Independent Public Mission Schools

Fairleigh Dickinson Raising Cultural Consciousness on the Runway and on Campus

Small lights illuminated just the runway in the Fitness Center, as models strutted out in global garb to a standing room-only crowd at the fourth annual International Fashion Show.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” says Sandy Than, senior biology major from Yangon, Myanmar, who modeled this year. “You could hear my heartbeat before I walked out,” says Koushik-Goud Aluvala, an electrical engineering graduate student from Kollapur, India. “When I was wearing the lungi [a casual Indian garment], I got lots of screams. For a second I thought I might make modeling my career,” he jokes.

This year’s theme, “Fashion Through the Decades,” told the stories of cultures and countries from across the globe through traditional and modern clothing, and for the first time, featured dance performances.

It takes a full year to plan the Metropolitan Campus fashion show, put on by the International Student Association (ISA) and Fashion Corps, with extra support from the Office of International Student Services.

To read more stories about Fairleigh Dickinson, scroll down:

Fairleigh Dickinson Ranks Highly in Student Income Mobility
Students Testify at New Jersey Legislature to Offer Education Recommendations
Giving Kids the World: Pharmacy Students Learn Life and Career Lessons Volunteering to Serve Terminally Ill Children

“Different roles were assigned to eboard members. We were responsible for the volunteers, performers, models, food, music, video and more,” says Mahader Guade, a junior biology major from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and president of the ISA. “Urusha Lama [graduate student and former ISA president] and Susan Cuffee [assistant director of international student services] gave tireless support and advice. They are the backbones of our fashion show.”

Thirty-three models, 40 volunteers and 10 executive board members from both student organizations made the event possible.

“I have a lot of respect for what Susan and the eboard did — I know what went into coordinating and planning the event — the sleepless nights. The audience only sees the final product, so I want to acknowledge what they put into it to make it happen,” says Than.

Preparation for the show is demanding — performers had three tryouts, volunteers and models attended multiple dress fittings and everyone involved came out for rehearsals and run-throughs. At the last rehearsal they ran the whole show twice. “It was really a relief to know that everyone would have enough time to change between segments,” says Gabrielle Bamberski, a senior criminal justice major from Philadelphia, Pa., and president of Fashion Corps.

ISA maintains a collection of outfits, donated over the years by FDU students, and solicits the campus community for additional loaner clothing. Some students wear their own garments, but many others model borrowed pieces. Featured costumes and countries are determined by what fits each year’s crop of models. Represented this year: Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Russia, France, England, the United States, Columbia, the Philippines, Haiti and Nepal. As models walked the runway, a screen projected the name of the clothing’s country of origin.

“It’s so nice to see the models and volunteers having fun. We got a lot of good feedback from the audience; they enjoyed the show, food and performances,” says Vanessa Yong, a junior psychology stude
nt from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and ISA public relations officer. She worked with models throughout the whole process—recruitment, fittings, and practices — and was backstage at the fashion show, helping them with their costumes. Yong received positive feedback from the models, too, and adds, “that is important to me, after going through the whole journey.”

The Pri’shizen girls step team and a Haitian dancer performed, and modern and contemporary dances were featured. After the fashion show, the audience, models, volunteers, ISA and Fashion Corps members mingled and sampled diverse foods. Gourmet Dining, the food provider on campus, contributed Asian and Spanish dishes.

“Through these events people get to actually meet other people from different countries,” says Guade.

Bamberski adds, “It’s nice to spread awareness. A lot of colleges don’t have as diverse a campus.” Both ISA and Fashion Corps promote that diversity, looking to bring domestic and foreign students together at fun, informative gatherings. “We want to create cultural awareness for people, and this is a fun way to do it,” says Yong.

“At the end of the day, we are all the same, all humans,” says Aluvala. “Just because people have a different skin color or culture, that doesn’t mean they’re not your friends. Don’t be judgmental. We cannot judge a whole country or race based on one person. We need to stand for one another. Unity and diversity, that’s what I see here at FDU and the fashion show.”


Fairleigh Dickinson Ranks Highly in Student Income Mobility

According to the Equality of Opportunity Project report on the role of colleges in intergenerational mobility, Fairleigh Dickinson University was ranked near the top among universities in the state and nation for helping students move from lower income brackets to the middle and upper class. In fact, 24 percent of students who graduate from FDU move up by two or more income quintiles. FDU ranks 80th for mobility out of 578 selective private colleges nationwide.

President Christopher A. Capuano said, “The study affirms the success of Fairleigh Dickinson University in ensuring that students have access to an affordable education and speaks to the great value of an FDU degree in preparing students for successful careers.”

The study compared data on the financial standing of a student’s family before they begin college and the graduate’s earnings after gaining a college degree.

See how FDU stands –

Students Testify at New Jersey Legislature to Offer Education Recommendations

fdu_studentstestifylegislatureFlorham Campus seniors Nick Parra and Brandon Barlow had the opportunity to testify before the New Jersey Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Public Schools on the issue of school funding. Invited to testify by Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-27), Parra and Barlow appeared before the committee in the State House Annex in Trenton and made recommendations based on the findings of their research into universal pre-K programs and urban education programs.

Parra and Barlow opened the hearing with a 15-minute presentation, in which they advocated for expanding universal pre-K, and examining ways to reduce attrition rates among new teachers in urban districts.

Both Parra and Barlow are double majors, with Parra studying political science and history and Barlow studying education and history.

The Joint Committee on the Public Schools is made up of Senators and Assemblymen/Assemblywomen to make responsible policy on public schooling in N.J.

