December 2018: Finals Week Self-Care Suggestions from the Class of 2021

by Thi Nguyen, Iswarya “Ice” Vel, Maria Johnson, Zoe Mrozek, Michelle Wheatley, Emily Lehman, Maura Flynn and Gianna Penezic

Before we can sit back, relax and celebrate the holidays with family and friends, we have to get through FINALS WEEK!  Depending on your test schedule and how many papers you have to turn in, that can get pretty stressful.  Here are some ways that we chill out in the face of all that work!

Thi Nguyen (Biology): As a person who absolutely loves being outdoors, one of my favorite activities in times of stress is running. It’s a great way to clear your mind while increasing your fitness. In addition to having the opportunity to be out in nature, running with friends always makes the experience more fun!

Iswarya “Ice” Vel (Biology / Business Intelligence & Analytics): My favorite way to de-stress during finals week is to give myself breaks during my studying. I either like to watch TV shows or go out for something to eat with my friends. My favorite show to watch right now is Parks and Recreation. My favorite place near campus to get food is Honeygrow. These breaks give me the chance to forget about the tests that are coming up!

Maria Johnson (Biology): Something about making lists makes that huge pile of work seem just a little less daunting. During a time when it feels like I have to do everything at once, making a list of the tasks ahead helps me focus, prioritize and (most of all) stop worrying. Not only do I feel a sense of accomplishment once I check off an item, but also I am far less likely to forget something. When I make a list, everything I need to do is clear and concrete, and I can break my work down into manageable tasks instead of trying to tackle everything with no plan.

Zoe Mrozek (Biology): My favorite way to de-stress during finals week is to head to my favorite place on campus for a little bit: Wolfington! Nothing makes me feel better during the craziness of studying for exams than sitting in the community room by the fireplace, hanging out and laughing with friends. And during this time of the year, Wolfington is always decorated and stocked with hot chocolate to remind me that Christmas is coming soon!

Michelle Wheatley (Mathematics): My favorite way to de-stress is to go to the gym. I grew up in the gym, and so being there is very relaxing for me. I try to go at least a couple of times a week because, for me, going to the gym is my self-care time. Practicing self-care, especially during finals, is one thing that definitely keeps me sane. Plus, going to the gym keeps me healthy, which is super important in college.

Emily Lehman (Physics): De-stressing during finals week is nearly impossible, but what brings me a little closer to sanity is making to-do lists for the day. I write large projects, like Study for my Physics Final, and small tasks, such as Make Breakfast. The sense of accomplishment I get from checking off even simple items really helps motivate me to continue on with the day’s work. If I’m overwhelmed at all, I will simply add items I have already completed and check them off.

Maura Flynn (Biology / Psychology): My favorite way to de-stress is to listen to throwback songs, such as songs from High School Musical or Hannah Montana. My roommates and I like to dance around in our apartment. We always end up laughing our heads off, which is truly the best medicine. Being surrounded by my best friends and roommates makes me remember the joys in life and anything I’m stressed about is quickly forgotten or made smaller. This is one of the many benefits of being able to live with your friends.

Gianna Penezic (Biology): My favorite way to de-stress is to grab a bite with a group of friends. I always feel so much better chatting and laughing with my girlfriends in between hitting the books during finals week! Being able to rant to each other or reminisce about shared experiences always puts me in a better mood and refreshes me for when I have to get back to work. Also good food always makes my day better!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND OUR BEST WISHES FOR A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

November 2018: The World We Have Traveled, by 2018-19 McNulty Fellows

 

by Isabella Succi ’20, Mary Kate Dougherty ’19, Sarah Muche ’19, Alana Cianciulli ’19 and Corinne Merlino ’20

We spend so much time on campus, in our classrooms and in our labs, sometimes it’s difficult to picture ourselves anywhere else.  But over the past year, whether by way of a family vacation or an academic  conference, we have all had the chance to visit new places.  And as the weather gets colder and finals loom, it’s definitely fun to escape back in our minds to those stunning, pastoral places.

 

Isabella Succi (Biology): This past summer, my family and I traveled to Switzerland. We stayed in Interlaken, but we took day trips to Zurich and Lucerne.  I have to say Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited! The air was so crisp. The scenery was unreal.  And there were so many fun things to do.  We went hiking, kayaking and took a lift to the top of Mt. Pilatus. It was a truly unforgettable trip.  If you ever have the chance to go, I would highly recommend it.

 

Mary Kate Dougherty (Chemical Biology): Over this past summer, my family and I visited Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We went on plenty of hikes to different lookouts and a few waterfalls. While many of the hikes were a literal “uphill battle,” the scenery was always worth it.  While on the subject of travel, I am actually writing this post from San Diego, where I am attending the Neuroscience 2018 Conference, thanks to the McNulty Program. I am learning so much about the field of neuroscience during my time here, and certainly look forward to sharing it all with my labmates and fellow McNulty scholars when I return.

