Independent Public Mission Schools

Centenary University Partners with Elemental Path to Conduct an Artificial Intelligence Educational Project

Left to right: Dr. Timothy Frederiks, Education and Mathematics Chair and Assistant Professor of Education at Centenary University; Kathy Naasz, Vice President of Innovation and Acting Vice President of Advancement at Centenary University; and Dr. Kris Gunawan, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Centenary University.

Centenary University’s Innovation, Education and Psychology Departments partnered with Elemental Path, an educational technology developer that was recently named “A Top 10 Artificial Intelligence Company that is Disrupting Education” by DisruptorDaily, to conduct a research project to determine the impact of engaging students with the CogniToys™ Dino, a cloud-based artificial intelligence smart toy dinosaur that engages with children for customized learning and play.

Centenary University’s Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Kris Gunawan, and Dr. Timothy Frederiks, Assistant Professor of Education and Chair of the Education Department, worked with ten 4-to 8-year old students from three different school districts: Adamsville Elementary School (Bridgewater, N.J.), Belvidere High School (Belvidere, N.J.) and Mountain Villa School (Allamuchy, N.J.). Teachers also received a questionnaire asking about children’s oral skills and their English language proficiency. Students who participated in the project received a free CogniToys™ Dino at the end of the six-week study. At the end of the study, Elemental Path received an extensive report of the findings.

“This is a dinosaur that tells stories, sings songs, tells jokes, asks questions and really engages the students,” says Dr. Gunawan. “The goal is for the students to become better communicators as a result of their interaction with the CogniToys Dino.”

To read more stories about Centenary, scroll down:

Centenary and County College of Morris to Embark on a Path to Transfer Program Agreement
Centenary’s Social Work Class Instrumental in Having a NJ Peggy’s Law Passed after Seven Years

Thomas, a dad from Allamuchy found that her seven year old daughter enunciates her words much better since the initiative took place.

“Not only is this a really fun product for the children and interesting for adults to watch, but it is educational and my daughter’s speech has improved, as a result,” says Thomas. “The CogniToys Dino is loaded with many different stories and it is quite interactive. My daughter’s favorite story is Bad Breath Berry.

Elemental Path is an educational technology developer offering a cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) software platform called Friendgine. The company’s line of CogniToys™ are AI-enhanced smart toys that run on this software and have a unique personality. The CogniToys Dino enables speech-based learning through intelligent conversation with the child in real time, providing a personalized learning experience for kids based on their interests and behaviors – resulting in an unparalleled smart toy play experience for children worldwide. Elemental Path recently launched a new addition to the CogniToys family called the STEMosaur, which offers even greater play value through the addition of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Coding elements.

“Working with the Centenary team was productive and informative,” says Jose Baptista, President of Elemental Path. “They spent many hours conducting and preparing for this study and were committed to providing us with helpful data that we can utilize moving forward.”

(l-r) Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president Student Development and Enrollment Management, CCM; Frank M. Longo, professor of Business, Centenary; Dr. Bruce P. Dutra, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, CCM; Monica Maraska, dean of the School of Health Professions and Natural Sciences, CCM; Dr. Amy D’Olivo, vice president of Academic Affairs, Centenary; Kari Hawkins, Coordinator of Transfer Services, CCM.

Centenary University and County College of Morris to Embark on a Path to Transfer Program Agreement

Students Who Participate in this Program will be Eligible for Scholarship Funds Upon Earning a Degree from CCM

Dr. David P. Haney, Centenary University President, and Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, President of County College of Morris (CCM), have signed a Path to Transfer Program agreement. This agreement guarantees a seamless transition for qualifying CCM graduates at Centenary University.

Both institutions have recognized the importance of completing an associate degree before students transfer to a four-year institution. Students who complete an associate degree at CCM will receive a Path to Transfer Award. In addition, Path to Transfer students will be eligible for a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society scholarship if they become an active member, as well as a Centenary University Recognition Award. Lastly, all students who have become Centenary students through the Path to Transfer Program Agreement will be considered for all institutional aid that is available to Centenary University students.

“While Centenary University has many articulation agreements with community colleges, this is the first of its kind for us,” says Dr. David P. Haney, Centenary University President. “This is a wonderful partnership that is designed to make this process as seamless as possible. It also provides students who come to us as Path to Transfer students with additional financial incentives based on degree completion at CCM.” Dr. Iacono echoes Dr. Haney’s sentiment in recognizing the importance of the agreement. “We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Centenary as part of our ongoing efforts to make it easier for CCM students to also earn a bachelor’s degree,” says Dr. Anthony Iacono, CCM President. “This is an exciting partnership and a great opportunity for students.”

Left to right are Social Work students involved in this initiative – Erika Sciancalepore, Samantha Mauro, Dawn Sella and Jacqueline Miller.

Centenary University’s Social Work Class Advocates for Peggy’s Law and is Instrumental in Having a New Jersey Bill Passed after Seven Years

Centenary University’s Social Welfare Policy course has turned out to be a game changer for so many people. Every spring semester, Terri Klemm, Associate Professor of Social Work, works with students in Centenary’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program to find and learn about state and national legislative proposals that are of interest to them. Each student writes a policy analysis about the bill that they have chosen. The group as a whole then decides on one bill to advocate for or against.

Last semester, the class decided to advocate for Peggy’s Law. Named after Peggy Marzolla, an Alzheimer’s patient who died after enduring abuse at an elder-care facility in 2010, the law requires that police are notified whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that an institutionalized elderly person is being abused. Peggy’s daughter, Dr. Maureen J. Persi, had been lobbying tirelessly for the bill’s passage ever since her mother’s death. She credits the social work students with finally turning things around by generating more than 300 letters, emails and phone calls to NJ legislators.

“The students from Centenary University were angels that came out of nowhere,” says Dr. Persi. “It was amazing that I received this help from strangers. They were able to move this project along after seven years and now no other institutionalized elder in New Jersey ever has to endure what my mother went through.”

The student who chose Peggy’s Law for her policy analysis assignment admits that she never expected to have much interest in the policy course, but she now describes the experience as one of the highlights of her college career. She was especially moved by how enthusiastically her classmates rallied to advocate for Peggy’s Law. Samantha Mauro, from Washington, N.J. is one of many students in the class who worked hard on this initiative. “I am overwhelmed with joy that I got to play such a huge part in advocating for something so important,” says Mauro. “It was a project that I wish we could do again and again. It is an accomplishment that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

“It’s pretty common for students to enter the BSW Program thinking that they have little interest in policy, so it’s always a thrill for me to see how passionate many of them become once they learn more about it,” reports Klemm. “We incorporate a real-world experiential learning throughout the social work curriculum, and this policy project has turned out to be a powerful lesson about how working together to advocate for change can have a tremendous impact. All of the students in this class should be really proud of what they accomplished, before they’ve even graduated! I can’t wait to see the good work they’ll go on to do throughout their professional lives.”