Giving Kids the World: Pharmacy Students Learn Life and Career Lessons Volunteering to Serve Terminally Ill Children

For the fourth year in a row, students and faculty in the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences recently volunteered at the Give Kids the World Village (GKTW), a nonprofit resort in Kissimmee, Fla., for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

This latest trip, led by Chadwin Sandifer, assistant dean for student affairs and programmatic effectiveness, and partially sponsored by Walgreens, included 10 students along with Nicole East, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, an
d Julia Georgiana, student affairs counselor. They spent five days  working at the resort, doing everything from serving food to manning rides and game booths, all the while, learning valuable skills for the future.

Part of the Service Learning: Pediatric Population course, the service trip is designed to help pharmacy students develop the communication and empathic competencies they will need in their careers as members of a healthcare team.

Students share their reflections on the experience:

The Place

Kendra Volz
“Give Kids the World is its very own universe. Prior to embarking on this magical journey, I didn’t know how remarkable this ‘Village universe’ really was. As we approached the village for the first time, I saw a large span of bright buildings lining the road. I started to think back to my childhood and how special it was to be gifted with anything colorful, let alone a house to stay in. After a short tour of the village, I couldn’t help but look around in complete awe. Everything you could imagine was tailored to the children. From the small rocking chairs that sat outside facing the castle, to the small tables and chairs in the kitchen.”

Brianna Leahy

“You can tell what a beautiful and magical place [GKTW] is by watching the families interact with each other. It is not about the child’s condition or doctors’ appointments. It is about showing love for one another and enjoying the presence of the people closest to you.”

Jazzmine Paz
“I got the sense that this place was built for happy moments and happier memories.”

The Experiencefdu_pharmacyterminallyill

Waqas Ibrar
On the fourth day, I was working in Amberville — an arcade — and I played air hockey with an Indian child whose mom did not speak English, so I was able to interact with her in Hindi and make sure her child was having fun.

Later, two Arabic-speaking children also came in and played pool and basketball. They did not speak English very well and their mom only spoke Arabic, so I was able to communicate with them in Arabic and tell them a little bit about the village. Just having a simple conversation and offering to translate for them, made me feel like I had accomplished a task a little different than the rest of the volunteers. Knowing that I have a skill or talent I can use for the good or to help someone is extremely rewarding.

Kourtnei-Rae Gondeck
Throughout our day at the pool, we tended to about five families. It was a very reflective, eye-opening morning because at this point I was able to see a lot of the scars and tubes that the employees had warned us about when coming in contact with the children.

When a family of five was leaving the pool, the mother made a comment about her youngest son. He was the wish child and was approximately 3-years-old, confidently strutting his stuff in nautical swim trunks and a chest full of scars from past surgeries. He suffered from an inoperable tumor and was only alive because of certain medications available to him. Although this was truly heartbreaking, I felt a moment of peace alongside of her, because she was so grateful for the moments she was able to spend with her son.

Jazzmine Paz
On day four, my morning shift was in the Castle of Miracles. I loved working at the Castle because it was such a magical place. My favorite part of working there was playing make-believe for the children. For instance, I often had to pretend to talk to Stellar, a fairy that places a wish child’s star in The Star Tower. I had to speak with an enthusiastic tone that got the child excited that Stellar was “interacting” with us.
The Lessons Learned

Galina Abayeva
The five days at GKTW reminded me how lucky we all are to be alive and healthy, and how we sometimes forget to stop for a minute and just be happy and appreciate all the amazing and great things we have in life. Working at GKTW taught me what a great place the world can be and what potential it has if people think and act more positively. It taught me not to be afraid to make mistakes and that not every little failure is the end of the world. It taught me to open up and get out of my comfort zone and get to know more people.

Professionally, I learned that there is so much more to the field of pharmacy than just counting pills. Growing patient relationships is what matters most.

Jazzmine Paz
I felt a sense of teamwork with my classmates. I saw us helping one another out whenever one of us was encountering some difficulty. It reminded me of the healthcare team a pharmacist is a part of while in practice. In a community pharmacy, the pharmacist is not only working with her pharmacy technicians, but also with the whole community to better facilitate effective healthcare delivery.

Christina Persiano
One time or another, we all discredit someone before really getting to know them, whether for being different, because our best friend didn’t like them, or because they aren’t part of the so-called “in crowd.” This trip made me look past differences and it made me look at people for who they are.

I feel like this experience has woken me up, given me back positive energy, helped me become animated again and definitely put a little magic back into my life.

Shefkate Bakiu
The whole purpose of this trip was to take me out of my comfort zone, which it did. I broke out of my shy shell and it started to become easier to just talk to strangers.

Rishi Singh
This trip has opened my eyes and shown me that all it takes is one person to have a domino-effect on a group, which then leads to another domino-effect.

Brianna Leahy
I remember one morning I saw kids running around and laughing. It was only 8 a.m. and I was still yawning, but their energy and excitement was a better wake-up call than my cup of coffee. It was almost as if I was revitalized because their energy completely turned my slow, sleepy mood around. Once I saw them, I was back to my positive attitude, ready to take on the day. I want to keep this memory close, because I could use a little pick-me-up on certain mornings. There are times I feel as if I am too tired to do anything, but this experience has proved to me that I can still accomplish so much even when I am sleepy. It also taught me that life is too short to waste my mornings allowing my sleepiness to consume me. Moving forward, I am going to try my best to give things my all, regardless of what time of day it may be.