 

Sarah Muche (Biology): Through the McNulty Program, I have attended the annual NorthEastern Microbiologists: Physiology, Ecology, Taxonomy (NEMPET) Conference in the Adirondacks for the past two years. My first year, we went on a 4-hour hike through the woods, which was almost impossible for the novice hikers in my group.  Although most of us slid the entirety of the way down the mountain and had to deliver our presentations in muddy clothes, I’d say the view at the top was worth it.  I’ve been to the Adirondacks before, but it’s interesting to think that research and the McNulty Program brought me back to this unique spot, which I would probably not have ever explored in quite the same way.

 

Alana Cianciulli (Biology): Last April, I was able to travel to San Diego for the Experimental Biology Conference with a few seniors from my lab.  It was an incredible experience, as it was my first time ever on the West Coast.  I have a major fear of flying, so although it was a little nerve wracking, being with my friends made the flight much easier.  While at the conference, we visited the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the largest zoos in the country.  We also rented bikes and rode around the city.  Although we were there for academic and professional purposes, I was able to bond with these upperclassmen and become very close friends with several of them.  We have kept in touch since they graduated.

 

Corinne Merlino (Biology): At the end of the summer, I had the opportunity to accompany my McNulty research mentor, Dr. Julia Lee-Soety, to the National Yeast Genetics Meeting at Stanford University in California.  We presented a poster highlighting our research, which focuses on studying the telomere dynamics of yeast chromosomes to understand how telomeres contribute to cell aging and cancer biology. Throughout the week, I was able to attend presentations by some of the most prominent principal investigators in field of yeast genetics, and I networked with graduate and postdoctoral students from institutions around the world.   Although we were there for the science, I had the opportunity to explore Stanford’s beautiful campus as well. The scenery there was so breathtaking, especially the views from the top of the bell tower and at the cactus garden.  Overall, this trip was a wonderful opportunity for educational and professional development that would not have been possible without the support of the McNulty Scholars Program!

McNulty Class of 2019: Our Favorite Memories of SJU

by Ashley Frankenfield, Elise Brutschea, Lakshmi Narayanam, Kaleigh Williams and Jamilyn Mooteb

 

Ashley Frankenfield (Chemical Biology/Finance): One of my favorite memories here on campus was the opportunity to learn darkroom photography. Since I was young, I would always insist that my parents let me borrow their camera while on vacations. I’ve always loved photography and knew that I wanted to take a photography course for my art/lit requirement here at SJU. During my junior year, I finally got the opportunity. Over the course of a semester, I spent numerous hours in the darkroom trying to perfect techniques. My time in the darkroom was filled with laughter and numerous conversations with my classmates, and ultimately it set me on the path to grow as an artist.

 

Elise Brutschea (Chemistry): Having sent the past three years here at Saint Joe’s, I’ve made countless memories. One of my favorite memories is my first day in a research lab. I started working in Dr. Mark Forman’s research lab during the Summer Scholars Program between my freshman and sophomore years. Dr. Foreman studies the effects of bond-angle distortion on alkenes, a class of molecules that contain carbon-carbon double bonds. I remember how nervous I was. My hands were shaking whenever I would hold an Erlenmeyer flask or beaker. I remember how intimidating and smart the seniors who were training us seemed. I remember how daunting the lab procedures seemed, and how it felt like I would never remember what to do.  Looking back now, being a senior who has just trained new lab members this summer, I have really come to appreciate the past two years of learning through research. I have grown in confidence, and that first memory of lab really reminds me of just how much I have learned at SJU.

 

Lakshmi Narayanam (Biology): As I walked into my apartment, I was astonished to see decorations, balloons and food laid out as if there was going to be a party. A moment later, all my friends popped up from behind the counter and yelled “Surprise!” I was shocked that they had all taken the time and effort to plan out a fantastic party for my 21st birthday. Earlier in the day, I was feeling a little down because I was not spending my special day with my family. I didn’t think that anyone would really care that it was my birthday. After seeing the homemade nacho bar and special playlist including all my favorite songs, it dawned on me how my friends at Saint Joe’s are basically part of my family now. My friends are amazing and I have Saint Joe’s to thank for bringing these incredibly kind and caring people into my life.

 

Kaleigh Williams (Biology): As someone who is aspiring to be a veterinarian, my favorite memories of SJU have been formed while working in the Biodiversity Lab.  This lab houses many different types of animals, ranging from exotic fish species to endangered turtles. When I begin working in this lab my sophomore year, I instantly grew to love many of the animals in the lab.  While I do enjoy caring for them inside the lab, I prefer for them to live and thrive in the wild in their natural habitat. While this is not possible for some of the turtles in the lab (due to their endangerment statuses or natural environments) we have been able to release some of our turtles around the Philadelphia area, as well as in North and South Carolina.  My absolute favorite memory at SJU was when we released a few of our beloved snapping turtles into the wild. Seeing them swim off and enjoy their new home in the wild brought me great joy. Being able to see an animal go from a confined living space to a completely open and free living area was absolutely amazing.  Because of this experience, I hope to continue to rehabilitate and release wildlife in the future.

