CAS Salutes Outstanding Graduates

The Graduate Arts and Sciences division salutes Hannah Rogers for her scholarship and service.  Hannah will graduate from the M.A. Health Care Ethics Program this May and will begin her medical school training in August at Cooper Medical School, Rowan University- Camden, NJ.


Hannah Rogers will attend Cooper Medical School after earning her M.A. in Health Care Ethics

“A true scholar, Hannah will graduate with an outstanding grade point average and has gained valuable hands-on experience in health care ethics by participating in Bioethics Teaching Rounds with the Hospital Ethicist of the Mercy Health Care System, Philadelphia,” says her  program adviser, Fr. Mark Aita, S.J.

Hannah became interested in the medical ethics field after taking some ethics courses as an undergraduate biology major at SJU. She chose the M.A. Health Care Ethics program to better prepare her to navigate the ethical dilemmas that arise in health care settings. Reflecting on her experience in the Health Care Ethics Program, Hannah identified one of the strengths of the program: “From my fieldwork in clinical bioethics to my thesis project, this program integrated theory and practice, which I know will be extremely valuable preparation for medical training. My master’s thesis project focused on increasing awareness of and access to hospice services for an African American population.”

Hannah goes on to say, “my experience in the graduate Health Care Ethics program has instilled in me a passion to work with underserved communities towards eliminating health disparities. As a medical student in Camden (NJ), I hope to become involved with the community in addressing their specific social and health needs with an ethical mindset.”

The College also salutes a number of undergraduate students who are completing baccalaureate degrees.

Lara Maciejeski, a Sociology major and Faith Justice minor, also graduates in May.

Sociology Major Lara Maciejeski is an excellent student who is committed to social justice

Sociology Major Lara Maciejeski is an excellent student who is committed to social justice

Lara is a quiet but powerful force in her commitment to social justice.  Besides being an excellent student academically, she has spent the last four years volunteering with the homeless and she completed her senior thesis on “The Experience of Homelessness and Recovery in a Transitional Shelter Facility”.  Her career goal is to work with the homeless after graduation.  She has also been very active in the Rape Education and Prevention Program (REPP) on campus as a peer crisis counselor and organizer of REPP events.

Daniel Grosso, an English major , with minors in philosophy and history, has achieved recognition among faculty members during his time at SJU. Professor Tom Coyne says, “I have had a lot of ambitious and talented young writers in my workshops over the years, but Daniel Grosso stands out as one of the most interesting and motivated among them.  It isn’t everyday that an undergraduate student drops off his recently completed 350 page novel, and then asks you if you wouldn’t mind taking a look at the next one he’s finishing up, but that’s Daniel.  He’s more than a prolific writer—he’s a very fine one, too.  The genuine article, if you will, who has shown stunning flashes in both his poetry and prose.  He’s the kind of student who not only seeks and demands the best in his own work, but pulls the best out of his mentors, too.  He is a student for whom the standard lesson isn’t good enough.  He’s in your classroom to perfect his craft, and it has been an inspiration to work with such a talented and motivated young man.”

Daniel Grosso aspires to be a published author

Daniel Grosso, an English major, who has already written a novel, aspires to be a published author.

Daniel came to St. Joseph’s to find a path to the life of writing, and Dr. Coyne is confident that Daniel’s effort and determination will succeed: “When Daniel tells me he’s going to publish, I believe him wholeheartedly—not just because of the confidence he possesses in himself and in his work, but because he’s got the one thing that makes all writers writers: Passion.  Passion for the possibilities of words—the kind you can’t teach, and the sort Daniel possesses in abundance.”

Jennifer Cush ’13 (major in French, minor in secondary education) has been accepted into the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). This highly competitive program is sponsored by the French Ministry of Education. For the 2013-14 academic year, Jennifer will be teaching in Académie d’Aix-Marseille at the secondary level (middle school and/or high school).

Jennifer’s interest in the French language began when she was very young.  In first grade, when the children were given time for free reading in the school library, Jennifer always sought out the French picture dictionary.  She took the book out so many times, memorizing as many words as she could, that her teacher allowed her to keep the book.

Jennifer has been accepted into the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF).

After spending a year in France in a program sponsored by the French Ministry of Education, Jennifer Cush would like to teach in an urban Catholic school.

After spending a year in France in a program sponsored by the French Ministry of Education, Jennifer would like to teach in an urban Catholic school. Her love of French language and culture deepened while at Saint Joseph’s.  In her sophomore year, she spent six months studying 17th century French civilization, sociology, music, and journalistic translation at the Université de Poitiers.  While in Poitiers, she lived with two host parents and had an immersion experience that allowed her to feel like a true poitevine.  The program in which she participated while abroad required that she sign a contract agreeing to speak, read, and write solely in French during her time in France.

After completing her year of teaching in France, Jennifer hopes to return to the States to teach. Ideally, she would like to participate in a program like Saint Joseph’s Alliance for Catholic Education,  which would allow her to live in a Catholic community with fellow teachers and teach in an urban Catholic school environment.

Each year, the SJU Medical Alumni chapter typically honors two outstanding seniors who are pursuing health professional careers by giving them a monetary award to help with their professional school expenses.  This year, the Medical Alumni Scholarship Selection Committee was so impressed with four remarkable nominees that they decided to honor each of these talented students with a $1000 award.

