though he likes the idea of having universal health care, Nader is not happy with how the Obama administration is proposing it. He said he prefers Harry Truman’s and Richard Nixon’s proposals on universal health care.

Nader believes that if Americans had a single-payer bill, Americans would save over $400,000.
“We are too rich of a country to ‘pay or die’ for our health,” he said.

Senior student Sabrina Noel said, “I thought Nader did a great job, especially since it’s a topic that is really controversial. I agreed with him in the sense that it is ridiculous that so many people in our country are without health care. I disagreed with him in how he thought we reached that point.”
Becton College Dean Geoffrey Weinman commented that Nader’s overall presentation was very effective, and that he is an impressive speaker who uses facts and anecdotes to prove his points. However, Weinman said, “He represents only one very specific view on the issue of health care reform. As a number of questions from the audience made clear, there are many concerns that the public has with regard to the implementation of health care reform.”

Professor Lona Whitmarsh from the psychology department was very eager to hear Nader’s presentation.

“I respect his passion for his causes and his tireless energy in educating the public and helping bring about change! However, I did not think he made the effort to tailor his presentation to a university audience. His presentation bombarded us with statistics without the opportunity to reflect and to critically think about the sources of his facts,” she said.

Whitmarsh said that when looking around the room, she believed that some individuals lost interest in Nader’s presentation.

She also said she was impressed with the probing questions students presented to Nader, but felt that he did not listen well.

Whitmarsh said she thinks Nader knows “there is no way this [universal health care] will be successful in the climate of our culture of options and choices, but he does want to motivate us to be more aware of change that needs to be done. I was startled by his statistic of how many Americans die each year due to lack of health care access.”

Graduate student Heather Suboleski enjoyed Nader’s presentation, particularly with the parallel he drew between the current health insurance issues and how the government was able to impose restrictions and implement safety laws against the automotive and tobacco industries.

“Once the government (at the urging of the American people) can defy the interest groups of pharmaceutical companies, we can at last turn insurance around in this country. It is embarrassing that in one of the richest, most powerful countries in the world, a staggering number of people’s lives are ruined because they do not have the proper medical insurance or any insurance at all,” Suboleski said.
In order to continue the health care discussion, a Hot Topics panel was scheduled to take place in Hartman Lounge on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Led by Professor Gary Darden from the social sciences and history department, the event was called “Life or Death: Health Care Reform in America.”

Nader comes to FDU

Staff Writer

The College at Florham welcomed consumer advocate Ralph Nader to campus this week.

Nader spoke about “Health Insurance and Health Care: The Battle in Washington” on Tuesday night. He also spoke Wednesday at a conference presented by the Rothman Institute in a panel discussion.

Nader is a founder of Single Payer Action, which seeks to provide comprehensive health insurance for Americans. Other groups that he helped start include the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen and student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), which operate in more than 20 states.

While working with lawmakers, Nader was involved in creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
According to Dean Geoffrey Weinman of Becton College, James Barrood, director of the Rothman Institute of the Silberman College of Business, came up with the idea to bring Nader to campus.

“Becton College was planning on a Hot Topics panel on the health care issue, and when Jim [Barrood] offered us the opportunity to sponsor Ralph Nader’s lecture on September 15th in Dreyfuss Auditorium, we were very pleased,” said Weinman.

Having Nader appear free and open to the public is a unique opportunity. Weinman believes that Nader has been a strong voice for the consumer for many years, and that health care is essentially a consumer issue, as well as an ethical one.

A follow-up Hot Topics event on health care will take place Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. in Hartman Lounge in the Mansion.

First tri-collegiate symposium a success; Students and faculty showcase research

The first annual tri-collegiate psychology student research symposium was held on April 23 at The College of Saint Elizabeth. Its purpose was to provide a forum to showcase the research being done by psychology students in neighboring colleges, graduate programs and even high schools.

The psychology departments of The College of Saint Elizabeth, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Drew University were congratulated for working together to make this event possible.

The co-coordinators for the event were Dr. Herman Huber and student Melanie Conti of The College of Saint Elizabeth, Dr. Yolanda Hawkins-Rodgers and student Joe Simons of FDU, and Dr. Patrick Dolan and student Barbara Coe of Drew University.

After the welcoming announcements, Dr. Patricia Heindel from Saint Elizabeth’s introduced a recent movement in the field of psychology that has been leaning towards a global perspective, called International Psychology.

Heindel explained, with the help of her PowerPoint presentation, that there is a “national call for internationalizing higher education. There is recognition that American students have very little knowledge of geography, have an egocentric view of the world, and need a more global understanding of issues and events given the global society in which we live.”

With that in mind, a project was created in 2005 called the APA Working Group Position Paper, for the purpose of exploring how psychology is being used in other countries. Some of the learning goals of this project were for students to “gain psychological knowledge in international perspective, understand methodological issues in international research and gain international research competence, and understand how psychology can be applied to and help solve global issues.”
As a result, there have been a growing number of resources and organizations for International Psychology, such as the International Teaching of Psychology Network (ITOP), the APA Office of International Affairs and the Internationalizing Psychology Curriculum Clearinghouse (IPCC).

However, there are still some psychology textbooks that reveal little to no international content, and students still have little to no exposure to psychology in other countries. In order to contribute to international psychology, Saint Elizabeth’s has made the following attempts. The first is having students take an undergraduate general psychology course assignment called The Internationalization of Psychology Oral Presentation Project.

Some of the student feedback from this course included: “The project was useful in teaching us about psychology in countries” and “The project was an interesting learning experience.” The second attempt, which is still underway, is to sponsor a service learning trip to the Dominican Republic for graduate students and faculty in the master’s program in counseling psychology.

College of Saint Elizabeth graduate assistant Elizabeth Cruikshank said, “Because of the education the students received on how to do research, I feel the project is invaluable to their overall educational experience.”

Ending the symposium was the poster sessions and awards ceremony.

Participants in the symposium came from The College of Saint Elizabeth, FDU, Drew, The College of New Jersey, The Science Academy at Morristown High School, Woodbridge High School, Hudson County Community College, the University of Pennsylvania Psychology Department, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technology, and the Brain Behavior Laboratory from the Department of Neuropsychiatry of University of Pennsylvania Hospital.

Those who presented the best poster projects were awarded cash prizes of $150 for first place, $75 for second place, and $25 for third place, by a panel of faculty and graduate student judges from The College of Saint Elizabeth, FDU and Drew.

The poster projects were judged on factors such as most original research, most important to the field, best presentation, and best experimental method and analysis.

Third place winner was Naomi Bocarsly of Drew, with her poster project on “Aging and Distinctiveness: Older Adults Demonstrate a Reverse Isolation Effect.”

Second place winner was Cheryl Skrobacz of Drew, with her poster project on “Fear-Potentiated Startle Response and the Nucleus Accumbens.”

The first place winner was Marc Lindner of FDU, with his poster project on “Molecular Dynamic Simulations of Mu-Opioid Receptors and an Irreversible Opioid Antagonist Beta-Funaltrexamine.”

Dr. Daniel Calcagnetti was the inspiration for his poster project and a co-author, but the project was funded in its entirety by the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science. Dr. Gloria Anderle was Marc’s main research mentor and had worked with Marc beginning in the summer of 2008 and throughout the 2008-09 academic year.

Staff Writer

Future tri-collegiate symposia will be rotated among The College of Saint Elizabeth, FDU and Drew.

**Editor’s Note – Dr. Gloria Anderle, assistant professor of chemistry at the College at Florham, was co-project mentor along with Dr. Daniel Calcagnetti for Marc Lindner’s project.**