 

Jamilyn Mooteb (Physics): During my time here at SJU–away from my home in Yap, Micronesia–I have finally experienced the harshness of snow.  Every winter since I have been here, snow has whipped across my face. I have slipped on the ice and sludged in wet socks through snowdrifts.  Every year when the temperature drops, I start complaining to my friends about all things cold. Despite my negativity towards the cold, I have grown to enjoy one aspect of snow: just how fun you can have playing around in it.  The first time I had fun in the snow was during my freshman year, when I went sledding at Sweeney Field with a red sled, a couple pieces of cardboard and a small group of friends. The only way you could tell that it was a sports field was when you noticed the snow-covered bleachers and lights watching us from above.  We laughed. We slid around. We threw snowballs.  From that day on, I didn’t mind the snow so much, and now I have many more great winter memories in the snow here at SJU.

 

Parting Words from the Class of 2018

L-R: Abigail Sweetman, Marisa Egan & Shelley Donaldson

Marisa Egan (Biology):  As a now second-semester senior, I find myself thinking about all of my fond memories on Hawk Hill.  Upon reflection, I realize the impact of the academic experiences afforded to me by SJU.  To say that these opportunities have merely helped me grow would be a grave understatement.  Rather, they have changed my life.

Because of my time as a student researcher, a teaching assistant (TA) and a supplemental instruction (SI) leader, I have redefined my academic and personal goals.  Moreover, the students and the professors here are extraordinary, exemplifying an unparalleled commitment to serving the world–with and for others. Their commitment inspired me to make my own mark through a career in research and teaching.

My advice to the incoming McNulty freshmen?

  • Fall in love with learning, both inside and outside the classroom!
  • Explore your academic interests. Declare a few minors…I have three! As college students, we have the rare opportunity to learn from impassioned, inspiring leaders in their fields.
  • Find your purpose and inspire others to find theirs.

 

Shelley Donaldson (Mathematics):  With May just around the corner, I’ve been constantly fielding the question “Are you ready to graduate?” The answer is yes, I am absolutely ready to move into the next chapter in my life, but there are many things I will miss about SJU. I will miss talking about music in the library with the other math majors when we should really be studying.  I will miss chatting with the professors who care so deeply about my education and success.  I will miss the view of Overbrook Pizza from my apartment window.  I will miss this city.  But above all else, I’ll miss the culture of service and social justice that permeates the campus.

I began my career at SJU with the Philadelphia Service Immersion Program (PSIP), which is an early move-in program where freshmen learn about Philadelphia through community service. My group learned about food justice while working in a community garden in a part of Philadelphia where affordable, fresh food is not easily accessible.  PSIP was the perfect beginning to four years of learning about social justice and solidarity, as well as truly being in community with others.

Inspired by PSIP, I signed up to go on APEX, a spring break service immersion trip in the Appalachian region. Since freshman year, APEX has taken me to West Jefferson, North Carolina; Bluefield, West Virginia; and Clifton Gorge, Virginia.  Each APEX trip presented unique lessons, challenges and opportunities for growth, and cannot be summed up into words.  I have trouble imagining my time in college without these trips.

APEX gave me the opportunity to meet and connect on a deeper level with fellow students who shared my passion for social justice.  I was able to engage in meaningful conversations with members of the communities we were serving–conversations that taught me about the complexity and nuances of our country’s political and economic landscapes. Because I participated in APEX each year, spring break always became an intentional time to reflect, ground myself, be fully attentive and present to those around me, and marvel at our shared humanity. I attribute much of my personal growth in college to these annual trips, and it is my hope that wherever my post-grad life takes me, I’ll be able to find people just as committed to service and social justice as in APEX and the broader SJU community.

McNulty Class of 2020: How We Eat Right to Stay Healthy in College!

by Amelia Bielefeld, Annamarie Glaser and Lindsay Miller

As college students, returning to campus after winter break can be stressful and overwheming, with classes, work, labs and the multitude of other activities we are all involved in. Running around campus, it’s easy to forget to eat, let alone eat properly. The pressure of New Year’s Resolutions helps to hold us accountable with our diets and exercise (at least in January), but as the weeks go on, these resolutions get lost.  It’s easy to settle for convenience over health.

However, we know we perform our best when we feel our best, so it’s important to prioritize self-care and health.  Now that we’re sophomores, we all have kitchens in our apartments and we can cook for ourselves. We love having control over what we eat and how prepare it.  Below are some of our go-to recipes for healthy meals:

 

Annamarie Glaser (Biology): With my busy schedule, I’ve sadly found it hard to cook in my apartment this year.  However, when I do find time in the morning, one of my favorite breakfasts is a bowl of steel cut oats packed with fruit; it’s a really delicious but simple meal that keeps me full through back-to-back classes, and it gives me the energy to start my day!