Caitlin Callaghan

In high school, Caitlin ranked first in her class of 700 students and was voted “most likely to succeed” by her classmates.  She has certainly lived up to that prediction with her excellent record of achievement at Saint Joseph’s.  Caitlin won the Ruggieri scholarship to attend SJU. Along with pursuing a challenging double major in French and Biology, Cait’s love of science motivated her to participate in research beginning with a special Phage Safari lab program in her freshman year.  She continued her research as a Summer Scholar with Fr. Braverman, analyzing  genetic variations in mycobacteriophages based on their geographic location.  Her enthusiasm for learning also prompted Cait to study abroad in Paris in her junior year.  There she immersed herself in the French culture, lived with a French family, and took all of her courses in French.

A model student in the classroom, Caitlin has proven to be equally as engaging in her extracurricular activities.  A recognized leader, she was elected to the University Student Senate as a freshman and also has taken the initiative in several programs, including overseeing the annual Red Cross Blood Drive.  Caitlin is very service-oriented and has a sincere desire to make a positive difference in the life of others.  She has volunteered every spring break week to serve needy communities in the Appalachian region, has tutored adults in a literacy program to help them to earn their GED, has shared her passion for science by teaching lessons to local 4th grade students, and has volunteered at St. Elizabeth’s Health Center for the poor and homeless in North Philadelphia.  Even during her semester abroad, Caitlin sought out a weekly service program and helped to serve meals at a café in a subsidized housing area of Paris.

Caitlin’s accomplishments have gained her inclusion in several prestigious honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Pi Delta Phi for French students, Sigma Xi, and Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit school honor society that requires strong academics as well as leadership and community service.  It is no surprise that Caitlin was also admitted to five different medical schools. She is still deciding between Jefferson or Cooper Medical School for her future education.

Kelsea Henderson

Kelsea serves as President of SJU’s  pre-health honor society and, when she is not busy organizing Alpha Epsilon Delta activities, she is busy excelling in her academic studies.  A senior biology major with a minor in philosophy, Kelsea has earned a near-perfect grade point average in her coursework.   Her professors are effusive in their praise for her academic ability, work ethic, and attention to detail.   Kelsea has been a  Summer Scholar in Fr. Braverman’s genetics and evolutionary biology lab and last summer she continued her research pursuits at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she volunteered in a neurosurgery lab studying cell signal pathways in brain tumors.

Kelsea also has a remarkable life story, one that clearly has influenced her choice of a medical career.  Diagnosed with a malignant, inoperable neural sheath tumor in her spine at age 13, Kelsea was given a 1% chance of survival.  Yet with her relentless optimism, persistence through years of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, and the wonderful care of her team of physicians and surgeons, Kelsea was able to triumph over cancer and emerge as a confident, determined young woman with a clear passion for helping others as a physician.

Kelsea came to SJU under the Eagles Fly for Leukemia scholarship. She has shared her story as a motivational speaker for the American Cancer Society and Coaches vs Cancer.   She also started a program called PICU-Ups that provides small gift baskets to cheer up the children in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital.

Kelsea will continue her Jesuit education at Creighton Medical School this fall.

Dr. Peter Kowey (College Advisory Board member), Caitlin Callaghan, Kim Nguyen, Kelsea Henderson, and Nick Julian.

Dr. Peter Kowey (College Advisory Board member), Caitlin Callaghan, Kim Nguyen, Kelsea Henderson, and Nick Julian.

Nickolas Julian

Nick is an outstanding senior biology major with a minor in psychology. He has consistently performed at the highest level in the classroom and always works diligently to make the most of his potential.  Nick spent the past two summers doing undergraduate research in biochemistry with Dr. Mark Reynolds as part of the Summer Scholars program.  He has continued with his project in his senior year.  Nick enjoys the challenge of problem-solving and shows great attention to detail in the lab.  Nick presented his research project at a symposium at Swarthmore College and earned induction into the Sigma Xi research honor society for his work.

Outside of the classroom, Nick has assumed leadership roles in the Molloy Chemistry Society, the pre-dental group, and Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-health honor society.   He also serves as a sacristan and Eucharistic Minister at the weekly campus liturgies.  An accomplished runner and hurdler, Nick returns to his high school alma mater each spring to help with the training and conditioning of new hurdlers.  He also has worked diligently to gain clinical experience as a volunteer at Lankenau Hospital, as a clinical researcher at Children’s Hospital, and by shadowing numerous physicians and surgeons.  He has particularly enjoyed observing surgeries and has a strong interest in that area.  Nick will head westward in the fall to attend Creighton Medical School.

Kim Nguyen

Kim Nguyen is a senior biology major and a member of the University Honors program.  Kim is also one of the inaugural members of the McNulty Scholars Program, an endowed scholarship program that seeks to develop outstanding female leaders in math and science.

Kim’s science research experience  began in the summer before her freshman year when she participated in microbiology research funded through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  In her next two summers, Kim earned a spot in our Summer Scholars Program, working in Dr. Mark Reynold’s biochemistry lab. She continued to work on her honors thesis in senior year.  Kim has presented her research at the American Chemical Society conference in San Diego and earned induction into the Sigma Xi research honor society.

Kim has also employed her research talents to examine ethical issues.  As one of only six student fellows in the Institute of Bioethics on campus, Kim investigated the issue of reimbursement for telemedicine services and how this type of practice might benefit underserved populations.  She hopes to earn publication of both of these senior research projects.  In addition to showing her own enthusiasm for math and science, Kim and her fellow McNulty Scholars are involved in promoting science and math to younger children in the Philadelphia area through educational outreach programs.

Kim is certainly well prepared for medical school and is currently making her final choice between the Drexel University School of Medicine and the University of South Florida, where she was chosen for the SELECT program that seeks to prepare physician leaders who can accelerate change in health care.