Steel-Cut Oats with Fruit

Ever since I was young, I have always preferred to cook my own oats, as opposed to using instant oatmeal. It takes much longer to cook, but the taste and texture are worth it, not to mention that instant oatmeal can have extra sugar and other unhealthy additives.  To start, I boil 1 1/2 cups of water on the stove in a saucepan. Once the water has started boiling, I lower the temperature and add about a 1/4 cup of oats.  The oats can take anywhere from 25 – 40 minutes to cook.  To prevent them from burning, I stir them for a few seconds every 5 minutes.

Once the oats have about 5 minutes left, I add in fruit, usually about 1/2 cup of raspberries and blueberries and 1/2 of a banana, sliced.  Stir them so the oats can absorb some of the fruit flavors. Once the oats are done cooking, let them sit for 5-10 minutes to cool.  And then….EAT!

The best part of this meal is that it’s low-effort and easy-to-change. Some days, I add more oats, and other days, I load up on fruit.  It’s critical to start your day off making the right choices, especially with the busy schedule of a STEM major!

 

Lindsay Miller (Mathematics / Actuarial Science)

Personally, I eat eggs almost every day.  They take minutes to prepare and can be customized to fit anyone’s taste. I mix up my egg recipes frequently…but my go-to is an Egg Sandwich.

Egg Sandwich

First, I turn the stove on medium and warm a frying pan. While I’m waiting, I put a whole wheat sandwich thin in the toaster and mash a medium avocado in a bowl with the juice of a 1/2 lemon. When the sandwich thin is toasted, I cover both pieces in hot sauce (you can never have too much hot sauce) and spread about a quarter of the avocado on one of the pieces.  Next I dice about a quarter of an onion and half of a red pepper and let them cook in the pan. When they begin to brown, I add about half a cup of liquid egg whites to the pan and let the mixture cook.  When the eggs are done, I add them to my sandwich and enjoy!

Nothing about this meal is precise, which lets me quickly approximate all of the ingredients. Substitutions can easily be made based on what I have on-hand or what I’m feeling that day.  For me, I usually alternate between using egg whites and two whole eggs cooked over medium heat, and I throw in mushrooms if I have them.  The key to sustaining a healthy diet is finding whole, fresh foods that you enjoy eating and can easily prepare no matter how busy the day.

 

Amelia Bielefeld (Biology)

Something my mom used to cook quite often while I was living at home was Roasted Chickpeas. It’s a relatively quick recipe and very easy to accomplish, even without any cooking experience at all.  I have been using the recipe quite frequently this year, since I do not have much time to spend preparing meals. It’s also really really simple!

Roasted Chickpeas

To begin, preheat your oven to 450 F.  I typically buy 2 cans of chickpeas at the store to make at once.  Next, you must drain the liquid from the cans and lay the chickpeas out on a baking sheet.  Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray or you can lay the chickpeas down on some parchment paper.  Blot the chickpeas with paper towels to get any excess liquid off.  You season them with some salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix them around to evenly coat them. You can even add some cayenne pepper or siracha to spice them up!

When the oven is ready, place the chickpeas inside and bake them for about 40 minutes or until crispy.  And you’re done!

This recipe makes a lot of chickpeas in a short amount of time, so it makes a great snack for the week.  It’s the perfect recipe for someone always on the go, like a typical college student!!!

McNulty Class of 2021: Holiday Specials on your Christmas List? Here’s what to watch…

by Thi Nguyen, Iswarya Vel, Maria Johnson, Zoe Mrozek, Michelle Wheatley, Emily Lehman, Maura Flynn and Gianna Penezic

As the happiest time of year rolls around, we are enjoying our favorite holiday movies while snuggled up in our PJs and sipping a warm cup of hot cocoa (while studying for finals during commercial breaks, of course!). Here’s what we have to recommend for your viewing pleasure:

Thi Nguyen (Biology): One of my favorite holiday movies is Home Alone. Home Alone tells the story of a mischievous and fun loving eight year old boy, Kevin McCallister, who accidentally gets left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation. It gets more interesting when two burglars arrive in an attempt to rob the McCallister home while his family is away. Kevin takes it upon himself to protect the house. Overall, the movie has a great blend of humor and holiday spirit. It’s fun to watch and laugh at the predicament that Kevin and the burglars find themselves in!

Iswarya Vel (Biology): Whenever the holidays come around, I never feel complete until I watch my favorite holiday movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I have been watching this movie ever since I was a child, and it always puts me in the holiday spirit! It tells the story of a reindeer named Rudolph who was born with a special red nose. Rudolph was ostracized because of his different nose. He then embarks on a quest of self-discovery and figures out that his nose is what makes him special, especially when Santa needs him to navigate stormy weather on Christmas Eve.

Maria Johnson (Biology): My favorite holiday movie is The Polar Express. Everything about the movie just brings to life the magic of Christmas, and I remember watching the train station outside my window, robe on, hoping the Polar Express would come with steaming cups of hot chocolate and lots of other kids all waiting to see Santa.  Even now, it’s still fun to watch the movie (which I do every Christmas Eve) and relive the magic and fun of the holidays.

Zoe Mrozek (Environmental Science): My favorite movie during the holiday season would also have to be The Polar Express! It never fails to get me in the Christmas spirit. I remember the first time I saw it, I was in kindergarten and the train’s journey to the North Pole was truly magical. That year on Christmas Eve, and for many years after, I wished that the Polar Express would stop by my house and take me on a trip to see Santa. Every winter now, I look forward to watching this movie with my family and reaffirming my belief in the magic of Christmas!

Michelle Wheatley (Mathematics): One of my favorite holiday movies is A Charlie Brown Christmas. I remember sitting and watching it with my family so many times during Christmas seasons over the years, and it always fills me with happiness.  Charlie Brown is probably my favorite character because he goes out of his comfort zone to direct the play, and sticks with it although it’s tough.  The Christmas spirit works its magic at the end, and everything works out! Charlie Brown movies have been a tradition in my family since I can remember, so it’s one of the cornerstones of celebrating Christmas for me.

Emily Lehman (Physics): My favorite holiday movie has got to be The Year Without a Santa Claus. This movie is not only a classic claymation, but a heartwarming (and “global warming” for that matter) story about the presuppositions of kids all over the world. I find this movie really humbling in a sense because it reminds me that gifts, while nice, should not be expected or assumed.  Also, the constant battle between Heat Miser and Snow Miser really resonates with my sense of existential dread about the changing of the seasons.  Plus, their rap battle is a really catchy tune and has become my go-to song of the holidays!

Maura Flynn (Biology): My favorite holiday movie is The Ultimate Christmas Present. It’s a Disney original movie about two girls who steal a snow machine from Santa Claus.  They create a blizzard in Los Angeles, which in turn causes many problems.  I love this movie because I can remember eating cookies and sucking on candy canes while watching it with my two older sisters.  It’s the perfect indoor activity when the weather gets frosty.

Gianna Penezic (Biology): My favorite holiday movie would have to be Elf starring Will Ferrell. It is so quirky and adorable, not to mention hysterical! I always feel so good after watching it. It never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit, and I can quote pretty much the entire thing! I mean, how could you not feel happy when watching Buddy eat candy-covered spaghetti or cause a rampage all throughout the Christmas Village in Macy’s, or prance around the streets of NYC without a care in the world? I feel as though everyone should strive to be more like Buddy the Elf, during the holiday season and throughout the rest of the year as well.

November 2017: Our Favorite Places to Eat in Philly & Why! By McNulty Class of 2019

by Ashley Frankenfield, Elise Brutschea, Lakshmi Narayanam, Kaleigh Williams and Jamilyn Mooteb

After a long week of eating on campus…or whipping up ramen noodles or mac n cheese night after night…we all look forward to getting out into Philadelphia to eat.  And by now, it’s safe to say we have definitely found our favorite places around town.  Take note and remember these suggestions when you join us next year on Hawk Hill!

 

Ashley Frankenfield (Chemical Biology & Finance): Philadelphia’s South Street has a lot of quaint restaurants. In particular, my favorite place to eat is Nomad Pizza.  This restaurant focuses on serving artisan pizza from the highest quality of ingredients. Also the restaurant itself has a contemporary vibe.

 

Elise Brutschea (Chemistry): There is no debate that my favorite restaurants are Italian. I am a sucker for Italian food, and I constantly eat pasta for lunch and dinner. So my favorite place to eat around Philadelphia is Pica’s Restaurant in Upper Darby, PA. Pica’s pizza is delicious!  It’s square and the cheese is underneath the sauce (YUM!). But if you are going to go to Pica’s, you have to get their fresh, homemade pasta. I usually get Veal Marsala with Penne Pasta (in the Marsala sauce, of course) but anything you get there that has pasta will probably be the most delicious thing you will ever have in Philly. Not only is their food amazing, their service is outstanding. I always feel at home there, and I love to take my time at a restaurant and they never rush me. Pica’s is a must for anyone in the area!

Lakshmi Narayanam (Biology): I have tons of favorite places to go in Philadelphia because there are so many amazing authentic-style restaurants. My absolute favorite place is near Penn’s Landing, a Mexican restaurant called Las Bugambilias. It is a little cramped but the food is so delicious, I keep going back.  I always get the nachos because they have the best melted cheese I have ever tasted. The quesadillas and enchiladas are also great because they are made with fresh ingredients! They also have authentic Mexican sodas that are interesting to try. After a great meal, I love walking across the street to the Spruce Street Harbor Park. There are beautiful lights, food trucks, hammocks and music that you can enjoy for the rest of the night.

Kaleigh Williams (Biology): I absolutely love the Philly food scene and all it has to offer. One place in particular that I love to eat at is Double Knot in Center City. At first, this restaurant appears to be a young, fun hipster coffee shop that offers amazing specials on small dishes in the early evening. However there is a secret underground restaurant which is very fancy and has some of the best food I have ever tasted. When I finally got the opportunity to explore downstairs, I was amazed at how great the service was and how awesome the food tasted. I ordered three different types of sushi, edamame and a roasted mushroom dish that was to die for! The underground restaurant is very dark and mysterious, but in my opinion, it added to the experience. Even if you do not have time to adventure into the lower part of Double Knot, the upper restaurant has a very welcoming vibe too.  Every single person I have met there has been very kind. I would definitely recommend visiting this spot when you find yourself in Center City.

Jamilyn Mooteb (Physics): I love discovering new places to eat and enjoying new blends of flavors. Regrettably, I have not fully explored Philly’s food scene, despite exploring the city in my spare time over the summer. Despite this, I have a soft spot for California Pizza Kitchen on City Avenue (near SJU). It was one of the first restaurants I visited when I first arrived here.  Pizza Kitchen has great food selections and projects a peaceful, calm aura–perfect for a relaxing outing with friends!  If you’re daring with your appetite, another personal favorite is the Reading Terminal Market in Center City. Little shops and mini-restaurants are nestled so close together, it’s like wandering into a small village. The cuisines are so diverse–you can always find what you’re craving! I hope you visit these places and satisfy your own appetites!

October 2017: Our Recommendations for the Best Places To Be in Philly in the Fall, by McNulty Fellows 2017-18

L-R: Sarah Muche, Asha Jacob, Leona Ryder, Natalie Ryder, Amelia Brown

Whether you’re brand new to the Philadelphia area, or just need a reminder about where you can have the most fun here during the autumn months, the McNulty Fellows are here to steer you in the right direction.  Read below for a wide range of suggestions that run the gamut from peaceful spaces to enjoy the cooler weather to frightening Halloween celebrations.

 

 

Sarah Muche ’19 (Biology): First Friday in Old City
First Friday is a year-long tradition in Old City where art galleries and independent shops open to the public from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. Restaurants also offer special deals.  I find this is especially enjoyable in the fall because the leaves are turning colors and the weather is so pleasant.  Old City is a lot less intimidating than Center City, which is why I recommend it to people who don’t necessarily know Philly very well.  If you find yourself there, the Center for Art in Wood and the Clay Studio are definitely my suggestions for must-see stops!

Asha Jacob ’18 (Biology/Environmental Science): Chinatown
Fall for me always means going to Chinatown with friends, grabbing a meal at our favorite restaurant, Dim Sum Garden, and wandering the streets looking for interesting shops to browse in.  Dim Sum Garden has been a favorite of ours since freshman year because they sell the best soup dumplings in the world at an affordable price! It’s one of the best fall meals because the soup warms us up on the inside for the fall chill outside. Chinatown is a great place to go in the fall (or just about any season). There are always different events, like the Night Market, taking place. It’s also a great place to learn about cultures other than our own.

Leona Ryder ’18 (Biology): Eastern State Penitentiary
The fall season in Philly is full of fun festivities, especially surrounding Halloween. Philadelphia is home to the Eastern State Penitentiary, which was once called the most famous and expensive prison in the world. Stories about famous inmates, like Al Capone and “Slick Willie” Sutton, attract Philly locals and visitors to the historic site, where tours run year-round, every day of the week. To make things even more exciting, during the end of September through October, the Penitentiary turns into a massive haunted house called Terror Behind the Walls, ranked the #1 haunted house in the US by Forbes. You have the option to stand back and watch the action or interact with the actors to become truly immersed (and terrified!) by the action.  You will most definitely be scared either way as you make your way through each of the six long attractions.  Tickets are currently on sale, so grab your friends and head to the Eastern State Penitentiary for an experience of a lifetime!

Natalie Barrett ’18 (Biology): Rittenhouse Square vs. Washington Square
My favorite thing about Philadelphia is how easy it is to walk everywhere.  You can start your day at one end of Center City or one park, and end you day at another. There are many parks to spend time in, but two of my favorites are Rittenhouse Square and Washington Square. Rittenhouse Square tends to be lively, filled with dogs, families picnicking, street performers and Mr. Softee trucks! Washington Square, on the other hand, is on the quiet side and is filled with history. You can always find a wedding or bridal party photo shoot taking place there.  Both parks are surrounded by great dining options too. So next time you’re in Philly, I highly recommend checking out either (or both!) of these parks and enjoying a day with family and friends.

Amelia Brown ’18 (Biology): The Museums
What’s the best part of Philly? All the great museums, for sure! There’s a museum for every single person. Like history? How about the newly built Museum of the American Revolution or the Penn Museum? Are you an art buff? We have one of the most architecturally beautiful and comprehensive art museums in the world. The Philadelphia Museum of Art even has Van Gogh’s famous work, Sunflowers! And it’s in a great location, right at the end of Boathouse Row so you can go for a beautiful riverside walk and run up the famous front steps, just like Rocky!  If you’re more of a science buff (like all of us McNulty gals), there are three crazy cool museums to choose from. The Mutter Museum contains hundreds of medical specimens to keep a future medical school student engaged for hours (although be warned: this is not for the faint of heart). The Franklin Institute has a huge human heart that you can walk through (need I say more?). And the Academy of Natural Sciences right next door has real dinosaur bones.  No matter how cold it gets outside, everyone will still be having a great time inside, exploring Philadelphia’s many great museums.

March 2017: What Is Your Go-To Movie? Recommendations from the McNulty Fellows, 2016-17


McNulty Fellows, 2016-17
L-R: Mary Szurgot ’17, Natalie Barrett ’18, Kaitlyn Frankenfield ’17, Leona Ryder ’18, Brianna Amos ’17, Amelia Brown ’18, Caroline Stow ’17, Madeline Graziani ’17

Springtime may be the time to be outside, enjoying the budding trees, flowers and warmer temperatures. But with all of the sun comes a lot of rain, and our McNulty Fellows know just how to handle the April showers that come before May flowers. A bowl of popcorn. A couple of friends. And a great movie!! Here are their suggestions for the movies that offer the best escape from thunderstorms….or that lab write up that is looming…..

szurgot2Mary Szurgot ’17 (Chemical Biology)
I’ve always been the type to prefer non-fiction to fiction, so naturally, I spend much of my time on Netflix in the Documentaries queue. I recently stumbled upon an 80-minute documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things which seeks to provide some answers to the question “How might your life be better with less?” Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of theminimalists.com narrate this documentary which provides an overview of how families, artists, entrepreneurs and even Wall Street millionaires have sought to add value to their lives by eliminating or de-emphasizing material possessions, and how they feel their lives have been affected by this change. While I don’t personally think I’ll be moving into a 200 square foot tiny house anytime soon, I enjoyed hearing about the value that minimalism has added to many people’s lives. I would recommend the brief film to anyone interested in learning about a movement that seems counter-intuitive to modern consumer culture.

Natalie Barrett ’18 (Biology)
After attending my sister’s high school musical rendition of The Sound of Music this past weekend, I found myself craving more. I decided to borrow my grandma’s DVD copy of The Sound of Music and watched it as I was trapped in my house during Winter Storm Stella.  If you are looking for a classic movie, or simply a fun sing-along, The Sound of Music is your go-to! The legendary Julie Andrews stars as the movie’s main character, Maria, who brings joy and music to a family struggling since the loss of their mother.  Although quite long, the movie is filled with classic songs such as “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi.” It is also filled with history, perfect for any age group.  I highly recommend the classic film even if you have already seen it. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Leona Ryder ’18 (Biology)ryder2
A movie that I would recommend is The Intern starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. Not only is this movie a great comedy, but it also has a great independent woman as the main character. Anne Hathaway’s character is Jules Ostin, the owner of an online clothing company. Though she goes through ups and downs not only within her job but also regarding her marriage and her family, she truly resembles a strong successful woman. Her clothing company decides to sponsor a senior citizen internship position, which Robert De Niro’s character, Ben Whittaker, a retired widower, decides to take on. I highly recommend this movie for anyone who loves a great comedy or drama, and Anne Hathaway and/or Robert De Niro.

Brianna Amos ’17 (Biology)
It’s crazy how the smallest things take us back to our childhood and make us feel like a kid again. If you are a Disney fanatic like me or loved the Disney classics growing up, the new live-action Beauty and the Beast is an absolute must-see. I grew up obsessed with the Disney movies to the point that I broke the VCR tapes from watching them so much. Trust me when I say: “I know the whole storyline by heart–so how could a remake compare?” Believe me,  I had my doubts as well.  But it is a magical movie.  As I sat in the theater, I could only imagine dancing around singing like a child to all of the familiar songs.  However, there are some new songs and some added details to the story that have given me an even greater appreciation for this story and helped me see it from a new perspective. The dancing and acting are incredible. The special effects add magic. And the special details in every scene are awe-inspiring. And of course, there are plenty of added puns and humor along the way to help you make it through some of the more depressing scenes. Whether you are looking for a pick-me-up or a flashback to your childhood, I recommend the new Beauty and the Beast. A 10 out of 10!

brown2

Amelia Brown ’18 (Biology)
Shakespearean references, a tough female lead, and Heath Ledger.  What more could one ask for in a movie? The 1999 classic 10 Things I Hate About You is an excellent coming-of-age movie for any young girl who has been told that she is “bossy.” This is the movie that made me realize that being a sassy and bossy female who didn’t care what anyone else thought was something to celebrate. Even 18 years after the movie’s release, I still find satisfaction in watching Kat sass her way through high school situations. I still value someone who doesn’t put down her edgy attitude but instead compliments it. Patrick Verona (played by a young and in-his-prime Heath Ledger) plays her love interest. Despite the fact that it technically is a romantic comedy, it isn’t a movie about a girl falling head over heels in love with a guy and losing part of herself in the process.  Kat is her own person who, despite being “shrewish,” finds someone who embraces her personality and sees her for who she really is: a woman who doesn’t need a man to tell her what to do.

stow2Caroline Stow ’17 (Chemistry)
If you are looking for a hilarious, dramatic, endearing movie, you need to watch Little Miss Sunshine (2006). With its great cast, including Steve Carrell and Abigail Breslin, this movie will take you on an emotional roller coaster as the Hoover family faces many perils on the open road in their old yellow Volkswagen bus. The film’s plot is driven by the need to get the youngest Hoover, Olive, to the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant in California on time. The two reasons I love this movie are because it shows the importance of family and because it is empowering.  When they get to the beauty pageant, it becomes clear that Olive isn’t as glitzy and glamorous as the other little girls there.  However even when presented with the option of quitting, she is determined to go out on stage and perform the routine that her grandfather taught her. And even though the rest of her family had their doubts, she crushed it. This movie is phenomenal and has a little bit of everything for everyone.  If you are looking for a film that will make you laugh, cry and feel strong at the end of the day, then Little Miss Sunshine is for you.

November 2016: The Class of 2020’s Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

L-R: Amelia Bielefeld, Annamarie Glaser and Lindsay Miller

The campus is quiet.  Classes are finished for the week.  And our thoughts turn toward the magnificent meal we will be enjoying tomorrow with family and friends.  While the food here at SJU isn’t bad at all, there is nothing like a home-cooked meal.  Especially at Thanksgiving.  Below are the dishes we can’t wait to dig into.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Amelia Bielefeld (Biology): Sweet Potato Casserole
My all-time favorite Thanksgiving recipe is hands-down, Sweet Potato Casserole.  My family discovered this recipe when I was still very young from one of our close family friends.  My sister and I loved it so much that my mom decided that she needed to have the recipe as well.  Ever since then, we have made it at every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  The taste always gets me into the holiday spirit, no matter what time of year it is.  For my family, Sweet Potato Casserole is a must-have at Thanksgiving Dinner, and I am happy to pass our treasured recipe onto you!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • pinch of salt

Topping

  • 5tablespoonsmelted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

How To Make It

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 °F
  2. Mash your sweet potatoes and add the ingredients required for the casserole. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour mix into a casserole pan or thin dish
  4. Combine ingredients for the topping and spread evenly across the top of the casserole.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.

 

Annamarie Glaser (Biology): Vanillekipferi (Vanilla Crescent Cookies)
Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays when I still lived in the States.  Nothing could compare to the feeling of family and unity. It was one of the only times of the year all five of my siblings were together–the smell of rich food, the heat of the fire filling the house.  Though it’s an American holiday, after moving to Germany, we were able to fuse older family traditions with some German Christmas traditions.  For me, one of the best parts of the holidays in Germany is the wide variety of cookies.  This Thanksgiving, I’ll be missing my two homes: my new one at SJU and my family home in Munich.  This recipe is for my favorite German holiday cookie, one of the first I remember trying.

Ingredients

  • 14 tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup blanched, ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Vanilla sugar for sugar coating

Additional Supplies

  • Clear plastic wrap
  • Baking parchment
  • Baking sheet

How To Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix and then knead ingredients into a firm, smooth dough, ensuring not to knead too long.
  3. Wrap dough in clear plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of an hour.
  4. Cut off slices from dough that are about 3/8 inch thick.
  5. Break off small pieces from the slices and shape them into crescents. Rewrap remaining dough and return to fridge.
  6. Place the crescents on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cookies are golden.
  8. Dip cookies into sugar while they are still warm to ensure the sugar adheres to the cookies.

 

Lindsay Miller (Mathematics): Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It is filled with family, friends, and food! I am lucky to have parents who are wonderful cooks and to have so many different dishes to look forward to every year. However this year, I am most excited about homemade carrot cake.  This recipe is simple to follow and yields delicious results.  Give it a try! I promise you will not be disappointed.  Regardless, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and a relaxing break from school or work filled with quality time with loved ones! I am thankful to be home in New Jersey, but I will be missing my second home on Hawk Hill.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups corn oil
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed cooked carrots
  • 3/4 cup drained crushed pineapple

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

How To Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease three 9-inch layer cake pans lined with wax paper.
  2. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 60 minutes until the edges have pulled away from sides and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool on a cake rack for 3 hours.
  5. Mix frosting ingredients with an electric mixer until creamy. Fill cake and frost sides with cream cheese frosting. Dust top with confectioners sugar.
  6. Enjoy!